SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1829. [PRICE 2d.]
VILLAS IN THE REGENT’S PARK.
[Illustration: MARQUESS OF HERTFORD’S VILLA.]
[Illustration: DORIC VILLA.]
The definition of the word _villa_ is a country seat; but the reader will ask, how can a country seat be in the midst of a metropolis, or in its brick and mortar confines? The term, however, admits of various modifications. The villas of the Romans resembled large city palaces removed into the country, and some of them were four times larger than Versailles with its three thousand apartments. The villas of modern Rome likewise more resemble palaces than abodes of domestic convenience; and one of them, the Villa Mondrogone, has more windows than there are days in the year. Such are the Italian villas, of which the name conveys as accurate an idea as the English reader acquires from the French _chateau_, which, in reality, implies a comfortless factory-looking abode, with a blaze of fresco embellishments.
The first engraving in the annexed page is the villa, or, we should rather say, the suburban retreat, of the Marquess of Hertford, designed by Mr. Decimus Burton. The noble owner, who has enjoyed the peculiar advantages of travel, and is a man of _vertu_ and fine taste, has selected a design of beautiful simplicity and chastity of style. The entrance-hall is protected by a hexastyle (six column) portico of that singular Athenian order, which embellishes the door of the Tower of the Winds. The roof is Venetian, with projecting eaves; and the wings are surmounted by spacious glass lanterns, which light the upper rooms. The buildings and offices are on a larger scale than any other in the park, and correspond in style with the opulence of the noble owner. The offices are spread out, like the villas of the ancients, upon the ground-floor. Adjoining the front of the villa is a tent-like canopy, surmounting a spacious apartment, set aside, we believe, for splendid _dejeune_ entertainments in the summer. This roof may be seen from several parts of the park. The entrance lodge is particularly chaste, the gates are in handsome park-like style; and the plantations and ornamental gardens in equally good taste. The establishment is, as we have said, the most extensive in the Regent’s Park, and is in every respect in correspondent taste with the beautiful Italian fronted town residence of the noble marquess, opposite the Green Park, in Piccadilly; and its luxurious comforts well alternate with the fashionable hospitalities of Sudborne Hall, the veritable _country seat_ of this distinguished nobleman.
The second engraving is another specimen of the Regent’s Park villa style. The order is handsome Doric; but much cannot be said in praise of its adaptation to a suburban residence. It nevertheless adds the charm of variety to the buildings that stud and encircle the park, and intermingle with lawns and bowery walks with more prettiness than rural character.
* * * * *
DESTRUCTION OF THE INTERIOR OF YORK MINSTER.
On Monday morning last, this magnificent structure was discovered to be on fire. Soon after the alarm was given, the bells of twenty-three churches announced the dismal tidings; but for some time the people looked upon the report as a hoax, and it was not until after the lapse of an hour that the city was fairly roused to a sense of the impending calamity.
On the Sunday evening previous, there was service in the Minster, as usual, and all appeared to be left safe. A light was, however, observed in the building, by a man passing through the Minster-yard, about four o’clock on Monday morning; but he supposed some workmen were employed there, and passed on without inquiry. Between six and seven o’clock, the discovery was made in an extraordinary manner. One of the choristers passing through the Minster-yard, accidentally stepping on a piece of ice, was thrown on his back, in which position he saw a quantity of smoke issuing from the roof.
In a letter dated York, February 2nd, the writer thus hastily describes the extent of the conflagration:–
The first appearance I observed was the issue of an immense volume of smoke from the junction of the western towers with the nave, a smaller column from the great tower, and a third column from the roof of the choir, thus presenting the appearance of the building being on fire in all parts, whilst a dense smoke filled the interior to such a degree as to preclude the immediate entrance of the firemen. At length, the engines were rolled into the august edifice, when a scene beyond all description presented itself; the interior of the choir enveloped in flames, reflected upon the beautiful stained glass. The flames soon burst through the roof of the choir, and in less than an hour the whole was in a blaze, and the melted lead poured down the spouting. The roof soon fell in, in about five or six dreadful crashes. Every effort was made to prevent the flames spreading to the transept and nave, and I trust with success, for though the engines are now (midnight) still playing, I do not find that there is any other fire than the remains of the roof on the floor of the choir.
[Footnote 1: No. 162, vol. vi., of the MIRROR, contains a fine view of the Minster. The first religious foundation here by the Christians was about the year 672. The Minster was burnt down in 1137, and lay in ruins till the year 1171. The late cathedral was completed about the year 1370. Appended to our engraving is an accurate historical and architectural description of the whole fabric.]
The damage may be summed up thus: The roof of the choir quite gone, the wood work on each side consumed, the matchless organ entirely destroyed, many monuments broken, and the communion plate melted. On the other hand, the east window is entire to the surprise of every one, the screen is uninjured, although immediately below the organ, the records in the vestry, the horn of Ulphus, the coronation chair, and the brass eagle are saved, and the wills in the Prerogative office are all safely lodged in Belfrey’s Church. For some time the city was in considerable danger; flakes of fire were carried as far as the Lord Mayor’s Walk; providentially there was very little wind.
[Footnote 2: The horn of Ulphus is one of the greatest curiosities in possession of the church of York. It appears like the hollowed tusk of an elephant, and the length of its curvature is from 18 to 24 inches. It is the title deed by which the church of St. Peters holds lands to a considerable value, given to it before the Heptarchy by Ulphus, king of Deira and Northumbria. It is said, that when he presented it to the church, he filled it with wine, which he drank off to its future success. If the story be true, Ulphus must have been one of the most strong-headed, as well as one of the must pious kings of his day; for the draught which he is alleged to have swallowed would be sufficient to upset the sobriety of any two men, such as men now are. The horn was preserved by the successive possessors of St. Peter’s with the most careful affection during all the commotions of the Danish and Norman invasions; but was stolen from them in the general confusion which pervaded the city of York after the battle of Marston-moor and it was delivered up to the Parliamentarian forces under the command of Lord Fairfax and Cromwell. By some of the accidents of war, it came into the possession of Lord Fairfax, who is reported to have purchased it of a common soldier. On the restoration of Charles II., when church-properly was again secure, his lordship restored it to the cathedral; and there is now an inscription upon it, recording the gratitude of the Dean and Chapter for having so valuable a possession restored them. It has now escaped singularly enough from the destruction which has fallen upon the other curiosities which were usually kept in the vestry-room; and remains, as it has done for years past, to be sounded by all those strong-winded visiters of the Minster who have strength enough to blow it.]
From another account we learn that communication with the roof was not at first apprehended, but the roof of the choir being very dry wood, soon joined in the conflagration. It is impossible to describe the awful picture of the flames rising above this majestic building. The effect produced by the glare of light upon the stained glass of the windows exceeds description. On the falling of the roof, the house of prayer, which but the evening before had resounded with the voices of worshippers, and where all was order and harmony, now resembled a fiery furnace. The pillars, which once served to divide the choir from the two side aisles, now stood alone, the whole being an open space, with the roof burning on the ground, and nothing above but the blue canopy of heaven.
Mr. Britton, in his valuable work on York Cathedral, gives a minute description of that part of the Minster which has been destroyed; from which the following is extracted:–
“After passing through the screen, the visiter is introduced to the choir, which is grand in scale and rich in adornment. On each side is a series of 20 stalls, with 12 at the west end, beneath the organ. These are of oak, and are peculiarly rich in their canopies and carved decorations. Each seat, or stall, has its movable miserecordia, with projecting rests for the elbows, from which rise two detached slender columns, supporting an elaborate canopy. At the eastern end of the choir is the altar-table, raised above the regular floor by a series of 15 steps.
“On the north side of the altar, over the grated window that lights the crypt, is an ancient pew, or gallery, to which there is an ascent by a flight of narrow stairs, of solid blocks of oak. The exterior of this gallery is very neat, and it is certainly older than the Reformation.
“Behind the stalls of the choir are closets, some of which are used as vestries by the singing-men: modern staircases have been constructed, leading to the galleries erected above, and which disfigure the view into the aisles. These closets are fronted, next the aisles, by open screens of oak, some of which are of excellent carving, and more elaborate than others. In the centre of the choir stands a desk for the vicars-choral to chant the litany in; it is enclosed in a pew of carved wood.”
The Minster was lighted with gas, to which the conflagration was at first attributed; but the fire appears to have originated in one of the vestries. When we remember the beauty of the carved work which has thus been destroyed, and the elaborate skill which had been bestowed on its execution, our sympathies are deeply awakened for its fate. Indeed, the most listless admirer of art, as well as the antiquarian devotee, has just cause to lament this accident; especially as the taste and labours of our times fall far short of the olden glories of architecture. When we think of the “unsubstantial pageant” of the recent “Festival,” and associate its fleeting show with the desert remains of this venerable pile, our feelings deepen into melancholy, and the smoking fragments of art seem to breathe–
Tell thou the lamentable fall of me, And send the hearers weeping to their beds.
* * * * *
HARD FROSTS IN ENGLAND.
_(For the Mirror.)_
In the year
220. Frost lasted 5 months.
250. The Thames frozen 9 weeks.
291. Most rivers frozen 6 weeks.
508. The rivers frozen 2 months.
695. The Thames frozen 6 weeks; booths built on it. 759. Frost from October the 1st, till February 26th, 760. 827. Frost for 9 weeks.
923. The Thames frozen 13 weeks.
987. Frost lasted 120 days.
998. The Thames frozen 5 weeks.
1035. Frost on Midsummer Day so vehement that the corn and fruits were destroyed.
1063. The Thames frozen for 14 weeks. 1076. Frost from November to April.
1114. Several wooden bridges carried away by the ice. 1407. Frost for 15 weeks.
1434. Thames frozen down to Gravesend; 12 weeks frost. 1683. Frost for 13 weeks.
1739. Frost for 9 weeks.
1788. Frost from November to January 1789, when the Thames was crossed opposite the Customhouse, the Tower, Execution Dock, Putney, Brentford, &c. It was general throughout Europe.
1796. Frost the most severe on Dec. 25th that had ever been felt in the
memory of man.
1814. Severe frost, Thames frozen, and tremendous falls of snow.
A French writer who visited England during the severe frost in the year 1688, says, (in a small volume which he published in Paris,) “that besides hackney-coaches, a large sledge, or sledges, were then exhibited on the frozen Thames, and that King Charles passed a whole night upon the ice.”
The following extract is also an account of this frost by an eye-witness; which may be seen in the _Beauties of England and Wales_, vol. x. page 83: he says, “On the 20th of December, 1688, a very violent frost began, which lasted to the 6th of February, in so great extremity, that the pools were frozen 18 inches thick at least, and the Thames was so frozen that a great street from the Temple to Southwark was built with shops, and all manner of things sold. Hackney coaches plied there as in the streets. There were also bull-baiting, and a great many shows and tricks to be seen. This day the frost broke up. In the morning I saw a coach and six horses driven from Whitehall almost to the bridge (London Bridge) yet by three o’clock that day, February the 6th, next to Southwark the ice was gone, so as boats did row to and fro, and the next day all the frost was gone. On Candlemas Day I went to Croydon market, and led my horse over the ice to the Horseferry from Westminster to Lambeth; as I came back I led him from Lambeth upon the middle of the Thames to Whitefriars’ stairs, and so led him up by them. And this day an ox was roasted whole, over against Whitehall. King Charles and the Queen ate part of it.”
N.B. In 1740, a palace of ice was built by the Empress Anne of Russia, on the banks of the Neva, 52 feet long, which, when illuminated, had a surprising effect.
P. T. W.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
The following is extracted from a book of Prophecies, called Muhamedys, which is held in veneration by the Turks:–“The Turkish emperor shall conquer Rome, and make the pope patriarch of Jerusalem; and he shall, some time after, profess the Mahomedan faith. Christ shall then come, and show the Christians their error in not having accepted the Alcoran; and instruct them that the dove which came down from heaven was not the Holy Ghost, but was Mahomet, who shall be again upon earth thirty years, and confirm the Alcoran by new miracles. After that time the power of the Turks shall decline, till they retire into Desert Arabia, and then there shall be an end of the world. Their overthrow shall be accomplished by a people from the north, called _caumico fer_, (yellow-haired sons.) The ruin of Constantinople shall happen in sultan Mahomet’s time; and then the Turks shall be reduced to so few in number, that sixty Turkish women shall have but one husband among them.” W. G. C.
* * * * *
POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS, &c.
(_Concluded from page 58._)
We have formerly alluded to the well-known feats of the weird sisterhood on the broomstick; but it is affirmed that on these occasions the spirit left its earthly abode, the body being previously anointed with the ointment we have described. We cannot better illustrate this question (the possibility of which has been the subject-matter of many grave dissertations amongst the literati of those times) than by giving the substance of the following singular “Confession,” which with many others equally interesting, was made in 1664, (the later days of the profession) before Robert Hunt, Esq., a “justice with fat capon lined,” in the county of Somerset, and in the presence of “several grave and orthodox divines.”
Elizabeth Styles, of Stoke Triston, in that county, was accused by “divers persons of credit,” of the crimes of witchcraft and sorcery. She was afterwards found guilty by a jury at Taunton, but died before the sentence could be carried into effect. She confessed “that the devil, about ten years since, appeared to her in the shape of a handsome man, and after of a black dog; that he promised her money, and that she should live gallantly, and have the pleasure of the world for twelve years, if she would, with her blood, sign his paper, which was to give her soul to him, and observe his laws, and that he might suck her blood. This, after four solicitations, the examinant promised to do; upon which he pricked the fourth finger of her right hand, between the middle and upper joints, (where the sign at the examination remained), and with a drop or two of her blood, she signed the paper with an O. Upon this the devil gave her sixpence, and vanished with the paper. That since he hath appeared to her in the shape of a man, and did so on Wednesday sevennight past, but more usually he appears in the likeness of a dog, and cat, and a fly like a miller, in which last he usually sucks in the poll, about four of the clock in the morning, and did so January 27, and that it usually is pain to her to be so suckt.” When she desired to do harm, she called _Robin_; on his appearance she opened her wants, saying, _O Satan, give me my purpose._
That a short time before, she and other witches had met a “gentleman in black” in a field, about nine o’clock at night, to devise torments for one Elizabeth Hill, who had come under their ban; they brought a waxen image of her, and the “man in black” took and anointed it, saying, _I baptize thee with this oyl_; and using other words. “He was godfather, and the examinant and Ann Bishop were godmothers.” They called it Elizabeth; and the black man and weird sisters stuck thorns into various parts of the luckless image. “After which, they had wine, cakes, and roast meat, (provided by the gentleman in black,) which they did eat and drink; and they danced and were very merry,” &c. Many of these unhallowed meetings took place afterwards, and their entertainer, the gentleman in black–man or devil–seems to have been a regular _gourmand_, “and never failed to bring with him abundance of excellent cheer.” The customary bill of fare was “wine, good ale, cakes, meat, or the like.” The spirit was, also, rather musical, for he “sometimes played sweetly on the pipe or cittern,” the ladies keeping time with a dance, (we fear narrowly approaching the modern waltz.) On the whole they seem to have had joyous doings of it, and wonder ceases that the demon gained so many proselytes amongst the old women. These nocturnal meetings were generally held for a similar purpose with the foregoing; and it appears from the confession before us, that they were conveyed to them by supernatural means–by that simplest, though despised engine of loco–(or to coin a a word) aero-motion–a broomstick. They were obliged to anoint themselves on these occasions “with an oyl the spirit brought them;” and they were soon transported to the place of appointment, using these words in their transit, _”Thout, tout, a tout tout, throughout and about!”_ and on their return they say “Rentum, tormentum!” Such is the information conveyed in the confession of Elizabeth Styles, before these “grave and orthodox divines!”
They were also gifted by the “gentleman in black” with various other wonderful powers and attributes. They could transform themselves into the likeness of any animal in the creation, and therefore the better execute their schemes of devilry; but, it appears, that they always wanted that essential part–the tail; and there was a trial gravely reported by a Lancashire jury, that a soldier having been set to watch a mill from the depredations of some cats, skilfully whipped off the leg of the largest, which lo! the next morning, was changed into the arm of an old witch (who had long been suspected) in the neighbourhood! This useful faculty of transformation also extended, in some measure, to the persons of others; for Dr. Bulwer gives the following _easy recipe_ for “setting a horse or ass’ head” on a man’s neck and shoulders:–“Cut off the head of a horse or an ass _(before they be dead, otherwise the virtue or strength thereof will be less effectual,)_ and take an earthen vessel of a fit capacity to contain the same. Let it be filled with the oyl or fat thereof; cover it close, and daub it over with loam. Let it boil over a soft fire for three dayes, that the flesh boiled may run into oyl, so as the bones may be seen. Beat the hair into powder, and mingle the same with the oyl, and _anoint the heads of the standers by, and they shall seem to have horses or asses’ heads!_ If beasts’ heads be anointed with the like oyl made of a man’s head, (we suppose cut off while the said man was ‘alive!’) they shall seem to have men’s faces, as divers authors soberly affirm!”
[Footnote 3: Shakspeare must have derived from this hint, the similar transformation in “The Midsummer Night’s Dream.”]
After dwelling on the dark and malignant qualities of witches, it is but justice to give a few of the charms which, for a small remuneration, they would bestow for the benefit of those who sought their assistance in the hour of trouble. These charms were possessed of various degrees of virtue, _ex. gratiae._
_Against the toothache._–Scarify the gums, in the grief, with the tooth of one that hath been slain. Otherwise, _galbes, gabat, galdes, galdat_. Otherwise say, “O horsecombs and sickles that have so many teeth, come heal me of my toothache!”
These very simple remedies, if popular, would soon send the concocters of nostrums for the teeth into the Gazette.
_To release a woman in travail._–Throw over the top of the house where the woman lieth in travail, a stone, or any other thing that hath killed three living creatures: namely, a man, a wild boar, and a she-bear.
_Against the headache._–Tie a halter round your head wherewith one hath been hanged.
_Against the bite of a mad dog._–Put a silver ring on the ringer, within which the following words are engraven: _hobay, habas, heber_; and say to the person bitten by a mad dog, “I am thy saviour, lose not thy life;” and then prick him in the nose thrice, that at each time he bleed. Otherwise take pills made of the skull of one that is hanged, &c.
_To find her that bewitched your kine._–Put a pair of breeches upon the cow’s head, and beat her out of the pasture with a good cudgel, upon a Friday, and she will run right to the witch’s door, and strike thereat with her horns.
We are exceeding our limits, else we should have added several other pithy receipts, almost worthy of her who made the noted one against the creaking of a door–“rub a bit of soft soap on the hinges.” The most celebrated and precious charm, however, (for the above are mostly against every-day occurrences) was the _Agnus Dei_, which was a “preservative against all manner of evil, a perfect catholicon; and blessed indeed was the individual who possessed a treasure so valuable.” It was “a little cake, having the picture of a lamb carrying a flag, on the one side, and Christ’s head on the other side, and was hollow; so that the Gospel of St. John, written on fine paper, was placed in the concavity thereof;” and was a sovereign remedy against lightning, the effects of heat, drowning, &c. &c. In some of the above charms there is a little humour to be found; and as we have previously observed, such are the effects of faith, that like the amulets of the east (may not our own sprigs of witch-elm, &c. be so called?) they may have had in many cases the desired effects in averting disease.
Reginald Scot furnishes us with directions “how to prevent and cure all mischief wrought by charms or witchcraft.” To prevent the entry of a witch into a house, nail a horse-shoe in the inside of the outermost threshold. We believe this rule is still in practice. Also it was a custom in some countries to nail a wolf’s head, or a root of garlic, over the door, or on the roof of a house. And our Saviour’s name, &c. with four crosses at the four corners of a house, was a protection. The Romish custom of driving out evil spirits by the smoke of sulphur, is well known. “Otherwise the perfume made of the gall of a black dog, and his bloode besmeared on the posts and walls of a house, driveth out of the doores, both devils and witches.” A sprig of witch-elm sewn in the collar of the doublet, was celebrated amongst our great grandmothers as a specific against the malignant deeds of the weird sisterhood.
But we must draw this article to a close. We may well rejoice that we live in the nineteenth century; and that the disgusting infatuation and baleful doctrines of witchcraft are gone for ever.
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* * * * *
DESCRIPTION OF THE KING’S PALACE,
_By Mr. Nash, the Architect._
The grand entrance in front, which is to be reserved for the especial use of his Majesty and the Royal Family, will be composed of white marble, and will be a faithful model of the arch of Constantine, at Rome, with the exception of the equestrian figure of his Majesty George IV. on the top. The workmanship of this arch is expected to rival any thing of the sort in the kingdom, and to equal the finest works of antiquity. From each side of the arch a semicircular railing will extend to the wings, executed in the most beautiful style, in cast-iron, and surmounted by tips or ornamental spears of mosaic gold. The area, within, will consist of a grass-plat, in the centre of which will be an ornamental fountain, and the whole will be bounded by a graveled road.
The wing on the left will comprise his Majesty’s chapel, the kitchen, and other offices; and that on the tight, his Majesty’s private suite of apartments. The entrance to the former is from the back, near to where Buckingham-gate formerly stood, and it is by this door that the visiters to the palace on gala days will be admitted. Passing through the building, they will enter a spacious colonnade, which extends along the front of the body of the palace, and in front of each wing; above the colonnade is a magnificent balcony, supported by columns of the Doric order. At the end of each wing is a pediment, supported by Corinthian columns. The entablature of each pediment is tastefully filled up with groups of figures in white marble, exquisitely carved in _alto relievo_, illustrative of the arts and sciences. On the extreme points of the wing on the left, are fixed statues representing History, Geography, and Astronomy; and on those of the right wing, Painting, Music, and Architecture. On the entablature of the pediment, in front of the main body of the palace, it is intended to place the Arms of England; and on the top are placed Neptune, with Commerce on one side, and Navigation on the other. Around the entire building, and above the windows, is a delicately worked frieze, combining in a scroll the Rose, the Shamrock, and the Thistle.
The entrance-hall is about thirty-three feet in height. The pavement is of white marble slightly veined with blue. The entire hall is bordered with a scroll of Sienna or yellow, centred with rosettes of puce-coloured marble, inlaid in the most masterly style of workmanship. The walls are of Scagliola, and the ceiling is supported by a succession of white marble pillars. From the hall are the avenues leading to the state apartments–drawing-rooms, dining-rooms, throne-room, statue-gallery, picture-gallery, &c.
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
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WINDSOR AS IT WAS.
The last Number of the _London Magazine_ contains an article of considerable graphic interest, under the above title. It is written by one “born within a stone’s throw of the castle,” and, _ni fallor_, by the author of the picturesque description of Virginia Water, in the Magazine for September, last. As the whole article is much too long for our space, we have abridged it, taking care to retain the most characteristic portion of the writer’s very pleasing reminiscences:–
My earliest recollections of Windsor are exceedingly delightful. I was born within a stone’s throw of the Castle-gates; and my whole boyhood was passed in the most unrestrained enjoyment of the venerable and beautiful objects by which I was surrounded, as if they had been my own peculiar and proper inheritance. The king and his family lived in a plain, barrack-looking lodge at his castle foot, which, in its external appearance and its interior arrangements, exactly corresponded with the humble taste and the quiet, domestic habits of George III. The whole range of the castle, its terrace, and its park, were places dedicated to the especial pleasures of a school-boy.
The Park! what a glory was that for cricket and kite-flying. No one molested us. The beautiful plain immediately under the eastern terrace was called the Bowling Green;–and, truly, it was as level as the smoothest of those appendages to suburban inns. We took excellent care that the grass should not grow too fast beneath our feet. No one molested us. The king, indeed, would sometimes stand alone for half an hour to see the boys at cricket; and heartily would he laugh when the wicket of some confident urchin went down at the first ball. But we did not heed his majesty. He was a quiet, good-humoured gentleman, in a long blue coat, whose face was as familiar to us as that of our writing-master; and many a time had that gracious gentleman bidden us good morning, when we were hunting for mushrooms in the early dew, and had crossed his path as he was returning from his dairy, to his eight o’clock breakfast. Every one knew that most respectable and amiable of country squires, called His Majesty; and truly there was no inequality in the matter, for his majesty knew every one.
I have now no recollection of having, when a child, seen the king with any of the appendages of royalty, except when he went to town, once a week, to hold a levee; and then ten dragoons rode before, and ten after his carriage, and the tradesmen in the streets through which he passed duly stood at their doors, to make the most profound reverences, as in duty bound, when their monarch looked “every inch a king.” But the bows were less profound, and the wonderment none at all, when twice a week, as was his wont during the summer months, his majesty, with all his family, and a considerable bevy of ancient maids of honour and half-pay generals, walked through the town, or rode at a slow pace in an open carriage, to the Windsor theatre, which was then in the High-street. Reader, it is impossible that you can form an idea of the smallness of that theatre; unless you have by chance lived in a country town, when the assembly-room of the head inn has been fitted up with the aid of brown paper and ochre, for the exhibition of some heroes of the sock and buskin, vulgarly called strollers. At the old Windsor Theatre, her majesty’s apothecary in the lower boxes might have almost felt her pulse across the pit. My knowledge of the drama commenced at the early age of seven years, amidst this royal fellowship in fun; and most loyally did I laugh when his majesty, leaning back in his capacious arm-chair in the stage-box, shook the house with his genuine peals of hearty merriment. Well do I remember the whole course of these royal play-goings. The theatre was of an inconvenient form, with very sharp angles at the junctions of the centre with the sides. The stage-box, and the whole of the left or O.P. side of the lower tier, were appropriated to royalty. The house would fill at about half-past six. At seven, precisely, Mr. Thornton, the manager, made his entrance backwards, through a little door, into the stage-box, with a plated candlestick in each hand, bowing with all the grace that his gout would permit. The six fiddles struck up God save the King; the audience rose; the king nodded round and took his seat next the stage; the queen curtsied, and took her arm-chair also. The satin bills of their majesties and the princesses were then duly displayed–and the dingy green curtain drew up. The performances were invariably either a comedy and farce, or more frequently three farces, with a plentiful interlarding of comic songs. Quick, Suett, and Mrs. Mattocks were the reigning favourites; and, about 1800, Elliston and Fawcett became occasional stars. But Quick and Suett were the king’s especial delight. When Lovegold, in the “Miser,” drawled out “a pin a day’s a groat a year,” the laugh of the royal circle was somewhat loud; but when Dicky Gossip exhibited in his vocation, and accompanied the burden of his song, “Dicky Gossip, Dicky Gossip is the man,” with the blasts of his powder-puff, the cachinnation was loud and long, and the gods prolonged the chorus of laughter, till the echo died away in the royal box. At the end of the third act, coffee was handed round to the court circle; and precisely at eleven the performances finished,–and the flambeaux gleamed through the dimly-lighted streets of Windsor, as the happy family returned to their tranquil home.
There was occasionally a good deal of merriment going forward at Windsor in these olden days. I have a dim recollection of having danced in the little garden which was once the moat of the Round Tower, and which Washington Irving has been pleased to imagine existed in the time of James I. of Scotland. I have a perfect remembrance of a fete at Frogmore, about the beginning of the present century, where there was a Dutch fair,–and haymaking very agreeably performed in white kid gloves by the belles of the town,–and the buck-basket scene of the “Merry Wives of Windsor” represented by Fawcett and Mrs. Mattocks, and I think Mrs. Gibbs, under the colonnade of the house in the open day–and variegated lamps–and transparencies–and tea served out in tents, with a magnificent scramble for the bread and butter. There was great good humour and freedom on all these occasions; and if the grass was damp and the young ladies caught cold, and the sandwiches were scarce, and the gentlemen went home hungry–I am sure these little drawbacks were not to be imputed to the royal entertainers, who delighted to see their neighbours and dependants happy and joyous.
A few years passed over my head, and the scene was somewhat changed. The king and his family migrated from their little lodge into the old and spacious castle. This was about 1804. The lath and plaster of Sir William Chambers was abandoned to the equerries and chance visiters of the court; and the low rooms and dark passages that had scarcely been tenanted since the days of Anne, were made tolerably habitable by the aid of diligent upholstery. Upon the whole, the change was not one which conduced to comfort; and I have heard that the princesses wept when they quitted their snug boudoirs in the Queen’s Lodge. Windsor Castle, as it was, was a sad patchwork affair.
The late king and his family had lived at Windsor nearly thirty years, before it occurred to him to inhabit his own castle. The period at which he took possession was one of extraordinary excitement. It was the period of the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon, when, as was the case with France, upon the manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick, “the land bristled.”
The doings at Windsor were certainly more than commonly interesting at that period; and I was just of an age to understand something of their meaning, and partake the excitement. Sunday was especially a glorious day; and the description of one Sunday will furnish an adequate picture of these of two or three years.
At nine o’clock the sound of martial music was heard in the streets. The Blues and the Stafford Militia then did duty at Windsor; and though the one had seen no service since Minden, and most undeservedly bore the stigma of a past generation; and the other was composed of men who had never faced any danger but the ignition of a coal-pit;–they were each a remarkably fine body of soldiers, and the king did well to countenance them. Of the former regiment George III. had a troop of his own, and he delighted to wear the regimentals of a captain of the Blues; and well did his burly form become the cocked hat and heavy jack-boots which were the fashion of that fine corps in 1805. At nine o’clock, as I have said, of a Sunday morning, the noise of trumpet and of drum was heard in the streets of Windsor; for the regiments paraded in the castle quadrangle. The troops occupied the whole square. At about ten the king appeared with his family. He passed round the lines, while the salute was performed; and many a rapid word of inquiry had he to offer to the colonels who accompanied him. Not always did he wait for an answer–but that was after the fashion of royalty in general. He passed onwards towards St. George’s Chapel. But the military pomp did not end in what is called the upper quadrangle. In the lower ward, at a very humble distance from the regular troops, were drawn up a splendid body of men, ycleped the Windsor Volunteers; and most gracious were the nods of royalty to the well-known drapers, and hatters, and booksellers, who had the honour to hold commissions in that distinguished regiment. The salutations, however, were short, and onwards went the cortege, for the chapel bell was tolling in, and the king was always punctual.
Great was the crowd to see the king and his family return from chapel; for by this time London had poured forth its chaises and one, and the astonished inmates of Cheapside and St. Mary Axe were elbowing each other to see how a monarch smiled. They saw him well; and often have I heard the disappointed exclamation, “Is _that_ the king?” They saw a portly man, in a plain suit of regimentals, and no crown upon his head. What a fearful falling off from the king of the story-books!
The terrace, however, was the great Sunday attraction; and though Bishop Porteus remonstrated with his majesty for suffering people to crowd together, and bands to play on these occasions, I cannot think that the good-tempered monarch committed any mortal sin in walking amongst his people in their holiday attire. This terrace was a motley scene.
The peasant’s toe did gall the courtier’s gibe.
The barber from Eton and his seven daughters elbowed the dean who rented his back parlour, when he was in the sixth form,–and who now was crowding to the front rank for a smile of majesty, having heard that the Bishop of Chester was seriously indisposed. The prime minister waited quietly amidst the crush, till the royal party should descend from their dining-room,–smiling at, if not unheeding, the anxious inquiries of the stock-broker from Change Alley, who wondered if Mr. Pitt would carry a gold stick before the king. The only time I saw that minister was under these circumstances. It was the year before he died. He stood firmly and proudly amongst the crowd for some half-hour till the king should arrive. The monarch, of course, immediately recognised him; the contrast in the demeanour of the two personages made a remarkable impression upon me–and that of the minister first showed me an example of the perfect self-possession of men of great abilities.
After a year or two of this soil of excitement the king became blind; and painful was the exhibition of the led horse of the good old man, as he took his accustomed ride. In a few more years a still heavier calamity fell upon him–and from that time Windsor Castle became, comparatively, a mournful place. The terrace was shut up–the ancient pathway through the park, and under the castle walls, was diverted–and a somewhat Asiatic state and stillness seemed to usurp the reign of the old free and familiar intercourse of the sovereign with the people.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
Towards the close of the battle of Navarino, one of our midshipmen, a promising youth of about fourteen, was struck by a cannon-shot, which carried off both his legs, and his right-hand, with which the poor fellow had been grasping his cutlass at that moment. He lay in the gun-room, as nothing could be done for him; and I was informed by one of the men, that he repeatedly named his mother in a piteous tone, but soon after rallied a little, and began to inquire eagerly how the action was going on, and if any more Turkish ships had struck. He lingered in great agony for about twenty minutes.–From a spirited description in No. 2, _United Service Journal_, intended for abridgment probably in our next.
* * * * *
The revenue of the thirteen theatres of Paris during last year, amounted to the great sum of L233,561 sterling; that of the two establishments for the performance of the _regular drama_ amounting only to L26,600, or not more than a tithe of the whole.
* * * * *
A mask taken upon the face of Jean Jacques Rousseau after death, recently fetched, at the sale of the late M. Houdon, 500 francs. The purchaser has since refused an offer of 15,000 francs for it.
* * * * *
May be said to be next to Paris, the largest English colony on the continent; and that there are not fewer at this moment than six thousand English residents there. This is not at all surprising. Cheapness of living, of education, of amusements–a mild government and agreeable society–the abundance of all the necessaries of life, of fine fruits and vegetables in particular, are temptations; though we pity those who have not the virtue to resist them.
* * * * *
WRITING FOR THE STAGE.
Is it not extraordinary that the manager of a theatre is the only purveyor who does not know the value of his wares? A bookseller will, if he approves of a work, pay a certain sum for the copyright, and risk an additional sum in the publication, at the hazard of losing by the fiat of a very capricious public, the reading public. But the writer of a drama must make up his mind to stake the labour of months on the fortune of a single night. _New Monthly Mag._
* * * * *
EXPEDITIONS OF DISCOVERY.
Narratives of these important and interesting enterprizes multiply so fast, that we are happy to announce, as preparing for publication, a series of abstracts of the most recent _Voyages and Overland Journeys_. They will be printed in an economical volume adapted to all classes of purchasers, and will contain all the new facts in nautical and geographical science; details of the _Natural History_ of the respective countries, the manners and customs of the natives, &c.–Fernando Po, Timbuctoo, Clapperton’s African adventures, and Capt. Dillon’s discoveries relative to the fate of La Perouse, will, of course, form prominent portions of this work, the popular title of which will be, “_The Cabinet of Recent Voyages and Travels_.”
* * * * *
A facetious gourmand used to say, that he had eaten so much beef for the last six months, that he was ashamed to look a bullock in the face.–_Twelve Years’ Military Adventures._
* * * * *
If we believe in the divine origin of the commandment, the Sabbath is instituted for the express purposes of religion. The time set apart is the “Sabbath of the Lord;” a day on which we are not to work our own works, or think our own thoughts. The precept is positive, and the purpose clear. He who has to accomplish his own salvation, must not carry to tennis courts and skittle grounds the train of reflections which ought necessarily to be excited by a serious discourse of religion. The religious part of the Sunday’s exercise is not to be considered as a bitter medicine, the taste of which is as soon as possible to be removed by a bit of sugar. On the contrary, our demeanour through the rest of the day ought to be, not sullen certainly, or morose, but serious and tending to instruction. Give to the world one half of the Sunday, and you will find that religion has no strong hold of the other. Pass the morning at church, and the evening, according to your taste or rank, in the cricket-field, or at the Opera, and you will soon find thoughts of the evening hazards and bets intrude themselves on the sermon, and that recollections of the popular melodies interfere with the psalms. Religion is thus treated like Lear, to whom his ungrateful daughters first denied one half of his stipulated attendance, and then made it a question whether they should grant him any share of what remained.–_Quart. Review._
* * * * *
Among the works under this denomination for 1829, we notice two, which from their almost indispensible utility, deserve the name of _Hardy Annuals_. The first is _Adcock’s Engineers’ Pocket Book_, and contains tables of British weights and measures, multiplication and division obtained by inspection, tables of squares and cubes and square and cube roots, and mensuration; tables of the areas and circumferences of circles, &c.; the mechanical powers, animal strength, mills and steam-engines, treatises on hydraulics, pneumatics, heat, &c., and on the strength and heat of materials. To these are superadded the usual contents of a pocket book, so as to render the present volume a desirable vade-mecum for the operative, the manufacturer, and engineer.
One of Mr. Adcock’s most popular illustrations will not be uninteresting to the reader:–
_”Force of Gunpowder.”_–“If we calculate the quantity of motion produced by gunpowder, we shall find that this agent, though extremely convenient, is far more expensive than human labour; but the advantage of gunpowder consists in the great rarity of the active substance; a spring or a bow can only act with a moderate velocity on account of its own weight; the air of the atmosphere, however compressed, could not flow into a vacuum with a velocity so great as 1,500 feet in a second; hydrogen gas might move more rapidly; but the elastic substance produced by gunpowder is capable of propelling a very heavy cannon ball with a much greater velocity.”
Of an opposite character, but equally useful, and more attractive for the general reader, is the second,–_The Spoilsman’s Pocket Book_, by a brother of the author of the preceding. Here are the usual pocket-book contents, and the laws, &c. of British sports and pastimes–as shooting, angling, hunting, coursing, racing, cricket, and _skating_: from the latter we subjoin a hint for the benefit of the _Serpentine Mercuries_; which proves the adage _ex liguo non fit Mercurius_:–
“Care should be taken that the muscular movements of the whole body correspond with the movements of the skates, and that it be regulated so as to be almost imperceptible to the spectators; for nothing so much diminishes the grace and elegance of skating as sudden jerks and exertions. The attitude of drawing the bow and arrow, whilst the skater is forming a large circle on the outside, is very beautiful, and some persons, in skating, excel in manual exercises and military salutes.”
The whole series of pocket books by the Messrs. Adcocks, extend, we believe, to eight, adapted for all descriptions of _industriels_, as well as for the less occupied, who are not “the architects of their own fortunes.”
* * * * *
Dr. Parr was the last learned schoolmaster who was professedly an amateur of the rod; and in that profession there was more of humour and affectation than of reality, for with all his habitual affectation and his occasional brutality, Parr was a good-natured, generous, warm-hearted man; there was a coarse husk and a hard shell, like the cocoa-nut, but the core was filled with the milk of human kindness.–_Quarterly Review._
* * * * *
On a celebrated craniologist visiting the _studio_ of a celebrated sculptor in London, his attention was drawn to a bust with a remarkable depth of skull from the forehead to the occiput. “What a noble head,” he exclaimed, “is that! full seven inches! What superior powers of mind must he be endowed with, who possesses such a head as is here represented!” “Why, yes,” says the blunt artist, “he certainly was a very extraordinary man–that is the bust of my early friend and first patron, John Horne Tooke.” “Ay,” answers the craniologist, “you see there is something after all in our science, notwithstanding the scoffs of many of your countrymen.” “Certainly,” says the sculptor; “but here is another bust, with a greater depth and a still more capacious forehead.” “Bless me!” exclaims the craniologist, taking out his rule, “eight inches! who can this be? this is indeed a head–in this there can be no mistake; what depth of intellect, what profundity of thought, must reside in that skull! this I am sure must belong to some extraordinary and well-known character.” “Why, yes,” says the sculptor, “he is pretty well known–it is the head of Lord Pomfret.”
* * * * *
Anthony A’Wood has informed us that when Prynne studied, “his custom was to put on a long quilted cap, which came an inch over his eyes, serving as an umbrella to defend them from too much light, and seldom eating any dinner. He would be every three hours munching a roll of bread, and now and then refresh his exhausted spirits with ale.”
* * * * *
The German students are a set of young men who certainly pursue their studies with zeal, but who nevertheless are more brutal in conduct, more insolent in manner, more slovenly and ruffian-like in appearance, and more offensive from the fumes of tobacco and beer, onions and sourcrout, in which they are enveloped, than are to be met with in any other part of Europe. In a small town of a small state a German university is a horrible nuisance; and how the elegant court of Weimar, in particular, can tolerate the existence of one within an hour’s ride of its palace, where we have seen ragamuffins fighting with broad-swords in the market-place, moves “our special wonder.” To the university of Bonn is attached a rich collection of subjects in natural history, and a botanical garden; and such is its success, from the celebrity of its professors, among whom is numbered the illustrious William Schlegel, that, Dr. Granville states, “there are at this time about one thousand and twenty students who, for twenty pounds in university and professors’ fees, and forty more for living, get a first-rate education.” The climate and the situation on the banks of the Rhine are most inviting; and a beautiful avenue of chestnut trees, nearly a mile in length, joins the castle of Popplesdorf, which contains the cabinets of natural history, with the university.
* * * * *
GREAT SEAL OF ENGLAND.
The Great Seal itself, when not in the king’s own custody, was entrusted to the “Chancellor,” whose salary, as fixed by Henry I., amounted to five shillings per diem, besides a “livery” of provisions. And the allowance of one pint and a half, or perhaps a quart of claret, one “gross wax-light,” and forty candle-ends, to enable the Chancellor to carry on his housekeeping, may be considered as a curious exemplification of primitive temperance and economy.–_Quarterly Rev._
* * * * *
The good people of Weimar appear to be most enthusiastic lovers of music, affording strong proofs of melomania. Every householder of any importance subscribes an annual sum to a band of musicians, who go round in long cloaks to each house, singing fugas and canons, unaccompanied by instruments, in “the most beautiful and correct style imaginable,”–something, we suppose, in the style of the Tyrolese minstrels.–_Ibid._
* * * * *
A friend of ours recently went to Russia by steam, and actually breakfasted in Moscow the thirteenth morning after he left London. There is now, he says, a road as good as that to Brighton over three parts of the distance between St. Petersburg and Moscow–what a change from 1812!–_Ibid._
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS
* * * * *
THE MURDER HOLE.
_An Ancient Legend._
“Ah, frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near;
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye! Like thee I start, like thee disorder’d fly!
In a remote district of country belonging to Lord Cassillis, between Ayrshire and Galloway, about three hundred years ago, a moor of apparently boundless extent stretched several miles along the road, and wearied the eye of the traveller by the sameness and desolation of its appearance; not a tree varied the prospect–not a shrub enlivened the eye by its freshness–nor a native flower bloomed to adorn this ungenial soil. One “lonesome desert” reached the horizon on every side, with nothing to mark that any mortal had ever visited the scene before, except a few rude huts that were scattered near its centre; and a road, or rather pathway, for those whom business or necessity obliged to pass in that direction. At length, deserted as this wild region had always been, it became still more gloomy. Strange rumours arose, that the path of unwary travellers had been beset on this “blasted heath,” and that treachery and murder had intercepted the solitary stranger as he traversed its dreary extent. When several persons, who were known to have passed that way, mysteriously disappeared, the inquiries of their relatives led to a strict and anxious investigation; but though the officers of justice were sent to scour the country, and examine the inhabitants, not a trace could be obtained of the persons in question, nor of any place of concealment which could be a refuge for the lawless or desperate to horde in. Yet, as inquiry became stricter, and the disappearance of individuals more frequent, the simple inhabitants of the neighbouring hamlet were agitated by the most fearful apprehensions. Some declared that the deathlike stillness of the night was often interrupted by sudden and preternatural cries of more than mortal anguish, which seemed to arise in the distance; and a shepherd one evening, who had lost his way on the moor, declared he had approached three mysterious figures, who seemed struggling against each other with supernatural energy, till at length one of them, with a frightful scream, suddenly sunk into the earth.
Gradually the inhabitants deserted their dwellings on the heath, and settled in distant quarters, till at length but one of the cottages continued to be inhabited by an old woman and her two sons, who loudly lamented that poverty chained them to this solitary and mysterious spot. Travellers who frequented this road now generally did so in groups to protect each other; and if night overtook them, they usually stopped at the humble cottage of the old woman and her sons, where cleanliness compensated for the want of luxury, and where, over a blazing fire of peat, the bolder spirits smiled at the imaginary terrors of the road, and the more timid trembled as they listened to the tales of terror and affright with which their hosts entertained them.
One gloomy and tempestuous night in November, a pedlar-boy hastily traversed the moor. Terrified to find himself involved in darkness amidst its boundless wastes, a thousand frightful traditions, connected with this dreary scene, darted across his mind–every blast, as it swept in hollow gusts over the heath, seemed to teem with the sighs of departed spirits–and the birds, as they winged their way above his head, appeared, with loud and shrill cries, to warn him of approaching dagger. The whistle with which he usually beguiled his weary pilgrimage died away into silence, and he groped along with trembling and uncertain steps, which sounded too loudly in his ears. The promise of Scripture occurred to his memory, and revived his courage. “I will be unto thee as a rock in the desert, and as an hiding-place in the storm.” _Surely_, thought he, _though alone, I am not forsaken;_ and a prayer for assistance hovered on his lips.
A light now glimmered in the distance which would lead him, he conjectured, to the cottage of the old woman; and towards that he eagerly bent his way, remembering as he hastened along, that when he had visited it the year before, it was in company with a large party of travellers, who had beguiled the evening with those tales of mystery which had so lately filled his brain with images of terror. He recollected, too, how anxiously the old woman and her sons had endeavoured to detain him when the other travellers were departing; and now, therefore, he confidently anticipated a cordial and cheering reception. His first call for admission obtained no visible marks of attention, but instantly the greatest noise and confusion prevailed within the cottage. They think it is one of the supernatural visitants of whom the old lady talks so much, thought the boy, approaching a window, where the light within showed him all the inhabitants at their several occupations; the old woman was hastily scrubbing the stone floor, and strewing it thickly over with sand, while her two sons seemed with equal haste to be thrusting something large and heavy into an immense chest, which they carefully locked. The boy in a frolicsome mood, thoughtlessly tapped at the window, when they all instantly started up with consternation so strongly depicted on their countenances, that he shrunk back involuntarily with an undefined feeling of apprehension; but before he had time to reflect a moment longer, one of the men suddenly darted out at the door, and seizing the boy roughly by the shoulder, dragged him violently into the cottage. “I am not what you take me for,” said the boy, attempting to laugh, “but only the poor pedlar who visited you last year.”–“Are you _alone?_” inquired the old woman, in a harsh, deep tone, which made his heart thrill with apprehension. “Yes,” said the boy, “I am alone _here_; and alas!” he added, with a burst of uncontrollable feeling, “I am alone in the wide world also! Not a person exists who would assist me in distress, or shed a single tear if I died this very night.” “_Then_ you are welcome!” said one of the men with a sneer, while he cast a glance of peculiar expression at the other inhabitants of the cottage.
It was with a shiver of apprehension, rather than of cold, that the boy drew towards the fire, and the looks which the old woman and her sons exchanged, made him wish that he had preferred the shelter of any one of the roofless cottages which were scattered near, rather than trust himself among persons of such dubious aspect. Dreadful surmises flitted across his brain; and terrors which he could neither combat nor examine imperceptibly stole into his mind; but alone, and beyond the reach of assistance, he resolved to smother his suspicions, or at least not increase the danger by revealing them. The room to which he retired for the night had a confused and desolate aspect; the curtains seemed to have been violently torn down from the bed, and still hung in tatters around it–the table seemed to have been broken by some violent concussion, and the fragments of various pieces of furniture lay scattered upon the floor. The boy begged that a light might burn in his apartment till he was asleep, and anxiously examined the fastenings of the door; but they seemed to have been wrenched asunder on some former occasion, and were still left rusty and broken.
It was long ere the pedlar attempted to compose his agitated nerves to rest; but at length his senses began to “steep themselves in forgetfulness,” though his imagination remained painfully active, and presented new scenes of terror to his mind, with all the vividness of reality. He fancied himself again wandering on the heath, which appeared to be peopled with spectres, who all beckoned to him not to enter the cottage, and as he approached it, they vanished with a hollow and despairing cry. The scene then changed, and he found himself again seated by the fire, where the countenances of the men scowled upon him with the most terrifying malignity, and he thought the old woman suddenly seized him by the arms, and pinioned them to his side. Suddenly the boy was startled from these agitated slumbers, by what sounded to him like a cry of distress; he was broad awake in a moment, and sat up in bed,–but the noise was not repeated, and he endeavoured to persuade himself it had only been a continuation of the fearful images which had disturbed his rest; when, on glancing at the door, he observed underneath it a broad, red stream of blood silently stealing its course along the floor. Frantic with alarm, it was but the work of a moment to spring from his bed, and rush to the door, through a chink of which, his eye nearly dimmed with affright he could watch unsuspected whatever might be done in the adjoining room.
His fear vanished instantly when he perceived that it was only a _goat_ that they had been slaughtering; and he was about to steal into his bed again, ashamed of his groundless apprehensions, when his ear was arrested by a conversation which transfixed him aghast with terror to the spot.
“This is an easier job than you had yesterday,” said the man who held the goat. “I wish all the throats we’ve cut were as easily and quietly done. Did you ever hear such a noise as the old gentleman made last night! It was well we had no neighbour within a dozen of miles, or they must have heard his cries for help and mercy.”
“Don’t speak of it,” replied the other; “I was never fond of bloodshed,”
“Ha, ha!” said the other with a sneer, “you say so, do you?”
“I do,” answered the first, gloomily; “the Murder Hole is the thing for me–_that_ tells no tales–a single scuffle–a single plunge–and the fellow’s dead and buried to your hand in a moment. I would defy all the officers in Christendom to discover any mischief _there_.”
“Ay, Nature did us a good turn when she contrived such a place as that. Who that saw a hole in the heath, filled with clear water, and so small that the long grass meets over the top of it, would suppose that the depth is unfathomable, and that it conceals more than forty people who have met their deaths there! it sucks them in like a leech!”
“How do you mean to dispatch the lad in the next room?” asked the old woman in an under tone. The elder son made her a sign to be silent, and pointed towards the door where their trembling auditor was concealed; while the other, with an expression of brutal ferocity, passed his bloody knife across his throat.
The pedlar boy possessed a bold and daring spirit, which was now roused to desperation; but in any open resistance the odds were so completely against him, that flight seemed his best resource. He gently stole to the window, and having by one desperate effort broken the rusty bolt by which the casement had been fastened, he let himself down without noise or difficulty. This betokens good, thought he, pausing an instant in dreadful hesitation what direction to take. This momentary deliberation was fearfully interrupted by the hoarse voice of the men calling aloud, “_The boy has fled–let loose the bloodhound!_” These words sunk like a death-knell on his heart, for escape appeared now impossible, and his nerves seemed to melt away like wax in a furnace. Shall I perish without a struggle! thought he, rousing himself to exertion, and, helpless and terrified as a hare pursued by its ruthless hunters, he fled across the heath. Soon the baying of the bloodhound broke the stillness of the night, and the voice of its masters sounded through the moor, as they endeavoured to accelerate its speed,–panting and breathless the boy pursued his hopeless career, but every moment his pursuers seemed to gain upon his failing steps. The hound was unimpeded by the darkness which was to him so impenetrable, and its noise rung louder and deeper on his ear–while the lanterns which were carried by the men gleamed near and distinct upon his vision.
At his fullest speed, the terrified boy fell with violence over a heap of stones, and having nothing on but his shirt, he was severely cut in every limb. With one wild cry to Heaven for assistance, he continued prostrate on the earth, bleeding, and nearly insensible. The hoarse voices of the men, and the still louder baying of the dog, were now so near, that instant destruction seemed inevitable,–already he felt himself in their fangs, and the bloody knife of the assassin appeared to gleam before his eyes,–despair renewed his energy, and once more, in an agony of affright that seemed verging towards madness, he rushed forward so rapidly that terror seemed to have given wings to his feet. A loud cry near the spot he had left arose on his ears without suspending his flight. The hound had stopped at the place where the Pedlar’s wounds bled so profusely, and deeming the chase now over, it lay down there, and could not be induced to proceed; in vain the men beat it with frantic violence, and tried again to put the hound on the scent,–the sight of blood had satisfied the animal that its work was done, and with dogged resolution it resisted every inducement to pursue the same scent a second time. The pedlar boy in the meantime paused not in his flight till morning dawned–and still as he fled, the noise of steps seemed to pursue him, and the cry of his assassins still sounded in the distance. Ten miles off he reached a village, and spread instant alarm throughout the neighbourhood–the inhabitants were aroused with one accord into a tumult of indignation–several of them had lost sons, brothers, or friends on the heath, and all united in proceeding instantly to seize the old woman and her sons, who were nearly torn to pieces by their violence. Three gibbets were immediately raised on the moor, and the wretched culprits confessed before their execution to the destruction of nearly fifty victims in the Murder Hole which they pointed out, and near which they suffered the penalty of their crimes. The bones of several murdered persons were with difficulty brought up from the abyss into which they had been thrust; but so narrow is the aperture, and so extraordinary the depth, that all who see it are inclined to coincide in the tradition of the country people that it is unfathomable. The scene of these events still continues nearly as it was 300 years ago. The remains of the old cottage, with its blackened walls (haunted of course by a thousand evil spirits,) and the extensive moor, on which a more modern _inn_ (if it can be dignified with such an epithet) resembles its predecessor in every thing but the character of its inhabitants; the landlord is deformed, but possesses extraordinary genius; he has himself manufactured a violin, on which he plays with untaught skill,–and if any _discord_ be heard in the house, or any _murder_ committed in it, this is his only instrument. His daughter (who has never travelled beyond the heath) has inherited her father’s talent, and learnt all his tales of terror and superstition, which she relates with infinite spirit; but when you are led by her across the heath to drop a stone into that deep and narrow gulf to which our story relates,–when you stand on its slippery edge, and (parting the long grass with which it is covered) gaze into its mysterious depths,–when she describes, with all the animation of an _eye witness_, the struggles of the victims grasping the grass as a last hope of preservation, and trying to drag in their assassin as an expiring effort of vengeance,–when you are told that for 300 years the clear waters in this diamond of the desert have remained untasted by mortal lips, and that the solitary traveller is still pursued at night by the howling of the bloodhound,–it is _then only_ that it is possible fully to appreciate the terrors of THE MURDER HOLE.
* * * * *
I never to a ball will go,
That poor pretence for prancing, Where Jenkins dislocates a toe,
And Tomkins _thinks_ he’s dancing: And most I execrate that ball,
Of balls the most atrocious,
Held yearly in old Magog’s hall,
The feasting and ferocious.
I execrate the mob, the squeeze,
The rough refreshment-scramble:
The dancers, keeping time with knees That knock as down they amble;
Between two lines of bankers’ clerks, Stared at by two of loobies–
All mighty fine for city sparks,
But all and each one boobies:–
Boobies with heads like poodle-dogs, With curls like clew-lines dangling;
With limbs like galvanizing frogs, And necks stiff-starched and strangling; With pigeon-breasts and pigeon-wings,
And waists like wasps and spiders; With whiskers like Macready’s kings’,
Mustachios like El Hyder’s.
Miss Jones, the Moorfields milliner, With Toilinet, the draper,
May waltz–for none are _willinger_ To cut cloth or a caper.–
Miss Moses of the Minories,
With Mr. Wicks of Wapping,
May love such light tracasseries, Such shuffle shoe and hopping:
Miss Hicks, the belle of Holywell,
And pride of Norton Falgate,
In waltzing may the world excel,
Except Miss Hicks of Aldgate.
Well, let them–’tis their nature–twirl, And Smiths adore their twirlings,
Which kill with envy every girl
That fingers lace at Urling’s,
I laugh while I lament to see
A fellow, made to measure
‘Gainst grenadiers of six feet three, “Die down the dance” with pleasure.
I laugh to see a man with thews
His way through Misses picking,
Like pig with tender pettitoes,
Or chicken-hearted chicken;
A tom-cat shod with walnut-shells,
A pony race in pattens,
A wagon-horse tricked out with bells, A sow in silks and satins,
A butcher’s hair _en papillote_,
And lounging Piccadilly,
A clown in an embroidered coat,
Are not more gauche and silly.
Let atoms take their dusty dance,
But men are not corpuscles:
An Englishman’s not made in France, Nor wire and buckram muscles.
The manly leap, the breathing race, The wrestle, or old cricket,
Give to the limbs a native grace– So, here’s for double-wicket.
Leave dancing to the women, Men–
In them it is becoming;–
I never tire to see them, when
Joe Hart his fiddle’s strumming, Or Colinet and mild Musard
Have set their hearts quadrilling;– Then be each nymph a gay Brocard,
And every woman killing.
I love to see the pretty dears
Go lightly caracolling,
And drinking love at eyes and ears, With every look their soul in!
I like to watch the swan-like grace They show in minuetting.
It hits one’s bosom’s tenderest place, To see them pirouetting.
But when a measurer of tape
Turns butterfly and dandy,
Assumes their grace, their air, their shape, I wish a pump were handy!
I never to such balls will go,
Those poor pretexts for prancing; Where Jenkins dislocates his toe,
And Tomkins _thinks_ he’s dancing.
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
* * * * *
Two Irishmen lately met, who had not seen each other since their arrival from Dublin’s fair city. Pat exclaimed, “How are you, my honey; how is Biddy Sulivan, Judy O’Connell, and Daniel O’Keefe?” “Oh! my jewel,” answered the other, “Biddy has got so many children that she will soon be a grandfather; Judy has six, but they have no father at all, for she never was married. And, as for Daniel, he’s grown so thin, that he is as thin as us both put together.”
W. G. C.
* * * * *
VARY-WEEL WHILE IT LASTS.
Two old Scotch gentlemen, having left their better halves in the Land o’ Cakes, on quitting Covent Garden theatre were discussing the merits of the play, the School for Scandal. “I was vary gled to see Sir Peter and my Leddy Tizzle sic gude frinds agin, Mr. M’Dougal, what think ye?” “Eh, mon, vary weel while it lasts, but it’s just Mrs. M’Dougal’s way. I’se warrant they’re at it agin afore we are doon in our beds mon.” Poor Sheridan should have heard this himself.
* * * * *
One of his majesty’s frigates being at anchor on a winter’s night, in a tremendous gale of wind, the ground broke, and she began to drive. The lieutenant of the watch ran down to the captain and awoke him from his sleep, and told him the anchor had come home. “Well,” said the captain, rubbing his eyes, “I think our anchor is perfectly right, for who the d—- would stay out such a night as this?”
W. G. C.
* * * * *
Beer was first introduced into England in 1492; into Scotland as early as 1482. By the statute of King James I. one full quart of the best beer or ale was to be sold for one penny, and two quarts of small beer for one penny.
* * * * *
In the museum of Stuttgard, is a portrait of the Countess of Salzburg, who, at the age of 50 years, had mustachios, whiskers, and a beard, as long and as black as those of any man.
* * * * *
TRIAL BY JURY.
The following anecdote is given in “_Lettres tres sur l’Angleterre par A. de Stael Holstein_.” “King George III. once gave directions for closing up a gate and a road in his own park at Richmond, which had been free to foot passengers for many years. A citizen of Richmond, who found the road convenient to the inhabitants of that village, took up the cause of his neighbours. He contended, that, although the thoroughfare might have been originally an encroachment, it had become public property by the lapse of time, and by prescriptive right, and that he should compel the king to re-open it. He brought his suit, without hesitating, into a court of justice, and gained his process.”
* * * * *
This day is published, price 5s. with a Frontispiece, and thirty other Engravings, the
ARCANA OF SCIENCE, AND ANNUAL REGISTER OF THE USEFUL ARTS, FOR 1829.
The MECHANICAL department contains ONE HUNDRED New Inventions and Discoveries, with 14 _Engravings_.
CHEMICAL, SEVENTY articles, with 2 _Engravings_.
NATURAL HISTORY, 135 New Facts and Discoveries, with 7 _Engravings_.
ASTRONOMICAL and METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA–35 articles–6 _Engravings_.
AGRICULTURE, GARDENING, and RURAL ECONOMY, 106 _Articles_.
DOMESTIC ECONOMY 50 _Articles_.
USEFUL ARTS, 50 _Articles_.
MISCELLANEOUS REGISTER, &c.
“We hope the editor will publish a similar volume annually.”–_Gardener’s Magazine._