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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 12, Issue 323, July 19, 1828
Release Date: July 10, 2004 [eBook #12873]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 12, ISSUE 323, JULY 19, 1828***
|Vol. 12, No. 323.]||SATURDAY, JULY 19, 1828||[PRICE 2d.|
“It is intended that a large academy be erected, capable of containing nine thousand seven hundred and forty-three persons: which, by modest computation, is reckoned to be pretty near the current number of wits in this island,”
—Swift’s Tale of a Tub.
Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades.
One college is almost completed within her radius, and will be opened in a few weeks; whilst munificent subscriptions are pouring in from all quarters of the empire, towards the endowment of a second. We have hitherto been silent spectators of these grand strides in the intellectual advancement of our country; but we have not, on that account, been less sensible of the important benefits which they are calculated to work in her social scheme, and in
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.
We are not of those who would (even were Newton’s theory practicable) compress the world into a nutshell, or neglect “aught toward the general good;” and one of our respected correspondents, who doubtless participates in these cosmopolitan sentiments, has furnished us with the original of the above view of COLOMBIA COLLEGE; seeing that this, like the universities of our own country, is equally important to “Prince Posterity,” and accordingly we proceed with our correspondent’s description.
Colombia College, in the city of New York (of the principal building of which the annexed sketch is a correct representation) may be ranked among the chief seminaries of learning in America. It was principally founded by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants of the province, assisted by the general assembly and corporation of Trinity Church, in 1754; at which time it was called King’s College.
A royal charter, and grant of money, was obtained, incorporating a number of gentlemen therein mentioned, by the name of “The Governors of the College of the province of New York, in the City of New York;” and granting to them and their successors for ever, among various other rights and privileges, the power of conferring such degrees as are usually conferred [pg 34]by the English universities. The president and members to be of the church of England, and the form of prayer used to be collected from the Liturgy of the church of England.
Since the revolution, the legislature passed an act, constituting twenty-one gentlemen, (of whom were the governor and lieutenant-governor for the time being,) a body corporate and politic, by the name of “the Regents of the University of the state of New York.” They were entrusted with the care of the literature of the state, and a power to grant charters for erecting colleges and academies throughout the state.
It received the name of Colombia College in 1787; when by an act of the legislature, it was placed under the care of twenty-four gentlemen, styled, “the trustees of the Colombian College,” who possessed the same powers as those of King’s College.
In 1813, the College of Physicians and the Medical School were united; and the academical and medical departments are together styled “The University of New York.” It is now well endowed and liberally patronized by the legislature of the state. The College consists of two handsome stone edifices, but the view given is but one-third of the originally intended structure, and contains a chapel, hall, library of 5,000 volumes, museum, anatomical theatre, and school for experimental philosophy.
The Medical College is a large, brick building, containing an anatomical museum, chemical laboratory, mineralogical cabinet, museum of natural history, and a botanical garden, and nine medical professors. Every student pays to each professor from 15 to 25 dollars per course.
There are also professors of mathematics, natural philosophy, history, ancient and modern languages, logic, &c. The number of students in 1818 was 233, but it has now greatly increased. As many in each year as finish their course of study, walk in procession with the other students and all the professors, preceded by a band of music to St. Paul’s church, where they deliver orations in English and Latin before a crowded assembly. This is called “a commencement.”
The situation is about 150 yards from the Hudson, of which, and the surrounding country it commands an extensive view. The whole is enclosed by a stone wall, with an area of several acres, interspersed with gravel walks, green plats, and full-grown trees.
Note.—All our readers may not be aware that the remains of Two Literary Colleges still exist in London: Gresham College and Sion College—or we should say of one of them. The first was founded and endowed by that excellent citizen Sir Thomas Gresham. He was much opposed by the university of Cambridge, which endeavoured to prevent the establishment of a rival institution. (This was two centuries and a half ago.) He devised by will, his house in Bishopsgate street, to be converted into habitations and lecture-rooms for seven professors or lecturers on seven liberal sciences, who were to receive a salary out of the revenues of the Royal Exchange. Gresham College was subsequently converted into the modern general excise-office; but the places are still continued, with a double salary for the loss of apartments, and the lectures are delivered gratuitously twice a day in a small room in the Royal Exchange, during term-time. The will of the founder has not, however, been actually carried into execution. As we hate “solemn farce” and “ignorance in stilts,” we hope “scrutiny will not be stone blind” in this matter. A more useful man than Sir Thomas Gresham is not to be found in British biography, and it is painful to see his good intentions frustrated.
Sion College is situated near London Wall, to the south of Fore-street. It was founded in 1623 by the rector of St. Dunstan’s in the west, for the London clergy. The whole body of rectors and vicars within the city are fellows of this college, and all the clergy in and near the metropolis may have free access to its extensive and valuable library.
From Sir H. Davy’s Salmonia; or, Days of Fly-fishing. (In Conversations.)
POIETES, a Tyro in Fly-fishing.—PHYSICUS, an uninitiated Angler, fond of inquiries in natural history, &c.—HALIEUS, an accomplished fly-fisher.—ORNITHER, a sporting gentleman.
Poietes. I hope we shall have another good day to-morrow, for the clouds are red in the west.
Physicus. I have no doubt of it, for the red has a tint of purple.
Halieus. Do you know why this tint portends fine weather?
Phys. The air, when dry, I believe, refracts more red, or heat-making rays; and as dry air is not perfectly transparent, they are again reflected in the horizon. I have generally observed a coppery or yellow sun-set to foretell rain; but, as an indication of wet weather approaching, nothing is more certain than a halo round the moon, which is produced by the precipitated water; and the larger the circle, the nearer the clouds, and consequently the more ready to fall.
Hal. I have often observed that the old proverb is correct—
A rainbow in the morning is the shepherd’s warning:
A rainbow at night is the shepherd’s delight.
Can you explain this omen?
Phys. A rainbow can only occur when the clouds containing or depositing the rain are opposite to the sun,—and in the evening the rainbow is in the east, and in the morning in the west; and as our [pg 35] heavy rains in this climate are usually brought by the westerly wind, a rainbow in the west indicates that the bad weather is on the road, by the wind, to us; whereas the rainbow in the east proves that the rain in these clouds is passing from us.
Poiet. I have often observed, that when the swallows fly high, fine weather is to be expected or continued; but when they fly low, and close to the ground, rain is almost surely approaching. Can you account for this?
Hal. Swallows follow the flies and gnats, and flies and gnats usually delight in warm strata of air; and as warm air is lighter, and usually moister, than cold air, when the warm strata of air are high, there is less chance of moisture being thrown down from them by the mixture with cold air; but when the warm and moist air is close to the surface, it is almost certain that, as the cold air flows down into it, a deposition of water will take place.
Poiet. I have often seen sea-gulls assemble on the land, and have almost always observed that very stormy and rainy weather was approaching. I conclude that these animals, sensible of a current of air approaching from the ocean, retire to the land to shelter themselves from the storm.
Ornither. No such thing. The storm is their element; and the little petrel enjoys the heaviest gale, because, living on the smaller sea-insects, he is sure to find his food in the spray of a heavy wave—and you may see him flitting above the edge of the highest surge. I believe that the reason of this migration of sea-gulls, and other sea-birds, to the land, is their security of finding food; and they may be observed, at this time, feeding greedily on the earth-worms and larva, driven out of the ground by severe floods: and the fish, on which they prey in fine weather in the sea, leave the surface and go deeper in storms. The search after food is the principal cause why animals change their places. The different tribes of the wading birds always migrate when rain is about to take place; and I remember once, in Italy, having been long waiting, in the end of March, for the arrival of the double snipe in the Campagna of Rome, a great flight appeared on the 3rd of April, and the day after heavy rain set in, which greatly interfered with my sport. The vulture, upon the same principle, follows armies; and I have no doubt that the augury of the ancients was a good deal founded upon the observation of the instincts of birds. There are many superstitions of the vulgar owing to the same source. For anglers, in spring, it is always unlucky to see single magpies,—but two may be always regarded as a favourable omen; and the reason is, that in cold and stormy weather, one magpie alone leaves the nest in search of food, the other remaining sitting upon the eggs or the young ones; but when two go out together, it is only when the weather is warm and mild, and favourable for fishing.
Poiet. The singular connexions of causes and effects, to which you have just referred, make superstition less to be wondered at, particularly amongst the vulgar; and when two facts naturally unconnected, have been accidentally coincident, it is not singular that this coincidence should have been observed and registered, and that omens of the most absurd kind should be trusted in. In the west of England, half a century ago, a particular hollow noise on the sea-coast was referred to a spirit or goblin, called Bucca, and was supposed to foretell a shipwreck: the philosopher knows that sound travels much faster than currents in the air, and the sound always foretold the approach of a very heavy storm, which seldom takes place on that wild and rocky coast without a shipwreck on some part of its extensive shores, surrounded by the Atlantic.
Phys. All the instances of omens you have mentioned are founded on reason; but how can you explain such absurdities as Friday being an unlucky day, the terror of spilling salt, or meeting an old woman? I knew a man of very high dignity, who was exceedingly moved by these omens, and who never went out shooting without a bittern’s claw fastened to his button-hole by a riband, which he thought ensured him good luck.
Poiet. These, as well as the omens of death-watches, dreams, &c., are for the most part founded upon some accidental coincidences; but spilling of salt, on an uncommon occasion, may, as I have known it, arise from a disposition to apoplexy, shown by an incipient numbness in the hand, and may be a fatal symptom; and persons, dispirited by bad omens, sometimes prepare the way for evil fortune; for confidence in success is a great means of ensuring it. The dream of Brutus, before the field of Pharsalia, probably produced a species of irresolution and despondency, which was the principal cause of his losing the battle: and I have heard that the illustrious sportsman to whom you referred just now, was always observed to shoot ill, because he shot carelessly, after one of his dispiriting omens.
Hal. I have in life met with a few [pg 36] coincidences or by natural connexions; and I have known minds of a very superior class affected by them,—persons in the habit of reasoning deeply and profoundly.
Phys. In my opinion, profound minds are the most likely to think lightly of the resources of human reason; and it is the pert, superficial thinker, who is generally strongest in every kind of unbelief. The deep philosopher sees chains of causes and effects so wonderfully and strangely linked together, that he is usually the last person to decide upon the impossibility of any two series of events being independent of each other; and in sciences, so many natural miracles, as it were, have been brought to light,—such as the fall of stones from meteors in the atmosphere, the disarming of a thunder-cloud by a metallic point, the production of fire from ice by a metal white as silver, and referring certain laws of motion of the sea to the moon,—that the physical inquirer is seldom disposed to assert, confidently, on any abstruse subjects belonging to the order of natural things, and still less so on those relating to the more mysterious relations of moral events and intellectual natures.
(For the Mirror.)
At about three quarters of a mile east of Kirby Stephen, Westmoreland, is a bridge of solid rock, known by the name of Staincroft Bridge or Stonecroft Bridge, under which runs a small but fathomless rivulet. The water roars and gushes through the surrounding rocks and precipices with such violence, as almost to deafen the visitor. Three or four yards from the bridge is an immense abyss, where the waters “incessantly roar,” which goes by the name of Devil’s Hole; the tradition of which is, that two lovers were swallowed up in this frightful gulf. The neighbouring peasants tell a tale of one Deville, a lover, who, through revenge, plunged his fair mistress into these waters, and afterwards followed her. How far this story may get belief, I know not; but such they aver is the truth, while they mournfully lament the sad affair.—They point out a small hole in the bank where you may hear the waters dashing with fury against the projecting rocks. This, some imagine to be the noise of infernal spirits, who have taken up their abode in this tremendous abyss; while others persist in their opinion, that the lover’s name was Deville, and that it retains his name to this day, in commemoration of the horrid deed.
I have seen, and taken a view of the frightful place, which may rather be imagined than described. One part of the water was formerly so narrow, that a wager was laid by a gentleman that he could span it with the thumb and little finger, and which he would have accomplished, but his adversary, getting up in the night time, chipped a piece off the rock with a hammer, and thus won the wager. It is now, however, little more than from a foot and a half, to two feet broad, excepting at the falls and Devil’s Hole. The water runs into the Eden at the distance of about a mile or two from Staincroft Bridge. Trout are caught with the line and net in great quantities, and are particularly fine here.
BY MRS. BOWDICH.
[Mrs. Bowdich is the widow of Mr. Thomas Edward Bowdich, who fell a victim to his enterprize in exploring the interior of Africa, in 1824. Mr. B. was a profound classic and linguist and member of several learned societies in England and abroad. In 1819 he published, in a quarto volume, his “Mission to Ashantee,” a work of the highest importance and interest. Mrs. B., whose pencil has furnished embellishments for her husband’s literary productions, has published “Excursions to Madeira, &c.,” and this amiable and accomplished lady has now in course of publication, a work on the Fresh-water Fishes of Great Britain.—The subsequent anecdotes are of equal interest to the student of natural history and the general reader, especially as they exhibit the habits and disposition of the Panther in a new light. The Ounce, a variety of the Panther is, however, easily tamed and trained to the chase of deer, the gazelle, &c.—for which purpose it has long been employed in the East, and also during the middle ages in Italy and France.—Mr. Kean, the tragedian, a few years since, had a tame Puma, or American Lion, which he kept at his house in Clarges-street, Piccadilly, and frequently introduced to large parties of company.—ED.]
I am induced to send you some account of a panther which was in my possession for several months. He and another were found when very young in the forest, apparently deserted by their mother. They were taken to the king of Ashantee, in whose palace they lived several weeks, when my hero, being much larger than his companion, suffocated him in a fit of romping, and was then sent to Mr. Hutchison, the resident left by Mr. Bowdich at Coomassie. This gentleman, observing that the animal was very docile, took pains to tame him, and in a great measure succeeded. When he was about a year old, Mr. Hutchison returned to Cape Coast, and had him led through the country by a chain, occasionally letting [pg 37] him loose when eating was going forward, when he would sit by his master’s side, and receive his share with comparative gentleness. Once or twice he purloined a fowl, but easily gave it up to Mr. Hutchison, on being allowed a portion of something else. The day of his arrival he was placed in a small court, leading to the private rooms of the governor, and after dinner was led by a thin cord into the room, where he received our salutations with some degree of roughness, but with perfect good-humour. On the least encouragement he laid his paws upon our shoulders, rubbed his head upon us, and his teeth and claws having been filed, there was no danger of tearing our clothes. He was kept in the above court for a week or two, and evinced no ferocity, except when one of the servants tried to pull his food from him; he then caught the offender by the leg, and tore out a piece of flesh, but he never seemed to owe him any ill-will afterwards. He one morning broke his cord, and, the cry being given, the castle gates were shut, and a chase commenced. After leading his pursuers two or three times round the ramparts, and knocking over a few children by bouncing against them, he suffered himself to be caught, and led quietly back to his quarters, under one of the guns of the fortress.
By degrees the fear of him subsided, and orders having been given to the sentinels to prevent his escape through the gates, he was left at liberty to go where he pleased, and a boy was appointed to prevent him from intruding into the apartments of the officers. His keeper, however, generally passed his watch in sleeping; and Saï, as the panther was called, after the royal giver, roamed at large. On one occasion he found his servant sitting on the step of the door, upright, but fast asleep, when he lifted his paw, gave him a blow on the side of his head which laid him flat, and then stood wagging his tail, as if enjoying the mischief he had committed. He became exceedingly attached to the governor, and followed him every-where like a dog. His favourite station was at a window of the sitting-room, which overlooked the whole town; there, standing on his hind legs, his fore paws resting on the ledge of the window, and his chin laid between them, he appeared to amuse himself with what was passing beneath. The children also stood with him at the window; and one day, finding his presence an encumbrance, and that they could not get their chairs close, they used their united efforts to pull him down by the tail. He one morning missed the governor, who was settling a dispute in the hall, and who, being surrounded by black people, was hidden from the view of his favourite. Saï wandered with a dejected look to various parts of the fortress in search of him; and, while absent on this errand, the audience ceased, the governor returned to his private rooms, and seated himself at a table to write. Presently he heard a heavy step coming up the stairs, and, raising his eyes to the open door, he beheld Saï. At that moment he gave himself up for lost, for Saï immediately sprang from the door on to his neck. Instead, however, of devouring him, he laid his head close to the governor’s, rubbed his cheek upon his shoulder, wagged his tail, and tried to evince his happiness. Occasionally, however, the panther caused a little alarm to the other inmates of the castle, and the poor woman who swept the floors, or, to speak technically, the pra-pra woman, was made ill by her fright. She was one day sweeping the boards of the great hall with a short broom, and in an attitude nearly approaching to all-fours, and Saï, who was hidden under one of the sofas, suddenly leaped upon her back, where he stood in triumph. She screamed so violently as to summon the other servants, but they, seeing the panther, as they thought, in the act of swallowing her, one and all scampered off as quickly as possible; nor was she released till the governor, who heard the noise, came to her assistance. Strangers were naturally uncomfortable when they saw so powerful a beast at perfect liberty, and many were the ridiculous scenes which took place, they not liking to own their alarm, yet perfectly unable to retain their composure in his presence.
This interesting animal was well fed twice every day, but never given any thing with life in it. He stood about two feet high, and was of a dark yellow colour, thickly spotted with black rosettes, and from the good feeding and the care taken to clean him, his skin shone like silk. The expression of his countenance was very animated and good-tempered, and he was particularly gentle to children; he would lie down on the mats by their side when they slept, and even the infant shared his caresses, and remained unhurt. During the period of his residence at Cape Coast, I was much occupied by making arrangements for my departure from Africa, but generally visited my future companion every day, and we, in consequence, became great friends before we sailed. He was conveyed on board the vessel in a large, wooden cage, thickly barred in the front with iron. [pg 38] Even this confinement was not deemed a sufficient protection by the canoe men,1 who were so alarmed at taking him from the shore to the vessel, that, in their confusion, they dropped cage and all into the sea. For a few minutes I gave up my poor panther as lost, but some sailors jumped into a boat belonging to the vessel, and dragged him out in safety. The beast himself seemed completely subdued by his ducking, and as no one dared to open his cage to dry it, he rolled himself up in one corner, nor roused himself till after an interval of some days, when he recognised my voice. When I first spoke, he raised his head, held it on one side, then on the other, to listen; and when I came fully into his view, he jumped on his legs, and appeared frantic; he rolled himself over and over, he howled, he opened his enormous jaws and cried, and seemed as if he would have torn his cage to pieces. However, as his violence subsided, he contented himself with thrusting his paws and nose through the bars of the cage, to receive my caresses.
The greatest treat I could bestow upon my favourite was lavender water. Mr. Hutchison had told me that, on the way from Ashantee, he drew a scented handkerchief from his pocket, which was immediately seized on by the panther, who reduced it to atoms; nor could he venture to open a bottle of perfume when the animal was near, he was so eager to enjoy it. I indulged him twice a week by making a cup of stiff paper, pouring a little lavender water into it, and giving it to him through the bars of his cage: he would drag it to him with great eagerness, roll himself over it, nor rest till the smell had evaporated. By this I taught him to put out his paws without showing his nails, always refusing the lavender water till he had drawn them back again; and in a short time he never, on any occasion, protruded his claws when offering me his paw.
We lay eight weeks in the river Gaboon, where he had plenty of excellent food, but was never suffered to leave his cage, on account of the deck being always filled with black strangers, to whom he had a very decided aversion, although he was perfectly reconciled to white people. His indignation, however, was constantly excited by the pigs, when they were suffered to run past his cage; and the sight of one of the monkeys put him in a complete fury. While at anchor in the before-mentioned river, an orang-outang (Símia Sátyrus) was brought for sale, and lived three days on board; and I shall never forget the uncontrollable rage of the one, or the agony of the other, at this meeting. The orang was about three feet high, and very powerful in proportion to his size; so that when he fled with extraordinary rapidity from the panther to the further end of the deck, neither men nor things remained upright when they opposed his progress: there he took refuge in a sail, and although generally obedient to the voice of his master, force was necessary to make him quit the shelter of its folds. As to the panther, his back rose in an arch, his tail was elevated and perfectly stiff, his eyes flashed, and, as he howled, he showed his huge teeth; then, as if forgetting the bars before him, he tried to spring on the orang, to tear him to atoms. It was long before he recovered his tranquillity; day and night he appeared to be on the listen; and the approach of a large monkey we had on board, or the intrusion of a black man, brought a return of his agitation.
We at length sailed for England, with an ample supply of provisions; but, unhappily, we were boarded by pirates during the voyage, and nearly reduced to starvation. My panther must have perished had it not been for a collection of more than three hundred parrots, with which we sailed from the river, and which died very fast while we were in the northwest trades. Saï’s allowance was one per diem, but this was so scanty a pittance that he became ravenous, and had not patience to pick all the feathers off before he commenced his meal. The consequence was, that he became very ill, and refused even this small quantity of food. Those around tried to persuade me that he suffered from the colder climate; but his dry nose and paw convinced me that he was feverish, and I had him taken out of his cage; when, instead of jumping about and enjoying his liberty, he lay down, and rested his head upon my feet. I then made him three pills, each containing two grains of calomel. The boy who had the charge of him, and who was much attached to him, held his jaws open, and I pushed the medicine down his throat. Early the next morning I went to visit my patient, and found his guard sleeping in the cage with him; and having administered a further dose to the invalid, I had the satisfaction of seeing him perfectly cured by the evening. On the arrival of the vessel in the London Docks, Saï was taken ashore, and presented to the Duchess of York, who placed him in Exeter Change, to be taken care of, till she herself went to Oatlands. He [pg 39] remained there for some weeks, and was suffered to roam about the greater part of the day without any restraint. On the morning previous to the Duchess’s departure from town, she went to visit her new pet, played with him, and admired his healthy appearance and gentle deportment. In the evening, when her Royal Highness’ coachman went to take him away, he was dead, in consequence of an inflammation on his lungs—Loudon’s Magazine of Natural History.
The church of Rome, in the height of its power, was extremely scrupulous in all that related to the sacramental bread. According to Steevens, in his Monasticon, they first chose the wheat, grain by grain, and washed it very carefully. Being put into a bag, appointed only for that use, a servant, known to be a just man, carried it to the mill, worked the grindstones, covering them with curtains above and below; and having put on himself an albe, covered his face with a veil, nothing but his eyes appearing. The same precaution was used with the meal. It was not baked till it had been well washed; and the warden of the church, if he were either priest or deacon, finished the work, being assisted by two other religious men, who were in the same orders, and by a lay brother, particularly appointed for that business. These four monks, when matins were ended, washed their faces and hands. The three first of them put on albes; one of them washed the meal with pure, clean water, and the other two baked the hosts in the iron moulds. So great was the veneration and respect, say their historians, the monks of Cluni paid to the Eucharist! Even at this day, in the country, the baker who prepares the sacramental wafer, must be appointed and authorized to do it by the Catholic bishop of the district, as appears by the advertisement inserted in that curious book, published annually, The Catholic Laity’s Directory.
There still remains in the Hebrides, though it is passing fast away, the custom of fosterage. A laird, a man of wealth and eminence, sends his child, either male or female, to a tacksman or tenant to be fostered. It is not always his own tenant, but some distant friend that obtains this honour; for an honour such a trust is very reasonably thought. The terms of fosterage seem to vary in different islands. In Mull, the father sends with his child a certain number of cows, to which the same number is added by the fosterer. The father appropriates a proportionable extent of ground, without rent, for their pasturage. If every cow bring a calf, half belongs to the fosterer, and half to the child; but if there be only one calf between two cows, it is the child’s; and when the child returns to the parents, it is accompanied with all the cows given, both by the father and by the fosterer, with half of the increase of the stock by propagation. These beasts are considered as a portion, and called Macalive cattle, &c.
Children continue with the fosterer perhaps six years; and cannot, where this is the practice, be considered as burdensome. The fosterer, if he gives four cows, receives likewise four, and has, while the child continues with him, grass for eight without rent, with half the calves, and all the milk, for which he pays only four cows, when he dismisses his dalt, for that is the name for a fostered child.—Johnson’s Journey.
Holinshed, speaking of the Irish, observes:—“Greedy of praise they be, and fearful of dishonour; and to this end they esteem their poets, who write Irish learnedly, and pen their sonnets heroical, for the which they are bountifully rewarded; if not, they send out libels in dispraise, whereof the lords and gentlemen stand in great awe. They love tenderly their foster children, and bequeath to them a child’s fortune, whereby they nourish sure friendship,—so beneficent every way, that commonly 500 cows and better are given in reward to win a nobleman’s child to foster; they love and trust their foster children more than their own. Proud they are of long crisped bushes of hair, which they term libs. They observe divers degrees, according to which each man is regarded. The basest sort among them are little young wasps, called daltins: these are lacqueys, and are serviceable to the grooms, or horseboys, who are a degree above the daltins. The third degree is the kaerne, which is an ordinary soldier, using for weapon his sword and target, and sometimes his piece, being commonly so good marksmen, as they will come within a score of a great cartele. The fourth degree is a gallowglass, using a kind of poll-axe for his weapon, strong, robust men, chiefly feeding on beef, pork, and butter. The fifth degree is to be a horseman, which is the [pg 40] chiefest, next to the lord and captain. These horsemen, when they have no stay of their own, gad and range from house to house, and never dismount till they ride into the hall, and as far as the tables.”
The minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, in his statistical account of that parish, supplies us with the following curious information on this and other marriage ceremonies:—“Immediately before the celebration of the marriage ceremony, every knot about the bride and bridegroom (garters, shoe-strings, strings of petticoats, &c.) is carefully loosed. After leaving the church, the whole company walk round it, keeping the church walls always upon the right hand; the bridegroom, however, first retires one way, with some young men, to tie the knots that were loosened about him, while the young married woman, in the same manner, retires somewhere else to adjust the disorder of her dress.”
The following extract contains a distinct and interesting account of this very ancient superstition, as used in Caithness:
“In 1788, when the stock of any considerable farmer was seized with the murrain, he would send for one of the charm doctors to superintend the raising of a needfire. It was done by friction, thus: upon any small island, where the stream of a river or burn ran on each side, a circular booth was erected, of stone and turf, as it could be had, in which a semicircular or highland couple of birch, or other hard wood, was set; and, in short, a roof closed on it. A straight pole was set up in the centre of this building, the upper end fixed by a wooden pin to the top of the couple, and the lower end in an oblong trink in the earth or floor; and lastly, another pole was set across horizontally, having both ends tapered, one end of which was supported in a hole in the side of the perpendicular pole, and the other end in a similar hole in the couple leg. The horizontal stick was called the auger, having four short arms or levers fixed in its centre, to work it by; the building having been thus finished, as many men as could be collected in the vicinity, (being divested of all kinds of metal in their clothes, &c.) would set to work with the said auger, two after two, constantly turning it round by the arms or levers, and others occasionally driving wedges of wood or stone behind the lower end of the upright pole, so as to press it the more on the end of the auger; by this constant friction and pressure, the ends of the auger would take fire, from which a fire would be instantly kindled, and thus the needfire would be accomplished. The fire in the farmer’s house, &c. was immediately quenched with water, a fire kindled from this needfire, both in the farm-house and offices, and the cattle brought to feel the smoke of this new and sacred fire, which preserved them from the murrain. So much for superstition.—It is handed down by tradition, that the ancient Druids superintended a similar ceremony of raising a sacred fire, annually, on the first day of May. That day is still, both in the Gaelic and Irish dialects, called Lâ-bealtin, i.e. the day of Baal’s fire, or the fire dedicated to Baal, or the sun.”
In Scotland, water from under a bridge, over which the living pass and the dead are carried, brought in the dawn or twilight to the house of a sick person, without the bearer’s speaking, either in going or returning, is called Unspoken Water.
The modes of application are various. Sometimes the invalid takes three draughts of it before anything is spoken. Sometimes it is thrown over the houses the vessel in which it was contained being thrown after it. The superstitious believe this to be one of the most powerful charms that can be employed for restoring a sick person to health.
The purifying virtue attributed to water, by almost all nations, is so well known as to require no illustration. Some special virtue has still been ascribed to silence in the use of charms, exorcisms, &c. I recollect, says Mr. Jamieson, being assured at Angus, that a Popish priest in that part of the country, who was supposed to possess great power in curing those who were deranged, and in exorcising demoniacs, would, if called to see a patient, on no account utter a single word on his way, or after arriving at the house, till he had by himself gone through all his appropriate forms in order to effect a cure. Whether this practice might be founded on our Lord’s injunction to the Seventy, expressive of the diligence he required, Luke x. 4, “Salute no man by the way,” or borrowed from heathen superstition, it is impossible to ascertain. We certainly know that the Romans viewed silence as of the utmost importance in their sacred rites. Hence the phrase of Virgil,—
“Fida silentia sacris.”
Fauere sacris, fauere linguis, and [pg 41] pascere linguam, were forms of speech appropriated to their sacred rites, by which they enjoined silence, that the act of worship might not be disturbed by the slightest noise or murmur. Hence also they honoured Harpocrates as the god of silence; and Numa instituted the worship of a goddess under the name of Tacita.
(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
A A. The Pot. B B. The Triangular Board. C. The Cover.
D. Vessel to receive the Filtered Water.
E. Dotted Line, showing the Proportion of Charcoal and Sand.
Herewith I send you an outline drawing of an economical filtering apparatus, suitable for the use of any dwelling. Its construction is perfectly simple, and at the cost of a few shillings in its erection. The pot consists of an unglazed inverted vessel, manufactured at potteries for the use of sugar-bakers, and placed through a hole in a triangular board, resting upon two ledges, occupying a corner in a kitchen or any other apartment. In the inside of the pot a bushel of the whitest sand is to be introduced; which sand, after being washed in a clean tub with about three changes of water, to dissolve and clear away the clayey matter, is to be mixed with half a peck of finely-bruised charcoal. This will fill about one-third of the pot; but before the sand is placed in the vessel, the small hole at the bottom of the pot should have an oyster-shell placed over it, with the convex side uppermost, to prevent the sand washing through. This filters foul water perfectly pellucid and clear very quickly, as I have seen its effects for years with the most perfect success. When the sand becomes foul by time, it can be taken out and washed, or fresh materials can be repeated; great care should be observed not to put more water in the pot than your vessel underneath will receive.
The analogy between the electric spark, and more especially of the explosive discharge of the Leyden jar, with atmospheric lightning and thunder, is too obvious to have escaped notice, even in the early periods of electrical research. It had been observed by Dr. Wall and by Gray, and still more pointedly remarked by the Abbé Nollet. Dr. Franklin was so impressed with the many points of resemblance between lightning and electricity, that he was convinced of their identity, and determined to ascertain by direct experiment the truth of his bold conjecture. A spire which was erecting at Philadelphia he conceived might assist him in this inquiry; but, while waiting for its completion, the sight of a boy’s kite, which had been raised for amusement, immediately suggested to him a more ready method of attaining his object. Having constructed a kite by stretching a large silk handkerchief over two sticks in the form of a cross, on the first appearance of an approaching storm, in June 1752, he went out into a field, accompanied by his son, to whom alone he had imparted his design. Having raised his kite, and attached a key to the lower end of the hempen string, he insulated it by fastening it to a post, by means of silk, and waited with intense anxiety for the result. A considerable time elapsed without the apparatus giving any sign of electricity, even although a dense cloud, apparently charged with lightning, had passed over the spot on which they stood. Franklin was just beginning to despair of success, when his attention was caught by the bristling up of some loose fibres on the hempen cord; he immediately presented his knuckle to the key, and received an electric spark. Overcome with the emotion [pg 42] inspired by this decisive evidence of the great discovery he had achieved, he heaved a deep sigh, and conscious of an immortal name, felt that he could have been content if that moment had been his last. The rain now fell in torrents, and wetting the string, rendered it conducting in its whole length; so that electric sparks were now collected from it in great abundance.
It should be noticed, however, that about a month before Franklin had made these successful trials, some philosophers, in particular Dalibard and De Lors, had obtained similar results in France, by following the plan recommended by Franklin. But the glory of the discovery is universally given to Franklin, as it was from his suggestions that the methods of attaining it were originally derived.
This important discovery was prosecuted with great ardour by philosophers in every part of Europe. The first experimenters incurred considerable risk in their attempts to draw down electricity from the clouds, as was soon proved by the fatal catastrophe, which, on the 6th of August, 1753, befel Professor Richman, of Petersburg. He had constructed an apparatus for observations on atmospherical electricity, and was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when the sound of distant thunder caught his ear. He immediately hastened home, taking with him his engraver, Sokolow, in order that he might delineate the appearances that should present themselves. While intent upon examining the electrometer, a large globe of fire flashed from the conducting rod, which was insulated, to the head of Richman, and passing through his body, instantly deprived him of life. A red spot was found on his forehead, where the electricity had entered, his shoe was burst open, and part of his clothes singed. His companion was struck down, and remained senseless for some time; the door-case of the room was split, and the door itself torn off its hinges.
The protection of buildings from the effects of lightning, is the most important practical application of the theory of electricity. Conductors for this should be formed of metallic rods, pointed at the upper extremity, and placed so as to project a few feet above the highest part of the building they are intended to secure; they should be continued without interruption till they descend into the ground, below the foundation of the house. Copper is preferable to iron as the material for their construction, being less liable to destruction by rust, or by fusion, and possessing also a greater conducting power. The size of the rods should be from half an inch to an inch in diameter, and the point should be gilt, or made of platina, that it may be more effectually preserved from corrosion. An important condition in the protecting conductor is, that no interruption should exist in its continuity from top to bottom; and advantage will result from connecting together by strips of metal all the leaden water pipes, or other considerable masses of metal in or about the building, so as to form one continuous system of conductors, for carrying the electricity by different channels to the ground. The lower end of the conductors should be carried down into the earth till it reaches either water, or at least a moist stratum.—Library of Useful Knowledge.
A Romance of High Holborn.
It came to pass that, towards the close of 1826, I found occasion to change my tailor, and by chance, or the recommendation of friends—I cannot now remember which—applied to one who vegetated in that particular region of the metropolis where the rivers of Museum-street and Drury-lane (to adopt the language of metaphor) flow into and form the capacious estuary of High Holborn. Whoever has sailed along, or cast anchor in this confluence, must have seen the individual I allude to. He sits—I should perhaps say sat, inasmuch as he is since defunct—bolt upright, with a pen behind his ear, in the centre of a dingy, spectral-looking shop, quaintly hung round with clothes, of divers forms and patterns, in every stage of existence—from the first crude conception of the incipient surtout or pantaloons, down to the last glorious touch that immortalizes the artist. His figure is slim and undersized; his cheeks are sallow, with two furrows on each side his nose, filled not unfrequently with snuff; his eyes project like lobsters’, and cast their shifting glances about with a vague sort of mysterious intelligence; and his voice—his startling, solemn, unearthly voice—seems hoarse with sepulchral vapours, and puts forth its tones like the sighing of the wind among tombs. With regard to his dress, it is in admirable keeping with his countenance. He wears a black coat, fashioned in the mould of other times, with large cloth buttons and flowing skirts; drab inexpressibles, fastened at the knee with brass buckles; gaiters, which, reaching no higher than [pg 43] the calf of the leg, set up independent claims to eccentricity and exact consideration on their own account; creaking, square-toed shoes; and a hat, broad in front, pinched up at the sides, verging to an angle behind, and worn close over the forehead, with the lower part resting on the nose. His manner is equally peculiar; it cannot be called vulgar, nor yet genteel—for it is too passive for the one, and too pompous for the other; it forms, say, a sort of compromise between the two, with a slight infusion of pedantry that greatly adds to its effect.
On reaching this oddity’s abode, I at once proceeded to business; and was promised, in reply, the execution of my order on the customary terms of credit. Thus far is strictly natural. The clothes came home, and so, with admirable punctuality, did the bill; but the death of a valued friend having withdrawn me, soon afterwards, from London, six months elapsed; at the expiration of which time I was refreshed, as agreed on, by a pecuniary application from my tailor. Perhaps I should here mention, to the better understanding of my tale, that I am a medical practitioner, of somewhat nervous temperament, derived partly from inheritance, and partly from an inveterate indulgence of the imagination. My income, too—which seldom or never encumbers a surgeon who has not yet done walking the hospitals—is limited, and, at this present period, was so far contracted as to keep me in continual suspense. In this predicament my tailor’s memorandum was any thing but satisfactory. I wrote accordingly to entreat his forbearance for six months longer, and, as I received no reply, concluded that all was satisfactorily arranged. Unluckily, however, as I was strolling, about a month afterwards, along the Strand, I chanced to stumble up against him. The shock seemed equally unexpected on both sides; but my tailor (as being a dun) was the first to recover self-possession; and, with a long preliminary hem!—a mute, but expressive compound of remonstrance, apology, and resolution—opened his fire as follows:—
“I believe, sir, your name is D——?”
“I believe it is, sir.”
“Well, then, Mr. D——, touching that little account between us, I have to request, sir, that—”
“Very good; nothing can be more reasonable; wait the appointed time, and you shall have all.”
This answer served, in some degree, to appease him; no, not exactly to appease him, because that would imply previous excitement, and he was invariably imperturbable in manner; it satisfied him, however, for the present, and he forthwith walked away, casting on me that equivocal sort of look with which Ajax turned from Ulysses, or Dido from Æneas, in the Shades.
A lapse of a few weeks ensued, during which I heard nothing further from my persecutor; when, one dark November evening—one of those peculiarly English evenings, full of fog and gloom, when the half-frozen sleet, joined in its descent by gutters from the house-tops, comes driving full in your face, blinding you to all external objects—on one of these blessed evenings, on my road to Camden Town, I chanced to miss my way, and was compelled, notwithstanding a certain shyness towards strangers, to ask my direction of the first respectable person I should meet. Many passed me by, but none sufficiently prepossessing; when, on turning down some nameless street that leads to Tottenham Court-road, I chanced to come behind a staid-looking gentleman, accoutred in a dark brown coat, with an umbrella—the cotton of which had shrunk half-way up the whalebone—held obliquely over his head. Hastily stepping up to him, “Pray, sir,” said I, “could you be kind enough to direct me to —— place, Camden Town?”
The unknown, thus addressed, made the slightest possible inclination towards me; and then, in an under tone, “I believe, sir, your name is D——?”
I paused; a vague sort of recollection came over me. Could it be?—no, surely not! And yet the voice—the manner—the—the—
My suspicions were soon converted into certainty, when the stranger, with his own peculiar expression, quietly broke forth a second time with, “Touching that little account—”
This was enough; it was more than enough—it was vexatiously superfluous. To be dunned for a debt, at the very time when the nerves could best dispense with the application; to be recalled back to the vulgarities of existence, at that precise moment when the imagination was most abstracted from all commercial common-places; to be stopped by a tailor, (and such a tailor!) when the mind was dreaming of a mistress—the bare idea was intolerable! So I thought; and, without further explanation, hurried precipitately from the spot, nor ever once paused till far removed from the husky tones of that sepulchral voice which had once before so highly excited my annoyance.
[The narrater then visits one of Mr. Champagne Wright’s masquerades, where he falls in love with a fresco nun. He receives a billet.]
[pg 44]I stood like one bewildered; but, soon recovering my self-possession, moved direct towards the chandelier, with a view to peruse an epistle expressive of woman’s fondest love. As with glistening eyes I proceeded to tear open the billet, a flood of transporting thoughts swept over me. I fancied that I was on the eve of acquaintance with ——; but, judge my astonishment, when, instead of the expected document, the key to such transporting bliss, I read, engraved in large German text, on a dirty square card, embossed at the edge with flowers, the revolting, business-like address of
It so happened that, the next day, I dined with C——. Of course the masquerade, and with that the tailor, were the first topics of conversation between us. Both allowed that the circumstances respecting his late appearance were uncommon; but there, with my friend, the matter ended: with me it was a more enduring subject for reflection; and, after a night kept up till a late hour over a bowl of C——’s most faultless punch, I set out, moody and apprehensive, to my humble abode. By this time it was past three o’clock; the streets were nearly all deserted. —While thoughtfully plodding onwards, a sudden noise from the Holborn end of Drury-lane took my attention; it evidently proceeded from a row—a systematic, scientific row; and, indeed, as I drew near the scene of action, I could distinctly hear the watchman’s oaths blending in deep chorus with the treble of some dozen or two valorous exquisites.
I felt certain rising abstract ideas of pugnacity, and conceived myself bound to indulge them on the first head and shoulders I should meet. This spirit brought me at once into the thick of the fight, and, before I was well aware of my proximity, I found myself fast anchored alongside a veteran watchman, with a pigtail and half a nose. The conflict now commenced in good earnest; there were few or no attempts at favouritism; the blows of one friend told equally well on the scull of another; watchman assaulted watchman with a zeal respectable for its sincerity; and, indeed, had these last been any thing more than a bundle of old coats and oaths, they would most undoubtedly have drubbed each other into a better world. After a lively and well-sustained affair of about twenty minutes, a squadron of auxiliary watchmen arrived, and, with some difficulty, deposited us all safely in the watch-house. And here the very first person that met my gaze—seated, with due regard to dignity, in an arm-chair, a pair of spectacles on his nose, a glass of brandy-and-water by his side, and a newspaper, redolent of cheese, before him—was the constable of the night—the nun of the masquerade—the Mysterious Tailor of High Holborn! The wretch’s eyes gleamed with a savage but subdued joy at the recognition; a low, chuckling laugh escaped him; while his dull countenance, made doubly revolting by the dim light of the watch-house, fell, fixed and scowling, upon me, as he pointed towards the spot where I stood.—“Dobson,” he exclaimed; and, at the word, forth stepped the owner of this melodious appellative, with “this here man.” —Luckily, before he could finish his charge, a five-shilling-piece, which I thrust into his unsuspecting palm, created a diversion among the watchmen in my behalf; under favour of which, while my arch enemy was adjusting his books, I contrived to escape from his detested presence.
It happened that about a month subsequent to this last rencontre, circumstances led me to Bologne, whither I arrived, late in the evening, by the steamboat. On being directed to the best English hotel in that truly social Anglo-Gallic little town, I chanced to find in the coffee-room an old crony, whom I had known years since at Cambridge, and who had just arrived from Switzerland, on a speculation connected with some vineyards.
I had a thousand questions to ask my friend, a thousand memories to disinter from their graves in my heart, past follies to re-enact, past scenes to re-people. We began with our school-days, pursued the subject to Cambridge, carried it back again to Reading, and thence traced it through all its windings, now in sunshine, now in gloom, till the canvass of our recollection was fairly filled with portraits. In this way, time, unperceived, slipped on; noon deepened into evening, evening blackened into midnight, yet nothing but our wine was exhausted.
At last, after a long evening spent in the freest and most social converse, my friend quitted the coffee-room, while I—imitating, as I went, the circumlocutory windings of the Meander—proceeded to my allotted chamber. Unfortunately, on reaching the head of the first staircase, where two opposite doors presented themselves, I opened (as a matter of course) the wrong one, which led me into a spacious apartment, in which were placed two fat, full-grown beds. My lantern happening to go out at the moment, I [pg 45] was compelled to forego all further scrutiny, so without more ado, flung off my clothes, and dived, at one dexterous plunge, right into the centre of the nearest vacant bed. In an instant I was fast asleep; my imagination, oppressed with the day’s events, had become fairly exhausted, and I now lay chained down in that heavy, dreamless sleep, which none but fatigued travellers can appreciate. Towards daybreak, I was roused by a peculiar long-drawn snore, proceeding from the next bed. The music, though deep, was gusty, vulgar, and ludicrous, like a west wind whistling through a wash-house. I should know it among a thousand snores. At first I took no notice of this diversified sternutation, but as it deepened every moment in energy, terminating in something like a groan, I was compelled to pay it the homage of my admiration and astonishment. This attention, however, soon flagged; in a few minutes I was a second time asleep, nor did I again awake till the morning was far advanced. At this eventful juncture, while casting my eyes round the room with all the voluptuous indolence of a jaded traveller, they suddenly chanced to fall on a gaunt, spectral figure, undressed, unwashed, unshaved, decked out in a red worsted night-cap, its left cheek swollen, as if with cold or tooth-ache, and seated bolt upright in the very next bed, scarce six inches off my nose. And this figure was——but I need add no more; the reader must by this time have fully anticipated my discovery.
That night I started from Bologne. I could no more have endured to stop there, conscious that the town contained my persecutor, than I could have flown. Accordingly, after a hurried breakfast, I proceeded to arrange what little business I had to transact; and this completed, away I posted to the well-known shop of Monsieur ——, dentist, perruquier, and general agent to the steam-packet company. Fortunately the little man was at home, and received me with his usual courtesy. He was very, very sorry that he could not stay to converse with me, but a patient in the inner parlour required his immediate attendance; he must therefore—. I entreated him not to apologize; my business was simple—it was merely to ascertain at what hour the first packet sailed; and having so said, and received a satisfactory reply, I prepared to quit the shop, when just as I was turning round to shut the door, I caught a glimpse through the half-closed curtains that shaded the inner room of a cheek and one eye. The cheek was swollen, and a solitary patch of snuff rested, like a fly, upon its surface. It was the Mysterious Tailor; he had come in to have his tooth pulled out.
Notwithstanding my anxiety to quit Bologne, it was evening before I was on board the packet; nor did I feel myself at ease, until the heights had dwindled to a speck, and the loud carols of the fishermen returning home from their day’s sport, had sunk into a faint, undistinguished whisper. Our vessel’s course for the first hour or so was delightful. Towards night, the weather, which had hitherto proved so serene, began to fluctuate; the wind shifted, and gradually a heavy swell came rolling in from the north-east towards us. As the hour advanced, a storm seemed advancing with it; and a hundred symptoms appeared, the least of which was fully sufficient to certify the coming on of a tremendous hurricane. Our captain, however—a bronzed, pinched-up little fellow, whom a series of north-westers seemed to have dried to a mummy—put a good face on the matter, and our mate whistled bluffly, though I could not help fancying that his whistle had something forced about it.
We had by this time been tossing about upwards of four hours, yet despite the storm, which increased every moment in energy, our vessel bore up well, labouring and pitching frightfully to be sure, but as yet uninjured in sail, mast, or hull. As for her course, it was—so the mate assured me—“ a moral impossible to say which way we were bound, whether for a trip to Spain, Holland, or Van Dieman’s Land; it might be one, it might be t’other.” Scarcely had he uttered these words, when a long rolling sea came sweeping on in hungry grandeur towards us, and at one rush tore open the ship’s gun-wale, which now, completely at the mercy of the wave, went staggering, drunken, and blindfold, through the surge. From this fatal moment the sailors were kept constantly at the pumps, although so instantaneous was the rush of water into the hold, that they did little or no good; there seemed, in fact, not the ghost of a chance left us; even the mate had ceased whistling, and the captain’s oaths began to assume the nature of a compromise between penitence and hardihood.
It was now midnight, deep, awful midnight; the few remaining passengers had left the deck and retreated into a bed which they shared in common with the salt water. The Captain stood, like one bewildered, beside the helm, while I lay stretched along the forecastle, watching, as well as I could, the tremendous rushing of the waves. It was during a partial hush of the storm, when the wind, as if out of breath, was still, that a shifting [pg 46] light attached to some moving body, came bearing down full upon us.
“This is an ugly night, sir,” said the Captain, who now, for the first time, found words, “yet methinks I see a sail a-head.”
“Surely not,” I replied, “no earthly vessel but our own can live on such a sea.”
Scarcely had the words escaped me, when “helm a lee!” was roared out in a loud emphatic tone, something between rage and fright.
The captain strove to turn his helm, but in vain, the rudder had lost all power. At this instant, a rushing sound swept past us, and the two ships came in direct contact with each other. The crash was tremendous: down with a dizzy spinning motion went the strange vessel; one yell—but one shrill piercing yell, which is ever sounding in my ears, ensued—a pause, and all was over.
My heart died within me at that cry; an icy shudder crept through me, every hair of my head seemed endowed with separate vitality. To go down into the tomb—and such a tomb!—unwept, unknown, the very lights from the English coast still discernible in distance, yet not a friend to hold forth aid; the idea was inexpressibly awful. Just at this crisis, while grasping the bannister with weak hands, I lay faint and hopeless on the deck, I fancied I saw a dark figure crawling up the cabin-steps towards me. I listened; the sound drew near, the form advanced, already it touched that part of the staircase to which I clung. Was it the phantom of one of those wretches who had just met death? Had it come fresh from eternity, the taint of recent earth yet hanging about it, to warn me of my own departure? A sudden vivid flash enabled me to dispel all doubt; the dull, grey eye, and thin furrowed form, were not to be so mistaken; the voice too—but why prolong the mystery? it was my old unforgotten persecutor, the Mysterious Tailor of High Holborn. What followed I know not: overpowered by previous excitement, and the visitation of this infernal phantom, my brain spun round—my heart ticked audibly like a clock—my tongue glued to my mouth—I sank senseless at the cabin door.
Twenty quarts of real Nantz,
Eau-de-vie of southern France;
By Arabia’s chemic skill,
Sublimed, condensed, in trickling still;
’Tis the grape’s abstracted soul,
And the first matter of the bowl.
Oranges, with skins of gold,
Like Hesperian fruit of old,
Whose golden shadow wont to quiver
In the stream of Guadalquiver,
Glowing, waving as they hung
Mid fragrant blossoms ever young,
In gardens of romantic Spain,—
Lovely land, and rich in vain!
Blest by nature’s bounteous hand,
Cursed with priests and Ferdinand!
Lemons, pale as Melancholy,
Or yellow russets, wan and holy.
Be their number twice fifteen,
Mystic number, well I ween,
As all must know, who aught can tell
Of sacred lore or glamour spell;
Strip them of their gaudy hides,
Saffron garb of Pagan brides,
And like the Argonauts of Greece,
Treasure up their Golden Fleece.
Then, as doctors wise preserve
Things from nature’s course that swerve,
Insects of portentous shape—worms,
Wreathed serpents, asps, and tape-worms,
Ill-fashion’d fishes, dead and swimming,
And untimely fruits of women;
All the thirty skins infuse
In Alcohol’s Phlogistic dews.
Steep them—till the blessed Sun
Through half his mighty round hath run—
Hours twelve—the time exact
Their inmost virtues to extract.
Lest the potion should be heady,
As Circe’s cup, or gin of Deady,
Water from the crystal spring.
Thirty quarterns, draw and bring;
Let it, after ebullition,
Cool to natural condition.
Add, of powder saccharine,
Pounds thrice five, twice superfine;
Mingle sweetest orange blood,
And the lemon’s acid flood;
Mingle well, and blend the whole
With the spicy Alcohol.
Strain the mixture, strain it well
Through such vessel, as in Hell
Wicked maids, with vain endeavour,
Toil to fill, and toil for ever.
Wedded maids, and virgin brides,
(So blind Gentiles did believe,)
Toil to fill a faithless sieve;
Thirsty thing, with naught content,
Thriftless and incontinent.
Then, to hold the rich infusion,
Have a barrel, not a huge one,
But clean and pure from spot or taint,
Pure as any female saint—
That within its tight-hoop’d gyre
Has kept Jamaica’s liquid fire;
Or luscious Oriental rack,
Or the strong glory of Cognac,
Whose perfume far outscents the Civet,
And all but rivals rare Glenlivet.
To make the compound soft as silk,
Quarterns twain of tepid milk,
Fit for babies, and such small game,
Diffuse through all the strong amalgame.
The fiery souls of heroes so do
Combine the suaviter in modo,
Bold as an eagle, meek as Dodo.
Stir it round, and round, and round,
Stow it safely under ground,
Bung’d as close as an intention
Which we are afraid to mention;
Seven days six times let pass,
Then pour it into hollow glass;
Be the vials clean and dry,
Corks as sound as chastity;—[pg 47]
Years shall not impair the merit
Of the lively, gentle spirit.
Rome’s youngster Heliogabalus,
Or that empurpled paunch, Vitellius,
So famed for appetite rebellious—
Ne’er, in all their vastly reign,
Such a bowl as this could drain.
Hark, the shade of old Apicius
Heaves his head, and cries—Delicious!
Mad of its flavour and its strength—he
Pronounces it the real Nepenthe.
’Tis the Punch, so clear and bland,
Named of Norfolk’s fertile land,
Land of Turkeys, land of Coke,
Who late assumed the nuptial yoke—
Like his county beverage,
Growing brisk and stout with age.
Joy I wish—although a Tory—
To a Whig, so gay and hoary—
May he, to his latest hour,
Flourish in his bridal bower—
Find wedded love no Poet’s fiction,
And Punch the only contradiction.
Two French officers resident at Kermanshaw, lately quarrelled; a challenge ensued; but a reconciliation was effected; when the incident drew forth the following natural and affecting remark from a native:—“How foolish it is for a man who wishes to kill his enemy, to expose his own life, when he can accomplish his purpose with so much greater safety, by shooting at him from behind a rock.”
A young preacher, who chose to enlarge to a country congregation on the beauty of virtue, was surprised to be informed of an old woman, who expressed herself highly pleased with his sermon, that her daughter was the most virtuous woman in the parish, for “that week she had spun sax spyndles of yarn.”—Sir W. Scott.
There is a beautiful painted window, which was made by an apprentice, out of the pieces of glass which had been rejected by his master. It is so far superior to every other in the church, that, according to the tradition, the vanquished artist killed himself from mortification.
A great lawyer in the sister kingdom, when asked by the viceroy, what Captain Keppel meant by his “Personal Travels in India, &c.” replied, that lawyers were wont to use this word in contradistinction to “Real.”
It is said that the intestines of the Carolina parrot are an instantaneous poison to cats.
When a debtor refuses payment in China, the creditor, as a last resource, threatens to carry off the door of his house on the first day of the year. This is accounted the greatest misfortune that could happen, as in that case there would be no obstruction to the entrance of evil genii. To avoid this consummation, a debtor not unfrequently sets fire to his house on the last night of the year.
During the times of Catholicism in Scotland, Fishing was prohibited from the Sabbath after vespers, till Monday after sunrise. This was termed Setterday’s Slopp.
says a recent traveller in the east, now presents the appearance of a large mound or hill, with a castle on the top, in mounting to which, the traveller now and then discovers, through the light sandy soil, that he is treading on a vast heap of bricks. The total circumference of the ruin is 2,286 feet, though the building itself was only 2,000, allowing 500 to the stadia, which Herodotus assigns as the side of its square. The elevation of the west side is 198 feet. What seems to be a castle at a distance, when examined, proves to be a solid mass of kiln-burnt bricks, 37 feet high, and 28 broad.
The Spaniards are particularly averse to borrowing from the intellectual treasures of other nations. They glean the field of their own muses to the very last ear, and then commence the same labour over again.
Here is a well-turned reply to plaintiff’s counsel, available in all suits and times. It occurred in the trial of Lord Danby, in the time of Charles II. “If the gentleman were as just to produce all he knows for me, as he hath been malicious to show what may be liable to misconstruction against me, no man could vindicate me more than myself.”
In modern education there is a lamentable lack of veneration for the great masters of English literature. Spenser, Milton, and Dryden are altogether less familiar to the present generation than they were to that which preceded it. “We will not say that our Shakspeare is neglected, for his age is ever fresh and green, and he comes reflected back to us from a thousand sources, whether in the tranquillity of home, the turbulent life of capitals[pg 48], or the solitude of travel through distant lands.”—Edin. Rev.
What an idea of the dismantling of our nature do the few words which Roper, Sir Thomas More’s son-in-law, relates, convey! He had seen Henry VIII. walking round the chancellor’s garden at Chelsea, with his arm round his neck; he could not help congratulating him on being the object of so much kindness. “I thank our lord, I find his grace my very good lord indeed; and I believe he doth as singularly favour me as any subject in his realm. However, son Roper, I may tell thee, I have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head would win a castle in France, it would not fail to be struck off.”—Edinburgh Review.
There is not only room, but use, for all that God has made in his wisdom—a use not the less real, because not always tangible, or immediate.—Ibid.
Nicholas Brady, (the coadjutor of Tate, in arranging the New Version of Psalms,) published a translation of the Æneid of Virgil, which (says Johnson,) when dragged into the world, did not live long enough to cry.
Blue appears to be the most important of all colours in the gradations of society. A licensed beggar in Scotland, called a bedesmen, is so privileged on receiving a blue gown. Pliny informs us that blue was the colour in which the Gauls clothed their slaves; and blue coats, for many ages, were the liveries of servants, apprentices, and even of younger brothers, as now of the Blue Coat Boys, and of other Blue Schools in the country. Women used to do penance in blue gowns. Is it not unseemly that blue which has hitherto been the colour of so many unenviable distinctions, should be the adopted emblem of liberty—English True Blue!
The gliding fish that takes his play
In shady nook of streamlet cool,
Thinks not how waters pass away,
And summer dries the pool.
The bird beneath his leafy dome
Who trills his carol, loud and clear,
Thinks not how soon his verdant home
The lightning’s breath may sear.
Shall I within my bridegroom’s bower
With braids of budding roses twined,
Look forward to a coming hour
When he may prove unkind?
The bee reigns in his waxen cell,
The chieftain in his stately hold,
To-morrow’s earthquake,—who can tell?
May both in ruin fold.
“A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.”—Shakspeare.
Charles James Fox walking up Bond-street from one of the club-houses with an illustrious personage, laid him a wager, that he would see more cats than the prince in his walk, and that he might take which side of the street he liked. When they got to the top, it was found that Mr. Fox had seen thirteen cats, and the prince not one. The royal personage asked for an explanation of this apparent miracle; Mr. Fox said, “Your royal highness took, of course, the shady side of the way, as most agreeable; I knew that the sunny side would be left for me, and cats always prefer the sunshine.”
It having happened for several successive summers, that wet weather took place just as the Vauxhall season commenced, Tom Lowe, Tyers’s principal vocal performer, accidentally meeting the proprietor, expressed an anxious desire to know when he meant to open his gardens. “Why are you so particular, Mr. Lowe?” said Jonathan. “I have a very good reason, sir, and should like to know the very day.” “Why, why?” reiterated Tyers, impatiently. “That I may bespeak a great coat to sing in; for you know we shall be sure to have rain.”"
A few days since, a musicsellers’s boy was sent to the publisher’s for a number of copies of the song “I’d be a Butterfly, arranged for two trebles;” when, on being desired to repeat his order, he replied, “I’d be a Butterfly, arranged for two cripples.”
Democritus, who was always laughing, lived one hundred and nine years; Heraclitus, who never ceased crying, only sixty. Laughing then is best; and to laugh at one another is perfectly justifiable, since we are told that the gods themselves, though they made us as they pleased, cannot help laughing at us.
1. The panther in these countries is a sacred, or Fetish, animal; and not only a heavy fine is extorted from those who kill one, but the Fetish is supposed to revenge his death by cursing the offender. (Return)
Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, London; Sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic, and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 12, ISSUE 323, JULY 19, 1828***
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