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word being brought the psalm-children had done, and were gone all home to their own parishchurches in the afternoon, there to be with their parents. Whilst they were thus in feeding their bodies, one whose turn it then was (as every one took his turn at meal-time) of the younger sort read a chapter in the Bible on Sunday meal-times, that so their ears and hearts might not want the best spiritual food: which done, they also sat down to meat, and lost not by that deed.
Dinner ended, all had liberty to repair where they pleased, some to walk in the garden, orchard, &c., and some to their closets and privacy. About two o'clock the bell rung, so all came together and went up to Steeple Gidding church to a sermon there, and when come home, they went all into the great chamber, and said all those psalms that day at one time, which they said at the other days of the week at the set hours and time. This done they again departed every one where they pleased. At supper-time, which was commonly in summer about five and winter six, the bell rung, they all came again into the great parlour, and the organ began to play and they to sing all the while the meat was bringing in to be set on the table. Which done, grace was said and all sat down, and a while after one read a chapter, and then another, that had first supped, went to the desk and read a story out of the Book of Martyrs? Supper done, grace said, in summer all again went where they pleased, walking abroad, and in winter warmed themselves, if they pleased, a great fire being made in the room to heat it all over, and those that would, had candles and went away: and Nicholas Ferrar, his mother and the elder people found some good discourse or other to pass the time with. 33.
1 Distant a quarter of a mile.
When eight o'clock came, the bell rung again to prayers, all went up into the great chamber, and then they sung a hymn on the organs” all the time; which ended, they went to prayers. That done, all her children came and asked the old gentlewoman's blessing, and so all bid each good night, and to their several apartments each went, the younger sort to bed, and the elder were in their chamber or closets, till they went to bed; for it was an order, that none must after prayers go up and down, but keep in their chambers.
34. But we ought not to forget here to make known Nicholas Ferrar's special care, that all in the family, high and low, children and servants, should
i Hear our libeller. “For another show that they would not be accounted popish, they have gotten the Book of Martyrs in the chapel ; but few or none are suffered to read therein, but only it is there (I say) kept for a show.”-u. s. cxxxviii.
2 In the devastation of Gidding the organs (which were peculiarly obnoxious to the puritans ; see Prynne's Histriom. 285 seq., Herbert's Epigr. Apolog. 23, 24) were broken up as fire-wood, and some sheep from the estate roasted. Peckard. 1 This too was a crime. “It seems moreover that at their monthly receiving the sacrament (which this defendant deacon performeth and consecrateth the bread and wine) their servants, when they received, were attended by their master and mistress, and not suffered to lay or take away their own trenchers, as it is reported.”- Arminian Nunnery, cxxxvi, which professes to be taken from Lenton's account (Peckard, 303), where this report is called a frivolous fable.”
have no occasion to be absent from church, and as much freedom that day from bodily employment as might be.
He so ordered, that what was for dinner should be all performed with the least and speediest loss of time, as might be: that was by causing ovens to be heated, and all the dinner to be set into them before church-time; and so all the servants were ready to go to church, not any left at home. And for supper, church ended in the evening, then the spits were laid down for meat to be roasted at the fire.
35. And one thing else besides will not be amiss to be recounted, concerning the servants. It was the custom of that family, that having a communion the first Sunday of each month throughout the year (besides the great festival times, Christmas, New-Year’s day, Easter and Whitsuntide) they stood at lower end of the table where the old gentlewoman sat, and there dined that day!
36. Thus much for the Lord's day. Now come we to the employments in the weekdays, from Monday morning to Saturday night. First, for their rising (the bell ringing), it was about four
o'clock', old Mrs. Ferrar herself not failing to rise at five. And having in their chambers given thanks for their night's preservation, with speed making them ready, they one after the other came into the great chamber, and there said to Nicholas Ferrar what psalms and chapters they had learned, and made repetition of formerly gained by heart. This done they retired awhile to their apartments and closets.
37. At six o'clock, the bell tolling, they all came to the great chamber again, and then that company that had the charge to begin that hour's psalm (for each hour of the day had certain psalms to be said). Which said, then one of them said one of the heads of the concordance of the four evangelists without book; for the book contained 150 heads or chapters, and there was so allotted to each hour of the days so many heads to be said, as that beginning still at the first day of each month, and so ending at the last day of the month, all the heads were said over in every month's time, which was twelve times in the year. This book of the concordance of the four evangelists contrivement' was directed to be made in
1 “For their night-watchings, and their rising at four of the clock in the morning (which I thought was much for one of fourscore years and for children). To the one he said, it was not much ; since they always went to bed at seven of the clock in the evening."-Lenton in Peckard, 291. We learn from Walton that Donne also rose at four.
i. e. Harmony ; see the account from the Lambeth MS. reprinted at the end of this life.
3 i. e. The contrivement of this book, &c.
that manner by Nicholas Ferrar's appointment and direction. This said, a hymn of morning prayer was sung by all, the organs playing to it. So then each came to the little table, that stood in the midst of the room, at which stood a great chair (upon which table lay the Holy Bible and a Common-Prayer Book). There each standing at the back of the chair said some one sentence of scripture, such as they thought good at that time, every one having a new sentence to say.
38. This performed, they all went in their order, two by two, to church, as you heard they did on the Sunday. Entering, they bowed the knee', and taking every one their places, the womankind in an isle apart, as was more particularly described beforehand. Then Nicholas Ferrar went up into the reading-place and officiated; which done, home they all came in decent order, and all going up to the great chamber, the second company went to the great large compass window at upper
end of the room (which window looked upon the church, which stood at the end of the garden), and it being now seven o'clock, there were the psalms said, and another head of the concordance repeated without book, and the short hymn sung (and the organs playing to it) was only :
1 "A godly man, not out of superstition, but of reverence to God's house, resolves whenever he enters into a church to kneel down and pray.”-Country Parson, c. xxxi. Compare c. viii.