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[351] modern grammar and Latin school in a provincial village. The country magistrate used on the bench language too coarse, brutal, and vulgar for a modern tap-room. Fine gentlemen in London vied with each other in the lowest ribaldry and the grossest profanity. The poets of the time, from Dryden to Durfey, ministered to the popular licentiousness. The most shameless indecency polluted their pages. The theatre and the brothel were in strict unison. The Church winked at the vice which opposed itself to the austere morality or hypocrisy of Puritanism. The superior clergy, with a few noble exceptions, were self-seekers and courtiers; the inferior were idle, ignorant hangerson upon blaspheming squires and knights of the shire. The domestic chaplain, of all men living, held the most unenviable position. ‘If he was permitted to dine with the family, he was expected to content himself with the plainest fare. He might fill himself with the corned beef and carrots; but as soon as the tarts and cheese-cakes made their appearance he quitted his seat, and stood aloof till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast, from a great part of which he had been excluded.’

Beyond the Trent the country seems at this period to have been in a state of barbarism. The parishes kept bloodhounds for the purpose of hunting freebooters. The farm-houses were fortified and guarded. So dangerous was the country that persons about travelling thither made their wills. Judges and lawyers only ventured therein, escorted by a strong guard of armed men.

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