intro b4kxstp
dunghill or game
an absolute rake
suburban wits
charles dickens
the banality of the sublime
maps b4kxstp
rural middlesex

An Absolute rake; or, ball games, vice & musick (feat  early modern dance at Sadler's Wells)

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kindle format: £3:49 (click here)


chapter 1: describing the close relationship between gambling and sport ca1700, and in particular the many ball games enjoyed by commoners and gentry alike; with also, venturing affairs of state, party politics and the nascent financial markets as opportunities for wagering, and with brokering as an alternative profession to playing the gaming tables, becoming a lawyer or ‘riding the accompt’ as a highwayman (also, a digression upon the art of duelling and its place in the fields and in the realm of high finance): feat. basely playing booty; the gamesters; cricket & ‘wagering’; the gentry of the inns; honour of the blade; the gentry of the roads

chapter 2: the life and career of Charles Eaton, a Battle Bridge tavern-keeper with a keen interest in playing bowls and other forms of gambling, as likewise pimping, bullying, cheating at cards and riding the aforementioned ‘accompt’, while also having some fame for solo public performances of the Cheshire Round country dance; with the low resorts of popular musical entertainments and high status concerts compared, and the amateur song and musick clubs described: feat. an absolute rake; the Cheshire Round; musick for pleasure; musick houses; a musical coalman; the versifying publican

chapter 3: thrupence entrance… pleasures at the field resorts, featuring among other diversions taking the waters, beaux and matrons, the latest fashions, prostitutes, bottled ale and home brew, cream buns and syllabubs, talking dogs, popular songs and human oddities: feat. the river of wells; Islington spa; walking the walks with Ned Ward; Sadler’s Wells/ Miles’s musick house; a variety of distractions

chapter 4: introducing some rivals at dancing the Cheshire Round, and with further examples of elegant or vigorous movements performed with rhythm and style, relating how ‘active’ dance moved from the fairgrounds to the theatres, and the ballet travelled from Paris to London; with also an Indian woman who lifts a considerable weight with the hair of her head…feat. dance at the fairgrounds; active gymnasts; dance in the theatre; a light healed invasion

chapter 5: sadler's wells quest for respectability, but with some violent hazards, with the birth of English pantomime and first attempts at English ballet: feat. Sadler’s Wells rising reputation; from dumb shows… to pantos; ballet at the fairground

chapter 6: meggers, muggers and gladiators, and soldiers for the queen, with the dangers of military enlistment and several unfortunate deaths: feat. the Bowling Green House gang; a trial for murder; war again; military matters

 “In Holiday time, when the Ladies of London

Walk out with their Spouses, or think themselves Undone;

When Whores have more than an ordinary Itching

To Visit the Fields, and so Ramble a Bitching;

When Vigorous Youth the Young Damsel engages

In Meadows, on Hay-Cocks, or under the Hedges...

Then I, like my Neighbours, to sweeten my Life,

Took a Walk in the Fields…”

A Walk to Islington, with a description of New Tunbridge-

Wells and Sadler’s Musick-House, Ned Ward (1699)


Ned Ward texts online

read an excerpt from the an absolute rake ebook
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