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