Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/253

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It was a mark of favour to kiss another below one in rank (see Marlowe, Edward II., I. i. 140); and a liberty, in cases amounting to an insult, to kiss one of higher rank. (See Middleton, A Trick to Catch the Old One, II. ii. 327.)

The Elizabethans were very fond of practical jokes. They were resorted to upon all occasions, and with very little provocation. Tossing in a blanket, for instance, is mentioned in Satiromastix. Dun is in the Mire, a game of this sort, is often referred to in the contemporary plays. It is thus described by Gifford: "A log of wood is brought into the midst of the room: this is Dun, (the cart horse), and a cry is raised that he is stuck in the mire. Two of the company advance, either with or without ropes to draw him out. After repeated attempts, they find themselves unable to do it, and call for more assistance. The game continues till all the company take part in it, when Dun is extricated, of course; and the merriment arises from the awkward and affected efforts of the rustics to lift the log, and from sundry such contrivances to let the ends of it fall on one another's toes." Practical jokes of a more elaborate nature form the main substance of the plots of Twelfth Night, the Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Silent Woman, not to mention other well known plays.