Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/105

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71
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

instrument was given to an Elizabethan with which to beguile the time.

The instruments most frequently in use were of the lute or cittern order. Thus Dekker in Match me in London speaks of a cittern with a man's broken head "so that I think 'twas a barber-surgeon." The allusion is to the grotesquely carved end of the instrument. In one of The Merry Jests of Peele, when a lute is needed, haste is made to borrow one of a barber. The barber himself should also be a performer. "Have you any skill in song or instrument?" cries one in Dekker's Wonder in a Kingdom. "As a gentleman should have," is the reply. "I know all but play on none. I am no barber." A passage in Ford's Fancies Chaste and Noble (ii. 2), shows that the barber was also, upon occasion, expected to instruct the lasses both in song and dance.

Reed gives the following graphic sketch note of the interior of a barber's shop with waiting customers:

"A lute or cittern used to be part of the furniture of a barber's shop, and as Sir John Hawkins, in his notes on Walton's Complete Angler, p. 236, observes, answered the end of a newspaper, the now common amusement of waiting customers. In an old book of enigmas, to