Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/140

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beds, which must have been much more comfortable than in olden times. True, the mattress or matted truss of straw was still used, but the feather bed had been recently imported from France. In an old "Guide to Servants," written in the fifteenth century, the groom of the chamber is told "the feder bed to bete, but no federys waste" On this feather bed was laid the fustian or blanket, over it the linen sheets, which still served the purpose of nightgown, and the bed was covered with a "pane" of ermine or a richly embroidered quilt Beds were handed down from generation to generation as valuable personal property, and it is interesting to remember how, at a later date, Shakspere's will is explicit on the subject of leaving his "second best bed" to his wife, though he says nothing of rights in his plays. One of our forefathers bequeaths his daughter "a feather bed next the best, a mattress lying under the same, three pairs of sheets, two pillows and a pair of blankets," while another, a rich tradesman, leaves to his niece "my green hanged bed, stained with my arms therein, that hangeth in the chamber over kitchen, with the curtains, the green covering belonging thereto; another coverlit, one pair of