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exhibitions a burden. Individual members refused to take part in them, and thereby incurred the penalty imposed by the town for such delinquency. But the spirit of mutiny spread, and considerably before the Reformation it was only under compulsion that the crafts kept up “the ancient and laudable custom” of producing their annual representation.25

All through the Middle Ages it was one of the duties of the town authorities to see that the indwellers were adequately provided with the means of amusement. Every burgh had its musicians maintained at the public expense; in Scottish towns, in the time of Mary, there were performers on the big and little drum, the pipes, the fiddle, the trumpet, the cornet, and the whistle. At stated periods, also, the town officials had to provide public entertainments to keep the people in good-humour. In some cases a special “playing-field,” outside the town dykes, was set apart for these performances. In 1554, for example, the Edinburgh Town Council laid out the district of Greenside for this special purpose. In August of that year the Master of Works was busy preparing the ground for the various erections which were to accommodate the performers and their apparatus, and in October the order was given for the stock-in-trade-namely, eight play-hats, a king's crown, a mitre, a fool's hood, a sceptre, a pair of angel's wings, two angels' wigs, and a chaplet of triumph.26

For ordinary purposes of entertainment these materials might suffice, but on important occasions more ambitious efforts were needed to satisfy the public. In the same year, 1554, the Council resolved to propitiate Mary of Lorraine with the exhibition of a Clerk Play, composed by one William Lauder. The site chosen for the performance was the Tron, where the necessary erections had to be constructed for the occasion. For the convenience of the regent a “lugging” was reared close by, whence she might behold the spectacle. Forms and trestles were supplied for attendants, and flowers, branches of birch, and rushes were strewn around by way of giving a festive appearance to the occasion.27

But by far the most popular of public amusements was the annual frolic of Robin Hood and Little John on the first of May. In this performance all who chose could take a part, and the result was general horse-play of the coarsest kind -the day's proceedings usually ending in a pandemonium of riot and drunkenness. Before John Knox made his mark on the nation, public feeling had already turned against these unseemly exhibitions; and it was the regent, Mary of Lorraine, who, in 1555, passed the first statute prohibiting them. 28

But of all the amusements, inherited from the Middle Ages, the May Day games were those to which the populace clung most tenaciously. In 1562 Queen Mary herself


addressed a letter to the magistrates of Edinburgh expressly forbidding the Robin Hood games, on the ground that they created "perturbation of the common tranquillity, wherein our good subjects are desirous to live."29 But neither the authority of Church nor State could wholly suppress these annual saturnalia, which, like the carnival at Rome, supplied the spectacle of a world turned upside down. In the year 1572, in the midst of the desolation occasioned by the siege of the Castle, the inhabitants of Edinburgh, we are told by a contemporary, "used all pleasures which were wont to be used in the said month of May, Robin Hood and Little John.”30

Besides the public spectacles there were various games and amusements with which all classes could fill up their vacant hours. Within doors cards, backgammon and dice were played equally in private houses and taverns. Outside games were catchpully or tennis, foot-ball, and golf. Shooting at the butts with long-bow, cross-bow, and culverin must hardly have been regarded as amusements, as they were enforced by the legislature, and with but imperfect success. Most of the burghs had their annual horse-race, the prize being a silver bell or cup, presented to the winner by the Council, by whose authority the sport was sanctioned. Betting in connection with the various games must have been widely prevalent; at least, we are led to this conclusion by


a quaint statute of James VI. passed in 1621"anent playing at cards and dice and horse-races.” By this statute the winner of more than a hundred marks in a wager must, within twenty-four hours, deposit the surplus with the nearest Kirk Session to be distributed among the poor—an ingenious

idea which may be commended to modern reformers of the gambling laws. 35

According to Bishop Leslie, the dress of all Scots except the Highlanders was much the same as was worn in England, France, and the Low Countries.32 In the case of the upper classes, as in the case of the wealthier burgesses, this fact has a simple explanation. The former adopted the fashions which they met with in their travels, and the latter imported the garments which were worn by their own class on the Continent. The dress of the upper ranks of both sexes is too well known to need a detailed description. We have but to recall the portraits Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, of Darnley and the Earl of Leicester, to realise it in its most approved style. The ruff worn by both sexes, which, as was said, gave the upper part of the body the appearance of John the Baptist's head in the charger; the enormous farthingale, introduced by Elizabeth, which formed a ring fence round the persons of the ladies; the voluminous gally-hose of the men, within which, according to the jest, eight horse-loaves could be bestowed without inconvenience—were certainly among the most ingenious inventions ever devised for the disguise of the human shape, and yet were but another expression of the fantastic spirit of the time, as it is seen in literature and Court ceremonies and entertainments.

In accordance with the mediæval idea that every man had his appointed place in the social scale, the laws of all countries had prescribed its distinctive dress for every class, rank and profession. But even in the Middle Ages it was found impossible to enforce the general observance of such regulations. Natural instinct rebelled against an invidious uniformity, and the increase of wealth and luxury begot a taste for personal adornment against which legislation was futile. In Scotland, even by the beginning of the fifteenth century, it was found necessary to pass sumptuary laws prohibiting the lieges from wearing apparel above their station. 33 As we should expect, it was the well-to-do merchants and their wives who were the most ambitious transgressors, but even the yeomen in the country were showing an undue affection for novelty in the colour and cut of their attire. The legislature long continued to protest against what was deemed at once a breach of divine ordinance and a cause of ruin to the commonwealth, but the very frequency of its enactments proved that it was fighting against the course of nature. It may be remembered that the female adherents of Knox appealed to him (surely a strange oracle to consult

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