Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/502

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plumes. A ruff frequently surmounted a steel corselet. The plates of the body armour were grooved, embossed, and engraved from top to bottom in imitation of embroidery and folds of drapery. Liveries, too, were common. Many trades and societies of London possessed their distinctive dress. The retainers of the great noblemen always wore a badge containing their master's coat-of-arms. This badge, or cognisance, was worn upon the left sleeve.


In another place I have noted the fact that Shakespeare's father was fined for keeping a muck-heap so close to his house as to be a nuisance to the public. This, however, is not an indication of a habit of uncleanliness confined to those who lived in the humbler circumstances of life. Lack of ventilation, careless habits, and general inattention to sanitary conditions were so common that Cavendish tells us in the Life of Wolsey that a house upon continual use "waxed savoury." Perhaps what contributed more than anything else to this condition of affairs was the custom of matting or rushing the floors. No carpets in the modern sense of the word were then in use, except on the rarest occasions and late in the period here treated. Only the lower classes,