Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/106

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every one of which the author has prefixed a wooden cut of the subject of the enigma, is a barber, and the cut represents a barber's shop, in which there is one person sitting in a chair under the barber's hands, while another, who is waiting for his turn, is playing on the lute; and on the side of the shop hangs another instrument of the lute or cittern kind."

A passage regarding the barber shop occurs in Measure for Measure and has given rise to much comment,

"laws for all faults,
But faults so countenanced, that the strong statutes
Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
As much in mock as mark."

"In order to enforce some kind of regularity in barber shops," says Dyer (p. 533), "which were places of great resort for the idle, certain laws were usually made, the breaking of which was to be punished by forfeits." A list of such rules is given by Nares, who, however, doubts their authenticity. Warburton suggested a different interpretation. Barber shops were continually crowded with irresponsible persons "who would be perpetually handling and misusing" the barber's instruments. "To remedy which, I suppose, there was placed up against the wall a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this kind;