Before Natasha had finished singing, fourteen-year-old Petya rushed in delightedly, to say that some mummers had arrived.
The mummers (some of the house serfs) dressed up as bears, Turks, innkeepers, and ladies- frightening and funny- bringing in with them the cold from outside and a feeling of gaiety, crowded, at first timidly, into the anteroom, then hiding behind one another they pushed into the ballroom where, shyly at first and then more and more merrily and heartily, they started singing, dancing, and playing Christmas games.
While they were talking, fate so willed it that one of the company in a mummers
' dress with a great number of bells, and armed with three blown ox-bladders at the end of a stick, joined them, and this merry-andrew approaching Don Quixote, began flourishing his stick and banging the ground with the bladders and cutting capers with great jingling of the bells, which untoward apparition so startled Rocinante that, in spite of Don Quixote's efforts to hold him in, taking the bit between his teeth he set off across the plain with greater speed than the bones of his anatomy ever gave any promise of.
"Sir," he said, with desperate politeness, "it seems to me that you change your costume almost as rapidly as I have seen the Italian mummers
do, whom the Cardinal Mazarin brought over from Bergamo and whom he doubtless took you to see during your travels in France."
In their train were minstrels, not unknown in London streets; wandering players, whose theatres had been the halls of noblemen; mummers
, rope-dancers, and mountebanks, who would long be missed at wakes, church ales, and fairs; in a word, mirth makers of every sort, such as abounded in that age, but now began to be discountenanced by the rapid growth of Puritanism.
And his wife dealt out stockings, and calico shirts, and smock frocks, and comforting drinks to the old folks with the "rheumatiz," and good counsel to all; and kept the coal and clothes' clubs going, for yule-tide, when the bands of mummers
came round, dressed out in ribbons and coloured paper caps, and stamped round the Squire's kitchen, repeating in true sing-song vernacular the legend of St.
"Stop this at once," Zarathustra cries, "long have thy speech and thy species disgusted me...Out of love alone shall my contempt and my warning bird take wing; BUT NOT OUT OF THE SWAMP!" It were well if this discourse were taken to heart by all those who are too ready to associate Nietzsche with lesser and noiser men,--with mountebanks and mummers
From every street and every corner drove carriages filled with clowns, harlequins, dominoes, mummers
, pantomimists, Transteverins, knights, and peasants, screaming, fighting, gesticulating, throwing eggs filled with flour, confetti, nosegays, attacking, with their sarcasms and their missiles, friends and foes, companions and strangers, indiscriminately, and no one took offence, or did anything but laugh.
But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death.
But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince's person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple--through the purple to the green--through the green to the orange--through this again to the white--and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him.
They ought at least, to give us a moorish dance, or some other mummer
! That is not what was told me; I was promised a feast of fools, with the election of a pope.
'I am sure,' giggled Flora, tossing her head with a caricature of her girlish manner, such as a mummer
might have presented at her own funeral, if she had lived and died in classical antiquity, 'I am ashamed to see Mr Clennam, I am a mere fright, I know he'll find me fearfully changed, I am actually an old woman, it's shocking to be found out, it's really shocking!'