42 THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
queen's majesty, had administered to her copious draughts of that nectar on which her majesty's vanity was known to thrive so marvellously. They appear, however, with a very nice tact, to have given no more of it on this occasion, than was sufficient to put her majesty into spirits, without intoxicating her;—for by this period of her life, it took a great deal of that sort of thing to intoxicate the queen's majesty ; and the effect was of the plea-santest kind, -and could not fail to be most satisfactory to the gentlemen of Gray's Inn. For, after the masque was finished (in which we presume there had been a little dancing, by the lawyers—who would, as in duty bound, have stood on their wigs to please her majesty), and on the courtiers attempting, in their turn, to execute a dance, her majesty was most graciously pleased to exclaim, " What! shall we have bread and cheese after a banquet ? —meaning thereby, we presume, to imply that the courtiers could not hope to leap as high, or, in any respect, to aut such capers, as the lawyers had done. Now, this speech of the virgin queen we have reported here, less for the sake of any intrinsic greatness in the thought, or elegance in the form, than because, out of a variety of speeches by her majesty, which have been carefully preserved, we think this is about as good as any other ; and has the additional recommendation (which so few of the others have) of exhibiting the virgin queen in a good humor. And further, because, having recorded the disgrace into which the gentlemen of Gray's Inn danced themselves, in the lifetime of her illustrious father,—it is but right that we should, likewise, record the ample indemnification which they must have considered themselves to have received, at the lips of his virgin daughter.
The celebrations at the inns of court were, from time to time, continued—down to the period of the civil troubles which darkened the reign of Charles I.; and so lately as the year 1641, when they had already commenced, we find it recorded by Evelyn, in his Memoirs, that he was elected one of the comptrollers of the Middle Temple revellers, " as the fashion of the young students and gentlemen was, the Christmas being kept this yeare with greate solemnity." During this reign, we discover the several societies lessening their expenses by a very