THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL 14, NO. 400.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
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The Limoeiro, at Lisbon.
Locks, bolts, and bars! what have we here?—a view of the Limoeiro, or common jail, at Lisbon, whose horrors, without the fear of Don Miguel in our hearts, we will endeavour to describe, though lightly—merely in outline,—since nothing can be more disagreeable than the filling in.
For this purpose we might quote ourselves, i.e. one of our correspondents, or a host of travellers and residents in the Portuguese capital; but we give preference to Mr. W. Young, who has borne much of the hard fare of the prison, and can accordingly speak more fully of its accommodations and privations. Mr. Young is an Englishman, who married a Portuguese lady in Leiria, and resided for several years in that town. He was arrested in May, 1828, on suspicion of disaffection towards Don Miguel's government: nothing appears to have been proved against him, and after having suffered much disagreeable treatment in different jails in Leiria and Lisbon, he was discharged in the following September, on condition of leaving the country. He returned to England, and lost no time in publishing a volume entitled "Portugal in 1828;" with "A Narrative of the Author's Residence there and of his persecution and confinement as a state prisoner."
 See "Portuguese Prisons," MIRROR, vol. xii, p. 99.
The prison, says Mr. Young, stands on the highest ground in St. George's Castle, and is the first building on the south side toward the Tagus. Near the entrance it is divided internally as follows below:—Saletta (the small hall;) Salla Livre (free hall,) so called, because visiters are allowed to go in to see their friends, except when the jailer or intendant orders otherwise; Salla Fechado (the hall shut,) so called, because no communication is allowed with the prisoners in that hall; Enchovia (the common prison,) where thieves, murderers, and vagabonds of every description are confined. This last receptacle is a horrid place; and is often made use of as a punishment for prisoners from other parts of the gaol. Hither they are sent when they commit any offence, for as many days as the jailer may think proper, and are often put in irons during that time.
Besides these different prisons on the ground floor, there are eight dungeons in a line, all nearly alike in shape and size; but some are superior to others as to light and air: and in proportion to the degree they wish to annoy the unfortunate victim, so are these dungeons used. A few dollars never fail to procure a better light and air when properly applied.
Three of these dungeons are about six feet higher than the other five. There is a corridor in the front of them, which is always shut up when any one is confined in them, so that no one can ever approach the door of a dungeon. And to make this a matter of certainty, whenever the jailer or officers of the prison carry prisoners their food, they lock the door of the corridor before they open that of the dungeon.
The first of the lower five of these dungeons is in the passage leading from, the Salla Livre, and next door to the privy of the prison; so that it is never used as a secret dungeon. The lower four are enclosed as those above, and are much darker than that in the passage. This latter is claimed by the book-keeper as his property, and I hired it of him to sleep in, and to be alone when I wished to be so.
The dungeons are all bomb proof, and over them is a terrace thickly formed of brick and stone; still I could distinctly hear the sentry walking over my head when all was quiet at night.
The walls of these cells are about six feet thick, with bars inside and out; the bars in the windows are three inches square, making twelve inches in circumference, and being crossed they form squares of about eight inches; the windows differ very much in size, some not being half so large as others.
Besides these double bars, there is a shutter immensely strong and close, so that when shut, light is totally excluded; the iron door has a strong bolt and lock, and outside of this there is a strong wooden door; in the front of the windows, and about six feet from them, there is a high wall; so that in the best of these dungeons, there is only a reflected light.
These are all the prisons on the ground floor, and when full (which they too often are) the wretched prisoners are forced to lie at night in two rows, with their feet to the wall, and their heads to the middle of the room; this position they adopt on account of the cold and damp of the stone walls; they touch each other, and the floor is completely covered. Nay, at times, so full is the gaol, that they are obliged to lie on the corridors, and even on the steps.
The Saletta will hold forty prisoners, the Salla Livre more than sixty, the Salla Fechado one hundred, and the Enchovia, near one hundred and forty. When one prison becomes too full, they remove some of the victims to another, or send them to the forts, or on board the ships in the river.
The first floor is divided into two parts, officers' rooms, and the Sallao, (saloon or large hall.) This hall will hold about 150 persons, when full. Besides the Sallao and officers' rooms on the first floor, there is a room set apart for questioning people who are in the dungeons. This room has an entrance from the street, and another through a passage from the dungeons, as well as one from the officers' rooms.
The magistrate and his clerk enter from the street, and no one in the prison sees them. The prisoner is taken up stairs from the dungeon, and the jailer or book-keeper enters from the officers' apartments. Every thing is done in the most secret manner. If they cannot cause the prisoner to commit himself, by confessing to the offence with which he is charged, they send him back again to the dungeon.
The gaol of St. George's has a second floor tier of offices; but that belongs to the governor and jailer; there are no prisoners above the ground and the first floor.
None of the authorities ever inquire whether he has any means of subsistence; there is neither bed blanket, nor even straw, unless the prisoner can buy it, and then he must pay the guards to let it pass to him.
Amongst the many thousands of unfortunate beings who are now confined in Portugal, great numbers of them are without money or any other means of subsistence; and were it not for the charity of people in general, starvation would necessarily ensue.
The only authorities employed about the prison are a jailer, secretary, and eight guards; of the latter three are always on duty; one of them being stationed at the first iron gate at the entrance of the prison, another at the second gate, and a third to attend the interior, each with a bunch of keys in his hand, which serve for nearly all the doors. The guards are relieved every night at nine o'clock, when, the man who is posted at the outer door carries a strong iron rod (see the Engraving) with which he strikes every bar in the windows and gates of the gaol; and if any one of them does not vibrate, or ring, he carefully inspects it to ascertain whether it has been cut with a saw, or corroded by any strong acid. This dismal music lasts an hour. The whole expense of the prison to government does not exceed 16s. per day, and the few officers and guards, when Mr. Young was there, manage upwards of four hundred prisoners. He was confined from June 16, to September 7, and his account of the myriads of bugs, rats, mice, and other vermin is truly disgusting. The reader will however readily credit this report when he has been told of the revolting state of the city itself. Mrs. Baillie, in her recent Letters on Lisbon, says, "for three miles round Lisbon in every direction, you cannot for a moment get clear of the disgusting effluvia that issue from every house." Doctor Southey says "every kind of vermin that exists to punish the nastiness and indolence of man, multiplies in the heat and dirt of Lisbon. In addition to mosquitoes, the scolopendra is not uncommonly found here, and snakes sometimes intrude into the bedchamber. A small species of red ant likewise swarms over every thing sweet, and the Portuguese remedy is to send for the priest to exorcise them." The city is still subject to shocks of earthquake; the state of the police is horrible; street-robbery is common, and every thief is an assassin. The pocket-knife, which the French troops are said to have dreaded more than all the bayonets of either the Spanish or the Portuguese, is here the ready weapon of the assassin; and the Tagus receives many a corpse on which no inquest ever sits. The morals, in fact, of all classes in Lisbon appear to be in a dreadful state.
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A TALE OF TRUTH.
(For the Mirror.)
Young Lady Giddygad, came down From spending half a year in town, With cranium full of balls and plays, Routs, fetes, and fashionable ways, Caus'd in her country-town, so quiet, Unus'd to modish din and riot, No small confusion and amaze, "Quite a sensation," is the phrase, Like that, which puss, or pug, may feel When rous'd from slumber by your heel, Or drowsy ass, at rider's knock, Or——should you term him block; Quoi qu'il en soit, first, gossips gape, Then envy, scandalize, and ape! Quoth Mrs. Thrifty: "Nancy, dear, My Lady sends out cards I hear, With, I suppose, 'tis now polite, Merely 'At Home,' on such a night, Now child, altho' I dare not say We can afford to be so gay, We're as well born as Lady G—— And may be, as well bred as she! That is, quite in a sober way So as we've nothing more to pay: For instance, when folks choose to come, And I don't choose to be 'At Home,' I'll have a notice stuck, you know, On the hall door, to tell them so: 'Twill save our Rachel's legs you see, And soon the top will copy me! But, Nancy, d'ye hear, now write That I'm 'At Home' on Thursday night; 'Tis a good fashion, for 'tis what Most fashions in this age are not A saving one: ah, prithee think, How it saves time, and quills, and ink!" So, duteous Nancy seiz'd a pen, To ladies, and to gentlemen Sent quickly out the cards; as quick Came one again: "Poh! fiddlestick An answer, yes?—come, let me see, My spectacles!" cried Mistress T—— "Hum—Mrs. Thrifty,—Thursday night—'At Home'—oh malice! fiendish spite," (Quoth the good dame in furious ire, Whilst the card, fed the greedy fire) "No, never, never, will I strive To be genteel, as I'm alive, Beneath my own 'At Home' was cramm'd, There stay, good madam, and be d—d!"
 A fact.
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MAHOMET THE GREAT AND HIS MISTRESS.
(For the Mirror.)
After the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, in the year 1453, several captives, distinguished either for their rank or their beauty, were presented to the victorious Mahomet the Great. Irene, a most beautiful Greek lady, was one of those unfortunate captives. The emperor was so delighted with her person, that he dedicated himself wholly to her embraces, spending day and night in her company, and neglected his most pressing affairs. His officers, especially the Janissaries, were extremely exasperated at his conduct; and loudly exclaimed against their degenerate and effeminate prince, as they were then pleased to call him. Mustapha Bassa, who had been brought up with the emperor from a child, presuming upon his great interest, took an opportunity to lay before his sovereign the bad consequences which would inevitably ensue should he longer persevere in that unmanly and base course of life. Mahomet, provoked at the Bassa's insolence, told him that he deserved to die; but that he would pardon him in consideration of former services. He then commanded him to assemble all the principal officers and captains in the great hall of his palace the next day, to attend his royal pleasure. Mustapha did as he was directed; and the next day the sultan understanding that the Bassas and other officers awaited him, entered the hall, with the charming Greek, who was delicately dressed and adorned. Looking sternly around him, the Sultan demanded, which of them, possessing so fair an object, could be contented to relinquish it? Being dazzled with the Christian's beauty, they unanimously answered, that they highly commended his happy choice, and censured themselves for having found fault with so much worth. The emperor replied, that he would presently show them how much they had been deceived in him, for that no earthly pleasure should so far bereave him of his senses, or blind his understanding, as to make him forget his duty in the high calling wherein he was placed. So saying, he caught Irene by the hair of her head, which he instantly severed from her body with his scimitar.
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MEMOIR OF LUCRETIA DAVIDSON,
Who died at Plattsburgh, N.Y., August 27, 1825, aged sixteen years and eleven months.
[We hardly know how to give our readers an idea of the intense interest which this biographical sketch has excited in our mind; but we are persuaded they will thank us for adopting it in our columns. The details are somewhat abridged from No. LXXXII. of the Quarterly Review, (just published), where they appear in the first article, headed "Amir Khan, and other Poems: the remains of Lucretia Maria Davidson," &c., published at New York, in the present year. Prefixed to these "remains" is a biographical sketch, which forms the basis of the present memoir, and from the Poems are selected the few specimens with which it is illustrated.—ED.]
Lucretia Maria Davidson was born September 27, 1808, at Plattsburgh, on Lake Champlain. She was the second daughter of Dr. Oliver Davidson, and Magaret his wife. Her parents were in straitened circumstances, and it was necessary, from an early age, that much of her time should be devoted to domestic employments: for these she had no inclination, but she performed them with that alacrity which always accompanies good will; and, when her work was done, retired to enjoy those intellectual and imaginative, pursuits in which her whole heart was engaged. This predilection for studious retirement she is said to have manifested at the early age of four years. Reports, and even recollections of this kind, are to be received, the one with some distrust, the other with some allowance; but when that allowance is made, the genius of this child still appears to have been as precocious as it was extraordinary. Instead of playing with her schoolmates, she generally got to some secluded place, with her little books, and with pen, ink, and paper; and the consumption which she made of paper was such as to excite the curiosity of her parents, from whom she kept secret the use to which she applied it. If any one came upon her retirement, she would conceal or hastily destroy what she was employed upon; and, instead of satisfying the inquiries of her father and mother, replied to them only by tears. The mother, at length, when searching for something in a dark and unfrequented closet, found a considerable number of little books, made of this writing-paper, and filled with rude drawings, and with strange and apparently illegible characters, which, however, were at once seen to be the child's work. Upon closer inspection, the characters were found to consist of the printed alphabet; some of the letters being formed backwards, some sideways, and there being no spaces between the words. These writings were deciphered, not without much difficulty; and it then appeared that they consisted of regular verses, generally in explanation of a rude drawing, sketched on the opposite page. When she found that her treasures had been discovered, she was greatly distressed, and could not be pacified till they were restored; and as soon as they were in her possession, she took the first opportunity of secretly burning them.
These books having thus been destroyed, the earliest remaining specimen of her verse is an epitaph, composed in her ninth year, upon an unfledged robin, killed in the attempt at rearing it. When she was eleven years of age, her father took her to see the decorations of a room in which Washington's birthday was to be celebrated. Neither the novelty nor the gaiety of what she saw attracted her attention; she thought of Washington alone, whose life she had read, and for whom she entertained the proper feelings of an American; and as soon as she returned home, she took paper, sketched a funeral urn, and wrote under it a few stanzas, which were shown to her friends. Common as the talent of versifying is, any early manifestation of it will always be regarded as extraordinary by those who possess it not themselves; and these verses, though no otherwise remarkable, were deemed so surprising for a child of her age, that an aunt of hers could not believe they were original, and hinted that they might have been copied. The child wept at this suspicion, as if her heart would break; but as soon as she recovered from that fit of indignant grief, she indited a remonstrance to her aunt, in verse, which put an end to such incredulity.
We are told that, before she was twelve years of age, she had read most of the standard English poets—a vague term, excluding, no doubt, much that is of real worth, and including more that is worth little or nothing, and yet implying a wholesome course of reading for such a mind. Much history she had also read, both sacred and profane; "the whole of Shakspeare's, Kotzebue's, and Goldsmith's dramatic works;" (oddly consorted names!) "and many of the popular novels and romances of the day:" of the latter, she threw aside at once those which at first sight appeared worthless. This girl is said to have observed every thing: "frequently she has been known to watch the storm, and the retiring clouds, and the rainbow, and the setting sun, for hours."
An English reader is not prepared to hear of distress arising from straitened circumstances in America—the land of promise, where there is room enough for all, and employment for every body. Yet even in that new country, man, it appears, is born not only to those ills which flesh is heir to, but to those which are entailed upon him by the institutions of society. Lucretia's mother was confined by illness to her room and bed for many months; and this child, then about twelve years old, instead of profiting under her mother's care, had in a certain degree to supply her place in the business of the family, and to attend, which she did dutifully and devotedly, to her sick bed. At this time, a gentleman who had heard much of her verses, and expressed a wish to see some of them, was so much gratified on perusing them, that he sent her a complimentary note, enclosing a bank-bill for twenty dollars. The girl's first joyful thought was that she had now the means, which she had so often longed for, of increasing her little stock of books; but, looking towards the sick bed, tears came in her eyes, and she instantly put the bill into her father's hands, saying, "Take it, father; it will buy many comforts for mother; I can do without the books."
There were friends, as they are called, who remonstrated with her parents on the course they were pursuing in her education, and advised that she should be deprived of books, pen, ink, and paper, and rigorously confined to domestic concerns. Her parents loved her both too wisely and too well to be guided by such counsellors, and they anxiously kept the advice secret from Lucretia, lest it should wound her feelings—perhaps, also, lest it should give her, as it properly might, a rooted dislike to these misjudging and unfeeling persons. But she discovered it by accident, and without declaring any such intention, she gave up her pen and her books, and applied herself exclusively to household business, for several months, till her body as well as her spirits failed. She became emaciated, her countenance bore marks of deep dejection, and often, while actively employed in domestic duties, she could neither restrain nor conceal her tears. The mother seems to have been slower in perceiving this than she would have been had it not been for her own state of confinement; she noticed it at length, and said, "Lucretia, it is a long time since you have written any thing." The girl then burst into tears, and replied, "O mother, I have given that up long ago." "But why?" said her mother. After much emotion, she answered, "I am convinced from what my friends have said, and from what I see, that I have done wrong in pursuing the course I have. I well know the circumstances of the family are such, that it requires the united efforts of every member to sustain it; and since my eldest sister is now gone, it becomes my duty to do every thing in my power to lighten the cares of my parents." On this occasion, Mrs. Davidson acted with equal discretion and tenderness; she advised her to take a middle course, neither to forsake her favourite pursuits, nor devote herself to them, but use them in that wholesome alternation with the every day business of the world, which is alike salutary for the body and the mind. She therefore occasionally resumed her pen, and seemed comparatively happy.
How the encouragement which she received operated may be seen in some lines, not otherwise worthy of preservation than for the purpose of showing how the promises of reward affect a mind like hers. They were written in her thirteenth year.
Whene'er the muse pleases to grace my dull page, At the sight of reward, she flies off in a rage; Prayers, threats, and intreaties I frequently try, But she leaves me to scribble, to fret, and to sigh
She torments me each moment, and bids me go write, And when I obey her she laughs at the sight; The rhyme will not jingle, the verse has no sense, And against all her insults I have no defence.
I advise all my friends who wish me to write, To keep their rewards and their gifts from my sight, So that jealous Miss Muse won't be wounded in pride, Nor Pegasus rear till I've taken my ride.
Let not the hasty reader conclude from these rhymes that Lucretia was only what any child of early cleverness might be made by forcing and injudicious admiration. In our own language, except in the cases of Chatterton and Kirke White, we can call to mind no instance of so early, so ardent, and so fatal a pursuit of intellectual advancement.
"She composed with great rapidity; as fast as most persons usually copy. There are several instances of four or five pieces on different subjects, and containing three or four stanzas each, written on the same day. Her thoughts flowed so rapidly, that she often expressed the wish that she had two pair of hands, that she might employ them to transcribe. When 'in the vein,' she would write standing, and be wholly abstracted from the company present and their conversation. But if composing a piece of some length, she wished to be entirely alone; she shut herself into her room, darkened the windows, and in summer placed her Aeolian harp in the window:" (thus by artificial excitement, feeding the fire that consumed her.) "In those pieces on which she bestowed more than ordinary pains, she was very secret; and if they were, by any accident, discovered in their unfinished state, she seldom completed them, and often destroyed them. She cared little for any of her works after they were completed: some, indeed, she preserved with care for future correction, but a great proportion she destroyed: very many that are preserved, were rescued from the flames by her mother. Of a complete poem, in five cantos, called 'Rodri,' and composed when she was thirteen years of age, a single canto, and part of another, are all that are saved from a destruction which she supposed had obliterated every vestige of it."
She was often in danger, when walking, from carriages, &c., in consequence of her absence of mind. When engaged in a poem of some length, she has often forgotten her meals. A single incident, illustrating this trait in her character, is worth relating:—She went out early one morning to visit a neighbour, promising to be at home to dinner. The neighbour being absent, she requested to be shown into the library. There she became so absorbed in her book, standing, with her bonnet unremoved, that the darkness of the coming night first reminded her she had forgotten her meals, and expended the entire day in reading.
She was peculiarly sensitive to music. There was one song (it was Moore's Farewell to his Harp) to which she "took a special fancy;" she wished to hear it only at twilight—thus, with that same perilous love of excitement which made her place the windharp in the window when she was composing, seeking to increase the effect which the song produced upon a nervous system, already diseasedly susceptible; for it is said, that whenever she heard this song she became cold, pale, and almost fainting; yet it was her favourite of all songs, and gave occasion to these verses, addressed, in her fifteenth year, to her sister.
When evening spreads her shades around, And darkness fills the arch of heaven; When not a murmur, not a sound To Fancy's sportive ear is given;
When the broad orb of heaven is bright, And looks around with golden eye; When Nature, softened by her light. Seems calmly, solemnly to lie;
Then, when our thoughts are raised above This world, and all this world can give, Oh, Sister! sing the song I love, And tears of gratitude receive.
The song which thrills my bosom's core, And, hovering, trembles half afraid, Oh, Sister! sing the song once more, Which ne'er for mortal ear was made.
'Twere almost sacrilege to sing Those notes amid the glare of day; Notes borne by angels' purest wing, And wafted by their breath away.
When, sleeping in my grass-grown bed, Shouldst thou still linger here above, Wilt thou not kneel beside my head, And, Sister! sing the song I love?
To young readers it might be useful to observe, that these verses in one place approach the verge of meaning, but are on the wrong side of the line: to none can it be necessary to say, that they breathe the deep feeling of a mind essentially poetical.
"Her desire of knowledge increased as she grew more capable of appreciating its worth;" and she appreciated much beyond its real worth the advantages which girls derive from the ordinary course of female education. "Oh!" she said one day to her mother, "that I only possessed half the means of improvement which I see others slighting! I should be the happiest of the happy." A youth whom nature has endowed with diligence and a studious disposition has, indeed, too much reason to regret the want of that classical education which is wasted upon the far greater number of those on whom it is bestowed; but, for a girl who displays a promise of genius like Lucretia, and who has at hand the Bible and the best poets in her own language, no other assistance can be needed in her progress than a supply of such books as may store her mind with knowledge. Lucretia's desire of knowledge was a passion which possessed her like a disease. "I am now sixteen years old," she said, "and what do I know? Nothing!—nothing, compared with what I have yet to learn. Time is rapidly passing by: that time usually allotted to the improvement of youth; and how dark are my prospects in regard to this favourite wish of my heart!" At another time she said—"How much there is yet to learn!—If I could only grasp it at once!"
In October 1824, when she had just entered upon her seventeenth year, a gentleman, then on a visit at Plattsburgh, saw some of her verses—was made acquainted with her ardent desire for education, and with the circumstances in which she was placed; and he immediately resolved to afford her every advantage which the best schools in the country could furnish. This gentleman has probably chosen to have his name withheld, being more willing to act benevolently than to have his good deeds blazoned; and yet, stranger as he needs must be, there are many English readers to whom it would have been gratifying, could they have given to such a person "a local habitation and a name." When Lucretia was made acquainted with his intention, the joy was almost greater than she could bear. As soon as preparations could be made, she left home, and was placed at the "Troy Female Seminary," under the instruction of Mrs. Willard. There she had all the advantages for which she had hungered and thirsted; and, like one who had long hungered and thirsted, she devoured them with fatal eagerness. Her application was incessant; and its effects on her constitution, already somewhat debilitated by previous disease, became apparent in increased nervous sensibility. Her letters at this time exhibit the two extremes of feeling in a marked degree. They abound in the most sprightly or most gloomy speculations, bright hopes and lively fancies, or despairing fears and gloomy forebodings. In one of her letters from this seminary, she writes thus to her mother: "I hope you will feel no uneasiness as to my health or happiness; for, save the thoughts of my dear mother and her lonely life, and the idea that my dear father is slaving himself, and wearing out his very life, to earn a subsistence for his family—save these thoughts (and I can assure you, mother, they come not seldom), I am happy. Oh! how often I think, if I could have but one-half the means I now expend, and be at liberty to divide that with mamma, how happy I should be!—cheer up and keep good courage." In another, she says: "Oh! I am so happy, so contented now, that every unusual movement startles me. I am constantly afraid that something will happen to mar it." Again, she says: "I hope the expectations of my friends will not be disappointed: but I am afraid you all calculate upon too much. I hope not, for I am not capable of much. I can study and be industrious; but I fear I shall not equal the hopes which you say are raised." The story of Kirke White should operate not more as an example than a warning; but the example is followed and the warning overlooked. Stimulants are administered to minds which are already in a state of feverish excitement. Hotbeds and glasses are used for plants which can only acquire strength in the shade; and they are drenched with instruction, which ought "to drop as the rain, and distil as the dew—as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the shower upon the grass."
During the vacation, in which she returned home, she had a serious illness, which left her feeble and more sensitive than ever. On her recovery she was placed at the school of Miss Gilbert, in Albany; and there, in a short time, a more alarming illness brought her to the very borders of the grave. Before she entered upon her intemperate course of application at Troy, her verses show that she felt a want of joyous and healthy feeling—a sense of decay. Thus she wrote to a friend, who had not seen her since her childhood:—
And thou hast mark'd in childhood's hour The fearless boundings of my breast, When fresh as summer's opening flower, I freely frolick'd and was blest.
Oh say, was not this eye more bright? Were not these lips more wont to smile? Methinks that then my heart was light, And I a fearless, joyous child
And thou didst mark me gay and wild, My careless, reckless laugh of mirth: The simple pleasures of a child, The holiday of man on earth.
Then thou hast seen me in that hour, When every nerve of life was new, When pleasures fann'd youth's infant flower, And Hope her witcheries round it threw.
That hour is fading; it has fled; And I am left in darkness now, A wanderer tow'rds a lowly bed, The grave, that home of all below.
Young poets often affect a melancholy strain, and none more frequently put on a sad and sentimental mood in verse than those who are as happy as an utter want of feeling for any body but themselves can make them. But in these verses the feeling was sincere and ominous. Miss Davidson recovered from her illness at Albany so far only as to be able to perform the journey back to Plattsburgh, under her poor mother's care. "The hectic flush of her cheek told but too plainly that a fatal disease had fastened upon her constitution, and must ere long inevitably triumph." She however dreaded something worse than death, and while confined to her bed, wrote these unfinished lines, the last that were ever traced by her indefatigable hand, expressing her fear of madness.
There is a something which I dread, It is a dark, a fearful thing; It steals along with withering tread. Or sweeps on wild destruction's wing.
That thought comes o'er me in the hour, Of grief, of sickness, or of sadness; 'Tis not the dread of death,—'tis more, It is the dread of madness.
Oh, may these throbbing pulses pause Forgetful of their feverish course; May this hot brain, which burning, glows, With all a fiery whirlpool's force,
Be cold, and motionless, and still A tenant of its lowly bed; But let not dark delirium steal—
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The stanzas with which Kirke White's fragment of the "Christiad" concludes, are not so painful as these lines. Had this however been more than a transient feeling, it would have produced the calamity which it dreaded: it is likely, indeed, that her early death was a dispensation of mercy, and saved her from the severest of all earthly inflictions; and that same merciful Providence which removed her to a better state of existence, made these apprehensions give way to a hope and expectation of recovery, which, vain as it was, cheered some of her last hours. When she was forbidden to read it was a pleasure to her to handle the books which composed her little library, and which she loved so dearly. "She frequently took them up and kissed them; and at length requested them to be placed at the foot of her bed, where she might constantly see them," and anticipating a revival which was not to be, of the delight she should feel in reperusing them, she said often to her mother, "what a feast I shall have by-and-bye." How these words must have gone to that poor mother's heart, they only can understand who have heard such like anticipations of recovery from a dear child, and not been able, even whilst hoping against hope, to partake them.
When sensible at length of her approaching dissolution, she looked forward to it without alarm; not alone in that peaceful state of mind which is the proper reward of innocence, but in reliance on the divine promises, and in hope of salvation through the merits of our blessed Lord and Saviour. The last name which she pronounced was that of the gentleman whose bounty she had experienced, and towards whom she always felt the utmost gratitude. Gradually sinking under her malady, she passed away on the 27th of August, 1825, before she had completed her seventeenth year. Her person was singularly beautiful; she had "a high, open forehead, a soft, black eye, perfect symmetry of features, a fair complexion, and luxuriant dark hair. The prevailing expression of her face was melancholy. Although, because of her beauty as well as of her mental endowments, she was the object of much admiration and attention, yet she shunned observation, and often sought relief from the pain it seemed to inflict upon her, by retiring from the company."
That she should have written so voluminously as has been ascertained, (says the editor of her Poems), is almost incredible. Her poetical writings which have been collected, amount in all to two hundred and seventy-eight pieces of various length; when it is considered that among these are at least five regular poems of several cantos each, some estimate may be formed of her poetical labours. Besides there were twenty-four school exercises, three unfinished romances, a complete tragedy, written at thirteen years of age, and about forty letters, in a few months, to her mother alone. To this statement should also be appended the fact, that a great portion of her writings she destroyed. Her mother observes, "I think I am justified in saying that she destroyed at least one-third of all she wrote."
Of the literary character of her writings, (says the editor), it does not, perhaps, become me largely to speak; yet I must hazard the remark, that her defects will be perceived to be those of youth and inexperience, while in invention, and in that mysterious power of exciting deep interest, of enchaining the attention and keeping it alive to the end of the story; in that adaptation of the measure to the sentiment, and in the sudden change of measure to suit a sudden change of sentiment; a wild and romantic description; and in the congruity of the accompaniment to her characters, all conceived with great purity and delicacy—she will be allowed to have discovered uncommon maturity of mind, and her friends to have been warranted in forming very high expectations of her future distinction.
* * * * *
This Dial, which was really no common or vulgar invention, formerly stood in Privy Garden, Whitehall, at a short distance from Gibbons's noble brass statue of James II., which, as a waggish friend of ours said of the horse at Charing Cross, remains in statu-quo to this day. The Dial was invented by one Francis Hall, alias Line, a Jesuit, and Professor of Mathematics at Liege, in Germany. It was set up, as the old books have it, in the year 1669, by order of Charles II.; and in addition to the parts represented in the cut, the inventer intended to place a water-dial at each corner, which he had nearly completed when the original Dial for want of a cover, as he quaintly observes, (which according to his Majestie's Gracious Order should have been set over it in the Winter) was much injured by the snow lying frozen upon it. But there was no chance of obtaining this out of Charles's coffers, and the Dial soon became useless. Its explanation was, however, considered by many mathematical men of the period as too valuable to be lost, and the Professor accordingly printed the description at Liege, in 1673, in which were plates and diagrams of the several parts. The matter was too grave for pleasant, anecdotical Pennant, who, speaking of the Dial, in his London, says "the description surpasses my powers:" he refers the reader to the above work, a "very scarce book" in his time, and we have been at some pains to obtain the reprint, (London, 1685,) appended to Holwell's Clavis Horologiae; or Key to the whole art of Arithmetical Dialling, small 4to. 1712.
 For the loan of which we thank our esteemed correspondent, P.T.W.
The whole Dial stood on a stone pedestal, and consisted of six parts, rising in a pyramidal form, as represented in the Cut.
 It need hardly be explained that the above is a section, or only one half of the dial.
The base, or first piece, was a table of about 40 inches in diameter, and 8 or 9 inches thick, in the edge of which were 20 glazed dials, with the Jewish, Babylonian, Italian, Astronomical, and usual European methods of counting the hours: they were all vertical or declining Dials, the style or gnomon being a lion's paw, unicorn's horn, or some emblem from the royal arms. On the upper part of the Table were 8 reclining dials, glazed, and showing the hour in different ways—as by the shade of the style falling upon the hour-lines, the hour-lines falling on the style, or without any shade of hour-lines or style, &c. Upon this piece or table stood also 4 globes, cut into planes, with geographical, astronomical, and astrological dials. From the table also, east, west, north, and south, were four iron branches supporting glass bowls, showing the hour by fire, water, air, and earth.
The second piece of the pyramid was also a round table somewhat less than the first, with 4 iron supporters, and dials on the edge, showing the different rising of remarkable stars; the style to each being a little star painted upon the inside of the glass cover. From this piece also branched 4 glass bowls to show the hour by a style without a shadow, a shadow without a style, &c. Upon the upper part of the table were 8 reclining planes, 4 covered with looking-glass, on which the hour-lines, or style of a dial being painted, were reflected upon the bottom inclining planes of the third piece, and there showed the hour. The other 4 had also dials upon them, which were to be seen in a looking-glass placed upon the bottom of the third piece.
The third piece was a large hollow globe, about 24 inches in diameter, and cut into 26 planes, two of which served for top and bottom. The rest were divided into 8 equal reclining planes, 8 equal inclining planes, and 8 equal vertical or upright planes; all of which were hollow. The incliners were not covered with glass, but left open, so as better to receive and show the dials reflected from the second piece. Two of the 8 upright planes towards the north had no bottoms, but were covered only with clear glass, or windows to look into the globe, and thus see the dials as well within as without the same. The other 6 had not only each a cover of clear polished glass, with a dial described on them, like those of the first piece, but had a glass for their bottom; which glass was thinly painted over white, so that the shade of the hour-lines drawn upon the cover, might be seen as well within as without the globe. On these bottom glasses were painted portraits, each holding a sceptre, or truncheon, the end of which pointed to the hour. Two also of the recliners towards the north, had only a glass cover, or window to look into the globe: the other 6 had double glass like the former; their dials being some upon the cover, others upon the bottom; but all so contrived, that the hour could only be known by them, by looking within the globe. From the top of this globe issued 4 iron branches with glass bowls with dials showing the time according to the several ways of counting the hours. These bowls were painted inside so as to keep out the light, except a point left like a star, through which the sun-beams showed the hour; and the place where the hour-lines were drawn, was only painted on the outside thinly with white colour, so that the sun-light passing through the star might be seen, and show the hour.
The fourth piece stood on the globe, had 4 iron supporters, and was a table about 20 inches in diameter, and 6 in thickness! The edge was cut into 12 concave superficies like so many half-cylinders; on each of which was a dial showing the hour by the shade of a fleur-de-lis fixed at the top of each half-cylinder. From the top of this table issued 4 iron branches, with glass bowls, like those of the first, second, and third pieces, though proportionally less. The dials on these bowls showed only the usual hour, and otherwise differed from the third piece; here the hour-lines being left clear for the sunbeams to pass through, that by so passing, they might exhibit the same dial on the opposite side of the bowl, which was thinly painted white, that the said hours might be seen, and show the hour by their passing over a little star painted in the middle.
The fifth piece likewise upon 4 iron supporters, was a globe of about 12 inches diameter, cut into 14 planes, viz. 8 triangles, equal and equilateral; and the other 6 were equal squares. The dials on these planes showed the usual hour by the shade of a fleur-de-lis fastened to the top or bottom of each plane.
The last, or top piece of the pyramid, was a glass bowl of 7 inches diameter, upon a foot of iron. The north side of this piece was thinly painted over white, that the shade of a little golden ball, placed in the middle of the bowl, might be seen to pass over the hour-lines which were drawn upon the white colour, and noted the hour. The bowl was included between two circles of iron gilt, with a cross on the top.
Such is a general description of the parts or divisions of this very curious Dial. To which may be added that the first four pieces had all their sides covered with little plates of black glass, first cemented to the said pieces, except those places whereon the dials were drawn; which being also covered with plates of polished glass, nearly the whole of the outside of the dial appeared to be glass; the angles or corners being elegantly gilt, as were in part the iron work of the pyramid, supporters, branches, styles, &c.
We have abridged and in part rewritten this explanation from upwards of six closely-printed 4to. pages. After the general description, in the original tract, the different sections or parts of the dial, 73 in number, are still further explained, and illustrated by 17 plates, besides a vertical section, of which last our Cut is a copy. Perhaps these details would tire the general reader, and on that account we do not press them: a few of them, however, may be noticed still further.
Of these, the Bowls appear to be the most attractive. One on the first piece, by fire was a little glass bowl filled with clear water. This bowl was about three inches diameter, placed in the middle of another sphere, about six inches diameter, consisting of several iron rings or circles, representing the hour circles in the heavens. The hour was known by applying the hand to these circles when the sun shone, when that circle where you felt the hand burnt by the sunbeams passing through the bowl filled with water, showed the true hour, according to the verse beneath it:
Cratem tange, manusq horam tibi reddet adusta.
The phenomenon is thus explained by the Professor: "the parallel rays of the sun passing through the little bowl, are bent by the density of the water, into a cone or pyramid, whose vertex reaches a little beyond those hour circles, and there burns the hand applied; for so many rays being all united into a point, must needs make an intense heat, which heat is so powerful in the summer-time, that it will fire a piece of wood applied to it."
To many of the Dials were suitable inscriptions as above, and these with the references must have made the construction of the whole a task of immense labour. It would be absurd to expect that Charles II. had much to do with its completion, for he was, in his own estimation, more pleasantly employed than in watching the flight of time by heavenly luminaries. His attractions were on earth, where the splendour of a wicked court and the witchery of bright eyes eclipsed all other pursuits. Still, the licentious king was not forgotten by the inventer of the dial. Among the pictures on some of the glasses were portraits of the king, the two queens, the duke of York, prince Rupert, &c. In the king's picture, the hour was shown by the shade of the hour-lines passing over the top of the sceptre—perhaps the only time the royal trifier ever pointed to so useful an end. Prince Rupert, by his contributions to science, had a better right to be there; but Charles was not even grateful enough for the elevation to protect the precious Dial from rain and snow.
In the list of subscribers for the reprint of the Tract, occurs "Jacob Chandler, basket-maker:" in our times this would be considered a knotty work for any but a professional reader.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER
* * * * *
HISTORY OF INSECTS.
The Family Library, No. 7. Library of Entertaining Knowledge, Part 6.—Insect Architecture.
At present we can only notice these works as two of the most delightful volumes that have for some time fallen into our hands, and as possessing all the merits which characterize the previous portions of the Series. Our cognizance of them, in a collected form, must rest till the other half appears; in the meantime a few flying extracts will prove amusing:—
Bees without a Queen.
These humble creatures cherish their queen, feed her, and provide for her wants. They live only in her life, and die when she is taken away. Her absence deprives them of no organ, paralyzes no limb, yet in every case they neglect all their duties for twenty-four hours. They receive no stranger queen before the expiration of that time; and if deprived of the cherished object altogether, they refuse food, and quickly perish. What, it may be asked, is the physical cause of such devotion? What are the bonds that chain the little creature to its cell, and force it to prefer death, to the flowers and the sunshine that invite it to come forth and live? This is not a solitary instance, in which the Almighty has made virtues, apparently almost unattainable by us, natural to animals! For while man has marked, with that praise which great and rare good actions merit, those few instances in which one human being has given up his own life for another—the dog, who daily sacrifices himself for his master, has scarcely found an historian to record his common virtue.—Family Library.
Cleanliness of Bees.
Among other virtues possessed by bees, cleanliness is one of the most marked; they will not suffer the least filth in their abode. It sometimes happens that an ill-advised slug or ignorant snail chooses to enter the hive, and has even the audacity to walk over the comb; the presumptuous and foul intruder is quickly killed, but its gigantic carcass is not so speedily removed. Unable to transport the corpse out of their dwelling, and fearing "the noxious smells" arising from corruption, the bees adopt an efficacious mode of protecting themselves; they embalm their offensive enemy, by covering him over with propolis; both Maraldi and Reaumur have seen this. The latter observed that a snail had entered a hive, and fixed itself to the glass side, just as it does against walls, until the rain shall invite it to thrust out its head beyond its shell. The bees, it seemed, did not like the interloper, and not being able to penetrate the shell with their sting, took a hint from the snail itself, and instead of covering it all over with propolis, the cunning economists fixed it immovably, by cementing merely the edge of the orifice of the shell to the glass with this resin, and thus it became a prisoner for life, for rain cannot dissolve this cement, as it does that which the insect itself uses.—Ibid.
 For a notice of the application of this cement to useful purposes, see No. 396, page 283.—ED. MIRROR.
It furnishes a subject of serious consideration, as well as an argument for a special providence, to know, that the accurate Reaumur, and other naturalists, have observed, that when any kind of insect has increased inordinately, their natural enemies have increased in the same proportion, and thus preserved the balance.—Ibid.
There are few insects with whose form we are better acquainted than that of the gnat. It is to be found in all latitudes and climates; as prolific in the Polar as in the Equatorial regions. In 1736 they were so numerous, and were seen to rise in such clouds from Salisbury cathedral, that they looked like columns of smoke, and frightened the people, who thought the building was on fire. In 1766, they appeared at Oxford, in the form of a thick black cloud; six columns were observed to ascend the height of fifty or sixty feet. Their bite was attended with alarming inflammation. To some appearances of this kind our great poet, Spenser, alludes, in the following beautiful simile:—
As when a swarm of gnats at eventide, Out of the fennes of Allan doe arise, Their murmurring small trumpets sownden wide, Whiles in the air their clust'ring army flies. That as a cloud doth seem to dim the skies: Ne man nor beast may rest or take repast, For their sharp wounds and noyous injuries, Till the fierce northern wind, with blustering blast, Doth blow them quite away, and in the ocean cast.
In Lapland, their numbers have been compared to a flight of snow when the flakes fall thickest, and the minor evil of being nearly suffocated by smoke is endured to get rid of these little pests. Captain Stedman says, that he and his soldiers were so tormented by gnats in America, that they were obliged to dig holes in the ground with their bayonets, and thrust their heads into them for protection and sleep. Humboldt states, that "between the little harbour of Higuerote and the mouth of the Rio-Unare, the wretched inhabitants are accustomed to stretch themselves on the ground, and pass the night buried in the sand three or four inches deep, exposing only the head, which they cover with a handkerchief."
After enumerating these and other examples of the achievements of the gnat and musquito tribe, Kirby says, "It is not therefore incredible that Sapor, King of Persia, should have been compelled to raise the siege of Nisibis by a plague of gnats, which attacked his elephants and beasts of burden, and so caused the rout of his army; nor that the inhabitants of various cities should, by an extraordinary multiplication of this plague, have been compelled to desert them; nor that, by their power of doing mischief, like other conquerors who have been the torment of the human race, they should have attained to fame, and have given their name to bays, town, and territories." Ibid.
The design of the caterpillars in rolling up the leaves is not only to conceal themselves from birds and predatory insects, but also to protect themselves from the cuckoo-flies, which lie in wait in every quarter to deposit their eggs in their bodies, that their progeny may devour them. Their mode of concealment, however, though it appear to be cunningly contrived and skilfully executed, is not always successful, their enemies often discovering their hiding place. We happened to see a remarkable instance of this last summer (1828), in a case of one of the lilac caterpillars which had changed into a chrysalis within the closely folded leaf. A small cuckoo-fly, aware, it should seem, of the very spot where the chrysalis lay within the leaf, was seen boring through it with her ovipositor, and introducing her eggs through the punctures thus made into the body of the dormant insect. We allowed her to lay all her eggs, about six in number, and then put the leaf under an inverted glass. In a few days the eggs of the cuckoo-fly were hatched, the grubs devoured the lilac chrysalis, and finally changed into pupae in a case of yellow silk, and into perfect insects like their parent.—Library of Entertaining Knowledge.
The last extract, and all in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge signed J.R. are written by Mr. J. Rennie, whose initials must be familiar to every reader as attached to some of the most interesting papers in Mr. Loudon's Magazines. He is a nice observer of Nature, and one of the most popular writers on her phenomena.
As we treated the cuts of the last portion of the "Library of Entertaining Knowledge," rather critically, we are happy to say that the engravings of insects in the present part make ample amends for all former imperfections in that branch of the work; some of the pupae, insects, their nests, &c. are admirably executed, and their selection is equally judicious and attractive.
* * * * *
Spirit-drinking appears to have attained a pretty considerable pitch in America, where, according to the proceedings of the American Temperance Society, half as many tuns of domestic spirits are annually produced as of wheat and flour; and in the state of New York, in the year 1825, there were 2,264 grist-mills, and 1,129 distilleries of whiskey. In a communication to this society from Philadelphia, it is calculated, that out of 4,151 deaths in that city in the year 1825, 335 are attributed solely to the abuse of ardent spirits!
* * * * *
In early life Bewick cut a vignette for the Newcastle newspaper, from which it is calculated that more than nine hundred thousand impressions have been worked off; yet the block is still in use, and not perceptibly impaired.
* * * * *
The present Emperor of Austria is a gentle, fatherly old man. We have heard none of his subjects speak of him with anything but love and affection. The meanest peasant has access to him; and, except on public occasions, he leads a simpler life than any nobleman among ourselves. It is, perhaps, less the emperor than the nobility who govern in Austria, and less the nobility than Metternich, the prince-pattern of prime-ministers.—Foreign Review.
* * * * *
The following letter tends to rectify an error which very generally prevails, namely, that it costs only thirteen-pence halfpenny to be hung. It is copied literatim et verbatim, from one made out by Mr. Ketch himself, and proves that a man cannot be hung for so mere a trifle:—
"Silvester. s. d. Executioner's Fees............ 7 6 Stripping the Body............ 4 6 Use of Shell.................. 2 6 1813. _ Nov. 10. 14 6"
* * * * *
The passion of the Scots, from whatever race derived, for poetry and music, developed itself in the earliest stages of their history. They possessed a wild imagination, a dark and gloomy mythology; they peopled the caves, the woods, the rivers, and the mountains, with spirits, elves, giants, and dragons; and are we to wonder that the Scots, a nation in whose veins the blood of all those remote races is unquestionably mingled, should, at a very remote period, have evinced an enthusiastic admiration for song and poetry; that the harper was to be found amongst the officers who composed the personal state of the sovereign, and that the country maintained a privileged race of wandering minstrels, who eagerly seized on the prevailing superstitions and romantic legends, and wove them in rude, but sometimes very expressive versification, into their stories and ballads; who were welcome guests at the gate of every feudal castle, and fondly beloved by the great body of the people.—Tytler's History of Scotland.
* * * * *
On approaching the city about sun-rise, from the Sea of Marmora.
A glorious form thy shining city wore, 'Mid cypress thickets of perennial green, With minaret and golden dome between, While thy sea softly kiss'd its grassy shore. Darting across whose blue expanse was seen Of sculptured barques and galleys many a score; Whence noise was none save that of plashing oar; Nor word was spoke, to break the calm serene. Unhear'd is whisker'd boatman's hail or joke; Who, mute as Sinbad's man of copper, rows, And only intermits the sturdy stroke When fearless gull too nigh his pinnace goes. I, hardly conscious if I dream'd or woke, Mark'd that strange piece of action and repose.
* * * * *
In the thirteenth century Berwick enjoyed a prosperity, such as threw every other Scottish port into the shade; the customs of this town, at the above date, amounted to about one-fourth of all the customs of England.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
THE LORD MAYORS DAY.
"Spirit of Momus! thou'rt wandering wide. When I would thou wert merrily perch'd by my side, For I am sorely beset by the blues; Thou fugitive elf! I adjure thee return, By Fielding's best wig, and the ashes of Sterne, Appear at the call of my muse."
It comes, with a laugh on its rubicund face; Methinks, by the way, it's in pretty good case, For a spirit unblest with a body; "On the claret bee's-wing," says the sprite, "I regale; But I'm ready for all—from Lafitte down to ale, From Champagne to a tumbler of toddy.
"Then I'm not over-nice, as at least you must know, In the rank of my hosts—for the lofty or low Are alike to the Spirit of Mirth; I care not a straw with whom I have dined, Though a family dinner's not much to my mind, And a proser's a plague upon earth.
"But where, my dear sprite, for this age have you been? Have you plunged in the Danube, or danced on the Seine? Or have taken in Lisbon your station? Or have flapped over Windsor your butterfly-wings, O'er its bevy of beauties, and courtiers, and kings— The wonders and wits of the nation?"
"No; of all climes for folly, Old England's the clime; Of all times for fully, the present's the time; And my game is so plentiful here, That all months are the same, from December to May; I can bag in a minute enough for a day— In a day, bag enough for a year.
"My game-bag has nooks for 'Notes, Sketches, and Journeys,' By soldiers and sailors, divines and attorneys, Through landscapes gay, blooming, and briary; And so, as you seem rather pensive to-night, To dispel your blue-devils, I'll briefly recite A specimen-leaf from my diary:—
"'THE NINTH OF NOVEMBER.
"'Through smoke-clouds as dark as a forest of rooks, The rich contribution of blacksmiths and cooks From the huge human oven below, I heard old St. Paul's gaily pealing away; Thinks I to myself, 'It is Lord Mayor's Day, So, I'll go down and look at the Show.'
"'I spread out my pinions, and sprang on my perch— 'Twas the dragon on Bow, that odd sign of the church, The episcopal centre of action; All Cheapside was crowded with black, brown, and fair, Like a harlequin's jacket, or French rocquelaire, A legitimate Cheapside attraction.
"'Then rung through the tumult a trumpet so shrill, That it frightened the ladies all down Ludgate Hill, And the owlets in Ivy Lane; Then came in their chariots, each face in full blow, The sheriffs and aldermen, solemn and slow, All bombazine, bag-wig and chain.
"'Then came the old tumbril-shaped city machine, With a Lord Mayor so fat that he made the coach lean; Lord Waithman was scarcely a brighter man; The wits said the old groaning wagon of state, Which for ages had carried Lord Mayors of such weight, To-day would break down with a lighter man.
"'Then proud as a prince, at the head of the band Rode the city field-marshal, with truncheon in hand, Though his epaulettes lately are gone; But he's still fine enough to astonish the cits, And drive the economists out of their wits, From Lords Waithman and Wood, to Lord John.
"'But I now left the pageant—wits, worthies, and all— And flew through the smoke to the roof of Guildhall, And perched on the grand chandelier; The dinner was stately, the tables were full— There sat, multiplied by three thousand, John Bull, Resolved to make all disappear.
"'And then came the speeches; Lord Hunter was fine— Lord Wood, finer still—Lord Thompson, divine, The sheriffs were Ciceros a-piece; Lord Crowther was sick, though he managed to eat What, if races were feasts, would have won him the plate; But he tossed off a bumper to Greece.
"'Then all was enchantment—all hubbub and smiles— The wit of Old Jewry, the grace of St. Giles, The force of the Billingsgate tongue: Till the eloquent Lord Mayor demanding 'Who malts?'— The understood sign for beginning the waltz— In a fright through the ceiling I sprung.'"
* * * * *
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A LANDAULET.
(Concluded from page 302.)
It happened to be a dull time of year, and for some months my wheels ceased to be rotatory: I got cold and damp; and the moths found their way to my inside: one or two persons who came to inspect me declined becoming purchasers, and peering closely at my panels, said something about "old scratch." This hurt my feelings, for if my former possessor was not quite so good as she might have been, it was no fault of mine.
At length, after a tedious inactivity, I was bought cheap by a young physician, who having rashly left his provincial patients to set up in London, took it into his head that nothing could be done there by a medical man who did not go upon wheels; he therefore hired a house in a good situation, and then set me up, and bid my vendor put me down in his bill.
It is quite astonishing how we flew about the streets and squares, acting great practice; those who knew us by sight must have thought we had a great deal to do, but we practised nothing but locomotion. Some medical men thin the population, (so says Slander,) my master thinned nothing but his horses. They were the only good jobs that came in his way, and certainly he made the most of them. He was obliged to feed them, but he was very rarely feed himself. It so happened that nobody consulted us, and the unavoidable consumption of the family infected my master's pocket, and his little resources were in a rapid decline.
Still he kept a good heart; indeed, in one respect, he resembled a worm displayed in a bottle in a quack's shop window—he was never out of spirits! He was deeply in debt, and his name was on every body's books, always excepting the memorandum-books of those who wanted physicians. Still I was daily turned out, and though nobody called him in, he was to be seen, sitting very forward, apparently looking over notes supposed to have been taken after numerous critical cases and eventful consultations. Our own case was hopeless, our progress was arrested, an execution was in the house, servants met with their deserts and were turned off, goods were seized, my master was knocked up, and I was knocked down for one hundred and twenty pounds.
Again my beauties blushed for a while unseen; but I was new painted, and, like some other painted personages, looked, at a distance, almost as good as new. Fortunately for me, an elderly country curate, just at this period, was presented with a living, and the new incumbent thought it incumbent upon him to present his fat lady and his thin daughter with a leathern convenience. My life was now a rural one, and for ten long years nothing worth recording happened to me. Slowly and surely did I creep along green lanes, carried the respectable trio to snug, early, neighbourly dinners, and was always under lock and key before twelve o'clock. It must be owned I began to have rather an old-fashioned look; my body was ridiculously small, and the rector's thin daughter, the bodkin, or rather packing-needle of the party, sat more forward, and on a smaller space than bodkins do now-a-days. I was perched up three feet higher than more modern vehicles, and my two lamps began to look like little dark lanterns. But my obsoleteness rendered me only more suited to the service in which I was enlisted. Honest Roger, the red-haired coachman, would have looked like a clown in a pantomime, in front of a fashionable equipage; and Simon the footboy, who slouched at my back, would have been mistaken for an idle urchin surreptitiously enjoying a ride. But on my unsophisticated dickey and footboard no one could doubt but that Roger and Simon were in their proper places. The rector died; of course he had nothing more to do with the living, it passed into other hands; and a clerical income being (alas, that it should be so!) no inheritance, his relict suddenly plunged in widowhood and poverty, had the aggravated misery of mourning for a deaf husband, while she was conscious that the luxuries and almost the necessaries of life were for ever snatched from herself and her child.
Again I found myself in London, but my beauty was gone, I had lost the activity of youth, and when slowly I chanced to creak through Long Acre, Houlditch, my very parent, who was standing at his door sending forth a new-born Britska, glanced at me scornfully, and knew me not! I passed on heavily—I thought of former days of triumph, and there was madness in the thought I became a crazy vehicle! straw was thrust into my inward parts, I was numbered among the fallen,—yes, I was now a hackney-chariot, and my number was one hundred!
What tongue can tell the degradations I have endured! The persons who familiarly have called me, the wretches who have sat in me—never can this be told. Daily I take my stand in the same vile street, and nightly am I driven to the minor theatres—to oyster-shops—to desperation!
One day, when empty and unoccupied, I was hailed by two police-officers who were bearing between them a prisoner. It was the seducer of my second ill-fated mistress; a first crime had done its usual work, it had prepared the mind for a second, and a worse: the seducer had done a deed of deeper guilt, and I bore him one stage towards the gallows. Many months after, a female called me at midnight: she was decked in tattered finery, and what with fatigue and recent indulgence in strong liquors, she was scarcely sensible, but she possessed dim traces of past beauty. I can say nothing more of her, but that it was the fugitive wife whom I had borne to Brighton so many years ago. No words of mine could paint the living warning that I beheld. What had been the sorrows of unmerited desertion and unkindness supported by conscious rectitude, compared with the degraded guilt, the hopeless anguish, that I then saw?
I regret to say, I was last month nigh committing manslaughter; I broke down in the Strand and dislocated the shoulder of a rich old maid. I cannot help thinking that she deserved the visitation, for, as she stepped into me in Oxford Street, she exclaimed, loud enough to be heard by all neighbouring pedestrians, "Dear me! how dirty! I never was in a hackney conveyance before!"—though I well remembered having been favoured with her company very often. A medical gentleman happened to be passing at the moment of our fall; it was my old medical master. He set the shoulder, and so skilfully did he manage his patient, that he is about to be married to the rich invalid, who will shoulder him into prosperity at last.
I last night was the bearer of a real party of pleasure to Astley's:—a bride and bridegroom, with the mother of the bride. It was the widow of the old rector, whose thin daughter (by the by she is fattening fast) has had the luck to marry the only son of a merchant well to do in the world.
The voice suddenly ceased!—I awoke—the door was opened, the steps let down—I paid the coachman double the amount of his fare, and in future, whenever I stand in need of a jarvey, I shall certainly make a point of calling for number One Hundred.
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"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles." SHAKSPEARE.
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BELL.—THE CRY OF THE DEER SO CALLED.
I am glad of an opportunity to describe the cry of the deer by another name than braying, although the latter has been sanctioned by the use of the Scottish metrical translation of the Psalms. Bell seems to be an abbreviation of the word bellow. This sylvan sound conveyed great delight to our ancestors chiefly, I suppose, from association. A gentle knight in the reign of Henry VIII., Sir Thomas Wortley, built Wantley Lodge, Warncliffe Forest, for the purpose, as the ancient inscription testifies, of "Listening to the Harts' Bell."
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THE CURSE OF SCOTLAND.
The origin of the nine of diamonds being called the Curse of Scotland is not generally known. It arose from the following circumstance:—The night before the battle of Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland thought proper to send orders to General Campbell not to give quarter; and this order being despatched in much haste, was written on a card. This card happened to be the nine of diamonds, from which circumstance it got the appellation above named.
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Among the many expedients resorted to by the depressed party in a state to indulge their sentiments safely, and probably at the same time, according to situation, to sound those of their companions, puns and other quibbles have been of notable service. The following is worthy of notice:—The cavaliers during Cromwell's usurpation, usually put a crumb of bread into a glass of wine, and before they drank it, would exclaim with cautious ambiguity, "God send this Crum well down!" A royalist divine also, during the Protectorate, did not scruple to quibble in the following prayer, which he was accustomed to deliver:—"O Lord, who hast put a sword into the hand of thy servant, Oliver, put it into his heart ALSO—to do according to thy word." He would drop his voice at the word also, and, after a significant pause, repeat the concluding sentence in an under tone.
Erratum at page 306.—For Hemiptetera read HEMIPTERA.
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ANNUALS FOR 1830.
With No. 398 was published a SUPPLEMENT, containing the first portion of the SPIRIT OF THE ANNUALS, with a splendid Engraving of the CITY OF VERONA, and Notices of the Gem, Literary Souvenir, Friendship's Offering, and Amulet.
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LIMBIRD'S EDITION OF THE Following Novels is already Published:
s. d. Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6 Paul and Virginia 0 6 The Castle of Otranto 0 6 Almoran and Hamet 0 6 Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6 The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6 Rasselas 0 8 The Old English Baron 0 8 Nature and Art 0 8 Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 Sicilian Romance 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.