to inform any one who has, at any time, had much to do with the "working" of oak that, on account of the character of its growth and constitution, it lends itself far more satisfactorily to a heavy than to a lighter treatment ; it is extremely hard, to a certain extent "brittle/' and by no means "kind to the tool." In this fact we find, then, one explanation of the (to us) unseemly proportions of these old chairs, stools, and settles. But I am still inclined to the opinion that those proportions, their character, and enrichment, are to be considered as reflecting the temperaments of their owners.
Those were days of daring deeds ; hard knocks were given and taken as a matter of course, and with equanimity ; bluff good humour was looked for rather than refined courtesy ; and a man wrho would be regarded in these days as a model of politeness and culture, would then have been put down as a " pimping jackanapes." (Were not the graces of the French continually ridiculed upon the stage in the plays of the Restoration ?) The entrée to society was then accorded more to men who could hit the hardest and drink the deepest than to the possessor of university degrees, or to leading lights in art, science, or literature. It is not too much to assert, indeed, that the higher refinements of life were held in but small esteem, where they were not ignored altogether.
It is generally accepted as correct that the stage plays of any age are a reliable index of the manners and morals of the times when they were written ; and, if we take those of Etherege, Wycherley, Congreve, Beaumont, Fletcher, and other dramatists of their day—to go no farther back—we shall see pretty clearly that the language, manners, and morals of these Jacobean times at their best were crude, while at their worst they were unutterably nasty.
As with folk, so with furniture. Can we picture one of the determined old "Ironsides," or, for the matter of that, swashbuckling Cavaliers, sitting down with any degree of comfort or fitness in a painted satinwood "Sheraton" chair,
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