Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/62

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throughout the land as a public benefactor, and became the Queen's trusted adviser in matters of finance. In consequence London became the money centre of the world, a distinction it has retained without intermission to this day.

There had never been in England a marked line of separation between nobleman and commoner; the distinction was drawn, rather, as Mr. Trevelyan puts it, between gentle and simple. The relation between the two was generally that of master and servant as we associate it with the better form of patriarchal community. There was greater freedom of manners between lord and tenant, the family and domestic, than is found to-day. At certain seasons of the year, as Yule Tide, all social barriers were thrown down, master and servant dancing and feasting on terms of equality in the same hall of merriment. The old rivalry between town and country was vanishing before the same causes that produced the shifting of population, assisted not a little by the strolling minstrels and travelling players, among whom we find Shakespeare himself.

Another element that contributed largely to this confusion of old lines of separation was the Queen's habit of making progresses. A progress was merely a visit of Elizabeth to the country seat of some favoured nobleman. The visit was