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keyed instruments. You see, in shape, it was scarcely more than an ill-shaped, clumsy box, and was considered much inferior in loudness and sweetness to a spinet.
The queen—who loved much to hear loud music, and used to listen during her meals to “twelve trumpets, and two kettle-drums, which, together with fifes, cornets, and side-drums, made the hall ring for half-an-hour together"—was a very - considerable performer on the lute and on the virginals. She is also supposed to have played on the violin, and on the poliphant, an instrument not much unlike a lute, but strung with wire.
PLAY ACTED BÈFORE QUEEN ELIZABETA. Chaucer, long before the time of Elizabeth, had named violins, but what kind of an instrument the violin or fiddle could have been to which he referred we are a loss, at this distance of time, to discover; and, notwithstanding the fact that we possess a figure of one as early as the year 1530, there is yet good reason to suppose that even towards the end of the sixteenth century the shape of it was rather vague and undetermined. A very singular one was sold by auction, not very long since, with the rest of the late Duke of Dorset's effects, the tradition concerning which is that it was originally Queen Elizabeth's, and was given by her to her favourite, the Earl of Leicester—not at all an improbable fact, as her arms are, together with his crest, engraved upon it.
The length of this curious instrument, from the dragon's head to the extremity of the tail-pin, is two feet. Over the pins is a silver-gilt plate, that turns upon a
hinge, and opens from the nut downwards ;' thereon are engraved the arms of England; these are encircled by a garter, with the usual motto; and under this there are the bear and ragged staff, and the earl's coronet, to which we have already alluded. At top, in the tail-pin, is inserted a gilt silver stud, to which the tail.
piece is looped, with a lion's face curiously wrought on the top. This is secured by a nut, which screws it on to the under side of the instrument, whereon are engraved these letters and figures, I P, supposed to signify the year when it was made, and the maker's 'name. Nearly the whole of the carving, which is in alto retiero, is foliage, with the exception of a few hogs under an oak. Notwithstanding much exquisite workmanship which has been expended on the instrument, it produces but a close and sluggish sound-a fact which, considering the profusion of ornamentation and the quantity of woodwork with which it is encumbered, need not create any very great surprise.
Sir James Melville records a curious anecdote of this princess's skill and coquetry. He had told her that his mistress, Queen Mary," sometimes recreated herself in playing on the lute and the virginals, and that she played reasonably well for a queen." That afternoon the Lord Hunsdon introduced him to a private gallery. that he might hear Elizabeth play on the virginals, although he said that he durst not avow it. " After I had hearkened awhile," says Melville, "I put by the tapestrý that hung before the door of the chamber, and stood a pretty space, hearing het play excellently well. But she left off immediately as soon as she turned her about and saw me. She appeared to be surprised to see me, and came forward, seeming to strike me with her hand, alleging, she used not to play before mən, but when she was solitary, to shun melancholy." "If," says Dr. Burney, "she was ever able to perform any of the pieces preserved in a MS. which goes under the name of Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book,' she must have been a very great player. Some of them are so difficult that it would be hardly possible to find a master in Europe who would undertako to play one of them at the end of a month's practice."
Although the instrumental music of Elizabeth's reign seems to partake of the pedantry and foppery of the times, and eternal fugues upon uninteresting subjects were the means of establishing the reputation of a composer, yet the royal example was followed by the majority of private families, and a knowledge of music appears to have been, during the latter part of the sixteenth century, an indispensable accomplishment in family life. “Being at a banquet," says Morley, in his “Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practical Music," "supper being ended, and musicbooks brought to table, the mistress of the house, according to custom, presented me with a part, earnestly entreating me to sing ; when, after many excuses, I protested unfeignedly that I could not,' every one began to wonder, yea, some whispored to others, demanding how I was brought up.".
Other musical instruments in use in this reign were the organ and the regalsfigures are given of both. Of the former, two kinds were known-viz., the portative and the positive; the first whereof, as its name implies, capable of being carried about; the other fixed, as those are in churches. The regal is described as reed-work in the case of an organ, with metal, and also wooden, pipes and
bellows adapted to it, and so contrived that it may be taken out and set upon a chest or table. Walther says, that the name regal is frequently given to that stop in an organ called vox humana; and in Germany, and other parts of Europe, on Corpus Christi and other, festivals, processions are made, in which a regal is borne through the streets on the shoulders of a man. Wherever the procession stops,
instrument is set down on a stool, and some one of the train steps forward and plays on it, he that carried it blowing the bellows.
It seems rather strange to turn from all this music, and company of singing women and singing men, to Lodge's account of Lord Paget's house, which he tells us was so small, “that after one month it would wax unsavoury for hym to continue in it." But another story, and a far worse one, is told in the “Memoirs of Anne, Countess of Dorset," where we are informed of a party of lords and ladies, “ who were all infested with" we won't say what description of entomological creatures, " by sitting in Sir Thomas Erskine's chambers.”
Holinshed, who lived in this reign, tells us, that old men living in the villages “ may have noted three things to be marvellously altered in England within their
own remembrance. First, the multitude of chimneyswhereas, in their young days, there were not above two or three, if so many, in most uplandish towns of the realm (the religious houses and manor places of their lords always excepted);
but each made his fire against the reredosse in the hall where he dined and dressed his meat. The second is the great amendment of lodging for our fathers—and we ourselves have lain full oft upon straw pallettes, covered only with a sheet; and if so be that the father or the good man of the house had a mattress or flock bei, and thereto a sack of chaff to rest his head upon, he thought himself to be as well lodged as the lord of the town. As for pillows, indeed, they were thought fit only for women in childbed! The third thing was the exchange of wooden platters into pewter, and the wooden spoons for spoons made of silver or tin; and the pewterers, as the workers in that kind of metal were called, grew at last to such exquisite cunning, that they could in a manner imitate, by infusica, any form or fashion of cup, bowl, or goblet which is made by goldsmiths' craft, though they be never so curious and very artificially forged. In some places beyond the sea, a garnish of good flat English pewter is almost esteemed as precious as the like number of vessels that are made of fine silver."
A meat-knife of Elizabeth's time is described as having a handle of white bone. The more ancient knives were pointed, as it was customary for the carver to help the guests to a slice of meat on the point of a knife, and it was only within these few years that round-topped knives have been adopted in France.
Apropos of the dinner-table in this reign, a rich tale is told of an Italian who called on his Grace of York, who was, unfortunately, just about sitting down an entertainment with his prebendaries. The unfortunate foreigner, who made his first visit at eleven o'clock, renewed his applications at twelve, at one, at two; but at neither hour would the obdurate porter admit the stranger, who was accordingly compelled to leave his business in the hands of a friend, and return to Italy. Three years after this, meeting an Englishman in Italy, he made the inquiry of his new acquaintance whether he knew the Archbishop of York. “ Perfectly,” said the Briton. “Then tell me," said the Italian, “I beseech you, has he yet finished his dinner ?" and related the story.
Spoons were originally made of the roots of box, or else of brass, bone, or horn, and sometimes they were constructed so that they could be folded up and placed in the pocket. The custom of sponsors presenting curiously-carved spoons (called apostles' spoons, from the fact that figures of the apostles were carved on the handles) at christenings is alluded to by Middleton in one of his plays
“2 G0s.- What has he given her-what is it, gossip?
3 Gos.-A fair high standing cup, and two great postle spoons—one of them gilt."
Many of these curious relics of a custom not quite obsolete (as every sponsor knows by the many spoons, and forks, and goblets still given away at christenings) may be seen in old manor houses to this day; and we believe there are some very good specimens of this kind of workmanship in the Museum at South Kensington. For the benefit of those who can neither enter the lordly mansion nor inspect the most charming of all the London exhibitions, we give a picture of a very elegant spoon, worthy to have been offered to, and accepted by, the Great Queen.
M. S. R.
TIIE OLD MAN IN LOVE.
The church clocks in the neighbourhood of the Rue Joubert struck threethree hours after midnight. At the same moment the time was repeated by a gorgeous little clock on the mantel-piece of a bedroom on the second floor of a house in the same street-a bedroom sumptuously decorated in the style of Louis XV. At the same time an observer, endowed with the magic crutch of Asmodeus, might have seen hastily thrown open the silken curtains of a bed, with a gilded canopy, in the same room. From this bed a man of a very mature age sprang upon the carpet with a very juvenile leap, put on his black velvet slippers and rich dressing-gown, and, after lighting two candles, began to walk round and round the room, like a lion in his cage. After spending some minutes in thus waking kimself up, the gentleman threw off his dressing-gown, and began to prepare for going out, an operation which he performed with unusual vivacity for an old man, talking to himself in the following strain :
"I cannot bear this doubt; whatever it costs me, I must clear it up. I may as well walk the streets as be awake all night in bed, and I shall get some fresh air at all events. One thing is certain, that after the opera he managed to follow us to ker very house. But how did he do it, unless he got behind the coach ? This girl will kill me before my time. I wonder whether they understand one another? If I thought they did, I would-yes, wouldn't I? Why, during the whole of the performance the fellow was staring at her, and she must have noticed it. The other day, at the concert, it was just the same. I must put an extinguisher upon this coxcomb. But, after all, I don't care for him-I care for her! Oh! Erminia, Erminia! Heighho!"
As he finished his soliloquy, the old man, having finished dressing, opened one of the windows. Meeting the cold breath of a winter's night, he drew back, and helped himself to a cough-drop. However, he manfully put on a great-coat with a thick fur collar, and prepared to go out, but a thought struck him
"I don't mind catching cold," said he to himself; “but at this time of night it would not be safe to go into that street without arms."
So the old gentleman helped himself to a brace of pistols, and put them in his pocket; in another moment, however, he took them out again.
" That will never do," thought he; even with firearms, what could I do against half-a-dozen thieves? I should exasperate a robber into a murderer! And then a nice thing it would be to have people reading in the papers to-morrow morning, ‘Last night M. Lareynie was assassinated under the window of Madame Dupastel !'”
Replacing the pistols in the box, our venerable friend took his purse from the mantel-piece, emptied out of it a dozen gold coins, and, counting the rest over, said
"Forty-five francs is quite enough for my ransom, in case of thieves. Pistols are all braggadocio; money's the thing !-Now, then, I must slip out without waking Baptiste. He's a good lad, that valet of mine ; but if I catch him cutting any jokes at my expense, off bo goes !"