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A Book of the Play

Studies and Illustrations of Histrionic Story, Life, and Character

Cover image for


Author: Dutton Cook
Published: 1881
Language: English
Wordcount: 146,268 / 437 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.8
LoC Category: D
Downloads: 368
Added to site: 2005.02.23 9706
Genre: History

were on sale, and tobacco was freely smoked by the upper class of spectators, for it was hardly yet common to all conditions. Previous to the performance, and during its pauses, the visitors read pamphlets or copies of plays bought at the playhouse-doors, and, as they drank and smoked, played at cards. In his "Gull's Horn Book," 1609, Dekker tells his hero, "before the play begins, fall to cards;" and, winning or losing, he is bidden to tear some of the cards and to throw them about, just before the entrance of the prologue. The ladies were treated to apples, and sometimes applied their lips to a tobacco-pipe. Prynne, in his "Histriomastix," 1633, states that, even in his time, ladies were occasionally "offered the tobacco-pipe" at plays. Then, as now, new plays attracted larger audiences than ordinary. Dekker observes, in his "News from Hell," 1606, "It was a comedy to see what a crowding, as if it had been at a new play, there was upon the Acherontic strand." How the spectators comported themselves upon the



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