Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/344

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314
Some Oxfordshire Seasonal Festivals.


Next came the "Lord" and "Lady" gaily dressed and decked with pink and blue ribbons. (On alternate days the "Lady" wore pink and white, and blue and white.) The "Lord" carried slung over his shoulder a tin money-box called the "treasury." Both he and his consort held in their hands badges of office, known as "maces" (pl. v., Nos. 1, 2). These "maces" are short staves, on the top of which is fastened a square horizontal board. To each corner of this square is attached the end of a semi-circular hoop which intersects in the middle. The whole "mace" is covered with pink and blue silk, with rosettes at intervals, and from the four corners hang silk streamers. The colours of the two "maces" are counter-changed.

Following the "Lord" and "Lady" came the Fool, known as the "Squire," who wore a dress of motley, and carried a long staff with a bladder and a cow's tail at either end. His duties were to belabour the bystanders and to clear a ring for the dancers. Next came six morris-dancers, who were dressed in beaver hats, finely pleated white shirts, crossed with blue and pink ribbons and rosettes, and white moleskin trousers with bells at the knees. Their music was supplied by a fiddler, and a "whittle and dub man," as the musician was called who played the pipe and tabour. At the end of the procession were two men carrying "forest feathers," which were wooden clubs about three feet long, covered with leaves, flowers, rushes, and blue and pink ribbons.

At stated times in the day the morris-dancers would give an exhibition of their skill. Before dancing they and the "Lord" went round the spectators, carrying each a "crown-cake" on the top of his hat. These cakes were about nine inches across, and were made of an outer crust of rich currant and plum dough, with a centre of minced meat and batter. Contributions in money were given by the spectators for looking at them. For half-a-crown a whole cake could be bought, and this was sup-