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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, Issue 265, July 21, 1827 by Various

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VOL. 10, No. 265.] SATURDAY, JULY 21, 1827. [PRICE 2d.

* * * * *



Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a small market town in Leicestershire, pleasantly
situated in a fertile vale, on the skirts of the adjoining county of
Derbyshire, on the banks of a small liver called the Gilwiskaw, over
which is a handsome stone bridge. The original name of this town was
simply Ashby, but it acquired the addition of De-la-Zouch, to
distinguish it from other Ashbys, from the Zouches, who were formerly
lords of this manor, which after the extinction of the male line of that
family, in the first year of the reign of Henry IV. came to Sir Hugh
Burnel, knight of the garter, by his marriage with Joice, the heiress of
the Zouches. From him it devolved to James Butler, earl of Ormond and
Wiltshire; who being attainted on account of his adherence to the party
of Henry VI. it escheated to the crown, and was, in the first year of
Edward IV. granted by that king to Sir William Hastings, in
consideration of his great services; he was also created a baron,
chamberlain of the household; captain of Calais, and knight of the
garter, and had license to make a park and cranellate, or fortify
several of his houses, amongst which was one at this place, which was of
great extent, strength, and importance, and where he and his descendants
resided for about two hundred years. It was situated on the south side
of the town, on a rising ground, and was chiefly composed of brick and
stone; the rooms were spacious and magnificent, attached to which was a
costly private chapel. The building had two lofty towers of immense
size, one of them containing a large hall, great chambers, bedchambers,
kitchen, cellars, and all other offices. The other was called the
kitchen tower. Parts of the wall of the hall, chapel, and kitchen, are
still remaining, which display a grand and interesting mass of ruins;
the mutilated walls being richly decorated with doorways,
chimney-pieces, windows, coats of arms, and other devices. In this,
castle, the unfortunate and persecuted Mary queen of Scots, who has
given celebrity to so many castles and old mansions, by her melancholy
imprisonment beneath their lofty turrets, was for some time confined,
while in the custody of the earl of Huntingdon. In the year 1603, Anne,
consort of James I. and her son, prince Henry, were entertained by the
earl of Huntingdon at this castle, which was at that time the seat of
much hospitality. It was afterwards honoured by a visit from that
monarch, who remained here for several days, during which time dinner
was always served up by thirty poor knights, with gold chains and velvet
gowns. In the civil wars between king Charles and his parliament, this
castle was deeply involved, being garrisoned for the king; it was
besieged by the parliamentary forces, and although it was never actually
conquered, (from whence the garrison obtained the name of Maiden,) it
was evacuated and dismantled by capitulation in the year 1648.

For the spirited engraving of the ruins of this famous castle, we
acknowledge ourselves indebted to our obliging friend _S.I.B._ who
supplied us with an original drawing.

* * * * *


_(To the Editor of the Mirror.)_

SIR,--The following additional particulars respecting the celebrated
author of "Lacon," may not be unacceptable to your readers, as a sequel
to the interesting account of that eccentric individual inserted at p.
431, in your recently completed volume.

It will be in the recollection of many, that about the period of the
murder of Weare, by Thurtel, Mr. Colton suddenly disappeared from among
his friends, and no trace of him, notwithstanding the most vigilant
inquiry, could be discovered. As Weare's murder produced an
unprecedented sensation in the public mind, it gave rise to a variety of
reports against the perpetrators of that horrible crime, imputing to
them other atrocities of a similar kind. It is needless now to say that
most of these suspicions were wholly without foundation.

It was at length ascertained, that Mr. C., finding himself embarrassed
with his creditors, had taken his departure for America, where he
remained about two years, travelling over the greater part of the United
States; and it is much to be desired that he would favour the public
with the result of his observations during his residence in that
country; as probably no person living is qualified to execute such a
task with more shrewdness, judgment, or ability.

He is now residing at Paris, where he has been about two years and a
half, and where I had frequently the pleasure of meeting him during the
last winter, and of enjoying the raciness of his conversation, which
abounds in wit, anecdote, and an universality of knowledge. It is too
well known that he is not unaddicted to the allurements of the gaming
table, and it is understood among his immediate friends, that he has
been--what few are--successful adventurer, having repaired in the
saloons of Paris, in a great degree, the loss he sustained by the
forfeiture of his church livings. His singular coolness, calculation,
and self-mastery, give him an advantage in this respect over, perhaps,
every other votary of the gaming table.

Mr. Colton has an excellent taste for the fine arts, and has expended
considerable sums in forming a picture gallery. Every nook of his
apartment is literally covered with the treasures of art, including many
of the _chefs d'oeuvres_ of the great masters, and many valuable
paintings are placed on the floor for want of room to suspend them
against the wainscot. I may here observe, that his present domicile does
not exactly correspond with that described as his former "castle" in
London, inasmuch as it is part of a royal residence, it being on the
second floor, on one side of the quadrangle of the Palais Royal,
overlooking the large area of that building, and opposite to the _jet
d'eau_ in the centre. But his habits and mode of dress appear to be
unchanged. He has only one room; he keeps no servant, (unless a boy to
take care of his horse and cabriolet); he lights his own fire, and, I
believe, performs all his other domestic offices himself. But,
notwithstanding these whimsicalities, he is generous, hospitable and
friendly. He still, when a friend "drops in," produces a bottle or two
of the finest wines and a case of the best cigars, of which he is a
determined smoker.

I will only add, that he continues to employ himself in literary
composition. Among other pieces not published in England, he has written
an ode on the death of Lord Byron, a copy of which he presented me, but
which I unfortunately lent--and lost. A small edition was printed at
Paris for private circulation. He has also written an unpublished poem
in the form of a letter from Lord Castlereagh in the shades, to Mr.
Canning on earth, the caustic severity of which, in the opinion of those
who have heard it read, is equal to that of any satire in the English
language. I remember only the two first lines--

"Dear George, from these _Shades_, where no wine's to be had.
But where rivers of flame run like rivers run mad."

And the following, in allusion to the instrument with which Lord C.
severed the carotid artery, and which was the means of producing such a
change in the destiny of the present prime minister, who was then on the
eve of going out to India as governor-general,--

"Have you pensioned the Jew boy that sold me the knife?"

It is to be lamented that such a man should be an exile from his native
country.--But I draw a veil over the rest, and sincerely hope that his
absence from England will not be perpetual.

* * *

* * * * *



_(For the Mirror.)_

'Tis evening! the red rayless sun
Glares fiercely on the battle plain;--
_Morn_ saw the deadly fray begun,
Morn heard _thy_ bugle wake a strain,
Poor soldier! and its warning breath
Call'd _thee_, and myriads to death!

_Thou_ wert thy mother's darling, thou,
Light to thy father's failing eyes;
Thou wert thy sisters' _dearest!_ now
What _art_ thou? something to despise
Yet tremble at; to hide, and be
_Forgot,_ but by _their_ misery!

Thou _wert_ the beautiful! the brave!
Thou wert all joy, and love, and light;
But oh! thy grace was for the _grave,_
Thy dawning day, for mornless night!
And thou, so loving, so carest
Hast sunk--unpitied--unblest!

Yes, warrior! and the life-stream flows
_Yet_ from thee, in thy foe-man's land,
Welling before the gate of those
Who _should_ stretch forth a kindly hand
To save th' unhonour'd, _friendless_ dead
From rushing legion's scouring tread.

_Friendless_ poor soldier?--nay thy steed
Stands gazing on thee, with an eye
_Too_ piteous: he _felt_ thee bleed,--
He _saw_ thee, dropping from him,--_die!_
And in thine helpless, lorn estate,
_He_ cannot leave thee, desolate.

Nor thy poor _dog_, whose anxious gaze,
On helm and bugle's lowly place,
Speaks his deep sorrow and amaze!
_He_, watching yet, thine icy face
Licks thy pale forehead with a moan
To tell thee--_Thou art not alone!_

M. L. B.

* * * * *



* * * * *


The Sphynx is supposed to have been engendered by Typhon, and sent by
Juno to be revenged on the Thebans. It is represented with the head and
breasts of a woman, the wings of a bird, the claws of a lion, and the
rest of the body like a dog or lion. Its office they say, was to propose
dark enigmatical questions to all passers by; and, if they did not give
the explication of them,--to devour them. It made horrible ravages, as
the story goes, on a mountain near Thebes. Apollo told Creon that she
could not be vanquished, till some one had expounded her riddle. The
riddle was--_"What creature is that, which has four legs in the morning,
two at noon, and three at night?"_ Oedipus expounded it, telling her it
was a man,--who when a child, creepeth on all fours; in his middle age,
walketh on two legs, and in his old age, two and a staff. This put the
Sphynx into a great rage, who, finding her riddle solved, threw herself
down and broke her neck. Among the Egyptians, the Sphynx was the symbol
of religion, by reason of the obscurity of its mysteries. And, on the
same account, the Romans placed a Sphynx in the pronaos, or porch, of
their temples. Sphynxes were used by the Egyptians, to show the
beginning of the water's rising in the Nile; with this view, as it had
the head of a woman and body of a lion, it signified that the Nile began
to swell in the months of July and August, when the sun passes through
the signs of Leo and Virgo; accordingly it was a hieroglyphic, which
taught the people the period of the most important event in the year, as
the swelling and overflowing of the Nile gave fertility to Egypt.
Accordingly they were multiplied without end, so that they were to be
seen before all their remarkable monuments.

P. T. W.

* * * * *



* * * * *


_By Miss Mitford._

The pride of my heart and the delight of my eyes is my garden. Our
house, which is in dimensions very much like a bird-cage, and might,
with almost equal convenience, be laid on a shelf, or hung up in a tree,
would be utterly unbearable in warm weather, were it not that we have a
retreat out of doors,--and a very pleasant retreat it is. To make my
readers fully comprehend it, I must describe our whole territories.

Fancy a small plot of ground, with a pretty low irregular cottage at one
end; a large granary, divided from the dwelling by a little court
running along one side; and a long thatched shed open towards the
garden, and supported by wooden pillars on the other. The bottom is
bounded, half by an old wall, and half by an old paling, over which we
see a pretty distance of woody hills. The house, granary, wall, and
paling, are covered with vines, cherry-trees, roses, honey-suckles, and
jessamines, with great clusters of tall hollyhocks running up between
them; a large elder overhanging the little gate, and a magnificent
bay-tree, such a tree as shall scarcely be matched in these parts,
breaking with its beautiful conical form the horizontal lines of the
buildings. This is my garden; and the long pillared shed, the sort of
rustic arcade which runs along one side, parted from the flower-beds by
a row of rich geraniums, is our out-of-door drawing-room.

I know nothing so pleasant as to sit there on a summer afternoon, with
the western sun flickering through the great elder-tree, and lighting up
our gay parterres, where flowers and flowering shrubs are set as thick
as grass in a field, a wilderness of blossom, interwoven, intertwined,
wreathy, garlandy, profuse beyond all profusion, where we may guess that
there is such a thing as mould, but never see it. I know nothing so
pleasant as to sit in the shade of that dark bower, with the eye resting
on that bright piece of colour, lighted so gloriously by the evening
sun, now catching a glimpse of the little birds as they fly rapidly in
and out of their nests--for there are always two or three birds' nests
in the thick tapestry of cherry-trees, honey-suckles, and China roses,
which cover our walls--now tracing the gay gambols of the common
butterflies as they sport around the dahlias; now watching that rarer
moth, which the country people, fertile in pretty names, call the
bee-bird;[1] that bird-like insect, which flutters in the hottest days
over the sweetest flowers, inserting its long proboscis into the small
tube of the jessamine, and hovering over the scarlet blossoms of the
geranium, whose bright colour seems reflected on its own feathery
breast; that insect which seems so thoroughly a creature of the air,
never at rest; always, even when feeding, self-poised, and
self-supported, and whose wings in their ceaseless motion, have a sound
so deep, so full, so lulling, so musical. Nothing so pleasant as to sit
amid that mixture of the flower and the leaf, watching the bee-bird!
Nothing so pretty to look at as my garden! It is quite a picture; only
unluckily it resembles a picture in more qualities than one,--it is fit
for nothing but to look at. One might as well think of walking in a bit
of framed canvass. There are walks to be sure--tiny paths of smooth
gravel, by courtesy called such--but--they are so overhung by roses and
lilies, and such gay encroachers--so over-run by convolvolus, and
heart's-ease, and mignonette, and other sweet stragglers, that, except
to edge through them occasionally, for the purpose of planting, or
weeding, or watering, there might as well be no paths at all. Nobody
thinks of walking in my garden. Even May glides along with a delicate
and trackless step, like a swan through the wafer; and we, its
two-footed denizens, are fain to treat it as if it were really a saloon,
and go out for a walk towards sun-set, just as if we had not been
sitting in the open air all day.

[1] Sphinx ligustri, privet hank-moth.

What a contrast from the quiet garden to the lively street! Saturday
night is always a time of stir and bustle in our village, and this is
Whitsun Eve, the pleasantest Saturday of all the year, when London
journeymen and servant lads and lasses snatch a short holiday to visit
their families. A short and precious holiday, the happiest and liveliest
of any; for even the gambols and merrymakings of Christmas offer but a
poor enjoyment, compared with the rural diversions, the Mayings, revels,
and cricket-matches of Whitsuntide.

We ourselves are to have a cricket-match on Monday, not played by the
men, who, since their misadventure with the Beech-hillers, are, I am
sorry to say, rather chap-fallen, but by the boys, who, zealous for the
honours of their parish, and headed by their bold leader, Ben Kirby,
marched in a body to our antagonist's ground the Sunday after our
melancholy defeat, challenged the boys of that proud hamlet, and beat
them out and out on the spot. Never was a more signal victory. Our boys
enjoyed this triumph with so little moderation, that it had like to have
produced a very tragical catastrophe. The captain of the Beech-hill
youngsters, a capital bowler, by name Amos Stokes, enraged past all
bearing by the crowing of his adversaries, flung the ball at Ben Kirby
with so true an aim, that if that sagacious leader had not warily ducked
his head when he saw it coming, there would probably have been a
coroner's inquest on the case, and Amos Stokes would have been tried for
manslaughter. He let fly with such vengeance, that the cricket-ball was
found embedded in a bank of clay five hundred yards off, as if it had
been a cannon shot. Tom Coper and Farmer Thackum, the umpires, both say
that they never saw so tremendous a ball. If Amos Stokes live to be a
man (I mean to say if he be not hanged first), he'll be a pretty player.
He is coming here on Monday with his party to play the return match, the
umpires having respectively engaged Farmer Thackum that Amos shall keep
the peace, Tom Coper that Ben shall give no unnecessary or wanton
provocation--a nicely-worded and lawyer-like clause, and one that proves
that Tom Coper hath his doubts of the young gentleman's discretion; and,
of a truth, so have I. I would not be Ben Kirby's surety, cautiously as
the security is worded,--no! not for a white double dahlia, the present
object of my ambition.

This village of our's is swarming to-night like a hive of bees, and all
the church bells round are pouring out their merriest peals, as if to
call them together. I must try to give some notion of the
various figures.

First, there is a groupe suited to Teniers, a cluster of out-of-door
customers of the Rose, old benchers of the inn, who sit round a table
smoking and drinking in high solemnity to the sound of Timothy's fiddle.
Next, a mass of eager boys, the combatants of Monday, who are
surrounding the shoemaker's shop, where an invisible hole in their ball
is mending by Master Keep himself, under the joint superintendence of
Ben Kirby and Tom Coper, Ben showing much verbal respect and outward
deference for his umpire's judgment and experience, but managing to get
the ball done his own way after all; whilst outside the shop, the rest
of the eleven, the less-trusted commons, are shouting and bawling round
Joel Brent, who is twisting the waxed twine round the handles of
bats--the poor bats, which please nobody, which the taller youths are
despising as too little and too light, and the smaller are abusing as
too heavy and two large. Happy critics! winning their match can hardly
be a greater delight--even if to win it they be doomed! Farther down the
street is the pretty black-eyed girl, Sally Wheeler, come home for a
day's holiday from B., escorted by a tall footman in a dashing livery,
whom she is trying to curtesy off before her deaf grandmother sees him.
I wonder whether she will succeed!

Ascending the hill are two couples of different description, Daniel Tubb
and Sally North, walking boldly along like licensed lovers; they have
been asked twice in church, and are to be married on Tuesday; and
closely following that happy pair, near each other, but not together,
come Jem Tanner and Susan Green, the poor culprits of the wheat-hoeing.
Ah! the little clerk hath not relented! The course of true love doth not
yet run smooth in that quarter. Jem dodges along, whistling "Cherry
Ripe," pretending to walk by himself, and to be thinking of nobody; but
every now and then he pauses in his negligent saunter, and turns round
outright to steal a glance at Susan, who, on her part, is making believe
to walk with poor Olive Hathaway, the lame mantua-maker, and even
affecting to talk and to listen to that gentle humble creature as she
points to the wild flowers on the common, and the lambs and children
disporting amongst the gorse, but whose thoughts and eyes are evidently
fixed on Jem Tanner, as she meets his backward glance with a blushing
smile, and half springs forward to meet him; whilst Olive has broken off
the conversation as soon as she perceived the preoccupation of her
companion, and began humming, perhaps unconsciously, two or three lines
of Burns, whose "Whistle and I'll come to thee, my love," and "Gi'e me a
glance of thy bonny black ee," were never better exemplified than in the
couple before her. Really it is curious to watch them, and to see how
gradually the attraction of this tantalizing vicinity becomes
irresistible, and the rustic lover rushes to his pretty mistress like
the needle to the magnet. On they go, trusting to the deepening
twilight, to the little clerk's absence, to the good humour of the happy
lads and lasses, who are passing and re-passing on all sides--or rather,
perhaps, in a happy oblivion of the cross uncle, the kind villagers, the
squinting lover, and the whole world. On they trip, linked arm-in-arm,
he trying to catch a glimpse of her glowing face under her bonnet, and
she hanging down her head and avoiding his gaze with a mixture of
modesty and coquetry, which well becomes the rural beauty. On they go,
with a reality and intensity of affection, which must overcome all
obstacles; and poor Olive follows with art evident sympathy in their
happiness, which makes her almost as enviable as they; and we pursue our
walk amidst the moonshine and the nightingales, with Jacob Frost's cart
looming in the distance, and the merry sounds of Whitsuntide, the shout,
the laugh, and the song echoing all around us, like "noises of the
air."--_Monthly Magazine._

* * * * *


* * * * *


Fortune surely shifted me from my birth, or first looked on me in a mood
as splenetic as that of nature, when she produced that most sombre and
unpleasing of trees, the olive; to pursue the simile; I may have
conduced to the comfort of others, nay, even to their convenience and
luxury, but it never availed aught to my own appearance or
circumstances; I went on, like that unhappy-looking tree, decaying in
the trunk and blighting in the branches, and yielding up the produce of
a liberal education and an active nature to the public, but reaping for
my own portion only misfortune and disappointment; I had sprung up in
the wilderness of the world, and I was left to grow or wither as I
might; every one was ready to profit by me when a fruitful season
rendered me available to them, but none cared to toil to give me space
for growth, or to enrich the perishing earth at my unlucky root!

I was educated for the church, but my father died while I was at
college, and I lost the curacy, which was in the gift of my uncle,
through the pretty face of a city merchant's daughter, who wrote a
sonnet to my worthy relative on his recovery from a fit of the gout, and
obtained the curacy for her brother in exchange for her effusion. What
was to be done? I offered myself as tutor to a young gentleman who was
to study the classics until he was of age, and then to turn fox-hunter
to supply the place of his deceased father; but I was considered by his
relations to be too good-looking to be domesticated in the house of a
rich widow under fifty, and I had the satisfaction of seeing the vacant
seat in the family coach filled by an old, sandy-haired M.A., with bow
legs and a squint--handsome or ugly, it availed not; a face had twice
ruined my prospects; I was at my wit's end! I could not turn fine
gentleman, for I had not brass enough to make my veracity a pander to my
voracity; I could not turn tradesman, for I had not gold enough even to
purchase a yard measure, or to lay in a stock of tapes. My heart bounded
at the idea of the army; but I thought of it like a novice--of wounds
and gallant deeds; of fame and laurels; I was obliged to look closer--my
relations were neither noblemen nor bankers, and I found that even the
Colonial corps were becoming aristocratical and profuse; the navy--I
walked from London to Chatham on speculation; saw the second son of an
earl covered with tar, out at elbows and at heels, and I returned to
town, fully satisfied that here I certainly had no chance. I offered
myself as clerk to a wealthy brewer, and, at length, I was accepted--
this was an opening! I registered malt, hops, ale, and small-beer, till
I began to feel as though the world was one vast brewhouse; and
calculated, added, and subtracted pounds, shillings, and pence, until
all other lore appeared "stale, flat, and unprofitable." I was in this
counting-house four years, and was, finally, discharged by my prudent
principal as an unthrifty servant, for having, during a day of unusual
business, cut up two entire quills, and overturned the inkstand on a new
ledger! Again "the world was all before me where to choose"--but enough
of this; suffice it that my choice availed me nothing, and after years
of struggling and striving, I found myself, as free as air, in a small
market town in England, with five shillings in my pocket, and sundry
grey hairs on my head. From mere dearth of occupation, I took my station
at the window of a small stationer's shop, and commenced a survey of the
volumes and pamphlets which were attractively opened at the title-pages
to display their highly coloured frontispieces. The first which I
noticed was, "The Young Gentleman's Multiplication Table, or Two and Two
make Four"--I sighed as I remembered how little this promising study had
availed _me_! Then came "Little Tom Tucker, he sang for his Supper"--I
would have danced for one. "Young's Night Thoughts," with a well dressed
gentleman in mourning, looking at the moon. "How to Grow Rich, or a
Penny Saved is a Penny Got;" I would have bought the book, and learned
the secret, though I had but five shillings left in the world, had not
the second part of the title intimated to me that I ought to keep my
money. "The Castle of St. Altobrand," where a gentleman in pea-green
might be seen communing with a lady in sky-blue. "Raising the Wind"--I
turned away with a shudder; I had played a part in this drama for years,
and I well knew it was no farce. "The Polite Letter-Writer, or"--I did
not stop to read more; an idea flashed through my mind, and in two
minutes more I was beside the counter of the stationer; we soon became
acquainted; I left two and sixpence in his shop, and quitted it with
renewed hope; the promise of a recommendation, two quires of letter
paper, twelve good quills, and some ink in a small phial. I rejoiced at
having made a friend, even of the stationer, for my pride and my
property had long been travelling companions, and were seldom at home.
On the following day, a placard was pasted to a window on the ground
floor of a neat house, in the best street, announcing that "within,
letters were written on all subjects, for all persons, with precision
and secrecy;" I shall never forget the tremor with which I awaited the
arrival of a customer! I had sunk half of my slender capital, and
encumbered myself with a lodging; I did not dare to think, so I sat down
and began, resolutely, to sharpen my penknife on the sole of my
fearfully dilapidated shoe; then, I spread my paper before me; divided
the quires; looked carefully through a sheet of it at the light; laid it
down again; began to grow melancholy; shook off reflection as I would
have done a serpent, and again betook myself most zealously to the
sharpening of my penknife. A single, well articulated stroke on the door
of my apartment, roused me at once to action, and I shouted, "come in,"
with nervous eagerness; it opened, and gave egress to a staid matron, of
high stature, and sharp countenance; I would have pledged my existence
on her shrewishness from the first moment I beheld her. When I had
placed a chair for her, and reseated myself, this prelude to my
prosperity commenced business at once.

"You're a letter-writer, Mr. What-d'ye-call-'em."

I bowed assent.


"As the grave, madam."

This sufficed; the lady took a pinch of snuff--told me that she had been
recommended to employ me by Mr. Quireandquill; and I prepared for action.
She had a daughter young, beautiful, and innocent--but gay,
affectionate, and thoughtless; she had given her heart in keeping to one
who, though rich in love, lacked all other possessions; and, finally,
she had bestowed her hand where affection prompted. But the chilled
heart feels not like that which is warm with youth--its pulses beat not
to the same measure--its impulses impel not to the same arts; the mother
felt as a guardian and a parent--the daughter as a woman and a fond one;
the one had been imprudent--the other was inexorable; my first task was
to be the unwrenching of the holy bonds which united a child and her
parent,--the announcement of an abandonment utter and irrevocable; I
wrote the letter, and if I softened down a few harsh expressions, and
omitted some sentences of heart-breaking severity, surely it was no
breach of faith, or if, indeed, it were, it was one for which, even at
this time, I do not blush.

The old lady saw her letter sealed and addressed, and departed; and I
hastily partook of a scanty breakfast, the produce of my first
episolatory speculation. I need not have been so precipitate in
dispatching my repast, for some dreary hours intervened ere the arrival
of another visiter. One, however, came at length; a tremulous, almost
inaudible, stroke upon the door, and a nervous clasp of the latch, again
spoke hope to my sinking spirits; and, with a swift step, I rose and
gave admittance to a young and timid girl, blushing, and trembling, and
wondering, as it seemed, at the extent of her own daring. This business
was not so readily despatched as that of the angry matron. There were a
thousand promises of secrecy to be given; a thousand tremors to
be overcome.

"I am a poor girl, Sir," she said at length, "but I am an honest one;
therefore, before I take up your time, I must know whether I can afford
to pay for it."

"That," said I, and even amid my poverty I could not suppress a feeling
of amusement, "that depends wholly on the subject of your epistle;
business requires few words, and less ingenuity, and is fairly paid for
by a couple of shillings; but a love letter is cheap at three and
sixpence, for it requires an infinity of each."

"Then I may as well wish you good day at once, Sir, for I have but
half-a-crown in the world that I can call my own, and I cannot run into
debt, even to write to Charles." There was a tear in her eye as she rose
to go, and it was a beautiful blue eye, better fitted to smiles than
tears; this was enough, and, even poor as I was, I would not have missed
the opportunity of writing this letter, though I had been a loser by the
task. Happy Charles! I wrote from her dictation, and it is wonderful how
well the heart prompts to eloquence, even among the uneducated and
obscure. In all honesty, though I had but jested with my pretty
employer, this genuine love-letter was well worth the three and
sixpence--it was written, and crossed, and rewritten at right angles,
and covered on the folds and under the wafer, and, finally, unsealed to
insert a few "more last words." It was a very history of the heart!--of
a heart untainted by error--unsophisticated by fashion--unfettered by
the world's ways: a little catalogue of woman's best, and tenderest, and
holiest feelings, warm from the spirit's core, and welling out like the
pure waters of a ground spring. How the eye fell, and the voice sunk, as
she recorded some little doubt, some fond self-created fear; how the
tones gladdened, and the blue eyes laughed out in joy, as she spoke of
hopes and prospects, to which she clung trustingly, as woman ever does
to her first affection. What would I not have given to have been the
receiver of such a letter?--What to have been the idol of such a heart?
And, as she eagerly bent over me to watch the progress of her epistle,
her hand resting on my arm, and her warm breath playing over my brow,
while at intervals a fond sigh escaped her, she from time to time
reminded me of the promises I had made never to betray her secret--
beautiful innocent! I would have died first. She was with me nearly two
hours, and left me with a flushed cheek, her letter in one hand and her
half-crown in the other--had I robbed her of it, I should have merited
the pillory.

My third customer was a stiff, tall, bony man, of about fifty-five, and
for this worthy I wrote an advertisement for a wife. He was thin, and
shy, and emaciated--a breathing skeleton, in the receipt of some hundred
and twenty pounds a-year; a martyr to the rheumatism, and a radical. He
required but little; a moderate fortune; tolerable person; good
education; perfect housewifery; implicit obedience; and, finally, wound
up the list of requisites from mere lack of breath, and modestly
intimated that youth would not be considered an objection, provided that
great prudence and rigid economy accompanied it. He was the veriest
antidote to matrimony I ever beheld!

My calling prospered. I wrote letters of condolence and of
congratulation; made out bills, and composed valentines; became the
friend of every pretty girl and fine youth in the parish; and never
breathed one of their mighty secrets in the wrong quarter. In the midst
of this success, a new ambition fired me--I had been an author for
months; but though I had found my finances more flourishing, the bays
bloomed not upon my brow; and I was just about to turn author in good
earnest, when a distant relation died, and bequeathed to me an annuity
of four hundred pounds a-year; and I have been so much engaged ever
since in receiving the visits of some hitherto unknown relatives and
connexions, that I have only been able to compose the title-page, and to
send this hint to destitute young gentlemen who may have an epistolatory
turn; and to such I offer the assurance, that there is pleasure in being
the depositary of a pretty girl's secrets. "There are worse occupations
in the world, _Yorick_, than feeling a woman's pulse."--_The Inspector_.

* * * * *


Of a sunrise at Mount Etna, an acute traveller remarks, no imagination
can form an idea of this glorious and magnificent scene. Neither is
there on the surface of this globe any one point that unites so many
awful and sublime objects:--the immense elevation from the surface of
the earth, drawn as it were to a single apex, without any neighbouring
mountain for the senses and imagination to rest upon, and recover from
their astonishment in their way down to the world--and this point, or
pinnacle raised on the brink of a bottomless gulf, often discharging
rivers of fire, and throwing out burning rocks, with a noise that shakes
the whole island. Add to this, the unbounded extent of the prospect,
comprehending the greatest diversity, and the most beautiful scenery in
nature; with the rising sun advancing in the east to illuminate the
wondrous scene. The whole atmosphere by degrees kindled up, and showed
dimly and faintly the boundless prospect around. Both sea and land
looked dark and confused, as if only emerging from their original chaos;
and light and darkness seemed still undivided, till the morning by
degrees advancing, completed the separation. The stars are extinguished,
and the shades disappear. The forests, which but now seemed black and
bottomless gulfs, from whence no ray was reflected to show their form or
colours, appear a new creation rising to the sight, catching life and
beauty from every increasing beam. The scene still enlarges, and the
horizon seems to widen and expand itself on all sides; till the sun
appears in the east, and with his plastic ray completes the mighty
scene. All appears enchantment; and it is with difficulty we can believe
we are still on earth. The senses, unaccustomed to such objects, are
bewildered and confounded; and it is not till after some time that they
are capable of separating and judging of them. The body of the sun is
seen rising from the ocean, immense tracks both of sea and land
intervening; various islands appear under your feet; and you look down
on the whole of Sicily as on a map, and can trace every river through
all its windings, from its source to its mouth. The view is absolutely
boundless on every side; nor is there any one object within the circle
of vision to interrupt it; so that the sight is every where lost in the
immensity; and there is little doubt, that were it not for the
imperfection of our organs, the coasts of Africa, and even of Greece,
would be discovered, as they are certainly above the horizon.--_Time's

* * * * *



In the garden attached to New Place, flourished a mulberry-tree, which
Shakspeare had planted with his own hands; and in 1742, when Garrick and
Macklin visited Stratford, they were regaled beneath its venerable
branches by Sir Hugh Clopton, who, instead of pulling down New Place
according to Malone's assertion, repaired it, and did every thing in his
power for its preservation. The Rev. Francis Gastrell purchased the
building from Sir Hugh Clopton's heir, and being disgusted with the
trouble of showing the mulberry-tree to so many visitors, he caused this
interesting and beautiful memorial of Shakspeare to be cut down, to the
great mortification of his neighbours, who were so enraged at his
conduct, that they soon rendered the place, out of revenge, too
disagreeable for him to remain in it. He therefore was obliged to quit
it; and the tree, being purchased by a carpenter, was retailed and cut
out in various relics.

The catalogue of the property of the late David Garrick, Esq. sold on
the 5th of May, 1825, describes the cup as follows:--"Lot 170. The
original cup carved from Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, which was presented
to David Garrick by the Mayor and Corporation at the time of the Jubilee
at Stratford-on-Avon, lined with silver gilt, with a cover, surmounted
by a bunch of mulberry leaves and fruit, also of silver gilt."

This relic acquires additional value from the circumstance of its never
having changed possessors from the time it was presented to Garrick in
September, 1769, to 1825, a period of nearly three score years, and
during the greater part of which time it has been virtually locked up
from public view. The tree was cut down about the year 1756, and could
not have been less than 140 years old. It is said the mulberry was first
planted in England about 1609. It is not a little singular, that at the
time Garrick received this relic of the immortal bard, he resided in
Southampton-street, as appears by his letter to the Mayor and
Corporation of Stratford, returning thanks for having elected him a
burgess of Stratford-on-Avon; and the residence of its second possessor,
Mr. J. Johnson, (who bought it for 127l. 1s.,) after a lapse of nearly
sixty years, is in the same street.

The cup itself is of a very chaste and handsome form; plain, but in good
taste, and the wood prettily marked. The mulberry cup has also been
recorded in the celebrated ballad, beginning, "Behold this fair goblet,"
&c. sung by Garrick at the Jubilee, holding the cup in his hand.


* * * * *


NO. X.

* * * * *


(_For the Mirror_.)

The delightful country of Greece, once the finest in the world, is
inhabited by a bold and intelligent race of men, whose noble struggles
to rescue themselves from an odious servitude has rendered them objects
of our esteem and admiration. For more than five years has this
unfortunate land been the scene of continual warfare and desolation; and
though the attempts of the Turks have been many and great, they have
notwithstanding entirely failed in their design,--that of exterminating
the Greeks.

The Greeks are of the same religion as the Russians, and, like that
nation, have monks and nuns. Great decorum is visible in their churches,
the females being excluded from the sight of the males by means of
lattices. Their bishops lead a life of great simplicity, as will be seen
from the following account of a dinner given by the bishop of Salona to
Mr. Dodwell:--"There was nothing to eat except rice and bad cheese; the
wine was execrable, and so impregnated with resin, that it almost took
the skin from our lips. Before sitting down to dinner, as well as
afterwards, we had to perform the ceremony of the _cheironiptron_, or
washing of the hands. We dined at a round table of copper tinned,
supported upon one leg, and sat on cushions placed on the floor. The
bishop insisted upon my Greek servant sitting at table with us; and on
my observing that it was contrary to our custom, he answered, that he
could not bear such ridiculous distinctions in his house. It was with
difficulty I obtained the privilege of drinking out of my own glass,
instead of out of the large goblet, which served for the whole party.
The Greeks seldom drink till they have dined. After dinner, strong thick
coffee, without sugar, was handed round."--The strictest frugality is
observable in all the meals of these people. The higher orders live
principally on fish and rice, and the common people on olives, honey,
and onions. The food of the Levantine sailors, according to the Hon. Mr.
Douglas, consists entirely of salted olives, called by the Greeks
_columbades_. They dress mutton in a singular manner, it being stewed
with honey. In a very rare work, published in 1686, entitled, "The
Present State of the Morea," is the following account of their manner of
thrashing corn:--"They have no barns, but thrashing-floors, which are
situated on high grounds, and open to the winds. Here they tread it out
with horses, which are made fast to a post, round which the corn is put;
the horses trampling upon it make great despatch: they then cleanse it
with the wind, and send it home."

The houses of the Greeks are generally built of brick, made of clay and
chopped straw; those at Napoli di Romania are considered among the best,
and are spacious and convenient. The stranger, on entering, is struck
with the singular appearance they present, the lower story being set
apart for the _horses_, while not a bell is visible in any part of the
building. When the attendance of a servant is required, it is signified
by the master clapping his hands. Most of the houses in the villages
have very pretty gardens, with walks round them covered with vines. The
Greeks are remarkable for their love of dancing, particularly the
_Romaika_, which is thus described by the Hon. Mr. Douglas:--"I never
shall forget the first time I saw this dance: I had landed on a fine
Sunday evening in the island of Scio, after three months spent amidst
Turkish despotism, and I found most of the poorer inhabitants of the
town strolling upon the shore, and the rich absent at their farms; but
in riding three miles along the coast, I saw above thirty parties
engaged in dancing the Romaika upon the sand; in some of these groups,
the girl who led them chased the retreating wave, and it was in vain
that her followers hurried their steps; some of them were generally
caught by the returning sea, and all would court the laugh rather than
break the indissoluble chain. Near each party was seated a group of
parents and elder friends, who rekindled the last spark of their
expiring gaiety and vigour in the happiness they saw around them."

Though the Greeks are an oppressed nation, yet, as Sir William Gell
testifies, they cannot be called uncleanly in their habits. The bath is
in constant use among them, and a Greek peasant would on no account
retire to rest without having previously washed his feet. The females,
generally speaking, are kept very secluded from society, and it is
seldom that their marriages are founded on mutual love or attachment.
The conduct of the married women in Greece is deserving of our highest
praise, both for their great virtue and goodness of heart, while
instances of divorce are extremely rare.

The burial-places of the Greeks are situated without the walls of their
towns, and round the tombs are a variety of plants, (principally
parsley,) which they take great care to keep alive. Numerous ceremonies
are observed at their funerals; but the most interesting scene is the
last. "Before the body is covered with earth, the relations approach in
turn, and lifting the corpse in their arms, indulge in the full pleasure
of their grief, while they call in vain on the friend they have lost, or
curse the fate by which that loss has been occasioned." The Greeks, when
occasion requires it, make use of flowers to express their thoughts.
Thus for instance, if a lover wishes to convey any private intelligence
to his mistress, he has only to make a selection of certain flowers, the
signification of which is perfectly understood if once seen by the
object of his love. The manners of the Greeks in many cases bear a
striking resemblance to those of the Turks. Like that nation, they smoke
with long pipes, and write with the left hand. The inhabitants of Napoli
di Romania have still further imitated their oppressors by wearing the
turban trimmed with white, together with the red _papouches_, or
slippers. The costume of the Greek soldiers is thus described by the
author of "Letters from the East:"--"The costume of these soldiers was
light and graceful; a thin vest, sash, and a loose pantaloon, which fell
just below the knee. The head was covered with a small and ugly cap.
They had most of them pistols and muskets, to which many added sabres or
ataghans." The dress of the females is very elegant; over the head is
worn a veil, called _macrama_, and between the eyelid and the pupil is
inserted a black powder, named _surme_, which, according to the Hon. Mr.
Douglas, gives a pleasing expression to the countenance. On their hair
(generally of a beautiful auburn) they bestow great pains, adorning it
with a variety of ornaments, and suffering it to hang down in long
tresses or ringlets, which present a most graceful appearance. In
stature the men are tall and well made; but their countenances, though
expressive, have generally an air of dejection, which no change of time
or circumstances have power to remove. The Greek women are very
beautiful, and remarkable for vivacity and intelligence of mind.

The character of the Greeks consists of a singular mixture of good and
bad qualities. They are vain, fickle, treacherous, and turbulent; but,
on the other hand, are industrious, bold, polite, moderate in their
living, with a lively and ingenious disposition. If it be asserted that
they are in some cases too much given to wine, it may be replied to in
the words of Cicero, _Necessitatis crimen est, non voluntatis_. When we
consider that from the earliest age they are accustomed to witness among
the Turks the most disgusting scenes of profligacy and villany, that,
like wandering pilgrims, they have no fixed abode, and are continually
subject to all the miseries attendant on war and poverty, can it be
wondered if in their character we find something worthy of reprehension?

W. C--Y

* * * * *


* * * * *


Sir Walter Scott observes, on closing the history of Napoleon Bonaparte,
that the reader may be disposed to pause a moment to reflect on the
character of that wonderful person, on whom fortune showered so many
favours in the beginning and through the middle of his career, to
overwhelm its close with such deep and unwonted afflictions.

The external appearance of Napoleon was not imposing at the first
glance, his stature being only five feet six inches English. His person,
thin in youth, and somewhat corpulent in age, was rather delicate than
robust in outward appearance, but cast in the mould most capable of
enduring privation and fatigue. He rode ungracefully, and without the
command of his horse which distinguishes a perfect cavalier; so that he
showed to disadvantage when riding beside such a horseman as Murat. But
he was fearless, sat firm in his seat, rode with rapidity, and was
capable of enduring the exercise for a longer time than most men. We
have already mentioned his indifference to the quality of his food, and
his power of enduring abstinence. A morsel of food, and a flask of wine
hung at his saddle-bow, used, in his earlier campaigns, to support him
for days. In his latter wars, he more frequently used a carriage; not,
as has been surmised, from any particular illness, but from feeling in a
frame so constantly in exercise the premature effects of age.

The countenance of Napoleon is familiar to almost every one from
description, and the portraits which are found everywhere. The
dark-brown hair bore little marks of the attentions of the toilet. The
shape of the countenance approached more than is usual in the human race
to a square. His eyes were grey, and full of expression, the pupils
rather large, and the eye-brows not very strongly marked. The brow and
upper part of the countenance was rather of a stern character. His nose
and mouth were beautifully formed. The upper lip was very short. The
teeth were indifferent, but were little shown in speaking.[2] His smile
possessed uncommon sweetness, and is stated to have been irresistible.
The complexion was a clear olive, otherwise in general colourless. The
prevailing character of his countenance was grave, even to melancholy,
but without any signs of severity or violence. After death, the
placidity and dignity of expression which continued to occupy the
features, rendered them eminently beautiful, and the admiration of all
who looked on them.

[2] When at St. Helena, he was much troubled with toothache and
scurvy in the gums.

Such was Napoleon's exterior. His personal and private character was
decidedly amiable, excepting in one particular. His temper, when he
received, or thought he received, provocation, especially if of a
personal character, was warm and vindictive. He was, however, placable
in the case even of his enemies, providing that they submitted to his
mercy; but he had not that species of generosity which respects the
sincerity of a manly and fair opponent. On the other hand, no one was a
more liberal rewarder of the attachment of his friends. He was an
excellent husband, a kind relation, and, unless when state policy
intervened, a most affectionate brother. General Gourgaud, whose
communications were not in every case to Napoleon's advantage, states
him to have been the best of masters, labouring to assist all his
domestics wherever it lay in his power, giving them the highest credit
for such talents as they actually possessed, and imputing, in some
instances, good qualities to such as had them not.

There was gentleness, and even softness, in his character. He was
affected when he rode over the fields of battle, which his ambition had
strewed with the dead and the dying, and seemed not only desirous to
relieve the victims,--issuing for that purpose directions, which too
often were not, and could not be, obeyed,--but showed himself subject
to the influence of that more acute and imaginative species of sympathy
which is termed sensibility. He mentions a circumstance which indicates
a deep sense of feeling. As he passed over a field of battle in Italy,
with some of his generals, he saw a houseless dog lying on the body of
his slain master. The creature came towards them, then returned to the
dead body, moaned over it pitifully, and seemed to ask their assistance.
"Whether it were the feeling of the moment," continued Napoleon, "the
scene, the hour, or the circumstance itself, I was never so deeply
affected by any thing which I have seen upon a field of battle. That
man, I thought, has perhaps had a house, friends, comrades, and here he
lies deserted by every one but his dog. How mysterious are the
impressions to which we are subject! I was in the habit, without
emotion, of ordering battles which must decide the fate of a campaign,
and could look with a dry eye on the execution of manoeuvres which must
be attended with much loss, and here I was moved--nay, painfully
affected--by the cries and the grief of a dog. It is certain that at
that moment I should have been more accessible to a suppliant enemy, and
could better understand the conduct of Achilles in restoring the body of
Hector to the tears of Priam."[3] The anecdote at once shows that
Napoleon possessed a heart amenable to humane feelings, and that they
were usually in total subjection to the stern precepts of military
stoicism. It was his common and expressive phrase, that the heart of a
politician should be in his head; but his feelings sometimes surprised
him in a gentler mood.

[3] Las Cases, Vol. I partie 2de, p. 5.

A calculator by nature and by habit, Napoleon was fond of order, and a
friend to that moral conduct in which order is best exemplified. The
libels of the day have made some scandalous averments to the contrary,
but without adequate foundation. Napoleon respected himself too much,
and understood the value of public opinion too well, to have plunged
into general or vague debauchery.--_Scott's Life of Napoleon._

* * * * *


The rising of the moon, slow and majestic, as if conscious of the
honours that awaited her upon earth, was welcomed with a loud acclaim
from every eminence, where multitudes stood watching for her first
light. And seldom had she risen upon a scene more beautiful.
Memphis,--still grand, though no longer the unrivalled Memphis, that had
borne away from Thebes the crown of supremacy, and worn it undisputed
through so many centuries,--now, softened by the moonlight that
harmonised with her decline, shone forth among her lakes, her pyramids,
and her shrines, like a dream of glory that was soon to pass away. Ruin,
even now, was but too visible around her. The sands of the Libyan desert
gained upon her like a sea; and, among solitary columns and sphynxes,
already half sunk from sight, Time seemed to stand waiting, till all
that now flourished around, should fall beneath his desolating hand,
like the rest.

On the waters all was life and gaiety. As far as eye could reach, the
lights of innumerable boats were seen, studding, like rubies, the
surface of the stream. Vessels of all kinds,--from the light coracle,
built for shooting down the cataracts, to the large yacht that glides to
the sound of flutes,--all were afloat for this sacred festival, filled
with crowds of the young and the gay, not only from Memphis and Babylon,
but from cities still farther removed from the scene.

As I approached the island, could see, glittering through the trees on
the bank, the lamps of the pilgrims hastening to the ceremony. Landing
in the direction which those lights pointed out, I soon joined the
crowd; and passing through a long alley of sphynxes, whose spangling
marble shone out from the dark sycamores around them, in a short time
reached the grand vestibule of the temple, where I found the ceremonies
of the evening already commenced.

In this vast hall, which was surrounded by a double range of columns,
and lay open over-head to the stars of heaven, I saw a group of young
maidens, moving, in a sort of measured step, between walk and dance,
round a small shrine, upon which stood one of those sacred birds, that,
on account of the variegated colour of their wings, are dedicated to the
moon. The vestibule was dimly lighted,--there being but one lamp of
naphta on each of the great pillars that encircled it. But, having taken
my station beside one of those pillars, I had a distinct view of the
young dancers, as in succession they passed me.

Their long, graceful drapery was as white as snow; and each wore
loosely, beneath the rounded bosom, a dark-blue zone, or bandelet,
studded, like the skies at midnight, with little silver stars. Through
their dark locks was wreathed the white lily of the Nile,--that flower
being accounted as welcome to the moon, as the golden blossoms of the
bean-flower are to the sun. As they passed under the lamp, a gleam of
light flashed from their bosoms, which, I could perceive, was the
reflection of a small mirror, that, in the manner of the women of the
East, each wore beneath her left shoulder.

There was no music to regulate their steps; but as they gracefully went
round the bird on the shrine, some, by the beat of the Castanet, some,
by the shrill ring of the sistrum,--which they held uplifted in the
attitude of their own divine Isis,--harmoniously timed the cadence of
their feet; while others, at every step, shook a small chain of silver,
whose sound, mingling with those of the castanets and sistrums, produced
a wild, but not an unpleasing harmony.

They seemed all lovely; but there was one--whose face the light had not
yet reached, so downcast she held it,--who attracted, and at length
rivetted all my attention--_The Epicurean, by Thomas Moore, Esq._

* * * * *


No material for books has, perhaps, a higher claim to antiquity than the
skin of the calf or goat tanned soft, and usually dyed red or yellow:
the skins were generally connected in lengths, sometimes of a hundred
feet, sufficient to contain an entire book, which then formed one roll
or _volume_. These soft skins seem to have been more in use among the
Jews and other Asiatics than among the people of Europe. The copies of
the law found in the synagogues are often of this kind: the most ancient
manuscripts extant are some copies of the Pentateuch on rolls
of leather.

Parchment--Pergamena, so called long after the time of its first use,
from Pergamus, a city of Mysia, where the manufacture was improved and
carried on to a great extent, is mentioned by Herodotus and Ctesias as a
material which had been from time immemorial used for books: it has
proved to be of all others, except that abovementioned, the most
durable. The greater part of all manuscripts that are of higher
antiquity than the sixth century are on parchment; as well as,
generally, all carefully written and curiously decorated manuscripts of
later ages. The palimpsests are usually parchments: "It often happened,"
says Montfauon, "that from the scarcity of parchment, the copyists,
having erased the writing of ancient books, wrote upon them anew: these
rewritten parchments were called palimpsests--scraped a second time, and
often the ancient work was one of far greater value than that to which
it gave place: this we have on many occasions had opportunity to observe
in the MSS. of the king's library, and in those of Italy. In some of
these rescripts, the first writing is so much obliterated as to be
scarcely perceptible; while in others, though not without much labour,
it may still be read."

The practice, still followed in the east, of writing upon the leaves of
trees, was common in the remotest ages. The leaves of the mallow or of
the palm were most used for this purpose: they were sometimes wrought
together into larger surfaces; but it is probable that this fragile and
inconvenient material was only employed for ordinary purposes of
business, letter-writing, or the instruction of children.

The inner bark of the linden or teil tree, and perhaps of some others,
railed by the Romans _liber_, by the Greeks _biblos,_[4] was so
generally used as a material for writing as to have given its name to a
book in both languages. Tables of solid wood called _codices_, whence
the term _codex_ for a manuscript on any material, has passed into
common use, were also employed, but chiefly for legal documents, on
which account a system of laws came to be called a code. Leaves or
tablets of lead or ivory are frequently mentioned by ancient authors as
in common use for writing. But no material or preparation seems to have
been so frequently employed on ordinary occasions as tablets covered
with a thin coat of coloured wax, which was readily removed by an iron
needle, called a _style_; and from which the writing was as readily
effaced by the blunt end of the same instrument.

[4] The word biblos or byblos, was afterwards almost
appropriated to books written upon the paper of Egypt.

But during many ages the article most in use, and of which the
consumption was so great as to form a principal branch of the commerce
of the Mediterranean, was that manufactured from the papyrus of Egypt.
Many manuscripts written upon this kind of paper in the sixth, and some
even so early as the fourth century, are still extant. It formed the
material of by far the larger proportion of all books from very early
times till about the seventh or eighth century, when it gradually gave
place to a still more convenient manufacture.

The papyrus, or Egyptian reed, grew in vast quantities in the stagnant
pools formed by the inundations of the Nile. The plant consists of a
single stem, rising sometimes to the height of ten cubits; this stem,
gradually tapering from the root, supports a spreading tuft at its
summit. The substance of the stem is fibrous, and the pith contains a
sweet juice. Every part of this plant was put to some use by the
Egyptians. The harder and lower part they formed into cups and other
utensils; the upper part into staves, or the ribs of boats; the sweet
pith was a common article of food; while the fibrous part of the stem
was manufactured into cloth, sails for ships, ropes, strings, shoes,
baskets, wicks for lamps, and, especially, into paper. For this purpose
the fibrous coats of the plant were peeled off, the whole length of the
stem. One layer of fibres was then laid across another upon a block, and
being moistened, the glutinous juice of the plant formed a cement,
sufficiently strong to give coherence to the fibres; when greater
solidity was required, a size made from bread or glue was employed. The
two films being thus connected, were pressed, dried in the sun, beaten
with a broad mallet, and then polished with a shell. This texture was
cut into various sizes, according to the use for which it was intended,
varying from thirteen to four fingers' breadth, and of proportionate

By progressive improvements, especially in the hands of the Roman
artists, this Egyptian paper was brought to a high degree of perfection.
In later ages it was manufactured of considerable thickness, perfect
whiteness, and an entire continuity and smoothness of surface. It was,
however, at the best, so friable that when durability was required the
copyists inserted a page of parchment between every five or six pages of
the papyrus. Thus the firmness of the one substance defended the
brittleness of the other; and great numbers of books so constituted have
resisted the accidents and decays of twelve centuries.

Three hundred years before the Christian era the commerce in this
article had extended over most parts of the civilized world; and long
afterwards it continued to be a principal source of wealth to the
Egyptians. But at length the invention of another manufacture, and the
interruption of commerce occasioned by the possession of Egypt by the
Saracens, banished the paper of Egypt from common use. Comparatively few
manuscripts on this material are found of later date than the eighth or
ninth century; though it continued to be occasionally used long

The charta bombycina or cotton paper, often improperly called _silk_
paper, was unquestionably manufactured in the east as early as the ninth
century, possibly much earlier; and in the tenth it came into general
use throughout Europe. This invention, not long afterwards, became still
more available for general purposes by the substitution of old linen or
cotton rags for the raw material; by which means both the price of the
article was reduced, and the quality improved. The cotton paper
manufactured in the ancient mode is still used in the east, and is a
beautiful fabric.

From this brief account of the materials successively employed for
books, it will be obvious, that a knowledge of the changes which these
several manufactures underwent will often serve, especially when
employed in subservience to other evidence, to ascertain the age of
manuscripts; or at least to furnish the means of detecting fabricated

The preservation of books, framed as they are of materials so
destructible, through a period of twelve, or even fifteen hundred years,
is a fact which might seem almost incredible; especially as the decay of
apparently more durable substances within a much shorter period, is
continually presented to our notice. The massive walls of the
monasteries of the middle ages are often seen prostrate, and fast
mingling with the soil; while manuscripts penned within them, or perhaps
when their stones were yet in the quarry, are still fair and perfect,
glittering with their gold and silver, their cerulean and cinnabar.

But the materials of books, though destructible, are so far from being
in themselves perishable that, while defended from positive injuries,
they appear to suffer scarcely at all from any intrinsic principle of
decay, or to be liable to any perceptible process of decomposition. "No
one," says Father Mabillon,[5] "unless totally unacquainted with what
relates to antiquity, can call in question the great durability of
parchments; since there are extant innumerable books, written on that
material, in the seventh and sixth centuries; and some of a still more
remote antiquity, by which all doubt on that subject might be removed.
It may suffice here to mention the Virgil of the Vatican Library, which
appears to be of more ancient date than the fourth century; and another
in the King's Library little less ancient; also the Prudentius, in the
same library, of equal age; to which you may add several, already
mentioned, as the Psalter of S. Germanus, the book of the councils, and
others, which are all of parchment. Many other instances I might name if
it were proper to dwell upon a matter so well known to every one who is
acquainted with antiquity.

[5] De Re Diplomatica.

"The paper of Egypt, being more frail and brittle, may seem to be open
to greater doubt; yet there are not wanting books of great antiquity, by
which its durability may be established. To go no further, there is in
the Royal Library a very old codex written upon the philyra (or bark of
the linden tree) containing the homilies of Avitus, I mean the copy from
which the celebrated Jac. Sirmundus prepared his edition; we have also
seen two other codices of the same material in the Petavian Library,
containing some sermons of S. Augustine, which, in the opinion of the
learned, are about 1100 years old. Of the same kind is that rare and
very ancient codex in the Ambrosian Library, mutilated indeed, but
consisting of many leaves of Egyptian paper, which contain some portions
of the Jewish history of Josephus. These examples are sufficient to
demonstrate the durability of the Egyptian paper in ancient books." The
author then goes on to mention several instances of deeds and chartas
written upon the paper of Egypt, still extant, though executed in the
fourth and fifth centuries.

Books have owed their conservation, not merely to the durability of the
material of which they were formed, but to the peculiarity of their
being at once precious, and yet not (in periods of general ignorance)
marketable articles; of inestimable value to a few, and absolutely
worthless in the opinion of the multitude. They were also often indebted
for their preservation in periods of disorder and violence to the
sacredness of the roofs under which they were lodged.--_Taylor's History
of the Transmission of Ancient Books to Modern Times._

* * * * *


In Europe the manner in which plays are acted, and balls and musical
parties conducted, is (entirely) different from that of Hindoostan. The
people of this country (India) send for the singers to their own houses,
where they view the entertainments, and squander away a large sum of
money for one night's (amusement.) In Europe it is usual for a few
individuals to enter into partnership, (or) as it is called in English,
a company. They fit up a house in which dancing girls, skilful
musicians, singers, and actors, are engaged to perform. The audience
consists of from three to four thousand people. The lower orders, who
sit above all, give one shilling, equal in value to half a rupee; the
middle classes, who sit lowest off all, a rupee and a half; and the
great folks and noblemen, who sit (round) the middle of the house, give
two rupees and a half. Separate rooms (boxes) are allotted for them. The
place where the king sits is in front of the dancers. His majesty sits
there along with one or two of the princes, and these give each an
ashrufee. Now it is to be understood, that a poor man for eight anas,
and a rich individual for two rupees and a half, see a spectacle which
is fit for royalty itself, and which the people of this country have not
even seen in their dreams. In one night the dancers and musicians
collect five or six thousand rupees, which cover the expenses, and the
audience is sufficiently amused.

It is the aim of this _caste_ to accomplish great undertakings at little
expense. In Hindoostan, luxurious young men, for seeing a nautch
[dance,] squander away, in one night, one or two hundred rupees; and
lakhs of rupees of patrimony, which they may succeed to, in a short time
take wing.

How can I describe the dances, the melodious sound of violins and
guitars, and the interesting stories which I heard, and (all the things)
which I saw? My pen lacks ability to write even a short panegyric.

From amongst all the spectacles, that of the curtains of seven colours
(the scenes) is exceedingly wonderful, for every instant a new painting
is exhibited. Then people, disguised like angels and fairies, the one
moment come upon the stage and dance, and the next vanish from the
sight. There is also a man with a black face, who is a kind of devil,
and called harlequin; at one time he appears, and at another time hides
himself, and sometimes attaches himself to the others, and taking the
hands of the dancing girls, he dances with them; he then scampers off,
and taking a leap, he jumps through a window. At seeing this sport I
laughed very heartily. In a word, the (whole) entertainment is excellent
and wonderful.

Talking is not permitted in the theatre, although the crowd is great,
yet there is neither noise nor clamour. When a pleasing storey or
adventure is heard or witnessed, and they wish to express their
approbation, instead of saying _shabash!_ [excellent] or _wah! wah!_
[bravo! bravo!] they beat the floor with their feet, or they clap their
hands, by which they signify their approval.--_Travels of Mirza Itesa
Modeen in Great Britain and France._

* * * * *


* * * * *


Nothing can be more ludicrous than a young Englishman's first landing in
Calcutta. The shore is thronged with the swarthy natives, eagerly
awaiting his arrival. Innumerable palanquins are brought down to the
boat, and the bearers, like the Paddington stagecoach men, are all
violently struggling to procure a passenger. The bewildered stranger is
puzzled which to choose; and when he has made up his mind, he finds it
no easy matter to jostle through the countless rival conveyances which
completely surround him. He is also sure to make some laughable mistake
in entering the palanquin. It requires a certain tact to steady the
vehicle as you throw yourself into it, or it is apt to turn over, like a
tailor's swinging cot. Another ridiculous error which a stranger is
liable to, is his endeavouring to seat himself on the little drawer
inside, supposing it to be intended for that purpose. But he soon finds,
after having doubled himself up, like people passing on a coach top
under a low gateway, that it would be utterly impossible to remain long
in that position, unless the human back were as pliable as a piece of
whalebone. After all, perhaps, the bearers are compelled to rest the
palanquin on the ground, and the abashed stranger, creeping hastily in,
is glad to escape from the ill suppressed smiles of the surrounding

_London Weekly Review._


The full period of incubation by the hen in this country, is well known
to be twenty-one days. In warmer climates it is said to be a day or two
less. The periods of incubation vary much in different species of birds.
We introduce the following table, which has been compiled from different
authors by Count Morozzo, in a letter from him to Lacppe, to show the
periods of incubation compared with those of the life of certain birds.

Names of | Periods | Duration |
Birds. | of Incu- | of | Authority
| bation | Life. |
| Days. | Years. |
Swan | 42 | About 200 | Aldrovande
Parrot | 40 | About 100 | Wulmaer
Goose | 30 | 80 or more | Willoughby
Eagle | 30 } | Period of |
Bustard | 30 } | life not |
Duck | 30 } | known. |
Turkey | 30 } | |
Peacock | 26 to 27 | 25 to 28 | Aristot. & Pliny
Pheasant | 20 to 25 | 18 to 20 | A Treatise on Pheasants
Crow | 20 | 100 or more | Hesiod
Nightingale | 19 to 20 | 17 to 18 | Buffon
Hen | 18 to 19 | 16 to 18 | Buffon
Pigeon | 17 or 18 | 16 to 17 | Several observations
Linnet | 14 | 13 to 14 | Willoughby
Canary | 13 to 14 | 13 to 14 | A Treatise on these birds
Goldfinch | 13 to 14 | 18 to 20 | Buffon

* * * * *


"I am but a _Gatherer_ and disposer of other men's

* * * * *

One of the band of Covent-Garden, who played the French horn, was
telling some anecdote of Garrick's generosity. Macklin, who heard him at
the lower end of the table, and who always fired at the praises of
Garrick, called out, "Sir, I believe you are a _trumpeter._"--"Well,
sir," said the poor man, quite confounded, "and if I am, what
then?"--"Nothing more, sir, than being a trumpeter, you are a dealer in
_puffs_ by profession."

* * * * *

An Irish dignitary of the church (not remarkable for veracity)
complaining that a tradesman of his parish had called him a _liar_,
Macklin asked him what reply he made him. "I told him," says he, "that a
lie was amongst the things I _dared_ not commit."--"And why, doctor,"
replied Macklin, "did you give the rascal _so mean an opinion of your

* * * * *

In the neighbourhood of Yeovil are now living, in the same house, and at
the same board, a man and his wife, two sons, three daughters, two
grandsons, one grand-daughter, one grandfather, two fathers, two
mothers, one father-in-law, one son-in-law, three brothers, three
sisters, two brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, two uncles, two aunts,
two nephews, three nieces, three first cousins, one great uncle, two
great nephews, and one great niece; the whole consisting of seven
individuals only.

* * * * *

_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near
Somerset-House,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers._

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