Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/156

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superintended the flying of the hawks in the field. Favourite hawks were often kept in the great hall; but many, and all, during the period of moulting, were penned in their proper stable called the mews. Hence the terms to mew and to enmew. In later times, however, the name came to be applied to a stable for horses, a change in meaning due to the fact that the King's stable for horses happened to be built upon the site formerly occupied by the mews.

The hawk when not following the game was kept covered by a hood that completely blinded her. This headdress was made of silk or of leather, often exceedingly dainty and ornamental. It bore upon its top a little tuft of feathers that served as a handle by which it could be easily and quickly removed. The hawk was carried to the field hooded and perched upon the falconer's wrist, or upon his fist. If many hawks were taken at once they were carried upon the cadge borne by the cadge-boy. To each of the hawk's legs were attached thongs of leather or of silk, called jesses. They were used to bind the bird tightly to the wrist or to the cadge: hence the meaning of Othello's cry of despair:

"Though that her jesses were my dear heart strings."

The jesses passed between the falconer's fingers,