THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 12, NO. 332.] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
ANNE HATHAWAY'S COTTAGE.
[Illustration: Anne Hathaway's Cottage.]
This is another of Mr. Rider's beautiful "Views to Illustrate the Life of
SHAKSPEARE,"--it being the exterior of the cottage in which the poet's
wife (whose maiden name was _Hathaway_) is said to have resided with her
parents, in the village of Shottery, about a mile from Stratford-upon-Avon.
 Merridew and Rider, Warwick and Leamington, and Goodhugh,
Neither the exterior nor interior of this humble abode, says Mr. Rider,
appears to have been subjected to any renovating process; and as there
exists no reasonable ground for distrusting the fact of its having been
the abode of _Anne Hathaway_, previous to her marriage with Shakspeare, it
must ever be regarded as one of the most interesting relics connected with
his history. The occupier of the cottage in July, 1827, was an old woman,
the widow of John Hathaway Taylor, whose mother was a Hathaway, and the
last of the family of that name.
The widow Taylor showed Mr. Rider the old carved bedstead, mentioned by
"Ireland," and assured him she perfectly recollected his purchasing of her
mother-in-law the piece of furniture which had always been known by the
designation of _Shakspeare's Courting-Chair_. From the wood-cut of this
chair, given by Ireland in his "Views on the Avon," Mr. Rider has been
enabled to introduce it in his representation of the interior of the
We have accordingly detached it for a vignette, and as the throne where
Sighing like furnace, with woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow--
it will probably be acceptable to the most enthusiastic of Shakspeare's
admirers; not doubting that scores of our lady-friends will provide
themselves with a chair of the same construction, if they would insure the
fervour and sincerity of the poet's love, or by association become more
susceptible of his inspirations of the master-passion of humanity.
* * * * *
_(A Tale, from the German of Goethe.)_
When I was in Italy, Antonelli, an opera-singer, was the favourite of the
Neapolitan public. Her youth, beauty, and talents insured her applause on
the stage; nor was she deficient in any quality that could render her
agreeable to a small circle of friends. She was not indifferent either
to love or praise; but her discretion was such as to enable her to enjoy
both with becoming dignity. Every young man of rank or fortune in Naples,
was eager to be numbered among her suitors; few however, met with a
favourable reception; and though she was, in the choice of her lovers,
directed chiefly by her eyes and her heart, she displayed on all
occasions a firmness, and stability of character, that never failed to
engage even such as were indifferent to her favours. I had frequent
opportunities of seeing her, being on terms of the closest intimacy with
one of her favoured admirers.
Several years were now elapsed, and she had become acquainted with a
number of gentlemen, many of whom had rendered themselves disgusting by
the extreme levity and fickleness of their manners. She had repeatedly
observed young gentlemen, whose professions of constancy and attachment
would persuade their mistress of the impossibility of their ever
deserting her, withhold their protection in those very cases where it
was most needed; or, what is still worse, incited by the temptation of
ridding themselves of a troublesome connexion, she had known them give
advice which has entailed misery and ruin.
Her acquaintance hitherto had been of such a nature as to leave her mind
inactive. She now began to feel a desire, to which she had before been a
stranger. She wished to possess a friend, to whom she might communicate
her most secret thoughts, and happily, just at that time, she found one
among those who surrounded her, possessed of every requisite quality,
and who seemed, in every respect, worthy of her confidence.
This gentleman was by birth a Genoese, and resided at Naples, for the
purpose of transacting some commercial business of great importance, for
the house with which he was connected. In possession of good parts, he had,
in addition received a very finished education. His knowledge was
extensive; and no less care had been bestowed on his body, than on his
mind. He was inspired with the commercial spirit natural to his countrymen,
and considered mercantile affairs on a grand scale. His situation was,
however, not the most enviable; his house had unfortunately been drawn
into hazardous speculations, which were afterwards attended with expensive
law-suits. The state of his affairs grew daily more intricate, and the
uneasiness thereby produced gave him an air of seriousness, which in the
present case was not to his disadvantage; for it encouraged our young
heroine to seek his friendship, rightly judging, that he himself stood in
need of a friend.
Hitherto, he had seen her only occasionally, and at places of public
resort; she now, on his first request, granted him access to her house;
she even invited him very pressingly, and he was not remiss in obeying the
She lost no time in making him acquainted with her wishes, and the
confidence she reposed in him. He was surprised, and rejoiced at the
proposal. She was urgent in the request that he might always remain her
friend, and never shade that sacred name with the ambiguous claims of a
lover. She made him acquainted with some difficulties which then perplexed
her, and on which his experience would enable him to give the best advice,
and propose the most speedy means for her relief. In return for this
confidence, he did not hesitate to disclose to her his own situation; and
her endeavours to soothe and console him were, in reality, not without a
beneficial consequence, as they served to put him in that state of mind,
so necessary for acting with deliberation and effect. Thus a friendship
was in a short time cemented, founded on the most exalted esteem, and on
the consciousness that each was necessary to the well-being of the other.
It happens but too often, that we make agreements without considering
whether it is in our power to fulfil their conditions. He had promised to
be only her friend, and not to think of her as a mistress; and yet he
could not deny that he was mortified and disgusted with the sight of any
other visiter. His ill-humour was particularly excited by hearing her, in
a jesting manner, enumerate the good or bad qualities of some favourite,
and after having shown much good sense in pointing out his blemishes,
neglect her friend, and prefer his company that very evening.
It happened soon after that the heart of the fair was disengaged. Her
friend was rejoiced at the discovery, and represented to her, that he was
entitled to her affection before all others. She gave ear to his petition,
when she found resistance was vain. "I fear," said she, "that I am parting
with the most valuable possession on earth--a friend, and that I shall get
nothing in return but a lover." Her suspicions were well founded: he had
not enjoyed his double capacity long, when he showed a degree of
peevishness, of which he had before thought himself incapable; as a friend
he demanded her esteem; as a lover he claimed her undivided affection; and
as a man of sense and education, he expected rational and pleasing
conversation. These complicated claims, however, ill accorded with the
sprightly disposition of Antonelli; she could consent to no sacrifices,
and was unwilling to grant exclusive rights. She therefore endeavoured in
a delicate manner to shorten his visits, to see him less frequently, and
intimated that she would upon no consideration whatever give up her
As soon as he remarked this new treatment, his misery was beyond endurance,
and unfortunately, this was not the only mischance that befel him; his
mercantile affairs assumed a very doubtful appearance; besides this, a
view of his past life called forth many mortifying reflections; he had
from his earliest youth looked upon his fortune as inexhaustible, his
business often lay neglected, while engaged in long and expensive travels,
endeavouring to make a figure in the fashionable world, far above his
birth and fortune. The lawsuits, which were now his only hope, proceeded
slowly, and were connected with a vast expense. These required his
presence in Palermo several times; and while absent on his last journey,
Antonelli made arrangements calculated, by degrees, to banish him entirely
from her house. On his return, he found she had taken another house at a
considerable distance from his own; the Marquess de S., who, at that time,
had great influence on plays and public diversions, visited her daily, and
to all appearance, with great familiarity. This mortified him severely,
and a serious illness was the consequence. When the news of his sickness
reached his friend, she hastened to him, was anxious to see him
comfortable, and discovering that he was in great pecuniary difficulties,
on going away she left him a sum of money sufficient to relieve his wants.
Her friend had once presumed to encroach on her freedom; this attempt was
with her an unpardonable offence, and the discovery of his having acted so
indiscreetly in his own affairs, had not given her the most favourable
opinion of his understanding and his character; notwithstanding the
decrease of her affection, her assiduity for him had redoubled. He did not,
however, remark the great change which had really taken place; her anxiety
for his recovery, her watching for hours at his bedside, appeared to him
rather proofs of friendship and love, than the effects of compassion, and
he hoped, on his recovery, to be re-instated in all his former rights.
But how greatly was he mistaken! In proportion as his health and strength
returned, all tenderness and affection for him vanished; nay, her aversion
for him now was equal to the pleasure with which she formerly regarded him.
He had also, in consequence of these multiplied reverses, contracted a
habit of ill-humour, of which he was himself not aware, and which greatly
contributed to alienate Antonelli. His own bad management in business he
attributed to others; so that, in his opinion, he was perfectly justified.
He looked upon himself as an unfortunate man, persecuted by the world, and
hoped for an equivalent to all his sufferings and misfortunes in the
undivided affection of his mistress.
This concession he insisted on, the first day he was able to leave his
chamber, and visit her. He demanded nothing less than that she should
resign herself up to him entirely, dismiss her other friends and
acquaintances, leave the stage, and live solely with him, and for him. She
showed him the impossibility of granting his demands, at first mildly, but
was at last obliged to confess the melancholy truth, that their former
relation existed no more. He left her, and never saw her again.
He lived some years longer, seeing but few acquaintances, and chiefly in
the company of a pious old lady, with whom he occupied the same dwelling,
and who lived on the rent of an adjoining house, her only income. During
this interval, he gained one of his law-suits, and soon after the other;
but his health was destroyed, and his future prospects blasted. A slight
cause brought on a relapse of his former illness; the physician acquainted
him with his approaching end. He was resigned to his fate, and his only
remaining wish was, once more to see his lovely friend. He sent the
servant to her, who, in more happy days, had often been the bearer of
tender messages. He prayed her to grant his request: she refused. He sent
a second time, entreating most ardently she might not be deaf to his
prayers, with no better success. She persisted in her first answer. The
night was already far advanced, when he sent a third time; she showed
great agitation, and confided to me the cause of her embarrassment, (for I
had just happened to be at supper, at her house, with the Marquess, and
some other friends.) I advised her--I entreated her, to show her friend
this last act of kindness. She seemed undecided, and in great emotion; but
after a few moments she became more collected. She sent away the servant
with a refusal, and he returned no more.
When supper was over, we sat together in familiar conversation, while
cheerfulness and good humour reigned among us. It was near midnight, when
suddenly a hollow, doleful sound was heard, like the groaning of a human
being; gradually it grew weaker, and at last died away entirely. A
momentary trembling seized us all; we stared at each other, and then
around us, unable to explain the mystery.
The Marquess ran to the window, while the rest of us were endeavouring to
restore the lady, who lay senseless on the floor. It was some time before
she recovered. The jealous Italian would scarcely give her time to open
her eyes, when he began to load her with reproaches. If you agree on signs
with your friends, said the Marquess, I pray you let them be less open and
terrifying. She replied, with her usual presence of mind, that, having the
right to see any person, at any time, in her house, she could hardly be
supposed to choose such appalling sounds as the forerunners of happy
And really there was something uncommonly terrifying in the sound; its
slowly lengthened vibrations were still fresh in our ears. Antonelli was
pale, confused, and every moment in danger of falling into a swoon. We
were obliged to remain with her half the night. Nothing more was heard. On
the following evening the same company was assembled; and although the
cheerfulness of the preceding day was wanting, we were not dejected.
Precisely at the same hour we heard the same hollow groan as the night
We had in the meantime formed many conjectures on the origin of this
strange sound, which were as contradictory as they were extravagant. It is
unnecessary to relate every particular: in short, whenever Antonelli
supped at home, the alarming noise was heard at the same hour, sometimes
stronger, at others weaker. This occurrence was spoken of all over Naples.
Every inmate of the house, every friend and acquaintance, took the most
lively interest; even the police was summoned to attend. Spies were placed
at proper distances around the house. To such as stood in the street the
sound seemed to arise in the open air, while those in the room heard it
close by them. As often as she supped out all was silent, but whenever she
remained at home, she was sure to be visited by her uncivil guest; but
leaving her house was not always a means of escaping him. Her talent and
character gained her admittance into the first houses; the elegance of her
manners and her lively conversation, made her everywhere welcome; and, in
order to avoid her unpleasant visiter, she used to pass her evenings in
company out of the house.
A gentleman, whose age and rank made him respectable, accompanied her home
one evening in his coach. On taking leave of him at her door, the well
known voice issued from the steps beneath them; and the old gentleman, who
was perfectly well acquainted with the story, was helped into his coach
more dead than alive.
She was one evening accompanied by a young singer, in her coach, on a
visit to a friend's. He had heard of this mysterious affair, and being of
a lively disposition, expressed some doubts on the subject. I most
ardently wish, continued he, to hear the voice of your invisible companion;
do call him, there are two of us, we shall not be frightened. Without
reflecting, she had the courage to summon the spirit, and presently, from
the floor of the coach arose the appalling sound; it was repeated three
times, in rapid succession, and died away in a hollow moan. When the door
of the carriage was opened, both were found in a swoon, and it was some
time before they were restored and could inform those present of their
This frequent repetition at length affected her health; and the spirit,
who seemed to have compassion on her, for some weeks gave no signs of his
presence. She even began to cherish a hope that she was now entirely rid
of him--but in this she was mistaken.
When the Carnival was over, she went into the country on a visit, in the
company of a lady, and attended only by one waiting maid. Night overtook
them before they could reach their journey's end; and suffering an
interruption, from the breaking of a chain, they were compelled to stop
for the night at an obscure inn by the road side. Fatigue made Antonelli
seek for repose immediately on their arrival; and she had just lain down,
when the waiting-maid, who was arranging a night-lamp, in a jesting tone,
observed, "We are here, in a manner, at the end of the earth, and the
weather is horrible; will he be able to find us here?" That moment the
voice was heard, louder and more terrible than ever. The lady imagined the
room filled with demons, and, leaping out of bed, ran down stairs,
alarming the whole house. Nobody slept a wink that night. This was the
last time the voice was heard. But this unwelcome visiter had soon another
and more disagreeable method of notifying his presence.
She had been left in peace some time, when one evening, at the usual hour,
while she was sitting at table with her friends, she was startled at the
discharge of a gun or a well-charged pistol; it seemed to have passed
through the window. All present heard the report and saw the flash, but on
examination the pane was found uninjured. The company was nevertheless
greatly concerned, and it was generally believed that some one's life had
been attempted. Some present ran to the police, while the rest searched
the adjoining houses;--but in vain; nothing was discovered that could
excite the least suspicion. The next evening sentinels were stationed at
all the neighbouring windows; the house itself, where Antonelli lived, was
closely searched, and spies were placed in the street.
But all this precaution availed nothing. Three months in succession, at
the same moment, the report was heard; the charge entered at the same pane
of glass without making the least alteration in its appearance; and what
is remarkable, it invariably took place precisely one hour before midnight;
although the Neapolitans have the Italian way of keeping time according to
which midnight forms no remarkable division. At length the shooting grew
as familiar as the voice had formerly been, and this innocent malice of
the spirit was forgiven him. The report often took place without
disturbing the company, or even interrupting their conversation.
One evening, after a very sultry day, Antonelli, without thinking of the
approaching hour, opened the window, and stepped with the Marquess on the
balcony. But a few moments had elapsed, when the invisible gun was
discharged, and both were thrown back into the room with a violent shock.
On recovering, the Marquess felt the pain of a smart blow on his right
check; and the singer, on her left. But no other injury being received,
this event gave rise to a number of merry observations. This was the last
time she was alarmed in her house, and she had hopes of being at last
entirely rid of her unrelenting persecutor, when one evening, riding out
with a friend, she was once more greatly terrified. They drove through the
Chiaja, where the once-favoured Genoese had resided. The moon shone bright.
The lady with her demanded, "Is not that the house where Mr. ---- died?"
"It is one of those two, if I am not mistaken," replied Antonelli. That
instant the report burst upon their ears louder than ever; the flash
issuing from one of the houses, seemed to pass through the carriage. The
coachman supposing they were attacked by robbers, drove off in great haste.
On arriving at the place of destination, the two ladies were taken out in
a state of insensibility.
This was, however, the last scene of terror. The invisible tormentor now
changed his manner, and used more gentle means. One evening, soon after, a
loud clapping of hands was heard under her window. Antonelli, as a
favourite actress and singer, was no stranger to these sounds; they
carried in them nothing terrifying, and they might be ascribed to one of
her admirers. She paid little attention to it; her friends, however, were
more vigilant, they sent out spies as formerly. The clapping was heard,
but no one was to be seen; and it was hoped that these mysterious doings
would soon entirely cease.
After some evenings the clapping was no longer heard, and more agreeable
sounds succeeded. They were not properly melodious, but unspeakably
delightful and agreeable; they seemed to issue from the corner of an
opposite street, approach the window, and die gently away. It seemed as if
some aerial spirit intended them as a prelude to some piece of music that
he was about to perform. These tones soon became weaker, and at last were
heard no more.
I had the curiosity, soon after the first disturbance, to go to the house
of the deceased, under the pretext of visiting the old lady who had so
faithfully attended him in his last illness. She told me her friend had an
unbounded affection for Antonelli; that he had, for some weeks previous to
his death, talked only of her, and sometimes represented her as an angel,
and then again as a devil. When his illness became serious, his only wish
was to see her before his dissolution, probably in hopes of receiving from
her some kind expression, or prevailing on her to give him some consoling;
proof of her love and attachment. Her obstinate refusal caused him the
greatest torments, and her last answer evidently hastened his end; for,
added she, he made one violent effort, and raising his head, he cried out
in despair, _"No, it shall avail her nothing; she avoids me, but I'll
torment her, though the grave divide us!"_ And indeed the event proved
that a man may perform his promise in spite of death itself.
* * * * *
MODERNIZED FROM THE "MONK'S TALE" IN CHAUCER.
_(For the Mirror.)_
Of Uggolino, Pisa's hapless Count,
How shall my Muse the piteous tale relate!
Near to that city, on a gentle mount,
There stands a tow'r--within its donjon grate
They lock'd him up, and, dreadful to recount,
With him three tender babes to share his fate!
But five years old the eldest of the three--
Oh! who could rob such babes of liberty!
Doom'd was the Count within that tow'r to die,
Him Pisa's vengeful bishop did oppose;
With covert speech and false aspersions sly
He stirr'd the people, till they madly rose,
And shut him in this prison strong and high;
His former slaves are now his fiercest foes.
Coarse was their food, and scantily supplied,
A prelude to the death these captives died.
And on a luckless day it thus befell--
About their surly jailer's wonted hour
To bring them food, he enter'd not their cell,
But bolted fast their prison's outer door.
This on the County's heart rang like a knell--
Hope was excluded from this grizzly tow'r.
Speechless he sat, despair forbade to rave--
This hold was now their dungeon and their grave.
His youngest babe had not seen summers three;
"Father," he cried, "why does the man delay
To bring out food? how naughty he must be;
I have not eat a morsel all this day.
Dear father, have you got some bread for me?
Oh, if you have, do give it me, I pray;
I am so hungry that I cannot sleep--
I'll kiss you, father--do not, do not weep."
And day by day this pining innocent
Thus to his father piteously did cry,
Till hunger had perform'd the stern intent
Of their fierce foes. "Oh, father, I shall die!
Take me upon your lap--my life is spent--
Kiss me--farewell!" Then with a gentle sigh,
Its spotless spirit left the suff'ring clay,
And wing'd its fright to everlasting day.
(He who has mark'd that wild, distracting mien,
Which for this Count immortal Reynold's drew,
When bitter woe, despair, and famine keen
Unite in that sad face to shock the view,
Will wish, while gazing on th' appalling scene,
For pity's sake the story is not true.
What hearts but fiends, what less than hellish hate,
Could e'er consign that group to such a fate?)
And when he saw his darling child was dead,
From statue-like despair the Count did start;
He tore his matted locks from off his head,
And bit his arms, for grief so wrung his heart.
His two surviving babes drew near and said,
(Thinking 'twas hunger's thorn which caus'd his smart,)
"Dear sire, you gave us life, to you we give
Our little bodies--feed on them and live!"
Like two bruis'd lilies, soon they pin'd away,
And breath'd their last upon their father's knee;
Despair and Famine bow'd him to their sway;
He died--here ends this Count's dark tragedy.
Whoso would read this tale more fully may
Consult the mighty bard of Italy;
Dante's high strain will all the sequel tell,
So courteous, friendly readers, fare ye well.
* * * * *
A LAPLANDER'S FAREWELL TO THE SETTING SUN.
_(For the Mirror.)_
Adieu thou beauteous orb, adieu,
Thy fading light scarce meets my view,
Thy golden tints reflected still
Beam mildly on my native hill:
Thou goest in other lands to shine,
Hail'd and expected by a numerous line,
Whilst many days and many months must pass
Ere thou shall'st bless us with one closing glance.
My cave must now become my lowly home,
Nor can I longer from its precincts roam,
Till the fixed time that brings thee back again
With added splendour to resume thy reign.
* * * * *
ANCIENT VALUE OF BOOKS.
_(For the Mirror.)_
We have it from good authority, that about A.D. 1215, the Countess of
Anjou paid two hundred sheep, five quarters of wheat, and the same
quantity of rye, for a volume of Sermons--so scarce and dear were books at
that time; and although the countess might in this case have possibly been
imposed upon, we have it, on Mr. Gibbon's authority, that the value of
manuscript copies of the Bible, for the use of the monks and clergy,
commonly was from four to five hundred crowns at Paris, which, according
to the relative value of money at that time and now in our days, could not,
at the most moderate calculation, be less than as many pounds sterling in
the present day.
H. W. P.
* * * * *
MARINE GLOW WORMS.
_(For the Mirror.)_
These extraordinary little insects are more particularly noticed in Italy,
during the period of summer, than in any other part of the world. When
they make their appearance, they glitter like stars reflected by the sea,
so beautiful and luminous are their minute bodies. Many contemplative
lovers of the phenomena of nature are seen, soon after sun-set, along the
sea coast, admiring the singular lustre of the water when covered with
these particles of life, which it may be observed, are more numerous where
the _alga marina_, or sea-weed abounds.
The marine glow-worm is composed of eleven articulations, or rings; upon
these rings, and near the belly of the insect, are placed fins, which
appear to be the chief instruments of its motion. It has two small horns
issuing from the fore part of the head, and its tail is cleft in two. To
the naked eye of man, they seem even smaller than the finest hairs; and
their substance is delicate beyond description. They first begin to make
their appearance upon the sea-weed about the middle of April, and very
soon after multiply exceedingly over the whole surface of the water.
I think it is more than probable, that the heat of the sun causes the
marine glow-worm to lay its eggs; at all events it is certain, that
terrestrial insects of this species shine only in the heat of summer, and
that their peculiar resplendency is produced during the period of their
G. W. N.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
The origin of epitaphs, and the precise period when they were first
introduced, is involved in obscurity; but that they were in use several
centuries prior to the Christian era is indisputable. The invention of
them, however, has been attributed to the scholars of Linus, who,
according to Diogenes, was the son of Mercury and Urania; he was born at
Thebes, and instructed Hercules in the art of music; who, in a fit of
anger at the ridicule of Linus, on his awkwardness in holding the lyre,
struck him on the head with his instrument, and killed him. The scholars
of Linus lamented the death of their master, in a mournful kind of poem,
called from him _Aelinum_. These poems were afterwards designated
_Epitaphia_, from the two words [Greek: epi], _upon_, and [Greek: taphios],
_sepulchre_, being engraved on tombs, in honour or memory of the deceased,
and generally containing some eloge of his virtues or good qualities.
Among the Lacedaemonians, epitaphs were only allowed to men who died
bravely in battle; and to women, who were remarkable for their chastity.
The Romans often erected monuments to illustrious persons whilst living,
which were preserved with great veneration after their decease. In this
country, according to Sir Henry Chauncy, "Any person may erect a tomb,
sepulchre, or monument for the deceased in any church, chancel, chapel, or
churchyard, so that it is not to the hindrance of the celebration of
divine service; that the defacing of them is punishable at common law,
the party that built it being entitled to the action during his life, and
the heir of the deceased after his death."
Boxhornius has made a well chosen collection of Latin epitaphs, and F.
Labbe has also made a similar one in the French language, entitled,
"_Tresor des Epitaphes_." In our own language the collection of Toldewy is
the best; there are also several to be found among the writings of Camden
and Weaver, and in most of the county histories.
In epitaphs, the deceased person is sometimes introduced by way of
prosopopaeia, speaking to the living, of which the following is an
instance, wherein the defunct wife thus addresses her surviving husband:--
"Immatura peri; sed tu, felicior, annos
Vive tuos, conjux optime, vive meos."
The following epitaphs, out of several others, are worth preserving. That
"Sufficit huic tumulus, cui non sufficeret orbis."
That of Tasso:--
"Les os du Tasse."
Similar to which is that of Dryden:--
The following is that of General Foy, in Pere la Chaise:--
"Honneur au GENERAL FOY.
Il se repose de ses travaux,
Et ses oeuvres le suivent.
Hier quand de ses jours la source fut tarie,
La France, en le voyant sur sa couche entendu,
Implorait un accent de cette voix cherie.
Helas! au cri plaintif jete par la nature,
C'est la premiere fois qu'il ne pas repondu"
The following is said to have been written by "rare Ben Jonson," and has
been much admired:--
"Underneath this stone doth lie
As much virtue as could die;
Which, when alive, did vigour give
To as much beauty as could live."
To these could be added several others, but at present we shall content
ourselves with quoting the two following, as specimens of the satirical
_Prior, on himself, ridiculing the folly of
those who value themselves on their
"Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Here lie the bones of Matthew Prior,
The son of Adam and Eve,
Let Bourbon or Nassau go higher."
* * * * *
"Here, fast asleep, full six feet deep,
And seventy summers ripe,
George Thomas lies in hopes to rise,
And smoke another pipe."
B. T. S.
* * * * *
The following inscription, in a churchyard in Germany, long puzzled alike
the learned and the unlearned:--
O quid tua te
be bis bia abit
ra ra ra
ram ram ram
Mox eris quod ego nunc.
By accident the meaning was discovered, and the solution is equally
remarkable for its ingenuity and for the morality it inculcates:--"O
superbe quid superbis? tua superbia te superabit. Terra es, et in terram
ibis. Mox eris quod ego nunc."--"O vain man! why shouldst thou be proud?
thy pride will be thy ruin. Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.
Soon shalt thou be what I am now."
W. G. C.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
"John's temper depended very much upon the air; his spirits rose and fell
with the weather-glass."--ARBUTHNOT.
No one can deny that the above is a _floating_ topic; and we challenge all
the philosophy of ancients or moderns to prove it is not. After the
memorable July 15, (St. Swithin,) people talk of the result with as much
certainty as a merchant calculates on _trade winds_; and in like manner,
hackney-coachmen and umbrella-makers have their _trade rains_. Indeed,
there are, as Shakespeare's contented Duke says, "books in the running
brooks, and good in every thing;" and so far from neglecting to turn
the ill-wind to our account, we are disposed to venture a few seasonable
truisms for the gratification of our readers, although a wag may say our
subject is a dry one.
 Only the other evening we heard two sons of the whip on a
hackney-coach stand thus invoke the showery deity: "God send us a
good heavy shower;" then the fellows looked upwards, chuckled, and
rubbed their hands.
In England, the weather is public news. Zimmerman, however, thinks it is
not a safe topic of discourse. "Your company," says he, "may be _hippish_."
Shenstone, too, says a fine day is the only enjoyment which one man does
not envy another. All this is whimsical enough; but doubtless we are more
operated on by _the weather_ than by any thing else. Perhaps this is
because we are islanders; for talk to an "intellectual" man about the
climate, and out comes something about our "insular situation, aqueous
vapours, condensation," &c. Then take up a newspaper on any day of a wet
summer, and you see a long string of paragraphs, with erudite authorities,
about "the weather," average annual depth of rain, &c.; and a score of
lies about tremendous rains, whose only authority, like that of most
miracles, is in their antiquity or repetition. In short, _water_ is one of
the most popular subjects in this age of inquiry. What were the first
treatises of the _Useful Knowledge_ Society? _Hydrostatics_ and
_Hydraulics_. What is the attraction at Sadler's Wells, Bath, and
Cheltenham, but water? the Brighton people, too, not content with the sea,
have even found it necessary to superadd to their fashionable follies,
artificial mineral waters, with whose fount the grossest duchess may in a
few days recover from the repletion of a whole season; and the minister,
after the jading of a session, soon resume his wonted complacency and good
humour. Our aquatic taste is even carried into all our public
amusements; would the festivities in celebration of the late peace have
been complete without the sham fight on the Serpentine? To insure the run
of a melo-drama, the New River is called in to flow over deal boards, and
form a cataract; and the Vauxhall proprietors, with the aid of a
_hydropyric_ exhibition, contrive to represent a naval battle. This
introduction during the past season was, however, as perfectly
_gratuitous_ as that of the _rain_ was uncalled for. Had they contented
themselves with the latter, the scene would have been more true to nature.
 Even the greatest hero of the age, who has won all his glory _by
land_, has lately been drinking the Cheltenham _waters_. The proprietor
of the well at which he drank, jocosely observed that his was "the best
We carry this taste into our money-getting speculations, those freaks of
the funds that leave many a man with one unfunded coat. The Thames tunnel
is too amphibious an affair to be included in the number; but the ship
canal project, the bridge-building mania, and the _penchant_ for working
mines by steam, evidently belong to them. The fashion even extends to
royalty, since our good King builds a fishing-temple, and dines on the
Virginia Water; and the Duke of Clarence, as Lord High Admiral, gives a
_dejeune a la fourchette_ between Waterloo and Westminster bridges.
Whoever takes the trouble to read a paper in a late _Edinburgh Review_ on
the _Nervous System_, will doubtless find that much of our predilection
for hanging and drowning is to be attributed to this "insular situation."
Every man and woman of us is indeed a self _pluviometer_, or rain-gauge;
or, in plain terms, our nerves are like so many musical strings, affected
by every change of the atmosphere, which, if screwed up too tight, are apt
to snap off, and become useless; or, if you please, we are like so many
barometers, and our animal spirits like their quicksilver; so "servile"
are we to all the "skyey influences." Take, for example, the same man at
three different periods of the year: on a fine morning in January, his
nerves are braced to their best pitch, and, in his own words, he is fit
for any thing; see him panting for cooling streams in a burning July day,
when though an Englishman, he is "too hot to eat;" see him on a wet, muggy
ninth of November, when the finery of the city coach and the new liveries
appear tarnished, and common councilmen tramp through the mud and rain in
their robes of little authority--even with the glorious prospect of the
Guildhall tables, the glitter of gas and civic beauty, and the six pounds
of turtle, and iron knives and forks before him--still he is a miserable
creature, he drinks to desperation, and is carried home at least three
hours sooner than he would be on a fine frosty night. Then, instead of
fifteen pounds to the square inch, atmospheric pressure is increased to
five-and-forty, not calculating the _simoom_ of the following morning,
when he is as dry as the desert of Sahara, and eyes the pumps and
soda-water fountains with as much _gout_ as the Israelites did the water
from Mount Horeb.
Man, however, is the most helpless of all creatures in water, and with the
exception of a few proscribed pickpockets and swindlers, he is almost as
helpless on land. This infirmity, or difficulty of keeping above water,
accounts for the crammed state of our prisons, fond as we are of the
element. On the great rivers of China, where thousands of people find it
more convenient to live in covered boats upon the water, than in houses on
shore, the younger and male children have a _hollow ball_ of some light
material attached constantly to their necks, so that in their frequent
falls overboard, they are not in danger. Had we not read this in a grave,
philosophical work, we should have thought it a joke upon poor humanity,
or at best a piece of poetical justice, and that the hollow ball, &c.
represented the head--fools being oftener inheritors of good fortune than
their wiser companions. As the great secret in swimming is to keep the
chest as full of air as possible, perhaps the great art of living is to
keep the head a _vacuum_, a state "adapted to the meanest capacity." But
had kind Nature supplied us with an air-bladder at the neck, the heaviest
of us might have floated to eternity, Leander's swimming across the
Hellespont no wonder at all, and the drags of the Humane Society be
converted into halters for the suspension and recovery of old offenders
and small debts.
_A wet day in London_ is what every gentleman who does not read, or does
not recollect, Shakspeare, calls _a bore_, and every lady decides to be
a _nuisance_. Abroad, everything is discomfiture; at home all is fidget
and uneasiness. What is called a smart shower, sweeps off a whole stand of
hackney-coaches in a few seconds, and leaves a few leathern conveniences
called cabriolets, so that your only alternative is that of being soaked
to the skin, or pitched out, taken up, bled, and carried home in "a state
of insensibility." The Spanish proverb, "it never rains but it pours" soon
comes to pass, and every street is momentarily washed as clean as the most
diligent housemaid could desire. Every little shelter is crowded with
solitary, houseless-looking people, who seem employed in taking
descriptions of each other for the _Hue and Cry_, or police gazette. On
the pavement may probably be seen some wight who with more than political
obstinacy, resolves to "weather the storm," with slouched hat, which acts
upon the principle of capillary attraction, drenched coat, and boots in
which the feet work like pistons in tannin: now
The reeling clouds,
Stagger with dizzy poise, as doubting yet,
Which master to obey.
Company, in such cases, usually increases the misery. Your wife, with a
new dress, soon loses her temper and its beauty; the children splash you
and their little frilled continuations; and ill-humour is the order of the
day; for on such occasions you cannot slip into a tavern, and follow Dean
On rainy days alone I dine,
Upon a chick, and pint of wine:
On rainy days I dine alone,
And pick my chicken to the bone.
Go you to the theatre in what is called a wet season, and perhaps after
sitting through a dull five-act tragedy and two farces, your first
solicitude is about the weather, and as if to increase the vexation, you
cannot see the sky for a heavy portico or blind; then the ominous cry of
"carriage, your honour"--"what terrible event does this portend"--and you
have to pick your way, with your wife like Cinderella after the ball,
through an avenue of link-boys and cadmen, and hear your name and
address bawled out to all the thieves that happen to be present. Or,
perchance, the coachman, whose inside porosity is well indicated by his
bundle of coats, as Dr. Kitchiner says, is labouring under "the
unwholesome effervescence of the hot and rebellious liquors which have
been taken to revive the flagging spirits," and like a sponge, absorbs
liquids, owing to the pressure of the surrounding air.
 This expression is not the exclusive property of Oxford,
Cambridge, or the Horse Guards. See Shakspeare's Henry VIII, where
the Duke of Buckingham says of Wolsey, "He _bores_ me with some
trick;" like another great man, the Cardinal must have been a great
 Towards the close of the last opera season we heard a ludicrous
mistake. One of these fellows bawled out "the Duke of Grafton's
carriage;" "No," replied the gentleman, smiling, and correcting the
officious cadman, who had caught at the noble euphony, "Mr.
That we are attached to wet weather, a single comparison with our
neighbours will abundantly prove. A Frenchman seldom stirs abroad without
his _parapluie_; notwithstanding he is, compared with an Englishman, an
_al fresco_ animal, eating, drinking, dancing, reading, and seeing
plays--all out of doors. A shower is more effectual in clearing the streets
of Paris than those of London. People flock into _cafes_, the arcades of
the Palais Royal, and splendid covered passages; and as soon as the rain
ceases, scores of planks are thrown across the gutters in the _centre_ of
the streets, which species of _pontooning_ is rewarded by the sous and
centimes of the passengers. In Switzerland too, where the annual fall of
rain is 40 inches, the streets are always washed clean, an effect which is
admirably represented in the view of Unterseen, now exhibiting at the
_Diorama_. But in Peru, the Andes intercept the clouds, and the constant
heat over sandy deserts prevents clouds from forming, so that there is no
rain. Here it never shines but it burns.
_Wet-weather in the country_ is, however, a still greater infliction upon
the sensitive nerves. There is no club-house, coffee-room, billiard-room,
or theatre, to slip into; and if caught in a shower you must content
yourself with the arcades of Nature, beneath which you enjoy the
unwished-for luxury of a shower bath. Poor Nature is drenched and drowned;
perhaps never better described than by that inveterate bard of Cockaigne,
Oh! it settles the stomach when nothing is seen
But an ass on a common, or goose on a green.
We were once overtaken by such weather in a pedestrian tour through the
Isle of Wight, when just then about to leave Niton for a geological
excursion to the Needles. Reader, if you remember, the Sandrock Hotel is
one of the most rural establishments in the island. Think of our being
shut up there for six hours, with a thin duodecimo guide of less than 100
pages, which some mischievous fellow had made incomplete. How often did we
read and re-read every line, and trace every road in the little map. At
length we set off on our return to Newport. The rain partially ceased, and
we were attracted out of the road to Luttrell's Tower, whence we were
compelled to seek shelter in a miserable public-house in a village about
three miles distant. No spare bed, a wretched smoky fire; and hard beer,
and poor cheese, called Isle of Wight rock, were all the accommodation our
host could provide. His parlour was just painted; but half-a-dozen
sectarian books and an ill-toned flute amused us for an hour; then we
again started, in harder rain than ever, for Newport. Compelled to halt
twice, we saw some deplorable scenes of cottage misery, almost enough to
put us out of conceit of rusticity, till after crossing a bleak, dreary
heath, we espied the distant light of Newport. Never had we beheld gas
light with such ecstasy, not even on the first lighting of St. James's
Park. It was the eve of the Cowes' regatta, and the town was full; but our
luggage was there, and we were secure. A delicious supper at the Bugle,
and liberal outpourings of Newport ale, at length put us in good humour
with our misfortunes; but on the following morning we hastened on to Ryde,
and thus passed by steam to Portsmouth; having resolved to defer our
geological expedition to that day twelve months. Perhaps we may again
touch on this little journey. We have done for the present, lest our
number should interrupt the enjoyment of any of the thousand pedestrians
who are at this moment tracking
The slow ascending hill, the lofty wood
That mantles o'er its brow.
or coasting the castled shores and romantic cliffs of Vectis, or the Isle
* * * * *
MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS
DUELS IN FRANCE.
Duels had at one time become so frequent in France as to require
particular enactments for their prevention; as, for example, when the debt
about which any dispute occurred did not amount to five-pence. The
regulation of the mode in which the barbarous custom might be maintained
had engaged the attention of several of the French kings. In 1205, Philip
Augustus restricted the length of the club, with which single combat was
then pursued, to three feet; and in 1260, Saint Louis abolished the
practice of deciding civil matters by duelling. With the revival of
literature and of the arts, national manners became ameliorated, and duels
necessarily declined. It was still, however, not unusual for the French to
promote or to behold those single combats over which the pages of romance
have thrown a delusive charm, and which were, in early times, hallowed, in
the opinion of the vulgar, by their accompanying superstitious ceremonies.
When any quarrel had been referred to this mode of decision, the parties
met on the appointed day, and frequently in an open space, overshadowed by
the walls of a convent, which thus lent its sanction to the bloody scene.
From day-break the people were generally employed in erecting scaffolds
and stages, and in placing themselves upon the towers and ramparts of the
adjacent buildings. About noon, the cavalcade was usually seen to arrive
at the door of the lists; then the herald cried, "Let the appellant
appear," and his summons was answered by the entrance of the challenger,
armed cap-a-pie, the escutcheon suspended from his neck, his visor lowered,
and an image of some national saint in his hand. He was allowed to pass
within the lists, and conducted to his tent. The accused person likewise
appeared, and was led in the same manner to his tent. Then the herald, in
his robe embroidered with fleur-de-lis, advanced to the centre of the
lists, and exclaimed, "Oyez, oyez! lords, knights, squires, people of all
condition, our sovereign lord, by the grace of God, King of France,
forbids you, on pain of death or confiscation of goods, either to cry out,
to speak, to cough, to spit, or to make signs." During a profound silence,
in which nothing but the murmurs of the unconscious streamlet, or the
chirping of birds might be heard, the combatants quitted their tents, to
take individually the two first oaths. When the third oath was to be
administered, it was customary for them to meet, and for the marshal to
take the right hand of each and to place it on the cross. Then the
functions of the priest began, and the usual address, endeavouring to
conciliate the angry passions of the champions, and to remind them of
their common dependence on the Supreme Being, may have tended to benefit
the bystanders, although it generally failed of its effect with the
If the parties persisted, the last oath was administered. The combatants
were obliged to swear solemnly that they had neither about them nor their
horses, stone, nor herb, nor charm, nor invocation; and that they would
fight only with their bodily strength, their weapons, and their horses.
The crucifix and breviary were then presented to them to kiss, the parties
retired into their tents, the heralds uttering their last admonition to
exertion and courage, and the challengers rushed forth from their tents,
which were immediately dragged from within the lists. Then the marshal of
the field having cried out, "Let them pass, let them pass," the seconds
retired. The combatants instantly mounted their horses, and the contest
* * * * *
SUPERSTITION RELATING TO BEES.
On further inquiry, it has been found that the superstitious practice,
formerly mentioned, of informing the bees of a death that takes place
in a family, is very well known, and still prevails among the lower orders
in this country. The disastrous consequence to be apprehended from
noncompliance with this strange custom is not (as before stated) that the
bees will desert the hive, but that they will dwindle and die. The manner
of communicating the intelligence to the little community, with due form
and ceremony, is this: to take the key of the house, and knock with it
three times against the hive, telling the inmates, at the same time, that
their master or mistress, &c., (as the case may be,) is dead!
 See page 75.
Mr. Loudon says, when in Bedfordshire lately, "we were informed of an old
man who sung a psalm last year in front of some hives which were not doing
well, but which he said would thrive in consequence of that ceremony. Our
informant could not state whether this was a local or individual
superstition."--_Magazine of Natural History_.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER
We copy the following eloquent and impassioned paragraph from the last
"Thanks unto our ancestors, there is now no _Star-chamber_ before whom may
be summoned either the scholar, whose learning offends the bishops, by
disproving incidentally the divine nature of tithes, or the counsellor,
who gives his client an opinion against some assumed prerogative. There is
no _High Commission Court_ to throw into a gaol until his dying day, at
the instigation of a Bancroft, the bencher who shall move for the
discharge of an English subject from imprisonment contrary to law. It is
no longer the duty of a privy councillor to seize the suspected volumes of
an antiquarian, or plunder the papers of an ex-chief justice, whilst lying
on his death-bed. _Government licensers of the press_ are gone, whose
infamous perversion of the writings of other lawyers will cause no future
Hale to leave behind him orders expressly prohibiting the posthumous
publication of his legal MSS., lest the sanctity of his name should be
abused, to the destruction of those laws, of which he had been long the
venerable and living image. An advocate of the present day need not
absolutely withdraw (as Sir Thomas More is reported to have prudently done
for a time) from his profession, because the crown had taken umbrage at
his discharge of a public duty. It is, however, flattery and self-delusion
to imagine that the lust of power and the weaknesses of human nature have
been put down by the Bill of Rights, and that our forefathers have left
nothing to be done by their descendants. The violence of former times is
indeed no longer practicable; but the spirit which led to these excesses
can never die; it changes its aspect and its instruments with
circumstances, and takes the shape and character of its age. The risks and
the temptations of the profession at the present day are quite as
dangerous to its usefulness, its dignity, and its virtue, as the shears
and branding-irons that frightened every barrister from signing Prynne's
defence, or the writ that sent Maynard to the Tower. The public has a deep,
an incalculable interest in the independence and fearless honour of its
lawyers. In a system so complicated as ours, every thing must be taken at
their word almost on trust; and proud as we, for the most part, justly are
of the unsuspectedness of our judges, their integrity and manliness of
mind are, of course, involved in that of the body out of which they must
be chosen. There is not a man living whose life, liberty, and honour may
not depend on the resoluteness as well as capacity of those by whom, when
all may be at stake, he must be both advised and represented in a court of
Our readers will easily recognise the great events in the history of the
law in England, to which the reviewer alludes. Seldom have we read a more
masterly page; it would even form an excellent rider to Mr. Brougham's
recent speech on the same subject.
* * * * *
It is a mere mistake to condemn suppers. All the inferior animals stuff
immediately previous to sleeping; and why not man, whose stomach is so
much smaller, more delicate, and more exquisite a piece of machinery?
Besides, it is a well-known fact, that a sound human stomach acts upon a
well-drest dish, with nearly the power of an eight-horse steam-engine; and
this being the case, good heavens! why should one be afraid of a few
trifling turkey-legs, a bottle of Barclay's brown-stout, a Welsh rabbit,
brandy and water, and a few more such fooleries? We appeal to the common
sense of our readers and of the world.
* * * * *
The consumption of tea is increasing every year. In 1823, the importation
was 24,000,000 lb.; in 1826 it was 30,000,000 lb.; and in the year ending
Jan. 5, 1828, 39,746,147 lb.--_Oriental Herald_.
* * * * *
POETS NOT BOTANISTS.
Addison, who was probably unacquainted with the flower described by Virgil,
represents the Italian aster as a purple bush, with yellow flowers,
instead of telling us that the flower had a yellow disk and purple rays.
Aureus ipse; sed in foliis, quae plurima circum
Funduntur, violae sublucet purpura nigrae.
_Virgil, Georgic iv_.
The flower Itself is of a golden hue,
The leaves inclining to a darker blue;
The leaves shoot thick about the root, and grow
Into a bush, and shade the turf below.
Dryden falls into the same error:--
A flower there is that grows in meadow ground,
Aurelius called, and easy to be found;
For from one root the rising stem bestows
A wood of leaves and violet purple boughs.
The flower itself is glorious to behold,
And shines on altars like refulgent gold.
_Mag. Nat. History_
* * * * *
In 1726-7, there was a sharp warfare in London between two opera singers,
La Faustina and La Cuzzoni, and their partizans. It went so far that young
ladies dressed themselves _a la Faustina_ and _a la Cuzzoni_. We need not
wonder, therefore, at the hair _a la Sontag_ in our days, or gentleman's
whiskers _a la Jocko_.
* * * * *
In a recent voyage from Bombay to the Persian Gulf, an Arab sailor of a
crew, who was the stoutest and strongest man in the ship on leaving Bombay,
pined away by disease, and was committed to the deep by his Arab comrades
on board, with greater feeling and solemnity than is usual among Indian
sailors, and with the accustomed ceremonies and prayers of the Mohamedan
religion. The smell of the dead body attracted several sharks round the
ship, one of which, eight feet in length, was harpooned and hauled on
* * * * *
At a late meeting of the Wernerian Society at Edinburgh, the Rev. Dr. Scot
read a paper on the great fish that swallowed up Jonah, showing that it
could not be a whale, as often supposed, but was probably a white shark.
* * * * *
The large horse-mushroom, except for catsup, should be very cautiously
eaten. In wet seasons, or if produced on wet ground, it is very
deleterious, if used in any great quantity.--_Mag. Nat. Hist._
* * * * *
The sweat of the brow is not favourable to the operations of the brain;
and the leisure which follows the daily labour of the peasant and
manufacturer, will, even if no other demands are made upon it, afford but
little scope for the over acquisition of knowledge. Long will it be ere
the English husbandman renounces for study the pleasures of his weekly
holiday, and long may it be ere the Scottish peasant be withdrawn by a
thirst for knowledge from the duties of his Sabbath, and from the simple
rights of his morning and evening sacrifice.--_Foreign Rev_.
* * * * *
A beautiful medal in memory of this celebrated statesman, has lately been
struck at Paris, under the direction of M. Girard.
* * * * *
NATURE AND ART.
It is curious enough that people decorate their chimney-pieces with
imitations of beautiful fruits, while they seem to think nothing at all of
the originals hanging upon the trees, with all the elegant accompaniments
of flourishing branches, buds, and leaves--_Cobbet's English Gardener._
* * * * *
THE KING OF PRUSSIA
Lives in comparative retirement, in a small palace fitted up with the
greatest simplicity, and his bed is really not better than that usually
allotted to a domestic in England. His study is quite that of an official
man of business. He has a large map of his own dominions; and in each town
where troops are stationed he fixes a common pin, and on the head of the
pin is a small bit of card, on which are written the names of the
regiments, their numbers, and commanding officers, in the town. He thus,
at any moment, can see the disposition of his immense army, which is very
essential to such a government as Prussia, it being a mild despotic
military system. He has a most excellent modern map of the Turkish
provinces in Europe, and upon this is marked out every thing that can
interest a military man. A number of pins, with green heads, point out the
positions of the Russian army; and in the same manner, with
red-and-white-headed pins, he distinguishes the stations of the different
kinds of troops of the Turkish host.--_Literary Gazette_.
THE OPERA OF "OTELLO."
Othello is altogether unsuited to the lyrical drama, and supposing the
contrary, Rossini, of all composers, was the most unfit to treat such a
subject in music. The catastrophe in the English tragedy is necessary; we
see it from the beginning as through a long and gloomy vista. We weep, or
shudder, we draw a long sigh of despair, and feel that it could not have
been otherwise. But in the opera, Othello is a ruffian, without excuse for
his crime. We have suddenly a beautiful woman running distracted about the
stage to a symphony--and a very noisy symphony--of violins, and butchered
before our eyes to an allegro movement.--_Foreign Review_.
* * * * *
When last in Paris we were curious to know wherefore M. Jouy had written
such exceptionable and abominable stuff as his last novel; and the
gentleman to whom we addressed ourselves, answered, in a light lively vein;
"Oh! M. Jouy has a name, and the booksellers pay well; and as they are
very stupid, and depend on names for the sale of their books, he wrote
down the first matter that came into his head."--_Foreign Review_.
* * * * *
Polangen, the frontier town of Russia, is famous for its trade in amber.
This substance is found by the inhabitants on the coast, between Polangen
and Pillau, either loosely on the shore, on which it has been thrown by
the strong north and westerly winds, or in small hillocks of sand near the
sea, where it is found in regular strata. The quantity found yearly in
this manner, and on this small extent of coast, besides what little is
sometimes discovered in beds of pit coal in the interior of the country,
is said to amount to from 150 to 200 tons, yielding a revenue to the
government of Prussia of about 100,000 francs. As amber is much less in
vogue in Western Europe than in former times, the best pieces, which are
very transparent, and frequently weigh as much as three ounces, are sent
to Turkey and Persia, for the heads of their expensive pipes and hookahs.
Very few trinkets are now sold for ornaments to ladies' dresses; and the
great bulk of amber annually found is converted into a species of scented
spirits and oil, which are much esteemed for the composition of delicate
varnish. In the rough state, amber is sold by the ton, and forms an object
of export trade from Memel and Konigsberg.--_Granville's Travels in
* * * * *
The head of the late Dr. Gall has been taken off agreeably to his wishes,
and dissected and dried for the benefit of science.
* * * * *
All the principal Italian composers were _in flower_ about the age of
twenty-five. There is scarcely an instance of a musician producing his
_chef-d'oeuvre_ after the age of thirty. Rossini was not twenty when he
composed his _Tancredi_, and his _Italiana in Algieri_.
* * * * *
The most important principle perhaps in life is to have a pursuit--a
useful one if possible, and at all events an innocent one. The unripe
fruit tree of knowledge is, I believe, always bitter or sour; and
scepticism and discontent--sickness of the mind--are often the results of
devouring it.--_Sir Humphry Davy_.
* * * * *
COFFIN OF KING DUNCAN.
A coffin has been discovered among the ruins of Elgin cathedral, supposed
to be that of the royal victim of Macbeth.
* * * * *
AN IMPERIAL ENCORE.
When Cimarosa's opera of _Matrimonio Segreto_ was performed before the
Emperor Joseph, he invited all the singers to a banquet, and then in a fit
of enthusiasm, sent them all back to the theatre to play and sing the
whole opera over again!--_Foreign Review_.
* * * * *
_Dinner_ is a corruption of _decimer_, from _decimheure_, or the French
repast _de dix-heure. Supper_ from _souper_, from the custom of providing
soup for that occasion.
* * * * *
We have heard much of _Dunstable larks_ but the enthusiasm with which
_gourmets_ speak of these tit-bits of luxury, is far exceeded by the
Germans, who travel to Leipsic from a distance of many hundred miles,
merely to eat a dinner of larks, and then return contented and peaceful to
their families. So great is the slaughter of this bird at the Leipsic fair,
that half a million are annually devoured, principally by the booksellers
frequenting the city. What is the favourite bird at the coffee-house
dinners of our friends in Paternoster Row?
* * * * *
Gottfried Mind, a celebrated Swiss painter, was called the _Cat-Raphael_,
from the excellence with which he painted that animal. This peculiar
talent was discovered and awakened by chance. At the time when
Freudenberger was painting that since-published picture of the peasant
cleaving wood before his cottage, with his wife sitting by, and feeding
her child with pap out of a pot, round which a cat is prowling, Mind cast
a broad stare on the sketch of this last figure, and said in his rugged,
laconic way, "That is no cat!" Freudenberger asked, with a smile, whether
Mind thought he could do it better. Mind offered to try; went into a
corner, and drew the cat, which Freudenberger liked so much that he made
his new pupil finish it out, and the master copied the scholar's work--for
it is Mind's cat that is engraven in Freudenberger's plate. Imitations of
Mind's cats are already common in the windows of printsellers.
* * * * *
When the manager of a theatre engaged Sacchini to write an opera, he was
obliged to shut him up in a room with his mistress and his favourite cats,
without them at his side he could do nothing. The fifth act of _Pizarro_
was actually finished by Sheridan on the first evening of its performance,
when the illustrious playwright was shut up in a room with a plate of
sandwiches and two bottles of claret, to finish his drama.
* * * * *
THE BISHOPRICKS OF ENGLAND AND WALES
Were instituted according to the following order of time, viz. London an
Archbishoprick and Metropolitan of England, founded by Lucius, the first
Christian king of Britain, A.D. 185; Llandaff, 185; Bangor, 516; St.
David's, 519. The Archbishoprick of Wales from 550 till 1100, when the
Bishop submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury as his Metropolitan;
St. Asaphs, 547. St. Augustine (or Austin) made Canterbury the Metropolitan
Archbishoprick, by order of Pope Gregory, A.D. 596; Wells, 604; Rochester,
604; Winchester, 650; Lichfield and Coventry, 656; Worcester, 679;
Hereford, 680; Durham, 690; Sodor and Man, 898; Exeter, 1050; Sherborne
(changed to Salisbury) 1056; York (Archbishoprick) 1067; Dorchester
(changed to Lincoln) 1070; Chichester, 1071; Thetford (changed to Norwich)
1088; Bath and Wells, 1088; Ely, 1109; Carlisle, 1133. The following six
were founded upon the suppression of monasteries by Henry VIII.--Chester,
Peterborough, Gloucester, Oxford, Bristol, and Westminster, 1538.
Westminster was united to London in 1550.--_Vide Tanner's Notitia
C. G. E. P.
* * * * *
The lord of this manor, in the reign of Henry III. held it by this service,
viz. to make the king a mess of pottage at his coronation; and so lately
as the reign of Charles II. this service was ordered by the court of
claims, and accepted by the king at his table.
C. G. E. P.
* * * * *
THE BELL-SAVAGE INN
On Ludgate-hill, has, for more than a century, since its name was
mentioned by Addison in the _Spectator_, occasioned a great variety of
conjectures. These conjectures, however, all appear to have been erroneous,
as the inn took the addition to its name from its having belonged to, or
been kept by, a person of the name of _Savage_. The sign originally
appears to have been a bell hung within a hoop, a common mode of
representation in former times. This origin has been proved by a grant in
the reign of Henry VI. in which John French, gentleman of London, gives to
Joan French, widow, his mother, "all that tenement or inn called Savage's
Inn, otherwise called the Bell on the Hoop." In the original "vocat"
Savagesynne, alias vocat "Le Belle on the Hope." Perhaps the phrase
"Cock-a-Hoop," may be derived from the sign of that bird standing on a
hoop, thus most conspicuously displaying himself, as we find that sign or
rather design existed in the reign above mentioned.
* * * * *
A dinner always accompanies meetings on public occasions; feasting was
formerly attached in like manner to chantries, anniversaries, &c.; and, as
it appears in part of the curious items in the parish books of Darlington,
clergymen officiated for a donation of wine. It appears, too, that both
ministers and parishioners were saddled with charitable aids to itinerants
of various kinds; that noblemen granted passes in the manner of briefs;
and that it was deemed right and proper for even churchwardens and
overseers to patronize knowledge. Accordingly we have,
"1630. To Mr. Goodwine, a distressed scholer, 2s. 6d."
"1631. Given to a poor scholler, 12d.--Given to Mary Rigby, of Hauret West,
in Pembrokeshire, in Wales, who had the Earle of Pembroke's passe.... To
an Irish gentleman that had fouer children, and had Earl Marshall's passe,
"1635. To a souldier which came to the church on a Sunday, 6d."
"1639. For Mr. Thompson, that preached the forenoone and afternoone, for a
quart of sack, 14d."
"1650. For six quartes of sacke to the ministre that preached, when we had
not a ministere, 9s."
It is to be observed that this was in the _puritanical era_.
"1653. For a primer for a poore boy, 4d."
"1666. For one quarte of sacke, bestowed on Mr. Jellet, when he preached,
"1684. To the parson's order, given to a man both deaf and dumb, being
sent from minister to minister to London, 6d.--To Mr. Bell, with a letter
from London with the names of the Royal Family, 6d."
This is a curious item; for it shows that the Mercuries, diurnals, and
intelligencers of the day, were not deemed sufficient for satisfactorily
advertising public events.
"1688. To the ringers on Thanksgiving Day, for the young Prince, in money,
ale, and coals, 7s. 4d."
This must have been for the birth of
the Pretender, of warming-pan celebrity.
"1691. For a pint of brandy, when Mr. George Bell preached here, 1s.
4d.--When the Dean of Durham preached here, spent in a treat with him,
3s. 6d.--For a stranger that preacht, a dozen of ale, 1s."
Thus it plainly appears that church-wardens had a feast jointly with the
minister at the parish expense, at least whenever a stranger preached.
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
* * * * *
( _For the Mirror_.)
TO MR. ----, STATIONER, HOLBORN.
SIR,--Sometime ago I wrote to you to send me a _ream_ of _foolscap_,
which I begged might be sent without delay, as it was for the purpose of
writing out my Christmas bills. I think you must have forgotten me; and
if I do not have the _paper_ soon, I may wear a _fool's-cap_ on account
of not having my bills out in time. Mr. ----, who, in your absence, must
sustain the greatest weight of business, and is, as I may say, the
_Atlas_ of your house, was the person I chiefly depended on. As for
Mr. ----, one of your household, he dresses in _royal purple_, and being
but in a _medium_ way between sickness and health, was drinking
_imperial_ when I saw him, and therefore did not in-_quire_ about the
business; nor did I choose to come _cap_ in _hand_ to a gentleman that
seemed as stately as an _elephant_, though to my thinking he is a
_bundle_ of conceit, all _outside_ show; in short, a piece of
_lumberhand_, on whom I would not _waste paper_ to write him a _note_.
My journeyman, who is but a _demy_ sort of a chap, will make but a
_small hand_ of the bills, and I shall go to _pott_. You also will be a
sufferer, if you _post_-pone sending my _paper_, for you shall have
neither _plate paper_, nor a _single crown_, no, nor a _cartridge_ of
halfpence from me this half year, unless you play your _cards_ better. I
have more bills to write out than a _bag cap_, made of the largest
_grand eagle_ you have in your warehouse, could contain; so that I shall
look as _blue_ as your _sugar_-paper, and bestow on you to boot some
very ugly prayers, not in _single hand_, but by _thick_ and _thin
couples_, that will be a _fine copy_ for my young man to take example by,
if you disappoint.
Your humble servant, J. J.
 Bank notes.
* * * * *
A village pastor was examining his parishioners in their Catechism. The
first question in the Heidelberg Catechism is this: "What is thy only
consolation in life and in death?" A young girl, to whom the pastor put
this question, laughed, and would not answer. The priest insisted. "Well,
then," said she, at length, "if I must tell you, it is the young shoemaker,
who lives in the Rue Agneaux."
* * * * *
The king of France, being at Calais, sent over an embassador, a verie tall
person, upon no other errand but a complement to the king of England. At
his audience he appeared in such a light garb, that afterwards the king
ask'd Lord-keeper Bacon "what he thought of the French embassador?" He
answer'd, "That he was a verie proper man."--"I," his majestie replied,
"but what think you of his head-piece? is he a proper man for the office,
of an embassador?"--"Sir," returned he, "it appears too often, _that tall
men are like high houses of four or five stories, wherein commonlie the
upper-most room is worst-furnished_."
* * * * *
The following anecdote is perfectly indicative of that dry humour which
forms what Oxonians call a _cool hand_:--When Mr. Gurney, afterwards
rector of Edgefield, in Norfolk, held a fellowship of Bene't, the master
had a desire to get possession of the fellows' garden for himself. The
rest of the fellows, resigned their keys, but Gurney resisted both his
threats and entreaties, and refused to part with his key. "The other
fellows," said the master, "have delivered up their keys."--"Then, master,"
said Gurney, "pray keep them, and you and I will keep all the other
fellows out."--"Sir," continued the master, "am not I your
master?"--"Granted," said Gurney, "but am I not your fellow?"
* * * * *
Louis XIV. was such a gourmand, that he would eat at a sitting four
platesful of different soups, a whole pheasant, a partridge, a plateful
of salad, mutton hashed with garlick, two good sized slices of ham, a dish
of pastry, and, afterwards, fruit and sweetmeats. The descendant Bourbons
are slandered for having appetites of considerable action; but this
appears to have been one of a four or five man power.
* * * * *
A FLASH CARD.
C. HAMMOND, Slap Kiksis Builder. Long Sleeve Kicksis got up right, and
kept by an artful dodge from visiting the knees, when worn without straps.
Trotter Cases, Mud Pipes, and Boot Kiv'ers, carved to fit any Pins, and
turned out slap.--(_Verbatim et literatim copy_.)
* * * * *
_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD. 143 Strand, London; by ERNEST
FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic, and by all Newsmen and Booksellers._