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Prince Henry, and sometimes polluted by his im- subject, and desiring she would pledge me in a moral merry companions, I sat and ruminated on bumper, observed with a sigh, that our sack was the follies of youth; wished to be young again, but nothing now to what it was in former days: "Ah, was resolved to make the best of life while it lasted; Mrs. Quickly, those were merry times when you and now and then compared past and present times drew sack for Prince Henry: men were twice as together. I considered myself as the only living strong, and twice as wise, and much braver, and representative of the old knight, and nsported ten thousand times more charitable than now. my imagination back to the times when the prince Those were the times! The battle of Agincourt and he gave life to the revel, and made even de- was a victory indeed! Ever since that we have bauchery not disgusting. The room also conspired only been degenerating; and I have lived to see the to throw my reflections back into antiquity: the day when drinking is no longer fashionable, when oak floor, the Gothic windows, and the ponderous men wear clean shirts, and women show their chimney-piece, had long withstood the tooth of necks and arms. All are degenerated, Mrs. Quicktime; the watchman had gone twelve; my com- ly; and we shall probably, in another century, be panions had all stolen off; and none now remained frittered away into beaux or monkeys. Had you with me but the landlord. From him I could have been on earth to see what I have seen, it would wished to know the history of a tavern, that had congeal all the blood in your body (your soul, I such a long succession of customers: I could not mean). Why, our very nobility now have the inhelp thinking that an account of this kind would tolerable arrogance, in spite of what is every day be a pleasing contrast of the manners of different remonstrated from the press; our very nobility, I ages; but my landlord could give me no informa- say, have the assurance to frequent assemblies, and tion. He continued to doze and sot, and tell a te- presume to be as merry as the vulgar. See, my dious story, as most other landlords usually do, very friends have scarcely manhood enough to sit and, though he said nothing, yet was never silent; to it till eleven ; and I only am left to make a night one good joke followed another good joke; and the on't. Prithee do me the favour to console me a best joke of all was generally begun towards the little for their absence by the story of your own adend of a bottle. I found at last, however, his wine ventures, or the history of the tavern where we are and his conversation operate by degrees: he in-now sitting: I fancy the narrative may have somesensibly began to alter his appearance; his cravat thing singular." seemed quilled into a ruff, and his breeches swelled "Observe this apartment," interrupted my comout into a fardingale. I now fancied him chang-panion; "of neat device, and excellent workmaning sexes; and as my eyes began to close in slum-ship-In this room I have lived, child, woman, and ber, I imagined my fat landlord actually converted ghost, more than three hundred years: I am ordered into as fat a landlady. However, sleep made but by Pluto to keep an annual register of every transfew changes in my situation: the tavern, the apart-action that passeth here; and I have whilom comment, and the table, continued as before; nothing piled three hundred tomes, which eftsoons may be suffered mutation but my host, who was fairly al-submitted to thy regards." "None of your whiloms tered into a gentlewoman, whom I knew to be or eftsoons, Mrs. Quickly, if you please,” I replied: Dame Quickly, mistress of this tavern in the days "I know you can talk every whit as well as I can ; of Sir John, and the liquor we were drinking, for, as you have lived here so long it is but natural which seemed converted into sack and sugar. to suppose you should learn the conversation of the "My dear Mrs. Quickly," cried I (for I knew company. Believe me, dame, at best, you have her perfectly well at first sight), "I am heartily neither too much sense, nor too much language to glad to see you. How have you left Falstaff, Pis- spare; so give me both as well as you can : but first, tol, and the rest of our friends below stairs? Brave my service to you; old women should water their and hearty, I hope ?"—"In good sooth,” replied clay a little now and then; and now to your story." she," he did deserve to live for ever; but he maketh "The story of my own adventures," replied the foul work on't where he hath flitted. Queen Pro-vision, "is but short and unsatisfactory; for, beserpine and he have quarrelled for his attempting lieve me, Mr. Rigmarole, believe me, a woman a rape upon her divinity; and were it not that she with a butt of sack at her elbow is never long-lived. still had bowels of compassion, it more than seems Sir John's death afflicted me to such a degree, that probable he ight have been now sprawling in I sincerely believe, to drown sorrow, I drank more Tartarus." liquor myself than I drew for my customers: my grief was sincere, and the sack was excellent. The prior of a neighbouring convent (for our priors then had as much power as a Middlesex Justice now),
I now found that spirits still preserve the frailties of the flesh; and that, according to the laws of criticism and dreaming, ghosts have been known to be guilty of even more than platonic affection: he, I say, it was who gave me a license for keepwherefore, as I found her too much moved on such ing a disorderly house, upon condition that I should a topic to proceed, I was resolved to change the never make hard bargains with the clergy, that he
should have a bottle of sack every morning, and room, reliques were exposed upon every piece of the liberty of confessing which of my girls he furniture, and the whole house washed with a de thought proper in private every night. I had con-luge of holy water. My habitation was soon continued for several years to pay this tribute; and he, verted into a monastery; instead of customers now it must be confessed, continued as rigorously to applying for sack and sugar, my rooms were crowdexact it. I grew old insensibly; my customers con-ed with images, reliques, saints, whores, and friars. tinued, however, to compliment my looks while I Instead of being a scene of occasional debauchery, was by, but I could hear them say I was wearing it was now filled with continual lewdness. The when my back was turned. The prior, however, prior led the fashion, and the whole convent imistill was constant, and so were half his convent; tated his pious example. Matrons came hither to but one fatal morning he missed the usual beverage, confess their sins, and to commit new. Virgins for I had incautiously drank over-night the last came hither who seldom went virgins away. Nor bottle myself. What will you have on't?-The was this a convent peculiarly wicked; every convery next day Dol Tearsheet and I were sent to vent at that period was equally fond of pleasure, the house of correction, and accused of keeping a and gave a boundless loose to appetite. The laws low bawdy-house. In short, we were so well allowed it; each priest had a right to a favourite purified there with stripes, mortification, and pen-companion, and a power of discarding her as often ance, that we were afterwards utterly unfit for as he pleased. The laity grumbled, quarrelled worldly conversation; though sack would have with their wives and daughters, hated their conkilled me, had I stuck to it, yet I soon died for want fessors, and maintained them in opulence and ease. of a drop of something comfortable, and fairly left These, these were happy times, Mr. Rigmarole; these were times of piety, bravery, and simplicity." my body to the care of the beadle. "Not so very happy, neither, good Madam; pretty much like the present-those that labour starve, and those that do nothing wear fine clothes, and live in luxury."
"In this manner the fathers lived for some years without molestation; they transgressed, confessed themselves to each other, and were forgiven. One
"Such is my own history; but that of the tavern, where I have ever since been stationed, affords greater variety. In the history of this, which is one of the oldest in London, you may view the different manners, pleasures, and follies of men, at different periods. You will find mankind neither better nor worse now than formerly; the vices of an uncivilized people are generally more detestable, evening, however, our prior keeping a lady of disthough not so frequent, as those in polite society. [tinction somewhat too long at confession, her husIt is the same luxury, which formerly stuffed your band unexpectedly came upon them, and testified alderman with plum-porridge, and now crams him all the indignation which was natural upon such with turtle. It is the same low ambition, that for- an occasion. The prior assured the gentleman merly induced a courtier to give up his religion to that it was the devil who put it into his heart; and please his king, and now persuades him to give up the lady was very certain that she was under the his conscience to please his minister. It is the influence of magic, or she could never have besame vanity, that formerly stained our ladies' cheeks haved in so unfaithful a manner. The husband, and necks with woad, and now paints them with however, was not to be put off by such evasions, carmine. Your ancient Briton formerly powdered but summoned both before the tribunal of justice. his hair with red earth, like brick-dust, in order to His proofs were flagrant, and he expected large appear frightful: your modern Briton cuts his hair damages. Such indeed he had a right to expect, The cause of the on the crown, and plasters it with hog's-lard and were the tribunals of those days constituted in the flour; and this to make him look killing. It is the same manner as they are now. same vanity, the same folly, and the same vice, priest was to be tried before an assembly of priests; only appearing different, as viewed through the and a layman was to expect redress only from their glass of fashion. In a word, all mankind are a—” impartiality and candour. What plea then do you "Sure the woman is dreaming," interrupted I. think the prior made to obviate this accusation? "None of your reflections, Mrs. Quickly, if you He denied the fact, and challenged the plaintiff love me; they only give me the spleen. Tell me to try the merits of their cause by single combat. I love stories, but hate rea- It was a little hard, you may be sure, upon the your history at once. poor gentleman, not only to be made a cuckold, but soning." to be obliged to fight a duel into the bargain; yet such was the justice of the times. The prior threw down his glove, and the injured husband
"If you please, then, sir," returned my companion, I'll read you an abstract which I made of the three hundred volumes I mentioned just now. "My body was no sooner laid in the dust than was obliged to take it up, in token of his acceptthe prior and several of his convent came to purify ing the challenge. Upon this the priest supplied the tavern from the pollutions with which they his champion, for it was not lawful for the clergy and I had filled it. Masses were said in every to fight; and the defendant and plaintiff, according
to custom, were put in prison; both ordered to that they had no authority to ask questions. By tast and pray, every method being previously used the rules of witchcraft, when an evil spirit has to induce both to a confession of the truth. After taken possession, he may refuse to answer any a month's imprisonment, the hair of each was cut, questions asked him, unless they are put by a the bodies anointed with oil, the field of battle bishop, and to these he is obliged to reply. A appointed and guarded by soldiers, while his ma- bishop therefore was sent for, and now the whole jesty presided over the whole in person. Both the secret came out: the devil reluctantly owned that champions were sworn not to seek victory either he was a servant of the prior; that by his comby fraud or magic. They prayed and confessed mand he resided in his present habitation, and that upon their knees; and after these ceremonies the without his command he was resolved to keep in rest was left to the courage and conduct of the possession. The bishop was an able exorcist; he combatants. As the champion whom the prior drove the devil out by force of mystical arms; the had pitched upon had fought six or eight times prior was arraigned for witchcraft; the witnesses upon similar occasious, it was no way extraordi- were strong and numerous against him, not less nary to find him victorious in the present combat. than fourteen persons being by, who heard the In short, the husband was discomfited; he was devil talk Latin. There was no resisting such a taken from the field of battle, stripped to his shirt, cloud of witnesses; the prior was condemned; and after one of his legs had been cut off, as jus- and he who had assisted at so many burnings, was tice ordained in such cases, he was hanged as a burned himself in turn. These were times, Mr. terror to future offenders. These, these were the Rigmarole; the people of those times were not intimes, Mr. Rigmarole; you see how much more fidels, as now, but sincere believers !"-" Equally just, and wise, and valiant, our ancestors were than faulty with ourselves; they believed what the devil us."—" I rather fancy, madam, that the times then was pleased to tell them, and we seem resolved at were pretty much like our own; where a multi- last to believe neither God nor devil." plicity of laws gives a judge as much power as a want of law, since he is ever sure to find among the number some to countenance his partiality."
"After such a stain upon the convent, it was not to be supposed it could subsist any longer; the fathers were ordered to decamp, and the house was once again converted into a tavern. The king conferred it on one of his cast mistresses; she was constituted landlady by royal authority, and as the tavern was in the neighbourhood of the court, and the mistress a very polite woman, it began to have more business than ever, and sometimes took not less than four shillings a-day.
"But perhaps you are desirous of knowing what were the peculiar qualifications of a woman of fashion at that period; and in a description of the present landlady you will have a tolerable idea of all
"Our convent, victorious over their enemies, now gave a loose to every demonstration of joy. The lady became a nun, the prior was made a bishop, and three Wickliffites were burned in the illuminations and fire-works that were made on the present occasion. Our convent now began to enjoy a very high degree of reputation. There was not one in London that had the character of hating keretics so much as ours: ladies of the first distinction chose from our convent their confessors. In short, it flourished, and might have flourished to this hour, but for a fatal accident which termi- the rest. This lady was the daughter of a noblemated in its overthrow. The lady, whom the prior man, and received such an education in the counhad placed in a nunnery, and whom he continued try as became her quality, beauty, and great exto visit for some time with great punctuality, be-pectations. She could make shifts and hose for gan at last to perceive that she was quite forsaken. herself and all the servants of the family, when she Secluded from conversation, as usual, she now en- was twelve years old. She knew the names of the tertained the visions of a devotee; found herself four-and-twenty letters, so that it was impossible to strangely disturbed; but hesitated in determining bewitch her; and this was a greater piece of learnwhether she was possessed by an angel or a demon. ing than any lady in the whole country could preShe was not long in suspense; for upon vomiting tend to. She was always up early, and saw breaka large quantity of crooked pins, and finding the fast served in the great hall by six o'clock. At this palms of her hands turned outwards, she quickly scene of festivity, she generally improved good-huconcluded that she was possessed by the devil. mour by telling her dreams, relating stories of spiShe soon lost entirely the use of speech; and, rits, several of which she herself had seen, and one when she seemed to speak, every body that was of which she was reported to have killed with a present perceived that her voice was not her own, black-hafted knife. Hence she usually went to but that of the devil within her. In short, she was make pastry in the larder, and here she was followbewitched; and all the difficulty lay in determined by her sweethearts, who were much helped on ing who it could be that bewitched her. The in conversation by struggling with her for kisses. nuns and the monks all demanded the magician's About ten, Miss generally went to play at hotozme, but the devil made no reply; for he knew cockles and blind-man's buff in the parlour· and
when the young folks (for they seldom played at those they had. All their fooleries were more hot-cockles when grown old) were tired of such elaborate, and more admired by the great and the amusements, the gentleman entertained Miss with vulgar than now. A courtier has been known the history of their greyhounds, bear-baitings, and to spend his whole fortune at a single feast, a victories at cudgel-playing. If the weather was king to mortgage his dominions to furnish out fine, they ran at the ring, shot at butts, while Miss the frippery of a tournament. There were certain held in her hand a riband, with which she adorned days appointed for riot and debauchery, and to be the conqueror. Her mental qualifications were sober at such times was reputed a crime. Kings exactly fitted to her external accomplishments. themselves set the example; and I have seen moBefore she was fifteen she could tell the story of narchs in this room drunk before the entertainment Jack the Giant Killer, could name every mountain was half concluded. These were the times, sir, that was inhabited by fairies, knew a witch at first when kings kept mistresses, and got drunk in pubsight, and could repeat four Latin prayers without lic; they were too plain and simple in those happy a prompter. Her dress was perfectly fashionable; times, to hide their vices, and act the hypocrite her arms and her hair were completely covered; a as now."-"Lord! Mrs. Quickly," interrupting monstrous ruff was put round her neck, so that her her, “I expected to have heard a story, and here you head seemed like that of John the Baptist placed are going to tell me I know not what of times and in a charger. In short, when completely equipped, vices; prithee let me entreat thee once more to her appearance was so very modest, that she dis-wave reflections, and give thy history without decovered little more than her nose. These were the viation." times, Mr. Rigmarole; when every lady that had a good nose might set up for a beauty; when every woman that could tell stories might be cried up for a wit."—" I am as much displeased at those dresses which conceal too much, as at those which discover too much; I am equally an enemy to a female dunce or a female pedant."
"No lady upon earth," continued my visionary correspondent, "knew how to put off her damaged wine or women with more art than she. When these grew flat, or those paltry, it was but changing the names: the wine became excellent, and the girls agreeable. She was also possessed of the engaging leer, the chuck under the chin, winked at
"You may be sure that Miss chose a husband a double entendre, could nick the opportunity of with qualifications resembling her own; she pitch-calling for something comfortable, and perfectly ed upon a courtier, equally remarkable for hunting understood the discreet moments when to withand drinking, who had given several proofs of his draw. The gallants of these times pretty much great virility among the daughters of his tenants resembled the bloods of ours; they were fond of and domestics. They fell in love at first sight (for pleasure, but quite ignorant of the art of refining such was the gallantry of the times), were married, upon it; thus a court bawd of those times resem came to court, and Madam appeared with superior bled the common low-lived harridan of a modern qualifications. The king was struck with her bagnio. Witness, ye powers of debauchery, how beauty. All property was at the king's command: often I have been present at the various appearthe husband was obliged to resign all pretensions ances of drunkenness, riot, guilt, and brutality! A in his wife to the sovereign, whom God had anoint- tavern is the true picture of human infirmity: in ed to commit adultery where he thought proper. history we find only one side of the age exhibited The king loved her for some time; but at length to our view; but in the accounts of a tavern we sea repenting of his misdeeds, and instigated by his every age equally absurd and equally vicious. father confessor, from a principle of conscience re- "Upon this lady's decease, the tavern was sucmoved her from his levee to the bar of this tavern, cessively occupied by adventures, bullies, pimps and took a new mistress in her stead. Let it not and gamesters. Towards the conclusion of the surprise you to behold the mistress of a king de- reign of Henry VII. gaming was more universalgraded to so bumble an office. As the ladies had ly practised in England than even now, Kings no mental accomplishments, a good face was themselves have been known to play off at Primeenough to raise them to the royal couch; and she ro, not only all the money and jewels they could who was this day a royal mistress, might the next, part with, but the very images in churches. The when her beauty palled upon enjoyment, be doom- last Henry played away, in this very room, not ed to infamy and want. only the four great bells of St. Paul's cathedral,
"Under the care of this lady the tavern grew but the fine image of St. Paul which stood upon into great reputation; the courtiers had not yet the top of the spire, to Sir Miles Partridge, who learned to game, but they paid it off by drinking; took them down the next day, and sold them by drunkenness is ever the vice of a barbarous, and auction. Have you then any cause to regret being gaming of a luxurious age. They had not such born in the times you now live in; or do you stil! frequent entertainments as the moderns have, but believe that human nature continues to run on demore expensive and more luxurious in clining every age? If we observe the actions of
he busy part of mankind, your ancestors will be is ever pleasing to me. I went some days ago to found infinitely more gross, servile, and even dis- take a walk in St. James's Park, about the hour honest than you. If, forsaking history, we only in which company leave it to go to dinner. There trace them in their hours of amusement and dissi- were but few in the walks, and those who stayed pation, we shall find them more sensual, more seemed by their looks rather more willing to forget I sat entirely devoted to pleasure, and infinitely more that they had an appetite than gain one. selfish. down on one of the benches, at the other end of which was seated a man in very shabby clothes.
We continued to groan, to hem, and to cough, as usual upon such occasions; and at last ventured upon conversation. "I beg pardon, sir," cried I, "but I think I have seen you before; your face is familiar to
"The last hostess of note I find upon record was Jane Rouse. She was born among the lower ranks of the people; and by frugality and extreme complaisance, contrived to acquire a moderate fortune; this she might have enjoyed for many years, had she not unfortunately quarrelled with one of me." "Yes, sir," replied he, "I have a good familiar her neighbours, a woman who was in high repute face, as my friends tell me. I am as well known for sanctity through the whole parish. In the in every town in England as the dromedary, or live times of which I speak, two women seldom quar- crocodile. You must understand, sir, that 1 have relled that one did not accuse the other of witch-been these sixteen years Merry Andrew to a pupcraft, and she who first contrived to vomit crooked pet-show: last Bartholomew-fair my master and I pins was sure to come off victorious. The scandal quarrelled, beat each other, and parted; he to sell of a modern tea-table differs widely from the scan- his puppets to the pincushion-makers in Rosemarydal of former times: the fascination of a lady's lane, and I to starve in St. James's Park."
eyes at present is regarded as a compliment: but if a lady formerly should be accused of having witchcraft in her eyes, it were much better both for her soul and body that she had no eyes at all.
"In short, Jane Rouse was accused of witchcraft; and though she made the best defence she could, it was all to no purpose; she was taken from her own bar to the bar of the Old Bailey, condemn- groat, I am very merry still. If I have threepence ed, and executed accordingly. These were times in my pocket, 1 never refuse to be my three-halfindeed, when even women could not scold in safety! pence; and if I have no money, I never scorn to be
As I never refuse a small expense for the sake of a merry companion, we instantly adjourned to a
"Since her time the tavern underwent several treated by any that are kind enough to pay my revolutions, according to the spirit of the times, or reckoning. What think you, sir, of a steak and a the disposition of the reigning monarch. It was tankard? You shall treat me now; and I will treat this day a brothel, and the next a conventicle of you again when I find you in the Park in love with enthusiasts. It was one year noted for harbouring eating, and without money to pay for a dinner." whigs, and the next infamous for a retreat to tories. Some years ago it was in high vogue, but at present it seems declining. This only may be neighbouring ale-house, and in a few moments had remarked in general, that whenever taverns flourish a frothing tankard and a smoking steak spread on most, the times are then most extravagant and the table before us. It is impossible to express how luxurious." "Lord! Mrs. Quickly," interrupted much the sight of such good cheer improved my I, "you have really deceived me; I expected a ro- companion's vivacity. "I like this dinner, sir," mance, and here you have been this half hour giv- says he, "for three reasons: first, because I am natuing me only a description of the spirit of the times; rally fond of beef; secondly, because I am hungry; if you have nothing but tedious remarks to com- and thirdly and lastly, because I get it for nothing: municate, seek some other hearer; I am determin-no meat eats as sweet as that for which we do not ed to hearken only to stories." pay."
I had scarcely concluded, when my eyes and ears seemed open to my landlord, who had been all this while giving me an account of the repairs he had made in the house; and was now got into the story of the cracked glass in the dining-room.
"I am sorry, sir, that a person of your appearance should labour under any difficulties."—" ( sir," returned he, "my appearance is very much at your service; but, though I can not boast of eat. ing much, yet there are few that are merrier: if I had twenty thousand a-year I should be very merry; and, thank the Fates, though not worth a
I AM fond of amusement in whatever company is to be found; and wit, though dressed in rags,
He therefore now fell to, and his appetite seemed to correspond with his inclination. After dinner was over, he observed that the steak was tough; and yet, sir," returns he, "bad as it was, it seeme a rump-steak to me. O the elights of poverty and a good appetite! We beggars are the very fondlings of nature; the rich she treats like an arrant step-mother; they are pleased with nothing; cut a steak from what part you will, and it is insupportably tough; dress it up with pickles, and even pickles can not procure you an appetita