The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, - Issue 560, August 4, 1832
Author: Various
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VOL. 20, No. 560] SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 1832. [PRICE 2d.

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The annexed Engraving will probably afford the reader a better idea of the Zoological Gardens, than did either of our previous Illustrations. It is indeed a fair specimen of the luxurious accommodation afforded by the Society for their animals; while it enables us to watch the habits of the stupendous tenants in a state of nature, or at least, free from unnecessary restriction or confinement. It is an opportunity hitherto but rarely enjoyed in this country; the Elephants exhibited in our menageries being caged up, and only allowed to protrude the head outside the bars. The Duke of Devonshire, as our readers may recollect, possessed an Elephant which died in the year 1829: she was allowed the range of a spacious paddock at Chiswick, but her docility, intelligence, and affection, which were extraordinary, were only witnessed by a few visiters. In the Jardin du Roi, at Paris, the Elephant has long enjoyed advantages proportionate to his importance in the scale of creation. Six years since we remember seeing a fine young specimen in the enjoyment of an ample enclosure of greensward, and a spacious bath has since been added to the accommodations. This example has been rightly followed in our Zoologicai Gardens.

The Elephant Stable is at the extremity of the northern garden in the Regent's Park. It is of capacious dimensions, but is built in a style of unappropriate rusticity. Adjoining the stable is a small enclosure, which the Elephant may measure in two or three turns. Opposite is an enclosure of much greater extent, so as to be almost worthy of the name of a little park or paddock. The fence is of iron, and light but substantial. Within the area are a few lime-trees, the lower branches of which are thinned by the Elephant repeatedly twisting off their foliage with his trunk, as adroitly as a gardener would gather fruit. His main luxury is, however, in his bath, which is a large pool or tank of water, of depth nearly equal to his height. In hot weather he enjoys his ablutions here with great gusto, exhibiting the liveliest tokens of satisfaction and delight. Our artist has endeavoured to represent the noble creature in his bath, though the pencil can afford but an imperfect idea of the extasy of the animal on this occasion. His evolutions are extraordinary for a creature of such stupendous size. His keeper had at first some difficulty in inducing him to enter the pond, but he now willingly takes to the water, and thereby exhibits himself in a point of view in which we have not hitherto been accustomed to view an Elephant in this country. The fondness of Elephants for bathing is very remarkable. When in the water they often produce a singular noise with their trunks. Bishop Heber describes this habit as he witnessed it near Dacca:—"A sound struck my ear, as if from the water itself on which we were riding, the most solemn and singular I can conceive. It was long, loud, deep, and tremulous, somewhat between the bellowing of a bull and the blowing of a whale, or perhaps most like those roaring buoys which are placed at the mouths of some English harbours, in which the winds make a noise to warn ships off them. 'Oh,' said Abdallah, 'there are Elephants bathing: Dacca much place for Elephant.' I looked immediately, and saw about twenty of these fine animals, with their heads and trunks just appearing above the water. Their bellowing it was which I had heard, and which the water conveyed to us with a finer effect than if we had been on shore." The Elephant can also eject from his trunk water and dust, and his own saliva, over every part of his body, to cool its heated surface; and he is said to grub up dust, and blow it over his back and sides, to keep off the flies.

There are two Elephants in the Zoological Gardens. Both are of the Asiatic species. The larger animal was purchased by the Society about fifteen months since. It is probably about eleven years old, and is still growing; and a register of its bulk at various periods has been commenced. The smaller Elephant was presented to the Society by Sir Edward Barnes, late governor of Ceylon. It has been stated to be a dwarf variety, and that its age is not far short of that of the larger individual; but this assertion is questionable. It is much more consistent with our knowledge of the species to regard it, in the absence of all previous knowledge of the history of the individual, as a young one not exceeding four years old. This specimen will be seen in the distance of the Engraving.[1]

[1] The new-born Elephant is about three feet long. Between fifteen and twenty years of age, Elephants may be said to be adult. In India it is thought that they live three centuries.

The natural history of the Elephant would occupy many pages. A few points, however, are peculiarly interesting in connexion with the individuals from India, in the Zoological Gardens. The Indian Elephant appears, when fully grown, to attain a larger size than the African, the females commonly measuring from seven to eight, and the males from eight to ten, feet in height; though we find in old accounts the height of the Asiatic Elephant stated at fifteen or sixteen feet. The head of the Indian is more oblong than that of the African Elephant; and the forehead of the former has a deep concavity, while the head of the African is round and convex in all its parts. The teeth of the Indian species consist of narrow transverse bands of equal size, while those of the African are larger in the middle than at the ends, and are lozenge shaped. The ears of the Asiatic are smaller, and descend only to his neck, while in the African species the ears cover the shoulders. The former has four distinct toes, and the latter but three, on his hind feet. The Elephants of Ceylon are much prized for size, beauty, and hardihood. If the small Elephant in the Gardens be a native of Ceylon, it is by no means a beautiful specimen of the variety.

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Pale ruin! once more as I gaze on thy walls, What memories of old, the sad vision recalls, For change o'er thee lightly has past; Yet what hearts are estrang'd and what bright hopes are fled, And friends I erst dwelt with now sleep with the dead, Since in childhood I gazed on thee last!

Thine image still rests on the clear stream beneath, And flow'rs as of yore, thy old battlement wreathe, Like rare friends by adversity's side; Still clinging aloft, the wild tree I behold That marks in derision, the spot, where of old The standard once floated in pride.

But the conqueror, Time, hath thy banner o'erthrown, And crumbled to ruin the courtyards that shone With chivalry's gorgeous array; And where music, and laughter so often have rung, In thy tapestried halls, now the ivy hath flung A mantle to hide their decay.

Through the hush of thy lone haunts I wander again, Where these time-hallow'd relics, familiar remain, As if charmed into magic repose; The pass subterraneous,—the fathomless well, The mound whence the violet peeps—and the cell Where the fox-glove in solitude grows.

In the last rays of sunset thy grey turrets gleam, Yet I linger with thee—as to muse o'er a dream, That mournful truths soon will dispel; My pathway winds onward—life's cares to renew, And I feel, as thy towers now fade from my view, 'Tis for over—I bid thee farewell!


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A Traditionary Tale: by Miss M.L. Beevor.

"The merciful man is merciful to his beast." "The worm we tread upon will turn again."

Charles, the chief huntsman of Baron Mortimer, was undeniably a very handsome young man, the beau ideal of the lover, as pictured by the glowing imagination of maidens, and the beau real of a dozen villages in the vicinity of Mortimer Castle. Yet, was his beauty not amiable, but rather calculated to inspire terror and distrust, than affection and confidence: in fact, a bandit may be uncommonly handsome; but, by the fierce, haughty character of his countenance, the fire which flashes from his eyes, and the contempt which curls his mustachoed lip, create fear, instead of winning regard, and this was the case with Charles. One, however, of those maidens, unto whom it was the folly and vanity of his youth to pay general court, conceived for him a passion deep and pure, which in semblance, at least, he returned; but how far to answer his own nefarious purposes, for Charles Elliott was a godless young man, we shall hereafter discover.

Annette Martin was the daughter of a small farmer who resided about a mile and a half from the Castle; but, being the tenant of Lord Mortimer, had not only frequent occasion to go thither himself with the rural produce of his farm, (for which the Castle was a ready market,) but also to send Annette. Thus then commenced that innocent girl's acquaintance with the Baron's chief huntsman, not long after Elliott's induction into that office, by the resignation of his superannuated predecessor.

Strange rumours were afloat respecting the conduct of Charles; none of which, it is to be presumed, met the Baron's ears, or assuredly the deprivation of his office would have followed. But Lord Mortimer was a young man, paying his addresses to a lady who lived at some distance from the Castle, and consequently much absent from it. And, what said pretty Annette to the rumours which failed not to meet her ear, of her lover's misconduct? "I don't believe a word of them! Charles may be fonder of pleasure than of business, but he is a young man; by and by he will see and feel the necessity of steady application to the duties of his situation, and become less wild and more manly." "NEVER!" would be solemnly enunciated by Annette's auditors. "As to the charge," would she undauntedly continue, "brought against him of cruelty to the dogs under his care, it is an abominable falsehood; Elliott may be passionate, I don't say he is not, but he is generous and humane. I have never seen him scourge the hounds, as you tell me he does, until blood drops from their mangled hides; I have never heard the cries which, you say, resound from their kennels day and night; cries of pain and hunger."

"And have you never seen," would ask some well-meaning tale-bearer, "any of those poor brutes, whose wealed and mangled coats, proclaimed how savagely they had been treated?"

"I have indeed seen," would answer Annette, "dogs lacerated by the wild boars with which the Castle forests abound."

"And have you never observed the miserable skin-and-bone plight of my lord's hounds?"

"They are not thinner, Charles says, than most hounds in good training: when dogs get fat, they become lazy, lose the faculty of finding game, and the inclination of bringing it down."

"Dogs it is true, ought not to be pampered and surfeited, but they ought to be fed." Upon this, Annette would vehemently maintain that fed they were, and amply, as she had seen Elliott cut up their meat; whilst the friendly newsmonger would charitably hint, that her intended knew as well as most men how to turn an honest penny, by cheating the dogs of their food, and selling it elsewhere.

Annette cared little for inuendos which she attributed chiefly to malice and ill-nature. None are so difficult to convince as those who are obstinately deaf to conviction, and there is an idolatry of affection which sometimes burns fonder and deeper, as its object is contemned and despised by the world. Annette had also some idea, that these, and other reports to the prejudice of Charles, originated with an unsuccessful rival, though poor William Curry, amiable, single-minded, and good-humoured as he was, never breathed in her presence, a syllable to the disparagement of Elliott.

Time sped, and upon an occasion when Lord Mortimer returned for a week or two to his Castle, the conduct of his chief huntsman was reported to him; but Charles with consummate art, so vindicated himself, and so contrived to disgrace his accusers, that when the young baron again left home, he stood higher perhaps than ever, in his confidence and favour.

It was the bright summer-time, the period when rural folks make holiday, (at least they did so then, but times have strangely altered of late in once merry England,) the woods put on their brightest green, and the people their finest clothes, for there were wakes, fairs, and rustic meetings innumerable in the vicinity of the Castle. Charles the huntsman might, as usual, be seen at these fetes for nothing, but after his late victory, he carried his head higher, assumed a swaggering gait, and looked his neighbours out of countenance with impudent defiance.

The village feasts were not yet over, when late one night, a cavalier, passing through one of the great forests which surrounded Mortimer Castle, beheld, (for it was a moon-light night,) a female form slowly sauntering about the bridle-way in which he was riding, and uttering heavy moans and sobs. At first, taking this figure for something supernatural, the traveller was startled, but quickly recovering himself, he rode boldly up to, and addressed, the object of his idle fears:—"I have been waiting here for hours," replied the young woman, for such indeed she was, "and my friend is not yet come; I am sadly afraid, sir, some accident may have happened to him."

"Him!" quoth the stranger laughing, "O my good girl, if you be waiting for a gentleman, no wonder you're disappointed. He has played you false, rely upon it, and won't come to night,—so you'd better go home."

"O sir! O my Lord!—I cannot—I dare not! What would father and mother say? and what could I say?"

"Ay—Annette,—Annette Martin,—what could you say?"

"Only the truth, your lordship;" replied the poor girl sobbing, and curtseying, "and then they'd turn me out of doors, for they do so hate Charles,—Charles Elliott, your honour,—that they've as good as sworn, as they'll never consent to my marrying him, and so—and so—I was just a waiting here to-night for him to come as he promised he would, and take me away to the far off town, and"—

"And there marry you, I suppose, without your father and mother's consent:—eh, Annette?"

"Yes, my lord, an please you," replied the poor girl with another rustic dip.

"No, Annette," replied the young baron, "it does not quite please me; and Charles, at any rate, unless some very unforeseen circumstance should have detained him, shall know what I think of his present conduct to you. But come,—mount behind me,—I am unexpectedly returning to the Castle, Dame Trueby shall there make you comfortable for to-night, your parents and friends shall never know but that your absence from home was occasioned by a regular visit to her, and your marriage in two or three days, with my sanction, Annette, will, I think, completely settle matters."

The urbane young baron alighting, assisted Annette to mount his noble steed, who, though overwhelmed by his kindness, refused to listen to all the consolation, or banterings, with which he endeavoured to cheer her on her way to Castle Mortimer, choosing rather to believe that some dreadful accident had befallen her lover, than that carelessness, or perfidy, caused his absence. Dame Trueby's account was little calculated to soothe Annette's anxiety, or to satisfy Lord Mortimer respecting Elliott's proceedings.

"I have not seen Charles," said she, "since early this morning, when I heard him say he was going to feed the hounds, poor creatures! and time enough that he did, I think, considering that he left them without a morsel for a whole day and night, whilst he was capering away at Woodcroft Feast; and then,—the beast!—what does he, but comes back so dead drunk that we were forced to carry him up to bed; meanwhile, the hungry brutes, poor dumb souls, just ready to eat one another, have been fit to raise the very dead with their barking, and ramping, and yowling!"

"A sad account is this, Margery."

"A very true one, please your lordship," replied the old housekeeper, testily.

"I don't doubt it," returned Lord Mortimer, "but cannot at this time of night, dame, with Charles absent, and this young woman, his intended wife, wanting some refreshment and a bed (for which indeed I have ample need myself), make any inquiry into the affair. Let Elliott call me in the morning instead of More, do you meanwhile make this young woman as comfortable as you can, and recollect, Mrs. Trueby, that she is come to the Castle upon a visit to you."

Margery curtseyed, and "yessed," and "very welled," with apparent submission, but though she dared not express her thoughts, it was easy to read in her ample countenance, sad suspicions relative to the honour of her noble master, and of the forlorn damsel thus thrust upon her peculiar hospitality. "And," continued Lord Mortimer, "Charles, you are sure, fed the dogs this morning?"

"Don't know, my lord, I'm sure," replied the old housekeeper, doggedly, "I suppose he did, and belike beat 'em too; I only know they've been quiet all day, which, it stands to reason, they wouldn't have been without wittals; but Master Elliott, I've not seen since."

"Not since early this morning, and 'tis now midnight! Where can he be?"

"The Lord knows, sir! after no good I doubt, for he's a wild lad, and these fairs and dances, fairly turn his brain."

Little further passed that night between the young lord and his housekeeper; after taking some refreshment he retired to rest, and poor Annette also sought, under the auspices of circumspect Mistress Margery, repose in Castle Mortimer, little anticipating the singularly dreadful disclosure of the ensuing morning. Charles, in fact, not having returned, one of the inferior serving-men,—who durst not, now that his master was at home, stand upon the punctilio of "not my business," undertook soon after dawn to "see to the hounds," in his stead; when upon opening the door of the large enclosure in which they were kept, he there beheld, to his unutterable consternation and horror, the mangled remnants of the careless and cruel Huntsman: these consisted of his clothes, torn into strips, and dyed in blood, with fragments sufficient of flesh and bone to attest the hideous fact, that the ravenous brutes, had, after their last long fast, sprung upon their tormentor, (awful retribution!) even at the very moment when he appeared amongst them with their long delayed meal, torn him in pieces, and devoured him!

Lord Mortimer, though, he could not in conscience blame his canine favourites, nor forbear regarding his huntsman's fate as a signal instance of the retributive justice of Providence, felt himself obliged to destroy the whole pack, after their ferocious banquet on human flesh; and with tears in his eyes, he forced himself to witness their execution, lest the cupidity or misjudging kindness of any of his retainers, should induce them to mitigate the culprits' doom. The horrid story spread far and wide, and one of its earliest results was the appearance at Castle Mortimer of a poor woman and three young children, who stated in an agony of grief, that she was the lawful wife of the deceased Charles Elliott, whom he had maintained in a distant town, unto whom his visits, when off duty at the Castle, and absent without leave, were sometimes paid, and who, with her children, being suddenly bereaved by his awful demise of their sole hope and support, now humbly threw themselves upon the benevolence of Lord Mortimer for employment and subsistence!

The grief and confusion of poor Annette Martin, upon this discovery of black villany meditated against her by the unprincipled huntsman, and upon its miraculous and awful frustration, may be imagined: yet had it also its beneficial influence; for, whilst shuddering at the fearful end of the wretch who had plotted her destruction, her once fond affection was converted into bitter hatred; and, ere long, blessing and thanking God for her miraculous preservation, and casting the very memory of the deceiver from her heart, she was without much difficulty persuaded to become the wife of William Curry, her once rejected, but really worthy and amiable admirer.

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(Abridged chiefly from the Rev. Mr. Kinsey's "Portugal Illustrated.")

Spaniards and Portuguese.—"Strip a Spaniard of all his virtues, and you make a good Portuguese of him," says the Spanish proverb. I have heard it said more truly, "Add hypocrisy to a Spaniard's vices, and you have the Portuguese character." These nations blaspheme God by calling each other natural enemies. Their feelings are mutually hostile; but the Spaniards despise the Portuguese, and the Portuguese hate the Spaniards.—Southey.

Portugal.—Situated by the side of a country just five times its size, Portugal, but for the advantageous position of its coast, the good faith of England, and the weakness of its hostile neighbour, impassable roads, and numerous strong places, would long since have returned to the primitive condition of an Iberian province; but its separate existence as a nation has been preserved to it by the strength of the British alliance being brought into a glorious co-operation with all its own internal means of defence.—Kinsey.

Column of Disgrace.—About the middle of the last century, the Duke of Aviero was detected in a conspiracy with the Jesuits in Portugal, and accordingly executed. His house, at Belem, was levelled to the ground at the time of the Duke's decapitation, and on the site was erected a column of disgrace, which still remains, though some shops have been erected beside it to hide the inscription; a just symbol of the conduct of the nation on this subject, for what they cannot alter they strive to conceal.

Over the proscenium of the opera-house at Lisbon is a large clock placed rather in advance, whose dexter supporter is old Time with his scythe, and the sinister, one of the Muses playing on a lyre.

A Lisbon Dandy.—A small, squat, puffy figure incased within a large pack-saddle, upon the back of a lean, high-boned, straw-fed, cream-coloured nag, with an enormously flowing tail, whose length and breadth would appear to be each night guarded from discolouration by careful involution above the hocks. Taken, from his gridiron spurs and long pointed boots, up his broad, blue-striped pantaloons, a la Cossaque, to the thrice-folded piece of white linen on which he is seated in cool repose; thence by his cable chain, bearing seals as large as a warming-pan, and a key like an anchor; then a little higher to the figured waistcoat of early British manufacture, and the sack-shapened coat, up to the narrow brim sugar-loaf hat on his head,—where can be found his equal? Nor does he want a nose as big as the gnomon of a dial-plate; and two flanks of impenetrable, deep, black brushwood, extending under either ear, and almost concealing the countenance, to complete the singular contour of his features.

A Lisbon Water-carrier earns about sixpence per day, the moiety of which serves to procure him his bread, his fried sardinha from a cook's stall, and a little light wine perhaps, on holidays,—water being his general beverage, nay, one might almost say, his element. A mat in a large upper room, shared with several others, serves him in winter as a place of repose for the night; but during the summer he frequently sleeps out in the open air, making his filled water-barrel his pillow.

Vanity.—A young Lisbon dandy hearing an Englishman complain of the intolerable filth and stench of his metropolis, retorted that, for his part, when he was in London, it was the absence of that filth, and the want of the smells complained of, that had rendered his residence in our metropolis so disagreeable and uncomfortable to him. "No passion," as Southey says, "makes a man a liar so easily as vanity."

Dogs.—In Lisbon dogs seem to luxuriate under the violence of the heat, and to avoid the shady sides of the streets, though the thermometer of Fahrenheit be at 110 degrees; and scarcely an instance of canine madness is ever known to occur. When the French decreed the extinction of the tribe of curs that infest the streets, no native executioner could be found to put the exterminating law in force; nay, the very measure excited popular indignation.

Golden Sands.—Perhaps originally it was the fabled gold of the Tagus which attracted Jews to Lisbon in such numbers, and the general persuasion indeed is, that the yellow sands of this royal river did actually once produce sufficient gold to make a magnificent crown and sceptre for the amiable hands of that patriot sovereign, the good king Denis.

A Dinner.—A dish of yellow-looking bacalhao, the worst supposable specimen of our saltings in Newfoundland; a platter of compact, black, greasy, dirty-looking rice; a pound, if so much, of poor half-fed meat; a certain proportion of hard-boiled beef, that has never seen the salting pan, having already yielded its nutritious qualities to a swinging tureen of Spartan soup, and now requiring the accompaniment of a satellite tongue, or friendly slice of Lamego bacon, to impait a dull relish to it; potatoes of leaden continuity; dumplings of adamantine contexture, that Carthaginian vinegar itself might fail to dissolve; with offensive vegetables, and something in a round shape, said to be imported from Holland, and called cheese, but more like the unyielding rock of flint in the tenacity of its impenetrable substance; a small quantity of very small wine; abundance of water; and an awful army of red ants, probably imported from the Brazils—the wood of which the chairs and tables are made, hurrying across the cloth with characteristic industry;—such are the principal features of the quiet family dinner-table of the Portuguese.

The Dockyard of Lisbon is scarcely as extensive as many of the largest of our private ship-builders on the banks of the Thames and the Avon.

Funerals.—In Portugal the corpse is placed in an open coffin, and the head and feet are left bare. A vessel filled with holy water is placed at the foot of the bier, which the priests and relatives of the deceased sprinkle on the body. The service being concluded, the corpse is followed by the relatives down into the vaults below the church, where vinegar and quick lime having been poured upon the body, the falling lid of the coffin is closed and locked, and the key delivered to the chief mourner, who proceeds immediately from the funeral, with his party of friends who have witnessed the interment take place, to the house of the defunct, where the key being left with the nearest relative, and the complimentary visit being paid, the rite is considered as terminated. No fire is lighted in the house of a deceased person upon the day of his funeral, and the relatives, who live in separate houses, are in the habit of supplying a ready-dressed dinner, under the supposition that the inmates are too much absorbed in grief to be equal to giving any orders for the preparation of food. During the course of the ensuing week, the chief mourners receive their several relatives and friends at tea. The assembly is sorrowful and dull. It has been asserted, though not corroborated, that such is the poverty and disregard of decorum on the part of the Portuguese government, that when a person dies without leaving behind sufficient to defray the expenses of his funeral, the dead body is laid on the pavement of the most public street, with a box upon the breast, into which passers-by drop copper or silver coin, until sufficient has thus been obtained to defray the expense of interment; and that a soldier stands at the head of the body to see that no money is abstracted; for, in Portugal, even the sacred purpose for which it is intended would not secure it without his protection.

There is no pardoning soi-disant liberaux, who prove, by their acts, the greatest enemies of the sacred dignity of liberty.

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Decollatio, or beheading, was a military punishment among the Romans. In early times it was performed with an axe, and afterwards with a sword. It is worthy of remark, that in all countries where beheading and hanging are used as capital punishments, the former is always considered less ignominious. Thus, in England, beheading is the punishment of nobles, when commoners for the same crime are hanged. The crime of high treason is here punished with beheading. Commoners, however, are hanged before the head is cut off, and nobles also, unless the king remits that part of the punishment. In Prussia, formerly a nobleman could not be hanged; and if his crime was such that the law required this punishment, he was degraded before the execution. At present, hanging is not used in that country, and since so many instances have occurred of extreme suffering, on the part of the criminal, caused by the unskilfulness of the executioner in beheading with the sword, this mode of execution has been abolished. Beheading in Prussia is now always performed with a heavy axe, the sufferer being previously tied to a block. In France, during the revolutionary government, beheading by means of a machine, the guillotine, came into use, and still prevails there, to the exclusion of all other modes of capital punishment. A person who has murdered his father or mother, however, has his right arm cut off the moment before he is guillotined. In the middle ages, it was, in some states, the duty of the youngest magistrates to perform the executions with the sword. In China, it is well known that beheading is practised, sometimes accompanied with the most studied torments. In the United States of America, beheading is unknown, the halter being the only instrument of capital punishment. In many European countries, beheading with the sword still prevails.


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Were, or Wera, in our old law books, signifies what was anciently paid for killing a man. When such crimes were punished with pecuniary mulets, not death, the price was set on every man's head, according to his condition and quality.

Werelade, among the Saxons, was the denying of a homicide on oath, in order to be quit of the fine, or forfeiture, called were. If the party denied the fact, he was to purge himself, by the oaths of several persons, according to his degree and quality. If the guilt amounted to four pounds, he was to have eighteen jurors on his father's side, and four on his mother's: if to twenty-four pounds, he was to have sixty jurors, and this was called werelade.

Weregild, or Weregeld, was the price of a man's head; which was paid partly to the king for the loss of his subject, partly to the lord whose vassal he was, and partly to the next of kin.

"In the same manner (says Blackstone,) by the Irish brehon law, in case of murder, the brehon or judge, compounded between the murderer and the friends of the deceased, who prosecuted him, by causing the malefactor to give unto them, or to the child or wife of him that was slain, a recompense, which they called eriach. And thus we find in our Saxon laws, particularly those of King Athelstan, the several weregilds for homicide, established in progressive order, from the death of the ceorl or peasant, up to that of the king himself."

The weregild of an archbishop, and of an earl, was 15,000 thrismas; that of a bishop or alderman, 8,000; that of a general or governor, 4,000; that of a priest or thane, 2,000; that of a king, 30,000; half to be paid to his kindred, and the other half to the public. The weregild of a ceorl was 266 thrismas.


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The second great officer of the crown is the Lord High Chancellor, or Keeper of the Great Seal, which are the same in authority, power, and precedence. They are appointed by the King's delivery of the Great Seal to them, and by taking the oath of office. They differ only in this point, that the Lord Chancellor hath also letters patent, whereas the Lord Keeper hath none.

He is an officer of very great power; as no patents, writs, or grants, are valid, until he affixes the Great Seal thereto.

Among the many great prerogatives of his office, he has a power to judge, according to equity, conscience, and reason, where he finds the law of the land so defective as that the subject would be injured thereby.

He has power to collate to all ecclesiastical benefices in His Majesty's gift, rated under 20l. a year in the King's books.

In ancient times, this great office was most usually filled by an ecclesiastic. The first upon record after the Conquest, is Maurice, in 1067, who was afterward Bishop of London.

Nor do we find an elevation of any Chancellor to the Peerage, until the year 1603, when King James I. delivered a new Great Seal to Sir Thomas Egerton, and soon after created him Baron of Ellesmere,[2] and constituted him Lord High Chancellor of England. But until of late years, the custom never prevailed, that the Lord High Chancellor of England should he made an hereditary Peer of the realm. He performs all matters which appertain to the Speaker of the House of Lords, whereby he maybe said to be the eye, ear, and tongue of that great assembly.—Manual of Rank and Nobility.

[2] From him descended the late Dukes of Bridgewater of that surname.

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(This is certainly one of the most ingenious books of the season, and independently of its place as a volume of the Family Library, it has substantive claims which we trust will not he overlooked. It is from the graceful pen of Sir David Brewster, who possesses, in a high degree, the peculiar talent of investing scientific inquiries with the charm of popular delight; in short, of making science easy, and often conveying in a single chapter what others labour to effect in a volume. He, in truth, teaches us the sweet uses of science.

The present work appears to be the suggestion of Sir Walter Scott, to whom it is addressed in letters. We can give but a faint idea of the extent and interest of its subject, which ranges from the magic of the ancients to the intoxicating gas of the moderns; yet the purpose of the work is mainly to trace the connexion of those prodigies of the material world which are termed Natural Magic, with scientific causes. Thus, in the introductory letter, the writer observes on the resources of ancient magic:—)

The secret use which was thus made of scientific discoveries and of remarkable inventions, has no doubt prevented many of them from reaching the present times; but though we are very ill informed respecting the progress of the ancients in various departments of the physical sciences, yet we have sufficient evidence that almost every branch of knowledge had contributed its wonders to the magician's budget, and we may even obtain some insight into the scientific acquirements of former ages, by a diligent study of their fables and their miracles.

(In the second letter, upon Ocular Illusions, is the following beautiful passage on the Eye:—)

This wonderful organ may be considered as the sentinel which guards the pass between the worlds of matter and of spirit, and through which all their communications are interchanged. The optic nerve is the channel by which the mind peruses the hand-writing of Nature on the retina, and through which it transfers to that material tablet its decisions and its creations. The eye is consequently the principal seat of the supernatural. When the indications of the marvellous are addressed to us through the ear, the mind may be startled without being deceived, and reason may succeed in suggesting some probable source of the illusion by which we have been alarmed. But when the eye in solitude sees before it the forms of life, fresh in their colours and vivid in their outline; when distant or departed friends are suddenly presented to its view; when visible bodies disappear and reappear without any intelligible cause; and when it beholds objects, whether real or imaginary, for whose presence no cause can be assigned, the conviction of supernatural agency becomes under ordinary circumstances unavoidable. Hence it is not only an amusing but an useful occupation to acquire a knowledge of those causes which are capable of producing so strange a belief, whether it arises from the delusions which the mind practises upon itself, or from the dexterity and science of others.

(The Optical phenomena, as might be expected, are most abundant, as they include the subject of spectral illusions and apparitions, and natural phenomena marked with the marvellous. The properties of Sound are next in interest; among them we find explained the wonder of singers breaking glasses with their great power of voice; the automaton flute-player, talking engines, echoes, &c. The Mechanical causes are less numerous: among them we are glad to see noticed the feat of lifting heavy persons, which we ourselves have often seen accomplished; but Sir David Brewster does not supply the cause. As the matter may be new to many readers, we quote the two relating pages.)

One of the most remarkable and inexplicable experiments relative to the strength of the human frame, which you have yourself seen and admired, is that in which a heavy man is raised with the greatest facility, when he is lifted up the instant that his own lungs and those of the persons who raise him are inflated with air. This experiment was, I believe, first shown in England a few years ago by Major H., who saw it performed in a large party at Venice under the direction of an officer of the American Navy. As Major H. performed it more than once in my presence, I shall describe as nearly as possible the method which he prescribed. The heaviest person in the party lies down upon two chairs, his legs being supported by the one and his back by the other. Four persons, one at each leg, and one at each shoulder, then try to raise him, and they find his dead weight to be very great, from the difficulty they experience in supporting him. When he is replaced in the chair, each of the four persons takes hold of the body as before, and the person to be lifted gives two signals by clapping his hands. At the first signal he himself and the four lifters begin to draw a long and full breath, and when the inhalation is completed, or the lungs filled, the second signal is given, for raising the person from the chair. To his own surprise and that of his bearers, he rises with the greatest facility, as if he were no heavier than a feather. On several occasions I have observed that when one of the bearers performs his part ill, by making the inhalation out of time, the part of the body which he tries to raise is left as it were behind. As you have repeatedly seen this experiment, and have performed the part both of the load and of the bearer, you can testify how remarkable the effects appear to all parties, and how complete is the conviction, either that the load has been lightened, or the bearer strengthened by the prescribed process. At Venice the experiment was performed in a much more imposing manner. The heaviest man in the party was raised and sustained upon the points of the fore-fingers of six persons. Major H. declared that the experiment would not succeed if the person lifted were placed upon a board, and the strength of the individuals applied to the board. He conceived it necessary that the bearers should communicate directly with the body to be raised. I have not had an opportunity of making any experiments relative to these curious facts; but whether the general effect is an illusion, or the result of known or of new principles, the subject merits a careful investigation.

(In connexion with walking along the ceiling is noticed the beautiful contrivance of the foot of the house-fly and gecko, and the head of the sucking-fish. To the next portion, Chemistry has supplied fewer wonders than we expected: they occupy but fifty pages.

The examples in this book are the most quotable portion, but the majority of them would be new to few readers: who, for instance, is unacquainted with the feats of Topham, the strong man, or the Invisible Girl. The explanations are not so easily transferable, since they are generally accompanied by illustrations.

By the way, how many of these wonders are recorded in the early volumes of the Philosophical Transactions, with all the gravity of the FF.R.S. whose zeal, industry, and emulation rendered the early years of the Society peculiarly brilliant. The very titles of some of the early papers would make a "wonderful museum;" as Four Suns observed in France—Worms that eat Stones and Mortar—which are almost as marvellous as one of Sir David Brewster's lines—a coach and four filled with skeletons. The Royal Society has now existed a century and three-quarters: in their early Transactions are inquiries relative to the tides—observations on the darting threads of spiders—"experiments about respiration"—"of red snow seen at Genoa," &c.; yet scores of philosophers, at the present moment, are controverting these very subjects.)

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(This is not just so good a work as its full title-page may lead the reader to expect. It runs thus "Fifteen Months' Pilgrimage through untrodden tracts of Khuzistan and Persia, in a journey from India to England, through parts of Turkish Arabia, Persia, Armenia, Russia, and Germany." Now, there is attractive promise in the word "untrodden," and it may be said to apply to the Asiatic tour of the author, or his first volume, but is not appropriate to the second, which owes its main interest to his interview with Skryznecki, the illustrious Pole. Neither is the term pilgrimage characteristic of the journey, which has the sketchiness and levity of a flying tour rather than the observant gravity of a patient pilgrimage. Nevertheless, the work is altogether full of vivacity and interest, and the author, Mr. J.H. Stocqueler, must be as pleasant on his travels, as his book will be in our hands.

Crossing from Bombay, the author reached Muscat in eleven days. Here, with his host, Reuben, he paid his respects to his highness the Imaum, whose court is a curiosity.)

The Imaum's palace was close to the water's edge in front of the town, and his highness received Reuben and myself in an arbour or veranda open to the sea. At the entrance to the veranda stood several well dressed Arabs armed with sword, spear, and dagger, and half a dozen dirty looking Abyssinians clothed somewhat like the sepoys in our Indian army, and equipped much after the same fashion. These latter, as I understood, were paraded in honour of my visit; and indeed generally form the garde du corps on occasions of an Englishman's presentation at the Court of Muscat. The Imaum rose on our entrance and accommodated us with chairs, and after we had been served with some insipid sherbet, addressed himself to me on the subject of my journey, its object and direction; and then touched on the politics of Europe.

Our interview closed by his highness offering me the use of his horses, his houses, and his ships of war, the cabins of which afforded excellent accommodation, and which were generally occupied by English visiters.

The Imaum of Muscat is passionately fond of horses, and devotes considerable time and attention to their breeding. Of some of the finest horses in his stud, the Imaum makes presents to the governors of the Indian presidencies, and deserving officers in his own service. Horses likewise form an article of trade between Muscat and India, and yield, as I have been told, a considerable profit.

(Intellect is not on the march at Bushire. It contains a small school founded by the famous Joseph Wolff, and supported by the British residents in Persia. Mr. Wolff projected much; but Mr. Stocqueler says:)

The school possessed, while I was at Bushire, no more than thirteen pupils, who were struggling through the rudiments of the Persian and Armenian languages, under the guidance of a sleepy old Armenian.

(At Koete, our author visited three brothers, "all dressed alike and so much resembling each other in feature, and in the total loss of the left eye, that it was difficult to discover my friend the supercargo, who had accompanied us from Bombay."

Koete is about a mile long, and a quarter of a mile broad. The houses are built of mud and stone, and flat roofed with the trunk of the date tree. Around it is a wall, beyond which nothing is to be seen but a vast sandy plain, extending more than sixty miles. Within the walls, it is equally sterile, it literally yields nothing; here, "all is barren," and the water is far from sweet, yet 4,000 souls live, though the sheikh keeps up no standing army. Mr. S. sails thence into the Shut-ul-Arab, [River of the Arabs,] the banks of which are more delightful than those of the Thames at Richmond.

At Bussorah—a bain a la Turque.)

Entering the hummaum, I found myself suddenly in an apartment resembling a vaulted cellar, dimly lighted by small apertures, and glazed sky-lights in the dome. Stone and brick benches, covered with cloths and coarse carpets, were ranged along the walls, and there was a fireplace where coffee and chibouks were prepared, and cloths dried. Having been required to strip, and a cloth tied round my waist, I was led into a second apartment filled with steam, and of so high a temperature, that in one instant I lost my breath, and in the next was streaming from every pore. I anticipated a speedy dissolution of my "solid flesh;" but on reaching a third apartment, (all vaulted and lighted, or rather darkened alike,) I had become somewhat relieved. In this apartment were four cisterns nearly level with the floor, into which the hot water was drawn by cocks placed in the wall above. As soon as I had decided that the water was hot enough, I was placed by the side of one of the cisterns, and then the operation commenced.

Act 1.—Deluged with hot water from the hands of a stout Persian. Act 2.—Conducted by said Persian to a stone ottoman in the centre of the room, and caused to sit down. Act 3.—My whole body kneaded by the fists of the aforesaid; joints cracked, ears pulled, mustachoes dyed, limbs rubbed with a hair-cloth glove. Act 4.—Enveloped in warm towels, and served with a pipe. Act 5.—Wiped dry; led into the outer apartment dressed and—Exit.

(Starting from Bussorah, the author is towed up the Euphrates as follows.)

As soon as we had got out of the creek, we found both wind and tide had set against us. The mallahs, or trackers, immediately stripped, placing their clothes on their heads, and sprang on shore. A rope was passed from the mast-head to a girdle round their respective bodies, and off they set along the banks; sometimes, on reaching creeks, irrigating channels, or unequal projections, plunging up to their necks, and wading or swimming with their burthen, as the depth or shallowness of the water required. In this way all the communication up the Tigris and Euphrates is carried on when the wind blows down those rivers. The business of tracking as may be conceived, is extremely fatiguing and dangerous: in fact, so excellent a test does it furnish of the muscular powers and courage of man, that the heads of the Mallah tribes require that each Mallah should make three trips to Bagdad, as a tracker, before he can be qualified for the married state and the care of a family.

(The plague rages at Bagdad, and he returns to Bussorah. On his way he escapes a storm on the Euphrates.)

The river, which does not ordinarily rise until the month of June, now rose with inconceivable rapidity, preceded by a violent storm, and in a few hours inundated the whole Irak. Numberless villages of matted huts were swept away; men, women, and children, were in a moment rendered houseless; numerous cattle and sheep were drowned; date trees torn up by the roots, and boats swamped or stranded. The artificial banks of the river, which had governed our progress upwards, were now overflowed, and it was with the greatest difficulty we could discover the river's bed and escape getting aground.

(At Bussorah.)

Intelligence of the approach of the plague had spread consternation throughout the city, and had sent thousands of its inhabitants into retreat. The shops were closed—trade at a stand—the streets deserted—houses tenantless—the oft busy creek had scarcely a boat moving on its surface—the mosques were filled with the dismayed Moslems, whom poverty or self-interest had kept in the town—the Christian churches held the few Armenians and Chaldeans whom fear had driven to pray with sincerity. Here might be seen a cluster of Zobeir Arabs, meditating rapine: and there a straggling Jew, ruminating on the losses he had sustained by the flight of the panic-stricken slaves of his usury.

Aga Pharseigh had lost all his confidence and self-sufficiency. He had sent off his family to Bushire; he was himself to sink into the humble office of clerk to the resident; and he was (which he esteemed the most distressing event of the three) to encounter face to face those who had just left the "city of the plague." I had told him of the circumstances under which I had met the resident, (coming from Bagdad,) and that there were three cases of plague on board. The Armenian, whose only notions regarding cases were acquired in the course of his mercantile transactions, and who believed a plague case and a six dozen champagne case to be much about the same article, ejaculated, "Three cases of plague! Merciful heavens!—if the major wanted to preserve such abominable virus, could he not have brought a smaller quantity? Three cases! If it should run out, how it might spread about the town!"

(The "divinity" of the sheikh of the Chabeans is worth record. He was pleased with Mr. Stocqueler's medical zeal, and more so with a box of ointment which he laid "at his feet as a certain remedy for the impaired vision of his left eye. He had been stone blind from his childhood, but he held it disrespectful to be told so."

The levee of the sheikh of Fellahi is amusing.)

He was in a spacious veranda in front of his harem, looking out on the palace court, above which it was raised for about three feet. Three or four beautiful hawks were perched near the sheikh, and he was patting a couple of favourite greyhounds. Below, in the court, stood a considerable guard, and about the sheikh's person were a number of subordinate sheikhs. Those of the highest rank merely bowed and took their places, others advanced and kissed the sheikh's hand while the humblest officers knelt on one knee to perform the same ceremony. I observed, however, that great respect was always paid to age in this little court, for when the head of a village, far advanced in years, limped up to the nummud, the sheikh rose and embraced him, though he held but a trifling post, and was a man of little personal merit. My own reception was most flattering. "Ah, ha! khoob! khoob! shahbas!" (good, good, admirable!) exclaimed Mobader Khan, in Persian—"you are now yourself. It is long since I looked upon an Englishman, but I do not forget that they are a great nation." He then discoursed with me about my plans for the future prosecution of my journey, and gave me some instructions for going through the Chab territory. Talking of hunting, and more especially of falconry, he told me that his deserts abounded with game, and that if I would stay with him, I should see herds of antelopes fall to his noble hawks. He was curious about our field sports, but showed very little interest in more important matters; because, said he, "I am already well informed in all that concerns Europeans and their empires."

The sheikh is held in great veneration by all the tribes, who fly to Fellahi at his summons, bringing their own materiel of war. In this way he can command the services of six or seven thousand cavalry, and above fifteen thousand infantry, independently of the wandering Illyauts, who inhabit the deserts of Chab.

(At Bebuhan are some interesting notes.)

The Khans and Meerzas of Bebuhan are considerable consumers of coffee, but not after the fashion of Turks, Arabs, or Europeans. It is with them a kind of bon-bon eaten in a powdered and roasted state, without having had any connexion with hot water. When Meer Goolam Hussein called on me, he was always accompanied by his coffee-bearer, who carried about the fragrant berry in a snuff-box, and handed it frequently to the company present. The first time it was brought to me, deceived by its colour and quality, and strengthened in the delusion by its singular repository, I took a pinch of the coffee and applied it to my nose, amidst the roars of laughter and looks of surprise of all the party.

(A vestry dinner in Persia must be one of our selections.)

At the convent of Julfa the governing bishop and his confreres have ample room, plenty of society, and a well furnished table. I dined once with his lordship and the churchwardens, and found that vestry honours and vestry appetites are not exclusively English characteristics. The dinner was spread as usual on the ground, on a large white cloth, around which the guests assembled. Placed opposite each guest was a plate, knife, fork, spoon, and glass, a piece of cheese, two or three feet of bread, and a hard boiled egg. The feast commenced by each person drinking a dram of aniseed; then came in quick succession mutton chops, boiled fowls, boiled kidneys, sour curds, tea, apricots, apples, and grapes, sweetmeats, and salt fish; to each of which laymen and churchmen did equal justice, finishing the feast with a sacrifice to Bacchus.

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Cranmer received his early education from a parish-clerk. This may seem singular, for he was of gentle blood, and was entered at Cambridge amongst "the better sort of students." But probably such shifts were not unusual before the Reformation. The monasteries indeed had schools attached to them in many instances. In Elizabeth's time a complaint is made by the Speaker of the Commons, that the number of such places of education had been reduced by a hundred, in consequence of the suppression of the religious houses. Still it must often have happened (thickly scattered as the monasteries were) that the child lived at an inconvenient distance from any one of them; mothers, too, might not have liked to trust less robust children to the clumsy care of a fraternity; and probably little was learned in these academies after all. Erasmus makes himself merry with the studies pursued in them; and it is remarkable that no sooner did the love of learning revive, than the popularity of the monasteries declined. For thirty years before the Reformation, there were few or no new religious foundations, whilst schools, on the other hand, began to multiply in their stead; a fact which sufficiently marks the state of public opinion with regard to the monasteries as places of education—for education began now to be the desire of the day. Schools, therefore, in the present acceptation of the term, in Cranmer's boyhood there were scarcely any; and it was the crying want of them in London that induced Dean Colet to establish that of St. Paul's, which, under the fostering care of Lily, the first master, not only became so distinguished in itself, but set the example, and prepared the way, by its rules and its grammar, for so many others which followed in its wake. Edward VI.; with the natural feeling of a boy fond of knowledge, and himself a proficient for his years, was aware of the evil, and projected the remedy. Colet might be his model—but he was embarrassed in his means by courtiers, who were for ever uttering the cry of the horse-leech's daughters; and, besides, his days were soon numbered. Cranmer, who perhaps remembered the obstacles in his own way, and who certainly foresaw the great calamity of an ignorant clergy, pressed for the establishment of a school in connexion with every cathedral—a school, as it were, of the prophets—where boys intended for holy orders might be brought up suitably to the profession they were about to adopt, and where the bishops might ever find persons duly qualified to serve God in the church. But Cranmer was overruled, and a measure, which might have helped to catch up the church before it fell into that abyss of ignorance which seems to have immediately succeeded the Reformation, (the natural consequence of a season of convulsion and violence,) was unhappily lost. It was not till the reign of Elizabeth that the evil was at all adequately met, nor fully indeed then, as the deficiency of well-endowed schools at this day testifies. Still much was at that time done. The dignitaries and more wealthy ecclesiastics of the reformed Church bestirred themselves and founded some schools. Many tradesmen, who had accumulated fortunes in London, (then the almost exclusive province of commercial enterprise,) retired in their later years to the country-town which had given them birth, and gratefully provided for the better education of their neighbours, by furnishing it with a grammar-school. And even the honest yeoman, a person who then appears to have appreciated learning, and often to have brought up his boy to the church, united in the same praiseworthy object. In such cases application was usually made to the Queen for a charter, which was granted with or without pecuniary assistance on her own part; and whoever will examine the dates of our foundation schools, will find a great proportion of them erected in that glorious reign.

Thus it came to pass (to revert to our text), that Cranmer was sent to college in his fourteenth year, Oxford and Cambridge being at that time the substitutes for the schools which have succeeded them, and being considered the two great national receptacles for all the boys in the country. There they were subjected to corporal punishment. The statutes were framed with a reference to the habits of mere boys; it is forbidden, for instance, in one of the Cambridge statutes, to play marbles on the senate-house steps; and the number of the students was so enormous (still for the same reason), that Latimer, in one of his sermons, speaks of a decrease in those of his own time, to the amount of no less than ten thousand.—Quarterly Review.

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M. ——, a Perote, one who knew "the difference between alum and barley-sugar,"[3] if ever man did, a good catholic, a conscientious person, a dragoman, and as such necessarily attached to truth, and never telling a lie, save in the way of business, was himself the hero, or the witness rather of the story he narrated. He was sent one morning from the European palace of ——, at Pera, on business in Constantinople. He was in a great hurry, but as he reached the Meytiskellesi, or wharf of the dead, and was about stepping into his caeik to be rowed across the harbour of the Golden Horn, either a nail in one of the rough planks of the wooden quay caught his slipper, or a post on it his robe, I forget which—but the dragoman turned round, and saw standing close by him, a tall and very notorious African magician, who had long been practising at the capital, and was known to every body as one of the lions of the place. To do a civil thing, and perhaps to keep well in this world with one who had intercourse with the spirits of the next, the dragoman naturally supposing he was waiting there on the water's edge only to cross over from the suburb to the city, very politely invited him to take a passage in his caeik. The tall African made no verbal reply, but smiled, and waved his hand to decline the high honour.

[3] A Turkish saying, much in use.

The dragoman then concluding, that instead of waiting to cross over himself, he was expecting the arrival of some one from the opposite side of the Golden Horn, stepped into his caeik, which instantly glided from the quay and shot across the port. The boats at Constantinople are all very light and sharp, and go with astonishing speed, even when propelled with one pairs of oars; but people of high consideration, like dragomans, generally have two pairs to their caeiks, and at this time M. —— being in a very great hurry, told his two rowers to pull as fast as they could.

When about half way on his short aquatic journey, M. —— turned his head and looked back, and then he saw at the end of the quay, just where he had left him, the tall African standing starch and motionless, like a granite statue before an Egyptian temple.

The dragoman's boat continued to cleave the waves; it neared the opposite shore—no caeik had passed him on his way—when lo! as his own came in concussion with the wooden piles of the Divan-kapi-iskellesi, and he rose from his seat to step on shore, he saw the identical African wizard standing there before him, and gazing calmly over to the opposite quay where he had just left him, and whence it was impossible he could have proceeded by mortal agency!

The dragoman rubbed his eyes, as well he might; but there was the Maugrabee, with his large leaden eye gazing across the Golden Horn, and fixed on the wharf of the dead, just as he had been left behind there gazing at the Divan-kapi-iskellesi. M. —— felt a sort of flesh-shivering at this undeniable proof of the wizard's power; he remained for better than a minute in the position he was, when the tall African first struck his eye, spell-bound as it were, with one foot on the edge of the boat, and the other on the edge of the quay; but recovering himself, he drew up his hinder leg, and then crossing himself like a good catholic, and salaaming his acquaintance, like a polite Turk, he stepped along the quay, touching the necromancer as he passed him, and thus completely assuring himself, it was no deception of vision. Mr. —— thinking more about this wonderful occurrence than the business of the —— nation he was going upon went his way, and having discharged his duty, hurried back to Pera, where he told this story, where it was universally believed from the veracity and character and dignity of the narrator, and where the narrator himself is still living. Very possibly, while I am writing he is telling his rencounter with the wizard, for he tells it to every stranger—Metropolitan.

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(From Part 15, of Knowledge for the People—Mineralogy and Geology.)

Why was crystal so named?

Because it was probably the first substance ever noticed as occurring in a regular form, and the ancients believing it to be water permanently congealed by extreme cold, from its transparency, called it Krustallos, signifying ice; but in time the word became used without attention being paid to its original meaning, and was applied to all the regular figures observed in minerals.

Why are the fine crystals of quartz used as a substitute for glass in spectacles?

Because, from their superior hardness, they do not so readily become scratched as glass: they are then termed pebbles.

Why is the stone Cairn Gorm so called?

Because it is found in great beauty in the mountain of Cairn Gorm, in Scotland. It consists of brown and yellow crystals of quartz, and is much admired for seal stones, &c.; it is sometimes improperly termed topaz.

Why is quartz the constituent of so many gems?

Because the tinges it receives from metals are sufficient to produce these varieties. Thus, amethyst, or purple quartz, is tinged with a little iron and manganese. Rose quartz, or false ruby, derives its colour from manganese. Avanturine is a beautiful variety of quartz, of a rich brown colour, which, from a peculiarity of texture, appears filled with bright spangles. Small crystals of quartz, tinged with iron, are found in Spain, and have been termed hyacinths of Compostella. Flint, chalcedony, carnelian, onyx, sardonyx, and bloodstone, or heliotrope, and the numerous varieties of agates, are principally composed of quartz, with various tinging materials.

Why is opal among the most beautiful productions of the mineral world?

Because the colours are not occasioned by any particular tinge of the substance, but by its peculiar property of refracting the solar rays. It is a compound of about 90 silica, and 10 water. The finest specimens come exclusively from Hungary. There is a variety of opal called Hydrophane, which is white and opaque till immersed in water; it then resembles the former.

Why is the sapphire genus so highly prized?

Because, after diamond, it is the hardest substance in nature. It forms also the most valuable gems, as the oriental ruby and the topaz. The blue variety, or sapphire, is harder than the ruby. It is infusible before the blowpipe. It becomes electrical by rubbing, and retains its electricity for several hours; but does not become electrical by heating. It occurs in alluvial soil, in the vicinity of rocks belonging to the secondary or floetz-trap formation, and imbedded in gneiss. It is found at Rodsedlitz and Treblitz in Bohemia, and Hohenstein in Saxony; Expailly in France; and particularly beautiful in the Capelau mountains, twelve days from Sirian, a city of Pegu. Next to diamond it is the most valuable of gems. The white and pale blue varieties, by exposure to heat become snow-white; and when cut, exhibit so high a degree of lustre, that they are used in place of diamond. The most highly prized varieties are the crimson and carmine red; these are the oriental ruby of the jeweller; the next is sapphire; and the last is sapphire, or oriental topaz. The asterias, or star-stone, is a very beautiful variety, in which the colour is generally of a reddish violet, with an opalescent lustre. A sapphire of ten carats weight is considered to be worth fifty guineas.—Jameson.

The blue topaz, or Brazilian sapphire, is of recent introduction. The white topaz considerably exceeds rock crystal in lustre, and in Brazil is called mina nova.[4]

[4] The pink topaz is made from the yellow, which, when of intense colour, is put into the bowl of a tobacco pipe, or small crucible, covered with ashes or sand: on the application of a low degree of heat, it changes its colour from a yellow to a beautiful pink. It contains fluoric acid, which may be the means of this change.—Mawe.

Why is ruby of such a brilliant colour?

Because a sixth of it is chromic acid, while other gems, as the garnet, are coloured by oxide of iron. The most esteemed, and at the same time, rarest colour, of the oriental ruby, is pure carmine, or blood-red of considerable intensity, forming, when well polished, a blaze of the most exquisite and unrivalled tint. It is, however, more or less pale, and mixed with blue in various proportions; hence it occurs rose-red and reddish white, crimson, peach-blossom red, and lilac blue—the latter variety being named oriental amethyst. A ruby perfect both in colour and transparency, is much less common than a good diamond, and when of the weight of three or four carats, is even more valuable than that gem. The king of Pegu, and the monarchs of Siam and Ava, monopolize the rarest rubies; the finest in the world is in the possession of the first of these kings: its purity has passed into a proverb, and its worth when compared with gold, is inestimable. The Subah of the Deccan, also, is in possession of a prodigiously fine one, a full inch in diameter. The princes of Europe cannot boast of any of a first rate magnitude. Mr. Mawe, from whose interesting work we abridge these particulars, considers the oriental sapphire to rank next in value to the ruby. Among the British crown jewels is an inestimable sapphire; it is of the purest and deepest azure, more than two inches long, and one inch broad. The finest ruby among these gems is more treasured for its antiquity than intrinsic value, it being the one worn at Cressy and Agincourt, by the Black Prince and Henry V.: this is worn on the back cross, and the sapphire on the front, of the imperial crown upon state occasions.

Why are garnets often found of a reddish brown tinge?

Because of the excess of oxide of iron which they contain; a small proportion being sufficient to colour them entirely, without injuring their play and splendour. In fact, the perfection of all gems depends less on the quality of their component principles, than on their complete solution and intimate combination. The alkalized earths, as lime, magnesia, and still better, pot-ash, seem to intervene as solvents, for alumina, completely dissolved, acquires, as we have shown from Klaproth, a crystallization, of which, by itself, it is not susceptible.

The garnet is found in Bohemia, Ceylon, and other countries; but the chief mart formerly being Sirian, the capital of Pegu, the best are often denominated Sirian garnets. The colour most esteemed is blood or cherry red, mixed often, however, with blue, forming tints of crimson, purple, and reddish violet; or orange red and hyacinth brown. The Sirian garnet is of a violet colour, which, in some rare specimens, makes it compete with the amethyst, from which it is to be discriminated by the disadvantage of losing its brilliancy, and acquiring an orange tint by candlelight. Distinct from all other garnets, it preserves its colour unmixed with the common black tinge, unassisted by foil, even when thick. Course garnets are used as emery for polishing metals, and by lapidaries. They are found in Ireland, in Norway, and many other countries.

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(From the preceding work.)

Why are certain formations called marine?

Because they result from continual deposits of shingle and sand, as may be seen on the flat coast of our eastern counties. In this manner, at Lowestoffe-Ness, as well as at Yarmouth, the sea has erected a series of natural embankments against itself. The present extent of land thrown up by the sea, and out of the reach of the highest tides, is nearly three miles long, projecting from the base of the original cliff to the distance of 660 yards at the Ness. The respective lines of growth are indicated by a series of small embankments, perfectly defined. Several of these ridges have been formed within the memory of men now living. A rampart of heavy materials is first thrown up by a violent gale from the north-cast. Sand is subsequently blown over, and consolidates the shingle, and the process is completed by marine plants taking root and extending their fibres in a kind of net-work through the mass. In process of time the surface becomes covered with vegetable mould, and ultimately, in many cases, is productive of good herbage.[5]

[5] From a Communication to the Philosophical Magazine, by Mr. R. Taylor.

Why are shingle beaches formed by heavy gales?

Because every breaker is more or less charged with the materials composing the beach; the shingles are forced forward as far as the broken wave can reach, and, in their shock against the beach, drive others before them that were not held in momentary mechanical suspension by the breaker. By these means, and particularly at the greatest height of the tide, the shingles are projected on the land beyond the reach of the retiring waves: and this great accumulation of land upon beach being effected at high water, it is clear, the ebb tide cannot deprive the land of what it has gained. Smaller lines are formed in moderate weather, to be swept away by heavy gales: hence it would appear, that the sea was diminishing the beach; but attention will show that the shingles of the lines so apparently swept away, are but accumulated elsewhere. How often has our observation of these changes realized the homely simile of Shakspeare:—

Like as the waves make towards the pebble shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

Why is this progressive march of beaches far from rapid?

Because it can only take place in proportion to the greater power or duration of one wind to another: moreover, the pebbles become comminuted in their passage, and thus, the harder can only travel to considerable distances. Works are sometimes constructed to arrest beaches, either to protect land behind, or to prevent their passage round pier-heads into artificial harbours, and thus engineers are practically aware of their travelling power in direction of certain winds.

Why are sandy-beaches formed more rapidly than shingle?

Because the breakers have the same tendency to force sand upon the land as in the case of shingles; but being so much lighter than the latter, sand can be transported by coast-tides or currents whose velocity would be insufficient to move shingles. On the other hand, however, smaller bodies and forces of water can throw sand on the shore. The spray that could not transport a pebble can carry sand, and thus it is conveyed far beyond situations where the reflux of a wave can be felt. This may be witnessed on some parts of the Sussex coast, as at Worthing. In rough weather too, the spray of the sea, with heavy rain, carries much sand, which it deposits on the fronts of houses, as may be seen upon the return of moderate weather: this effect may be witnessed on the splendid terraces of the Brighton cliffs, and its destructive working on their plaster fronts is very evident.

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The inn-keeper of former times seems to have been a person of less humble station than now—he shared his calling with the monastery and with the village-pastor. Travellers had to choose (as they still have in Roman Catholic countries) between the refectory of the monk, the parsonage of the minister, and the tavern of mine host—payment for the night's lodging, where he was in a condition to pay, being expected of him, in one shape or other, at all. The keeper of the Tabard in the Canterbury Tales appears to be upon a level with his guests, both in rank and information, and to play the part of one who felt that he was receiving his equals, and no more, under his roof; yet his company was not of the lowest; and in those times it seems to have been usual for the landlord to preside at the common board, and act in every respect as the hospitable master of the house, save only in exacting the shot; as indeed is the custom in many parts of Germany at the present day. When the system of lay impropriations had begun to take effect, it was by no means an uncommon thing for the minister himself to be also the tavern-keeper, a circumstance, however, which, it must be confessed, may be thought to argue the extreme impoverishment of the church, which drove the clergy to such expedients for a living, rather than the respectability of the calling to which they thus betook themselves.—Quarterly Review.

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We have seen rather a curious document, drawn up by some of the chief growers of fruit and vegetables in the villages round London. It is stated on the authority of twenty-one such persons, whose names are appended, that up to July the 24th (when it is dated,) of 1,010 labourers of either sex employed in their gardens, one only was indisposed, and not one had had cholera. Their inference is that fruit and vegetables are not favourable to the production of that disease; but it does not appear to us that the premises warrant the conclusion. Is it the fact that those labourers eat a larger portion of fruit and vegetables than others? It is notorious, with regard to pastrycooks, confectioners, and such persons, that they do not consume more—if so much—of their commodities as others; and certainly persons so situated as the thousand and ten abovementioned are much less likely than others to commit any excess in regard to the articles in question. It is not against the use, but the abuse of "the kindly fruits of the earth," that we protest; and we are quite sure that many cases of cholera have been produced by unripe fruit and raw vegetables (as cucumbers,) taken even in moderate quantity; and that great caution is necessary in this respect, notwithstanding the declaration of the growers.—Medical Gazette.

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Olive Oil.—The amount of duties paid on olive oil imported into the United Kingdom, from January 5, 1831, to April 5, 1832, was L76,962. The quantity of this oil imported in that period was 2,286,629 gallons—Med. and Surg. Journal.

Coffee.—The duty on raw coffee is now 6d. per lb. on colonial, and 9d. on foreign; the retail price is 2s. to 4s.

The Irish Bar.—Mr. Dundas, a keen, sarcastic man, who loved his bottle nearly as well as Sir Hercules Langreish, invited the baronet to a grand dinner in London, where the wine circulated freely, and wit kept pace with it. Mr. Dundas, wishing to procure a laugh at Sir Hercules, said, "Why, Sir Hercules, is it true that we Scotch formerly transported all our criminals and felons to Ireland?" "I dare say," replied Sir Hercules; "but did you ever hear, Mr. Dundas, of any of your countrymen returning to Scotland from transportation."

Lord Byron's opinion of Earl Grey.—"Madame de Stael was forcibly struck by the factitious tone of the best society in London, and wished very much to have an opportunity of judging of that of the second class. She, however, had not this opportunity, which I regret, as I think it would have justified her expectations. In England, the raw material is generally good; it is the over-dressing that injures it; and as the class she wished to study are well educated, and have all the refinement of civilization without its corruption, she would have carried away a favourable impression. Lord Grey and his family were the personification of her beau ideal of perfection, as I must say they are of mine," continued Byron, "and might serve as the finest specimens of the pure English patrician breed, of which so few remain." His uncompromising and uncompromised dignity, founded on self-respect, and accompanied by that certain proof of superiority—simplicity of manner and freedom from affectation, with her mild and matron graces, her whole life offering a model to wives and mothers—really they are people to be proud of, and a few such would reconcile one to one's species.—From Lady Blessington's Conversations—New Monthly Magazine.

Cats Horticulturists.—Cat Mint is a species of Nepeta. It is covered with a very soft, hoary, velvet-like down, and has a strong, pungent, aromatic odour, like penny royal or valerian, that is peculiarly grateful to cats, whence its specific and English names. These animals are so fond of it, that it is almost impossible to keep them from it, after being transplanted. Ray and Miller, both assert, however, that cats will never meddle with such plants as are raised from seed. Hence the old saying,

"If you set it, The cats will eat it; If you sow it The cats don't know it."


Beef-eaters, or yeomen of the guard, are stationed by the sideboard at great royal dinners. The term is a corruption from the French buffetiers, from buffet, sideboard.

A Lion Killer.—Lions abound in the west of India. A gentleman assured Captain Skinner that he had, in one season, killed forty-five in the province of Hissar, alone. None of them were large, but he mentioned having met with one of uncommon beauty; its skin was of the usual tawny colour, but its mane a rich glossy black, as was also the tuft on the tail.

Vultures.—On passing the carcass of a bullock (says Captain Skinner,) we had a proof of the keenness of the vulture's scent. An hour before not one was seen; nor was the place, being so wild and far removed from all habitations, likely to be haunted by them: yet now they thronged every tree in the neighbourhood. There could not have been less than four or five hundred.

Jackalls.—In some parts of India the howling of innumerable jackalls is never out of your ear, from the minute night falls to the first dawn of day. Captain Skinner says, until he became familiar to the screaming sound, he used to start from his sleep, and fancy some appalling calamity had driven the inhabitants of a neighbouring town to rash forth in fear and madness from their homes. Such frightful clamour might attend an earthquake or a deluge. The animals come up close to your very doors in large packs, and roar away without any apparent object, frequently standing a longtime in one place, as a dog does when "baying the moon."

Narrow Streets.—In grand Cairo, if you unfortunately meet a string of masked beauties upon donkies, you must make a rapid retreat, and resign yourself to be squeezed to a mummy against the wall for daring to stand in their course, if your curiosity should tempt you to do so.

Mussulman and Hindoo Religion.—"Where the same village is inhabited by people of both religions, they occupy opposite portions of it: and the circumstance may always be known by there being a well at each end of it; for the Hindoos would not draw water from the same fountain as the Mahomedans, for all the wealth of this world."

The only Favour.—At the battle of Spires, a regiment had orders not to grant any quarter; an unhappy enemy, wounded and disarmed, begged hard for his life from one of its officers, who touched with his situation, replied, "I pity your misfortune, and—ask anything else but that, and upon my honour I will grant your request."

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