Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/219

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169
CELEBRATION OF THE CALENDAR

Not exactly conforming to the latter requirement, however, was the peacock pie, in which the cock was cooked whole, with the head projecting through the crust. The head of the cock would be beautifully decorated at the serving, and the bill gilded; and the tail set up in all its extended grandeur of coloured beauty. Though the following description of a Christmas dinner is from Nichols's accounts of the court, it is not more elaborate than that of many of the noblemen of the court, and differs but little from the celebration of even less wealthy people:

"On Christmas day, service in the church being ended, the gentlemen presently repair into the hall to breakfast, with brawn, mustard, and malmsey.

"At dinner, the butler appointed for the Christmas is to see the tables covered and furnished: and the ordinary butlers of the house are decently to set bread, napkins, and trenchers, in good form, at every table; with spoons and knives. At the first course is served a fair and large boar's head, on a silver platter, with minstralsye.

"Two 'servants' are to attend at supper, and to bear two fair torches of wax, next before the musicians and trumpeters, and stand above the fire with the music, till the first course be served in through the hall. Which performed, they, with