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window.” This designation of an alehouse is not altogether lost, though the original meaning of the word is, the sign being converted into a green lettuce ; of which an instance occurs in Brownlow street, Holborn. In the last will and testament of Lawrence Lucifer, the old batchiler of Limbo, at the end of the Blacke Booke, 4to. 1604, is the following passage : “Watched sometimes ten houres together in an alehouse, ever and anon peeping forth and sampling thy nose with the red lattice.” In the Christmass Ordinary, by W. R., 1682, we read :
“ Where Red Lettice doth shine,
Good ale is a traffic within ;
That grows on a frosty chin." In confirmation of the above hypothesis, I subjoin a curious passage from Gayton's Notes on Don Quixote, p. 310: * Mine host's policy for the drawing guests to his house, and keeping them when he had them, is farre more ingenious than our duller ways of billiards, kettle-pins, noddy-boards, tables, truncks, shovel-boards, fox and geese, or the like. He taught his bullies to drink (more Romano) according to the number of the letters on the errant ladies name:
Clodia ser Cyathis, septem Justina bibatur :' the pledge so followed in Dulcinea del Toboso would make a house quickly turn round.”
Hence, says Steevens, the present chequers. Perhaps the reader will express some surprise when he is told that shops with the sign of the chequers were common among the Romans. See a view of the left-hand street of Pompeii (No.9), presented by Sir William Hamilton (together with several others, equally curious) to the Society of Antiquaries.
I find, however, the following in the Gent. Mag. for June, 1793, lxiii. 531: “ It has been related to me by a very noble personage, that in the reign of Philip and Mary, the then Earl of Arundel had a grant to license publick houses, and part of the armorial bearings of that noble family is a checquered board; wherefore the publican, to show that he had a license, puts out that mark as part of his sign. J. B." Here, may it
not be asked, why the publicans take but a part of the Arundel arms, and why this part rather than
other? In the same work, for Sept. 1794, lxiv. 797, is another explanation. The writer says: “I think it was the great Earl Warrenne, if not, some descendant or heir near him, not beyond the time of Rufus, had an exclusive power of granting licenses to sell beer. That his agent might collect the tax more readily, the door-posts were painted in CHECQUERS, the arms of Warren then and to this day.”
In Richard Flecknoe's Ænigmatical Characters, 1665, p. 84, speaking of "your fanatic reformers,” he observes : “As for the signs, they have pretty well begun their reformation already, changing the sign of the salutation of the Angel and our Lady into the Souldier and Citizen, and the Katherine Wheel into the Cat and Wheel ; so as there only wants their making the Dragon to kill St. George, and the Devil to tweak St. Dunstan by the nose, to make the reformation compleat. Such ridiculous work they make of their reformation, and so zealous are they against all mirth and jollity, as they would pluck down the sign of the Cat and Fiddle too, if it durst but play so loud as they might hear it.”] In a curious poem entitled Poor Robin's Perambulation from Saffron-Walden to London, July 1678, 4to. Lond. 1678, the following lines occur, p. 22:
“Going still nearer London, I did come
In little space of time to Newington.
The signs of Cock and Pie, and Bull and Lion." As do the following in the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1710, vol, üi. No. 34 :
“ I'm amazed at the signs,
As I pass through the town :
A Magpye and Crown,
The Razor and Hen,
The Bible and Swan,
The T'un and the Lute,
The Shovel and Boot." ! There is a curious letter in the Gent. Mag. for Sept. 1770, xl. 403, on the original of signs denoting trades.
“In London,” says Steevens, "we have still the sign of the Bull and Gate, which exhibits but an odd combination of images. It was originally (as I learn from the title-page of an old play) the Bullogne Gate, i. e. one of the gates of Bullogne ; designed perhaps as a compliment to Henry VIII. who took that place in 1544. The Bullogne Mouth, now the Bull and Mouth, had probably the same origin, i. e. the mouth of the harbour of Bullogne.' To these may be added the Bell and Savage, i. e. the “ Belle Sauvage,” who was once to be shown there.
The three blue balls (see the Antiquarian Repertory) prefixed to the doors and windows of pawnbrokers' shops (by the vulgar humorously enough said to indicate that it is treo to one that the things pledged are ever redeemed) were in reality the arms of a set of merchants from Lombardy, who were the first that publicly lent money on pledges. They dwelt together in a street from them named Lombard Street, in London. The appellation of Lombard was formerly all over Europe considered as synonymous to “
usurer." In the Compleat Vintner, &c., a poem, 8vo. Lond. 1720, p. 36, we read :
“Without there hangs a noble sign,
What's call’d (in miniature) a tun."
“ If in Moorfields a lady stroles,
Among the globes and golden balls,
But if the head hangs tow'rds the house,
Whose bus'ness only lies abroad.” “The sign of the Goat and Compasses has been supposed to have had its origin in the resemblance between the bounding of a goat and the expansion of a pair of compasses ; but nothing can be more fanciful. The sign is of the days of the Commonwealth, when it was the fashion to give scriptural names to everything and everybody, and when «Praise God Barebones' preferred drinking his tankard of ale at the “God encompasseth us” to anywhere else. The corruption from God encompasseth us to Goat and Compasses is obvious and natural enough.”—Times, Jan. 9, 1823.
[“Some of the old signs exhibit a curious combination of images, articles, and colours. We may mention incidentally, the Bull and Mouth, the Bull and Gate, the Belle Sauvage, the Goat and Compasses, the Cat and Fiddle, the Cock and Pie, the Cock and Bottle, the Goat in Boots, the Swan with Two Necks, the Bag of Nails, the Pig and Whistle, the George and Vulture, the Bolt in Tun, the Bear and Harrow, the Elephant and Castle. Our streets are filled with Blue Boars, Black Swans, and Red Lions, not to mention Flying Pigs and Hogs in Armour. “Could you believe it?' writes the Chinese philosopher, 'I have seen five Black Lions and three Blue Boars in less than a circuit of half a mile!' Others were of a more amusing, or, perhaps, of a more extraordinary description. Two mean alehouses abutted upon Westminster Hall; one was called · Heaven,' the other · Hell. No one has told us, unhappily, how the ingenuity of the landlords or the fancy of the painters contrived to represent the names of the two houses. The church of St. Dunstan, in Fleet Street, and the popular legend of the saint who took the Devil by the nose till he roared again, gave rise to the Devil and St. Dunstan, or the Devil Tavern, at Temple Bar. The sign exhibited the popular legend, and the saint was seen holding the Devil by the nose with a pair of red-hot tongs. The Good Woman, in Broad Street, was a woman without her head ; and the Man Laden with Mischief, in Oxford Street, is a man with a woman on his shoulders. We remember a St. George and the Dragon, in London, with this suitable inscription
underneath, Entertainment for man and horse ;' and Hogarth, in one of his pictures, has copied a quaint sign, 'St. John the Baptist's head on a plate,' and underneath, Good eating,' the sign, no doubt, of some tavern or ordinary in his time. Of these odd signs and odd associations some are obviously corrupt and some hopelessly obscure, while others have their origin in the beasts of heraldry. The Bull and Mouth and the Bull and Gate are corruptions, it is said, of Boulogne mouth (or harbour) and Boulogne gate. The Goat and Compasses (now the Compasses, near the site of the old Chelsea Bun-house) is a corruption, we are told, of the 'God encompasseth us,' of the Commonwealth of English history. The Cat and Wheel is called the Catherine Wheel; the Cat and Fiddle defies conjecture ; the Cock and Pie is the Cock and Magpie; the Cock and Bottle is the Cork and Bottle, it is said, or the Cock and Bottle of Hay; the Goat in Boots is said to be a corruption of the Dutch legend, • Mercurius is der goden boode;' the Swan with Two Necks, or the Swan with Two Nicks (the swan-upping mark of my Lord Mayor as conservator of the Thames); and the Bag of Nails is now the Bacchanals. The Bolt in Tun is a mere rebus on the name of Bolton.”—Fraser's Magazine.]
The sign of a barber's shop being singular, has attracted much notice. It is generally distinguished by a long pole instead of a sign. In the Athenian Oracle, i. 334, this custom is thus accounted for; it is of remote antiquity : “ The barber's art was so beneficial to the publick, that he who first brought it up in Rome had, as authors relate, a statue erected to his memory. In England they were in some sort the surgeons of old times, into whose art those beautiful leeches,' our fair virgins were also accustomed to be initiated. In cities and corporate towns they still retain their name of Barber Chirurgions. They therefore used to hang their basons out upon poles, to make known at a distance to the weary and
1 This is an old word for doctors or surgeons.