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tire. For obvious reasons, a solitary journey in these early days will be a matter of grave anxiety. Friends setting out from the same place, or strangers becoming acquainted upon the road, join in parties for mutual protection and cheer through the semidesert.
The houses of the people in the thirteenth century were generally of one story, consisting of a hall and a bed-chamber. The first was kitchen, dining-room, reception-room, as well as sleeping apartment for strangers and visitors indiscriminately; the second was the resort of the female portion of the household. The door opened outward, and was left open,-a sign of hospitality, which even in turbulent times was almost boundless between those who had established friendly relations. The roof, covered with oval tiles, exhibited two ornamental points. Dwellings of the opulent sometimes had upper floors, reached by an external staircase. The upper part was considered the place of greatest security, as it could be entered only by one door, which was approached by a flight of steps, and hence was more readily defended. The ball was generally the whole height of the house. Adjacent to it was the stable, in which the servants, if any, were well content to lodge. Palaces and manor-houses had essentially the same arrangement,-a private room for the lord, and the great hall which was the usual living apartment for the whole family, and in which retainers and guests, often to the number of three or four hundred, were kennelled, the floor being strewn with dry rushes in winter, and with hay or straw in summer.
Already the Jew was a capitalist,— the only one in Europe. He had followed William from Normandy. Without citizenship, absolutely at the king's mercy, he was the engine of finance; and, as such, compelled the kingly regard. Castle and cathedral alike owed their existence to his loans. His wealth wrung from him by torture when mild entreaty failed — filled the royal exchequer at the outbreak of war or revolt. The ‘Jews' Houses' were almost the first of stone, which superseded the mere hovels of the English burghers. John, having wrested from them a sum equal to a year's revenue, might suffer none to plunder them save himself. Hated by the people, persecuted at last by the law, forbidden
appear in the
reet without the colored tablet which distinguished the race, their long agony
ended in their expulsion from the realm by Edward. Of the sixteen thousand who preferred exile to apostasy, many were wrecked, others robbed and flung overboard. From that time till their restoration by Cromwell, no Jew touched English soil.
Under the worst of rulers it is 'Merry England.' Of indoor amusements, the most attractive to high and low is gambling. So universal was the passion in the twelfth century, that in the Crusades the kings of France and England made the most stringent regulations to restrict it. No man in the army was to play for money, except the knights and the clergy; nor were the latter to lose more than twenty shillings in one day. The lower orders who should be found playing without the permission and supervision of their masters, were to be whipped; and, if mariners, were to be plunged into the sea on three successive mornings. Love of hardy sports, so characteristic of the English, is not of modern growth. It was one of the most important parts of popular education seven centuries ago. Wrestling was the national pastime. The sturdy yeoman wrestled for prizes,-a ram or a bull, a ring or a pipe of wine. Foot-ball was the favorite game. In the Easter holidays they had river tournaments. In the summer, the youths exercised themselves in leaping, archery, stone-throwing, slinging javelins, and fighting with bucklers. The sword-dance of the Saxons, descending to their successors, held an honored place among popular sports. The acrobat went about to market and fair, circling knives and balls adroitly through his hands, and the musical girls' danced before knight and peasant as the daughter of Herodias before Herod. A very ancient and popular game was that of throwing a peculiar stick at cocks. It was practised especially by schoolboys. Three origins of it have been given: first, that in the Danish wars, the Saxons failed to surprise a certain city in consequence of the crowing of cocks, and had therefore a great hatred of that bird; second, that the cocks were special representatives of Frenchmen, with whom the English were constantly at war; third, that they were connected with Peter's denial of Christ. Two diversions of the Middle Ages, however, were a pride and ornament, the theme of song, the object of law, and the business of life,- hunting and hawking. A knight seldom
stirred from his house without a falcon' on his wrist or a greyhound at his feet. Into these pastimes the clergy rushed with an irrepressible eagerness. To the country revel came the taborer, the bagpiper, and the minstrel — a privileged wanderer. Music, with its immemorial talismanic power to charm, seems always to have ranked as a favorite accomplishment. The complaint of a Scotch abbot in 1160 suggests rather amusingly the innovations it was making in the devotional customs of the Church:
Since all types and figures are now ceased, why so many organs and cymbals in our churches! Why, I say, that terrible blowing of bellows which rather imitates noise of thunder than the sweet harmony of voice?' Again:
“One restrains his breath, another breaks his breath, and a third unaccountably dilates his voice. Sometimes (I blush to say it) they fall and quiver like the neighing of horses; at other times they look like persons in the agonies of death; their eyes roll; their shoulders are moved upwards and downwards; and their tingers dance to every note.'
Intellectually, the real character of these times is to be judged by their multitude of superstitions. On the Continent, in particular, credulity was habitual and universal. The west of Britain was believed to be inhabited by the souls of the dead. lake in Munster, Ireland, there were two islands. Into the first, death could never enter; but age, disease, and weariness wrought upon the inhabitants till they grew tired of their immortality, and learned to look upon the second as a haven of repose; they launched their barks upon its dark waters, touched its shore, and were at rest. The three companions of St. Colman were a cock, which announced the hour of devotion; a mouse, which bit the ear of the drowsy saint till he rose; and a fly, which, if in the course of his studies his thoughts wandered, or he was called away, alighted on the line where he had left off, and kept the place. In the Church of St. Sabina at Rome was long shown a ponderous stone which the devil had flung at St. Dominic, vainly hoping to crush a head that was shielded by the guardian angel. The Gospel of St. John suspended around the neck, a rosary, a relic of Christ or of a saint,- any of the thousand talismans distributed among the faithful, would baffle the utinost efforts of diabolical malice. The more terrible phenomena of nature, unmoved by exorcisms and sprinklings, were invariably
A bird of great destructive power, trained to the pursuit of other birds.
attributed to the intervention of spirits. Such phenomena were by the clergy frequently identified with acts of rebellion against themselves. In the tenth century, the opinion everywhere prevailed that the end of the world was approaching. Many charters begin with these words: “As the world is now drawing to its close.' An army was so terrified by a solar eclipse, which it conceived to announce this consummation, as to disperse hastily on all sides. More than once the apparition of a comet filled Europe with terror. In the shadows of the universal ignorance, nothing was too absurd for belief and practice. In France, animals were accused of high crimes and misdemeanors, tried, and acquitted or convicted, with all the solemnity of law. The wild were referred to ecclesiastical tribunals; the domestic to the civil. In 1120, a French bishop pronounced an injunction against the caterpillars and field-mice for the ravages they made on the crops. If after three days' notice the condemned did not 'wither off the face of the earth,' they were solemnly anathematized. If, instead, they became perversely more numerous and destructive, the lawyers ascribed it, not to any injustice of the sentence nor to the inefficiency of the court, but to the machinations of Satan. From the thirteenth century to the sixteenth, there are not a few records of proceedings in criminal courts against hogs for devouring children.
About the twelfth century, the brood of superstitions, which had once consisted for the most part in wild legends of fairies, mermaids, giants, dragons, conflicts in which the Devil took a prominent part but was always defeated, or illustrations of the boundless efficacy of some charm or relic,— began to assume a darker hue, and the ages of religious terrorism commenced. Never was the sense of Satanic power and presence more profound and universal. In Christian art, the aspect of Christ became less engaging; that of Satan more formidable: the Good Shepherd disappeared, the miracles of mercy declined, and were replaced by the details of the Passion and the horrors of the Last Judgment. Now it was that the modern conception of a witch - namely, a woman in compact with Satan, who could exercise the miraculous gift at pleasure, and who at night was transported through the air to the Sabbath, where she paid her homage to the Evil One— first appeared. Owing in part to its
insular position, in part to the intense political life which from the earliest period animated its people, there was formed in England a self-reliant type of character which was essentially distinct from that common in Europe, averse to the more depressing aspect of religion, and less subject to its morbid fears. In consequence, the darker superstitions which prevailed on the Continent, and which were to act so tragically on the imaginations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, had not here arisen. Nevertheless, as will presently appear in our sketch of historical method, there existed a condition of thought so far removed from that of the present day as to be scarcely conceivable. It will show itself in literature as a controlling love of the marvelJous; in religion, as the intellectual basis of witchcraft.
Religion.- When the island was yet without political unity, a Greek monk, sent from Rome, organized an episcopate, divided the land into parishes representing the different provinces of its disunited state, linked them all to Canterbury as ecclesiastical centre, and thus founded the Church of England. In veneration of the source of light, Anglo-Saxons began pilgrimages to the 'Eternal City,' in the hope that, dying there, a more ready acceptance would be accorded them by the saints in Heaven, In gratitude they established a tax, called St. Peter's penny, for the relief of pilgrims and the education of the clergy. The claims of the Roman See, based as here upon filial regard, were to become a tremendous peril alike to monarch and to subject.
As Rome was the queen of cities, so, as the chief seat of Christianity, her Church was naturally held to be the first of Churches, and her bishop first of bishops -- the Pope. When the capital was transferred to Constantinople, and the Vandals had dissolved the framework of Roman society, he gradually became the chief man in Italy, indeed in the whole West. But wealth is dangerous to simplicity, and power to moderation, From being a father and a counsellor merely, forgetting humility, he became a schemer and a ruler. Love of souls was gradually supplanted by love of empire. The evil was possible to the system. Each country in Christendom was mapped out into an allembracing territorial organization, in which the priest was under
1 Meaning father, papa, Greek tramas.