Sunday, July 12, 2009

The English Housewife

Written by Gervaise Markham in 1615. A handbook for housewives containing "all the virtuous knowledges and actions both of the mind and body, which ought to be in any complete housewife." Markham reveals the "pretty and curious secrets" of preparing everything from simple foods to such elaborate meals as a "humble feast" - an undertaking which entails preparing "no less than two and thirty dishes, which is as much as can stand on one table." He instructs the housewife on brewing beer and caring for wine, growing flax and hemp for thread, and spinning and dyeing. As a housewife was also responsible for the health and "soundness of body" of her family, he includes advice on the prevention of everything from the plague to baldness and bad breath.

About GM:
Pudsey, a retainer on the Shrewsbury Worksop side, bit his thumb at Orme, a retainer on the Holles Haughton side; was called out with drawn rapier, was slain on the spot like fiery Tybalt, and never bit his thumb more. Orme, poor man, was tried for murder; but of course the Holleses and the Stanhopes could not let him be hanged; they made interest, they feed law-counsel,—they smuggled him away to Ireland, and he could not be hanged. Whereupon Gervase Markham, a passably loose-tongued, loose-living gentleman, sworn squire-of dames to the Dowager of Shrewsbury, took upon himself to say publicly, That John Holles was himself privy to Pudsey’s murder, “That John Holles himself, if justice were done——!”

Holles and Markham have a duel where GM is pierced in the genitals - he survives but is incapable of having sex. This is 1497 or some such.

No comments: