The Lancashire Witches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 680 pages of information about The Lancashire Witches.
badge, a demi-rose crowned, impaled with a demi-thistle, woven in gold on their doublets, and having fringed pole-axes over their shoulders.  Behind them was a richly carved oak screen, concealing the passages leading to the buttery and kitchens, in which the clerk of the kitchen, the pantlers, and the yeomen of the cellar and ewery, were hurrying to and fro.  Above the screen was a gallery, occupied by the trumpeters and minstrels; and over all was a noble rafter roof.  The tables were profusely spread, and glittered with silver dishes of extraordinary size and splendour, as well as with flagons and goblets of the same material, and rare design.  The guests, all of whom were assembled, were outnumbered by the prodigious array of serving-men, pages, and yeomen waiters in the yellow and red liveries of the Stuart.

Flourishes of trumpets announced the coming of the monarch, who was preceded by Sir Richard Hoghton, bearing a white wand, and ushered with much ceremony to his place.  At the upper end of the hall was a raised floor, and on either side of it an oriel window, glowing with painted glass.  On this dais the King’s table was placed, underneath a canopy of state, embroidered with the royal arms, and bearing James’s kindly motto, “Beati Pacifici.”  Seats were reserved at it for the Dukes of Buckingham and Richmond, the Earls of Pembroke and Nottingham, the Lords Howard of Effingham and Grey of Groby, Sir Gilbert Hoghton, and the Bishop of Chester.  These constituted the favoured guests.  Grace having been said by the bishop, the whole company took their seats, and the general stillness hitherto prevailing throughout the vast hall was broken instantaneously by the clatter of trenchers.

A famous feast it was, and worthy of commemoration.  Masters Morris and Miller, the two cooks who contrived it, as well as the labourers for the ranges, for the pastries, for the boiled meats, and for the pullets, performed their respective parts to admiration.  The result was all that could be desired.  The fare was solid and substantial, consisting of dishes which could be cut and come to again.  Amongst the roast meats were chines of beef, haunches of venison, gigots of mutton, fatted geese, capons, turkeys, and sucking pigs; amongst the boiled, pullets, lamb, and veal; but baked meats chiefly abounded, and amongst them were to be found red-deer pasty, hare-pie, gammon-of-bacon pie, and baked wild-boar.  With the salads, which were nothing more than what would, now-a-days be termed “vegetables,” were mixed all kinds of soused fish, arranged according to the sewer’s directions—­“the salads spread about the tables, the fricassees mixed with them, the boiled meats among the fricassees, roast meats amongst the boiled, baked meats amongst the roast, and carbonadoes amongst the baked.”  This was the first course merely.  In the second were all kinds of game and wild-fowl, roast herons three in a dish, bitterns, cranes, bustards, curlews, dotterels, and pewits.  Besides these there were lumbar pies, marrow pies, quince pies, artichoke pies, florentines, and innumerable other good things.  Some dishes were specially reserved for the King’s table, as a baked swan, a roast peacock, and the jowl of a sturgeon soused.  These and a piece of roast beef formed the principal dishes.

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The Lancashire Witches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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