Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/65

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41
COUNTRY LIFE AND CHARACTER

Rye, p. 131) we learn that riding "post from Dover to Canterbury costs three English shillings; from Canterbury to Sittingbourne the same; from Sittingbourne to Rochester about two shillings and sixpence." To this large expense (for money was then worth about eight times its present value) must be added the discomfort of sitting upon hard, awkward saddles. Further annoyances of post riding were due to the almost universal maltreatment of the post horses; for, as Taylor the Water Poet writes, "For poor hackneys England is a hell." Those of a sensitive temperament might wish to avoid travel altogether, not alone because of hardship and danger, but also because of the repulsive sights seen by the wayside. The account quoted above continues with a typical illustration: "Just before coming to Sittingbourne you will see a robber hanging on a tree; he treacherously killed the messenger sent from the Elector Palatine to the King of England; the body is surrounded by chains and rings that it would be likely to last a long time." Possibly enhanced for the sake of stage effect is the finery of the following description of a post-boy's habit.

"Gallus comes in first, attired like a post in yellow damask doublet and bases; the doublet with close wings, cut like feathers; a pouch of carna-