Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/252

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198
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

they leave you, kisses all round. Should they meet you anywhere, kisses in abundance: in fine, wherever you move, there is nothing but kisses."[1]

Rye (p. 225) quotes again from a letter by Chamberlain, 1625. "The Duchess of Richmond admitted him [at Ely house] with the proviso that he must not offer to kiss her; but what was wanting in herself was supplied in her attendants and followers, who were all kissed over twice in less than a quarter of an hour."

A kiss seems to have been the customary fee of a lady's partner in the dance:

"————————Sweetheart,
I were unmannerly to take you out.
And not to kiss you."[2]

The other Elizabethan plays contain numerous allusions to the custom. In Arden of Feversham Alice, in order to convince her husband that his jealousy is unfounded, says that she had done no more than to kiss the object of their dispute. "What favour hast thou had more than a kiss at coming or departing from the town?"[3]

"Wife, give entertainment to our new acquaintance; your lips, wife; any woman may lend her lips without her husband's privity; it's all allowable."[4]

  1. See Rye, p. 261.
  2. Shakespeare, Henry VIII.
  3. See also I. i. 377; IV. iv. 93; IV. iv. 99.
  4. Dekker, Westward Ho, p. 31.