The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Vol 14 No 381 by Various

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith M. Eckrich, David Garcia and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT AND INSTRUCTION. VOL. XIV, NO. 381.] SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1829. [PRICE 2d. THE MANSION OF HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON. The town mansions of our nobility are generally beneath all architectural criticism; and it
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 18/7/1829
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith M. Eckrich, David Garcia and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


VOL. XIV, NO. 381.] SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1829. [PRICE 2d.

[Illustration: APSLEY HOUSE]


The town mansions of our nobility are generally beneath all architectural criticism; and it has been pertinently observed that “an educated foreigner is quite astonished when shown the residences of our higher nobility and gentry in the British capital. He has heard speak of some great nobleman, with a revenue equal to that of a principality. He feels a curiosity to look at his palace, and he is shown a plain, common, brick house of forty or fifty feet in extent.” These observations were made about three years ago, since which period, the spirit of architectural improvement has been fast extending from public buildings to individual mansions. Among the latter, the renovation or encasement of Apsley House, at Hyde Park Corner, with a fine stone front, is entitled to foremost notice.

This splendid improvement is from the designs of Benjamin Wyatt, Esq. and is of the Palladian style. The basement story is rusticated, and the principal front has a handsome pediment supported by four columns of the Corinthian order. A bold cornice extends on all sides, which are decorated at the angles with Corinthian pilasters. The whole has an air of substantial elegance, and is in extremely good taste, if we except the door and window cases, which we are disposed to think rather too small. The Piccadilly front is enclosed with a rich bronzed palisade between leaved pillars, being in continuation of the classical taste of the entrance gates to Hyde Park, and the superb entrance to the Royal Gardens on the opposite side of the road. Throughout the whole, the chaste Grecian honey-suckle is introduced with very pleasing effect.

Besides the new frontage, Apsley House has been considerably enlarged, and a slip of ground from Hyde Park added to the gardens. The ball-room, extending the whole depth of the mansion, is one of the most magnificent _salons_ in the metropolis; and a picture gallery is in progress. Altogether, the improvement is equally honourable to the genius of the architect, and the taste of the illustrious proprietor of the mansion; for no foreigner can gainsay that Apsley House has the befitting splendour of a ducal, nay even of a royal palace.

* * * * *


(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)

There has been much discussion among antiquaries respecting the etymology of an ancient Roman road, called the Watling Street Way, which commencing from Dover, traces its course to London, St. Alban’s, Weedon, over _Bensford Bridge_,[1] High Cross, Atherstone, Wall, Wroxeter, and Chester, from which last place a branch appears to point in nearly a straight direction through St. Asaph to Segontium, or Caer Seiont, Carnarvonshire. Another branch directs its course from Wroxeter to Manchester, York, Lancaster, Kendal, and Cockermouth.

Hoveden thinks it was called the Watling Street from Wathe, or Wathla, a British king. Spelman fancies it was called Werlam Street, from its passing through Verulam. Somner derives the name from the Belgic Wentelen, _volvere, versare se, a sinuosis flexibus_. Baxter contends that it was made by the original Britons, Weteling, or Oedeling signifying in their language, _originarius civis vel ingenuus_. Stukeley’s opinion, in which he is joined by Whitaker, the Manchester historian, is, that it was the Guetheling road–Sarn Guethelin, or the road of the Irish, the G being pronounced as a W. Dr. Wilkes says, that it is more indented and crooked than other Roman Roads usually are, and supposes that it was formed of _Wattles_, which was the idea also of Pointer. Mr. Duff is not pleased with the opinion of Camden, that it derives its name from an unknown _Vitellianus_, but conjectures that its etymology is from the Saxon _Wadla_, a poor man, a beggar, because such people resorted to this road for the charity of travellers.

Among so many crude and discordant opinions, I shall endeavour to substitute another more consistent with the true etymology of the word. I agree with the historian of Manchester, that the Roman stations were prior to the roads, and that the latter were only the channels of communication to the former. The stations commenced during the conquest of the country, and all of them were completed at the conclusion of it. The roads therefore could not be constructed till the first or second summer after the stations were established. Whoever has attentively observed the line or direction of the Watling Street, must be convinced of the truth of the foregoing observations; and the deviation from a straight line, which in many parts is so apparent, and so evidently made to enable the Romans to pass from one station to another, may be considered conclusive upon this point. I therefore have no hesitation in asserting, that the Watling Street Way is a Roman road, and probably planned and formed by Vespasian, the celebrated Roman general in Britain, who named this road in compliment to the emperor, _Vitellius, Vitellii Strata Via_, Watling Street Way. Suetonius, in his _Life of Vespasian_, says, (chapter 4,) “_Claudio principe, Narcissi gratia, legatus in Germaniam missus est (Vespasianus;) inde in Britanniam translatus, tricies cum hoste conflixit. Duas validissimas gentes, superq viginti oppida, et insulam Vectam Britanniae proximam, in deditionem redegit, partim Auli Plautii legati, partim Claudii ipsius ductu. Quare triumphalia ornamenta, et in spatio brevi, duplex sacerdotium accepit, praeterea consulatum, quem gessit per duos novissimos anni menses.” Or, “In the reign of Claudius, by the interest of Narcissus,[2] he (Vespasian) was sent lieutenant general of a legion into Germany, from whence being removed into Britain, he engaged the enemy in thirty distinct battles, and subjected to the power of the Romans two very strong nations, and above twenty great towns, and the Isle of Wight, upon the coast of Britain, partly under the command of Aulus Plautius, and partly under that of Claudius himself. In reward for these noble services he received the triumphal ornaments, and in a short time after, two priest’s offices, besides the consulship, which he held for the two last months of the year.”

The same author, in his Life of Vitellius, seems to strengthen or rather establish the conjecture of its being the _Vitellii Strata Via_, for he says, (chapter 1,) “_indicia, stirpis (Vitelliorum) diu mansisse, Viam Vitelliam ab Janiculo ad mare usque, item coloniam ejusdem nominis._” Or, “Some monuments of the family continued a long time, as the _Vitellian Way_, reaching from the Janiculum to the sea, and likewise a colony of that name.” From the abovementioned extracts, it seems not improbable that one of the thirty battles mentioned by Suetonius, might have been fought during the time the Romans were forming this road through the Forest of Arden, which extended from Henley, in Warwickshire, to Market Harborough, in Leicestershire; and that it was called in compliment to Vitellius, the _Vitellian Way_, afterwards corrupted to the _Watling Way_.

This road from the Avon, which it passes at Dove Bridge, to the Anker, near Atherstone, forms the boundary between the counties of Leicester and Warwick. In the month of June, 1824, numerous skulls and bones were discovered in a line from the intersection of the road that leads from Rugby to Lutterworth, with the Watling Street to Benones or Bensford Bridge, the distance not being more than half a mile. These bones were lying about two feet below the surface of the ground. Many fragments of shields, spear heads, knives, and a sword,[3] placed by the side of a skeleton, and at one end touching a funereal urn,[4] and likewise several drinking cups, or small vessels, apparently formed of half-baked clay, with clasps both of silver and brass, were found within the abovementioned distance. On the contrary side of the road were discovered beads, glass, and amber, but neither urns, spear-heads, or fragments of shields; these relics, therefore, probably belonged to the Britons, who fell encountering the Romans, to prevent their forming a road through the Forest of Arden. There can be little doubt of a battle having been here fought, from the bones, urns, and tumuli discovered here and in the adjacent neighbourhood. “In this parish (Church Over,”) says Dugdale, “upon the old Roman Way, called Watling Strete, is to be seen a very great tumulus, which is of that magnitude, that it puts travellers beside the usual road,” and a _Letter_ from Elias Ashmole to Sir Wm. Dugdale,[5] states, “that about a mile from hence (that is from Holywell Abbey, now the site of Caves Inn,) there is a tumulus raised in the very middle of the high way, which methought was worth observing.” This tumulus, in an ancient deed, is called the Pilgrim’s Low. It was removed in making the turnpike-road from Banbury to Lutterworth, about the year 1770. In the plantations of Abraham Grimes, Esq., within half a mile of the site of the former, is another tumulus of smaller dimensions, adjoining the road which leads from Rugby to Lutterworth.

These were probably raised in honour of some military chiefs who were slain in the battle.

Si quid novisti rectius istis
Candidus imperti: si non, his utere mecum.

[1] Probably a corruption of Benones Bridge, as it is within four miles of the Roman station, Benones, now High Cross.

[2] Vitellius had great weight and influence in the reign of Claudius; Vespasian at that time paid his court to the favourite, and also to Narcissus, the emperor’s freedman.

[3] Now in the possession of the Rev. P. Homer, of Rugby.

[4] In the possession of Mr. Matthew Bloxam, of the same place.

[5] Edited by that distinguished and learned antiquary, Wm. Hamper, of Birmingham, Esq., in his _Life of Dugdale_.


* * * * *


(_To the Editor of the Mirror_.)

I beg to correct the statement of _W.W._ in vol. xiii. page 419, respecting this family. It is true that the pension did not expire at Richard Pendrill’s death–and it is also true that Dr. Pendrill died about the time as therein stated–but his son, John Pendrill, died at his own residence, near the Seahouses, Eastbourne, last year only, (1828,) leaving issue, one son by his first wife, (named John,) and one son and three daughters by his second wife; his first son, John, now enjoys the pension of 100 marks, and is residing at the Gloucester Hotel, Old Steine, Brighton, in sound health. The privilege granted to this family under the title of “Free Warren,” is the liberty of shooting, hunting, fishing, &c. upon any of the King’s manors, and upon the manor on which the party enjoying this pension might reside; and I am informed that a certain noble lord made some yearly payment or gift to the deceased, John, not to exercise that privilege on his manor in Sussex. The pension is payable out of, or secured upon, lands in four different counties, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Warwickshire, and entitles the party enjoying it to a vote in each of these counties; but whether this has been acted upon, I cannot possibly say. I have seen in the possession of a branch of this loyal family, only a few days ago, a scarce print of the arms, &c. published in 1756, under the regulation of the act of parliament; besides other prints on the subject. This family, _being commoners_, is I believe, the only one which have supporters.[6]

[6] Another correspondent, _Amicus_, states that the grant of the Pension was in the possession of the Rector of Cheriton, in Hampshire, and was “lost by him to Government, a short time before his death, in the year 1825.”


* * * * *


(_For the Mirror_.)

They’ve seen him laid, all cold and low; They’ve flung the flat stone o’er his breast: And Summer’s sun, and Winter’s snow
May never mar his dreamless rest! They’ve left him to his long decay;
The banner waves above his head:
Funereal is their rich array,
But hark! how speak they of the dead.

In his own hall, they’ve pledg’d to him ‘Mid mirth, and minstrelsy divine;
When, at the crystal goblet’s brim Hath flash’d, the od’rous rosy wine;
When viands from all lands afar
Have grac’d the shining, sumptuous board, And _now_, they’d prove their vaunted star, The Cobbold, of his priceless hoard.[7]

Hark! how they scandalize the _dead_! They spake not thus,–(their patron _here_) When they were proud to break his bread, To watch his faintest smile, and fear
His latent frown; they did not speak Of vices, follies, meanness: _then_
A _crime_ in him, had been, “the freak Of youth,” and “worthiest _he_, of men!”

Off with those garbs of woe, _false_ friends! Those sadden’d visages, all feign’d!
Or have ye yet, some golden ends
To be, by Death’s own liv’ries gain’d? _Ye_ mourn the dead forsooth! who say
That which should shame the lordly hall His late ancestral home! Away!
And dream that he hath _heard_ it all!

[7] _Cobbold_, in mining countries, especially Cornwall, is the legendary guardian spirit of the mine, and severe master of its treasures. In Germany, Sweden, &c. the Cobbold may be traced under various modifications and titles.


* * * * *

The Cosmopolite.



The diet of the _Frenchman_, is chiefly vegetable, and his _frogs_ are rarities reserved for the delectation of the opulent, and answering, in some degree, to the brains and tongues of singing-birds amongst ancient epicures; since, after being subjected to a peculiar process of fattening and purifying, only the legs of these animals are eaten. Light wines, beer, sugar and water, strong coffee, and a variety of delicious liqueurs, are drunk by the French, but they have shown themselves capable of conforming to the English taste in a relish for stronger potations. _Spaniards_ of all ranks, use fruit, vegetables, fish, and olives, for their principal diet, and oil and garlic are used plentifully in their culinary operations; chocolate is their chief beverage, but at dinner ladies drink nothing but water, and gentlemen a little wine. The fare of the _Portuguese_ peasantry is meagre in the extreme, although, they are, in fact, surrounded with the abundant luxuries of nature; a piece of black bread and a pickled pilchard, or head of garlic, is their usual subsistence, but a salted cod is a feast. In _Italy_, ice-water and lemonade are luxuries essential to the existence of all classes, and the inferior ones, who never inebriate themselves with spirituous liquors, can procure them at a cheap rate; macaroni and fruit are chief articles of food, but the Italians are great gourmands, and delight in dishes swimming in oil, which, to an English ear, sounds very disgustingly; however, it must be remembered, that oil in Italy is so pure and fresh, that it answers every purpose of our newest butter. A gentleman who had resided some time in this country, informs us, that by the Italians, _puppy-broth_ was reckoned a sovereign remedy in some slight indispositions, and that he has constantly seen in the markets young dogs skinned for sale. Of the _Turks_, the ordinary food is rice, sometimes boiled with gravy, and sometimes made into _pilan_; a kind of curry composed of mutton and fowl stewed to rags, and highly seasoned gravy. This is eaten with their fingers, since they have neither knives nor forks, and the Koran prohibits the use of gold and silver spoons. Coffee and sherbet are their ordinary beverages, and by the higher classes of “the faithful,” wine is drunk in private, but an intoxication of a singular and destructive description, is produced by opium, which the Turks chew in immoderate quantities. The food of the _Circassians_ consists of a little meat, millet-paste, and a kind of beer fermented from millet. The _Tartars_ are not fond of beef and veal, but admire horse-flesh; they prefer to drink, before any thing else, mare’s milk, and produce from it, by keeping it in sour skins, a strong spirit termed _koumiss_. The _Jakutians_ (a Tartar tribe) esteem horse-flesh as the greatest possible dainty; they eat raw the fat of horses and oxen, and drink melted butter with avidity; but bread is rare. The favourite food of the _Kalmuc Tartars_ is horse-flesh, eaten raw sometimes, but commonly dried in the sun; dogs, cats, rats, marmots, and other small animals and vermin are also eaten by them; but neither vegetables, bread nor fruits; and they drink koumiss; than which, scarcely any thing can be more disgusting, except, perhaps, that beverage of the South Sea islanders, prepared by means of leaves being masticated by a large company, and spit into a bowl of water. The diet of the _Kamtschatdales_, is chiefly fish, variously prepared; _huigal_, which is neither more nor less than fish laid in a pit until _putrid_, is a _luxury_ with this people! They are fond of caviar, made of roes of fish, and scarcely less disgusting than huigal. A pound of dry caviar will last a Kamtschatdale on a journey for a considerable time, since he finds bread to eat with it in the bark of every birch and elder he meets with. These people boil the fat of the whale and walrus with roots of _setage_. A principal dish at their feasts, consists of various roots and berries pounded with caviar, and mixed with the melted fat of whale and seal. They are fond of spirits, but commonly drink water. For the _Arabs_, lizards and locusts, afford food, but with better articles. The _Persians_ live like the Turks, or nearly so, but for the want of spoons, knives, and forks, their feasts, if the provisions are good in themselves, are disgusting; besides which, the _sofera_, or cloth on which the dinner is spread, is, from a superstitious notion that changing is unlucky, so intolerably dirty and offensive in odour, that the stranger can scarcely endure to sit beside it. With the _Chinese_, rice is the “staff of life,” but all kinds of animal food are eagerly devoured; and pedlars offering for sale rats, cats, and dogs, may be seen in the streets of Chinese towns. It is uncertain whether a depraved taste or lack of superior animal food, induces a really civilized people to devour such flesh. Weak tea, without sugar, or milk, is the common beverage of the Chinese; in the use of ardent spirits they are moderate. The _Peguese_, worshipping crocodiles, will drink no water but from the ditches wherein those creatures abound, and consequently are frequently devoured by them. The _Siamese_, besides a variety of superior food, eat rats, lizards, and some kinds of insects. The _Battas_ of Sumatra, prefer _human flesh_ to all other, and speak with rapture of the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. Warm water is the usual beverage of the _Manilla_ islanders. The _Japanese_, amongst other things, drink a kind of beer distilled from rice, and called _sacki_; it is kept constantly warm, and drunk after every morsel they eat. Cocoa-nut milk and water, is the common beverage of the natives of the _New Hebrides_. In _New Caledonia_ so great is the scarcity of food, that the natives make constant war for the sake of eating their prisoners, and sometimes, to assuage the cravings of hunger, they bind ligatures tightly round their bodies and swallow oleaginous earth. The _New Zealanders_ are cannibals sometimes in a dearth, and to gratify a spirit of vengeance against their enemies. The _New Hollanders_, near the sea, subsist on fish eaten raw, or nearly so; should a whale be cast ashore, it is never abandoned until its bones are picked; their substitute for bread, and that which forms their chief subsistence, is a species of fern roasted, pounded between stones, and mixed with fish. The general beverage of the negro tribes is palm-wine. No disgust is evinced by the _Bosjesman Hottentots_ at the most nauseous food, and having shot an animal with a poisoned arrow, their only precaution, previous to tearing it in pieces and devouring it raw, is to cut out the envenomed part. Half a dozen Bosjesmans, will eat a fat sheep in an hour; they use no salt, and seldom drink anything, probably from the succulent nature of their food. The _Caffres_ live chiefly on milk; they have no poultry, nor do they eat eggs. When flesh is boiled, each member of a family helps himself from the kettle with a pointed stick, and eats it in his hand. Their substitute for bread, which is made of Caffre-corn, a sort of millet, is the pith of a palm, indigenous to the country.

The _Lattakoos_ eat, with equal zest, the flesh of elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, giraffes, quaggas, &c.; and sometimes, under an idea that it confers valour, human flesh, of which they have otherwise great abhorrence. They are very disgusting in their manner of preparing food. The _Abyssinians_ usually eat the flesh of cattle raw, and sometimes, although we believe the fact has been much controverted, immediately as it is cut from the living animals. The _Bisharye_, a tribe of Bedouin Arabs, eat raw flesh, drink raw sheep’s blood, and esteem the raw marrow of camels their greatest dainty.

The _Patagonians_ eat raw flesh with no regard to cleanliness. The _Greenlanders_ subsist on fish, seals, and sea-fowls, prepared and devoured in manners truly disgusting; train-oil is their sauce, and the blood of seals, their favourite beverage! Some of the _North American Indians_ diet on the flesh of the sea-dog, parts of the whale and its fat, and an oil made of the blubber of both of these animals. Whilst, singular is the contrast, some of the _South American_ tribes, are able to digest monkeys, blackened in, and dried by fire, to such a degree of wood-like hardness, as to be rendered capable of keeping, we dare not say how long.

_Chacun a son gout_, says one proverb, but we trust that the readers of this paper will, whenever they feel themselves inclined to quarrel with _English_ fare, pause, and remember, another, viz.:–“A man may go further and fare worse.”


* * * * *

Manners & Customs of all Nations.

* * * * *


Among the records in the Tower of London, is one to the following effect:–King John gave several lands at Kipperton and Alterton, in Kent, to Solomon Atlefield to be held by this service:–“That as often as the King should please to cross the sea, the said Solomon or his heirs, should be obliged to go with him, to hold his majesty’s head if there be occasion for it;” that is, should his majesty be sea-sick. And it appears by the record, that this same office of head-holding was accordingly performed afterwards, in the reign of Edward the First.


* * * * *


(_For the Mirror_.)

The custom of the manor of Woodford, Essex, is _Borough-English_, by which the youngest son inherits.

The origin of this custom has been a subject of much dispute; but it appears to have prevailed greatly among the East Saxons. Dr. Plot conjectured, that it was introduced by the lord of the manor’s claiming the right of enjoying the bride, daughter of his tenant, on the wedding-night; therefore the villain or slave, doubting whether the eldest son was his own, made the youngest his heir. This custom prevailed among the Ancient Britons before there were either Saxons or villains.

By the laws of succession among the Ancient Britons, a man’s land at his death did not descend to his eldest son, but was equally divided among all his sons; and when any dispute arose, it was determined by the Druids. The youngest son, it appears, was more favoured than the eldest or any of his brothers. “When the brothers have divided their father’s estate, the youngest shall have the best house, with all the office-houses, the implements of husbandry, his father’s kettle, his axe for cutting wood, and his knife. These three last things the father cannot give away by gift, nor leave by his last will to any but his youngest son, and if they are pledged they shall be redeemed.”

To account for this law is not very difficult. The elder brothers of a family were supposed to have left their father’s house before his death, and obtained a house and necessaries of their own; but the youngest, by reason of his tender age, was considered as more helpless, and not so well provided. Halbert H.

* * * * *


The dread of storm raisers is universally prevalent amongst the Italian peasantry, and especially in mountainous districts. A Danish botanist, journeying alone upon an ass through the mountains of Abruzzi, was involved in several perilous adventures by this superstitious terror of the peasantry. They had for some time seen him collecting plants amongst the unfrequented cliffs and ravines, and watched his proceedings with suspicious curiosity. A few days later their district was ravaged by a succession of storms, their suspicions grew into certainty, and, assembling in considerable numbers, they attacked the unconscious botanist with a volley of stones, and cursed him as a storm-raising enchanter. He made vehement protestations of his innocence, but the enraged peasants took forcible possession of his collection, which they minutely examined. Finding only some harmless leaves and blossoms, and no roots, their fury abated, and, although it was suggested by some that he had probably used the roots in his incantations, the unfortunate herbalist was at length dismissed with fierce menaces, that if he dared to take a single root from the ground, it would cost him his life. In the mountains near Rome, the peasants regard with suspicion a singular costume, a stern cast of countenance, or any striking personal formation, in the strangers who arrive there. All travellers, thus peculiarly marked, are supposed to be enchanters and treasure-seekers, and the young Germans, in their black dresses, untrimmed beards, and long hair, are especial objects of suspicion.–_Blackwood’s Magazine_.

* * * * *


The Neapolitan sailors never go to sea without a box of small images or puppets, some of which are patron saints, inherited from their progenitors, while others are more modern, but of tried efficacy in the hour of peril. When a storm overtakes the vessel, the sailors leave her to her fate, and bring upon deck the box of saints, one of which is held up, and loudly prayed to for assistance. The storm, however, increases, and the obstinate or powerless saint is vehemently abused, and thrown upon the deck. Others are held up, prayed to, abused, and thrown down in succession, until the heavens become more propitious. The storm abates, all danger disappears, the saint last prayed to acquires the reputation of miraculous efficacy, and, after their return to Naples, is honoured with prayers.–_Ibid._

* * * * *

The Naturalist.

* * * * *


Baker in _The Microscope made Easy_, says, “A silkworm’s web being examined, appeared perfectly smooth and shining, every where equal, and much finer than any thread the best spinster in the world can make, as the smallest twine is finer than the thickest cable. A pod of this silk being wound off, was found to contain 930 yards; but it is proper to take notice, that as two threads are glewed together by the worm through its whole length, it makes double the above number, or 1,860 yards; which being weighed with the utmost exactness, were found no heavier than two grains and a half. What an exquisite fineness is here! and yet, this is nothing when compared with the web of a small spider, or even with the silk that issued from the mouth of this very worm, when but newly hatched from the egg.”

Under the article _Silk_, in _Rees’s Cyclopaedia_, the writer says, “that those who have examined it attentively, think they speak within compass, when they affirm that each ball contains silk enough to reach the length of _six_ English miles.”

Baker tells us, “not to neglect the _skins_ these animals cast off three times before they begin to spin; for the eyes, mouth, teeth, ornaments of the head, and many other parts may be discovered better in the _cast_-off skins than in the real animal.”


* * * * *


Mr. Jerdan, editor of the _Literary Gazette_, in a letter to Mr. Loudon, says, “about fifteen years ago I obtained a cuckoo from the nest of (I think) a hedge sparrow, at Old Brompton, where I then resided. It was rather curious, as being within ten yards of my house, Cromwell Cottage, and in a narrow and much frequented lane, leading from near Gloucester Lodge to Kensington. This bird I reared and kept alive till late in January; when it fell suddenly from its perch, while feeding on a rather large dew worm. It was buried: but I had, long afterwards, strange misgivings, that my poor feathered favourite was only choked by his food, or in a fit of some kind–his apparent death was so extremely unexpected from his health and liveliness at the time. I assure you that I regretted my loss much, my bird being in full plumage and a very handsome creature. He was quite tame, for in autumn I used to set him on a branch of a tree in the garden, while I dug worms for him to dine upon, and he never attempted more than a short friendly flight. During the coldest weather, and it was rather a sharp winter, my only precaution was, nearly to cover his cage with flannel; and when I used to take it off, more or less, on coming into my breakfast room in the morning, I was recognised by him with certainly not all the cry “unpleasant to a married ear,” but with its full half “_Cuck_! _Cuck_!”–the only sounds or notes I ever heard from my bird. Though trifling, these facts may be so far curious as illustrating the natural history of a remarkable genus, and I have great pleasure in offering them for your excellent Journal.” _Mag. Nat. Hist._

* * * * *


As I was sitting in my room, on the first floor, about nine P.M. (4th of October last), I was surprised with what I supposed to be the notes of a bird, under or upon the sill of a window. My impression was, that they somewhat resembled the notes of a wild duck in its nocturnal flight, and, at times, the twitter of a redbreast, in quick succession. To be satisfied on the subject, I carefully removed the shutter, and, to my surprise, found it was a garden snail, which, in drawing itself along the glass, had produced sounds similar to those elicited from the musical glasses.–_Ibid_.

* * * * *


In the museum at Newcastle are many of the identical specimens from which the illustrious townsman Bewick drew his figures for the wood-cuts which embellish his unique and celebrated work. This truly amiable man, and, beyond all comparison, greatest genius Newcastle has ever produced, died on the 8th of November last, in the 76th year of his age. He continued to the last in the enjoyment of all his faculties; his single-heartedness and enthusiasm not a jot abated, and his wonder-working pencil still engaged in tracing, with his wonted felicity and fidelity, those objects which had all his life afforded him such delight, and which have charmed, and must continue to charm, all those who have any relish for the pure and simple beauties of nature.–_Ibid_.

* * * * *

[Illustration: The Argonaut, or Paper Nautilus.]

Learn of the little Nautilus to sail, Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.

This species of shell-fish, (see the cut,) is named from _Argonautes_, the companions of Jason, in the celebrated ship, Argo, and from the Latin _naus_, a ship; the shells of all the Nautili having the appearance of a ship with a very high poop. The shell of this interesting creature is no thicker than paper, and divided into forty compartments or chambers, through every one of which a portion of its body passes, connected as it were, by a thread. In the cut it is represented as sailing, when it expands two of its arms on high, and between these supports a membrane which serves as a sail, hanging the two other arms out of its shell, to serve as oars, the office of steerage being generally served by the tail.

The shell of the Nautilus being exceedingly thin and fragile, the tenant has many enemies, and among others the Trochus who makes war on it with unrelenting fury. Pursued by this cruel foe, it ascends to the top of the water, spreads its little sail to catch the flying breeze, and rowing with all its might, scuds along, like a galley in miniature, and often escapes its more cumbrous pursuer. Sometimes, however, all will not do, the Trochus nears and nears, and escape appears impossible; but when the little animal, with inexplicable ingenuity, suddenly and secretly extricates itself from its tortuous and fragile dwelling, the Trochus immediately turns to other prey. The Nautilus then returns to tenant and repair its little bark; but it too often happens, that before he can regain it, it is by a species of shipwreck, dashed to pieces on the shore. Thus wretchedly situated, this hero of the testaceous tribe seeks some obscure corner “where to die,” but which seldom, if ever, happens, until after he has made extraordinary exertions to establish himself anew. What a fine picture of virtue nobly struggling with misfortune.[8]

When the sea is calm, whole fleets of these Nautili may be seen diverting themselves; but when a storm rises, or they are disturbed, they draw in their legs, take in as much water as makes them specifically heavier, than that in which they float, and then sink to the bottom. When they rise again they void this water by numerous holes, of which their legs are full. The other species of Nautilus, whose shell is thick, never quits that habitation. The shells of both varieties are exceedingly beautiful when polished, and produce high prices among Conchologists.

It is easy to conceive that the ingenious habits of this wonderful creature may have suggested to man the power of sailing upon the sea, and of the various apparatus by which he effects that object. The whole creation abounds with similar instances of Nature ministering to the proud purposes of art: one of them, the origin of the Gothic Arch from the “high o’erarching groves,” is mentioned by Warburton, in his _Divine Legation_, and is a sublime lesson for besotted man.

[8] Magazine of Natural History, No.1.

* * * * *


* * * * *


[We have abridged one of the most striking chapters in the very extraordinary history of Vidocq; premising that the interest of the adventure will compensate for the space it here occupies.]

A short time before the first invasion (1814), M. Senard, one of the richest jewellers of the Palais Royal, having gone to pay a visit to his friend the Cure of Livry, found him in one of those perplexities which are generally caused by the approach of our good friends the enemy. He was anxious to secrete from the rapacity of the cossacks first the consecrated vessels, and then his own little treasures. After much hesitation, although in his situation he must have been used to interments, Monsieur le Cure decided on burying the objects which he was anxious to save, and M. Senard, who, like the other gossips and misers, imagined that Paris would be given over to pillage, determined to cover up, in a similar way, the most precious articles in his shop. It was agreed that the riches of the pastor and those of the jeweller should be deposited in the same hole. But, then, who was to dig the said hole? One of the singers in church was the very pearl of honest fellows, father Moiselet, and in him every confidence could be reposed. He would not touch a penny that did not belong to him. The hole, made with much skill, was soon ready to receive the treasure which it was intended to preserve, and six feet of earth were cast on the specie of the Cure, to which were united diamonds worth 100,000 crowns, belonging to M. Senard, and enclosed in a small box. The hollow filled up, the ground was so well flattened, that one would have betted with the devil that it had not been stirred since the creation. “This good Moiselet,” said M. Senard, rubbing his hands, “has done it all admirably. Now, gentlemen cossacks, you must have fine noses if you find it out!” At the end of a few days the allied armies made further progress, and clouds of Kirguiz, Kalmucs, and Tartars, of all hordes and all colours, appeared in the environs of Paris. These unpleasant guests are, it is well known, very greedy for plunder: they made, every where, great ravages; they passed no habitation without exacting tribute: but in their ardour for pillage they did not confine themselves to the surface, all belonged to them to the centre of the globe; and that they might not be frustrated in their pretensions, these intrepid geologists made a thousand excavations, which, to the regret of the naturalists of the country, proved to them, that in France the mines of gold or silver are not so deep as in Peru. Such a discovery was well calculated to give them additional energy; they dug with unparalleled activity, and the spoil they found in many places of concealment threw the Croesuses of many cantons into perfect despair. The cursed Cossacks! But yet the instinct which so surely led them to the spot where treasure was hidden, did not guide them to the hiding place of the Cure. It was like the blessing of heaven, each morning the sun rose and nothing new; nothing new when it set.

Most decidedly the finger of heaven must be recognised in the impenetrability of the mysterious inhumation performed by Moiselet. M. Senard was so fully convinced of it, that he actually mingled thanksgivings with the prayers which he made for the preservation and repose of his diamonds. Persuaded that his vows would be heard, in growing security he began to sleep more soundly, when one fine day, which was, of all days in the week, a Friday, Moiselet, more dead than alive, ran to the Cure’s.

“Ah, sir, I can scarcely speak.”

“What’s the matter, Moiselet?”

“I dare not tell you. Poor M. le Cure, this affects me deeply, I am paralyzed. If my veins were open not a drop of blood would flow.”

“What is the matter? You alarm me.”

“The hole.”

“Mercy! I want to learn no more. Oh, what a terrible scourge is war! Jeanneton, Jeanneton, come quickly, my shoes and hat.”

“But, sir, you have not breakfasted.”

“Oh, never mind breakfast.”

“You know, sir, when you go out fasting you have such spasms—-.”

“My shoes, I tell you.”

“And then you complain of your stomach.”

“I shall have no want of a stomach again all my life. Never any more–no, never–ruined.”

“Ruined–Jesu–Maria! Is it possible? Ah! sir, run then,–run–.”

Whilst the Cure dressed himself in haste, and, impatient to buckle the strap, could scarcely put on his shoes, Moiselet, in a most lamentable tone, told him what he had seen.

“Are you sure of it?” said the Cure, perhaps they did not take all.”

“Ah, sir, God grant it, but I had not courage enough to look.”

They went together towards the old barn, when they found that the spoliation had been complete. Reflecting on the extent of his loss, the Cure nearly fell to the ground. Moiselet was in a most pitiable state; the dear man afflicted himself more than if the loss had been his own. It was terrific to hear his sighs and groans. This was the result of love to one’s neighbour. M. Senard little thought how great was the desolation at Livry. What was his despair on receiving the news of the event! In Paris the police is the providence of people who have lost any thing. The first idea, and the most natural one, that occurred to M. Senard was, that the robbery had been committed by the Cossacks, and, in such a case, the police could not avail him materially; but M. Senard took care not to suspect the Cossacks.

One Monday when I was in the office of M. Henry, I saw one of those little abrupt, brisk men enter, who, at the first glance, we are convinced are interested and distrustful: it was M. Senard, who briefly related his mishap, and concluded by saying, that he had strong suspicions of Moiselet. M. Henry thought also that he was the author of the robbery, and I agreed with both. “It is very well,” he said, “but still our opinion is only founded on conjecture, and if Moiselet keeps his own counsel we shall have no chance of convicting him. It will be impossible.”

“Impossible!” cried M. Senard, “what will become of me? No, no, I shall not vainly implore your succour. Do not you know all? can you not do all when you choose? My diamonds! my poor diamonds! I will give one hundred thousand francs to get them back again.”

[Vidocq promises to recover the jewels, and the jeweller offers him 10,000 francs.]

In spite of successive abatements of M. Senard, in proportion as he believed the discovery probable, I promised to exert every effort in my power to effect the desired result. But before any thing could be undertaken, it was necessary that a formal complaint should be made; and M. Senard and the Cure, thereupon, went to Pontoise, and the declaration being consequently made, and the robbery stated, Moiselet was taken up and interrogated. They tried every means to make him confess his guilt; but he persisted in avowing himself innocent, and, for lack of proof to the contrary, the charge was about to be dropped altogether, when to preserve it for a time, I set an agent of mine to work. He, clothed in a military uniform, with his left arm in a sling, went with a billet to the house where Moiselet’s wife lived. He was supposed to have just left the hospital, and was only to stay at Livry for forty-eight hours; but a few moments after his arrival, he had a fall, and a pretended sprain suddenly occurred, which put it out of his power to continue his route. It was then indispensable for him to delay, and the mayor decided that he should remain with the cooper’s wife until further orders.

The cooper’s wife was charmed with his many little attentions. The soldier could write, and became her secretary; but the letters which she addressed to her dear husband were of a nature not to compromise her–not the least expression that can have a twofold construction–it was innocence corresponding with innocence. At length, after a few day’s experience, I was convinced that my agent, in spite of his talent, would draw no profit from his mission. I then resolved to manoeuvre in person, and, disguised as a travelling hawker, I began to visit the environs of Livry. I was one of those Jews who deal in every thing,–clothes, jewels, &c. &c.; and I took in exchange gold, silver, jewels, in fact, all that was offered me. An old female robber, who knew the neighbourhood perfectly, accompanied me in my tour: she was the widow of a celebrated thief, Germain Boudier, called Father Latuil, who, after having undergone half-a-dozen sentences, died at last at Saint Pelagie. I flattered myself that Madame Moiselet, seduced by her eloquence, and by our merchandize, would bring out the store of the Cure’s crowns, some brilliant of the purest water, nay, even the chalice or paten, in case the bargain should be to her liking. My calculation was not verified; the cooper’s wife was in no haste to make a bargain, and her coquetry did not get the better of her.

The Jew hawker was soon metamorphosed into a German servant; and under this disguise I began to ramble about the vicinity of Pontoise, with a design of being apprehended. I sought out the gendarmes, whilst I pretended to avoid them; but they, thinking I wished to get away from them, demanded a sight of my papers. Of course I had none, and they desired me to accompany them to a magistrate, who, knowing nothing of the jargon in which I replied to his questions, desired to know what money I had; and a search was forthwith commenced in his presence. My pockets contained some money and valuables, the possession of which seemed to astonish him. The magistrate, as curious as a commissary, wished to know how they came into my hands; and I sent him to the devil with two or three Teutonic oaths, of the most polished kind; and he, to teach me better manners another time, sent me to prison.

Once more the iron bolts were drawn upon me. At the moment of my arrival, the prisoners were playing in the prison yard, and the jailer introduced me amongst them in these terms, “I bring you a murderer of the parts of speech; understand him if you can.”

They immediately flocked about me, and I was accosted with salutations of _Landsman_ and _Meinheer_ without end. During this reception, I looked out for the cooper of Livry.

[He meets with him.]

“Mossie, Mossie,” I said, addressing the prisoner, who seemed to think I said Moiselet, “Mossie Fine Hapit, (not knowing his name, I so designated him, because his coat was the colour of flesh,) sacrement, ter teufle, no tongue to me; yer Francois, I miseraple, I trink vine; faut trink for gelt, plack vine.”

I pointed to his hat, which was black; he did not understand me; but on making a gesture that I wanted to drink, he found me perfectly intelligible. All the buttons of my great coat were twenty-franc pieces; I gave him one: he asked if they had brought the wine, and soon afterwards I heard a turnkey say,

“Father Moiselet, I have taken up two bottles for you.” The flesh-coloured coat was then Moiselet. I followed him into his room, and we began to drink with all our might. Two other bottles arrived; we only went on in couples. Moiselet, in his capacity of chorister, cooper, sexton, &c. &c. was no less a sot than gossip; he got tipsy with great good-will, and incessantly spoke to me in the jargon I had assumed.

Matters progressed well; after two or three hours such as these I pretended to get stupid. Moiselet, to set me to rights, gave me a cup of coffee without sugar; after coffee came glasses of water. No one can conceive the care which my new friend took of me; but when drunkenness is of such a nature it is like death–all care is useless. Drunkenness overpowered me. I went to bed and slept; at least Moiselet thought so; but I saw him many times fill my glass and his own, and gulp them both down. The next day, when I awoke, he paid me the balance, three francs and fifty centimes, which, according to him, remained from the twenty-franc piece. I was an excellent companion; Moiselet found me so, and never quitted me. I finished the twenty-franc piece with him, and then produced one of forty francs, which vanished as quickly. When he saw it drunk out also he feared it was the last.

“Your button again,” said he to me, in a tone of extreme anxiety, and yet very comical.

I showed him another coin. “Ah, your large button again,” he shouted out, jumping for joy.

This button went the same way as all the other buttons, until at length, by dint of drinking together, Moiselet understood and spoke my language almost as well as I did myself, and we could then disclose our troubles to each other. Moiselet was very curious to know my history, and that which I trumped up was exactly adapted to inspire the confidence I wished to create.

“My master and I come to France–I was tomestic–master of mein Austrian marechal–Austrian with de gelt in family. Master always roving, always gay, joint regiment at Montreau. Montreau, oh, mein Gott, great, great pattle–many sleep no more but in death. Napoleon coom–poum, poum go gannon. Prusse, Austrian, Rousse all disturb. I, too, much disturb. Go on my ways with master mein, with my havresac on mein horse–poor teufel was I–but there was gelt in it. Master mein say, ‘Galop, Fritz.’ I called Fritz in home mein. Fritz galop to Pondi–there halt Fritz–place havresac not visible; and if I get again to Yarmany with havresac, me rich becomen, mistress mein rich, father mein rich, you too rich.”

Although the narrative was not the cleverest in the world, father Moiselet swallowed it all as gospel; he saw well that during the battle of Montereau, I had fled with my master’s portmanteau, and hidden it in the forest of Bondy. The confidence did not astonish him, and had the effect of acquiring for me an increase of his affection. This augmentation of friendship, after a confession which exposed me as a thief, proved to me that he had an accommodating conscience. I thenceforth remained convinced that he knew better than any other person what had become of the diamonds of M. Senard, and that it only depended on him to give me full and accurate information.

One evening, after a good dinner, I was boasting to him of the delicacies of the Rhine: he heaved a deep sigh, and then asked me if there was good wine in that country.

“Yes, yes,” I answered, “goot vine and charming girl.”

“Charming girl too!”

“Ya, ya.”

“Landsman, shall I go with you.”

“Ya, ya, me grat content.”

“Ah, you content, well! I quit France, yield the old woman, (he showed me by his fingers that Madame Moiselet was three-and-thirty,) and in your land I take little girl no more as fifteen years.”

“Ya, bien, a girl no infant: a! you is a brave lad.”

Moiselet returned more than once to his project of emigration; he thought seriously of it, but to emigrate liberty was requisite, and they were not inclined to let us go out. I suggested to him that he should escape with me on the first opportunity–and when he had promised me that we would not separate, not even to take a last adieu of his wife, I was certain that I should soon have him in my toils. This certainly was the result of very simple reasoning. Moiselet, said I to myself, will follow me to Germany: people do not travel or live on air: he relies on living well there: he is old, and, like king Solomon, proposes to tickle his fancy with some little Abishag of Sunem. Oh, father Moiselet has found the _black hen_; here he has no money, therefore his black hen is not here; but where is she? We shall soon learn, for we are to be henceforward inseparable.

As soon as my man had made all his reflections, and that, with his head full of his castles in Germany, he had so soon resolved to expatriate himself, I addressed to the king’s attorney-general a letter, in which, making myself known as the superior agent of the Police de Surete, I begged him to give an order that I should be sent away with Moiselet, he to go to Livry, and I to Paris.

We did not wait long for the order, and the jailer announced it to us, on the eve of its being put into execution; and I had the night before me to fortify Moiselet in his resolutions. He persisted in them more strongly than ever, and acceded with rapture to the proposition I made him of effecting an escape from our escort as soon as it was feasible.

So anxious was he to commence his journey, that he could not sleep. At daybreak, I gave him to understand that I took him for a thief as well as myself.

“Ah, ah, grip also,” said I to him, “deep, deep Francois, you not spoken, but tief all as von.”

He made me no answer; but when, with my fingers squeezed together _a la Normande_, he saw me make a gesture of grasping something, he could not prevent himself from smiling, with that bashful expression of _Yes_, which he had not courage to utter. The hypocrite had some shame about him, the shame of a devotee. I was understood.

At length the wished-for moment of departure came, which was to enable us to accomplish our designs. Moiselet was ready three whole hours beforehand, and to give him courage, I had not neglected to push about the wine and brandy, and he did not leave the prison until after having received all his sacraments.

We were tied with a very thin cord, and on our way he made me a signal that there would be no difficulty in breaking it. He did not think that he should break the charm which had till then preserved him. The further we went the more he testified that he placed his hopes of safety in me; at each minute he reiterated a prayer that I would not abandon him; and I as often replied, “Ya, Francois, ya, I not leave you.” At length the decisive moment came, the cord was broken. I leaped a ditch, which separated us from a thicket. Moiselet, who seemed young again, jumped after me: one of the gendarmes alighted to follow us, but to run and jump in jack-boots and with a heavy sword was difficult; and whilst he made a circuit to join us, we disappeared in a hollow, and were soon lost to view.

A path into which we struck led us to the wood of Vaujours. There Moiselet stopped, and having looked carefully about him, went towards some bushes. I saw him then stoop, plunge his arm into a thick tuft, whence he took out a spade: arising quickly, he went on some paces without saying a word; and when we reached a birch tree, several of the boughs of which I observed were broken, he took off his hat and coat, and began to dig. He went to work with so much good-will, that his labour rapidly advanced. Suddenly he stooped down, and then escaped from him that ha! which betokens satisfaction, and which informed me, without the use of a conjuror’s rod, that he had found his treasure. I thought the cooper would have fainted; but recovering himself, he made two or three more strokes with his spade, and the box was exposed to view. I seized on the instrument of his toil, and suddenly changing my language, declared, in very good French, that he was my prisoner.

“No resistance,” I said, “or I will cleave your skull in two.”

At this threat he seemed in a dream; but when he knew that he was gripped by that iron hand which had subdued the most vigorous malefactors, he was convinced that it was no vision. Moiselet was as quiet as a lamb. I had sworn not to leave him, and kept my word. During the journey to the station of the brigade of gendarmerie, where I deposited him, he frequently cried out,

“I am done–who could have thought it? and he had such a simple look too!”

At the assizes of Versailles, Moiselet was sentenced to six months’ solitary confinement.

M. Senard was overpowered with joy at having recovered his hundred thousand crowns worth of diamonds. Faithful to his system of abatement, he reduced the reward one-half; and still there was difficulty in getting five thousand francs from him, out of which I had been compelled to expend more than two thousand: in fact, at one moment I really thought I should have been compelled to bear the expenses myself.

* * * * *



“En fait d’inutilites, il ne faut que le necessaire.”


There is no term in political philosophy more ambiguous and lax in its meaning than Luxury. In Ireland, salt with a potato is, by the peasant, placed in this category. Among the Cossacks, a clean shirt is more than a luxury–it is an effeminacy; and a Scotch nobleman is reported to have declared, that the act of scratching one’s self is a luxury too great for any thing under royalty. The Russians (there is no disputing on tastes) hold train-oil to be a prime luxury; and I remember seeing a group of them following an exciseman on the quays at Dover to plunder the oil casks, as they were successively opened for his operations. A poor Finland woman, who for her sins had married an Englishman and followed him to this country, was very glad to avail herself of her husband’s death to leave a land where the people were so unhappy as to be without a regular supply of seal’s flesh for their dinner. While the good man lived, her affection for him somewhat balanced her hankering after this native luxury; but no sooner was the husband dead, than her lawyer-like propensity re-assumed its full force, and, like Proteus released from his chains, she abandoned civilized life to get back to her favourite shores, to liberty, and the animals of her predilection. “If I were rich,” said a poor farmer’s boy, “I would eat fat pudding, and ride all day on a gate;” which was evidently his highest idea of human luxury. But it is less with the quality of our indulgences, than their extent, that I have now to treat. Diogenes, who prided himself on cutting his coat according to his cloth, and thought himself a greater man, in proportion as he diminished his wants, placed his luxuries in idleness and sunshine, and seems to have relished these enjoyments with as much sensuality as Plato did his fine house and delicate fare. Even he was more reasonable than those sectarians, who have prevailed in almost all religions, and who, believing that the Deity created man for the express purpose of inflicting upon him every species of torture, have inveighed against the most innocent gratifications, and have erected luxury into a deadly sin. These theologians will not allow a man to eat his breakfast with a relish; and impute it as a vice if he smacks his lips, though it be but after a draught of water. Nay, there have been some who have thought good roots and Adam’s ale too great luxuries for a Christian lawfully to indulge in; and they have purposely ill-cooked their vegetables, and mixed them with ashes, and even more disgusting things, to mortify the flesh, as they called it–i.e. to offer a sacrifice of their natural feelings to the demon of which they have made a god.

Of late years, more especially, our ideas on this subject have much enlarged; and all ranks of Englishmen hold an infinity of objects as prime necessaries, which their more modest ancestors ranked as luxuries, fit only for their betters to enjoy. This should be a matter of sincere rejoicing to all true patriots; because it affords indubitable evidence of the progress of civilization. A civilized gentleman differs from a savage, principally in the multiplicity of his wants; and Mandeville, in his fable of the bees, has proved to demonstration that extravagance is the mother of commerce. What, indeed, are steam-engines, macadamized roads, man-traps that break no bones, patent cork-screws, and detonating fowling-pieces, safety coaches and cork legs, but luxuries, at which a cynic would scoff; yet how could a modern Englishman get on without them? It is perfectly true that our Henries and Edwards contrived to beat their enemies unassisted by these inventions. Books, likewise, which were a luxury scarcely known to the wisdom of our ancestors, are a luxury now so indispensable, that there is hardly a mechanic who has not his little library: while a piano forte also has become as necessary to a farm-house as a mangle or a frying-pan; and there are actually more copies printed of “Cherry ripe,” than of Tull’s husbandry. Is not a silver fork, moreover, an acknowledged necessary in every decent establishment? while the barbarous Mussulman dispenses with knives and forks altogether, and eats his meal, like a savage as he is, with his fingers. Nor can it be deemed an objection to this hypothesis, that the Turk, who rejects all the refinements of European civilization, excepting only gunpowder, esteems four wives to be necessary to a decent establishment; while the most clear-sighted Englishmen think one more than enough for enjoyment. The difference is more formal than real.

Henry the fourth of France had but one coach between himself and his queen; whereas no respectable person can now dispense at the least with a travelling chariot, a barouche, a cab, and a dennet. Civilization, which received a temporary check during the revolutionary war, has resumed its march in double-quick time since the Continent has been opened. Champaigne and ices have now become absolute necessaries at tables where a bottle of humble port and a supernumerary pudding were esteemed luxuries, fit only for honouring the more solemn rites of hospitality. I say nothing of heads of hair, and false (I beg pardon–artificial) teeth; without which, at a certain age, there is no appearing. A bald head, at the present day, is as great an indecency as Humphrey Clinker’s unmentionables; and a dismantled mouth is an outrage on well-bred society. Then, again, how necessary is a cigar and a meerschaum to a well-appointed man of fashion, and how can a gentleman possibly show at Melton without at least a dozen hunters, and two or three hacks, to ride to cover! Yet no one in his senses would tax these things as luxuries; or would blame his friend for getting into the King’s Bench for their indulgence. Even the most austere judges of the land, and the most jealous juries of tradesmen, have borne ample testimony to the reasonableness of this modern extension of the wants of life, by the liberal allowance of necessaries which they have sanctioned in the tailors’ bills of litigating minors. This liberality, indeed, follows, as consequence follows cause. Some one has found, or invented, a story of a shipwrecked traveller’s hailing the gallows as the sure token of a civilized community. But the jest is by no means a _ben trovato_; the member of gibbets being inversely as the perfection of social institutions; and if any one object, that England, while it is the best-governed country in Europe–its envy and admiration–is also a hanging community _par excellence_, I must beg to remind him of the intense interest which an English public feels in the victims of capital punishment, in the Thurtells and the Fauntleroys; as also of the universal conviction prevailing in England, that the gallows is a short and sure cut to everlasting happiness. From all this, if there is any force in logic, we must conclude, that hanging, in this country, is only applied _honoris causa_, as an ovation, in consideration of the great and magnanimous daring of the Alexanders and Caesars on a small scale, to whom the law adjudges the “palmam qui meruit ferat.” The real and true test of a refined polity is not the gallows; but is to be found rather in such well-imagined insolvent laws, as discharge a maximum of debt with a minimum of assets; and rid a gentleman annually of his duns, with the smallest possible quantity of corporeal inconvenience. When luxuries become necessaries, insolvency is the best safety-valve to discharge the surplus dishonesty of the people, which, if pent up, would explode in dangerous overt acts of crime and violence; and it should be encouraged accordingly.

(_To be concluded in our next_.)

* * * * *

Notes of a Reader.

* * * * *


The only notice which occurs of “The Last of the Plantagenets” is, says the author of a Romance with the above name, in Peck’s “Desiderata Curiosa,” where a letter is inserted from Dr. Brett to Dr. Warren, the president of Trinity Hall, in which he says that, calling on Lord Winchilsea in 1720, his lordship pointed out to him this entry in the register of Eastwell–“Anno 1550, Rycharde Plantagenet was buryed the 22nd daye of December;” beyond this, not a word is known of him excepting what tradition affords, which, with some slight variations, for there are two versions of his history, is as follows:–When Sir Thomas Moyle built Eastwell, he observed that his principal bricklayer, whenever he quitted his work, retired with a book, a circumstance which attracted his attention, and on inquiry he found he was reading Latin: he then told Sir Thomas his secret, which was, that he was boarded with a Latin schoolmaster, without knowing who were his relations, until he was fifteen or sixteen; that he was occasionally visited by a gentleman who provided for his expenses; that this person one day took him to a fine house where he was presented to a gentleman handsomely drest, wearing a “star and garter,” who gave him money, and conducted him back to school; that some time afterwards the same gentleman came to him, and took him into Leicestershire and to Bosworth Field, when he was carried to king Richard’s tent; that the king embraced him, told him he was his son; adding, “Child, to-morrow, I must fight for my crown; and assure yourself, if I lose that, I will lose my life too, but I hope to preserve both, do you stand in such a place (pointing to the spot) where you may see the battle, out of danger, and when I have gained the victory come to me. I will then own you to be mine, and take care of you: but if I should lose the battle, then shift as well as you can, and take care to let nobody know that I am your father, for no mercy will be shown to any one so nearly related to me;” that the king gave him a purse of gold and dismissed him; that he followed those directions, and when he saw the battle was lost and the king slain, he hastened to London, sold his horse and his fine clothes, and the better to conceal himself from all suspicion of being the son of a king, and that he might gain a livelihood, he put himself apprentice to a bricklayer, and generally spent his spare time in reading. Sir Thomas, finding him very old, is said to have offered him _the run of his kitchen_, which he declined, on the ground of his patron having a large family; but asked his permission to build a small house in one of his fields, and this being granted, he built a cottage, and continued in it till his death.

* * * * *


We have often been amused with the different wonders of ancient Rome, but seldom more than with the following piece of antiquarianism burlesqued:–

M. Simond, in his Tour in Italy and Sicily, tells us that the Coliseum is too ruinous–that the Egyptian Museum in the Vatican puts him in mind of the five wigs in the barber Figaro’s shop-window–that the Apollo Belvidere looks like a broken-backed young gentleman shooting at a target for the amusement of young ladies. Speaking of the Etruscan vases, he says, “As to the alleged elegance of form, I should be inclined to appeal from the present to succeeding generations, when the transformation of every pitcher, milk-pot and butter-pan, into an antique shape, has completely burlesqued away the classical feeling, and restored impartiality to taste.”

* * * * *

About six or seven-and-twenty years ago, an effort was made to revive the fashion of ladies visiting the House of Commons. The late Queen Caroline, then Princess of Wales, upon one or two occasions made her appearance, with a female attendant, in the side-gallery. The royal visit soon became generally known, and several other females were tempted to follow the example. Among these was Mrs. Sheridan, the wife of the late Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan; but this lady, considering herself an intruder, to whose presence, if known, exception might be taken, thought fit to disguise her person in male attire. Her fine dark hair was combed smooth on her forehead, and made to sit close, in good puritanical trim, while a long, loose, brown coat concealed her feminine proportions. Thus prepared, she took her seat in the Strangers’ Gallery, anxious to witness a display of her husband’s eloquence; but he did not speak, and the debate proved without any interest. The female aspirants whose taste was thus excited, were, however, confined to a few blue-stocking belles, without influence to set the fashion; and the attempt did not succeed.

* * * * *


The buildings of Mocha are so white, that it seems as if excavated from a quarry of marble; and this whiteness of the town forms a curious contrast with the blueness of the sea. The materials, however, of which Mocha is constructed, are nothing better than unburnt bricks, plastered over, and whitewashed. The coffee bean is cultivated in the interior, and is thence brought to Mocha for exportation. The Arabs themselves use the husks, which make but an inferior infusion. Vegetables are grown round the town, and fruits are brought from Senna; while grain, horses, asses, and sheep, are imported from Abyssinia. There are twelve schools in the town; and, inland, near Senna, there are colleges, in which the twelve branches of Mohomedan sciences are taught, as is usual in Turkey and India. Arab women marry about the age of sixteen; they are allowed great liberty in visiting one another, and can divorce their husbands on very slight grounds. Every lady who pays a visit, carries a small bag of coffee with her, which enables “her to enjoy society without putting her friends to expense.”–_Lushington’s Journey from Calcutta to Europe._

* * * * *


Every one acquainted with the public press of Europe, must have observed the contrast which a London Newspaper forms with the journals of every other capital in Europe. The foreign journals never break in upon the privacy of domestic life. There the fame of parties and dinners is confined to the rooms which constitute their scene, and the names of the individuals who partake of them never travel out of their own circle. How widely different is the practice of the London Journals! A lady of fashion can find no place so secret where she can hide herself from their search. They follow her from town to country, from the country to the town. They trace her from the breakfast-table to the Park, from the Park to the dinner-table, from thence to the Opera or the ball, and from her boudoir to her bed. They trace her every where. She may make as many doubles as a hare, but they are all in vain; it is impossible to escape pursuit; and yet the introduction of female names into the daily newspapers, now so common, is only of modern date.

The late Sir Henry Dudley Bate, editor of _The Morning Herald_, was the first person who introduced females into the columns of a newspaper. He was at the time editor of _The Morning Post_.– _New Monthly Magazine_.

* * * * *

The Gatherer.

A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.


* * * * *


I hate the flower whose wanton breast[9] Awaits the sun at morn and noon,
And when he’s hid behind the west, As gaily flaunteth with the moon.

Mine be the flower of virgin leaf,
That when its sire has left the plain, Wraps up its charms in silent grief,
Nor ope’s them till he comes again.


[9] There be some flowers that do remain quite unclosed, during not only the day, but during also the night. There be others which do likewise open during the day, albeit when night cometh, they close themselves up until the sun do appear, when they again ope their beautifulness.–_Old Botanist_.

* * * * *


There were fewer audience than performers, and those made up of fellows evidently not in the habit of shirt-wearing; of women there were very few– of ladies none; the fireworks were bad and brief, and the waterworks the most absurd affair I ever beheld; the thing was overdone. To the people who would like to go to Vauxhall in fine weather, second-rate Italian singing and broken down English prima donnas are no inducement, a bad ballet in a booth has no attraction, and an attempt at variety mars the whole affair. Vauxhall is a delightful place to go to in fine weather with a pleasant party; give us space to walk, light up that space, and shelter us from the elements, set the military bands to play popular airs, and we ask no more for our four or five shillings, or whatever it is; but the moment tumbling is established in various parts of the garden, and the whole thing is made a sort of Bartholomew Fair, the object of breathing a little fresher air, and hearing ourselves talk is ended; crowds of raffs in boots and white neckcloths attended by their dowdy damsels and waddling wives, rush from one place to another, helter skelter, knocking over the few quiet people to whom the “sights” are a novelty; turning what in the days of the late Lady Castlereagh, the present Duchess of Bedford, the first Duchess of Devonshire, and the last Duchess of Gordon (but one) was a delightful reunion of fashion, into a tea-garden (without tea) or a bear-garden–not without bears.–_Sharpe’s Magazine_.

* * * * *


It is a singular coincidence, not unworthy of remark, that the initials of two of the most singular men of their own, and perhaps of any age, the Emperor Napoleon of France, and Lord Noel Byron of England, used the same letters as an abbreviation of their name, N.B. which likewise denotes _Nota Bene_. It was not the habit of either to affix his name to letters, but merely N.B.–R.W.

* * * * *


_s_. _d_.
Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling 0 6 Paul and Virginia 0 6
The Castle of Otranto 0 6 Almoran and Hamet 0 6
Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6 The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6 Rasselas 0 8
The Old English Baron 0 8 Nature and Art 0 8
Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 Sicilian Romance 0 10
The Man of the World 1 0 A Simple Story 1 4
Joseph Andrews 1 6
Humphry Clinker 1 8
The Romance of the Forest 1 8 The Italian 2 0
Zeluco, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6
Roderick Random 2 6
The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6 Peregrine Pickle 4 6