صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

rudeness of the times rendered most of the offices now in being unnecessary, which seem to have been added from time to time, as luxury and refined necessity required, and in conformity to the pride and ostentatious spirit of the Prince who erected them.

It is probable, however, that what was wanting in parade, was equalled by an expence in hospitality, which must, of course, employ a great many Domestics of different kinds in their several departments, to which we may suppose were added many of a Military nature, which the situation of the Conqueror rendered necessary in his new dominion.

There being but few Placemen in those times, the Court was chiefly composed of Ecclesiastics, Barons, Knights, and other Military Gentlemen, led by the hopes of preferment or promotion; and Lord Lyttelton says, William was always liberal to his Soldiers and to the Church *. The Barons were, at this time of day, the chief Council of the Realm; they held their Baronies of the King, for which they were perpetually doing homage; and on these accounts the Court

* Life of Henry II. vol. i. p. 74.

must have been crowded,—at least much frequented.

As to the internal part of the Court, I mean the Attendants on the Royal person, we know but very little. King Alfred, however, who lived 200 years before the Conquest, during his attention to the Police of his Kingdom in general, did not forget the internal good government of his Household; for we learn from Ingulphus -f that he divided his Attendants into three classes, who were appointed to wait by turns, monthly.

Whether this mode was continued by his Successors, I do not learn. William might perhaps reject it as being Saxon, and adopt a plan similar to the French Court, in compliment to his Norman adherents. This routine of waiting, not much unlike the present mode, rendered the service of Alfred's attendants both ceconomical, and agreeable to themselves. Sir John Spelman, in his Life of King Alfred, supposes that the Officers who are now called Quarter-waiters are, from their title, a relique of this mode of waiting established by Alfred. But this (with deference to the Gentlemen of that Corps) seems to be going too far, and does not agree with Ingulphus, from whom Sir John takes his account; who says, that the Officers of King Alfred's Household were divided into three classes, and that each class waited alternately monthly, not quarterly; so that no one class waited two consecutive months, and each would, of course, wait Jour months in the year, with an interval of two months between each wait. It is true, they would renew their waiting once in a quarter of course, from the number of classes, but no part of them attended for a quarter together; and I apprehend the Quarter-waiters received their name because they waited a quarter of a year at a time by turns, as their superiors, the Daily-waiters, waited daily by turns. Alfred's Household most resembled the Gentlemen Pensioners in the mode of attendance, who, to this day, wait in classes quarterly.

* Dividens Familiam in tres Turmas, singulis Turmis singulos Principes imposuit; et unusquisque Princeps cum sua Turma per unum mensem in Regis Ministerio Palatium conservavit. Uno mense completo, exiens ad proprios agros cum su& Turma, propriis negotiis per duorum mensium spatium intendebat; et interim secundus Princeps per unum mensem, et tertiusPrinceps per alium mensem post ilium in Regis Palatio ministrabat: ut postea propriis utilitatibus per duos menses quaelibet Turma vacaret. Hac revolutione Servorum suorum, totiusque familiae suae rotatione, usus est omni tempore vitae sua?. Ingulph. Hist. p. 870.

I shall now give Sir John Spelman's account at large (as I have Ingulphus's), where he gives a supposed, and not improbable, reason for this mode of attendance.

"He [Alfred] having, it seems, observed the course that Solomon took in preparing timber at Lebanon for the Temple, where thirty thousand, assigned to the work, went by ten thousand at a time, wrought there a month, and then returning, stayed two months at home, until their turn in the fourth month came about again*—he,applying this to his own occasions, ordained the like course in his attendance, making a triplicate thereof, insomuch that he had a three-fold shift of all Domestic Officers; each of which were, by themselves, under the command of a several Major-domo *, or Master of the Household, who, coming with his servants under his charge, to wait at Court, stayed there a month, and then returning home, were supplied by the second ternary, and they again by the third, until the course coming about, the first of them (after two months recess at home) did, with the quarterf, renew their monthly service at the Court. I should conjecture (continues he) that the King, for his more honourable attendance, took this course in point of Royalty and State, there being (as it then stood with the State) very few men of quality fit to stand before a King, who, by their fortunes or dependency, were not otherwhere besides engaged; neither was there, in those times, any great assurance to be had of any man, unless he were one of such condition, whose service, when the King was

* Ingulph. ubi supra.

* Princeps. Ingulphus, in eod. t This, I suppose, led Sir John into the above supposition about the Quarter-Waiters.

« السابقةمتابعة »