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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIII, No. 358.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
[Illustration: YORK TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK.]
If the reader is anxious to illustrate any political position with the
"signs of the times," he has only to start from Waterloo-place, (thus
commencing with a glorious reminiscence,) through Regent-street and
Portland-place, and make the architectural tour of the Regent's Park.
Entering the park from the New Road by York Gate, one of the first
objects for his admiration will be _York Terrace_, a splendid range of
private residences, which has the appearance of an unique palace. This
striking effect is produced by all the entrances being in the rear, where
the vestibules are protected by large porches. All the doors and windows
in the principal front represented in the engraving are uniform, and
appear like a suite of princely apartments, somewhat in the style of a
little Versailles. This idea is assisted by the gardens having no
The architecture of the building is Graeco-Italian. It consists of an
entrance or ground story, with semicircular headed windows and rusticated
piers. A continued pedestal above the arches of these windows runs
through the composition, divided between the columns into balustrades, in
front of the windows of the principal story, to which they form handsome
balconies. The elegant windows of this and the principal chamber story
are of the Ilissus Ionic, and are decorated with a colonnade, completed
with a well-proportioned entablature from the same beautiful order. Mr.
Elmes, in his critical observations on this terrace, thinks the attic
story "too irregular to accompany so chaste a composition as the Ionic,
to which it forms a crown;" he likewise objects to the cornice and
blocking-course, as being "also too small in proportion for the majesty
of the lower order."
York Terrace is from the design of Mr. Nash, whose genius not
unfrequently strays into such errors as our architectural critic has
* * * * *
_(To the Editor of the Mirror.)_
As some of the customs described by your correspondent W.H.H. are left
unaccounted for, I suppose any one is at liberty to sport a few
conjectures on the subject. May not, for instance, the practice of
burning the "_holly boy_" have its origin in some of those rustic
incantations described by Theocritus as the means of recalling a truant
lover, or of warming a cold one; and thus translated:--
 See No. 356 of the MIRROR, "Valentine's Day."
"First Delphid injured me, he raised my flame,
And now I burn this bough in Delphid's name."
Virgil, too, in his 8th Eclogue, alludes to the same charm:--
"Sparge molam, et fragiles incende bitumine lauros;
Daphnis me malus urit, ego hanc in Daphnide laurum."
"Next in the fire the bays with brimstone burn,
And whilst it crackles in the sulphur, say,
This I for Daphnis burn, thus Daphnis burn away."
The _"holly bush"_ being made to represent the person beloved, may also
be borrowed from the ancients:--
-------------------"Terque haec altaria circum
"Thrice round the altar I the image draw."
The burning wax candles may be more difficult to account for, unless it
refer to the custom of melting wax in order to mollify the beloved one's
"As this devoted wax melts o'er the fire,
Let Myndian Delphis melt with soft desire."
---------------"Haec ut cera liquescit."
-------------"Sic nostro Daphnis amore."
For a woman to compose a garland was always considered an indication of
her being in love. Aristophanes says,
"The wreathing garlands in a woman is
The usual symptom of a love-sick mind."
Should the charms resorted to by lovers two thousand years ago, appear to
you, even remotely, to have influenced the love rites as performed by the
village men and maidens of the present day, perhaps you may deem this
string of quotations worthy of a corner in your amusing miscellany.
* * * * *
_On the Sarcophagus which contains the remains of Nelson in St. Paul's
_(For the Mirror.)_
To mark th' excess of priestly pow'r
To keep in mind that gorgeous hour,
Thou art no Popish monument,
Altho' by Wolsey thou wer't sent,
From thine own native Italy
To tell where his proud ashes lie.
To thee a nobler part is given!
A prouder task design'd by heav'n!
'Tis thine the sea chief's grave to shroud,
Idol and wonder of the crowd!
The bravest heart that ever stood
The shock of battle on the flood!
The stoutest arm that ever led
A warrior o'er the ocean's bed!
Whose name long dreaded on the sea
Alone secured the victory!
His Britain sea-girt stood alone,
Whilst all the earth was heard to moan,
Beneath war's iron--iron rod,
Trusting in Nelson as her god.--CYMBELINE.
 See MIRROR, No. 306, p 234.
* * * * *
COINAGE OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
_(For the Mirror.)_
In 1749, a considerable number of gold coins were discovered on the top
of Karnbre, in Cornwall, which are clearly proved to have belonged to the
ancient Britons. The figures that were first stamped on the coins of all
nations were those of oxen, horses, sheep, &c. It may, therefore, be
concluded, that the coins of any country which have only the figures of
cattle stamped on them, and perhaps of trees, representing the woods in
which their cattle pastured,--were the most ancient coins of the country.
Some of the gold coins found at Karnbre, and described by Dr. Borlase,
are of this kind, and may be justly esteemed the most ancient of our
British coins. Sovereigns soon became aware of the importance of money,
and took the fabrication of it under their own direction, ordering their
own heads to be impressed on one side of the coins, while the figure of
some animal still continued to be stamped on the other. Of this kind are
some of the Karnbre coins, with a royal head on one side, and a horse on
the other. When the knowledge and use of letters were once introduced
into any country, it would not be long before they appeared on its coins,
expressing the names of the princes whose heads were stamped on them.
This was a very great improvement in the art of coining, and gave an
additional value to the money, by preserving the memories of princes, and
giving light to history. Our British ancestors were acquainted with this
improvement before they were subdued by the Romans, as several coins of
ancient Britain have very plain and perfect inscriptions, and on that
account merit particular attention.
* * * * *
_(For the Mirror.)_
It is generally allowed, that a profusion of animal food has a tendency
to vitiate and debase the nature and dispositions of men;
notwithstanding, the lovers of flesh urge the names of many of the most
eminent in literature and science, in opposition to this assertion.
Plutarch attributed the stupidity of his countrymen, the Boeotians, to
the profusion of animal food which they consumed, and even now, our
lovely, soup drinking, coffee sipping friends on the continent, attribute
the saturnine, melancholy, and bearish dispositions of John Bull, to his
"The famous roast-beef of Old England."
A facetious, philosophical, friend of mine, lately amused me with some
remarks, on the nature and properties of different kinds of food. "We
know," said he, "that one herb produces _this_ effect, and another
_that_; that different species and varieties of plants have different
virtues; and, why may we not infer that the same rule extends to animated
nature; that our fish, flesh, and fowl, not only serve as nutriment, but
that each kind possesses peculiar and individual properties."
This will account for the _piggish_ habits and propensities so
conspicuous in the inhabitants of certain places in England, and whose
partiality for _swine's flesh_, is proverbial. The _sheepish_ manners of
our students and school-boys, may also be attributed to the _mutton_ so
generally alloted to them. I might continue my observations, _ad
infinitum_. I might say, that the _wisdom of the goose_ was discoverable
in--whose love of that, "most abused of God's creatures," is well known:
and that the sea-side predilections of a certain Bart., of festive
notoriety, were occasioned by his partiality for turtle.
* * * * *
MARRIAGE OF ANNE BOLEYN
_(For the Mirror)_
The extraordinary revolution which took place in our religious
institutions in the time of Henry VIII., has rendered his reign one of
the most important in the annals of ecclesiastical history. For the great
changes at that glorious aera, the reformation, when the clouds of
ignorance and superstition were dispelled, we are principally indebted to
the beauteous, but unfortunate Anne Boleyn, whose influence with the
haughty monarch, was the chief cause of the abolition of the papal
supremacy in England; one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed by a
monarch on his country. Intimately associated with, and the principal
scene of these important events, was the ancient palace of Whitehall,
which Henry, into whose possession it came on the premunire of Wolsey,
considerably enlarged and beautified, changing its name from that of York
Place, to the one by which it is still designated.
 WHITEHALL was originally erected in the year 1243, by Hubert
de Burgh, Earl of Kent, who bequeathed it to the House of the
Blackfriars, near "_Oldborne_," where he was buried. It was
afterwards purchased by Walter Gray, Archbishop of York, who made
it his town residence, and at his death, left it to that See,
whence it acquired the name of _York House_. Cardinal Wolsey, on
his preferment to the Archbishoprick of York, resided here, in
great state; but on his premunire it was forfeited (or as some
authors assert had been previously given by him,) to the king.
Henry VIII. made it his principal residence, and greatly enlarged
it, the ancient and royal palace of Westminster having fallen to
decay; at the same time he enclosed the adjoining park of St.
James's, which appertained to this palace as well as to that of
St. James's, which that monarch had erected on the site of an
ancient hospital, founded before the conquest for "leprous
sisters." For some curious details of Wolsey's magnificence and
ostentation during his residence at York Place, we refer the
reader to the second volume of Mr. Brayley's _Londiniana_.
In this building, an event, the most important, in its consequences,
recorded in the history of any country, took place,--the marriage of Anne
Boleyn, who had been created Countess of Pembroke, with the "stern
Harry." The precise period of these nuptials, owing to the secrecy with
which they were performed, is involved in considerable obscurity, and has
given rise to innumerable controversies among historians; the question
not being even to this hour satisfactorily decided as to whether they
were solemnized in the month of _November_, 1532, or in that of
_January_, 1533. Hall, Holinshed, and Grafton, whose authority
several of our more modern historians have followed, place it on the
14th of November, 1532, the Feast Day of St. Erkenwald; but Stow
informs us, that it was celebrated on the 25th of January 1533; and his
assertion bears considerable weight, being corroborated by a letter from
Archbishop Cranmer, dated "the xvij daye of June," 1533, from his "manor
of Croydon," to Hawkyns, the embassador at the emperor's court. In this
letter the prelate says, "she was marid muche about _St. Paules daye_
last, as the condicion thereof dothe well appere by reason she ys now
sumwhat bygg with chylde." This statement, coming as it does from so
authentic a source, and coinciding with the accounts of Stow, Wyatt,
and Godwin may, we think, be regarded as the most correct. Her
marriage was not made known until the following Easter, when it was
publicly proclaimed, and preparations made for her coronation, which was
conducted with extraordinary magnificence in Whitsuntide. Her becoming
pregnant soon after her marriage "gave great satisfaction to the king,
and was regarded by the people as a strong proof of the queen's former
modesty and virtue." This latter circumstance, however, has not met
with that consideration among historians which it appears to merit; for
we must remember that Elizabeth was born on the 7th of the following
September, an event, which would perhaps rather tend to confirm the
opinion of Hall, in contradiction to that of Stow, if, indeed, Anne had
been proof against the advances of Henry, previous to their marriage,
which some writers have doubted.
 Hall's "Chronicle," p. 794. edit. 1809.
 Holinshed says, "he married priuilie the Lady Anne Bullougne
the same daie, being the _14th daie of Nouember_, and the feast
daie of Saint Erkenwald; which marriage was kept so secret, that
verie few knew it till Easter next insuing, when it was perceiued
that she was with child."--"Chronicles," vol. iii. p. 929. edit.
 Hume and Henry place the marriage in November. Lingard and
Sharon Turner in January.
 Vide Stow's "Annals," by Howes, p. 562. edit. 1633. "King
Henry priuily married the Lady Anne Boleigne on the fiue and
twentieth of January, being _St. Paul's daie_: Mistresse Anne
Sauage bore vp Queene Annes traine, and was herselfe shortly
after marryed to the Lord Barkley. Doctor Rowland Lee, that
marryed the King to Queene Anne, was made Bishop of Chester, then
Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and President of Wales."
 Harleian MSS. No. 6148. This letter is quoted by Burnet in
the first volume of his "History of the Reformation:" it may be
found printed entire in the eighteenth volume of the
"Archaeologia:" and also in the second volume of Ellis's "Original
Letters," first series, p. 33. The MS. consists of a rough
copy-book of the Archbishop's letters, in his own hand writing.
 Wyatt's Life of "Queen Anne Boleigne." Vide Appendix to
Cavendish's "Life of Wolsey," by Singer, vol. ii. p. 200. This
interesting memoir was written at the close of the sixteenth
century, (with the view of subverting the calumnies of Sanders,)
by George Wyatt, Esq, grandson of the poet of the same name, and
sixth son and heir of Sir Thomas Wyatt, who was decapitated in
the reign of Queen Mary, for his insurrection.
 "Annales," p. 51. edit. 1616. "Ulterioris morae perlaesus
Rex, Boleniam suam iam tandem Januarij 25, duxit uxorem, sed
clauculum, & paucissimis testibus adhibitis." Polydor Virgil
makes no mention of the period of the marriage, he only says, "in
matrimonium duxit Annam Bulleyne, quam paulo ante amare caeperat.
ex qua suscepit filiam nomine Elizabeth." p. 689. edit. 1570.
 Hume's "History of England," vol. iv. p 3.
Lingard, whose History is now in the course of publication, intimates
that the ceremony was performed "in a garret, at the western end of the
palace of Whitehall;" this, however, when we consider the haughty
character of Henry, is totally improbable, and rests entirely on the
authority of one solitary manuscript. There is no reason, however, to
doubt but that they were married in some apartment in that palace, and
most probably in the king's private closet. Dr. Rowland Lee, one of
the royal chaplains, and afterwards Bishop of Coventry officiated, in the
presence only of the Duke of Norfolk, uncle to the Lady Anne, and her
father, mother, and brother. Lord Herbert, whose authority has been
quoted by Hume, says, that Cranmer was also present, but this is
undoubtedly an error, as that prelate had only just then returned from
Germany, and was not informed of the circumstance until two weeks
afterwards, as appears from the following passage in his letter to
Hawkyns, before quoted:--"Yt hath bin reported thorowte a greate parte of
the realme that I married her; which was playnly false, for I myself knew
not thereof a fortenyght after it was donne."
 Lingard's "History of England," vol. iv. p. 190. 4to edit.
 Vide Speed's "Annals," p. 1029.
 "Life and Raigne of Henry the Eighth," p. 341. edit. 1649.
It may not, perhaps, prove uninteresting to our readers, or quite
irrelevant to the subject, to close this brief account of the marriage of
Anne Boleyn, with the copy of a letter from that queen to "Squire
Josselin, upon ye birth of Q. Elizabth," preserved among the manuscripts
in the British Museum.
 Harleian MSS. No. 787.
"By the Queen--Trusty and well beloved wee greet you well. And whereas it
hath pleased ye goodness of Almighty God of his infinite mercy and grace
to send unto vs at this tyme good speed in ye deliverance and bringing
forth of a Princess to ye great joye and inward comfort of my lord. Us,
and of all his good and loving subjects of this his realme ffor ye which
his inestimable beneuolence soe shewed unto vs. We have noe little cause
to give high thankes, laude and praysing unto our said Maker, like as we
doe most lowly, humbly, and wth all ye inward desire of our heart. And
inasmuch as wee undoubtedly trust yt this our good is to you great
pleasure, comfort, and consolacion; wee therefore by these our Lrs
aduertise you thereof, desiring and heartily praying you to give wth vs
unto Almighty God, high thankes, glory, laud, and praising, and to pray
for ye good health, prosperity, and continuall preservation of ye sd
Princess accordingly. Yeoven under our Signett at my Lds Manner of
Greenwch, ye 7th day of September, in ye 25th yeare of my said Lds
raigne, An. Dno. 1533."
 Queen Elizabeth was born at the ancient Palace of
Greenwich, or as it was then called, "the Manner of Plesaunce,"
one of the favourite residences of Henry VIII.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Collop Monday is the day before Shrove Tuesday, and in many parts is made
a day of great feasting on account of the approaching Lent. It is so
called, because it was the last day allowed for eating animal food before
Lent; and our ancestors cut up their fresh meat into collops, or steaks,
for salting or hanging up until Lent was over; and even now in many
places it is still a custom to have eggs and collops, or slices of bacon,
for dinner on this day.
In Westmoreland, and particularly at Brough, where I have witnessed it
many times, the good people kill a great many pigs about a week or two
previous to Lent, which have been carefully fattened up for the occasion.
The good housewife is busily occupied in salting the flitches and hams to
hang up in the "pantry," and in cutting the fattest parts of the pig for
collops on this day. The most luscious cuts are baked in a pot in an
oven, and the fat poured out into a bladder, as it runs out of the meat,
for hog's-lard. When all the lard has been drained off, the remains
(which are called _cracklings_, being then baked quite crisp) resemble
the crackling on a leg of pork, are eaten with potatoes, and from the
quantity of salt previously added to them, to preserve the lard, are
unpalatable to many mouths. The rough farmers' men, however, devour them
as a savoury dish, and every time "lard" is being made, _cracklings_ are
served up for the servants' dinner. Indeed, even the more respectable
classes partake of this dish.
PIG-FRY--This is a Collop Monday dish, and is a necessary appendage to
"_cracklings_." It consists of the fattest parts of the entrails of the
pig, broiled in an oven. Numerous herbs, spices, &c. are added to it; and
upon the whole, it is a more sightly "_course_" at table than fat
cracklings. Sometimes the good wife indulges her house with a pancake, as
an assurance that she has not forgotten to provide for Shrove Tuesday.
The servants are also treated with "a drop of something good" on this
occasion; and are allowed (if they have nothing of importance to require
their immediate attention) to spend the afternoon in conviviality.
AVVER BREAD.--During Lent, in the same county, a great quantity of bread,
called avver bread, is made. It is of _oats_, leavened and kneaded into a
large, thin, round cake, which is placed upon a "_girdle_" over the
fire. The bread is about the thickness of a "lady's" slice of bread and
 Rutherglen, in Lanarkshire, has also long been celebrated
for baking _sour cakes_--_See_ vol. X. MIRROR, p 316.--I am of
opinion these cakes are of precisely the same make and origin as
those to which the writer alludes under the above name of "_sour
cakes_," which I presume he must have forgotten the name of. I
should have mentioned, that when these cakes (for they are
frequently called _avver cakes_) are baked, the fire must be of
wood; they never bake them over any other fire. These cakes are
of a remarkably strong, sour taste. I should further note, that
the _girdle_ is attached to a "crane" affixed in the chimney.
I am totally unable to give a definition of the word _avver_, and should
feel much gratified by any correspondent's elucidation. I think _P.T.W_.
may possibly assist me on this point; and if so, I shall be much obliged.
There is an evident corruption in it. I have sometimes thought that avver
means oaten, although I have no other authority than from knowing the
strange pronunciation given to other words.
* * * * *
THE CONTEMPORARY TRAVELLER.
* * * * *
DESCRIPTION OF MEKKA.
Mekka maybe styled a handsome town; its streets are in general broader
than those of eastern cities; the houses lofty, and built of stone; and
the numerous windows that face the streets give them a more lively and
European aspect than those of Egypt or Syria, where the houses present
but few windows towards the exterior. Mekka (like Djidda) contains many
houses three stories high; few at Mekka are white-washed; but the dark
grey colour of the stone is much preferable to the glaring white that
offends the eye in Djidda. In most towns of the Levant the narrowness of
a street contributes to its coolness; and in countries where
wheel-carriages are not used, a space that allows two loaded camels to
pass each other is deemed sufficient. At Mekka, however, it was necessary
to leave the passages wide, for the innumerable visiters who here crowd
together; and it is in the houses adapted for the reception of pilgrims
and other sojourners, that the windows are so contrived as to command a
view of the streets.
The city is open on every side; but the neighbouring mountains, if
properly defended, would form a barrier of considerable strength against
an enemy. In former times it had three walls to protect its extremities;
one was built across the valley, at the street of Mala; another at the
quarter of Shebeyka; and the third at the valley opening into the
Mesfale. These walls were repaired in A.H. 816 and 828, and in a century
after some traces of them still remained.
The only public place in the body of the town is the ample square of the
great mosque; no trees or gardens cheer the eye; and the scene is
enlivened only during the Hadj by the great number of well stored shops
which are found in every quarter. Except four or five large houses
belonging to the Sherif, two _medreses_ or colleges (now converted into
corn magazines,) and the mosque, with some buildings and schools attached
to it, Mekka cannot boast of any public edifices, and in this respect
is, perhaps, more deficient than any other eastern city of the same size.
Neither khans, for the accommodation of travellers, or for the deposit of
merchandize, nor palaces of grandees, nor mosques, which adorn every
quarter of other towns in the East, are here to be seen; and we may
perhaps attribute this want of splendid buildings to the veneration which
its inhabitants entertain for their temple; this prevents them from
constructing any edifice which might possibly pretend to rival it.
The houses have windows looking towards the street; of these many project
from the wall, and have their frame-work elaborately carved, or gaudily
painted. Before them hang blinds made of slight reeds, which exclude
flies and gnats while they admit fresh air. Every house has its terrace,
the floor of which (composed of a preparation from lime-stone) is built
with a slight inclination, so that the rain-water runs off through
gutters into the street; for the rains here are so irregular that it is
not worth while to collect the water of them in cisterns, as is done in
Syria. The terraces are concealed from view by slight parapet walls; for
throughout the east, it is reckoned discreditable that a man should
appear upon the terrace, whence he might be accused of looking at women
in the neighbouring houses, as the females pass much of their time on the
terraces, employed in various domestic occupations, such as drying corn,
hanging up linen, &c. The Europeans of Aleppo alone enjoy the privilege
of frequenting their terraces, which are often beautifully built of
stone; here they resort during the summer evenings, and often to sup and
pass the night. All the houses of the Mekkawys, except those of the
principal and richest inhabitants, are constructed for the accommodation
of lodgers, being divided into many apartments, separated from each
other, and each consisting of a sitting-room and a small kitchen. Since
the pilgrimage, which has begun to decline, (this happened before the
Wahaby conquest,) many of the Mekkawys, no longer deriving profit from
the letting of their lodgings, found themselves unable to afford the
expense of repairs; and thus numerous buildings in the out-skirts have
fallen completely into ruin, and the town itself exhibits in every street
houses rapidly decaying. I saw only one of recent construction; it was in
the quarter of El Shebeyka, belonged to a Sherif, and cost, as report
said, one hundred and fifty purses; such a house might have been built at
Cairo for sixty purses.
The streets are all unpaved; and in summer time the sand and dust in them
are as great a nuisance as the mud is in the rainy season, during which
they are scarcely passable after a shower; for in the interior of the
town the water does not run off, but remains till it is dried up. It may
be ascribed to the destructive rains, which, though of shorter duration
than in other tropical countries, fall with considerable violence, that
no ancient buildings are found in Mekka. The mosque itself has undergone
so many repairs under different sultans, that it may be called a modern
structure; and of the houses, I do not think there exists one older than
four centuries; it is not, therefore, in this place, that the traveller
must look for interesting specimens of architecture or such beautiful
remains of Saracenic structures as are still admired in Syria, Egypt,
Barbary, and Spain. In this respect the ancient and far-famed Mekka is
surpassed by the smallest provincial towns of Syria or Egypt. The same
may be said with respect to Medina, and I suspect that the towns of Yemen
are generally poor in architectural remains.
Mekka is deficient in those regulations of police which are customary in
Eastern cities. The streets are totally dark at night, no lamps of any
kind being lighted; its different quarters are without gates, differing
in this respect also from most Eastern towns, where each quarter is
regularly shut up after the last evening prayers. The town may therefore
be crossed at any time of the night, and the same attention is not paid
here to the security of merchants, as well as of husbands, (on whose
account principally, the quarters are closed,) as in Syrian or Egyptian
towns of equal magnitude. The dirt and sweepings of the houses are cast
into the streets, where they soon become dust or mud according to the
season. The same custom seems to have prevailed equally in ancient times;
for I did not perceive in the skirts of the town any of those heaps of
rubbish which are usually found near the large towns of Turkey.
With respect to water, the most important of all supplies, and that which
always forms the first object of inquiry among Asiatics, Mekka is not
much better provided than Djidda; there are but few cisterns for
collecting rain, and the well-water is so brackish that it is used only
for culinary purposes, except during the time of the pilgrimage, when the
lowest class of hadjys drink it. The famous well of Zemzem, in the great
mosque, is indeed sufficiently copious to supply the whole town; but,
however holy, its water is heavy to the taste and impedes digestion; the
poorer classes besides have not permission to fill their water-skins with
it at pleasure. The best water in Mekka is brought by a conduit from the
vicinity of Arafat, six or seven hours distant. The present government,
instead of constructing similar works, neglects even the repairs and
requisite cleansing of this aqueduct. It is wholly built of stone; and
all those parts of it which appear above ground, are covered with a thick
layer of stone and cement. I heard that it had not been cleaned during
the last fifty years; the consequence of this negligence is, that the
most of the water is lost in its passage to the city through apertures,
or slowly forces its way through the obstructing sediment, though it
flows in a full stream into the head of the aqueduct at Arafat. The
supply which it affords in ordinary times is barely sufficient for the
use of the inhabitants, and during the pilgrimage sweet water becomes an
absolute scarcity; a small skin of water (two of which skins a person may
carry) being then often sold for one shilling--a very high price among
There are two places in the interior of Mekka where the aqueduct runs
above ground; there the water is let off into small channels or
fountains, at which some slaves of the Sherif are stationed, to exact a
toll from persons filling their water-skins. In the time of the Hadj,
these fountains are surrounded day and night by crowds of people
quarrelling and fighting for access to the water. During the late siege,
the Wahabys cut off the supply of water from the aqueduct; and it was not
till some time after, that the injury which this structure then received,
was partially repaired.
There is a small spring which oozes from under the rocks behind the great
palace of the Sherif, called Beit el Sad; it is said to afford the best
water in this country, but the supply is very scanty. The spring is
enclosed, and appropriated wholly to the Sherif's family.
Beggars, and infirm or indigent hadjys, often entreat the passengers in
the streets of Mekka for a draught of sweet water; they particularly
surround the water-stands, which are seen in every corner, and where, for
two paras in the time of the Hadj, and for one para, at other times, as
much water may be obtained as will fill a jar.--_Burckhardt's Travels in
* * * * *
[Illustration: FLAKES OF SNOW MAGNIFIED.]
Snow is one of the treasures of the atmosphere. Its wonderful
construction, and the beautiful regularity of its figures, have been the
object of a treatise by Erasmus Bartholine, who published in 1661, "_De
Figura Nivis Dissertatio_," with observations of his brother Thomas on
the use of snow in medicine. On examining the flakes of snow with a
magnifying glass before they melt, (which may easily be done by making
the experiment in the open air,) they will appear composed of fine
shining spicula or points, diverging like rays from a centre. As the
flakes fall down through the atmosphere, they are joined by more of these
radiated spicula, and thus increase in bulk like the drops of rain or
hail-stones. Dr. Green says, "that many parts of snow are of a regular
figure, for the most part so many little rowels or stars of six points,
and are as perfect and transparent ice as any seen on a pond. Upon each
of these points are other collateral points set at the same angles as the
main points themselves; among these there are divers others, irregular,
which are chiefly broken points and fragments of the regular ones. Others
also, by various winds, seem to have been thawed and frozen again into
irregular clusters; so that it seems as if the whole body of snow was an
infinite mass of icicles irregularly figured. That is, a cloud of vapours
being gathered into drops, those drops forthwith descend, and in their
descent, meeting with a freezing air as they pass through a colder
region, each drop is immediately frozen into an icicle, shooting itself
forth into several points; but these still continuing their descent, and
meeting with some intermitting gales of warmer air, or, in their
continual waftage to and fro, touching upon each other are a little
thawed, blunted, and frozen into clusters, or entangled so as to fall
down in what we call flakes." But we are not, (says the author of the
"Contemplative Philosopher,") to consider snow merely as a curious
phenomenon. The Great Disposer of universal bounty has so ordered it,
that it is eminently subservient, as well as all the works of creation,
to his benevolent designs.
"He gives the winter's snow her airy birth,
And bids her virgin fleeces clothe the earth."
* * * * *
MONKEYS AT GIBRALTAR.
Though Gibraltar abounds with monkeys, there are none to be found in the
rest of Spain; this is supposed to be occasioned by the following
circumstance;--The waters of the Propontis, which anciently might be
nothing but a lake formed by the Granicus and Rhyndacus, finding it more
easy to work themselves a canal by the Dardanelles than any other way,
spread into the Mediterranean, and forcing a passage into the ocean
between Mount Atlas and Calpe, separated the rock from the coast of
Africa; and the monkeys being taken by surprise, were compelled to be
carried with it over to Europe, "These animals," says a resident at
Gibraltar, "are now in high favour here. The lieutenant-governor, General
Don, has taken them under his protection, and threatened with fine and
imprisonment any one who shall in any way molest them. They have
increased rapidly, of course. Many of them are as large as our dogs; and
some of the old grandfathers and great-grandfathers are considerably
larger. I had the good fortune to fall in with a family of about ten, and
had an opportunity of watching for a time their motions. There appeared
to be a father and mother, four or five grown-up children, and three that
had not reached the years of discretion. One of them was still at the
breast; and although he was large enough to be weaned, and indeed made
his escape as rapidly as the mother when they took the alarm, it was
quite impossible to restrain laughter when one saw the mother, with great
gravity, sitting nursing the little elf, with her hand behind it, and the
older children skipping up and down the walls, and playing all sorts of
antic tricks with one another. They made their escape with the utmost
rapidity, leaping over rocks and precipices with great agility, and
evidently unconscious of fear."
* * * * *
LITERARY NOTICES OF
* * * * *
THE GREAT WORLD OF FASHION.
Satire is the pantomime of literature, and harlequin's jacket, his black
vizor, and his eel-like lubricity, are so many harmless satires on the
weak sides of our nature. The pen of the satirist is as effective as the
pencil of the artist; and provided it draw well, cannot fail to prove as
attractive. Indeed, the characters of pantomime, harlequin, columbine,
clown, and pantaloon, make up the best _quarto_ that has ever appeared on
the manners and follies of the times; and they may be turned to as grave
an account as any page of Seneca's Morals, or Cicero's Disputations;
however various the means, the end, or object, is the same, and all is
rounded with a sleep.
"The Great World," in the language of satire, is the "glass of fashion
and the mould of form." Its geography and history are as perpetually
changing as the modes of St. James's, or the features of one of its
toasted beauties; and what is written of it to-day may be dry, and its
time be out of joint, before it has escaped the murky precincts of the
printing-house. It is subtlety itself, and we know not "whence it cometh,
and whither it goeth." Its philosophy is concentric, for this Great World
consists of thousands of little worlds, _usque ad infinitum_, and we do
well if we become not giddy with looking on the wheels of its
We know not whom we have to thank for the pamphlet of sixty
pages--entitled "A Geographical and Historical Account of the Great
World"--now before us. It bears the imprint of "Ridgway, Piccadilly," so
that it is published at the gate of the very region it describes--like
the accounts of _Pere la Chaise_, sold at its _concierge_. Annexed is a
Map of the Great World--but the author has not "attempted to lay down the
longitude; the only measurements hitherto made being confined to the
west of the meridian of St. James's Strait." Then the author tells us of
the atomic hypothesis of the formation of the Great World. "These rules,
for the performance of what appears to be an atomic quadrille, are
furnished by Sir H. Davy, elected by the Great World, master of the
ceremonies for the preservation of order, and prescribing rules for the
regulation of the Universe." "The surface of the Great World, or rather
its crust, has been ascertained to be exceedingly shallow."
The inhabitants of the Great World, in its diurnal rotation, receive no
light from the sun till a few hours before the time of its setting with
us, when it also sets with them, so that they are inconvenienced for a
short time only, by its light. In its annual orbit, it has but one
season, which, though called Spring, is subject to the most sudden
alternations of heat and cold. The females have a singular method of
protecting themselves from the baneful effects of these violent changes,
which is worthy of notice:--they wrap themselves up, during the short
time the sun shines, in pelisses, shawls, and cloaks, their heads being
protected by hats, whose umbrageous brims so far exceed in dimensions the
little umbrellas raised above them, that a stranger is at a loss to
conjecture the use of the latter. Shortly after the sun has set, these
habiliments are all thrown off, dresses of gossamer are substituted in
their place, and the fair wearers rush out into the open air, to enjoy
the cool night breezes.
This is but the "Companion to the Map." The Voyage to the several Islands
of the Great World, "is in a frame-work of the adventures of Sir Heedless
Headlong, who neither reaches the Great World by a balloon, nor Perkins's
steam-gun. He cruises about St. James's Straits, makes for Idler's
Harbour, in Alba; is repulsed, but with a friend, Jack Rashleigh,
journeys to Society Island, lands at Small Talk Bay, and makes for the
capital, Flirtington. He first visits a general assembly of the leaders
of the isle. At the house of assembly the rush of charioteers was so
great, that it is impossible to say what might have been the consequence
of the general confusion, or how many lives might have been lost, but for
the interference of a little man in a flaxen wig, and broad-brimmed hat,
with a cane in his hand, whose authority is said to extend equally over
ladies and pickpockets of all degrees." Then comes an exquisite bit
of badinage on that most stupid of all stupidities, a fashionable rout.
 Quasi Townsend.
"On entering the walls, my surprise may be partly conceived, at finding
those persons, whom I had seen so eagerly striving to gain admittance,
crowded together in a capacious vapour bath, heated to so high a
temperature, that had I not been aware of the strict prohibition of
science, I should have imagined the meeting to have been held for the
purpose of ascertaining, by experiment, the greatest degree of heat which
the human frame is capable of supporting. That they should choose such a
place for their deliberations upon the welfare of the island, appeared to
me extraordinary, and only to be accounted for upon the supposition that
it was intended to carry off, by evaporation, that internal heat to which
the assemblies of legislators of some other countries are known to be
subject. Judging from the grave and melancholy countenances of the
persons assembled, I councluded the affairs of the island to be in a very
disasterous state; and I could discover very little either said or done,
at all calculated to advance its interests. Of the capital itself, some
members said a few words; but, to use the language of our Globe, in so
inaudible a tone of voice, that we could scarcely catch their import. The
principal subject of their discussion consisted of complaining of the
extreme heat of the bath, and mutual inquiries respecting their intention
of immersing themselves in any others that were open the same night."
He next satirizes a fashionable dinner, the parks, the Horticultural
Society, some pleasant jokes upon a rosy mother and her parsnip-pale
daughters, and an admirable piece of fun upon the female oligarchy of
"From hence I made a trip to Crocky's Island, situated on the opposite
side of the Strait. On landing at Hellgate, within Fools' Inlet my
surprise was much excited by the prodigious flocks of gulls, pigeons, and
geese, which were directing their flight towards the Great Fish Lake,
whither I, too, was making my way. I concluded their object was to
procure food, of which a profusion was here spread before them,
consisting of every thing which such birds most delight to peck at; but
no sooner had they settled near the bank, than they were seized upon by a
Fisherman, (who was lying in wait for them,) and completely plucked of
their feathers, an operation to which they very quietly submitted, and
were then suffered to depart. Upon inquiring his motive for what appeared
to me a wanton act of cruelty, he told me his intention was to stuff his
bed with the feathers; 'or,' added he, 'if you _vill_, to feather my
nest.' Being myself an admirer of a soft bed, I saw no reason why I
should not employ myself in the same way; but owing, perhaps, to my being
a novice in the art, and not knowing how to manage the birds properly,
they were but little disposed to submit themselves to my hands; and, in
the attempt, I found myself so completely covered with feathers, that
which of the three descriptions of birds aforesaid I most resembled, it
would have been difficult to determine. The fisherman, seeing my
situation, was proceeding to add to the stock of feathers which he had
collected in a great bag, by plucking those from my person, when, wishing
to save him any further trouble, I hurried back to Hellgate."
We cannot accompany Sir Heedless any further; but must conclude with a
few piquancies from the _Vocabulary of the Language of the Great World_,
which is as necessary to the enjoyment of fashionable life, as is a
glossary to an elementary scientific treatise:--
_At Home._--Making your house as unlike home as possible, by turning
every thing topsy-turvy, removing your furniture, and squeezing as many
people into your rooms as can be compressed together.
_Not at Home._--Sitting in your own room, engaged in reading a new novel,
writing notes, or other important business.
_Affection._--A painful sensation, such as gout, rheumatism, cramp,
_Mourning._--An outward covering of black, put on by the relatives of any
deceased person of consequence, or by persons succeeding to a large
fortune, as an emblem of their grief upon so melancholy an event.
_Morning._--The time corresponding to that between our noon and sun-set.
_Evening._--The time between our sun-set and sun-rise.
_Night._---The time between our sun-rise and noon.
_Domestic._--An epithet applied to cats, dogs, and other tame animals,
keeping at home.
_Reflection._--The person viewed in a looking-glass.
_Tenderness._--A property belonging to meat long kept.
_An Undress._--A thick covering of garments.
_A Treasure._--A lady's maid, skilful in the mysteries of building up
heads, and pulling down characters; ingenious in the construction of
caps, capes, and scandal, and judicious in the application of paint and
flattery; also, a footman, who knows, at a single glance, what visiters
to admit to the presence of his mistress, and whom to refuse.
_Immortality_.--An imaginary privilege of living for ever, conferred upon
heroes, poets, and patriots.
_Taste_.--The art of discerning the precise shades of difference
constituting a bad or well dressed man, woman, or dinner.
_Tact_.--The art of wheedling a rich old relation, winning an heiress, or
dismissing duns with the payment of fair promises.
_Album_.--A ledger kept by ladies for the entry of compliments, in rhyme,
paid _on demand_ to their beautiful hair, complexions fair, the dimpled
chin, the smiles that win, the ruby lips, where the bee sips, &c. &c.;
the whole amount being transferred to their private account from the
_Resignation_.--Giving up a place.
_A Heathen_.--An infidel to the tenets of ton, a Goth; a monster; a
vulgar wretch. One who eats twice of soup, swills beer, _takes_ wine,
knows nothing about ennui, dyspepsia, or peristaltic persuaders, and does
not play ecarte; a creature--nobody.
_Vice_.--An instrument made use of by ladies in _netting_ for the purpose
of securing their work.
_A Martyr_.--A gentleman subject to the gout.
_Temperate_.----Quiet, an epithet applied only to horses.
_Bore_.--A country acquaintance, or relation, a leg of mutton, a
hackney-coach, &c., children, or a family party.
_Love_.--Admiration of a large fortune.
_Courage_.--Shooting a fellow creature, perhaps a friend, from the fear
of being thought a coward.
_Christmas_.--That time of year when tradesmen, and boys from school,
* * * * *
* * * * *
Best charge and bravest retreat in Cupid's fight,
A double key which opens to the heart,
Most rich, when most his riches it impart,
Nest of young joys, schoolmaster of delight,
Teaching the mean at once to take and give,
The friendly stay, where blows both wound and heal,
The petty death where each in other live,
Poor hope's first wealth, hostage of promise weak,
Breakfast of love.
SIR P. SYDNEY.
* * * * *
-----Nine things to sight required are
The power to see, the light, the visible thing:
Being not too small, too thin, too nigh, too far,
Clear space, and time the form distinct to bring.
* * * * *
MERCY AND JUSTICE.
Oh who shall show the countenance and gestures
Of Mercy and Justice; which fair sacred sisters,
With equal poise doth ever balance even,
The unchanging projects of the King of heaven.
The one stern of look, the other mild aspecting,
The one pleas'd with tears, the other blood affecting;
The one bears the sword of vengeance unrelenting
The other brings pardon for the true repenting.
* * * * *
I know that countenance cannot lie
Whose thoughts are legible in the eye.
* * * * *
Unthankfulness is that great sin,
Which made the devil and his angels fall:
Lost him and them the joys that they were in,
And now in hell detains them bound in thrall.
SIR J. HARRINGTON.
* * * * *
Thou hateful monster base ingratitude,
Soul's mortal poison, deadly killing-wound,
Deceitful serpent seeking to delude,
Black loathsome ditch, where all desert is drown'd;
Vile pestilence, which all things dost confound.
At first created to no other end,
But to grieve those, whom nothing could offend.
* * * * *
From hence with grace and goodness compass'd round,
God ruleth, blesseth, keepeth all he wrought,
Above the air, the fire, the sea and ground
Our sense, our wit, our reason and our thought;
Where persons three, with power and glory crown'd,
Are all one God, who made all things of naught.
Under whose feet, subjected to his grace
Sit nature, fortune, motion, time and place.
This is the place from whence like smoke and dust
Of this frail world, the wealth, the pomp, the power,
He tosseth, humbleth, turneth as he lust,
And guides our life, our end, our death and hour,
No eye (however virtuous, pure and just)
Can view the brightness of that glorious bower,
On every side the blessed spirits be
Equal in joys though differing in degree.
* * * * *
In choice of wife prefer the modest chaste,
Lilies are fair in show, but foul in smell,
The sweetest looks by age are soon defaced,
Then choose thy wife by wit and loving well.
Who brings thee wealth, and many faults withal,
Presents thee honey mix'd with bitter gall.
* * * * *
Pride is the root of ill in every state,
The source of sin, the very fiend's fee:
The bead of hell, the bough, the branch, the tree;
From which do spring and sprout such fleshly seeds,
As nothing else but moans and mischief breeds.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
NOTES FROM THE LONDON REVIEW,
ANCIENT AND MODERN LUXURIES.
As a learned doctor, a passionate admirer of the Nicotian plant, was not
long since regaling himself with a pinch of snuff, in the study of an old
college friend, his classical recollections suddenly mixed with his
present sensation, and suggested the following question:--"If a Greek or
a Roman were to rise from the grave, how would you explain to him the
three successive enjoyments which we have had to-day after dinner,--tea,
coffee, and snuff? By what perception or sensation familiar to them,
would you account for the modern use of the three vulgar elements, which
we see notified on every huckster's stall?--or paint the more refined
beatitude of a young barrister comfortably niched in one of our London
divans, concentrating his ruminations over a new Quarterly, by the aid of
a highly-flavoured Havannah?" The doctor's friend, whose ingenuity is not
easily taken at fault, answered, "By friction, which was performed so
consummately in their baths. It is no new propensity of animal nature, to
find pleasure from the combination of a _stimulant_, and a _sedative_.
The ancients chafed their skins, and we chafe our stomachs, exactly for
that same double purpose of excitement and repose (let physiologists
explain their union) which these vegetable substances procure now so
extensively to mankind. In a word, I would tell the ancient Greeks or
Romans, that the dealer in tea, coffee, tobacco, and snuff, is to us what
the experienced practioner of the _strigil_ was to them; with this
difference, however, that while we spare our skins, our stomachs are in
danger of being tanned into leather."
* * * * *
We may compare _tragedy_ to a martyrdom by one of the old masters; which,
whatever be its merit, represents persons, emotions, and events so remote
from the experience of the spectator, that he feels the grounds of his
approbation and blame to be in a great measure conjectural. The
_romance_, such as we generally have seen it, resembles a Gothic
window-piece, where monarchs and bishops exhibit the symbols of their
dignity, and saints hold out their palm branches, and grotesque monsters
in blue and gold pursue one another through the intricacies of a
never-ending scroll, splendid in colouring, but childish in composition,
and imitating nothing in nature but a mass of drapery and jewels thrown
over the commonest outlines of the human figure. The works of the
_comedian_, in their least interesting forms, are Dutch paintings and
caricatures: in their best, they are like Wilkie's earlier pictures,
accurate imitations of pleasing, but familiar objects--admirable as works
of art, but addressed rather to the judgment than to the imagination.
* * * * *
Nothing could be more easy than to prove, in the reflected light of our
literature, that from the period of our Revolution to the present time,
the education of women has improved among us, as much, at least, as that
of men. Unquestionably that advancement has been greater within the last
fifty years, than during any previous period of equal length; and it may
even be doubted whether the modern rage of our fair countrywomen for
universal acquirement has not already been carried to a height injurious
to the attainment of excellence in the more important branches of
But in every age since that of Charles II, Englishwomen have been better
educated than their mothers. For much of this progress we are indebted to
Addison. Since the Spectator set the example, a great part of our lighter
literature, unlike that of the preceding age, has been addressed to the
sexes in common: whatever language could shock the ear of woman, whatever
sentiment could sully her purity of thought, has been gradually expunged
from the far greater and better portion of our works of imagination and
taste; and it is this growing refinement and delicacy of expression,
throughout the last century, which prove, as much as any thing, the
increasing number of female readers, and the increasing homage which has
been paid to the better feelings of their sex.
* * * * *
Mr. Lee, the high-constable of Westminster, in the _Police Report_, says,
"I have known the time when I have seen the regular thieves watching
Drummonds' house, looking out for persons coming out: and the widening of
the pavement of the streets has, I think, done a great deal of good. With
respect to pick-pocketing, there is not a chance of their doing now as
they used to do. If a man attempts to pick a pocket, it is ten to one if
he is not seen, which was not the case formerly."
* * * * *
CRIME IN PARIS.
Vidocq, in his Memoires, relates, that in 1817, with twelve agents or
subordinate officers, he effected in Paris the number of arrests which
he thus enumerates:--
Assassins or murderers 15
Robbers or burglars 5
Ditto with false keys 108
Ditto in furnished houses 12
Pickpockets and cutpurses 73
Receivers of stolen property 38
Fugitives from the prisons 14
Tried galley-slaves, having left their exile 43
Forgers, cheats, swindlers, &c. 46
Vagabonds, robbers returned to Paris 229
By mandates from his excellency 46
Captures and seizures of stolen property 39
* * * * *
The protracted proceedings of our criminal courts are productive of one
serious evil, which we have never seen noticed. Domestic servants, and
others who appear as witnesses, must frequently wait, day after day, in
the court-yard and avenues, or in the adjacent public-houses, until the
cases on which they have been subpoenaed are called for trial. During
these intervals they converse and become acquainted with others in
attendance, a large proportion of whom are generally friends or
associates of the prisoners. It is thus that the most dangerous
intimacies have been formed; and many instances have occurred where
servants, who have been seen in the courts as witnesses for a
prosecution, have soon afterwards appeared there as prisoners.
* * * * *
YOU'LL COME TO OUR BALL.
"Comment! c'est lui?--que je le regarde encore!--c'est que vraiment il
est bien change; n'est pas, mon papa?"--_Les premiers Amours_.
You'll come to our Ball--since we parted,
I've thought of you, more than I'll say;
Indeed, I was half broken-hearted,
For a week, when they took you away.
Fond Fancy brought back to my slumbers
Our walks on the Ness and the Den,
And echoed the musical numbers
Which you used to sing to me then.
I know the romance, since it's over,
'Twere idle, or worse, to recall:--
I know you're a terrible rover:
But, Clarence,--you'll come to our Ball!
It's only a year, since at College
You put on your cap and your gown;
But, Clarence, you're grown out of knowledge,
And chang'd from the spur to the crown:
The voice that was best when it faltered
Is fuller and firmer in tone;
And the smile that should never have altered,--
Dear Clarence,--it is not your own:
Your cravat was badly selected,
Your coat don't become you at all;
And why is your hair so neglected?
You _must_ have it curled for our Ball.
I've often been out upon Haldon,
To look for a covey with Pup:
I've often been over to Shaldon,
To see how your boat is laid up:
In spite of the terrors of Aunty,
I've ridden the filly you broke;
And I've studied your sweet, little Dante,
In the shade of your favourite oak:
When I sat in July to Sir Lawrence,
I sat in your love of a shawl;
And I'll wear what you brought me from Florence,
Perhaps, if you'll come to our Ball.
You'll find us all changed since you vanished:
We've set up a National School,
And waltzing is utterly banished--
And Ellen has married a fool--
The Major is going to travel--
Miss Hyacinth threatens a rout--
The walk is laid down with fresh gravel--
Papa is laid up with the gout:
And Jane has gone on with her easels,
And Anne has gone off with Sir Paul;
And Fanny is sick of the measles,--
And I'll tell you the rest at the Ball.
You'll meet all your Beauties;--the Lily,
And the Fairy of Willowbrook Farm,
And Lucy, who made me so silly
At Dawlish, by taking your arm--
Miss Manners, who always abused you,
For talking so much about Hock--
And her sister who often amused you,
By raving of rebels and Rock;
And something which surely would answer,
A heiress, quite fresh from Bengal--
So, though you were seldom a dancer,
You'll dance, just for once, at our Ball.
But out on the world!--from the flowers
It shuts out the sunshine of truth;
It blights the green leaves in the bowers,
It makes an old age of our youth:
And the flow of our feeling, once in it,
Like a streamlet beginning to freeze,
Though it cannot turn ice in a minute,
Grows harder by sullen degrees--
Time treads o'er the grave of Affection;
Sweet honey is turned into gall.
Perhaps you have no recollection
That ever you danced at our Ball.
You once could be pleased with our ballads--
To-day you have critical ears:
You once could be charmed with our salads--
Alas! you've been dining with Peers--
You trifled and flirted with many---
You've forgotten the when and the how--
There was _one_ you liked better than any--
Perhaps you've forgotten _her_ now.
But of those you remember most newly,
Of those who delight or enthrall,
None love you a quarter so truly
As some you will find at our Ball.
They tell me you've many who flatter,
Because of your wit and your song--
They tell me (and what does it matter?)
You like to be praised by the throng--
They tell me you're shadowed with laurel,
They tell me you're loved by a Blue--
They tell me you're sadly immoral,
Dear Clarence, _that_ cannot be true!
But to me you are still what I found you
Before you grew clever and tall--
And you'll think of the spell that once bound you--
And you'll come--_won't_ you come?--to our Ball!
* * * * *
Two dogs cannot worry one another in the streets without instantly
forming each his party among the crowd; much more then does the principle
apply to higher contests.
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
* * * * *
At the town of Pezenas they still show an elbow-chair of Moliere's (as at
Montpelier they show the gown of Rabelais,) in which the poet, it is
said, ensconced in a corner of a barber's shop, would sit for the hour
together, silently watching the air, gestures, and grimaces of the
village politicians, who, in those days, before coffee-houses were
introduced into France, used to congregate in this place of resort. The
fruits of this study may be easily discerned in those original draughts
of character from the middling and lower classes with which his pieces
Moliere's celebrated farce of _Les Precieuses Ridicules_; a piece in only
one act, but which, by its inimitable satire, effected such a revolution
in the literary taste of his countrymen, as has been accomplished by few
works of a more imposing form--may be considered as the basis of the
dramatic glory of Moliere, and the dawn of good comedy in France. The
satire aimed at a coterie of wits who set themselves up as arbiters of
taste and fashion, and was welcomed with enthusiastic applause, most of
them being present at the first exhibition, to behold the fine fabric,
which they had been so painfully constructing, brought to the ground by a
single blow. "And these follies," said Menage to Chapelin, "which you and
I see so finely criticised here, are what we have been so long admiring.
We must go home and burn our idols." "Courage, Moliere," cried an old man
from the pit; "this is genuine comedy." The price of the seats was
doubled from the time of the second representation. Nor were the effects
of the satire merely transitory. It converted an epithet of praise into
one of reproach; and a _femme precieuse_, a _style precieux_, a _ton
precieux_, once so much admired, have ever since been used only to
signify the most ridiculous affectation. There was, in truth, however,
quite as much luck as merit, in this success of Moliere; whose production
exhibits no finer raillery, or better sustained dialogue, than are to be
found in many of his subsequent pieces. It assured him, however, of his
own strength, and disclosed to him the mode in which he should best hit
the popular taste. "I have no occasion to study Plautus or Terence any
longer," said he, "I must henceforth, study the world." The world
accordingly was his study; and the exquisite models of character which it
furnished him, will last as long as it shall endure.
Though an habitual valetudinarian, Moliere relied almost wholly on the
temperance of his diet for the reestablishment of his health. "What use
do you make of your physician?" said the king to him one day. "We chat
together, Sire," said the poet. "He gives me his prescriptions; I never
follow them; and so I get well."
In Moliere's time, the profession of a comedian was but lightly esteemed
in France at this period. Moliere experienced the inconveniences
resulting from this circumstance, even after his splendid literary career
had given him undoubted claims to consideration. Most of our readers no
doubt, are acquainted with the anecdote of Belloc, an agreeable poet of
the court, who, on hearing one of the servants in the royal household
refuse to aid the author of the _Tartuffe_ in making the king's bed,
courteously requested "the poet to accept his services for that purpose."
Madame Campan's anecdote of a similar courtesy, on the part of Louis the
Fourteenth, is also well known; who, when several of these functionaries
refused to sit at table with the comedian, kindly invited him to sit down
with him, and, calling in some of his principal courtiers, remarked that
"he had requested the pleasure of Moliere's company at his own table, as
it was not thought quite good enough for his officers." This rebuke had
the desired effect.
Moliere died in 1673, he had been long affected by a pulmonary complaint,
and it was only by severe temperance that he was enabled to preserve even
a moderate degree of health. At the commencement of the year, his malady
sensibly increased. At this very season, he composed his _Malade
Imaginaire_; the most whimsical, and perhaps the most amusing of the
compositions, in which he has indulged his raillery against the faculty.
On the 17th of February, being the day appointed for its fourth
representation, his friends would have dissuaded him from appearing, in
consequence of his increasing indisposition. But he persisted in his
design, alleging "that more than fifty poor individuals depended for
their daily bread on its performance." His life fell a sacrifice to his
benevolence. The exertions which he was compelled to make in playing the
principal part of _Argan_ aggravated his distemper, and as he was
repeating the word _juro_, in the concluding ceremony, he fell into a
convulsion, which he vainly endeavoured to disguise from the spectators
under a forced smile. He was immediately carried to his house, in the
_Rue de Richelieu_, now No. 34. A violent fit of coughing, on his
arrival, occasioned the rupture of a blood-vessel; and seeing his end
approaching, he sent for two ecclesiastics of the parish of St. Eustace,
to which he belonged, to administer to him the last offices of religion.
But these worthy persons having refused their assistance, before a third,
who had been sent for, could arrive, Moliere, suffocated with the
effusion of blood, had expired in the arms of his family.
Moliere died soon after entering upon his fifty-second year. He is
represented to have been somewhat above the middle stature, and well
proportioned; his features large, his complexion dark, and his black,
bushy eye-brows so flexible, as to admit of his giving an infinitely
comic expression to his physiognomy. He was the best actor of his own
generation, and by his counsels, formed the celebrated Baron, the best of
the succeeding. He played all the range of his own characters, from
_Alceste_ to _Sganarelle_; though he seems to have been peculiarly fitted
for broad comedy.
He produced all his pieces, amounting to thirty, in the short space of
fifteen years. He was in the habit of reading these to an old female
domestic, by the name of La Foret; on whose unsophisticated judgment he
greatly relied. On one occasion when he attempted to impose upon her the
production of a brother author, she plainly told him that he had never
written it. Sir Walter Scott may have had this habit of Moliere's in his
mind, when he introduced a similar expedient into his "Chronicles of the
Canongate." For the same reason, our poet used to request the comedians
to bring their children with them, when he recited to them a new play.
The peculiar advantage of this humble criticism, in dramatic
compositions, is obvious. Alfieri himself, as he informs us, did not
disdain to resort to it.
Moliere was naturally of a reserved and taciturn temper; insomuch that
his friend Boileau used to call him the _Contemplateur_. Strangers who
had expected to recognise in his conversation the sallies of wit which
distinguished his dramas, went away disappointed. The same thing is
related of La Fontaine. The truth is, that Moliere went into society as a
spectator, not as an actor; he found there the studies for the
characters, which he was to transport upon the stage; and he occupied
himself with observing them. The dreamer, La Fontaine, lived too in a
world of his own creation. His friend, Madame de la Sabliere, paid to him
this untranslateable compliment; "En verite, mon cher La Fontaine, vous
seriez bien bete, si vous n'aviez pas tant d'esprit." These unseasonable
reveries brought him, it may be imagined, into many whimsical adventures.
The great Corneille, too, was distinguished by the same apathy. A
gentleman dined at the same table with him for six months, without
suspecting the author of the "Cid."
Moliere enjoyed the closest intimacy with the great Conde, the most
distinguished ornament of the court of Louis the Fourteenth; to such an
extent indeed, that the latter directed, that the poet should never be
refused admission to him, at whatever hour he might choose to pay his
visit. His regard for his friend was testified by his remark, rather more
candid than courteous, to an Abbe of his acquaintance, who had brought
him an epitaph, of his own writing, upon the deceased poet. "Would to
heaven," said the prince, "that he were in a condition to bring me
* * * * *
DOMESTIC HABITS OF NAPOLEON.
At nine o'clock the emperor came out of his sleeping apartments, dressed
for the whole day. First the officers on duty were admitted, and received
their orders for the day. Then the _grandes entrees_ and the officers of
the household not on duty were introduced; and if any one had any
particular communication to make, he staid till the public audience was
concluded. At half after nine o'clock Napoleon breakfasted, on a small
mahogany table with one leg, and covered with a napkin. The prefect of
the palace stood close by this table, with his hat under his arm. The
breakfast rarely lasted beyond eight minutes. Sometimes, however, men of
science or literature, or distinguished artists, were admitted at this
time, with whom Napoleon is represented to have conversed in an easy and
lively style. Amongst these were M. Monge, Costaz, Denon, Bertholet,
Corvisart, David, Gerard, Isabey, Talma, and Fontaine. Dinner was served
at six o'clock; the emperor and the empress dined alone on the common
days of the week, but on Sunday all the imperial family attended, upon
which occasion Napoleon, the empress, and Madame Mere had arm-chairs, and
the rest chairs without arms. There was only one course. The emperor
drank no wine but Chambertin, and that usually mixed with water. Dinner
lasted in general from fifteen to twenty minutes. All this time the
prefect of the palace had to superintend the affair _en grand_, and to
answer any questions put to him. In the drawing-room a page presented to
the emperor a waiter with a cup and a sugar-stand. Le chef d'office
poured out the coffee; the empress took the cup from the emperor; the
page and the chef d'office retired; the prefect waited till the empress
had poured the coffee into the saucer and given it to Napoleon. After
this the emperor went to his papers again, and the empress played at
cards. Sometimes he would come and talk a little while with the people of
the household in the apartments of the empress, but not often, and he
never staid long. Upon his retiring, the officers on duty attended the
audience _du coucher_, and received their orders for the morrow. This was
the ordinary economy of the emperor's time, when not with the army.
Napoleon read the English newspapers every day in French, and M. de
Bausset says the translation was rigorously exact. One day in January,
1811, the emperor gave some of these extracts to de B., and ordered him
to read them aloud during dinner. The prefect got on pretty well, till he
stumbled at some uncouth epithets, with which he was puzzled how to deal,
especially in the presence of the empress, and a room full of domestics.
He blew his nose, and skipped the words--"No!" said Napoleon, "read out!
you will find many more." "I should be wanting--" "Read, I tell you,"
repeated the emperor, "read every thing!" At last de B. ran upon "tyrant
or despot," which he commuted for "emperor." Napoleon caught the paper
out of his hands, read the real phrase aloud, and then ordered M. de B.
to continue. These translations used to be made by Maret, Duke of
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
* * * * *
The historian, Fuller, in 1607, had a most retentive memory; he could
repeat 500 strange, unconnected words, after twice hearing them; and a
sermon verbatim, after reading it once. He undertook, after passing from
Temple Bar to the farthest part of Cheapside and back again, to mention
all the signs over the shops on both sides of the streets, repeated them
backwards and forwards, and performed the task with great exactness.
* * * * *
About two miles northward of Djidda is shown the tomb of Howa (Eve), the
mother of mankind; it is, as I was informed, a rude structure of stone,
about four feet in length, two or three feet in height, and as many in
breadth; thus resembling the tomb of Noah, seen in the valley of Bekaa,
in Syria--_Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia_.
* * * * *
ACROSTIC ON THE EYES.
E nchanting features! how thy beauties charm;
Y e magic orbs, in which for ever dwell
E ach varying passion, from the bosom warm,
S ilently ye express what language ne'er, can tell.
* * * * *
When Voltaire was once ridiculing our immortal author of "Paradise Lost,"
in the presence of Dr. Young, it is said the latter delivered the
"Thou art so witty, profligate, and thin,
Thou seem'st a Milton, with his Death and Sin."
* * * * *
Garrick told Cibber, "that his pieces were the best ventilators to his
theatre at Drury Lane; for as soon as any of them were played, the
audience directly left the house."
* * * * *
ACROSTIC TO BRAHAM.
B ear not away ye gales that sound!
R apture be mute, nor breathe one sigh!
A ttentive angels hover round--
H eaven listens to his melody;
A nd all the spheres' harmonious strings
M ove in celestial strains when Braham sings!
* * * * *
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* * * * *
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