THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 12, NO. 342.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
[Illustration: COUNCIL OFFICE, &c. WHITEHALL. ]
COUNCIL OFFICE, &c. WHITEHALL.
From the Druids' Temple, at Abury, (our last engraving,) to the Council
Office, at Whitehall, is a long stride in the march of time. From "grave
to gay, and lively to severe," is nothing to it; but variety is the
public dictum; and with more sincerity than the courtier in _Tom Thumb_,
we say to the public,
"Whate'er your majesty shall please to name,
Long cut or short cut, to us' tis all the same."
On the annexed page is represented the new splendid range of buildings,
including the _Council Office_, _Board of Trade_, &c. at
Whitehall. The architect, Mr. Soane, has adapted the facade from the
Temple of Jupiter Stator, at Rome.
But Mr. Soane's adaptation has been only partial, and he has adhered
merely to the details of the columns and entablature. "The facade," it is
well observed in an early Number of the _Athenaeum_, "enjoys one of
the most favourable sites for the display of a public building which the
metropolis affords; no limit has been set to the expense; the finest
materials the country yields have been used in its construction; the
richest example of the richest order which antiquity has left us, has
been lavishly employed in its decoration; and yet," continues the critic,
"is not the whole a failure?" He then describes the effect of it as "poor,
or at best but pretty," and attributes the absence of grandeur to the
"want of sufficient elevation."--"To the general elevation it may be
objected, that it has no prominent centre; that, composed of two wings
and an intermediate space receding, it has more the character of a flank
than a front building; and that the want of a central entrance derogates
greatly from its dignity as a principal facade."
But we are mere amateurs in these matters, and it will be as well to
leave the remainder of this criticism to the more studious reader. We
have, however, glanced at the principal defects which the writer in the
_Athenaeum_ points out, and we are bound to admit the justice of his
remarks. The details which produce this effect would not be so generally
interesting. "The order itself," says he, "it must be admitted, is well
copied, and excellently executed;" but Mr. Soane's application of it is
loudly censured--a Roman temple being inappropriate for a British Council
Office. Perhaps our critic would have preferred a facade like that of the
Palais de Justice at Paris,--a platform, ascended by an immense flight of
steps, which serves as a basement for a projecting body of four Doric
columns; with four large pedestals in front, and statues of _Strength_,
_Plenty_, _Justice_, and _Prudence_, as the cardinal virtues of English
legislation and trade.
Upon the whole, we cannot help thinking some of the details of this new
range extremely rich and pleasing, although we assent to the above
character of their general effect. The columns, of fluted Corinthian, and
the cornice of the order, are to us very beautiful; but the upper windows
are unsightly, or, as a wag would say, purely attic; and the entrances
are too strictly _official_ for the architecture of the building.
This brings us again to the inappropriateness of the adaptation, which
made these introductions unavoidable.
The front of the building is not completed, the northern wing having yet
to be erected. When this is finished, the effect may be materially
While we are in this quarter, and lest "we may never come again," it may
be as well to thank our correspondent, "An Architect," for his letter on
"Whitehall," a very small portion of which has ever been completed. What
has been finished--the Banqueting House--is one of the triumphs of Inigo
Jones, but like all human works, is sadly dilapidated; although this is
attributable to the bad material, rather than to the interval since its
erection. The _whole_ was, indeed, a magnificent design.
 The portion of this temple which is still standing in the Campo
Vaccino, and which consists of three marble columns, with a
fragment of entablature, is universally acknowledged to be the
finest specimen, not only of the architecture of the Augustan
age, but of the Corinthian order, not merely in Rome, but
throughout the whole ancient world. Whether contemplated in the
original, or through the medium of drawings, it inspires
unequivocal admiration as a perfect model of the florid style:
and from the inferences deducible from the dimensions and
relative position of the three columns and their entablature,
it is clear that the elegance and propriety of their arrangement,
as members of an entire edifice, were equal to the grace of the
proportions of the still existing parts, and to the beauty,
however exquisite, of their enrichments.
 One of the most characteristic buildings recently erected in
the metropolis, was the ill-fated _Brunswick Theatre_, the
propriety of whose facade was universally acknowledged.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)
In No. 328 of the MIRROR, you mistake in spelling _cromlech_; the
last syllable is always written _lech_, not _leh_; neither is
it derived from _crom_ and _leac_, the Irish, but from _crom_ and _llech_,
the Celtic, of which the Irish is the most corrupted, and the present
Welsh the most pure dialect. _Llech_ signifies a stone in Welsh, and is
pronounced in a way peculiar to the Welsh; when simple it is _llech_,
when compounded _lech_.
* * * * *
GARDEN OF HYACINTHS
IN THE SERAGLIO, CONSTANTINOPLE.
(_For the Mirror._)
In this garden the sultan passes most of his leisure hours, free from the
outward parade attendant on his rank. It is small, but tastefully
disposed in oblong beds, edged with fine porcelain; no plant is allowed
to grow in it except the hyacinth; whence the name of the garden and the
apartment it contains. Nothing can be more beautiful than the interior;
three sides are formed by a divan, the cushions and pillows of which were
of black satin, exquisitely embroidered. The floor was covered with
Gobelin tapestry, and the ceiling magnificently gilded and burnished.
Opposite the windows of the chamber was a fire-place, in the European
manner; and on each side a door, covered with hangings of crimson cloth.
Between each of these doors appeared a glass-case, containing the sultan's
private library; every volume was in manuscript, with the name written
on the edges of the leaves. Opposite the doors and fire-place hung three
gold cages, containing artificial birds, which sang by mechanism. On one
side was a raised bench, on which was placed an embroidered towel, a
splendid vase, and basin for washing the hands and beard; upon the wall
over it was suspended an embroidered portfolio, worked with silver on
yellow leather, to contain the petitions presented to the sultan when he
goes in procession to the mosque. Close to the door was placed a pair of
yellow boots and slippers, which are always at the entrance of every
apartment frequented by the sultan. Groups of arms, such as pistols,
sabres, and poniards, were displayed with great taste and effect on the
compartments of the walls; the handles were covered with diamonds and
jewels of large size, which, as they glittered around, gave an almost
dazzling brilliancy to this sumptuous chamber, thus characterizing the
amusements of the man when divested of the ceremony and formality of the
* * * * *
_(For the Mirror.)_
The town of Welwyn, Hertfordshire, was the last place of residence of Dr.
Young, author of "Night Thoughts," where he was rector. His pious lady
employed her leisure hours with her needle, in the completion of a most
elegant altar-piece, which now embellishes the sacramental table in the
church; and, through the care of the parish clerk, this specimen of the
indefatigable mind of Mrs. Young has been surprisingly preserved. The
words down the centre,
have the appearance of being the production of a most masterly pencil;
and the word "life" is in as fine a state of preservation as on the day
when it was first presented by the benevolent artist; every tint,
including the light and shade which surround the word, having withstood
the ravages of time, and been ingeniously preserved by a kind of gauze
* * * * *
LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY.
(_For the Mirror_.)
It has not been till lately that any of the travellers into Palestine
have told what was meant by the locusts mentioned by St. Matthew as part
of the food of John the Baptist. Dr. Clarke first related, that a tree
grows in the Holy Land, which is called the locust tree, and produces an
eatable fruit; but this fact was well known to many who had been in the
Mediterranean. The tree grows in several of the countries which border
that sea. It has been found in much greater abundance in some parts of
the East Indies, whence it has now become an article of export. Many
thousands of its pods are annually imported by the East India Company;
and, either because the fruit is richer in more southern climates, or for
some other reason, a great quantity of them are shipped for Venice and
Trieste, where there is distilled from them a liquor, which is supposed
to be an antidote to the plague, or at least useful in curing it. These
pods are about twenty inches long, and from half to three-quarters of an
inch in diameter. We call them pods for want of a term which would more
accurately describe them; but they are not flat, neither have they that
sort of hinge on one side, and slight fastening on the other, which
plainly show how the shells of peas and beans are to be opened. On the
contrary, these are round; but there are two opposite lines along them,
where the colour alone would induce any one to suppose the skin to be, as
it is, thinner than elsewhere. Having the fruit before us only in a dry
state, we can describe it in no other; but at present a knife could
scarcely be made to penetrate the thicker part, and does not very easily
make its way into the thinner. The fruit, which lies in little cells
within, is a pulp, or paste, somewhat like that of tamarinds, but
smoother, and not so sweet. There are pips in it nearly as hard, and
about half as large, as those of a tamarind, containing a kernel in each.
It should be added, that in the stems of this locust tree wild bees still
deposit their honey.
* * * * *
(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)
On reading the MIRROR, No. 337, my attention was attracted to one of your
many pleasant and amusing extracts from the "Public Journals," bearing
the title of "Flowers." Being myself a great admirer of that beautiful
and delightful part of creation, I was led to peruse the article with
somewhat increased attention. In all ages flowers have been regarded with
peculiar sympathy; they have been associated with the calm serenity of
virtue; they have been strewed around the altars of devotion; have been
made to accompany the lonely, unobtrusive works of merit; and hung around
the grave of faded and departed innocence, thus silently, but powerfully,
depicting virtue, the essence of felicity. Although I do not consider you
to be accountable for statements contained in the articles extracted from
other journals, still I presume you would not knowingly make your work
the vehicle of any matter which would lead your readers astray. I have,
therefore, ventured to call your attention to a particular part of the
above article, and to correct what I presume to be a misstatement.
In the article alluded to, the writer states, "It has been said that
flowers placed in bed-rooms are not wholesome; that cannot," he remarks,
"be meant of such as are in a state of vegetation," &c.
Now plants, it is well known, respire similarly to animals, through the
pores of their leaves. By the agency of the sun, during the day, a
quantity of pure gas, called oxygen, is given out; but on the contrary,
during the night, or absence of the sun, gas of a most noxious and
pernicious nature is emitted, and at the same time a portion of the pure
air (oxygen gas) is absorbed. The greater part of the atmosphere must
therefore be impregnated with this deleterious gas. Taking into
consideration the confined state of a bed-chamber, the great increase of
perspiration of the body, with the continual increase of carbonic gas
from respiration, and this in an apartment where every thing _ought_
most sedulously to be avoided which in the least tends to deteriorate the
atmosphere, it must be evident the practice ought to be avoided, if we
are desirous of preserving health.
Flowers in a state of vegetation are, I consider, more pernicious _at
night_, or during the absence of the sun, than those plucked and put
into water, provided they be not immersed too long a time; for
immediately the stem is severed from the plant, the vital action, if it
may be so termed, ceases, and decomposition commences; but till the
decomposition has been going on some time, nothing of a pernicious nature
need be apprehended. In like manner, directly the vital principle becomes
extinct in animals, decomposition ensues. For the space of five or six
days, however, no perceptible alteration of the fibres is visible; but
after that time a compound of gases begins to exhale from the body,
accompanied with a fetid odour, till the parts are entirely decomposed.
The effluvium arising from the _farina_ and _petals_ is
considered unwholesome, however agreeable it may be to the senses,
whether the plant be in a state of vegetation or not, it being too
powerful for the olfactory nerve.
Our pages are always open to the correction of our readers, and in
this instance we thank _S.S.T._ for the above, although we think he
has misconceived some portion of the article on "Flowers," the writer
adding to that passage quoted by our correspondent, "_provided fresh
air is frequently introduced_"; of course, he does not refer to the
_night-time_, although it would have been clearer, had he suggested the
removal of flowers from bed-rooms during the night.--ED.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
These structures are generally supposed to have been built with
astronomical allusions, especially the noble temple at _Stonehenge_.
Circular temples existed among the Israelites. In Exodus, c. xxiv. v. 4,
it is written that "Moses rose up early in the morning, and builded an
altar under the hill, and twelve pillars." Again in Joshua, iv. 9, Joshua
set up twelve stones; and it is well worthy of remark, that the twelve
pillars of Moses and Joshua correspond with the number of stones of the
inner circles at Abury. It is possible that these stones were plastered
over, and probably highly ornamented, as in Deuteronomy, xxvii. 2, we
read, "Thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with
plaster;" and there is a large, upright stone in Ireland, which,
according to the legend of the country, was once covered over with gold.
On some of these pillars it is likewise probable that certain characters
were traced, as among the Israelites words of the law were written upon
similar obelisks or columns.
The earliest temples in Greece were formed of obeliscal columns; and in
some parts of Africa the custom obtains to this day. Hence the pillars of
our present temples are the most ancient; and subsequent builders of holy
sanctuaries filled up the intercolumniations till the temples were
constructed as we now see their ruins in Athens and elsewhere. But many
of the early temples were round; and it is a curious fact, hitherto
unnoticed, I believe, that the altar end, the sanctum of our earliest
Saxon churches, is circular.
* * * * *
ST. OLAVE.--A MANX LEGEND.
(_For the Mirror_.)
[Magnus, King of Norway, having committed sacrilege, by opening the grave
of St. Olave, he was commanded by the spirit of the offended saint to
perform the voluntary penance of quitting the kingdom in thirty days. He
obeyed this intimation, and immediately left Norway. Having conquered
many of the Western Isles, at length he established himself in the Isle
of Man. Afterwards attempting the reduction of Ireland, he was surrounded
by the natives and slain, with the whole of his followers.]
Olave, of rocky Norway's saints, the holiest and the best,
Entomb'd in tumulus, enjoys a calm and peerless rest;
By all of heav'ns votaries in saintly rank renown'd,
As high in blessedness, and chief in holy missal crown'd.
The dead--in holy, stilly peace, the sacred dead repose,
Afar from earth's turmoil and grief, and all of sick'ning woes;
From racking pain, and withering pride, and avarice's care,
Secure they rest in solitude, unaw'd by sin or snare.
To sack the gloomy sepulchre of lately living clay,
From cheerful day and life remov'd, by dreaded death away,
Is crime indeed of blackest hue, deserving exile's fate,
From native climes ordain'd to feel an outlaw's dreary state.
Could Norway's priest-despising chief, deem sacrilege a crime
Fitting for absolution,--or dark penance of set time
That daring such all dreaded sin, he gazes on the grave,
And tramples o'er the hallow'd dust of canoniz'd Olave.
Lone sepulchre in holy earth--sure wickedness so dire,
Of holy man, and sacred place, incenses heaven's ire;
Can less than ever banishment from Norway's ice bound land,
Stay sure revenge--pursuing fate--and justice' awful hand?
Away he sails--the foaming seas as Corsair now he laves,
Dauntless--heroic--daring winds, and man-entombing waves,
To visit other lands afar,--to combat chiefs of fame;
In battle-field to spread around the dread of Norway's name.
Lone Mona's sea-girt isle he dares with spear and flashing sword,
Usurping regal rule and right by power of pirate horde;
Yet vengeance drear, and dark desert of direst actions, crave
A bloody death, a justice clear, and dark usurper's grave.
On Erin's lovely land he falls--awarded darksome doom,
When, ruffian-like, he dared profane the saintly Olave's tomb:
He leaves his conquests, kingdoms, crowns, and all of earthly state,
To sleep in loneliness, and fill his dark predicted fate.
_Kirk Michael, Isle of Man_. A B.C.
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
* * * * *
A LIVING ALCHEMIST.
(_From Sir R. Phillips's Tour_.)
At Luton, Beds. Sir Richard hears of an ALCHEMIST, who lives at the
village of Lilley, midway between Luton and Hitchen. The whole of his
interview with this eccentric personage, will doubtless be interesting to
It was four miles out of my road, but I thought a modern alchemist worthy
of a visit, particularly as several inhabitants of Luton gravely assured
me, that he had succeeded in discovering the Philosopher's Stone, and
also the Universal Solvent. The reports about him would have rendered it
culpable not to have hazarded anything for a personal interview. I learnt
that he had been a man of fashion, and at one time largely concerned in
adventures on the turf, but that for many years he had devoted himself to
his present pursuits; while for some time past, he had been inaccessible
and invisible to the world, the house being shut and barricadoed, and the
walls of his grounds protected by hurdles, with spring-guns so planted as
to resist intrusion in every direction. Under these circumstances, I had
no encouragement to go to Lilley, but I thought that even the external
inspection of such premises would repay me for the trouble. At Lilley,
I inquired for his house of various people, and they looked ominous; some
smiled, others shook their heads, and all appeared surprised at the
approach of an apparent visiter to Mr. Kellerman.
The appearance of the premises did not belie vulgar report. I could not
help shuddering at seeing the high walls of respectable premises, lined
at the top with double tiers of hurdles, and on driving my chaise to the
front of the house, I perceived the whole in a state of horrid
dilapidation. Contrary, however, to my expectation, I found a young man
who appeared to belong to the out-buildings, and he took charge of my
card for his master, and went to the back part of the house to deliver it.
The front windows on the ground-floor and upper stories were entirely
closed by inside shutters, much of the glass was broken, and the premises
appeared altogether as if deserted. I was pleased at the words, "My
master will be happy to see you," and in a minute the front door was
opened, and Mr. Kellerman presented himself.--I lament that I have not
the pencil of Hogarth, for a more original figure never was seen. He was
about six feet high, and of athletic make; on his head was a white
night-cap, and his dress consisted of a long great-coat once green, and
he had a sort of jockey waistcoat with three tiers of pockets. His manner
was extremely polite and graceful, but my attention was chiefly absorbed
by his singular physiognomy. His complexion was deeply sallow, and his
eyes large, black, and rolling. He conducted me into a very large parlour,
with a window looking backward, and having locked the door, and put the
key in his pocket, he desired me to be seated in one of two large arm
chairs covered with sheepskins. The room was a realization of the
well-known picture of Teniers' Alchemist. The floor was covered with
retorts, crucibles, alembics, jars, bottles in various shapes,
intermingled with old books piled upon each other, with a sufficient
quantity of dust and cobwebs. Different shelves were filled in the same
manner, and on one side stood his bed. In a corner somewhat shaded from
the light, I beheld two heads, white, with dark wigs on them; I
entertained no doubt therefore, that among other fancies he was engaged
in re-making the brazen speaking head of Roger Bacon and Albertus. Many
persons might have felt alarmed at the peculiarity of my situation, but
being accustomed to mingle with eccentric characters, and having no fear
from any pretensions of the black art, I was infinitely gratified by all
Having stated the reports which I had heard, relative to his wonderful
discoveries, I told him frankly that mine was a visit of curiosity, and
stated that if what I had heard was matter of fact, the researches of the
ancient chemists had been unjustly derided. He then gave me a history of
his studies, mentioned some men whom I had happened to know in London,
who he alleged had assured him that they had made gold. That having in
consequence examined the works of the ancient alchemists, and discovered
the key which they had studiously concealed from the multitude, he had
pursued their system under the influence of new lights; and after
suffering numerous disappointments, owing to the ambiguity with which
they described their processes, he had, at length, happily succeeded; had
made gold, and could make as much more as he pleased, even to the extent
of paying off the national debt in the coin of the realm.
I yielded to the declaration, expressed my satisfaction at so
extraordinary a discovery, and asked him, to oblige me so far, as to show
me some of the precious metal which he had made.
"Not so," said he; "I will show it to no one. I made Lord Liverpool the
offer, that if he would introduce me to the king, I would show it to his
majesty; but Lord Liverpool insolently declined, on the ground that there
was no precedent; and I am therefore determined, that the secret shall
die with me. It is true that, in order to avenge myself of such contempt,
I made a communication to the French ambassador, Prince Polignac, and
offered to go to France, and transfer to the French government, the
entire advantages of the discovery; but after deluding me, and shuffling
for some time, I found it necessary to treat him with the same contempt
as the others."
I expressed my convictions in regard to the double dealing of men in
"O," said he, "as to that, every court in Europe well knows that I have
made the discovery, and they are all in confederacy against me; lest by
giving it to any one, I should make that country master of all the
rest--the world, Sir," he exclaimed with great emotion, "is in my hands
and my power."
Satisfied with this announcement of the discovery of the philosopher's
stone, I now inquired about the sublime alkahest or universal solvent,
and whether he had succeeded in deciphering the enigmatical descriptions
of the ancient writers on that most curious topic.
"Certainly," he replied, "I succeeded in that several years ago."
"Then," I proceeded, "have you effected the other great desideratum, the
fixing of mercury?"
"Than that process," said he, "there is nothing more easy; at the same
time it is proper I should inform you, that there are a class of
impostors, who mistaking the ancient writers, pretend it can be done by
heat; but I can assure you, it can only be effected by water."
I then besought him to do me the favour, to show me some of his fixed
mercury, having once seen some which had been fixed by cold.
This proposition, however, he declined, because he said he had refused
others. "That you may, however, be satisfied that I have made great
discoveries, here is a bottle of oil, which I have purified, and rendered
as transparent as spring water. I was offered L10,000. for this discovery;
but I am so neglected, and so conspired against, that I am determined it
and all my other discoveries shall die with me."
I now inquired, whether he had been alarmed by the ignorance of the
people in the country, so as to shut himself up in so unusual a manner.
"No," he replied, "not on their account wholly. They are ignorant and
insolent enough; but it was to protect myself against the governments of
Europe, who are determined to get possession of my secret by force. I
have been," he exclaimed, "twice fired at in one day through that window,
and three times attempted to be poisoned. They believed I had written a
book containing my secrets, and to get possession of this book has been
their object. To baffle them, I burnt all that I had ever written, and I
have so guarded the windows with spring-guns, and have such a collection
of combustibles in the range of bottles which stand at your elbow, that I
could destroy a whole regiment of soldiers if sent against me." He then
related, that as a further protection he lived entirely in that room, and
permitted no one to come into the house; while he had locked up every
room except that with patent padlocks, and sealed the key-holes.
It would be tedious and impossible to follow Mr. Kellerman through a
conversation of two or three hours, in which he enlarged upon the merits
of the ancient alchemists, and on the blunders and impertinent
assumptions of the modern chemists, with whose writings and names it is
fair to acknowledge he seemed well acquainted. He quoted the authorities
of Roger and Lord Bacon, Paracelsus, Boyle, Boerhaave, Woolfe, and others,
to justify his pursuits. As to the term philosopher's stone, he alleged
that it was a mere figure, to deceive the vulgar. He appeared also to
give full credit to the silly story about Dee's assistant, Kelly, finding
some of the powder of projection in the tomb of Roger Bacon at
Glastonbury, by means of which, as was said, Kelly for a length of time
supported himself in princely splendour.
I inquired whether he had discovered the blacker than black of Apollonius
Tyaneus; and this, he assured me, he had effected; it was itself the
powder of projection for producing gold.
Amidst all this delusion and illusion on these subjects, Mr. Kellerman
behaved in other respects with great propriety and politeness; and having
unlocked the door, he took me to the doors of some of the other rooms, to
show me how safely they were padlocked; and on taking leave, directed me
in my course towards Bedford.
In a few minutes, I overtook a man, and on inquiring what the people
thought of Mr. Kellerman, he told me that he had lived with him for seven
years; that he was one of eight assistants whom he kept for the purpose
of superintending his crucibles, two at a time relieving each other every
six hours; that he had exposed some preparations to intense heat for many
months at a time, but that all except one crucible had burst, and that he
called on him to observe, that it contained the true "blacker than black."
The man protested, however, that no gold had ever been made, and that no
mercury had ever been fixed; for he was quite sure, that if he had made
any discovery, he could not have concealed it from the assistants; while,
on the contrary, they witnessed his severe disappointments, at the
termination of his most elaborate experiments.
On my telling the man that I had been in his room, he seemed much
astonished at my boldness; for he assured me, that he carried a loaded
pistol in every one of his six waistcoat pockets. I learnt also from this
man, that he has or had considerable property in Jamaica; that he has
lived in the premises at Lilley about twenty-three years, and during
fourteen of them pursued his alchemical researches with unremitting
ardour; but for the last few years shut himself up as a close prisoner,
and lived in the manner I have described.
* * * * *
Here lyeth wrapt in clay,
The body of William Wray:
I have no more to say.
* * * * *
Notes of a Reader.
* * * * *
COURT OF CHARLES II.
In the last No. of the _Edinburgh Review_, there is an admirably written
article on Hallam's "Constitutional History," not a mere essay, but
somewhat more like a review than usual. It contains an abundance of
florid, bold, and vigorous writing, extending through upwards of 70
pages. Among the most striking passages we notice a parallel between
Cromwell and Napoleon, drawn with considerable force. But our extract is
from the lighter portion, as the following ludicrous sketches of some of
the enormities of Charles II. "Towards the close of the Protectorate,
many signs indicated that a time of license was at hand. But the
restoration of Charles II rendered the change wonderfully rapid and
violent. A deep and general taint infected the morals of the most
influential classes, and spread itself through every province of
letters. Poetry inflamed the passions; philosophy undermined the
principles; divinity itself, inculcating an abject reverence for the
court, gave additional effect to its licentious example. ... The
favourite duchess stamps about Whitehall, cursing and swearing. The
ministers employ their time at the council board in making mouths at
each other, and taking off each other's gestures for the amusement of
the king. The peers at a conference begin to pommel each other, and to
tear collars and periwigs. A speaker in the House of Commons gives
offence to the court. He is way-laid by a gang of bullies, and his nose
is cut to the bone. ... The second generation of the statesmen of this
reign, were worthy of the schools in which they had been trained, of the
gaming table of Grammont, and the tiring room of Nell ----." This is but
a small portion of the good set terms in which the reviewer illustrates
the licentiousness of the times. Speaking of Clarendon, he says, "Mr.
Hallam scarcely makes sufficient allowance for the wear and tear which
honesty almost necessarily sustains in the friction of political life,
and which in times so rough as those through which Clarendon passed,
must be very considerable. When these are fairly estimated, we think
that his integrity may be allowed to pass muster." Perhaps political
honesty is like Joseph Surface's French plate, or the tinsel spread over
a pair of Birmingham saleshop candlesticks, whose tenderness will not
withstand the wear and tear of conveyance in the purchaser's pocket. But
the oddity of the reviewer's comparisons even puts one in good humour
with their virulence.
* * * * *
During "the season" the veriest stranger who has an eye and ear, and
thoughts, must find in London sufficient to occupy his attention; true,
he may start and sigh, to think that of the busy and enormous multitude
around him, not one would care, if, treading on yonder bit of orange peel,
he should slip off the flagway, and falling beneath the wheel of that
immense coal-wagon, have his thigh crushed to atoms, while you'd be
saying "Jack Robinson." But if he do sigh, the more fool he; first,
because "grieving's a folly," as the old sea song hath it; next because
he is mistaken in supposing that no one would feel interested in his
misfortune. There are two upon the very flagway with him, who would
evince the greatest sympathy in his fate; the one is a surgeon's
apprentice, who, with anxious care, would bear him off to _his_
hospital, that he might "try his 'prentice hand" to doctor him while
living, and dissect him when dead; and the other is a running reporter to
one of the morning papers, who would with gentle and soothing accents
inquire his name, condition, and abode, to swell the paragraph, and
increase his pay.--_Blackwood's Magazine._
* * * * *
LINES TO EDWARD LYTTON BULWER, ON THE BIRTH OF HIS CHILD.
My heart is with you, Bulwer, and portrays
The blessings of your first paternal days;
To clasp the pledge of purest, holiest faith,
To taste one's own and love-born infant's breath,
I know, nor would for worlds forget the bliss.
I've felt that to a father's heart that kiss,
As o'er its little lips you smile and cling,
Has fragrance which Arabia could not bring.
Such are the joys, ill mock'd in ribald song,
In thought, ev'n fresh'ning life our life-time long,
That give our souls on earth a heaven-drawn bloom;
Without them we are weeds upon a tomb.
Joy be to thee, and her whose lot with thine,
Propitious stars saw Truth and Passion twine!
Joy be to her who in your rising name
Feels Love's bower brighten'd by the beams of Fame!
I lack'd a father's claim to her--but knew
Regard for her young years so pure and true,
That, when she at the altar stood your bride,
A sire could scarce have felt more sire-like pride.
* * * * *
The Duc de Laval has the character of being a perfect fool. It is said
that on one occasion he talked of having received an anonymous letter,
signed by all the officers of his regiment; that on another, he ordered
ottomans to be placed in the four corners of his octagon
* * * * *
CAUSE AND EFFECT.
Infinite are the consequences which follow from a single, and often
apparently a very insignificant circumstance. Paley himself narrowly
escaped being a baker; here was a decision upon which hung in one scale,
perhaps, the immortal interests of thousands, and, in the other, the
gratification of the taste of the good people of Giggleswick for hot
rolls. Cromwell was near being strangled in his cradle by a monkey; here
was this wretched ape wielding in his paws the destinies of nations.
Then, again, how different in their kind, as well as in their magnitude,
are these consequences from anything that might have been _a priori_
expected. Henry VIII. is smitten with the beauty of a girl of eighteen;
and ere long,
"The Reformation beams from Bullen's eyes."
Charles Wesley refuses to go with his wealthy namesake to Ireland, and
the inheritance, which would have been his, goes to build up the
fortunes of a Wellesley instead of a Wesley; and to this decision of a
schoolboy (as Mr. Southey observes) Methodism may owe its existence, and
England its military--and, we trust we may now add, its civil and
* * * * *
A fund has lately been established at Stockholm, from which it is
intended to reward good and faithful servants. The king has contributed
to it 1,000 crowns; the prince royal 500; and the princess royal 300.
This has been suggested as an example worthy of our imitation; many
legacies, &c. have from time to time been bequeathed for the
encouragement of faithful servants in England; some are claimed, but the
majority are shamefully misapplied by those to whom their distribution
has been entrusted.
* * * * *
A capital like London is a Maelstrom--an immense whirlpool--whose
gyrations sweep in whatever is peculiarly desirable from the most
distant regions of the empire--so active becomes the love of gain when
set in motion by the love of luxury. We recollect once being on shipboard
to the north of Duncan's Bay Head, and out of sight of land, the nearest
being the Feroe Islands:--we were walking the deck, watching a whale
which was gamboling at some distance, throwing up his huge side to the
sun, and sending ever and anon a sheet of water and foam from his
nostrils. Our thoughts were on Hecla and on the icebergs of the Pole, on
the Scalds of Iceland and the sea-kings of Norway, when a sail hove in
sight: we asked what craft it was--and were answered, "a Gravesend brig
dredging for lobsters." Never was enchantment so effectually
broken--never stage-trick in pantomime more successfully played off. Scene
changes from Feroe and Iceland to the Albion in Aldersgate-street--Exeunt
Scald, champion, and whale--Enter common councilman, turbot, and
* * * * *
To be convinced that, at some period or another of their history, the
Egyptians had conceived a _beau-ideal_ superior to the beautiful
which nature habitually produced in their country, we have only to
examine the young Memnon, at the British Museum, and the heads of many of
the sphinxes which remain.--_Weekly Rev._
* * * * *
Algebra I was charmed with, and found so much pleasure in resolving its
questions, that I have often sat till morning at the engaging work,
without a notion of its being day till I opened the shutters of my
closet. I recommend this study in particular to young gentlemen, and am
satisfied, if they would but take some pains at first to understand it,
they would have so great a relish for its operations, as to prefer them
many an evening to clamorous pleasures; or, at least, not be uneasy for
being alone now and then, since their algebra was with them.--_Life of
* * * * *
A LUCKY MATCH.
The late Mr. Locke, of Norbury Park, commissioned one Jenkins, a dealer
in pictures, residing at Rome, to send him any piece of sculpture which
might not exceed fifty guineas. Jenkins sent a head of Minerva, which Mr.
Locke, not liking, returned, paying the carriage, and all other expenses.
Nollekens, who was then also at Rome, having purchased a trunk of
Minerva for fifty pounds, upon the return of this head, found that its
proportion and character accorded with his torso. This discovery induced
him to accept an offer made by Jenkins of the head itself; and 220
guineas to share the profits. After Nollekens had joined the head and
trunk, or, what is called "restored it," which he did at the expense of
twenty guineas more for stone and labour, it proved a most fortunate hit,
for they sold it for the enormous sum of 1,000 guineas! and it is now at
Newby, in Yorkshire.--_Nollekens and his Times._
* * * * *
We received the following little anecdote from a letter of a gentleman
now at the head of the medical profession, with which he favoured us
shortly after perusing Salmonia. "I was (says our friend) at the Naval
Hospital, at Yarmouth, on the morning when Nelson, after the battle of
Copenhagen (having sent the wounded before him,) arrived at the Roads,
and landed on the jutty. The populace soon surrounded him, and the
military were drawn up in the market-place ready to receive him; but
making his way through the crowd, and the dust, and the clamour, he went
straight to the hospital. I went round the wards with him, and was much
interested in observing his demeanour to the sailors; he stopped at every
bed, and to every man he had something kind and cheering to say. At
length, he stopped opposite a bed on which a sailor was lying who had
lost his right arm close to the shoulder-joint, and the following short
dialogue passed between, them:"--_Nelson_. "Well, Jack, what's the
matter with you?"--_Sailor_. "Lost my right arm, your honour."--Nelson
paused, looked down at his own empty sleeve, then at the sailor,
and said playfully, "Well, Jack, then you and I are spoiled for
fishermen--cheer up, my brave fellow." And he passed briskly on to the
next bed; but these few words had a magical effect upon the poor fellow,
for I saw his eyes sparkle with delight as Nelson turned away and pursued
his course through the wards. As this was the only occasion on which I
saw Nelson, I may, possibly, overrate the value of the incident.--_Q.
* * * * *
THE BRITISH ALMANAC.
This work, though only in its second year, is too well known to be
benefited by our recommendation. As a compilation, with occasional
originality, it is one of the best executed labours of the Society from
whom it emanates, and who, from the multiplicity of facts here assembled,
may be called "The Society for the" _Condensation_ "of Useful
In the Almanac for 1829 we notice several improvements upon that of last
year. The "Remarks on Weather" are valuable; and the "Garden Plants in
Flower" in each month, in themselves extremely interesting, contrast the
unchanging course of nature with the grand revolutions and events of the
column of "Anniversaries." Thus, what different emotions are produced by
reading April 6, "First Abdication of Bonaparte, 1814," and "Primrose
Peerless (_Narcissus biflorus_) in flower." The "Useful Remarks,"
though not a new feature in an almanac, are profitable helps to social
duties, especially when drawn from such a source as Owen Feltham's
Resolves--a golden treasury of world-knowledge, which may serve as a
text-book for every family. Among the useful facts we notice the
following:--"By a parliamentary return of the year 1828 we find that the
stamp duty paid upon the almanacs of England amounts to 30,136_l_. 3_s_.
9_d_.--which, the duty being _fifteen-pence_ upon each almanac, exhibits
a circulation of 451,593 annually."
_Remarks on Weather._
"The mean temperature of London is about 2 deg. higher than that of the
surrounding country; the difference exists chiefly in the night, and is
greatest in winter and least in summer."
"Mr. Howard is of opinion, from a careful comparison of a long series of
observations, that a wet spring is an indication of a dry time for the
"The greatest depression of temperature in every month happens, all
other circumstances being the same, a short time before sun-rise."
"There are only two months, namely, July and August, in which, taking
into consideration the power of radiation, vegetation, in certain
situations, is not exposed to a temperature of 32 deg."
"The temperature of August is but little reduced, owing to the prevalence
of hot nights. The action of the sun's rays is considerably assisted by
the warm earth which radiates heat into the air; while, in spring, it
absorbs every day a proportion of the heat which the sun produces."
"_October_--Now that the fruits of the earth are laid in store, the
increase of wet is attended by no injurious effects, the remaining heat
of the earth is preserved from needless expenditure, and guarded from
dissipation, by an increasing canopy of clouds, by which the effect of
radiation is greatly reduced."
"The comparative warmth of November is owing to the heat given out by
the condensation of the vapour in the atmosphere into rain."
"The mean temperature of the whole year is not found to vary, in
different years, more than four degrees and a half."
* * * * *
Such as hold superstition sweet to the soul, and love to exercise their
ingenuity in hieroglyphics, the baseless grounds of tea, and lucky dreams
and omens, will find little amusement in the British Almanac; but their
absence is more than supplied by information "which almost every man
engaged in the world requires."
* * * * *
THE SKETCH BOOK.
* * * * *
A VISION OF PURGATORY.
_By William Maginn, Esq._
The churchyard of Inistubber is as lonely a one as you would wish to see
on a summer's day, or avoid on a winter's night. Under the east window of
the church is a mouldering vault of the De Lacys,--a branch of a family
descended from one of the conquerors of Ireland; and there they are
buried, when the allotted time calls them to the tomb. Sir Theodore De
Lacy had lived a jolly, thoughtless life, rising early for the hunt, and
retiring late from the bottle. A good-humoured bachelor who took no care
about the management of his household, provided that the hounds were in
order for his going out, and the table ready on his coming in. As for the
rest,--an easy landlord, a quiet master, a lenient magistrate (except to
poachers,) and a very excellent foreman of a grand jury. He died one
evening while laughing at a story which he had heard regularly thrice a
week for the last fifteen years of his life, and his spirit mingled with
the claret. In former times when the De Lacys were buried, there was a
grand breakfast, and all the party rode over to the church to see the
last rites paid. The keeners lamented; the country people had a wake
before the funeral, and a dinner after it--and there was an end. But
with the march of mind comes trouble and vexation. A man has now-a-days
no certainty of quietness in his coffin--unless it be a patent one. He is
laid down in the grave, and the next morning finds himself called upon to
demonstrate an interesting fact! No one, I believe, admires this ceremony,
and it is not to be wondered at that Sir Theodore De Lacy held it in
especial horror. "I'd like," said he one evening, "to catch one of the
thieves coming after me when I'm dead--By the God of War, I'd break every
bone in his body;--but," he added with a sigh, "as I suppose I'll not be
able to take my own part then, upon you I leave it, Larry Sweeney, to
watch me three days and three nights after they plant me under the sod.
There's Doctor Dickenson there, I see the fellow looking at me--fill your
glass, Doctor--here's your health! and shoot him, Larry, do you hear,
shoot the Doctor like a cock, if he ever comes stirring up my poor old
bones from their roost of Inistubber." "Why, then," Larry answered,
accepting the glass which followed this command, "long life to both your
honours; and it's I that would like to be putting a bullet into Doctor
Dickenson--heaven between him and harm--for hauling your honour away,
as if you was a horse's head, to a bonfire. There's nothing, I 'shure you,
gintlemin, poor as I am, that would give me greater pleasure." "We feel
obliged, Larry" said Sir Theodore, "for your good wishes." "Is it I pull
you out of the grave, indeed!" continued the whipper-in, for such he was,
--"I'd let nobody pull your honour out of any place, saving 'twas
purgatory; and out of that I'd pull you myself, if I saw you going
_there_." "I am of opinion, Larry," said Doctor Dickenson, "you would
turn tail if you saw Sir Theodore on that road. You might go further, and
fare worse, you know." "Turn tail!" replied Larry, "it is I that
wouldn't--I appale to St. Patrick himself over beyond"--pointing to a
picture of the Prime Saint of Ireland, which hung in gilt daubery behind
his master's chair, right opposite to him. To Larry's horror and
astonishment, the picture fixing its eyes upon him, winked with the most
knowing air, as if acknowledging the appeal. "What makes you turn so
white then at the very thought," said the doctor, interpreting the
visible consternation of our hero in his own way. "Nothing particular,"
answered Larry; "but a wakeness has come strong over me, gintlemin, and
if you'd have no objection, I'd like to go into the air for a bit." Leave
was of course granted, and Larry retired amid the laughter of the
guests--but as he retreated, he could not avoid casting a glance on the
awful picture--and again the Saint winked, with a most malicious smile.
It was impossible to endure the repeated infliction, and Larry rushed
down the stairs in an agony of fright and amazement. "May be," thought
he, "it might be my own eyes that wasn't quite steady--or the flame of
the candle. But no--he winked at me as plain as ever I winked at Judy
Donaghue of a May morning. What he manes by it I can't say--but there's
no use of thinking about it--no, nor of talking neither, for who' d
believe me if I tould them of it?"
The next evening Sir Theodore died, as has been mentioned; and in due
time thereafter was buried according to the custom of the family, by
torch-light, in the churchyard of Inistubber. All was fitly performed;
and although Dickenson had no design upon the jovial knight--and if he
had not, there was nobody within fifteen miles that could be suspected
of such an outrage,--yet Larry Sweeney was determined to make good his
promise of watching his master. "I'd think little of telling a lie to him,
by the way of no harm when he was alive," said he, wiping his eyes, as
soon as the last of the train had departed, leaving him with a single
companion in the lonely cemetery; "but now that he's dead--God rest his
soul!--I'd scorn it. So Jack Kinaley, as behoves my first cousin's son,
stay you with me here this blessed night, for betune (between) you and I,
it an't lucky to stay by one's self in this ruinated old rookery, where
ghosts, God help us, is as thick as bottles in Sir Theodore's cellar!"
"Never you mind that, Larry," said Kinaley, a discharged soldier, who had
been through all the campaigns of the Peninsula; "never mind, I say, such
botherations. Han't I lain in bivouack on the field at Salamanca, and
Tallawara, and the Pyrumnees, and many another place beside, where there
was dead corpses lying about in piles, and there was no more ghosts than
kneebuckles in a ridgemint of Highlanders. Here, let me prime them pieces,
and hand us over the bottle; we'll stay snug under this east window, for
the wind's coming down the hill, and I defy"--"None of that bould talk,
Jack," said his cousin; "as for what ye saw in foreign parts, of dead men
killed afighting, sure that's nothing to the dead--God rest 'em!--that's
here. There you see, they had company one with the other, and being
killed fresh-like that morning, had no heart to stir; but here, faith!
'tis a horse of another colour." "May be it is," said Jack, "but the
night's coming on; so I'll turn in. Wake me if you sees any thing; and
after I've got my two hours' rest, I'll relieve you."
With these words the soldier turned on his side, under shelter of a grave,
and as his libations had been rather copious during the day, it was not
long before he gave audible testimony that the dread of supernatural
visitants had had no effect in disturbing the even current of his fancy.
Although Larry had not opposed the proposition of his kinsman, yet he
felt by no means at ease. He put in practice all the usually recommended
nostrums for keeping away unpleasant thoughts:--all would not do. "If it
was a common, dacent, quite (quiet,) well-behaved churchyard a'self,"
thought Larry, half-aloud--"but when 'tis a place like this forsaken ould
berrin'-ground, which is noted for villiany"--"For what, Larry?" said a
gentleman, stepping out of a niche which contained the only statue time
had spared. It was the figure of Saint Colman, to whom the church was
dedicated. Larry had been looking at the figure, as it shone forth in
ebon and ivory in the light and shadow of the now high-careering moon,
"For what, Larry," said the gentleman,--"for what do you say the
churchyard is noted?" "For nothing at all, plase your honour," replied
Larry, "except the height of gentility." The stranger was about four feet
high, dressed in what might be called flowing garments,--if, in spite of
their form, their rigidity did not deprive them of all claim to such an
appellation. He wore an antique mitre upon his head; his hands were
folded upon his breast; and over his right shoulder rested a pastoral
crook. There was a solemn expression in his countenance, and his eye
might truly be called stony. His beard could not be well said to wave
upon his bosom; but it lay upon it in ample profusion, stiffer than that
of a Jew on a frosty morning after mist. In short, as Larry soon
discovered to his horror, on looking up at the niche, it was no other
than Saint Colman himself, who had stept forth, indignant (in all
probability) at the stigma cast by the watcher of the dead on the
churchyard of which his Saintship was patron. He smiled with a grisly
solemnity--just such a smile as you might imagine would play round the
lips of a milestone (if it had any,) at the recantation so quickly
volunteered by Larry. "Well," said he, "Lawrence Sweeney"--"How well the
old rogue," thought Larry, "knows my name!" "Since you profess yourself
such an admirer of the merits of the churchyard of Inistubber, get up and
follow me, till I show you the civilities of the place--for I am master
here, and must do the honours." "Willingly would I go with your worship,"
replied our friend; "but you see here I am engaged to Sir Theodore, who,
though a good master, was a mighty passionate man when every thing was
not done as he ordered it; and I am feared to stir." "Sir Theodore," said
the Saint, "will not blame you for following me. I assure you he will
not." "But then," said Larry--"Follow me!" cried the Saint, in a hollow
voice, and casting upon him his stony eye, drew poor Larry after him, as
the bridal guest was drawn by the lapidary glance of the Ancient Mariner;
or, as Larry himself afterwards expressed it, "as a jaw tooth is wrinched
out of an ould woman with a pair of pinchers." The Saint strode before
him in silence, not in the least incommoded by the stones and rubbish,
which at every step sadly contributed to the discomfiture of Larry's
shins, who followed his marble conductor into a low vault, situated at
the west end of the church. The path lay through coffins piled up on each
side of the way in various degrees of decomposition; and, excepting that
the solid footsteps of the saintly guide, as they smote heavily on the
floor of stone, broke the deadly silence, all was still. Stumbling and
staggering along, directed only by the casual glimpses of light afforded
by the moon, where it broke through the dilapidated roof of the vault,
and served to discover only sights of woe, Larry followed. He soon felt
that he was descending, and could not help wondering at the length of the
journey. He began to entertain the most unpleasant suspicions as to the
character of his conductor;--but what could he do? Flight was out of the
question, and to think of resistance was absurd. "Needs must, they say,"
thought he to himself, "when the devil drives. I see it's much the same
when a saint, leads."
At last the dolorous march had an end; and not a little to Larry's
amazement, he found that his guide had brought him to the gate of a lofty
hall, before which a silver lamp, filled with naphtha, "yielded light as
from a sky."--From within loud sounds of merriment were ringing; and it
was evident, from the jocular harmony and the tinkling of glasses, that
some subterraneous catch-club were not idly employed over the bottle.
"Who's there?" said a porter, roughly responding to the knock of Saint
Colman. "Be so good," said the Saint, mildly, "my very good fellow, as to
open the door without further questions, or I'll break your head. I'm
bringing a gentleman here on a visit, whose business is pressing." "May
be so," thought Larry, "but what that business may be, is more than I can
tell." The porter sulkily complied with the order, after having
apparently communicated the intelligence that a stranger was at hand; for
a deep silence immediately followed the tipsy clamour; and Larry,
sticking close to his guide, whom he now looked upon almost as a friend,
when compared with these underground revellers to whom he was about to
be introduced, followed him through a spacious vestibule, which gradually
sloped into a low-arched room, where the company was assembled. And a
strange-looking company it was. Seated round a long table were
three-and-twenty grave and venerable personages, bearded, mitred, stoled,
and croziered,--all living statues of stone, like the Saint who had
walked out of his niche. On the drapery before them were figured the
images of the sun, moon, and stars--the inexplicable bear--the mystic
temple, built by the hand of Hiram--and other symbols, of which the
uninitiated knew nothing. The square, the line, the trowel, were not
wanting, and the hammer was lying in front of the chair. Labour, however,
was over, and the time for refreshment having arrived, each of the stony
brotherhood had a flagon before him; and when we mention that the Saints
were Irish, and that St. Patrick in person was in the chair, it is not to
be wondered at that the mitres, in some instances, hung rather loosely on
the side of the heads of some of the canonized compotators. Among the
company were found St. Senanus of Limerick, St. Declan of Ardmore, St.
Canice of Kilkenny, St. Finbar of Cork, St. Michan of Dublin, St. Brandon
of Kerry, St. Fachnan of Ross, and others of that holy brotherhood; a
vacant place, which completed the four-and-twentieth, was left for St.
Colman, who, as every body knows, is of Cloyne; and he, having taken his
seat, addressed the president, to inform him that he had brought the man.
The man (viz. Larry himself) was awestruck with the company in which he
so unexpectedly found himself; and trembled all over when, on the notice
of his guide, the eight-and-forty eyes of stone were turned directly upon
himself. "You have just nicked the night to a shaving, Larry," said St.
Patrick: "this is our chapter-night, and myself and brethren are here
'assembled on merry occasion.'--You know who I am?" "God bless your
reverence," said Larry, "it's I that do well. Often did I see your
picture hanging over the door of places where it is"--lowering his
voice--"pleasanter to be than here, buried under an ould church." "You
may as well say it out, Larry," said St. Patrick; "and don't think I'm
going to be angry with you about it; for I was once flesh and blood
myself. But you remember, the other night, saying that you would think
nothing of pulling your master out of purgatory, if you could get at him
there, and appealing to me to stand by your words.
"Y-e-e-s," said Larry, most mournfully; for he recollected the
significant look he had received from the picture. "And," continued St.
Patrick, "you remember also that I gave you a wink, which you know is as
good, any day, as a nod--at least, to a blind horse." "I'm sure, your
reverence," said Larry, with a beating heart, "is too much of a gintleman
to hould a poor man hard to every word he may say of an evening, and
therefore"--"I was thinking so," said the saint, "I guessed you'd prove a
poltroon when put to the push. What do you think, my brethren, I should
do to this fellow?" A hollow sound burst from the bosoms of the unanimous
assembly. The verdict was short and decisive:--"Knock out his brains!" And
in order to suit the action to the word, the whole four-and-twenty arose
at once, and with their immovable eyes fixed firmly on the face of our
hero--who horror struck with the sight as he was, could not close
his--they began to glide slowly but regularly towards him, bending their
line into the form of a crescent, so as to environ him on all sides. In
vain he fled to the door; its massive folds resisted mortal might. In
vain he cast his eyes around in quest of a loophole of retreat--there was
none. Closer and closer pressed on the slowly-moving phalanx, and the
uplifted croziers threatened soon to put their sentence into execution.
Supplication was all that remained--and Larry sunk upon his knees. "Ah!
then," said he, "gintlemin and ancient ould saints as you are, don't kill
the father of a large small family, who never did hurt to you or yours.
Sure, if 'tis your will that I should go to--no matter who, for there's
no use in naming his name--might I not as well make up my mind to go
there, alive and well, stout and hearty, and able to face him,--as with
my head knocked into bits, as if I had been after a fair or a patthern?"
"You say right," said St. Patrick, checking with a motion of his crozier
the advancing assailants, who returned to their seats. "I am glad to see
you coming to reason. Prepare for your journey." "And how, plase your
Saintship, am I to go?" asked Larry. "Why," said St. Patrick, "as Colman
here has guided you so far, he may guide you further. But as the journey
is into foreign parts, where you arn't likely to be known, you had better
take this letter of introduction, which may be of use to you." "And here,
also, Lawrence," said a Dublin Saint--perhaps Michan--"take you this box
also, and make use of it as he to whom you speak shall suggest." "Take a
hold, and a firm one," said St. Colman, "Lawrence, of my cassock, and we'
ll start." "All right behind?" cried St. Patrick. "All right!" was the
reply. In an instant!--vault--table--saints--bell--church, faded into air;
a rustling hiss of wings was all that was heard; and Larry felt his cheek
swept by a current, as if a covey of birds of enormous size were passing
him. (It was, in all probability, the flight of the saints returning to
heaven, but on that point nothing certain has reached us up to the
present time of writing.) He had not a long time to wonder at the
phenomenon, for he himself soon began to soar, dangling in mid sky at the
skirt of the cassock of his sainted guide. Earth, and all that appertains
thereto, speedily passed from his eyes, and they were alone in the midst
of circumfused ether, glowing with a sunless light. Above, in immense
distance, was fixed the firmament, fastened up with bright stars, fencing
around the world with its azure wall. They fled far, before any
distinguishable object met their eyes. At length a long, white streak,
shining like silver in the moonbeam, was visible to their sight. "That,"
said St. Colman, "is the Limbo which adjoins the earth, and is the
highway for ghosts departing the world. It is called in Milton, a book
which I suppose, Larry, you never have read"--"And how could I, plase
your worship," said Larry, "seein' I don't know a B from a bull's foot!"
"Well, it is called in Milton the Paradise of Fools: and if it were indeed
peopled by all of that tribe who leave the world, it would contain the
best company that ever figured on the earth. To the north, you see a
bright speck?" "I do." "That marks the upward path,--narrow and hard to
find. To the south you may see a darksome road--broad, smooth, and easy
of descent; that is the lower way. It is thronged with the great ones of
the world; you may see their figures in the gloom. Those who are soaring
upwards are wrapt in the flood of light flowing perpetually from that
single spot, and you cannot see them. The silver path on which we enter
is the Limbo. Here I part with you. You are to give your letter to the
first person you meet. Do your best;--be courageous, but observe
particularly that you profane no holy name, or I will not answer for the
His guide had scarcely vanished, when Larry heard the tinkling of a bell
in the distance, and turning his eyes in the quarter whence it proceeded,
he saw a grave-looking man in black, with eyes of fire, driving before
him a flock of ghosts with a switch, as you see turkeys driven on the
western road, at the approach of Christmas. They were on the highway to
Purgatory. The ghosts were shivering in the thin air, which pinched them
severely, now that they had lost the covering of their bodies. Among the
group, Larry recognised his old master, by the same means that Ulysses,
Aeneas, and others, recognised the bodiless forms of their friends in the
regions of Acheron. "What brings a living person," said the man in black,
"on this pathway? I shall make legal capture of you, Larry Sweeney, for
trespassing. You have no business here." "I have come," said Larry,
plucking up courage, "to bring your honour's glory a letter from a
company of gintlemin with whom I had the pleasure of spending the evening,
underneath the ould church of Inistubber." "A letter," said the man in
black, "where is it?" "Here, my lord," said Larry. "Ho!" cried the black
gentleman, on opening it, "I know the handwriting. It won't do, however,
my lad,--I see they want to throw dust in my eyes." "Whew," thought Larry,
"that's the very thing. 'Tis for that the ould Dublin boy gave me the box.
I'd lay a tinpenny to a brass farthing that it's filled with Lundy Foot."
Opening the box, therefore, he flung its contents right into the fiery
eyes of the man in black, while he was still occupied with reading the
letter,--and the experiment was successful. "Curses--tche-tche-tche,--
Curses on it," exclaimed he, clapping his hand before his eyes, and
sneezing most lustily.--"Run, you villians, run," cried Larry, to the
ghosts--"run, you villians, now that his eyes are off of you--O master,
master! Sir Theodore, jewel! run to the right-hand side, make for the
bright speck, and God give you luck."
He had forgotten his injunction. The moment the word was uttered he felt
the silvery ground sliding from under him; and with the swiftness of
thought he found himself on the flat of his back, under the very niche of
the old church wall whence he had started, dizzy and confused with a
measureless tumble. The emancipated ghosts floated in all directions,
emitting their shrill and stridulous cries in the gleaming expanse. Some
were again gathered by their old conductor; some scudding about at
random, took the right hand path, others the left. Into which of them Sir
Theodore struck, is not recorded; but as he had heard the direction, let
us hope that he made the proper choice. Larry had not much time given him
to recover from his fall, for almost in an instant he heard an angry
snorting rapidly approaching, and looking up, whom should he see but the
gentleman in black, with eyes gleaming more furiously than ever, and his
horns (for, in his haste, he had let his hat fall) relieved in strong
shadow against the moon. Up started Larry--away ran his pursuer after him.
The safest refuge was, of course, the church,--thither ran our hero--and
after him--fiercer than the shark, swifter than the hounds--fled the
black gentleman. The church is cleared; the chancel entered; and the hot
breath of his pursuer glows upon the outstretched neck of Larry. Escape
is impossible--the extended talons of the fiend have clutched him by the
hair. "You are mine," cried the demon,--"if I have lost any of my flock,
I have at last got you." "Oh, St. Patrick!" exclaimed our hero, in horror,
--"Oh, St. Patrick have mercy upon me, and save me!" "I tell you what,
cousin Larry," said Kinaley, chucking him up from behind a gravestone,
where he had fallen--"all the St. Patricks that ever were born would not
have saved you from ould Tom Picton, if he caught you sleeping on your
post as I've caught you now. By the word of an ould soldier, he'd have
had the provost-marshal upon you, and I'd not give two-pence for the loan
of your life. And then, too, I see you have drunk every drop in the
bottle. What can you say for yourself?" "Nothing at all," said Larry,
scratching his head,--"but it was an unlucky dream, and I'm glad it's
* * * * *
Ancient Roman Festivals.
(_For the Mirror_.)
The _Epulum Jovis_ was a sumptuous feast offered to Jupiter on the
13th of November. The gods were formally invited, and attended; for the
statues were brought in rich beds, furnished with soft pillows, called
_pulvinaria_. Thus accommodated, their godships were placed on their
couches at the most honourable part of the table, and served with the
rich dainties, as if they were able to eat; but the _epulones_, or
ministers, who had the care and management of the feast, performed that
function for them, and no doubt did the part of _gastronomic proxies_
The _Brumalia_ was a feast of Bacchus, celebrated among the Romans
during the space of thirty days, commencing on the 24th of November. It
was instituted by Romulus, who used, during this time, to entertain the
senate. During this feast indications were taken of the felicity of the
remaining part of the winter.
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
* * * * *
A Lady at confession, amongst other heinous crimes, accused herself of
using rouge. "What is the use of it?" asked the confessor. "I do it to
make myself handsomer."--"And does it produce that effect?" "At least
I think so, father."--The confessor on this took his penitent out of the
confessional, and having looked at her attentively in the light, said,
"Well, madam, you may use rouge, for you are ugly enough even with it."
* * * * *
A Clergyman hearing a remark made on the humility of the Merchant Tailors'
motto, "_Concordia parvae res crescunt_" replied, "Yes, that is to
say, nine tailors make a man."
* * * * *
A JEU D'ESPRIT.
In France they say
A witty wight, and a right merry fellow.
Who in good company was sometimes mellow:
Although he was a priest,
Thought it no sacramental sin--to feast.
I can't say much for his morality:
But for his immortality,
Why he's bound in calf, and squeezed in boards,
And scarcely a good library's shelf
But boasts acquaintance with the elf.
But now I'll tell you what I should have told before,
A grievous illness brought him nigh _Death's_ door.
Who, bony wight,
Enjoyed the sight--
And grinn'd as he thought of the fun there'd be
When the jester had joined his company.
Rab's friends, good folk!
Thought it no joke
To the poor joker; they therefore sent around
For all the Esculapians to be found;
And in a trice
(For doctors always haste to give advice--
Mind--don't mistake--I mean when there's a fee)
They mustered two--to which add three.
Now about the bed
Is seen each learned head.
The patient's pulse is felt--with graver air
Each M.D. seats him in a chair.
Crosses his legs--leans on his stick, mums--hahs--and hums
Pulls out his watch--takes snuff--and twirls his thumbs.
The awful stillness broke--
As if from silence gathering strength
Most lustily they all did croak,
Their opinions mingling,
In discordant jingling--
"A purge"--"a blister"--"shave his head"
"Senna and salts"--"a clyster"--"have him bled,"
"A pill at noon"--"another pill at night,"
"A warm-bath, sure, would set him right."
Thus with purges and blisters,
Pills, bleeding, and clysters,
The poor patient they threatened
Should be deluged and sweatened.
Unable to endure the riot,
And wishing for a little quiet,
The sickman raised his head,
Gentlemen, I do beseech ye, cease your pother,
Nor any more with me your wise heads bother,
Scratching your wigs,
Like sapient pigs;
Whate'er you may decide is my disease,
I humbly do conceive a little ease
From your infernal noise and chatter.
With which I'm dunn'd
And nearly stunn'd,
Would greatly tend to mend the matter;
And if, perforce, I must resign my breath,
For heav'n's sake let me _die_ a NATURAL _death_.
* * * * *
M. Monchenut, an old man of eighty, afflicted with the palsy, was
arrested during the reign of terror, under suspicion of being an agitator.
Being asked what he had to say to the accusation, "Alas, gentlemen, it is
very true, I am agitated enough, God knows, for I have not been able to
keep a limb still for these fifteen years."
* * * * *
There is one striking particular in which the Chinese politeness is quite
the reverse of ours. To take off their caps when they salute one another,
or even accidentally to appear uncovered, is esteemed the height of ill
breeding and indecency.
* * * * *
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