AO ODIO oapittaietacsycy ye:
The Baldwin Library
S THE FIRST.
CHILDREN OF CHARLI
Children. of the Olden Cine.
By MRS.. HENRY MACKARNESS,
â€œA TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM,â€
WITH PREFACE BY J. R. PLANCHE.
WITH TWENTY-SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS.
GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS,
CORNER OF ST. Paul's CHURCHYARD.
All rights reserved.
Watson and Hazell, Printers, London and Aylesbury,
THE CHILDREN OF ENGLAND
THIS LITTLE BOOK
BY ONE OF â€˜THEIR MOST ARDENT ADMIRERS.
PORTION of the subject of these pages
appeared in the â€œ Leisure Hour,â€ and
their reception by the public was sufficiently
| encouraging to induce my daughter to enlarge
her plan, and with additional illustrations
render her little work more complete and
worthy of the approbation of children of every
growth in this age of education. She trusts
that it will be found sufficiently amusing to
_ prevent its study being compulsory, and that it
contains nothing calculated to offend the sus-
â€˜ceptibilities of readers of any denomination.
The idea originally occurred to the writer
from circumstances so often the origin of
more important undertakings. She wanted
some information herself, and could not find
it. Struttâ€™s â€œSports and Pastimes,â€ though
published some years ago by the author of the
â€˜â€œâ€˜Hvery Day Book,â€™ related solely to games ;
and Wrightâ€™s â€˜â€œâ€˜ Domestic Manners and Senti-
â€˜ments during the Middle Agesâ€™â€â€™ contains very
little information respecting the amusements,
culture, and mode of life, or changes of dress
of children; independently of which, neither
of these interesting and valuable works is
adapted for perusal by the juvenile portion of
the public. Believing, then, that not only
intelligent little boys and girls, but even
â€˜â€œâ€˜narents and guardians,â€™ might be enter-
teined as well as instructed by a compilation of
all the scattered facts respecting the children
of the olden time, which could be gathered
from chronicles and illustrated by tracings
from illuminations, paintings, and early prints,
in strict chronological order, and that they
would prove acceptable to those of the â€˜pre-
sent day, she dedicated many of her own
â€œleisure hoursâ€â€™ to their collection, and now
in a more comprehensive and attractive form,
presents them to the rising generation.
J. R. PLANCHE.
Anglo-Saxonsâ€”Their treatment at birthâ€” Protection
against Evil Spiritsâ€”Curious Namesâ€”Dressâ€”
Education â€” Amusementsâ€” Domestic Occupation
â€”History of Hereward : : : ; 2 I
The Normansâ€”Employment of Girls and Boysâ€”First
mention of Toysâ€”Furnitureâ€”Educationâ€”Games
â€”Anecdote ofa Magpie 4 : : . 16
Love of Gardeningâ€”Story of a Ladyâ€”Cherry Feasts
â€”LEarly Mealsâ€”Direction for Behaviour at themâ€”
Ladies and Gentlemen taught to be Servantsâ€”
Printingâ€”Horn Bookâ€”The Severity â€˜of Parents
â€”Nursery Rhymes â€” Schools â€” Amusements â€” A
Curious Toyâ€”Writingâ€”Foundation Schools: St.
Paulâ€™s, Christ Church, Blue-Coat School : . 29
Female Dressesâ€”The Invention of Pinsâ€”Childrenâ€™s
Breakfasts â€”Queen Elizabethâ€”Christening Pre-
sentsâ€”The early age at which Children began life
Stockings first wornâ€”Anecdote of Prince Henryâ€”
Mode of Travellingâ€”First Hackney Coachâ€”Love
Eton Montem â€”Fairsâ€”Costumesâ€” Wearing Ringsâ€”
Account of Daniel Huet â€” Holidays restoredâ€”
Literatureâ€”Family Tea-kettle and Coffee-potâ€”
Dutch Toysâ€” Dolls â€” Dresses of Children â€” Public
Amusementsâ€”Master Dâ€™Arblayâ€™s visit to the Queen
of George ITI.â€”Dollsâ€™ Housesâ€”Modern Toys
of Petsâ€”Anecdote of Cromwellâ€”Dramatic Amuse-
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Children of Charles the First . . (Frontispiece)
Mother swaddling child
Child in cradle being swathed
Boy bound with stockings
Boy with short cloak
Saxon bed :
Children of Edward III.
Children of the time of Richard IT.
Head-dress of mother and child
Ladies making garlands
Tobitâ€™s wife cooking .
Children, time of Henry VII.
Jousting toy :
Playing at horses :
Cradle, time of Elizabeth
Xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Children of the Duke of Buckingham . : : . 65
Hackney coach . . . . : : : - 65
Lady on pillion i : . 4 3 4 . 66
The first stage . : â€˜ : ; : â€˜ oe
From the â€˜â€˜ Looking-Glass â€ 5 : : : . 90
Family tea-kettle and coffee-pot . : . â€˜ . 92
Degrees of comparison Ã© 5 : \ : . 96
From Hogarth . : : : ; : â€˜ . 99
From Gillray . ! . ; - 99
Children (from a Fashion Book of F 1827) Soares . 105
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME,
Anglo-Saxonsâ€”Their treatment at birthâ€”Protection against
Evil Spiritsâ€”.Curious Namesâ€” Dress â€” Educationâ€”
Amusementsâ€”Domestie Occupationâ€”History of Here-
â€œFTXELL me a story, a true story, about real
live children,â€ said a little girl one day.
â€œT am tired of reading about Susy, and
Florence, and Leila, and a heap of good little
girls and boys that never really did live, and are
so very good or so very naughty.â€â€™ Perhaps
there are many other little girls who agree
with her, at any rate I hope so, and then they
will take up this book with some interest,
and, peeping into its pages, go back into the
2 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
far-off â€˜long ago,â€™â€™ which has charms for us
all, young and old, and seeing the pictures of
the little children in their quaint dresses, who
once played and talked like themselves, enjoy
this account I am going to give them of what
they did, how they lived, ate, and amused
themselves, and be interested by the stories
T shall tell them of those â€œ real live childrenâ€
who have been thought worthy to be remem-
bered and written about all these long years
after, whose heroic actions and noble deeds
have given them a place in history, and from
whose lives our little ones may be reminded
they â€œmay make their own sublime.â€â€™
T shall begin when, as it were, England was
itself a child; when the people were called
Anglo-Saxons; and the little babies wrapped in
swaddling clothes looked like the chrysalis of
a silk-worm, and were only allowed to live if
they did not cry!
Think of that! Ifa poor tiny baby, a few
hours old, objected to be placed on a slanting
roof or the bough of a tree, and uttered
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 3
its wailing cry of terror, they ordered it
to be killed! Where was the use, they
argued, of rearing a poor little weakly
frightened child to be a â€˜â€œâ€˜nithingâ€â€™ (in their
language, â€˜â€˜ nothingâ€ or useless), and a dis-
grace to a nation of brave men? But if the baby
Mother swaddling Child.
laughed and crowed, it was brought home joy-
fully and saved. Oh! how the poor mother
must have trembled while her little darling
was thus, as it were, tried for its life, lying on
a sloping roof, or swinging amongst the boughs
of some large tree! Perhaps our nursery
| 4 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
rhyme, sung to our more tenderly nurtured
â€˜â€˜ Hush-a-bye baby on the tree top,â€
may have come from this strange Anglo-Saxon
custom, or how should any one have thought
of hushing a baby in so perilous a position ?
Child in cradle being swathed.
I should suppose all little babies born on a
Sunday were saved, because the Anglo-Saxons
had a strong superstition about the days on
which the little strangers arrived, and con-
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 5
sidered Sunday the luckiest of all days,
particularly if it fell on a new moon. This
superstition remains still among us in the
north and south of our â€˜Island â€œHome,â€ and
the following lines are yet sung and believed
â€œ Mondayâ€™s bairn is fair of face,
Tuesdayâ€™s bairn is full of grace,
Wednesdayâ€™s bairn is the child of woe,
Thursdayâ€™s bairn has far to go;
Fridayâ€™s bairn is loving and giving,
Saturdayâ€™s bairn must work for its living,
But the bairn that is born on a Sabbath day,
Is bonny and healthy and wise and gay.â€
And this strange mode of testing the future
power and strength of the little Anglo-Saxon
babies was not all that they had to undergo in
this early stage of their existence. The child
had to be protected from fairies and evil spirits ;
so as soon as it was born the nurse had to dig a
long tunnel in the ground, and through it to drag
the child, carefully closing the hole with stones,
so that no evil spirits could follow. Then she
had to take the infant to a place where two
6 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
roads met, there to place it on the ground and
drag it up and down, while prayers were said
to the goddesses they worshipped, whom the
people as sincerely thought protected them, as
we believe our Heavenly Father protects us.
I think our mothers would not like to see their
pretty tiny babies subjected to such treatment,
and our nurses would, I think, look very
much astonished if they found this was part
of their duty. But in one respect the Anglo-
Saxons set us an excellent example: the
nurse was always treated as a person of
considerable importance, one to be loved and
honoured, and treated with every possible
kindness. The parents felt justly that one
â€˜ who had so much trouble and anxiety with the
little tender things committed to her care
could not be too well rewarded or too kindly
treated; and I dare say those little boys and
girls would have been severely punished if they
had been saucy or unkind to their nurses.
After some time, when good Christian men
came to show themâ€”these Anglo-Saxonsâ€”
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 7
their errors, the little ones, instead of being
dragged through the ground and put into a
hole to preserve them from evil spirits, had a
better way of being guarded from evil, they
were baptized, and made little Christian
children. And names were then given them
of some virtue, which it was hoped they would
really possess, such as Ethelbert, the â€˜ noble
and bright;â€™â€™ Edmund, â€˜the happy protector;â€â€™
Edith, â€œ the happy gift;â€™â€™ Adelaide, â€˜the noble
wife ;â€â€ Ellen, â€˜the excellent,â€ and so forth.
They did not then take their fathersâ€™ names
as now, but were distinguished by some
peculiarity or personal appearance; as â€œ the
â€œFair,â€ â€œthe Dark,â€ and amongst the Danish
people we select the funny names of â€œ Flat
Nose,â€ â€˜â€˜Squint Eye,â€ â€˜ Ugly,â€ â€˜â€œâ€˜Long Nose,â€
â€˜Short Beard,â€ â€œHawk Nose,â€ â€˜Spoon
Nose,â€ and â€œTouch Eye.â€ Would any of
you little ones who are, I hope, reading this,
like to find a name for your dolls amongst
such a selection? â€œFlat Noseâ€ would not
be an inappropriate one, I fancy, after dolly
8 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
has been some time an inmate of the
The Indians still retain this custom, as you
have doubtless found out if you have com-
menced reading those North American Indian
stories, which possess such enchantment for
some young folks. You will have made
acquaintance with â€˜Leather Stockings,â€
â€œDeer Slayer,â€ â€œâ€˜ Hawk Eye,â€ â€œâ€˜Path Finder,â€
â€˜â€œâ€˜ Arrow Head,â€ and â€˜Hagle Plume,â€ more
poetical than the Danish cognomen certainly,
but on the same principle, using the distin-
guishing mark of each person, the peculiarity
by which they were known. After this
their occupation gave them their names, so
that the great family of the Smiths came from
the blacksmith, the whitesmith, the goldsmith,
and other artificers.
Few children in the Anglo-Saxon days
could read or write; their learning consisted
chiefly in psalm-singing and reciting poetry.
We read that they had but one mode of teach-
ing: â€˜â€˜they told a child to learn; and if he
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 9
did not, they beat him,â€ and even young ladies
of two-and-twenty were flogged! But there
was one safety for the children; the flogging
could only be administered in the church,
where the school was held, and once out of
school the little culprit was safe. This method
of teaching was so general that their school-
days were spoken of as â€œâ€˜ when they were under
Whatever they wished them to remember
they first told them and explained to them,
and then severely flogged them, that they
might never forget it.
I should think these poor little folks never
looked back to the days when â€˜they were
under the rodâ€ as our happy boys recall the
days of Eton and Harrow. But even in those
hard early times the boys had rough sports
and noisy games which, when the lesson, so
severely taught, was over, they could indulge
in, with the mirth and activity of their age;
and the restlessness and cheerfulness, the
love of play, the violent grief, soon forgotten,
10 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
and the strange little whims and fancies,
without the power of reasoning upon them,
was child life then, as it is now.
The ladies of that time excelled in needle-
work, and whilst the boys were running, wrest-
ling, and boxing, the little girls were probably
working hard, in imitation of â€œâ€˜mamma,â€ as
they sat in the large hall, listening to the glee-
man or minstrel, who was acquainted with all
the traditions of the family, and with fables
and legends, which he sang to his harp or lute ;
or they played practical jokes and tricks, or
propounded riddles to one another, children
being encouraged to ask and answer them, as
it was supposed to brighten their intellects.
Can you picture them to yourselves, seated
in a circle round the hearthâ€”the fire being
made in the middle of the hall, in'a hollow
basin guarded with stoneâ€”the mother with
her maidservants spinning the household
linen, the tired master just returned from his
long dayâ€™s sport, aid the happy children
laughing merrily at some younger childâ€™s
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 11
attempt at a riddle, while the loud voices of
the boys out in the courtyard, playing at
some rough sport, came through the small
windows, so small that they were called in the
Saxon tongue â€œâ€˜ eye-holes.â€â€ The dress of the
Women was very simple. The tunic over the
Boy bound with stockings.
long white gown, with very wide sleeves, a
very wide cloak over the upper part of the
body, and a covering or hood over the head,
falling over the shoulders,â€”much such a cos-
tume as that of the good Sisters of Mercy
12 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
who are to be seen doing their works of love
among the poor now. The boys wore a cloth
tunic fitting round the throat and reaching
to the knees, girdled by bands of folded
cloth, the short cloak fastened by a brooch
on the right shoulder; and the little girls
somewhat longer dresses, their hair falling in
natural luxuriance over the shoulders, bound
by a fillet, which was never altered until
the day of their marriage, when it was
gathered up and bound round their heads.
The girls of that time were spoken of as being
â€˜(in their hair,â€ as we speak of ours as being
â€˜â€˜in their teens.â€
Rude and barbarous as these early people
were, great names â€˜are numbered amongst
them. One whom all children know and love
to hear of, the great Alfred, whose perse-
verance in learning is told us, and how it was
first excited by a book of Saxon poetry, beau-
tifully written and ornamented, and which
his mother promised him or his brother,
. whichever could first learn to read it. Alfred
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 13
was successful, and from that time his greatest
delight was study; but he had great difficul-
ties to encounter, which appear to us almost
insurmountable. One, the scarcity of books ;
the other, the few people who could teach ;
but as perseverance in a good cause is always
rewarded, he succeeded, notwithstanding these
obstacles, in becoming the most learned man
of his time.
Another name famous amongst them was
that of Hereward, who, in the reign of Ed-
ward the Confessor, was distinguished for his
extraordinary valour and courage. He was the
son of Leofric Lent, of Bourne in Lincolnshire,
and his wife Hidiva. From his earliest years he
showed a warlike and valorous disposition. Tall
and handsome in person, and with dauntless
courage, he was lord over all his playmates ;
but his warlike disposition made his love of
triumph and victory so great that he often
resorted to his sword when he could not gain
the mastery by muscular strength. This be-
coming at last more frequent than agreeable,
14 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
and the youths of the neighbourhood com-
plaining of this conduct, his father grew
angry, and stated his misdemeanours to the
King, who ordered him into banishment.
Through England, Ireland, and to Flanders
he went, earning a glorious reputation for
valour and prowess everywhere.
One of these acts of bravery was the slaughter
of a ferocious bear, and the rescuing of a little
girl from its grasp. You can imagine what a
hero he appeared to the mother and friends of
the poor child. In Flanders a beautiful young
lady fell in love with him, whom he married ;
and his noble deeds reaching the ears of
his friends and parents, changed their dislike
to love and estimation, and, according to
the history of him, written by a man of his
own time, â€œhe returned with his wife to his
native soil. After great battles and a thousand
dangers, frequently dared and bravely termi-
nated, as well against the King of England,
as the earls, barons, prefects, and presidents,
which are yet sung in our streets, he at
. CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 15
length, with the Kingâ€™s pardon, obtained his
paternal inheritance, and ended his days in
With this account of one of the heroes
of Anglo-Saxon times, of a â€œreal live child,â€
who lived to be a great man, I shall con-
clude this chapter, and begin my next with
the history of the people over whom reigned
the great Duke of Normandy as William the
First of England.
16 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
The Normansâ€”Employment of Girls and Boysâ€”First men-
tion of Toysâ€”Furnitureâ€”Educationâ€”Gamesâ€”Anec-
dote of a Magpie.
ie this time there arose a spirit of chivalry,
which with the increase of learning and
civilization improved and softened the rough
and barbarous manners; and as a proof of the
good feeling which prevailed at that early time
I will give you an extract from a romance,
which is a counsel from a mother to a son.
â€˜â€œâ€œ My son, as you are going to be a courtier,
I require you for Godâ€™s love have nothing to do
with a treacherous flatterer; makethe acquaint-
ance of wise men; attend regularly to the
service of Holy Church, and show honour and
love to the clergy. Give your goods willingly
' CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 17
to feed the poor, be courteous, and spend
freely, and you will be the more loved and
cherished.â€ Such advice might serve us as
About this time we begin to hear more about
_ the favourite occupations of the ladies, one of
which is weaving; and in an old drawing of
ladies following this employment two of them
are holding scissors the exact shape of those
still used by our tailors; somewhat clumsy
ones for delicate fingers; and if there were
no smaller ones manufactured, I should think
the children could not amuse themselves
with cutting out pictures as our little ones
so love doing now. The girls were pas-
sionately fond of dancing, and the boys
occupied themselves, as before, in the rough
games of wrestling, bull-baiting, bear-baiting,
boxing, and running; and we now begin to
find mention of toys which have a familiar
sound to us; balls, whip-tops, nine-pins, and
dolls. The latter were used by the Roman
children, made of wood, wax, plaster, ivory, and
18 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
gold, but very unlike the waxen images of
babyhood which -please you now. They were
more like little figures, and have been found
frequently in coffins, the Romans having a
practice of burying the playthings of the
children with them, which practice was after-
wards followed by the Christians. It must
be a touching sight to see the little toys lying
there, when the tiny hands that had played
with them have long ago mouldered into dust,
and the little toy is all that is left to tell of
the bright laughing little being that had once
In the houses of the gentry now there
is more account of furniture than under the
Saxons, although I cannot say the beds look
very comfortable, to judge from this picture.
The poor gentleman looks as though lying
down would be a difficult task, or turning
round without some danger of falling out;
perhaps they did not â€˜sleep like topsâ€ in
those days, if sleeping like a top means, as
one might suppose it does, turning round
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 19
and round; however, the tester bed was soon
after introduced, and looked more comfort-
able, I should think, than this one, which has
the appearance of a garden iron seat. At
the foot of these beds there was a bench, and
} Saxon Bed.
at the head a chair. The sheets were made of
rich silk or fine linen, and the coverlet of the
hair of the badger, beaver, cat, or sable.
At one end of the room was a perch or pole
_ for the falcons, the birds used in the sports of
hawking; and in another place a similar one for
. 20 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
articles of dress, which said dress differed but
little from the Saxon time, until a later period.
The â€œswaddlingâ€ of the babies continued
until the reign of Edward I.; and you know we
are told that our blessed Saviour was wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Of the education of Norman children we
know but little, but reading and writing seem
to have been the chief instruction until the
fourteenth century. The stories told of the
feudal barons of this time show however that
they needed instruction in gentleness and con-
sideration, or in the sweet law of â€˜â€˜ doing unto
others as we would have them do to us,â€ for
one Roger de Montgomery, it is said, tore
the eyes out of his childrenâ€™s heads for hiding
their eyes in sport under his cloak, beat and
imprisoned his wife, and butchered men in the
most frightful manner; and that women of rank
also equalled these men in their deeds of cruelty.
But still in these barbarous days there were
not wanting instances cf bravery and unselfish
devotion, and amongst these we may cite the
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. yal
young Prince Henry, who lost his life to save
his young sister Maud, in that fatal wreck of
the â€œ White Ship,â€ which destroyed a nationâ€™s
hope and broke a kingâ€™s heart ; for so had his
Children of Edward III.
father loved him, that from that time forth,
it is said, he was never again known to smile.
This young prince left a widow, the same age
as himself, who died in a nunnery ten years
after. Imagine a widow scarcely sixteen !
22, CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
The dresses were now gradually alter-
ing in fashion since I described to you the
Saxon household, changing, as we see
them now continually doing; but the children
Children of the time of Richard IT.
had no special fashions of their own as now;
they were principally dressed like their fathers
- and mothers, looking like little miniature men
and women, as you see by these prints of the
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 23
children of Edward III. and some children of
the time of Richard II. I think they must
have all looked like Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb.
Imagine one of our little girls with a large
chignon at the top of her head, or our little
Head-dress of mother and child.
boys in tall hats and long coats and trousers ;
but they did not, I fancy, in the times of
Edward IV. and Richard JIJ., when such
extravagant things were worn, place on the
heads of their poor little girls such an erection
as that worn by the elder ladiesâ€”for in this
24 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
picture of a mother and child, the daughter,
you see, has a little cap on her head.
We are told that the beautiful and unfor-
tunate Marie Antoinette was the first who
broke through the absurd fashion of dressing
tiny boys like their fathers, and she was as
much reviled for dressing the poor little
Dauphin in a blue jacket and trousers as
though she had committed some great moral
With such a pyramid as their mothersâ€™ I do
not know how the little feet would have kept
their balance, and as I look at the pictures of
the little children of olden time I wonder
how they could have ever, encumbered as
they were with long skirts, have played at
â€˜frog in the middle,â€ â€œblind manâ€™s buff,â€
and hoop trundling, which we read that they
did indulge in. Perhaps they took off their
long frocks or tucked them up round them,
much in the way our Blue-coat boys do now
when they indulge in foot-ball, cricket, or
other amusements of the kind.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 25
called â€˜ qui teryâ€ (of late years termed â€œ hot
cocklesâ€) was a very favourite diversion.
One is blinded, and kneels down in the centre
of a circle, with one hand behind her, which
the rest of the players strike in turn, the
blind one having to guess the name of the
striker. Another game, which I think might
serve to amuse you now, consisted of a set of
good and bad characters written in verse, on
a roll, having strings to each, which the
players drew in turn. The game was called
â€˜â€œâ€˜ragemanâ€ or â€˜â€˜ragman;â€ and it possesses
some historical interest; for when the Scotch
nobles in the reign of Edward I. acknowledged
their dependence on the English crown, the
deed, with all their seals attached to it, was
rolled up in this manner, and no doubt, in
derision, was called Ragmanâ€™s Roll. After-
wards it became customary to call any roll
with many signatures after that name. Iam
indebted for this information, and many other
interesting things, to a most amusing book,
which, when you little folks have become big
26 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
folks, will, I am sure, afford you as much
amusement as it has me.*
â€˜Cross and pile,â€ now called â€œhead and
tail;â€™â€™ â€˜â€˜crambo,â€ a game where one gave a
word to which another found a rhyme; chess,
dice, tables (now known as backgammon) ,â€”
all formed the recreations of those days of
â€˜â€œâ€˜long ago.â€ |
In the reign of Henry VII. card-playing
seemed a favourite court amusement. Mar-
garet, his daughter, is spoken of as playing
at cards with her intended husband, James
IV. of Scotland. The old story that cards
were invented for the amusement of the poor
mad King of France (Charles VI.) is dis-
puted. The mistake has probably arisen from
the fact that in the treasury register belonging
to that monarch, fifty-six sols were paid to
one Jacquemin Gringonneur, painter, â€˜for
three packs of cards, gilded and painted with
divers colours.â€ It is the opinion of many
* Â«Â¢ History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments.â€ By
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 27
learned writers that cards were used in Hastern
lands long before they were known in Hurope,
called â€œtarot cards,â€ but they were very un-
like our present playing-cards. The gipsies
used them for telling fortunes, as they do now;
and being all pictures, they would amuse
children, and probably had been long in use
in France before they were made brighter and
gayer to please the poor king.
The ladies of those days took great delight in
animals, dogs, birds, and monkeys especially,
which no doubt found occupation for the
children in feeding and tending them; and in
a book of counsels, written by a father to his
daughter, there is a funny anecdote about a
magpie which was the most favoured pet of
the bird tribe, the moral contained in it: being
a warning against greediness; the evil and
revengeful spirit it left without any comment,
though that appears to me quite as deserving
. The tale runs thus: â€˜There was a lady
who kept in a cage a pie, who talked of every-
28 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
thing which it saw and heard. Now it hap-
pened that the lord of the castle had preserved
a large eel in his pond, which he was saving in
order to regale some of his lordly friends when
they came to see him. But the lady un-
happily took a fancy to the eel, and she and
her maid ate it all. When the lord returned,
the pie began to say, â€˜My lord, my lady has
eaten the eel.â€™ And he went to the pond at
once, and missing the fish, he went into the
house and asked his wife what had become of
it. She thought to excuse herself, but he said
he knew all about it, the pie had told him.
The result was great quarrelling and trouble ;
but when the lord was gone away, the lady
and her female attendant went to the pie, and
plucked all the feathers from his head, saying,
â€˜You told about the eel.â€™ Andso the poor pie
was quite bald. But from that time forward,
when it saw people who were bald, it called
out, â€˜Ah! you told about the eel.â€™ â€â€™
There is a modern story very similar about
a parrot and a baker.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 29
Love of Gardeningâ€”Story of a Ladyâ€”Cherry Feastsâ€”Early
Mealsâ€”Direction for Behaviour at themâ€”Ladies and
Gentlemen taught to be Servantsâ€” Printing â€” Horn
Bookâ€”The Severity of Persecutionâ€”Nursery Rhymes
â€”Schoolsâ€”Amusementsâ€”A Curious Toyâ€” Writingâ€”
Foundation Schools : St. Paulâ€™s, Christ Church, Blue-
HE houses at this time were so small and
inconvenient, and so dark, that they were
glad to pass as much time as possible out of
doors, and we hear of them dining out, danc-
ing, singing, and playing at chess in the garden,
and we may fancy the young children playing
there beside their elder sisters, who were
amusing themselves by weaving chaplets and
garlands, some of them looking, as in this
picture, like the â€˜â€˜regretsâ€™â€â€™ which it is the
30 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
pretty custom abroad, and in England too now,
frequently to place on the last resting-place of
our friends; or they might be tending the
flowers, for they were great gardeners, and the
rearing of plants, both for use and ornament,
Ladies making garlands.
was one engrossing occupation. The girls
were all taught doctoring and nursing the sick,
and medical herbs therefore grew in all the
gardens, which they learnt not only to cultivate
but use for the benefit of the sick and wounded.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 31
Young men and maidens wore wreaths of
flowers on their heads, and garlands were
frequently given as rewards for success in
games. Roses, lilies, and violets are all spoken
of, and many of our common garden flowers
were known even to the Anglo-Saxons. In
the book I have before spoken of as so amusing,
the author quotes a funny old Latin story of
this period to prove the practice of taking
meals in the garden.
It tells of a lady of a very uncertain temper
having to entertain some of her husbandâ€™s
friends at dinner, he having ordered the table
to be laid in the garden; for they did not
then, as now, dine late in the evening, but at
the, to us, strange hour of nine or ten iff the
morning. The gentleman thought it would
be more agreeable to his guests to spread the
table in the pretty shaded garden by which
the river ran, with its cool and pleasant
murmur, instead of the hot dark room. Now
the poor lady was more than usually out of
temper, so much so that the husband was
32 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
compelled to ask her not to look so very
cross, but smile at his friends, and draw nearer
the table; but, with her sad contrary spirit,
she only went further back; he spoke more
angrily, which still further enraging her, she
gave her seat another sharp push, forgetting
the river was behind her, and fell into the
water, and was drowned. The husband got
into a boat to search for the body; but, to
the astonishment of the guests, they saw him
rowing up the stream instead of down, and
called to him to advise his trying the other
way. â€˜Oh!â€ said he, â€˜you did not know
my wife; she did everything in contradic-
tion, therefore no doubt her body is floating
against the stream, not with it.â€ The
memory of this funny story may perhaps
laugh away any â€œcontraryâ€ feelings which
may sometimes affectâ€™ my little readers, and
this tragic ending to the poor lady of â€˜â€˜ con-
traryâ€™ inclinations be a warning against such
unpleasant ebullitions of temper.
The cherry seems to have been one of the
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 33
most favoured of fruits, and it was an old
custom to have cherry fairs or feasts in the
cherry orchards, when the fruit was ripe.
We can picture to ourselves troops of young
children, in the dresses which seem so strange
to us now, going with their mothers to one of
these feastsâ€”the girls with their long hair
down their back, bound by fillets of gold or
silk, or, still prettier, the chaplets of flowers
they loved to make, spending the day in the
orchard perhaps, and coming home to supper
at five, for they rose then before six, dined, as
I have said, at nine or ten, and went to bed
immediately after their supper. I suppose the
children took their meals with their parents
in the hallâ€”there were no night and day nur-
series, or rooms especially set apart for them ;
and I fear the example of their elders could
not have been very beneficial, when it was
necessary to give such directions to grown-up
ladies as the following :â€”
â€œTn eating you must avoid much laughing
or talking. If you eat with another, (namely,
34 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
in the same plate,) turn the nicest piece to
him, and do not go picking the finest and
largest for yourself, which is not courteous;
moreover, no one should eat greedily a piece
that is too large or too hot, for fear of being
burnt or choked. Hach time you drink wipe
your mouth, that no grease may go into the
wine, which is very unpleasant to the person
who drinks after you. But when you wipe
your mouth for drinking, do not wipe your
eyes or nose with the tablecloth, and avoid
spitting from yourmouth or greasing your hands
too much.â€ They spoke plainly in those days!
Young gentlemen and young ladies were
sent to take service in the homes of persons
of higher rank or wealth, where manners and
accomplishments of gentlemen could be better
learnt than at home. The young men waited
at table, and performed many offices we should
now call menial; but they shared in the
amusements, and were instructed in the manly
exercises, which was a sort of apprenticeship
to knighthood. Girls in the same manner
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 35
went to ladies of rank, and assisted in spin-
ning, weaving, millinery, embroidery, and
dressmaking; and I can imagine that the
little children must have anxiously wondered
to whom they should be sent when they were
old enough, and have been very happy with
young girls of their own age, thus cheerfully
and usefully employed. To be a good servant
was a gentlemanly and ladylike accomplish-
ment, and payment was made in clothing or
gifts rather than money.
At the period we have now arrived at a
feeling became general of the great necessity
for education, and this showed itself in the
founding of those Universities of which
English people are so justly. proud. Reading
and writing became now much more general,
among the ladies more particularly. Tales,
ballads, and songs had up to this period been
told or sung; but now the great and wondrous
art of printing, to which we are all so indebted,
was discovered, and books began to multiply.
In illuminations of the fifteenth century we
36 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. |
find book-tables and book-cases forming part
of the furniture. Happy children of this age
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| : Ancient horn-book.
can hardly, I suppose, imagine a time when â€œ~
there were no books, no delightful fairy tales, |
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 37
no â€œ Boyâ€™s Own Book,â€ no â€˜Girls Own
Book,â€ none of those gorgeous â€˜â€˜ Toy booksâ€
which, with their well-executed coloured pic-
tures, gladden the little bright eyes now;
nothing but the horn-book, a kind of tablet
from which they learnt their alphabet, without
the pleasant and attractive modes of impressing
it on their minds as those used now-a-days.
The one of which I give the picture was
printed in the reign of Elizabeth. It was
â€˜mounted on wood, and protected by horn,
which was then a substitute for glass. The
children carried them hanging to their girdles,
as we frequently see our country children
carrying their slates. â€˜â€˜The battledore,â€ or
â€˜first bookâ€™ for children, was printed on
cardboard, and contained the alphabet and
simple combinations of letters, and was a
substitute for the horn-book.
The phrase, to know A B from a battledore,
which I have frequently heard corrupted into
â€œa barn-door, refers to this book.* This was
â€œ Ancient Poetry,â€ edited by Halliwell.
38 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
certainly a duller mode of teaching than the
bright coloured alphabets, wherein the children
are told that A was an archer and shot at a
frog, or A was an apple-pie which B bit and
C cut, and which did not appear till long after
Looking back to this â€œlong ago,â€ it is
strange to notice how very little was done for
children, and how unimportant they appear to
have been thought. They were treated with
the greatest severity by their parents and
teachers, and there are instances of this in
the correspondence of the family of a judge in
1154. In one letter it is stated that a poor
young lady â€œâ€˜since Haster had been beaten
once in a week or twice, and sometimes twice
in a day, and her head broken in two or three
places.â€ And this harshness and_ severity
continued down to a late period; for Lady Jane
Grey complains of â€˜the nibs and bobs and
pinchesâ€ administered by her parents, and
that she could never do anything to please
them. The children appear to me to have
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 39
worked more than played; but brighter times
must have dawned for them when books began
to be more general, and they could read for
themselves, again and again, the legends and
romances which their nurses had told them
and the minstrels had sung them, as children
love to do now.
Printing, some say, was discovered by one
of those simple things which seem so trifling,
and yet on which often the greatest events
turn. It seems that one Laurentius, a rich
citizen of Haarlem, strolling in a wood near
the city, amused himself by cutting letters on
the bough of a beech tree, and the thought
struck him to take the impression off in ink
to amuse his grandchildren; from this simple
fact came all the countless books which from
that age until now have been such a source of
pleasure and instruction to old and young.
Wiliam Caxton, a citizen and mercer of
London, with singular industry and perseve-
rance set himself to learn the new art, with
the object of introducing it into England. In
40 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
1471 he succeeded in printing a book, by the
desire of the Duchess of Burgundy, sister to
Edward IV., called the â€˜ Recule of the History
of Troy.â€ He then came to England, and set
up a printing-press in the abbotâ€™s lodgings at
Westminster, and there printed a book on the
â€˜â€œGame of Chess.â€ He lived till 1491, and
printed nearly fifty volumes.
In one, called the â€œâ€˜ Mirror of the World,â€
there is a most remarkable drawing, which
appears to represent three or four unhappy
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. Al
people about to be whipped; for a very severe-
looking person in a chair has an instrument
in his hand very much like a birch rod, and
with the other one he appears to be beckoning
to the culprits, who have fallen on their knees
at some distance. It is singular to contrast
Tobitâ€™s wife cooking.
this rude outline with the finished productions
of the present day.
I dare say some of the earliest books printed
were cookery books, for MS. books on cooking
were common in 1470. There is an illustration
of one in an old MS. in the British Museum
42 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
of the life of Tobit: a woman is seated at
the fire cooking, and evidently consulting the
receipt for her savoury dish in the book on
Perhaps you will be astonished to hear
that the nursery rhymes that mamma and
nurse perhaps sang you when you were babies
were sung to the babies of long ago too;
for Mr. Halliwell, who has taken much pains
to collect and publish them, tells us that most
of them have historical and political interest.
One, I dare say you all know, he considers
refers to the rebellious times of Richard IT.
â€˜â€˜My father he died, I cannot tell how,
But he left me six horses to draw out my plough,
With a wonny lo! wonny lo! Jack Straw blazey boys,
Wommy lo! wommy lo! wob, wob, wob.â€
The verses are more numerous in the version
which we have now, relating how the man kept
exchanging his animals for others, until he got
a mouse which carried fire in his tail, and burnt
down the house. The mouse is evidently the
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 43
â€œJack Straw blazey boys,â€ and the â€˜â€œ houseâ€â€™
probably John of Gauntâ€™s palace, which the
nobles burnt. Another nursery rhyme, the same
gentleman states, refers to Joanna of Castile,
who visited the court of Henry VIII. in 1506.
â€˜â€˜T had a little nut tree, nothing would it bear,
But a golden nutmeg and a silver pear ;
The king of Spainâ€™s daughter came to visit me,
And all for the sake of my little nut tree.â€â€™
Two more bear the dates of Elizabeth and
â€œThe rose is red, the grass is green,
Serve Queen Bess our noble queen,â€ etc.
â€œThere was a monkey climbed up a tree;
When he fell down, then down fell he.â€â€™
â€˜There was a navy went into Spain ;
When it returned, it came back again.â€â€™
These lines are supposed to allude to events
in the reign of James I.
44. CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
Though, as I have said, education was
beginning at this time to be thought more of,
the miseries, discomforts, and severities which
attended scholars make it a cause of astonish-
ment as well as admiration that there should
have been so many who attained any eminence.
The names of Michael Angelo, Leonardo da
Vinci, Canova, Palissy, Salvator Rosa, Miran-
dolaâ€”the latter of whom it is said at the age
of eighteen was master of two-and-twenty
languagesâ€”give proofs of talent unsurpassed
in these brighter days. And yet the following
description of a school before the Reformation
is an example of the only help afforded in too
many places :*â€”
â€œThe school-house was the worst in the
town, the walls and floors were filthy; wind
_and rain and snow beat in through the door-
ways and unglazed window spaces. The chil-
dren were covered with vermin, and half naked.
There were few books, and the scholar had
* Â«The Boy makes the Man.â€ By W. H. Davenport
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 45
frequently to write out his own copy. The
Latin was monkish and barbarous; the gram-
mar no better; the teacher often worse than
either. There was no system, but a scramble
for learning, where the strongest came off best.
A lad was often twenty before he understood
his grammar or could speak a word or two of
such Latin as was then in vogue. The elder
boys, or Bauhauten, tyrannized over the
younger, or Schutzen,â€”an elaborate and cruel
system of â€˜fagging.â€™ A Bauhaut would have
three or four fags who begged or stole for him,
though they were sometimes so hungry them-
selves that they would fight with the dogs for a
â€œThe Bauhaut claimed all their earnings, and
compelled them to give up even what had been
bestowed on them for their own use. Singing
â€˜salvesâ€™ and â€˜requiems,â€™ whimpering false sto-
ries to the tradesmenâ€™s wives, thieving if there
was a chance, sleeping in winter on the school
hearth and in summer in the churchyard, â€˜like
pigs in straw,â€™ assisting at mass, chanting the
46 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
responsoria, frozen in the cold churches till
â€™ they were crippled, trying to get by heart a
Latin syntax, and wandering vagabond-like
from school to school, would sum up the life of
Compare this description with the schools
provided for the young of this age; and yet
in spite of these great difficulties men made
themselves names which, while the world lasts, :
can never be forgotten.
In the little book from which I have quoted
this account of early schools are anecdotes of
the boyhood of these great men I have named,
and amongst them all Palissyâ€™s life is perhaps
the saddest and most interesting ; as grand a
story as is on record, of surpassing patience
and untiring perseverance.
Of the dress of children about the time we
have now arrived at, a good idea may be formed
from this picture of two German children, (for
the dress of the nations was similar,) and one
younger, from a group supposed to be the
children of Henry VII. Nets of gold, from
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. AT
which the hair escaped and hung down, were
amongst the prettiest style of head-dresses,
and the most suitable to the young girls.
The amusements seem the same as in the
preceding reigns: Quintain tilting at the ring,
and foot-ball, jousting, etc. But we find now
toys which must have pleased the little boys
of that day as much as they probably would
now,â€”they were called jousting toys, and were
models of knights in full armour, with their
48 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
lances manufactured in brass; there were
four wheels to the stand on which they were
placed, with a hole in front for the insertion of
a cord. The man could easily be separated
from the horse, and a smart blow on helmes
or shield would easily unseat him. Two of
these toys were of course necessary to play
with, each of them having the string affixed to
the stand; and being then placed ata distance
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 49
from each other, they were violently drawn
together asif tilting, and by the concussion the
riders were easily unseated.
This picture here represents a boy mounted
on a wooden horse, drawn by his companions,
Playing at horses.
tilting at a miniature Quintain. Whether the
horse ever had a head or not, does not appear ;
or perhaps the artist deemed it more natural
to draw the wooden animal in the condition
which it would probably be in after having
been subjected to the tender mercies of two
or three boys. From a German woodcut of the
50 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
time, 1549, it appears that the hobby-horse
and whip were even then numbered amongst
childrenâ€™s toys. Leap-frog, wrestling, skat-
ing, skipping, ninepins, skittles, marbles, are
all mentioned as amusements of this age.
The increase of learning does not seem to
have extended to writing, for there is an anec-
dote in a letter of 1516, which gives an
account of some written paper of rebellious
tendency being stuck on Paulâ€™s Church, and
in order to discover the author of it, the
Aldermen of London were ordered to discover
who could write! Does not that seem strange
to us now ?
In the reign of Henry VIII. St. Paulâ€™s school
was founded, and the building of Christâ€™s
Church in Oxford commenced by Wolsey ;
but when he was disgraced, the king seized
the revenues with which poor Wolsey had
endowed it, and finished the building, taking
to himself the credit of founding it. The
good young king who succeeded his father
converted Christâ€™s Hospital, which was an old
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 51
religious house, into a school, and the dress
the boys still wear is the fac-simile of that
worn by the citizens in the reign of Edward
VI., with the addition of a small flat cap, which
has been of late years discarded by the boys,
who now in the wind and rain run about bare-
52, CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
Female Dressesâ€”The Invention of Pinsâ€”Childrenâ€™s Break-
fastsâ€”Queen Hlizabethâ€”Christening Presentsâ€”The
early age at which children began life.
HE female dresses in the reigns of
Edward VI. and Mary were composed
of the fashions which immediately preceded
them ; and there were few novelties until the
reign of Elizabeth. In this reign pins were
invented, which must have been a great
improvement on the wooden skewers which
had been used to serve the purpose. Needles
did not appear until the next reign, when a
Spanish negro came to London and made
some, but, refusing to tell his art, they were
not made in any quantity till long after.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 53
It may, perhaps, be amusing to you to learn
in what way the little ones were fed, so I will
transcribe here the breakfast allowance served
â€œâ€˜to my Lord Percy and Mr. Thomas Percy,â€
the elder children of the Earl of Northum-
berland, in 1512, which Mr., Knight tells us
was â€˜compiled in a household book by
Bishop Percy â€™â€™ :â€”â€˜â€˜ Half a loaf of household
bread, a manchet (or cake), one pottle of beer
(two quarts), a chicken or three mutton bones,
boiled; for the nursery, for my Lady
Margaret and Mr. Ingram Percy, â€˜quite
little children,â€ â€˜â€˜a manchet, one quart of
beer, and three mutton bones, boiled.â€ On
fish days the children had a manchet, a
quart of beer, a dish of butter, a piece of salt
fish, a dish of sprats, or three white her-
rings. Is not that a funny breakfast for little
Spinning formed a general occupation
amongst the ladies of this period, and the
spinning-wheel was considered a necessary
implement, as much in the castle as the
54. CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
cottage. And tables with leaves, folding
tables, desks; and cupboards, we hear of now,
so that the rooms must have had a more
homelike and comfortable aspect than before ;
but in all the descriptions I read I can find
nothing which speaks of the â€˜little ones.â€ _In
Cradle, time of Elizabeth.
describing the furniture or contents of a house
now, we might have to tell of the high chair for
â€œbaby;â€ the high fender, to save that little
tyrant that rules the house from being burnt ;
the cot wherein his little majesty reposes ;
the toy cupboard, with its countless treasures ;
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 55
the rocking-horse, on which he takes his
exercise ; the nursery yacht, in which he can
go his imaginary sea-voyages. But no such
articles of furniture can I find in these
medieval days: only the cradles give us any
proof of the existence of these little â€˜well-
springs of pleasure.â€™ This picture of one is of
the time of Queen Elizabeth, and may there-
fore be such an one as the great queen herself
was lulled to rest in.
Tt must be a much easier matter, one would
fancy, for the children to be good and happy
now than then. Imagine what you young
folks would. think to be obliged to stand in
your parentsâ€™ presence, even grown-up girls;
never to speak unless spoken to; and when tired
of standing, to have to kneel! Mrs. Markham,
in her amusing â€œâ€˜History of England,â€ says
the ladies in Queen Maryâ€™s time used to carry
in their hands fans with handles a yard
long, to beat their daughters with! Roger As-
cham, tutor to Queen Elizabeth, wrote a book
called â€˜â€˜ The Schoolmaster,â€™â€™ which originated
56 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
through mention being made at dinner that
some Eton scholars had run away from school
for fear of beating. Ascham said â€˜â€œ he thought
young children were sooner allured by love
than driven by beating to attain good learn-
ing;â€ and hearing afterwards, in a conversation
with a friend, that the severity of a school-
master had made him, as a child, dislike
learning, he bethought him to perfect â€˜â€˜ some
little treatise for a New Yearâ€™s gift that Christ-
mas;â€â€™ but it grew as he worked, into â€˜â€˜ The
Schoolmaster; showing a plain and perfect way
of teaching the learned languages.â€ In it the
good old man says: â€˜ Beat a child if he dance
not well, and cherish him though he learn not
well,â€”ye shall have him unwilling to go to
dance, and glad to go to his book. Knock him
always when he draweth the â€˜shaft ill, and
favour him again though he fault at his book,
â€”ye shall have him very loth to be in the
field, and very willing to go to school.
â€˜Tf ever the nature of man be given at any
time more than another to receive goodness,
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 57
it is in innocency of, young years, before that
experience of evil have taken rootinhim. For
the pure, clean root of a sweet young babe is
like the finest wax, most able to receive the
best and fairest printings, and like a bright
new silver dish never occupied, to receive and
keep clean any good thing that is put into it.â€
Talking of Roger Ascham reminds me that
I must tell you that a change of fashion had
been gradually coming on, and that on the ac-
cession of Elizabeth the habit which was called
the Elizabethan costume was fully established.
Pocket-handkerchiefs up to this time had not
been considered important articles of dress,
but Queen Elizabethâ€™s are mentioned as made
of rich silk or cambric edged with gold. The
mothers of these times must have had one ex-
pense spared them. Think of the handkerchiefs
provided for boys and girls now, and the dif-
ference between the dozen respectable ones
sent to school and the few rags which come
In a book speaking of the reign of James
58 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
I., it states that christening presents of plate
were unusual, but â€˜christening shirts were
given, with little bands and cuffs wrought with
silk or blue thread,â€ but the baby Elizabeth
was presented at her christening with â€˜â€˜a stand-
ing cup of gold fretted with pearl, three gilt
bowls with covers, and three standing bowlsâ€â€™
graven all gilt, â€œwith a cover.â€â€ The font in
which she was christened was of silver, over
it a canopy of crimson satin fringed with
gold; the babe was dressed in a mantle of
purple velvet, with a long train trimmed
with ermine, and was carried to church by a
Duchess, who was one of the sponsors â€”
another Duchess and the Archbishop of Can-
terbury completing the number. But this
splendid beginning of a life destined to be so
glorious received a check after the death of her
poor mother; for by a letter from her gover-
ness to Lord Cromwell she seemed actually
toneed clothes; but she speaks most highly of
her character, saying, she is â€œas toward a
child and as gentle of condition as I ever knew
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 59
in my life.â€ She was quick at needlework, and
industrious, too; for at six years old she made
her baby brother Edward VI.â€™s christening
shirtâ€”an example of industry, I think, to our
little folks, some of whom at that age now can
scarcely thread their needles.
Though, as I have said before, children in the
early times were but lightly considered, it is
curious to remark how early they began their
life in the world, especially the royal children :
wives, mothers, and widows, kings and warriors,
at ages when you happier little ones are romp-
ing in your nurseries, imaginary mothers of
waxen babies, or conquerors at games of foot-
ball and cricket,â€”captains of schools instead
At twelve years old, William, the son of
Henry I., was presented to the states of Nor-
mandy as their Duke, and fealty sworn to him,
and at fifteen by his fatherâ€™s side was fighting.
His sister was married at the same early age
(twelve) to the Emperor Henry V. Henry, the
son of Henry II., was married to Marguerite,
60 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
daughter of Louis VII., when she was three !
and the little bride and bridegroom were sent
to the celebrated Thomas 4 Becket afterwards
_ to be educated. The wife of King John was
fifteen, and of Henry III. scarcely fourteen !|â€”
he himself being made king when he was eight
years old. Joanna, daughter of Edward I1.,
was married at five years old to David Bruce
of Scotland, himself only two years older ; and
above all, Isabella of Valois, the second wife of
Richard IT:, was scarcely eight years old! When
the English nobles waited on her, and the Harl
Marshall dropped down upon his knee, saying,
â€œMadam, if it please God, you shall be our
lady and queen,â€ she replied instantly and with-
out any one prompting her, â€œ Sir, if it please
God and my lord and father that I be queen
of England, I shall be well pleased thereat,
for I have been told I shall then be a great
lady.â€ This answer pleased them all, and after
her espousals she was styled the Queen of
England ; and an old chronicler tells us it was
pretty to see her, young as she was, practising
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 61
how to act queen.â€ She was termed â€˜the
Little,â€ from her tender age; and when she
entered London, such crowds were collected
to see her, that nine persons were crushed to
death. She was a widow atthirteen! She was
married a second time at eighteen, to her
cousin, younger than herself, and terminated
her life at the early age of twenty-two, be-
loved by all who knew her, and passionately
mourned by her young husband, who, himself
a celebrated poet, wrote a touching elegy in
her praise, concluding thus :â€”
â€˜* Who in herself was so complete,
I think that she was taâ€™en
By God, to deck His paradise,
And with His saints to reign.
For well she doth become the skies,
Whom while on earth each one did prize,
The fairest thing to mortal eyes.â€
Katherine, wife of Henry V. carried her
infant son, some eight or ten months old, on a
moving throne through the City, and at the age
of two years he was taken in state to St. Paulâ€™s,
62 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
where he knelt at the high altar, and then, to
the delight of the people, was placed on a horse
and led through the streets. The Earl of
Warwick, to whom was given the guardianship
of the kingâ€™s person, must have carried him on
all state occasions, while a governess and nurse
had possession of him in private! Poor little
boy! how much happier and better for him to
have been playing at horses astride a nursery
chair, or driving a team of little companions
harnessed with string round the palace gardens!
So early wearied with pomp and ceremony, his
grave and contemplative disposition shrank at
last from the cares and wearisome demands on
his time; and absorbed in his studies, he re-
signed his government to his young queen,
whom he had married when she was fifteen ; and
gradually his mind was affected, and for long
he did not know or care for anything, nor notice
his baby-sonâ€”that little son whose young life
was one scene of terror and distress, alternately
watching deadly fights, escaping from cruel
enemies, bearing hunger and thirstâ€”indebted
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 63
for his own and his motherâ€™s life at last to a
robber who gave them shelter in his den.
Sadder life there is scarcely in history than
that of Henry VI., beginning his kingly career
while yet in arms, and ending it murdered in a
prison; and the young brave prince his son, who
had with such fortitude borne such sorrows, was
slaughtered on the battle-field of Tewkesbury,
never wearing the crown his mother had spent
her life in trying to win for him.
64 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
Stockings first wornâ€”Anecdote of Prince Henryâ€”Mode
of Travellingâ€”First Hackney Coachâ€”Love of Petsâ€”
Anecdote of Cromwellâ€”Dramatic announcementsâ€”
O recall these records of child-life, I have
gone back a little, and so must take up
my history again in the reign of Elizabeth. In
her reign stockings were first worn, made of
silk and worsted, the Queen herself receiving a
pair of black silk from her silk-woman as a
present. The pictures of Elizabethan dress you
have no doubt often seen; the changes were
not great during the reign of James I., and
this pictureâ€”the children of the Duke of
Buckinghamâ€”will show you how funny the
poor little babies of that date looked.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 6
Children of the Duke of Buckingham.
hackney coaches were in use, but they were
monstrous heavy vehicles, more like waggons,
in which eight persons could be accommodated, ,
but still perhaps somewhat better than the
Pillion, a drawing of which you see here. I
think I should have preferred any kind of cart
or coach to that. Prince Henry, the kingâ€™s
Lady on Pillion.
eldest son, who died at eighteen, I must also
just mention in this place, as he is said at the
age of seven to have written his father a Latin
letter ! which I think would be considered as
great a feat now as then.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 67
A pretty story is also told of this amiable
| prince. He had a great horror of the profane
and sad habit of swearing, and boxes were
| kept in his three houses to put the fines in,
which he levied against those of his attendants
who ever indulged init. The money thus col- -
lected was given to the poor. One day, when
he was hunting, a butcherâ€™s dog passing with
his master killed the stag, to the great anger
of the huntsmen, who wished to make the
Prince angry with the butcher, and give him
some punishment; but the Prince calmly said,
â€˜â€œWhat if the butcherâ€™s dog killed the stag?
the butcher could not help it.â€â€ They remarked,
that his father would have sworn so that no
one could bear it. â€˜Why, all the pleasure in
the world is not worth an oath,â€ answered the
Prince. The distress of the nation at his
early death was unbounded, but the king his
father showed a perfect indifference to his loss;
perhaps he was glad to be rid of a son by con-
trast with whom he lost so much, and who
must have been a constant reproach to him.
68 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
A picture, by Vandyck, now at Windsor,
gives us portraits of the children of Charles I.,
and so enables us to realize the costume, which
still, as in other reigns, seems to me badly
adapted to the restless activity and love of
romping natural to a little child.
The old domestic games still continued, but
some sad tastes had been gradually creeping
in at the beginning of the fifteenth centuryâ€”
gambling and drinking, even among the ladies
and the clergy. The innocent taste for garden-
ing was now much neglected, and the garden
itself was more as a place for pastimes than for
the culture of flowers. A bowling-green was an
indispensable thing, as the games of bowls and
skittles, and such-like exercises, were the
favourite amusements of all classes. Cock-
fighting was another horrid sport much de-
lighted in; and, indeed, fighting of all kinds.
Little boys were encouraged to fight in the
streets, even by their fathers and mothers;
and Mr. Wright, in his charming book which
I have so frequently alluded to, gives a long
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 69
letter from a foreign writer describing the
fighting of boys in the streets.
The love of pets was still as prevalent as in
much earlier timesâ€”especially monkeys; and
one of these funny but mischievous creatures
might have altered the history of England as
it is related of Cromwell, who was about this
time making himself famous. I can now tell
it you. It appears that when he was a baby,
on a visit to his grandfather, old Sir Henry
Cromwell, while his nurse was out of the way
a large monkey snatched him out of the cradle
and ran with him to the top of the house, to
the terror of allâ€”especially, as you may think,
of his mother. They could not catch him, so
they placed feather beds round the house, for
the poor child to fall on if the animal dropped
him; but the monkey had a better idea of
nursing than they gave him credit for. After
airing himself and his charge as much as he
deemed necessary, he came back into the
house by the way he got out, and deposited
the child in safety.
70 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
There was in this reign, as it were, two
costumes; for the Republican Roundheads
adopted an extreme simplicity, in strong con-
trast to the very elegant dress of the Cavaliers.
A description of the dress of Cromwell him-
self, by an eye-witness, marks strikingly the
contrast to the silk or velvet doublet, with the
broad Flemish hat with jewelled hat-band and
plume of feathers, the high-heeled boots, ruffled
with rich lace, and collar of the same costly
material. Sir Philip Warwick thus describes
the dress of the great Cromwell. â€˜â€˜ He wore,â€â€™
he says, â€˜â€˜a plain cloth suit, which seemed to
have been made by an ill country tailor; his
linen was plain and not very clean; and I re-
member a speck or two of blood upon his linen
band, which was not much larger than his
collar; and his hat was without a hat-band.â€â€™
Now, all the little boys on the Roundhead
side must have been attired something in this
manner, and I think they must have felt some
little natural envy at the gorgeous dresses of the
young Cavaliers. Even if this feeling did not
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 71
exist amongst the boys, I should think the
girls must have rather felt like a little Quaker
girl of whom I once heard, who, taking up a
smart pink bonnet belonging to a little com-
panion, put it on, and surveying her pretty face
in the glass, exclaimed, â€˜â€˜Oh, dear! I wish I
wasnâ€™t a Friend.â€
Dramatic amusements were common festi-
vities in this reign. The stage was strewn
with rushes ; the ground was the pit; and the
hour for representation three oâ€™clock in the
afternoon. A shilling was the highest price
72 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
for a best box, then called a room. A play
called â€˜â€˜Gammer Gurtonâ€™s Needle,â€ at the
end of the sixteenth century, was the first
comedy ever played, I believe. Boys used to
play the female parts until Sir William Dave-
nant introduced women in the seventeenth
Christmas sports were playing at cards for
counters, chess, draughts, jack puddings in
the hall, fiddlers and musicians, who were
entertained with a black jack of beer and a
Christmas pie; the hobby-horse dance; hot
cockles, a pendulous stick, at one end an
apple, at the other a candle, so that he who
bit at the one burned his nose; blind manâ€™s
buff, forfeits, and all kinds of sports. â€˜To con-
duct these revels was the Lord of Misrule,
who was crowned and attended royally for
On Innocentsâ€™ Day, an old custom of our
ancestors was to flog the poor children in their
beds, not as a punishment, but to impress on
their minds the murder of the Innocentsâ€”a
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 73
less cheerful way of ending the merry Christ-
mas revels even than by a return to school. I
think our children, after all I have told them,
will not wish to change places with those of
olden time, but rejoice and be grateful for the
love and care which is now so lavishly be-
stowed on them.
74. CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
Eton Montemâ€”Fairsâ€”Costumesâ€”Wearing Rings â€”Account
of Daniel Huetâ€”Holidays restoredâ€”Literatureâ€”Family
Tea-kettle and Coffee-potâ€”Chap-books.
HE middle of the seventeenth century,
with its political strifes and civil war,
was a dreary age as to sports and pastimes.
it must have been a dull time for the children.
How they must have missed the merry May
Day,â€”the raising of the may-pole, brought on
its ponderous waggon by a team of oxen, with
garlands of flowers round their sturdy necks ;
maidens in their gay kirtles, and the foresters
in green, with the merry Robin Hood, Maid
Marian, and Little John; then the morris-
dancers, with the blithe music of the old piper
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 75
setting them all to join hands and dance, foot-
ing it as much to the music of their own light
hearts as to his playing. Then the keeping of
Whitsuntide and the sheep-shearing festivities,
when â€˜â€˜ cheese cakes â€â€™ and â€˜â€˜ warden pies â€™â€™ were
looked forward to as pleasant delicacies; and
the joyous harvest-feast, when the last load of
corn was borne home on the waggon, with a
figure all brilliantly attired standing amongst
the golden sheaves, as Ceres, while tripping
by the side came men and maidens shouting
lustily. And Christmas, with its merry revels
and music and pageants! Let us hope that
with the abolition of the revelry there was not
lost the spirit of gratitude for Godâ€™s bounteous
gifts which had first originated the keeping of
Eton Montem was practised as early as
Elizabeth, and continued in vogue until some
thirty years ago, when it was done away with.
The railroad, by bringing crowds of thieves
and other bad characters from London, made
what had been a joyous day of fun a mere
76 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
noisy and dangerous riot, so that it was deemed
better to discontinue it. For the benefit of
those of my young readers who may not have
heard of the ceremony, I will describe it. The
boy who was captain of the school chose a
certain number of officers, and the whole party,
dressed in magnificent fancy dresses, marched
to Salt Hill shouting â€˜â€˜ Salt! salt!â€™ (salt being
a classical emblem for learning or wisdom),
stopping in their progress every one, gentle or
simple, for a contributionâ€”even the stage-
coaches, and in later years the train passengers
also. The officers carried bags for the cash,
and many times over three hundred pounds
have been collected. The money was for the
captain, and the amount collected depended
on his popularity; but he was expected to
give a grand dinner to the boys, and pay all
the expenses of the day, which no doubt took
much of the â€œ gilt off the gingerbread.â€â€™ The
use of this homely saying reminds me of fairs,
as from the gingerbread kings, covered with
gold paper, sold at them, this saying comes.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. V7
I think the first fair of any great notoriety was
Charlton Fair, commonly called Horn Fair,
held on St. Lukeâ€™s Day; and taking its name
from the custom of carrying and wearing horns,
which appears to have originated from the
symbol accompanying the figure of St. Luke,
which is an ox or cow with very demonstrative
horns. At this fair ramsâ€™ horns were sold, and
even the gingerbread figures had horns. Some
date the fair as a grant from King John, but
this is disputed. Bartholomew Fair comes
next in order; Smithfield, where it was held,
was a market-place for cattle, hay, and straw,
and James I. ordered it to be paved.
Unhappily, fairs, which might have been a
really agreeable excuse for a merry day in the
open air, became only excuses for drunkenness
and rioting, and have been by degrees almost
done away with ; but by the little ones they
must have been anxiously looked forward to,
and the â€˜â€˜ gingerbread husbandsâ€™â€™ considered
an indispensable fairmg. I do not know at
which fair â€˜â€˜ Johnnyâ€ was so long keptâ€”in
78 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
the dear old song of â€˜â€˜What can the matter
be?â€ when he promised to buy some little
maiden a bunch of blue ribbands to tie up her
â€œbonny brown hair;â€ but perhaps the rough
work that too often went on at these popular
amusements caused her anxiety, and her feel-
ing that something must â€˜â€˜ be the matter.â€
With the death of Cromwell, and accession
of the â€˜â€œâ€˜ Merry Monarch,â€ brighter days came
back. Fashion resumed her throne ; and as if
in revenge for her long desertion, she rushed
into extravagance and excess. As says a
well-known authority on costume, â€˜â€˜ the dress,
which in the reign of Charles I. had reached
the highest point of picturesque splendour,
degenerated from this moment, and expired in
the square coat, cocked hat, full-bottomed wig,
and jack-boots of the following century.â€
In this reign the wearing of wigs became
fashionableâ€”a fashion, it is said, brought from
France. The king, Louis XIV., had as a boy
a beautiful head of hair, which hung in long
curls on his shoulders ; the courtiers had wigs
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 79
made to imitate his natural locks, which
obtained the name of â€œ peruke.â€â€ The fashion
was soon conveyed to England, and adopted
by the gentlemen under the name of periwig.
Louis, when he lost his hair, returned the
compliment of his courtiers by wearing a wig.
Stockings of leather, silk, woollen, and worsted
were worn by men and children, and the neck-
- cloth of Brussels or Flanders lace tied in a
knot, hanging down squarely. The dress of the
women was even in more marked contrast to the
stately stiffness of their ancestors. Elegant
negligence characterized it. The hair, falling
in soft curls on their shoulders, was simply
kept in control by a bandeau of jewels, or
fastened back by a flowerâ€”a style that, if
imitated now, would banish the huge, un-
graceful, and unmeaning â€˜ lumpâ€ which has
been so long disfiguring the heads of our young
_ ladies. So fashionable even were the curled
wigs for gentlemen at this periodâ€”adopted
also by quite boysâ€”that a female hair-dresser
boasted that she could cut and curl boysâ€™ hair
80 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
in so fine a way that it should be impossible to
know it to be their own hair.
In this reign lived Daniel Huet, famous for
his extraordinary love of study, and for being
one of the promoters of an edition of the
Classics made for the use of the Dauphin,
called the â€˜â€˜ Delphin edition.â€â€ I mention him
here, as in his memoirs he describes amusingly
his difficulties in the pursuit of knowledge,
and his perseverance may be an encourage-
ment. Notwithstanding his intense applica-
tion to learning, he lived to the fine old age of
ninety-one, having resigned a bishopric to
indulge in peace his literary tastes. He was
an orphan, and brought up by an aunt; and
the torments of his cousins, whose amusement,
he says, was running, jumping, and playing,
and who no doubt considered him a sad,
dull, and stupid fellow, he amusingly describes.
After mentioning a variety of ways in which
they tormented him, he says: â€˜â€˜In order to
indulge my taste, it was my custom to rise
with the sun whilst they were bound in sleep,
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 81
and hide myself in the wood, or seek some
thick shade which might conceal me from their
sight while I was reading and studying in
quiet. It was their practice, however, to hunt
amongst the bushes, and by throwing stones
or wet sods, or squirting water through the
branches, to drive me from my hiding-places.â€â€™
It strikes me by this account that the little
ones of the seventeenth century strongly re-
sembled those of the nineteenth, and that
there are rather more children like the trouble-
some cousins than the studious Huet.
With the mirthful, musical Charles, music,
which had been stopped by the Puritans, was
restored, and the holidays were again observed
in true old English fashion. On Valentineâ€™s
Day presents of silk stockings, garters, and
jewellery were sent to the fair valentines. On
the 1st of May, girls and matrons went to the
fields to gather May-dew to wash their faces,
and milkmaids danced in the street with their
pails wreathed with garlands. New Yearâ€™s
Day was observed as a season for gifts, and
82 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
the king had an offering in money from his
nobles. Circulating libraries commenced in
this reign, and no doubt were a boon to those
who had quiet tastes, and found no amusement
in bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and cock-fighting.
The short reigns of James IT. and William
and Mary have but little change in the dress.
The peruke or periwig was still worn, and it
became the fashion to comb the wig with
combs of beautiful workmanship carried in the
pocket with the snuff-box. The broad-brimmed
hat was turned up or cocked, and â€œfalling
bandsâ€ had given place to small Geneva bands ;
the rich lace neckcloth was still worn, but so
long as to pass the ends through the button-
holes of the waistcoats. Shoe-buckles began to
be worn in place ofrosettes. The long flowing
ringlets of the women were banished, and the
hair combed up from the forehead and sur-
mounted by piles of riband and lace in
rows. â€˜Tight sleeves and ruffles replaced the
elegant full sleeve, and a stomacher covered
the neck; and with little variety this style
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 83
was continued through the reign of Queen
With the mention of this queen our thoughts
come back to literature, and we begin to
see the beginning of a larger contribution to
childrenâ€™s books. The fairy tales came, of
which compositions Dickens wrote: â€˜â€˜ It would
be hard to estimate the amount of gentleness
and mercy which has made its way among us
through these slight channels. Forbearance,
courtesy, consideration for the poor and aged,
kind treatment of animals, the love of nature,
abhorrence of tyranny and brute foreeâ€”many
such good things have been nourished in the
childâ€™s heart by this powerful aid. It has
greatly helped to keep us ever young, by pre-
serving through our worldly ways one slender
track not overgrown with weeds where we
may walk with our children, sharing their de-
â€œRobinson Crusoe,â€ another immortal book,
founded, it is supposed, on the adventures of
Alexander Selkirk, was published in this reign ;
84 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
and our hero â€˜Jack the Giant Killer,â€ of
illustrious memory, and â€˜â€œâ€˜ Gulliverâ€™s Travels ;â€â€™
and yet how few in comparison with the flood
of child literature to be found now! Still it
was a step in the right direction ; but it is a
wonder how the books attained the popularity
they did with children, written in such quaint
and wordy style as they were even up to the
beginning of this century. The pains taken
for the entertainment of our little folks now is
in such singular contrast, that Iam continually
obliged to notice it; and the question exists
in my mind, will they be greater hereafter
than Dryden, Pope, Steele, Addison,â€”who
had. only such meagre food to nourish their
minds as was to be found in their day, and
yet have made themselves names which shall
In the reigns of the first Georges but little
was done for the improvement or amusement
of the children. The schooling of girls ended
when they were fifteen, and but little was
taught them: during that brief period. Nor
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 85
were boys much better instructed: a â€˜little
Latin and less Greek,â€ the accomplishments
of dancing and music, and the grand tour to
finish with, and then the young man was
launched into society, having only picked up
in his rambles the fashions and frivolities of
Had children, however, been educated with
a taste for reading, there was but little fit for
them to read. In the catalogue of chap-books
I have before referred to, there is one bearing
no date, but apparently belonging to this time,
called â€œThe Afflicted Parents; or, the Un-
dutiful Child punished.â€ The title-page de-
scribes the tale as follows: â€˜â€˜ Showing how a
gentleman living in the city of Chester had
two childrenâ€”a son, and a daughter who was
about two years younger than the son; how
the girl gave good advice to her brother; how
he rejected it, and knocked her down, left her
for dead, and then went away ; how an angel
appeared to him, and how he discovered the
murderâ€”was taken up, tried, cast, and con-
86 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
demned to die. Showing how he was executed
with two highwaymen, being cut down, put
into his coffin, carried home to his fatherâ€™s
house, and preparing for his funeral. How he
came to life again ; how he sent for a minister
and discovered to him several strange things,
which after he had related he was executed a
second time for a warning to all disobedient
Another is called, â€˜â€˜A Timely Warning to
Rash and Disobedient Children; being a
strange and wonderful history of a young
gentleman who sold himself to the Evil
One;â€ a description of story formerly very
common, and believed in by the ignorant.
These appear to be the style of stories at this
age provided for the little ones. A powerful
belief in witchcraft and fortune-telling pro-
duced a number of books on this subject,
which could not have been healthy reading
for either young or old. Speaking of tales at
this period reminds me of one which is to be
found in the â€˜â€˜ Childâ€™s Own Book,â€ which my
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 87
little readers will remember, under the title
of â€œFatal and Fortune,â€™ wherein. Fatal was
whipped whenever Fortune was naughty and
refused to learn. This plan was actually tried
with the young king Louis XV. by his gover-
ness. His hatred of learning was so great,
and his conduct so bad in every way, that the
lady, feeling she could not chastise a king,
adopted this method of reproof; but his dis-
position was too mean and ungenerous to be
induced to learn or improve by such means.
He grew up vicious and ignorant, and has the
unenviable notoriety of being the worst king
of his race. But I think it not improbable
that the story I mention was suggested by
the fact, as we are indebted to our French
neighbours for the charming fairy tales
which still are, and I hope ever will re-
main, amongst the most popular with our
Mrs. Hannah More, Mrs. Barbauld, Mrs.
Charlotte Smith, and Mrs. Inchbald, were
in the reign of George II. beginning their â€”
88 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
career of authorship, but they did not arrive
at the height of their popularity until a later
In 1793 a book called â€˜â€˜ The Looking-Glassâ€â€™
was published, being a set of tales chiefly trans-
lated from a book called â€˜â€˜ Lâ€™Ami des Enfans.â€â€™
I shall quote a page of it, and give you a
specimen of the pictures contained, as it will
amuse you to contrast it with the books now
provided for you. The story, consisting of
three pages, is that of a mother who, having
a little boy and girl, has lavished the warmest
affection on the boy, who is stated to be a
â€˜little cupid,â€ to the neglect of his sister,
who is painfully affected by the difference
shown, but bears it with wonderful amiability.
The mother has a severe illness, during which
Leonora nurses her with the greatest care and
devotion. On her recovery, however, Mrs.
Lennox still treats her daughter with the same
severity ; but one day, while conversing with
her children on her painful illness, and praising
them for the anxiety they had shown, she bids
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 89
them ask whatever is most pleasing to them,
and they shall have it ; and now, in the words
of the book.
She, â€˜â€˜ first addressing herself to Adolphus,
desired to know what he would choose, and
his desire was to have a cane and a watch,
which his mother promised he should have the
next morning. â€˜And pray, Leonoraâ€™ (said Mrs.
Lennox), â€˜ what is your wish?â€™ â€˜ Me, mamma,
me ?â€™ (answered she, trembling), â€˜if you do but
love me, I have nothing left to wish for.â€™ â€˜ That
is not an answerâ€™ (replied her mother) ; â€˜you
shall have your recompence likewise, miss,
therefore speak your wish instantly.â€™
â€˜â€œâ€˜ However accustomed Leonora might have
been to this severe tone, yet she felt it on this
occasion more sensibly than ever before. She
threw herself at her motherâ€™s feet, looked
up to her with streaming eyes swimming in
tears, and instantly hiding her face with
both her hands, lisped out these words: â€˜ Only
give me two kisses such as you give my
90 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
â€˜â€œâ€œWhat heart could fail to relent at these
words? Mrs. Lennox felt all the tender senti-
ments of a parent arise in her heart, and taking
her upin her arms, she clasped her to her breast,
and loaded her with kisses. The sweet Leonora,
who now for the first time received her motherâ€™s
caresses, gave way to the effusion of her joy and
love; she kissed her cheeks, her eyes, her
breast, and her hands; and Adolphus, who
loved his sister, mixed his embraces with hers ;
thus all had a share in this scene of unexpected
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 91
Names and books still read and loved, how-
ever, saw the light in the reign of the three
Georges. Miss Burney, whose â€œCamilla,â€
â€˜Hivelina,â€™â€™ and â€˜â€˜ Cecilia,â€ are still in exist-
ence; Mrs. Inchbald, William Godwin, Mrs.
Radcliffe, Mrs. Opie, and the never-to-be-
forgotten Miss Edgeworth, who commenced
her brilliant career by her story of â€˜â€˜ Belinda.â€â€™
Her works are familiar still to all juvenile
readers, and â€˜â€œ children of a larger growthâ€ can
read with interest her charming â€˜â€œâ€˜ Moral Tales,â€â€™
and the sweet story of â€˜â€˜ Helen.â€â€â€™ Amongst the
â€˜Moral Tales â€â€™ is a play called Eton Montem,
which I have described to you some pages
back. But even then how scant was the
childâ€™s library compared to the present dayâ€”
to the flood of books which is now, as it were,
poured on the infant mind; and not only
written in admirable style, suited to the com-
prehension of a child, but also illustrated most
beautifully, so that the eye is educated to
beauty of form and colour !
Another curious little book fell into my
92 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
hands, publishedin 1830, with no authorâ€™s name
attached to it, which relates the following
strange story :â€”A httle boy went to a fair, and
saw there a tea-kettle and coffee-pot large
enough fora family to livein! A travelling tinker
mily Tea-kettle and Coffee-pot.
-had made them to contain his tools and his
family. The tea-kettle he made first, fixing
it on wheels and having a little horse to draw
it from place to place. In time the tea-kettle
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 93
grew too small for the family, so he added ano-
ther apartment in the shape of a coffee-pot ;
this served for a bedroom, so that one or more
of the children, it might be said, were born in a
coffee-pot and brought up in a tea-kettle. The
book is called â€˜â€œâ€˜A Present for a Little Boy,â€
containing about twenty or thirty pages of
print, and the strangest picturesâ€”price one
shilling; but I have no doubt it afforded
as much amusement then as the beautifully
coloured Aunt Louisa toy-books do now.
Amongst the catalogue of chap-booksâ€”
which were collections of paper booksâ€”sold
in the streets for a penny, I find our old
friends the â€˜â€˜Seven Champions of Christen-
dom,â€ â€œTom Thumb,â€ â€œThe Children in the
Wood,â€ and â€˜ Valentine and Orson,â€ as far
back as 1598. One of the earliest forms of
fairy tale, though, is, I should think, â€œ The
Frolics of Robin Goodfellow.â€ |
Many now living can remember the gold-
paper books sold by Tabart and Tegg, con-
taining-these old favourites, with â€˜â€˜ Jack the
94 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
Giant Killer,â€ â€˜â€œâ€˜ Goody Two Shoes,â€ â€˜â€œ Blue
Beard,â€ â€˜â€˜ Cinderella,â€ â€˜â€˜Ali Baba and the |
Forty Thieves,â€ with other of those enchant- |
ing stories which, as werecall them in after
years, bring back the sweet memories of happy |
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 95
Dutch Toysâ€”Dollsâ€”Dresses of Childrenâ€”Public Amuse-
mentsâ€”Master Dâ€™Arblayâ€™s Visit to the Queen of George
I.â€”Dollsâ€™ Housesâ€”Modern Toys.
MUST now make allusion to the boxes of
toys constructed in the old German town
of Nuremburg, which are still to be found in
every nursery, and beloved by every child.
An old distich saysâ€”and I can remember
feeling very much affronted when it was
quoted to me,â€”
â€˜Â¢ What the children of Holland take pleasure in making,
The children of England take pleasure in breaking.â€
It is to the busy fingers of little Dutch
children our own English ones are indebted
for those charming farms; those little towns
96 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
with the red-roofed houses ; the sheep-folds ;
the boxes of furniture ; King Nutcracker him-
self, and the endless Dutch dolls, which are
now being supplanted by china ones. Between
the little images which are mentioned as the
playthings of the Roman and early Christian
children I can discern no account of this last-
Degrees of Comparison.
named toy; but that in all ages the natural
mother-love inherent in little girls has made
a doll an indispensable part of their child-
existence there can be no doubt, and the won-
derful improvement in their beauty in the last
century is very noticeable.
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 97
The fearful wooden monstrosity, painted a
full pink, with a sharp point for a nose, which
must have inflicted a wound, every time its poor
little mother kissed it, its black woolly hair,
and its strange shapeless body, with a kind of
stem as a substitute for legs, I can just remem-
ber. The verylarge Dutch dolls, with yellow
ear-rings in their ears, were a decided improve-
ment. The wax face, with the sawdust body
and leather arms and legs, was a still further
refinement ; and then these members were com-
posed of wax, and the staring eyes could be
closed in slumber by a wire, which after some
weeks of diligent using became so loose that
dolly went to sleep at most inopportune
moments, and indeed was seldom found quite
awake. Then came composition dolls, leather
dolls, indiarubber, china, and the exquisite
modelled dolls which adorn the toy-shops now.
Who can help stopping in the Burlington Arcade
to look at the variety of elaborately-dressed
figures, in all sizes, which make little eyes
sparkle and little hearts yearn to possess one ?
98 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
â€”the dimpled shoulders and chubby arms and
legs, the real soft hair hanging down the back,
or in short shiny curls adorning the head of a
pretty boy-doll, in his plaid frock and Scotch
cap; the little lady in full fashionable costume,
who tells you she can cry, and walk, and call
â€œpapaâ€ and â€œmamma,â€ all forming such an
attractive window that it is a matter of difficulty
to get the little ones by. But still the same
amount of affection and interest was .lavished
on their less beautiful ancestors, and I can re-
member loving intensely an unhappy object
who had lost one eye and her wig, and I think
T loved it the more because it was so afflictedâ€”
turning its affliction to account, with the inge-
nuity of my age, by introducing crumbs of cake
or bread into the vacant space which the eyes
had left, and imagining I was feeding itâ€”for
this process had always troubled me, and I was
charmed to find the food disappearing so fast,
which before I had been compelled to eat my-
self. Another refinement in the visual organs
of the wax babies is the weight in the head
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 99
which closes the eyes when the doll lies down,
and answers much better than the wire; but
we must not travel so far down as this. In
the year 1715, to which I have now brought
you, toys of all kinds were far behind the
present; and I think if a little child of that
From Hogarth. From Gillray.
age could be transported into one of our toy-
shops, he would think he had entered fairy-
The reigns of George I. and II. have Hogarth
for their illustrator, and introduce small frilled
or puffed caps, loose gowns called â€˜â€˜ sacques,â€â€™
100 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
which were also mentioned as early as the
reign of Charles II. The hoop was still worn,
only kept altering its shape, until the fourth
George abolished it altogether. Aprons had
become part of the dress of a fashionable lady
during this century, shortened and lengthened
according to the caprices of fashion. In the
picture from â€œThe Looking-Glass,â€ you will
see the mother wears a long apron; and
in all the pictures which head the several
tales the children are portrayed in the same
dresses as their parents. The hair is cut
across the forehead, as it has lately been the
fashion, and hangs down the back, with the
mob cap surmounting it, tied round with a
coloured riband. The foolish fashion of patches
on the face, and powder on the hair did not
extend to the children. Satires were. written
in quantities against the extravagance of dress;
caricatures of the gigantic headgear ; but no
ridicule affected them, nor was the fashion
changed till, at the time of the revolution, it
rushed from one extreme to the other; and
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 101
from the long peaked waist and hooped
petticoats with the rich brocaded satins, it
went to the lightest possible stuffs, clinging to
the form, and the waist, actually under the
The amusements of this date were scarcely
changed in name or form, but improved in
taste. The theatre was more decorous. Of
the public gardens, Ranelagh, which had been
so fashionable, was entirely done away with,
and Vauxhall left to the middle classes. And
in Miss Burneyâ€™s Diary, after she became
Madame Dâ€™Arblay, she mentions as a new enter-
tainment a breakfast given in 1792. Another
novelty introduced in 1802 was called a picnic
supper; and was no doubt the beginning of
those out-of-door amusements so enjoyable in
the sultry summer days, and which by country
children are looked forward to as one of the
greatest summer treats. The picnics, however,
of 1802, were on this wise: the picnic supper
consisted of several dishes, and the subscribers
to the entertainment had a bill of fare pre-
102 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
sented to them, with a number to each dish,
and the number of the lot which each drew
obliged him to provide the dish with the cor-
responding number, and this he took with
him or sent bya servant. It there were a
large number of subscribers, a handsome supper
might be provided at a small expense. Talk-
ing of Madame Dâ€™Arblayâ€™s Diary reminds me
that it may be amusing to my little readers to
hear an account which she gives, in some
letters published after her death, of her visit
with her baby-boy to the Palace.
In her girlhood Madame Dâ€™Arblay Hinder one
of the household of the Queen of George IIT.,
and after her marriage and residence abroad
she came back to England with her little boy,
and was no doubt most delighted to receive a
command from her Majesty, desiring her to
bring the child to see her at ten oâ€™clock in the
morning. Of course, she says, they were punc-
tual to the moment, and were shown into the
Princess Elizabethâ€™s apartments, where she
evidently expected to see him, as playthings
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 103
were arranged on one of the numerous tables
which were in the room. The Princess must
have been fond of tables, for Madame Dâ€™Arblay
says there must have been at least twenty
there. The child, in a new muslin frock and
sash, looked his best, and the Princess, finding
he was too shy to allow her to take him in her
arms, with great graciousness played with him,
peeping at him through chairs, clapping her
hands to him, but not attempting to touch him.
They were then summoned to another Princess,
who was at her toilet, and the child cautiously
approached, drawn, his mother says, by his
curiosity at the proceedings of the hair-dresser
who was employed in raising one of those
wondrous pyramids on the royal ladyâ€™s head, I
suppose, which it was the fashion then to
wear; but he would not be touched, flying to
his mother if they offered to take even his
hand. At length the Princess Elizabeth came
in with a page, laden with toys she had sent
for; but though he eagerly snatched the dogs,
the horses, a chaise, a watchman, a cobbler, he
104 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
stoutly still refused to be kissed, until the
entrance of the Princess Elizabeth, when, to
his motherâ€™s great astonishment, he left his toys
to nestle in her arms. When the Queen sent
for him to her apartments, he insisted on taking
his toys with him. Her Majesty had a Noahâ€™s
Ark ready for him, and was most gracious and
kind to him, asking him first,â€”
â€˜â€œâ€œHow is Papa.â€
â€˜â€˜Papaâ€™s at â€™Telseaâ€â€™ (Chelsea), stoutly an-
swered baby, in no degree awed by the pre-
sence of royalty.
â€˜â€œÂ« And how does Grandpapa do?â€ asked the
â€˜â€œâ€˜ Heâ€™s in the Â¢oach,â€ replied the child.
The Queen then admired his frock, and
inquired if his mother made it, but he either
could not or would not answer this question.
The Queen herself showed him the Noahâ€™s
Ark, and he was in raptures with the animals,
calling out vigorously, â€œâ€˜ A tow, a towâ€”a bow-
wow,â€ as the different animals were presented
to him; and when the Queen handed him
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 105
a cat, and asked him if he knew what
that was, he said, â€œIts name is falled
Pussy ;â€ but after the excitement of the
Noahâ€™s Ark had somewhat subsided, he upset
Children (from a Fashion Book of 1827).
the Queenâ€™s work-box, cried for the things
inside, and finally made his way into the
Queenâ€™s bedroom, where her jewels were laid
out ready for court-attire. The poor mother was
quite alarmed lest the Queen should grow
106 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
angry with such behaviour, and ran to fetch
him out of the room in her arms. Then the
kind Queen ordered a page to bring him some
cakes, and when his mother asked him what
he said for it, he nodded his head, and said,
â€˜â€œâ€˜ Tanky, Queen, tanky ;â€™â€™ and his mother ends
her story by saying how thankful she was to get
him away without his disgracing her by any
great breach of mischief or rebellion;. and
that they left the royal family â€˜all smiles and
Child-life in all times seems, you see, much
the same ; but there is no question that in com-
paring the old times with the new, the marked
difference forced on our notice is the mode of
There were toys for them when they had
time to play, certainly, but the expense of these
placed all but the commonest out of the reach of
the middle classes, and so this is their golden
age. Care and culture of the highest kind is
lavished on our little ones now; and perhaps
we are going to the extreme in the hope
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 107
of giving Jack enough play to prevent his being
a dull boy.
That amongst the toys of the last: century
was numbered a dollâ€™s house we know, and I
received a description of one which had been
in the family where my informant saw it since
the days of Queen Anne: the â€˜little dolls in the
costume of the period, the crockery, plate, all
perfect, and the latter real silver. â€˜The
dolls,â€ says the writer of the description, â€˜â€œ re-
present masters and servants. It is like a tan- â€”
gible Hogarth.â€ A maid-servant is warming a
bed. in one room, and the pan is of real silver,
the bedclothes all perfect, and the whole set of
kitchen. utensils also complete. I should
fancy it had been a model, and kept entirely
as one, for if it had ever been in constant use
by the children of a family, it would scarcely
have been, I should imagine, in such preserva-
tion at the end of a hundred years! There
was a photograph of one in â€˜â€˜ Aunt Judy â€ with
a quantity of toys on the top of the house,
amongst which we may recognize old friends
108 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIVE.
â€”a brick church, a house, a cart and
horse, and a doll in a wonderful hat,â€”but it is
larger than the one described to me, having
nine rooms instead of six, and being differently Â°
disposed ; but interesting as these are as relics
of long ago, curious as it is to speculate on
the tiny fingers which may have handled
them, and the bright eyes that have admired
them, still the extraordinary improvement, not
only in the manufacture of each separate toy,
but in the countless variety which fill our
shops now, is truly wonderful.
Visit the toy-shops ; see the modern dollsâ€™-
houses alone, with staircases and landings, the
exquisite furniture, each separate piece a com-
plete model; kitchens completely fitted with
a stove and a boiler, into which water can
really be poured, and all the batterie de cuisine,
making an enthusiastic housekeeper wish her-
self a doll, so that her kitchen might be so
complete. And the dolls themselvesâ€”why,
their little mothers are not half so rich: the
seal-skin coats trimmed with sable ; the muffs,
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 109
the gloves, shoes, stockings, every article of
wearing apparel; and the toilet requisitesâ€”
brush, comb, pomade, powder and powder-puff,
glass, and perfume, and scented soap; and even
dollyâ€™s literary tastes provided for by a desk,
with miniature paper and envelopes, and a
bookcase with tiny books. She can travel,
too, for her portmanteau and imperial can be
purchased, and her railway rug nicely rolled up
in its leather strap. She can go to the opera
with opera-cloak, and fan, and opera-glass, and
drawn in an elegant carriage, with her parasol,
whip, and a pair of spirited ponies, with a
dandy little groom to stand at their heads.
The mechanical toys of this age, also, mar-
vellously surpass the old days. The nigger
playing the fiddle, winking at the spectators ;
the rabbit playing a tambour or a violoncello;
a cow which is capable of being milked, from.
the fluid having been inserted through a trap-
door in her back,â€”which by pressure of her
head can utter a most natural â€˜â€˜Moo;â€ as a
beautifully-made lamb, with a real fleece, can
110 CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME.
also utter its plaintive â€œâ€˜Baa.â€ In short, the
child now can cease to â€œpretendâ€ if it has
only money to buy, for in our present shops
there are toys to suit every age and every
requirement for either sex.
There is a shop near Belgrave-square, before
the window of which I, too, love to stand,
feeling that seated on the ground amongst
those exquisite toys I could fancy myself again
a child. That gardener with his barrowful of
plants! How delightful to wheel him before
the dollsâ€™-houses, and purchase some of the
pots of flowers to adorn the balconies! The.
dinner service, with the table napkins in their
silver rings! Fancy our setting it out for
-dollyâ€™s dinner! which we might first cook on
that delightful kitchen range, with all its beau-
tiful copper stewpans and saucepans.
â€œAh! well, not even in our dreams
May we return to that sweet land of youth,
That home of hope, of innocence and truth,
Which as we farther roam but fairer seems.â€
Still we may keep its memory green, so
CHILDREN OF THE OLDEN TIME. 111
that in the joys and sorrows of our children
we can truly sympathise by the keen remem-
brance of the days when we too were young.
With the hope that these histories of â€œreal
children â€â€™ will have afforded my young readers
some instruction as well as amusement, I now
leave off writing, for the best of all reasonsâ€”
because I have nothing more to say; for even
that man of notoriously short memory, â€œ the
oldest. inhabitant,â€ will serve as a reference to
the fourth George and William, besides many
excellent books, which give the childhood of
eminent men of that time. To make children
happy goes a long way towards making them
good, and good players make good workers ; so
success to those who help them play! And
for the little ones themselves, God speed them
in their play, and in their work, and God bless
them always !
Watson and Hazell, Printers, London and Aylesbury.
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- " emeetitiianen