THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. X, NO. 280.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1827. [PRICE 2d.
Illustrations of Shakspeare.
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NO. XIII. ELSINEUR, FROM HAMLET'S GARDEN.
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We augur that the above will prove one of the most interesting of our Shakspearian Illustrations, inasmuch as the garden where Hamlet was wont to revel in the fitful dreams of his philosophic melancholy, is holy ground. "The lapse of ages and the fables of the poet," says a delighted visiter, "were all lost in the reality of Shakspeare's painting: the moment of his scene seemed present with me; and eager to traverse every part of this consecrated ground, I had already followed Hamlet every where; I had measured the deep shadows of the platform, encountered the grey ghost of the Royal Dane, had killed Polonius in the queen's closet, and drowned poor Ophelia in the willowed stream. The modern aspect of Elsineur is, however, far from inviting, and not a single vestige presents itself that bears the smallest trace of this town ever having been hallowed by the mausoleum of an Ophelia, or proudly decorated with the stately walls of a royal palace."
About a mile from the town is a place that bears the name of Hamlet's garden. Here is no relic of ancient interest, excepting the tradition, which affirms that to be the spot where once stood the Danish palace, and where was enacted that tragedy, which has been so gloriously immortalized by the genius of our great dramatic bard.
The present edifice is erected on the brow of a gently rising hill, the summit of which is gained by means of a winding walk cut through a small shrubbery. In the surrounding prospect, the town of Elsineur, on the plain beneath, presents itself ill-built, red, and without any public building, or spire, to vary its sameness. Far to the left of the city stands the castle of Kronenberg, a bold and fine feature; the waves of the Cattegut roll at its feet; and are bounded on the opposite side by the Swedish coast. When the annexed sketch was made, 400 sail of merchants' ships were lying there at anchor, which added greatly to the interest of the picture. The small village on the distant shore is Elsenberg. The forest of Kronenberg is indeed proudly situated; the form of the building, with its spires and minarets, is nobly picturesque; the fabric is of grey stone; and its innumerable windows, varied towers, and other architectural ornaments, make it a striking and beautiful contrast to the dull uniformity of the town.
Sir Robert Ker Porter, in his visit to this sacred spot, collected a few interesting circumstances at the fountain-head, relating to Shakspeare's northern hero, from the very source whence our poet must have drawn the incidents of his tragedy, viz. the "Annals of Denmark," written by Saxo Grammaticus in the twelfth century. The work is in Latin, and in our next number we intend inserting a short abstract of Hamlet's story. It will be curious to compare the dialogues of the original with their counterpart in the play.
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ON THE APPEARANCE OF AN AURORA BOREALIS, ON THE NIGHT OF THE 25TH OF SEPTEMBER.
BY A LADY IN HER THIRTEENTH YEAR.
(For the Mirror.)
What may this mean? this ruddy blaze of light, Breaking effulgent through the stilly night; Darting its blood-red form along the sky, Glowing with heaven's glorious majesty. How with its phalaxy of rays unfurl'd, It comes: its radiance circling all our mother world. The pharos of the night; where gods might dance. Heedless of mortals dull, unmeaning trance; Where spirits in their mysteries might find, A sail to float upon the yielding wind; But see, it flies, its shadow; form outspread, In fainting radiance o'er earth's startled bed, Yet rests, like the death gleam of beauty's eye, Or last rich tint of an autumnal sky. And now in fleecy clouds the heav'ns appear. Again it darts, dreamer, there's naught to fear; Again, like a proud spirit of the sky, Though conquer'd, breaking forth in majesty. Britain, for thee this fearful warning sent, Oh! mock not foolishly its dire portent; For now that vice on all her malice wreaks, Charms on the stage, and in the assembly speaks; Now that with cheating fires she shameless dares, Fortunate where virtue once defied her snares; Again I say, for thee this warning sent, Oh! mark it well, mock not its dire portent.
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LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
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CHRONICLES OF THE CANONGATE.
(By the author of Waverley.)
[We have the pleasure of submitting to our readers, (almost entire,) one of the stories of the forthcoming Chronicles of the Canongate, it being the second narrative, and the last in the first volume, and as well as the others, founded on true incidents. The Chronicles are domestic tales; but the Two Drovers should not be taken as a specimen of the work. Slender as are its incidents, it proves that "Richard (or Walter) is himself again," for in no vein of writing is the author of Waverley more felicitous than in delineating scenes of actual life, splendid as are his narratives of the fairy scenes and halls of romance: and in the prevailing taste for this description of writing, we think the Chronicles of the Canongate bid fair to enjoy popularity equal to any of Sir Walter's previous productions.]
The Two Drovers.
It was the day after the Doune Fair when my story commences. It had been a brisk market, several dealers had attended from the northern and midland counties in England, and the English money had flown so merrily about as to gladden the hearts of the Highland farmers. Many large droves were about to set off for England, under the protection of their owners, or of the topsmen whom they employed in the tedious, laborious and responsible office of driving the cattle for many hundred miles, from the market where they had been purchased, to the fields or farm-yards where they were to be fattened for the shambles.
Of the number who left Doune in the morning, and with the purpose we have described, not a Glunamie of them all cocked his bonnet more briskly, or gartered his tartan hose under knee over a pair of more promising spiogs (legs), than did Robin Oig M'Combich, called familiarly Robin Oig, that is Young, or the Lesser, Robin. Though small of stature, as the epithet Oig implies, and not very strongly limbed, he was as light and alert as one of the deer of his mountains. He had an elasticity of step, which, in the course of a long march, made many a stout fellow envy him; and the manner in which he busked his plaid and adjusted his bonnet, argued a consciousness that so smart a John Highlandman as himself would not pass unnoticed among the Lowland lasses. The ruddy cheek, red lips, and white teeth, set off a countenance which had gained by exposure to the weather, a healthful and hardy rather than a rugged hue. If Robin Oig did not laugh, or even smile frequently, as indeed is not the practice among his countrymen, his bright eyes usually gleamed from under his bonnet with an expression of cheerfulness ready to be turned into mirth.
The departure of Robin Oig was an incident in the little town, in and near which he had many friends male and female. He was a topping person in his way, transacted considerable business on his own behalf, and was intrusted by the best farmers in the Highlands, in preference to any other drover in that district. He might have increased his business to any extent had he condescended to manage it by deputy; but except a lad or two, sister's sons of his own, Robin rejected the idea of assistance, conscious, perhaps how much his reputation depended upon his attending in person to the practical discharge of his duty in every instance. He remained, therefore, contented with the highest premium given to persons of his description, and comforted himself with the hopes that a few journeys to England might enable him to conduct business on his own account, in a manner becoming his birth. For Robin Oig's father, Lachlan M'Combich, (or, son of my friend, his actual clan surname being M'Gregor,) had been so called by the celebrated Rob Roy, because of the particular friendship which had subsisted between the grandsire of Robin and that renowned cateran. Some people even say, that Robin Oig derived his Christian name from a man, as renowned in the wilds of Lochlomond, as ever was his namesake Robin Hood, in the precincts of merry Sherwood. "Of such ancestry," as James Boswell says, "who would not be proud?" Robin Oig was proud accordingly; but his frequent visits to England and to the Lowlands had given him tact enough to know that pretensions, which still gave him a little right to distinction in his own lonely glen, might be both obnoxious and ridiculous if preferred elsewhere. The pride of birth, therefore, was like the miser's treasure, the secret subject of his contemplation, but never exhibited to strangers as a subject of boasting.
Many were the words of gratulation and goodluck which were bestowed on Robin Oig. The judges commended his drove, especially the best of them, which were Robin's own property. Some thrust out their snuff-mulls for the parting pinch—others tendered the doch-an-dorrach, or parting cup. All cried—"Good-luck travel out with you and come home with you.—Give you luck in the Saxon market—brave notes in the leabhar-dhu, (black pocket-book,) and plenty of English gold in the sporran (pouch of goat-skin.)"
The bonny lasses made their adieus more modestly, and more than one, it was said, would have given her best brooch to be certain that it was upon her that his eye last rested as he turned towards his road.
Robin Oig had just given the preliminary "Hoo-hoo!" to urge forward the loiterers of the drove, when there was a cry behind him.
"Stay, Robin—bide a blink. Here is Janet of Tomahourich—auld Janet, your father's sister."
"Plague on her, for an auld Highland witch and spaewife," said a farmer from the Carse of Stirling; "she'll cast some of her cantrips on the cattle."
"She canna do that," said another sapient of the same profession—"Robin Oig is no the lad to leave any of them, without tying Saint Mungo's knot on their tails, and that will put to her speed the best witch that ever flew over Dimayet upon a broomstick."
It may not be indifferent to the reader to know, that the Highland cattle are peculiarly liable to be taken, or infected, by spells and witchcraft, which judicious people guard against by knitting knots of peculiar complexity on the tuft of hair which terminates the animal's tail.
But the old woman who was the object of the farmer's suspicion, seemed only busied about the drover, without paying any attention to the flock. Robin, on the contrary, appeared rather impatient of her presence.
"What auld-world fancy," he said, "has brought you so early from the ingle-side this morning, Muhme? I am sure I bid you good even, and had your God-speed, last night."
"And left me more siller than the useless old woman will use till you come back again, bird of my bosom," said the sibyl. "But it is little I would care for the food that nourishes me, or the fire that warms me, or for God's blessed sun itself, if aught but weal should happen to the grandson of my father. So let me walk the deasil round you, that you may go safe out into the far foreign land, and come safe home."
Robin Oig stopped, half embarrassed, half laughing, and signing to those around that he only complied with the old woman to soothe her humour. In the meantime, she traced around him, with wavering steps, the propitiation, which some have thought has been derived from the Druidical mythology. It consists, as is well known, in the person who makes the deasil, walking three times round the person who is the object of the ceremony, taking care to move according to the course of the sun. At once, however, she stopped short, and exclaimed, in a voice of alarm and horror, "Grandson of my father, there is blood on your hand." "Hush, for God's sake, aunt," said Robin Oig; "you will bring more trouble on yourself with this Taishataragh (second sight) than you will be able to get out of for many a day."
The old woman only repeated, with a ghastly look, "There is blood on your hand, and it is English blood. The blood of the Gael is richer and redder. Let us see—let us—"
Ere Robin Oig could prevent her, which, indeed, could only have been by positive violence, so hasty and peremptory were her proceedings, she had drawn from his side the dirk which lodged in the folds of his plaid, and held it up, exclaiming, although the weapon gleamed clear and bright in the sun, "Blood, blood—Saxon blood again. Robin Oig M'Combich, go not this day to England!"
"Prutt, trutt," answered Robin Oig, "that will never do neither—it would be next thing to running the country. For shame, Muhme—give me the dirk. You cannot tell by the colour the difference betwixt the blood of a black bullock and a white one, and you speak of knowing Saxon from Gaelic blood. All men have their blood from Adam, Muhme. Give me my skenedhu, and let me go on my road. I should have been half way to Stirling brig by this time—Give me my dirk, and let me go."
"Never will I give it to you," said the old woman—"Never will I quit my hold on your plaid, unless you promise me not to wear that unhappy weapon."
The women around him urged him also, saying few of his aunt's words fell to the ground; and as the Lowland farmers continued to look moodily on the scene, Robin Oig determined to close it at any sacrifice.
"Well, then," said the young drover, giving the scabbard of the weapon to Hugh Morrison, "you Lowlanders care nothing for these freats. Keep my dirk for me. I cannot give it you, because it was my father's; but your drove follows ours, and I am content it should be in your keeping, not in mine. Will this do, Muhme?"
"It must", said the old woman—"that is, if the Lowlander is mad enough to carry the knife."
The strong westlandman laughed aloud.
"Good wife," said he, "I am Hugh Morrison from Glenae, come of the Manly Morrisons of auld langsyne, that never took short weapon against a man in their lives. And neither needed they; they had their broadswords, and I have this bit supple (showing a formidable cudgel)—for dirking ower the board, I leave that to John Highlandman. Ye needna snort, none of you Highlanders, and you in especial, Robin. I'll keep the bit knife, if you are feared for the auld spae-wife's tale, and give it back to you whenever you want it."
Robin was not particularly pleased with some part of Hugh Morrison's speech; but he had learned in his travels more patience than belonged to his Highland constitution originally, and he accepted the service of the descendant of the Manly Morrisons, without finding fault with the rather depreciating manner in which it was offered.
"If he had not had his morning in his head, and been but a Dumfries-shire hog into the boot, he would have spoken more like a gentleman. But you cannot have more of a sow but a grumph. It's a shame my father's knife should ever slash a haggis for the like of him."
Thus saying, (but saying it in Gaelic,) Robin drove on his cattle, and waved farewell to all behind him. He was in the greater haste, because he expected to join at Falkirk a comrade and brother in profession, with whom he proposed to travel in company.
Robin Oig's chosen friend was a young Englishman, Harry Wakefield by name, well known at every northern market, and in his way as much famed and honoured as our Highland driver of bullocks. He was nearly six feet high, gallantly formed to keep the rounds at Smithfield, or maintain the ring at a wrestling-match; and although he might have been overmatched, perhaps, among the regular professors of the Fancy, yet as a chance customer, he was able to give a bellyful to any amateur of the pugilistic art. Doncaster races saw him in his glory, betting his guinea, and generally successfully; nor was there a main fought in Yorkshire, the feeders being persons of celebrity, at which he was not to be seen, if business permitted. But though a sprack lad, and fond of pleasure and its haunts, Harry Wakefield was steady, and not the cautious Robin Oig M'Combich himself was more attentive to the main chance. His holidays were holidays indeed; but his days of work were dedicated to steady and persevering labour. In countenance and temper, Wakefield was the model of Old England's merry yeomen, whose clothyard shafts, in so many hundred battles, asserted her superiority over the nations, and whose good sabres, in our own time, are her cheapest and most assured defence. His mirth was readily excited; for, strong in limb and constitution, and fortunate in circumstances, he was disposed to be pleased with every thing about him; and such difficulties as he might occasionally encounter, were, to a man of his energy, rather matter of amusement than serious annoyance. With all the merits of a sanguine temper, our young English drover was not without his defects. He was irascible, and sometimes to the verge of being quarrelsome; and perhaps not the less inclined to bring his disputes to a pugilistic decision, because he found few antagonists able to stand up to him in the boxing-ring.
It is difficult to say how Henry Wakefield and Robin Oig first became intimates; but it is certain a close acquaintance had taken place betwixt them, although they had apparently few common topics of conversation or of interest, so soon as their talk ceased to be of bullocks. Robin Oig, indeed, spoke the English language rather imperfectly upon any other topics but stots and kyloes, and Harry Wakefield could never bring his broad Yorkshire tongue to utter a single word of Gaelic. It was in vain Robin spent a whole morning, during a walk over Minch-Moor, in attempting to teach his companion to utter, with true precision, the shibboleth Llhu, which is the Gaelic for a calf.
The pair of friends had traversed with their usual cordiality the grassy wilds of Liddesdale, and crossed the opposite part of Cumberland, emphatically called the Waste. In these solitary regions, the cattle under the charge of our drovers subsisted themselves cheaply, by picking their food as they went along the drove-road, or sometimes by the tempting opportunity of a start and owerloup, or invasion of the neighbouring pasture, where an occasion presented itself. But now the scene changed before them; they were descending towards a fertile and enclosed country, where no such liberties could be taken with impunity, or without a previous arrangement and bargain with the possessors of the ground. This was more especially the case, as a great northern fair was upon the eve of taking place, where both the Scotch and English drover expected to dispose of a part of their cattle, which it was desirable to produce in the market, rested and in good order. Fields were therefore difficult to be obtained, and only upon high terms. This necessity occasioned a temporary separation betwixt the two friends, who went to bargain, each as he could, for the separate accommodation of his herd. Unhappily it chanced that both of them, unknown to each other, thought of bargaining for the ground they wanted on the property of a country gentleman of some fortune, whose estate lay in the neighbourhood. The English drover applied to the bailiff on the property, who was known to him. It chanced that the Cumbrian Squire, who had entertained some suspicions of his manager's honesty, was taking occasional measures to ascertain how far they were well founded, and had desired that any inquiries about his enclosures, with a view to occupy them for a temporary purpose, should be referred to himself. As, however, Mr. Ireby had gone the day before upon a journey of some miles distance to the northward, the bailiff chose to consider the check upon his full powers as for the time removed, and concluded that he should best consult his master's interest and perhaps his own, in making an agreement with Harry Wakefield. Meanwhile, ignorant of what his comrade was doing, Robin Oig, on his side, chanced to be overtaken by a well-looked smart little man upon a pony, most knowingly hogged and cropped, as was then the fashion, the rider wearing tight leather breeches, and long-necked bright spurs. This cavalier asked one or two pertinent questions about markets and the price of stock. So Donald, seeing him a well-judging, civil gentleman, took the freedom to ask him whether he could let him know if there was any grass-land to be let in that neighbourhood, for the temporary accommodation of his drove. He could not have put the question to more willing ears. The gentleman of the buckskins was the proprietor, with whose bailiff Harry Wakefield had dealt, or was in the act of dealing.
"Thou art in good luck, my canny Scot," said Mr. Ireby, "to have spoken to me, for I see thy cattle have done their day's work, and I have at my disposal the only field within three miles that is to be let in these parts."
"The drove can pe gang two, three, four miles very pratty weel indeed—" said the cautious Highlander; "put what would his honour pe axing for the peasts pe the head, if she was to tak the park for twa or three days?"
"We wont differ, Sawney, if you let me have six stots for winterers, in the way of reason."
"And which peasts wad your honour pe for having?"
"Why—let me see—the two black—the dun one—yon doddy—him with the twisted horn—and brockit—How much by the head?"
"Ah," said Robin, "your honour is a shudge—a real shudge—I couldna have set off the pest six peasts petter myself, me that ken them as if they were my pairns, puir things."
"Well, how much per head, Sawney," continued Mr. Ireby.
"It was high markets at Doune and Falkirk," answered Robin.
And thus the conversation proceeded, until they had agreed on the prix juste for the bullocks, the Squire throwing in the temporary accommodation of the enclosure for the cattle into the boot, and Robin making, as he thought, a very good bargain, providing the grass was but tolerable. The Squire walked his pony alongside of the drove, partly to show him the way, and see him put into possession of the field, and partly to learn the latest news of the northern markets.
They arrived at the field, and the pasture seemed excellent. But what was their surprise when they saw the bailiff quietly inducting the cattle of Harry Wakefield into the grassy Goshen which had just been assigned to those of Robin Oig M'Combich by the proprietor himself. Squire Ireby set spurs to his horse, dashed up to his servant, and learning what had passed between the parties, briefly informed the English drover that his bailiff had let the ground without his authority, and that he might seek grass for his cattle wherever he would, since he was to get none there. At the same time he rebuked his servant severely for having transgressed his commands, and ordered him instantly to assist in ejecting the hungry and weary cattle of Harry Wakefield, which were just beginning to enjoy a meal of unusual plenty, and to introduce those of his comrade, whom the English drover now began to consider as a rival.
The feelings which arose in Wakefield's mind, would have induced him to resist Mr. Ireby's decision; but every Englishman has a tolerably accurate sense of law and justice, and John Fleecebumpkin, the bailiff, having acknowledged that he had exceeded his commission, Wakefield saw nothing else for it than to collect his hungry and disappointed charge, and drive them on to seek quarters elsewhere. Robin Oig saw what had happened with regret, and hastened to offer to his English friend to share with him the disputed possession. But Wakefield's pride was severely hurt, and he answered disdainfully, "Take it all man—take it all—never make two bites of a cherry—thou canst talk over the gentry, and blear a plain man's eye—Out upon you, man—I would not kiss any man's dirty latchets for leave to bake in his oven."
Robin Oig, sorry but not surprised at his comrade's displeasure, hastened to entreat his friend to wait but an hour till he had gone to the Squire's house to receive payment for the cattle he had sold, and he would come back and help him to drive the cattle into some convenient place of rest, and explain to him the whole mistake they had both of them fallen into. But the Englishman continued indignant: "Thou hast been selling, hast thou? Ay, ay—thou is a cunning lad for kenning the hours of bargaining. Go to the devil with thyself, for I will ne'er see thy fause loon's visage again—thou should be ashamed to look me in the face."
"I am ashamed to look no man in the face," said Robin Oig, something moved; "and, moreover, I will look you in the face this blessed day, if you will bide at the Clachan down yonder."
"Mayhap you had as well keep away," said his comrade; and turning his back on his former friend, he collected his unwilling associates, assisted by the bailiff, who took some real and some affected interest in seeing Wakefield accommodated.
After spending some time in negotiating with more than one of the neighbouring farmers, who could not, or would not, afford the accommodation desired, Henry Wakefield, at last, and in his necessity, accomplished his point by means of the landlord of the alehouse at which Robin Oig and he had agreed to pass the night, when they first separated from each other. Mine host was content to let him turn his cattle on a piece of barren moor, at a price little less than the bailiff had asked for the disputed enclosure; and the wretchedness of the pasture, as well as the price paid for it, were set down as exaggerations of the breach of faith and friendship of his Scottish crony. This turn of Wakefield's passions was encouraged by the bailiff (who had his own reasons for being offended against poor Robin, as having been the unwitting cause of his falling into disgrace with his master), as well as by the innkeper, and two or three chance guests, who soothed the drover in his resentment against his quondam associate,—some from the ancient grudge against the Scots, which, when it exists any where, is to be found lurking in the Border counties, and some from the general love of mischief, which characterizes mankind in all ranks of life, to the honour of Adam's children be it spoken. Good John Barleycorn also, who always heightens and exaggerates the prevailing passions, be they angry or kindly, was not wanting in his offices on this occasion; and confusion to false friends and hard masters, was pledged in more than one tankard.
In the meanwhile, Mr. Ireby found some amusement in detaining the northern drover at his ancient hall. He caused a cold round of beef to be placed before the Scot in the butler's pantry, together with a foaming tankard of home-brewed, and took pleasure in seeing the hearty appetite with which these unwonted edibles were discussed by Robin Oig M'Combich. The squire himself lighting his pipe, compounded between his patrician dignity and his love of agricultural gossip, by walking up and down while he conversed with his guest.
"I passed another drove," said the squire, with one of your countrymen behind them, they were something less beasts than your drove—doddies most of them; a big man was with them—none of your kilts though, but a decent pair of breeches;—d'ye know who he may be?"
"Hout ay—that might, could, and would pe Hughie Morrison—I didna think he could hae peen sae weel up. He has made a day on us; put his Argyle-shires will have wearied shanks. How far was he pehind?"
"I think about six or seven miles," answered the squire, "for I passed them at the Christenbury Cragg, and I overtook you at the Hollan Bush. If his beasts be leg-weary, he will be may be selling bargains."
"Na, na, Hughie Morrison is no the man for pargains—ye maun come to some Highland body like Robin Oig hersell for the like of these;—put I maun be wishing you good night, and twenty of them, let alane ane, and I maun down to the Clachan to see if the lad Henry Waakfelt is out of his humdudgeons yet."
The party at the alehouse were still in full talk, and the treachery of Robin Oig still the theme of conversation, when the supposed culprit entered the apartment. His arrival, as usually happens in such a case, put an instant stop to the discussion of which he had furnished the subject, and he was received by the company assembled with that chilling silence, which more than a thousand exclamations tells an intruder that he is unwelcome. Surprised and offended, but not appalled by the reception which he experienced, Robin entered with an undaunted, and even a haughty air, attempted no greeting as he saw he was received with none, and placed himself by the side of the fire, a little apart from a table, at which Harry Wakefield, the bailiff, and two or three other persons, were seated. The ample Cumbrian kitchen would have afforded plenty of room even for a larger separation.
Robin, thus seated, proceeded to light his pipe, and call for a pint of twopenny.
"We have no twopenny ale," answered Ralph Heskett, the landlord; but as thou find'st thy own tobacco, its like thou may'st find thine own liquor too—it's the wont of thy country, I wot."
"Shame, goodman," said the landlady, a blithe, bustling housewife, hastening herself to suply the guest with liquor—"Thou knowest well enow what the strange man wants, and it's thy trade to be a civil man. Thou shouldest know, that if the Scot likes a small pot, he pays a sure penny."
Without taking any notice of this nuptial dialogue, the Highlander took the flagon in his hand, and, addressing the company generally, drank the interesting toast of "Good markets," to the party assembled.
"The better that the wind blew fewer dealers from the north," said one of the farmers, and fewer Highland runts to eat up the English meadows."
"Soul of my pody, put you are wrang there, my friend," answered Robin, with composure, "it is your fat Englishmen that eat up our Scots cattle, puir things."
"I wish there was a summat to eat up their drovers," said another; "a plain Englishman canna make bread within a kenning of them."
"Or an honest servant keep his master's favour, but they will come sliding in between him and the sunshine," said the bailiff.
"If these pe jokes," said Robin Oig, with the same composure, "there is ower mony jokes upon one man."
"It is no joke, but downright earnest," said the bailiff. "Harkye, Mr. Robin Ogg, or whatever is your name, it's right we should tell you that we are all of one opinion, and that is, that you, Mr. Robin Ogg, have behaved to our friend, Mr. Harry Wakefield here, like a raff and a blackguard."
"Nae doubt, nae doubt," answered Robin with great composure; "and you are a set of very feeling judges, for whose prains or pehaviour I wad not gae a pinch of sneeshing. If Mr. Harry Waakfelt kens where he is wranged, he kens where he may be righted."
"He speaks truth," said Wakefield, who had listened to what passed, divided between the offence which he had taken at Robin's late behaviour, and the revival of his habitual acts of friendship.
He now rose and went towards Robin, who got up from his seat as he approached, and held out his hand.
"That's right, Harry—go it—serve him out!" resounded on all sides—"tip him the nailer—show him the mill."
"Hold your peace, all of you, and be——," said Wakefield; and then addressing his comrade, he took him by the extended hand, with something alike of respect and defiance. "Robin," he said, "thou hast used me ill enough this day; but if you mean, like a frank fellow, to shake hands, and take a tussel for love on the sod, why I'll forgie thee, man, and we shall be better friends than ever."
"And would it not pe petter to be cooed friends without more of the matter?" said Robin; "we will be much petter friendships with our panes hale than broken."
Harry Wakefield dropped the hand of his friend, or rather threw it from him.
"I did not think I had been keeping company for three years with a coward."
"Coward belongs to none of my name," said Robin, whose eyes began to kindle, but keeping the command of his temper. "It was no coward's legs or hands, Harry Waakfelt, that drew you out of the fords of Fried, when you was drifting ower the place rock, and every eel in the river expected his share of you."
"And that is true enough, too," said the Englishman, struck by the appeal.
"Adzooks!" exclaimed the bailiff—"sure Harry Wakefield, the nattiest lad at Whitson Tryste, Wooler Fair, Carlisle Sands, or Stagshaw Bank, is not going to show white feather? Ah, this comes of living so long with kilts and bonnets—men forget the use of their daddies."
"I may teach you, Master Fleecebumpkin, that I have not lost the use of mine," said Wakefield, and then went on. "This will never do, Robin. We must have a turn-up, or we shall be the talk of the country side. I'll be d——d if I hurt thee—I'll put on the gloves gin thou like. Come, stand forward like a man."
"To pe peaten like a dog," said Robin; "is there any reason in that? If you think I have done you wrong, I'll go before your shudge, though I neither know his law nor his language."
A general cry of "No, no—no law, no lawyer! a bellyful and be friends," was echoed by the bystanders.
"But," continued Robin, "if I am to fight, I have no skill to fight like a jackanapes, with hands and nails."
"How would you fight then?" said his antagonist; "though I am thinking it would be hard to bring you to the scratch any how."
"I would fight with proadswords, and sink point on the first plood drawn——- like a gentlemans."
A loud shout of laughter followed the proposal, which indeed had rather escaped from poor Robin's swelling heart, than been the dictates of his sober judgment.
"Gentleman, quotha!" was echoed on all sides, with a shout of unextinguishable laughter; "a very pretty gentleman, God wot—Canst get two swords for the gentleman to fight with, Ralph Heskett?"
"No, but I can send to the armoury at Carlisle, and lend them two forks to be making shift with in the meantime."
"Tush, man," said another, "the bonny Scots come into the world with the blue bonnet on their heads, and dirk and pistol at their belt."
"Best send post," said Mr. Fleecebumpkin, "to the squire of Corby Castle to come and stand second to the gentleman."
In the midst of this torrent of general ridicule, the Highlander instinctively griped beneath the folds of his plaid.
"But it's better not," he said in his own language. "A hundred curses on the swine-eaters, who know neither decency nor civility!"
"Make room, the pack of you," he said, advancing to the door.
But his former friend interposed his sturdy bulk, and opposed his leaving the house; and when Robin Oig attempted to make his way by force, he hit him down on the floor, with as much ease as a boy bowls down a nine-pin.
"A ring, a ring!" was now shouted, until the dark rafters, and the hams that hung on them, trembled again, and the very platters on the bink clattered against each other. "Well done, Harry."—"Give it him home, Harry."—"Take care of him now—he sees his own blood!"
Such were the exclamations, while the Highlander, starting from the ground, all his coldness and caution lost in frantic rage, sprung at his antagonist with the fury, the activity, and the vindictive purpose of an incensed tiger-cat. But when could rage encounter science and temper? Robin Oig again went down in the unequal contest; and as the blow was necessarily a severe one, he lay motionless on the floor of the kitchen. The landlady ran to offer some aid, but Mr. Fleecebumpkin would not permit her to approach.
"Let him alone," he said, "he will come to within time, and come up to the scratch again. He has not got half his broth yet."
"He has got all I mean to give him though," said his antagonist, whose heart began to relent towards his old associate; "and I would rather by half give the rest to yourself, Mr. Fleecebumpkin, for you pretend to know a thing or two, and Robin had not art enough even to peel before setting to, but fought with his plaid dangling about him.—Stand up, Robin, my man! all friends now; and let me hear the man that will speak a word against you, or your country, for your sake."
Robin Oig was still under the dominion of his passion, and eager to renew the onset; but being withheld on the one side by the peace-making Dame Heskett, and on the other, aware that Wakefield no longer meant to renew the combat, his fury sunk into gloomy sullenness.
"Come, come, never grudge so much at it, man," said the brave-spirited Englishman, with the placability of his country; "shake hands, and we will be better friends than ever."
"Friends!" exclaimed Robin Oig with strong emphasis—"friends!—Never. Look to yourself, Harry Waakfelt."
"Then the curse of Cromwell on your proud Scots stomach, as the man says in the play, and you may do your worst and be d——; for one man can say nothing more to another after a tussel, than that he is sorry for it."
On these terms the friends parted; Robin Oig drew out, in silence, a piece of money, threw it on the table, and then left the alehouse. But turning at the door, he shook his hand at Wakefield, pointing with his fore-finger upwards, in a manner which might imply either a threat or a caution. He then disappeared in the moonlight.
(To be concluded in our next.)
* * * * *
ARCANA OF SCIENCE.
Sheppey.—The isle of Sheppey is quickly giving way to the sea, and if measures are not hereafter taken to remedy this, possibly in a century or two hence its name may be required to be obliterated from the map. Whole acres, with houses upon them, have been carried away in a single storm, while clay shallows, sprinkled with sand and gravel, which stretch a full mile beyond the verge of the cliff, over which the sea now sweeps, demonstrate the original area of the island. From the blue clay of which these cliffs are composed may be culled out specimens of all the fishes, fruits, and trees, which abounded in Britain before the birth of Noah; and the traveller may consequently handle fish which swam, and fruit which grew, in the days of the antediluvians, all now converted into sound stone, by the petrifying qualities of the soil in which they are imbedded. Here are lobsters, crabs, and nautili, presenting almost the same reality as those we now see crawling and floating about; branches of trees, too, in as perfect order as when lopped from their parent stems; and trunks of them, twelve feet in length and two or three diameter, fit, in all appearance, for the operations of the saw, with great varieties of fruits, resembling more those of tropical climates than of cold latitudes like ours, one species having a large kernel, with an adherent stalk, as complete as when newly plucked from the tree that produced it. An interesting collection of these relics of a former world may be seen at a watchmaker's on the cliff, at Margate, including the most remarkable productions of the isle of Sheppey.
As a live camelopard has been sent to London and another to Paris, the history and habits of these animals have excited some interest. At a meeting of the Academy of Sciences in Paris, on the 2nd of July last, M. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire observed that naturalists were wrong in supposing that there was only one species of the camelopard. The animal now in Paris differs from the Cape of Good Hope species by several essential anatomical characters, and he proposes to distinguish it by the name of the Giraffe of Sennaar, the country from which it comes. Some natives of Egypt having come to see the one in Paris in the costume of the country, the animal gave evident proofs of joy, and loaded them with caresses. This fact is explained by the circumstance that the Giraffe has an ardent affection for its Arabian keeper, and that it naturally is delighted with the sight of the turban and the costume of its keeper.
Some authors have proved the mildness and docility of the camelopard, while others represent it as incapable of being tamed. This difference is ascribed by M. Saint-Hilaire to difference of education. Four or five years ago a male Giraffe, extremely savage, was brought to Constantinople. The keeper of the present Giraffe had also the charge of this one, and he ascribes its savageness entirely to the manner in which it was treated. At the same time M. Mongez read a memoir on the testimony of ancient authors respecting the Giraffe. Moses is the first author who speaks of it. As Aristotle does not mention it, M. Mongez supposes that it was unknown to the Greeks, and that it did not then exist in Egypt, otherwise Aristotle, who travelled there, must have known about it. In the year 708 of Rome, Julius Caesar brought one to Europe, and the Roman emperors afterwards exhibited them at Rome, either for the games in the circus, or in their triumphs over the African princes. Albertus Magnus, in his Treatise de Animalibus, is the first modern author who speaks of the Giraffe. In 1486, one of the Medici family possessed one at Florence, where it lived for a considerable time.
In its native country the Giraffe browses on the twigs of trees, preferring plants of the Mimosa genus; but it appears that it can without inconvenience subsist on other vegetable food. The one kept at Florence fed on the fruits of the country, and chiefly on apples, which it begged from the inhabitants of the first storeys of the houses. The one now in Paris, from its having been accustomed in early life to the food prepared by the Arabs for their camels, is fed on mixed grains bruised, such as maize, barley, &c., and it is furnished with milk for drink morning and evening. It however willingly accepts fruits and the branches of the acacia which are presented to it. It seizes the leaves with its long rugous and narrow tongue by rolling it about them, and seems annoyed when it is obliged to take any thing from the ground, which it seems to do with difficulty. To accomplish this it stretches first one, then the other of its long fore-legs asunder, and it is not till after repeated attempts that it is able to seize the objects with its lips and tongue.
The pace of the Giraffe is an amble, though when pursued it flies with extreme rapidity, but the small size of its lungs prevents it from supporting a lengthened chase. The Giraffe defends itself against the lion, its principal enemy, with its fore feet, with which it strikes with such force as often to repulse him. The specimen in the museum at Paris is about two years and a half old.
The name Camelo-pardalis (camel-leopard) was given by the Romans to this animal, from a fancied combination of the characters of the camel and leopard; but its ancient denomination was Zurapha, from which the name Giraffe has been adopted.—Brewster's Journal.
About 3,700,000 cwt. of sugar are annually imported from the West Indies. An advance in price, therefore, of one penny per pound is a charge on the public of 1,726,600l. a year, being more than one-third of the gross amount of the duty levied at the Custom-house for the revenue.
Lord Kingston has upwards of 30,000 mulberry-trees growing upon one estate in Ireland, and has already sent raw silk into the market.
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SINGULAR ASSASSINATION IN KINCARDINESHIRE.
(For the Mirror.)
The fate of one of the sheriffs of this county, in former times, merits notice, especially as connected with a ruin in the parish of Eccliscraig, formerly a place of great strength, being erected on a perpendicular and peninsulated rock, sixty feet above the sea, at the mouth of a small rivulet. It was built in consequence of a murder committed in the reign of James the First, and the circumstance deserves to be recorded, as it affords a specimen of the barbarity of the times. Melville, sheriff of Kincardineshire, had, by a vigorous exercise of his authority, rendered himself so very obnoxious to the barons of the county, that they had made repeated complaints to the king. On the last of these occasions the king, in a fit of impatience, happened to say to Barclay, of Mathers, "I wish that sheriff were sodden and supped in brue." Barclay instantly withdrew, and reported to his neighbours the king's words, which they resolved literally to fulfil. Accordingly, the conspirators invited the unsuspecting Melville to a hunting party in the forest of Garvock; where, having a fire kindled, and a cauldron of water boiling on it, they rushed to the spot, stripped the sheriff naked, and threw him headlong into the boiling vessel: after which, on pretence of fulfilling the royal mandate, each swallowed a spoonful of the broth. After this cannibal feast, Barclay, to screen himself from the vengeance of the king, built this fortress, which before the invention of gunpowder must have been impregnable. Some of the conspirators were afterwards pardoned. One of the pardons is said to be still in existence; and the reason assigned for granting it is, that the conspirator was within the tenth degree of kin to Macduff, thane of Fife.
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USE OF HORSE-CHESTNUTS.
(For the Mirror.)
These nuts are much used in France and in Switzerland, in whitening not only of hemp and flax, but also of silk and wool. They contain a soapy juice, fit for washing of linens and stuffs, for milling of caps and stockings, &c., and for fulling of stuffs and cloths.
Twenty nuts are sufficient for five quarts of water. They must be first peeled, which can be done by children, then rasped or dried, and ground in a malt-mill, or any other common steel mill. The water must be soft, either rain or river water, for hard well water will by no means do. When the nuts are rasped or ground, they must be steeped in the water quite cold, which soon becomes frothy, (as it does with soap,) and then turns white as milk. It must be well stirred at first with a stick, and then, after standing some time to settle, must be strained, or poured off quite clear. Linen washed in this liquor, and afterwards rinsed in clear running water, takes an agreeable light sky-blue colour. It takes spots out of both linen and woollen, and never damages or injures the cloth. Poultry will eat the meal of them, if it is steeped in hot water, and mixed with an equal quantity of pollard. The nuts also are eat by some cows, and without hurting their milk; but they are excellent for horses whose wind is injured.
* * * * *
(For the Mirror.)
"I do believe," (as Byron cries,) "There is a haunted spot, And I can point out where it lies, But cannot—where 'tis not.
Turn gentle people, lend an ear, Unto my simple tale, It will not draw a single tear Nor make the heart bewail,
'Tis of a ghost! O ladies fair! Start not with sore affright, It will not harm a single hair, Nor 'make it stand upright."
Attend, it was but yesternight, I in my garret sat, I saw—no, nothing yet I saw, But something went pit-pat.
So did my heart responsively, Beat like a prison'd bird, That's newly caught—but no reply I made, to what I heard.
It nearer came—'Angels,' I cried, 'And Ministers of Grace defend.' Yet nothing I as yet descried, My hair stood all on end.
My breath was short, I'm sure my eye Was dim, so was the light, I thought that I that hour should die, With sad and sore affright.
And then came o'er me—what came o'er? Some spectre grim I'll bet, O tell me!—why at every pore— A very heavy sweat.
Poh, don't delay the wond'rous tale, What follow'd? tell me that, (I feel my heart and limbs too fail) The same thing, pit-a-pat.
And then there came before my eyes, I pray thee 'list, O list,' You fill my heart with dread surprise What was it? why a mist.
And then around my head there play'd A flame, so wond'rous bright, That made me more than all afraid— My wig had caught the light.
And there came wand'ring by at last, The same thing, pit-a-pat, I found as 'cross the room it past, The cat had got a rat.
* * * * *
(For the Mirror.)
"The Muses' friend, tea, does our fancy aid, Repress those vapours which the head invade."
The tea-tree loves to grow in valleys, at the foot of mountains, and upon the banks of rivers, where it enjoys a southern exposure to the sun, though it endures considerable variations of heat and cold, as it flourishes in the northern clime of Peking, as well as about Canton; and it is observed that the degree of cold at Peking is as severe in winter as in some parts of Europe. However, the best tea grows in a mild, temperate climate, the country about Nanking producing better tea than either Peking or Canton, betwixt which places it is situated. The root resembles that of the peach-tree; the leaves are green, longish at the point, and narrow, an inch and half long, and jagged all round. The flower is much like that of the wild rose, but smaller. The fruit is of different forms, sometimes round, sometimes long, sometimes triangular, and of the ordinary size of a bean, containing two or three seeds, of a mouse colour, including each a kernel. These are the seeds by which the plant is propagated, a number, from six to twelve, or fifteen, being promiscuously put into one hole, four or five inches deep, at certain distances from each other. The seeds vegetate without any other care, though the more industrious annually remove the weeds and manure the land. The leaves which succeed are not fit to be plucked before the third year's growth, at which period they are plentiful, and in their prime. In about seven years the shrub rises to a man's height, and as it then bears few leaves, and grows slowly, it is cut down to the stem, which occasions an exuberance of fresh shoots and leaves the succeeding summer. In Japan, the tea-tree is cultivated round the borders of the fields, without regard to soil, but as the Chinese export great quantities of tea, they plant whole fields with it. The tea-trees that yield often the finest leaves, grow on the steep declivities of hills, where it is dangerous and in some cases impracticable to collect them. The Chinese are said to vanquish this difficulty by a singular contrivance. The large monkeys which inhabit these cliffs are irritated, and in revenge they break off the branches and throw them down, so that the leaves are thus obtained. The leaves should be dried as soon as possible after they are gathered. The Chinese are always taking tea, especially at meals; it is the chief treat with which they regale their friends, but they use it without the addition of sugar and milk. Tea was first introduced into Europe by the Dutch East India Company very early in the seventeenth century, and a great quantity of it was brought over from Holland by Lord Arlington and Lord Ossory about the year 1666, at which time it sold for 60s. per pound. Tea exhilarates without intoxication, and its enlivening qualities are equally felt by the sedentary student and the active labourer. Dr. Johnson dearly loved tea, and drank great quantities of this elegant and popular beverage, and so does P.T.W.
* * * * *
The late professor having once exasperated a disputant by the dryness of his sarcasm, the petulant opponent thus addressed him:—"Mr. Porson, I beg leave to tell you, sir, that my opinion of you is perfectly contemptible." Person replied, "I never knew an opinion of yours, sir, which was not contemptible."
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THE DRAMA AND ITS PROFESSORS.
(For the Mirror.)
It is remarkable with what difference actors were treated among the ancients. At Athens, they were held in such esteem, as to be sometimes appointed to discharge embassies and other negotiations; whereas, at Rome, if a citizen became an actor, he thereby forfeited his freedom. Among the moderns, actors are best treated in England; the French having much the same opinion of them that the Romans had; for though an actor of talent, in Paris, is more regarded than here, he nevertheless is deeply degraded. He may die amid applauses on the stage, but at his natural death, he must pass to his grave, without a prayer or de profundis, unless a minister of religion receives his last sigh.
Cromwell and his Puritans had a holy horror of actors. They pronounced them Sons of Belial! and professors of abomination. During the whole reign of the Republican Parliament, and Protectorate, the theatres of that day were closed, or, if opened by stealth, were subject to the visits of the emissaries of "Praise God Barebones," "Fight the Good Fight," and their crew. The actors were driven off the stage by soldiers, and the cant word of that period is still recorded, "Enter red coat, exit hat and cloak." William Prynne was celebrated for his writings against the immorality of the stage, and the furious invectives of Jeremy Collier, are still extant; his pen was roused by Dryden's Spanish Friar, and Congreve's witty, but licentious comedies. Collier inveighed without mercy, but he certainly did much to reform the stage. Our Evangelicals and Methodists denounce the histrionic art to this day, with more than the zeal of the Church of Rome. But a follower of Wesley or Whitfield would not enter the den of abomination. Here, however, we take care all our comedies shall be purified, and our tragedies free, even from an oath; both are subject to the censor's unsparing pen, and must be subsequently licensed by the Lord Chamberlain.
The actors in England, have, it is true, only become respectable within the last half century, and though they are termed his majesty's servants, yet an unrepealed statute denounces them as vagabonds. As a body, numerous in itself, they are as free from crime as any other associated body or profession of men, and yet do they "his majesty's servants" continue to lay under the stigma which the above unrepealed act fixes upon them. This is perfectly anomalous, and it was spiritedly denounced by Sir Walter Scott, when on a recent and interesting occasion he nobly and manfully declared "Its professors had been stigmatized; and laws had been passed against them less dishonourable to them than to the statesman by whom they were proposed, and to the legislators by whom they were passed." To repeal, therefore, an act nugatory in itself, would not add to the reputation of the profession, nor give a license to further abuse; but it would be an act of justice, and remove a prejudice unjustly attached to the professors of a difficult art.
The critical pen of Mrs. Inchbald justly remarks, "To the honour of a profession long held in contempt by the wise—and still contemned by the weak—Shakspeare, the pride of Britain, was a player." To the illustrious bard, the modern drama is indebted for its excellence. His writings will remain for ever the grandest monument of a genius which opened to him the whole heart of man, all the mines of fancy, all the stores of nature, and gave him power beyond all other writers, to move, astonish, and delight mankind. In the drama, the most interesting emotions are excited; the dangerous passions of hate, envy, avarice, and pride, with all their innumerable train of attendant vices, are detected and exposed. Love, friendship, gratitude, and all those active and generous virtues which warm the heart and exalt the mind, are held up as objects of emulation. And what can be a more effectual method of softening the ferocity, and improving the minds of the inconsiderate? The heart is melted by the scene, and ready to receive an impression—either to warn the innocent, or to appal the guilty; and numbers of those who have neither abilities nor time for deriving advantage from reading, are powerfully impressed through the medium of the eyes and ears, with those important truths which while they illuminate the understanding, correct the heart. The moral laws of the drama are said to have an effect next after those conveyed from the pulpit, or promulgated in courts of justice. Mr. Burke, indeed, has gone so far as to observe that "the theatre is a better school of moral sentiment than churches." The drama, therefore, has a right to find a place; and to its professors are we indebted for what may justly be considered one of the highest of all intellectual gratifications.
* * * * *
(For the Mirror.)
How many a mortal bears a heavy chain, Of bitter sorrow, 'neath thy iron reign, And many a one, whose harder fate has given, Some early woes, by thee to madness driven, Sees the sad vision of some bygone day, And thinks on what he hath seen with dismay: So some lone murderer, wanders o'er the world By thy dread arm to desperation hurl'd; In vain he prays, or bends the lowly knee, With fiendlike power, thou dragg'st him back with thee, Point'st to some scene of early guilt and woe, Opening the source from whence his sorrows flow. As round the bark which feels the tempest's shock, The lightning plays, and shows the fatal rock, So memory brings our sorrows all to light With vivid truth presents them to the sight; Pursues the wretch who else some joy might find, To fix her seat of empire in his mind. As desert lakes in sad illusion fly, Before the weary traveller's cheated eye So memory shows, those hopes we still would cherish. Pleased but to fade, allured us but to perish.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
Although in this age of all but universal hypocrisy and make-believe, every man has at least two fashions of one countenance, it is in dress principally that most men are most unlike themselves. But the coalheaver always sticks close to the attire of his station; he alone wears the consistent and befitting garb of his forefathers; he alone has not discarded "the napless vesture of humility," to follow the always expensive, and often absurd fashions of his superiors. All ungalled of him is each courtier's heel or great man's kibe. Yet, is not even his every-day clothing unseemly, or his aspect unprepossessing. He casts as broad and proper a shadow in the sun as any other man. Black he is, indeed, but comely, like the daughters of Jerusalem.—To begin with the hat which he has honoured with a preference—what are your operas or your fire-shovels beside it? they must instantly (on a fair comparison) sink many degrees below zero in the scale of contempt. In a word, I would make bold to assert that it unites in perfection the two grand requisites of a head covering, beauty and comfort. Gentlemen may smile at this if they will, and take exception to my taste; but, I ask, does the modern round hat, whatever the insignificant variations of its form, possess either quality? No, not a jot of it. One would think, by our pertinacious adherence to the head-ach giving, circular conformation, that we wished to show our anger at the Almighty for not shaping our caputs like cylinders. In fine, though the parson's and the quaker's hat has each its several merits, commend me to the fan-tailed shallow. The flap part attached to the cap seems, at first sight, as to use, supernecessary, although so ornamental withal. It no doubt (as its name, indeed indicates) had its origin in gallantry, and was invented in the age of fans, for the purpose of cooling their mistresses' bosoms, heated—as they would necessarily be—at fair time, by their gravel-grinding walks, under a fervid sun, to the elegant revels of West-end, of Greenwich, or of Tothill-fields. Breeches, rejected by common consent of young and old alike, cling to the legs of the coalheaver with an abiding fondness, as to the last place of refuge; and, on gala-days, a dandy might die of envy to mark the splendour of those nether integuments—which he has not soul enough to dare to wear—of brilliant eye-arresting blue, or glowing scarlet plush, glittering in the sun's rays, giving and taking glory! But enough of the dress of these select "true-born Englishmen"—for right glad I am to state that there are but two Scotch coalheavers on the whole river, and no Irish. I beg leave to return to the more important consideration of their manners. Most people you meet in your walks in the common thoroughfare of London, glide, shuffle, or crawl onward, as if they conscientiously thought they had no manner of right to tread the earth but on sufferance. Not so our coalheaver. Mark how erect he walks! how firm a keel he presents to the vainly breasting human tide that comes rolling on with a show of opposition to his onward course! It is he, and he only, who preserves, in his gait and in his air, the self-sustained and conscious dignity of the first-created man. Surrounded by an inferior creation, he gives the wall to none. That pliancy of temper, which is wont to make itself known by the waiving a point or renouncing a principle for others' advantage, in him has no place; he either knows it not, or else considers it a poor, mean-spirited, creeping baseness, altogether unworthy of his imitation, and best befitted with ineffable contempt. He neither dreads the contact of the baker—the Scylla of the metropolitan peripatetic, nor yet shuns the dire collision of the chimney-sweep—his Charybdis. Try to pass him as he walks leisurely on, making the solid earth ring with his bold tread, and you will experience more difficulties in the attempt than did that famous admiral, Bartholomew Diaz, when he first doubled the Cape of Storms. Or let us suppose, that haply you allow your frail carcass to go full drive against his sturdiness, when lo!—in beautiful illustration of those doctrines in projectiles, that relate to the concussion of moving bodies—you fly off at an angle "right slick" into the middle of the carriage-way; whence a question of some interest presently arises, whether you will please to be run over by a short or a long stage.—But to return. Who hesitates to make way for a coalheaver? As for their drays—as consecutive a species of vehicles as a body can be stopped by—every one knows they make way for themselves.
I one Sunday met a party of my favourites in St. Paul's cathedral. They seemed to view with becoming respect and even awe that splendid place; and they listened to and observed, with apparent profound attention, the cathedral service. Yet I must confess my favourable opinion of their grave looks was rather staggered by overhearing afterwards one of them say to his neighbour, casting a look all round the while, "My eyes, Tom, what lots o' coals this here place would hold." Perhaps the observation was meant in honour.
* * * * *
If you shut yourself up for some fifty hours or so in a mail-coach, that keeps wheeling along at the rate of ten miles an hour, and changes horses in half a minute, certainly, for obvious reasons, the less you eat and drink the better; and perhaps a few hundred daily drops of laudanum, or equivalent grains of opium, would be advisable, so that the transit from London to Edinburgh might be performed in a phantasma. But a free agent ought to live well on his travels—some degrees better, without doubt, than when at home. People seldom live very well at home. There is always something requiring to be eaten up, that it may not be lost, which destroys the soothing and satisfactory symmetry of an unexceptionable dinner. We have detected the same duck through many unprincipled disguises, playing a different part in the farce of domestic economy, with a versatility hardly to have been expected in one of the most generally despised of the web-footed tribe. When travelling at one's own sweet will, one feeds at a different inn every meal; and, except when the coincidence of circumstances is against you, there is an agreeable variety both in the natural and artificial disposition of the dishes.
* * * * *
(Continued from page 231.)
The Currant—The native place of this useful fruit is not exactly ascertained; nearly allied to the gooseberry, it receives the same treatment, shows the same changes, and may be further improved by the same means; a cross between the white Dutch and red, might be a valuable mule. It is probable the black also may be induced to sport from that steady character it has hitherto maintained; there are but few domesticated plants but which (like animals) depart, in some way or other, from their native caste.
The Apple.—It is difficult to find adequate terms to set forth the value of the advantages which have accrued to mankind from the cultivation of this deservedly high-prized fruit. One circumstance in the history of the apple must not pass unnoticed here, viz., the deterioration of the old sorts, which regaled and were the boast of our forefathers a century ago. It is the opinion of an eminent orchardist that as the apple is an artificial production, and, as such, has its stages of youth, maturity, and old age, it cannot, in its period of decrepitude, be by any means renovated to its pristine state, either by pruning or cutting down, changing its place, or by transferring its parts to young and vigorous stocks; and that, in whatever station it may be placed, it carries with it the decay and diseases of its parent. This is the most rational account which has been given of this indisputable fact; and though its accuracy has been called in question by some naturalists, the general failure in our old orchards, and the difficulties in forming new ones with the old favourite sorts, is a decisive proof that such deterioration exists. It is therefore the chief object of the modern pomologist, to obtain from seeds of the best wildings new varieties wherewith to form new and profitable orchards; and which may be expected to continue in health and fertility, as the old sorts have done, for the next century.
The foregoing are the fruits found wild in our climate; the difference in their aboriginal and cultivated state has been pointed out; we shall now give short descriptions of foreign fruits, which have been partly naturalized, the management of which forms so considerable a share of the gardener's art and attention.
The Apricot.—It is supposed that this fruit is a native of Africa: from thence it appears to have come through Persia and Greece to us, with the name "a praecox," significant of its earliness. There are several varieties which have been obtained by means similar to those already mentioned; and there is room for further exertion in endeavouring to improve the size of the fruit, or any other desirable quality.
The Peach—This delicate and excellent fruit is a striking instance of what judicious cultivation may produce. The common almond has always been considered the original stock of this monument of skill and assiduity. The estimation in which it is held, and the care and expense incurred in its cultivation both in forcing-houses and in the open air, is proof of its superiority: and no fruit repays the labour of the attendant, or the expense of the owner, more bountifully than this. Seedlings of this fruit are, if we can credit what is written and said of it, less inclined to depart from the properties or qualities of the parent, than most others of our improved fruits. In America, they are in common and general cultivation. No trouble is bestowed in either layering (which is practicable), or budding them. Sowing a quantity of the stones, they are sure to pick out from among the seedlings as many good sorts as they may wish to cultivate: few of these may be exactly like the parent; some may be superior, but all are passable, especially if the young trees have been selected by a skilful hand; and this he is enabled to do, merely from the appearance of the wood and leaves. Many new sorts have lately been obtained and brought into notice in this country; and this facility of the peach to multiply its varieties will no doubt be taken advantage of by propagators.
The Nectarine.—This, it is allowed by all writers, is certainly a child of cultivation: there being no wild plant from which it could be derived, except the almond. It is therefore a collateral branch with, or rather of, the peach: of this no better proof can be given, than the circumstance that nectarines are sometimes produced by a peach tree.
The Orange.—This endless family of fruits it is probable had the small but useful wild lime for its progenitor. The monstrous shaddock, citrons of all shapes and sizes, oranges and lemons, are all varieties, obtained in the course of long cultivation.
(To be concluded in our next.)
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"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton.
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TO CHLOE, AT SIXTY.
Those teeth, as white as orient pearls Stolen from th' Indian deep, Those locks, whose light and auburn curls Soft on thy shoulders sleep, Expose a woman to the sight None but old friends can know; Thy locks were grey, thy teeth not white, Some twenty years ago.
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Wilkes used to say, that a gentleman did not always require a footman to carry a parcel, for there were three things which he might always carry openly in his hand,—a book, a paper of snuff, and a string of fish.
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HEREDITARY TALENT IN ACTORS.
"Families are chequered as in brains, so in bulk."—FULLER.
The children of many obscure performers have become eminent: but there are very few instances in which the descendant of a considerable actor or actress has been distinguished. To take instances within recent recollection, or of the present day, for example—Mr. Elliston has a son upon the stage: with none of the striking talent of the father. Mr. Henry Siddons, the son of Mrs. Siddons, was a very bad actor indeed. Lewis had two sons upon the stage, neither of them of any value. Mr. Dowton has two sons (or had), in the same situation. And Mrs. Glover's two daughters will never rise above mediocrity. On the other hand, Mr. Macready and Mr. Wallack, are both sons of very low actors; and the late Mr. John Bannister and Mr. Tokely were similarly descended. Almost the only modern instance of the immediate descendant of a valuable performer turning out well, was in the case of Mrs. Jordan's daughter, Mrs. Alsop; who was very nearly as good an actress as her mother. We doubt, too, if there is an instance on record of a very young man being a considerable actor.
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A horrible instance of human vengeance occurred a short time since, at Minden, in Westphalia. The object was a person who, from conscientious motives, peculiar to the religious body of which he was a member, had refused to serve in the militia. He was placed in a cell, the floor and sides of which were closely studded with projecting spikes, or pieces of sharpened iron resembling the blades of knives. The individual remained in this state for twenty-four hours, and the punishment was repeated at three distinct intervals. It is considered a rare occurrence for a person to survive the second infliction of this species of cruelty. In this instance, however, the sufferer did not perish—From the last Report of the Prison Discipline Society.
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THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
As her Grace was one day rambling in the neighbourhood of Chiswick, she was overtaken by a violent storm, and accordingly took shelter, in a cottage where she happened to be unknown. Among other topics she introduced with her usual affability, she asked the poor woman if she knew the Duchess of Devonshire? "Know her, (answered the woman,) everybody has cause to know her here; never was there a better lady born." "I am afraid you are mistaken, (said her Grace); from what I understand of her, she is no better than she should be." "I am sure you are no better than you should be, (returned the poor woman,) to find fault with the Duchess; but you'll never be worthy to wipe her shoes." "Well then, (rejoined her Grace,) I must be beholden to you, as they are at present very dirty." The good woman perceiving the awkward mistake, ran to perform the office with great humility, and received an ample reward.
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"Come Thomas," says Kitty, "pray make us a pun,— You're goodnatured and never refuse;"
"Ask coachee," says Tom, "he's the fellow for Fun,— For he knows the way to a-mews."
Says coachee, "Why Thomas you puzzle my brains, For you never can bridle your wit;"
"But how comes it, that I, tho' exposed to the reins Ev'ry day, never suffer a bit?"
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After the union with Ireland, when the Irish members had taken their seats, one of them, in the heat of his maiden speech, blustered out, "Now, dare Mr. Speaker," which, of course, set the house in an immoderate fit of laughter. When the tumult had subsided, Sheridan observed, "that the honourable gentleman was perfectly in order, since, thanks to the ministry, everything at that time was immoderately dear."