THE ELIZABETHAN CHARACTER
was a rough, rude game of broil and turmoil. Every man wore commonly a sword by his side in public. When justice failed the individual did not scruple to take the law into his own hands. Here are a few illustrations taken from the old records, illustrations that show how quick every one was to shed blood upon small provocation.
"In, a man, attacked by another with a stick, drew his knife upon him and stabbed him."
"In Sussex, a man was pursued by his enemy with a bill till stopped by a garden wall, hereupon he turned and stabbed him with a dagger."
"In Cornwall one, armed only with a knife, slew his pursuer, armed with a sword, for want of breath to run any farther."
"And in London itself, in Fleet street, a citizen who was at feud with a neighbour, waited about his door, armed with a sword and buckler. When his enemy at length emerged (by a happy chance similarly armed) he found himself violently attacked; and, being impeded in his retreat by a crowd, faced his enemy and slew him in self-defence."
No man went abroad without arms; if it was after nightfall, he was accompanied by servants with arms and torches if he could afford a retinue; if not, he stayed at home, or walked quickly with