A pewter cistern was formerly part of the furniture of a well-appointed dining-room; the plates were rinsed in it, when necessary, during the meal. A magnificent silver cistern is still preserved in the dining-room at Burghley House, the seat of the Marquis of Exeter. It is said to be the largest piece of plate in England, and was once the subject of a curious wager. — B.
This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.