Colonial Fashions Paper Dolls

Customs and Fashions in Old New England

have been better to retain, as bearing relations both to the spiritual and ordinary life. The tokens of its observance, however, which here meet our eyes are of a rather questionable cast. It is in one sense a day of public shame; the day on which transgressors who have made themselves liable to the minor severities of the Puritan law receive their reward of ignominy. At this very moment the constable has bound an idle fellow to the whipping-post and is giving him his deserts with a cat-o-nine-tails. Ever since sunrise Daniel Fairfield has been standing on the steps of the meeting-house, with a halter about his neck, which he is condemned to wear visibly throughout his lifetime; Dorothy Talby is chained to a post at the corner of Prison Lane with the hot sun blazing on her matronly face, and all for no other offence than lifting her hand against her husband; while through the bars of that great wooden cage, in the centre of the scene, we discern either a human being or a wild beast, or both in one. Such are the profitable sights that serve the good people to while away the earlier part of the day."

Not only were criminals punished at this weekly gathering, but seditious books were burned just after the lecture, intentions of marriage were published, notices were posted, and at one time elections were held on Lecture-day. The religious exercises of the day resembled those of the Sabbath and were some-times five hours in length.

In primitive amusements, the sports of the woods and waters, even a Puritan could find occasional and proper diversion without entering into frivolous and sinful amusement. The wolf, most hated and most destructive of all the beasts of the woods, a "ravening runnagadore," was a proper prey. Wolves were caught in pits, in log pens, in traps; they were also hooked on mackerel hooks bound in an ugly bunch and dipped in tallow, to which they were toled by dead carcasses. The swamps were "beat up" in a wolf-drive or wolf-rout, similar to the English "drift of the forest." A ring of men surrounded a wooded tract and drew inward toward the centre, driving the wolves before them. The excitement of such a wolf-rout, constantly increasing to the end, can well be imagined. The wolves were not always killed outright. Josselyn tells that the inhuman sport of wolf-baiting was popular in New England, and he describes it thus: "A great mastiff held the Wolf. . . . Tying him to a stake we bated him with smaller doggs and had excellent sport, but his hinder legg being broken we soon knocked his brains out." Wolves also were dragged alive at a horse's tail, a sport equally cruel to both animals. These fierce and barbarous traits had been nourished in England by the many bear and bull baitings, and even horsebaitings, and the colonists but carried out here their English training. Wood wrote in his "New England's Prospects:" "No ducking ponds can afford more sport than a lame cormorant and two or three lusty doggs." Though we do not hear of cock-fights, I doubt not the wealthy and sportsmanlike Narragansett planters, who resembled in habits and occupations the Virginian planters, had many a cock-fight, as they had horse-races.

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