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then being in most men altogether intent upon the refreshment of their bodies, doth not willingly admit any serious speculation, it is thought fit that the reading shall be always of some easy and delightful matter, such as are history and relations of particu lar actions and persons, such as may not only furnish the mind with variety of knowledge in all kinds, but also stir up the affections to the embracements of virtue. The performance of this shall be by the two young daughters and four boys, every one in their course, whereby a particular benefit is hoped will arise to the whole, and they shall by these means be brought to read any book' well and gracefully. They that are to read shall immediately upon the coming into the dining-room have a mess of broth sent them, which when they have eaten, they shall begin their reading, standing at the north end of the table, and continue so reading, till the rest of the children have supped; when another, after they have repeated their gospels, shall take the book, and the first go to their meal and, in regard of their forbearance, shall always have the advantage of some more than their fellows had. For the better retaining in memory of that which shall be read, it is agreed, that a summary collection shall be kept in writing of those things, which are judged worthy of observation, out of that book. The drawing of this abstract shall
Clarke's Martyrologie (1651), 444. On the Roman and the monastic practice see Juv. xi. 179, Du Cange s. v. Lector Mensce.
be the work of one of the parents or masters, but the transcribing it fair may be by any of the children; and every noon, presently after collation, shall be made a repetition of that which was formerly read. The manner of this repetition, whether it shall be by examination of the younger, or by the elders relating it and application of things, is left to the judgement of the directors of those exercises to proceed according as the nature of the subject, time, persons and other occasions shall require. The ordinary and constant charge of this matter is committed to John and Mary Ferrar, and for assistance and supply, when they cannot, Susanna Collett: the mother and the elder daughters are desired always, as occasion serves, to give their help. Some other orders and directions were given, but this as a taste may suffice. And by this means it so came to pass, that though they seemed to live privately and had not much commerce with people, yet they were well acquainted with the former and latter passages of the world, and what was done in it at home and abroad, and had gained knowledge of many actions of note and passages of consequence and the manners of other countries and nations and affairs of their own country.
45. When dinner and supper were ended, the reader ceased; and then, grace said, one boy, whose turn it was that meal, repeated a story without book, such as Nicholas Ferrar had compiled for them and fitting their capacities. These were short, pleasant and profitable; good language and no less good in matter, teaching them something of worth, exciting to virtue and the hatred of vice: and by this the young ones learned to speak gracefully and courageously.
46. Now to proceed. The afternoon's employments, as on Mondays, so also on the others of the rest of the weekdays,—the time and hours spent much at one. Dinner ended, these things performed, all departed the room, and each went where they thought good, until one o'clock. Then the bell tolled for the boys to school, and at that hour those that had their turns came up into the great chamber again, to say their psalms and head of concordance, sing a hymn and play on the organ whilst they sung. There old Mrs. Ferrar commonly sat till four o'clock, and, as before, each hour had its performance; some were at one employment and some at another, such as you heard before was their work.
47. Then rung the bell to prayer, which was performed by all, going to church again to divine service, and so home again. And at five the bell rung to supper, which was performed in the great parlour, with reading, &c., as you heard at noon. This done there was liberty given to retire where each would, in summer-time walking abroad, in winter there was a great fire in the room; so some went to one thing, some to another, to learn against next morning, there being many candles in the room in several places; and the three masters had leave to go to their studies, or where they would.
48. Eight o'clock coming, the bell rung to prayers for bed-time; so all came up into the great chamber, where a hymn was sung, the organs playing, and then prayer said by Nicholas Ferrar. The room was well stored with candles. This done, all the children came, and craved on their knees their grandmother's and parents' blessing, then each bidding other good night, every one the sons and daughters waiting on their grandmother to her chamber, so each departed to their several chambers, closets, &c., and as before related, no more going up and down the house, the outward doors locked up. And thus in brief you have a relation of their manners and of their hours' employment and daily exercises all the week long, till Sunday again.
49. Nicholas Ferrar, considering more and more the extraordinary favour and blessings of God to his family, in a most superlative degree and in no less than a miraculous way delivering thein out of so many eminent dangers; that it was their part in some measure to shew their more and more than thankfulness to God for them, and that in a more than ordinary or usual way or custom than was practised by most, none having more cause than their family to love and serve God at all times and in all places, in such manner as was pleasing to Him and agreeable to the doctrine of the Church of England and to the laws of the land :-hereupon with the advice, consent, and approbation of both religious, grave, learned divines, and amongst the rest upon
the invitation of that worthy servant of Christ, Mr. George Herbert', his most entire friend and brother? (for so they styled each other):—Nicholas Ferrar, I say, propounded to those of the family, who should of their own free will and choice approve of the thing; for none should be enforced, or the less well thought of, that did only not like of it, or would not be ready to take a part in it. So he found those that did desire to be partners in the action. It was that every night two at least should take their turns, one in the seven nights to watch, and should begin it at nine at night, and so continue till one in the morning. It was to be performed in their several apartments and oratories appointed for the same: the womankind had theirs at one side of the house, the men on the other side, a great way asunder each from the other; and the daughters had for their companion one of their sisters, or sometimes a maidservant, whose desire it was then to watch (for you are to know, that most of the maids could read and say psalms without book). And the men that were actors had one of the boys at the least, if not two, that would also readily desire and strive who should watch, and they could
1 “Geo. Herbert, Coll. Trin. Art. Bac. 1612—3—Art. Mag. Coll. Trin. an. 1616. Regr. Acad.” BAKER. There is a passing allusion to “Mr. Herbert's public rhetoric lectures in the university” in D'Ewes's Life, i. 121.
2 See below, $ 50.