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have been indiscriminate. Not a vegetable appears. Apples were introduced with the cheese, and stewed with sugar and sage *.” The last item which I shall mention, relative to the domestic economy of the Cliffords, will place one of the familiar accommodations of modern life in a very interesting point of view: “ 1633-4. To captayne Robinson, by my lord's commands, for writing letters of news to his lordship for a half year, 5l.” It would appear from this intimation, that, previous to the invention of printed newspapers, the nobility and opulent gentry were in the habit of pensioning persons in London, for the purpose of collecting and sending to them, in written letters, the news of the day. I know, indeed, scarcely any privation which would occasion such a blank in modern society as the sudden and total suppression of newspapers. It now only remains to take some notice of the amusements which beguiled the hours of the lords of Skipton; and of these, which may properly enough be arranged under the heads of INdoor and Outpoor Diversion, I shall commence with that branch of the former which, from the talent or apparatus required for its exhibition, may be considered as the most important, namely, the dramatic entertainments and minstrelsy that so often cheered the halls, or awakened the echoes, of Brougham, Londesborough, and Skipton. Fortunately a few of the memoranda which allude to these festivities have been collected from the papers of the family, and brought before us in the following order: “1521. Payd to the French Wheyn mynstrell, iiis. ivd.; mynstrell of Newer Daye, vis. viiid. “1595. To lord Willowby's men playing at this hows twice, xxxs. “ 1609. Payd to the musitioners which were appointed to play at Londesbr. at the play the 12 Marche, sir
* Hist. of Craven, pp. 305-7-8-9.
Hutton and divers others being there, iiiis. “ 1609, 27 April. Given to the waites of Halifaxe, who plaied in the court, sir Step. Tempest being there, iis. • . “Given to a company of players, my lord Wawses men, in reward not playing, because it was Lent, and therefore not fitting, Xs.
“ 1614. Given to my lord Wharton his players, who played one playe before my lord and the ladies “1619. Given to 15 men that were players, who belonged to the late queene, xiiis. iv.d. “Sept. 28. Given to a companie of players, being prince Charles's servants, who came to Londesbro' and played a play, xis. “1624. Gave to a set of players, going by the name of the kings players, who played 3 times, iiil. “1633. To certain players itinerants, il. “ 1635. To a certeyne company of roguish players, who represented “A New Way to pay Old Debts,” il. “To Adam Gerdler, whom my lord sent for from York to act a part in ‘The Knight of the Burning Pestell, vs.” On these articles, which throw a strong light on a very prominent part of the domestic amusements of the age, Dr. Whitaker has given us a comment so rich in just remark with regard to the dramatic and histrionic merit of past and present times, that it would be an injury to my readers not to insert it. “There is no proof,” he observes, “to be drawn from their papers, that the Cliffords maintained a company of minstrels or players as a part of their establishment. Yet, why they did not, as well as lord Willoughby, lord Wharton, and lord Vaux, all their inferiors, it would not be easy to discover. Of the dramatic power of these vagrants, who strolled about the country from one nobleman's house to another, and were rewarded for each entertainment with a few shillings, it is impossible to form any high idea. They were probably of no higher rank, or greater talents, than those who are now content to amuse a country village in a barn. Dramatic composition was at its height before dramatic representation had emerged far above barbarism. That elegant but too often licentious amusement will never attain to any very high degree of excellence, till a wealthy and luxurious age has made the rewards of it a national object, which again will often not take place till the powers of dramatic composition, which usually reaches its acme a little before that period of society, are on the decline. It follows, that the highest gratification in this walk will be obtained by a judicious combination of the dramas of one period with the performance of another, from want of which, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, and Shakspeare, it is more than
probable, never conceived the full force of some of their own greatest characters. Meanwhile, the rant or the buffoonery of strollers would pass for fine acting in the halls of Londesborough and Skipton; and intellectual gratification, though very imperfect, might contribute to suspend the orgies of intemperance, to awaken the latent sparks of feeling or sentiment, and to soften the general ferocity of manners *.” Of those diversions which, as requiring only a few members of a family for their performance, are still more strictly entitled to the appellation of indoor or fireside amusements, there are only three or four notices to be found in the printed inventories of the Cliffords. The first and second of these are dated 1619, and, consequently, relate to Francis the fourth earl; they run as follows: “Given to my lord to play at tables in the great chamber, vs. “Paid to his lordship's losses at shovelboard, xs.” Tables, so named from the French and Latin, differed little, if at all, from the modern game of backgammon; but shovel-board, now superseded
* Hist, of Craven, p. 318, note.