FOE WINTER EVENINGS.
BY THE AT.THOR OP
" CAT AND DOG, OR PUSS AND THE CAPTAIN ;" " THE
DOLL AND HEK FRIENDS," ETC.
GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
LATE GRANT & GRIFFITH, SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY & HARRIS,
CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
8AVILL AND EDWARDS, PKINTEES,
A Christmas Party Acting Charades Description of
the Game Difficulty of finding Words Historical
subjects CURFEW CHAKTA Oriental subjects
Anecdote of Mahmoud of Ghizni SALADIU Compari-
son between Saladin and Richard Coeur-de-Lion 1
Indoor Amusements Illuminated Manuscripts Reasons
for the inferiority of modern imitations Mediaeval
habits compared with our own Duel between Lord
Wells and Lord Crawford King John playing chess
Character of Edward the Black Prince Romance of
Past Times Magic of the Present Day 22
CRUSADE Queen Eleanor of France Queen Eleanor of
England Old French Song St. Eloy Throne and
desk made by him Horsehair beards 41
RESTORATION MARTEL The Rois faineans ROBIN
HOOD Cobra capella Indian snake-charmers ... 50
Arrival of Uncle Harry Words for acting Anecdotes
of Henry II., Robert of Normandy, William Rufus
MILTON Quotations from "Paradise Lost" CHARLE-
MAGNE Invention of Clocks Henry the First's mena-
gerie Ancient prices Watch supposed to have be-
longed to Robert Bruce 69
Children's ideas of History Favourite Heroes The Dark
Ages The Norman Conquest Mediaeval Supersti-
tionsThe Cid 83
ALFRED Elves in the " Midsummer Night's Dream"
POMPEII MONTROSE Ancient Tenures Battle of In-
Comparing Ancient and Modern History A Game of
Blindman's Buff .104
Game of " Twenty Questions" Two modes of playing it
Instances Difference of tastes Discussion on My-
thology Hindoo tradition 113
People of the Middle Ages Their daily life Roger Bacon
Bishop Greathead Anecdotes Ghost Stories
Cicely, Duchess of York, her day Dolls' Mediaeval
Dinner party John Erigena The ' ' Intermeat, " the
Value of a good character AGAMEMNON Statue of Mem-
non Clytemnestra's Grecian dress Galileo William
Wallace Lancaster A skating party 148
WALLACE AGAMEMNON GALILEO Roman Galleys
Leo X. SPABTAN Black Broth 161
Black-letter Manuscript "Romaunt of Robert a Stoker"
Keepsakes Illuminated Almanack Gilding More Cha-
rades BEAUCLERC Dresses of Edward the Third's
time Pointed shoes Benefit of Clergy Long curls
King Pippin 181
Duke Brithnoth and the Abbot of Ely Pageants and
Riddles in the time of Queen Elizabeth Her dresses
and the Dustman's present Her reproof to Leicester
and her "Lion-port" Caesar and Brutus The Hat of
Gustavus Adolphus 196
Final performance FALSTAEF Scene from Shakspeare
AGINCOURT Earliest use of fire-arms Scene from the
"Lady of the Lake" HATTON Dress of Queen
Elizabeth Flattery Sir Christopher Hatton's dancing
Words proposed Lessons and play Uses of His-
tory Conclusion 210
A Christmas party Acting charades Description of the
game Difficulty of finding words Historical subjects
CURFEW CHARTA Oriental subjects Anecdote of Mah-
nioud of Ghizni SALADIN Comparison between Saladin
and Richard Cceur-de-Lion.
A LARGE party of children were assembled one
Christmas to pass the holidays at the house of
Mr. and Mrs. Percy. There were boys and
girls of all ages, cousins, or brothers and sisters,
with their parents, and myself, who am Mrs.
Percy's youngest sister, and aunt to all the
children. We spent many of our evenings in
acting Charades, the preparations for which gave
us a good deal of employment in the daytime, and
enabled us to pass the rainy and snowy weather
very pleasantly within-doors.
There are probably few children who have
never played at Charades, but for the sake of
any who may not know the game, I will give a
short description of it.
The players divide themselves into two parties,
who take it in turn to act and to guess the word.
If grown-up people join in the game, the children
generally act, leaving the papas and mammas to
2 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
look on and guess. The actors go out of the
room, and choose a word of two or more syl-
lables, each syllable or division of the word
having a separate meaning. For instance :
Improbability, Imp - Rob - Ability, Bail -Way,
Ram- pant, Miss-Fortune. After having ar-
ranged the part that every person is to take,
they return to the company, and represent each
syllable in its turn, and lastly the entire word.
When the actors are sufficiently numerous,
they should be divided into detachments, each
undertaking one syllable. The party for the
second syllable can then dress while the first is
in representation, so as to avoid long intervals
between the acts, which are tiresome to the
Suppose RAILWAY to be the word. Several
chairs are placed in a row, with the seats facing
one way : the backs represent the rail of a
bridge. Children stand on the seats, pretending
to be fishing, or looking at the river. One walks
past as a mother, frightened at seeing her child
in so dangerous a place, and calls out, " Oh,
come down, my dear Tommy ! You will fall
over into the water." " Oh, Mamma, indeed it
is quite safe ; look here !" showing the rail.
" Well, if you promise to hold fast by that, you
may stay." When the scene is finished, the
actors leave the room, and return when ready to
represent the next syllable.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 3
Second scene. A party of travellers following
a guide, who shows them their Way through an
unknown country. The chairs and tables should
be arranged so as to leave only a narrow winding
path between them ; the guide, with a long pole
in his hand, goes first, pointing out the way to
the others, who follow him slowly and carefully,
complaining of the darkness of the night, and
the dangers to which they are exposed from
Last scene. Eight or ten children seat them-
selves on the floor : the biggest boy, provided
with a whistle, sits in front to represent the
engine; the rest hold by each other's dresses,
and pretend to be a train of carriages hooked to
one another. One boy stands alongside with a
bell, as the policeman. When the train is ready
to start, the policeman rings his bell, and then
takes his place behind the rest as guard. The
engine gives a loud whistle, and then a few
puffs ; the carriages begin to move up and down,
and scrape their feet on the floor; the engine
puffs faster and faster, as if increasing its pace,
and the carriages of course jolt and scrape in
proportion. When the train has reached its full
speed, a dreadful accident takes place ; the train
is supposed to run off the line : the carriages fall
sideways on the floor, the engine whistles as loud
as possible; screams and howls are heard from
the passengers ; the kicking and struggling be-
4 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
come tremendous for a time, hut gradually die
away, and a few faint puffs from the prostrate
engine close the scene.
The great difficulty in Charades is to find
new words. The dressing and acting are easy
enough, but the same words are apt to come
over and over again, till there is nobody left to
guess them, for the spectators know by expe-
rience what the word is to be, almost as soon
as the actors appear. But when this difficulty
is overcome, it is a most amusing game, and
has the great advantage of including any number
of players. Materials for costumes are always
at hand : shawls, cloaks, bonnets, boas, jackets
turned inside out, sheets, and green or red table-
covers, are sufficient for almost all purposes. In
our own case there was a good supply of every-
thing ; with plenty of merry children to act, and
good-natured papas and mammas to look on, so
that our time passed very pleasantly.
The children at first confined their acting to
the schoolroom, but one evening Mrs. Percy
invited them to exhibit in the drawing-room.
For a long time we sat round the fire expecting
them, but no children appeared. At last my
niece Ellen, a little girl of ten years old, came
to beg that I would help them, as they were in
a great difficulty. My nephews and nieces well
know that Aunt Esther is always to be de-
pended upon as a playfellow, and I obeyed their
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 5
In the schoolroom I found the party in high
consultation, and, like many celebrated councils,
in great confusion. The table and the floor
were covered with the goods collected for cos-
tumes. Henry Stanley, a boy of fifteen, had a
blanket fastened round his shoulders, and trailing
on the floor, because, as he observed, " the folds
of a blanket make such fine drapery." (N.B.
Henry was learning to draw, and considered
himself something of an artist.) His sister Lucy,
who was twelve years old, and tall of her age,
looked magnificent in an old brocade petticoat
that had been her great-grandmother's court-
dress in the reign of George the Second ; Mary,
a little girl of eight, had a turban nearly as big
as herself; Arthur, a lively boy of fourteen, an
embroidered waistcoat with flaps down to his
knees, to match the petticoat ; some of the girls
had mustachios and whiskers corked on their
faces ; in short, all were travestied in one way or
other, ready to act : but, as usual, they were at
a loss for a word.
Pilgrimage had been acted so often, that Ellen
said the moment she should begin to complain
how ill she was, Mamma would be sure to know
that the Doctor was coming to prescribe his Pill,
and the word would be guessed directly.
Income was as bad. The first arrival of the
weary traveller at the door of his Inn betrayed the
whole. Every word proposed was liable to the
6 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
same objection. Uncle Stanley would guess one ;
Aunt Mortimer another ; Cousin Matilda a third ;
and Papa and Mamma knew them all. Moreover,
the children were tired of acting common every-
day words ; they wanted something grand, some-
thing that should bring in Kings and Queens, or
heroes and heroines ; and they applied to me to
find them some historical word something that
should introduce Alfred the Great, or Richard
Coeur-de-Lion, or Queen Elizabeth, or the Duke
of "Wellington, or all together, if possible.
But here William Percy interposed. He cared
little for painting or poetry, but he was an anti-
quarian, and very fond of history, and he en-
treated there might be " no anachronisms/'
Curfew, Charta, Alfred, Agincourt, and many
other historical words were proposed, and cha-
racters and costumes discussed at such length,
that I was obliged to remind them that it would
soon be too late for any acting that night. They
therefore at once determined upon CURFEW.
We agreed that the syllables should be repre-
sented in any way that might be convenient, but
that the whole word should always be some his-
First scene : CUR. A white dogskin mat was
tied round Arthur, and a boa fastened under it
with the end hanging down for a tail. He prac-
tised barking and jumping about on all fours, and
when he was quite perfect, we went down stairs
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 7
to the drawing-room, the rest of the performers
having merely attired themselves in caps or
shawls, which were considered sufficient costume
for a modern family. All came into the room
excepting Arthur and Lucy, who remained out-
side. The rest seated themselves, and began
conversing in an easy grown-up way about the
weather, and the health of their children. Of
course it rained hard, and everybody had caught
cold ; and as pleasing varieties, one's little girl had
the measles, another's boy the scarlet fever, and
the third had a baby Avith a dreadful cough, which
was expected to turn to whooping-cough. In the
midst of this agreeable conversation, a scratching
was heard at the door no notice taken more
scratching, then a whine, then a sharp currish
bark. Ellen exclaimed,
" Oh, there is that tiresome little dog of Mrs.
Pugsby's; don't let him in, for he will jump up
with his dirty paws upon our dresses."
Lucy opened the door from outside and en-
tered, bowing and smiling like a visitor, and
saying, " Here is my sweet little dog ; I have
brought him to see you."
Arthur then rushed forward, barking, snarling,
and jumping about in all directions, his paws
on Caroline's frock, his nose in Ellen's face;
then his paws on Henry's shoulders ; then a loud
bark into William's ear. The actors started up,
pushing him away, and exclaiming, "Down,
8 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Dash;" " Go away, naughty dog he has torn
my frock ;" " He has dirtied my waistcoat," &c.,
and amidst a confused jumble of "Bow, wow,
wows" from Arthur, and remonstrances from the
others, they left the room, driving the Cur before
Scene the second. Children arranging a game,
and complaining of being too Few. " We really
cannot play at Prisoners' Base with so small a
number," " Indeed there are not enough of us,"
" I wish there were more of us," &c.
It was necessary in this scene to be careful
not to say the word Few, for it was rather
tempting ; but in acting charades, the word itself
is, if possible, never to be pronounced. Indeed,
some people do not allow of talking at all, and
require the whole to be expressed by dumb show.
But the game is then less amusing.
Third and last scene. An Anglo- Saxon family
finishing their evening's work before the sound
of the Curfew should oblige them to put out
A rowing jersey made a close Anglo-Saxon
dress for William, and an old tiger-skin rug out
of their papa's study represented a boar's-hide
cloak for Henry, who had a bow and arrows in
his hand. Lucy and Ellen tied handkerchiefs
round their necks by the corners, and pinned
them tightly round their waists, letting the
other ends hang down like aprons, and threw
scarfs over their heads for veils, folding them
back so as not to hide their faces. They twisted
some tow round the tops of two sticks for
spindles, and Arthur took possession of the
dinner-bell. A large folding screen was drawn
across the drawing-room, and William, Lucy,
and Ellen placed themselves behind it, Henry and
Arthur remaining outside the door. William,
who had just been reading a dissertation on the
English language, charged them to use only
Saxon words in their conversation ; a few derived
from the French he said might be allowable,
considering the intercourse between the Anglo-
Saxons and the Normans, but no Latin. But
as the difficulty of deciding which words were
Latin and which Saxon, was far beyond the
learning of any of the children, this idea was
When they were all arranged, Caroline, the
eldest of the girls, drew back the screen, arid dis-
covered William as an old Saxon farmer sitting,
drinking a cup of mead, and his two daughters
spinning ; a candle on the table.
Ellen. " Is your mead good, father?"
William. " Yes, daughter Quendrade ; all that
you make is good. But what is your sister doing ?
Why do you work so hard, Ethelburga ?"
Lucy. " I wish to get this spinning done before
the bell tolls, and we have no more light."
William. " Alas, that bell ! Hardship upon
10 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
hardship since the Normans came. But here is
Enter Henry from hunting.
William, Lucy, and Ellen, all together. " Wel-
come home, Kynehard ! What have you shot
Henry. " What could I shoot ? The deer are
all driven to the New Forest. The peasants are
forbidden to shoot, on pain of losing their eyes.
My bow and arrows are now useless." (He throws
them down.) " But make haste, Quendrade, and
give us what supper you have. Put away your
distaff, Ethelburga, we have only a few minutes
before the bell."
Ellen put the supper on the table, and they
began to eat very fast. Presently the bell out-
side was heard tolling.
" Hark, there is the bell ! Quendrade, put out
Ellen extinguished the candle, and a scene of
great confusion ensued, while they were finishing
their supper in the dark.
" I cannot see what I have to eat." " Where
is the milk ? Oh, you have poured it into my
lap !" " Take care you are upsetting the
table." " Why, this is a candle I am eating."
" Halloa ! you are biting my hand. That's my
hand." " No, it isn't, it is the loaf," &c. In
the midst of their disasters, Caroline drew the
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 11
The word was easily guessed, and, after con-
siderable applause, the children adjourned to pre-
pare for another.
The next word fixed upon was CHARTA, which
we thought would allow of a fine scene between
King John and the Barons ; and it was settled
that the boys should dress for that, while the girls
acted the tw r o syllables.
CHART was simple enough. They brought the
large map of the world out of the study, and hung
it up in the drawing-room ; the younger ones then
formed themselves into a class, while Caroline
gave them a lesson in geography.
A was not quite so easy, and for a long time
we could find no way of managing it. Little
Edward proposed carrying an apple-pie round the
room, to remind the spectators of " A, apple-pie/'
But the young ladies did not approve of this
notion ; besides, an apple-pie could not be had
at a moment's notice. Lucy suggested exhibit-
ing a capital A written on a piece of paper ;
but this idea was still more unsatisfactory. At
last we determined upon the indefinite article, and
acted it in the following manner. Caroline ar-
ranged a narrow table, as the counter of a shop,
on which were spread out shawls, scarfs, gloves,
and ribbons. Lucy and Mary placed themselves
behind it for shop-women, while Ellen, with her
bonnet and shawl on, personated a customer.
As soon as she entered the shop, the young ladies
12 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
behind the counter began asking what she wished
to buy ?
" What article can we have the pleasure of
showing you this morning, ma'am ?"
" Here is a splendid article, quite new ; allow
me to recommend it to you."
" What can we tempt you with ?"
" I will look about me a little," said Ellen ;
" I have not quite decided what I shall buy ; I
was desired to bring home something useful and
ornamental, but nothing very definite was fixed
" Then, pray ma'am, allow us to show you this
shot silk ; it is of so undecided a colour, that we
frequently call it our indefinite article."
Ellen approved of the silk, and ordered it to
be measured, and sent to her house.
Now came our great scene, CHARTA :
Henry, Arthur, and Edward marched into the
room as tremendously fierce barons of the thir-
teenth century. Arthur had made capital armour
of pasteboard and tinfoil, which was tied on their
chests, legs, and arms.
The barons arranged themselves in a row, with
drawn swords, and frowning terribly. We could
see plainly that they were not to be trifled with.
Enter William as King John, dressed in a
green cloak, a gilt pasteboard crown on his head,
and the brass poker in his hand for a sceptre.
The green cloak had been chosen to represent
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 13
one of the " gowns of a good green colour/' which
John, who took all the bribes he could get, had
received from one of his subjects ; an incident
which William knew, and insisted upon bringing
in. We noticed that the king looked frightened
and uncomfortable at the sight of the barons and
their drawn swords.
King John. " How is this, my lieges ? Is
this the way for subjects to receive their king ?
Put your swords into their sheaths."
Baron Henry. " Sire, when your grace takes
up the pen, we will lay down the sword. Here is
the charter your grace has promised to sign."
They were careful to say " your grace," be-
cause kings of England were not called " your
Majesty" till the time of Henry the Eighth.
King John. " What is this charter ?"
Baron Arthur. " It is the charter granted to
our ancestors by King Henry the First, renewed
by King Stephen, and confirmed by your grace's
royal father, King Henry the Second, of worthy
memory. But your grace has not been pleased
to observe it, and we now demand that it shall
be so secured as to bind you and every king of
England who shall come after you."
Baron Edward. " Will your grace sign it or
King John. " What nonsense and insolence
does it contain ? Let us hear it."
Baron Henry. It secures the lives, liberties,
14 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
and property of Englishmen ; it provides for right
and justice being duly administered, and neither
sold, denied, or delayed; it prevents the king
from injuring the property of the barons, and it
binds the barons to grant the same justice to their
vassals that the king shall grant to them.
King John, in a furious passion, stamping with
his feet, and banging the floor with his sceptre :
" I will never sign it ! Why do you not ask for
my kingdom at once ? "What is the use of my
being king if I am to have no power over the
property of my subjects? What is the use of
their being rich if I must not take their money ?
I shall be a slave myself, if I sign such a charter."
The Barons advanced towards him with their
drawn swords, saying all together, " Sign it, sign
it, or we will immediately renew the war \"
King John, whimpering, and rubbing his eyes :
" Oh, what shall I do ! I do not know how to
get out of this scrape. I wish the Pope would
help me. Oh dear ! oh dear !"
One of the Barons handed him a pen. " Your
highness must sign at once."
King John, crying : " I am afraid I must in-
deed ; there is no help for it. I am so frightened
by those drawn swords !"
He then signed ; and the Barons took the
paper with low bows, sheathed their swords, and
marched out of the room. King John, who went
last, was heard to mutter something about hang-
ing the Barons at the first opportunity.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 15
Mrs. Percy guessed the word, and the actors
ran off to the schoolroom.
They wished now to have some Oriental scene,
in order to take advantage of the shawls and
turbans. They knew but little of Oriental his-
tory, and I was obliged to supply them with such
stories as I could recollect. Several Eastern
personages were discussed : the conqueror Chan-
dragupta, who boasted that he had " brought the
whole earth under one umbrella :" Nurjehan, the
" Light of the world/' whose influence over her
husband Jehanghire, the " Conqueror of the
world/' could soften him in his fiercest moods ;
and who, when he was taken prisoner, went to
war in person, and rescued him from his enemies.
Caroline did not at all like to give up Nurjehan;
but what English words could be made out of her
name? It was hopeless. Baber, Akbar, Au-
rungzib, Mahmoud, were all dismissed for the
same reason : nothing could be done with their
unfortunate names, though, as Caroline sagely
observed, they had as much meaning in their
own language as Longshanks or Lackland have
We might, however, have found names even
more strange than Aurungzib or Nurjehan. I
do not know what we should have said to some
of the old Mexican heroes : King Zutugilebpop,
for instance, who ran away with the beautiful
Princess Ixconsocil, and thereby gave rise to a
16 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
But Asiatic heroes were what we wanted just
now. The children debated long about Mah-
moud of Ghizni : there were scenes in his life
that would have acted well.
One story especially took their fancy. Mah-
moud had obtained possession of the great
temple of Somnat after three days' siege. On
entering the building, he and his followers were
astonished at its magnificence. The roof was
supported by fifty-six immense pillars, richly
carved, and ornamented with precious stones.
The light of day was excluded, but the temple
was illuminated by lamps hung by golden chains,
and fed with perfumed oil. Facing the entrance
stood Somnat, a hideous idol fifteen feet high,
which Mahmoud, who was a zealous Mussulman
and enemy to idolatry, ordered to be instantly
The Bramins and priests threw themselves at
his feet, and, with groans and shrieks, implored
him to spare their idol, offering a ransom so
enormous that Mahmoud hesitated. His cour-
tiers, who preferred money to fighting, pressed
him to accept it ; but Mahmoud's hesitation
was only for a moment : he exclaimed, " I would
rather be remembered as the breaker than the
seller of idols " and struck Somnat with his
mace. His example was followed by his cour-
tiers, till the idol broke under their blows, and
diamonds and precious stones fell out on every
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 17
side. It was found to be filled with jewels, so
that the wealth Mahmoud obtained by destroy-
ing it was greater than the large ransom offered
by the Bramins.
While Ellen was still regretting Mahmoud's
impracticable name, Henry exclaimed, " Saladin !
Sally Din. Spelling does not signify : Sally
Din combines everything; fighting, noise, turbans,
and mustachios." It was unanimously voted that
spelling did not signify, and they began to dress.
This occupied some time ; for helmets had to be
contrived for the soldiers, and turbans to be rolled
for the Orientals, and mustachios to be corked for
SALLY. One party of warriors entrenched
themselves behind the table, while another be-
sieged them, sheltered behind a row of chairs to
represent field batteries. After a fierce attack,
the besieged rushed forth in a tumultuous sally,
and drove the enemy from their works.
DIN. There never yet was a boy or girl who
did not know how to make a din. In the present
instance it was so successfully performed that the
audience begged for mercy, assuring us that that
syllable required no guessing.
SALADIN. Here was a great opportunity for
costume. Girls and boys were all dressed alike :
everybody had a turban, a shawl round the waist,
a jacket, and burnt cork whiskers and mustachios.
Saladin, personated by Henry, kept on his shoes ;
18 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
but his attendants took theirs off, as a mark of
respect to the sultan. Henry said his courtiers
ought, in strict regard to Oriental manners, to
go barefoot; but in this point it was thought
advisable to sacrifice Eastern to English pro-
The great Saladin placed himself on the sofa,
in a commanding attitude; his attendants stood
around him with their arms folded, and their
hands hidden in their sleeves, to show their reve-
rence. Just as I was going to remove the screen,
Caroline whispered eagerly, " Oh, stop, stop !
we have made a great mistake. Saladin, the
descendant of Mahomet, ought to have a green
turban. Green was the royal colour; all the emirs
and descendants of the Prophet wore green."
William. " But you know, Saladin used often
to wear a white muslin turban with a thin veil."
Caroline. " Yes ; white would be allowable,
but not red : Henry's turban is made of mamma's
Henry changed head-dresses with Ellen, whose
turban was made of a green scarf, and the screen
When the spectators had been allowed sufficient
time to admire the Oriental effect of the group,
Arthur entered, as a messenger from the Saracen
army. He advanced towards Saladin, and bowed
very low three times,' touching first his forehead
and then the ground, with both hands. He then
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 19
took a paper out of his jacket, presented it to
the sultan, and retired to a respectful distance.
Saladin read the paper with great attention, and
informed the company that it was a letter from
his brave commander, Caracos, announcing the
arrival of Richard King of England in Palestine.
Caracos had been able to make a successful stand
against all the other Crusaders, but required the
presence of Saladin himself to lead the army
" He is a brave and noble enemy," said Saladin,
" and we will meet him with a spirit like his own.
Warlike as he is, in the end we shall overcome
him, for I know his skill as a general does not
equal his valour as a knight."
The courtiers bowed, the spectators applauded,
and the word was guessed.
The uncles and aunts now began to discuss
Saladiu's character, and the points of difference
between him and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, two of
the most brilliant personages in history. The
children joined eagerly in the conversation, though
they all agreed in preferring the enterprise and
courage of Richard to the cool skill and policy of
Saladin. In generosity, indeed, the two were
equals, rather than rivals. William set Richai'd's
pardon of his rebel brother John, against Saladiu's
release of the Christian prisoners in Jerusalem :
and the truce, concluded by merely clasping each
other's hands, each disdaining to require any
20 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
stronger pledge, was worthy of them both. Henry
thought no action of Saladin's life greater than
his last lesson to his people. Just before he
died, he ordered his winding-sheet to be carried
through the streets of Damascus, and a crier to
proclaim before it, " This is all that remains to
the mighty Saladin, the Emperor of the East/'
Ellen thought this dying act far exceeded by
Richard's forgiveness of his assassin.
While the merits of the two heroes were still
under comparison, the clock very unexpectedly
struck ten, and the children were immediately
ordered off to bed.
" Just tell me before we go," said little Mary,
" why Caroline was so particular about Henry's
having the green turban ; the red one fitted him
" Green was considered a sacred colour by the
Mussulmen," replied Mr. Percy ; " and none
were allowed to wear it but the descendants of
" Even to this day," added Mr. Stanley, " they
hold it in such reverence that they will not wear
green shoes, because it would be disrespectful to
tread upon the sacred colour. A Persian and a
Turk were once disputing on tin's subject : the
Persian had a pair of green slippers, and the Turk
reproached him for trampling under foot the holy
colour. ' You Turks must be as sensible as asses
to bray such nonsense/ answered the Persian; ' do
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 21
you think if it were wrong to tread upon green,
that the fields would have been clothed with ver-
dure ?' And now good-night to you all."
On the staircase was held a council, which
resolved that next day they would compose their
charades in the morning, so as to leave more
time for acting at night.
22 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Indoor amusements Illuminated manuscripts Reasons for
the inferiority of modern imitations Mediaeval habits com-
pared with our own Duel between Lord Wells and Lord
Crawford King John playing chess Character of Edward
the Black Prince Romance of past times Magic of the
MORNING came, and with it such a storm of rain
and sleet, such wind roaring down the chimneys
and howling at the doors, such pattering against
the windows, and rushing through waterspouts ;
in short, such a regular indoors winter day, that
the children congratulated themselves on having
some amusements which did not require fine
weather. As it was holiday time, no lessons
were expected, and the younger girls took ad-
vantage of their leisure to set the baby-house in
order, and play with their dolls.
Mary had a beautiful baby-house which her
mamma and her sister Caroline had made for her
out of a large deal packing-case. Tt was divided
into several rooms, all papered and furnished.
Arthur, who was a good carpenter, had made
tables, chairs, and bedsteads ; Caroline had made
sofas and ottomans ; their mamma had contrived
a staircase of cardboard, and mirrors of pieces of
a broken looking-glass, cut into shape at the
glazier's, and bound round with gold paper. The
house contained a hall, dining-room, drawing-
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 23
room, library, kitchen, and several bed-rooms;
and a family of small Dutch dolls lived there in
great comfort. The mistress of the house was
called the Duchess of Zero, and she had two
amiable daughters, the Lady Aurora Borealis
and the Lady Corona Borealis. The duchess was
going to give a large party, and Mary and Lucy
were busily engaged in preparing the dinner.
The elder boys and girls had all some employ-
ment to which they were glad to give a couple of
quiet hours. Henry Stanley had his holiday task
to finish ; Arthur went to his turning lathe he
was making a little present for Matilda. It was
an invention of his own a broad ring of ebony
into which her music was to be slipped when
rolled up to take out in the evening. Caroline
practised a difficult sonata. William went into
the library to look at some curious books which
Mr. Percy had promised to show him. Ellen and I
helped Mrs. Percy to prepare her Christmas gifts
for the poor cottagers in the village ; and when
this was finished, Ellen sat down to work at a
flannel petticoat for her favourite, Susan Gray, her
" own old woman/' as she said. This petticoat
had been in hand for many a weary day ; it had
been bought out of Ellen's own money, and was
to be made by her own fingers. She had set her
heart upon finishing it this week, in order that
Susan might wear it when she went to church on
Christmas-day; but there was still a great deal to
24 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
be clone. I offered to help, but she wished to do
it all herself, so, finding I could be of no use, I
joined Mr. Percy and William in the library.
William had that morning received a letter
from his father, Mr. Harry Percy, saying that he
was just now detained in London by some busi-
ness, but that he hoped soon to make one of our
party; which was very good news for all of us as
well as William. The only drawback was that his
mamma could not come too, but she was an in-
valid, and did not like to leave home in the winter.
Mr. Harry Percy's occupations were chiefly
connected with antiquarian researches; and, from
hearing such subjects constantly discussed, Wil-
liam had acquired a great love for the same pur-
suits. He was a studious boy of fifteen, but,
having had delicate health, had never been sent to
school like his cousins Arthur and Henry, and had
therefore been more his father's companion than
is usual for boys of his age. I found him very
happy in the library, looking over illuminated
manuscripts with his uncle, Mr. Percy.
Some of my young readers have, perhaps,
never heard of illuminated manuscripts, and may
need an explanation of several things which were
familiar to William.
Before the invention of printing, all books were
copied in handwriting ; and from the length of
time necessary to write out a book, there were
not nearly so many in the world as there are
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 25
now. The people who had most time for writing
were the monks, who used to spend great part
of their lives in it. They copied the Bible, or
parts of the Bible, books of prayers, and his-
torical works. Their transcribing the Bible was
the wisest and most useful employment they
could have found; and their prayer-books, or
missals as they were called, contained many of
the prayers and collects which we use in our
liturgy at this very day ; but they also contained
prayers and ceremonies used in the worship of
saints ; and in the historical works were so many
false and foolish stories, that they did, it may be
feared, more harm than good to their readers.
As transcribers were obliged to spend so much
time and labour on their manuscripts, they natu-
rally grew very fond of them, and tried to make
them as beautiful as possible. They ornamented
them with gilding and pictures in the margins,
and invented curious capital letters, on which they
bestowed great pains. The pictures and initial
letters were called Illuminations, and books orna-
mented in this manner are said to be Illuminated.
These old works are sometimes very pretty,
and sometimes very grotesque. Mr. Percy had
several curious manuscripts, and I was as much
interested as William in looking at them. Pre-
sently William said he should like to copy one
of the illuminations. He worked for some time,
applying occasionally to Mr. Percy and me for
26 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
help, and had nearly finished one letter, when
we were interrupted by the entrance of Matilda
and the children to show the music ring which
Arthur had just finished and presented to her.
Matilda, who had just come from Paris, was a
lively, good-humoured girl, and a great favourite
with all her cousins except William; but he
thought her Frenchified, and did not patronise
her at all. She, however, cared nothing for his
dislike, and was just as fond of him as of the
others ; indeed, I often thought she took more
pains to please him than anybody, and that he
was in a fair way to change his mind about her.
She now came up to the table, and praised his
" But," said she, " Cousin William, I must
show you some most beautiful illuminations I
have brought from France ; I am sure you will
be enchanted with them."
So saying, she ran off, and presently returned,
bringing with her several sheets of note-paper
with Madame or Mademoiselle at the top in large
gilt letters, and covered with filagree, gold leaves,
silver birds, and blue and yellow flowers. Wil-
liam looked at them with as much contempt as
was civil, perhaps rather more.
" Are they not lovely ?" asked Matilda.
" I don't think so/' he answered rather gruffly ;
" they are mere French stuff."
" Do not you like my French note-paper,
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 27
Esther?" asked Matilda. " What is the fault
of it ?"
" I confess I do not much admire it" I replied ;
" the illuminations belong to no date, and have
nothing of the character of the old ones."
" See here !" said William ; " this is the real
He turned over several pages of the old ma-
nuscript before him, almost every paragraph of
which began with an illuminated capital. There
was a great A ingeniously contrived out of a dog
and a fish ; a tall, thin dog standing on his hind
legs made the thick or. right side of the A ; a fish
perched on its head the left : they were joined at
top by the dog's holding the fish's tail in his
mouth, while his fore-paws, reaching across, made
the bar of the A.
He showed us an S made out of two dragons,
with the tail of one in the mouth of the other ;
then an R made of a griffin entwined with a
snake. They were all brilliantly coloured, and
the dragons and griffins looked extremely fierce,
but none of us could resist laughing at such
" I wonder how they invented those strange
dragons and griffins," said Ellen. " Do you
think they really believed in them ?"
" Some of them did," answered her father.
" The monks lived shut up in their convents till
they knew very little of the world outside, and
28 HISTORICAL CHAEADES.
their heads ran upon all kinds of fancies, as we
see by the stories they invented."
" Do you know any of their stories, papa ?"
said Mary. " Oh, do tell us one."
" I have read a good many of them," he an-
swered. " What shall it be about ?"
" About a dragon, please," said little Edward.
" I like dragons."
" There was once," said Mr. Percy, addressing
himself particularly to Edward, " a monk who
was sadly idle and fond of change."
" In what century was this ?" interrupted
William, with his usual precision.
" In the sixth, I suppose," answered his uncle,
"for Gregory the Great tells the story. This
monk could not be contented without seeing a
little of the world, and was always beggiiig for
leave to go out. The abbot at last gave him per-
mission. The monk was scarcely outside the
gate, when the convent was alarmed by dreadful
screams, and cries of ' Run, run ! the dragon will
eat me up I' On running out, they found him
half dead with fear from the sight of a tremendous
" Were the other monks frightened at it ?"
" They did not see the dragon themselves ;
but they brought the monk back to the convent
quite cured of his love of seeing the world."
" How frightened they would have been at
real lions and tigers," said Edward.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 29
" They seem to have been rather fond of wild
beasts/' replied Mr. Percy, " though they had
some very odd notions of Natural History. They
thought that leopards, or pards as they called
them, became very fond of wine if they once
tasted it. The hunters, it was believed, used
to pour wine about on the ground near their
dens ; then the pards would come out and smell
it, and wish for more. Next day the hunter
put jars of wine in their way for them to drink
till they were quite tipsy. Then the pards
would play about till they were so tired they
were obliged to lie down and go to sleep, when
the hunter threw nets over them, and easily took
them alive. But now, let me show Matilda some
Mr. Percy opened a case in the library, and
took out of it a curiously carved box, and from
that a manuscript much better preserved than
the one AVilliam was studying.
" There," said he, " is a Psalter of Edward the
Third's time; look at these illuminations, Matilda,
and I think your natural taste will show you how
superior they are to the modern imitations."
He pointed out to her several initial letters,
showing the difference between the old illumina-
tions and the French imitations of them.
" These are nothing to some you might have
seen when you went into the Royal Library at
Paris," Mr. Percy continued ; " the margins are
ornamented with the most beautiful flowers, fruits,
30 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
and insects ; the butterflies quite rival life in their
" I wish I had seen them," she exclaimed ;
" but how is it, uncle, that the attempts of the
present day are inferior? Modern artists are
certainly above those of the Plantagenet times."
" Every age has excellences of its own," he
answered, " depending upon the circumstances of
the time. In those days there were compara-
tively few people who could read, and they were
generally rich, and able to buy expensive books
when they bought any at all. There were also
numbers of monks who could write, and who had
few other ways of employing themselves. The
result was, that they spent a great deal of time
upon the books they copied, and as one improved
upon another, they came at last to the beautiful
illuminations we so much admire."
" That only answers half my question. I see
why they should do them so well then, but not
why they should be unable to do the same now."
" The invention of printing made it no longer
worth while to copy books ; and fine writing, and
all the ornaments belonging to it, naturally fell
into disuse. Our artists have given their time
and thoughts to other lines of art, and when they
now and then try to imitate the productions of the
middle ages, they find they are altogether imbued
with the spirit of another time."
" But there are very expensive Bibles now,
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 31
papa," said Ellen. " The large picture Bibles
cost a great deal of money."
" There will always be a few expensive Bibles
published for rich people, who like to have them
in a beautiful form," her father replied ; " but the
greater number of our Bibles are happily required
to be within every one's reach, and there is no
reason for spending somuchlabour on what would
only lessen their circulation/*
" Those monks were very fine fellows," said
"William. " There is nothing like them or their
works now. I wish we could go back to the
" So that is what your love of black-letter has
come to ?" said Mr. Percy ; " but I am not sur-
prised, for wiser heads than yours have been
turned by it. But, pray, in what respect were
the monks superior to our clergymen ! And how
should we have been better off in that time ?"
"They spent all their lives in religion and
study, uncle. How useful their example must
have been to the rest of the country!"
" I am willing to allow this to the monks," said
Mr. Percy, " that they were the means of pre-
serving the Bible during many ages in which, as
far as we can see, it must otherwise have been
lost ; but with regard to their example, I believe,
William, that a whole convent of monks was of less
use to the neighbourhood than one hard-working
country clergyman of the present day. Your
32 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
uncle Howard, for instance, who spends his whole
life among his people, and mixes no superstitions
with the truths he teaches you would not
change him, with his kind wife and active
daughters, and the good they do, for any dozen
of monks shut up in their convent illuminating ?"
"Why, not exactly; but still I should like to
have lived at that time/' persisted William. " I
heard some people talking about it to papa and
mamma the other day. They said it was the
time of Poetry and Chivalry, and one of the
ladies said it was the age of Romance. I don't
know much about that, but I should have liked to
see the old people's ways, and how they lived."
"What did your father say to all that?"
asked Mr. Percy.
" Oh, he only laughed, and told one of the gen-
tlemen that he would have been a good warlike
baron, and the other a capital friar to preach a
crusade, and that the lady would have been a very
proper queen of a tournament. And then she
said she should like to live in a real baronial castle,
and that nobody could even build such castles
" To upset all that humbug, William," inter-
posed Arthur, "just think what wretched places
they were to live in ; cold, and dirty, and miser-
able. I am sure a good house like ours is much
" For instance," said Mr. Percy, " how would
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 33
you like rushes strewed on the floor instead of
carpets ? It was considered a piece of extreme
luxury in Thomas a Becket, that he ordered his
servants to cover the floor of his dining-room
with clean straw or hay every morning in winter,
and with fresh bulrushes or green boughs every
day in summer ; that any of the knights who
came to dine with him, and could not find room
on the benches, might dine comfortably on the
floor, without spoiling their fine clothes."
"\Ve all laughed at this, and Matilda said their
dinner parties must have been rather queer.
" They were certainly very different from our
ideas of a pleasant, well-arranged party," her
uncle answered ; " half the company sitting on
the floor, and all eating with their fingers."
" Had they no knives and forks ?" asked
Edward, in great surprise.
" They had knives, but no forks : fingers were
made long before forks, Edward."
" How did they amuse themselves at their
parties ?" Mary inquired.
" In rather a rough kind of way, I suspect.
Perhaps the master of the house might be called
out in the middle of dinner to fight with some
rifal baron, and of course the company would
think it polite to follow him : or, perhaps, they
might be arranging their own little duels. "When
Lord Wells was ambassador to Scotland from
Richard the Second, he was at a great banquet
34 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
given by some Scotch noblemen, and the com-
pany amused themselves by boasting of their own
bravery. The Scotch said they were infinitely
braver than the English, and the English said
they were far more valiant and chivalrous than
the Scotch ; and then they all gave instances,
and related stories of their own great deeds.
When the bragging was at its height, Lord Wells
rose, and said, ' Let words have no place : if you
know not the chivalry and valiant deeds of
Englishmen, appoint me a day and place where
you please, and you shall be taught by expe-
rience/ The Earl of Crawford immediately ac-
cepted the challenge, and appointed St. George's
day, politely leaving the choice of the place to
Lord Wells, who fixed upon London Bridge.
"Accordingly, next St. George's day, Lord
Crawford and his attendants came all the way
from Scotland, and Lord Wells and his retainers
mustered to meet him and fight it out in a
friendly way. They were both equally brave,
but Lord Crawford was much the biggest and
strongest, and I am sorry for the honour of
England, to be obliged to confess that he had the
best of the day. The two combatants rushed at
each other, and Lord Wells' spear was broken
on the helmet of Lord Crawford, who sat firm,
not even moved by the shock. The spectators,
who thought he must have been unhorsed by
such a blow, cried out that there was unfair play,
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 35
and that he was bound to the saddle. Upon that,
he showed them his saddle and stirrups, and
convinced them that he had had recourse to
nothing but his own skill and strength. He
then remounted, and they began to fight again.
This time Lord Wells was thrown, and a good
deal hurt. Lord,, Crawford immediately dis-
mounted, embraced him to show that their
quarrel had been all for love, conveyed him to
his home, and visited him every day till he was
" I like him for that," said Mary, " though I
am sorry he won : however, I think it was just
as brave of Lord Wells to fight with a person so
much stronger than himself, as it was of Lord
Crawford to conquer him."
" But, uncle," William remonstrated, " they
were not always fighting. They used to amuse
themselves with games : chess for one."
" They did ; and very quietly and genteelly
they used to play. W T hen King John was prince,
he was playing chess with Baron Fitzwarine, and
the baron won the game, which so enraged Prince
John, that he broke the baron's head with the
chess-board, and Fitzwarine in return gave him
a blow which almost killed him."
" I should not have liked to play with either of
them," said Lucy : " but John was so very bad ;
one might expect him to do anything. They
were not all like him."
36 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" No ; but they were most of them much in
the same line. ' Henry the Third of gracious
mien/ as Mary's Chronological Rhymes call him,
used to bully his courtiers in what we should
think a very unkingly manner, and they some-
times returned the compliment. One day he
Avas affronted with one of his barons, and called
him a traitor : the baron told the king he lied,
and that he never was nor would be a traitor.
' Moreover/ said he, I care not for your anger,
for by the law you can do me no harm.' ' Yes,
I can/ said the king ; ' I can thrash your corn
and sell it, and so humble you.'' If you do/
replied the baron, ' I will send you the heads of
your thrashers.' By this time, the others who
were present thought the quarrel had gone far
enough, so they interfered, and forced the king
and the baron to be friends."
" The Middle Ages would never have done for
Aunt Harriet," said Henry, " she is so nervous."
" I should say they would have done for her
in no time," cried Arthur. " Do you remember
how frightened she was the morning that the
strange dog bounced in at breakfast-time ? Why,
in the Middle Ages, one half of the company
might have cut the throats of the other half in
the middle of dinner, and nobody have minded it."
" It was not quite so bad as that, Arthur," said
his father, laughing; "but certainly the Middle
Ages would not have suited nervous ladies, nor
quiet elderly gentlemen. Both your Aunt Harriet
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 37
and I may be very glad that we did not live
" You are rather hard upon the old knights
and barons," I said. " You must allow they
were not all alike. Edward the Black Prince,
for instance where would you find a better
pattern of gentleness and courtesy ? always ready
to praise and honour others. Do you remember
his kindness to the wounded knight, Sir John
Audley, visiting him in his tent through all his
" I remember it well, and I am far from wish-
ing to disparage Edward the Black Prince, or
any like him. He was a model of all the qualities
that were considered characteristic of a good
knight : ' merry, true, loving, wise, prudent,
generous, brave, hardy, adventurous, and chi-
valrous/ All I maintain is, that there is nothing
for William to regret in the altered customs of
our own times/'
" Perhaps not," said William ; " only, uncle,
please not to make out that they did nothing
but fight. They were very fond of music. There
was Rees ap Griffith, King of South Wales, who
had a great feast one Christmas, and invited
everybody in England who chose to come ; and
to amuse them, he got together all the poets
and harpers in his kingdom to play and sing
" I remember the story," replied his uncle ;
" but the Welsh were famous for their music ;
38 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
all ranks practised it, and at that very feast the
principal nobles were found to be the best mu-
sicians. Afterwards, when Henry the Second
thought it proper to return Rees ap Griffith's
invitation, and to give him a feast at Oxford, he
found it impossible to get up a concert for him,
so he did his best to amuse him with eating and
drinking, and a little fighting ; and he made him-
self so agreeable, that they said the King of
England produced a pleasanter harmony in his
court by his good manners, than the King of
AVales by his good music."
" I should like to have been there," exclaimed
William. " I would rather have been at one of
their feasts, and seen the barons and their ladies,
than at all the tiresome parties people go to now."
" So would not I," said Arthur. " Remember
what grumpy old fellows those barons were, ty-
rannizing over their inferiors, and quarrelling
with their equals : and as for the beautiful ladies,
the queens of the tournament, if they were any-
thing like the pictures of them in those illumina-
tions, I should be very sorry to see Caroline or
Cousin Matilda go out such figures."
I confess I was rather inclined to take part
with William in his enthusiasm for former days ;
and I could not resist saying to Mr. Percy : " I
think you and Arthur are rather severe upon
those times. Surely those were the days of
romance and poetry : ours is but a matter-of-
fact, every-day kind of life in comparison."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 39
" I believe, Esther," lie replied, " that is a
mistaken notion ; the every-day life of one age
is the romance of another : the charm lies, not
in the times themselves, but in the looking back
" How do you mean, father ?" said Arthur.
" I do not understand you."
" I mean that the interest which we take in
former times depends less upon their actual merits
than upon their having passed away. The cus-
toms that appear so picturesque at the distance
of four or five centuries, would be common-place
enough if they composed our every-day life.
Suppose our own to have been the early age, and
your heroes and heroines to be living now, and
looking back to our times, what a golden age
this would seem to them : what wonderful tales
of magic would be made out of the inventions
and discoveries of the present day."
" I do not see what they could make into any-
thing that would sound like magic," said William.
" Do you not ? Cannot you imagine their
astonishment at a diving-bell or a balloon? If
the accounts of such things had come down to us
from former days, we should scarcely know how
to believe them. What would the old barons
have given to see the steam gun? or the ba-
ronesses the cloth of woven glass ? I think we
should have had them grumbling over their iron
times, and longing to return to the romance of
the nineteenth century."
40 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
The children, though silenced, did not appear
so much convinced by this argument as might
have been expected. Mr. Percy, however, said
no more, but appeared to be thinking of some-
thing which he did not choose to communicate
" After all/' said Mrs. Percy, who had a little
while before entered the room, " I do not believe
in unpoetical ages. Every time, and every com-
mon daily life has its own poetry,
" The dragon's wing, the magic ring,
I need not covet for my dower,
If I along life's lowly way,
With sympathetic heart may stray,
Ajid with a soul of power."
Our discussion ended here, for Mrs. Percy had
come to speak to Mr. Percy on some business, and
we adjourned to the schoolroom to settle our
charades for the evening.
" I think/' said Arthur, as we left the library,
" we might act an old baron's feast. Henry and
William and I could bring plenty of clean straw
from the stable, and spread it on the floor, and
we could sit round and eat our dinner, and after-
wards have a boxing-match."
I inquired if he proposed giving this enter-
tainment in the drawing-room, and he was forced
to confess that his mother might possibly object
to it. I told him that the straw and boughs
strewed on the floor in those days were called
Utter, and that his mother would certainly call,
it by that name now.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 41
CRUSADE Queen Eleanor of France Queen Eleanor of Eng-
land Old French Song St. Eloy Throne and desk made
by him Horsehair beards.
we arrived in the schoolroom, we made
a capital fire, and seated ourselves round it in
great comfort, prepared to debate the important
question, " What word shall we act ?"
CRUSADE? First scene: the crews of two
ships, wrecked, and meeting on a desert island.
Second scene : agreeing to help or aid each other,
and beginning to build huts, &c.
For Crusade, I found them what I thought
a very good story. Eleanor, Queen of France
(afterwards married to our Henry the Second),
chose to accompany her husband, Louis the
Seventh, to the crusade, with all her ladies.
They " took the cross," as it was called, and rode
on horseback all the way to Palestine. Nobody
can suppose that Queen Eleanor had any reli-
gious motive in her crusading, for she showed by
her behaviour afterwards that she had no religious
motives to influence her in anything : but at
that time she was young and spirited, and liked
" I am sure, so should I," interposed Lucy.
" I should like the riding and travelling well
42 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
enough," said Ellen ; " but not the fighting at
the end of it."
" The fighting would be the best part of the
fun," said Arthur ; " only unluckily it was not
fair : the crusaders had no right to go and at-
tack people who were living quietly in their
own country, and doing them no harm."
" But they thought it harm," Caroline argued ;
" they felt it very painful that infidels should
have possession of the Holy Sepulchre and so
many other places that Christians reverence."
" Still I think it was not fair," said Henry.
" What do you say about it, Aunt Esther ?"
" I agree with you and Arthur. After the
Saracens had been allowed to remain in quiet
possession of the country for many years, the
European Christians had no right to go to war
with them, in order to obtain it for themselves ;
though they should have joined at first with the
Greeks, in helping them to defend their own
"The good Queen Eleanor went to the cru-
sades, too," said Ellen.
" Yes ; but in a very different spirit from
Louis the Seventh's Queen. Edward the First's
Queen Eleanor went from affection to her hus-
band, and when told of the dangers of the
journey, she answered, 'Nothing must part them
whom God hath joined; and the way to heaven
is as near in the Holy Land as in England or
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 43
11 But to go on with my story. In the neigh-
bourhood of the French Queen's court there
were a number of young nobles who did not
choose to join the crusade. Some, perhaps, were
lazy, and some thought it wiser to stay at home
and take care of their own estates, than to go
into a distant country to fight for what did not
belong to them. But Queen Eleanor despised
them all for their want of spirit, and determined
to let them know it. So she and her ladies
collected a number of distaffs, and sent them
round as presents to all the men who had not
joined the crusade; thus hinting to them that
she considered them no better than women, and
only fit to sit at home and spin."
The girls thought they should like to act this,
and I proposed that they should be seen twisting
tow round long wooden knitting-pins, to imitate
preparing the distaffs with flax for spinning, and
then Edward as the Queen's page, take them to
the other boys, who would appear in the back-
ground, sleeping, eating, and occasionally yawn-
ing. But the boys did not approve of a scene
in which they thought they should be made
ridiculous, and they voted that we had had
enough of crusading last night with Richard and
VANDYKE would be something new. Van
a wagon arriving laden with goods, and the
porters unpacking and carrying them away. Two
44 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
great arm-chairs set back to back, and piled up
with cushions and cloaks, would make a good van,
with six or eight children on all-fours for horses.
Dyke An interrupted row of chairs, represent-
ing a dyke in Holland, broken down : the burgo-
masters consulting how to repair it.
Vandyke the great painter, employed in
taking the portraits of Charles I. and Queen
Henrietta. Henry had seen the real picture in
Windsor Castle, and could group the actors like
it. This promised well, and was nearly agreed
upon, when Mary exclaimed " Oh, do have
something that shall take us all in ! please find
something for the little ones to do."
"Very true/' said Henry; "it is hard you
should not have your share. But are there any
words that will allow of so many actors ?"
I proposed several ; and we finally agreed upon
MARTEL, RESTORATION, BONAPARTE, MILTON,
ROBIN HOOD, and CHARLEMAGNE. There was
a question about Robin Hood, on account of its
being two words, but the objection was over-
ruled by the little ones, who wished to act the
foresters. The boys produced their bows and
arrows which had been put away for the winter ;
and we made green jackets out of the lining of
some old curtains which Mrs. Percy gave us,
and a crown with gilt paper and pasteboard for
Charlemagne and Charles the Second.
A difficulty now arose about Charlemagne's
throne : he probably had never anything grander
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 45
than an oak chair; and the crimson drapery
thrown over the chiffonier, which would make the
back of a splendid throne for Charles II., would
be quite out of character for his greater name-
sake. AVilliam said, that in his fathers hall
there were several curious carved oak chairs and
settles ; but his father's house was a long way
off, and Mr. Percy had nothing of the kind. In
this dilemma, Arthur luckily remembered an old
French song about another French king, who had
a green arm-chair :
' ' Le grand roi Dagobert
Avail un fauteuil vert :
Le bon Saint Eloi disait, mon roi !
Votre fauteuii vert est rong des vers.'
' He bien, ' lui dit le roi,
' Ils feront autant de toi.' "
" Now," said Arthur, " if Dagobert had a good
green arm-chair, Charlemagne may have had a
better, as he came later, so I vote for our taking
one out of the library."
" What does that French mean, Arthur ?"
asked Mary, who was no great scholar.
" This kind of thing," he answered :
" The great King Dagobert,
He sat in a green arm-chair.
Said the good Eligius, ' O my King !
I'm sorry to say a painful thing :
But your furniture grows the worse for wear,
And the worms are eating your green arrn-chair.'
' I know,' said the King; ' it's perfectly true;
And one day they'll do the same by you.' "
" Do you, who are so fond of stories, know the
story of St. Eloy, Mary ?" I asked.
46 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" I am sure / do not," said Arthur. " Was
there ever such a person really ?"
" To be sure there was. He was bishop of
Noyon, in France, about the middle of the seventh
century, and a very good man. He was a sort
of missionary to the Pagans in his own country,
and through his preaching numbers renounced
idolatry. But the story I was going to tell Mary,
I think, is perhaps the foundation of your song.
King Dagobert took it into his head to have a
chair made of some particular pattern of his own
invention, but he never could find any workman
who understood what he meant, or would un-
dertake to make it. Just at that time a young
goldsmith, named Eloy, came to the place where
the king held his court. t In those days people
travelled about to perfect themselves in their
trades by seeing foreign workmen, or to get work
for themselves. The trade of a goldsmith was
always very respectable, as he was chiefly em-
ployed by kings and great men. Eloy was such
a capital workman that the king's treasurer took
notice of him, and thought it might be worth
while to consult him about this chair that the
king had set his heart upon. To his great satis-
faction he found that Eloy understood the plan,
and would undertake to execute it. So the trea-
surer told the king; and the king was delighted,
and ordered the materials to be given to Eloy,
with plenty of gold to make the throne magnifi-
cent. Eloy set to work, and was so clever, and
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 47
so honest, and careful not to waste any of the
materials, that out of what had heen given him to
make one chair, he made two. When they were
finished, he showed one to the king, who was
quite satisfied, and praised him very much, and
ordered him to be rewarded. But when Eloy
produced his other chair, saying that he had
thought it better to make up what was over than
to waste it, the king was so surprised that lie
could scarcely believe his own eyes."
" I dare say," interrupted Mary, " he had been
used to a great deal of cheating from his other
" Very likely; but when he found that Eloy
had really made two handsome chairs instead of
one, he took him into favour and confidence,
and Eloy became a great man."
" I wonder what the pattern was, and what
Eloy's chairs were like," said Ellen.
" There is an old chair in the Paris Library,"
I answered, " called the throne of Dagobert ; the
French believe it belonged to him, and they sing
Arthur's song about it."
" Have you really seen it, Aunt Esther ? and
is it very beautiful ?"
" I have seen it, but I cannot say it is very
beautiful. It is a high straight-backed old oak
chair, which looks as if it might very well have
belonged to that time."
" Perhaps," said Mary, " that was the old one,
and Dagobert gave it up when Eloy made him a
48 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
better. But do, Aunt Esther, tell me more about
Eloy ; what did be do when the king made him
a great man ? Did he go on being a goldsmith ?"
" Yes ; he was very industrious at his business,
and taught it to many others : but he used to
study a great deal besides, and generally had a
book open before him while he was at work. He
made a contrivance which Arthur would have
liked; he had before him a desk that turned
round and round upon a pivot, with books open
upon it, so that whenever he wished to look at
any book, he had only to give his desk a turn,
and the book he wanted came opposite to him
without his leaving his work."
" That was ingenious enough," said Arthur.
" Do you know anything more about him ?"
" I know that he spent a great deal of money
in releasing slaves. Whenever he heard that any
slaves were to be sold, he used to go and buy as
many as he could, and set them free. If they
wished to go home, he gave them money for their
journey ; but many liked best to stay and be his
servants, and those he treated quite like friends.
Some chose to become monks, and these he
established in a beautiful monastery which he
had built and endowed. At last he was made a
bishop, and from that time spent the rest of his
life in preaching to the heathen. But let us
finish settling our characters."
I now thought it necessary to give them a hint
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 49
of a misfortune that had occurred the night before,
but which the spectators had been too polite to
notice. While Saladin was reading his letter, a
fly settled on Ellen's cheek, and in putting up
her hand to drive it away, she smeared her
mustachios over her face, so that she looked more
like a half-washed chimney-sweeper than a proper
attendant on the magnificent sultan. I thought
it would be best for the future to do without
burnt cork. But they all exclaimed that it was
quite impossible to act without whiskers and
mustachios : the young ladies, especially, were
so decided upon the point that we were obliged
to set to work upon some new contrivance for
them. After many experiments we found that
horse-hair would make not only whiskers, but
entire beards. We had some difficulty in fasten-
ing them on, until we bethought ourselves of
elastic sandal riband, which completely answered
We now wanted a grey beard for an old man.
This was made out of tow from Arthur's work-
shop. We drew it out into long locks, and sewed
them to a piece of tape which could be tied
round the face : this made a very venerable beard,
reaching halfway down to William's waist.
As matters seemed now all in train, I returned
to the grown-up people, and saw no more of the
children till the evening ; but they were still a
long time completing their arrangements.
50 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
RESTORATION MARTEL The Rois faineans ROBIN HOOD
Cobra capella Indian snake-charmers.
As soon as we were re-assembled in the drawing-
room after dinner, the performances began.
First scene. A party of Swiss peasants return-
ing home after their day's work.
They were received at the doors of their homes
by their wives and children, who gave them seats
to rest upon, and brought them refreshments.
While they were enjoying the cool of the evening,
such of the party as could sing, joined in the
chorus of the Tyrolese evening song :
" Come, come, come !
Come to the sunset tree,
The day is past and gone,
The woodman's axe lies free,
And the reaper's work is done.
The twilight star to heaven,
And the summer dew to flowers,
And rest to us is given
By the cool soft evening hours.
Come, come, come!"
The second scene included the whole company
of actors, dressed like ladies and gentlemen ; that
is to say, some of the boys put on bonnets and
petticoats, and took bags and parasols in their
hands ; and the girls wore hats and great-coats
with walking-sticks and umbrellas. One or two
old gentlemen had snuff-boxes ; and some delicate
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 51
ladies fans and smelling-bottles. Thus attired,
they were to represent a Public Meeting, at
which Arthur was expected to make an Oration.
He had a large wig, a false nose which he had
brought home from school, and very respectable
The company entered and took their places,
talking to each other about the celebrated orator,
Mr. Splutterham. At the farther end of the
room appeared Arthur, who took his seat amidst
loud and repeated cheers. He rose and bowed
respectfully to the company, and silence being
obtained, he addressed the meeting.
His subject was the great antiquity and dignity
of charades, and he made a very grand speech full
of learning which he had borrowed from his school
books. He compared our charades, acted without
scenery, and almost impromptu, to the ancient per-
formances of Thespis in his cart ; our burnt cork
to the dark lees of the grapes, with which the first
actors daubed their faces ; and he favoured us with
a violent compliment, declaring us far superior in
matters of taste to Solon, because we applauded
the charades, whereas Solon disapproved of
Thespis and his choruses. Having thus proved
the antiquity of charades, he proceeded to infer
their superiority to the regular drama, in a man-
ner highly convincing to the younger part of his
audience; and the orator finished his speech
amidst a most encouraging uproar of clapping of
52 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
hands, stamping of feet, and violent knocking on
the floor with all the sticks and umbrellas ; though
among the general admiration, an allusion to
" Lempriere's Classical Dictionary " was distinctly
heard to fall from Mr. Percy.
Scene the third. The RESTORATION and
Coronation of Charles the Second.
A red shawl and ermine boa made his royal
robes ; his courtiers stood around him, and Henry
in a white sheet, for an archbishop in his surplice,
placed the crown on the king's head. He ascended
the throne, and all the company shouted " Long
live King Charles the Second \" Arthur then
came forward as the poet Dryden, and, kneeling,
presented his complimentary ode. The king ac-
cepted it graciously, but, having read it, he said
to Dryden, " You made a better ode than this
" Sire," answered Dryden, " we poets succeed
better in fiction than in truth."
MAKTEL. The only meaning we could find
for MAR was that of spoiling or marring a piece
of work. It was not a very good scene, and we got
through it quickly. Caroline sat working at her
frame for a little while, and presently complained
that the pattern was difficult ; that she had made
so many mistakes that her work was quite spoilt
and not worth finishing ; and she would cut it out
and throw it away. The spectators were not able
to guess this syllable till the second was acted.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 53
TEL. The costumes now required were those
of Swiss peasants. The boys had pointed hats
made of pasteboard, with coloured calico cut into
strips for ribands. The girls wore aprons, hand-
kerchiefs pinned over their shoulders, and their
brothers' summer straw hats put on very much
on one side.
The children had at first composed this scene
for themselves, and it may be imagined what a
fierce Gesler, and what a grand "William. Tell they
had arranged. Arthur had practised frowning
for Gesler till he looked as if he would never be-
come good-tempered again. The tyrant's hat was
to hang on the pole of a fire-screen, guarded by
two soldiers ; and the peasants were to walk past,
bowing with great humility. Tell was to enter the
room, looking at the hat with indignant contempt,
and of course not condescending to pay the
slightest respect to it. The soldiers were then
to arrest him, and detain him prisoner till Gesler
should stalk in, frowning at every step, and stop-
ping now and then to kick any peasant who
happened to be in his way. Then was to follow
a dialogue between the insolent Gesler and the
dignified Tell, and the cruel sentence was to be
passed, commanding the hero to shoot at an
apple placed on the head of his only son.
But the story was so hackneyed, and every de-
tail so familiar to the youngest child, that I per-
suaded them to give up acting it at full length,
54 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
and merely to represent, in dumb show, the point
of greatest interest.
The performers were therefore put into proper
positions behind the folding screen, Gesler's hat
hung as at first proposed, and little Edward, as
Tell's son, was bound to the pole with an apple
on his head. William Tell placed himself in
the act of drawing his bow and taking aim at
the apple ; the rest of the peasants were in diffe-
rent attitudes of horror and alarm : one clasping
her bauds, and looking intently at the child ; one
hiding her face; one clenching his fist and looking
over his shoulder at the tyrant, while Gesler him-
self stood leaning against the piano -forte, with
his arms folded, and a scowl on his face.
When all was ready, I cautioned them to
remain perfectly still, and withdrew the screen.
In this manner they formed a tableau for about
half a minute, and when they could 110 longer
keep steady, I replaced the screen. The company
found no difficulty in guessing the meaning, and
the name of the Swiss hero resounded on all sides.
Third scene. In the early times of France,
that is to say, in the seventh and eighth centuries,
there reigned several kings who were so idle and
worthless, that they are known in history by the
name of les Rois Jaineans the Sluggard Kings.
They spent their time in feasting and amusing
themselves, and left the business of the kingdom
to the prime minister, who was called Mayor of
the Palace. Some of the mayors were ambitious
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 55
men, and anxious to become kings themselves, and
they were very tyrannical to the unlucky Sluggard
in whose name they governed, keeping him almost
a prisoner in his own palace. They were obliged,
now and then, to bring him out, in order to show
the people that he was alive; and at those times
they used to have grand processions, in which they
exhibited the king in full dress, like a great doll;
and, when the pageant was over, took him back to
his palace. Some of these mayors were in other re-
spects good rulers, and did all in their power for the
advantage of the country. The greatest of them,
Charles Martel, defeated the Saracens, who were
then making war upon France, and governed the
country so well, that the people would gladly have
made him king; but he refused the crown, and con-
tented himself with the title of Duke of France.
"VVe represented this scene in another silent
In the background were seen the sluggard king
and three of his companions, asleep round a table
at which they had been feasting. The king was
leaning back in a chair, with his crown on his
head, his eyes shut, and his mouth wide open.
Two of the companions were sitting with their
heads resting on the table, and the third was lying
on the floor. In the front of the picture stood
Charles Martel, with three persons kneeling before
him, and offering him a crown ; he putting it away
from him with one hand, pointed with the other
to the king as the lawful possessor.
56 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
This answered very well, and, by careful ar-
rangement of the lights, had a picturesque effect;
but I had great difficulty in persuading the king
and his companions not to snore : Arthur thought
snoring would be an immense improvement, but
I succeeded at last in convincing them that, as
they intended to imitate a picture, any sound or
movement would be fatal to the effect.
Now came on ROBIN HOOD.
There had been great difficulty in deciding how
to act ROBIN. Lucy proposed bringing in a tame
bird, and showing it to the company; but the only
bird in the house was Caroline's canary bird, and
nobody could be expected to understand that a
canary was meant for a robin. Caroline advised
that Henry, dressed as an old gardener, should
draw little Edward across the room in a chair, in
hopes of reminding the spectators of Cowper's lines :
" And where the gardener Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capt," &c.
But this would not be clear, as the gardener
Robin was not really the principal person to whom
the lines referred; and the company might guess
coach or child, quite as well as Robin. Still we
agreed that some reference 1o poetry would be
our most likely way of indicating the word, and
we finally acted it in the following manner.
Caroline came into the room, accompanied by
Ellen, with a plate in her hand.
Caroline. " Now, sister, let us feed the birds.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 57
I hope you have plenty of crumbs for them, this
Ellen. " Yes ; here is a good plateful. But I
hope we shall have some other visitors besides
sparrows. Oh, there is our pretty favourite ; how
tame and confiding he is!"
Caroline. " Art thou the bird whom man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin ?
The bird that comes about our doors
When autumn winds are sobbing?"
"Very well/ 5 said Mr. Percy; "but why did
you leave out the rest of the stanza ?
' ' Art thou the Peter of Norway boors ?
Their Thomas in Finland,
And Russia far inland ?
The bird who, by some name or other,
All men who know thee call their brother,
The darling of children and men ?"
" Because, papa, we could not understand it,"
Ellen replied. " What does 'the Peter of Nor-
way boors, and Thomas in Finland' mean?"
" Peter and Thomas are the human names
given to the bird in Norway and Finland, as
Robin is in England. It is a friendly way of
speaking of him, as he is a universal favourite; and
there are also other birds called by the names of
men and women. Cannot you think of them?"
"Yes, to be sure; there is Tom Tit," said Ellen.
"And Jack Daw," cried Arthur.
"And Poll Parrot," said Edward.
"And you may add Jenny Wren," said Mr.
Percy. " Now go on to your next scene."
58 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Scene the second. HOOD. This had been
difficult to arrange. Lord Hood's naval victories
were impossible to manage, though Arthur was
very anxious to give orders from the quarter-deck
through a speaking trumpet, and had been in the
morning practising with the coachman, to the
great alarm of the horses. After repeatedly giving
the order for closer action in the drawing-room, he
had been successively banished to the schoolroom,
the servants' hall, and the stables, where he finally
established himself over the trapdoor of the hay-
loft, which served him for a main hatchway.
Little Red Riding Hood was despised as too
silly. Henry said that as people were fond of
poetry, he should like to introduce his favourite
poet Thomas Hood, and his " Schoolboy Recol-
" The meeting sweet that made me thrill,
The sweetmeats that were sweeter still,
No satis to the jams."
But at last the actors resolved upon the Cobra
capella, or hooded snake of India, who always
shows his hood when he is going to bite. It was
rather far-fetched, but we could think of nothing
better, and Henry had heard a good deal about
snakes and snake-charmers from an Indian friend
of his father's, and liked the subject.
Several of the children were arranged as a party
of English ladies and gentlemen in India, sitting
in their verandah, with servants in oriental cos-
tume fanning them.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 59
Enter Henry as a snake-charmer, coming to
exhibit his art. His snake was made of a coil of
wire, sewed up in a tight-fitting case of speckled
green silk, wide at the head to represent the hood.
It was coiled round, and shut down in a basket,
so that when the lid was taken off, the snake
started up suddenly like a jack in the box. This
was one of Arthur's contrivances, and it answered
extremely well. Henry shook the basket a little,
and the coil of wire waved from side to side like
a snake dancing.
William. " Look, now he is making it dance."
Ellen (who was supposed to be a young lady
lately arrived from Europe). " But is that really
a Cobra ? How do you know ?"
William. " It is certainly a Cobra. Look at its
head : do you see ho\v it has spread out the skin ?
That is called its hood, and when that is spread
Ave know that the snake is angry and going to bite."
Ellen. " Is there no danger of its hurting any-
William. " No, the charmer can manage it.
But that will do for the present. Take it away."
Henry made salaam to everybody, shut down
his snake in its basket, and retired.
Third scene. ROBIN HOOD and all his atten-
dants came through the room, dressed in green,
and carrying bows and arrows : Robin Hood him-
self being provided with the old post-horn that
hung up in the hall. They sang in chorus !
60 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Merry it is in good green wood
When the mavis and merle are singing ;
When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry,
And the hunter's horn is ringing."
This scene included all the children ; for the
train in constant attendance on Robin Hood
furnished a character for everybody.
" Bold Robin Hood and all his band,
Friar Tuck with quarter-staff and cowl,
Old Scathelock with his surly scowl,
Maid Marian, fair as ivory bone,
Scarlet, and Mutch, and Little John."
They acted the common story of Robin Hood
and his band robbing a bishop and giving the
money to a beggar.
Robin Hood had scarcely finished being gene-
rous with his stolen goods when tea was brought
in, and our acting stopped for a time.
Many questions were now asked about the snake-
charmers. "I wonder/' said Mary, "whether those
stories of charming the snakes are true."
" / wonder how they do it," exclaimed Henry.
"The stories are true enough, are they not, father?"
"Quite true," replied Mr. Stanley. "Mr. Mer-
ton told me that when he was in India, the
snake-charmers sometimes brought him eight or
ten cobra capellas at a time, and one man could
manage them all."
" Oh, papa," exclaimed Lucy, " do you remem-
ber Mr. Merton's story about the monkey ?"
" What monkey ?"
" I recollect now you were not there when he
told Henry and me about it. A snake-charmer
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 61
brought a cobra in one basket, and a little monkey,
dressed up like an old woman, in another; and put
them out on the floor. Then he made the snake
dance, and every now and then told the monkey
to kiss it ; so she took hold of its hood with her
two paws, and put her face close to it ; then the
cobra darted forward with a hiss; f-i-t-ch ! like a
cat quarrelling with a dog. It could not really
hurt, because its poison had been taken out; but
the poor monkey did not like it, and jumped away,
chattering and scolding, and wiping her face with
her paws, and looking very much disgusted. Mr.
Merton said he could not help laughing at it,
though he did not like to have it teased."
" How do they gain such power over the
snakes ?" Ellen asked.
" By long practice ;" her uncle replied : " the
trade descends from father to son, and they begin
when children, going out with their fathers and
learning to catch harmless snakes, till at last they
become so expert that they can seize the most
venomous without danger."
" How do they take out the poison?"
" They grasp the snake by the neck, and
squeeze it till it opens its mouth, and the poison
drops out of the fang. They collect this very
carefully, and make pills of it. It is one of their
" How very nasty !" said Ellen. " I am glad
we have not to take such physic as that."
" Other people besides the Hindoos have learnt
62 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
to catch venomous snakes/' said Mrs. Percy. "The
Moravian missionaries in the Nicobar Islands used
to be as clever in that line as any snake-charmers;
but their method was to take a piece of red cloth,
and wave it before the snake, who immediately
darted at it. The person who held it dragged it
back with a jerk which drew the snake's tooth.
Before it had time to recover, he slipped his hand
up its back, and grasped it firmly by the neck,
so that it could not escape."
" English snakes are easily caught, and not
poisonous '" said Arthur. " A boy at school told
me he had kept one quite tame in his room at
home for a long time. I wish we could catch one
and tame it."
" I beg you will do no such thing," exclaimed
his mother ; "there are plenty of pets in the world
without taming snakes."
" They are not amiable, indeed, Arthur," said
Mr. Stanley. " I kept one for a little while, when
I was a boy ; but it used to stand up on its tail
and hiss at me, and I soon grew tired of it."
The conversation was here interrupted by a loud
ring at the house-bell.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 63
Arrival of Uncle Harry Words for acting Anecdotes of
Henry III., Robert of Normandy, William Rufus Box.v-
THE only one of our Christmas party not yet
arrived, was Mr. Harry Percy, William's father ;
and he was anxiously expected, for " Uncle
Harry" was the particular favourite of all his
nephews and nieces. To our great delight, it
proved that the ring we had heard was to an-
nounce his arrival ; and in he walked : a day
sooner than was expected. He had had a very
cold drive from London, so we gave him the
warmest corner by the fire, and plenty of tea,
and made him as comfortable as possible; and
Ellen jumped up on his lap, and threw her arms
round his neck, and said, " Oh, my darling uncle,
how glad I am to see you ! We thought you
could not come till to-morrow."
" I thought so too," he answered ; " but I
found I could get off this afternoon, and your
Aunt Laura insisted on my coming, for she knows
how glad I am to have an extra day with you ;
and her mother and sister are staying with her,
so she will not be lonely."
He then gave William a letter from his mother,
and we all began inquiring after her, for it was
64 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
a great disappointment that she could not be with
us ; and after that, we told him everything that
we had done since we had seen him last; and
the children described their amusements at great
length, particularly the Charades. Uncle Harry
entered into everything, and suggested a great
many words for our acting. Rebel-Lion ; Tudor,
Two-Door ; Shake-Spear ; Wolsey, Wool-Sea ;
Huguenot, Hew-Go-not : Car-Din-all ; Penelope,
Pen-Elope; Cressy, Cress-Sigh; Becket, Beck-
Eat or Ate ; Montague.
" Montague would be capital," exclaimed Ar-
thur, " because of Ague. How we would shake \"
But we were obliged to stop Uncle Harry's
suggestions, for if he continued telling the words
to everybody, of course we could not act them
Henry said Thomas k Becket would be a very
good word, because they should like to act his
murder. The boys had always a great love for
stabbing scenes, but the girls objected to them,
as " too horrid ;" and Caroline reminded us of
another story about the archbishop, in her opinion
much fitter for play.
One day King Henry the Second and Thomas
a Becket were riding together, the king in his
common dress, and the archbishop in a very fine
scarlet mantle lined with ermine. A poor man
in the road asked charity.
" Do not you think, my lord bishop," said the
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 65
king, " that it would be a good act to give that
poor beggar a mantle to keep him warm ?"
"A very good act indeed/' answered the
archbishop, " and worthy of your grace."
" Here then, friend/' cried the king, seizing
Becket's own mantle to give to the beggar.
Becket fought for his cloak, and he and the
king had a regular struggle ; but the king got
the better, and the beggar got the cloak.
" Here is another story about cloaks for you,"
said Uncle Harry ; " and you might act this if
" Robert, Duke of Normandy, father of William
the Conqueror, was so celebrated for his manners
and ready wit, that it was thought impossible to
put him off his guard, and that in any company,
or under any circumstances, he would be sure to
say and do exactly the right thing. Once when
he Avas travelling through Constantinople, he and
his attendants were invited to dine with the
Greek emperor, and accepted the invitation with
their usual courtesy. But the emperor had
heard the fame of Robert's manners, and was
determined to put them to the test ; in fact, he
had given the invitation for the express purpose
of trying how so polished a person would behave
under disagreeable circumstances : he contrived,
therefore, that when Robert and his Normans
entered the banqueting hall, they should find all
the seats occupied, and no places left for them."
66 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" How very rude," said Lucy. " If I had been
Robert, I would have walked out again."
" I dare say you would, and so would many
people; but Robert gave them a better reproof.
He and his attendants took no notice of the
emperor's incivility, but quietly unfastened their
cloaks, folded them up, laid them on the floor,
and seated themselves upon them. There they
remained all dinner-time, in perfect good humour,
eating whatever was given them, enjoying them-
selves extremely, entering into all that went on,
and making themselves so agreeable, that they
were the life and spirit of the party. When the
banquet was over, they took leave very grace-
fully, and walked out of the room, leaving their
cloaks, which were of great value, on the floor.
The emperor, much surprised, sent one of his
courtiers to beg they would put them on. Duke
Robert turned to the messenger with a very
polite bow, and ans\vered : ' Go, tell your master
that it is not the custom of the Normans to carry
about with them the seats that they use at an
" Well done !" said Arthur. " I hope the
emperor was ashamed of himself."
" I think he must have been," said Mary.
" But, Uncle Harry, how much do you think
their cloaks cost ?"
" I do not know how much those particular
ones cost ; but expensive cloaks were the fashion.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 67
Henry the First had one worth a hundred
pounds that is, fifteen hundred pounds of our
money; and Richard Coeur- de-Lion had another
still dearer, ornamented all over with silver stars
and half moons."
" After all," observed Mrs. Mortimer, " I -dare
say we should think those expensive cloaks coarse
" Very likely," he answered. " I need not tell
a lady fresh from Paris that the price of dress
depends chiefly on fashion and fancy. William
llufus refused to buy a cheap pair of stockings,
because he said it was beneath his dignity to wear
any that cost less than ten pounds : so they
brought him back the same pair at ten pounds,
and he said, ' Ah, this is right this is serving
me like a king;' and bought them very con-
" But now I want to see some of these famous
charades : there will be time for one or two be-
fore you go to bed, if you dress quickly."
The children scampered away, but, as is usu-
ally the case, they were all the slower for being
in a hurry ; and they were a long time settling
\vhether they should give up Milton or Bona-
parte, as there would not be time for both. At
last they decided upon retaining Milton, though
with some regret, for Bonaparte had great capa-
bilities viz., first, Henry and Arthur- as two
dogs quarrelling over a Bone. That would have
68 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
allowed of fine snarling, growling, and barking.
Then, a Party would have included the whole
company of actors : some to be " at home/'
others to arrive as company ; and there would
have been curtseys, and politenesses, and grown-
up conversation about politics and polkas, wisdom
and worsted work.
Bonaparte would have been acted by Henry in
a grey great coat, with his arms folded in the
true Napoleon attitude, standing on the sea shore
at St. Helena, while Caroline was to have re-
peated at a distance, just to direct the attention
of the spectators :
' ' Then haste thee to thy sullen isle,
And gaze upon the sea ;
That element may meet thy smile,
It ne'er was ruled by thee :
Or trace with thine all idle hand,
In loitering mood, upon the sand,
That earth is now as free."
It would have had a fine effect, no doubt;
but there was not time for it, and they deter-
mined upon Milton.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 69
MILTON Quotations from "Paradise Lost" CHAELEMAGXE
Invention of Clocks Henry the First's menagerie Ancient
prices Watch supposed to have belonged to Robert Bruce.
MILTON. Here had been a puzzle. There were
wind mills, water mills, steam mills, powder
mills, chocolate mills, paper mills, tread mills,
corn mills, cofiee mills, cotton mills, Mr. Alfred
Mills, who wrote a tiny history of England for
children twenty years ago, and Professor Mill,
the great Oriental scholar of the present day.
Which should they have ? " Plenty of choice,"
as Arthur observed. " L'embarras des richesses,"
said Lucy, who was fond of picking up French
phrases from Matilda. They fixed upon Don
Quixote doing battle with the windmill, which he
took for a giant.
It was well acted. Henry, as Don Quixote,
was solemn, grand, and valorous, and his bom-
bastic speeches to the imaginary giant were ex-
tremely fine ; but nobody could guess it. Mrs.
Percy suggested Giant, Mr. Stanley, Quixote,
Uncle Harry guessed Don, being a word of one
syllable ; somebody mentioned Windmill, but no
one thought of Mill, so they were left in suspense
till the next scene.
TON . Arthur as a fashionable gentleman, very
70 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
fine and affected, giving himself all kinds of
His mother guessed the word directly, but told
him she hoped he meant it for mauvais ton, be-
cause really well-bred people never give them-
selves any airs at all.
MILTON. William as Milton in his blindness,
dictating the Paradise Lost to his two daughters.
Lucy arid Ellen sat at a table near him, writing,
while he dictated the following passage :
. . . " Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine ;
But cloud instead, and ever- during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the Book of Knowledge fail-
Presented with an universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And Wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
This scene went off very successfully and
smoothly at the time, though it had occasioned
a great deal of discussion in the morning. The
point in dispute had been what passage of Milton
to choose. Caroline wished for the Spirit's soli-
loquy at the end of Comus ; Ellen for some part
of the Allegro ; particularly the description of the
lark bidding good-morrow through the sweet briar
at the window : but the Comus, and the Allegro
and Penseroso were written before Milton was
blind, so that either the dictation scene must be
given up, or we must have recourse to the Paradise
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 71
Lost. Paradise Lost was accordingly produced
from Caroline's book-shelves, and she and I read
aloud to the children our favourite passages, or
discovered some one hitherto unremarked, and
wondered how we could have passed over lines so
The selection occupied a long time, for Milton,
once opened, can scarcely be closed again by young
or old. Besides, there was another difficulty :
AVilliam had very little time to learn the passage,
and would not undertake more than a dozen lines.
Arthur proposed, rather mischievously, the de-
scription of the monks in the Limbo of Vanity :
" Eremites and friars,
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery.
And they who, to be sure of Paradise,
Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd.
A violent cross wind from either coast
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues away
Into the devious air ; then might ye see
Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost
And flutter'd into rags ; then reliques, beads,
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
The sport of winds."
But William would not learn anything against
his favourite monks ; he owned, looking rather
ashamed, that he could not stand up for " reliques,
beads, indulgences," or any such "trumpery," but
still he did not like to repeat a whole passage
Caroline would have liked one of Eve's
72 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
speeches, particularly part of her lamentation on
quitting Eden :
" Must I thus leave thee, Paradise! thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of Gods ! where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must he mortal to us both? flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At e'en, which I bred up with tender hand,
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names,
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount ?"
The others said Caroline chose this passage
because she was fond of her own garden ; and
William finally decided upon the one already
given, which had the advantage of explaining the
The next charade was soon ready.
Scene the first. There was no avoiding the
word this time. " Welcome to Charlie" was
sung in full chorus.
Scene the second. Balboa and his followers
crossing the ridge of mountains on the isthmus
of Darien, and first catching sight of the Main
This was acted entirely in dumb show. Balboa
and his Spanish followers were dressed in short
cloaks, with swords and mustachios. Arthur, as
their Indian guide, in a blanket, and with a
splendid head-dress of peacock's feathers stuck
round his head like a shuttlecock. All the lights
in the room were extinguished, except one table-
lamp, which I undertook to manage.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 73
The door opened, and the Indian entered, show-
ing the Spaniards the way. I turned the lamp
down slowly to represent night coming on, and
when it grew nearly dark, the adventurers laid
themselves on the ground wrapped in their cloaks,
and went to sleep.
In course of time the light began to re-appear,
and when day was breaking, Balboa started to his
feet, and gently woke the guide, and they silently
picked their way among their sleeping comrades,
whose arms and dresses strewed the ground.
The two now set out for a further journey
across the room, and were evidently ascending a
rugged mountain, for they had to climb over
chairs, and turn round to help each other. At
last they reached the top of the sofa, when the
guide suddenly pointed to the distance, striking
out with his arms as if swimming, to indicate sea.
Balboa, after enjoying in silence the first view of
the distant Main, pointed to his sleeping comrades,
and the guide went back to fetch them. When
they arrived at the top, they all took off their
caps, drew their swords, and held them out
towards the sea, to show that they took posses-
sion of it in the name of the King of Spain.
CHARLEMAGNE. The ambassadors of the
Caliph Haroun Alraschid bringing to Charle-
magne a present of a striking clock, the first that
had been seen in Fran.ce. Charlemagne sat in
state in the arm-chair surrounded by his courtiers
74 'HISTORICAL CHARADES.
in old French costume, or at least as much of it
as we could manage ; clogs to imitate wooden
shoes, long mantles and boas : with which the
Oriental dresses of the Caliph's ambassadors made
a picturesque contrast.
We had been careful to collect all the fur boas
and tippets in the house, because furs were par-
ticularly the fashion at the court of Charlemagne,
and though his young noblemen could only boast
of wooden shoes, like the sabots French peasants
wear at the present day, they were very particular
about the beauty of their mantles. Charlemagne
liked them to be well-dressed on all state occa-
sions, but at other times he discouraged finery.
One day, a number of them appeared at court in
gay silk robes, lined and trimmed with valuable
furs. Charlemagne did not at all approve of this
costume, but he took no notice, and ordered them
immediately to go out hunting with him. It was
a very rainy and windy day, but the king in his
own old sheepskin cloak cared nothing for the
weather, and he led them full gallop over the
country, till the fine silk cloaks were wet through,
and the furs torn and spoilt. When they came
home, he would not let them change their clothes,
but made them dry themselves by the fire as well
as they could. Next day he ordered them to
appear at court in the same dresses, and it may
be imagined how beggarly they looked ; their silk
cloaks puckered with wet, stained w^ith mud, and
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 75
the fur trimmings torn and shrivelled. Charle-
magne pointed them out to the rest of the party,
saying : " What a tattered company I have about
me ! while my sheepskin, which I turn this way
or that, as suits the weather, is none the worse
for yesterday's wear. For shame ! learn to dress
like men, and let the world judge of your rank
by your own worth, and not by that of your
As we represented Charlemagne's court on a
day of ceremony, we dressed very tidily. Charle-
magne received the caliph's clock with great
dignity, and his courtiers looked very respectable.
At one time we had had a great mind to act the
ragged scene, but then we must have given up the
Oriental dresses, and, after some discussion, the
turbans carried the day against the rags.
After the charade was finished, William said he
thought it strange that clocks should have been
known to the Arabs, and brought into France in
the time of Charlemagne ; and yet seventy years
later, Alfred the Great in. England was obliged to
burn candles to mark the time.
" Charlemagne's clock was very unlike our no-
tion of a clock," said his father. " It was what is
called a clepsydra, or water-clock : it was worked
by water dropping from one part to another. It
had twelve little knights guarding twelve doors ;
and at the beginning of each hour, one of the
knights opened his door, and struck the time on.
76 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
a bell. At the next hour, the second knight
opened his door and struck his bell ; and so on
through the twelve."
" Did the Arabs invent clocks, uncle ?" asked
" I believe so ; at that time they knew more of
mechanics than all Europe put together."
" When were clocks first brought to England?"
said Matilda. " I am ashamed to say I am more
ignorant than my youngest cousins about such
" You would be more learned than your oldest
cousins, if you could answer that question," re-
plied Uncle Harry. " It is impossible to say when
they were really first introduced. The earliest
clock of which there is any account in this
country, was put up in 1288, on a building called
the Clock-House, in Westminster, for the use of
the lawyers. They thought a great deal of it ; and
in the reign of Henry the Sixth it was put under
the special charge of the Dean of St. Stephen's,
who had a salary of sixpence a day for taking
care of it."
" Sixpence a day for a Dean!" exclaimed Mary,
" Sixpence was worth more then than it is
now, you know, Mary," said William.
" Yes, I forgot," said Mary. " But was no-
body better paid than that ?"
" Sometimes," said Uncle Harry. " When
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 77
"\Villiam of Wykeham was building Windsor
Castle, Edward the Third paid him a shilling a
day when he was living in the place, and two
shillings if he carae from a distance."
Mrs. Mortimer joined in the laugh at this, and
said she thought Mr. Wyatt would have been very
much surprised if George the Fourth had offered
him such a salary for making the restorations.
" I suppose everything they had to buy was
cheap in proportion," said Henry.
" Certainly," replied his father. " We could
scarcely feed a dog now for what Edward the
Second thought a handsome allowance for his
" Did he keep leopards ?" said Mary. " What
did he do with them?"
"He looked at them in their cages, I suppose,
just as you might do. They were kept in the
Tower of London ; and, till within the last few
years, there was always a menagerie in the Tower.
I used often to go and see the wild beasts there
when I was a boy ; but they are now removed
to the Zoological Gardens, and I suppose the
keeper would be very glad if he could feed them
and himself at King Edward's price ; sixpence a
day for the leopards' food, and three half-pence
a day for the keeper's."
William asked if Edward was the first king of
England who kept wild beasts.
" No," replied Mr. Percy ; " I do not know
78 HISTOEICAL CHARADES.
who was the first, but they were the fashion long
before Edward's time. Henry the First had a
menagerie of lions, lynxes, and porcupines; and
an elephant, which had a house to himself in the
" Do you think he had a giraffe, or a chim-
panzee?" asked Edward.
" No : those animals were not yet discovered ;
but he had a white bear, which seems to have been
rather a favourite, by the care which the king
took of him. He was allowed fourpence a day
for his food ; and, when he chose to amuse him-
self by fishing in the Thames, he was held by a
rope, to keep him from falling into the water."
At this all the children laughed, except Henry,
who seemed doubtful whether to take it in joke
or in earnest. At last he exclaimed, " I wonder
how such a story found its way into history."
" The bills and accounts of public offices were
preserved with great care," replied Mr. Percy,
" and in course of time became valuable from
giving a good idea of former prices. Of late
years much attention has been paid to these old
account books, and we learn much that is curious
" You ladies would have found the old prices
very convenient in housekeeping," said Uncle
Harry. " In Edward the First's time a pair
of fowls cost three half-pence ; a fat goose, two-
pence half-penny; a crane, a shilling; and a
swan, three shillings."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 79
" I should find the prices much more conve-
nient than the things themselves," Mrs. Mortimer
replied. " I should be rather puzzled to know
what to do with a swan or a crane when it came
home from market. Were such creatures really
eaten ? How tough they must have been I"
" There were very good recipes for cooking
them. A crane was roasted; but they stewed a
swan till it was quite tender, and then ' pyket
out his bones/ as their old cookery books say,
and dressed it with vinegar and spice. It was
not considered comme il faut to serve more than
one crane or swan at a time in a dish, and per-
haps you may think that too much ; though then
it was ' a dainty dish to set before the king/ '
" Notwithstanding all your boasting of the
cheapness of former times," said Mr. Stanley,
" some things are much cheaper now. Dress, for
instance : the most extravagant man in the world
could not contrive to spend a hundred pound's in
a coat, as they did in those days."
" And postage," said Mrs. Percy. " Our
ancestors would have been more surprised at our
penny postage than AVC are at their two- penny
geese. How much would it have cost, in the
Plantageuets' time, for us to send our letters to
Mr. Stanley, when he is at his house in York-
" Three and sixpence," Uncle Harry replied ;
" that is to say, half a guinea of our money ; one
of their shillings was worth three of ours."
80 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" You and !_, Lucy, should not have been such
good correspondents if we had lived in those
days," said Caroline.
"/ am very glad we did not," she replied;
" in spite of all Willy says."
William took no notice of this observation,
but contrived to bring the conversation round to
his favourite subject.
" I want to know something more about the
clocks, father," said he. " Did not the monks
use them first?"
" No doubt they did. About the eleventh cen-
tury, clocks moved by weights began to be used
in monasteries, but they seem to have been rude
and imperfect, and the records of convents con-
tain very minute directions for regulating them.
These clocks pointed out the hour, but whether
they struck of themselves, or were struck at cer-
tain times by the sacristan, we do not know."
Caroline asked whether watches had not been
invented much later?
" Not till the sixteenth century, I believe,"
her father replied.
" I should like to have for my own the oldest
watch that ever was made," said William. " I
wonder what it was like?"
" A precious clumsy thing, I dare say," said
" The first watches were not so clumsy as those
that were made about a hundred years ago,"
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 81
Fncle Harry answered : " but they were not such
pretty, delicate little things as ours. They were
made in the shape of an egg, and often fastened
on the tops of walking-sticks."
" When we go back to town, papa," said Wil-
liam, " I should like to hunt well in some of those
curiosity shops, and see if I could not find a real
old watch, and save up my money to buy it."
" I have no objection," said his father, who
encouraged him in his love of antiquities, in spite
of occasionally laughing at him.
" The chances are," said Mr. Percy, " that
you would be served like a boy your grandfather
knew, and perhaps not be so sharp in suspecting
the trick. This boy was, like you, excessively fond
of antiquities, and used to go about examining
all the curiosity shops in Edinburgh, and making
acquaintance with the shopkeepers. He had a
particular fancy for collecting relics of Robert
Bruce ; and one goldsmith, whose shop he used to
haunt, told him that he could show him a watch
which had belonged to Robert Bruce himself.
Day after day the boy came to see it, but for a
long time it was not forthcoming. At last the
goldsmith produced a very clumsy battered old
watch, with an inscription on the dial-plate,
' Robertus B. Rex Scotorum.' At first, the boy
was very much taken with it, but upon closer ex-
amination he suspected a trick, and would have
nothing more to say to it. After a time, the
82 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
goldsmith sold it to some less knowing anti-
quarian, and he, in his turn, sold it to some one
else at a higher price ; and so it went from buyer
to buyer, always increasing in price, till at last it
found its way into the king's collection, and the
learned antiquarians of the day wrote dissertations
upon it, to prove the invention of watches in the
fourteenth century. But, unfortunately for their
theories, when the boy was grown up he returned
to Edinburgh, and went to visit his friend the gold-
smith. While talking over old times, he inquired
about the watch, and what had become of it ? The
goldsmith laughed, and told him that it had been
a mere joke of his own, to trick the young col-
lector, who he thought would have been taken
in; and that it was nothing but a common old
American watch, with the inscription scratched
on it by the goldsmith himself. And so all the
antiquarians' speculations w r ere upset."
" But now, listen to our own clock, girls and
boys," said Mrs. Percy, " striking an hour that
girls and boys ought not to hear. Good-night."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 83
Children's ideas of history Favourite heroes The dark ages
The Norman conquest Mediaeval Superstitions The Cid.
IT was a bright morning, cold, clear, and sunny;
a pattern for Christmas weather, according to old
ideas of Christmas, " frosty though kindly." We
were very glad to see it, for there was a great deal
to be done, and everybody was anxious to be able
to go out. There was no time this morning for
arranging charades ; the Christmas presents were
to be taken to the poor people in the village; the
charity-school to be dismissed for the holidays;
the rewards given ; and Ellen's elaborate flannel
petticoat being quite finished, she was going to
take it to old Susan herself.
The moment breakfast was over, the whole
party set off. Mrs. Percy had a Christmas pre-
sent for every cottage: shawls for old women,
comfortables for old men ; blankets, baby-clothes,
books; shoes and stockings, gowns, tea and sugar;
in short, everything that she knew would be most
acceptable : she had taken pains beforehand to
ascertain what each person would prefer, as she
liked to please them in their own way.
Ellen was made very happy by seeing how
much Susan liked the petticoat. She held it up,
folded and unfolded it, admired the work and the
flannel, and was much inclined to put it on at
84 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
once for Ellen's satisfaction. "When we left her
cottage, Ellen, who had hitherto been no great
needlewoman, expressed a determination to like
work for the rest of her life. It was now time
to go to the school, where she was confirmed in
this resolution by the specimens shown by some of
the scholars. Such stitching and gathering! in-
visible hemming and imperceptible sewing. Their
needlework did the greatest credit to themselves,
their schoolmistress, and Caroline, who helped to
superintend it. Then they showed their copy-
books and ciphering-books: Ellen looked at these
with particular interest, for she often taught the
younger ones arithmetic, as it was her own fa-
vourite lesson. Next they read, and the clergy-
man questioned them. They answered well and
sensibly, as if they had listened to what he said,
and understood the meaning of his questions; not
merely repeating at random any Scripture phrase
that came into their heads. We were all very
much pleased with the school, and I think the
school was very much pleased with us, for every
girl who had attended regularly had some reward.
Ellen and Caroline supplied many, and their
mamma provided the rest. Lucy also had made
some pretty work-bags, nicely fitted up, for a few
of the children with whom she had become ac-
quainted during her visit to her cousins.
That evening we were so much interested in
talking over our morning's occupation, that there
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 85
was no thought of charades or any other play
before tea. Then Matilda sang to us: when she
left the pianoforte, Mrs. Mortimer and Mr. and
Mrs. Percy began to discuss the merits of dif-
ferent musicians, and to talk of various methods
of teaching music ; and from music they went
on to other accomplishments, and the children
listened, and thought how many things there
were to learn.
Lucy was much surprised at hearing us talk
of things as amusements that she had always
considered as lessons, and very tiresome ones.
Ellen did. not understand Matilda's complaint that
she could not give as much time as she liked to
her music. Ellen thought one hour's practice
every day very hard work, and rather too much ;
but Matilda thought three hours rather too little.
However, even this indefatigable Matilda con-
fessed that music was the only lesson she had
hitherto liked ; but she meant for the future to
be more industrious, and try to improve herself
" I do not know how it is," said her mother,
" but I have never been able to make my children
take any interest in history ; yet I am sure they
have not been over-dosed with it. They have
never been wearied with any long books, for
I have only made them read the very easiest
" My dear sister," said Mr. Percy, " that quite
86 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
accounts for their disliking it. Abridgments
and epitomes are the dullest things in existence.
If you wish children to be fond of history, give
them plenty of details, however trifling, and let
them enter into the spirit of the times they read
"I wonder," said little Mary, " how people write
books of history; I cannot imagine how they
know all the things that happened so long ago."
" How do you suppose ?" said Uncle Harry ;
" give us your idea of a historian, Mary : how do
you think he would set to work r"
" I think children's books of history must be
made out of grown-up people's."
" No doubt. And grown-up people's ?"
" I suppose they must be made out of older
ones still: those that were printed before."
" Well, and before those ? Before there were
any printed books ?"
" I am sure I don't know/'
" Oh, Mary," exclaimed Ellen, " you know
there were manuscripts, written books."
" Oh, yes, I forgot that. But were manuscripts
"Many of them were," Uncle Harry replied.
" Numbers of persons wrote the chronicles of
their own times. But there are also other ways of
finding out what happened in former days."
" Are there ?" said Mary, looking rather
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 87
" I am afraid they are beyond your discovery.
Can you think of any, Ellen and Lucy ?"
Ellen and Lucy were as much at a loss as
Mary. Caroline supposed it would be by poetry,
ancient ballads, and the like. She knew that
minstrels used to sing about great events, and she
thought people would probably remember such
poems, and teach them to their children.
" Very right/' said Mr. Percy and his brother,
both together. "What more ?"
" Monuments and coins," said William.
" True. What else ?"
" Things that belong to battles and massacres,"
cried Arthur. " The flags that hang up in
churches. Even in the Prayer Book there is all
about Gunpowder Plot."
" What more?" asked his father, laughing.
" I know," exclaimed Henry. " Public docu-
ments, laws, constitutions, and -decrees: those are
all a part of history."
"And a very great part, too," said uncle
Harry. " But besides all those grander sources,
there are memoirs and private letters of persons
who might be of no great note, and who wrote
about matters of no particular importance, but
their letters are valuable now, because they tell
about the customs and ways of thinking of that
" I believe," said Mr. Percy, " children think
history is a mere record of the succession of
88 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
kings and queens, the battles they fought, and
the executions that took place in their reigns."
"I think they have rather a better notion of it
than that/ 3 Mrs. Percy observed. "Most children
have their favourite hero to whom they look up
with great enthusiasm, and for whose sake they
will read eagerly the history of his time."
" Who is your favourite hero, Mary?" asked
" Robert Bruce is mine/' she answered.
" And the Marquis of Montrose mine," said
"And Coeur-de-Lion mine" "And Gustavus
Adolphus mine" "And Madcap Harry mine"
"And Alfred the Great mine," exclaimed one
" I wonder what idea they have of the history
of any particular period," said Mr. Harry Percy.
" Suppose you . try," answered Mrs. Percy.
" Who will be examined in history by Uncle
" I will"" and I"" and I" was heard on
" Well," said he, " Avhat epoch shall we have ?
Choose for yourselves."
" I should like to be examined in Henry the
Eighth," said Edward, " because I know about
"What do you know about him, my little
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 89
" I know he had eight wives, and cut off all
their heads/' replied the little boy very solemnly.
Uncle Harry laughed at Edward's mistake, and
said he should be happy to hear their account of
the reign of Henry the Eighth, if they pleased ;
but Caroline exclaimed, " Oh, no ; do let us have
the Dark Ages ?"
" Why are they called the Dark Ages ?" Lucy
Without giving his uncle time to speak, Henry
answered, " Everybody knows that, Lucy. Be-
cause the people who lived then were so shock-
ingly ignorant and stupid."
"Don't believe him, Lucy," William eagerly
exclaimed ; " there, were more great, and good,
and learned men then than there are now, and
people were altogether better."
" Which of them is right, Uncle Harry ?" asked
" Neither of them," he answered. " Both their
opinions are prejudices. There were, as William
says, many great and good men ; but people in
general were much less educated than they are
now; and though they had great reverence for
religion, the superstitions which were mixed up
with it injured their minds, and often caused them
to mistake wrong for right. Now, what part of
the Dark Ages will you have? W r e cannot go
through the history of eight centuries.
" I have often heard of the Dark Ages/' said
90 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Ellen, "and I like them, because the name sounds
so awful ; but I don't know when they were."
" When do you suppose ?"
" I thought they were when everybody prayed
to the 'saints, and bought indulgences/' said Lucy,
as Ellen did not seem very ready with an answer.
" Was that when they were all Roman Catho-
lics ?" asked Edward.
" Yes : but when was that ?" said Uncle Harry.
" I suppose when the Pope turned out the
bishop of Rome/' said Ellen, jumbling together
her recollections of church history.
Lucy's ideas were no clearer than Ellen's ; but
Henry and Caroline understood something of the
principles of the Reformation, and knew a few facts
connected with the history of the Papacy. They
knew, for instance, that Gregory the Seventh was
the first Pope or bishop of Rome who had claimed
the right of deposing kings ; and that the different
errors of the church of Rome had crept in by de-
grees ; that there had often been people to oppose
them at the time, but that superstitions had taken
root, one after another, till they became too bad
to go on any longer.
"Was it not the sale of indulgences that
brought on the Reformation ?" asked Henry.
" That happened to bring matters to a crisis,"
his uncle answered. " But people's eyes had begun
to be opened to the corruptions of the church long
before. The Reformation was infact brought about
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 91
by the revival of learning. "When people discovered
what the ancient church had really been, and how
nnlike it they had become, they set to work to
clear off abuses, and put matters to rights."
" When did the Dark Ages begin and end ?"
Caroline could answer this. She knew that
what are commonly called the Dark Ages, and
the Middle Ages, had lasted from about the sixth
or seventh century till the fourteenth.
" Why then," exclaimed Ellen in great amaze-
ment, " Alfred the Great lived in the Dark Ages!"
"To be sure he did," said her uncle : "and Coeur-
de-Lion, Robert Bruce, William Wallace, and
plenty more of your favourite heroes. But wh(
knows why their times are called the Middh
None of the children cquld answer this question,
so Uncle Harry explained the matter.
"There are two great divisions of history," said
he, " Ancient and Modern. The ancient world
broke up completely in the fifth century ; but the
modern state of things did not fairly begin till the
fourteenth. People find it convenient to have
a separate name for the intermediate centuries,
which are therefore called the Middle Ages. But
now, whose times shall we choose ?"
They chose the period of the Norman Conquest.
I will not repeat at length all that was said, the
questions that Uncle Harry asked, and that the
92 IIISTOEICAL CHARADES.
children answered, or could not answer, but only-
give a general idea of the conversation.
He made them find on the map the dominions
of William the Conqueror, both in England and
Normandy. He told them of the languages that
were spoken in England, the Saxon and the
Norman French ; and the remains of both to be
found in our own English. He told of both the
good and bad laws made by William the Norman,
with many curious stories of the time ; and asto-
nished Lucy by saying, that those were not half
that there were to be told. He said a great deal
about the state of religion ; how many heathen
superstitions were then mixed up with it; how the
clergy were obliged to preach to Christian people
not to worship particular trees, nor to believe in
charms and talismans, nor to invoke Minerva to
help them in their needlework, nor to keep holy
particular days in order to be delivered from moths
and mice. He also told them of the belief in
fairies and goblins, magicians and witches.
"Did grown-up people really believe in fairies?"
"I am ashamed to confess they really did. Some-
times they thought the fairies were good-natured
and useful ; but in general they looked upon them
as a spiteful race, particularly fond of killing cows,
and riding farmers' horses to death ; and the poor
ignorant people used to endeavour to propitiate
them by offerings and many foolish customs. The
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 93
clergy used to preach against all this nonsense; but
unhappily they encouraged other superstitions,
which gradually became a part of religion."
" Of what kind, uncle ?" asked Arthur.
"Such as the worship of saints, and pilgrimages
to their shrines. Among other things, the people
fancied the saints would protect them from the
fairies. They even assigned to each saint his own
particular department. Saint Bartholomew kept
off thieves ; Saint Peter took care of the churns ;
Eloy's prayer cured sick horses, and so on."
" You do not seem to think those times were
so good as William makes them out, uncle," said
" No," replied their uncle. " "William as yet
sees only one side of the question. He is still so
much delighted with his new line of reading, that
he forgets, or does not know, all there is to be
said on the other side. He must read a great deal
The children were surprised to find how many
celebrated persons had lived at the same time :
William the Conqueror ; Pope Gregory the
Seventh ; that hero of Spanish history, the Cid ;
Mahmoud of Ghizni only a few years earlier, &c.
Ellen, Lucy, and Arthur had never heard of the
Cid. Uncle Harry told them, that, when Spain
was divided between the Moors and the Christians,
Rodrigo Diaz was a Christian hero renowned for
his wisdom and valour. He conquered five
94 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Moorish kings, and afterwards gave them their
liberty, and treated them with such generosity
and kindness, that they swore allegiance to him,
and gave him the title of their Cid, or Lord.
Thus the Cid, though only a subject, came to
have more power than the kings of Spain them-
selves ; for the knights of France and Italy were
willing to serve under his banner, and he might
have obtained the kingdom of Castile for himself;
but he was loyal to his master, king Alphonso,
and always helped him against his enemies.
He was going on, but Mary began to yawn; and
Uncle Harry said," This has been quite an evening
of lessons ; suppose now we have a charade."
" By all means," said Mr. Percy; " let us have
a good charade to relieve our minds : run away,
and prepare it."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 95
ALFRED Elves in the "Midsummer Night's Dream" POMPEII
MONTROSE Ancient tenures Battle of Inverness.
11 1 WISH/' said Mary, when they returned to the
school-room, "we could act Alfred the Great.
My favourite Alfred !"
" Why not !"
" Because we cannot think of any way of
making him into a charade. Al-fred how can
we manage it ? What could we do for Al ?"
" We need not keep to Al/' said William ;
" we may manage it another way. Papa showed
me one day an old translation of the grant to the
monastery, which Alfred founded in the Isle of
Athelney, and in that his name was spelt in three
different ways ; Alfred, Alfred, and Elfred."
" Elf, then ; that will just do, and I will be the
I thought this such a make-shift, that I tried to
persuade them to give up Alfred altogether, and
find some better word ; but they were determined
upon it, and said that people must put up with a
bad syllable for the sake of such an important
character ; so I let them have their own way with
" What is an elf?" asked Edward.
" A sort of fairy/' Mary replied ; " a kind of
merry, mischievous fairy."
96 HISTORICAL CHAKADES.
" They need not be mischievous," said Caro-
line ; " we might have Collins' quiet elves, ' who
slept in buds the day/ >:
But sleeping elves were not in Mary's line.
I proposed a dance of fairies in Windsor Forest,
with the queen giving her orders.
" About, about :
Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out," &c.
But we decided upon the best of all elves,
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, and part of the
dialogue in the " Midsummer Night's Dream."
Mary and Ellen, fancifully dressed up with
wings and garlands, were very good elves or fairies.
Their wings were made of large sheets of paper,
folded into fans, and mounted on a piece of paste-
board, which was tied on their shoulders.
Enter a fairy ; and presently afterwards, Puck.
Puck. How now, spirit ! whither wander you ?
Fairy. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where.
Swifter than the moones sphere ;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night ;
Take heed the queen come not within his sight.
Fairy. Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Called Robin Goodfellow : are you not he,
That fright the maidens of the villagery ;
Skim milk ; and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ;
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 97
And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm ?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck :
Are you not he ?
Puclc. Thou speak'st aright ;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
The next scene required no other preparation
than to conceal Arthur under the pianoforte.
Enter a party walking in bonnets and cloaks,
and one of the ladies in a very bright red shawl.
" What a pleasant meadow this is," she re-
" Yes ; but few people walk here, because
there is a bull in it."
" Oh ! do you think he will come after us ?"
" I dare say he will, because of your shawl;"
(touching it, to draw the attention of the company
to the colour.) " Bulls particularly dislike that
At this moment a faint and distant bellow
issued from under the pianoforte.
" But does the colour really matter ?" asked
the wearer of the red shawl in some alarm.
The bull himself answered this question by a
tremendous roar : he was evidently advancing,
and the party took to their heels, exclaiming,
" Oh, here he is coming ! Take off that horrid
coloured shawl throw it away," &c.
ALFRED. Of course they acted the well-
known story of his burning the cakes in the neat-
herd's cottage, and the goodwife scolding him.
98 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Hackneyed as it was, nothing pleased the children
so well. I proposed his listening to his mother's
songs his visiting the Danish camp in disguise
his studying by the light of his candles his
going with his queen to lay the first stone of the
monastery in Athelney; but they returned
unanimously to the burning of the cakes, and
Miss Aikin's version of it ; and Ellen, as the
neatherd 's wife, called William, " You oaf ! you
lubber ! you lazy loon \" with hearty indignation.
The word was guessed, though the spectators
agreed in objecting to the first syllable.
" Have we time for another charade, mamma?"
" Yes ; two or three more, if you make haste,"
Away they ran, and presently reappeared in
oriental dresses, walking in a pompous procession.
Little Edward was carried in a chair, surrounded
by his attendants : Henry and Arthur marched
before him as heralds, proclaiming his titles :
" His most celestial majesty Slofun, Emperor
of Tagrag, brother of the Sun, father of the
Moon, cousin of the Stars, and uncle of the
This was the first syllable, POMP.
We then had a school; Henry, as schoolmaster,
examined his scholars in the fifth declension.
" How do you distinguish the declensions ?"
" Please, sir, by the genitive case singular."
" What is the sign of the fifth declension ?"
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 99
" Please, sir, I don't know."
" Very foolish boy ; go down to the bottom of
the class. Next boy What is the sign of the
" Please, sir, in i"
" Very bad boy : go down. Next ?"
"The genitive case singular ends in orum,
And so on ; all giving very stupid answers,
and pretending not to know the genitive case
singular of the fifth declension. Henry ordered
them oif to learn their lessons better; and we
perceived that the syllable must be EI.
Scene the third. A party seated, enjoying
the pleasant evening air. Before them stood a
small table, on which were one or two of the
vases made by Wedgwood, in imitation of those
found in Pompeii. The company were dressed
in drapery made of shawls and scarfs, with white
ribands tied round their heads for fillets. They
talked of their beautiful and flourishing city, the
bright sky over their heads, and the blue water
at their feet. They said it was long since the
mountain had done any mischief; it seemed now
to have become perfectly quiet ; there would be
no more danger from it. Vesuvius would be
for the future only a fine feature in their land-
"But what said the oracle this morning ?"
asked Caroline of Henry, who was dressed in a
100 HISTOEICAL CHAKADES.
purple scarf to represent the Pontifex Maximus
" The oracle," replied Henry, in a loud voice,
" the oracle has promised to this fair city as many
more years as have passed since it took its name
from the triumphal pomp of Hercules."
Suddenly one of the party started, and said he
heard a strange sound. Another looked up, and
exclaimed that lava was streaming down the side
of the mountain. Others said it would soon reach
the city. Others, that torrents of ashes were
coming down. They all jumped up, and there
was confusion, and hurrying to and fro, a talk
of escaping, and saving, some their property,
others their lives, as they rushed from the room,
and left us to remember the rest of the history.
The next word was MONTROSE.
Scene the first. The actors pretending to be
ascending a mountain. They said it was terribly
steep, but they expected such fine views as would
repay them for all their fatigue. They described
everything they saw as they went on, and quoted
poetry applicable to the imaginary scenes that
passed before them.
Ellen. " It is warm and pleasant here, while
we still remain among the fields and flowers."
Caroline. " Yes, but we must mount higher,
though this place is very beautiful.
' Boon nature scatters, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 101
Here eglantine embalms the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingle there;
The primrose pale, and violet flower,
Find in each cleft a narrow bower.'"
Then they walked on in silence for a time, seem-
ing to climb the steep hill with great difficulty.
Henry. " Now we are out of the region of
fields and flowers, and we must enter this forest
of pines. How dark and gloomy it is ! These
really are ' forests ancient as the hills/ '
Lucy. " And now that we have passed the dark
forest, and have only barren rocks to climb before
we reach the snow, let us look back and see all
we have left at our feet."
Mary. " Or let us look still higher, at that
great mountain just before us. It seems the king
of them all."
Caroline. " That is Mont Blanc. Do you
know the song of the spirit of Mont Blanc ?
' Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains,
They crowned him long ago,
On a throne of rocks, with a robe of clouds,
And a diadem of snow ;
Around his waist are forests braced,
The avalanche in his hand ;
Bui ere it fall, that thundering ball
Must pause for my command.' "
" Unless you have any fresh incident to intro-
duce," said Mr. Percy, " you may go on to the
next scene ; we are quite sure your syllable must
be mount or mont."
The children had heard Mr. Percy and his
brother talking of some of the curious tenures by
102 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
which lands were held in former times. The
tenant was often bound to make some particular
annual offering to his lapdlord, or to perform
some unusual service for him, on pain of forfeit-
ing his lease. One manor was held on the con-
dition that when the king journeyed into Gas-
cony, the tenant should accompany him, leading
three greyhounds, for as long a time as he could
wear a pair of shoes worth fourpence without
wearing them out. On another manor, the tenant
was bound to go wool-gathering for the queen
among the thorns and briers. Several were held
on condition of the tenant's presenting the land-
lord with a rose, or a nosegay, or garland of roses,
on Midsummer's day.
Mr. Percy's manor had been formerly held by
this tenure of a rose, and the children acted the
tenant's bringing the offering, and the landlord's
receiving it, with due ceremony.
The third scene represented one of the many
stories of the bravery and readiness of Montrose.
The children had doubted between the battle in
which he and his Irish troops, almost unprovided
with arms, rushed upon the Covenanters' army,
attacked them with volleys of stones, and gained
a complete victory, and the battle of Inverness,
in which, by his manoeuvring, he defeated an
army double the number of his own. On this
occasion he concealed his small number by di-
viding his army into two wings, and contriving
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 103
a sham main body by hiding a few men behind
trees and bushes, so as to give the enemy the idea
that there was a large number to support him :
he then rushed furiously with one of his wings
upon his adversaries, and drove them back before
they had time to perceive how easily they might
overpower him. We chose this scene, and my
readers may imagine the arranging the army
among the furniture ; the peeping out from be-
hind the chairs and sofas ; the few determined
men under the table; Montrose's furious rush
from behind the pianoforte, and the complete
rout of the adverse army. It was acted with
spirit, and easily guessed.
104 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Comparing ancient and modern history A game of
WE were now obliged to give up our charades
for some days. First came Sunday, then Christ-
mas-day; after that Mr. and Mrs. Percy were
engaged with company, and dined late ; and the
grown-up people were not inclined to join in the
play in the evening. The children might cer-
tainly have acted by themselves, but they preferred
waiting till we were able to attend to them ; and
meanwhile spent their time in very elaborate
preparations to surprise us on the first leisure
evening. Besides working hard at their dresses,
they looked through all the books of history in
the house for subjects to act. Often the best
stories could not be brought into charades ; many
an adventure that pleased them in reading, was
hopeless for acting, and sometimes, after a whole
morning's work, they had not fixed upon a single
word. Lucy said they lost their time sadly ; but
I did not agree with her, for they learned more
real history in reading for their own amusement
than they had ever done in their lessons; and
what was still better, they learnt to understand
and enter into the pleasure of searching for his-
torical details and anecdotes. Uncle Harry was
always appealed to in their difficulties, and the
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 105
merits of many a hero awaited his decision till
he could be hunted up from the library or draw-
One morning they were discussing very ear-
nestly what country and what period furnished
the most amusing history. Their opinions on this
subject had been continually changing for some
days past ; but just now William was for Eng-
land and the Plantagenets ; Ellen for Scotland
and Robert Bruce; Caroline for France and
"Franqois Premier, plus grand que son malheur;"
Mary for later times and " Bonnie Prince
Charlie ;" while Henry and Arthur scouted the
idea of modern history, as not to be compared
with that of ancient Greece or Rome. Henry
stood up for Greece and Leonidas, Arthur for
Rome and Camillus, each of the girls defended
valiantly her own hero, and the dispute was
carried on so eagerly and so loudly, that the
noise soon attracted uncle Harry to the room.
Standing outside the door for a minute, he heard
one saying, " The Scotch beat the English when
Robert Bruce was king ;" and another screaming,
" Francis the First was much better than Henry
the Eighth ;" and another whining, " Oh, my
dear Pretender !" while William was repeating,
" Plantagenets, barons, monks, abbots, chroni-
cles," as if he was reading off some historical
dictionary. Henry was spouting Greek poetry,
to which nobody listened, and asking between.
106 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
every two or three lines, "What's Shakspeare to
that ?" while Arthur bawled out, " Camillus,
Fabricius, Scipio," till my ears could scarcely
stand it. As soon as uncle Harry peeped in, he
was seized upon, and required to decide the ques-
tion. His first step was to enthrone himself in
state to judge the cause, and he unconsciously
seated himself on the very chair under which
Henry had just before hidden little Edward, in
order to show his cousins how the ancient priests
concealed themselves to utter oracles. The chair
had a loose chintz cover, which completely pre-
vented Edward from being seen ; and he sat very
quietly, and considered being hidden there as a
As soon as uncle Harry had obtained a hear-
ing, he said, " You are like the French Chambre
des Deputes, the members of which made such a
row that they got the nickname of the Chambre
des Disputes. What have you all been raving
about? Let me hear what you each want to
"We want to know, uncle, which were the
best times of all, and who was the greatest king,
and which is the most amusing history."
" Those are three different questions that have
very little to do with each other. I am a staunch
John Bull, and I look upon Queen Victoria as
the best of sovereigns, and her reign as the best
time. But as to which is the most amusing his-
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 107
tory, that depends partly on your particular taste,
and partly on how much you know about it.
The more you knqw of any history, the more
amusing you will find it."
" But do you really believe, uncle," said
Henry, " that any reading could make one find
those Gothic barbarians as amusing as ancient
Greece or Rome ?"
" Oh ! Henry," exclaimed Lucy, " I am sure
the knights and warriors were a hundred times
better than those nasty ungrateful Athenians,
who never had a great man among them without
being jealous of him, and banishing him."
"And in the Roman history," said Caroline,
" how tiresome all those quarrels are between the
patricians and plebeians."
" But," argued Arthur, " the characters in
ancient history are so grand ! "
" So they are," said Mary ; " but that is just
why I think them dull. They are so grand, and
fine, and long ago, that they never seem to be
human beings like us. There are no pretty
stories; one cannot fancy that there ever was a
Roman or Grecian child of my age."
" Well," replied Arthur, " what more do you
know about children in Gothic times? One
never reads anything about them till they turn
out knights in full armour ; and I am sure there
are more pretty stories in ancient history than in
any other, if you do but take the trouble to look
108 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
for them in proper books. All the fun that
Cyrus had when a boy, for instance/'
I rather wondered at Mary's thinking there
were no pretty stories in ancient history, because
it seemed to me particularly to abound in what
children think pretty stories; that is to say,
those in which the interest is concentrated on one
" Our Roman History/' said Caroline, " begins
with a Dissertation on the Constitution of the
Roman Republic, and Mary finds that dull."
" 1 dare say she does, poor child," observed
uncle Harry. " Who teaches her history ?"
" I do, now," Caroline answered. " When
mamma began Ellen's Italian, she said I was to
hear Mary read history."
" You must not expect her yet to like a dry
dissertation on government and politics," said
uncle Harry : " let her skip all that till she is
older, and begin the story at once, and she will
soon change her mind about its dulness."
" I think," observed William, " that the people
in modern history seem more real and alive, and
more like our acquaintances, than the ancients ;
and I think the reason is, that we cannot enter
so well into the feelings of heathens as of
" True," said his father ; " and if I were to
fix upon the part of history most interesting to
me, I should find it in the progress and changes
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 109
of the Christian Church Ecclesiastical History,
as it is called. An old writer tells us that
' History is the true study for a gentleman;
British History for an Englishman Church
History for a Christian !' But I still return to
what I said at first : whatever you study most
you will like best, and find most interesting ; and
when you come to read more, you will find in all
times stories of all kinds, simple enough to please
Mary, and grand enough to satisfy Arthur ; and
the histories of heroes, even when they were
children, and little incidents that make us feel as
well acquainted with them as if they were our
next door neighbours. And now, if you are satis-
fied for the present," he continued, pushing back
his chair, " who is for a game of Blindman's
A loud howl from under the chair reminded
us of little Edward, who was tumbled over by
the unexpected movement of his uncle, and in
the confusion of his ideas took this for part of
the Delphic ceremony.
," Halloo ! What is this ? What have we
here?" exclaimed uncle Harry.
" O-o-o-h ! Let me out ! I'll never be an
oracle again. Help me out ! I don't want to be
an oracle any more ; I want to play at bliudman's
" You an oracle !" said uncle Harry, lifting the
chair off him. " You howl like a Pythoness cer-
110 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
tainly ; but come out of your hole, Mr. Oracle,
and play. Now, who will be blinded ?"
" Oh you, you, uncle Harry !" exclaimed
several at once. " You are the best blindman
of anybody, because you never know whom you
" No, to be sure : if people can sometimes
scarcely believe their eyes, what are they to do
blindfold ? But here is a handkerchief, who will
blind me ?"
" Tie him up tight, aunt Esther ; he is not to
be trusted ; he will always peep if he can."
" Now I am quite safe, not a glimpse of day :
Turn round three times and catch whom I may.
" Oh ! somebody slipped through my fingers
I thought I was sure of a prisoner then. Ah,
here is one at last ! No, you cannot escape. Let
me see no, let me feel, I mean, I cannot see.-
Here are some curls this is a heroine of modern
history, and, I suspect, a very great Jacobite;
one who would ' die for Prince Charlie/ "
Uncle Harry, knowing that he never found any-
body out in the usual way, was in hopes of taking
the children by surprise, by attacking them on
their favourite subjects, but his prisoner was too
cunning to speak, and only shook her head.
" Ah ! I see you cannot deny it" said uncle
Harry. " I am sure it is Mary."
" No, wrong, wrong ! It is not Mary ; and it
HISTORICAL CHARADES. Ill
is not a Jacobite at all. I am for "William of
Orange, and the glorious Revolution, like Papa ;"
" I must try again."
" Oh, take care ! keep out of his way. Hush !
hush ! don't let him hear our voices."
All crept about very silently, but uncle Harry
crept about too, and his long arms seemed to reach
over half the room. Henry said he was like the
giant Polyphemus catching the companions of
Ulysses; and Arthur, drawing his illustration
from still more remote antiquity, compared him
to the hundred-handed Briareus, laying about
him on Mount Olympus.
We all avoided him for a long time, but he
secured his victim at last.
" Now I know what I am about : Ancient
History under my hands here, to a certainty."
William only growled faintly.
" But is it Greece or Rome ? Athens, Sparta,
or Rome under the Caesars ? Greece ! I decide
for Greece. Socrates himself ! Henry !"
" No, no ; worse and worse ! It is William,
your own son."
" And the most determined partisan of the
Gothic Ages among us all," I added.
" It does not answer to rush into any subject
blindfold, I find," said Uncle Harry. " I wish
I might prosecute my historical researches with
my eyes open."
112 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" No, no ; do not put your hands near your
handkerchief. Keep blind."
" I thought I heard the door open. It would
not be fair to go out of the room, and leave
me here alone, groping among the Dark Ages.
Are you all here?"
" Oh yes ; the door only opened to let some
one else in."
Matilda had just entered, and before she had
time to cross the room, uncle Harry ran against
her. He caught her hands, and she held him fast,
and made him dance with her, all blindfolded as
he was. He was awkward enough, but Matilda
contrived to keep him in some order, and turned
and twisted him about in a wonderful way.
" Ah/' said he at last, " I cannot be mistaken
this time ; nothing but Modern Paris could have
danced in that style. Good-bye to history,
classic and gothic, and long-life to the represen-
tative of modern fashions Matilda !"
Matilda was blindfolded, and caught Ellen in
no time ; and Ellen caught William by the hair,
and guessed him before she had pulled much of
it out ; and we played till we were so hot and
tired that we could only sit and fan ourselves till
the dressing-bell rang.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 113
Game of "Twenty Questions" Two modes of playing it
Instances Difference of tastes Discussion on Mythology
OXE afternoon, while we were sitting round
the fire in the twilight, Uncle Harry asked the
children if they ever played at the game of
Twenty Questions. " Oh yes, often," replied
Mary. " We are very fond of it : Animal,
Vegetable, and Mineral, we call it. May we
have a game now? Will you play, papa and
mamma ? and Uncle Harry ? and Aunt Esther ?
and Uncle Stanley? and Aunt Mortimer?"
We were all ready to play, but Uncle Harry
stopped us. He said his way of playing the
game was rather different from ours. Instead of
thinking of a thing that was to be discovered by
its properties, we were to think of some person,
event, or thing mentioned in history, and find
that out by means of the twenty questions.
Either one person might think of the thing, and
all the rest question him, or the whole company
might decide upon the subject, and be questioned
by one. The latter mode he considered the best,
because a single person could ask a better string
of questions, and find out the answer more easily.
" Let us try both ways," said Lucy. " First,
all thinking, and Uncle Harry questioning."
114 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Very well; then I will go out of the room."
We laid our heads together, and presently
summoned him to guess.
Uncle H. " Now, I shall ask everybody in
turn. Mrs. Percy, have you fixed upon a person,
an event, or a thing ?"
Mrs. Percy. "A person."
Uncle H. " Mentioned in ancient history or
Aunt Esther. " In modern history."
Uncle H. " Man, woman, or child ?"
Mrs. Mortimer. " A woman."
Uncle H. " Married or single ?"
Lucy. " Married several times."
Uncle H. " You need not have told me so
much, Lucy. It saves me a question. A private
person, or a Queen?".
Arthur. "A Queen."
Uncle Harry. " Was her reign prosperous ?"
Henry. " No, quite the contrary."
Uncle Harry. " Was she a queen regnant, or
a queen consort ?"
Mr. Percy. " Both ; but at different times,
and over different countries. She is chiefly
known as a queen regnant."
Uncle Harry. " Was she good or bad ?"
Ellen, with a sigh. " Some people say she
was good, and some bad; but / think she was
good, because I am very fond of her."
Uncle Harry. " Mary, Queen of Scots."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 115
Mrs. Percy. " Quite right ; but I think that
was rather too easy."
Uncle H. " Well, suppose you let us puzzle
Ellen begged her mamma not to take the
trouble of leaving the room ; and we agreed that
if she would stop her ears, it would be quite
sufficient. We could trust to her honour for not
listening, or taking any unfair advantage.
When we were ready, we made signs to her
that she might remove her hands from her ears.
Mrs. Percy. " Is it general, or specific ?"
Mrs. Stanley. " Specific/'
Mrs. Percy. " Mentioned in ancient or mo-
dern history ?"
Arthur. " Modern."
Mrs. Percy. " A person, event, or thing ?"
Ellen. " A thing."
Mrs. Percy. " Is it animal, vegetable, or
Lucy. "It was made of minerals."
Mrs. Percy. " Now you have told me more
than you need, Lucy, and saved my ascertaining
whether it is natural or artificial. I now know
that it is something made by hands. Was it
used for secular or for ecclesiastical purposes ?"
Mary. " I don't know what secular means."
Mrs. Percy. "Ecclesiastical means belonging
to the church j secular, not belonging to the
116 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Mary. " Then this quite belonged to the
Mrs. Percy, counting on her fingers : " How
many questions have I had ? Five ; and I have
ascertained that it is something specific, mineral,
artificial, mentioned in modern history, and used
for ecclesiastical purposes. Was it built, or made
in any other way ?"
Mr. Percy. " It was built."
Mrs. Percy. " Was it a building for use, or a
monument in honour of any person ?"
Mr. Harry Percy. " It was erected in honour
of a particular person."
Mrs. Percy. " Was the person in whose
honour it was erected good or bad ? Can you
answer that, little Edward 1"
Edward. " I think he was bad ; I don't like
Mrs. Percy. " Him. A man then. Was he
a subject or a sovereign ?"
Caroline. " A subject, but a very rebellious
Mrs. Percy. " Military, civil, or ecclesias-
Henry. " Ecclesiastical."
Mrs. Percy. " I have been in doubt whether
the building erected to his honour was a monu-
ment, or a college; but I recollect you said it
was not a building for any use except to com-
memorate him. Was it built during his lifetime,
or after his death ?"
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 117
Matilda. " After his death."
Mrs. Percy. " Then I suppose it must have
been the tomb or shrine of some turbulent eccle-
siastic whose character is not so much admired
now as it was in his own times. In what country
was it ?"
Aunt Esther. " In England."
Mrs. Percy. " In whose reign ?"
William. " In Henry the Second's."
Mrs. Percy. "The Shrine of Thomas a Becket.
I suspected it some time ago, but I liked to make
sure before I guessed."
Mr. Percy. " Twenty questions seem more
than are necessary. You guessed this in thirteeen,
and Harry found his out in eight."
Mr. Harry Percy. " They were easy subjects,
and we put closer questions than the children
would. I dare say they would often want the
whole twenty. Now who will go out?"
Lucy. " Oh, please let me ! I am so fond of
Henry. " Now let us puzzle her well."
Aunt Esther. "We must not be too hard
upon her. Suppose we have an event this time?
Vrhat do you think of ******? And
here we ail began whispering veiy eagerly, " No,
no ; yes, yes ; that will do." " Now, Lucy ?"
Lucy. " Ancient or modern ?"
Lucy. " Good or bad ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Good."
118 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Lucy. " Is it a man or a woman?"
Mrs. Mortimer. " Neither."
Lucy. " Why, it must be one or the other.
Oh, perhaps it is a child. Is it ?"
Henry. " No, it is not."
Mrs. Percy. " You are wasting your ques-
tions, Lucy ; why do you not first ascertain
whether it is a person at all?"
Lucy. "I quite forgot. Is it a person, an
event, or a thing ?"
Arthur. " An event."
Lucy. " What a pity ! I have lost four ques-
Mr. Harry Percy. " Not quite ; you have dis-
covered that it is a good event in modern his-
Lucy. " In what country did it happen ?"
Mr. Harry Percy. " In Germany."
Lucy. " Then I can't guess it, because I have
not read the history of Germany."
Mr. Stanley. " But you have read this in
Lucy. "Then it belongs to two countries.
Which is the other ?"
Lucy. " Was it done by one person or a great
Mrs. Mortimer. " By one person."
Lucy. " Was it for his own good, or any-
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 119
William. " It was for the good of another."
Lucy. "What country was it done in?"
Matilda. " It was done in Germany."
Lucy. " What countryman was the one who
Caroline. " He was a Frenchman."
Lucy. " What country did the man belong to
for whose good it was done?"
Edward. " To England ! to England ! He
was a great Englishman. / know him."
Lucy. " I have not the least idea what it is.
I shall never be able to find it out. I cannot
think of any more questions to ask."
Mrs. Percy. " Consider what you have already
discovered, and then you will kuow better what
further questions to put."
Lucy. " I have found out that it was some-
thing done by a Frenchman for the good of a
great Englishman in Germany. Was the Eng-
lishman a king ?"
Caroline. " Yes, he was."
Lucy. " Was the Frenchman a king ?"
Mr. Stanley. " No ; he was a private person."
Lucy. " Did he go to Germany on purpose, or
was he there for anything else ?"
Mr. Percy. " He went on purpose."
Lucy. " Of what profession was he ?"
Aunt Esther. " I am afraid the answer to that
cannot fail to tell the whole. He was a min-
120 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Lucy. " Oh, then I know. Richard the First
was the English king ; and when he was in prison
in Germany, the troubadour Blondel went on
purpose to look for his prison, and sang under
the tower. The event is Blondel discovering
Richard the First in prison."
Mr. Harry Percy. " Exactly. Now will you
like to try the other way ; one person to choose
the subject, and all the rest to question him ?"
" I wish I might think," said little Edward.
" I know a very good thing, if I might go out
" You shall certainly think, my little chicken,"
Mrs. Percy replied ; " but you need not leave
the room ; you can think as you sit there, only
do not tell us your thought."
" Fve thought then," he said, smiling, and
looking very conscious and important.
Mrs. Percy. " Does it belong to ancient or
modern history ?"
Edward. " Modern ; I don't know any an-
Mary. " Is it a person, event or thing ?"
Edward. " A thing."
Mr. Harry Percy. " Is it one particular thing,
or only any one of the kind ?"
Edward. " One particular thing."
Mary. " Was it alive ?"
Edward. " Oh, yes ; quite alive."
Mr. Percy. fc A particular animal mentioned
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 121
in modern history. What sort of animal ? Bird,
beast, fish, or reptile ?"
Edward. " It was a beast."
Mrs. Mortimer. " In what country do we hear
of it ?"
Edward. " In England."
Mr. Stanley. " In what reign ?"
Edward. " Edward the Third's."
Arthur. " Did it belong to any famous
Edward. " Yes ; to a very famous person
Ellen. " Was he a king ?"
Edward. " No ; he never was a king, and I
am very sorry for it."
William. "A churchman, or a military
Edward. " A soldier ; a great soldier."
Aunt Esther. " Was this animal of his men-
tioned in peace or in war ?"
Edward. " In peace, but after a war."
Mr. Stanley. " Now let us put it all together.
A quadruped belonging to a famous soldier in the
reign of Edward the Third, and used in time of
Mrs. Mortimer. "Was the quadruped itself
noted for anything ? Beauty, strength, sagacity,
or anything else ?"
Edward. " Only for being shabby."
Mrs. Percy. " Well, Edward, I must confess
122 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
you have puzzled us all thoroughly. What use
was made of your quadruped ?"
Edward. " He was used in a procession."
Mary. "Oh, I know! I know! It is the
shabby little poney that Edward the Black Prince
rode by the side of King John of France, when
he brought John prisoner to London. Is not
that right ?"
Edward. " Yes ; that was my thought."
Mr. Stanley. " Now / will try your ingenuity
in cross-examination. I have thought of some-
Lucy. " Ancient or modern, papa ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Ancient : I agree with Arthur
and Henry in their preference for ancient his-
Mrs. Mortimer. " I must ask the usual ques-
tion before we can go any further. Is it a person,
event, or thing ?"
Mr. Stanley. " A thing."
Caroline. " Animate or inanimate ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Inanimate."
Matilda. " What was the use of it?"
Mr. Stanley. " It was used for ornament."
Mrs. Percy. " What kind of ornament ? I
mean, was it an ornament of dress, or architec-
ture, or what ?"
Mr. Stanley. " It was an ornament of dress."
Ellen. " What part of one's dress ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Nothing that you have on. It
was worn as an earring."
HISTOK1CAL CHARADES. 123
Mrs. Percy. " Is it general or specific ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Specific."
Mr. Harry Percy. " Then it belonged of
course to some particular person. To a man or
Mr. Stanley. " To a woman."
Henry. " To a queen, or a private person ?"
Mr. Stanley. " To a queen."
Edward. " Was she good ?"
Mr. Stanley. " She was decidedly bad. But
I am pretty sure, Edward, that you never heard
of her, therefore I advise you not to try to guess
this time. Listen to the others."
Mary. " Of what country was she queen ?"
Mr. Stanley. " Of Egypt."
Lucy. " It must be Cleopatra. I dare say it
is her Asp. Is it !"
Mr. Stanley. " No. Now you have had one
guess ; and remember, only three are allowed."
Henry. " That was a very bad guess, Lucy.
Cleopatra never wore the Asp for an earring. Is
it mentioned that she wore this earring at any
particular time !"
Mr. Stanley. " Yes ; at a feast."
Arthur. " Do you know what became of it !"
Mr. Stanley. " It was destroyed."
Ellen. " When ? Who destroyed it ?"
Mr. Stanley. "Those are two questions. Which
shall I answer?"
Ellen. " Who destroyed it ?"
Mr. Stanley. " She herself."
124 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Caroline. " When did she destroy it ?"
Mr. Stanley. " In the course of the same feast."
Henry, " Oh, then, I guess. The pearl that she
dissolved in vinegar to out-do Mark Antony?"
Mr. Stanley. " Yes."
Mary. " What is the story? I don't know it."
Mr. Stanley. " Mark Antony invited Cleopatra
to a banquet which was considered as magnificent
as possible : but she declared that she would
invite him to one that should cost fifty thousand
sesterces more. When her guests were assem-
bled, everything appeared exactly the same as at
Mark Antony's house, and he protested he could
perceive no difference. ' W T ait a moment/ she
said, * the feast is not over ;' and she took from
her ear a pearl worth fifty thousand sesterces,
dissolved it in vinegar, and drank it off."
Mary. " W T hat a pity ! I do not think any-
body would do such a silly thing now."
Arthur. " Well, / say it was splendid. No-
body would have the spirit to do it now. People
have not grown tired of talking about it for two
thousand years, while she might have worn the
pearl every day of her life, and nobody have
thought anything about it."
Mr. Percy. " See what difference of taste
there is in the world, Mary. Now, Arthur, it is
Arthur. " All right. I've thought."
Henry. " Ancient or modern ?"
Arthur. " Ancient for ever !"
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 125
William. " Man, woman, child, event, animal,
or inanimate thing? I think I have saved a
question or two this time."
Arthur. " None of them."
Matilda. " But that seems impossible. Is it
fact or fiction?"
Arthur. " Fiction ; but I suppose founded
Mrs. Percy. " It must be something in the
heathen mythology. But do you allow that to
be history ?"
Mr. Harry Percy. " It is a very doubtful
question. Let us put it to the vote. What do
you say yourself ? v
Mrs. Percy. " I should say no ; because it is
entirely fabulous. What do you say, Henry ?"
Henry. " I say yes ; because it has so much
to do with ancient history. And you, father?"
Mr. Stanley. " I agree with you ; because
ancient history would be almost unintelligible
without some knowledge of mythology."
Mr. Harry Percy. " And you, Lucy?"
L/ucy. " I never knew mythology was any-
thing but foolish stories. I should never have
thought it was history."
Caroline. " It seems to me that mythology
belongs more to poetry than to history."
Arthur. " I think it is history, because I
suppose that most of the characters were real
living heroes once, only with fables added to the
accounts of them after their death."
126 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Mrs. Mortimer. " I think the religious belief
of a people must be considered as part of their
Aunt Esther. " It appears to me that their
holding such a belief is matter of history, but
not the belief itself."
Ellen. " I think history is all true ; so I
should not reckon any that is not real, history."
Mary. " I do not know anything about it ;
I have not done mythology yet."
Edward. " Nor I. I don't know what it
Matilda. " I would rather hear Uncle Percy's
opinion ; I cannot make up my mind."
Mr. Percy. " I am against considering my-
thology to be history for nearly the same reasons
that Esther and Ellen have given. History is,
or ought to be, a true account of real events ;
mythology may be founded on history, but we
know it consists almost entirely of fables."
Mr. Harry Percy. " I vote with you. We
know that heroes were worshipped after their
deaths ; but the stories told about them, that is
to say, mythology, are not history. Now let us
count the votes. Four on your side, Arthur, and
seven against you; so you must give up your
" First tell us who it was, Arthur," said Lucy.
" Chiron the Centaur. He was half a man and
half a horse; so he was neither man, woman,
child, event, animal, nor inanimate thing."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 127
" Oh, was he not an animal ? If I had asked
you whether it was animal, vegetable, or mineral,
you must have said animal."
Arthur, " Yes ; I made a blunder there ; I
only thought of an animal as distinguished from
Mary. " I wonder what could make people
think of such a strange creature as half a man
and half a horse ?"
" You can explain that, Henry," said Mr. Percy.
" It was natural enough," answered Henry.
" The people of Thessaly were the first who rode
on horseback, and their neighbours, never having
seen anything of the sort before, fancied the
horse and man were all one animal."
" Is that the way mythology began?" said Mary.
" Yes," replied Mr. Percy. " It consists chiefly
of fanciful notions of real things. The story of
Vulcan, for example. People, at the foot of
Mount Etna, seeing the flames bursting from the
crater, and hearing awful subterranean sounds
for which they could not account, imagined that
the unknown power was a god who had especial
command over fire. By degrees they invented
other circumstances which came to be believed
as his real history."
" Did no other nations have fanciful notions
of real things ?" asked Ellen.
" Yes ; the Hindoos, for instance."
"But is their mythology like that of the
128 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" In some measure. But it is less poetical, and
contains a number of traditions from other re-
ligions, particularly the Egyptian, very childish,
and altered to the Hindoo taste."
" Do you know any of those stories, papa ?"
" Some of them. Perhaps you would like to
hear the story of 'Mahabali/ or ' The Great Bali/
This Bali is said to have been a king to whom the
command of the universe was given in reward
for the austerities which he had practised. He
proved a good sovereign, generous and liberal to
his subjects; but he became so proud, in conse-
quence of the immense power given to him, that
he looked down with contempt upon all other
created beings. He boasted that he would ac-
knowledge no superior in heaven, and no equal
on earth, and that his power extended even over
the infernal regions. He thought it beneath
him to take any notice of the inferior deities,
and neglected to make the offerings which they
usually received from mortals. They were very
angry at losing the honey, melted butter, oil, rice,
and fruits, which had always been considered
their due, and complained to the god Vishnoo,
who promised to redress their grievances. As
Bali had cheated them of their rights, Vishnoo
determined that he should be punished by being
cheated of his own.
" Soon afterwards, Bali gave a banquet at which
he displayed all his grandeur. Such magnificence
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 129
had never before been seen in the world ;
but, as usual, Bali insulted the gods by not
making the accustomed offerings to them and
their priests. In the midst of the entertainment,
while the people were prostrating themselves
before Bali, and treating him more like a god
than a king, there entered a poor dwarf, meanly
dressed, who bowed to him, and then stood with
his hands joined, as if begging. Bali took pity
upon his poverty, and desired him to ask what-
ever he wished, promising to grant it.
" The dwarf answered that he was a poor
Bramin of the name of Bamun, that he had but
few wants or wishes, and only begged Bali to
give him, out of his vast possessions, as much
ground as he could measure with three paces,
in order that he might build himself a hut.
" Now the planet Venus was a great friend of
Bali's, and seeing him about to be taken in, she
good-naturedly came down and whispered in his
ear that he had better be careful what he agreed
to, for that this Bamun was no other than the
god Vishnoo in disguise. Bali felt his danger,
but scorned to recal his promise ; and he there-
fore immediately proceeded to ratify the contract
in the usual manner, by pouring water over the
" No sooner had the water touched Bamun's
hands, than his stature began to increase in every
direction, and in a few seconds his head reached
130 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
the clouds. He now proceeded to measure out the
space granted to him. With the first stride he
cleared the earth ; with the second, the heavens ;
and the third would have carried him over the
infernal regions, but he was stopped by Bali's
prostrating himself before him, and resigning the
universe into his hands.
" Vishnoo took from him the power that had
been too great for him, but left him the infernal
regions, in consideration of the generosity he had
shown to his subjects."
" I like that story very much " said Lucy.
" But is that mythology ? Was Bali ever a real
" Some learned men suppose that he was an
ancient king of Cashmere, banished by a con-
queror to the lower regions of Hindostan."
" What had that to do with his being sent to
the infernal regions ?" asked Henry.
" Cashmere is one of the finest countries in
the world," replied Mr. Percy, " full of flowers
and fruits, cool rivulets, and beautiful scenery :
poets say there are no flowers in the world like
the roses of Cashmere
' Oh, who has not heard of the vale of Cashmere,
With its roses the brightest the world ever gave ?'
and so on; while Hindostan is intensely hot,
with plains of sand extending in some places as
far as the eye can reach. The ancient Cashmerians
HISTOKICAL CHARADES. 131
were very proud of their fine country, called it
an earthly paradise, and thought it scarcely pos-
sible to live anywhere else, and had the greatest
horror of the hot plains of Hindostan.
"After his banishment, Bali seems to have
established himself with considerable splendour in
India. There exists now, on the sea-shore near
Madras, a very fine pagoda, which is all that
remains of an ancient city called the City of the
Great Bali; and even this is supposed to have
been built in remembrance of him, on the site of
one still more ancient, over which he actually
ruled. There are old traditions of gilded sum-
mits of other pagodas having been seen under
the waters in former times."
" Some people think that Bali was the son of
Nimrod," said Mr. Stanley ; " and the same
called in Scripture Baal, and worshipped, as you
all know, by many idolatrous nations."
By this time we had had enough of our game,
and candles being brought in, we went to our
132 HISTOEICAL CHAKADES.
People of the Middle Ages Their daily life Roger Bacon
Bishop Greathead Anecdotes Ghost Stories Cicely,
Duchess of York, her day Dolls' Mediaeval Dinner Party
John Erigena The "Intermeat" The "Silentiary."
" I WISH," said Mary one morning, " we could
spend a whole day like people of the Middle
Ages ; and from the first thing in the morning
till the last thing at night do nothing but what
Ave should have done if we had lived then."
" I wonder how AVC should begin the day,"
said Ellen ; " Avhere is Uncle Harry ?"
" Here he is ; Avhat do you want with him ?"
" Oh, uncle, \ve Avant to spend a Middle Age
day. How should we begin ?"
" First, you must be up very early in the morn-
ing. The ladies in those days rose early and
Avent to chapel, hot or cold, \vet or dry. HOAV
should you like that?"
" We always do get up early ; and I suppose
their going to chapel Avas instead of our family
prayers. You know we have them every day."
" But with all your alertness, I doubt Avhether
you are up so early as the people of Henry the
Second's time. They had a proverb,
Lever a cinq, diner a neuf,
Souper a cinq, coucher a neuf,
Fait vivre d'ans nonante et neuf.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 133
" But then had they no breakfast ? only dinner
" They had only two meals a-day ; but they
made the most of them, and on great occasions,
when they did not keep quite to their regular
habits, they dined sometimes as late as eleven
in the morning. Afterwards they grew more
luxurious, and a dinner sometimes lasted from
three in the afternoon till twelve at night."
" But don't let us come to the dinner yet ;"
said Ellen. " We want to know how we are to
go on all day."
" Before I can tell you how you should go on,
I must know what rank you would hold feudal
lords, or vassals. What sort of people do you
mean to be ?"
" Just what we are now," said Lucy. " We
want to know what we ourselves should have done
if we had lived then."
" Society was different then. You would not
have been in the same condition you are now.
People were either nobles or vassals. The middle
class of gentry did not exist. But let us see
what we can make out for you. When you,
Lucy and Henry, were little children, before you
settled in Yorkshire, your father was in the army ;
so I suppose he would have gone to the Crusade,
and left you to the care of some relations at home."
" And me, me, Uncle Harry ?" said little Ed-
ward, bobbing up and down on his chair like an
134 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
India-rubber ball ; " what should I have been ?
Should not I have been something?"
" Your father was a physician; so perhaps you
might have been adopted by some baroii he had
" And all of us ?" asked Caroline, Arthur,
Ellen, and Mary.
" Oh, you are easily provided for. Your father,
with his family estate, would have been a petty
baron ; and Arthur might have gone to the wars,
and you girls would have stayed at home and
learnt housekeeping and embroidery ; to sing to
the lute, and to dance, and probably to read."
" Almost what we do now," said Ellen, in a
tone of disappointment.
" But you would have learnt some other things
which you do not learn now, cookery and sur-
gery. All the ladies learnt to dress wounds."
" I dare say that was often wanted. But you
and Willy, uncle, what would you have been ?"
" I am a lawyer, and I suppose I should have
been the same then ; but lawyers in those days
were often clergymen, and sometimes made am-
bassadors; so perhaps I might have been a much
greater man than I am now. The marriage of
Henry the Third and Eleanor of Provence was
arranged by a bishop who was a great lawyer.
But as clergymen were not allowed to marry, I
must have lived all alone, without any Willy and
his mamma to keep me company."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 135
" But you might have been a lawyer without
being a churchman, father/ 3 said William ; " and
then I would have been a student, and a very
" I wonder whether you would have been the
bishop who preached in favour of good grammar,
or one of th& Oxford students who used to say,
ego cur r It tu currit currens est ego which,
translated for your benefit, Mary, mean, f 7 runs
thou runs / is running.' '
" When did those dunces live ?" asked Henry
in a superior tone.
" In the thirteenth century; and two arch-
bishops thought it worth while to preach against
them. But never mind, Willy; you see 'the
archbishops knew better, and there were learned
men in the thirteenth century, notwithstanding
the dunce party at Oxford. Let us hope you
would have been one of the learned ones : perhaps
a rival to Roger Bacon himself."
" Or perhaps his friend," said William. "That
is what I should have liked."
" You might have been a second Bishop Great-
head. He was Roger Bacon's favourite friend,
and a very great man, too." ,4
" Who was he ? and what did he do ?" asked
" He began life as a poor boy, glad to earn his
bread by any hard work ; but he was so clever
that the Mayor of Lincoln took notice of him,
136 HISTORICAL CHAEADES.
and put him to school. There he distinguished
himself so much that other charitable persons sent
him to the university, and he became Bishop of
Lincoln, and one of the greatest scholars of his
day. But what was still better, he was thoroughly
conscientious, and not afraid to withstand both
the King and the Pope when they required any-
" The Pope,too !" exclaimed Lucy. "I thought
all the bishops in those days stood by the popes,
and rebelled against the kings."
" Not all. There were some who remembered
the precept, ' Fear God, and honour the king.'
Probably you only know the names of one or
two, such as Dunstan and Thomas-a-Becket.
But there were often churchmen in England who
upheld the rights of the English Church, were
loyal to their King, and resisted the usurpations
of the Pope ; and this Bishop Greathead was one
of them. When the Pope sent him bulls re-
quiring anything wrong, he tore them in pieces
instead of putting them in force."
" But was not the Pope angry ?" said Ellen.
" I thought the popes excommunicated every-
body who disobeyed them."
" Very true; and the Pope did excommunicate
him, but he did not care ; he said he made his
appeal to heaven. He was so good a man that
the English considered him a saint, in spite of
the Pope ; and he had many friends and admirers
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 137
even at Rome, though they dared not openly take
" Did he and the Pope ever make friends
again?" Mary asked.
" No; he died soon after ; and the Pope wrote
to the King of England to desire that his bones
might be taken up and disgraced, but the King
knew better than to comply with such a request ;
soon afterwards, when the Pope was in bed, he
fancied the bishop appeared to him with an angry
countenance, and gave him a hard poke in the
side with his crozier. ' You wretch of a Pope !'
said he, ' did you mean to disturb my bones, and
put a disgrace upon me and the church of Lin-
coln ? What made you so bold ? It would have
been more becoming for one in your station to
pay respect to the bones of an honest man P I
do not know whether the Pope profited by the
ghost's lecture, but I know he had a bad pain in
his side for several days, and thought he should
never be well again."
"But that story cannot be true, Uncle Harry;"
" I think it might, Lucy," he replied.
" But there could not be a real ghost ?"
" But there might be a sham one. You know I
told you the good bishop had friends in Rome. I
have no doubt it was a trick played on the Pope by
one of them. There are many stories of tricks of
the same kind which took people in at the time."
138 HISTORICAL CHAEADES.
"Oh, do teU us one!" said Lucy. "I like
ghost stories particularly."
" Here is one for you. A company of nuns
had once been driven out of their convent, which
remained empty for some time. At last there was
a talk of establishing a fresh sisterhood in it, but
William the Conqueror put a stop to the proposal,
and gave the convent and the lands belonging to
it to one of his knights. The knight and his
companions went down to take possession of the
property, and made a great feast, and were very
merry ; but after he was in bed, the nuns who
had intended to inhabit it, came to him dressed
up as the ghosts of those who had first been
driven out; and they poked him with their
crosses, and frightened him so much, that next
day he was very glad to give up his estate quietly
to the nuns."
" Thank you. But now for our Middle Age
day," said Ellen. " Please, uncle, go through a
" Is it to be in time of peace or in time of
" In time of peace, please. Just such a day
" The only description of a lady's whole day
that I remember, is in the account of Cicely,
Duchess of York, who was mother of Edward
the Fourth. She lived in the fifteenth century,
which is rather later than the times you mean,
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 139
but I recollect no other lady's diary just now.
She used to rise at seven, and as soon as she was
dressed go to mass. Then home to breakfast, and
a pretty substantial breakfast too. No tea or
coffee, or thin bread and butter, or crisp toast, or
muffins ; but good beefsteaks and ale ; or on fast
days some fish then in season. A conger eel,
perhaps, or a slice of porpoise."
" How nasty ! But please to go on."
" After breakfast she went to church again.
"When she came home, perhaps she took a quiet
walk on one of the terraces in her garden, at-
tended by her ladies : or if the weather was bad,
they might sit and embroider till dinner-time.
During dinner, she had a lecturer to read aloud
the whole time. After dinner, she received visi-
tors, and transacted any business she had in hand.
Next, she took a comfortable nap in her own
room. "When she awoke, her chaplain visited her
for confession or private prayers. Then she
came out among her ladies again, and, as her
biographer says, ' drank wine or ale at her plea-
sure/ Then the household all assembled for even-
ing prayers. After that, she and her ladies went
to chapel ; and when they returned, to supper.
During supper they talked about what had been
read to them at dinner ; and the good duchess
was very fond of repeating the lecture to them all
over again from memory. After supper she and
her ladies amused themselves ' with honest mirth/
140 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
as they said, till bed-time ; and by eight o'clock
they were all in bed. At least, such was the rule,
and the old lady observed it punctually herself/'
" There is nothing in all that for us to play
at, Lucy," said Ellen.
" No ; I do not think we could manage it.
Of course we could not play at going to chapel ;
and if we had to sit and work, or walk in the
garden, or listen to reading, it is no more than
we do now." ,
" Well," said Caroline, " if one comes to think
about it, they must in reality have done most of
the same things we do now, only they did them
in rather a different Avay."
" We do not read at meal-times," Mary ob-
" I will tell you what AVC can manage," Lucy
exclaimed. " Let us have a Middle Age banquet
in your baby-house, Mary, for the dolls. The
Duchess of Zero can give the feast; you have
plenty more dolls for the company, and AYC will
be the sen-ants."
"HoAv many people should we haA^e for guests?"
" They had large dinner parties in those days/'
said Uncle Harry ; " but I suppose your duchess
would not wish to invite quite such a party as the
Duke of Milan brought on a visit to Lorenzo de
Medici. There were a hundred men-at-arms,
five hundred foot-guards, fifty running footmen
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 141
dressed in silk and silver, two thousand noblemen
and courtiers, including their retainers, five hun-
dred couple of dogs, and innumerable falcons and
" Oh, that would be far too many. We have
not nearly dolls enough. It would take all the
dolls in the Pantheon Bazaar."
" Well, then, bring what you have, and make
the most of them."
Upon this suggestion they immediately acted.
The duchess was turned into a baron for the time
being, her daughters into knights, and the other
dolls into " gorgeous dames and statesmen old," of
all sorts and sizes. All the elegant furniture was
removed, and the carpet taken up, to prepare her
drawing-room for a banqueting-hall. The boys,
of course, would not condescend to play with dolls,
but William goodnaturedly fetched a handful of
hay from the stable, and Arthur supplied pieces
of wood from his workshop ; and then they and
Henry went after their own amusements ; but
Uncle Harry said that he was much younger than
they, and quite ready to play if he was wanted.
In fact, he was always ready for everything.
There never was such a playfellow as Uncle Harry.
We supposed he might really be a hard-working
grown-up gentleman when he was at home ; but
with us in the holidays he was never too old, or
too tired, or too busy for anything. So now it
was settled that he should talk for the baron ; and
142 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
he began by summoning his servants, and desiring
them to send for provisions, particularly a good
supply of fish. After a little time, I, as one of the
caterers, returned to say that there were but three
baskets of fish in the market, and that the bishop
of the diocese wanted them all ; that the baron's
servants had had a fight with the bishop's servants,
in which several on both sides were wounded ;
that the mayor at last had interfered, and decreed
one basket of fish to each party, and kept the
other for the market.
The baron, in a rage, said he would punish
the mayor for not deciding entirely in his favour ;
and ordered a band of retainers to take him pri-
soner immediately. No sooner said than done.
The mayor, a large doll, was brought in, a pri-
soner between Edward and Mary. Uncle Harry
stormed at him for daring to contravene his
orders, and commanded that he should instantly
be carried "to the deepest dungeon beneath the
castle moat !" Uncle Harry frowned so awfully,
and looked so tremendously fierce while he pro-
nounced these words in a voice of thunder, that
we were quite in fear for the poor mayor's life.
However, he came off at last with flying colours,
for the town's-people had no idea of allowing
him to be ill-treated for doing justice, and came
in a body to besiege the baron's castle, and de-
mand their mayor. Their representatives, Ellen,
Lucy, and Caroline, made such an uproar, that
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 143
the baron was frightened, and brought out the
mayor and made friends with him, and ended
by inviting both him and the bishop to dinner.
The mayor agreed to let the baron buy the third
basket of fish, and the bishop sent his for a pre-
sent : very fine fish they were, particularly the
But Uncle Harry said we should want flesh
and fowl as well as fish ; and he ordered herons,
bitterns, cranes, swans, geese, peacocks, pheasants,
rabbits, pigs, half a stag, a baron of beef, many
kinds of vegetables, particularly cabbages, pud-
dings, plenty of blancmange, and large jugs of
ale and wine.
" Are all those birds and beasts to be roasted
whole ?" I asked.
" By no means. "We must have elegant made
dishes, and two or three kinds of soup."
" I think," said Ellen, " it seems rather below
the baron's dignity to order every separate
dish himself. Could not somebody else do
" Nobody else knows what to order ;" replied
Lucy. " Pretend he is the steward for the pre-
sent, and we the cooks. What soups will you
please to have, sir ?"
" A good dish of broth made of pork and
gourds ; a white soup of almonds and onions ;
and some pork gruel coloured with saffron."
" "What nasty messes those must be !" ex-
144 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
claimed Lucy : but Uncle Harry continued giving
his orders with the utmost gravity.
" Take care to have plenty of saffron to colour
the dishes ; and powdered ginger to eat with the
roast cranes and herons ; a good sauce of garlic
and grapes for the rabbits ; and ginger syrup for
" And the pigs," cried Mary. " May we have
some apple sauce for them?"
" No, no. Take your pig, stuff him with herbs
and raisins, then boil him, then roast him well;
colour him with eggs and saffron, and then cover
him with gold and silver leaf."
" What was the use of the gold and silver leaf?"
" To look pretty, I suppose. They were very
fond of gilding their joints. And don't forget
the stream of fire from his mouth when he comes
" How is that to be managed ?" asked Lucy,
who seemed to be the head cook.
" A thin long-necked phial of spirit is to be
concealed in the pig's mouth, just before it is
brought to table. As soon as the heat of the pig
makes the spirit boil, set fire to the vapour. And
mind that we have a dish of boiled radishes,
several vegetable tarts, and a large custard pud-
ding stuffed full of violets."
" That last sounds more promising," said
Caroline : " but what odd mixtures they seem to
have used in their cookery."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 145
" Yes. But now I think your dinner is pretty
The house was next taken in hand : chopped
hay spread over the floor, a long wooden table
arranged the whole length of the room, and
benches round it. Chairs of the Duchess' were
placed at the head of the board for the baron,
the bishop, and two or three of the most
distinguished guests. When all was ready, a
flourish of Edward's tin trumpet announced the
arrival of the company. The baron ordered the
drawbridge to be lowered, and proceeded to the
hall to receive his guests. The dolls were
ushered into the banqueting-hall with great dig-
nity. Mary, Lucy, and Ellen arranged them in
their proper places, taking care to seat several of
the gentlemen on the floor. A plate and knife
were given to each person, but of course no fork.
Most of the animal food came out of Edward's
Noah's Ark, and Mary had boxes of dolls' fruit
" Who is to carve ?" asked Lucy.
cc The baron himself should carve the principal
dish," said Uncle Harry ; " and the guests may
help themselves to the others. It was sometimes
a point of politeness for the master or mistress of
the house to carve one dish. The Countess of
Warwick held a manor by the service of carving
for the King on particular occasions."
The servants were very attentive, helped the
146 HISTORICAL CHAEADES.
wooden company to carve and eat, and carried
on conversation for them to prevent their finding
the party dull. As the exact date of the enter-
tainment was not fixed, they introduced by way
of conversation any stories they happened to
know. The best was one told by Uncle Harry,
about John Erigena when dining with King
Charles the Bald. Erigena was a learned man,
very clever, and full of fun. He was rather small
and thin, and a little apt to be greedy. He was
sitting at dinner between two remarkably fat
priests, and the King sent him a dish containing
two large fish and one small one, and desired him
to divide them between himself and his two
neighbours. John bowed to the King, gravely
helped himself to the two large fish, and divided
the little one between the priests. " That is not
fair !" said they. " No, indeed ;" said the King.
But John again bowing politely, persisted in its
being all right. " Here," said he, showing his
own plate and himself, " are two large fish and
one little one ; and there," pointing to the priests
and their plates, " are also two large fish and one
Between the two courses the baron, as was
customary, had an " intermeat," a kind of show
that used to be exhibited during feasts, and gene-
rally consisted of a sham fight by sea or land.
One of Edward's little ships was brought in,
and soldiers out of the same box were pushed
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 147
after it. The attendants knocked them all down
with caraway comfits; then ate the sugar-plums
in the name of the company, and carried the
The only drawback to the pleasure of the en-
tertainment was its extreme noise. The company
and the servants seemed all determined to talk at
once ; and at last Uncle Harry said that we must
establish a Silentiary. Edward was accordingly
installed in the office, and posted against the wall
with a cane in his hand, with which he was to
strike it whenever the company became noisy.
But he discharged his duty with too great rigour,
and struck the wall whenever anybody attempted
to speak. The mere suspicion that any one was
going to open her mouth, set him hammering ; so
that he made more noise than they, and stopped
all conversation. He was, therefore, by common
consent, deposed from his office.
Uncle Harry and I, having other things to do,
took leave soon after the entertainment began ;
but it continued during the whole of that day,
and when we went to bed at night, the baron and
his guests were still carousing. Next day, Lucy,
Ellen, and Mary spent the whole morning in
putting things in order and welcoming the return
of the Duchess of Zero and her daughters to their
comfortable family mansion.
148 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Value of a good character AGAMEMNON Statue of Memnon
Clyteirmestra's Grecian dress Galileo William Wallace
Lancaster A skating party.
THE dinner parties were over, the papas and
mammas at leisure, and everybody being ready
for more charades, Uncle Harry and I were
again summoned to the consultation.
" Let us have something from Greece or
Rome," said Arthur
" By all means," said Henry ; " and let it be
a philosopher this time."
" I wonder what you can see to admire in
those philosophers," said William. " St. Au-
gustine says they hung up veils before their
doors to hide the ignorance that lurked within."
" Not quite so fast, William," interposed his
father. " Before the introduction of Christianity
the best of the heathens were generally philoso-
phers, and, as far as honesty and just dealing
went, they are not to be despised."
"I thought they taught nothing but sophis-
try," said William.
"They gave good lessons sometimes. There
was one who was anxious to impress upon his
scholars the value of a good character. With
this intention he went down to the market-place
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 149
at midnight, and carried away a sheep that was
hung up in the shambles. In the morning the
sheep was missed, and two of his scholars, young
men of indifferent character, were accused of the
theft. They were brought before the magistrate,
when the philosopher came forward and confessed
himself to be the thief."
" Then, of course, the poor scholars got off ?"
" No : everybody laughed at the philosopher,
and said it was impossible that so good a man
could steal. The more he protested, the more
they laughed, and said that anybody could see he
was only trying to save his scholars. At last he
brought the sheep into court, and returned it to
the owner. ' Learn from this/ he said to his
scholars, ' the value of a good reputation/ '
" Do you know the name of the philosopher ?"
" No, I do not ; so I am afraid you cannot
act him. But I cannot stay with you this morn-
ing, as I have an engagement. Good-bye."
" Let us have something from the Iliad," said
Arthur, when Uncle Harry was gone. " One of
the names we proposed the other day, AGAMEM-
xox ? Aunt Esther, you said that would do,
only we had not time to finish settling it."
" But I do not see how we can divide the word,"
said Ellen. " Ay does not mean anything."
" Try Aga," I said. " A sort of petty great
150 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
man. in Turkey, sometimes the governor of a
village. You might have him sitting smoking,
surrounded by his attendants."
" Yes ; and having them all bastinadoed/'
exclaimed Arthur. " That is the thing for a
" Oh no, Arthur/' said Caroline ; " do not
let us have anything horrid. You know mamma
does not like it."
se Well, but she will not mind my ordering it.
Of course it is not going to be done ?"
" But what shall we have for Mem ? Would
a very affected, mincing person do, coming in,
saying How do you do, Mem ? I am delighted
to see you, Mem, instead of Ma'am ?" inquired
Mary, curtseying, putting her head on one side,
and acting her own idea, as she spoke.
" Oh no, Mary, we do not want Mem at all/'
Henry replied. " Memnon, the Egyptian hero,
is what we must have, of course."
" Who was Memnon ? You fixed upon these
words the morning Lucy and I were sweeping
the baby-house and washing the dolls' clothes
after the banquet, so we do not know about
Though Henry had been so ready with Mem-
non's name, we found that he knew nothing
more, and could not even tell Mary who he was :
so I explained to her that Memnon was a corrup-
tion of the name of Amenof the Third, supposed
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 151
by some people to have been the very kiug of
Egypt who was reigning when the Israelites
took their departure, and who was drowned in
the Red Sea.
" But that was Pharaoh \" exclaimed Lucy,
Ellen, and Mary all together.
" Pharaoh was his title, not his name. All
the kings of Egypt at that time were called
Pharaohs, but they had their own names besides."
" Just as the first twelve emperors of Rome
were called Csesars," said Arthur.
When the little girls were satisfied on this
point, I told them more about Amenof, and the
great statue erected to him.
" Then Moses himself may have seen it," said
Lucy. " Think of there being a statue standing
now that Moses and the Israelites could have
seen ! That is wonderful."
" But," said the dignified Henry, " do you
" I am not learned enough to decide," I
answered; " I only tell you that some people
suppose it to have been the statue of that Pha-
raoh, and I do not know that there are any strong
reasons against it."
" I am sure / shall believe it," said Lucy,
" because it is so nice to think of. What is it
I told her that it is an enormous statue, fifty-
three feet high, sitting on a throne, with its hands
152 HISTOEICAL CHARADES.
on its knees. In former times people believed
that every morning when the first rays of the
sun struck the statue, it gave out a musical sound,
and it is therefore known by the name of the
Vocal Memnon. " Now/' I continued, " we may
very easily dress Henry as an Egyptian statue :
we will put him in the Memnon's attitude, with
a sheet over him, and a white scarf flat upon his
head, and hanging down on his shoulders ; and I
will sit behind him where I cannot be seen, and
strike a chord on the guitar."
" That will be famous," said Henry. " I
have seen the small Memnon in the British Mu-
seum, and I know the position."
" I think we might manage a still better scene,
with more acting in it," Arthur observed. " Do
not you remember in the History of Rome, that
the Emperor Adrian, with his wife and a number
of ladies, went to visit the statue of Memnon, to
hear the music ? We might have them coming
to see it, and talking about the sound."
" There is one objection to that. Henry will
quite lose his effect as a colossal statue, if human
beings of the same size are standing by him. It
will answer better to have nothing to compare
him with, if we wish him to look gigantic.
Now ' Agamemnon, King of Men/ what scene
in his life will you have ?"
" Oh, don't let us have his life at all : let us
have his death. His wife Clytemnestra stabbing
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 153
him. You know she gave him a fine tunic with
the sleeves sewed together, and while he was
trying to put it on, and his arms were entangled
in the sleeves, she stabbed him."
:e What a wicked creature," said Ellen. " I
am sure I will not act her."
" Nor I ;" said Mary. " Nor I neither ;"
" "Well then, Caroline will. You will not
mind it, Carry ?"
" Why really, I would rather not."
" Suppose," said I, " you classical boys act
that scene by yourselves. Let Arthur be Cly-
temnestra ; the dressing him up as a lady will be
an additional advantage."
" Oh yes !" said Mary ; " and he shall have
mamma's old pink bonnet and black cloak, or
had he better be in an evening dress ? Caro-
line's blue frock with short sleeves ; and perhaps
as Clytemnestra was a queen, he should have a
" Oh Mary, what wretched notions !" ex-
claimed Henry. " Suffely you do not suppose
the Greek ladies of the heroic ages were dressed
in bonnets and frocks like you?"
" How were they dressed ?"
" They wore tunics, vests, robes, and different
kinds of drapery of their own. The way will be
for Arthur to take off his jacket, and turn his
shirt-sleeves up to his shoulders, and then have a
154 HISTORICAL CHAKADES.
shawl twisted round him somehow ; I dare say
Aunt Esther can do it."
" Very easily. I will fold the shawl round him,
and fasten the corners on his shoulders with
brooches : and he shall have a girdle round his
" I ought to have a veil, and a crown or fillet ;
do not forget that/' said Arthur.
" Those are all ready," I answered : " and
now that we have settled Agamemnon, what
other words shall we have? There will be time
for several. None of Agamemnon's scenes will
take long to act."
" I think," said William, " it would be a good
way for us to take it in turn to choose the words,
because then we might each have our favourite
character, and still all consult and arrange. Shall
we draw lots for first choice ?"
The first choice fell to me, and as we had
hitherto dealt only in kings and queens, I ven-
tured to leave the royal line, and to propose the
philosopher GALILEO. The word would divide
well, but I found that ndfte of the children except
William knew his history. They had always
cared more about kings and warriors than about
learned men. Lucy had learnt to repeat in her
lesson of Chronology.
" A. D. 1557. The astronomer Galileo, and
the Spanish writer, Cervantes, flourish :"
but she did not know who either of them were,
HISTORICAL CHARADES- 155
and had never inquired. I explained that Galileo
was a learned Italian who invented the telescope,
and made many great astronomical discoveries.
The Grand Duke of Tuscany was his friend, and
made him Professor of Mathematics, and for a
time he pursued his studies in peace ; but at last,
ignorant people fancied there must he something
wrong in his discoveries because they could not
understand them, and he was brought before the
Inquisition. There he was forced to renounce
all his opinions. He agreed to give up his science
in order to save his life, but the Inquisitors
were not satisfied, and they imprisoned him for
many years. When he was released, his eye-
sight was so injured by the confinement, that he
could no longer look through his telescope. When
I had finished my story, the boys wished to act
his examination before the Inquisition, but Ellen
did not like anything so melancholy, and w r e
therefore determined upon showing him looking
through his telescope.
It was now little Edward's turn to find a
word, and he seemed rather puzzled at having
" all" history " before him where to choose,"
because, as he informed us, he was only as far as
Bichard the Third. Arthur advised him to act
" He had much better be Tom Thumb," said
Henry. " Besides, Hercules will not divide ;
don't put useless words into the child's head."
156 HISTOKICAL CHARADES.
I reminded Edward of the different heroes of
whom he had read in his little history of Eng-
land ; and he said his favourite of all was William
Wallace, but that he should not like to be him,
even in play, because of having his head cut
" Never mind that," said William. " Wallace
is a good word. You may be any other cha-
racter that comes into the story ; and any one
of us will be William Wallace himself, if you do
not like it. /am quite ready to act such a hero,
with his head or without it."
" It is a very odd thing," said Lucy, " but I
think heroes generally come to bad ends. After
all their fighting and conquering, they are very
apt to have their own heads cut off, or something
of that sort. I wonder why that is."
" Because," I replied, " the greatest men have
not fought for their own private advantage, but
for the rights of their king, or the good of their
country, and sometimes the object could not be
gained without the loss of their lives. Those
great men were ready to lay down their own lives
in a noble cause; and often that was the very
way they came to be looked upon as heroes.
" Now if you have agreed upon Wallace, draw
lots for the next. It is Ellen's turn. Who
shall it be, EUen ?"
" I should like some name in the Wars of the
Roses, but on the Lancaster side, of course."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 157
" Why do you prefer that side ?"
" Because I am so sorry for poor Henry the
Sixth, and his misfortunes. He was a good
man, I am sure, though he might not be a clever
" I like him too," said Mary. " If I had
lived at that time, he should have had somebody
to comfort him and give him a little honour, I
" Yes, and me too," cried Edward. " I'm a
And indeed his chubby face looked very like
I proposed taking the word LANCASTER. It
would divide very well. Lank Aster.
" What shall Lank be ?"
" I know," said Lucy ; " I heard Aunt Mor-
timer telling mamma that when Matilda was a
child, her hair was so lank it never would
curl. Let us be a party of girls whose hair
will not curl. AVe can come in with it all
about our ears, pretending we have got wet in
" I suppose that must do," said Ellen. " Now
Caroline suggested bringing in one of the
China asters which she would ask the gardener to
pot off ready for the evening, if they were not
all out of bloom. She proposed to bring the
company to see it as a rare plant just arrived
158 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
from China, when she would expatiate upon its
class and order, and the mode of cultivating it.
For LANCASTER, I advised, the adherents of
Henry the Sixth discussing his character and
misfortunes, and resolving to be faithful to him,
and to their emblem, the Red Rose. " We might
put on some red roses," said Caroline ; " mamma
has an old wreath, which I know we may cut to
" Fll tell you what will be best/' cried Arthur.
"We'll have a good skirmish between York and
Lancaster. Some of us shall wear white roses,
and some red ; and the red shall meet the others
and beat them, and make them throw all their
white roses away. We can get up a capital
Here we were interrupted by Mr. Percy, who
came to announce that the pond in the park was
frozen so hard that the ice was quite safe for
sliding and skating, and advised the boys to
take advantage of it while the weather was
" Hurrah !" cried Henry, throwing down the
History of Greece, while Arthur let Rome slip
through his fingers more easily than even Augus-
tulus had done. William made equally short
work with England, and the boys rushed from
the room with shouts that might have announced
the fall of empires.
We ladies remained to put the books in their
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 159
places; and then followed to enjoy the fun
in the park. We found the rest of the party
at the pond before us, and most of them on
the ice; some sliding, some skating : Mr. Stanley,
in particular, was skimming over the ice, as
if he had Avings. He was a capital performer,
and very good-natured in teaching the boys. He
had brought out with him five oranges, four of
which he placed upon the ice in a square, with
about twelve feet between each, and the other in
the middle. Closely followed by Henry, Arthur,
and William, he skated in a small circle round
the centre orange. When they had gone once
round, they struck out at the same moment, each
making a circle round one of the corner oranges ;
then altogether round the centre ; then each
again took his own corner. In this way they
went on very regularly, but the ice being new
continued cracking all the time. Mr. Stanley,
who knew that the water was only two or three
feet deep, allowed them to go on till the ice
waved like a carpet, and the water oozed through
every time he passed over the cracks, when he
thought it advisable to try some other part of the
Henry now proposed a mail-coach, which was
performed by all the skaters laying hold of each
other's sticks, the fastest taking the lead, and
skating over the pond in all directions.
Several of the ladies ventured on the ice.
160 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Lucy and Mary were almost as fearless as their
brothers, but the little quiet Ellen preferred
remaining with me on shore, and admiring her
braver companions, notwithstanding their laugh-
ing at her. We stayed till it grew so cold and
dark that Mrs. Percy ordered the children home.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 161
WALLACE AGAMEMNON GALILEO Roman Galleys Leo X.
SPARTAN Black Broth.
AT the earliest possible opportunity we began our
performance. The words chosen in the morning
went off very well. The first was Wallace.
WALL. A company of travellers arriving in
sight of the great wall of China, guided by a
Chinese, with a long pig-tail, and dressed in a
cloak with a girdle. They looked up at the
cornice of the room, and expressed unbounded
surprise and admiration, inquiring its height and
breadth, saying they had never seen anything so
stupendous, and that it must be a great defence
to China. The guide bowing, and turning about
so as to display his pig-tail to the utmost advan-
tage, remarked that China was decidedly the
mistress of the world ; at which the travellers
laughed, and the spectators guessed the word.
LACE. Caroline had seen lace made in Devon-
shire, and she desired the actors to supply them-
selves with pillows for cushions, and to stick in
them rows of pins with reels of cotton fastened
to them. The weavers sat with the pillows on
their laps, and wove very industriously, but the
word was soon guessed.
162 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
For WALLACE they chose the story of William
Wallace and his army meeting Warrenne Earl of
Surrey, and his troops, at Stirling.
The river Forth was there crossed by a long
wooden bridge. The English general approached
the banks on the southern side, and Wallace on
the north. Warrenne sent two clergymen to offer
a pardon to Wallace and his followers on con-
dition of their laying down their arms.
" Go back to Warrenne," said Wallace to the
messengers, "and tell him we are not here to
treat of peace, but to restore freedom to our
country. Let the English come on; we defy
them to their very beards \"
The space between two rows of chairs down
the middle of the room, made the river ; and the
chairs themselves, the banks. Wallace was very
grand. We wondered that the English had been
able to defeat such a hero; and, knowing his
history, we could not for the time avoid preferring
the Scotch cause to the English. We might have
continued half the evening lamenting his fate,
but the boys recalled us to the business in hand.
AGAMEMNON gave great satisfaction through-
out, but I think our best scene was MEMNON.
The chairs and tables were wheeled out of the
way, and a large empty space cleared to repre-
sent the plain of the Nile, above which the
Memnon towers. A single arm-chair was placed
for Henry, who sat on the back of it dressed in
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 163
ancient Egyptian costume. He wore the sheet
as at first proposed, but we found a much better
contrivance than the scarf to imitate the head-
dress. Long strips of cartridge paper, about
three inches wide, were folded backwards and
forwards till they looked like a large plaited frill,
and bound with a fillet to Henry's temples.
They hung half way down his waistcoat, and the
ends were fastened by a girdle. He sat upright,
with his hands spread flat upon his knees, and I
hid myself behind him with the guitar. The
lights were extinguished, and for a few seconds a
solemn silence prevailed the night was still
and dark. Presently the door softly opened, and
Caroline appeared, carrying her papa's little
portable reading lamp ; she entered slowly, hold-
ing her hand before it, so as to illuminate but a
small part of the room. Morning was evidently
dawning, but Memnon was still in shadow.
Gradually she lowered her hand, and threw the
light full on the face of the statue. At the in-
stant the sun's rays reached him, the musical
sounds were heard, for I began to play some
chords on the guitar ; first in very faint harmo-
nics, then growing louder, and gradually dying
away again, to imitate the kind of sound sup-
posed to issue from Memnon.
Next came GALILEO.
The boys contrived with the chairs an ancient
(/alley, with two banks of oars. One set of rowers
164 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
were on the floor, and worked their oars between
the bars of the chairs ; the others sat on the seats,
and rowed with long sticks through the backs.
Henry, dressed in sheet drapery, stood at the
prow, evidently bent on conquest, and holding a
pasteboard standard, on which appeared the letters
S. P. Q. R. The rowers pulled immensely hard
true racing stroke but their exertions were
not long needed, for the word was discovered.
The next scene represented 4 Pope Leo the
Tenth, in whose reign, as the children knew,
the Reformation began. We had first thought of
acting his commissioning Tetzel to sell the in-
dulgences ; then his meeting with Francis the
First, when the Cardinals charged him not to
touch his hat, lest the people should think a King
was as great a man as a Pope : but we finally
decided upon his reception of the English ambas-
sadors, who came to present Henry the Eighth's
book against Luther.
Leo, dressed in scarlet robes, sat in an arm-
chair covered with crimson drapery. The Cardi-
nals, in sheets and red shawls, with little red
caps on their heads, stood on each side of his
chair. Leo held in his hand a scroll, on which
were the words FIDEI DEFENSOR, the title which
he bestowed upon Henry in return for his book.
The Pope received the book with great dignity,
and presented the scroll to the ambassadors, who
appeared extremely grateful. Leo then put out
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 165
his foot in a convenient position for them to kiss ;
which ceremony being performed, they retired.
GALILEO. The scene now lay in Tuscany, at
the court of Duke Cosmo. Gaily dressed cour-
tiers and ladies were walking about, exchanging
compliments, and remarking on the clearness of
" We must prepare for the revel to-night,"
said one ; " the evening star already warns us to
return to the palace/'
" So I perceive/' answered a giddy young
lady ; " and with it, as usual, appears our solemn
Professor of Mathematics."
Galileo slowly advanced; a quiet-looking old
man dressed in black, with a telescope under his
"Well, Signor Bat's-eyes," began the courtier ;
" what say the constellations ? Do they promise
you the philosopher's stone to-night ?"
" Or the elixir of perpetual youth ?" asked the
" But what do you hear through that tube?"
" The barking of the Dogstar, and the howls
of the Great Bear," replied a fourth.
These taunts and many others were lost upon
Galileo, who silently awaited their departure for
the revel. When left alone, he stealthily brought
out from behind the screen a three-legged stand.
"These moments are precious," said he to
166 HISTORICAL CHAEADES.
himself, as he hastily fixed his telescope. " The
dungeons of the Inquisition are dark, and once
within their walls, farewell to sun and stars \"
After Lancaster had been acted, and our Red
Roses had come off more triumphantly than was
often the fortune of poor Henry the Sixth, we
had one more charade this evening ; it was chosen
by Arthur, and intended to be entirely performed
by the boys. The girls were not even allowed to
know the word, but were desired to guess with
the other spectators.
The first syllable was rather alarming. Henry
and Arthur came in without their jackets, and
with handkerchiefs twisted round their hands so
as to make them three times the natural size.
They placed themselves in the middle of the
room, and began, as we thought, to fight. There
was a great deal of hitting at each other's faces,
and yet they did not seem to hurt one another.
We guessed Fight, Box, Hit, but they shook their
heads ; none of those would do. As they left the
room, I heard Arthur say, " I suppose the ladies
can't be expected to guess that ; but really, Uncle
Stanley ought." However, Mr. Stanley gave
us no help, and the second scene began.
When the screen was removed, we saw chairs
placed in a square with the backs towards the
inside, so as to form a kind of pit or well.
Baizes and carpets were spread over them, and
in a conspicuous place hung the never-failing
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 167
tiger skin. Henry, Arthur, William, and Edward,
were standing round, with their sleeves tucked
up to their elbows, apparently engaged in some
very hard work. They dragged the pieces of
carpet out of the pit, and rubbed them most
diligently. Edward, in particular, rubbed till
his own face was as red as the drugget on which
hs was at work. Presently they threw it all
back, saying the leather was not sufficiently
softened, and must go into the pit again. They
next began to work at the tiger skin, observing
that they must first scrape off the hair ; but on
Arthur's producing a carving knife for that pur-
pose, Mrs. Percy interfered. She said they had
entered quite far enough into the realities of
their trade, without proceeding to tan her va-
luable tiger skin.
After we had waited a long time for the next
scene, Edward ran in to say that they had not
actors enough, and wanted Caroline, Lucy, and
Ellen to come and help. The young ladies
obeyed the summons, but we still waited till our
patience was exhausted, and I was despatched
io hurry them. On entering the school-room, I
found them in a most extraordinary mess. There
seemed to be some very odd sort of cookery
going on, for there was a large tureen on the
table, with soup-plates and several iron and
" What can you be doing ?" I asked.
168 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Don't you see ?" replied Arthur. " We
are making black broth, to be sure : Spartan
" But what has made you so long about it ?"
"We could not settle upon a good recipe,"
Lucy answered : " so we are each trying our
own; but it takes a good while to fill a whole
"Just look round, will you," said Arthur,
" and see which you think is most like blade
broth. It is only the look of it that signifies,
you know : nobody need drink it."
" That is fortunate," I thought to myself, as
I inspected the cookery. Henry was at work
with his box of colours, mixing sepia, indigo,
and lake in a soup-plate very black that was.
Arthur and Lucy were engaged in preparations
of ashes and water ; they thought it looked like
bad pea soup very bad, I thought. Caroline,
who hated dirt, had a kettle of boiling water,
and was trying to bring strong black tea to the
highest possible colour; but the others said hei
broth looked poor, and would never do. Thej
were all so busy with their own experiments tha;
they had forgotten to look after Master Edward,
who had realised the idea in the strongest man-
ner ; and was jerking ink by penfuls into a soup-
plate, mixing it with water, and stirring it up
with the feather of the pen : of course spirting
it all over his own face and dress. Having:
HISTORICAL CHAKADES. 169
secured the inkstand, I advised them to mix
their messes together in the tureen, and proceed
to the acting without further delay. Arthur
accordingly took off his jacket, and tied a towel
round his waist, which he thought made him
look very like a Helot. While he carried the
tureen on his head into the drawing-room, then
returned for the plates and basins, and arranged
them, the others had time to dress as Spartan
citizens. They put sheets over their shoulders,
and tied tow beards on their chins to look
elderly ; then marched into the room in a for-
mal manner, and seated themselves at the table,
looking very solemn. Henry, as Polemarch,
ladled out the broth, and helped everybody.
They pretended to eat it with great satisfaction,
remarking how black it was, and how wise, and
brave, and superior to everybody else it made
Presently Ellen entered, much more gaily
dressed than the others. She made a low bow,
and Henry begged to know who she was, at the
same time offering her a seat. She informed him
that she was a young Athenian nobleman come
to Sparta in the train of Alcibiades, and having
heard much of their black broth, she was anxious
to taste it. Henry politely presented her with a
plateful, and she pretended to try to drink it;
but the moment it touched her lips, she began to
sputter and make wry faces, as if she was taking
170 HISTOEICAL CHARADES.
physic. She protested she had never tasted any-
thing so nasty in her life ; she was sure it must
"Young Athenian/' exclaimed Henry, with
great dignity, " to relish this broth, it is necessary
to have first bathed in the Eurotas."
As the children were returning to the school-
room, they met Mr. Percy, who had not been
present at the acting.
" Where have you been this evening, papa ?"
said Ellen. " We have not seen you."
" I have been busy in the library/ 3 he an-
swered, "and when you have taken off those
majestic robes and beards, I have something to
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 171
Black letter Manuscript "Romaunt of Robert a Stoker"
Ox their return to the drawing-room, Mr. Percy
produced a packet of papers.
" Here is a manuscript," said he, " which, I
think, you will like to hear read. It is a wonder-
ful story of a great magician that was once seen
" What is the date, uncle ?" said William.
" Was it written by a monk ? And where was
it found ?"
" You may examine the first leaf for yourself :
the rest is in such a peculiar condition, that I
cannot let it go out of my own hands."
The contents of the first leaf were as follows :
' THE PAYRE AND PLEASAUNTE ROMAUNTE OF
ROBERT A STOKER.
" In ye olden dayes of merry Ynglonde yee
rnuste stodie wel & undirstonde yat manie grete
& straunge dinges dydde happe siche as shal
not agen bee sene in ye londe quhile ye Water
runnes & ye Sunne dothe shyn. For yt is wel
172 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
knowen to manie wyse & lerned clerkes quho
have wrytte of y c same in Bokes how yat byfore
y e dayes of our preset blessed Konyng diuers
grymme Enchaunters dydde wone in y e Londe
& at tymes dydde goe rampauging ouer alle y e
Countrie sparynge in her furye ne grene rie
wylde forete ne citye in soche wyse yat alle peple
fro y e Konyng on hys throne wiy hys fayre Quene
bi hys rizt honde to y e lowest Knaue or Villein
wiy hys Wyf Jugge or Margerye alle dydde at
tymes holde her lyfis in delie feare and quak-
William took it, and looked at it in a learned
antiquarian sort of way. It was written in black
letter, on very coarse paper, which, as well as
the ink, appeared discoloured by age. William
remarked that it was in wonderfully good
preservation, considering it was only on paper,
not on vellum, and that the edges were not
" "indeed \" said Mr. Percy. " Perhaps you
had better not spend any more time in examining
it. Hand it round, if you please, and let us see
who can read it."
Each looked at it in turn, but nobody could
make out a word, except William. At his uncle's
desire, he began to read it aloud.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 173
"THE FAIR AND PLEASANT ROMAUNT OF
ROBERT X STOKER.
" In the olden days of merry England, ye must
study well and understand that many great and
strange things did hap, such as shall not be seen
again in the land while the water runs, and the
sun doth shine.
" For it is well known to many wise and
learned clerks, who have writ of the same in
books, how that before the days of our present
blessed king, divers grim enchanters did wone in
the land, and at times did go rampaging over all
the country, sparing, in their fury, neither green
nor wild, forest nor city; in such wise that all
people, from the king on his throne, with his fair
queen by his right hand, to the lowest knave or
villain, with his wife Jugg or Margery, all did at
times hold their lives in deadly fear and quaking."
" That is the whole of this leaf," said William,
who read the black letter without any difficulty.
" I wish it was written in common English,"
observed Mary, who had been looking over his
shoulder, " I can't read a word of it myself,
and I can scarcely understand it when Willy
" I will read the rest in modern English, if you
prefer it," said Mr. Percy : " only nobody must
come and overlook me while I am reading."
174 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" ' In those days there lived that great magi-
cian, Robert it Stoker.' "
" What an odd name \" said Lucy, " Astoker."
"Nothing particularly odd/' said William.
"There were Thomas a Becket, and William
a Court, and plenty such."
" ' This Robertus was an awful man to behold/
continued Mr. Percy. ' So grim, and black, and
dreadful was his face, that he seemed to be one
of those demons who had begun life as pillars of
black smoke, and gradually taken the shape of
men. He was not a giant, though one might have
supposed that no one else could have performed
such deeds. He lived in a great castle in the
outskirts of London, surrounded by his followers.
No one could guess the limits of his power. The
four elements were his slaves : he kept them in
his castle, and sent them out to work when he
pleased. Many of the king's best roads he had
turned into iron, so that neither horses nor cattle
could travel upon them. Flames of fire were
constantly seen issuing from the interior of his
castle, and people sometimes feared for the safety
of London itself. Fire Avas evidently to him a
mere goblin page, who obeyed his orders, and
earth, air, and water, seemed to be equally under
" ' Time and space were nothing to Robert. His
ugly face might be seen scowling at the London
shopkeepers when they opened their shutters in
HISTORICAL CHAEADES. 175
the morning, and before they had well finished
laying out their goods in the windows, he would
be at Dover, cheapening fresh fish for his break-
" ' He could discover what was happening at
the other end of the kingdom at the very moment
in which an event took place, and understand
the words spoken a hundred miles off as soon as
they were uttered.
" ' But what frightened people most of all was
an enormous fiery monster that he kept in his
stables, and which had the strength of a hundred
horses. A Stoker used to call it by a good
many pet names, such as Phlegethon, Vulcan,
Pluto, Acheron ; but its most common name was
Cerberus, and we may as well keep to that/ "
" Was it a dragon ?" asked Edward.
" Not exactly ; it had no wings, but it could
run at a tremendous pace. Its skin was so hard,
that neither arrow nor lance could pierce it, and
it was covered with scales that glittered in the
sun like shining brass."
" Did it ever devour men ?" asked Mary.
" No, though it sometimes killed them."
" What was its food ?" inquired William, who
thought he had obtained a clue to the mystery.
" Its principal nourishment was derived from
the forests of fern with which our island formerly
abounded," replied Mr. Percy ; "and its food was
generally baked, for the sake of its digestion."
176 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Floored, William !" said Arthur, to whom he
had communicated his suspicions of its being the
first invention of artillery.
" ' Fire and smoke issued from its mouth/
continued Mr. Percy, ' and its breathing might
be heard at the distance of several miles. It would
crush a man in an instant ; but you may sup-
pose everybody was careful not to cross its path,
everybody but its wonderful master, Robert a
Stoker. He would ride on its back, and scour
the country, clearing all before him. The valiant
knights of those days many times talked of attack-
ing this monster, and opposing his progress over
their lands ; but they no sooner saw him, exhaling
fire and smoke, and coming over the country
with the speed of a whirlwind, than their reso-
lution changed, and they were happy to come to
terms with Robert as fast as possible.
" ' Matters at last came to such a height, that
the King's counsellors sat to deliberate concern-
ing a Stoker, and devise some means of checking
his proceedings ; for they thought he was getting
more power than the King himself, and that
the country would soon be ruined with his rides,
for there was nothing but tearing up trees, devour-
ing gardens, knocking down houses, and altering
the face of nature wherever he appeared.
" c After spending a long time in their delibe-
rations, the King's counsellors summoned Robert
to appear before them.' ''
HISTOKICAL CHAEADES. 177
" Did he kill them ?" asked Edward, eagerly.
" No ; but he bewitched them in a most sur-
prising manner; for, as soon as they saw him,
they said he was a capital fellow, and proposed
that the King should pay a visit to his castle.
When the Queen heard that the King was to pay
this visit, nothing would satisfy her but going
with him. Of course, she must be attended by
all her ladies, and the King by his knights, and
they made a goodly company. They set out on
a fine summer's day, decked after the fashion of
their time, the knights in scarlet and gold, and
the ladies in shining silks of as many colours as
the flowers; and sometimes their head-dresses
were of one colour, their mantles of another, and
their farthingales of a third. The King and his
knights rode on horseback, and the Queen and
her ladies went in coaches such as were then
" l When they arrived at Robert's palace, they
were conducted into the hall. There they looked
around with mingled amazement and dread. It
was a mysterious place : boundless wealth lay
strewed about in chests and bags ; awful sounds,
like panting and shrieking, broke the silence ; a
smell of sulphur pervaded the air, and here and
there the eye caught glimpses of flames bursting
through the gloom/ ' ;
" How frightened the King and Queen must
have been," said Mary.
178 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" But is it true, uncle ?" asked Edward.
" I cannot quite answer for the truth of stories
of former days," said Mr. Percy ; " but my own
impression is, that it is perfectly true."
" Why, you don't mean to say that you believe
it yourself, father !" exclaimed Arthur.
" I believe every word of it," answered Mr.
Henry and William looked at each other in
despair ; a vague idea crossed their minds that
their uncle's head had been turned by his studies ;
but Mr. Percy continued reading rapidly :
" ' They were escorted to a street of houses
occupying the centre of the hall. The King and
Queen with several of their attendants entered
at one door, and the rest were lodged in separate
apartments. They were presently startled by
the loud breathing of Cerberus, and saw him with
Robert on his back coming furiously towards
them. New terrors awaited them. For a moment
the ground trembled, and before they had time
to recover from the shock, they found themselves
in rapid motion. Escape was impossible, for a spell
had been cast upon the doors, and neither the
King, Queen, nor any of the court could open
" ' They now had reason enough to be fright-
ened, for, dragged along by the furious Cerberus,
they went over the tops of houses, then down to
the ground, and the city was miles out of sight.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 179
On they went at a pace that made them breath-
less, leaving behind them fields, rivers, towns,
forests, till they saw rising straight before them
a mountain, high, steep, and craggy, and as they
came nearer, a black yawning cavern opened its
mouth to receive them. In dashed Cerberus,
and in followed the poor King and Queen, the
way growing darker and darker, till they found
themselves in the very heart of the mountain, in
a cavern pitch dark, and cold as the grave/ '
" How dreadful !" "Poor Queen!" exclaimed
Mary and Ellen.
" I am sure there is some humbug in it,"
" So am I," said William. " People in the
Middle Ages would never have described anything
The manuscript continued : " The Queen pre-
served an admirable composure, and thought of
her Royal Infants. 'Alas ! my amiable children/
she sighed, ' you little think where your poor
mother is now ! Indeed I know not myself
where where am I ?' '
" ' Where am I growled the King.
" ' Where are we ?'" echoed the court.
" In the Box Hill Tunnel !" roared Arthur.
" I have found you out. It's nothing but a
railroad after all."
" Exactly," said Mr. Percy, laughing, and
shutting his book.
180 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Oh, go on, papa ;" " Pray go on, uncle ;"
exclaimed Mary, Ellen, Lucy, and Edward :
" please, Arthur, don't interrupt. What did they
do next? Go on to the end."
" I cannot go on/' he replied : " Arthur has
broken the spell of antiquity, and my wonderful
story has sunk to a common-place account of an
every-day journey ; and if you wish to go on to
the end of it, you have nothing to do but to take
tickets for the Great Western, and travel behind
a stoker any day you please."
" But what was Cerberus ?"
" The engine, to be sure," said Arthur. " It
is all plain enough except about Robert's know-
ing what happened a hundred miles off. How
was that ?"
" By the electric telegraph," answered his
father. " You have not seen that yet, but you
shall at the first opportunity."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 181
Keepsakes Illuminated Almanack Gilding More Charades
BEAUCLEEC Dresses of Edward the Third's time
Pointed Shoes Benefit of Clergy Long Curls King
THE holidays were fast drawing to a close, and
there remained but little time for all we had to
do. The children were anxious to finish presents
for each other, and their uncles and aunts.
Worsted work, drawing, needlework, and car-
pentering went on from morning to night. I
was in everybody's employ ; having to finish off
boxes with gold borders without smearing them
with paste ; put the beads or floss silk into bags
or slippers ; sew pearl edges on cuffs and collars;
match difficult shades of wool; sew tassels on
cushions ; melt gum ; cut blotting-paper ; bind
portfolios ; sew the fringe on mats ; and, in short,
be ready for all the odd jobs in which fancy-
workwomen are apt to want help when matters
have been driven off to the last moment.
Henry and William vied with each other in
making drawings for their cousins : Henry copied
Maxman's designs from the Iliad, while William
illuminated with pains and industry that almost
rivalled the monks. The almanack which he
made for Caroline was the admiration of us alL
182 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
It was in twelve pages, a page for each month,
with designs on the margin copied from Mr.
Percy's manuscripts. The initials of the months
were illuminated, and the rest of the name in
large gilt letters. The days were in black Gothic
characters, except the red-letter days, which were
in vermilion ; rubricated, as William said.
I had some work to do in helping him to
stain his drawing-paper. He said he wanted his
almanack to look old, as if it might have belonged
to the days of the Plantagenets, and had become
dingy with age, and yet not dirty. None of our
coloured drawing-paper suited his ideas, and he
applied to Mr. Percy to know how he had
coloured his first leaf of Robert a Stoker. Mr.
Percy told him that he had contrived the proper
tint by mixing together coffee and cochineal,
soaking the paper in it for a few minutes, and
then pressing it between blotting-paper.
The gilding was the next difficulty : he tried
washing gum- water over the letters, then laying
down gold-leaf, and when it was dry, brushing off
the pieces that did not stick. This ought to have
left the letter well gilt, but somehow it never
would turn out neat ; little bits of gold came out
of the middle, or the edges were ragged, or the
gold was smeared. So many misfortunes hap-
pened, that I thought it was hopeless, and tried
to persuade William to give up the gilding, and
be satisfied with only colouring his pictures.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 183
But he was not a boy to lose patience easily, and
he looked up different methods of gilding, in all
the books he could find, and tried many experi-
ments without success : at last he discovered a
gilder living in the village, who explained to him
the nature of oil-gilding, and supplied him with
the proper size : this was to be carefully laid
upon the letter and left to grow nearly dry.
When it remained only a little sticky, or as his
friend the gilder said, " had a nice tack upon it,"
the gold-leaf was spread over it ; the loose pieces
were then brushed off with a camers-hair brush,
and the letter remained perfect; it was after-
wards polished with an agate lent him by Mrs.
Percy. This size was found to adhere very firmly,
especially to the skin of little Edward, who, having
once got access to it, had produced a tack upon
his hands and face, which for several days re-
sisted the utmost influence of soap and water.
Everything was at last finished, presented,
and admired ; and all the work being done, there
remained still a clear day, which it was resolved
to devote to a final bout of charades. Uncle
Harry and I were as usual summoned, and
Matilda also begged leave to be one of the party.
It was Mary's turn to choose the word, and
she fixed upon BEAUCLERC, the name given to
Henry the First, on account of his learning. His
father, William the Conqueror, having felt his
own want of scholarship, was very anxious to
184 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
have his sons better educated than himself; he
used to lecture them on the subject, telling them
that " an unlearned prince was a crowned ass ;"
but none of them attended to him except Henry,
who being afraid of becoming " a crowned ass,"
studied so diligently, that he obtained the name
of Beauclerc, or Fine Scholar.
" What shall Beau be ?" said Lucy. " It is
a French word. I do not see how we can use
it, unless we change the spelling, and have a bow
and arrow, or tying a bow."
" It is sometimes used as a cant expression for
a fop, or what Arthur calls a dandy. Would you
like to have a beau of Pope's time ?
' Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane.'
He must wear a wig and a sword, and buckles
to his shoes, and come into the room in a very
affected manner, swinging his cane, and tapping
" I think I can suit them better," said Uncle
Harry, " with a gentleman in the height of the
mode in Edward the Third's time. What do you
think of long pointed shoes fastened to his knees
with chains ; stockings red on one leg, and yellow
on the other; his coat half white and the other
half blue ; a long beard, and a silk hood fastened
under his chin, and embroidered with figures of
dancing men or animals."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 185
The children laughed, aud Henry observed,
" What donkeys those fellows were !"
" There have always been wise people to look
down upon foolish fashions as well as you/' said
his uncle. " Edward the First used to dress so
plainly that a friar who was once in his presence
could not help expressing his surprise. ' Father,
father/ said Edward, c you know how God regards
garments : what could I do more in royal robes,
than in this my gaberdine ?' ''
" How were the ladies dressed?" asked Ma-
tilda. " I dare say they had better taste than to
go about such figures."
" I cannot say much for them. As you were
not there to direct them, they followed their own
fancies. They wore head-dresses three feet high,
in the shape of sugar-loaves, with streamers down
to the ground. I am afraid you would not have
approved of such bonnets, nor of their tunics half
of one colour and half of another. However, the
men were worse."
"Aunt Esther," said Ellen, "do you think
we could make a pair of those pointed shoes ?"
" I dare say we could. What have you to
make them of?"
She brought a long strip of green calico, and
we established ourselves as shoemakers in the
days of the Plantagenets. Uncle Harry sat by,
directing us. I was going to cut a piece about
a couple of inches long for the point of the shoe ;
186 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
but he stopped me. " That will not do, Esther.
If I had been a gentleman of Edward the First's
court, I never would have employed you, though
you might very possibly have been shoemaker to
the King. Please to make my peaks a foot long,
at least, or don't expect my custom/'
" There ; will that satisfy you ?"
" Yes, I flatter myself I may hope to attract
some notice with those."
" What a good shoemaker you would have been
yourself, Uncle Harry \" said Mary.
" No doubt I should. What was that game I
heard you playing yesterday, about apprenticing
" I apprenticed my son to a shoemaker, and
the first thing he sold was a pair of W. B.'s."
" Wellington Boots. But my great -great-
great- great-grandfather apprenticed his son to a
shoemaker in Edward the First's time, and the
first thing he sold was a pair of C's."
" No. I do not know that they wore clogs.
Crackoives ; a pair of crackowes ; that was the
name of the peaked shoes."
By this time we had sewed our strips of calico
into three-cornered bags, which Mary said looked
like scissor- sheaths for a giantess. They were
now to be stuffed.
"Will you have some of my tow?" asked
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 187
" Just the thing/' said our master. " The
real crackowes were stuffed with tow/'
" We fill our shoes with toes now/' said Lucy ;
" but they would not be long enough to fill crack-
"Do not stuff them too tight, Mrs. Shoe-
maker/' was Uncle Harry's next order ; " or how
are they to be twisted ?"
" Why should they be twisted ?" asked Mary.
" You do not suppose that I would wear
shoes whose points were not twisted? They
are to be twisted like rams' horns. That was
We twisted them accordingly ; first running a
piece of wire up the middle to keep the spiral
steady. Then they had to be fastened to com-
mon shoes. Caroline, our constant provider, sup-
plied us with a pair of slippers, and we sewed
our points to the toes. We then put silk cords
to the points to fasten them to the wearer's knees,
and I thought our work was finished : but no,
Uncle Harry was not yet content : he said the
upper-leathers were to be cut into the shape of
church windows ; but that being done, they were
pronounced complete, and Uncle Harry recom-
mended them to Matilda as a pattern for her
next worsted-work slippers.
We continued working at the dress till our
Beau was perfect ; and as the girls said they
should like " something old " for Clerk also, I pro-
188 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
posed a man in Middle Age costume, reading and
" But clerks are only at church," little Edward
remonstrated ; " and you know we must not bring
anything about church into our play/'
" Clergymen were called clerks, were not
they ?" Ellen asked. " How could a common
man reading and writing be guessed for a clerk V"
" Because," said Uncle Harry, "though the
title was first given to clergymen only, it was
afterwards extended to any one who could read ;
and, instead of saying a great scholar, or a bad
scholar, people used to say a great clerk, or a bad
" I should have been a clerk, then," said Ed-
ward, " for I can read."
" So much the better for you," said Uncle
Harry ; " for if you had been on your trial, you
might have claimed your benefit of clergy, and
so perhaps got off."
" How would he have got off by having the
benefit of clergy?" asked Ellen. " I thought
that meant having clergymen to visit him in prison
before he was hung."
" More than that," said her uncle ; " it was
to prevent his being hung at all. By being a
clerk he was entitled to appeal to the Ecclesias-
" I think," said William, ' ' we might act a clerk
claiming his benefit of clergy. There was a man
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 189
in Richard the Second's time who tried to bring-
in a bill for lessening the number of bishops and
ladies living at court. The King was very angry
with the House of Commons for such imperti-
nence, but they assured him they meant no harm ;
and gave up the man, who would have been hung
if he had not been a clerk."
" I do not see how you could well make a scene
of it," replied his father. " A criminal claim-
ing benefit of clergy was entitled to a new trial
before a bishop and twelve clerks ; he first made
oath of his own innocence, then twelve witnesses
swore that they believed him, and then the twelve
jurymen swore that they believed them ; and if
the bishop was satisfied, the criminal was acquitted.
You could not act all this."
" I should think very few people could have
been condemned," said Ellen, " if only knowing
how to read gave them such privileges."
" The privilege was not quite so great as you
may think," replied Uncle Harry. " It only ex-
tended to particular crimes ; and for a long time
very few besides the clergy knew how to read.
But after the invention of printing, so many of
all classes learnt, that a law was made that none
but clergymen should have benefit of clergy more
than once ; and any layman who claimed it was
burnt in the thumb, that he might be detected
if he claimed it a second time."
Caroline said she thought it would be a long
190 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
dull scene, and that we must not be too long over
any one syllable, as we wanted to finish off all
our words ; so we returned to the first idea of a
For BEAUCLEKC, Uncle Harry, whose historical
recollections were apt to be rather mischievous,
suggested Henry the First and his courtiers with
their hair carefully dressed in very long curls.
They used to be so vain of these curls, and spend
so much time in arranging them, that the clergy
thought it necessary to preach against the fashion.
Bishop Serlo at last preached a sermon which so
impressed the King and the court, that they
unanimously agreed to give up their curls. The
bishop determined to take them at their word
without giving them the chance of changing their
minds, so he pulled out a pair of shears which
he had for some time kept hidden in his sleeve,
and cut off all their curls with his own hands.
Arthur and Lucy much approved of this story ;
but Henry the First was rather a favourite Avith
William, on account of his love of study, and he
argued that if we meant to represent his compli-
mentary title of Beauclerc, we ought not to choose
a circumstance in which he would only look silly.
As we could not deny this, we agreed to let
William select a story for us at his leisure.
" Edward would have been quite proper for
one of the courtiers, with his long curls," said
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 191
Poor Edward, whose golden ringlets were the
pride of his nurse's life and the plague of his
own, exclaimed that he wished with all his heart
some bishop would come with a pair of shears,
and cut them off for him.
" Why does he wear them ?" Henry asked.
" Does Aunt Mortimer make him ? They are
a great nuisance for a boy."
"Oh, mamma would not insist upon it," replied
Matilda. " She was going to cut them off the
other day, but nurse made such a fuss, that we
did not like to vex her. She cried, and said she
should never be happy again if Master Edward
lost his sweet curls."
" Well, never mind, Ned," said Arthur.
" Make the best of it now, and the first thing I
will do if ever I am Bishop of London shall be
to cut your hair."
Mary wondered what Bishop Serlo would have
said to the crackowes.
" Much the same, I suppose, as the bishops
who saw them," Uncle Harry answered. " The
clergy were vehement against them. Bishops
preached sermons, councils issued decrees, and
Popes bulls to forbid them, but all in vain ; for
three hundred years they held their ground :
people would do anything else the Pope bid them,
change their kings, their laws, or their religion,
but not change their shoes."
Here we were interrupted by Edward's nurse
192 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
summoning him to dinner. The other children
dined with us when there was no company ; but
Edward was so young that his mamma thought
it better for him to dine early in the nursery. It
was an unfortunate moment for nurse to fetch
him, because the recollection of her daily teasing
about his curls had made him rather sulky, and
he obeyed her summons in not the best of tem-
pers. Soon after they were gone, she sent a
message to beg Miss Mortimer would come and
speak to him, because he was "so tiresome
nothing could be done with him." Matilda and
I went together, and as we drew near the nursery
door, we heard poor nurse saying in a very mourn-
" Now, Master Edward dear, do be a nice
young gentleman, and use your fork."
Edward. " I won't. As long as you make an
old baron of me with those nasty curls, Fll be a
baron in not using a fork. The barons ate with
their fingers. Uncle Percy says so ; and some-
times they sat on the floor, too ; I'll sit on the
Nurse. " Now don't, dear. Sit still, and cat
your pudding nicely, there's my King Pippin."
Edward. " I'm not a King Pippin : a great
boy of five years old like me !"
Here Matilda and I interfered, and forced him
to sit properly, and eat tidily, and speak civilly
to nurse, on pain of not letting him have any-
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 193
thing more to do with the charades. He was
rather ashamed of himself, and submitted
quietly to having his hands washed and his hair
brushed after dinner. We stayed through it
all to keep the peace, and then took him away
" What was the row ?" asked Arthur, as we
re-entered the school-room : and on our explain-
ing matters, Uncle Harry begged to know what
was Edward's objection to being called King-
Pippin. Edward could not exactly say, but
thought it made him look like a baby.
" Who do you suppose King Pippin was ?" his
" He was a king in the fairy tales," said
" Indeed ! I was not aware of that. Of
course I do not mean to dispute it : but there
was also a King Pippin or Pepin, King of France,,
and not a bad king neither. ' As prudent a&
Pepin' used to be a proverb, so Edward need not
be affronted at being compared to him."
" How comes nurse to talk about King
Pippin ?" Mary asked. " She does not know
anything of the History of France.
" No ; but Pepin is supposed to have been a
jolly little fellow, very short, fat, and good-
humoured, and his name has been a favourite
with nurses for many a century. Nurses are
often fond of talking about kings to their babies.
194 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
In Cceur-de-Lion's time, when the Saracen
children cried, their mothers and nurses used to
say to them, ' Make haste and be good, or King
Richard will catch you/ Edward would not be
afraid of King Richard, and he need not be
ashamed of King Pepin. Shall I tell you a story
about him, Edward?"
" Oh yes, please."
" Pepin the Prudent was, as I told you, very
short and fat, and his courtiers used, behind his
back, to make a joke of his stumpy little figure.
Somehow or other, their quizzing came to Pepin' s
own ears, but he had too much sense to mind it.
However, as they grew more and more disrespect-
ful, he thought it as well to give them a lesson,
and therefore invited them to see a fight between
a lion and a bull. When the company were
assembled, the courtiers seated in a safe place,
and the King on his throne, the animals were let
loose. The lion rushed at the bull, fixed on his
throat, brought him down, and nearly strangled
him. ' Now/ said King Pepin to his courtiers,
* which of you will make that beast let go his
prey ?' They looked at one another, but nobody
stirred : no knight in the assembly was so daring
as to risk his life in trying to separate the beasts.
When nobody replied to the challenge : ' That
task must be mine/ said Pepin ; and descending
from his throne, he drew his sword and advanced
towards the animals. The lion raised himself up
HISTOKICAL CHARADES. 195
and glared at him, but before there was time for
any mischief, little Pepin cut off his head with
one blow. He then went quietly back to his
throne, and said to his courtiers : ' David was a
little man, and yet he triumphed over Goliath.
Alexander too Avas a little man, but his arm was
stronger, and his heart braver, than that of many
of his captains who were taller than he.' ' This/
as an old writer says, ' taught Pepin's officers dis-
cretion, and his people respect/ "
196 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Duke Brithnoth and the Abbot of Ely Pageants and Riddles
in the time of Queen Elizabeth Her dresses and the Dust-
man's present Her reproof to Leicester and her "Lion
port" Caesar and Brutus The Hat of Gustavus Adolphus.
" Now, what is the next Avord to be ?" I asked.
" Is it not Arthur's turn to choose ?"
" Let Matilda choose/' answered Arthur. " It
is the first time she has acted with us, so we
ought to encourage her."
Matilda said she should like to patronise
Queen Elizabeth ; we none of us seemed to have
" Hurrah for Queen Bess I" Arthur shouted.
" But what can the word be ? Elizabeth is as
bad as Nurjehan."
Mary began dividing the syllables as if she
were saying a lesson of spelling. " E-li-za-beth ;
that will not do. Eliza-beth; that is as bad.
Uncle Harry said Ely would do for one divi-
sion, and he could tell them a story about it.
" In the time of King Edgar, Brithnotli, Duke
of Northumberland, was marching against the
Danes ; and one day, when he and his followers
were very tired and hungry, they arrived opposite
the great Abbey of Ramsey. Monks considered
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 197
it part of their duty to show hospitality to travel-
lers, and Duke Brithnoth thought he was sure of
finding food and shelter in this rich abbey ; so he
sent an officer to the abbot with this message :
1 Give my service to my Lord Abbot of Ramsey,
and if he pleases, I and my men will dine with
him to-day.' But the abbot and his monks
were stingy and disobliging, and did not at all
like Duke Britlmotlr's message : so they held a
council, and one said that such an army would
eat up all their provisions ; and another that they
should have to turn out of their cells to lodge the
soldiers; and another that such a number of
people would give them a great deal of trouble,
and put them out of their usual comfortable
ways; and the abbot said that the convent
would be ruined by entertaining all that com-
pany. However, they did not like to affront
Duke Brithnoth, as the convents in that part of
the country were dependent upon him for pro-
tection against the Danes. They therefore re-
turned answer that they had neither accommo-
dation nor supplies for the soldiers, but that if
the duke himself liked to come, they should be
very happy to see him.
" But Duke Brithnoth cared more for his
soldiers than himself, so he sent a second message.
' Tell my Lord Abbot that I cannot fight with-
out my men, and I will not dine without them/
They continued their march for some hours, and,
198 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
towards evening arrived at the Abbey of Ely,
which was then but small and poor. Still, it was
their only chance of obtaining refreshment, and
the duke sent his message. * Give my service to
my Lord Abbot of Ely, and, if he pleases, I and
my men will sup with him to-night/
" The abbot called a council of his monks,
as was usual when there was any business to be
transacted, though he very well knew what such
good-natured fellows would say. .As soon as he
told them the message, they exclaimed how glad
they were to have an opportunity of being useful
to the good Duke Brithnoth and his brave sol-
diers, who protected the country from the Danes ;
and that they wroulrl give up their cells for the
soldiers to sleep in, and make the best feast in
their power, and willingly live on short commons
themselves for a time to make up for it. The
abbot was as hospitable as his monks, and sent
a hearty invitation to Duke Brithnoth, begging
him to come directly, and bring all his men,
* the more the better/ The monks gave the
soldiers an excellent supper and comfortable beds.
Those that had not room in the dormitories
slept in the halls and offices, and the monks
themselves slept where they could, and never let
their guests find out that they put anybody to
" Next morning Duke Brithuoth came into the
chapter-house, and, after thanking the abbot and
HISTOKICAL CHARADES. 199
monks for their kindness, he made them a present
of six of his best manors, to belong to the monas-
tery of Ely for ever; and from that time the
Abbey of Ely began to rise in importance till it
became one of the most considerable in England."
The children much approved of this story;
but, though we might have acted Ely, we could
invent nothing for the other half of the word, and
Elizabeth was therefore rejected. I now proposed
having the name of some celebrated person in
her reign ; Burleigh or Hatton : Sir Christopher
Hattou, who was so famous for his dancing,
might figure away before the Queen. I thought,
also, we might contrive to bring in one of the
pageants with which people were fond of enter-
taining Queen Elizabeth.
" What was a pageant ?" asked Mary.
" A sort of show with acting in it. Sometimes
an allegorical story ; sometimes a triumphal arch
with figures at each corner, fancifully dressed,
reciting verses in the Queen's praise."
" In most of her journeys," said Uncle Harry,
" some pageant greeted her whenever she entered
a town. At one place, a person who was present
describes her being met by four boys dressed as
allegorical personages ; first, Fame, ' a very ex-
cellent boy/ as the account tells us ; then Saluta-
tion, Gratulation, and Obedient Good Will. They
all made long speeches, and then drew their
swords to show their readiness to defend the
200 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Queen. Besides these boys' speeches, the poor
Queen had to listen to several other tiresome
harangues, and I think she must have been very
glad when the last orator, having finished his
prosing, ' thearwithall made a manerly leg, and
so held his peas/ What do you think making a
leg means, Mary ?"
" I am sure I don't know. Jumping ?"
" No : making a bow."
" There were plenty of queer devices besides
speeches/' I said, " and always very complimen-
tary to the person for whose amusement the
pageant was exhibited."
"Yes; but Queen Bess had no objection to
that," said Uncle Harry. " With all her sense,
there never lived a lady, wise or foolish, who
could stand a stronger fire of compliments : but
ithat was the fashion of the time. At the mar-
riage of her mother, Anne Boleyn, there was a
grand masque of the Judgment of Paris. The
story of the goddesses and the apple was acted at
full length, and followed by an apology to Queen
Anne that the apple had been given to Venus.
A boy recited some verses which began :
' Queen Anne so gent,
Of high descent,
In nobleness ;
Of ladies all
Should win this ball
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 201
" He proceeded to say that Jupiter wished the
apple to be given to Anne, and that Paris quite
agreed with him, and was going to present it, but
it had struck them both that it really was not
worth her acceptance, and that they had better
marry her to Henry, as the proper and suitable
reward of her merit.
' The golden ball
Of price but small,
Have Venus shall
The fair goddesse ;
Because it was
Too low and base
For your good grace
And worthiness.' "
" I do not think their verses were good for
much," said Lucy.
" Nor I," replied her uncle ; " but they satis-
fied the King and Queen. I suppose you would
have preferred the pageant in Richard the Se-
cond's time, in which they made a horse dance on
the tight rope, to the music of trumpets sounded
" Yes, I should have liked to see that."
" And perhaps you might have approved of a
masque acted by some students for Queen Eliza-
beth's amusement, in which great part of the fun
consisted in quirks something like riddles."
" Oh, do tell me some of their riddles," ex-
claimed Lucy : " I should so like to have them
for my riddle-book."
202 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
11 1 am afraid the quibbles that pleased Queen
Elizabeth and her masquers will look but strange
in your riddle-book. However, two or three
perhaps may do, though I do not think you will
be able to guess them. ' Why will a musician
never make a good vintner ? ; "
As Uncle Harry anticipated, nobody could
" Because he deals too much in flats and
" I do not understand it even now," Lucy
Her uncle explained that insipid wine was
called flat, and sour wine sharp ; and she knew
what musical flats and sharps meant.
Uncle Harry gave us another. " Why is a
cannibal the most loving man to his enemy ?"
Arthur guessed this. " Because people don't
eat things they don't like."
" Right ; or, as the students worded it, ' a can-
nibal is the lovingest man to his enemy, for wil-
lingly no man eateth that he loveth not/ There
are plenty more, but these are among the best,
Lucy ; and I do not think you will consider these
" Never mind," she answered. " I shall like
to have them in my book, as they were good
enough for Queen Elizabeth."
But it was time to return to business. Ellen
asked how Queen Elizabeth ought to be drest.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 203
" Would you like the dress in which she went
on horseback to Cambridge ?" I inquired. " A
black velvet gown, a close cap set with pearls, a
hat spangled with gold, and a plume of feathers."
" Rather an odd riding habit," said Lucy ; " I
think she might have found something better ;
for our History of England says she had three
thousand gowns, and never wore the same more
" I do not believe she had three thousand
gowns," said Uncle Harry. " I was looking over,
the other day, a list of her wardrobe taken two
years before her death, and in that there were
only about sixteen hundred articles altogether,
including not only gowns, but cloaks, aprons,
petticoats, stomachers, rufi's, and even slippers.
And you must remember that most of these were'
presents, which it would not have been gracious
to give away again."
" Who gave her so many presents ?" Mary
" Foreign princes used to send her the cos-
tumes of their countries ; and on New Year's
day it was the custom for almost everybody
about her court to make presents to her, and she
to them. Even Mr. Smith the dustman one year
made her a present of two pieces of cambric."
" How very strange for a great Queen to take a
present from a dustman !" said Ellen.
' ' It was customary, and did not hurt her pride :
204 HISTOKICAL CHARADES.
she exchanged gifts with everybody. Her own
donations generally consisted of plate, but her
subjects offered her all sorts of things. Her cook
sent her a pie, and her physicians and apothe-
caries gave her boxes of sugarplums and sweet-
" I dare say they were pills in disguise/' in-
" Not at all. They were preserved ginger,
candied orangepeel, and comfits. What seems
the most strange is her accepting small sums of
money from her courtiers. Five pounds from
one, ten from another, and so on. Most of her
presents were materials for dress, and sometimes
even good homely articles, such as stockings,
pocket-handkerchiefs, and nightcaps."
" If people gave her such quantities of clothes,
no wonder she could not wear the same things
often," said Mary ; " but I think she might have
given them away when she had done with them."
" It seems to have been the fashion for people
to keep old clothes and leave them to their heirs,"
said Uncle Harry. " Among Queen Elizabeth's
state robes, there was an old black velvet gown of
Queen Mary's, with part of the trimming torn
off, so that it must certainly have seen its best
days, but still it was carefully kept."
" I don't see how we shall manage a scene in
Elizabeth's reign, after all," said Ellen. " We
have not fixed upon a word yet."
HISTORICAL CHAHADES. 205
"Would TUDOR do?" Matilda asked, with
some hesitation. She was so modest that she was
afraid of proposing anything that the others might
I thought it was a very good word, and would
allow of our bringing in anything we pleased
about Queen Elizabeth.
William said it ought to be something charac-
teristic of her race rather than herself, showing
some quality common to the Tudors.
" Their pride," said Ellen. " Their magnifi-
cence," said Arthur.
" Their obstinacy," said Lucy. " Their firm-
ness," said I.
"Their tyranny," said Caroline. "Their
power of ruling," said Henry.
" Their bigotry on their own side, whichever
it was," said William.
" Their determination to keep church and state
together," said Uncle Harry. " Opinions seem
to differ ; which of you would have written this
epitaph on Queen Elizabeth ?
' Sp;un's rod, Rome's ruin, Xetherland's relief,
Earth's joy, England's gem, World's wonder, Nature's chief.'
" I am sure I would not," said Ellen ; " for I
never can like her, because of her killing Mary
Queen of Scots."
"Ah, I wish she had not done that," said
206 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
" Mary Queen of Scots was always entering
into conspiracies against her," Arthur said, rather
quickly, as if he did not like to hear any fault
found with Queen Elizabeth.
" Of course she was," said Lucy ; " and so
would I, if I were kept in prison by any one who
had no right to put me there."
" Yes," said Uncle Harry. " We must not
allow our admiration to blind us, Arthur. Eliza-
beth's reign was most glorious, and she was one
of England's greatest sovereigns; but her treat-
ment of Mary is a lasting reproach to her and
her ministers. I admire Elizabeth almost as much
as you do, but I always wish she had not im-
prisoned Mary Queen of Scots : for that was the
real injustice, and provoked Mary to enter into
onspiracies against her."
" Have you decided upon Tudor for the word ?"
" Yes, if we can settle how it is to be acted.
Aunt Esther, what do you advise?"
" I am inclined to recommend the story of
Bowyer, Elizabeth's usher, refusing admittance to
one of Lord Leicester's followers who had no
right to enter the apartment. Lord Leicester
insisted, and threatened to have Bowyer turned
out of his office. Bowyer, who knew he had
only done his duty, went at once to the Queen,
and told his own story. She was very angry
with Leicester's presumption, and gave him a
thorough good scolding.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 207
" ' My Lord/ said she, ' I have wished you
well ; but my favour is Dot so locked up for you
that others shall not partake thereof; and if you
think to rule here, I will take a course to see you
forthcoming. I will have here but one mistress
and no master [' '
" Which speech," added Uncle Harry, " is said
to have ' so quailed his lordship that his feigned
humility was ever after one of his best virtues/ }i
This story took the children's fancy, and Ellen
began practising the speech, and trying to get up
a proper queen-like demeanour, but she did not
give satisfaction ; the others said she was not half
fierce enough; that Queen Elizabeth, as every-
body knew, had a " lion port," whereas Ellen
looked more like a lamb.
Ellen objected that it was only the poet Gray
who talked of Elizabeth's lion port, and that it
might not be true.
" I beg your pardon," said Uncle Harry :
" Queen Elizabeth and the British Lion learnt
manners in the same school, long before Gray was
born. An old historian describes her reception
of a speech that did not please her ; ' Lion-like
rising, she daunted the malapert orator, no less
with her stately port and majestical demeanour,
than with the tartness of her princely checks !'
Now, Lucy, suppose you try to act her ; you are
the most like a wild animal."
Lucy succeeded very well. She looked ex-
208 HISTORICAL CHAKADES.
tremcly dignified, and yet quite ready to box the
ears of a maid of honour on the slightest provoca-
tion ; and she would have made a very good
Queen Elizabeth, but there still remained diffi-
culties in the way of TUDOR : the syllables could
not be managed. For the first, Henry and
Arthur of course proposed the assassination of
Julius Caesar, and his last exclamation, "Et Tu
Brute \" The three boys began rehearsing atti-
tudes ; one for Pompey's statue, one for the fallen
Csesar, and one that should express the ferocity
of Brutus, Cassius, and all the other conspirators
together : but they could not agree upon any-
thing to their minds for the second syllable,
though it sounded very easy.
" After all/' said Henry, " why should we not
have Hatton, as we at first proposed ? I know a
story that will do for Hat, out of the Life of
Gustavus Adolphus. In one of his battles, he
was fighting hand to hand with the French
general Sirot, who did not know him. They
fired their pistols in each other's faces, and Sirot' s
so nearly hit Gustavus, that his hair was burnt,
and his hat knocked off. Just then some of his
party came to the rescue, and carried him off
without his hat, and Sirot' s servant picked it up
and gave it to his master.
" Next day Sirot appeared, wearing the hat as a
trophy, though not knowing whose it had been.
Some Swedish prisoners recognised it as having
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 209
belonged to their king, and were in great distress,
fearing he must have been killed. They entreated
Sirot to tell them if Gustavus was living, and
in that way he found out with whom he had been
" He afterwards presented Gustavus' hat to the
Emperor of Austria," said Uncle Harry; " and it
was sent by him as an offering to the shrine of
the Virgin Mary, at Loretto."
We agreed to have Hatton ; and after discuss-
ing many more words, and fixing upon one or
two, we separated.
210 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Final performance FALSTAFF Scene from Shakspeare
AGINCOUKT Earliest use of fire- arms Scene from the
" Lady of the Lake" HATTON Dress of Queen Elizabeth
Flattery Sir Christopher Hatton's dancing Words pro-
posed Lessons and Play Uses of History Conclusion.
EVENING came, and with it our final performance.
The actors were in a great hurry to begin, and
the moment dinner was over, repaired to the
school-room. Everything had been so carefully
arranged in the morning, that no time was lost
Scene the first. Little Edward came running
into the drawing-room, and after jumping and
hopping about for some time, fell down; and
began to cry. Then Henry, in a great coat and
hat, by way of Edward's papa, came in, saying :
" What ! have you tumbled down ? Never
mind, tumble up again."
" Oh, I can't ; I want somebody to pick me
" Oh, I will pick you up, my dear little boy,"
said Ellen, who seemed to be his mamma. " Poor
little darling, have you fallen down and hurt your-
self ? Come with me, and we will rub it with
The spectators guessed knee, child, hurt, bruise,
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 211
fall ; but which of these was right, we were not
able to decide till the next scene.
The second syllable was STAFF.
Henry had read the life of Hooker that morn-
ing, and he had taken a particular fancy to the
story of Richard Hooker when a young man,
receiving the walking staff of Bishop Jewel;
and he and Arthur could not be happy without
acting the scene, and repeating the conversation
between those two good men, though with some
omissions, in order not to bring sacred words
into their play. The representative of the
bishop sat at a table with a book before him,
from which he read his speech, and thereby
saved himself a great deal of trouble.
The whole word was FALSTAFF, and it may be
easily guessed that Prince Hal and his merry
companions came before us. Uncle Harry had
privately arranged this part with the boys in the
morning, omitting so much as to bring a scene
of Shakspeare's Henry the Fourth within cha-
Arthur was Sir John Falstaff. A pillow was
tied round his waist to make him fat enough,
and his dress put over it; viz., an embroidered
waistcoat, short cloak, slashed sleeves, short
trousers, and a sword.
The others had the same kind of dress, except
that the girls wore long cloaks to hide their
frocks ; and Henry, as Madcap Harry, had a
212 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
cap and feathers. William acted Poins ; Lucy,
Gadshill; Ellen, Bardolph; and Mary, Peto.
As they were minor characters, there was not so
much pains taken with their costume as with
that of Arthur and Henry.
The dialogue was written out and laid on the
table, in case any one should forget his part.
Scene. Prince Hal and Poins at a table,
Enter FALSTAFF, GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and
Poins. " Welcome, Jack. Where hast thou
Falstaff. " A plague of all cowards, I say
Give me a cup of sack, boy A plague of all
Prince Hal. " How now, woolsack, what
Fal. " A King's son ! If I do not beat
thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath,
and drive all thy subjects before thee like a flock
of wild geese, I'll never wear hair on my face
more. You, Prince of Wales ! "
P. Hal. "Why, you round man, what's the
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 213
Ful. " Are you not a coward ? answer me to
that ; and Poms, there ?"
Poins. " You fat fellow, an' ye call me coward,
Til stab thee."
FaL " I call thee coward! Til see thee hanged
before I call thee coward ; but I would give a
hundred pounds I could run as fast as thou
canst. Give me a cup of sack. I am a rogue if
I drunk to-day." (He drinks.)
P. Hal " What's the matter?"
FaL " What's the matter ? There be four of
us here have ta'en a thousand pound this morn-
P. Hal. " Where is it, Jack ? where is it ?"
FaL " Where is it ? taken from us it is ! a
hundred upon poor four of us."
P. Hal. " What, a hundred, man ?"
FaL " I am a rogue if I were not at half-
sword with a dozen of them two hours together.
I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight times
thrust through the doublet, four through the
hose ; my buckler cut through and through ; my
sword hacked like a hand-saw ; ecce signum. I
never dealt better since I was a man : all would
not do. A plague of all cowards ! Let them
speak ; if they speak more or less than truth,
they are villains."
P. Hal. " Speak, sirs ; how was it ?"
Gadshill. "We four set upon some dozen ."
FaL " Sixteen, at least, my lord."
214 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Gads. " And bound them."
Peto. " No, no, they were not bound."
Fal. " You rogue, they were bound, every man
of them, or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew."
Gads. " As we were sharing, some six or seven
fresh men set upon us "
Fal. " And unbound the rest, and then came
in the other."
P. Hal. " What, fought ye with them all ?"
Fal. " All ? I know not what ye call all ; but
if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor
old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature."
Poins. " I hope you have not murdered some
Fal. " Nay, that's past hope : I have peppered
two of them : two, I am sure, I have paid ; two
rogues in buckram suits. Thou knowest my old
ward ; here I lay, and thus I bore my point.
Pour rogues in buckram let drive at me "
P. Hal. " What, four ? thou saidst but two,
Fal. " Four, Hal ; I told thee four."
Poins. " Ay, ay, he said four."
Fal. " These four came all a-front, and mainly
thrust at me. I made me no more ado, but took
all their seven points in my target, thus."
P. Hal. " Seven ? why, there were but four,
Fal. " In buckram."
Poins. " Ay, four, in buckram suits."
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 215
Fal. " Seven, or I am a villain else."
P. Hal. "Prithee, let him alone; we shall have
FaL " Dost thou hear me, Hal ?"
P. Hal. " Ay, and mark thee too, Jack."
Fal. " Do so, for it is worth the listening to.
These nine in buckram that I told thee of "
P. Hal. " So, two more already."
Fal. " Their points being broken, began to
give me ground ; but I followed me close, came
in foot and hand, and with a thought, seven of
the eleven I paid."
P. Hal. " O monstrous ! eleven buckram men
grown out of two !"
Fal. "But, as luck would have it, three knaves,
in Kendal green, came at my back, and let drive
at me ; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst
not see thy hand."
P. Hal. " Why, how couldst thou know these
men in Kendal green, when it was so dark thou
couldst not see thy hand ? Come, tell us your
reason ; what sayest thou to this ?"
Poins. "Come,your reason, Jack,your reason."
Fal. " What, upon compulsion ? No ; were
I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world,
I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you
a reason on compulsion ! If reasons were as plenty
as blackberries, I would give no man a reason
upon compulsion, I."
P. Hal. " Well, breathe awhile, and then to
216 HISTORICAL CHAKADES.
it again, and when thou hast tired thyself, hear
me speak but this."
Poins. " Mark, Jack."
P. Hal. " We two saw you four set on four :
you bound them, and were masters of their
wealth. Mark, now, how plain a tale shall put
you down. Then did we two set on you four :
and, with a word, outfaced you from your prize,
and have it ; yea, and can show it you here in the
house : and, Falstaff, you carried yourself away
as nimbly, and roared for mercy, and still ran
and roared, as ever I heard bullcalf. What a slave
art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done ;
and then say it was in fight ! What trick, what
device, canst thou now find out to hide thee from
this open and apparent shame ?"
Poins. " Come, let's hear, Jack ; what trick
hast thou now ?"
Fal. " I knew ye, as well as ye knew your-
selves. Why, hear ye, my masters : was it for me
to kill the heir-apparent? Should I turn upon
the true prince ? Why, thou knowest, I am as
valiant as Hercules : but beware instinct, the lion
will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a
great matter ; I was a coward on instinct. I shall
think the better of myself, and thee, during my
life ; I, for a valiant lion, and thou for a true
prince. But, lads, I am glad you have the money.
Gallants, boys, lads, hearts of gold, all the titles
of good fellowship come to you ! What, shall we
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 217
be merry ? shall we have a play extempore ?ora
" Well, that word is plain enough," said Mr.
Percy, " and you managed it very well."
" I did not much like acting it, though," said
Ellen; "I only acted to please Arthur and Willy."
" Why did you dislike it, little Ellen ?"
" I don't like Falstaff. He does nothing but
" We need not like him, you know, Ellen,"
argued Arthur ; " but he is very amusing, and
when Prince Hal himself was reformed, he turned
" Yes," she answered ; " I have always been
glad of that."
' ' Was Falstaff really an historical character ?"
Caroline asked. " I always thought he was only
an invention of Shakspeare's."
" The character is an invention, I suppose,
though not the name," Mr. Percy replied.
" There was a Sir John Falstoffe living at that
time, though I do not know that he was really
one of Prince HaFs wild companions."
The children now returned to the school-room
to arrange another word. Arthur presently re-
appeared, and having begged his father to come
out of hearing of the ladies, said in a hesitating
" We don't mind telling you, father, in conn-
218 HISTORICAL CHAKADES.
dence, that we are going to act Agincourt ; and
we want you to be so good as to let us have a
little gunpowder, because fire-arms were first
used at the battle of Agincourt. Will you give
us a pinch out of your powder-flask ?"
Mr. Percy shook his head.
" A very little, just for Henry the Fifth's own
use ? We will be very careful. I am Henry the
" I am sorry to refuse your highness/' said his
father ; " but it is quite impossible. Besides the
danger to your royal self, your mother and aunts
would be extremely frightened. You f inust not
think of it. However, I can tell you for your
comfort, that it is very doubtful whether
fire-arms were used at Agincourt. The first
time 1 remember mentioned as certain was at
the siege of Orleans in Henry the Sixth's
" But you jjmow, father, a good many of our
books say that they were used at Agincourt, and
as gunpowder was invented nearly a hundred
years before, they very well might. I assure
you ive all believe it."
" I dare say you do ; but I cannot consent to
their being used in the drawing-room. How-
ever, I can supply you with what will answer
your purposes just as well a bundle of Water-
loo crackers ; will you have them ?"
" Oh, yes ; and thank you. How stupid of us
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 219
never to think of them. They will be just the
" Here they are then. Fire away/'
Arthur ran off with his treasure, and the
Scene the first. When the screen was re-
moved, we saw "William as an old man, in a rough
cloak, with a long white beard, sitting in a corner
of the room at a table, on which were an hour-
glass, a telescope, and some flowers.
" Hermit ?" asked Mrs. Percy.
" No," said Caroline. " He is a hermit, but
that is not the word."
" Oh, I see your meaning !" Mrs. Mortimer
exclaimed. " Age."
" And may at last my wear}- aye
Find out the peaceful hermitage. "
Scene the second. Enter Arthur, as a fat
landlady, in a great number of petticoats. He
wore a cap and false curls, which he had bor-
rowed from nurse, and he had put a piece of
black sticking-plaster over one of his front teeth,
to look as if it was out. Altogether he was so
changed, that when he first came in, even his
mother did not know him. Two of the girls
followed him as housemaids, Mary with a broom,
Ellen with a duster ; Lucy in a great coat, as
" Boots," was cleaning a shoe ; and Henry as
waiter, drawing a cork.
220 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
Arthur bustled about, helping his maids to set
everything to rights, and talking all the time.
"A fine season indeed! I have never known
the house so full. Waitah !"
Henry. " Ma'am !"
Arthur. "Take up dinner to the party in
Henry. " Directly, ma'am."
Lucy. " Ma'am ! "
Arthur. " Don't forget to call the gent in
number 3 to-morrow at four o'clock, for the
early train. Dear, dear, the things there are to
think of ! Its lucky I've something of a head.
A loud knock at the door. All rush to open
it. Enter Caroline and William as travellers,
wrapped up in cloaks and shawls.
Caroline. " Can we have rooms here to-
William. " And supper directly ?"
Arthur. " Oh, yes, ma'am ; excellent rooms,
ma'am. Yes, sir; capital supper, sir. What
would you please to take ? Beautiful rooms up-
stairs, ma'am ; steaks, cutlets, fowls, and fish in
the larder, sir. Famous for fish here, sir ; a fine
view of the sea from your windows, ma'am.
This way, ma'am ; pray take care of the step.
Waiter! Boots! bring the lady and gentleman's
Lucy dragged in a portmanteau, Henry a
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 221
carpet bag; Mary took one bandbox, Ellen an-
other; and they ran against one another, threw
the things down, and made such a noise and
confusion, that Mr. Stanley said he thought the
unfortunate travellers did not seem very likely to
" take their ease at their Inn."
For the third syllable we chose a tableau of
the Court of James the Fifth of Scotland ; and
the scene in the " Lady of the Lake" in which
Ellen Douglas discovers the knight of Snowdoun
to be the king.
" She gaz'd on many a princely port,
Might well have rul'd a royal court,
On many a splendid garb she gaz'd,
Then turn'd bewilder' d and amaz'd,
For all stood bare ; and in the room,
Fitz-James alone wore cap and plume.
To him each lady's look was lent ;
On him each courtier's eye was bent ;
Midst furs and silks and jewels sheen,
He stood, in simple Lincoln green,
The centre of the glittering ring,
And Snowdoun's knight is Scotland's king !"
Mrs. Percy and Mrs. Mortimer had lent us
several plaid shawls and scarfs : Arthur had a
very pretty Lincoln green archer's dress, and we
contrived a beautiful plume with paper cut like
feathers : we lighted as many candles as possible,
and grouped ourselves in as courtlike a circle as
we could; and our Ellen made a very pretty
little representative of her namesake.
Third scene. A tremendous battle ; crackers
in all directions. The English, led on by Henry
222 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
the Fifth, kept up a close and effective fire till
the whole French army were driven out of the
room, and " the earthquake shout of victory"
raised by the conquerors almost drove us out of
the room too.
During the fight, I had been posted as sentinel
upon little Edward. "We pretended he was a
prisoner, in order to keep him from coming out
with a line of his " History of England in Verse,"
which he had been spouting at odd moments all
the day. But when the battle was fairly won,
we gave him his liberty, and let him bawl out for
the information of the company:
"France feels at AGINCOURT fifth Henry's rage."
BEAUCLERC. Our expectations were fully
realized in the affectations of the Beau and the
studious diligence of the Clerk. The crackowes
were particularly successful. The story William
had chosen for the entire word was that of Henry
the First sending his bishops to the council sum-
moned at Rheims by Pope Calixtus the Second.
" Go," said Henry ; " salute the Pope in my
name ; hear his apostolic precepts, but take care
to bring none of his new inventions into my
HATTON. The two first scenes do not require
much description. They were both made out of
Henry's story of Gustavus Adolphus. In a smart
skirmish he lost his hat, and in the next scene
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 223
Sirot appeared with it on, and answered the in-
quiries of the prisoners.
But our third scene Avas superb. It was not
very quickly arranged, because both Queen Eliza-
beth and Sir Christopher Hatton were a long time
dressing, and the courtiers and maids of honour
followed their example. Sir Christopher's costume
was not difficult : of course he must have
" His bushy beard and shoestrings green,
His high-crown'd hat, and satin doublet;"
but they were all at hand. He wore a satin
spencer belonging to one of his sisters, a beard
of twice our usual size, an immense ruif, a gold
chain, and enormous green rosettes to his shoes.
But the queen gave us more trouble. 'I was
required to dress her, for Uncle Harry said he
could not undertake the details of her Majesty's
toilette, though he knew in a general way that
some of her gowns were embroidered all over with
flies and black beetles, and others with snails and
" How hideous !" said Caroline. " Could they
invent no better patterns than those, with all their
trouble and expense?"
" Oh, she had other patterns too," I answered.
" One of her favourite petticoats was worked in
rainbows, clouds, and flames ; and another had a
border of fountains, trees, and waves of the sea."
" There was no want of variety, I assure you,"
224 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
added Uncle Harry. " One of her gowns was
trimmed with go\([galthroppes } or balls with spikes
fixed in them, to be thrown in the way of an
" She ought to have reviewed her troops in that
dress," said Arthur.
" She had also a stomacher, which, perhaps,
you will think appropriate. It was worked with
flowers, and a great lion in the middle."
" Oh, we could manage that !" exclaimed Mary.
" Caroline, will you lend us that pattern you are
working of a lion in his den?"
Caroline lent her great worsted-work lion, and^
we turned down the sides of the canvas, so as to
make it into the shape of a stomacher, and pinned
it on Lucy, and very fierce and fine it looked ;
then she put on the brocade petticoat she had so
often worn. We could not, on such short notice,
embroider the lining with eyes and ears, or any
other of Queen Elizabeth's patterns ; but it looked
very well as it \vas. We decked her out with all
the necklaces and bracelets we could muster, and
a crown, a long veil, a great ruff made of silver
paper plaited, and a white feather screen for a
fan. I tried to imitate as well as I could a
portrait I had once seen of Queen Elizabeth.
This picture, however, represented her holding a
rainbow in her hand, and in one corner was the
motto, " No rainbow without the sun j" meaning
to compare the Queen to the sun.
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 225
Arthur said it was not her fault if people
paid her foolish compliments.
There Caroline begged to differ from him.
Nobody, she was sure, paid foolish compliments
to anybody who did not like and encourage
them : and she quoted the old riddle. " What is
it that makes everybody sick but those who
swallow it ?"
But we had not time to enter into a discussion
upon flattery. Now that Queen Elizabeth was
dressed, her court was to be held without delay.
We enthroned her in due state, with her maids
of honour round her, and withdrew the screen.
Presently the door opened, and Sir Christopher
Hatton entered, the very top and pink of the
mode, to begin the court Ball.
" The grave Lord Keeper led the brawls,
The Seals and Maces danc'd before him."
Arthur, who acted Sir Christopher, had never
been able to learn really to dance in his life ; his
performance being always very much like that of
a dancing bear : but now he flourished away in a
most wonderful manner ; pointing his toes, put-
ting his head on one side, sticking first one arm
a-kimbo, and then the other, and making grimaces
that he thought were exactly like his sisters'
French dancing-master. But twenty French
dancing-masters could not have come up to him.
William and Edward, as "the seals and maces,
226 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
danced before him" in much the same style,
making all sorts of queer bows and scrapes which
they meant for " manerly legs :" but when at last
Sir Christopher danced up to the Queen more
affectedly than ever, and dropping on one knee,
besought her Majesty to honour him by leading a
brawl with him, we all exclaimed in the midst of
our laughter, that if we had been Queen Eliza-
beth, we should never have made him Lord
Chancellor for the sake of his dancing.
This was the last charade we acted. We had
plenty more words ready : Plantagenet, Gascoin,
Cromwell, Stewart, Mary, Lockheart, Duncan,
Nestor, Cobham, Nelson, Jason, Psyche, Saxon,
Caesar, Warwick, Achilles, Runnymede, &c. &c.,
but we should not have had time to do justice to
them, and we resolved to put them off till our
When tea was finished we sat round the fire,
talking over the past holidays, and after many a
hearty laugh, we gradually fell into . a graver
strain. Mary said that if she had been told that
she and her companions would bring their lessons
into their play, as they had done in the charades,
she could not have believed it.
" You have not found your play the less
amusing for it, have you ?" said Mrs. Percy.
" Not at all," said Ellen. " Only one naturally
expects lessons to be learning, and play to be quite
HISTORICAL CHARADES. 227
" Forgetting, I suppose ?" said Uncle Harry.
" Not exactly ; but to have nothing to do with
" That is all very well/' observed Mr. Percy,
" for a little boy like Edward ; but as you become
older, you will find most of your amusements
grow out of the lessons you have been made to
learn when children."
" But then," said Lucy, " what is the use of
our lessons, if they are only to be amusements
after all ?"
" That is one use of them," said Mrs. Percy.
" We do not take so much trouble to teach you,
merely for the sake of tiring you, but in order to
give you the means of taking pleasure in the
subjects that interest educated people, when you
" You do not look quite satisfied, Lucy," said
her father. " Let us hear what is puzzling your
" I don't quite know how to say what I mean,"
she answered. " Some lessons, I know, are use-
ful, such as arithmetic and needlework ; but what
use besides amusement is there in others ? In
history, for instance ?"
" Try to find out what history teaches us, and
then you will be able to answer your own ques-
" Let us collect opinions once more," said
Uncle Harry. " I like to have all their different
228 HISTORICAL CHARADES.
ideas. Suppose we begin with the youngest :
Edward, what do you think is the use of history?"
" I think," answered Edward, looking very
solemn, "it sets us good examples."
" And you, Mary ?"
" I think it is very amusing to know what
people used to do, but I don't see the use of it."
" Perhaps," said Ellen, " if we laugh at their
ways, it may teach us that those who come after
us may laugh at ours, so we should not be con-
" I think," said William, " though I know
Arthur and Henry wont agree with me, that
considering what great things were done by people
long ago, modern inventions have not improved
the world so much as might be expected."
" And we see," answered Arthur, " that other
times were no better than ours, and that many
things which were thought very fine in their day
came to no good."
Caroline said, " I think it shows us the con-
sequences of actions which could not be foreseen
at the time."
" There is one use of history," said Henry,
" which often strikes me when I am alone, though
we do not think about it in our amusements :
that it makes us understand much better the
persons mentioned in the Bible."
" That is very true," replied Mr. Percy ; " and
when you go still deeper into history, you will
HISTORICAL CHAKADES. 229
find it has another use which you have not yet
begun to think of. You will see how literally
prophecies contained in the Bible have been
" If I had known history better in my young
days/' said Uncle Harry, " it would have kept me
from some serious mistakes. I was once nearly
persuaded to think the invention of printing a
misfortune, and that the revival of learning had
injured the cause of religion. I hope none of you
will ever make such a mistake as that."
" And, another thing," added Mrs. Percy, " I
hope you will not forget to be contented with
your own time. People who have read only one
side of history are apt to fancy that former times
were better than our own ; but more knowledge
will convince us that our wisdom lies, not in
wishing to bring back the peculiarities of past
days, but in being thankful for our own advan-
tages, and endeavouring to c do our duty in that
state of life unto which it has pleased God to
call us.' "
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SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS. 11
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12 GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
THE WONDERS OF HOME, IN ELEVEN STORIES.
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1. A Cup OP TEA. 2. A PIECE OF SUGAR.
3. A MILK-JUG. 4. A LUMP OF COAL.
5. SOME HOT WATER. 6. A PIN.
7. JENNY'S SASH. 8. HARRY'S JACKET.
9. A TOMBLEK. 10. A KNWE.
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SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS. 13
THi: FAVOURITE LIBRARY.
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14 GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
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THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND in Verse, from the Norman
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SUCCESSORS TO KEWBERY AND HARRIS. 15
NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION.
THE LADY'S ALBUM OF FANCY WOHK',
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SUCCESSORS TO XEWBERY AND HARRIS. 17
MRS. TRIMMER'S HISTORY OE ENGLAND.
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WORKS BY THE AUTHOR OF MAMMA'S BIBLE STORIES.
m'NY AND HKI! MAMMA;
Or, EAST LESSONS FOB CHILDREN. In which it is attempted
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SUCCESSORS TO NEWBEKY AND HARRIS. 19
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20 GRIFFITH AND FARRAN,
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SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY AND HARRIS. 21
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