17th August

Born: Thomas Stothard, artist, 1755, Longacre, Lodon; Dr. William Carey, missionary and oriental scholar, 1761, Paulerspury, Northamptonshire; Richard Lalor Shiel, politician and dramatist, 1791, Dublin.

Died: Carloman of Austrasia, eldest son of Charles Martel, 755, Vienne, Dauphiné; John Gower, early English poet, 1408; Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, smothered in the Tower, 1483; Admiral Robert Blake, 1657, Plymouth; Madame Anne Is Fevre Dacier, translator of Homer and other classic authors, 1720; Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia 1786, Potsdam; Matthew Boulton, engineer and partner of Watt, 1809, Soho, Birmingham; Dr. Edward Pearson, Arminian champion, 1811, Rempstone, Nottinghamshire.

Feast Day: St. Mamas, martyr, about 275. Saints Liberatus, Abbot, and six monks, martyrs, 483.


On the 17th of August 1786, died the most remarkable sovereign which Prussia has yet produced, and one of the most remarkable sovereigns of Europe in the eighteenth century. Mr. Carlyle, whose most elaborate and extensive work is his History of Frederick II, called Frederick the Great, gives a graphic picture of his hero, as he is supposed to have been about the year 1776. Writing in 1856, Mr. Carlyle says:

About four-score years ago, there used to be seen sauntering on the terraces of Sans Souci, for a short time in the afternoon -or you might have met him elsewhere at an earlier hour, riding or driving in a rapid business manner on the open roads, or through the scraggy woods and avenues of that intricate amphibious Potsdam region-a highly interesting lean little old man, of alert though slightly stooping figure; whose name among strangers was King Frederick II, or Frederick the Great of Prussia, and at home, among the common people, who much loved and esteemed him, was Valer Fritz-Father Fred-a name of familiarity which had not bred contempt in that instance.
He is a king every inch of him, though without the trappings of a king. Presents himself in a Spartan simplicity of vesture: no crown but an old military cocked-hat -generally old, or trampled and kneaded into absolute softness, if new; no sceptre but one like Agamemnon's, a walking stick cut from the woods, which serves also as a riding-stick (with which he hits the horse 'between the ears,' say authors); and for royal robes, a mere soldier's blue coat with red facings, coat likely to be old, and sure to have a good deal of Spanish snuff on the breast of it; rest of the apparel dim, unobtrusive in colour or cut, ending in high over-knee military boots, which may be brushed (and, I hope, kept soft with an underhand suspicion of oil), but are not permitted to be blackened or varnished; Day and Martin with their soot-pots forbidden to approach.
The man is not of godlike physiognomy, any more than of imposing stature or costume: closeshut mouth with thin lips, prominent jaws and nose, receding brow, by no means of Olympian height; head, however, is of long form, and has superlative gray eyes in it. Not what is called a beautiful man; nor yet, by all appearance, what is called a happy. On the contrary, the face bears evidence of many sorrows, as they are termed, of much hard labour done in this world; and seems to anticipate nothing but more still coming. Quiet stoicism, capable enough of what joy there were, but not expecting any worth mention; great unconscious and some conscious pride, tempered with a cheery mockery of humour-are written on that old face; which carries its chin well forward, in spite of the slight stoop about the neck; snuffy nose rather flung into the air, under its old cocked-hat -like an old snuffy lion on the watch; and such a pair of eyes as no man or lion or lynx of that century bore elsewhere, according to all the testimony we have.

After quoting a few words from Mirabeau, Carlyle proceeds:

Most excellent potent brilliant eyes, swift-darting as the stars, steadfast as the sun; gray, we said, of the azure-gray colour; large enough, not of glaring size; the habitual expression of them vigilance and penetrating sense, rapidity resting on depth. Which is an excellent combination; and gives us the notion of a lambent outer radiance springing from some great inner sea of light and fire in the man. The voice, if he speaks to you, is of similar physiognomy: clear, melodious, and sonorous; all tones are in it, from that of ingenuous inquiry, graceful sociality, light-flowing banter (rather prickly for most part), up to definite word of command, up to desolating word of rebuke and reprobation.


A washing tally, here engraved of a reduced size, was found not many months ago behind some oak-panelling in the old Chaplain's Room at Haddon Hall, in Derbyshire, in the same room in which many other curious relics are preserved-jackboots, pewter-plates, fire-dogs, cradles, and otherthings, which each tell their tale of bygone-times, and of the home-life of the Vernons-the once noble owners of the place. It is, judging from the style of the engraving, the lettering, and ornamentation, of the time of King Charles I, and the names of the articles of dress enumerated upon it well accord with that period. This 'tally' was first made public in the Reliquary, where it is fully described, and where also the engraving here given appears. From that account the following description and particulars as to costume, &c., are selected under the care of the author: '

The Washing Tally, here engraved of a reduced size, is five inches and a half in length, and four and a half inches in depth. It is formed of a piece of beech-wood of the size described, and of a quarter of an inch in thickness, covered with linen at the back and sides. In construction, it is precisely similar to a 'Hornbook '-in front, the different articles are printed from copper-plate, and protected by a sheet of horn. Around the edge a narrow strip of thin brass, fastened down with highly-ornamental nails, attaches the horn, the paper, and the linen to the wood. The tally is divided into fifteen squares, in each of which is a dial numbered from 0 to 12, and above each square is the name of the article intended to be taken into account. The articles are 'ruffes,' 'bandes,' 'cuffes,' 'handkercher,' 'capps,' 'shirtes,' 'halfshirtes,' 'bootehose,' 'topes,' 'sockes,' 'sheetes,' 'pillowberes,' 'tableclothes,' 'napkins,' and 'towells.'

On each of the dials is a circular brass indicator, fastened by a little pin in its centre, so as to turn round at pleasure. Each of these indicators is pierced on one side, close to its outer edge, with a round hole through which one number on the dial is visible. Opposite to this opening is a raised point by which the indicator may be turned.

Washing Tally

'In keeping an account of the articles 'sent to the wash,' it was, as will be seen, simply necessary to turn each indicator to the figure representing the number of each article looked out, and when none were sent, the 0 was brought in requisition. I have, for the purpose of this illustration, turned the indicator so as to shew each number, and as one of the indicators is fortunately missing, I am also enabled to skew one of the dials in full. As the tally now stands, the account of washing would be as follows:

'Towels, however, do not appear at all times to have belonged to the domestic arrangements of the owner of this interesting relic, for in place of that name the words laced bands has been written on the horn, in the olden times. The writing is now nearly obliterated, but may be seen by a careful observer.'

A similar tally, in the possession of a gentleman of Liverpool, has been figured in the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire:

Washingdays, at the time of the Tudors and Stuarts (the period to which the washing tally belongs), though a little more important than in the preceding ages, had none of those unpleasantnesses and terrors which are said now to accompany them. Articles which required washing were 'few and far between,' whilst those of a texture which would not 'stand a wash' were usually worn. The dyer was far more commonly employed than the laundress, and his trade thus covered a 'multitude of sins ' of omission of personal cleanliness, which the laundress would have remedied with more healthy results.

'Velvets, taffeta, and rich silks were, in the middle ages, often worn by the wealthy without any underclothing whatever, while the domestics, and people of lower order, wore coarse woollen, also without underclothing. The possession of a linen shirt, even with the highest nobles, was a matter of note, and it was but few wardrobes which contained them. Night-gowns were not known, and the custom was to sleep entirely without clothing. Under the Tudors, night-gowns were worn, but they were formed mostly of silk or velvet, so that no washing was required. Anne Boleyn's night-dress was made of black satin, bound with black taffeta, and edged with velvet of the same colour. One of Queen Elizabeth's night-gowns was of black velvet, trimmed with silk lace, and lined with fur; and in 1568, her majesty ordered George Bradyman to deliver 'three-score-and-sixe of the best sable skynnes, to furnish us a night-gowne.'

In another warrant from her majesty in 1572, she orders the delivery of 'twelve yards of purple velvet, frized on the backe syde with white and russet silke,' for a night-gown for herself, and also orders the delivery of fourteen yards of murry damask for the ' makyng of a nyght-gown for the Erle of Leycester.' Night-dresses for ladies were, at a later period, called ' night-rails,' and, in the reign of Queen Anne, it became the fashion for them to be worn in the daytime in the streets, over the usual dress. This gave rise to many curious satires. Night-caps, too, were mostly of velvet and silk, and these, with the velvet night-dresses, the silken shirts, and other matters of a like kind, eased the laundress, though they must have added to the discomfort of the wearer.

'Clothes were, in former times, usually washed in the river, but not unfrequently in the common wells of towns, from which the water was fetched for culinary purposes and for drinking. In 1467, the corporation of Leicester, to prevent the constant fouling of the water, ordered that no woman do wash clothes or other corruption in the common wells. At Lyme, an order by court was given in 1608, that none do wash their bucks in the street (i. e. in the stream of running water which supplied the town), under a penalty of 6s. 8d. The 'buck' here alluded to, was the quantity of family linen put to wash. 'Buck,' was 'to wash,' and was also used for the quantity of linen washed at once -a tub full of linen 'in buck.' Thus 'to wash a buck,' was to wash a tub of clothes; 'buck ashes,' were the ashes of which the lye for washing was made; 'buck-basket,' the basket in which the linen was carried; 'buck-pan,' the washing tub; and to be ' bucked,' was to be soaked or drenched with water. The 'buck-basket' will be familiar to every reader, as described by Sir John Falstaff, as 'rammed with foul shirts and smocks, socks, foul stockings, and greasy napkins, that, Master Brook, there was the rankest compound of villainous smells that ever offended nostril.'

'The clothes being placed in the tub, the women, sometimes several in number, with their dresses tucked up, danced upon them to beat out the impurities. When washed at the river-side, they were beaten on wood or stones. Under Henry VIII, the royal laundress was ordered to procure enough 'sweet powder, sweet herbs, and other sweet things,' as might be requisite for the 'sweet keeping' of the linen.'

A word or two on the different articles enumerated on the tablet, may not be out of place. The 'ruffe' was the frill, or plaited collar so generally worn in the reign of Elizabeth, and in the succeeding reign, and which are made familiar by the many portraits of the 'virgin queen' and the 'illustrious notables' of her reign which are extant. They were sometimes worn of gigantic size, and propped up, and made to keep in form by a framework of wire, which, with the strong starch-which Stubbes called 'the devil's own liquor, I mean starch'-held them up about the neck of the wearer.

Under the Stuarts, the ruffs gradually lessened in size. The ruffs worn by men were of similar shape to those worn by women, and almost of an equally extravagant size. The ' band,' from which the small bands still worn by the clergy took their origin, were collars of linen, cambric, or other material, worn around the neck. When starched to stand up, they were simply 'bands;' when allowed to lie flat on the shoulders, they were called 'falling-bands.' The 'laced bands' were the richly worked lace neck-cloths so frequently seen in portraits of the Stuart period. It may interest our fair readers to know, that the origin of the name of 'band-box' is traced to these articles of attire-the boxes originally being made to keep ruffs and bands in.

The 'cuffe' was the lower part of the sleeve, which was sometimes quite plain, and at others richly embroidered, or formed of lace, and was worn turned back over the wrist. ' 'Handkerchers,' or handkerchiefs, were, in the days when this tally was first used, costly articles. Laced handkerchiefs 'first came in vogue 'under Queen Elizabeth, and in that and the succeeding reigns were 'laced round with gold.' Also

Handkerchiefs were wrought
With names and true-love knots,

and many of the pretty devices are given and worn as love-tokens-the gallants sometimes wearing them as favours in their hats. The term 'cap' would, of course, include night-caps, and these were, under both Tudors and Stuarts, frequently most elegantly embroidered, worked in filigree on velvet or silk, and trimmed with costly lace.

'Shirt' was a term applied equally to that part of both male and female attire worn next the skin. They were made usually of fine Holland, but not unfrequently of silk, and were occasionally embroidered. The Holland-shirts of both male and female had, in some instances, the- ruffs and hand-ruffs, the bands and wrist-bands, of cambric or lace attached to them. 'Half-shirts' were stomachers, more richly decorated with embroidery and lace, over which the boddice was laced from side to side. 'Boot-hose.' Hose formerly were not stockings as we now wear them, but were drawn up the full length of the leg, and sometimes even to the waist, and had pockets in their sides. In the time of the Tudors and Stuarts, they were worn of great variety of materials and of colour, and were in some instances very costly. They were often termed 'nether stocks.'

'Tops' were the Holland, linen, and lace-linings and frills, worn around the full-hanging boots of the Cavaliers. The tops were exceedingly full and rich among the higher class, and their 'getting-up ' must have been a somewhat tiresome operation for the laundress.

The 'sock' was frequently beautifully worked, and was drawn on over the hose or stocking, and reached up to the calf of the leg.

'Pillowberes' is the old term for what we call 'pillow-cases;' that is, the covering of the pillow, sometimes also called 'pillow-slips,' or 'pillow-ties.'

'Table-cloths' have been in use in England certainly since the Saxon period, and in that and every succeeding age.

'The word 'napkin' was formerly applied to handkerchiefs and table-linen, as well as to cloths for head-dresses, &c. 'Napery' was the general term for linen, especially that for the table. 'Towel' requires no explanation.'

As the 'Horn-book' gradually gave way to the 'Battledore' and the 'Primer,' so the 'Washing Tally' has given place to the 'Lady's and Gentle-man's Washing books,' to be found in the shop of every stationer. But, like the Horn-hook, the original was far more lasting, more useful, and, in the end, much less expensive, than the modern books are which have been substituted for them.

L. L. J.