Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/87

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57
COUNTRY LIFE AND CHARACTER

frightened in the night in the chamber where her master's late wife died, but by what or when she cannot tell'; but this plea proved of no avail, and she spent some months in the gaol by the Guildhall. Rude endeavours were made to sweeten the tempers of scolding wives. A substantial 'cucking stool' with iron staples, lock, and hinges, was kept in good repair. The shrew was attached to it, and by means of ropes, planks, and wheels, was plunged two or three times into the Avon whenever the municipal council believed her to stand in need of correction. Three days and three nights were invariably spent in the open stocks by any inhabitant who spoke disrespectfully of any town officer, or who disobeyed any minor municipal decree. No one might receive a stranger into his house without the bailiff's permission. No journeyman, apprentice, or servant might 'be forth of their or his master's house' after nine o'clock at night. Bowling alleys and butts were provided by the council, but were only to be used at stated times. An alderman was fined on one occasion for going to bowls after a morning meeting of the council, and Henry Sydnall was fined twenty pence for keeping unlawful or unlicensed bowling in a back shed. Alehouse keepers, of whom there were thirty in Shakespeare's time, were kept strictly under the council's control, They were not al-