The Lancashire Witches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about The Lancashire Witches.
steeds, kicking in the air.  Encumbered as they were, some little time elapsed before they could regain their feet, and their lances having been removed in the mean time, by order of Sir John Finett, as being weapons of too dangerous a description for such truculent combatants, they attacked each other with their broad lathen daggers, dealing sounding blows upon helm, habergeon, and shield, but doing little personal mischief.  The strife raged furiously for some time, and, as the champions appeared pretty well matched, it was not easy to say how it would terminate, when chance seemed to decide in favour of Davy Droman; for, in dealing a heavier blow than usual, Archie’s dagger snapped in twain, leaving him at the mercy of his opponent.  On this the doughty Davy, crowing lustily like chanticleer, called upon him to yield; but Archie was so wroth at his misadventure, that, instead of complying, he sprang forward, and with the hilt of his broken weapon dealt his elated opponent a severe blow on the side of the head, not only knocking off the porringer, but stretching him on the ground beside it.  The punishment he had received was enough for poor Davy.  He made no attempt to rise, and Archie, crowing in his turn, trampling upon the body of his prostrate foe, and then capering joyously round it, was declared the victor, and received the gilt chopines from the judge, amidst the laughter and acclamations of the beholders.

With this the public sports concluded; and, as evening was drawing on apace, such of the guests as were not invited to pass the night within the Tower, took their departure; while shortly afterwards, supper being served in the banqueting-hall on a scale of profusion and magnificence quite equal to the earlier repast, the King and the whole of his train sat down to it.


Other amusements were reserved for the evening.  While revelry was again held in the great hall; while the tables groaned, for the third time since morning, with good cheer, and the ruby wine, which seemed to gush from inexhaustible fountains, mantled in the silver flagons; while seneschal, sewer, and pantler, with the yeomen of the buttery and kitchen, were again actively engaged in their vocations; while of the three hundred guests more than half, as if insatiate, again vied with each other in prowess with the trencher and the goblet; while in the words of old Taylor, the water poet, but who was no water-drinker—­and who thus sang of the hospitality of the men of Manchester, in the early part of the seventeenth century—­they had

“Roast, boil’d, bak’d, too, too much, white, claret, sack. 
Nothing they thought too heavy or too hot,
Can follow’d can, and pot succeeded pot.”

—­during this time preparations were making for fresh entertainments out of doors.

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The Lancashire Witches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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