Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/531

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399
DOMESTIC LIFE

1568, but forks did not come till some time later.

Dinner was usually served in three courses: the first, meat; the second, game; the third, sweets. The last, called the banquet, was, when possible, served in the summer-house in the garden, from which, after sufficient time spent in conversation, the family adjourned to evening prayer and then prepared for supper. The people were extremely lavish in the matter of provision, and extravagant in their tastes. The consumption of wine was then far greater than now. Harrison mentions fifty-six French wines, thirty-six Spanish, and several made at home. Englishmen were very fond of sugar, which it was customary to mix with every kind of wine.


In an attempt to describe the social conditions of the Elizabethans one is constantly confronted with the difficulty of selection. There must be, however, a limit of space that often curtails when one would be inclined to continue. The brief view contained in this volume, it is hoped, will serve to give in broad lines the habits of life that characterised the people of Shakespeare's generation. Gaps there are, and some details may have been over-emphasised. The present writer, however, hopes that the attempt here set down may