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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, - Issue 572, October 20, 1832
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

Vol. 20 No. 572.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1832. [PRICE 2d.



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BIRTHPLACE OF DR. JOHNSON, AT LICHFIELD.



In the large corner house, on the right of the Engraving, SAMUEL JOHNSON was born on the 18th of September, N.S. 1709. We learn from Boswell, that the house was built by Johnson's father, and that the two fronts, towards Market and Broad Market-street stood upon waste land of the Corporation of Lichfield, under a forty years lease; this expired in 1767, when on the 15th of August, "at a common hall of the bailiffs and citizens, it was ordered, (and that without any solicitation,) that a lease should be granted to Samuel Johnson, Doctor of Laws, of the incroachments at his house, for the term of ninety-nine years, at the old rent, which was five shillings. Of which, as town clerk, Mr. Simpson had the honour and pleasure of informing him, and that he was desired to accept it, without paying any fine on the occasion, which lease was afterwards granted, and the doctor died possessed of this property."[1]

[1] Note to Boswell's Life of Johnson, 2nd edition, vol. iii. p. 646.

In the above house, the doctor's father Michael Johnson, a native of Derbyshire, of obscure extraction, settled as a bookseller and stationer. He was diligent in business, and not only "kept shop" at home, but, on market days, frequented several towns in the neighbourhood,[2] some of which were at a considerable distance from Lichfield. "At that time booksellers' shops in the provincial towns of England were very rare, so that there was not one even in Birmingham, in which town old Mr. Johnson used to open a shop every market-day. He was a pretty good Latin scholar, and a citizen so creditable as to be made one of the magistrates of Lichfield; and, being a man of good sense and skill in his trade, he acquired a reasonable share of wealth, of which, however, he afterwards lost the greatest part, by engaging unsuccessfully in the manufacture of parchment."[3] This failure is attributed to the dishonesty of a servant; but it is observable in connexion with an incident in Dr. Johnson's literary history, which has not escaped the keen eye of Mr. Croker, the ingenious annotator of Boswell's Life of the great lexicographer.[4]

[2] To show the great estimation in which the father of our great moralist was held, we may quote a letter, dated "Trentham, St. Peter's Day, 1716," written by the Rev. George Plaxton, then chaplain to Lord Gower:—"Johnson, the Lichfield librarian, is now here. He propagates learning all over this diocese, and advanceth knowledge to its just height. All the clergy here are his pupils, and suck all they have from him; Allen cannot make a warrant without his precedent, nor our quondam John Evans draw a recognizance sine directione Michaelis."—Gent. Mag. Oct. 1791.

[3] Boswell, vol. i. p. 14.

[4] Johnson, in his Dictionary, defines EXCISE "a hateful tax, levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the common judges of property, but by wretches hired by those to whom excise is paid;" and, in the Idler (No. 65) he calls a commissioner of excise "one of the lowest of all human beings." This violence of language seems so little reasonable, that the editor was induced to suspect some cause of personal animosity; this mention of the trade in parchment (an excisable article) afforded a clue, which has led to the confirmation of that suspicion. In the records of the Excise Board is to be found the following letter, addressed to the supervisor of excise at Lichfield:—"July 27, 1725—The commissioners received yours of the 22nd instant; and since the justices would not give judgment against Mr. Michael Johnson, the tanner, notwithstanding the facts were fairly against him, the board direct that the next time he offends, you do not lay an information against him, but send an affidavit of the fact, that he may be prosecuted in the Exchequer." It does not appear whether he offended again, but here is sufficient cause of his son's animosity against commissioners of excise, and of the allusion in the Dictionary to the special jurisdiction under which that revenue is administered. The reluctance of the justices to convict will not appear unnatural, when it is recollected that Mr. Johnson was, this very year, chief magistrate of the city.—Note to Boswell, by Croker, vol. i.

Johnson's mother was a woman of distinguished understanding and piety; and to her must be ascribed those early impressions of religion upon the mind of her son, from which the world afterwards derived so much benefit. Johnson was the elder of two sons, the younger of whom died in his infancy.

Of Johnson's childhood at Lichfield it would not be difficult to assemble many interesting particulars: from his listening to Dr. Sacheverel, when he was but three years old; his being first taught to read English by Dame Oliver, a widow who kept a school for young children in Lichfield, and who gave him a present of gingerbread, and said he was the best scholar she ever had; to his arrival in London with the unfinished tragedy of Irene in his pocket, and the prospect of a slender engagement with Cave of the Gentleman's Magazine. One thing is certain, that however unpromising were Johnson's early days at Lichfield, he ever retained a warm affection for his native city, and which, by a sudden apostrophe, under the word Lich, he introduces with reverence into his immortal work, the ENGLISH DICTIONARY: Salve magna parens. (Boswell.) His last visit was in his 75th year when he writes to Boswell:—"I came to Lichfield, and found every body glad enough to see me."

The annexed view is of the date 1785, being from the first volume of the Gentleman's Magazine for that year. The building to the extreme left is part of the market-cross, erected by dean Denton, but replaced some years since by a light brick building. The church is that of St. Mary, one of the three parishes into which Lichfield is divided: it is a modern structure, of the year 1717, and upon the site of the original church, said to have been founded in the year 885. In the extreme distance of the Engraving is seen the Guild or Town Hall, a neat stone edifice, adorned with the city arms, a bas-relief of the cathedral, &c.

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ANECDOTE GALLERY.

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CLASSICAL ANECDOTES OF CONTINENCE IN MAN.

Many noble instances are recorded by ancient historians of the practice of this noble virtue; but in the reminiscences of our youthful studies, there is no incident that occurs with more freshness to the memory than that of the continence of Scipio Africanus, related by Livy. It appears that the soldiers of Scipio's army, after the taking of new Carthage, brought before him a young lady of great beauty. Scipio inquiring concerning her country and parents, ascertained that she was betrothed to Allutius, prince of the Celtiberians. He immediately ordered her parents and bridegroom to be sent for. In the meantime he was informed that the young prince was so excessively enamoured of his bride, that he could not survive the loss of her. For this reason, as soon as he appeared, and before he spoke to her parents, he took great care to talk with him. "As you and I are both young," said he, "we can converse together with greater freedom. When your bride, who had fallen into the hands of my soldiers, was brought before me, I was informed that you loved her passionately; and, in truth, her perfect beauty left me no room to doubt of it. If I were at liberty to indulge a youthful passion—I mean honourable and lawful wedlock, and were not solely engrossed by the affairs of my republic, I might have hoped to have been pardoned my excessive love for so charming a mistress; but as I am situated, and have it in my power, with pleasure I promote your happiness. Your future spouse has met with as civil and modest treatment from me, as if she had been amongst her own parents, who are soon to be yours too. I have kept her pure, in order to have it in my power to make you a present worthy of you and of me." The magnanimity of his behaviour did not close here, for when the parents of the fair captive brought an immense sum of money to ransom her, they were much surprised at Scipio's noble conduct, and in the ecstacy of joy and gratitude, they pressed him to accept it as a token of thankfulness. Scipio, unable to resist their importunate solicitations, told them he accepted it; but ordering it to be laid at his feet, he thus addressed Allutius:—"To the portion you are to receive from your father-in-law, I add this, and beg you would accept it as a nuptial present:" thus exhibiting in the whole transaction a rare instance of modesty, disinterestedness, and benevolence, well worthy of imperishable record, as a moral lesson for mankind.

When Araspes had commended the fair Panthea to Cyrus, as a beauty worthy his admiration, he replied—"For that very reason I will not see her, lest if by thy persuasion I should see her but once, she herself might persuade me to see her often, and spend more time with her than would be for the advantage of my own affairs."—Alexander the Great would not trust his eyes in the presence of the beauteous Queen of Persia, but kept himself out of the reach of her charms, and treated only with her aged mother. These, as they were peculiar acts of continence, so were they as absolutely checks of curiosity, which never sleeps in youthful breasts when beauty elicits admiration.

Cicero, treating of the many degrees of human commerce and society, places matrimony in the first rank. In fact, marriage is not only a state capable of the highest human felicity, but it is an institution well calculated to destroy those rank and noxious weeds of the passions which, by their pestiferous influence, spread misery and death around the social hemisphere. Marriage is the basis of community, and the cement of society;—it is, or ought to be, that state of perfect friendship in which there are, according to Pythagoras, "two bodies with but one soul." It is in the genial atmosphere of this noble communion of sentiment and affection that the virtue of continence comes forth in all its dazzling splendour. Milton has touched this subject with so chaste and elegant a pen, that the description, one would think, must confirm the husband in his happiness, and reclaim the man of profligate and licentious principles:—

"Hail, wedded love! mysterious law! true source Of human offspring, sole propriety In Paradise, of all things common else. By thee adultrous lust was driven from men, Among the beastial herds to range; by thee, Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, Relations dear, and all the charities Of father, son, and brother, first were known. Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets, Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounc'd, Present or past, as saints or patriarchs us'd. Here Love his golden shafts employs; here lights His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings: Reigns here, and revels not in the bought smile Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd, Casual fruition; nor in court amours, Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball; Or serenade, which the starv'd lover sings To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain."

J.P.

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THE GREAT LORD THURLOW.

Of the eloquence of Lord Thurlow, and of his manner in debate, Mr. Butler has given a striking account:—"At times Lord Thurlow was superlatively great. It was the good fortune of the Reminiscent to hear his celebrated reply to the Duke of Grafton, during the inquiry into Lord Sandwich's administration of Greenwich Hospital. His Grace's action and delivery, when he addressed the house, were singularly dignified and graceful; but his matter was not equal to his manner. He reproached Lord Thurlow with his plebeian extraction, and his recent admission into the peerage: particular circumstances caused Lord Thurlow's reply to make a deep impression on the Reminiscent. His lordship had spoken too often, and began to be heard with a civil but visible impatience. Under these circumstances he was attacked in the manner we have mentioned. He rose from the woolsack, and advanced slowly to the place from which the chancellor generally addresses the house; then fixing on the duke the look of Jove when he grasps the thunder, 'I am amazed,' he said, in a level tone of voice, 'at the attack the noble duke has made on me. Yes, my lords,' considerably raising his voice, 'I am amazed at his grace's speech. The noble duke cannot look before him, behind him, or on either side of him, without seeing some noble peer who owes his seat in this house to his successful exertions in the profession to which I belong. Does he not feel that it is as honourable to owe it to these, as to being the accident of an accident? To all these noble lords the language of the noble duke is applicable and as insulting as it is to myself. But I don't fear to meet it single and alone. No one venerates the peerage more than I do;—but, my lords, I must say that the peerage solicited me, not I the peerage;—nay, more, I can say, and will say, that as a peer of parliament, as speaker of this right honourable house, as keeper of the great seal, as guardian of his majesty's conscience, as lord high chancellor of England, nay, even in that character alone in which the noble duke would think it an affront to be considered—as a Man, I am at this moment as respectable—I beg leave to add, I am at this time as much respected, as the proudest peer I now look down upon.' The effect of this speech, both within the walls of parliament and out of them, was prodigious. It gave Lord Thurlow an ascendancy in the house which no chancellor had ever possessed: it invested him, in public opinion, with a character of independence and honour; and this, though he was ever on the unpopular side in politics, made him always popular with the people."

The legal talents and acquirements of Lord Thurlow have been the subject of frequent panegyric; but it may, perhaps, be questioned, whether in all cases those eulogiums were just. It has been said—but with what truth it is difficult to form an opinion—that his lordship was much indebted to Mr. Hargrave, for the learning by which his judgments were sometimes distinguished, and that Mr. Hargrave received a handsome remuneration for these services. "As lord chancellor," says a writer who was personally acquainted with his lordship, "from a well-placed confidence in Mr. Hargrave, who was indefatigable in his service, he had occasion to give himself less trouble than any other man in that high station. An old free-speaking companion of his, well known at Lincoln's Inn, would sometimes say to me, 'I met the great law lion this morning going to Westminster; but he was so busily reading in the coach what his provider had supplied him with, that he took no notice of me.'"

The ardent zeal with which Lord Thurlow contested the great question of the regency, led him, if we may credit the narrative of one who was a party to the debate, to be guilty of an act of great disingenuousness. Dr. Watson, the Bishop of Llandaff, in the course of a speech, in which he supported the claims of the Prince of Wales, incidentally cited a passage from Grotius, with regard to the definition of the word right. "The chancellor, in his reply," says the bishop in his memoirs, "boldly asserted that he perfectly well remembered the passage I had quoted from Grotius, and that it solely respected natural, but was inapplicable to civil, rights. Lord Loughborough, the first time I saw him after the debate, assured me that before he went to sleep that night he had looked into Grotius, and was astonished to find that the chancellor, in contradicting me, had presumed on the ignorance of the house, and that my quotation was perfectly correct. What miserable shifts do great men submit to, in supporting their parties! The Chancellor Thurlow," continues the bishop, "was an able and upright judge, but as the speaker of the house of lords, he was domineering and insincere. It was said of him, that in the cabinet he opposed everything, proposed nothing, and was ready to support anything. I remember Lord Camden's saying to me one night, when the chancellor was speaking contrary, as he thought, to his own conviction, 'There now! I could not do that: he is supporting what he does not believe a word of.'"

Roscoe's Lives of Eminent Lawyers—Cabinet Cyclopaedia.

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MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

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TORCHLIGHT.

It is an interesting circumstance in the habits of the ancient Romans, that their journeys were pursued very much in the night-time, and by torchlight. Cicero, in one of his letters, speaks of passing through the towns of Italy by night, as a serviceable scheme for some political purpose, either of avoiding too much to publish his motions, or of evading the necessity (else perhaps not avoidable) of drawing out the party sentiments of the magistrates in the circumstances of honour or neglect with which they might choose to receive him. His words, however, imply that the practice was by no means an uncommon one. And, indeed, from some passages in writers of the Augustan era, it would seem that this custom was not confined to people of distinction, but was familiar to a class of travellers so low in rank as to be capable of abusing their opportunities of concealment for the infliction of wanton injury upon the woods and fences which bounded the margin of the high-road. Under the cloud of night and solitude, the mischief-loving traveller was often in the habit of applying his torch to the withered boughs of wood, or to artificial hedges: and extensive ravages by fire, such as now happen not unfrequently in the American woods (but generally from carelessness in scattering the glowing embers of a fire, or even the ashes of a pipe), were then occasionally the result of mere wantonness of mischief. Ovid accordingly notices, as one amongst the familiar images of daybreak, the half-burnt torch of the traveller; and, apparently, from the position which it holds in his description, where it is ranked with the most familiar of all circumstances in all countries—that of the rural labourer going out to his morning tasks it must have been common indeed:

"Semiustamque facem vigilata nocte viator Ponet; et ad solitum rusticus ibit opus."

This occurs in the Fasti: elsewhere he notices it for its danger.

"Ut facibus sepes ardent, cum forte viator Vel nimis admovit, vel jam sub luce reliquit."

He, however, we see, good-naturedly ascribes the danger to mere carelessness, in bringing the torch too near to the hedge, or tossing it away at daybreak. But Varro, a more matter-of-fact observer, does not disguise the plain truth—that these disasters were often the product of pure malicious frolic. For instance, in recommending a certain kind of quickset fence, he insists upon it as one of its advantages—that it will not readily ignite under the torch of the mischievous wayfarer: "Naturale sepimentum," says he, "quod obseri solet virgultis aut spinis, praetereuntis lascivi non metuet facem." It is not easy to see the origin or advantage of this practice of nocturnal travelling, (which must have considerably increased the hazards of a journey,) excepting only in the heats of summer. It is probable, however, that men of high rank and public station may have introduced the practice by way of releasing corporate bodies in large towns from the burdensome ceremonies of public receptions; thus making a compromise between their own dignity and the convenience of the provincial public. Once introduced, and the arrangements upon the road for meeting the wants of travellers once adapted to such a practice, it would easily become universal. It is, however, very possible that mere horror of the heats of daytime may have been the original ground for it. The ancients appear to have shrunk from no hardship as so trying and insufferable as that of heat. And in relation to that subject, it is interesting to observe the way in which the ordinary use of language has accommodated itself to that feeling. Our northern way of expressing effeminacy, is derived chiefly from the hardships of cold. He that shrinks from the trials and rough experience of real life in any department, is described by the contemptuous prefix of chimney-corner, as if shrinking from the cold which he would meet on coming out into the open air amongst his fellow men. Thus, a chimney-corner politician for a mere speculator or unpractical dreamer. But the very same indolent habit of aerial speculation, which courts no test of real life and practice, is described by the ancients under the term umbraticus, or seeking the cool shade, and shrinking from the heat. Thus an umbraticus doctor is one who has no practical solidity in his teaching. The fatigue and hardship of real life, in short, is represented by the ancients under the uniform image of heat, and by the moderns under that of cold.

Blackwood's Magazine.

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RETROSPECTIVE GLEANINGS.

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"PROGRESS" OF CHARLES II. AND HIS COURT.

The accompanying memorandum relative to Charles II. and his Court, is copied from an old Family Prayer Book, and from the date of the book, (?) and appearance of the writing, there is little doubt of its authenticity.

W.H.

"King Charles the Second, with his Queen Katharine, the Duke of York, and his Duchess, and Prince Rupert, the Duke of Monmouth, and many others of the nobility did lodge in Wickomb, the 30th day of September, in the yeare 1663. They did come into the town about 4 of the clock the same day. They came from Oxford. The King in his progress going back again to London. The King did go out of the town between v and vi of the clock the next morning, and was at his palace at Whitehall before 9 of the clock in the morning. The Queen did go out about viii of the clock, and dined at Uxbridge, and then went to Whitehall. The King was lodged with his Queen at the Catharine Wheel."

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FAT LIVING.

The vicarage of Wyburn, or Winsburn, Cumberland, is of the following tempting value: Fifty shilling per annum, a new surplice, a pair of clogs, and feed on the common for one goose. This favoured church preferment is in the midst of a wild country, inhabited by shepherds. The clerk keeps a pot-house opposite the church. The service is once a fortnight; and when there is no congregation, the Vicar and Moses regale themselves at the bar.

D.P.

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BAD ALE.

In the time of the Saxons, it was a custom in the city of Chester, that any person who brewed bad ale should either be placed in a ducking-chair, and plunged into a pool of muddy water, or, in lieu of that punishment, should forfeit four shillings.

D.P.

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ANCIENT TRADESMEN.

In Domesday Book we find frequent mention of goldsmiths; and we know the Anglo-Saxons had their goldsmiths, silversmiths, and coppersmiths. Bowyers, or makers of cross-bows, are frequently mentioned—as are carpenters, potters, bakers, and brewers, the last of which were chiefly women. Both war and agriculture want the smith: hence his importance among the Saxons. They were free from all other services, on payment of a penny yearly for their forge. We also meet with butchers, barbers, embroiderers, saddlers, parchment-makers, and salt-makers.

D.P.

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PHYSICIANS' FEES.

In a book called Levamen Infirmi, written in 1700, the usual fees to physicians and surgeons at that time are thus stated:—"To a graduate in physic, his due is about 10s., though he commonly expects, or demands, 20s. Those that are only licensed physicians, their due is no more than 6s. 9d., though they commonly demand 10s. A surgeon's journey is 12d. a mile, be his journey far or near. Ten groats to set a bone broke, or out of joint; and for letting of blood, 1s. The cutting off or amputation of any limb is 5l., but there is no settled price for the cure."

D.P.

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EVIL OMEN.

In the journals of the House of Commons, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, appears the following entry:—"This day a black raven came into the House, which was considered as malum omen."

D.P.

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HENRY VIII. AND QUEEN KATHERINE.

The following letter was sent by Queen Katherine to Henry VIII., after she was put away by that prince, to make room for Anne Boleyn. It was written from Kimbolton, in Huntingdonshire, to which place Katherine repaired after the divorce. It is dated 29th January, 1536. The bull for the divorce, bearing date 1529, is to be found in the Life of Henry VIII., written by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, 1649.

J.F.

Gray's Inn.

"My most dear Lord, King, and Husband,—The houre of my death now approaching, I cannot choose, but out of the love I beare you, to advise you of your soule's health, which you ought to prefer before all considerations of the world or flesh whatsoever. For which yet you have cast me into many calamities, and yourself into many troubles. But I forgive you all, and pray God to do soe likewise. For the rest, I commend unto you Mary, our daughter, beseeching you to be a good father to her, as I have heretofore desired. I must entreat you also to respect my maids, and give them in marriage, which is not much, they being but three, and to all my other servants, a year's pay besides their due, lest otherwise they should be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things. Farewell."

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THE NATURALIST.

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SPEED AND DIET OF THE OSTRICH.

In the Annals of Sporting it is observed:—"If we are to place confidence in traveller's tales, the ostrich is swifter than the Arabian horse. During the residence of Mr. Adamson at Pador, a French factory on the south side of the river Niger, he says that two ostriches, which had been about two years in the factory, afforded him a sight of a very extraordinary nature. These gigantic birds, though young, were of nearly the full size. They were (he continues) so tame, that two little blacks mounted both together on the back of the larger. No sooner did he feel their weight, than he began to run as last as possible, and carried them several times round the village,—and it was impossible to stop him, otherwise than by obstructing the passage. This sight pleased me so much, that I wished it to be repeated, and, to try their strength, directed a full-grown negro to mount the smallest, and two others the larger. This burden did not seem at all disproportioned to their strength. At first, they went at a pretty sharp trot; but when they became heated a little, they expanded their wings, as though to catch the wind, and moved with such fleetness that they seemed scarcely to touch the ground. Most people have, at one time or other, seen the partridge run, and consequently must know that there is no man able to keep up with it; and it is easy to imagine, that if this bird had a longer step, its speed would be considerably augmented. The ostrich moves like the partridge, with this advantage; and I am satisfied that those I am speaking of would have distanced the fleetest race-horses that were ever bred in England. It is true, that they would not hold out so long as a horse; but they would, undoubtedly, be able to go over the space in less time. I have frequently beheld this sight, which is capable of giving one an idea of the prodigious strength of the ostrich, and of showing what use it might be of, had we but the method of breaking and managing it as we do the horse."

The following interesting particulars, relating to the capability of the ostrich to digest hard substances, is given by Mr. Fuller, in his Tour of the Turkish Empire:—"An ostrich, belonging to an English gentleman, arrived at Cairo from Upper Egypt, and afforded us an opportunity of observing this curious peculiarity in the natural history of that animal. The persons in charge of him observing his great propensity for hard substances, mistook, unfortunately, for his natural and ordinary diet, things that were only the objects of his luxury; and while they gave him corn only occasionally, administered every day a certain portion of iron, chiefly in the form of nails, to which he occasionally added a knife or a razor, which he chanced to pick up, or a few loose buttons, which he pulled from the coats of his attendants. This metallic system did not however succeed; the poor bird drooped gradually, his strength just lasted him to walk with a stately step into the court of the Consulate, and he died in about an hour afterwards. On a post mortem examination, at which I was present, about three pounds of iron were taken from his stomach. A considerable portion of the hardest parts, such as the blades of the knives and razor, was dissolved; and it is possible that the whole might in time have been digested, as the death of the animal was in part accidental, being immediately occasioned by a sharp boat-builder's nail, three or four inches long, which he had swallowed, and which had penetrated quite through the stomach, and produced mortification."

W.G.C.

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EFFECTS OF LIGHT AND AIR ON PLANTS.

The importance of light and air to plants is well known. When unassisted by these agents, plants lose their colour, and are deprived of many of their properties. Colour is thus evidently produced by the absorption of carbonic acid gas: and the colouring matter may be detected by a powerful microscope, lodged in the cellular substance of the leaf. How this colour is formed, and why it assumes different tints in different plants, are, however, questions which it is at present impossible to decide. The secretions of plants depend upon light, and their flavour and nutritious qualities are materially altered by their exclusion from it. The importance of this knowledge to a practical horticulturist is proved by the fact, that sea-kale, so well known as a wholesome and palatable vegetable, is not eatable in its original state; and that any part of the cultivated plant, if accidentally left exposed to the action of the air and light, becomes tough, and so strong in flavour as to be extremely unpleasant to the taste. Celery, also, in its native state, is poisonous; and it is only the parts that are blanched that are perfectly fitted for the table. Though colour is generally supposed to depend principally on the plant's being exposed to the light, some portion of colouring matter appears to be occasionally absorbed by the root. This colouring substance is, however, never a deep green. Red and yellow, as may be seen in forced rhubarb, &c., are the most common hues. Succulent plants are less susceptible of the influence of light than any others. As they are always natives of hot countries, nature, to prevent the danger they would be exposed to from excessive evaporation, has provided them with leaves almost destitute of pores; and the moisture they absorb by their roots thus remains for the nourishment of the plant. It is for this reason that cactuses, mesembryanthemums, and other plants of a similar description, require very little water when kept in pots. Scarcely any carbon is found in plants grown in the dark. Many experiments have been tried to show the stimulus afforded to vegetation by light; trees of the same species and variety have been planted in the same garden and the same soil, but against walls with different aspects, and differently situated with regard to shade. The effect has been, not only a difference in the growth and appearance of the tree, but also in the size, colour, and flavour of the fruit which it produced. The contrast between plants grown in hot-houses with wooden sash frames, and those grown in hot-houses with iron sash-frames, has been found equally striking; the difference of light between the two kinds of houses being as seven to twenty-seven, or, sometimes, as three to twenty-three. Light is required at an early period of vegetation; but, as its properties are to give strength and flavour, it must be admitted with caution, as it is sometimes injurious. Too much light renders the skin of fruits tough, and will make cucumbers bitter. Berard of Montpelier found that the ripening of fruits is merely the turning the acid which they contain into sugar, by exposure to the light; and that too much light and heat, before they have attained their proper size, will bring on premature ripening, and make them insipid.

Lindley's Lectures, reported in the Gardeners' Magazine.

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PLANTS IN ROOMS.

It is very difficult to make plants grow in rooms. They must necessarily be deficient in the three important auxiliaries to vegetable life, light, air, and moisture; the latter of which cannot be maintained in apartments that are daily occupied. In large towns, plants cannot thrive even in the open air, as the minute particles of soot, which are constantly floating about, settle upon their leaves, and choke up their pores. The gases produced by the combustion of coal, &c., are also injurious to plants. Sulphurous acid, which abounds in the atmosphere of London, turns the leaves yellow; and the want of evaporation and absorption by the leaves prevents the proper elaboration of the sap, and makes the trees stunted and unproductive.

Ibid.

* * * * *

THE CHLAMYPHORUS.

In our account of the Nine-banded Armadillo, at page 57 of the present volume, we noticed the curious fact of the whole series of armadillos offering a notable example of one genus being confined to a particular country, viz. South America; of their standing perfectly insulated, and exhibiting all the characters of a creation entirely distinct, and, except as to the general character of mammiferous quadrupeds, perfectly of its own kind.

The nearest resemblance to the armadillo is, we believe, to be traced in a very curious little quadruped which is occasionally to be seen in the district of Cuyo, at the foot of the Andes, on the eastern side. The first instance of its being brought to Europe was a specimen preserved in spirit, which was added to the Museum of the Zoological Society, about four years since, by the Hon. Capt. Percy, R.N. who received it from Woodbine Parish, Esq. British consul at Buenos Ayres. It had been previously known only by the figures and description given by Dr. Harlan, in the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York. His specimen was, however, deprived of the skeleton and internal parts, which are perfect in the specimen, in one of the lower rooms of the Museum in Bruton-street. It is called the Chlamyphorus, and may be said to unite the habits of the mole with the appearance of the armadillo. Its upper parts and sides are defended by a coat, or rather cloak, of mail, of a coriaceous nature, but exceeding in inflexibility sole-leather of equal thickness. This cloak does not adhere, like that of the armadillo, to the whole surface, occupying the place of the skin—but is applied over the skin and fur, forming an additional covering, which is attached only along the middle of the back and on the head. The hinder parts of the animal are also protected by it, to cover which, it is suddenly bent downwards at nearly a right angle. The tail is short, and is directed forwards along the under surface of the body. Owing to the rigidity of the case which so nearly encloses the animal, its motions must be limited almost entirely to those of mere progression, and even for these, the structure of its fore-feet is ill suited. The anterior limbs are, indeed, scarcely fitted for any other purpose than that of burrowing. For this operation, the long and broad claws with which they are furnished are truly admirably adapted; and their sharp points and cutting lower edges must materially assist in clearing through the entangled roots which the animal may encounter in its subterranean travels. Its teeth resemble those of the sloth more nearly than any other animal's; and it seems to represent, beneath the earth, that well-known and singular inhabitant of trees—for its motions, so far as can be conjectured from its conformation, must also be executed with extreme slowness.



The dimensions of the specimen in the Museum are as follow: length from tip of nose to root of tail, 5-1/2 inches; ditto tail, 1-1/4 in.; height at shoulder, 1-3/4 in. A more detailed account of the internal structure and economy of this extraordinary little animal will be found in the Zoological Journal, vols. ii. and iii.

* * * * *

ARROW ROOT.

[Mr. Andrew Mathews, of Lima, has communicated to the Gardeners' Magazine the following account of the Otaheitan method of preparing the excellent farinaceous substance termed Arrow Root, so extensively used in this country.]

The root (Tacca pinnatifida Lin., the Pea of the natives) grows in the greatest abundance in all the islands which we visited; viz., in Otaheite, Eimeo, Huaheine, Raiatea, and Otaha. Its favourite situation is on the sides and ridges of the hills which rise directly from the sea, and which are generally covered with a coarse grass, on a red sandy loam. The root is round, white, smooth, full of eyes like a potato, and from 2 to 3 in. in diameter. The flower-stem rises directly from the root, simple; from 2 to 4 ft. in height, as thick as a man's finger, bearing its flowers in a loose simple umbel on the summit; and, when large and full blown, it presents a beautiful and delicate appearance. The leaf is large, tri-pinnatifid, segments acute, of a rich shining green: it is subject to great variation in the size of the segments, some leaves being much more cut, and having the segments narrower, than others. When a sufficient quantity of the roots is collected, they are taken to a running stream, or to the sea-beach, and washed; the outer skin is carefully scraped off at the same time with a shell; and those who are particular in the preparation scrape out even the eyes. The root is then reduced to a pulp, by rubbing it up and down a kind of rasp, made as follows:—A piece of board, about 3 in. wide, and 12 ft. long, is procured, upon which some coarse twine, made of the fibres of the cocoa nut husk, is tightly and regularly wound, and which affords an admirable substitute for a coarse rasp. The pulp, when prepared, is washed first with salt or sea water, through a sieve made of the fibrous web which protects the young frond of the cocoa-nut palm; and the starch, or arrow-root, being carried through with the water, is received in a wooden trough made like the small canoes used by the natives. The starch is allowed to settle for a few days; the water is then strained, or, more properly, poured off, and the sediment rewashed with fresh (or river) water. This washing is repeated three times with spring water; after which the deposit is made into balls of about 7 or 8 in. in diameter, and in this state dried in the sun for twelve or twenty-four hours. The balls are then broken, and the powder spread for some days in the sun to dry; after which it is carefully wrapped in tapa (the native cloth), and put into baskets, and hung up in the houses. The natural indolence of the people is so great, and their avarice such, that but few of them will give the arrow-root sufficient time to dry, if they have an opportunity of parting with it, which I suspect was the case with that sent to England some few years back by the missionaries. So abundant is the root, that several tons might be prepared annually by proper management: as it is, there is a considerable quantity prepared; it being not only eaten by the natives and strangers on the island, but also by the crews of the vessels that touch there.

At present, when the roots are taken up, the only precaution used to secure a crop the following year is to throw the smaller roots back into the holes from which they were taken, and to leave them to chance. I have no doubt that, with proper care and cultivation, any quantity might be produced. When we visited the island, we purchased the prepared arrow-root at 2d. per lb., and a missionary there informed us, that he would engage to procure any given quantity at 1-1/2d. per lb., which is, I believe, much less than it can be purchased at either in the East or the West Indies. Its quality is excellent; I should say equal to that of the East Indies, and far superior to that of Chile, with which I have since my return, had an opportunity of comparing it.

* * * * *



NOTES OF A READER.

* * * * *

JULIET'S TOMB.

"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene."

The traditionary story of Romeo and Juliet is fact. The animosities of the houses of Montagu and the Capulet are matter of the history of Verona, where, in olden times, Pliny and Catullus were born. Juliet was buried in the soutterain of Fermo Maggiore, which belonged to an order of Franciscan friars, and was founded in 1230. Some years ago the monastery was burnt down, and the vaults and burying-place reduced to ruins. At this time the stone sarcophagus, the sepulchre of Juliet, was removed, and placed where it now is, in the entrance gateway of the monastery. The upper edge of it was entire when it was first put here, but has since been mutilated, as is represented in the Cut, for scraps to carry away as relics. Thus noted Mr. Duppa, a few years since; but we have other pilgrims and fair pens to establish the identity.



Lord Byron, in a postscript to one of his letters from Verona, dated Nov. 7, 1816, says, "I have been over Verona. Of the truth of Juliet's story, they seem tenacious to a degree, insisting on the fact—giving a date (1303), and showing a tomb. It is a plain, open, and partly decayed sarcophagus, with withered leaves in it, in a wild and desolate conventual garden—once a cemetery, now ruined to the very graves. The situation struck me as very appropriate to the legend, being blighted as their love. I have brought away a few pieces of the granite, to give to my daughter and my nieces."[5]

[5] Moore's Life of Byron, vol. ii. 4to. p. 50.

Mrs. Maria Callcott writes, in 1829:—"The tomb now shown as that of Juliet, is an ancient sarcophagus of red granite: it has suffered from the fire which burnt down the church, where it was originally placed."[6]

[6] See a sketch accompanying an Engraving of Verona, in vol. xiv. of the Mirror, p. 321.

Lastly, the accomplished authoress of Characteristics of Women adds her testimony, and illustrates the fondness with which the relics of Juliet are cherished, by noting that she met in Italy a gentleman, who being then "dans le genre romantique," wore a fragment of Juliet's tomb set in a ring.[7]

[7] See p. 118 of the present volume.

* * * * *

MONASTERIES.

It is a strange error to conceive that English monasteries, before the dissolution, fed the indigent part of the nation, and gave that general relief which the poor laws are intended to afford.

Hallam.

* * * * *

PIRACY.

Mr. Hallam makes the following excellent observations upon the frequency of piracy in the middle ages:—"A pirate, in a well-armed, quick-sailing vessel, must feel, I suppose, the enjoyments of his exemption from control more exquisitely than any other free-booter; and, darting along the bosom of the ocean, under the impartial radiance of the heavens, may deride the dark concealments and hurried nights of the forest robber. His occupation is indeed extinguished by the civilization of later ages, or confined to distant climates. But in the 13th or 14th centuries, a rich vessel was never secure from attack; and neither restitution nor punishment of the criminals was to be obtained from governments, who sometimes feared the plunderer, and sometimes connived at the offence."

* * * * *

GOOD EFFECTS OF SALT.

Salt appears to be a necessary and universal stimulus to animated beings; and its effects upon the vegetable as well as animal kingdom have furnished objects of the most interesting inquiry to the physiologist, the chemist, the physician, and the agriculturist. It appears to be a natural stimulant to the digestive organs of all warm-blooded animals, and that they are instinctively led to immense distances in pursuit of it. This is strikingly exemplified in the avidity with which animals in a wild state seek the salt-pans of Africa and America, and in the difficulties they will encounter to reach them: this cannot arise from accident or caprice, but from a powerful instinct, which, beyond control, compels them to seek, at all risks, that which is salubrious. To those who are anxious to gain further information upon this curious subject, I would recommend the perusal of a work entitled "Thoughts on the Laws relating to Salt," by Samuel Parkes, Esq., and a small volume by my late lamented friend Sir Thomas Bernard, on the "Case of the Salt Duties, with Proofs and Illustrations." We are all sensible of the effect of salt on the human body; we know how unpalatable fresh meat and vegetables are without it. During the course of my professional practice, I have had frequent opportunities of witnessing the evils which have attended an abstinance from salt. In my examination before a committee of the House of Commons in 1818, appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the laws respecting the salt duties, I stated, from my own experience, the bad effects of a diet of unsalted fish, and the injury which the poorer classes, in many districts, sustained in their health from an inability to procure this essential condiment. I had some years ago a gentleman of rank and fortune under my care, for a deranged state of the digestive organs, accompanied with extreme emaciation. I found that, from some cause which he could not explain, he had never eaten any salt with his meals: I enforced the necessity of his taking it in moderate quantities, and the recovery of his digestive powers was soon evinced in the increase of his strength and condition. One of the ill effects produced by an unsalted diet is the generation of worms. Mr. Marshall has published the case of a lady who had a natural antipathy to salt, and was in consequence most dreadfully infested with worms during the whole of her life.—(London Medical and Physical Journal, vol. xxix. No. 231.) In Ireland, where, from the bad quality of the food, the lower classes are greatly infested with worms, a draught of salt and water is a popular and efficacious anthelmintic. Lord Somerville, in his Address to the Board of Agriculture, gave an interesting account of the effects of a punishment which formerly existed in Holland. "The ancient laws of the country ordained men to be kept on bread alone, unmixed with salt, as the severest punishment that could be inflicted upon them in their moist climate. The effect was horrible; these wretched criminals are said to have been devoured by worms engendered in their own stomachs." The wholesomeness and digestibility of our bread are undoubtedly much promoted by the addition of salt which it so universally receives.

Dr. Paris—quoted in the Doctor.

* * * * *

PROGRESS OF THE SCIENCES.

The first savages collected in the forests a few nourishing fruits, a few salutary roots, and thus supplied their most immediate wants. The first shepherds observed that the stars moved in a regular course, and made use of them to guide their journeys across the plains of the desert. Such was the origin of the mathematical and physical sciences. Once convinced that it could combat nature by the means which she herself afforded, genius reposed no more, it watched her without relaxation, it made incessantly new conquests over her, all of them distinguished by some improvement in the situation of our race. From that time a succession of conducting minds, faithful depositories of the attainments already made, constantly occupied in connecting them, in vivifying them by means of each other, have conducted us, in less than forty ages, from the first essays of rude observers to the profound calculations of Newton and La Place, to the learned classifications of Linnaeus and Jussieu. This precious inheritance, perpetually increasing, brought from Chaldea into Egypt, from Egypt into Greece, concealed during ages of disaster and of darkness recovered in more fortunate times, unequally spread among the nations of Europe, has everywhere been followed by wealth and power; the nations which have reaped it are become the mistresses of the world; such as have neglected it, are fallen into weakness and obscurity.

Curtis's Lectures on the Ear.

* * * * *

THE CAUSES OF DISEASE.

Daily observation demonstrates that the human structure, even in its most perfect formation is liable to lesions of organization and derangment of function, producing that state of the system in which its usual actions or perceptions are either interrupted or attended with pain—this state is called disease. Every animal carries within itself the germ of its own destruction, or, in other words, it is formed for a limited existence. Many diseases, therefore arise spontaneously, or without any assignable external cause; but many more are produced by causes, over which we have some control, and perhaps the chief source of the physical ills to which we are liable, is the deviation we make from the simplicity of nature. The injurious influence that domestication has upon the health of the lower animals is very strikingly apparent; and in proportion as their subjugation is more complete, and their manner of life differs more widely from that which is natural to them, so are their diseases more numerous and severe. The diseases of our more valuable domestic animals are sufficiently numerous and important to employ a particular class of men; and the horse alone has professional assistance appropriated to him. Men of education and talent have devoted themselves to the investigation of the diseases of this noble and useful creature. The poor little canary birds confined in their prisons, are very liable to disease, more especially inflammation of the bowels, asthma, epilepsy, and soreness of the bill. No animal deviates so far from the simplicity of nature in its habits, as man; none is placed under the influence of so many circumstances, calculated to act unfavourably upon the frame. His morbid affections are hence abundant and diversified, as may be seen by referring to the different nosological arrangements; these long catalogues of diseases affording strong evidence that man has not carefully followed that way of life which has been marked out for him by nature. The crowded state of the inhabitants of large cities; the injurious effects of an atmosphere loaded with impurities; sedentary occupations; various unwholesome avocations; intemperance in food; stimulating drinks; high-seasoned and indigestible viands (and these taken hastily in the short intervals allowed by the hurry and turmoil of business); the constant inordinate activity of the great central circulation, kept up by the double impulse of luxurious habits and high mental exertions; the violent passions by which we are agitated and enervated; the various disappointments and vexations to which all are liable, reacting upon and disturbing the whole frame; the delicacy and sensibility to external influences, caused by heated rooms, too warm clothing, and other indulgencies; are all contrary to the voice of nature, and they produce those morbid conditions of the system which a more simple and uniform mode of living would prevent. Our associates of the animal kingdom do not escape the influence of such causes: the mountain shepherd and his dog are equally hardy, and form an instructive contrast between a delicate lady and her lap-dog; the extreme point of degeneracy and imbecility of which each race is susceptible. In the early ages of society man enjoyed long life, his manner of living was simple, his food, habitation, and pursuits, were all calculated to fortify the body, and no anxious cares disturbed his mind.

Curtis's Essay on the Deaf and Dumb.

* * * * *

REFORM OF CRIMINAL LAW.

How noble and pure was the ambition of Sir Samuel Romilly we may learn from the following beautiful passages, where he has explained the motives by which he was actuated in his proposed reforms of the criminal law. "It was not," said he, "from light motives—-it was from no fanciful notions of benevolence, that I have ventured to suggest any alteration in the criminal law of England. It has originated in many years' reflection, and in the long-established belief that a mitigation of the severe penalties of our law will be one of the most effectual modes to preserve and advance the humanity and justice for which this country is so eminently distinguished. Since the last session of parliament, I have repeatedly reconsidered the subject: I am more and more firmly convinced of the strength of the foundation upon which I stand; and even if I had doubted my own conclusions, I cannot forget the ability with which I was supported within these walls; nor can be insensible to the humane and enlightened philosophy by which, in contemplative life, this advancement of kindness has been recommended. I cannot, therefore, hastily abandon a duty which, from my success in life, I owe to my profession—which, as a member of this house, I owe to you and to my country—and which, as a man blessed with more than common prosperity, I owe to the misguided and unfortunate."

Roscoe's Lives of Eminent Lawyers.

* * * * *

AN UPRIGHT JUDGE.

The character of Sir Matthew Hale as a judge was splendidly pre-eminent. His learning was profound; his patience unconquerable; his integrity stainless. In the words of one who wrote with no friendly feeling towards him, "his voice was oracular, and his person little less than adored." The temper of mind with which he entered upon the duties of the bench is best exemplified in the following resolutions, which appear to be composed on his being raised to the dignity of chief baron at the restoration.

"Things necessary to be continually had in remembrance:—

"1. That in the administration of justice I am intrusted for God, the king, and country; and therefore,

"2. That it be done—1. uprightly; 2. deliberately; 3. resolutely.

"3. That I rest not upon my own understanding or strength, but implore and rest upon the direction and strength of God.

"4. That in the exertion of justice I carefully lay aside my own passions, and not give way to them, however provoked.

"5. That I be wholly intent upon the business I am about, remitting all other cares and thoughts as unseasonable and interruptions.

"6. That I suffer not myself to be pre-possessed with any judgment at all, till the whole business and both parties be heard.

"7. That I never engage myself in the beginning of any cause, but reserve myself unprejudiced till the whole be heard.

"8. That in business capital, though my nature prompt me to pity, yet to consider there is a pity also due to the country.

"9. That I be not too rigid in matters purely conscientious, where all the harm is diversity of judgment.

"10. That I be not biassed with compassion to the poor, or favour to the rich, in point of justice.

"11. That popular or court applause or distaste have no influence in anything I do, in point of distribution of justice.

"12. Not to be solicitous what men will say or think, so long as I keep myself exactly according to the rule of justice.

"13. If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal.

"14. In criminals that consist merely in words, where no more harm ensues, moderation is no injustice.

"15. In criminals of blood, if the fact be evident, severity is justice.

"16. To abhor all private solicitations, of what kind soever, and by whomsoever, in matters depending.

"17. To charge my servants—1. Not to interpose in any matter whatsoever; 2. Not to take more than their known fees; 3. Not to give any undue precedence to causes; 4. Not to recommend counsel.

"18. To be short and sparing at meals, that I may be the fitter for business."

Under the influence of resolutions like these, the conduct of Hale on the bench appears to have been almost irreproachable.

Ibidem.

* * * * *



THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.

* * * * *

DRYBURGH ABBEY.

'Twas morn—but not the ray which falls the summer boughs among, When beauty walks in gladness forth, with all her light and song; 'Twas morn—but mist and cloud hung deep upon the lonely vale, And shadows, like the wings of death, were out upon the gale.

For He whose spirit woke the dust of nations into life— That o'er the waste and barren earth spread flowers and fruitage rife— Whose genius, like the sun, illumed the mighty realms of mind— Had fled for ever from the fame, love, friendship of mankind!

To wear a wreath in glory wrought his spirit swept afar, Beyond the soaring wing of thought, the light of moon or star; To drink immortal waters, free from every taint of earth— To breathe before the shrine of life, the source whence worlds had birth!

There was wailing on the early breeze, and darkness in the sky, When, with sable plume, and cloak, and pall, a funeral train swept by; Methought—St. Mary, shield us well!—that other forms moved there, Than those of mortal brotherhood, the noble, young, and fair!

Was it a dream?—how oft, in sleep, we ask, "Can this be true?" Whilst warm imagination paints her marvels to our view;— Earth's glory seems a tarnish'd crown to that which we behold, When dreams enchant our sight with things whose meanest garb is gold!

Was it a dream?—methought the "dauntless Harold" passed me by— The proud "Fitz-James," with martial step, and dark, intrepid eye; That "Marmion's" haughty crest was there, a mourner for his sake; And she, the bold, the beautiful, sweet "Lady of the Lake."

The "Minstrel," whose last lay was o'er, whose broken harp lay low, And with him glorious "Waverley," with glance and step of wo; And "Stuart's" voice rose there, as when, 'midst fate's disastrous war, He led the wild, ambitious, proud, and brave "Ich Ian Vohr."

Next, marvelling at his sable suit, the "Dominie" stalk'd past, With "Bertram," "Julia" by his side, whose tears were flowing fast; "Guy Mannering," too, moved there, o'erpowered by that afflicting sight; And "Merrilies," as when she wept on Ellangowan's height.

Solemn and grave, "Monkbarns" approached, amidst that burial line; And "Ochiltree" leant o'er his staff, and mourn'd for "Auld lang syne!" Slow march'd the gallant "McIntyre," whilst "Lovel" mused alone; For once, "Miss Wardour's" image left that bosom's faithful throne!

With coronach, and arms reversed, forth came "MacGregor's" clan— Red "Dougal's" cry peal'd shrill and wild—"Rob Roy's" bold brow look'd wan; The fair "Diana" kissed her cross, and bless'd its sainted ray; And "Wae is me!" the "Bailie" sighed, "that I should see this day!"

Next rode in melancholy guise, with sombre vest and scarf, Sir Edward, Laird of Ellieslaw, the far-renowned "Black Dwarf;" Upon his left, in bonnet blue, and white locks flowing free— The pious sculptor of the grave—stood "Old Mortality!"

"Balfour of Burley," of "Claverhouse," the "Lord of Evandale," And stately "Lady Margaret," whose woe might naught avail! Fierce "Bothwell" on his charger black, as from the conflict won; And pale "Habakuk Mucklewrath," who cried, "God's will be done!"

And like a rose, a young white rose, that blooms mid wildest scenes, Passed she,—the modest, eloquent, and virtuous "Jeanie Deans;" And "Dumbedikes," that silent laird, with love too deep to smile, And "Effie," with her noble friend, the good "Duke of Argyle."

With lofty brow, and bearing high, dark "Ravenswood" advanced, Who on the false "Lord Keeper's" mien with eye indignant glanced; Whilst graceful as a lonely fawn, 'neath covert close and sure, Approached the beauty of all hearts—the "Bride of Lammermoor!"

Then "Annot Lyle," the fairy queen of light and song, stepped near, The "Knight of Ardenvohr," and he, the gifted Hieland Seer: "Dalgetty," "Duncan," "Lord Monteith," and "Ranald," met my view— The hapless "Children of the Mist," and bold "Mhich-Connel-Dhu!"

On swept "Bois Guilbert"—"Front de Boeuf"—"De Bracy's" plume of woe; And "Coeur de Lion's" crest shone near the valiant "Ivanhoe;" While soft as glides a summer cloud "Rowena" closer drew, With beautiful "Rebecca"—peerless daughter of the Jew!

Still onward like the gathering night advanced that funeral train— Like billows when the tempest sweeps across the shadowy main; Where'er the eager gaze might reach, in noble ranks were seen, Dark plume, and glittering mail and crest, and woman's beauteous mien!

A sound thrilled through that lengthening host! methought the vault was closed, Where in his glory and renown fair Scotia's bard reposed!— A sound thrilled through that length'ning host! and forth my vision fled! But, ah! that mournful dream proved true,—the immortal Scott was dead!

Literary Gazette.

* * * * *

LORD BYRON'S "LOVE."

From Lady Blessington's Conversations.

Of love he had strange notions: he said that most people had le besoin d'aimer, and that with this besoin the first person who fell in one's way contented one. He maintained that those who possessed the most imagination, poets for example, were most likely to be constant in their attachments, as with the beau ideal in their heads, with which they identified the object of their attachment, they had nothing to desire, and viewed their mistresses through the brilliant medium of fancy, instead of the common one of the eyes. "A poet, therefore (said Byron), endows the person he loves with all the charms with which his mind is stored, and has no need of actual beauty to fill up the picture. Hence he should select a woman, who is rather good-looking than beautiful, leaving the latter for those who, having no imagination, require actual beauty to satisfy their tastes. And after all (said he), where is the actual beauty that can come up to the bright 'imaginings' of the poet? where can one see women that equal the visions, half mortal, half angelic, that people his fancy? Love, who is painted blind (an allegory that proves the uselessness of beauty), can supply all deficiencies with his aid; we can invest her whom we admire with all the attributes of loveliness, and though time may steal the roses from her cheek, and the lustre from her eye, still the original beau ideal remains, filling the mind and intoxicating the soul with the overpowering presence of loveliness. I flatter myself that my Leila, Zuleika, Gulnare, Medora, and Haidee will always vouch for my taste in beauty: these are the bright creations of my fancy, with rounded forms, and delicacy of limbs, nearly so incompatible as to be rarely if ever united; for where, with some rare exceptions, do we see roundness of contour accompanied by lightness, and those fairy hands and feet that are at once the type of beauty and refinement. I like to shut myself up, close my eyes, and fancy one of the creatures of my imagination, with taper and rose-tipped fingers, playing with my hair, touching my cheek, or resting its little snowy-dimpled hand on mine. I like to fancy the fairy foot, round and pulpy, but small to diminutiveness, peeping from beneath the drapery that half conceals it, or moving in the mazes of the dance. I detest thin women; and unfortunately all, or nearly all plump women, have clumsy hands and feet, so that I am obliged to have recourse to imagination for my beauties, and there I always find them. I can so well understand the lover leaving his mistress that he might write to her, I should leave mine, not to write to, but to think of her, to dress her up in the habiliments of my ideal beauty, investing her with all the charms of the latter, and then adoring the idol I had formed. You must have observed that I give my heroines extreme refinement, joined to great simplicity and want of education. Now, refinement and want of education are incompatible, at least I have ever found them so: so here again, you see, I am forced to have recourse to imagination, and certainly it furnishes me with creatures as unlike the sophisticated beings of civilized existence, as they are to the still less tempting, coarse realities of vulgar life. In short, I am of opinion that poets do not require great beauty in the objects of their affection; all that is necessary for them is a strong and devoted attachment from the object, and where this exists, joined to health and good temper, little more is required, at least in early youth, though with advancing years, men become more exigeants." Talking of the difference between love in early youth and in maturity, Byron said, "that, like the measles, love was most dangerous when it came late in life."

New Monthly Magazine.

* * * * *

UMBRELLAS.

By one of the year 1750.

Umbrellas, in my youth, were not ordinary things; few but the macaronis of the day, as the dandies were then called, would venture to display them. For a long while it was not usual for men to carry them without incurring the brand of effeminacy, and they were vulgarly considered as the characteristics of a person whom the mob hugely disliked, namely, a mincing Frenchman! At first, a single umbrella seems to have been kept at a coffee-house for some extraordinary occasion—lent as a coach or chair in a heavy shower—but not commonly carried by the walkers. The Female Tatler advertises, "the young gentleman belonging to the custom-house who, in fear of rain, borrowed the umbrella from Wilks' Coffee-House, shall the next time be welcome to the maid's pattens." An umbrella carried by a man was obviously then considered as extreme effeminacy. As late as in 1778, one John Macdonald, a footman, who has written his own life, informs us that when he used "a fine silk umbrella, which he had brought from Spain, he could not with any comfort to himself use it; the people calling out 'Frenchman! why don't you get a coach?'" The fact was that the hackney-coachmen and the chairmen, joining with the true esprit de corps, were clamorous against this portentous rival. This footman, in 1778, gives us further information. "At this time there were no umbrellas wore in London, except in noblemen's and gentlemen's houses, where there was a large one hung in the hall to hold over a lady or a gentleman, if it rained between the door and their carriage." His sister was compelled to quit his arm one day from the abuse he drew down on himself and his umbrella. But he adds, that "he persisted for three months till they took no further notice of this novelty. Foreigners began to use theirs, and then the English. Now it is become a great trade in London." This footman, if he does not arrogate too much to his own confidence, was the first man distinguished by carrying and using a silken umbrella. He is the founder of a most populous school. The state of our population might now in some degree be ascertained by the number of umbrellas.

New Monthly Magazine.

* * * * *

GIPSIES.

Gipsies in times of yore were the scape-goats of the peasantry: if "cock" were "purloined" or any other rural mischief done by night, it was immediately fathered upon a neighbouring tent of "the dark race." No further evidence was required than the pot boiling on stick transverse: no one hesitated to conclude that the said pot contained the corpus delicti: that the individual missing cock was there parboiling, and that the swarthy race lolling around the fire, or peeping from beneath the canvass roof, were resting from the unholy labours of the night. Crime, however, has made such rapid marches that it has long been seen that the gipsies could not perpetrate the whole of it: and now it is pretty clear they are, and probably have always been, innocent of the whole of it. It is an event of extreme rarity to see a gipsy in a court of justice, and we have reason to believe that it has come to pass that farmers entertain a belief that the tent of the wanderer, with its nightly blaze and its dark shadows flitting about it, is a protection to their property. There is every probability in favour of the justice of this character. The life of the gipsy is not unlucrative: his wants are few and coarse, and the calls upon him are scarcely any. He pays no rent: he is exempt from taxes: he spends nothing in the luxury of attire: no man can bring him in a bill. Being himself a mender and universal repairer, he is under the necessity of demanding no man's aid. His horse or his ass feeds on Nature's common, the hedge-side, the waste corner, the forest thicket, well known and long haunted by him and his tribe. Gipsies are subject to few diseases: they seldom ask the doctor's assistance but for one friendly office, and that serves a man his lifetime. The open air, the inconstancy of their labour, the sufficiency of their food, and the quantity of healthy exercise, necessarily render these Arabs of civilization the healthiest part of the people. As the monks of old always managed to select a happy site for their establishments, so does the gipsy always contrive to fix upon a pleasant and healthy spot for the pitching of his tent. It is sure to be near a brook for the supply of fresh water for the pot, and a washing-place for the family rags: it generally lies under the shelter of some umbrageous tree, it will always be found to have a view of the road, and invariably placed on the edge of some nice short and sweet morsel of grass for the recreation of the quadrupeds of the party.

The character of the gipsy has not been well understood. It is altogether oriental: he is quiet, patient, sober, long suffering, pleasant in speech, indolent but handy, far from speculative, and yet good at succedaneum: when his anger is kindled, it descends like lightning: unlike his dog, his wrath gives no notice by grumbling: he blazes up like one of his own fires of dried fern. Quarrels do not often take place among them, but when they do, they are dreadful. The laws of the country in which they sojourn have so far banished the use of knives from among them that they only grind them, otherwise these conflicts would always be fatal. They fight like tigers with tooth and nail, and knee and toe, and seem animated only with the spirit of daemonism. Luckily the worst weapon they use is a stick, and, if the devil tempts, a hedge-stake.

We have been put in mind to say something of the gipsies by having witnessed the consequences of one of these affrays, which has brought us still better acquainted with these singular people. A quarrel originating in jealousy had produced results of the most serious nature. A blow on the head with a tent-pole had evidently produced concussion of the brain if not fracture, and the victim was lying on his straw bed in a state of profound coma. The tent was tripartite, being formed of three main tops meeting in a centre: one was sacred to the women—the gynekeion of the Greeks, the anderoon of the Persians: in the others were collected the whole faction of the dying man. Nine or ten swarthy but handsome countenances were anxiously watching the struggling breath of their unhappy comrade—some sobbing, some grief-stricken, some sombre, none savage. An old crone was administering ineffectual milk, perhaps the very woman who had found the same fluid so nutritious some thirty years ago. Before, or rather, under her lay as noble a form as nature ever moulded, with a fine dark, but thoroughly Indian face, covered with the clammy sweat of apoplectic death. There was no want of light, the fire at the mouth every now and then sent in a volume of illumination, and when the medical men arrived there was scarcely a hand that did not contain a candle in the hope of aiding their investigation. The man died on the fourth day: the surgeons were compelled to mangle him in their search for a fracture; after his death justice demanded a still further investigation of the corpse: and yet during all these trying circumstances an important witness can declare that the behaviour of the supposed lawless people was not merely decent—it was more than exemplary—it was delicate, tender, nay, refined; it was moreover exempt from prejudice, at the same time that it was full of feeling. Were the details in place here, it would perhaps be allowed that few brighter examples of friendship and right feeling were to be found than in this instance occurred among the "dark race," as they call themselves.

New Monthly Magazine.

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THE GATHERER.

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ARROGANCE.

Owen Feltham says: "I never yet found pride in a noble nature, nor humility in an unworthy mind. It may seem strange to an inconsiderate eye, that such a poor violet virtue should ever dwell with honour; and that such an aspiring fume as pride is, should ever sojourn with a constant baseness. It is sure, we seldom find it, but in such as being conscious of their own deficiency, think there is no way to get honour but by a bold assuming it. If you search for high and strained carriages, you shall for the most part meet with them in low men. Arrogance is a weed that ever grows in a dunghill. It is from the rankness of that soil that she hath her height and spreadings. Witness clowns, fools, and fellows that from nothing are lifted some few steps upon fortune's ladder; where, seeing the glorious representment of honour above, they are so greedy of embracing, that they strive to leap thither at once: so by overreaching themselves in the way, they fail of the end, and fall. And all this happiness, either for want of education, which should season their minds with the generous precepts of morality; or, which is more powerful, example; or else for lack of a discerning judgment, which will tell them that the best way thither, is to go about by humility and desert. Otherwise the river of contempt runs betwixt them and it: and if they go not by these passages, they must of necessity either turn back with shame, or suffer in the desperate venture. Of trees, I observe, God hath chosen the vine, a low plant that creeps upon the helpful wall. Of all beasts, the soft and patient lamb. Of all fowls, the mild and gall-less dove. Christ is the rose of the field, and the lily of the valley. When God appeared to Moses, it was not in the lofty cedar, nor the sturdy oak, nor the spreading plane; but in a bush, an humble, slender, abject shrub: as if he would, by these elections, check the conceited arrogance of man. Nothing procureth love like humility; nothing hate, like pride. The proud man walks among daggers pointed against him; whereas the humble and the affable, have the people for their guard in dangers. To be humble to our superiors, is duty; to our equals, courtesy; to our inferiors, nobleness: which for all her lowness, carries such a sway that she may command their souls. But we must take heed, we express it not in unworthy actions. For then leaving virtue, it falls into disdained baseness, which is the undoubtable badge of one that will betray society. So far as a man, both in words and deeds, may be free from flattery and unmanly cowardice, he may be humble with commendation; but surely no circumstance can make the expression of pride laudable. If ever it be, it is when it meets with audacious pride, and conquers. Of this good it may then be author, that the affronting man, by his own folly, may learn the way to his duty and wit. Yet this I cannot so well call pride, as an emulation of the divine justice; which will always vindicate itself upon presumptuous ones, and is indeed said to fight against no sin but pride."

W.G.C.

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Curious Marriage.—In the church of St. Martin, formerly called St. Crosse, Leicester, the marriage register contains an entry of the names of Thomas Tilsey and Ursula Russel, the first of whom being "deofe and also dombe," it was agreed by the bishop, mayor, and other gentlemen of the town, that certain signs and actions of the bridegroom should be admitted instead of the usual words enjoined by the Protestant marriage ceremony: "First he embraced her with his armes, and tooke her by the hande, put a ringe upon her finger, and laide his hande upon his harte, and upon her harte, and helde up his handes towards heaven; and, to shew his continuance to dwell with her to his lyves ende, he did it by closing of his eyes with his hands, and digging out the earthe with his fete, and pullinge as though he would ringe a bell, with divers other signes approved."

P.T.W.

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Fanny Kemble Tulip.—This famous tulip which was sold a few weeks since for L100. was raised by a Mr. Clarke, of Croydon, Surrey, lately deceased. He was considered to have a first-rate show of tulips, and spent much of his time in their cultivation; the remainder of the bed was knocked down for L500. The above gentleman was an infatuated admirer of Miss Kemble, and, as a token of his admiration he named his favourite tulip after her. He was a man of the most eccentric habits: though possessed of a competent fortune, he was continually harrassed by the fear of coming to poverty—and so powerfully was he impressed with the dread of being buried in a trance, that he ordered in his will, two panes of glass to be introduced in his coffin lid, and that he should be placed in the vault without being screwed down.

SWAINE.

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In answer to H.H. who advertises in No. 568, p. 208, of The Mirror, for a translation in one line rhyming with Virgil's hemistich:

Mollissima tempora fandi—

the following is suggested:

Times for persuasive speech most meet and handy.

The following motto for a tea-caddy was quoted by the celebrated J. Wilkes:

Te veniente die, Te discedente.

And when Dr. Johnson complained to Mrs. Piozzi, that her tea was so strong as to make him tipsy, he was thus answered by that learned lady:

Equidem de Te nil tale verebar.

E.B.I.

* * * * *

Dum aeger ait, "ah! ah!" Tu dicito, "da, da."

Mirror, No. 568, p. 208.

Translation.

While the sick man in pain cries out "ah! me!" Tell him "before I cure, first pay my fee."

Another.

Whilst your patient sighs, "ah, me!" You must cry, "my fee, my fee!!"

C.B.

* * * * *

Shaving or Throat-cutting.—Damel, the King of the Yaloffs, (a people of Africa,) being at war with Abdulkader, King of Foota Torra, the latter inflamed with zeal for propagating his religion, sent an ambassador to Damel, accompanied by two of the principal Bashreens, who carried each a knife fixed on the top of a long pole. When they obtained admission into the presence of Damel, they announced the object of their embassy in the following manner:—"With this knife," said the ambassador, "Abdulkader will condescend to shave the head of Damel, if Damel will embrace the Mahomedan faith; and with this other knife, Abdulkader will cut the throat of Damel, if Damel refuses to embrace it—take your choice." Damel coolly replied, "That he had no choice to make; he neither chose to have his head shaved nor his throat cut;" and with this answer the ambassador was civilly dismissed.

P.T.W.

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Guides.—The guides that precede travellers in India are kept in such admirable wind by their offices, that they keep up with your horse at a trot, for seven or eight miles.

* * * * *

To Cara.

Thy swain discarded calls thee shrew; Would'st thou, girl, prove the charge untrue, Marry the fool who long hath wooed, And all will swear thou art not shrewd.

H.H.

* * * * *

The Pledge redeemed.

Said Tom to Sam, "Dear friend, I'm bound To see your fortune through;" Sam lost his wealth to Tom, and found The rogue had spoken true.

H.H.

* * * * *

Men of no business and Paper-cutting.—Men of great parts (says Swift) are unfortunate in business, because they go out of the common road. I once desired Lord Bolingbroke to observe that the clerks used an ivory knife, with a blunt edge, to divide paper, which cut it even, only requiring a strong hand; whereas a sharp penknife would go out of the crease, and disfigure the paper.

P.T.W.

* * * * *

Tremendous Explosion.—January 4, 1649, a parish feast was held at the Rose tavern, in Tower-street, where 70 barrels of gunpowder took fire and destroyed 60 houses; all the persons assembled were killed and mangled in a shocking manner, except the mistress of the tavern, who was found sitting upright in the bar, and a drawer standing without it, with a pot in his hand; both being suffocated with smoke and dust.

* * * * *

Value of Steam Packets.—A steam packet of 100 horse power, equipped as it ought to be, will probably cost about 20,000l.; expenditure of fuel, at the rate of one-half chaldron of coals per hour, wages and victualling, per month, 250l.; tonnage duty, lights, pilotage, and port charges, 200l. per annum; insurance, 100l. per month; small repairs and winter expenses, about 500l. Besides which, being calculated to last only ten years, the owners should be able to lay by a sinking fund, or reserve of 2,000l. per annum, and 1,500l. for a new set of boilers during that time, making altogether the sailing expenses of such a vessel about 1,000l. per month.

* * * * *



THE LATE SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.

* * * * *

Price Twopence, AN ILLUSTRATED SUPPLEMENT, Containing NOTICES of the LIFE and WRITINGS of the late SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART. With Five Engravings.

* * * * *

Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

THE END

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