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I was rather surprised that such a cusHaving some business which called me fom should have existed so near London, to Kingston-upon-Thames on the day without my' ever before knowing of it. called Shrove Tuesday, I got upon the
From thy respected Friend, Hampton-court coach to go there. We had not gone above four miles, when the
Si coachman exclaimed to one of the pas- Third Month, 1815. J. B sengers, “ It's Foot-ball day;" not understanding the term, I questioned him what he meant by it; his answer was, that I would see what he meant where I was
Pancakes and Confession.. , going.–Upon entering Teddington, I was not a little amused to see all the in- As fit-as a pancake for Shrore Tuesday.
SHAKSPEARE. habitants securing the glass of all their front windows from the ground to the roof, some by placing hurdles before them, PANCAKE Day is another name for and some by nailing laths across the Shrove Tuesday, from the custom of eatframes. At Twickenham, Bushy, and ing pancakes on this day, still generally obHampton-wick, they were all engaged in served. A writer in the“Gentleman's Mathe same way : having to stop a few hours gazine, 1790," says, that “ Shrive is an old at Hampton-wick and Kingston, I had Saxon word, of which shrove is a corrupan opportunity of seeing the whole of the tion, and signifies confession. Hence custom, which is, to carry a foot-ball from Shrove Tuesday means Confession Tuesdoor to door and beg money :-at about day, on which day all the people in every 12 o'clock the ball is turped loose, and parish throughout the kingdom, during those who can, kick it. In the town of the Romish times, were obliged to conKingston, all the shops are purposely kept fess their sins, one by one, to their own shut upon that day, there were several parish priests, in their own balls in the town, and of course several churches; and that this might be done parties. I observed some persons of re- the more regularly, the great bell in every spectability following the ball : the game parish was rung at ten o'clock, or perlasts about four hours, when the parties haps sooner, that it might be heard by all. retire to the public-houses, and spend the And as the Romish religion has given money they before collected in refresh- way to a much better, I mean the protestments.
ant religion, yet the custom of ringing I understand the corporation of Kings- the great beit in our ancient parish ton attempted to put a stop to this prac- churches, at least in some of them, still retice, but the judges confirmed the right of mains, and obtains in and about London the game, and it now legally continues, to the name of Pancake-bell: the usage of the no small annoyance of some of the dining on pancakes or fritters, and such inhabitants, besides the expense and like provision, still continues." In “ Pastrouble they are put to in securing all quil's Palinodia, 1634,” 4to. it is merrily their windows.
observed that on this day every stomach
till it can hold no more,
Threshing the Hen.
cerning its origin is, that the fowl was : This singular custom is almost obso- delicacy to the labourer, and therefor. lete, yet it certainly is practised, even given to him on this festive day, for spor now, in at least one obscure part of the and food. kingdom. A reasonable conjecture con
At Shrovetide to shroving, go thresh the fav
So directs Tusser in his “ Five Hundred he can, they follow the sound, and somePoints of Good Husbandry, 1620,” 4to times hit himn and his hen, other times, On this his anuotator, “ Tusser Redivivus, he can get behind one of them, they 1710,” (8vo. June, p. 15,) annexes an thresh one another well favour'dly; but account of the custom. “ The hen is the jest is, the maids are to blind the fel hung at a fellow's back, who has also lows, which they do with their aprons, some horse bells about him, the rest of and the cunning baggages will endear the fellows are blinded, and have boughs their sweethearts with a peeping-hole, in their hands, with which they chase whilst the others look out as sharp to this fellow and his hen about some large hinder it. After this the hen is boil'd court or small enclosure. The fellow with bacon, and store of pancakes and with his hen and bells shifting as well as fritters are made.”
Tusser's annotator, “Redivivus," adds, ble custom, is one of the benefits we have after the hen-threshing. “She that is not got by smoking tobacco.” Old Tusser ed for lying a-bed long, or any other mis- himself, by a reference, denotes that this carriage, hath the first pancake presented was a sport in Essex and Suffolk. Mr. o her, which most commonly falls to the Brand was informed by a Mr. Jones that, dog's share at last, for no one will own it when he was a boy in Wales, thehen their due. Thus were youth encourag'd, that did not lay eggs before Shrove Tuessham'd, and feasted with very little cost, day was considered useless, and to be on and. a. ways their feasts were accompani- that day threshed by a man with a flail; ed with exercise. The loss of which lauda- if he killed her he got her for bis paids.
Os Shrove Tuesday, at a certain an- barbarous companions ? Whom have I cient borough in Staffordshire, a hen was ever injured? Did I ever profane the set up by its owner to be thrown at by name of my creator, or give one moment's himself and his companions, according to disquiet to any creature under heaven? the usual custom on that day. This poor or lie, or deceive, or slander, or rob my hen, after many a severe bang, and many fellow-creatures ? Did I ever guzzle a broken bone, weltering in mire and down what should have been for
supblood, recovered spirits a little, and to port and comfort in effect the blood) of a the unspeakable surprise and astonish- wife and innocent children, as thou dost ment of all the company, just as her late every week of thy life? A little of thy master was handling his oaken cudgel to superfluous grain, or the sweeping of thy fling at her again, opened her mouth and cupboard, and the parings of thy cheese; sid—“Hold thy hand a moment, hard- moistened with the dew of heaven, was hearted wretch! if it be but out of all I had, or desired for my support; curiosity, to hear one of my feathered while, in return, I furnished thy table species atter articulate sounds.What with dainties. The tender brood, which art thou, or any of thy comrades, better I hatched with assiduity, and all the than I, though bigger and stronger, and anxiety and solicitude of a humane at liberty, while I am tied by the leg? mother, fell a sacrifice to thy gluttony. What art thou, I say, that I may not My new laid eggs enriched thy pancakes, presume to reason with thee, though thou puddings, and custards; and all thy most never reasonest with thyself? What delicious fare. And I was ready myself, have 1 done to deserve the treatment I at any time, to lay down my life to suphave suffered this day, from thee and thy port thine, but the third part of a day.
THROWING AT COCKS.
Had I been a man, and a hangman, and been commanded by authority to take away thy life for a crime that deserved This brutal practice on Shrove Tuesday death, I would have performed my office is still conspicuous in several parts of the with reluctance, and with the shortest, kingdom. Brand affirms that it was reand the least pain or insult, to thee possi- tained in many schools in Scotland ble. How much more if a wise provi- within the last century, and he conjecdence had so ordered it, that thou hadst tures “perhaps it is still in use :" a little been my proper and delicious food, as I inquiry on his part would have discovered am thine? I speak not this to move thy it in English schools. He proceeds to compassion, who hast none for thy own observe, that the Scotch schoolmasters offspring, or for the wife of thy bosom, “were said to have presided at the nor to prolong my own life, which through battle, and claimed the run-away cocks, thy most brutal usage of me, is past called fugees, as their perquisites.” Tó recovery, and a burden to me; nor yet to show the ancient legitimacy of the usage, teach thee humanity for the future. I ho instances a petition in 1355, from the know thee to have neither a head, a scholars of the school of Ramera to their heart, nor a hand to show mercy; neither schoolmaster, for a cock he owed them brains, nor bowels, nor grace, to hearken upon Shrove Tuesday, to throw sticks at, to reason, or to restrain thee from any according to the usual custom for their folly. I appeal from thy cruel and re- sport and entertainment. No decently lentless heart to a future judgment; cer- circumstanced person however rugged tainly there will be one sometime, when his disposition, from neglect in his childthe meanest creature of God shall have hood, will in our times permit one of his justice done it, even against proud and sons to take part in the sport. This is a nasavage man, its lord ; and surely our cause tural consequence of the influence which will then be heard, since, at present, we persons in the higher ranks of life can have none to judge betwixt us. O, that beneficially exercise. Country gentlesome good Christian would cause this my men threw at the poor cock formerly : first, and last speech to be printed, and there is not a country gentleman now published through the nation. Perhaps who would not discourage the shocking the legislature may not think it beneath usage. them to take our sad case into considera- Strutt says that in some places, it was tion. Who can tell but some faint re- a common practice to put a cock into an mains of common sense among the vulgar earthen vessel made for the purpose, and themselves, may be excited by a suffering to place him in such a position that his dying fellow-creature's last words, to find head and tail might be exposed to view; out a more good-natured exercise for the vessel, with the bird in it, was then their youth, than this which hardens their suspended across the street, about 12 or hearts, and taints their morals? But I 14 feet from the ground, to be thrown at find myself spent with speaking. And by such as chose to make trial of their now villain, take good aim, let fly thy skill; twopence was paid for four throws, truncheon, and despatch at one manly and he who broke the pot, and delivered stroke, the remaining life of a miserable the cock from his confinement, had him mortal, who is utterly unable to resist, or for a reward. At North Walsham, in fly from thee.” Alas! he heeded not. Norfolk, about 60 years ago, some wags She sunk down, and died immediately, put an owl into one of these vessels; and without another blow. Reader, fareweli! having procured the head and tail of a but learn compassion towards an inno- dead cock, they placed them in the same cent creature, that has, at least, as quick position as if they had appertained to a a sense of pain as thyself.
living one; the deception was successful ; This article is extracted from the and at last, a labouring man belonging “Geutleman's Magazine,” for the year to the towr., after several fruitless at1749. It appeals to the feelings and the tempts, broke the pot, but missed his judgment, and is therefore inserted here, prize; for the owl being set at liberty, lest one reader should need a dissuasive instantly flew away, to his great astonishagainst the cruelty of torturing a poor ment, and left him nothing more than animal on Shrove Tuesday.
the head and tail of the dead bird, with Hens were formerly thrown at, as cocks the potsherds, for his money and his are still, in some places.
trouble; this ridiculous adventure ex
posed him to the continual laughter of “The fair cock was not allowed to have the town's people, and obliged him to his stand extended behind, more than his quit the place.
height and half as much more, nor much
thicker than himself, and he was not to Shying at Leaden Cocks.
extend in width more than his height, A correspondent, S. W., says, “ It nor to project over the stand; but fran. strikes me that the game of pitching at dulent cocks were made extending latercapons, practised by boys when I was ally over the side, so as to prevent his young, took its rise from this sport, (the lying down sideways, and with a long throwing at cocks,) indulged in by the stand behind ; the body of the cock was matured barbarians. The capons were made thinner, and the stand thicker, by leaden representations of cocks and hens which means the cock bent upon being pitched at by leaden dumps."
struck, and it was impossible to knock Another correspondent, whose MS. him over.” This information may seem collections are opened to the Every-Day trifling to some, but it will interest many. Book, has a similar remark in one of his We all look back with complacency on common-place books, on the sports of the amusements of our childhood; and boys. He says, “ Shying at Cocks.- some future Strutt," a century or two Probably in imitation of the barbarous hence, may find this page, and glean from custom of shying' or throwing at the it the important difference between the living animal. The 'cock' was a repre- sports of boys now, and those of our sentation of a bird or a beast, a man, a grandchildren's great grandchildren. horse, or some device, with a stand projecting on all sides, but principally be
Cock-fighting hind the figure. These were made of lead cast in moulds. They were shyed at The cruelty of cock-fighting was a chief with dumps from a small distance agreed ingredient of the pleasure which intoxupon by the parties, generally regulated icated the people on Shrove Tuesday, by the size or weight of the dump, and Cock-fighting was practised by the the value of the cock. If the thrower Greeks. Themistocles, when leading his overset or knocked down the cock, he troops against the Persians, saw two won it; if he failed, he lost his dump. cocks fighting, and roused the courage of
“ Shy for shy. - This was played at by his soldiers by pointing out the obstinacy two bcys, each having a cock placed at with which these animals contended, a certain distance, generally about four though they neither fought for their counor five feet asunder, the players standing try, their families, nor their liberty. The behind their cocks, and throwing alter- Persians were defeated; and the Athenians, nately; a bit of stone or wood was gener- as a memorial of the victory, and of the ally used to throw with: the cock was incident, ordered annual cock-fighting in won by him who knocked it down. the presence of the whole people. "BeckCocks and dumps were exposed for sale mann thinks it existed even earlier. on the butchers' shambles on a small Pliny says cock-fighting was an annual board, and were the perquisite of the exhibition at Pergamus. Plato laments apprentices, who made them; and many that not only boys, but men, bred fighting a pewter plate, and many an ale-house birds, and employed their whole time in pot, were melted at this season for shying similar idle amusements. Beckmann menat cocks, which was as soon as fires were tions an ancient gem in sir William Halighted in the autumn. These games, milton's collection, whereon two cocks and all others among the boys of London, are fighting, while a mouse carries away had their particular times or seasons; the ear of corn for which they contest: and when any game was out, as it was ą happy emblem,” says Beckmann, "of termed, it was lawful to steal the thing our law-suits, in which the greater part played with; this was called snugging of the property in dispute falls to the and it was expressed by the boys in a dog- lawyers. The Greeks obtained their
fighting cocks from foreign countries; ac"Tops are in. Spin 'em agin.
cording to Beckmann, the English' imTops are out. Smuggin about. port the strongest and best of theirs from
abroad, especially from Germany. Tops are in. Spin 'em agin.
Cæsar mentions the English cocks in Dumps are out, &c.
his “ Commentaries;" but the earliest
grel : viz.