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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Sex
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0714  Friday, 8 March 2002

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Mar 2002 06:11:46 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0565 Re: Shakespeare and Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0565 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

Anna Kamaralli writes, "Disappointing as it must be to Mr Small, the
second best bed WAS the marriage bed, and he was sharing it with Anne.
The best bed was the guest bed: if he'd wanted to express any coldness
to his wife that would have been the one to leave her."

I seek clarification or confirmation, and source, of the above, if I
might.  It seems to me that if "the second best bed" _was_, indeed, the
marriage bed and the guest bed got the title as the "best bed," then all
the hullabaloo about this portion of Shakespeare's Will goes right out
the window with the bathwater.

Is this common rhetoric in England, to refer to the marriage bed as "the
second best bed"?  If so, it implies the _Good Will_ of the English
people to me to designate the guest bed as the "best bed," in the sense
of the host catering to the guest in the house.  Where does this
designation come from?  Does anyone know?  Is it Christian?  Druidic?
Anglo-Saxon?

Bill Arnold

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