THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 13, No. 372.] SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
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Epsom New Race Stand.
We do not wish to compete with the "List of all the running horse-es, with the names, weights, and colours of the riders," although the proximity of our publication day to the commencement of Epsom Races (June 2), has induced us to select the above subject for an illustration.
The erection of the New Race Stand is the work of a company, entitled the "Epsom Grand Stand Association"—the capital L20,000, in 1,000 shares of L20 each. The speculation is patronized by the Stewards of the Jockey Club, and among the trustees is one of the county members, C.N. Pallmer, Esq. The building is now roofed in, and temporary accommodation will be provided for visitors at the ensuing Spring Races. It is after the model of the Stand at Doncaster, but is much larger, and will accommodate from 4 to 5,000 persons. The style of the architecture is Grecian.
The building is 156 feet in width, including the Terrace, and 60 feet in depth, having a portico the width, returning on each side, which is connected with a spacious terrace, raised ten feet above the level of the ground, and a magnificent flight of steps in the centre. The columns of the portico are of the Doric order, supporting a balcony, or gallery, which is to be covered by a verandah, erected on small ornamental iron pillars, placed over those below. The upper part of the Stand is to have a balustrade the whole width of the front. With reference to the interior arrangements, there are four large and well-proportioned rooms for refreshments, &c.; a spacious hall, leading through a screen of Doric columns to a large and elegant staircase of stone, and on each side of the staircase are retiring rooms of convenience for gentlemen. The entrance to this floor is from the abovementioned terrace and portico in front; and also, at the back, by an entrance which forms a direct communication through the building. The first floor consists of a splendid room, 108 feet in length, and 34 in width, divided into three compartments by ornamental columns and pilasters, supporting a richly paneled ceiling, and having a direct communication with the balcony, or gallery; and on each side of the staircase there are retiring rooms for the ladies, with the same arrangements as those below for the gentlemen. The roof will contain about 2,000 persons standing; affording, at the same time, an opportunity for every one to see the whole of the race (Derby Course) which at one time was considered doubtful.
The architect is Mr. W. Trendall; and the builder Mr. Chadwick.
By a neat plan from a survey by Mr. Mogg, the "Stand" is about ten poles from the Winning Post. It must have a most commanding view of the surrounding country—but, anon, "may we be there to see."
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HISTORY OF COALS.
(For the Mirror.)
Coals are found in several parts of the continent of Europe, but the principal mines are in this country. They have been discovered and wrought in Newfoundland, Cape Breton, Canada, and in some of the provinces of New England. China abounds in them, and they are well known in Tartary, and in the Island of Madagascar.
We find (says Brand) express mention of coals, used as a fuel by artificers about 2,000 years ago, in the writings of Theophrastus, the scholar of Aristotle, who, in his book on Stones, gives the substance; though some writers have not scrupled to affirm, that coal was unknown to the Ancient Britons, yet others have adduced proofs to the contrary, which seem, to carry along with them little less than conviction. The first charter for the license of digging coals, was granted by King Henry III. in the year 1239; it was there denominated sea coal; and, in 1281, Newcastle was famous for its great trade in this article; but in 1306, the use of sea coal was prohibited at London, by proclamation. Brewers, dyers, and other artificers, who had occasion for great fires, had found their account in substituting our fossil for dry wood and charcoal; but so general was the prejudice against it at that time, that the nobles and commons assembled in parliament, complained against the use thereof as a public nuisance, which was thought to corrupt the air with its smoke and stink. Shortly after this, it was the common fuel at the King's palace in London; and, in 1325, a trade was opened between France and England, in which corn was imported, and coal exported. Stowe in his "Annals" says, "within thirty years last the nice dames of London would not come into any house or roome where sea coales were burned; nor willingly eat of the meat that was either sod or roasted with sea coal fire."
Tinmouth Priory had a colliery at Elwick, which in 1330 was let at the yearly rent of five pounds; in 1530 it was let for twenty pounds a year, on condition that not more than twenty chaldron should be drawn in a day; and eight years after, at fifty pounds a year, without restriction on the quantity to be wrought. In Richard the Second's time, Newcastle coals were sold at Whitby, at three shillings and four-pence per chaldron; and in the time of Henry VIII. their price was twelvepence a chaldron in Newcastle; in London about four shillings, and in France they sold for thirteen nobles per chaldron. Queen Elizabeth obtained a lease of the manors and coal mines of Gateshead and Whickham, which she soon transferred to the Earl of Leicester. He assigned it to his secretary, Sutton, the founder of the Charter-house, who also made assignment of it to Sir W. Riddell and others, for the use of the Mayor and Burgesses of Newcastle. Duties were laid upon this article to assist in building St. Paul's Church, and fifty parish churches in London after the great fire; and in 1677, Charles II. granted to his natural son, Charles Lenox, Duke of Richmond, and his heirs, a duty of one shilling a chaldron on coals, which continued in his family till it was purchased by government in 1800. The collieries in the vicinity of Newcastle are perhaps the most valuable and extensive in Europe, and afford nearly the whole supply of the metropolis, and of those counties on the eastern coast deficient in coal strata; thus—
"The grim ore Here useless, like the miser's brighter hoard, Is from its prison brought and sent abroad, The frozen horns to cheer, to minister To needful sustenance and polished arts— Hence are the hungry fed, the naked clothed, The wintry damps dispell'd, and social mirth Exults and glows before the blazing hearth."
Iago's Edge Hill, p. 106.
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(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
Two of your correspondents have puzzled themselves in seeking the origin of the old Cat and Fiddle sign. The one has been led away by a love of etymology—the other would string the fiddle at the expense of poor puss's viscera. Now laying aside conjecture and the subtleties of language, suppose we consult plain matter of fact? It is then generally allowed that the tones of a flute resemble the human voice: those of a clarionet, the notes of a goose: and, all the world knows that a well-played violin (especially in the practice of gliding) yields sounds so inseparable from the strains of a cat, as not to be distinguished by the mere amateur of musical science.
In conformity, therefore, with this last truth, the small fiddles which Dancing-masters carry in their pockets, are at this day called kits. But our etymologist will readily perceive this to be a mere abbreviation, and that they must originally have been known as kittens.
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ANACHRONISMS RESPECTING DR. JOHNSON.
(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
"I am corrected, sir; but hear me speak— When admiration glows with such a fire As to o'ertop the memory, error then May merit mercy." Old Play.
In justice to myself and the readers of the MIRROR, I must be allowed to offer a few apologetic remarks on the almost unpardonable anachronisms which I so inadvertently suffered to occur in my communication on the subject of Dr. Johnson's Residence in Bolt Court. But when I state that the chronological metathesis occurred entirely in consequence of my referring to that most treacherous portion of human intellect, the memory; and that it is upwards of seven years since I read "Boswell's Life of Johnson," or "Johnson's Poets," it may be some mitigation of the censure I so justly deserve. Yet I may be suffered to suggest to your correspondent, who has so kindly corrected me, that my paper was more in the suppository style than he seems to have imagined; and that I did not assert that Boswell, Savage, and Johnson, met at the latter's "house in Bolt Court, and discussed subjects of polite literature." The expression used is, "We can imagine," &c. constituting a creation of the fancy rather than a positive portraiture. Certain it is that Johnson's dwelling was in the neighbourhood of Temple Bar at the time of the nocturnal perambulation alluded to; and that it was Savage (to whom he was so unaccountably attached, in spite of the "bastard's" frailties) who enticed the doctor from his bed to a midnight ramble. My primary mistake consists in transposing the date of the doctor's residence in Bolt Court, and introducing Savage at the era of Boswell's acquaintance with Johnson; whereas the wayward poet finished his miserable existence in a prison, at Bristol, 21 years prior to that event. Here I may be allowed a remark or two on the animadversion which has been heaped on Johnson for that beautiful piece of biography, "The Life of Richard Savage." It has hitherto been somewhat of a mystery that the stern critic whose strictures so severely exposed the minutest derelictions of genius in all other instances, should have adopted "the melting mood" in detailing the life of such a man as Savage; for, much as we may admire the concentrated smiles and tears of his two poems, "The Bastard," and "The Wanderer," pitying the fortunes and miseries of the author, yet his ungovernable temper and depraved propensities, which led to his embruing his hands in blood, his ingratitude to his patrons and benefactors, (but chiefly to Pope,) and his degraded misemployment of talents which might have raised him to the capital of the proud column of intellect of that day,—all conduce to petrify the tear of mingled mercy and compassion, which the misfortunes of such a being might otherwise demand. Nevertheless, as was lately observed by a respectable journal, "there must have been something good about him, or Samuel Johnson would not have loved him."
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(For the Mirror.)
We see our joyous home, Where the sapphire waters fall; The porch, with its lone gloom, The bright vines on its wall.
The flow'rs, the brooks, and trees, Again are made our own, The woodlands rife with bees, And the curfew's pensive tone.
Peace to the marble brow, And the ringlets tinged dark, The heart is sleeping now In a still and holy ark!
Sleep hath clos'd the soft blue eye, And unbound the silken tress Their dreams are of the sky, And pass'd is watchfulness.
But a sleep they yet shall have, Sunn'd with no vision's glow; A sleep within the grave— When their eyes are quench'd and low!
A glorious rest it is, To earth's lorn children given, Pure as the bridal kiss, To sleep—and wake in heaven!
Deal. Reginald Augustine
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(For the Mirror.)
Gin Lubin shows the ring to me While reavin' Teviot side, And asks me wi' an earnest e'e, To be his bonny bride. At sic a time I canna tell What I to him might say, But as I lo'e the laddie well, I cudna tell him nae.
I'd say we twa as yet are young, Wi' monie a day to spare, An' then the suit should drap my tongue That he might press it mair. I'd gae beside the point awhile, Wi' proper laithfu' pride, By lang to partin', wi' a smile, Consent to be his bride.
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THE LOVER STUDENT.
A Leaf from the Reminiscences of a Collegian.
(For the Mirror.)
——He was but a poor undergraduate; not, indeed, one of lowest grade, but still too much lacking pecuniary supplies to render him an "eligible match." Julia, too, though pretty, was portionless; and the world, which always kindly interests itself in such affairs, said, they had no business whatever to become attached to each other; but then, such attachments and the world, never did, and never will agree; and I, from fatal experience, assert that what people impertinently call "falling in love," is a thing that cannot be helped; I, at least, never could help it. The regard of Millington and Julia was of a very peculiar nature; it was a morsel of platonism, which is rather too curious to pass unrecorded; for as far as I have been able, upon the most minute investigation to ascertain, they never spoke to each other during the period of their tender acquaintance. No; they were not dumb, but lacking a mutual friend to give them an introduction; their regard for decorum and etiquette was too great to permit them to speak otherwise than with their eyes. Millington had kept three terms, when I arrived at —— College, a shy and gawky freshman; we had been previously acquainted, and he, pitying perhaps my youth and inexperience, patronized his playmate, and I became his chum. For some time I was at a loss to account for sundry fluctuations in Henry's disposition and manners. He shunned society and would neither accept invitations to wine and supper parties in other men's rooms, nor give such in his own; nevertheless his person seemed to have become an object of the tenderest regard; never was he so contented as when rambling through the streets and walks, without his gown, in a new and well cut suit; whilst in order eternally to display his figure to the best advantage, he was content to endure as heavy an infliction of fines and impositions, as the heads of his college could lay upon his shoulders. He was ruined for a reading-man. About this period he also had a perfect mania for flowers; observing which, and fancying I might gratify my friend by such a mark of attention, I one day went to his rooms with a large bouquet in either hand. He was not at home; but having carelessly enough forgotten to lock his door, I commenced, con amore, (anticipating the agreeable surprise which I should afford him) to fill his vases with fresh, bright, and delicious summer flowers, in lieu of the very mummies of their race by which they were occupied. My work was in progress when Millington returned, but, oh! good heavens! the rage, the profane, diabolical, incomprehensible rage into which he burst! I shall never forget. Away went my beautiful, my fragrant flowers, into the court, and seizing upon the remnant of the mummies, as yet untouched by my sacrilegious fingers, he tossed them into a drawer, double locked it, and ordered me out of the room. Dreading a kick, I was off at his word; but had not proceeded half way down stairs, when a hand from the rear, roughly grasped mine, and a voice, in a wild and hurried manner, asked pardon for "intemperance." I should have called it madness. We were again firm allies; but I resolved to fathom, if possible, the mystery of the flowers. I now observed, with surprise, that Millington never quitted his rooms without a flower in his hand, or boutonniere; which flower, upon his return, appeared to have been either lost, or metamorphosed into, sometimes, one of another description; sometimes into a nosegay. Very strange indeed, thought I; and began to have my suspicions that in all this might be traced "fair woman's visitings." Yes, Millington must decidedly have fallen in love. He was never in chapel, never in hall, never in college, never at lectures, and never at parties; he was in love, that was certain; but with whom? He knew none of the resident gentry of ——, and he was far too proud to involve himself in "an affair" with a girl of inferior rank. Many men did so; but Millington despised them for it. Accidentally I discovered that he adored Julia, the young, sweet daughter of an undoubted gentleman, who was not yet "come out." She was a lively, pretty brunette, with brownest curling hair, only fifteen; and to this day, I believe, knows not the name of her lover. From an attic window of a five storied house, this fond and beautiful girl contrived, sometimes, to shower upon the head of her devoted admirer sweet flowers, and sometimes this paragon of pairs meeting each other in the walks, silently effected an interchange of the buds and blossoms, with which they always took care to be provided. Several weeks passed thus, Henry and Julia seeing each other every day; but long vacation would arrive; and on the evening preceding his departure from ——, the lovelorn student, twisting round the stem of a spicy carnation, a leaf which he had torn from his pocket book, thus conveyed, with his farewell to Julia, an intimation that he designed upon his return to college next term, to effect an introduction to her family. Julia's delight may easily be conceived. I remained in college for the vacation to read, and had shortly the pleasure of informing Millington that I should be able, upon his return, to afford him the introduction which he had so much at heart, having made the acquaintance of Julia and her family. Two months elapsed ere Millington deigned to notice my letter. His answer to it was expressed in these terms:—
"Freddy—I'm married to a proper vixen, I fancy; but to twenty thousand pounds. Ay, my boy, there it is—no doing in this world without the needful, and I'm not the ass to fight shy of such a windfall. As for Julia, hang her. By Jove, what an escape—wasn't it? Name her never again, and should she cry for me, give her a sugar plum—a kiss—a gingerbread husband, or yourself, as you please. I am not so fond of milk and water, and bread and butter, I can assure her.
"Ever truly yours, Henry Owen Millington.
"P.S. Capital shooting hereabout—can't you slip over for a few days?"
Poor Julia! I certainly am not clear that I shall not marry her myself; but as for that scoundrel Millington, he had better take care how he comes in my way—that's all.
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Manners & Customs of all Nations.
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(For the Mirror.)
On the Coteswold, Gloucester, is a customary meeting at Whitsuntide, vulgarly called an Ale, or Whitsun Ale, resorted to by numbers of young people. Two persons are chosen previous to the meeting, to be Lord and Lady of the Ale or Yule, who dress as suitably as they can to those characters; a large barn, or other building is fitted up with seats, &c. for the lord's hall. Here they assemble to dance and regale in the best manner their circumstances and the place will afford; each man treats his sweetheart with a ribbon or favour. The lord and lady attended by the steward, sword, purse, and mace-bearer, with their several badges of office, honour the hall with their presence; they have likewise, in their suit, a page, or train-bearer, and a jester, dressed in a parti-coloured jacket. The lord's music, consisting of a tabor and pipe, is employed to conduct the dance. Companies of morrice-dancers, attended by the jester and tabor and pipe, go about the country on Monday and Tuesday in Whitsun week, and collect sums towards defraying the expenses of the Yule. All the figures of the lord, &c. of the Yule, handsomely represented in basso-relievo, stand in the north wall of the nave of Cirencester Church, which vouches for the antiquity of the custom; and, on many of these occasions, they erect a may-pole, which denotes its rise in Druidism. The mace is made of silk, finely plaited with ribbons on the top, and filled with spices and perfumes for such of the company to smell to as desire it.
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ANCIENT FUNERAL RITES AMONG THE GREEKS.
(For the Mirror.)
The dead were ever held sacred and inviolable even amongst the most barbarous nations; to defraud them of any due respect was a greater and more unpardonable sacrilege than to spoil the temples of the gods; their memories were preserved with a religious care and reverence, and all their remains honoured with worship and adoration; hatred and envy themselves were put to silence, for it was thought a sign of a cruel and inhuman disposition to speak evil of the dead, and prosecute revenge beyond the grave. The ancient Greeks were strongly persuaded that their souls could not be admitted into the Elysian fields till their bodies were committed to the earth; therefore the honours (says Potter) paid to the dead were the greatest and most necessary; for these were looked upon as a debt so sacred, that such as neglected to discharge it were thought accursed. Those who died in foreign countries had usually their ashes brought home and interred in the sepulchres of their ancestors, or at least in some part of their native country; it being thought that the same mother which gave them life and birth, was only fit to receive their remains, and afford them a peaceful habitation after death. Whence ancient authors afford as innumerable instances of bodies conveyed, sometimes by the command of oracles, sometimes by the good-will of their friends, from foreign countries to the sepulchres of their fathers, and with great solemnity deposited there. Thus, Theseus was removed from Scyros to Athens, Orestes from Tegea, &c. Nor was this pious care limited to persons of free condition, but slaves also had some share therein; for we find (says Potter) the Athenian lawgiver commanding the magistrates, called Demarchi, under a severe penalty, to solemnize the funerals, not so much of citizens, whose friends seldom failed of paying the last honours, as of slaves, who frequently were destitute of decent burial.
Those who wasted their patrimony, forfeited their right of being buried in the sepulchres of their fathers. As soon as any person had expired, they closed his eyes. Augustus Caesar, upon the approach of his death, called for a looking-glass, and caused his hair to be combed, and his fallen cheeks decently composed. All the offices about the dead were performed by their nearest relations; nor could a greater misfortune befal any person than to want these respects. When dying, their friends and relations came close to the bed where they lay, to bid them farewell, and catch their dying words, which they never repeated without reverence. The want of opportunity to pay this compliment to Hector, furnishes Andromache with matter of lamentation, which is related in the Iliad. They kissed and embraced the dying person, so taking their last farewell; and endeavoured likewise to receive in their mouth his last breath, as fancying his soul to expire with it, and enter into their bodies. When any person died in debt at Athens, the laws of that city gave leave to creditors to seize the dead body, and deprive it of burial till payment was made; whence the corpse of Miltiades, who died in prison, being like to want the honour of burial, his son Cimon had no other means to release it, but by taking upon himself his father's debts and fetters. Sometime before interment, a piece of money was put into the corpse's mouth, which was thought to be Charon's fare for wafting the departed soul over the infernal river.
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SINGULAR MANORIAL CUSTOM.
(For the Mirror.)
The Manor of Broughton Lindsay, in Lincolnshire, is held under that of Caistor, by this strange service: viz. that annually, upon Palm Sunday, the deputy of the Lord of the Manor of Broughton, attends the church at Caistor, with a new cart whip in his hand, which he cracks thrice in the church porch; and passes with it on his shoulder up the nave into the chancel, and seats himself in the pew of the lord of the manor, where he remains until the officiating minister is about to read the second lesson; he then proceeds with his whip, to the lash of which he has in the meantime affixed a purse, which ought to contain thirty silver pennies (instead of which a single half crown is substituted,) and kneeling down before the reading desk, he holds the purse, suspended over the minister's head, all the time he is reading the lesson. After this he returns to his seat. When divine service is over, he leaves the whip and purse at the manor house.
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The Contemporary Traveller.
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MEXICO, OR NEW SPAIN.
The name of New Spain was at first given only to Yucatan by Grijalva and his followers; but Cortez extended it to the whole empire of Montezuma, which is described by the earliest writers to have reached from Panama to New California. This, however, appears, from more recent researches, on the accuracy of which Humboldt relies with reason, to have been larger than the reality justified; and the whole of Tenochtitlan may be said to have been contained in the present states of Vera Cruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico, and Valadolid. In addition to the name given by Cortez, that of the capital was extended to the whole kingdom of New Spain; and since the revolution and the establishment of independence, the several provinces form separate and independent states, confederating together and constituting the nineteen United States of Mexico; viz. Chiapa, Chihuahua, Cohahuila and Texas, Durango, Guanaxuato, Mexico, Michoachan, New Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sonora and Cinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Vera Cruz, Xalisco, Yucatan and Zacatecas. Old and New California, Colima, New Mexico, and Tlascala, though forming members of the federation, declined having state governments, on account of the expense, and are designated territories. The whole republic, according to Humboldt, occupies a space of 75,830 square leagues, of twenty to an equinoxial degree; on which there are to be found every inequality of surface, and every variety of soil and climate, the two last of which are dependent in most cases on the former.
The republic of Mexico, taken on the grand scale, may be considered as a succession of small mountain-plains at different heights, separated by mountains, and increasing in magnitude as the coast recedes on both the eastern and western sides, until the great centre plain be reached, which, though much broken by mountain ridges, tends to the north, maintaining nearly an equal elevation. The snow-capped mountains of Orizava, and the volcanos of Puebla and Toluca, are among the most splendid objects in the world. The Mexicans divide the regions of their country into Tierras calientes, Tierras templadas, and Tierras frias, according to the climate. Throughout the whole country there is a lamentable want of water, and of navigable rivers. The lakes, too, appear to be yearly decreasing in extent, the immediate consequence of which is, that the elevated portions of the interior are nearly stripped of vegetation, and the soil covered with an efflorescence of carbonate of soda, there called Tequisquita, resembling very closely the plains of the two Castiles, and recalling to the Eastern traveller the desolate wastes of some parts of Persia.
The effect of elevation on the temperature is most marked, and it is no uncommon thing to be shivering on one side of the street in the city of Mexico, and to be literally scorched by the rays of the sun on the other. Changes are upon record of 55 deg. of Fahrenheit within three hours, on one of the mountain-plains at the same height with the valley of Mexico.
Notwithstanding the volcanic character of Mexico, earthquakes are by no means so frequent there as in some of the neighbouring countries. One of the most memorable on record occurred on the 14th of September, 1759, when the volcano of Jorullo, with several smaller cones, forced the surface of the soil, destroying all before it.
The infinite variety of climate and soil fits this country for the production of the fruits of all regions, from those of the hottest within the tropics to those of the severest cold, where cultivation can be carried on. But the want of ports, and of navigable rivers on the Atlantic, opposes the advantages that might result from this variety of production, though on the Pacific there are a few admirable ports, such as Acapulco. The prevalence of the "Nortes," or northerly winds, at certain seasons, seriously affects the navigation on one side, while that of the "papagallos" is as inconvenient on the other.
The Mexican population is commonly divided into seven classes:—1. European Spaniards, commonly called "gachupines." 2. White Creoles. 3. Mestizos, descendants of Whites and Indians. 4. Mulattoes, descendants of Whites and Blacks. 5. Zambos, from Indians and Negroes. 6. Pure Indians. 7. African Blacks. But this classification may be reduced to four:—1. Whites. 2. Indians. 3. Blacks. 4. Mixed Races, the various gradations of which may be considered almost infinite.
The Indians consist of a considerable number of distinct tribes, differing in many points of appearance, and speaking—not dialects but—languages entirely different. No less than twenty of these have been traced, and of fourteen of them there are already grammars and dictionaries. The Indian population is chiefly centered in the great plains, and towards the south; and Humboldt thinks that it has flowed from the north to the south. The history of four great migrations is preserved in the annals of Mexico, which are worthy of more detailed examination than we can bestow upon them. The great body of these people live apart from the other races of their countrymen, in small villages, full of ignorance, suspicion, and bigotry, and displaying an apparent phlegm, from which it would seem impossible to arouse them. This phlegmatic temperament lessens the credit of the men with the females, who uniformly prefer the European, or the still more vivacious negro. "The indigenous Mexican is grave, melancholic, silent, so long as he is not under the influence of intoxicating liquors. This gravity is peculiarly remarkable in Indian children, who at the age of four or five years display more intelligence and precocity than the children of whites. The Mexican loves to attach mystery even to his most trifling actions; the strongest passions do not display themselves in his countenance; the transition is frightful when it passes suddenly from a state of absolute repose to that of violent and unrestrained agitation." Slavery with them has engendered guile. They are obstinate in all their habits and opinions; their religion is one of mere ceremonial, justifying the observation of a priest to Mr. Ward, "son mui buenos Catolicos, pero mui malos Cristianos" (very good Catholics, but very bad Christians.) Deception in this, as well as in every thing else, is the order of the day; and the Indian Alcalde now oppresses the villagers as much as he himself has ever been.
Humboldt considers the Mexican Indian as destitute of all imagination, though when to a certain degree educated, he attributes to him facility in learning, a clearness of understanding, a natural turn for reasoning, and a particular aptitude to subtilize and seize trifling distinctions.
The music and dancing are as dull as might be expected among beings so full of phlegm. The Mexican has a turn for painting and sculpture; and retains the same fondness for flowers that struck Cortez so forcibly upwards of three centuries ago. The "Indios Bravos," or Wild Indians, are said to display more energy; but our information respecting them is remarkably scanty.
Among the active vices of the Mexican Indian, that of drunkenness prevails to a most lamentable extent. In the upper districts, pulque, or the fermented juice of the aloe, is the principal tempter; sometimes a spirit, distilled from the same plant, called Vino de Mescal; while, in the hotter districts, the same effects are ensured by the chinguirito, a very coarse kind of rum. Combined with this disposition to intoxication, the Indian is constitutionally indolent; and, now that he is a free man, he will rarely work, except to obtain just as much as will afford him the means of enjoying his greatest luxury—that of steeping his senses in oblivion. This last tendency is much to be deplored, as, in the larger towns, we know that every Sunday (which is the day of greatest indulgence) assassinations, to the extent of six or eight each day, are the melancholy consequence of its indulgence. Humboldt states that the police were in the practice of sending tumbrels round, to collect the unhappy victims of intoxication. The punishment was, and we believe still is, three days' labour in the streets; but it does not seem to be very efficacious, for generally within the week the delinquents are again in custody.
There is something characteristic in the indolence of these sombre beings. They will travel immense distances; but to steady labour they are, generally speaking, not prone. It is told of them, that in one of the most fertile districts (the Baxio) it is not unusual for an Indian, on receiving his wages, to get thoroughly drunk, go to sleep, and on awakening renew his potations and repose, until the exhaustion of his finances compels him to return to labour. In some parts, however, there are exceptions to this observation.
Education has been more attended to, by some of the leading personages, than could have been expected in a society that had been so much kept in the shade. We apprehend the advantages are chiefly prospective, and may be well defined in another generation; at present they are but small. The whites have been, and still are, the most educated portion of the Mexicans, owing, no doubt, to their greater opulence, and having access to official rank. The mass of ignorance, however, among all classes, is inconceivable to any one who has only moved in the principal countries of Europe. Nor is it confined to the lower classes, but finds protection among the highest in the community. We heard a reverend canon of the metropolitan church gravely inquire, whether it was possible to reach London except by sailing up the Thames. And we knew a very pretty, agreeable young lady, moving in the first circles, who could not write a single letter at the age of seventeen. She has been since married, and has, we are informed, been taught to write by her husband, who is not a Mexican. The religion of all classes resembles too much that of the Indians; and the practical morality and general tone of society are by no means refined. If one half of the scandalous tales in circulation be true, the former ranks with that of Paris in its worst periods, and the latter is assuredly gross to a degree that would surprise even an inhabitant of Madrid. The familiarity with which every subject is treated at first excites emotions in an Englishman of the most unpleasant kind, which gradually subside, from the frequency with which they are discussed by young and old; by high and low, of both sexes.—Foreign Quarterly Review.
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Notes of a Reader.
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SIR WALTER SCOTT'S NEW WORK.
We detach this little descriptive gem from Sir Walter Scott's "Anne of Geierstein," just published. An outline of this very delightful novel will be found in a SUPPLEMENT with the present number of the MIRROR.
"The ancient tower of Geierstein, though neither extensive, nor distinguished by architectural ornament, possessed an air of terrible dignity by its position on the very verge of the opposite bank of the torrent, which, just at the angle of the rock on which the ruins are situated, falls sheer over a cascade of nearly a hundred feet in height, and then rushes down the defile, through a trough of living rock, which perhaps its waves have been deepening since time itself had a commencement. Facing, and at the same time looking down upon this eternal roar of waters, stood the old tower, built so close to the verge of the precipice, that the buttresses with which the architect had strengthened the foundation, seemed a part of the solid rock itself, and a continuation of its perpendicular ascent. As usual, throughout Europe in the feudal times, the principal part of the building was a massive square pile, the decayed summit of which was rendered picturesque, by flanking turrets of different sizes and heights, some round, some angular, some ruinous, some tolerably entire, varying the outline of the building as seen against the stormy sky."
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Since the death of his illustrious contemporary, Canova, Thorwaldsen, born at Copenhagen in 1771-2, has occupied the public eye as head of the modern school. The character and powers of this master are doubtless of a very elevated rank: but neither in the extent nor excellence of his works, do we apprehend his station to be so high as sometimes placed. The genius of the Danish sculptor is forcible, yet is its energy derived more from peculiarity than from real excellence. His ideal springs less from imitation of the antique, or of nature, than from the workings of his own individual mind—it is the creation of a fancy seeking forcible effect in singular combinations, rather than in general principles; therefore hardly fitted to excite lasting or beneficial influence upon the age. Simplicity and imposing expression seem to have hitherto formed the principal objects of his pursuit; but the distinction between the simple and rude, the powerful and the exaggerated, is not always observed in the labours of the Dane. His simplicity is sometimes without grace; the impressive—austere, and without due refinement. The air and contours of his heads, except, as in the Mercury—an excellent example both of the beauties and defects of the artist's style—when immediately derived from antiquity, though grand and vigorous, seldom harmonize in the principles of these efforts with the majestic regularity of general nature. The forms, again, are not unfrequently poor, without a vigorous rendering of the parts, and destitute at times of their just roundness. These defects may in some measure have arisen from the early and more frequent practice of the artist in relievos. In this department, Thorwaldsen is unexceptionably to be admired. The Triumph of Alexander, originally intended for the frieze of the government palace at Milan, notwithstanding an occasional poverty, in the materials of thought, is, as a whole, one of the grandest compositions in the world; while the delicacy of execution, and poetic feeling, in the two exquisite pieces of Night and Aurora, leave scarcely a wish here ungratified. But in statues, Thorwaldsen excels only where the forms and sentiment admit of uncontrolled imagination, or in which no immediate recourse can be had to fixed standards of taste, and to the simple effects of nature. Hence, of all his works, as admitting of unconfined expression, and grand peculiarity of composition, the statues of the Apostles, considered in themselves, are the most excellent. Thorwaldsen, in fine, possesses singular, but in some respects erratic genius. His ideas of composition are irregular; his powers of fancy surpass those of execution; his conceptions seem to lose a portion of their value and freshness in the act of realizement. As an individual artist, he will command deservedly a high rank among the names that shall go down to posterity. As a sculptor, who will influence, or has extended the principles of the art, his pretensions are not great; or, should this influence and these claims not be thus limited, the standard of genuine and universal excellence must be depreciated in a like degree.—Meme's History of Sculpture, &c.
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SIGN OF THE TIMES.
One of the singularities of the time is an unwillingness to tell the truth, even when there is no ground for suppressing or perverting it. It is so frequently under or overstated by most persons in this country who speak and write, according to the side they have espoused, or the inclinations and political principles of those by whom they are likely to be read or heard, that they at last persuade themselves there is a sort of impropriety in presenting facts in their proper colours.—Quarterly Review.
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A DUTCH TALE.
A ballad of Roosje is perhaps the most touchingly told story which the Dutch possess. It is of a maid—a beloved maid—born at her mother's death—bred up 'midst the tears and kisses of her father—prattling thoughtlessly about her mother—every one's admiration for beauty, cleverness, and virtue—gentle as the moon shining on the downs. Her name was to be seen written again and again on the sands by the Zeeland youths—and scarcely a beautiful flower bloomed but was gathered for her. Now in Zeeland, when the south-winds of summer come, there comes too a delicate fish, which hides itself in the sand, and which is dug out as a luxury by the young people. It is the time of sport and gaiety—and they venture far—far over the flat coast into the sea. The boys drag the girls among the waves—and Roosje was so dragged, notwithstanding many appeals. "A kiss, a kiss, or you go further," cried her conductor—she fled—he followed, both laughing:—"Into the sea—into the sea," said all her companions—he pushes her on—it is deeper, and deeper—she shrieks—she sinks—they sink together—the sands were faithless—there was no succour—the waves rolled over them—there was stillness and death:—The terrified playmates looked—
"All silently,—they look'd again— And silently sped home— And every heart was bursting then, But every tongue was dumb.
"And still and stately o'er the wave, The mournful moon arose, Flinging pale beams upon the grave, Where they in peace repose.
"The wind glanc'd o'er the voiceless sea, The billows kissed the strand— And one sad dirge of misery Fill'd all the mourning land."
Foreign Quarterly Review.
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ENGLAND AND HER COLONIES.
The discouragement of colonization is certainly not the feeling of the great majority of the people of England, and it is equally certain that it is not the policy of this empire. Whatever may be the fate of the several British colonies at some future and distant period, it is something at least to have spread our laws and language, and moral character, over the most distant parts of the globe. The colonies that speak the language of Old England—that preserve her manners and her habits—will always be her best customers; and their surplus capital will always centre in the mother country. It was not the opinion of our ancestors, that colonies were an incumbrance; they—good, stupid souls—imagined that colonies enlarged the sphere of commerce—-that commerce required ships—that ships created seamen for manning the royal navy, and that the whole contributed to individual wealth, to the national revenue, and the national strength; and such we believe still to be the opinion of men of sound practical knowledge, whose minds are unwarped by abstract systems and preconceived theories, to which every thing must be made to bend. Such, too, was the feeling of that extraordinary man, who, with the solitary exception of England, exacted homage from every crowned head of Europe. This man, in the plenitude of his power, felt that something was still wanting to enable him to grapple with one little island, invulnerable by its maritime strength, the sinews of which he knew to be derived from its colonies: he felt that, deprived as he was of "ships, colonies, and commerce," England was able to stand alone among nations, and to bid defiance to his overwhelming power. That cunning fox, too, by whose councils he was occasionally guided, knew too well the degree of strength that England derived from her colonies, which he described to be her very vitals, and which could only be reached by a powerful navy. He designated them as the sheet anchor of Great Britain—the prop that supported her maritime superiority—the strongholds of her power. "Deprive her of her colonies," said Talleyrand. "and you break down her last wall; you fill up her last ditch."—Fas est et ab hoste doceri.—Quarterly Review.
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As a certificate of your intention to be punctual, you may send your friends, a similar billet to the following:—
My dear Sir,
The honour of your company is requested to dine with —— on Fryday, 1828.
The favour of a positive answer is requested, or the proffered plate will be appropriated as it was when—
Sir Ill-bred Ignorance returned the following answer:—"I shall be quite happy to come if I possibly can." Such words the committee voted were equivalent to these—I'll come, if in the mean time I am not invited to a party that I like better.—Dr. Kitchiner.
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Has very little, as a city, to recommend it. It is characterized by much active industry within doors, the savans and mechaniciens being pent up in their closets and ateliers, and very little gaiety pervades the promenades. Some parts of the town are sufficiently picturesque; the overhanging roofs, for which it is remarkable, are, however, too lofty to screen the pedestrian from the rain, especially if accompanied by a high wind, and form no shade from the sun. The pavement of the streets is bad, and their irregularity is a considerable drawback from the internal appearance. The pavement of the inclined plane in the Hotel de Ville, by which we gain the arduous ascent that conducts to the Passport office, is a curiosity of its kind, and perhaps unique. The city is tolerably well fenced in with walls within walls, draw and suspension bridges, and gates; while stakes and chains secure from surprise on the part of the lake. The small canton of Geneva, though in the vicinity of the Great Alpine chain and the mountains of the Jura, includes no mountains. The name of the city and canton has been traced by the etymologists to a Celtic origin; Gen, a sally-port or exit, and av, a river, probably because the Rhone here leaves the Leman lake. The eagle on the escutcheon of the city arms indicates its having been an imperial city; and it is believed the key was an adjunct of Pope Martin V., in the year 1418. The motto on the scroll, "Ex tenebris lux," appears to have existed anterior to the light of the Reformation. The number of inhabitants may now be estimated at about 22,000; but it appears, by a census in 1789, to have been 26,148. In this moral city, it is computed that every twelfth birth is illegitimate. The number of people engaged in clock and watch-making and jewellery, may be safely rated at 3,000. In years favourable to these staple manufactures 75,000 ounces of gold are employed, which is almost equally divided between watches and jewellery. The daily supply of silver is about 134 ounces. Pearls form an article of considerable value in the jewellery, and have been rated at no less a sum that 1,200 francs daily. 70,000 watches are annually made, only one-twelfth of which are in silver. More than fifty distinct branches are comprised in the various departments, and each workman, on the average, earns about three shillings a-day.—Mr. John Murray's Tour.
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Some folks eat two or three times as much as others—for instance, our incomparable and inspired composer, Handel, required uncommonly large and frequent supplies of food. Among other stories told of this great musician, it is said that whenever he dined alone at a tavern, he always ordered "dinner for three;" and on receiving an answer to his question—"Is de tinner retty?"—"As soon as the company come."—He said, con strepito, "Den pring up te Tinner prestissimo, I am de gombany."
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From one of Dr. Parr's Letters.
His letters put me in mind of tumult and anarchy; there is sedition in every sentence; syllable has no longer any confidence in syllable, but dissolves its connexion as preferring an alliance with the succeeding word. A page of his epistle looks like the floor of a garden-house, covered with old, crooked nails, which have just been released from a century's durance in a brick wall. I cannot cast my eyes on his character without being religious. This is the only good effect I have derived from his writings; he brings into my mind the resurrection, and paints the tumultuous resuscitation of awakened men with a pencil of masterly confusion. I am fully convinced of one thing, either that he or his pen is intoxicated when he writes to me, for his letters seem to have borrowed the reel of wine, and stagger from one corner of the sheet to the other. They remind me of Lord Chatham's administration, lying together heads and points in one truckle-bed.
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WINE AND WATER.
The same quantity of wine diluted intoxicates sooner than the same quantity drank in the same time without dilution; the wine being applied to a larger surface of the stomach, acts with proportionably greater quickness—though wine diluted sooner intoxicates, its effects are sooner over.—Dr. Kitchiner.
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NEW SOUTH WALES.
Of the total population of New South Wales, which, in round numbers, may be taken at 40,000, the Free Emigrants
amount only to about ............ 7,000 Native Children ................. 5,000 Emancipated Convicts............. 8,000 Convicts in Servitude .......... 20,000 _ 40,000
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As Cooke, the solicitor-general, was beginning to open the pleadings at the trial of Charles I, the king gently tapped him on the shoulder with his cane, crying "Hold, hold!" At the same moment the silver head of the cane fell off, and rolled on the floor.
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The comforts and benefits to be derived from a well cultivated garden, by a poor man's family, are almost beyond calculation. What a resource for hours after work, or when trade is dull, and regular work scarce! What a contrast and counteraction is the healthy, manly, employment which a cottage garden affords, to the close, impure, unwholesome air, the beastliness and obscenity, the waste of time, the destruction of morals, the loss of character, money, and health, which are the inmates of too many common ale-houses!—Gardener's Mag.
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Painting, were the use of it universal, would be a powerful means of instruction to children and the lower orders; and were all the fine surfaces, which are now plain, and absolutely wasted, enriched with the labours of the art, if they once began to appear, they would accumulate rapidly; and were the ornamented edifices open to all, as freely as they ought to be, a wide field of new and agreeable study would offer itself. A person, who thoroughly understood the well-chosen subjects, and was qualified to explain them to a stranger, could not be devoid of knowledge, nor could his mind want food for constant contemplation. The sense of beauty has hitherto been little cultivated in Great Britain; but it certainly exists, and shows itself principally in laying out gardens and pleasure-grounds with unrivalled skill.—Edin. Review.
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Spirit of Discovery.
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In the New Monthly Magazine for October, 1826, is the following statement of the efficacy of the guaco for the cure of the bite of a mad dog, published by the gentleman who first made use of the plant in South America, as an antidote to that scourge of human nature, hydrophobia; his words are, "I shall simply state, that during my residence in South America, I had frequent opportunities of witnessing the direful effects of hydrophobia, without having in any one case that came under my care been successful in its cure by the usual modes prescribed in Europe. It fortunately occurred to me, that the guaco, so celebrated for curing the bite or sting of all venomous snakes, might prove equally efficacious in hydrophobic cases. How far my idea was correct that an analogy existed between the virus of a serpent and that of a rabid dog, I leave to others to determine; but such was my opinion, and I acted upon it in all subsequent cases with complete success."
We understand the same gentleman has received from South America two plants which he was in the habit of prescribing for insanity and pulmonary consumption, with the happiest effects; and as it is his intention to give them an immediate trial, should they be found to answer in Europe, as in South America, of which he has not the least doubt, the discovery may be considered as of the first consequence in medicine.
The Journal Des Reconnaissances Useless gives the following method of curing legs of mutton like ham:—It is necessary that the mutton should be very fat. Two ounces of raw sugar must be mixed with an ounce of common salt and half a spoonful of saltpetre. The meat is to be rubbed well with this, and then placed in a tureen. It must be beaten and turned twice a day during three consecutive days; and the scum which comes from the meat having been taken off, it is to be wiped, and again rubbed with the mixture. The next day it should be again beaten, and the two operations ought to be repeated alternately during ten days, care being taken to turn the meat each time. It must be then exposed to the smoke for ten days. These hams are generally eaten cold.
A mode has been adopted to prepare potatoes as food, which has at least one advantage—that of economy. The potatoes are roasted in a kiln or oven, and are thus prevented from sprouting, (which injures their quality so much at this season of the year,) and are thus preserved for some time in a fit state for consumption. They are better for being again heated before they are used, and though it is to be regretted that persons should be reduced to such food, yet they are cheaper and more wholesome than the bread usually given in times of scarcity to the poorer classes.
A new air-thermometer has been invented by M. Pouillet, for the purpose of measuring degrees of heat in very high temperatures; an object hitherto of very difficult attainment. By means of this instrument it has been ascertained, that the heat of melted silver is 1677 deg.; of a melted mixture of one part gold and three parts silver, 1803 deg.; and of melted pure gold 2096 deg..
To Destroy Slugs.
A correspondent of the Gardener's Magazine states, that after in vain trying salt, lime, and dibbling holes for preserving young cauliflowers and cabbages from slugs, he succeeded by spreading some well cut chaff round the plants under hand glasses, and some round the outsides of the glasses. The slugs in their attempt to reach the plant, find themselves immediately enveloped in the chaff, which prevents their moving, so that when he raised the glasses to give the plants air, he found hundreds of disabled slugs round the outside of the glasses, which he took away and destroyed.
To make Kitchen Vegetables tender.
When peas, French beans, &c. do not boil easily, it has usually been imputed to the coolness of the season, or to the rains. This popular notion is erroneous. The difficulty of boiling them soft arises from an excess of gypsum imbibed during their growth. To correct this, throw a small quantity of subcarbonate of soda into the pot along with the vegetables.—From the French.
Beet Root Sugar
Has now become an article of some practical magnitude in French commerce; since the annual consumption is between seven and eight million pounds.
It was lately mentioned by Mr. Huskisson, in the House of Commons, as a proof of the flourishing state of our trade, that British Bandanna handkerchiefs were in the course of shipment to India. In addition to this fact, we can state of our own knowledge that they are now exporting to France, in no inconsiderable quantities, not merely as samples, but in the regular course of trade.—For. Quart. Rev.
It is curious to take a retrospective view of the mode in which the effects of the Leyden phial were announced to the world, on their first discovery. The philosophers who first experienced, in their own person, the shock attendant on the transmission of an electric discharge, were so impressed with wonder and with terror by this novel sensation, that they wrote the most ridiculous and exaggerated account of their feelings on the occasion. Muschenbrok states, that he received so dreadful a concussion in his arms, shoulder, and heart, that he lost his breath, and it was two days before he could recover from its effects; he declared also, that he should not be induced to take another shock for the whole kingdom of France. Mr. Allemand reports, that the shock deprived him of breath for some minutes, and afterwards produced so acute a pain along his right arm, that he was apprehensive it might be attended with serious consequences. Mr. Winkler informs us, that it threw his whole body into convulsions, and excited such a ferment in his blood, as would have thrown him into a fever, but for the timely employment of febrifuge remedies. He states, that at another time it produced copious bleeding at the nose; the same effect was produced also upon his lady, who was almost rendered incapable of walking. The strange accounts naturally excite the attention and wonder of all classes of people; the learned and the vulgar were equally desirous of experiencing so singular a sensation, and great numbers of half-taught electricians wandered through every part of Europe to gratify this universal curiosity.
It is on the nervous system that the most considerable action of electricity is exerted. A strong charge passed through the head, gave to Mr. Singer the sensation of a violent but universal blow, and was followed by a transient loss of memory and indistinctness of vision. If a charge be sent through the head of a bird, its optic nerve is usually injured or destroyed, and permanent blindness induced; and a similar shock given to larger animals, produces a tremulous state of the muscles, with general prostration of strength. If a person who is standing receive a charge through the spine, he loses his power over the muscles to such a degree, that he either drops on his knees, or falls prostrate on the ground; if the charge be sufficiently powerful, it will produce immediate death, in consequence, probably, of the sudden exhaustion of the whole energy of the nervous system. Small animals, such as mice and sparrows, are instantly killed by a shock from thirty square inches of glass. Van Marum found that eels are irrecoverably deprived of life when a shock is sent through their whole body; but when only a part of the body is included in the circuit, the destruction of irritability is confined to that individual part, while the rest retains the power of motion. Different persons are affected in very different degrees by electricity, according to their peculiar constitutional susceptibility. Dr. Young remarks, that a very minute tremor, communicated to the most elastic parts of the body, in particular the chest, produces an agitation of the nerves, which is not wholly unlike the effect of a weak electricity.
The bodies of animals killed by electricity, rapidly undergo putrefaction, and the action of electricity upon the flesh of animals is also found to accelerate this process in a remarkable degree. The same effect has been observed in the bodies of persons destroyed by lightning. It is also a well-established fact, that the blood does not coagulate after death from this cause.
Transplanting Shrubs in full Growth.
Dig a narrow trench round the plant, leaving its roots in the middle in an isolated ball of earth; fill the trench with plaster of Paris, which will become hard in a few minutes, and form a case to the ball and plant, which may be lifted and removed any where at pleasure.—French Paper.
A cheap and powerful freezing mixture may be made by pulverizing Glauber's salts finely, and placing it level at the bottom of a glass vessel. Equal parts of sal ammoniac and nitre are then to be finely powdered, and mixed together, and subsequently added to the Glauber's salts, stirring the powders well together; after which adding water sufficient to dissolve the salts, a degree of cold will be produced, frequently below Zero of Fahrenheit. But Mr. Walker states, that nitrate of ammonia, phosphate of soda, and diluted nitric acid, will on the instant produce a reduction of temperature amounting to 80 degrees. It is desirable to reduce the temperature of the substances previously, if convenient, by placing the vessels in water, with nitre powder thrown in occasionally.
Microscopic Examination of the Blood.
By the aid of Tulley's achromatic microscope, and under highly magnifying powers, it has recently been discovered that the globules of the blood congeal into flat circular bodies, and arrange themselves in rows, one body being placed partly underneath another, and in like manner as a pile of similar coins, when thrown gently down, would be found to arrange themselves. This curious effect has been attributed to the vitality yet remaining in the blood, during the act of congealing. At any rate it is a most singular fact, for although we might naturally conceive that the flattened circular plates would place themselves in juxtaposition, yet we never could have supposed that they would have partly slipped underneath each other. In order to make this very curious experiment, it is necessary that the blood, as freshly drawn, be slightly and thinly smeared over the surface of a slip of crown, or window glass, and be covered with a very thin slip of Bohemian plate glass; and thus some slight inequalities in the thickness of the layer of blood between them will be produced, and which are necessary to succeed in producing the very curious appearances abovementioned.—Gilt's Repository.
To make the Liqueur Curacoa.
Put into a large bottle, nearly filled with alcohol, at thirty-four degrees of Baume (or thirty-six) the peels of six fine Portugal oranges, which are smooth skinned, and let them infuse for fifteen days. At the end of this time, put into a large stone or glass vessel, 11 ounces of brandy at eighteen degrees, 4-1/2 ounces of white sugar, and 4-1/2 ounces of river water. When the sugar is dissolved, add a sufficient quantity of the above infusion of orange peels, to give it a predominant flavour; and aromatise with 3 grammes of fine cinnamon, and as much mace, both well bruised. Lastly, throw into the liqueur 31 grammes (1 ounce) of Brazil wood, in powder. Leave the whole in infusion ten days, being stirred three or four times a day. At the end of this time taste the liqueur; and if it be too strong and sweet, add more water to it; if too weak, add alcohol, at 30 degrees; and if it be not sweet enough, put syrup to it. Give it colour with caramel when you would tinge it.—From the French.
Subterraneous Growth of Potatoes.
A mixture of two parts Danube sand, and one part common earth, was laid in a layer an inch thick, in one corner of my cellar; and, in April, thirty-two yellow potatoes with their skins placed upon its surface. They threw out stalks on all sides; and, at the end of the following November, more than a quarter of a bushel of the best potatoes were gathered, about a tenth part of which were about the size of apples—the rest as large as nuts. The skin was very thin; the pulp farinaceous, white, and of a good taste. No attention was given to the potatoes during the time they remained on the sand, and they grew without the influence of the sun or light. This trial may be advantageously applied in fortified places, hospitals, houses of correction, and, in general, in all places where cellars or subterraneous places occur, being neither too cold nor too moist; and where it is important to procure a cheap, but abundant nourishment for many individuals.—From the French.
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* * * * *
The three Hundreds of Desborough, Stoke, and Burnham, in Bucks, are called the "Chiltern Hundreds," and take their name from the Chalk Hills which run through Bucks and the neighbouring counties. The property of these Hundreds remaining in the Crown, a Steward is appointed at a salary of 20s. and all fees, which nominal office is accepted by any Member of Parliament who wishes to vacate his seat.
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At Braintree and Booking, in Essex, when topers partake of a pot of ale, it is divided into three parts or draughts, the first of which is called neckum, the second sinkum, and the third swankum. In Bailey's Dictionary, swank is said to be "that remainder of liquor at the bottom of a tankard, pot, or cup, which is just sufficient for one draught, which it is not accounted good manners to divide with the left-hand man, and according to the quantity is called either a large or little swank."
* * * * *
Has the precise period been ascertained when chimneys upon the present mode were first constructed in England? It was apparently not sooner than Henry the Eighth's time; for Leland, when he visited Bolton Castle, in Yorkshire, seems to have been greatly surprised by the novelty and ingenuity of the contrivance. "One thing (says he) I much notyd in the haull of Bolton, how chimneys was conveyed by tunnills made in the sydds of the waulls, betwixt the lights; and by this meanes is the smoke of the harthe wonder strangely convayed."
The front of St. John's Hospital at Lichfield, presents one of the most curious ancient specimens extant of this part of our early domestic architecture. This building was erected 1495, but it is possible that the remarkable chimneys may have been subsequently added.
* * * * *
(For the Mirror.)
In a collection of Epigrams written by Thomas Freeman, of Gloucestershire, and published in 1014, is the following, entitled "London's Progresse:"—
"Why, how nowe, Babell, whither wilt thou build? I see old Holbourne, Charing Crosse, the Strand, Are going to St. Giles's in-the-field, Saint Katerne, she takes Wapping by the hand,
"And Hogsdon will to Hygate ere't be long, London has got a great way from the streame, I thinke she means to go to Islington, To eate a dish of strawberries and creame. The City's sure in progresse I surmise, Or going to revell it in some disorder, Without the Walls, without the Liberties, Where she neede feare nor Mayor nor Recorder. Well! say she do, 'twere pretty, yet 'tis pitty A Middlesex Bailiff should arrest the Citty."
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(For the Mirror.)
The word "Avver" has doubtless the same origin as the German word "Hafer" "Haber" which signifies in English, oat.
In some parts of Germany a pap of oatmeal "Haferbrei" is very common as breakfast of the lower classes. Of "Haferbrod" oatbread, I only heard in 1816, when the other sorts of grain were so very scarce in Germany.
A German and Constant Reader of the Mirror.
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(For the Mirror.)
So often alluded to by the poets, is the bird called the King Fisher. It was believed by the ancients that while the female brooded over the eggs, the sea and weather remained calm and unruffled; hence arose the expression of Halcyon days.
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SIR ISAAC NEWTON.
(For the Mirror.)
Woolsthorp, Lincolnshire, a little village on the great north road between Stamford and Grantham, is memorable as the birthplace of that illustrious philosopher, Sir Isaac Newton. The house in which he was born, is a kind of farmhouse, built of stone, and is, or was lately standing. The learned Dr. Stukely visited it in 1721, and was showed the inside of it by the country people; in a letter to Dr. Mead on this occasion, he says, "They led me up stairs, and showed me Sir Isaac's study, where I suppose he studied when in the country, in his younger days, as perhaps, when he visited his mother from the university. I observed the shelves were of his own making, being pieces of deal boxes, which probably he sent his books and clothes down in upon these occasions."
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"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
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When Dr. Johnson courted Mrs. Porter, whom he afterwards married, he told her "that he was of mean extraction, that he had no money; and that he had an uncle hanged!" The lady by way of reducing herself, to an equality with the doctor, replied, "that she had no more money than himself; and that, though she had not a relation hanged, she had fifty who deserved hanging." And thus was accomplished this very curious amour.
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On the Dorchester road from Sturminster, is a public-house called the "King's Stag," its sign displays a stag with a gold collar around its neck, and underneath are the following lines:—
When Julius Caesar landed here, I was then a little deer; When Julius Caesar reigned king, Round my neck he put this ring; Whoever shall me overtake, Spare my life for Caesar's sake.
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When Lord Norbury was applied to by a collector of one of the local taxes for the amount of tax, his lordship said, he had already paid it, and on looking to his file, discovered a receipt, signed by the same collector who then applied for it. The tax-man, confounded, apologized in the best manner he could, stating his regret that he did not recollect it. "I dare say," said my lord, "you are very sorry you did not re-collect it."
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IN KENSINGTON CHURCHYARD.
"Here are deposited the remains of Mrs. Ann Floyer, the beloved wife of Mr. Richard Floyer, of Thistle Grove, in this parish, died on Thursday the 8th of May, 1823.
"God hath chosen her as a pattern for the other Angels."
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IN DUNDEE CHURCHYARD.
"Here lies the body of John Watson, Read not this with your hats on, For why? He was the Provost of Dundee, Hallelujah, hallelugee."
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Shortly after the introduction of the New Weights and Measures, an innkeeper in a market-town, not far from Sudbury, in Suffolk, sent his ostler to a customer with a quantity of liquor, which he delivered with the following words:—"Marstur bid me tell ye Sar, as how 'tis the New Infarnal Measure."
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A farmer calling upon his landlord to pay his rent, apologized for being late, by saying that his illness prevented his attending earlier, and he did not know what his disorder was. The gentleman told him it was "Influenza." Returning home he was met by the schoolmaster of the village, who inquired after his health, "I am very poorly," replied the farmer, "my landlord tells me my complaint is Humphry Windsor."
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A witness on a trial being interrogated by Judge Willis, in a manner not pleasing to him, turned to an acquaintance, and told him in a half whisper, "he did not come there to be queered by the old one." Willis heard him, and instantly replied, in his own cant, "I am old 'tis true—and I'm rum sometimes—and for once I'll be queer—and I send you to quod."
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An exciseman whose remarks and answers were frequently rather odd, riding at a quick pace upon a blind pony, was met by a person who praised the animal much, "Yes," replied the officer, "he is a very good one, only he shies at every thing he sees."
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SIR WALTER SCOTT'S NEW NOVEL
A supplement published with the present Number, contains an outline of of the Novel of Anne of Geierstein, OR THE MAID OF THE MIST; With Unique Extracts, &c.
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LIMBIRD'S EDITION OF THE
Following Novels is already Published:
Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6 Paul and Virginia 0 6 The Castle of Otranto 0 6 Almoran and Hamet 0 6 Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6 The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6 Rasselas 0 8 The Old English Baron 0 8 Nature and Art 0 8 Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 Sicilian Romance 1 0 The Man of the World 1 0 A Simple Story 1 4 Joseph Andrews 1 6 Humphry Clinker 1 8 The Romance of the Forest 1 8 The Italian 2 0 Zeluco, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Roderick Random 2 6 The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6 Peregrine Pickle 4 6
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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143. Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.