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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XII, NO. 347.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
[Illustration: European Cities.--Naples.]
In our last volume we commenced the design of illustrating the
principal _Cities of Europe_, by a series of picturesque views--one of
which is represented in the above engraving. Our miscellaneous duties
in identifying the pages of the MIRROR with subjects of contemporary
interest, and anxiety to bring them on our little _tapis_--(qy.
Twopence?)--will best account for the interval which has elapsed since
the commencement of our design--with a View of London; but were all
travellers as tardy, the Grand Tour of Europe would occupy many years,
and leave fashion-mongers but little more than rouge, wrinkles, and
_bon-bons_ to delight their friends at home.
The proximity of Naples to Rome may, perhaps, impair the interest of
the former city, especially as it presents nothing in architecture,
sculpture, or painting that can vie with the Imperial Mistress.
Nevertheless, Naples is one of the most beautiful and most delightful
cities on the habitable globe. Nothing can possibly be imagined more
unique than its _coup-d'oeil_, on whatever side the city is viewed.
Naples is situated towards the south and east on the declivity of a
long range of hills, and encircling a gulf of 16 miles in breadth,
and as many in length, which forms a basin, called Crater by the
Neapolitans. The city appears to crown this superb basin. One part
rises towards the west in the form of an amphitheatre, on the hills
of Pausilippo, St. Ermo, and Antiguano; the other extends towards the
east, over a more level territory, in which villas follow each other
in rapid succession, from the Magdalen Bridge to Portici, where the
king's palace is situated, and beyond that to Mount Vesuvius. The
Neapolitans have a saying, _Vedi Napoli e po mari_, intimating that
when Naples has been seen, every thing has been seen; and its
congregated charms of situation, climate, and fertility almost warrant
this patriotic ebullition.
"On the northern side, Naples is surrounded by hills, which (says
_Vasi_, in his '_Picture_,') form a kind of crown round the _Terra di
Lavoro_, the Land of Labour." This consists of a district, in the
language of ancient Rome,
------Lecos laeros, et amoena vireta
Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas--
and fertilized by a river, called Sebeto, which descends from the hills
on the side of Nola, and falls into the sea after having passed under
Magdalen Bridge, towards the eastern part of Naples.
The ancient history of Naples is involved in much obscurity. According
to some, says _Vasi_, Falerna, one of the Argonauts, founded it about
1,300 years before the Christian era; according to others, Parthenope,
one of the Syrens, celebrated by Homer in his "Odyssey," being
shipwrecked on this coast, landed here, and built a town, to which she
gave her name; others attribute its foundation to Hercules, some to
Eneas, and others to Ulysses. These are mere freaks of fiction and
fable; and it is more probable that Naples was founded by some Greek
colonies; this may be inferred from its own name, _Neapolis_, and from
the name of another town contiguous to it, _Paleopolis._ Strabo speaks
of these Greek colonies, whence the city derives its origin.
The city of Naples was formerly surrounded by very high walls, about 22
miles in circumference; but on its enlargement, neither walls nor gates
were erected. It may be, however, defended by three strong castles.
Naples is divided into twelve quarters, or departments, and contains
about 450,000 inhabitants. It is consequently the most populous city
in Europe, except London and Paris. The streets are neither broad nor
regular, and are paved with broad slabs of hard stone, resembling the
lava of Vesuvius. The houses are, for the most part, uniformly built,
being about five or six stories high, with balconies and flat roofs,
in the form of terraces, which are used as a promenade. The churches,
palaces, and public buildings are magnificent; but they suffer in
comparison with the other architectural wealth of Italy. Vasi states
there are about 300 churches; and among the other public buildings he
mentions 37 conservatories, established for the benefit of poor
children, and old people, both men and women.
The environs of Naples possess many attractions for the classic tourist,
as well as for the strange flies of fashion. Among these is Virgil's
Tomb, which is, indeed, holy ground. The temples, aqueducts, and arches
of olden time are likewise stupendous records of the sumptuousness of
the ancient people of this interesting district; and, apart from these
attractions, the contemplative philosopher may read in the volcanic
remains, and other phenomena on its shores, many inspiring lessons in
the broad volume of Nature; as well as amid the neighbouring relics of
Man marks the earth with ruin.
* * * * *
LEICESTER ABBEY.--DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Few periods of English history are more pregnant with events, or more
interesting to the antiquary, and general reader, than that which
comprised the fortunes of Wolsey. The eventful life of the Cardinal,
checkered as it was by the vicissitudes of fortune, his sudden
elevation, and finally his more sudden fall and death, display an
appalling picture of "the instability of human affairs." This prelate
and statesman, who even aspired to the Papal throne itself, "was an
honest poore man's sonne in the towne of Ipswiche," who having
received a good education, and being endowed with great capacity, soon
rose to fill the highest offices of the church and state; in 1515 he
was created Lord High Chancellor, and in three years afterwards was
appointed legate _a latere_ by the Pope, having previously received
a Cardinal's cap.
Leicester Abbey was rendered famous as being the last residence of the
unhappy Wolsey; "within its walls," says Gilpin, "was once exhibited a
scene more humiliating to human ambition, and more instructive to human
grandeur than almost any which history hath produced. Here the fallen
pride of Wolsey retreated from the insults of the world, all his visions
of ambition were now gone; his pomp and pageantry and crowded levees! On
this spot he told the listening monks, the sole attendants of his dying
hour, as they stood around his pallet, that he was come to lay his bones
among them, and gave a pathetic testimony to the truth and joys of
religion, which preaches beyond a thousand lectures."
On his road to London, whither he had been summoned, from his castle of
_Cawood_, by Henry, to take his trial for high treason, he was seized
with a disorder, which so much increased as to oblige his resting at
Leicester, where he was met at the Abbey gate by the Abbot and his whole
convent. The first ejaculation of Wolsey, on meeting these holy persons,
plainly shows that he was fully aware of his approaching end: "Father
Abbot," said he, "I am come hither to lay my bones among you;" and it
was with great difficulty that they could get him up the stairs, which
it was fated he was never again to descend alive. A short time previous
to his death, he thus addressed the Constable of the Tower, who was
appointed to convey him to the metropolis:--"Well, well, Master
Kingstone, I see the matter how it is framed; but if I had serued God as
diligentlie as I haue done the king, he would not haue giuen me ouer in
my gray haires; but this is the iust reward that I must receiue for
the diligent paines and study yt I haue had to doe him seruice, not
regarding my seruice to God, but onely to satisfie his pleasure; I praie
you haue me most humblie commended vnto his royal maiestie, and beseech
him in my behalfe to call to his princelie remembrance, all matters
proceeding between him and mee, from the beginning of the worlde, and
the progress of the same, and most especialle in his weightie matter,
and then shall his grace's conscience know whether I haue oflended him
Thus sunk into the grave a man, who was a victim to tyranny, but
to a tyranny which he had himself formed; that he was a person far
enlightened beyond the period in which he lived no one can presume
to doubt. He tended greatly to promote the arts and learning of his
country. His personal character displayed as great a variety of opposite
qualities, as the fortunes to which he had been exposed; his magnanimity
was oftentimes clouded by the greatest meanness, and with an urbanity of
manners, he combined an intolerable degree of pride and arrogance; he
was frank and generous, but his overwhelming ambition greatly tended to
obscure these nobler qualities of his mind, and as he rose, he became
haughty and overbearing. His character has been obscured by the envy and
partiality of his contemporaries, who have generally endeavoured to load
his memory with reproaches. "This Cardinall," says Holinshed, "was
of great stomach, for he compted himselfe equall with princes, and by
craftie suggestion got into his hands innumerable treasure; he forced
little on simonie, and was not pittiful, and stood affectionate in his
owne opinion; in open presence he would lie and saie vntruth, and was
double both in speech and meaning; he would promise much and performe
little; he was vicious of his bodie, and gaue the clergy euill example;
he hated sore the Citie of London and feared it. It was told him that
he should die in the waie toward London, wherefore he feared lest the
commons of the citie would arise in riotous maner and so slaie him, yet
for all that he died in the waie toward London, carrieng more with him
out of the worlde than he brought into it, namellie, a winding sheete,
besides other necessaries thought meet for a dead man, as a Christian
The remains of the Cardinal were interred in the Abbey Church at
Leicester, after having been viewed by the Mayor and Corporation,
(for the prevention of false rumours,) and were attended to the grave
by the Abbot and all the brethren. This last ceremony was performed by
torchlight, the canons singing dirges, and offering orisons, at between
four and five o'clock of the morning, on St. Andrew's Day, November the
Leicester Abbey was founded (according to Leland)  in the year 1143,
in the reign of King Stephen, by Robert Bossue, Earl of Leicester, for
black canons of the order of St. Augustine, and was dedicated to the
Virgin Mary. It is situated in a pleasant meadow, to the north of the
town, watered by the river Soar, whence it acquired the name of _St.
Mary de Pratis_, or _de la Pre_. This monastery was richly endowed
with lands in thirty-six of the neighbouring parishes, besides various
possessions in other counties, and enjoyed considerable privileges and
immunities. Bossue, with the consent of Lady Amicia, his wife, became
a canon regular in his own foundation, in expiation of his rebellious
conduct towards his sovereign, and particularly for the injuries which
he had thereby brought upon the "goodly towne of Leycestre." At the
dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. the revenues of this house
were valued according to _Speed_ at L1062. 0s. 4d., _Dugdale_ says L951.
14s. 5d.; and its site was granted in the 4th of Edward VI. to William,
Marquess of Northampton.
 Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, p. 1. edit. 1641. Most of his
biographers affirm that he was the son of a butcher.
 "Northern Tour." The same author observes, that "the death of
Wolsey would make a fine moral picture, if the hand of any master
could give the pallid features of the dying statesman, that
chagrin, that remorse, those pangs of anguish, which, in the last
bitter moments of his life, possessed him. The point might be
taken when the monks are administering the comforts of religion,
which the despairing prelate cannot feel. The subject requires a
gloomy apartment, which a ray through a Gothic window might just
enlighten, throwing its force chiefly on the principal figure,
and dying away on the rest. The appendages of the piece need only
be few and simple; little more than the crozier and red hat to
mark the cardinal and tell the story."
 Stow's "Annals," p. 557, edit. 1615.
 Shakspeare introduces this memorable saying of the cardinal into
his play of "Henry the Eighth:"--
--"O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies."
 Stow's "Annals."
 Holinshed's "Chronicle," vol. iii. p. 765, edit. 1808.
 "Collectanea," vol i. p. 70.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)
It will be recollected, that in a former volume I gave you the form of
the oath taken by the appellee in the ancient manner of trial by battle.
The appellee, when appealed of felony, pleads _not guilty_ and throws
down his glove, and declares he will defend the same by his body; the
appellant takes up the glove, and replies that he is ready to make good
the appeal body for body; and thereupon the appellee, taking the book in
his right hand, makes oath as before mentioned. To which the appellant
replies, holding the Bible and his antagonist's hand in the same manner
as the other, "Hear this, O man, whom I hold by the hand, who callest
thyself _Thomas_ by the name of baptism, that thou art perjured; and
therefore perjured, because that thou feloniously didst murder my
father, _William_ by name. So help me God and the Saints, and this I
will prove against thee by my body, as this court shall award." And then
the combat proceeds.
There is a striking resemblance between this process and that of the
court of _Arcopagus,_ at Athens, for murder, where the prisoner and
prosecutor were both sworn in the most solemn manner--the prosecutor,
that he was related to the deceased, (for none but near relations were
permitted to prosecute in that court,) and that the prisoner was the
cause of his death; the prisoner, that he was innocent of the charge
In time I hope to be able to furnish you with other specimens of our
curious ancient oaths.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
Whose heart is not delighted at the sound
Of rural song, of Nature's melody,
When hills and dales with harmony rebound,
While Echo spreads the pleasing strains around,
Awak'ning pure and heartfelt sympathy!
Perchance on some rude rock the minstrel stands,
While his pleased hearers wait entranced around;
Behold him touch the chords with fearless hands,
Creating heav'nly joys from earthly sound.
How many voices in the chorus rise,
And artless notes renew the failing strains;
The honest boor his vocal talent tries,
Approving love beams from his "fair one's eyes,"
While age, in silent joy, forgets its pains.
* * * * *
THE DEATH OF SALADIN.
 For the particulars of which, see Knolle's "history of the Turks."
(_For the Mirror._)
The angel of death hath too surely prest
His fatal sign on the warrior's breast--
Quench'd is the light of the eagle-eye,
And the nervous limbs rest languidly--
The eloquent tongue is silent and still,
The deep clear voice again may not chill
The hearers' hearts with its own deep thrill.
Ah, who can gaze on death, nor inward feel
A creeping horror through the bosom steal,
Like one who stands upon a precipice,
And sees below a mangled sacrifice,
Feeling that he himself must ere long fall,
With none to save him, none to hear his call,
Or wrest him from the agonizing thrall?
And yet it is but sleep we look upon!
But in that sleep from which the life is gone
Sinks the proud Saladin, Egyptia's lord.
His faith's firm champion, and his Prophet's sword;
Not e'en the red cross knights withstand his pow'r,
But, sorrowing, mark the Moslem's triumph hour,
And the pale crescent float from Salem's tow'r.
As the keen arrow, hurl'd with giant-might,
Rends the thin air in its impetuous flight,
But being spent on earth innoxious lies,
E'en its track vanish'd from the yielding skies--
So lies the soldan, stopp'd his bright career,
His vanquish'd realms their prostrate heads uprear,
And coward kings forget their servile fear.
Ere yet stern Azrael cut the thread of life,
While Death and Nature wag'd unequal strife,
Spoke the expiring hero:--"Hither stand,
Receive your dying sovereign's last command.
When that the spirit from my frame is riven,
(Oh, gracious Alla! be my sins forgiven,
And bright-eyed Houris waft my soul to heaven,)
Then when you bear me to my last retreat,
Let not the mourners howl along the street--
Let not my soldiers in the train be seen,
Nor banners float, nor lance or sabre gleam--
Nor yet, to testify a vain regret,
O'er my remains let costly shrine be set,
Or sculptur'd stone, or gilded minaret;
But let a herald go before my bier,
Bearing on point of lance the robe I wear.
Shouting aloud, 'Behold what now remains
Of the proud conqueror of Syria's plains,
Who bow'd the Persian, made the Christian feel
The deadly sharpness of the Moslem steel;
But of his conquests, riches, honours, might,
Naught sleeps with him in death's unbroken night,
Save this poor robe.'"
 Azrael, in the Mahometan creed, the angel of death.
* * * * *
BANQUETTING HOUSE, WHITEHALL.
(_For the Mirror._)
This splendid pile which is at present under repair, was erected in the
time of James I. Whitehall being in a most ruinous state, he determined
to rebuild it in a very princely manner, and worthy of the residence
of the monarchs of the British empire. He began with pulling down the
banquetting rooms built by Elizabeth. That which bears the above name at
present was begun in 1619, from a design of Inigo Jones, in his purest
style; and executed by Nicholas Stone, master mason and architect to
the king; it was finished in two years, and cost L17,000. but is only
a small part of a vast plan, left unexecuted by reason of the unhappy
times which succeeded. The ceiling of this noble room cannot be
sufficiently admired; it was painted by Rubens, who had L3,000. for
his work. The subject is the Apotheosis of James I. forming nine
compartments; one of the middle represents our pacific monarch on
his earthly throne, turning with horror from Mars, and other of the
discordant deities, and as if it were, giving himself up to the amiable
goddess he always cultivated, and to her attendants, Commerce, and the
Fine Arts. This fine performance is painted on canvass, and is in high
preservation; but a few years ago it underwent a repair by Cipriani, who
had L2,000. for his trouble. Near the entrance is a bust of the royal
Little did James think (says Pennant) that he was erecting a pile from
which his son was to step from the throne to the scaffold. He had been
brought in the morning of his death, from St. James's across the Park,
and from thence to Whitehall, where ascending the great staircase, he
passed through the long gallery to his bed-chamber, the place allotted
to him to pass the little time before he received the fatal blow. It
is one of the lesser rooms marked with the letter A in the old plan of
Whitehall. He was from thence conducted along the galleries and the
banquetting house, through the wall, in which a passage was broken to
his last earthly stage. Mr. Walpole tells us that Inigo Jones, surveyor
of the works done about the king's house, had only 8s. 4d. a day, and
L46. a year for house-rent, and a clerk and other incidental expenses.
The present improvements at Whitehall make one exclaim with the poet,
"I see, I see, where two fair cities bend
Their ample brow, _a new Whitehall ascend._"
"You too proceed, make falling arts your care,
_Erect new wonders, and the old repair;_
_Jones_ and Palladio to themselves _restore_,
And be whate'er Vitruvius was before."
* * * * *
_(For the Mirror.)_
O light celestial, streaming wide
Through morning'd court of fairy blue--
O tints of beauty, beams of pride,
That break around its varied hue--
Still to thy wonted pathway true,
Thou shinest on serenely free,
Best born of _Him_, whose mercy grew
In every gift, sweet world, to thee.
O countless stars, that, lost in light,
Still gem the proud sun's glory bed,
And o'er the saddening brow of night
A softer, holier influence shed--
How well your radiant march hath sped.
Unfailing vestals of the sky,
As smiling thus ye weed from dread
The soul ye court to muse on high.
O flowers that breathe of beauty's reign,
In many a tint o'er lawn and lea,
That give the cold heart once again
A dream of happier infancy;
And even on the grave can be
A spell to weed affection's pain--
Children of Eden, who could see.
Nor own _His_ bounty in your reign?
O winds, that seem to waft from far
A mystic murmur o'er the soul,
As ye had power to pass the bar
Of nature in your vast control,
Hail to your everlasting roll--
Obedient still ye wander dim,
And softly breathe, or loudly toll,
Through earth and sky the name of _Him_.
O world of waters, o'er whose bed
The chainless winds unceasing swell,
That claim'st a kindred over head,
As 'twixt the skies thou seem'st to dwell;
And e'en on earth art but a spell,
Amid their realms to wander free--
Thy task of pride hath speeded well,
Thou deep, eternal, boundless sea.
O storms of night and darkness, flung
In blackening chaos o'er the world,
When thunderpeals are dreadly rung,
Mid clouds in sightless fury hurl'd,
Types of a mightier power, impearl'd
With mercy's soft, redeeming ray,
Still at His voice your wings are furl'd,
Ye wake to own and to obey.
O thou blest whole of light and love,
Thou glorious realm of earth and sky,
That breath'st of blissful hope above,
When all of thine hath wander'd by,
Throughout thy range, nor tear nor sigh
But breathes of bliss, of beauty's reign,
And concord, such as in the sky
The soul is taught to meet again.
O man, who veil'd in deepest night
This beauty-breathing world of thine,
And taught the serpent's deadly blight
Amid its sweetest flowers to twine,
Thou, thou alone hast dared repine,
And turn'd aside from duty's call,
Thou who hast broken nature's shrine,
And wilder'd hope and darken'd all.
* * * * *
A half-pint of wine for young men in perfect health is enough, and you
will be able to take your exercise better, and feel better for this
* * * * *
THE SKETCH BOOK.
* * * * *
We had gone into Devonshire, for the purpose of being more retired, that
we might study more attentively, and with less chance of interruption,
than in a town. We chose, accordingly, for our residence, one of the
most beautiful and retired cottages we ever saw. It was situated very
near the sea; and, oh! what thoughts used to steal over us, of romance
and true love, as we gazed upon that quiet ocean, from the vine-covered
window of our quiet, sweet, secluded home! Day after day, we wandered
among the woods in the neighbourhood, and rejoiced, at each successive
visit, to find out new beauties. This continued for some time; till at
last, on returning one day, we saw an unusual bustle in the room we
occupied. On entering, we found our landlady hurrying out in great
confusion, and, along with her, a beautiful, blushing girl, so perfectly
ladylike in her appearance, that we wondered by what means our venerable
hostess could have become acquainted with so interesting a visiter. She
soon explained the mystery; this lady, who seemed more bewitching every
moment that we gazed on her, was the daughter of a 'squire in whose
family our worthy landlady had been nurse. She had come, without knowing
that any lodger was in the house, and was to stay a week. Oh! that week!
the happiest of our life. We soon became intimate; our books lay fast
locked up at the bottom of our trunk: we walked together, saw the sun
set together in the calm ocean, and then walked happily and contentedly
home in the twilight; and long before the week was at an end, we had
vowed eternal vows, and sworn everlasting constancy. We had not, to
be sure, discovered any great powers of mind in our enslaver; but how
interesting is even ignorance, when it comes from such a beautiful
and smiling mouth! We had already formed happy plans of moulding her
unformed opinions, and directing and sharing all her studies. The little
slips which were observable in her grammar, we attributed to want of
care; and the accent, which was very powerful, was rendered musical to
our ear, at the same time as dear to our heart, by the whiteness of the
little arm that lay so quietly and lovingly within our own. And then,
her taste in poetry was not the most delicate or refined; but she was so
enthusiastically fond of it, that we imagined a little training would
lead her to prefer many of Mr. Moore's ballads, to the pathos of Giles
Scroggins; and that in time, the "Shining River" might occupy a superior
place, in her estimation, to a song from which she repeated, with tears
in her eyes--,
"But like the star what lighted
Pale billion to its fated doom,
Our nuptial song is blighted,
And its rose quench'd in its bloom."
And then, she seemed so fond of flowers, and knew so much about their
treatment, that we fancied how lovely she must look while engaged in that
fascinating study; and often, in our dreaming moods, did we mutter about
Within the vale of Enna gathering flowers,
Herself the fairest flower."--
But why should we repeat what every one can imagine so well for himself?
At last, the hour of parting came; and, week after week, her stay at the
cottage had been prolonged, till our departure took place before hers.
And on that day she looked, as all men's sweethearts do at leaving them,
more touchingly beautiful than ever we had seen her before; and after we
had torn ourself away, we looked back, and there we saw her standing in
the same spot we had left her, a statue of misery and despair,--"like
Niobe all tears."
Astonishment occupied the minds of all our friends on our return to
college. The change which took place on our feelings and conduct was
indeed amazing; our mornings were devoted to gazing on a lock of
our--she was rather unfortunate in a name--our Grizel's hair, and to
lonely hours of musing in the meadow on all the adventures of our
sojourn in Devonshire. No longer we stood listlessly in the quadrangle,
joining the knots of idlers, of whom we used to be one of the chief;
no longer had even Castles' Havannahs any charms for our lips; and our
whole heart was wrapt up in the expectation of a letter. This we were
not to receive for three long weeks; and by that time she was to have
returned home, consulted her father on the subject of our attachment,
and return us a definitive reply. We wrote in the meantime--such a
letter! We are assured it must have been written on a sheet of asbestos,
or it must infallibly have taken fire. It began, "Lovely and most
beautiful Grizel!" and ended, "Your adorer." At last the letter that was
to conclude all our hopes was put into our hands. We had some men that
morning to breakfast; we received it just as they were beginning the
third pie. How heartily we prayed they would he off and leave us
alone! But no--on they kept swallowing pigeon after pigeon, and seemed
to consider themselves as completely fixtures as the grate or the
chimney-piece. We wished devoutly to see a bone sticking in the throat
of our most intimate friend, and, by way of getting quit of them, had
thoughts of setting fire to the room. At last, however, they departed.
Immediately as the skirt of the last one's coat disappeared, we
carefully locked and bolted our door, and, with hands trembling with
joy, we took out the letter. Not very clean was its appearance, and not
over correct or well-spelt was its address; and, above all, a yellow,
dingy wafer filled up the place of the green wax we had expected, and
the true lover's motto, "Though lost to sight, to memory dear," was
supplied by the impression of a thimble. We opened it. Horror and
amazement! never was such penmanship beheld. The lines were complete
exemplifications of the line of beauty, so far as their waving, and
twisting, and twining was concerned; and the orthography it was past
all human comprehension to understand.
"My deerest deere, dear sur,"--this was the letter,--"i kim him more nor
a wic agon, butt i cuddunt right yu afore ass i av bin with muther an
asnt seed father till 2 day. he sais as my fortin is 3 hundurd pouns,
he sais as he recomminds me tu take mi hold lover Mister Tomas the
gaurdnar, he sais as yu caunt mary no boddi, accause you must be a
batseller three ears. if thiss be troo i am candied enuff to tell you
ass i caunt wate so long my deerast deer, o yu ave brock mi art! wy did
yu sai al ass yu sad iff yu cud unt mary nor none of the scolards at
hocksfoot Kolidge. father sais as ther iss sum misstake praps yu did unt
no ass mother is not marid 2 father butt is marrid to the catchmun and
father is marad to a veri gud ladi ass gove me a gud edocasion. mi
deerest deere it brakes my art all from yu for tu part, i rot them lines
this marnin. mister tomas sais as i gov im mi prumass befor i cum to ave
the apiness of see yu. butt i dant thinc i giv mor promass to him. nor
2 manni uthers. mi deerest deer and troo luv cuppid! i feer our nutshell
song is blitid and its ros kwencht in its blum. them was plesent ours
when the carnashuns and tullups was all in blo, wasunt them mi deer luv.
mister tomas sais ass he can mari me in a munth and father sais i hot tu
take im. iff so be as yu caun't du it beefor i thinc i shal take im ass
father sais there is sum mistake, mi deerest deere mi art is brock butt
i thinc i shall take im iff so bee as I dant ear frum yu. gud nite my
troo luv i shal kip your lockat for a kipsic an yu ma kiss my luck off
air for the sack of your brockan arted
It is astonishing how the perusal of this cured us of our affection.
At the first line we recollected that she had a tendency to squint,
and long before we came to the conclusion, we remembered that her
ancles were rather thick, and her feet by no means of diminutive size.
Thus ended our love adventures at the University. Our heroine we have
never heard of since, and we have resisted the most tempting offers
from the loveliest of her sex; and in spite of sighing heiresses and
compassionate old maids, we are still a bachelor; and a bachelor,
in defiance of all their machinations, we are firmly determined to
* * * * *
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
* * * * *
CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS IN THE NETHERLANDS.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Many singular customs are observed in the Netherlands at Christmas, and
as they materially differ from those known in England, a brief notice of
_one_ of them may probably prove acceptable to the readers of the
In almost every Dutch town, and in every considerable village, the
following custom prevails:--At a little after two o'clock in the morning
of Christmas-day, a number of young men assemble in the market-place,
and sing some verses suited to the occasion. One of the young men bears
an _artificial star,_ which is fixed to a pole, and elevated above the
heads of the people; it is very large, and is rendered beautifully
transparent when a light is placed in the inside. This artificial
luminary is intended to represent the star of the east, which directed
the wise men to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ. At a little
distance, the appearance is exceedingly brilliant, for there is no other
light among the populace to diminish its lustre, and the whole scene
is singularly picturesque. The resplendent light issuing from the star
strikes powerfully upon the countenances of the principal actors, while
those more remote receive only a faint and subdued gleam. The silvery
effulgence of the moon, the sombre and deserted look of the buildings
around, and the general stillness that pervades every object, save the
scene of action, might inspire the mind of a Rembrandt, or introduce
to the mere casual beholder feelings at once new and poetical.
After parading through the town, the youths repair in a body to the
residence of some opulent inhabitant, where their arrival is welcomed
with shouts and clapping of hands, and where they are entertained with
a plentiful repast.
* * * * *
Their present actual numbers may, perhaps, not exceed six
millions--numbers, however, probably greater than those over which
Solomon reigned; and of these six millions there may be resident in the
contiguous countries of Moravia, Ancient Poland, the Crimea, Moldavia,
and Wallachia, above three millions. Except within the countries which
formed Poland before its partitions, their population contained in any
one European kingdom, cannot, therefore, be great. Yet so essentially
are they one people, we might almost say one family; and so disposable
is their wealth, as mainly vested in money transactions, that they must
be considered as an aggregate, and not in their individual portions.
The Jews in France are perhaps from thirty to forty thousand; they
abound chiefly at Metz, along the Rhine, and at Marseilles and Bordeaux.
In Bonaparte's time they were imagined to amount to at least twice that
number.--They are relieved from civil restraints and disabilities in
France, and in the Netherlands also. The Jews in Holland, of both German
and Portuguese origin, are numerous; the latter are said to have taken
refuge there when the United Provinces asserted their independence of
Spain; they have a splendid synagogue at Amsterdam. Infidelity is
supposed to have made more progress amongst them than amongst the German
Jews in Holland. The Italian Jews are chiefly at Leghorn and Genoa; and
there are four thousand of them at Rome. In speaking of the religion of
the Jews, it is not necessary to particularize those who assumed the
mask of Christianity under terror of the Inquisition, although much has
been said of their wealth and numbers, and of the high offices they have
filled in Spain, and especially in Portugal. But it is curious to see,
in a very distant quarter, a like simulation produced amongst them
by like causes. There are at Salonica thirty synagogues, and about
twenty-five thousand professed Jews; and a body of Israelites have been
lately discovered there, who, really adhering to the faith of their
fathers, have externally embraced Mahomedanism.
The Barbary Jews are a very fine people; but the handsomest Jews are
said to be those of Mesopotamia. That province may also boast of an Arab
chief who bears the name of the Patriarch Job, is rich in sheep, and
camels, and oxen, and asses, abounds in hospitality, and believes that
he descends from him; he is also famed for his justice. The Jews at
Constantinople, forty thousand in number, and in the parts of European
Turkey on and near the Mediterranean, speak Spanish, and appear to
descend from Israelites driven from Spain by persecution. The Bible
Society are now printing at Corfu the New Testament, in Jewish-Spanish,
for their benefit.
In truth, little appears to be known of the state of the Jews during
some hundreds of years after the destruction of Jerusalem. The first
body of learned Jews which drew attention after that disastrous event
was that settled in Spain; and from it all Jewish learning descends.
As in accomplishment of the prophecy, the Jew is found over the whole
surface of the globe; he has been long established in China, which
abhors the foreigner; and in Abyssinia, which it is almost as difficult
to reach as to quit. The early Judaism of that country, and in later
days the history of the powerful colony of Jews established in its
heart, which at one time actually reigned over the kingdom, are matters
so curious, that we regret that we can do no more than advert to them;
we must say the same as to the evidence existing of Jewish rites having
extended themselves very far southward along the eastern coast of
Africa; the numerous Jews of Barbary; and the black and white Jews, who
have been established for ages, more or less remote, on the Malabar
coast. It may be here observed, that all the Israelites hitherto
discovered appear to be descendants of those who held the kingdom of
The Jews in Great Britain and Ireland are not supposed to be more than
from ten to twelve thousand, very many of whom are foreigners, and
* * * * *
The rations of the Egyptian soldiers were, according to Herodotus, five
pounds of baked bread, two pounds of beef, and half a pint of wine
* * * * *
In the barbarous ages it was usual for persons who could not write, to
make the sign of the cross in confirmation of a written paper. Several
charters still remain in which kings and persons of great eminence
affix "signum crucis pro ignoratione literarum," the sign of the cross,
because of their ignorance of letters. From this is derived the phrase
of signing instead of subscribing a paper.
* * * * *
COLUMN IN BLENHEIM PARK
[Illustration: Column in Blenheim Park.]
(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)
You have lately directed the attention of the readers of the MIRROR to
the park of Blenheim, in Oxfordshire, one of the most beautiful England
can boast of, and likewise, according to Camden, the first park that
was made in this country. I can bear witness to the correctness of
your delineation and description of Rosamond's Well, which you gave
in a recent number; but there is no trace whatever of the bower or
labyrinth, the site of which is only pointed out by tradition. The
park of Blenheim, besides the interest which attaches to it from the
circumstance of its having been the residence of the early kings of
England, and the scene of "Rosamond's" life, has in more modern times
acquired additional interest from having been bestowed by the country
upon the Duke of Marlborough, in testimony of the gratitude of the
nation for the brilliant services he had rendered his country,
particularly at the battle of Blenheim.
It was a reward at once worthy of the English nation and of the
illustrious hero on whom it was bestowed; and as it is at least
pleasing, and perhaps useful, to recall to the mind the epochs of
England's greatness amongst nations, I have sent a sketch of one of the
most prominent objects in the park of Blenheim, which our forefathers
deemed (in the language of the inscription) would "stand as long as the
British name and language last, illustrious monuments of Marlborough's
glory and of Britain's gratitude." This is an elegant column, 130 feet
in height, and surmounted by a statue of the warrior in an antique
habit. On three sides of the building there are nearly complete copies
of the several Acts of Parliament by which the park and manor of
Woodstock were granted to the Duke of Marlborough and his heirs; and on
the fourth side is a very long inscription, said to have been penned by
Lord Bolingbroke, which concludes thus:--
These are the actions of the Duke of Marlborough,
Performed in the compass of a few years,
Sufficient to adorn the annals of ages.
The admiration of other nations
Will be conveyed to the latest posterity,
In the histories even of the enemies of Britain.
The sense which the British nation had
Of his transcendant merit
In the most solemn, most effectual, most durable manner.
The Acts of Parliament inscribed on the pillar
Shall stand as long as the British name and language last,
Of Marlborough's glory and
Of Britain's gratitude.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_
* * * * *
MEMOIRS OF VIDOCQ.
_The French Thief-taker_
This is as full-charged a portrait of human depravity as the gloomiest
misanthrope could wish for. But it has much wider claims on public
attention than the gratification of the misanthropic few who mope in
corners or stalk up and down leafless and almost solitary walks during
this hanging and drowning season. Nevertheless, all men are more or less
misanthropes, or they affect to be so; for only skim off the bile of a
true critic, or the minds of the hundred thousand who read newspapers,
and look first for the bankrupts and deaths. Sugar and wormwood and
wormwood and sugar are the standing dishes, but as we read the other
day, "there is a certain hankering for the gloomy side of nature, whence
the trials and convictions of vice become so much more attractive than
the brightest successes of virtue." People with _macadamized minds_,
and their histories (scarce as the originals are) are mere nonentities,
and food for the trunk-maker; whereas a book of hair-breadth escapes,
thrilling with horror and romantic narrative will tempt people to sit up
reading in their beds, till like Rousseau, they are reminded of morning
by the stone-chatters at their window. To the last class belong the
_Memoirs of Vidocq_, an analysis of which would be "utterly impossible,
so powerful are the descriptions, and so continuous the thread of
their history." The original work was published a short time since in
Paris, and republished here; but, we believe the present is the first
translation that has appeared in England. The newspapers have, from time
to time, translated a few extracts, when their Old Bailey news was at a
stand, so that the name of Vidocq must be somewhat familiar to many of
 The present portion is only the first volume. The Memoirs are
to be completed in four volumes, to form part of the series of
_Autobiographical Memoirs_, published by Messrs. Hunt and Clarke,
and decidedly one of the most attractive works that that has
lately issued from the press. As we intend to notice this
collection at some future time, we can only, for the present,
spare room for this direction of the reader's attention--for
the design deserves well of the public; and if the success be
proportioned fro its merits, it will be great indeed.
Eugene Francois Vidocq is a native of Arras, where his father was
a baker; and from early associations he fell into courses of excess
which led to the necessity of his flying from the parental roof. After
various, rapid, and unexampled events in the romance of real life, in
which he was everything by turns and nothing long, he was liberated from
prison, and became the principal and most active agent of police. He was
made Chief of the Police de Surete under Messrs. Delavau and Franchet,
and continued in that capacity from the year 1810 till 1827, during
which period he extirpated the most formidable of those ruffians and
villains to whom the excesses of the revolution and subsequent events
had given full scope for the perpetration of the most daring robberies
and inquitous excesses. Removed from employment, in which he had
accumulated a handsome independence, he could not determine on leading a
life of ease, for which his career of perpetual vigilance and adventure
had unfitted him, and he built a paper manufactory at St. Mandee, about
two leagues from Paris, where he employs from forty to fifty persons,
principally, it is asserted, liberated convicts, who having passed
through the term of their sentence, are cast upon society without home,
shelter, or character, and would be compelled to resort to dishonest
practices did not this asylum offer them its protection and afford them
opportunity of earning an honest living by industrious labour. One
additional point of interest in the present volume is, that the author
is still living.
[We cannot follow Vidocq through his career of crime, neither would
it be altogether profitable to our readers; but the _links_ may be
recapitulated in a few words. He must have been born a thief, and
perhaps stole the spoon with which he was fed; but the _penchant_
runs in the family, for Vidocq and his brother rob the same till of
a fencing-room, but his brother is first detected, and sent off "in a
hurry," to a baker at Lille. Of course Vidocq soon gets partners in sin,
and on the same day that he has been detected by the _living_ evidence
of two fowls which he had stolen, he sweeps from the dinner table ten
forks and as many spoons, pawns them for 150 francs, spends the money
in a few hours, and is imprisoned four days. He is then released;
one of his pals gives a false alarm to Vidocq's mother, and during her
temporary absence, Vidocq enters his home with a false key, steals
2,000 francs from a strong chest, with which he escapes to Ostend,
(intending to embark for America,) where he is decoyed by a _soi-disant_
ship-broker, and loses all his ill-gotten wealth. He then resolves to
betroth the sea, though not after the Venetian fashion, by giving her
a dowry; the "sound of a trumpet" disturbs his attention, as it would
of any other hero. But this proves to be the note of Paillasse, a
merry-andrew. The "director," as the opera bills would say, was
Cotte-Comus, belonging to a troop of rope-dancers.
He next joins a player of Punch, to whose wife he enacts Romeo with
better grace, and during one of the representations, the married people
break each others heads, and Vidocq runs off during the affray. He then
becomes assistant to a quack doctor, and the favoured swain of an
actress; gets into the Bourbon regiment, where he is nicknamed Reckless,
and kills two men, and fights fifteen duels in six months. His other
exploits are as a corporal of grenadiers, of course, a deserter, and
a prisoner of the revolution. He then marries, but does not reform.
Of course a wife is but a temporary incumbrance to a man of Vidocq's
dexterity. In chapter iii, we find him at Brussels, where he joins a set
of nefarious gamblers at the _Cafes_, and has a most romantic adventure
with a woman named Rosine. But we can follow him no further, except to
add that his other comrades in Vol. I, are gipsies, smugglers, players,
galley-slaves, drovers, Dutch sailors, and highwaymen.
We must, therefore, confine ourselves to a few detached extracts from
the most interesting portion of the volume. At Lille, Vidocq meets with
a _chere amie_, Francine; he suspects her fidelity, thrashes his rival,
gets imprisoned, and is betrayed as an accomplice in a forgery. His
"reflections" during his imprisonment in St. Peter's Tower, bring on
a severe illness.]
I was scarcely convalescent, when, unable to support the state of
incertitude in which I found my affairs, I resolved on escaping, and
to escape by the door, although that may appear a difficult step. Some
particular observations made me choose this method in preference to any
other. The wicket-keeper at St. Peter's Tower was a galley-slave from
the Bagne (place of confinement) at Brest, sentenced for life. In
a word, I relied on passing by him under the disguise of a superior
officer, charged with visiting St. Peter's Tower, which was used as
a military prison, twice a week.
Francine, whom I saw daily, got me the requisite clothing, which she
brought me in her muff. I immediately tried them on, and they suited me
exactly. Some of the prisoners who saw me thus attired assured me that
it was impossible to detect me. I was the same height as the officer
whose character I was about to assume, and I made myself appear
twenty-five years of age. At the end of a few days, he made his usual
round, and whilst one of my friends occupied his attention, under
pretext of examining his food, I disguised myself hastily, and presented
myself at the door, which the gaolkeeper, taking off his cap, opened,
and I went out into the street. I ran to a friend of Francine's, as
agreed on in case I should succeed, and she soon joined me there.
I was there perfectly safe, if I could resolve on keeping concealed; but
how could I submit to a slavery almost as severe as that of St. Peter's
Tower. As for three months I had been enclosed within four walls, I was
now desirous to exercise the activity so long repressed. I announced my
intention of going out; and, as with me an inflexible determination was
always the auxiliary of the most capricious fancy, I did go. My first
excursion was safely performed, but the next morning, as I was crossing
the Rue Ecremoise, a sergeant named Louis, who had seen me during my
imprisonment, met me, and asked if I was free. He was a severe practical
man, and by a motion of his hand could summon twenty persons. I said
that I would follow him; and begging him to allow me to bid adieu to my
mistress, who was in a house of Rue de l'Hopital, he consented, and we
really met Francine, who was much surprised to see me in such company;
and when I told her that having reflected, that my escape might injure
me in the estimation of my judges, I had decided on returning to St.
Peter's Tower, to wait the result of the process.
Francine did not at first comprehend why I had expended three hundred
francs, to return at the end of four months to prison. A sign put her
on her guard, and I found an opportunity of desiring her to put some
cinders in my pocket whilst Louis and I took a glass of rum, and then
set out for the prison. Having reached a deserted street, I blinded my
guide with a handful of cinders, and regained my asylum with all speed.
Louis having made his declaration, the gendarmes and police-officers
were on the full cry after me; and there was one Jacquard amongst them
who undertook to secure me if I were in the city. I was not unacquainted
with these particulars, and instead of being more circumspect in my
behaviour, I affected a ridiculous bravado. It might have been said
that I ought to have had a portion of the premium promised for my
apprehension. I was certainly hotly pursued, as may be judged from
the following incident:--
Jacquard learnt one day that I was going to dine in Rue Notre-Dame. He
immediately went with four assistants, whom he left on the ground-floor,
and ascended the staircase to the room where I was about to sit down to
table with two females. A recruiting sergeant, who was to have made the
fourth, had not yet arrived. I recognised Jacquard, who never having
seen me, had not the same advantage, and besides my disguise would have
bid defiance to any description of my person. Without being at all
uneasy, I approached, and with a most natural tone I begged him to pass
into a closet, the glass door of which looked on the banquetroom. "It
is Vidocq whom you are looking for," said I; "if you will wait for ten
minutes you will see him. There is his cover, he cannot be long. When he
enters, I will make you a sign; but if you are alone, I doubt if you can
seize him, as he is armed, and resolved to defend himself."--"I have my
gendarmes on the staircase," answered he, "and if he escapes--"--"Take
care how you place them then," said I with affected haste. "If Vidocq
should see them he would mistrust some plot, and then farewell to the
bird."--"But where shall I place them?"--"Oh, why in this closet--mind,
no noise, that would spoil all; and I have more desire than yourself
that he should not suspect anything." My commissary was now shut up in
four walls with his agents. The door, which was very strong, closed
with a double lock. Then, certain of time for escape, I cried to my
prisoners, "You are looking for Vidocq--well, it is he who has caged
you; farewell." And away I went like a dart, leaving the party shouting
for help, and making desperate efforts to escape from the unlucky
Two escapes of the same sort I effected, but at last I was arrested and
carried back to St. Peter's Tower, where, for greater security, I was
placed in a dungeon with a man named Calendrin, who was also thus
punished for two attempts at escape. Calendrin, who had known me during
my first confinement in the prison, imparted to me a fresh plan of
escape, which he had devised by means of a hole worked in the wall of
the dungeon of the galley-slaves, with whom we could communicate. The
third night of my detention all was managed for our escape, and eight
of the prisoners who first went out were so fortunate as to avoid being
detected by the sentinel, who was only a short distance off.
Seven of us still remained, and we drew straws, as is usual in such
circumstances, to determine which of the seven should first pass. I drew
the short straw, and undressed myself that I might get with greater ease
through the hole, which was very narrow, but to the great disappointment
of all, I stuck fast without the possibility of advancing or receding.
In vain did my companions endeavour to pull me out by force, I was
caught as if in a trap, and the pain of my situation was so extreme,
that not expecting further help from within, I called to the sentry to
render me assistance. He approached with the precaution of a man who
fears a surprise, and presenting his bayonet to my breast, forbade me
to make the slightest movement. At his summons the guard came out, the
porters ran with torches, and I was dragged from my hole, not without
leaving behind me a portion of my skin and flesh. Torn and wounded as
I was, they immediately transferred me to the prison of Petit Hotel,
when I was put into a dungeon, fettered hand and foot.
Ten days afterwards I was placed amongst the prisoners, through my
intreaties and promises not to attempt again to escape.
[Here he meets with a fellow named Bruxellois, _the Daring_, of whom
the following anecdote is related:--]
At the moment of entering a farm with six of his comrades, he thrust his
left hand through an opening in the shutter to lift the latch, but when
he was drawing it back, he found that his wrist had been caught in a
slip knot. Awakened by the noise, the inhabitants of the farm had laid
this snare, although too weak to go out against a band of robbers which
report had magnified as to numbers. But the attempt being thus defeated,
day was fast approaching, and Bruxellois saw his dismayed comrades
looking at each other with doubt, when the idea occurred to him that to
avoid discovery they would knock out his brains. With his right hand he
drew out his clasp knife with a sharp point, which he always had about
him, and cutting off his wrist at the joint, fled with his comrades
without being stopped by the excessive pain of his horrid wound.
This remarkable deed, which has been attributed to a thousand
different spots, really occurred in the vicinity of Lille, and is well
authenticated in the northern districts, where many persons yet remember
to have seen the hero of this tale, who was thence called Manchot,
(or one-armed,) executed.
[Vidocq at length escapes, quits Lille, and flies to Ostend, where he
joins a crew of smugglers.]
It was with real repugnance that I went to the house of a man named
Peters, to whom I was directed, as one deeply engaged in the pursuit,
and able to introduce me to it. A sea-gull nailed on his door with
extended wings, like the owls and weasels that we see on barns, guided
me. I found the worthy in a sort of cellar, which by the ropes, sails,
oars, hammocks, and barrels which filled it, might have been taken
for a naval depot. From the midst of a thick atmosphere of smoke which
surrounded him, he viewed me at first with a contempt which had not
a good appearance, and my conjectures were soon realized, for I had
scarcely offered my services than he fell upon me with a shower of
blows. I could certainly have resisted him effectually, but astonishment
had in a measure deprived me of the power of defence; and I saw besides,
in the court-yard, half-a-dozen sailors and an enormous Newfoundland
dog, which would have been powerful odds. Turned into the street, I
endeavoured to account for this singular reception, when it occurred to
me that Peters had mistaken me for a spy, and treated me accordingly.
This idea determined me on returning to a dealer in hollands, who
had told me of him, and he, laughing at the results of my visit,
gave me a pass-word that would procure me free access to Peters.--[He
succeeds.]--I slept at Peters's house with a dozen or fifteen smugglers,
Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Portuguese, and Russian; there were no
Englishmen, and only two Frenchmen. The day after my installation, as
we were all getting into our hammocks, or flock beds, Peters entered
suddenly into our chamber, which was only a cellar contiguous to his
own, and so filled with barrels and kegs, that we could scarcely find
room to sling our hammocks. Peters had put off his usual attire, which
was that of ship-caulker, or sail-maker, and had on a hairy cap, and a
long red shirt, closed at the breast with a silver pin, fire-arms in his
belt, and a pair of thick large, fisherman's boots, which reach the top
of the thigh, or may be folded down beneath the knee.
"A-hoy! a-hoy!" cried he, at the door, striking the ground with the butt
end of his carbine! "down with the hammocks, down with the hammocks! We
will sleep some other day. The Squirrel has made signals for a landing
this evening, and we must see what she has in her, muslin or tobacco.
Come, come, turn out, my sea-boys."
In a twinkling every body was ready. They opened an arm-chest, and every
man took out a carbine or blunderbuss, a brace of pistols, and a cutlass
or boarding pike, and we set out, after having drunk so many glasses of
brandy and arrack that the bottles were empty. At this time there were
not more than twenty of us, but we were joined or met, at one place or
another, by so many individuals, that on reaching the sea side we were
forty-seven in number, exclusive of two females and some countrymen from
the adjacent villages, who brought hired horses, which they concealed in
a hollow behind some rocks.
It was night, and the wind was shifting, whilst the sea dashed with so
much force, that I did not understand how any vessels could approach
without being cast on shore. What confirmed this idea was, that by the
starlight I saw a small boat rowing backwards and forwards, as if it
feared to land. They told me afterwards that this was only a manoeuvre
to ascertain if all was ready for the unloading, and no danger to be
apprehended. Peters now lighted a reflecting lantern, which one of the
men had brought, and immediately extinguished it; the Squirrel raised
a lantern at her mizen, which only shone for a moment, and then
disappeared like a glow-worm on a summer's night. We then saw it
approach, and anchor about a gun-shot off from the spot where we were.
Our troop then divided into three companies, two of which were placed
five hundred paces in front, to resist the revenue officers if they
should present themselves. The men of these companies were then placed
at intervals along the ground, having at the left arm a packthread which
ran from one to the other: in case of alarm, it was announced by a
slight pull, and each being ordered to answer this signal by firing his
gun, a line of firing was thus kept up, which perplexed the revenue
officers. The third company, of which I was one, remained by the
sea-side, to cover the landing and the transport of the cargo.
All being thus arranged, the Newfoundland dog already mentioned, and
who was with us, dashed at a word into the midst of the waves, and
swam powerfully in the direction of the Squirrel, and in an instant
afterwards returned with the end of a rope in his mouth. Peters
instantly seized it, and began to draw it towards him, making us signs
to assist him, which I obeyed mechanically. After a few tugs, I saw that
at the end of the cable were a dozen small casks, which floated towards
us. I then perceived that the vessel thus contrived to keep sufficiently
far from the shore, not to run a risk of being stranded. In an instant
the casks, smeared over with something that made them waterproof, were
unfastened and placed on horses, which immediately dashed off for the
interior of the country. A second cargo arrived with the same success;
but as we were landing the third, some reports of fire-arms announced
that our outposts were attacked. "There is the beginning of the ball,"
said Peters, calmly; "I must go and see who will dance;" and taking up
his carbine, he joined the outposts, which had by this time joined each
other. The firing became rapid, and we had two men killed, and others
slightly wounded. At the fire of the revenue officers, we soon found
that they exceeded us in number; but alarmed, and fearing an ambuscade,
they dared not to approach, and we effected our retreat without any
attempt on their part to prevent it. From the beginning of the fight
the Squirrel had weighed anchor and stood out to sea, for fear that the
noise of the firing should bring down on her the government cruiser.
I was told that most probably she would unload her cargo in some other
part of the coast, where the owners had numerous agents.
[Vidocq returns to Lille, where he is taken by two gendarmes, and
concerts the following stratagem for escape:--]
This escape, however, was not so very easy a matter as may be surmised,
when I say that our dungeons, seven feet square, had walls six feet
thick, strengthened with planking crossed and rivetted with iron; a
window, two feet by one, closed with three iron gratings placed one
after the other, and the door cased with wrought iron. With such
precautions, a jailor might depend on the safe keeping of his charge,
but yet we overcame it all.
I was in a cell on the second floor with Duhamel. For six francs, a
prisoner, who was also a turnkey, procured us two files, a ripping
chisel, and two turnscrews. We had pewter spoons, and our jailor was
probably ignorant of the use which prisoners could make of them. I knew
the dungeon key; it was the counterpart of all the others on the same
story; and I cut a model of it from a large carrot; then I made a mould
with crumb of bread and potatoes. We wanted fire, and we procured it by
making a lamp with a piece of fat and the rags of a cotton cap. The key
was at last made of pewter, but it was not yet perfect; and it was only
after many trials and various alterations that it fitted at last. Thus
masters of the doors, we were compelled to work a hole in the wall, near
the barns of the town-hall. Sallambier, who was in the dungeons below,
found a way to cut the hole, by working through the planking.
THE PRISON OF BICETRE AT PARIS.
The prison of Bicetre is a neat quadrangular building, enclosing many
other structures and many courts, which have each a different name;
there is the grande cour (great court) where the prisoners walk; the
cour de cuisine (or kitchen court;) the cour des chiens (or dog's
court;) the cour de correction (or court of punishment;) and the cour
des fers (or iron court.) In this last is a new building five stories
high; each story contains forty cells, capable of holding four
prisoners. On the platform, which supplies the place of a roof, was
night and day a dog named Dragon, who passed in the prison for the most
watchful and incorruptible of his kind; but some prisoners managed at a
subsequent period to corrupt him through the medium of a roasted leg of
mutton, which he had the culpable weakness to accept. The Amphytrions
escaped whilst Dragon was swallowing the mutton; he was beaten and taken
into the cour des chiens, where, chained up and deprived of the free air
which he breathed on the platform, he was inconsolable for his fault,
and perished piecemeal, a victim of remorse at his weakness in yielding
to a moment of gluttony and error.
Near the erection I speak of is the old building, nearly arranged in
the same way, and under which were dungeons of safety, in which were
enclosed the troublesome and condemned prisoners. It was in one of these
dungeons that for forty-three years lived the accomplice of Cartouche,
who betrayed him to procure this commutation! To obtain a moment's
sunshine, he frequently counterfeited death so well, that when he had
actually breathed his last sigh, two days passed before they took
off his iron collar. A third part of the building, called La Force,
comprised various rooms, in which the prisoners were placed who arrived
from the provinces, and were destined to the chain.
At this period, the prison of Bicetre, which is only strong from the
strict guard kept up there, could contain twelve hundred prisoners; but
they were piled on each other, and the conduct of the jailors in no way
assuaged the inconvenience of the place.
If any man arrived from the country well clad, who, condemned for a
first offence, was not as yet initiated into the customs and usages of
prisons, in a twinkling he was stripped of his clothes, which were sold
in his presence to the highest bidder. If he had jewels or money, they
were alike confiscated to the profit of the society, and if he were too
long in taking out his ear-rings, they snatched them out without the
sufferer daring to complain. He was previously warned, that if he spoke
of it, they would hang him in the night to the bars of his cell, and
afterwards say that he had committed suicide. If a prisoner, out of
precaution, when going to sleep, placed his clothes under his head, they
waited until he was in his first sleep, and then they tied to his foot a
stone, which they balanced at the side of his bed; at the least motion
the stone fell, and aroused by the noise, the sleeper jumped up, and
before he could discover what had occurred, his packet hoisted by a
cord, went through the iron bars to the floor above. I have seen, in
the depth of winter, these poor devils, having been deprived of their
property in this way, remain in the court in their shirts until some one
threw them some rags to cover their nakedness. As long as they remained
at Bicetre, by burying themselves, as we may say, in their straw, they
could defy the rigour of the weather; but at the departure of the chain,
when they had no other covering than the frock and trousers made of
packing cloth, they often sunk exhausted and frozen before they reached
the first resting place.
[As we have said, the present is but a fourth portion of Vidocq's
exploits; and if the remaining three are of equal interest, the work
will be one of the most extraordinary of our times. We scarcely remember
a counterpart, although the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux are of the same
stamp. The fate of the latter work was curious enough. The manuscript
was sent by the author from New South Wales, whither he had been
transported. It was printed in two small volumes, and published by an
eminent west-end bookseller, who, for some unexplained motive withdrew
the edition, which is, we believe, now in the printer's warehouse. The
Editor of the "Autobiography" has, however, reprinted Vaux's memoirs in
his series; their style is very superior to that of Vidocq's, (which is
a translation) and as scores of worse books are printed annually, we
rejoice at their rescue from oblivion.]
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
* * * * *
Remarkable instances are related of the manner in which Whitfield
impressed his hearers. A man at Exeter stood with stones in his
pocket, and one in his hand, ready to throw at him; but he dropped
it before the sermon was far advanced, and going up to him after
the preaching was over, he said, "Sir, I came to hear you with an
intention to break your head; but God, through your ministry, has
given me a broken heart." A ship-builder was once asked what he
thought of him. "Think!" he replied, "I tell you, sir, every Sunday
that I go to my parish church, I can build a ship from stem to stern
under the sermon; but, were it to save my soul, under Mr. Whitfield I
could not lay a single plank." Hume pronounced him the most ingenious
preacher he had ever heard; and said, it was worth while to go twenty
miles to hear him. But, perhaps, the greatest proof of his persuasive
powers was, when he drew from Franklin's pocket the money which that
clear, cool reasoner had determined not to give; it was for the
orphan-house at Savannah. "I did not," says the American philosopher,
"disapprove of the design; but as Georgia was then destitute of
materials and workmen, and it was proposed to send them from
Philadelphia at a great expense, I thought it would have been better
to have built the house at Philadelphia, and brought the children to
it. This I advised; but he was resolute in his first project, rejected
my counsel, and I therefore refused to contribute. I happened, soon
after, to attend one of his sermons, in the course of which I
perceived he intended to finish with a collection, and I silently
resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful
of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in
gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the
copper; another stroke of his oratory made me ashamed of that, and
determined me to give the silver; and he finished so admirably, that
I emptied my pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all.
"At this sermon," continues Franklin, "there was also one of our club,
who, being of my sentiments respecting the building in Georgia, and
suspecting a collection might be intended, had, by precaution, emptied
his pockets before he came from home; towards the conclusion of the
discourse, however, he felt a strong inclination to give, and applied to
a neighbour who stood near him, to lend him some money for the purpose.
The request was fortunately made to perhaps the only man in the company
who had the firmness not to be affected by the preacher. His answer was,
'At any other time, friend Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but
not now, for thee seems to me to be out of thy right senses.'"
One of his flights of oratory, not in the best taste, is related on
Hume's authority. "After a solemn pause, Mr. Whitfield thus addresses
his audience:--'The attendant angel is just about to leave the
threshold, and ascend to heaven; and shall he ascend and not bear with
him the news of one sinner, among all the multitude, reclaimed from the
error of his ways!' To give the greater effect to this exclamation, he
stamped with his foot, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and cried
aloud, 'Stop, Gabriel! stop, Gabriel! stop, ere you enter the sacred
portals, and yet carry with you the news of one sinner converted to
God!'" Hume said this address was accompanied with such animated, yet
natural action, that it surpassed any thing he ever saw or heard in any
* * * * *
SIR RICHARD JEBB.
Was very rough and harsh in manner. He said to a patient, to whom
he had been very rude, "_Sir, it is my way_."--"Then," replied the
patient, pointing to the door, "I beg you will make _that your way_."
Sir Richard was not very nice in his mode of expression, and would
frequently astonish a patient with a volley of oaths. Nothing used to
make him swear more than the eternal question, "What may I eat? Pray,
Sir Richard, may I eat a muffin?"--"Yes, Madam, the _best thing_ you
can take."--"O dear! I am glad of that. But, Sir Richard, you told
me the other day that it was the _worst_ thing I could eat!"--"What
would be proper for me to eat to-day?" says another lady.--"Boiled
turnips."--"Boiled turnips! you forget, Sir Richard, I told you I
could not bear boiled turnips."--"Then, Madam, you must have
Sir Richard, being called to see a patient who fancied himself very
ill, told him ingenuously what he thought, and declined prescribing,
thinking it unnecessary. "Now you are here," said the patient, "I
shall be obliged to you, Sir Richard, if you will tell me how I must
live, what I may eat, and what not."--"My directions as to that
point," replied Sir Richard, "will be few and simple. You must not eat
the poker, shovel, or tongs, for they are hard of digestion; nor the
bellows, because they are windy; but any thing else you please!"
He was first cousin to Dr. John Jebb, who had been a dissenting
minister, well known for his political opinions and writings. His
Majesty George III. used sometimes to talk to Sir Richard concerning
his cousin; and once, more particularly, spoke of his restless,
reforming spirit in the church, in the university, physic, &c. "And
please your Majesty," replied Sir Richard, "if my cousin were in
heaven he would be a reformer!"--_Wadd's Memoirs._
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
* * * * *
When from the friend we dearly love
Fate tells us we must part,
By speech we can but feebly prove
The anguish of the heart.
And no soft words, howe'er sincere,
Can half so much imply,
As that suppress'd, though trembling tear,
Which drowns the word--Good bye.
* * * * *
A keen shopkeeper, having in his service a couple of shopmen, who
in point of intellect, were the very reverse of their master, a wag
who frequented the shop, for some time puzzled the neighbourhood by
designating it a "_music-shop_," although the proprietor dealt as
much in _music_ as in _millstones_. However, being pressed for an
explanation, he said that the _scale_ was conducted by a _sharp_, a
_flat_ and a _natural_; and if these did not constitute "music," he
did not know what did.
* * * * *
Napoleon being in the gallery of the Louvre one day, attended by Baron
Denon, turned round suddenly from a fine picture, which he had viewed
for some time in silence, and said to him, "That is a noble picture,
Denon."--"Immortal," was Denon's reply. "How long," inquired Napoleon,
"will this picture last?" Denon answered, that, "with care and in a
proper situation, it might last, perhaps, five hundred years."--"And
how long," said Napoleon, "will a statue last?"--"Perhaps," replied
Denon, "five thousand years."--"And this," returned Napoleon, sharply,
"this you call immortality!"
* * * * *
LINES TO A LADY, ON HER REFUSING HER CARD.
Let heroes, anxious for their future fame,
Obtain of Fortune what they want--a name;
The _future_ theirs, the present hour be mine--
The only name I ask of fate--is thine;
Yet happier still had fate decreed to me
The favour'd lot, to give my name to thee.
* * * * *
A dull barrister, once obtained the nickname _Necessity_--because
_Necessity has no law_.
* * * * *
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