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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
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
Thus angels sung, and so do we,
39. Then the young children, the youths with their masters, went down to breakfast, and, that ended, to their school-house, which was near adjoining to the house, having been formerly a fair dove house. The old gentlewoman set herself down in a chair, and this was her constant place for most part of the time any were there, and some or other of her daughters: her grandchildren were always there. Others, as young or old and such as were too young to go to school, yet sat there, and in great silence, either at their book or otherwise : and the others, some to their needleworks, others to learn what they were to say the next day. And each hour had commonly some employment or other for them; the making the concordance, their singing, their playing on their instruments, their writing, ciphering; and so never idle. And for the variety of employments, Nicholas Ferrar entertained a bookbinder's daughter of Cambridge, to learn of her the skill and art of bookbinding and gilding, and grew very expert at it, as the king, having received books of her binding, said, he never saw the like workmanship.
40. Each several hour in forenoon and afternoon made all to be very pleasant and profitable to them: for so that was, until Nicholas Ferrar contrived all things to have a fit proportion in time; for he was wont to say, a mean in all things, if men could hit it, was the only way with good order to effect great things with ease and delight, as well as to advantage of necessary things in the world, even for this life and a better.
41. But to proceed. Eight, nine, ten o'clock come, those hours had their several companies, that came and did as at the former hours: psalms said and a head of the concordance, the organs playing, the hymn sung at each hour, as the clock struck, that gave notice to all of the time passing. Besides, in most rooms of the house, they had sun-dials of painted glass, and three dials on the church-steeple, north, south and west, all of them large and fairly painted in colours, with suitable mottoes on them. 42.
Ten o'clock striking, the bell rung to church : so up came all into the great chamber, which was always the place of assembling, for all to come unto, before they went to church. So as in the morning, they all went in their orders, and then was only the litany said, every day in the week. (The reason of this unusual reading the litany! daily was, that they, coming to Gidding in the great plague time, obtained licence of the bishop that they might use it daily, which he granted).
43. This having ended, they returned all home to the house. Then at eleven o'clock, the bell ringing, the company appointed for that hour said their
1 The Arminian Nunnery falsely imputes to them the “lip-labour of trolling out the litany four times a day.”cxxxviii.
psalms and head of concordance in the great chamber. The hymn sung &c., they went all to dinner, and while the meat came in to be set on the table, they sung the hymn, with organs playing to it. Grace said, all standing, after some time they all sat down, and one whose turn it was read at dinner and supper-time some part of history, such as was appointed, either some chronicles of nations, journeys by land, sea-voyages, and the like.
The reasons and the method of them I shall for the better satisfaction of the historian set down.
44. Finding silence at meals' time unpleasant and common discourse for the most part unprofitable, it is agreed that there shall be always something read during meal-times'. And because the mind,
1 “I have stood by his [king James's] table often, when I was about the age of two and twenty years, and from thence forward, and have heard learned pieces read before him at his dinners, which I thought strange; but a chaplain of James Montague, bishop of Winton, told me, that the bishop had read over unto him the four tomes of Cardinal Bellarmine's controversies at those respites, when his majesty took fresh air, and weighed the objections and answers of that subtle author, and sent often to the libraries in Cambridge for books, to examine his quotations.”—Hacket's Life of Williams, i. 227. “At this (Williams's] table a chorister read a chapter in the English translation at dinner, and one of his gentlemen another in the Latin translation at supper. For there was none of them but was bred at least to so much learning.”—ibid. č. 32. “While he [John Ball] was at supper, other scholars read a piece of Greek or Latin (so exceed. ing diligent was he in husbanding the shreds of time)."