Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/242

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"There's first crackers, which run into the air, and when they are at the top ... keep a crackling and a crackling and then break and down they come." (Marston's Fawn, i. 2.) Squibs was another name applied to one of the varieties of crackers, often called squib-crackers. "So squibs and crackers fly into the air, Then, only breaking with a noise, they vanish In stench and smoke." (Ford's The Broken Heart, ii. 2.) "Squibs that run upon lynes," are mentioned in Northward Ho. Coloured fires were of frequent use, and the discharge of all sorts of noise-producing weapons in the midst of such displays was common. (Cf. the numerous descriptions of public demonstrations in Nichols' Progresses of Queen Elizabeth.)

The tales with which Othello beguiled Desdemona are a good illustration of a fondness of the Elizabethans that is to a large degree still a characteristic of the English nation, perhaps, however, not to so great extent as formerly: namely, the love of monstrosities. These tales of Othello are a fair example of a kind of tale often told by returning travelers apparently in perfect faith. The opening chapter of Kingsley's Westward Ho! contains similar tales, and this, as has been elsewhere pointed out, is an almost literal