Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/141

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101
LIFE IN THE CAPITAL

at large, with a penful of ink in the very middle of the sheet writ these few quaint monosyllables, Coin, Cares, and Cures, and all C's else are yours. Then rolling up the white money like the starch in that paper very subtilely and artificially, came tripping down stairs with these colourable words, Here's goodly starch indeed! fie, fie!—trust me, husband, as yellow as the jaundice; I would not have betrayed my puffs with it for a million:—here, here, here, (giving her the paper of money). With that the subtile starch woman, seeming sorry that it pleased her not, told her, within few days she would fit her turn with that which should like [please] her; meaning indeed more such sweet news from her lover. These and suchlike, madam, are the cunning conveyances of secret, privy, and therefore unnoted harlots, that so avoid the common finger of the world, when less committers than they are publicly pointed at." (Middleton's Father Hubbard's Tales.)

Space forbids any further enumeration of the sins of London; but there is a plentiful supply of material from which one can reconstruct such a picture of the times as will lead one to believe that the above suggestions as to the foul condition of the public morals is not in the least overdrawn.