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family history. The L'Estranges were long an important family in the county of Norfolk, connected by marriage with the Lewkenors, the Spelmans, the Gurneys,* and other well-known Norfolk and Suffolk families. Sir Hamon, Sir Nicholas's father, was governor of Lynn for King Charles, and defended it when besieged by the Earl of Manchester, and amongst his children were the celebrated Sir Roger; Hamon, author of the "Annals of Charles I.” and Sir Nicholas, the compiler of the book of " Merry Passages and Jests," who was created a baronet in 1629, in his father's life-time, and died on the 24th July 1655. From his death the family importance decreased, the baronetcy became extinct in 1760, and the representation of the L'Estranges passed, by a female heir, into the family of the Stylemans, the head of whom now resides in Hunstantonhall, and has recently obtained the royal permission to assume the name of L'Estrange.
It is obvious that a man in Sir Nicholas's station might easily gather together a great variety of personal anecdotes not only of interest at the time, but of great value to us. There are few persons amongst ourselves who merely by recording the anecdotes of important individuals which daily come to our ears, might not form collections which, after the lapse of a couple of centuries, would be esteemed of the greatest curiosity, even although they had not as informants a Sir Roger, versed in the secrets both of courts and of literature, a cousin John Spelman, well acquainted with the proceedings of the universities, and sons and grandsons of chief justices, familiar with the gossip of the courts of law.
Such collections could not fail to contain illustrations of times and manners, proofs of the consideration in which the men whom posterity regards as great were held by their contemporaries, anecdotes from which would break forth some glimpses of the real characters of such men life-like touches which would bring them before
* In p. ix. for Hood, read Hovel. The wife of Edward Gurney was Frances, daughter of Richard Hovel, Esq. of Hillington, in Norfolk.
us, with their habits and associates, more vividly than the most elaborate researches of the biographer. The proofs of this are before us in Mr. Thoms's volume. Who does not trace the easy disposition which was the ruin of Lord Bacon in his worldly affairs, and that love of flattery which was one of his greatest blots as a man, in his accustomed saying, here first recorded, that he "loved to have his throate cut with a razour not with a saw," (p. 11) that he preferred smooth, oily knavery, to rough, rude honesty? Does not the mincing, finicking courtier arise before us, with all his gallantry and foppishness, in the two anecdotes of King James's favourite the Earl of Carlisle at p. 10? When a lady told him that she had a letter for one of his servants, "I beseech you, madam," said the pretty gentleman, "let me know for which of them, that I may have the honour to be his servant;" and one of his friends, a man whom he liked as well as any man he ever conversed with, fell instantly under his ban, "he began to abominate and hate him,"-" he never could endure the sight of him, after " he committed a solecism in manners at a dinner table. Honest Mewtas, the faithful servant and honoured friend of Lord Bacon, is brought before us at p. 19 as occupier of a large house "furnish't with many pretty knacks and rarities," and when his fancy for such curiosities was rudely commented upon by an insolent lawyer, Mewtas evinced by the equal readiness and raciness of his reply, that his mind was not less tasteful and elegant than his collections.
Sir Julius Cæsar, that man of "boundless benevolence and philanthropy, whose coach was as well known to the poor as any hospital in England," appears here as he was esteemed amongst the lawyers, "none of the deepest men," ," and subject to "many slye jerks," like one that is related at p. 23.
Queen Elizabeth's disinclination to allow the claims upon her favour of her maternal kindred, is illustrated by an anecdote at p. 16, and her quickness of repartee at p. 66.
James the First is the subject of several " merry passages," and many of his disagreeable peculiarities, his
profanity in conversation, personal dirtiness, and credulity, are exhibited in conjunction with his unquestionable shrewdness and overflowing pedantry.
One of the most interesting proofs of the value of collections of this description is afforded in the fact, that it is in this MS. that the anecdote of Shakspeare's gift of Latten spoons to his godchild, the son of Ben Jonson, almost the only personal anecdote of the illustrious bard, and a pleasant proof of his intimacy with rare old Ben, is here preserved. Scarcely less agreeable is the following, which brings Ben again before us, and in a place where he was almost as much in his glory as in the theatre.
"Ben: Johnson was at a taverne and in comes Bishoppe Corbett (but not so then) into the next roome; Ben: Johnson calls for a quart of raw wine, gives it the tapster: Sirrha,' sayes he, 6 carry this to the gentleman in the next chamber, and tell him I sacrifice my service to him;' the fellow did so, and in those words: Friend,' sayes Dr. Corbett, "I thanke him for his love; but pr'y thee tell hym from me hee's mistaken, for sacrifices are allwayes burn't.' "
Mr, Thoms remarks:
"This anecdote, illustrative of the love of good liquor in general, and burnt sack in particular, manifested by Bishop Corbet, is confirmed by Aubrey; who, in his Lives (ii. 293), after telling us, what we can readily believe, that his conversation was extreme pleasant,' adds,' His chaplaine, Dr. Lushington, was a very learned and ingeniose man, and they loved one another. The Bishop sometimes would take the key of the wine cellar, and he and his Chaplaine would goe and lock themselves in and be merry. Then first he layes downe his episcopal hat,'There lyes the Dr.' Then he putts off his gowne, There lyes the Bishop.' Then 'twas, 'Here's to thee, Corbet,' and Here's to thee, Lushington." "
The volume before us contains many other proofs of the tavern practices and joviality of our ancestors. We have a sharp criticism at p. 6 of lines written under the influence of sack,
that influence to which Jonson attributed the excellence of his noblest works; at p. 48 is a proof that sack was not less potential amongst the musicians than the poets; and at pp. 11, 42 and 78, we have illustrations of the freedom of conversation and man
ners at the "ordinaries" of that period, one of which we will extract.
"Hacklewitt and another drinking hard at the Miter Taverne, and wanting attendance, when the chamberlaine came up, in a madde humour tooke him up and coyted him downe to the bottome of the stayres, and almost broke his necke; the fellow complaines, his master comes and expostulates the cause. Why,' sayes Hacklewitt, when we wanted our wine we threw downe a quartt, and presently we had a pottle came up, and I expected a cast of chamberlaines upon the throwing downe of this, for none would come with a call, therefore we thought a knock was the only summons.'
Many anecdotes refer to the pulpit exhibitions of the period, and give singular pictures of the length of time and the freedom with which the "drum ecclesiastic" was beaten. Of one sermon which lasted two hours, we are told that "'twas a very good one, but half on't would have done well cold," (p. 3); of another, which was probably about the same length, that it also was 'very good, but it had spoiled a goose worth two of it" (p. 79). We have several characteristic anecdotes relating to those indecorous exhibitions to which our ancestors were so attached -funeral sermons (pp. 3, 4); and the following, although perhaps not true to the very letter, is worthy of remembrance, as proving what was thought, at the least, not too unlikely to be told.
"Sir William Woddhowse and Sir Robert Drury were allwayes at deadly feude, and there was a parson that favour'd Sir Robert, and declaimed often against Sir William in the pulpitt. Sir William, one day, meetes this parson in a boate at London, and makes no more adoe but trices him up, and throwes him into the Thames. The parson, as soon as he comes downe into the country, falls upon his old way, and no sooner enters his text and divides, but digresseth presently into a most bitter invective against
Sir William Woddhowse. At that time a man of Sir William's chanc't to be who, impatient to heare his master so there, and satt very neere the pulpitt, hang downe, catches hold on't, (when the revil'd, and spying the parsone's sleeve toes,) yerkes him out among his parishionparson was most eager, and on his tipers, and-away he runnes.'
Mr. Thoms adds
"This story will appear scarcely cre
dible to those who are acquainted with only the pulpit-practices of modern times; the readers of Latimer will perhaps give some little credence to it, and an anecdote, which exists upon the grave authority of The State Trials,' will tend towards the conversion of some others of my readers. In 'The Book of Martyrs,' there is a story of one Greenwood, of Suffolk, who was said to have perjured himself, in Queen Mary's time, in some case of heresy before the Bishop of Norwich; Fox adds, that afterwards, by the just judgment of Providence, his bowels rotted within him and he died. One Prest, a clergyman in Elizabeth's reign, happened to be presented to the living of the parish in which Greenwood was thought to have lived, and in one of his first discourses he selected Greenwood's history as a topic of discourse, and urged home upon his parishioners many deductions from it, respecting the sin of perjury. It so happened that Greenwood was in the church, and heard the discourse, but, probably, being a phlegmatic person than Sir William Wodehouse's man, he replied not in person but by attorney. He brought his action against the clergyman for a libel, and the cause was tried, but without producing any satisfaction to Greenwood, for the Lord Chief Justice Wray, who tried it, directed the jury to find for the defendant, for that it appeared it was not done out of malice."-(State Trials, vol. xiii. p. 1387.)
From "" 'sermons" to " 'jesters" is perhaps a violent transition (although not so much so as may at first sight appear, for the wearers of the cap and bells were occasionally teachers of morals as well as their more dignified brethren of the gown and cassock); but we must bring our extracts from this part of Mr. Thoms's book to a close, and we cannot do so without some notice of the various passages which relate to fools and jesters. Many jokes appear to have been rife in Norfolk against the Pastons-the same family who in an earlier age were distinguished both for talent and fondness for literature, as is evident from the celebrated collection of letters, -and here are several anecdotes which turn upon the assertion that their race had not been without a fool for several generations (pp. 5, 12). Other anecdotes prove the commonness of the practice of "begging a man for a fool," procuring, that is, a grant from
"The present Collection," says Mr. Thoms, contains several other tales (viz. Nos. 14, 127, and 188,) of Wiggett, 'the famous Facetious Foole,' as he is styled in one of them, which, though they serve to illustrate the manners of the times, are much too gross to be drawn from the manuscript in which they are at present concealed.
"Wiggett, who was no doubt a member of the Norfolk family of that name, would seem from an act of indecent rudeness which he is reported to have been guilty of towards the judges at an assize dinner at Norwich, to have belonged to that class of professed jesters styled by Mr. Douce, in his Dissertation on the Clowns and Fools of Shakspeare (Illustrations, ii. 304), the City or Corporation Fool, whose office was to assist in public entertainments and in pageants; and of which division of the fool-ish brotherhood the Lord Mayor's Fool, who is proverbially said to have liked every thing that is good,' was no doubt a member. It is somewhat remarkable, that Flögel, who has devoted a whole volume ('Geschichte der Hofnarren,') to the history of fools of all sorts, though his title-page speaks only of Court Jesters, should have omitted to mention the Corporation Fool, while, in his 'Geschichte der Komischen Litteratur,' i. 329, he not only speaks of the Spruchsprecher,' who clearly belonged to this class, but gives a portrait of Wilhelm Weber, who filled that office at Nuremberg, doubtless with greater reputation than Wiggett at Norwich.
"By-the-by, Blomefield, in his 'History of Norfolk,' ii. 737, quotes an inventory of the goods of the ancient Com. pany of Saint George at Norwich, in which mention is made of two habits, one for the club-bearer, another for his man, who are now called fools;' it is, therefore, not too much to suppose, that Wiggett held one or other of these offices."
The anecdote relating to Court Fools is as follows:
"Charles Chester, a Court Foole in Queen Elizabeth's time, us'd to be girding very often at my Lord Knolls and Sir Walter Raleigh. Sayes Sir Walter Raleigh, My Lord, gett but this foole to dinner one day, and you shall see what a trick wee 'le serve him.' So he did; and when the paunch was well fill'd (for he was a notable trencher-man), and he went out of the chamber, Sir Walter Raleigh followed him. 'Come, Sirrah,' sayes he, 'now wee 'l be revenged on you for all your rogerie;' and having some servants by, tyed him hand and foote, sett him right up in a corner, called a mason or two, built him up presently to the chinne, and so close as he could not move, and threat'ned to cover him in, but that he begg'd hard and swore he would abuse them no more; so they lett him stand till night."
The Editor comments upon this story thus:
"We have here a name, which has hitherto, we believe, remained unrecorded, added to those of Pace, Clod, and the other jesters who flourished in that time, and at the Court of Elizabeth; for though it will be seen from the following extract from Aubrey's Lives, ii. p. 514, where Chester appears likewise as the subject of a practical joke on the part of Sir Walter Raleigh (who is no doubt Aubrey's 'Sir W. R.') that he was the original of Ben Jonson's Carlo Buffone,' he has never been known as a court jester. 'In his (Jonson's) youthful time was one Charles Chester, that after kept company with his acquaintance; he was a bold impertinent fellowe, and they could never be at quiet for him; a perpetual talker, and made a noyse like a drum in a roome: so one time at a tavern, Sir W. R. beates him and seales up his mouth, i. e. his upper and nether beard, with hard wax. From him Ben Jonson takes his Carlo Buffone, in Every Man out of his Humour.'
"A tolerably complete list of these motley retainers of the English Court might be compiled; for the succession was scarcely interrupted from the time of Berdic, Joculator Regis, who is mentioned in Domesday, down to that of Tom Killegrew, who, Pepys tells us, on the 13th February 1667-8, hath a fee out of the wardrobe for Cap and Bells, under the title of King's Fool or Jester;" and may revile or jeer any body, the greatest person, without offence, by the privilege of his place.'
In the lately published and highly interesting volume of M. Rigollot, enti
tled, Monnaies des Fous,' &c. Paris, 1837, we are furnished with another curious fact on this subject, entirely unknown, we believe, to English antiquaries; we mean, the existence at the court of John, of a jester, named Will Picol, or Piculfus, exercising his functions, not virtute officii, but à titre feodal,' holding his good lands by the tenure of saying good things; the said good lands passing to his heirs, on the payment annually of a pair of golden spurs. The following is a copy of the grant which M. Rigollot has printed by way of satisfying the doubts of the sceptical:
"Joannes. . . .
D. G. &c. Sciatis nos dedisse et presenti charta confirmasse Will. Picol, Follo nostro, Fontem Ossane (perhaps Menil-Ozenne, pays de Mortain) cum omnibus pertinenciis suis, habend. et tenend. sibi et heredibus suis, faciendo inde nobis annuatim servicium unius Folli quoad vixerit: et post ejus decessum heredes sui eam de nobis tenebunt, et per servicium unius paris calcarium deauratorum, nobis annuatim reddendo. Quare volumus et firmiter precipimus quod predict. Piculfus et heredes sui habeant et teneant in perpetuum, bene et in pace, libere et quiete predictam terrani, &c. [Char. circa 1200, Bibl. Reg.]
This charter, we may add, is printed in the Rotuli Normanniæ published by the late Record Commission, vol. i. p. 21, and will be found to agree with the copy given by Mr. Thoms, save that his authority has erroneously inserted "et" between "tenebunt" and "per" in the ninth line.
The second part of Mr. Thoms's book consists of collections relating to the origin of popular customs and superstitions, subjects which have so often been discussed in our Magazine that we should have been pleased to devote some time to their consideration, but our extracts from Part I. have extended to so great length that we can merely point attention to this part of the volume, as containing several interesting additions to this branch of
more especially in the passages relating to 'Dancing in Churches" (p.80), "The Holy Mawle" (p. 84), "The Funeral Song" (p. 88), "Cockle-Bread" (p. 94), "The Pentalpha" (p. 97), and "Hardmen" (p.111).
The same reason compels us to pass over the third part, in which will be found some curious statements respecting marvels and antiquities, and an
anecdote of James I. which would seem to prove that he desired that men should be the only pedants-" when a learned maid was presented to him for an English rarity, because shee could speak and write pure Latine, Greek, and Hebrew, the king ask'd-'but can shee spin?'"
We have said enough to prove how much amusement as well as advantage may be derived from Mr. Thoms's vo
A Greek Lexicon to the New Testament, on the basis of Dr. Robinson's, &c. By C. Robson, Typographer. 1839. We have carefully perused the whole of this work, and we have no hesitation in pronouncing it to be most admirably executed, and that it reflects great credit to Mr. Robson's learning as a scholar, and accuracy and care as a printer. We have not detected any mistakes, either in the ac. centuation or breathings; and we most particularly praise the admirable manner in which the meanings of the prepositions and adverbs (those important joints and ligaments of speech) are explained. He who possesses this Lexicon, will have a safe and trusty guide to the interpretation of the New Testament. We do not agree with Mr. Robson in his translation of διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους, • because of the spies --but we know that his reading does not want authority or defence.
Little Derwent's Breakfast, by a Lady. 1839.
Little Derwent,' is Master Derwent Moultrie Coleridge, son of Rev. Derwent Coleridge, for whose amusement the Poems in this little work were written. That they are very pleasing, very neatly versified, and very well suited to captivate the attention of a clever little boy, our readers will perceive, as soon as they have made themselves acquainted with the volume; but the Publishers, Messrs. Smith and Elder, have hardly done justice to them, by the exceeding coarseness and inferiority of the wood-cuts. We give the following short specimen
66 THE LITTLE GENTLEMAN. "Take your meals, my little man, Always like a gentleman.
Wash your face and hands with care;
lume, which we have no doubt will be generally acceptable to the members of the Camden Society. They cannot but feel much obliged to him for the great pains and trouble he has taken in his illustrative remarks, many of which are derived from works of foreign scholars and antiquaries, with which, as he has remarked, the antiquarian students of this country are as yet too little acquainted.
Never crumble or destroy
The Vegetable Cultivator, &c. By John Rogers. 1839, 18mo.—Mr. Rogers is a very ingenious and experienced gardener, and has, in this excellent little volume, given us the mature fruit of his long practice and experiments in culinary horticulture. We think that his derivations of the names of plants are not so complete, and in some cases, perhaps, not so accurate as might be wished. He says, for instance, "The name of this plant, ‘Asparagus,' is of Greek origin, signifying a young shoot before it unfolds its leaves." The fact is, the etymology of this word "Asparagus," is unknown, and is only a matter of conjecture. A compendious, but interesting memoir of Philip Miller closes the volume; and we are pleased to see that this venerable Patriarch of Horticulture was known to Mr. Rogers, who says"The author is, perhaps, the only individual living who was personally acquainted with that distinguished character." ler died at Chelsea in 1771, in the 81st year of his age. He was curator of the Chelsea Garden during the long period, from 1722 to 1769,