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Milkmaids' Garland on May-day.
In London, thirty years ago,
When pretty milkmaids went about,
Their May-day Pageant all drawn out :-
Their shining garland in the middle,
Or else the foot-inspiring fiddle.
Their custom to cry“ milk below!"
Join'd hands, and pointed toe to toe.
The hop'd-for annual present sent-
And at that door cease merriment
And charm'd my ears—but all have vanish'd !
For milk-maids, and their dance, are banish'd. My recollections of these sights
« Annihilate both time and space;" I'm boy enough to wish them back,
And think their absence-out of place. May 4, 1825.
From the preceding lines somewhat may the old abbey. Ah! those were the be learned of a lately disused custom in days. London. The milkmaids' garland was a The milkmaids' earlier plate-garland pyramidical trame, covered with damask, was a pyramid of piled utensils, carried glittering on each side with polished on a stout damsel's head, under which silver plate, and adorned with knots of she danced to the violin. gay-coloured ribbons, and posies of fresh
MAY-FAIR. flowers, surmounted by a silver urn, or tankard. The garland being placed on a The great May-fair was formerly held wooden horse, was carried by two men, near Piccadilly. An antiquary, (shudder as represented in the engraving, some not, good reader, at the chilling name-he times preceded by a pipe and tabor, but was a kind soul,) Mr. Carter, describes more frequently by a fiddle; the gayest this place in an interesting communicamilkmaids followed the music, others tion, dated the 6th of March, 1816, to his followed the garland, and they stopped valued friend, the venerable“ Sylvanus at their customers' doors, and danced. Urban." “ Fifty years have passed away The plate, in some of these garlands, was since this place of amusement was at its very costly. It was usually borrowed of height of artraction: the spot where the the pawnbrokers, for the occasion, upon fair was held still retains the name of security. One person in that trade was May-fair, and exists in much the same particularly resorted to for this accommo. state as at the above period : for instance, dation. He furnished out the entire gar- Shepherd's market, and houses surrounding land, and let it at so much per hour, un- it on the north and east sides, with White der bond from responsible housekeepers Horse-street, Shepherd's-court, Sun-court, for its safe return. “In this way one set Market-court. Westwards an open space of milkmaids would hire the garland from extending to Tyburn (now Park) lane, ten o'clock till one, and another set would since built upon, in Chapel-street, Shephave the garland from one o'clock till herd's - street, Market - street, Hertford. six; and so on, during the first three days street, &c. Southwards, the noted Duckof May.
ing-pond, house, and gardens, since built It was customary with milk-people of upun, in a large Riding-school, Carringless profitable walks to make a display of ton-street, (the noted Kitty Fisher lived in another kind, less gaudy in appearance, this street,) &c. The market-house conbut better bespeaking their occupation, sisted of two stories ; first story, a long and more appropriate to the festival. and cross aisle, for butcher's shops, exterThis was an exhibition of themselves, in nally, other shops connected with culinary their best apparel, and of the useful ani- purposes ; second story, used as a theatre mal which produced the fluid they re- at fair-time, for dramatic performances. tailed. One of these is thus described to My recollection serves to raise before me the editor of the Every-Day Book, by an the representation of the 'Revenge,' in intelligent eye-witness, and admirer of which the only object left on remembrance the pleasant sight. A beautiful country is the black man,' Zanga. Below, the girl ** drest all in her best," and more butchers gave place to toy-men and gingergaily attired than on any other day, with bread-bakers. At present, the upper story floral ornaments in her neat little hat, is unfloored, the lower ditto nearly desert and on her bosom, led her cow, by a rope ed by the butchers, and their shops occudepending from its horns, garlanded with pied' by needy peddling dealers in small flowers and kr.ots of ribbons ; the horns, wares; in truth, a most deplorable contrast neck, and head of the cow were decorated to what once was such a point of allurement. in like manner: a fine net, like those upon In the areas encompassing the marketladies' palfreys, tastefully stuck with building were booths for jugglers, prizeflowers, covered Bess's back, and even fighters, both at cudgels and back-sword, her tail was ornamented, with products boxing-matches, and wild beasts. The of the spring, and silken knots. The sports not under cover were moun proprietress of the cow, a neat, brisk, tebanks, fire-eaters, ass-racing, sausagelittle, matronly body, followed on tables, dice-tables, up-and-downs, merryside, in holiday-array, with a sprig in her go-rounds, bull-baiting, grinning for a country bonnei, a blooming posy in her hat, running for a shift, hasty-pudding handkerchief, and ribbons on her stomach- eaters, eel-divers, and an infinite variety er. This scene was in Westminster, near of other similar pastimes. Among the
extraordinary and wonderful delights of laid its head, and another puppet then the happy spot, take the following items, instantly chopped it off with an axe. In which still hold a place within my mind, a circular staircase-window, at the north though I cannot affirm they all occurred end of Sun-court, a similar performance at one precise season. The account may took place by another set of puppets. be relied on, as I was born, and passed The condemned puppet bowed its head my youthful days in the vicinity, in Picca- to the cill which, as above, was soon dedilly, (Carter's Statuary,) two doors from capitated. In these representations, the the south end of White Horse-street, late punishment of the Scotch chieftain since rebuilt (occupied at present by (lord Lovat) was alluded to, in order to lady Pulteney).-Before a large commo- gratify the feelings of southern loyalty, at dious bouse, with a good disposure of the expense of that farther north.-In a walks, arbours, and alcoves, was an area, fore one-pair room, on the west side of with an extensive bason of water, other. Sun-court, a Frenchman submitted to wise · Ducking-pond,' for the recreation the curious the astonishing strength of of lovers of that polite and humane sport. the - Strong Woman,' his wife. А Persons who came with their dogs paid a 'blacksmith's anvil being procured from trifling fee for admission, and were con- White Horse-street, with three of the sidered the chief patrons and supporters men, they brought it up, and placed it of the pond; others, who visited the place on the floor. The woman was short, but as mere spectators, paid a double fee. A most beautifully and delicately formed, dack was put into the pond by the mas- and of a most lovely countenance. She ter of the hunt; the several dogs were first let down her hair, (a light auburn.) of then let loose, to seize the bird. For a long a length descending to her knees, which time they made the attempt in vain; for, she twisted round the projecting part of when they came near the devoted victim, the anvil, and then, with seeming ease, she dived under water, and eluded their lifted the ponderous weight some inches remorseless fangs. Herein consisted the from the floor. After this, a bed was laid extreme felicity of the interesting scene.' in the middle of the room; when, reclinAt length, some dog more expert than ing on her back, and uncovering her the rest, caught the feathered prize, and bosom, the husband ordered the smiths bore it away, amidst the loudest acclama- to place thereon the anvil, and forge upon tions, to its most fortunate and envied it à horse-shoe! This they obeyed; by master. This diversion was held in such taking from the fire a red-hot piece of iron, bigh repote about the reign of Charles II., and with their forging hammers com that he, and many of his prime nobility, pleting the shoe, with the same might did not disdain to be present, and partake, and indifference as when in the shop at with their dogs, of the elegant entertain their constant labour. The prostrate fair ment. _In Mrs. Behn's play of Sir Pa- one appeared to endure this with the tient Fancy,' (written ai the above pe- utmost composure, talking and singing riod,) a sir Credulous Easy talks about a during the whole process; then, with an cobbler, his dog-tutor, and his expectation effort which to the by-standers seemed of soon becoming the duke of Duck- like some supernatural trial, cast the ing-pond.' - A Mountebanks' Stage' anvil from off her body, jumping up at the was erected opposite the Three Jolly same moment with extreme gaiety, and Butchers' public-house, (on the east side without the least discomposure of her of the market area, now the King's dress or person. That no trick or colluArms.) Here Woodward, the inimitable sion could possibly be practised on the comedian and harlequin, made his first occasion was obvious, from the following appearance as merry-andrew; from these evidence :-The audience stood promishumble boards he soon after found his cuously about the room, among whom way to Covent-garden theatre. -Then were our family and friends; the smiths · there was "Beheading of Puppets.' In a were utter strangers to the Frenchman, coal-shed attached to a grocer's shop," but known to us ; therefore the several (then Mr. Frith's, now Mr. Frampton's,) efforts of strength must have proceeded one of these mock executions was exposed
from the natural and surprising power to the attending crowd. A shutter was this foreign dame was possessed of. She fixed horizontally; on the edge of which, next put her naked feet on a red-hot after many previous ceremonies, a puppet salamander, without receiving the least
576 injury: but this is a feat familiar with us tion to the senses concluded.—Here, too, at this tine. Here this kind of gratifica- was · Tiddy-doll.
This celebrated vender of gingerbread, Mary, Mary, where are you now, from his eccentricity of character, and ex- Mary? I live, when at home, at the se tensive dealings in his way, was always cond house in Little Ball-street, two hailed as the king of itinerant tradesmen. steps under ground, with a wiscum, riscum, In his person he was tall, well made, and and a why-not. Walk in, ladies and his features handsome.' He affected to gentlemen; my shop is on the seconddress like a person of rank; white gold foor backwards, with a brass knocker at laced suit of clothes, laced ruffled shirt, the door. Here is your nice gingerbread, laced hat and feather, white silk stock- your spice gingerbread; it will melt in ngs, with the addition of a fine white your mouth like a red-hot brick bat, and pron. Among his harangues to gain rumble in your inside like Punch and his customers, take this as a specimen :- wheelbarrow. He always finished bis
address by singing this fag end of some : He was a constant attendant in the crowd popular ballad :
Lord Mayor's day.
lid - dy tid - dy, dol. Hence arose his nickname of ‘Tiddy-doll.' the streets : some they smote and buffetIn llogarth's print of the execution of tell, and some they threw in the channell: the “Idle 'Prentice,' at Tyburn, Tiddy- for which, the lord maior sent some of doll is seen holding up a gingerbread cake the Englishmen to prison, as Stephen with his left hand, his right being within Studley, Skinner, Stevenson, Bets, and his coat, and addressing the mob in his other. usual way : Mary, Mary,' &c. His “ Then suddenly rose a secret rumour, costume agrees with the aforesaid de- and no man could tell how it began, that scription. For many years, and perhaps on May-day next following, the citie at present,) allusions were made to his would slay all the aliens : insoinuch that name, as thus : You are so fine, (to a divers strangers filed out of the citie. person dressed out of character,) you look “This rumour came to the knowledge of like Tiddy-doll. You are as tawdry as the kings councell: whereupon the lord Tiddy-doll
. You are quite Tiddy-doll,' cardinall sent for the maior, and other of &c.-Soon after the late lord Coventry the councell of the citie, giving them to occupied the house, corner of Engine- understand what hee had heard. streei, Piccadilly, (built by sir Henry “ The lord maior (as one ignorant of the Hunlocke, Bart., on the site of a large matter) told the cardinall, that he doubted ancient inn, called the Greyhound ;) he not so to governe the citie, but as peace being annoyed with the unceasing up- should be observed. roar, night and day, during the fair, (the “ The cardinall willed him so to doe, whole month of May,) procured, I know and to take good heed, that if any riotous not by what means, the entire abolition attempt were intended, he should by good of this festival of 'misrule' and dis- policy prevent it. order."
“ The maior comming from the cardiThe engraving here given is from an nals house, about foure of the clocke in old print of riddy-doll; it is presumed, the afternoone on May eve, sent for his that the readers of the Every-Day Book brethren to the Guild-hall, yet was it alwill look at it with interest.
most seven of the clocke before the assem
bly was set. Vpon conference had of the EVIL MAY-DAY.
matter, some thought it necessary, that a In the reign of king Henry VIII., a substantial watch should be set of honest great jealousy arose in the citizens of citizens, which might withstand the evill London towards foreign artificers, who doers, if they went about any misrule. were then called “ strangers.” By the Other were of contrary opinion, as rather interference of Dr. Standish, in a Spital thinking it best, that every man should be sermon, at Easter, this was fomented commanded to shut in his doores, and to into so great rancour, that it violently keepe his servants within. Before 8 of broke forth in the manner hereafter re- the clock, master recorder was sent to the lated by Stow, and occasioned the name cardinall, with these opinions : who hearof “ Evil May-day" to the first of May, ing the same, allowed the latter. And then whereon the tumult happened. It the recorder, and sir Thomas More, late appears then from him that:
under-sheriffe of Lond and now of the “ The 28th day of April, 1517, divers kings councell, came backe againe to the yong-men of the citie picked quarels with Guild-hall, halfe an houre before nine of Griaide strangers, as they passed along the clock, and there shewed the pleasure