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THE BIDFORD MORRIS SIDE. (FIDDLER in foreground, to the right; HOBBY-HORSE—left, and FOOL—centre, beyond
Dancers.)
In the case of Mr. Kimber, leader of the Headington men (plate opp. p. 22), the dress, it will be noticed, was simpler. A white sweater took the place of the pleated shirt; ribbons of red, white and blue were crossed upon the chest; the trousers were of white flannel.
Some notes on the bells and on the manner of fixing them will be found under the heading "Bells."
The fool's dress would seem to be designed to-day, as in the olden time, upon no particular plan, but to follow the fancy of the individual wearer. The Bidford man, whom we saw at his really funny antics, had a fox's mask for headgear, the muzzle lying on the man's forehead, the brush hanging down his back. His face was raddled like a clown's; he had a vest of cowhide, with red sleeves; stockings and breeches much like the dancers', and he wore his bells, not on a shin-pad like them, but in a row all round the boot-top. He carried a bladder on the end of a stick, and with it he freely whacked the hobby-horse man and occasionally members of the audience.
The hobby-horse man of the same company was dressed like a jockey; and, while the dancers had a rest, he and the fool carried on innumerable capers, sometimes backing in amongst the audience, occasionally overturning a few, and now and then chasing any maid that could be started on the run. If this pair be typical of the olden time, we can answer for it that their fun was uproarious and perfectly wholesome.
BELLS.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III