THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIV, No. 384.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
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Voltaire's Chateau, at Ferney.
Voltaire is the bronze and plaster poet of France. Cheek by jowl with Rosseau, (their squabbles are forgotten in the roll of fame), you see him perched on mantel, bracket, ecritoire, and bookcase: in short, their effigies are as common as the plaster figures of Shakspeare and Milton are in England. How far the rising generation of France may profit by their household memorials—or the sardonic and satanic smile of their great poet—we will not pretend to determine; neither do we invite any comparison; although Voltaire, with all his trickseyings and panting after fame, never inculcated so sublime a lesson as is conveyed in
"The cloud-capp'd towers," &c.
which are inscribed beneath the bust of our immortal bard.
But we turn from Voltaire and his stormy times to the seat of his retirement—Ferney, about six miles from Geneva; where he lived for twenty years; but in his eighty-fourth year actually quitted this scene of delightful repose for the city of Paris—there to enjoy a short triumph, and die. The latter event took place in 1778. At pages 62 and 69 of vol. xii. of THE MIRROR, we have given a brief description of Ferney, with many interesting anecdotes, carefully compiled from a variety of authorities. Here Voltaire lived in princely style, as Condorcet says, "removed from illusion, and whatever could excite momentary, or personal passion." According to M. Simond, a recent tourist, the chateau is still visited by travellers, and Voltaire's bed-room is shown in the state he left it. The date of our view is about the year 1800, since which the residence has been much neglected: and during the late war, it was frequently the quarters of the Austrian soldiers. The gardens are laid out in the formal, geometrical style, and they command a view of the town and lake of Geneva. The apartments of the ground-floor of the house are in the same state as during Voltaire's lifetime. In the dining-hall is a picture, representing demons horsewhipping Freron: such was Voltaire's mode of perpetuating his antagonists.
[Footnote 1: Freron was an eminent journalist of the last century: his criticisms procured him many powerful enemies, among whom was Voltaire.]
Of the purchase of Ferney, Voltaire thus speaks in his memoirs:—
"I bought, by a very singular kind of contract, of which there was no example in that country, a small estate of about sixty acres, which they sold me for about twice as much as it would have cost me at Paris; but pleasure is never too dear. The house was pretty and commodious, and the prospect charming; it astonishes without tiring: on one side is the lake of Geneva, and the city on the other. The Rhone rushes from the former with vast impetuosity, forming a canal at the bottom of my garden, whence is seen the Arve descending from the Savoy mountains, and precipitating itself into the Rhone, and farther still another river. A hundred country seats, a hundred delightful gardens, ornament the borders of the lakes and rivers. The Alps at a great distance rise and terminate the horizon, and among their prodigious precipices, twenty leagues extent of mountain are beheld covered with eternal snows."
Upon Voltaire's settlement at Ferney, the country was almost a savage desert. The village contained but fifty inhabitants, but became by the poet's means the residence of 1,200 persons, among which were a great number of artists, principally watch makers, who established their manufacture under his auspices, and exported their labours throughout the continent. Voltaire also invited to Ferney, and afforded protection to, the young niece of the celebrated Corneille; here she was educated, and Voltaire even carried his delicacy so far as not to suffer the establishment of Madlle. Corneille to appear as his benefaction. The family of Calas, likewise, came to reside in the neighbourhood, and to this circumstance may be attributed the zeal which Voltaire evinced in their ill fate.
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DURHAM HOUSE, STRAND:
MARRIAGE OF LADY JANE GREY.
(For the Mirror.)
Why did ye me dysseyve, With faynyng fantzye agenst all equitie and right, The regall powers onjustly to receyve, To serve your tornes, I do right well perceyve; For I was your instrument to worke your purpose by; All was but falshed to bleere withall myn eye.
Cavendish's Metrical Visions.
The short but eventful period between the death of the last Henry, and the succession of his bigoted and intolerant daughter Mary, presents a wide and fertile field for the inquiring mind both of the historian and philosopher. The interest attached to the memory of the beauteous but unfortunate Lady Jane Grey, renders the slightest event of her life acceptable to every lover of English history; while her youth and intellectual acquirements, her brief reign of nine days, and finally her expiation for her innocent crime on the scaffold, combine to rouse the feelings and excite the sympathy of every sensitive heart.
The marriage of lady Jane Grey, which may be regarded as the principal cause of her sufferings, was brought about by the ambitious Earl of Northumberland, a nobleman, the most powerful and wealthy at that period, in the kingdom. By the marriage of Lord Guilford Dudley with the Lady Jane, he formed the daring project of placing the crown of England on the head of his son, in order to consolidate that preeminence, which, during the reign of the youthful Edward, he had so craftily attained to, and which he foresaw, would, on the accession of Mary, from whom he had little to expect, either on the side of friendship or protection, be wrested from him. By the will of Henry VIII., as well also as by an Act of Parliament, the ladies Mary and Elizabeth had been pronounced as heirs to the crown; this claim, however, he hoped to overrule, as the statutes passed by Henry, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, declaring their illegitimacy, had never been repealed. By the will of Henry, the lady Jane had also been placed next in succession after the Princess Elizabeth, in total exclusion of the Scottish line, the offspring of his sister Margaret, who had married James IV. of Scotland.
The day on which this important event took place is not exactly known; but it is generally supposed to have been towards the close of the month of May, in the year 1553, before the lady Jane had attained her seventeenth year. The nuptials were solemnized with great magnificence at Durham House, the then princely residence of the Earl of Northumberland, who appears to have been particularly earnest in their conclusion, as they were celebrated but two months previous to the death of Edward VI., who at that time "lay dangerously sicke," and being unable to attend, sent costly presents as marks of his approval. Three other marriages, also, appear to have taken place at the same time, as recorded by the chronicler Stow.
[Footnote 2: Stow's Summarie of the Chronicles of England, p. 245.]
[Footnote 3: Lord Gilford, the Duke of Northumberland's fourth son, married Lady Jane, the Duke of Suffolk's daughter, whose mother being then alive, was daughter to Mary, King Henrie's sister, which was then married to the French king, and after to Charles, Duke of Suffolke. Also the Earle of Pembroke's eldest son married Lady Katharine, the said duke's second daughter. And Martin Keie's gentleman porter married Mary, the third daughter of the Duke of Suffolke. And the Earle of Huntington's son, called Lord Hastings, married Katharine, youngest daughter to the Duke of Northumberland.—Stow's Chronicle, p. 1029, edit. 1600.]
Durham House, which formerly occupied that extensive space of ground on the southern side of the Strand, now covered by the stately pile of buildings called the Adelphi, was erected, according to Stow, in the reign of Edward III., by Thomas de Hatfield, created Bishop of Durham in 1345. Pennant, however, but upon what authority does not appear, traces its foundation to a period prior to the abovementioned, that of Edward I., when he says it was erected by Anthony de Beck, patriarch of Jerusalem and Bishop of Durham, but was afterwards rebuilt by Bishop Hatfield. In 1534, Tonstal, the then bishop, exchanged Durham House with Henry VIII. for a mansion in Thames Street, called "Cold Harborough," when it was converted by that monarch into a royal palace. During the same reign, in the year 1540, a grand tournament, commencing on "Maie daie," and continuing on the five following days, was held at Westminster; after which, says Stow, "the challengers rode to Durham Place, where they kept open household, and feasted the king and queene (Anne of Cleves) with her ladies, and all the court." In the reign of Edward VI., a mint was established at Durham House by the ambitious Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral, under the direction of Sir William Sharington.
[Footnote 4: Strype's Stow, vol. ii. p. 576.]
[Footnote 5: Pennant's London, p. 120, 4to. edit.]
[Footnote 6: Stow's Chronicle, p. 975.]
This mansion was bestowed on the princess Elizabeth, during the term of her life, by her brother Edward VI., when it became the residence of the Earl of Northumberland, and the scene of those important transactions we have just endeavoured to relate. On the death of Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh, to whom the mansion had been given by that queen, was obliged to surrender it to Toby Matthew, the then Bishop of Durham, in consequence of the reversion having been granted to that see by queen Mary, whose bigoted and narrow mind regarded the previous exchange as a sacrilege.
In 1608, the stables of Durham House, which fronted the Strand, and which, says Strype, "were old, ruinous, and ready to fall, and very unsightly in so public a passage to the Court of Westminster," were pulled down and a building called the New Exchange erected on their site, by the Earl of Salisbury. It was built partly on the plan of the Royal Exchange; the shops or stalls being principally occupied by miliners and sempstresses. It was opened with great state by James I., and his queen, who named it the "Bursse of Britain."
[Footnote 7: Strype's Stow, vol. ii. p. 576.]
[Footnote 8: Howel's Londinopolis, p. 349.]
In 1640, the estate of Durham House was purchased of the see, by Philip, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, for the annual sum of 200l., when the mansion was pulled down, and numerous houses erected on its site; and in 1737, the New Exchange was also demolished to make room for further improvements.
Towards the close of the last century the whole estate was purchased of the Earl of Pembroke, by four brothers of the name of Adam, who erected the present buildings, named by them the Adelphi, from the Greek word [Greek: adelphoi], brothers.
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THE DEATH OF MURAT.
(For the Mirror.)
"Where the broken line enlarging Fell or fled along the plain, There be sure was Murat charging: There he ne'er shall charge again."
Perhaps the features of romance were never more fully developed than in the last days and death of Murat, King of Naples. To speak panegyrically of his prowess, is supererogatory; as his bravery has been the theme of history and of song. But a pathetic paper in Blackwood's Magazine, affectingly describes his fall from splendour and popularity to servile degradation and unmerited military death. He has many claims on our interest and pity; whether we view him as the enthusiastic leader of Napoleon's chosen, against the wily Russians, in the romantic array of "a theatrical king," bearing down all impediment; or the plumeless and proscribed monarch of "shreds and patches," hiding from his enemies amidst the withered spoils of the forest. The writer of the paper referred to, in describing his arrival at Ajaccio, says, "I was sitting at my door, when I beheld a man approach me, with the gaiters and shoes of a common soldier. Looking up, I beheld before me Joachim II. the splendid King of Naples! I uttered a cry, and fell upon my knees!"
Escap'd from wreck and storm of fickle seas, Degraded, plunder'd, sought for by his foes, Brave Murat went, a weary, exil'd king, Unto the land that gave Napoleon life; And he who was the head of armies, when His sabre slew opposing multitudes; Whose dauntless spirit knew no other words In fiercest strife, but "Soldiers, follow me!" Came a poor, drooping, broken, lonely man, To meet reproach, and harsh vicissitude, Base persecution, and destroying hope; To drain the cup of human suffering dry, From which his fever'd lips had scarce refrain'd; When in the tangled wood he trembling lay, Weary and worn, expos'd to sun and storm, Hunger and cold, and nature's helplessness. And when Ajaccio's walls rung with the shouts For Naples' ruler, he of warlike fame, It wrung his spirit to remember when That city hail'd him as her only star, Worthy to reign where Masaniello rul'd. Dejected chief! the tears forsook his eyes, When on his vision rush'd the bygone love Applauding thousands bore him, as he rode In pride imperial 'midst the bending throng.
The gathering crowds along Ajaccio's streets Felt Freedom's fervor kindle in their souls; And Murat's banner fann'd the glorious flame. "'Tis past," he cried, "and now I proudly come, O, shameless Naples! in thy arms to die, Or nobly live."
"Now blood for tears! my sword, my sword! Be thou unsheath'd in Naples' cause, I'll meet again the battle horde, And beard the bravest of my foes!
"Proud Austria! I will drive thee back, Deem not that Naples' throne is thine; For soon shall Murat's bivouac Keep watch upon thy tented line.
"Nor taunt of enemy shall move, Nor bitterest suffering shall degrade, My heart—for with my people's love My daring will be richly paid.
"Hearts like my own! that hem me now, The ground we tread is sacred earth, Prove not the soil from which ye sprang Unworthy of Napoleon's birth.
"On to the struggle! we shall gain Adherents to our patriot cause; Shake off the exile's hated name, And abrogate the despot's laws.
"Insulted, wrong'd, and robb'd of all, My feelings scarce could brook my fate; But I will gain my crown or fall Before degraded Naples' gate!"
Midnight descended on Calabria's coast, And Murat's little fleet wore sailing there; No peering moon lit up the lonely sea, But all was sable as his wayward fate. A storm dispers'd them, and Sardinia's isle Receiv'd the bark that held the hapless king, And morn beheld it on the main again; But far apart his faithful followers. Calabria's beach was gain'd; where Murat stood Amidst the dastard throng that hemm'd him round, With heart of adamant, and eye of fire. There is a majesty in kingly hearts Which changing time nor fickle fate can quell: He stood—reveal'd from his own lips, "The King Of fallen Naples." At those stirring words A hundred swords unsheath'd; for on his head A princely price was set, and flight he scorn'd; For grasp'd his hand the well-accustom'd blade; And vainly fought—
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His hour is come! behold the dauntless man Baring his bosom to the stern platoon: And parted friends, and pardon'd enemies, Relinquish'd glory, and forgotten scorn, Are naught to him—but o'er his war-worn face A momentary gleam of passion flits— To think that he who wore that diadem The second Caesar placed upon his brows, (No cold inheritance of legal right, But truly bought by bravery and blood.) Should die with traitor branded on, his fame. His hand enfolds a small cornelian seal, A portrait of his queen,—on which his eyes Are fondly fix'd. The final word is given, And Murat falls: ah! who would be a king!
* * H.
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COAST BLOCKADE MEN.
(For the Mirror.)
Maturin in his fearful romance of Melmoth, has well exemplified the change of character and frequent subversion of intellect occasioned by untoward circumstances. The human mind, like a woody fibre, when submitted to the action of a petrifying stream, gradually assimilates the qualities of its associates. This truth is strikingly verified in the persons of the men on our blockade stations, for the prevention of smuggling. They are a numerous race, and inhabit little fortalices on the coasts of our sea-girt isle, which to an imaginative mind would give it the appearance of a beleagured citadel. The powerful, but still ineffective means resorted to by government for the suppression of illicit traffic, sadly demonstrates the degeneracy of our nature, and may be seen in full operation on the coast between Margate, Dover, and Hastings. For this purpose, the stranger on his arrival at Margate, must take the path leading to the cliff's, eastward of the town, and after walking a little way with the sea on his left hand, he will pass, at intervals, certain neat, though gloomy looking cottages, chiefly remarkable for an odd, military aspect, strongly reminding one of a red jacket turned up with white. These, perched like the eagle's eyry on the very edge and summit of those crested heights that "breast the billows foam," are the preventive stations, inhabited by the dumb and isolated members of the blockade. These men will now be seen for the rest of the journey, mounted on the jutting crags, straining their weary eyes over the monotonous expanse of waters which for ever splash beneath them—a sullen accompaniment to their gloomy avocations.
On a first sight of these men, you are ready to exclaim with Mercutio, "Oh, flesh! how art thou fishified;" and begin to think that Shakspeare might have had a living original for his horrid Caliban: for they are mostly selected from amongst fishermen, on account of their excellent knowledge of the coast, and most perfectly retain their amphibious characteristics. The good humoured Dutch looking face is, however, wanting; they have a savage angularity of feature, the effect of their antisocial trade; one feels a sort of creeping horror on approaching a fellow creature, armed at all points, in a lone and solemn place, the haunts of desperate men, and on whose tongue an embargo is laid to speak to no one, pacing the surly rocks, his hands on his arms, ready to deal forth death on the first legal opportunity. Beings such as these an amiable and delicate mind shudders to contemplate, and always finds it difficult to conceive; yet, such are the preventive men who line our coast—melancholy examples of the truth stated at the outset of this paper. Occasionally, however, the good traveller will, much to his joy, meet with an exception to this sad rule, in the person of an old tar, whom necessity has pressed into the service, and who from long acquaintance with the pleasures of traversing the mighty ocean, feels little pleasure in staring at it like an inactive land-lubber, a character which he holds in hearty contempt; besides, to fire at a fellow Briton is against his nature; thief or no thief it crosses his grain, and he looks at his pistols and hates himself. His situation is miserable; he is truly a fish out of water; he loves motion, but is obliged to stand still; his glory is a social "bit of jaw," but he dares not speak; he rolls his disconsolate quid over his silent tongue, and is as wretched as a caged monkey. Poor fellow! how happy would a companion make you, to whom you could relate your battles, bouts, and courtships; but mum is the order, and Jack is used to an implicit obeyance of head-quarter orders. The sight of an outward bound vessel drives him mad.
On the appearance of a suspicious sail, the blockader, all vigilance, (Jack excepted) awaits in silence the running of the devoted cargo, when suddenly discharging one of his pistols, the air in a moment rocks with a hundred reports, answered successively by his companions. This arouses those in the cottages off duty; the cliffs instantly teem with life; all hurry to the beach, by slanting passages cut in the rocks for that purpose, and a scene of blood and death ensues too horrible for description. Thus are sent prematurely to their graves, many poor fellows, who, had brandy been a trifle cheaper, might have lived bright ornaments of a world they never knew.
After leaving Dover, the scene changes very materially in its appearance; the regimental cottages have vanished, and in their places are found strong brick towers, placed at short distances from each other, containing each a little garrison, over which a lieutenant presides; from the abundance of these towers, and their proximity to each other, the men are numerously scattered over the bleak sands, and living more together, are a social set of creatures, compared with those westward of Dover. The towers very much resemble the Peel Houses which, "lang syne," bristled on the Scottish border, and like them, are built to watch and annoy an enemy from; they are about twenty feet in height, of a circular form, and have a concealed gallery at top with loopholes, for observation. The preventive men have a costume peculiar to them: white trousers, bluejacket, and white hat; a pair of pistols, a cutlass, and a sort of carbine. A well painted picture of them, when surrounding their little castles, a fresh breeze stirring the sea into a rage, and a horizontal sun gilding their rugged features, would fairly rival Salvator Rosa's brigands in the Abruzzi Mountains.
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ONCE ANCIENT.—A FACT.
(For the Mirror.)
A Norwich mayor, who an uncommon thing (Because 'twas generous) had done, was sent With a petition to his gracious King, And reach'd St. James's wondrously content. His Majesty found him quite eloquent, Fond of a dinner, fonder of a joke But, needing matter For converse with his stranger worship, spoke Of Norfolk hospitality, and geese; Of turkeys, game, and fowls, that take a lease Yearly to smoke on many a cockney platter, Forgetting not, to please the honest gent: Mention of gravy, sausage, dumpling, batter; Till, the good man, quite in his element 'Gan prating glibly of the Norwich folk And what fine things were doing in their city, "An ancient place it is, sir!" said the prince, "As its old churches, castle, gates, evince!" "Gates!" please your highness, "there my heart is broke, They 'as, and more's the pity, Just pull'd the old gates down! (I may Get i' the wrong box too, for blabbin') Narwich an arncient city, did you say? An' please your Majesty, not now; 't ha' been!"
[Footnote 9: George III.—This incident actually occurred.]
M. L. B.
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PORTRAIT OF FAIR ROSAMOND.
A picture of this unfortunate woman, the mistress of Henry II., and the victim of his queen's jealousy, supposed to have been painted in the time of Henry VII., was, at the commencement of the last century in the possession of Samuel Gale, Esq., the antiquary. It consisted of a three-quarter length, painted on panel, and attired in the costume of the period; a dress of red velvet, with a straight low body, and large square sleeves, faced with black flowered damask, turned up above the elbow, from which descended a close sleeve of pearl-coloured satin, puffed out, and buttoned at the wrist; her bosom being covered with a fine flowered linen, gathered close at the neck like a ruff. Her hair, which was of a dark brown colour, was parted from the middle of the forehead; on her head was a plain coifure, surmounted by a gold lace, covered with a small, black, silk cap. In her right hand, which was richly decorated with rings, she held the fatal cup, with the cover in the left. Before her, on a table covered with black, damask, lay an open prayer-book. Her complexion was fair, with a beautiful blush upon her cheeks.
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NEW ZOOLOGICAL WORK.
We are happy to have on our table the first number of a periodical work to be exclusively devoted to the Illustration of the Natural History of the living Animals in the Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society. It is from the Chiswick press; the drawings are by Mr. William Harvey, and the Engraving by Messrs. Branston and Wright; and of printing and embellishment, the present number is a truly splendid specimen, and is equal to any of the costly "Annuals."
We believe the sale of works on Natural History to have been, till recently, very limited; this has probably arisen from their technical character, and consequent unfitness for the general reader. Mr. Loudon was, perhaps, the first to familiarize the study of Zoology, in originally making it a portion of his excellent Gardeners' Magazine. The formation of the Zoological Society next rendered the study more popular, and the gardens in the Regent's Park at length made it fashionable, and ensured it patronage. About this time Mr. Loudon commenced his Magazine of Natural History, which has been very successful: it is one of the most unique works ever published, both as regards the spirit and research of the intelligent editor, and the good taste with which the work is illustrated—the latter being a very important feature of a work on Natural History.
The proceedings of the Zoological Society are, we believe, regularly reported in the Zoological Journal, published quarterly, and edited by N.A. Vigors, Esq., the ingenious secretary of the Society; but, valuable and clever as may be this work, it is not calculated for extensive reading. We are pleased, therefore, with the appearance of "The Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society," which is popular and scientific, and so elegant as to be fit for any drawing-room in the empire. It is published with the sanction of the council, and is superintended by the learned secretary; the descriptions, anecdotes, &c. being furnished by E.T. Bennett, Esq. the vice-secretary.
The present number contains Engravings and Descriptions of the Chinchilla, (about which all our lady-friends will be very curious); the Ratel; the Wanderoo Monkey; the Hare-Indian Dogs, the Barbary Mouse; the Condor; the Crested Curassow; the Red and Blue Macaw; the Red and Yellow Macaw: all these and the tailpieces or vignettes appended to the descriptions, are beautifully engraved. The Quadrupeds are, perhaps, the most successful—the group of Hare-Indian Dogs, for instance, is exquisitely characteristic. Of the literary portion of the work we intend to present our readers with a specimen in our next number.
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CURIOUS ACCOUNT OF AN OYSTER CATCHING THREE MICE; AND A LOBSTER CATCHING AN OYSTER.
(For the Mirror.)
Borlase, in his Natural History of Cornwall, page 274, says, "The oyster has the power of closing the two parts of its shell with prodigious force, by means of a strong muscle at the hinge; and Mr. Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, with his wonted pleasantry, tells us of one whose shell being opened as usual at the time of flood, (when these fishes participate and enjoy the returning tide) three mice eagerly attempted to seize it, and the oyster clasping fast its shell, killed them all. It not only shuts its two valves with great strength, but keeps them shut with equal force, and (as I have been informed by a clergyman of great veracity, who had the account from a creditable eye-witness to the fact) its enemies have a skill imparted to them to counteract this great force. As he was fishing one day, a fisherman observed a lobster attempt to get at an oyster several times, but as soon as the lobster approached, the oyster shut his shell; at length the lobster having awaited with great attention till the oyster opened again, made a shift to throw a stone between the gaping shells, sprung upon its prey, and devoured it."
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INSTINCT OF SPIDERS.
(For the Mirror.)
The following fact is copied from a French work entitled Archives sur Anatomie:—"A small spider had spread its net between two neighbouring trees, at the height of about nine feet. The three principal points, to which the supporting threads were attached, formed here as they usually do, an equilateral triangle. One thread was attached above to each of the trees, and the web hung from the middle of it. To procure a third point of attachment, the spider had suspended a small stone to one end of a thread; and the stone being heavier than the spider itself, served in place of the lower fixed point, and held the web extended. The little pebble was five feet from the earth." The whole was observed, and is described by Professor Weber, of Leipsig.
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SPIRIT OF THE
* * * * *
(Concluded from page 79.)
The first operation on the grown plants is that of topping; this is the planter's hay harvest; the tops serve for chaff, for dry food instead of hay, for fodder. They are cut off above the ears, collected by a cart going along the intervals or roads, and stacked for winter use. Mr. Cobbett's harvest of tops was not so successful as it might have been: this arose from his absence at the favourable opportunity for stacking.
The ears of corn are stripped off when the grain is hard, and carried in carts to the barns, and placed in corn cribs adapted for the purpose. The grains are taken off the pithy cylinder on which they grow, by being rubbed or scraped on a piece of iron: in America a bayonet (a weapon called by the Yankees Uncle George's toasting fork) is invariably used for the purpose: the cylinder, now bared of its grain, is called the cobb. The delicate leaves by which the ear is enveloped is, as has been mentioned, called the husk; it may be used for the stuffing of beds: Mr. Cobbett has converted some of it even into paper.
In Mr. Cobbett's sanguine temperament the uses to which the grain is applicable are wonderfully numerous and important. Under the heads of pig-feeding, sheep-feeding, and cow-feeding, poultry-feeding, and horse-feeding, he gives an account of his own experiments and observations. Of the thriving condition of the American horses Cobbett gives an example in his amusing vein, and by a trial made at his own farm in Long Island, he proved that neither their strength nor speed deteriorates on corn.
The branch of man-feeding is, of course, an important department of the subject. The forms in which it is made palatable and nutritious are numerous, and appear under names of American origin that will sound strange in the English ear. Before the corn is ripe it is frequently roasted in the state of green ears. "When the whole of the grains are brown, you lay them in a dish and put them upon the table; they are so many little bags of roasted milk, the sweetest that can be imagined, or, rather, are of the most delightful taste. You leave a little tail of the ear, two inches long, or thereabouts, to turn it and handle it by. You take a thin piece of butter, which will cling to the knife on one side, while you gently rub it over the ear from the other side; then the ear is buttered: then you take a little salt according to your fancy, and sprinkle it over the ear: you then take the tail of the ear in one hand, and bite the grains off the cobb." In the shape of porridge the corn is called suppawn.
Mush is another form of the corn meal; Mr. Cobbett says, "it is not a word to squall out over a piano-forte," "but it is a very good word, and a real English word." It seems to mean something which is half pudding, half porridge. Homany is the shape in which the corn meal is generally used in the southern states of America, but Mr. Cobbett has never seen it. Samp is the corn skinned, as we shell oats, or make pearl barley; it is then boiled with pork or other meat, as we boil peas. It is in fact corn soup, superior to all preparations of pulse, on account of their indigestible qualities.
The corn flour is not so adhesive as the wheat flour; it is consequently not so well adapted to puddings and bread-making: nevertheless, Mr. Cobbett contrives to show that his corn can make both inimitably; but in respect of cakes there are no cakes in the world like the corn-cakes of America. They have the additional merit of being made in a minute: "A Yankee will set hunger at defiance if you turn him into a wilderness with a flint and steel, and a bag of corn-meal or flour. He comes to the spot where he means to make his cookery, makes a large wood fire upon the ground, which soon consumes every thing combustible beneath, and produces a large heap of coals. While the fire is preparing itself, the Yankee takes a little wooden or tin bowl (many a one has done it in the crown of his hat), in which he mixes up a sufficient quantity of his meal with water, and forms it into a cake of about a couple of inches thick. With a pole he then draws the fire open, and lays the cake down upon where the centre of the fire was. To avoid burning, he rakes some ashes over the cake first; he then rakes on a suitable quantity of the live embers, and his cake is cooked in a short space of time." According to Mr. Cobbett, he grew ninety-five bushels of corn on one acre of ground; reckoning the value of this corn equal to bad and stale samples of wheat, which, at the time Mr. Cobbett was writing, was selling at 45s. the quarter, Mr. Cobbett's crop would be worth nearly 27l. the acre, three times, as he says, that of the average crop of wheat this same year. But in order to compare the worth of this crop with that of others, there are several considerations to be entered into besides this; these it is needless to say, Mr. Cobbett shows are wholly in favour of Cobbett's corn. However this may be, and even making a large allowance for the determination of the writer to see every thing he loves couleur de rose, we think there can be little doubt of this fact, that he has made out a case for experiment, and still more, that they who have not made the experiment, are not entitled either to distrust or to gainsay his assertions. It should be observed, that there are two branches in Mr. Cobbett's argument; he maintains that his variety of Indian corn may be grown in this country: but should this not be confirmed by more general experiments, still his praise of the plant, as a valuable substitute for wheat, and even its superior applicability to domestic purposes, demand the same attention as before; for if it may be grown, it may be imported, as from Canada, without the imposition of a burthensome duty.
* * * * *
THE WATCHMAN'S LAMENT.
As homeward I hurried, within "The Wen," At midnight, all alone. My knees, like the knees of a drunken man, Foreboding shook, and my eyes began To see two lamps for one.
The lights burnt blue, as they're wont to do When Spirits are in the wind. Ho! ho! thought I, that's an ominous hue, And a glance on either side I threw, But I fear'd to look behind.
A smell, as of gas, spread far and wide, But sulphur it was, I knew; My sight grew dim, and my tongue was tied, And I thought of my home, and my sweet fireside, And the friends I had left at loo!
And I took once more a hurried peep Along and across the street, And then I beheld a figure creep, Like a man that is walking in his sleep, Or a watchman on his beat.
A lantern, dangling in the wind, He bore, and his shaggy and thick Great-coat was one of the dread-nought kind,— What seem'd his right hand trail'd behind The likeness of a stick.
The sky with clouds became o'ercast, And it suddenly set to raining,— And the gas-lights flicker'd in the blast, As that thing of the lantern and dread-nought past, And I heard him thus complaining—
"A murrain seize—a pize upon— Plague take—the New Police! Why couldn't they do with the ancient one, As ages and ages before have done, And let us remain in peace?
"No more, ah! never more, I fear, Will a perquisite, (woe is me!) Or profits, or vails, the Charley cheer; Then, alas! for his tender consort dear, And his infant progeny!
"Farewell to the freaks of the jovial spark, Who rejoiced in a gentle riot,— To the midnight spree, and the morning lark, There'll never more be any fun after dark, And people will sleep in quiet.
"No more shall a Tom or a Jerry now Engaging in fisty battle, Break many heads and the peace;—for how, I should like to know, can there be a row, When there is ne'er a rattle?
"One cry no more on the ear shall grate, Convivial friends alarming, Who straightway start and separate, Blessing themselves that it is so late;— To break up a party is charming!
"But our ruthless foe wilt be punish'd anon;— Bundled out without pity or parley, His office and occupation gone, Lost, disgraced, despised, undone, Oh! then he'll remember the Charley."
Just then I beheld a Jarvey near, Which on the spot presenting, I scrambled in like one in fear With a ghost at his heels, or a flea in his ear, And he was left lamenting!
* * * * *
GOOD AND BAD STYLES OF LIVING.
Good style of living consists in having a mansion exquisitely fitted up with all the expensive bijouterie compatible with true elegance, yet avoiding the lavish superabundance of gimcrackery which borders on vulgarity; comely serving men in suitable liveries, all so well initiated into the mysteries of their respective duties, that a guest could imagine himself in a fairy palace, where plates vanish without the contamination of a mortal finger and thumb, and glasses move without a jingle: then the feast is exquisitely cooked and exquisitely served; the table groans not, the hostess carves not; but one delicious dainty is followed by another, and each remove brings forth a dish more piquante than the last: every thing is delightful, but there must appear to be an abundance of nothing; two spoonsful alone of each delicious viand should repose under its silver cover; and he who dared ask to be helped a second time to any thing, ought to be sentenced to eternal transportation from the regions of haut ton.
Bad style of living—Shocking even to describe! A large house in streets or squares unknown; hot, ugly men servants, stumbling over one another in their uncouth eagerness to admit you; your name mispronounced, and shouted at the drawing-room door; your host and hostess in a fuss, apologizing, asking questions, and boring you to death; dinner at length announced, but no chance of extrication from the dull drawing-room, because the etiquette of precedence is not rightly understood, and nobody knows who ought to be led out first; all the way down stairs a dead silence, and then the difficulty of distributing the company almost equals the previous dilemma of the drawing-room: wives are wittily warned against sitting by husbands, and two gentlemen are facetiously interdicted from sitting together; the hostess takes the top of the table to be useful, not ornamental, for fish and joint and turkey, must she carve; while her husband, at the other end of the mahogany, must equally make a toil of a pleasure, and yet smile as if it were a pleasure to toil! The beasts of the earth and the birds of the air appear upon the board, scorning disguise, in their own proper forms, just as they stepped out of Noah's ark, always excepting those who are too unwieldy to be present in whole skins; and even they send their joints to table in horrid unsophistication; Sweets follow, but how unlike the souffles of Ude! Grim green gooseberries, lurking under their heavy coverings of crust; and custards, the plain produce of the dairy, embittered with bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves! Cheese follows, with the alternatives of port wine and porter; and all this weary time the servants have been knocking your head about, thumbing your plate, or pouring lobster sauce into your pockets!—Sharpe's Mag.
* * * * *
* * * * *
By Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
[We quote the following Legend from the New Edition of Guy Mannering, with the Supplementary Notes by the distinguished author.]
The manner in which the novels were composed, cannot be better illustrated, than by reciting the simple narrative on which Guy Mannering was originally founded; but to which, in the progress of the work, the production ceased to bear any, even the most distant resemblance. The tale was originally told me by an old servant of my father's, an excellent old Highlander, without a fault, unless a preference to mountain-dew, over less potent liquors be accounted one. He believed as firmly in the story as in any part of his creed.
A grave and elderly person, according to old John MacKinlay's account, while travelling in the wilder parts of Galloway, was benighted. With difficulty he found his way to a country-seat, where, with the hospitality of the time and country, he was readily admitted. The owner of the house, a gentleman of good fortune, was much struck by the reverend appearance of his guest, and apologised to him for a certain degree of confusion which must unavoidably attend his reception, and could not escape his eye. The lady of the house was, he said, confined to her apartment, and on the point of making her husband a father for the first time, though they had been ten years married. At such an emergency, the laird said he feared his guest might meet with some apparent neglect. "Not so, sir," said the stranger; "my wants are few, and easily supplied; and I trust the present circumstances may even afford an opportunity of showing my gratitude for your hospitality. Let me only request that I may be informed of the exact minute of the birth; and I hope to be able to put you in possession of some particulars which may influence in an important manner the future prospects of the child now about to come into this busy and changeful world. I will not conceal from you that I am skilful in understanding and interpreting the movements of those planetary bodies which exert their influences on the destiny of mortals. It is a science which I do not practise, like others who call themselves astrologers, for hire or reward; for I have a competent estate, and only use the knowledge I possess for the benefit of those in whom I feel an interest." The laird bowed in respect and gratitude, and the stranger was accommodated with an apartment which commanded an ample view of the astral regions. The guest spent a part of the night in ascertaining the position of the heavenly bodies, and calculating their probable influence; until at length the result of his observations induced him to send for the father, and conjure him in the most solemn manner to cause the assistants to retard the birth, if practicable, were it but for five minutes. The answer declared this to be impossible; and almost in the instant that the message was returned, the father and his guest were made acquainted with the birth of a boy.
The astrologer on the morrow met the party who gathered around the breakfast-table with looks so grave and ominous, as to alarm the fears of the father, who had hitherto exulted in the prospects held out by the birth of an heir to his ancient property, failing which event it must have passed to a distant branch of the family. He hastened to draw the stranger into a private room. "I fear from your looks," said the father, "that you have bad-tidings to tell me of my young stranger; perhaps God will resume the blessing he has bestowed ere he attains the age of manhood, or perhaps he is destined to be unworthy of the affection which we are naturally disposed to devote to our offspring." "Neither the one nor the other," answered the stranger, "unless my judgment greatly ere, the infant will survive the years of minority, and in temper and disposition will prove all that his parents can wish. But with much in his horoscope which promises many blessings, there is one evil influence strongly predominant, which threatens to subject him to an unhallowed and unhappy temptation about the time when he shall attain the age of twenty-one, which period, the constellations intimate, will be the crisis of his fate. In what shape, or with what peculiar urgency, this temptation may beset him, my art cannot discover." "Your knowledge, then, can afford us no defence," said the anxious father, "against the threatened evil?" "Pardon me," answered the stranger, "it can. The influence of the constellations is powerful; but He who made the heavens is more powerful than all, if his aid be invoked in sincerity and truth. You ought to dedicate this boy to the immediate service of his Maker, with as much sincerity as Samuel was devoted to the worship in the Temple by his parents. You must regard him as a being separated from the rest of the world. In childhood, in boyhood, you must surround him with the pious and virtuous, and protect him to the utmost of your power from the sight or hearing of any crime, in word or action. He must be educated in religious and moral principles of the strictest description. Let him not enter the world, lest he learn to partake of its follies, or perhaps of its vices. In short, preserve him as far as possible from all sin, save that of which too great a portion belongs to all the fallen race of Adam. With the approach of his twenty-first birth-day comes the crisis of his fate. If he survive it, he will be happy and prosperous on earth, and a chosen vessel among those elected for heaven. But if it be otherwise"——The astrologer stopped and sighed deeply. "Sir," replied the parent, still more alarmed than before, "your words are so kind, your advice so serious, that I will pay the deepest attention to your behests; but can you not aid me farther in this most important concern. Believe me, I will not be ungrateful." "I require and deserve no gratitude for doing a good action," said the stranger; "in especial for contributing all that lies in my power, to save from an abhorred fate the harmless infant to whom, under a singular conjunction of planets, last night gave life. There is my address; you may write to me from time to time concerning the progress of the boy in religious knowledge. If he be bred up as I advise, I think it will be best that he come to my house at the time when the fatal and decisive period approaches, that is, before he has attained his twenty-first year complete. If you send him such as I desire, I humbly trust that God will protect his own, through whatever strong temptation his fate may subject him to." He then gave his host his address, which was a country-seat near a post town in the south of England, and bid him an affectionate farewell.
The mysterious stranger departed; but his words remained impressed upon the mind of the anxious parent. He lost his lady while his boy was still in infancy. This calamity, I think, had been predicted by the astrologer; and thus his confidence, which, like most people of the period, he had freely given to the science, was riveted and confirmed. The utmost care, therefore, was taken to carry into effect the severe and almost ascetic plan of education which the sage had enjoined. A tutor of the strictest principles was employed to superintend the youth's education; he was surrounded by domestics of the most established character, and closely watched and looked after by the anxious father himself. The years of infancy, childhood, and boyhood, passed as the father could have wished. A young Nazarene could not have been bred up with more rigour. All that was evil was withheld from his observation—he only heard what was pure in precept—he only witnessed what was worthy in practice. But when the boy began to be lost in youth, the attentive father saw cause for alarm. Shades of sadness, which gradually assumed a darker character, began to overcloud the young man's temper. Tears, which seemed involuntary, broken sleep, moonlight wanderings, and a melancholy for which he could assign no reason, seemed to threaten at once his bodily health and the stability of his mind. The astrologer was consulted by letter, and returned for answer, that this fitful state of mind was but the commencement of his trial, and that the poor youth must undergo more and more desperate struggles with the evil that assailed him. There was no hope of remedy, save that he showed steadiness of mind in the study of the Scriptures. "He suffers," continued the letter of the sage, "from the awakening of these harpies, the passions, which have slept with him as with others, till the period of life which he has now attained. Better, far better, that they torment him by ungrateful cravings, than that he should have to repent having satiated them by criminal indulgence." The dispositions of the young man were so excellent, that he combated, by reason and religion, the fits of gloom which at times overcast his mind; and it was not till he attained the commencement of his twenty-first year, that they assumed a character which made his father tremble for the consequences. It seemed as if the gloomiest and most hideous of mental maladies were taking the form of religious despair. Still the youth was gentle, courteous, affectionate, and submissive to his father's will, and resisted with all his power the dark suggestions which were breathed into his mind, as it seemed, by some emanation of the Evil Principle, exhorting him, like the wicked wife of Job, to curse God and die.
The time at length arrived when he was to perform what was then thought a long and somewhat perilous journey, to the mansion of the early friend who had calculated his nativity. His road lay through several places of interest, and he enjoyed the amusement of travelling more than he himself thought would have been possible. Thus he did not reach the place of his destination till noon, on the day preceding his birthday. It seemed as if he had been carried away with an unwonted tide of pleasurable sensation, so as to forget, in some degree, what his father had communicated concerning the purpose of his journey. He halted at length before a respectable but solitary old mansion, to which he was directed as the abode of his father's friend. The servants who came to take his horse, told him he had been expected for two days. He was led into a study, where the stranger, now a venerable old man, who had been his father's guest, met him with a shade of displeasure as well as gravity on his brow. "Young man," said he, "wherefore so slow on a journey of such importance?" "I thought," replied the guest, blushing and looking downwards, "that there was no harm in travelling slowly and satisfying my curiosity, providing I could reach your residence by this day; for such was my father's charge." "You were to blame," replied the sage, "in lingering, considering that the avenger of blood was pressing on your footsteps. But you are come at last, and we will hope for the best, though the conflict in which you are to be engaged will be found more dreadful the longer it is postponed. But first accept of such refreshments as nature requires to satisfy, but not to pamper, the appetite." The old man led the way into a summer parlour, where a frugal meal was placed on the table. As they sat down to the board, they were joined by a young lady about eighteen years of age, and so lovely, that the sight of her carried off the feelings of the "young stranger" from the peculiarity and mystery of his own lot, and riveted his attention to every thing she did or said. She spoke little, and it was on the most serious subjects. She played on the harpsichord at her father's command, but it was hymns with which she accompanied the instrument. At length, on a sign from the sage, she left the room, turning on the young stranger, as she departed, a look of inexpressible anxiety and interest. The old man then conducted the youth to his study, and conversed with him upon the most important points of religion, to satisfy himself that he could render a reason for the faith that was in him. During the examination, the youth, in spite of himself, felt his mind occasionally wander, and his recollections go in quest of the beautiful vision who had shared their meal at noon. On such occasions, the astrologer looked grave, and shook his head at this relaxation of attention; yet, on the whole, he was pleased with the youth's replies. At sunset the young man was made to take the bath; and, having done so, he was directed to attire himself in a robe, somewhat like that worn by Armenians, having his long hair combed down on his shoulders, and his neck, hands, and feet bare. In this guise he was conducted into a remote chamber totally devoid of furniture, excepting a lamp, a chair, and a table, on which lay a Bible. "Here," said the astrologer, "I must leave you alone, to pass the most critical period of your life. If you can, by recollection of the great truths of which we have spoken, repel the attacks which will be made on your courage and your principles, you have nothing to apprehend. But the trial will be severe and arduous." His features then assumed a pathetic solemnity, the tears stood in his eyes, and his voice faltered with emotion as he said, "Dear child, at whose coming into the world I foresaw this fatal trial, may God give thee grace to support it with firmness!" The young man was left alone; and hardly did he find himself so, when, like a swarm of demons, the recollection of all his sins of omission and commission, rendered even more terrible by the scrupulousness with which he had been educated, rushed on his mind, and, like furies armed with fiery scourges, seemed determined to drive him to despair. As he combated these horrible recollections with distracted feelings, but with a resolved mind, he became aware that his arguments were answered by the sophistry of another, and that the dispute was no longer confined to his own thoughts. The Author of Evil was present in the room with him in bodily shape, and, potent with spirits of a melancholy cast, was impressing upon him the desperation of his state, and urging suicide as the readiest mode to put an end to his sinful career. Amid his errors, the pleasure he had taken in prolonging his journey unnecessarily, and the attention which he had bestowed on the beauty of the fair female, when his thoughts ought to have been dedicated to the religious discourse of her father, were set before him in the darkest colours; and he was treated as one who, having sinned against light, was, therefore, deservedly left a prey to the Prince of Darkness. As the fated and influential hour rolled on, the terrors of the hateful Presence grew more confounding to the mortal senses of the victim, and the knot of the accursed sophistry became more inextricable in appearance, at least to the prey whom its meshes surrounded. He had not power to explain the assurance of pardon which he continued to assert, or to name the victorious name in which he trusted. But his faith did not abandon him, though he lacked for a time the power of expressing it. "Say what you will," was his answer to the Tempter; "I know there is as much betwixt the two boards of this Book as can insure me forgiveness for my transgressions, and safety for my soul." As he spoke, the clock, which announced the lapse of the fatal hour, was heard to strike. The speech and intellectual powers of the youth were instantly and fully restored; he burst forth into prayer, and expressed, in the most glowing terms, his reliance on the truth, and on the Author, of the gospel. The demon retired, yelling and discomfited; and the old man, entering the apartment, with tears congratulated his guest on his victory in the fated struggle. The young man was afterwards married to the beautiful maiden, the first sight of whom had made such an impression on him, and they were consigned over at the close of the story to domestic happiness.—So ended John MacKinlay's legend.
The author of Waverley had imagined a possibility of framing an interesting, and perhaps not an unedifying, tale, out of the incidents of the life of a doomed individual, whose efforts at good and virtuous conduct were to be for ever disappointed by the intervention, as it were, of some malevolent being, and who was at last to come off victorious from the fearful struggle. In short, something was meditated upon a plan resembling the imaginative tale of Sintram and his Companions, by Mons. Le Baron de la Motte Fouque, although, if it then existed, the author had not seen it. The scheme projected may be traced in the first three or four chapters of the work, but farther consideration induced the author to lay his purpose aside. In changing his plan, however, which was done in the course of printing, the early sheets retained the vestiges of the original tenor of the story, although they now hang upon it as an unnecessary and unnatural encumbrance.
* * * * *
Sir Walter then points out his departures from this rude sketch, and mentions the prototypes of several of his principal characters; such as Jean (and her granddaughter Madge) Gordon, of Kirk Yetholm, for Meg Merrilies; and a nameless individual for Dominie Sampson. "Such a preceptor as Mr. Sampson," says he, "is supposed to have been, was actually tutor in the family of a gentleman of considerable property. The young lads, his pupils, grew up and went out in the world, but the tutor continued to reside in the family, no uncommon circumstance in Scotland (in former days), where food and shelter were readily afforded to humble friends and dependents. The laird's predecessors had been imprudent, he himself was passive and unfortunate. Death swept away his sons, whose success in life might have balanced his own bad luck and incapacity. Debts increased and funds diminished, until ruin came. The estate was sold; and the old man was about to remove from the house of his fathers, to go he knew not whither, when, like an old piece of furniture, which, left alone in its wonted corner, may hold together for a long while, but breaks to pieces on an attempt to move it, he fell down on his own threshold under a paralytic affection. The tutor awakened as from a dream. He saw his patron dead, and that his patron's only remaining child, an elderly woman, now neither graceful nor beautiful, if she had ever been either the one or the other, had by this calamity become a homeless and penniless orphan. He addressed her nearly in the words which Dominie Sampson uses to Miss Bertram, and professed his determination not to leave her. Accordingly, roused to the exercise of talents which had long slumbered, he opened a little school, and supported his patron's child for the rest of her life, treating her with the same humble observance and devoted attention which he had used towards her in the days of her prosperity."
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER
* * * * *
JOHN KEMBLE AND MISS OWENSON.
There is more of the patter and fun of fashion in Lady Morgan's books than in any other chronicles of the ton. Her last work, the Book of the Boudoir, to use an Hibernicism, is not yet published; but from one of its scenes shifted into the Court Journal, we pick the following anecdote of John Kemble and her ladyship, (then Miss Owenson), about twenty years since. All the town were then running mad after her "wild Irish girl," and Miss O. was invited to a blue-stocking party, at the mansion of the Dowager Countess of Cork, in New Burlington Street.
"Mr. Kemble was announced. Lady C——k reproached him as 'the late Mr. Kemble;' and then, looking significantly at me, told him who I was. Kemble, to whom I had been already presented by Mrs. Lefanu, acknowledged me by a kindly nod; but the intense stare which succeeded, was not one of mere recognition. It was the glazed, fixed look, so common to those who have been making libations to altars which rarely qualify them for ladies' society. Mr. Kemble was evidently much pre-occupied, and a little exalted; and he appeared actuated by some intention, which he had the will, but not the power, to execute. He was seated vis-a-vis, and had repeatedly raised his arm, and stretched it across the table, for the purpose, as I supposed, of helping himself to some boar's head in jelly. Alas, no!—the bore was, that my head happened to be the object which fixed his tenacious attention; and which being a true Irish cathah head, dark, cropped, and curly, and struck him as a particularly well organized Brutus, and better than any in his repertoire of theatrical perukes. Succeeding at last in his feline and fixed purpose, he actually struck his claws in my locks, and addressing me in the deepest sepulchral tones, asked—"Little girl, where did you buy your wig?"
Lord Erskine "came to the rescue," and liberated my head.
Lord Carysfort exclaimed, to relieve the awkwardness of the scene, "les serpents de l'envie ont siffles dans son coeur;" on every side—
"Some did laugh, And some did say, God bless us,"
—while I, like Macbeth—
"Could not say, Amen."
Meantime Kemble, peevish, as half-tipsy people generally are, and ill brooking the interference of the two peers, drew back, muttering and fumbling in his coat-pocket, evidently with some dire intent lowering in his eyes. To the amusement of all, and to my increased consternation, he drew forth a volume of the "Wild Irish Girl," (which he had brought to return to Lady C——k) and, reading, with his deep, emphatic voice, one of the most high-flown of its passages, he paused, and patting the page with his forefinger, with the look of Hamlet addressing Polonius, he said, "Little girl, why did you write such nonsense? And where did you get all these d—d hard words?"
Thus taken by surprise, and "smarting with my wounds" or mortified authorship, I answered, unwittingly and witlessly, the truth: "Sir, I wrote as well as I could, and I got the hard words out of Johnson's Dictionary."
The eloquence of Erskine himself would have pleaded my cause with less effect; and the "J'y allois" of La Fontaine was not quoted with more approbation in the circles of Paris, than the naivete of my equally veracious and spontaneous reply. The triumph of my simplicity did not increase Kemble's good humour; and, shortly after, Mr. Spenser carried him off in his carriage, to prevent any further attacks on my unfortunate head—inside or out.
* * * * *
There is no doubt that the proper study of mankind is WOMAN; and Mr. Pope was wrong; for the endless variety of character among the sex is of itself a mine, endless and inexhaustible; but to study them in their domestic capacity, is the sweetest of all—
Man may for wealth or glory roam, But woman must be blest at home. To this her efforts ever tend, 'Tis her great object and her end.
So says one poet, I have forgot his name. Another hath this expression—
O woman! lovely woman! Nature form'd thee To temper man; we had been brutes without thee.
But the sweetest thing that ever was said of woman in this amiable capacity, or ever will be said again, is by a contemporary:—"A woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world; it is there her ambition strives for empire; it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies in adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless, for it is a bankruptcy of the heart!"—The Ettrick Shepherd.
* * * * *
In the Burman towns and villages the number of temples seem to exceed the number of dwellings, which is not unusual. The former are as splendid as gilding can make them, and the latter as humble as can be conceived from the frail materials of which they are constructed—bamboos, palm leaves, and grass. The wealth of a Burman, always insecure, is very generally expended on the luxury of temple-building. Religious merit, indeed, consists mainly in the construction of one of these huge, costly, and showy edifices; and is not considered as increased by building a durable one. No one ever thinks of repairing or restoring an old temple; and the consequence is, that in every part of the country may be seen half-finished structures of enormous magnitude—the respective founders having died before they were completed.—Crawfurd's Embassy to Ava.
* * * * *
Valmontone, on the road from Naples to Rome, is a strange but enchanting spot, enveloped in shade, with magnificent rocks (agglomerated volcanic ashes) hollowed into caverns, which afford coolness in this burning climate, and where an incredible number of nightingales make the whole air musical. The little town rose picturesquely on its rocky pedestal, with a large building like a monastery inhabited by myriads of swallows, darting in and out at its sashless windows. A solitary guardian eyed us through a door a-jar, but did not come out, while we went round the church, and admired some good pictures remaining on its walls. The stillness of death prevailed in the town—a sort of unburied Pompeii through its narrow lanes, up and down zig-zag stairs cut in the rock, we sauntered alone, and the noise of our iron-shod heels on the pavement, was the only sound we heard. The rich abbey, it was evident, had formerly fed the town clustering round it, the inhabitants of which cultivated its vast domains under a paternal administration. These domains, it was also evident, had passed into the hands of upstart speculators, strangers to the people, and indifferent to their welfare, who did not even know how to make their wealth productive to themselves.—Simond's Tour.
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ENGLISH AND FRENCH MURDERS.
When will the French nation be able to afford a Thurtell—a man who could turn his pistol round in his friend's brains; not in any insane paroxysm of jealousy, or hatred, or revenge, but merely to ascertain satisfactorily that he had completely effected his business—who could then walk in to his supper of pork chops, with the same composure as if he had come from giving a feed of oats to his horse—a clever and acute man, too, without any stupid insensibility of mind—a man who, when seized and put on his trial, gets off by heart a long and eloquent speech, full of the most solemn and false asseverations of his innocence; not that he clung with desperate eagerness to the hope of escaping, but that, as there was a chance, it was prudent not to throw it away—who, when condemned displayed neither terror nor indifference, neither exquisite sensibility nor sullen brutality, and at the last swung out of life from the gallows with the settled air of a man who feels he has lost the game at which he played, and that he may as well pay the stake calmly? There was a true British composure about the unutterable atrocity of this villain—murderer he was, and a most detestable murderer too—but his character belongs to our country as fully as that of our heroes. Hunt and Probert were pitiful wretches, fit for the Bicetre. Doubtless the agony of Hunt's feelings until his reprieve came, would, if properly divided into chapters, make a good romance.—Blackwood's Mag.
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Petroleum wells supply the whole Burman empire with oil for lamps, and also for smearing timber, to protect it against insects, and particularly the white ant. Its consumption for burning is stated to be universal, until its price reaches that of sesamum oil, the only other kind used for lamps. The wells, which occupy a space of about sixteen square miles, vary in depth from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet; the shaft is square, not more than four feet each side, and is formed by sinking a frame of wood. The oil, on coming up, is about the temperature of ninety degrees of Fahrenheit. It is thrown into a large cistern, in the bottom of which are small apertures for the aqueous part to drain off, when the oil is left for some time to thicken. It is then put into large earthen jars, placed in rude carts drawn by oxen, and carried to the banks of the river, from whence it is sent by water-carriage to every part of the empire. By the number and burden of the boats employed in this trade, and the number of voyages they are supposed to make in the course of a year, the exportation from the wells is estimated to amount to 17,568,000 vis, of twenty-six pounds and a half each. Thirty vis a-year is reckoned to be the average consumption of a family of five persons and a half; and about two-thirds of the oil are supposed to be employed for burning.—Crawfurd's Embassy to Ava.
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SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Think how the dog, fond and faithful creature as he is, from being the most docile and obedient of all animals, is made the most dangerous, if he become mad; so men acquire a frightful and not less monstrous power when they are in a state of moral insanity, and break loose from their social and religious obligations. Remember too how rapidly the plague of diseased opinions is communicated, and that if it once gain head, it is as difficult to be stopt as a conflagration or a flood.—Southey.
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The effect of soft music is to produce pleasure or pain, according to the state of the hearer. Thus, while a musician has been known to be cured by a concert in his chamber, the celebrated sentimental air of the "Ranz des Vaches" has also been known to have the opposite effect of killing a Swiss. Indeed, the extraordinary effect produced by it upon Swiss troops has caused it to be forbidden, under pain of death, to be played to them.
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A snapper up of unconsidered trifles. SHAKSPEARE.
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Are unsightly insects—yet how many of them have been spared by the recollection of Shakspeare's beautiful lines—
—The poor beetle, that we tread upon. In corporal suffering finds a pang as great As when a giant dies.
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Snails, though in England they cannot be mentioned as an article of food without exciting disgust, are esteemed in many places abroad a delicacy even for the tables of the great. In Paris they are sold in the market; they are much esteemed in Italy, and are of so much consequence in Venice that they are attended and fattened with as much care as poultry are in England.
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THE BITER BIT.
Zeno, the philosopher, believed in an inevitable destiny, and acknowledged but one God. His servant availed himself of this doctrine one day while being beaten for a theft, by exclaiming, "Was I not destined to rob?" "Yes," replied Zeno, "and to be corrected also."
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Theophile, the French poet, dedicated a book to James I. of England, in the hope of being personally introduced to that monarch, but being disappointed in this expectation he wrote the following lines on the subject:—
"Si Jacques Roi de grand savoir N'a pas trouve bon de me voir, En voici la cause infallible; C'est que ravi de mon ecrit Il cout que j'etois tout esprit Et par consequent invisible."
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The English have two instances on record of remarkable longevity, that of Henry Jenkins, a Yorkshire fisherman, who died 1670, aged 169; and Thomas Parr, who died 1635, aged 152. The Russians appear to be the longest lived of any people, as a proof of this the following article from La Clinique, a Parisian medical journal, will be sufficient:— "Last year (1828) 604 individuals died between 100 and 105 years old; 145 between 105 and 110; 104 between 110 and 115; 46 between 115 and 120; 16 between 125 and 130; 4 between 130 and 135; 1 at the age of 137; and 1 at 160."
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SIR WILLIAM WALWORTH.
In St. Michael's Church, Crooked-lane, there is a handsome monument to the memory of Sir William Walworth, with this inscription:—
Here under lies a man of fame, William Walworth called by name, Fishmonger he was in lifetime here, And twice Lord Mayor, as in books appear, Who with courage stout and manly might, Slew Wat Tyler in King Richard's sight, And for which act done, and heere intent The king made him a knight incontinent, And gave him arms as here may see, To declare his fact and chivalrie. He left his life the year of our God, Thirteen hundred fourscore and three odd.
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Collins was never a lover, and never married. His odes, with all their exquisite fancy and splendid imagery, have not much interest in their subjects, and no pathos derived from feeling or passion. He is reported to have been once in love; and as the lady was a day older than himself, he used to say jestingly, that "he came into the world a day after the fair."
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