HotFreeBooks.com
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, Issue 281, November 3, 1827
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse

THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. X. No. 281.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1827. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.

* * * * *

NO. XIV.

* * * * *



The first of the above engravings represents one of the Body Guards of the Sheikh of Bornou, copied from an engraving after a sketch made by Major Denham, in his recent "Travels in Africa." These negroes, as they are called, meaning the black chiefs and favourites, all raised to that rank by Some deed of bravery, are habited in coats of mail, composed of iron chain, which cover them from the throat to the knees, dividing behind, and coming on each side of the horse; some of them wear helmets or skull-caps of the same metal, with chin-pieces, all sufficiently strong to ward off the shock of a spear. Their horses' heads are also defended by plates of iron, brass, and silver, just leaving room for the eyes of the animal; and not unfrequently they are hung over with charms, enclosed in little red leather parcels, strung together, round the neck, in front of the head, and about the saddle.



Their appearance is altogether of a warlike character, the horses being well caparisoned, and the riders well clothed for personal defence; and though their equestrian evolutions be somewhat wild, the lance or spear is doubtless a formidable weapon in their hands. The savage splendour of their dress, together with the pawing and snorting of their fiery steeds, render them appropriate auxiliaries to royalty, in countries where such attributes of power are requisite to impress the people with the importance of their rulers, and where the milder aids of civilization and refinement are wanting to protect the sovereign from violence.

The second engraving, copied from the same authentic source as that preceding it, is a somewhat grotesque portraiture of one of the Lancers of the Sultan of Begharmi, described, in an historical and geographical account by a native prince, as an extensive country, containing woods and rivers, and fields fit for cultivation; but now desolated, as the inhabitants say, by the "misconduct of the king, who, having increased in levity and licentiousness to such a frightful degree, as even to marry his own daughter, God Almighty caused Saboon, the prince of Wa-da-i, to march against him, and destroy him, laying waste, at the same time, all his country, and leaving the houses uninhabited, as a signal chastisement for his impiety."

Major Denham having applied for the covering of the above warrior and his horse, in his journal thus describes their arrival:—"Aug. 11. Soon after daylight, Karouash, with Hadgi, Mustapha, the chief of the Shouaas, and the Sheikh's two nephews, Hassein and Kanemy, came to our huts. They were attended by more than a dozen slaves, bearing presents for us, for King George, and the consul at Tripoli. I had applied for a lebida, (horse-covering,) after seeing those taken from the Begharmis; the sheikh now sent a man, clothed in a yellow wadded jacket, with a scarlet cap, and mounted on the horse taken from the Begharmis, on which the sultan's eldest son rode. He was one of the finest horses I had seen, and covered with a scarlet cloth, also wadded. 'Every thing,' Hadgi Mustapha said, 'except the man, is to be taken to your great king.'"

The Begharmis, it will be seen, were conquered by the people of Kanem; and Major Denham has translated, and given in the appendix to his Travels, a song of thanksgiving on the triumphant return of the governor, full of the characteristic beauty and simplicity of savage life. In these struggles it would appear the law of nations is severe on the weakest; for the son of the late sultan of the Begharmis is described as "now a slave of the sheikh of Bornou." So wags the world!

LIVING AT TOULOUSE.

Part of a house, sufficient for a small family, unfurnished, may be had for 14 l. a year; and the most elegant in the city, in the best situation, for 60 l., including coach-house, stable, cellar, &c. A horse may be kept well for 14 l. a year. The wages of a coachman are 8 l., a housemaid 8 l., a noted cook 16 l., and a lady's-maid 10 l. The price of a chicken is 7-1/2 d.; a partridge 1 s.; a hare 2 s. 6 d.; a duck 1 s.; a turkey 2 s. 6 d.; the best bread 1-1/2 d. per lb.; common ditto 1 d.; a bottle of wine 3 d.; brandy is sold by the lb. of 16 oz. and costs 6 d.; grapes 1/2 d. per lb.; meat 3 d.; butter 4 d.; cheese 6d; 50 lbs. carrots 10 d.; other vegetables at the same rate. A dozen very fine peaches now cost a halfpenny; pears 3 d. a dozen; labourers, who work from sunrise to sunset, are fed by the proprietor, and have 6 d. per day, which, in this part of the country, will go further than three times the sum in England. The horses and oxen used about the farms are fed chiefly on straw, and do not consume more than 3 d. a day. The labouring people make a very nourishing diet from maize flour, which is fried with grease; and this, with beans, forms the principal part of their food. They neither use nor wish for meat; but at this season they have figs and grapes almost for nothing—Original Letter.

MOHAMMEDAN SUPERSTITION.

The eastern, and all Mohammedan people, considering Alexander the Great as the only monarch who conquered the globe from east to west, give him the title of "the two horned," in allusion to his said conquests. They likewise believe that Gog and Magog were two great nations, but that, in consequence of their wicked and mischievous disposition, Alexander gathered and immured them within two immensely high mountains, in the darkest and northernmost parts of Europe, by a most surprising and insuperable wall, made of iron and copper, of great thickness and height; and that to the present time they are confined there; that, notwithstanding they are a dwarfish race,—viz. from two to three feet in height only—they will one day come out and desolate the world. As Lord Mayor's Day is just approaching, perhaps some of the visiters of Gog and Magog on that occasion may decide this matter. It is almost akin to our nursery quibble of the giants hearing the clock strike, &c. &c.

PERSIAN BARBER.

The Khas-terash (literally, personal shaver) of the present sovereign has, in the abundance of his wealth, built a palace for himself close to the royal bath at Teheran. And he is entitled to riches, for he is a man of pre-eminent excellence in his art, and has had for a long period, under his especial care, the magnificent beard of his majesty, which is at this moment, and has been for years, the pride of Persia.—Persian Sketches.

LIVING IN GENEVA.

The vicinity of Geneva appears peculiarly eligible for the permanent residence of an English family. There is perhaps no town on the continent where greater facilities are afforded for a man of literary and scientific pursuits to indulge his taste or to increase his knowledge. The city is close built, and consequently not an agreeable place to live in; but its immediate environs abound with delightful spots.

The costume of the Genevese assimilates much with that of the French; but the better class of females are partial to the English fashions. The language of the country is French, but its habits and religion are widely different. Not only does the Protestant faith find here the salutary prevalence of a kindred faith, but the members of our own ecclesiastical establishment are enabled to join each other every Sabbath day in the worship of God, and at stated seasons to receive the holy sacrament according to the pure and apostolic ritual of the church of England.

The expense of a house, with a garden and piece of land, within a mile of the gates, including also the keeping of a caleche and pair of horses, for a gentleman, his lady, two children, and three servants, does not exceed 300 l. a year; and with this he is enabled to receive his friends occasionally, and in a respectable style. To proceed from a family establishment to a bachelor's pension, "I," says Mr. Seth Stevenson, in his Continental Travels, "was told that a person at Petit Saconnex has a sleeping-room to himself, and his breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper with the family, for 500 francs (20 l. 16 s. 8 d.) per annum."

The taxation of Geneva is described as very trifling. There is a sort of income-tax, to which every man of property contributes, on his honour, as to the amount of that property. The whole tax for horses and carriages amounts to about 18 d. for each person; the richest it seems pays no more, and the others pay no less. "My friend assures me," continues Mr. S. "that his fellow citizens approve of their annexation to Switzerland, and also of the union of the Valais with the Helvetic confederation—that the people of this little republic are flourishing again, contented with their government; and as the best proof of their returning prosperity since the peace, he adverted to the comparatively few indigent or distressed persons among them, and to the fact of there being only forty-five persons in the poor's hospital, besides those admitted under the head of casualties."

* * * * *

ORIGINAL STORY OF HAMLET,

(From the Latin of Saxo Grammaticus, but interspersed.)

Florwendillus, king of Jutland, married Geruthra, or Gertrude, the only daughter of Ruric, king of Denmark. The produce of this union was a son, called Amlettus. When he grew towards manhood, his spirit and extraordinary abilities excited the envy and hatred of his uncle, who, before the birth of Amlettus, was regarded as presumptive heir to the crown. Fengo, which was the name of this haughty prince, conceived a passion for his sister-in-law, the queen; and meeting with reciprocal feelings, they soon arranged a plan, which putting into execution, he ascended the throne of his brother and espoused the widowed princess. Amlettus, (or Hamlet,) suspecting that his father had died by the hand or the devices of his uncle, determined to be revenged. But perceiving the jealousy with which the usurper eyed his superior talents, and the better to conceal his hatred and intentions, he affected a gradual derangement of reason, and at last acted all the extravagance of an absolute madman. Fengo's guilt induced him to doubt the reality of a malady so favourable to his security; and suspicious of some direful project being hidden beneath assumed insanity, he tried by different stratagems to penetrate the truth. One of these was to draw him into a confidential interview with a young damsel, who had been the companion of his infancy; but Hamlet's sagacity, and the timely caution of his intimate friend, frustrated this design. In these two persons we may recognise the Ophelia and Horatio of Shakspeare. A second plot was attended with equal want of success. It was concerted by Fengo that the queen should take her son to task in a private conversation, vainly flattering himself that the prince would not conceal his true state from the pleadings of a mother. Shakspeare has adopted every part of this scene, not only the precise situation and circumstances, but the sentiments and sometimes the very words themselves. The queen's apartment was the appointed place of conference, where the king, to secure certain testimony, had previously ordered one of his courtiers to conceal himself under a heap of straw; so says the historian; and though Shakspeare, in unison with the refinement of more modern times, changes that rustic covering for the royal tapestry, yet it was even as Saxo Grammaticus relates it. In those primitive ages, straw, hay, of rushes, strewed on the floor, were the usual carpets in the chambers of the great. One of our Henrys, in making a progress to the north of England, previously sent forward a courier to order clean straw at every house where he was to take his lodging. But to return to the subject.

The prince, suspecting there might be a concealed listener, and that it was the king, pursued his wild and frantic acts, hoping that by some lucky chance he might discover his hiding-place. Watchful of all that passed in the room, as he dashed from side to side, he descried a little movement of the uneasy courtier's covering. Suddenly Hamlet sprung on his feet, began to crow like a cock, and flapping his arms against his sides, leaped upon the straw; feeling something under him, he snatched out his sword and thrust it through the unfortunate lord. The barbarism of the times is most shockingly displayed in the brutal manner in which he treats the dead body; but for the honour of the Danish prince, we must suppose that it was not merely a wanton act, but done the more decidedly to convince the king, when the strange situation of the corpse was seen, how absolutely he must be divested of reason. Being assured he was now alone with his mother, in a most awful manner he turns upon her, and avows his madness to be assumed; he reproaches her with her wicked deeds and incestuous marriage; and threatens a mighty vengeance upon the instigator of her crime.

In the historian we find that the admonitions of Hamlet awakened the conscience of the queen, and recalled her to penitence and virtue. The king, observing the change, became doubly suspicious of the prince; and baffling some preliminary steps he took to vengeance; Hamlet was entrapped by him into an embassy to England. He sent along with him two courtiers, who bore private letters to the English monarch, requesting him, as the greatest favour he could confer on Denmark, to compass, by secret and by sure means, the death of the prince as soon as he landed. Hamlet, during the voyage, had reason to suspect the mission of his companions; and by a stratagem obtaining their credentials, he found the treacherous mandate; and changing it for one wherein he ordered the execution of the two lords, he quietly proceeded with them to the British shore. On landing, the papers were delivered, and the king, without further parley, obeyed what he believed to be the request of his royal ally; and thus did treason meet the punishment due to its crime. The daughter of the king being charmed with the person and manners of the foreign prince, evinced such marks of tenderness, that Hamlet could not but perceive the depth of his conquest. He was not insensible to her attractions; and receiving the king's assent, in the course of a few days led her to the nuptial altar. Amidst all joys, he was, however, like a perturbed ghost that could not rest; and before many suns had rose and set, he obtained a hard wrung leave from his bride, once more set sail, and appeared at Elsineur just in time to be a witness of the splendid rites which Fengo (supposing him now to be murdered) had prepared for his funeral. On the proclamation of his arrival, he was welcomed with enthusiasm by the people, whose idol he was, and who had been overwhelmed with grief when Fengo announced to them his sudden death in England. The king, inflamed with so ruinous a disappointment, and becoming doubly jealous of his growing popularity, now affected no conciliation, but openly manifested his hatred and hostility. Hamlet again had recourse to his pretended madness, and committed so many alarming acts, that Fengo, fearing their direction, ordered his sword to be locked in its scabbard, under a plea of guarding the lunatic from personal harm, After various adventures, at last the prince accomplished the death of his uncle's adherents, and vengeance on the fratricide himself, by setting fire to the palace during the debauch of a midnight banquet. Rushing amidst the flames, he kills Fengo with his own hand, reproaching him at the moment with his murder, adultery, and incest. Immediately on this act of retribution he was proclaimed lawful successor to the throne, and crowned with all due solemnity.

Thus far Shakspeare treads in the steps of the annalist; the only difference is in the fate of the hero; in the one he finds a kingdom, in the other a grave. Saxo Grammaticus carries the history further; and after the crowning of Hamlet as king, brings him again into Britain, where, in compliment to that land of beauty, he marries a second wife, the daughter of a Scottish king. Hamlet brought both his wives to Denmark, and prepared for a long life of prosperity and peace. But the sword hung over his head; war burst around him, and he fell in combat by the hand of Vigelotes, son of Ruric. Saxo Grammaticus sums up his character in a few words: "He was a wise prince and a great warrior. Like Achilles, he had the principal actions of his life wrought on his shield. The daughter of the king of Scotland casting her eye on it, loved him for the battles he had won, and became his bride."

* * * * *



SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.

* * * * *

ENGLISH FRUITS.

(Concluded from page 295.)

The Vine.—The value and transcendant excellence of this foreign fruit is too well known to require any extended account in this paper; as a native of the southern verge of the northern temperate zone, it only requires its natural degree of heat to bring it to perfection. The growth is luxuriant, is fertile, easy of management, and as it requires support, obedient to the trainer's will. Many excellent varieties ate in our stoves and vineries; differing in hardness, size of bunches, and in colour and flavour of fruit. These, it is likely, have been gained from seeds; and as its cultivation has been primaeval with the inhabitants of the earth, no wonder it received, for its unequalled utility, their chiefest care.

That the climate of this country has undergone a considerable change within the last hundred years, is allowed by all who have considered the subject; and nothing furnishes a more convincing proof of this, than the history of the vine. Previous to the reign of Henry VIII., every abbey and monastery had its vineyard. In the rent-rolls of church property in those days, and long afterwards, considerable quantities of grapes were paid as tithe; and the vestiges of some of those vineyards remain to this day. They were usually placed on the south side of a hill, in a light dry soil, having the surface covered with sand; the vines being trained near the ground. But with such inclement and changeable springs, and long protracted winters, as have been experienced of late, even such frost as is seen at this moment (24th of April,) vines as standards in the open air, would be destroyed; or, at least, no dependence could be placed upon them for a crop. But vineyards in the country could neither be so profitable, nor are they so necessary as they were in those days; international intercourse is now more open, and corporations, whether religious or civil, can be supplied with grapes in any shape, and their precious juice in any quantity, at a cheaper rate than either home-grown or home-made. In their cultivation in this country, practitioners are more liable to err in planting them in too rich, than in too poor a soil; the first adds too much to their natural luxuriance of growth, and always reduces the flavour of the fruit.

The Mulberry.—This fruit has not been subjected to the operations and attention of the improver so much, perhaps, as it deserves; true, it has been planted against walls, and as espaliers; and in both places has done well.

The Fig has been long in our gardens; a very ancient one is still alive in the garden of one of the colleges at Oxford. In its native country it produces two crops in the year, and this property makes its management rather difficult in a country where it can but with difficulty be made to produce one; and especially when trained in the common way to a wall, where the crop is often sacrificed to the useless symmetry of the tree. It is impatient of frost, and requires protection during winter; and is also impatient of the knife, and more, perhaps, than any other tree, is disposed to form its own natural head. When kept in a glass case, either planted in the ground or in pots, it well repays the trouble bestowed upon it.

The Quince.—This fruit remains very steadily in character to what it has always been known to be; the taste is too austere to be used alone from the tree; but with other fruits in pastry, or in the shape of preserves or marmalade, it is useful.

The Medley.—Two or three sorts of this tree are in cultivation: they are placed in the lowest grade of fruits; though, when they are perfectly mature, they are much relished by some palates. The azarola, service, and two or three others used in the south of Europe, are not worth notice here.

The Filbert.—The common wild hazle of our hedges has been improved, by chance or cultivation, into the several varieties of red and white filberts and cob-nuts. Working them upon the hazle, or upon themselves, is necessary; because, it not only makes them more fruitful, but also brings them sooner into bearing.

The Walnut.—This nuciferous tree has been cultivated in England more for the value of the timber than for its fruit. There are several varieties, differing chiefly in the size of the nut, from the diminutive ben-nut, to the large or double French sort. The only improvement which can be expected in this, is a hardier sort which would be less susceptible of damage from frost.

The Chestnut.—The description of the walnut may be applied to this, as they are natives of the same climate; and their flowers are alike impatient of frost. The fruit of this is, however, inferior to that of the walnut, and seldom arrives at the same degree of perfection. The tree grows to a great size, and is one of the most valuable of our forest trees. In "days of yore," it must have been much more plentiful in this country, or more plentifully imported, than it now is; as the principal timbers of abbeys, cathedrals, and other ancient buildings, are chiefly formed of it: being equally durable as the oak, which it so much resembles, that they can hardly be distinguished from each other, but by the test of the wet edge of a chissel being stained by the oak, and not at all by the chestnut.

The Melon and Cucumber.—These exotic fruits are extensively cultivated; the latter takes various shapes in our bills of fare; the former is more a luxury than a fruit for general use; their culture on hot-beds forms a material branch of modern gardening, and with that of the gourd, pumpkin, squash, vegetable marrow, &c., is well known.

The Pine-Apple.—This sovereign of fruits is, and can only be, in this country, an appendage to opulence and rank. Several varieties are cultivated in our forcing-stoves, and grace the tables of the rich, and in as great perfection as they can be had between the tropics. In their wild state, they affect the sides of rivulets, and often under the shade of lofty trees; but are of inferior flavour, unless the weather is very dry when they are ripening off; and when cultivated, they receive little or no water during the last stage of their growth.—Quarterly Journal of Science, &c.

* * * * *

ANECDOTES OF THE MARVELLOUS.

A Prediction Fulfilled.

At the time of the American war, a gentleman (a mere youth) entered the army, and saw some little service. One day, during an engagement, he was, in the hurry and confusion of it, knocked down; and a soldier, setting his foot upon his chest in passing over him, hurt him so exceedingly that he became senseless; upon recovering, he found himself still stretched on the ground, and a singular, looking female stood beside him, who, as he opened his eyes, exclaimed in an ill-boding voice, "Ay, young man, mark my words: that hurt will be the death of you in your forty-second year." He immediately recognised in this old raven one of those soothsayers who usually followed the army, and gained a livelihood by their oracular powers. Mr. L. certainly did mark her words, inasmuch as returning to England, he quitted the army, entered the church, and amongst other red-coat reminiscences, used frequently to mention (and mention but to ridicule) the American soothsayer's prediction. Nevertheless, true it is, that he did die in his forty-second year, and of a disease in his chest too, although he had never suffered from the hurt beyond the period at which he received it.

Imagination.

The measles (it is pretty well known to all voyagers) is at St. Helena a hideous and fatal disorder, although generally mild at the Cape, which is about a fortnight's sail from the former island: every ship, therefore, from the Cape, upon touching at St. Helena, undergoes examination, and, if the measles are known to be prevalent at the former place, is put into quarantine, and no officer, however urgent his business may be, allowed to land without making oath or affidavit that he has not been on shore at the Cape, or approached an infected person. Some years since, a naval officer, acquainted with the then governor of St. Helena, General P——n, was invited to dine with him, and met at dinner another officer from another vessel, who, it is to be presumed, had eluded undergoing the usual precautionary measures, and was perhaps ignorant of their existence, since he mentioned, during the repast, that the measles were prevailing at Cape Town, and admitted that he had entered it. Now, he had just arrived at St. Helena, and though he expressly stated that he had not gone near any infected person, poor Mrs. P——, uttering a shriek, fled from the table, exclaiming that she knew she should have the measles; in fact, she immediately fell sick of that disorder, (and died, I think I understood.) All her family took it, and it raged through the island, proving dreadfully destructive.

Mysterious Incident.

It was the wedding day of Mr. and Mrs. Terry, (I mean the actual, not the anniversary wedding-day,) and the jocund bridegroom, bride, and their guests were assembled about noon in the drawing-room, when a servant entered, and said a gentleman had called, and wished to speak to Mr. T.; that he was waiting below stairs, and would not come up, because he came upon very particular business. Mr. Terry, desiring his company to excuse him for a few minutes, quitted the room. One hour elapsed—no bridegroom; two hours—he did not appear;—three—four—he was not returned: the bride's mind misgave her, and the hymeneal guests were quite alarmed: the servants declared that they had seen their master and the gentleman walk into the garden, from whence they were not returned. Now, a high brick wall, in which there was no outlet, and over which no person could climb except by a ladder, enclosed the garden, which, when searched, was empty, whilst, at the same time, Mr. Terry and his friend, "the gentleman," could not have walked out at the hall-door without being, from its situation, seen and heard by the servants in the kitchen. Time fled—and he did not return—no!—and although his lady lived to be nearly ninety years of age, she never gained tidings again of the spouse, thus so mysteriously spirited away!

Raising the Wind.

The superstitions of sailors are not few, as those assert who are conversant in maritime affairs. Amongst others, is the custom, pretty well known, of whistling for a wind. A gentleman told me, that, on his first voyage, being then very young, and ignorant of sea usages, he was in the habit of walking the deck a great deal, "and whistling as he went," perhaps "for want of thought"—perhaps for lack of something better to do. Shortly, he fancied that the captain of the vessel seemed not a little annoyed whenever this took place, although he kept a respectful silence upon the subject. At length Mr. —— resolved to speak to him himself: and, accordingly, one day, when it blew a pretty brisk gale, said, "I observe, captain, that you appear particularly uneasy whenever I whistle."—"To say the truth, sir, I am just now," replied he. "On a fair, still day, whistle as much as you please; but, when there is a wind like this, we don't like to have any more called."—New London Literary Gaz.

* * * * *



THE SELECTOR

AND

LITERARY NOTICES OF

NEW WORKS.

* * * * *

A PHILOSOPHICAL KITCHEN.

A romantic and ludicrous novel has just appeared, entitled "The Mummy, or Tale of the Twenty-second Century," exhibiting some of the probable results of "the march of intellect;" and of the pungency of its satire the following is a fair specimen, describing a kitchen in the twenty-second century:—

When Dr. Entwerfen left the breakfast-room of Lord Gustavus, which he did not do till a considerable time after the rest of the party had quitted it, he was so absorbed in meditation, that he did not know exactly which way he was going; and, happening unfortunately to turn to the right when he should have gone to the left, to his infinite surprise he found himself in the kitchen instead of his own study. Absent as the doctor was, however, his attention was soon roused by the scene before him. Being, like many of his learned brotherhood, somewhat of a gourmand, his indignation was violently excited by finding the cook comfortably asleep on a sofa on one side of the room, whilst the meat intended for dinner, a meal it was then the fashion to take about noon, was as comfortably resting itself from its toils on the other. The chemical substitute for fire, which ought to have cooked it, having gone out, and the cook's nap precluding all reasonable expectation of its re-illumination, the doctor's wrath was kindled, though the fire was not, and in a violent rage he seized the gentle Celestina's shoulder, and and shook her till she woke. "Where am I?" exclaimed she, opening her eyes. "Any where but where you ought to be," cried the doctor, in a fury. "Look, hussy! look at that fine joint of meat, lying quite cold and sodden in its own steam." "Dear me!" returned Celestina, yawning, "I am really quite unfortunate to-day! An unlucky accident has already occurred to a leg of mutton which was to have formed part of to-day's aliments, and now this piece of beef is also destroyed. I am afraid there will be nothing for dinner but some mucilaginous saccharine vegetables, and they, most probably, will be boiled to a viscous consistency." "And what excuse can you offer for all this?" exclaimed the doctor, his voice trembling with passion. "It was unavoidable;" replied Celestina, coolly; "whilst I was copying a cast from the Apollo Belvidere this morning, having unguardedly applied too much caloric to the vessel containing the leg of mutton, the aqueous fluid in which it was immersed evaporated, and the viand became completely calcinated. Whilst the other affair—" "Hush, hush!" interrupted the doctor; "I cannot bear to hear you mention it. Oh, surely Job himself never suffered such a trial of his patience! In fact, his troubles were scarcely worth mentioning, for he was never cursed with learned servants!" Saying this, the doctor retired, lamenting his hard fate in not having been born in those halcyon days when cooks drew nothing but their poultry; whilst the gentle Celestina's breast panted with indignation at his complaint. An opportunity soon offered for revenge; and seeing the doctor's steam valet ready to be carried to its master's chamber, she treacherously applied a double portion of caloric; in consequence of which, the machine burst whilst in the act of brushing the doctor's coat collar, and by discharging the whole of the scalding water contained in its cauldron upon him, reduced him to a melancholy state.

* * * * *

ON THE DEATH OF A FRIEND.

Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee, Since God was thy refuge, thy ransom, thy guide; He gave thee, he took thee and he will restore thee, And death has no sting since the Saviour has died.

The Amulet for 1828.

* * * * *



St. Martin's, near Canterbury.



* * * * *

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH ERECTED IN ENGLAND.

(For the Mirror.)

The venerable and interesting church of St. Martin is situated on the side of a hill, (named from it,) at the distance of little more than a quarter of a mile from the dilapidated walls of Canterbury. It is generally believed to have been erected by the Christian soldiers in the Roman army, about the time of king Lucius, A.D. 182, and hence is justly esteemed as the first Christian church erected in Britain, and indeed nothing appears to contradict this assertion; for the Britons, before the arrival of the Romans, were, as is well known, in a state of barbarism and idolatry, and their habitations huts of clay and turf; and as to its being built after their departure, I do not think it at all likely, for England was then ravaged and overrun by the warlike clans of its mountain neighbours, and consequently its inhabitants had not time or inclination to erect buildings, when their lives and property were daily in danger. Their successors, the early Saxons, too, I think, cannot claim any pretensions to St. Martin, they being heathens, and unacquainted with the Christian religion. Nor could they, entirely ignorant of Roman materials, have built an edifice completely composed with them.

Here then was a Christian church and a Christian congregation established in Britain full 415 years before Augustin's arrival; but as St. Martin, bishop of Tours, died in the year 395, this church could not have been erected in his honour; but it might afterwards have been dedicated to him by Luidhard, chaplain to Bertha, wife of Ethelbert, the Kentish king; and this is the more likely, as Luidhard himself was a French bishop.

In conclusion, it may not be unnecessary to state, that though the papists consider Augustin as the apostle of the English, they do not acknowledge him as their first instructor in Christianity; for, as it appears in their service for May 26, Lucius, a British king, wrote to St. Eleutherius, (who was elected priest A.D. 177,) desiring that he might be numbered among the Christians. By whom or by what means this conversion was effected does not appear; but, however, in reply to it, Eleutherius sent the monks Damian and Fryatius into Britain, from whom the king and many of his subjects received the gospel.

SAGITTARIUS.

* * * * *

PICTURE OF LIBERTY.

(For the Mirror.)

O, Liberty! thou goddess, heav'nly bright! Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight, External pleasures in thy presence reign.

ADDISON.

Aristo tells a pretty story of a fairy, who, by some mysterious law of her nature, was condemned to appear, at certain seasons, in the form of a foul and poisonous snake. Those who injured her during the period of her disguise were for ever excluded from participation in the blessings which she bestowed. But to those who, in spite of her loathsome aspect, pitied and protected her, she afterwards revealed herself in the beautiful and celestial form which was natural to her, accompanied their steps, granted all their wishes, filled their houses with wealth, made them happy in love and victorious in war. Such a spirit is Liberty. At times she takes the form of a hateful reptile; she grovels, she hisses, she stings; but woe to those who in disgust shall venture to crush her! And happy are those who, having dared to receive her in her degraded and frightful shape, shall at length be rewarded by her in the time of her beauty and glory!—See Edin. Rev. vol. xlii. p. 332.

P.T.W.

* * * * *

FIRST AND LAST.

(From the Italian.)

One single truth before he died Poor Dick could only boast; "Alas, I die!" he faintly cried, And then—gave up the ghost!

* * * * *

FRENCH GAMING HOUSES.

(For the Mirror.)

Dicing-houses, where cheaters meet, and cozen young men out of their money.

Lord Herbert.

Begin with a guinea, and end with a mortgage.

Cumberland.

What more than madness reigns, When one short sitting many hundreds drains, When not enough is left him to supply Board wages, or a footman's livery.

Dryden's Juvenal.

Gaming finds a man a cully, and leaves him a knave.

Tom Brown.

The last "nine days' wonder" is the excess to which gaming is carried among the higher circles of this country; but I much doubt whether the present expositions of such enormity in a neighbouring nation will work the desired effect on Englishmen.

Popular prejudices are obstinate points to combat; but every one who has had opportunities for observation, must allow, that in their taste for gaming, the French and English character are widely different. In France, every one plays at cards, or dominoes, and at all hours in the day, in every cafe, wine-shop, and road-side inn throughout the country. I remember to have frequently seen, in the wine-shops at Paris, carters in blue smock-frocks playing at ecarte and dominoes over a bottle of vin ordinaire at eleven o'clock in the morning, particularly in the neighbourhood of the markets. In England such amusements would be illegal, and the victualler who allowed them in his house would probably be deprived of his license.

In France every man plays at billiards—nay, every village has its billiard tables, one of which is almost as frequent an article of furniture in private houses, as piano-fortes are in England; and the sign of two maces crossed, and the inscriptions "Cafe et Billards" are as common over the wine-houses in the provinces, as chequers formerly were in our own country towns. I remember meeting with a curious adventure during my last residence in Paris. One morning, while leisurely walking in Rue Montmartre, I was accosted in French, by a respectably dressed man, apparently about fifty, who inquired of me the situation of —— street, (for at this moment I do not recollect the name). I replied that, being a foreigner, I could not afford him the required information, at the same time referring him to the next shop. He did not follow my suggestion, but almost at the very instant my eye caught the name of the street for which he had just inquired. The stranger then told me that being on a visit to the capital, he was anxious to see the interior of the palace of the Tuilleries, and was proceeding to a friend resident in the above street, who had promised to procure him admission to the royal residence, notwithstanding the king was then in Paris. I congratulated him on his success, having been, a few days previous, disappointed in the same object, when he offered also to procure admission for myself and one or two of my friends. We accordingly entered a second rate cafe, when, I made up to the garcon and demanded of him whether orders for viewing the Tuilleries were to be obtained there: he made no reply, but my friend of the street, who had by this time partly ascended a staircase at the extremity of the room, beckoned, and anxiously besought me to accompany him. I did so, notwithstanding I was aware that Paris, as well as London, had its "frauds." We entered a large room, the first impression of which, on some minds, would have been that of terror. In the centre stood a handsome billiard-table, over which were two dirty lamps with reflectors; the walls were papered in tawdry French taste, the ceiling black with smoke, and the whole room but indifferently lighted with a disproportionate and dusty window: the door, too, seemed planned for security, having a large lock and two bolts inside, but exhibited marks of recent repair from violent fracture. In short, there was a lurking suspicion about the place, which was not lessened by my companion meeting with a partner. From their conversation I learned they were both foreigners, and were waiting for a friend to bring the orders to view the palace, so that all the story was as yet in keeping, and I was introduced as a suitor for the same favour. My fellows "in waiting" showed much impatience, complained of cold, and politely asked me to take a glass of liqueur with them, at the same time taking up the mace and beginning to amuse themselves at the billiard-table. I looked on; they asked me to join them; I declined, and professed ignorance of the game; but their importunities became more pressing, and at last troublesome. Not a word further was said of the palace admission. I now judged it time to take my leave, and advancing towards the door for that purpose, I perceived my companions moved also: I profited by the hint, and seizing the handle of the door, thanked them for their civility, assured them I could wait no longer, but would call in half-an-hour—leaped down the stairs, and did not stop till I reached Rue Montmartre. I afterwards learned this was a common street trick in Paris to decoy strangers to the billiard-table, and had I taken the mace in hand, it would most probably have been at the expense of a good dinner for my companions, as a smart for my credulity.

A few evenings subsequent to this common-place incident, I strolled into a house of play in the palais royal, the situation having been previously pointed out to me by a friend.[1] The entrance was through a narrow passage by a silversmith's shop, on the ground floor, at the end of which a strong light shone through the figures denoting the number of the house, largely cut in tin; alas! thought I, a fatal number to many thousands. On the principal landing, being that above the entre-sol story, I gently tapped at a handsome door, which was almost as gently opened. My friend (for I was not alone,) having deposited his hat and stick with the garcon, was allowed to pass, but I was stopped for want of—whiskers; till assuring him that I was older than he took me to be, and an Englishman—I was also permitted to pass. We first entered a small room, in which was a roulette-table surrounded by players, and well staked: this communicated by folding-doors with a spacious saloon with a double table for Trente-et-un, or Rouge et Noir, round which were seated the players, behind whom stood a few lookers-on, and still fewer young men, whose stakes were "few and far between,"—probably those of cautious adventurers, or novices pecking at the first-fruits of play. Nothing is better described in books than the folly of gaming, and the sufferings of its victims; but, like Virgil, in his picture of Heaven, they fall short in describing their extasies; a failing on the right side, or perhaps purposely made, for the happiness of mankind. The seated visitors here seemed to be quite at home, some picking up their Napoleons and five franc pieces, and others recording the issues of the game, and illustrating the doctrine of chances by pricking holes in cards. A death-like stillness prevailed, interrupted only by the monotonous result of the deal of the cards, and the bewitching, though not frequent chink of gold and silver. The success of the winners was as silent as the disappointment of the losers; neither joy nor grief displaying itself otherwise than in an almost unvaried tristesse on the countenances of the seated players—in some measure produced by ill health and intense anxiety so as to conceal better feelings. I took my station at one end of the table beside a middle-aged Frenchman, and by way of forfeit-money (for mere lookers on are not very acceptable company) threw a few five-franc pieces, one by one, on the same colour with his stakes, each of which varied from one to ten Napoleons. After twelve chances I had lost about thirty francs, but the Frenchman continued playing, and within twenty minutes rose a winner of three hundred Napoleons, which the banker changing for paper, he coolly put into his waistcoat pocket, and walked off. A slight emotion was visible around the table, but there was no other expression. I had now time to look around me, and enjoy a little reflection for my foolish risk. It would be difficult to say whether more anxiety was displayed among the sitters, or the company at their backs. The attractive foci of all eyes were the everlasting varieties of red and black, though not accompanied by the usual grotesque mob of kings, queens, and knaves, the latter being probably excluded by the jealousy of their living fraternity around the table. A strong and steady light spread over the faces of all present, and in some few showed the quiverings and workings of the most intense passion; but the same stare or tip-toe of hope and fear pervaded the whole assemblage. Some counted their money with apparent caution, and seemed to divide their winnings from their store with affected precision, probably with an idea of the winnings being unfit company for other coin; whilst others listlessly played with their cash, or in a vulgar phrase, handled it like dirt, the distinguishing feature of the cold and calculating gamester, to whom money is an object of secondary concern compared with that of play. In the standing groupe I remember to have noticed (from his personal resemblance to a friend) a young Englishman, whom I afterwards learned had been a constant visiter to that table during the previous three months, and had then won about two hundred Napoleons. He had just married an interesting woman, about his own age, twenty-two, and had professedly taken up his degree in the practice of play, as an elegant and honourable mode of subsistence. A few weeks after I met him and his wife, on the Italian Boulevards; in dress he was woefully changed, and in his countenance a ghastly stare, sunken eye, and emaciated cheeks, bespoke some strong reverse of fortune: his wife too seemed dimmed by sorrow, and suffering might be traced in every lineament of her features, notwithstanding the artifice of dress was tastefully displayed about her person. Alas! thought I, how often is the charm of wedded life snapped asunder by man—the proud lord of the creation, and how often by his strong hold on her affections, does he sink lovely woman still fondly clinging to his disgrace, in the abyss of crime and guilt.

But as such incidents must be common to many of your readers who have visited the French metropolis, I shall desist from further recital. The following outline of those receptacles of vice, French Gaming Houses, from facts which I collected on the spot, aided by authenticated resources, may not prove uninteresting.

Gaming-houses in Paris were first licensed in 1775, by the lieutenant of police, who, to diminish the odium of such establishments, decreed that the profit resulting from them should be applied to the foundation of hospitals. The gamesters might therefore be said to resemble watermen, looking one way and rowing another. Their number soon amounted to twelve, and women were permitted to resort to them two days in the week. Besides the licensed establishments, several illegal ones were tolerated. In 1778, gaming was prohibited in France; but not at the court or in the hotels of ambassadors, where police-officers could not enter. By degrees the public establishments resumed their wonted activity, and extended their pernicious effects. The numerous suicides and bankruptcies which they occasioned, attracted the attention of the Parlement, who drew up regulations for their observance; and threatened those who should violate them with the pillory and whipping. At length, the passion for gambling prevailing in the societies established in the Palais Royal, under the title of clubs or salons, a police ordinance was issued in 1785, prohibiting them from gaming, and in the following year, additional prohibitory measures were enforced. During the revolution the gaming-houses were frequently prevented and licenses withheld; but notwithstanding the rigour of the laws, and the vigilance of the police, they still contrived to exist; and they are now regularly licensed by the police, and are under its immediate inspection. The following items of twenty tables distributed about Paris (the established stake varying from a Napoleon to a sous) are from the most authentic documents:—

Current expenses 1,551,480 Francs. Bail to Government 6,000,000 Francs. Bonus for the bail 166,666 Francs. Making together 7,716,146 Francs, or about L321,589 English. Gain of the tables, per annum 9,600,000 Francs. Expenses as above 7,718,146 Francs. Leaving a clear profit of 1,881,854 Francs,

or about L78,244 English! And yet, in spite of this unanswerable logic of figures and facts, there are every day fresh victims who are infatuated enough to believe that it is possible to counterbalance the advantages which the bank possesses, by a judicious management of the power the player has of altering his stake! The revenue formerly paid to the government for licenses, has recently been transferred to the city of Paris.

In England, the outcry against gaming is loud, and deservedly so; and the extent to which it is stated to be curried in the higher circles is rather underrated than exaggerated; but the severity of our laws on this crime, and recent visitations of its rigour, confine it to the saloons of wealthy vice. With us it is not a national vice, as in France, where every license, facility, and even encouragement presents itself. Lotteries, which have been abolished in England, as immoral nuisances, are tolerated in France, with more mischievous effect, since, the risk is considerably less than our least shares formerly were, the lotteries smaller, and those drawn three times every month. The relics of our gaming system are only to be found on race-courses; but in France, half the toys sold at a fair or fete, where mothers win rattles for their children, are by lottery, whilst our gaming at fairs is restricted to a few low adventurers for snuff-boxes, &c. Despair is the gloomiest feature of the French character, and of which gaming produces a frightful proportion, notwithstanding all that our neighbours say about our hanging and drowning in November: witness their suicides:—

In 1819: Suicides, 376; of which, 126 women. 1820: do. 325; do. 114 do. 1821: do. 348; do. 112 do.

Of the suicides of these three years 25, 50, and 36, were attributed to love, and 52, 42, 43, to despair arising from gaming, the lottery, &c. In the winter of 1826, several exaggerated losses by gaming were circulated in Paris with great finesse, to enable bankrupts to account for their deficiencies, many of whom were exposed and deservedly punished.

A few words on the prevention of gaming, the consideration of which gave rise to this hasty sketch; I mean by dramatic exhibitions of its direful effects. On our stage we have a pathetic tragedy by E. Moore, which, though seldom acted, is a fine domestic moral to old and young; but the author

"Was his own Beverley, a dupe to play."

It is scarcely necessary to allude to the recent transfers of a celebrated French expose of French gambling to our English stage, otherwise than to question their moral tendency. The pathos of our Gamester may reach the heart; but the French pieces command no such appeal to our sympathies. On the contrary, the vice is emblazoned in such romantic and fitful fancies, that their effect is questionable, especially on the majority of those who flock to such exhibitions. The extasies of the gamester are too seductive to be heightened by dramatic effect; neither are they counterbalanced by their consesequent misery, when the aim of these representations should be to outweigh them; for the authenticated publication of a single prize in the lottery has been known to seduce more adventurers than a thousand losses have deterred from risk. But they keep up the dancing spirits of the multitude, and it will be well if their influence extends no further.

PHILO.

[1] As the Palais Royal may be considered the central point of the maisons de jeu, or gambling-houses, it will not be irrelevant to give a brief sketch of them:—

The apartments which they occupy are on the first floor, and are very spacious. Upon ascending the staircase is an antechamber, in which are persons called bouledogues (bull-dogs), whose office it is to prevent the entrance of certain marked individuals. In the same room are men to receive hats, umbrellas, &c., who give a number, which is restored upon going out.

The antechamber leads to the several gaming rooms, furnished with tables, round which are seated the individuals playing, called pontes (punters), each of whom is furnished with a card and a pin to mark the rouge and noir, or the number, in order to regulate his game. At each end of the table is a man called bout de table, who pushes up to the bank the money lost. In the middle of the table is the man who draws the cards. These persons, under the reign of Louis XIV., were called coupeurs de bourses (purse-cutters); they are now denominated tailleurs. After having drawn the cards, they mate known the result as follows:—Rouge gagne et couleur perd.—Rouge perd et couleur gagne.

At roulette, the tailleurs are those who put the ball in motion and announce the result.

At passe-dix, every time the dice are thrown, the tailleurs announce how many the person playing has gained.

Opposite the tailleur, and on his right and left, are persons called croupiers, whose business it is to pay and to collect money.

Behind the tailleurs and croupiers are inspectors, to see that too much is not given in payment, besides an indefinite number of secret inspectors, who are only known to the proprietors. There are also maitres de maison, who are called to decide disputes; and messieurs de la chambre, who furnish cards to the pontes, and serve them with beer, &c., which is to be had gratis. Moreover, there is a grand maitre, to whom the apartments, tables, &c., belong.

When a stranger enters these apartments, he will soon find near him some obliging men of mature age, who, with an air of prudence and sagacity, proffer their advice. As these advisers perfectly understand their own game, if their proteges lose, the mentors vanish; but it they win, the counsellor comes nearer, congratulates the happy player, insinuates that it was by following his advice that fortune smiled on him, and finally succeeds in borrowing a small sum of money on honour. Many of these loungers have no other mode of living.

There is likewise another room, furnished with sofas, called chamber des blesses, which is far from being the most thinly peopled.

The bank pays in ready money every successful stake and sweeps off the losings with wooden instruments, called rateaux (rakes).

It was in one of the houses in this quarter that the late Marshal Blucher won and lost very heavy sums, during the occupation of Paris by the allied armies.

There are two gaming-houses in Paris of a more splendid description than those of the Palais Royal, where dinners or suppers are given, and where ladies are admitted.—Galignani's History of Paris.

* * * * *

A RETROSPECT.

Oh, when I was a tiny boy, My days and nights were full of joy; My mates were blithe and kind!— No wonder that I sometimes sigh, And dash the tear-drop from my eye. To cast a look behind!

A hoop was an eternal round Of pleasure. In those days I found A top a joyous thing;— But now those past delights I drop; My head alas! is all my top, And careful thoughts the string!

My marbles—once my bag was stor'd,— Now I must play with Elgin's lord,— With Theseus for a taw! My playful horse has slipt his string. Forgotten all his capering, And harness'd to the law!

My kite—how fast and fair it flew. Whilst I, a sort of Franklin, drew My pleasure from the sky! 'Twas paper'd o'er with studious themes,— The tasks I wrote—my present dreams Will never soar so high!

My joys are wingless all, and dead; My dumps are made of more than lead; My flights soon find a fall; My fears prevail, my fancies droop, Joy never cometh with a hoop, And seldom with a call!

My football's laid upon the shelf; I am a shuttlecock, myself The world knocks to and fro;— My archery is all unlearn'd, And grief against myself has turn'd My sorrow and my bow!

No more in noontide sun I bask; My authorship's an endless task, My head's ne'er out of school; My heart is pain'd with scorn and slight; I have too many foes to fight, And friends grown strangely cool!

The very chum that shar'd my cake Holds out so cold a hand to shake, It makes me shrink and sigh:— On this I will not dwell and hang, The changeling would not feel a pang Though these should meet his eye!

No skies so blue or so serene As these;—no leaves look half so green As cloth'd the play-ground tree! All things I lov'd are altered so, Nor does it ease my heart to know That change resides in me.

O, for the garb that mark'd the boy! The trousers made of corduroy. Well ink'd with black and red; The crownless hat, ne'er deem'd an ill— It only let the sunshine still Repose upon my head!

O, for that small, small beer anew! And (heaven's own type) that mild sky-blue That wash'd my sweet meals down! The master even!—and that small turk That fagg'd me!—worse is now my work,— A fag; for all the town!

The "Arabian Nights'" rehears'd in bed! The "Fairy Tales" in school-time read By stealth, 'twixt verb and noun! The angel form that always walk'd In all my dreams, and look'd, and talk'd. Exactly like Miss Brown!

The omne bene—Christmas come! The prize of merit, won for home'— Merit had prizes then! But now I write for days and days For fame—a deal of empty praise, Without the silver pen.

Then home, sweet home! the crowded coach— The joyous shout—the loud approach— The winding horn like ram's! The meeting sweet that made me thrill, The sweetmeats almost sweeter still, No "satis" to the "jams!"

* * * * *

ENGLISH DRESS.

(To the Editor of the Mirror.)

Mr. Editor.—In No. 200 of the MIRROR, you will find an article, entitled Female Fashions during the early part of the Last Century. The author then promised to give a description of the dress of the English gentlemen of the same period, but as no such description has yet appeared in your pages, I trust you will insert the annexed at your first convenient opportunity.

G.W.N.

Dress of the English Gentlemen during the Early part of the Last Century.

In the reign of King William III., the English gentlemen affected to dress like their dependents. Their hats were laced, and their coats and waistcoats were embroidered with gold and silver fringe; indeed it really became extremely difficult to distinguish a man of quality from one of his lackeys. They did not, however, long persevere in this ridiculous imitation, for they soon afterwards, like the ladies, servilely followed the French fashions. The great partiality of the English beau monde towards the bon ton of France, was a wonderful advantage to that country—an advantage which the English government in vain endeavoured to abolish, although a heavy duty was imposed on all French ribbon and lace imported into this kingdom. Many millions were annually expended in French cambric, muslin, ribbon, and lace, which useless expenditure very sensibly injured our commercial transactions with other nations.

Perukes and long wigs were worn at the revolution; but these being greatly inconvenient in all weathers, some people tied up their wigs, which was the first occasion of short wigs coming into fashion. Some few years afterwards, bob-wigs were adopted by the gentlemen, especially by those of the army and the navy.

The English costume was remarkably neat and plain anterior to the year 1748; at which period, however, all gentlemen rather resembled military officers than private individuals, for their coats were not only richly embroidered with gold and silver, but they even assumed the cockade in their hats, and carried long rapiers at their sides. At length this imposing attire was adopted by the merchants and tradesmen of the metropolis, and soon afterwards by the most notorious rogues and pickpockets in town, so that when any person with a laced coat, a cockade, and a sword, walked along the streets of London, it was absolutely impossible to determine whether he affected to be thought a nobleman, a military officer, a tradesman, or a pickpocket, for he bore an equal resemblance to each of these characters.

In the year 1749, hair-powder was used by the finished gentlemen, though the use of it, a year or two previous, was prohibited in every class of society. Of the costume of this period (i.e. about 1749), the immortal Hogarth, in his works, has left us numerous specimens, which need no comment here: his productions, indeed, are so equal in merit, that it is impossible to decide which is his ne plus ultra.

In conclusion, I would advise the reader to refer to a few of Hogarth's prints, for they will admirably serve to illustrate the above observations on the fashions and habits of our forefathers.

* * * * *



Astronomical Occurrences

FOR NOVEMBER, 1827.

(For the Mirror.)

Should the afternoon of Saturday, the 3rd of the month, prove favourable, we shall be afforded an opportunity of witnessing another of those interesting phenomena—eclipses, at least the latter part of one, a portion of it only being visible to the inhabitants of this island; the defect above alluded to is a lunar one. The passage of the moon through the earth's shadow commences at 3 h. 29 m. 34 s. afternoon; she rises at Greenwich at 4 h. 45 m. 34 s. with the northern part of her disk darkened to the extent of nearly 10 digits. The greatest obscuration will take place at 5 h. 7 m. 42 s. when 10-1/2 digits will be eclipsed; she then recedes from the earth's shadow, when the sun's light will first be perceived extending itself on her lower limb towards the east; it will gradually increase till she entirely emerges from her veil of darkness, the extreme verge of which leaves her at her upper limb 32 deg. from her vertex, or highest point of her disc.

We have the following in "Moore," some years ago, on the nature and causes of eclipses of the sun and moon:—

"Far different sun's and moon's eclipses are, The moon's are often, but the sun's more rare The moon's do much deface her beauty bright; Sol's do not his, but hide from us his sight: It is the earth the moon's defect procures, 'Tis the moon's shadow that the sun obscures. Eastward, moon's front beginneth first to lack, Westward, sun's brows begin their mourning black: Moon's eclipses come when she most glorious shines, Sun's in moon's wane, when beauty most declines; Moon's general, towards heaven and earth together, Sun's but to earth, nor to all places neither."

The Sun enters Sagittarius on the 23rd, at 1 h. 2 m. morning.

Mercury will be visible on the 10th, in 10 deg. of Sagittarius, a little after sunset, being then at his greatest eastern elongation; he is stationary on the 20th, and passes his inferior conjunction on the 30th, at 1-3/4 h. afternoon.

Venus is in conjunction with the above planet on the 24th, at 9 h. evening; she sets on the 1st at 5 h. 7 m., and on the 30th at 4 h. 47 m. evening.

Jupiter may be seen before sunrise making his appearance above the horizon about 5 h.; he is not yet distant enough from the sun to render the eclipses of his satellites visible to us.

A small comet has just been discovered, situated in one of the feet of Cassiopea. It is invisible to the naked eye, and appears approaching the pole with great rapidity.

PASCHE.

* * * * *



RETROSPECTIVE GLEANINGS.

* * * * *

DOMESTIC ECONOMY OF THE ROMANS IN THE FOURTH CENTURY.

A recent discovery has added to our information the most extensive series of statistical data, which make known from an official act, and by numerical figures, the state of the Roman empire 1500 years ago; the price of agricultural and ordinary labour; the relative value of money; the abundance or scarcity of certain natural productions; the use, more or less common, of particular sorts of food; the multiplication of cattle and of flocks; the progress of horticulture; the abundance of vineyards of various qualities; the common use of singular meats, and dishes, which we think betrays a corruption of taste; in short the relation of the value existing between the productions of agriculture and those of industry, from whence we obtain a proof of the degree of prosperity which both had reached at this remote period.

This precious archaeological monument is an edict of Diocletian, published in the year 303 of our era, and fixing the price of labour and of food in the Roman empire. The first part of this edict was found by Mr. William Hanks, written upon a table of stone, which he discovered at Stratonice, now called Eskihissar in Asia Minor. The second part, which was in the possession of a traveller lately returned from the Levant, has been, brought from Rome to London by M. de Vescovali, and Colonel Leake intends to publish a literal translation of it. This agreement of so many persons of respectable character, and known talents, excludes all doubts respecting the authenticity of the monument.

The imperial edict of Diocletian is composed of more than twenty-four articles. It is quite distinct from that delivered the preceding year for taxing the price of corn in the eastern provinces, and it contained no law upon the value of corn. It fixed for all the articles which it enumerated a maximum, which was the price in times of scarcity. For all the established prices it makes use of the Roman Denarii; and it applies them to the sextarius for liquids, and to the Roman pound for the things sold by weight.

Before the Augustan age, the denarius was equal to eighteen sous of our money; but it diminished gradually in value, and under Diocletian its value was not above nine sous of French money, and 45 centimes. The Roman pound was equivalent to 12 ounces, and the sextarius which was the sixth part of a conge, came near to the old Paris chopin, or half a litre.

Proceeding on these data, M. Moreau de Jonnes has formed a table, showing, 1. the maximum in Roman measures, the same as the established imperial edict; and 2. the mean price of objects formed from half the maximum, and reduced into French measures.

The following is the table drawn up by M. Moreau de Jonnes. The slightest inspection of it will enable us to appreciate the importance of this archaeological discovery, for no monument of antiquity has furnished so long a series of numerical terms, of statistical data, and positive testimony of the civil life and domestic economy of the Greeks and Romans:—

I.—PRICE OF LABOUR.

Maximum Mean Price in Roman in English Money. Money.

L. s. d. To a day labourer 25 Den. 0 4 8 Do. for interior works 50 0 9 4 To a mason 50 0 9 4 To a maker of mortar 50 0 9 4 To a marble-cutler, or maker of mosaic work 60 0 11 4 To a tailor for making clothes 50 0 9 4 Do. for sewing only 6 0 1 1-1/2 For making shoes for the patricians 150 1 8 1 Do. shoes for workmen 120 1 2 8 for the military 100 0 18 8 for the senators 100 0 18 8 for the women 60 0 11 4 Military sandals 75 0 14 0-1/2 To a barber for each man 2 0 0 4-1/2 To a veterinary surgeon for shearing the animals and trimming their feet 6 0 1 1-1/2 Do. for currycombing and cleaning them 20 0 9 9 For one month's lessons in architecture 100 0 18 8 To an advocate for a petition to the tribunal 250 2 6 9 For the hearing a cause 1000 9 7 6

II.—PRICE OF WINES.

Maximum Mean Price of of the the English Sextarius. Pint, Wine Measure.

L. s. d. Picene, Tiburtine, Sabine, Aminean, Surentine, Setinian, and Falernian wines 30 Den. 0 5 4 Old wines of the first quality 24 0 4 2-3/4 Do. of second quality 16 0 2 10 Country wine 8 0 1 5 Beer 4 0 0 4-3/4 Beer of Egypt 2 0 0 2 Spiced wine of Asia 30 0 5 4 Barley wine of Attica 24 0 4 2-3/4 Decoction of different raising 16 0 2 10

III.—PRICE OF MEAT.

Maximum Mean Price of of the Roman the French pound. pound.

L. s. d. Flesh of oxen 8 Den. 0 2 0 Do. of mutton, or of goat 8 0 2 0 Do. of lamb, or of kid 12 0 3 0 Do. of pork 12 0 3 0 The best lard 16 0 4 0 The best ham from Westphalia, from Cerdagne, or from the country of the Marses 20 0 5 0 Fat fresh pork 12 0 3 0 Belly and tripe 16 0 4 0 Pig's liver, enlarged by being fattened upon figs 16 0 4 0 Pig's feet, each 4 0 0 9 Fresh pork sausages, weighing one ounce 2 0 0 4-1/2 Do. of fresh beef 16 0 2 9-1/2 Pork sausages and seasoned 16 0 4 0 Do. of smoked beef 10 0 2 9-1/2

IV.—POULTRY AND GAME.

Maximum Mean Price of of each each in English in Roman Money. Money. L. s. d. One fat male peacock 250 Den. 2 6 9 One fat female peacock 200 1 17 9 One male wild peacock 125 1 3 4-1/2 One female wild peacock 100 0 18 8 One fat goose 200 2 6 9 Do. not fat 100 0 18 8 One hen 60 0 11 4 One duck 40 0 7 4 One partridge 30 0 5 8 One hare 150 1 8 1 One rabbit 40 0 7 4

V.—FISH.

Maximum Mean Price of of each each in English in Roman Money. Money. L. s. d. Sea fish, first quality 24 Den. 0 4 6 Do. second quality 16 0 3 0 River fish, first quality 12 0 2 3 Do. second quality 8 0 1 6 Salt fish 6 0 1 1-1/2 Oysters, per hundred 100 0 18 8

VI.—CULINARY VEGETABLES.

Lettuces, the best, five together 4 0 0 9 Do. second quality, ten together 4 0 0 9 Common cabbages, the best, single 4 0 0 9 Cauliflower, the best, five together 4 0 0 9 Do. second quality, ten together 4 0 0 9 Beet root, the best, five together 4 0 0 9 Do. second quality, ten together 4 0 0 9 Radishes, the largest 4 0 0 9

VII.—OTHER PROVISIONS.

Maximum Mean Price of of the each in English Sextarius in Money. Roman Money.

L. s. d. Honey, the best 40 Den. 0 15 0 Do. second quality 20 0 7 6 Oil, the best quality 40 0 15 0 Do. the second quality 24 0 9 1 Vinegar 6 0 3 3 A stimulant to excite the appetite, made of the essence of fish 6 0 2 3 Dried cheese, the Roman pound 12 0 3 4 Fr. lb.

We are much surprised at the very high prices in this table. Labour and provisions cost ten and twenty times as much as with us. But when we come to compare the price of provisions with the price of labour the dearness of all the necessaries of life appears still more excessive. M. Moreau de Jonnes makes this comparison. He brings together from the edicts of Diocletian a great many facts given by historians, and he shows, that, if the abundance of the precious metals has any influence on raising the prices, the want of labour, industry, and of produce, must cause it also.

These considerations point out in the strongest manner the poverty of this royal people, of whom two-thirds, if not three-fourths, were reduced to live on fish and cheese, and drink piquette, when the expense of the table of Vitellius amounted, in a single year, to 175 millions of Francs.—Brewster's Journal of Science.

* * * * *



THE GATHERER.

"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton

* * * * *

TWELVE GOLDEN RULES OF CHARLES I.

1. Profane no divine ordinances. 2. Touch no state matters. 3. Urge no healths. 4. Pick no quarrels. 5. Maintain no ill opinions. 6. Encourage no vice. 7. Repeat no grievances. 8. Reveal no secrets. 9. Make no comparisons. 10. Keep no bad company. 11. Make no long meals. 12. Lay no wagers.

* * * * *

EPIGRAMS,

Written on the Union, 1801, by a celebrated Barrister of Dublin.

Adapted to the Commercial Failures, 1800.

Why should we exclaim, that the times are so bad, Pursuing a querulous strain? When Erin gives up all the rights that she had, What right has she left to complain?

* * * * *

The Cit complains to all he meets, That grass will grow in Dublin streets, And swears that all is over! Short-sighted mortals, can't you see, Your mourning will be chang'd to glee— For then you'll live in clover.

* * * * *

Necessitas non habet legem.

ON SIR JOHN ANSTRUTHER.

By the Honourable Thomas Erskine.

Necessity and Law are alike each other: Necessity has no Law—nor has Anstruther.

* * * * *

EPITAPH ON A CONTROVERSIALIST.

On the death of that turbulent and refractory enthusiast, John Lilburne, alias Free-born John, alias Lilburne the Trouble-world, there appeared the following epigrammatic epitaph:—

Is John departed, and is Lilburne gone? Farewell to both, to Lilburne and to John! Yet being gone, take this advice from me, Let them not both in one grave buried be.

Here lay ye John; lay Lilburne thereabout, For if they both should meet, they would fall out.

This alluded to a saying, that John Lilburne was so quarrelsome, that if he were the only man in the world, John would quarrel with Lilburne, and Lilburne with John. Lilburne, it will be remembered, was a sad thorn in Cromwell's sore side, for which the protector amply repaid him.

* * * * *

HOSPITAL OF SURGERY.

A new surgical hospital is to be forthwith erected in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross, where the King, with his usual and characteristic munificence, has given a spot of ground on which it is to be erected. A benevolent individual has given, within these few days, 1,500 l. towards a fund for the building.

* * * * *

Printed and Published by J. Limbird, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) and sold by all Newssmen and Booksellers.

THE END

Home - Random Browse