Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/104

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no weapons other than staves, the cry of "Clubs, Clubs!" would rouse a whole neighbourhood with disastrous results. Scott has accurately described such a scene in The Fortunes of Nigel.

There were two shops, that of the barber and of the tobacco man, that merit special notice, for they were, in a way, Elizabethan institutions. The barber shop was recognised outwardly by the pole and the basin. The latter sign was symbolical not only of the bowl in which the barber mixed his lather but also of the vessel in which he caught blood when performing his office of surgeon, a profession that went hand in hand with hair-cutting. The barber often rented his basin for use in making the general hub-hub that accompanied the carting of a bawd. "Let there be no bawd carted that year, to employ a basin of his." (Jonson, The Silent Woman.)

It is, however, the inside of the barber shop that interests us particularly as an Elizabethan institution. It was the place above all for the manufacture and the dissemination of gossip. Here the young gallant came, incidentally to be trimmed and shaved, primarily to spend a social hour. The shop was well fitted out for his amusement. Just as a newspaper is handed one to-day who is compelled to wait his turn at the chair, so a musical