Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/45

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


25
THE ELIZABETHAN CHARACTER

tiff Dogs were let in, who boldly fought with the Lion. Afterwards Six Dogs more were let in; who flew upon the Horse, most in sight at their first entrance; and would soon have worried him to death had not Three stout Bearwards entered in and rescued the Horse, and brought away the Dogs, while the Lion and Bear stood staring upon them. At this sight were present, King James, the Queen and Prince, and divers great Lords. But tho' the Bear had so escaped this Bout, the King gave command he should be baited to Death with Dogs upon a Stage; and so he was." (Bk. 1, p. 118.)

Badgers were also baited. Cock-fighting was common, a sport to which Ascham was much addicted. A favourite boy's sport was cock-throwing. This consisted of tying a cock to a stake and throwing small billets of wood at him till he was dead. If, perchance, his legs were broken before he was killed, his body was propped up with sticks so as to prolong the amusement. A cock was often suspended over the middle of a street in an earthen vessel with open ends, and thrown at till he was killed.

Do not fancy that these are isolated instances of sports practised as rarely as cricket in this country. We read of travellers who, when they struck bargains with the post-riders who conducted