THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIII, NO. 370.] SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
Circumstances, in themselves trivial, often confer celebrity upon places hitherto of unlettered note. Thus, a beautiful villa at Laleham, a village in Middlesex, eighteen and a half miles south west of London, has acquired frequent passing notice from its having lately become the temporary residence of the young "Queen of Portugal," whose removal to England appears to have been a prudent measure to keep her petite Majesty "out of harm's way."
Laleham is delightfully situate on the banks of the Thames, between Shepperton and Staines, and is famed for the entertainment it affords to the lovers of angling. The river narrows considerably here; and about the shallows, or gulls, the water is beautifully transparent. The above temporary royal residence is built in an elegant villa style; and the grounds have been very tastefully laid out under the immediate direction of the present proprietor, the Earl of Lucan. They comprise 40 acres, with some very fine elm timber.
The "Young Queen" is described as an interesting and lively child, and is within a month of the same age as the Princess Victoria, and Prince George of Cumberland, both of whom were born in May, 1819. She has not the slightest tinge of a tropical complexion; her hair is extremely light, her face pale, her eyes light blue and very sparkling. She is not tall of her age, but remarkably well formed. Her Majesty arrived in London in October last, and for some time resided at Grillon's Hotel, Albemarle Street; but her health requiring change of air, Laleham was engaged for a short period; although, in allusion to the situation, it was said to be very low—a flat joke indeed.
In this delightful retreat, the young Queen and her suite at present reside; and so pacific is our taste, that to enjoy the tranquil scenery of Laleham, and the sports of the stream that waters its park, we would willingly forego all the cares of state, and leave its plots and counterplots to more ambitious minds. We could sit by the waters of Laleham, and sing with the muse of Grongar:
Be full ye courts, be great who will; Search for peace with all your skill; Open wide the lofty door, Seek her on the marble floor; In vain you search, she is not there; In vain you search the domes of care! Grass and flowers Quiet treads, On the meads and mountain-heads. Along with Pleasure close ally'd, Ever by each other's side.
But great as may be our content, we hope to see her Majesty speedily restored to the bosom of her family, provided she be secure from the perils of her distracted country.
There are some allusions to an interesting part of ancient story connected with Laleham, Dr. Stukely notices the remains of a Roman encampment on Greenfield Common, within the parish of Laleham, which he supposes to have been the camp in which Caesar halted after passing the Thames.
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LINES WRITTEN ON VISITING THE ISLAND OF IONA.
(For the Mirror.)
Wild, sad, and solitary, amid the wave, Iona mourns her pious founder's grave; Still o'er his tomb these fretted columns pay Their crumbling dust, a tribute to his clay. Frail wreck of time! so crippled with the blast, Recorder Of the present and the past, Enough can tell. These Gothic arches show The height of glory and of human woe; Alas, 'tis all which occupies the brain, The lust of power dyes the despot's chain, Here Learning cast her magic beam around Light of fair Science, whence our freedom's found, Resistless spells, attractive power, for long Brought princes here, and Minstrel's sung their song, To pay a tribute to the holy sage Their history told, it formed his faithful page; Historic power Supreme! within this wall Gave Bruce the crown, or Baliol the fall, From proud Edward's grasp in a bark they bore All Scotland's archives to a distant shore, Manned by a hardy and a faithful crew, For Gallia's coast the well skilled pilot drew, But ere the orphan's eyes had lost the sail Portending danger, screeching sea gulls wail, In wild confusion left the angry wave For distant Staffa's high basaltic cave, Big heaved the flood, and loud the billows roar In blackening heaps screened Morvem's distant shore; High blew the winds, and quick the lightning's flash And gilded hailstones fell with many a crash. The story ran from sire to sire. That Heaven itself was filled with living fire; Of them no more is told, no more is known, That widows' tears had scooped this hollow stone. Here all is silent, save the murmuring sound Of crystal spray which bathes this sacred ground, In tuneful sorrow, sheds her friendly tear To learned virtues, long forgotten here. When conscience was the punisher of crime, And blood stained ruffians of Ossian's line Had taught redemption at the tear-worn shrine, And barbarous tribes in thousands flocked around To ask forgiveness on this holy ground.
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LIGHT AND DARK GENII.
(For the Mirror.)
In fields of light, I ride, I ride, Upon the gust-winds back, And, when I mark the eventide, Or gathering of the rack; Like spirit of a pleasant dream, I mount upon a sunset beam, And hie me in a flashing stride, The dark to dash aside,
In caverns 'neath the vasty deep, Where sea-snakes in the wreck may creep, And feed upon man's bone; Or in the ruins of the past. Where thoughts that are not used are cast, And whirlwind, and the earthquake groan In pity, there, there, am I— A withered thought—that cannot die.
But I was born within a light That kindled in the womb. And I can never feel the night When all around is gloom; For joy looked pleased upon my birth, And cast a ray e'en on the earth; And fairies spun it in a ring, With a feather from their wing, And called it hope—a charm for tears, And chained it to their silken ears.
And I was formed within a light That kindled in the womb of night, Of loathsome withered weeds— And fate looked on and fanned the flame, But freed me from the touch of blame, Of all my evil deeds. Enchantress waited on my birth, And bade the hypochondriac walk the earth.
Together, together, yet, O yet we dwell, A glimpse of heaven in hell A glimpse of heaven in hell Which plays, which plays, like lightning on the tempest gloom, Or life within a catacomb, Or life within a catacomb, Pointing the many passions' mood To strange but universal good.
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(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
The correspondent who furnished you with the article on "Dr. Johnson's Residence in Bolt Court," has fallen into several anachronisms, to which, I beg leave to call your attention.
He says, "here the unfortunate Savage has held his intellectual noctes, and enlivened the old moralist with his mad philosophy." If you refer to any biographical account of Johnson, you will find, his residence in Bolt Court did not commence till nearly twenty years after the death of Savage. Johnson had no settled habitation till after that event, and they were both frequently obliged to perambulate the streets, for whole nights, for want of money to pay for a lodging; and instead of Johnson being an old moralist at this time, he was but thirty-three when his friend died, Savage being about forty-four.
Your correspondent has given a graphic description of our great lexicographer and his two associates, Savage and Boswell, all three of whom, he says, met at Johnson's house in Bolt Court, and discussed subjects of polite literature; whereas his acquaintance with Boswell began only in 1763, and Savage died in Bristol, in 1742. The work Johnson wrote, at the time of compiling the Dictionary, was the "Rambler," and not the "Guardian," as your correspondent asserts. The latter was the joint production of Addison and Steele.
The principal events of the Doctor's life are well known; and it is interesting and not uninstructive to contemplate this master-spirit struggling with the vicissitudes of fortune, and depending frequently for his next meal, on the resources of his genius, till his merit became known. View him and his cotemporary, Garrick, travelling to London together, mere adventurers, with many plans in their heads, and very little money in their pockets; we see them both rising to the pinnacle of fame; one the majestic teacher of moral virtue, and the other delighting by the versatility of his histrionic powers. Go one step further. They are consigned to the tomb, and these men, whom friendship had united whilst living, death has not divided. Near Shakspeare's monument, in Westminster Abbey, they lie interred side by side. Of Garrick it has been said, "that the gaiety of nations was eclipsed at his death," and of Johnson we may truly say he has given "ardour to virtue and confidence to truth."
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ON GOOD AND EVIL DAYS.
(For the Mirror.)
Notwithstanding the ridicule which in later ages has been deservedly thrown on the idea of good and evil days, it is certain, that from time immemorial, the most celebrated nations of antiquity, the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans, adopted, and placed implicit faith in this superstitious notion, which is still prevalent in all parts of the east. According to Plutarch, the kings of Egypt never transacted business on the third day of the week, and abstained even from food till the evening; because on that day, Typhon, who was considered by them the cause of every evil, was born. The seventeenth day of the month was also deemed unfortunate, as on that day Osiris died. The Greeks, too, had their unlucky days, which they denominated [Greek: apophrades]. The Thursday was generally considered by the Athenians of so unlucky an import, that the assemblies of the people, which happened to fall on that day, were always deferred. Hesiod enumerated the days when it might be proper to commence certain undertakings, and those when it was necessary to abstain from every employment; among the latter, he mentions the fifth of every month, when the Infernal Furies were supposed to bestride the earth. Virgil has the same idea:—
Quintam fuge—pallidus Orcus Eumenidesque satae: tum partu terra nefando, Coeumque, lapetumque creat, saevumque Typhaea, Et conjuratos coelum rescindere fratres.
1 GEOR. 279.
The Romans also demonstrated in their calendar, the implicit faith they placed in this distinction of days. The fortunate days were marked in white, and the unfortunate in black; of these were the days immediately after the Calendae, the Nones, and the Ides; the reason was this: in the 363rd year from the building of Rome, the military tribunes, perceiving the republic unsuccessful in war, directed that its cause should be inquired into. The senate having applied to L. Aquinius, he answered, "That when the Romans had fought against the Gauls, near the river Allia, and had experienced so dreadful a defeat, sacrifices had been offered to the gods the day after the ides of July, and that the Fabii having fought on the same day at Cremera, were all destroyed." On receiving this answer, the senate, by the advice of the pontiffs, ordered, that for the future no military enterprise should be formed on the days of the calends, the nones, or the ides. Vitellius having taken possession of the sovereign authority on the 15th of August, and on the same day promulgated some new laws, they were ill received by the people, because on that day had happened the disastrous battles of the Allia and Cremera. There were other days esteemed unhappy by the Romans, such as the day of sacrifices to the dead; of the Lemuria; and of the Saturnalia, the 4th before the nones of October; the 6th of the ides of November; the nones of July, called Caprotinae; the 4th before the nones of August, on account of the defeat at Cannae; and the ides of March, esteemed unlucky by the creatures of Caesar.
In addition to these, were days which every individual considered fortunate or unfortunate for himself. Augustus never undertook any thing of importance on the day of the nones. Many historical observations have contributed to favour these superstitious notions. Josephus remarks, that the temple of Solomon was burnt by the Babylonians on the 8th of September, and was a second time destroyed on the same day by Titus. Emilius Protus also observes, that Timoleon, the Corinthian, gained most of his victories on the anniversary of his birth. To these facts, drawn from ancient history, many from more modern times may be added. It is said, that most of the successes of Charles V. occurred on the festival of St. Matthew. Henry III. was elected king of Poland, and became king of France on Whitsunday, which was also his birthday. Pope Sextus V. preferred Wednesday to every other in the week, because it was the day of his birth, of his promotion to the cardinalate, of his election to the papal throne, and of his coronation. Louis XIII. asserted, that Friday was always a favourable day to him. Henry VII., of England, was partial to Saturday, on which most of the happy events of his life had taken place. Oliver Cromwell always considered the 3rd of September, 1650, when he defeated the Scotch at Dunbar; on that day, in the following year, he gained the battle of Worcester, but on the 3rd of September, 1658, he expired. Though this distinction of good and evil days, be in reality as absurd as it appears to be, I much doubt if it be yet entirely eradicated. When it is considered how many things concur to keep up an error of this kind, and that among the great as well as with the vulgar, opinions as puerile are not only received, but even made a rule of action, it may be inferred, that in every age and in every country, however civilized, superstition always maintains its influence, though it may occasionally vary in its object or name. The human mind alternately wise and weak, indiscriminately adopts error and truth.
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ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN.
[The Literary Gazette of Saturday last enables us to present our readers, (almost entire) the following Legend respecting the house and ancestry of the heroine of Sir Walter Scott's forthcoming Novel—Anne of Geierstein. The tale is entitled Donnerhugel's Narrative, and was told by a remarkable Swiss to the English hero of the Romance.]
"I told you, (said Rudolf) that the lords of Arnheim, though from father to son they were notoriously addicted to secret studies, were, nevertheless, like the other German nobles, followers of war and the chase. This was peculiarly the case with Anne's maternal grandfather, Herman of Arnheim, who prided himself on possessing a splendid stud of horses, and one steed in particular, the noblest ever known in these circles in Germany. I should make wild work were I to attempt the description of such an animal, so I will content myself with saying his colour was jet black, without a hair of white, either on his face or feet. For this reason, and the wildness of his disposition, his master had termed him Apollyon; a circumstance which was secretly considered as tending to sanction the evil reports which touched the house of Arnheim, being, it was said, the naming of a favourite animal after a foul fiend.
"It chanced, one November day, that the baron had been hunting in the forest, and did not reach home till night-fall. There were no guests with him, for, as I hinted to you before, the castle of Arnheim seldom received any other than those from whom its inhabitants hoped to gain augmentation of knowledge. The baron was seated alone in his hall, illuminated with cressets and torches. His one hand held a volume covered with characters unintelligible to all save himself. The other rested on the marble table, on which was placed a flask of Tokay wine. A page stood in respectful attendance near the bottom of the large and dim apartment, and no sound was heard save that of the night wind, when it sighed mournfully through the rusty coats of mail, and waved the tattered banners which were the tapestry of the feudal hall. At once the footstep of a person was heard ascending the stairs in haste and trepidation; the door of the hall was thrown violently open, and, terrified to a degree of ecstasy, Caspar, the head of the baron's stable, or his master of horse, stumbled up almost to the foot of the table at which his lord was seated, with the exclamation in his mouth—'My lord, my lord, a fiend is in the stable!' 'What means this folly?' said the baron, arising, surprised and displeased at an interruption so unusual. 'Let me endure your displeasure,' said Caspar, 'if I speak not truth! Apollyon—' Here he paused. 'Speak out, thou frightened fool,' said the baron; 'is my horse sick, or injured?' The master of the stalls again gasped forth the word 'Apollyon!' 'Say on,' said the baron; 'were Apollyon in presence personally, it were nothing to shake a brave man's mind.' 'The devil,' answered the master of the horse, 'is in Apollyon's stall!' 'Fool!' exclaimed the nobleman, snatching a torch from the wall; 'what is it that could have turned thy brain in such silly fashion?'
"As he spoke, he crossed the courtyard of the castle, to visit the stately range of stables, where fifty gallant steeds stood in rows, on each side of the ample hall. At the side of each stall hung the weapons of offence and defence of a man-at-arms, as bright as constant attention could make them, together with the buff-coat which formed the trooper's under garment. The baron, followed by one or two of the domestics, who had assembled full of astonishment at the unusual alarm, hastened up betwixt the rows of steeds. As he approached the stall of his favourite horse, which was the uppermost of the right-hand row, the good steed neither neighed, nor shook his head, nor stamped with his foot, nor gave the usual signs of joy at his lord's approach; a faint moaning, as if he implored assistance, was the only acknowledgment of the baron's presence. Sir Herman held up the torch, and discovered that there was indeed a tall, dark figure standing in the stall, resting his hand on the horse's shoulder. 'Who art thou?' said the baron, 'and what dost thou here?' 'I seek refuge and hospitality,' replied the stranger; 'and I conjure thee to grant it me, by the shoulder of thy horse, and by the edge of thy sword, and so as they may never fail thee when thy need is at the utmost.' 'Thou art, then, a brother of the Sacred Fire,' said Baron Herman of Arnheim; 'and I may not refuse thee the refuge which thou requirest of me, after the ritual of the Persian Magi. From whom, and for what length of time, dost thou crave my protection?' 'From those,' replied the stranger, 'who shall arrive in quest of me before the morning cock shall crow, and for the full space of a year and a day from this period.' 'I may not refuse thee,' said the baron, 'consistently with my oath and my honour. For a year and a day I will be thy pledge, and thou shall share with me roof and chamber, wine and food. But thou, too, must obey the law of Zoroaster, which, as it says, Let the stronger protect the weaker brother, says also, Let the wiser instruct the brother who hath less knowledge. I am the stronger, and thou shalt be safe under my protection; but thou art the wiser, and must instruct me in the more secret mysteries.' 'You mock your servant,' said the strange visiter; 'but if aught is known to Dannischemend which can avail Herman, his instructions shall be as those of a father to a son.' 'Come forth, then, from thy place of refuge,' said the Baron of Arnheim: 'I swear to thee by the sacred fire which lives without terrestrial fuel, and by the fraternity which is betwixt us, and by the shoulder of my horse, and the edge of my good sword, I will be thy warrand for a year and a day, if so far my power shall extend.'
"The stranger came forth accordingly; and those who saw the singularity of his appearance, scarce wondered at the fears of Caspar, the stall-master, when he found such a person in the stable, by what mode of entrance he was unable to conceive. When he reached the lighted hall to which the baron conducted him, as he would have done a welcome and honoured guest, the stranger appeared to be very tall, and of a dignified aspect. His dress was Asiatic, being a long, black caftan, or gown, like that worn by Armenians, and a lofty, square cap, covered with the wool of Astracan lambs. Every article of the dress was black, which gave relief to the long, white beard that flowed down over his bosom. His gown was fastened by a sash of black silk net-work, in which, instead of a poniard, or sword, was stuck a silver case, containing writing materials and a roll of parchment. The only ornament of his apparel consisted in a large ruby of uncommon brilliancy, which, when he approached the light, seemed to glow with such liveliness, as if the gem itself had emitted the rays which it only reflected back. To the offer of refreshment, the stranger replied, 'Baron, I may not eat, water shall not moisten my lips, until the avenger shall have passed by the threshold.' The baron commanded the lamps to be trimmed and fresh torches to be lighted, and sending his whole household to rest, remained sealed in the hall along with the stranger, his suppliant. At midnight, the gates of the castle were shaken as by a whirlwind, and a voice, as if of a herald, was heard to demand his lawful prisoner, Dannischemend, the son of Hali. The warder then heard a lower window of the hall thrown open, and could distinguish his master's voice addressing the person who had thus summoned the castle. But the night was so dark that he might not see the speakers, and the language which they used was either entirely foreign, or so largely interspersed with strange words, that he could not understand a syllable which they said. Scarce five minutes had elapsed, when he who was without, again elevated his voice as before, and said in German, 'For a year and a day, then, I forbear my forfeiture;—but coming for it when that time shall elapse, I come for my right, and will no longer be withstood.'
"From that period Dannischemend, the Persian, was a constant guest at the castle of Arnheim, and, indeed, never for any purpose crossed the drawbridge. His amusements, or studies, seemed centred in the library of the castle, and in the laboratory, where the baron sometimes toiled in conjunction with him for many hours together. The inhabitants of the castle could find no fault in the Magus, or Persian, excepting his apparently dispensing with the ordinances of religion, since he neither went to mass nor confession, nor attended upon other religious ceremonies. It was observed that Dannischemend was rigid in paying his devotions, by prostrating himself in the first rays of the rising sun, and that he constructed a silver lamp of the most beautiful proportions, which he placed on a pedestal representing a truncated column of marble, having its base sculptured with hieroglyphical imagery. With what essences he fed this flame was unknown to all, unless perhaps to the baron; but the flame was more steady, pure, and lustrous, than any which was ever seen, excepting the sun of heaven itself, and it was generally believed that Dannischemend made it an object of worship in the absence of that blessed luminary. Nothing else was observed of him, unless that his morals seemed severe, his gravity extreme, his general mode of life very temperate, and his fasts and vigils of frequent recurrence. Except on particular occasions, he spoke to no one of the castle but the baron.
"Winter was succeeded by spring, summer brought her flowers, and autumn her fruits, which ripened and were fading, when a foot-page, who sometimes attended them in the laboratory to render manual assistance when required, heard the Persian say to the Baron of Arnheim, 'You will do well, my son, to mark my words; for my lessons to you are drawing to an end, and there is no power on earth which can longer postpone my fate.' 'Alas, my master!' said the baron, 'and must I then lose the benefit of your direction, just when your guiding hand becomes necessary to place me on the very pinnacle of the temple of wisdom?' 'Be not discouraged, my son,' answered the sage; 'I will bequeath the task of perfecting you in your studies to my daughter, who will come hither on purpose. But remember, if you value the permanence of your family, look not upon her as aught else than a helpmate in your studies; for if you forget the instructress in the beauty of the maiden, you will be buried with your sword and your shield, as the last male of your house; and farther evil, believe me, will arise; for such alliances never come to a happy issue, of which my own is an example.—But, hush, we are observed.' The household of the castle of Arnheim having but few things to interest them, were the more eager observers of those which came under their notice; and when the termination of the period when the Persian was to receive shelter in the castle began to approach, some of the inmates, under various pretexts, but which resolved into every terror, absconded,—while others held themselves in expectation of some striking and terrible catastrophe. None such, however, took place; and, on the expected anniversary, long ere the witching hour of midnight, Dannischemend terminated his visit in the castle of Arnheim, by riding away from the gate in the guise of an ordinary traveller.
"The baron had meantime taken leave of his tutor with many marks of regret, and some which amounted even to sorrow. The sage Persian comforted him by a long whisper, of which the last part only was heard, 'By the first beam of sunshine she will be with you. Be kind to her, but not over kind.' He then departed, and was never again seen or heard of in the vicinity of Arnheim. The baron was observed during all the day after the departure of the stranger to be particularly melancholy. At dawn of the ensuing morning, Sir Herman summoned his page; and having performed his toilet, he waited till the sun had just appeared above the horizon, and, taking from the table the key of the laboratory, which the page believed must have lain there all night, he walked thither, followed by his attendant. At the door the baron made a pause, and seemed at one time to doubt whether he should not send away the page, at another to hesitate whether he should open the door, as one might do who expected some strange sight within. He pulled up resolution, however, turned the key, threw the door open, and entered. The page followed close behind his master, and was astonished to the point of extreme terror at what he beheld, although the sight, however extraordinary, had in it nothing save what was agreeable and lovely. The silver lamp was extinguished, or removed from its pedestal, where stood in place of it a most beautiful female figure in the Persian costume, in which the colour of pink predominated. But she wore no turban, or head-dress of any kind, saving a blue riband drawn through her auburn hair and secured by a gold clasp, the outer side of which was ornamented by a superb opal, which, amid the changing lights peculiar to that gem, displayed a slight tinge of red, like a spark of fire. The figure of this young person was rather under the middle size, but perfectly well formed; the eastern dress, with the wide trousers gathered round the ankles, made visible the smallest and most beautiful feet which had ever been seen, while hands and arms of the most perfect symmetry were partly seen from under the folds of the robe. The little lady's countenance was of a lively and expressive character, in which spirit and wit seemed to predominate; and the quick, dark eye, with its beautifully formed eyebrow, seemed to presage the arch remark, to which the rosy and half-smiling lip appeared ready to give utterance. The pedestal on which she stood, or rather was perched, would have appeared unsafe had any figure heavier than her own been placed there. But, however she had been transported thither, she seemed to rest on it as lightly and safely as a linnet, when it has dropped from the sky on the tendril of a rose-bud. The first beam of the rising sun, falling through a window directly opposite to the pedestal, increased the effect of this beautiful figure, which remained as motionless as if it had been carved in marble. She only expressed her sense of the Baron of Arnheim's presence by something of a quicker respiration, and a deep blush, accompanied by a slight smile.
"The Baron of Arnheim, for an instant, stood without breath or motion. At once, however, he seemed to recollect that it was his duty to welcome the fair stranger to his castle, and to relieve her from her precarious situation. He stepped forward accordingly with the words of welcome on his tongue, and was extending his arms to lift her from the pedestal, which was nearly six feet high; but the light and active stranger merely accepted the support of his hand, and descended on the floor as light and as safe as if she had been formed of gossamer. It was, indeed, only by the momentary pressure of her little hand, that the Baron of Arnheim was made sensible that he had to do with a being of flesh and blood. 'I am come as I have been commanded,' she said, looking around her: 'you must expect a strict and diligent mistress, and I hope for the credit of an attentive pupil.' After the arrival of this singular and interesting being in the castle of Arnheim, various alterations took place within the interior of the household. A lady of high rank and small fortune, the respectable widow of a count of the empire, who was the baron's blood relation, received and accepted an invitation to preside over her kinsman's domestic affairs, and remove, by her countenance, any suspicions which might arise from the presence of Hermione, as the beautiful Persian was generally called. The countess Waldstetten carried her complaisance so far, as to be present on almost all occasions, whether in the laboratory or library, when the Baron of Arnheim received lessons from, or pursued studies with, the young and lovely tutor, who had been thus strangely substituted for the aged Magus. If this lady's report was to be trusted, their pursuits were of a most extraordinary nature, and the results which she sometimes witnessed were such as to create fear as well as surprise. But she accordingly vindicated them from practising unlawful arts, or overstepping the boundaries of natural science. A better judge of such matters, the Bishop of Bamberg himself, made a visit to Arnheim, on purpose to witness the wisdom of which so much was reported through the whole Rhine country. He conversed with Hermione, and found her deeply impressed with the truths of religion, and so perfectly acquainted with its doctrines, that he compared her to a doctor of theology in the dress of an Eastern dancing-girl. When asked regarding her knowledge of languages and science, he answered that he had been attracted to Arnheim by the most extravagant reports on these points, but that he must return confessing 'the half thereof had not been told unto him.'
"Meantime a marked alteration began to take place in the interviews between the lovely tutor and her pupil. These were conducted with the same caution as before, and never, so far as could be observed, took place without the presence of the countess of Waldstetten, or some other third person of respectability. But the scenes of these meetings were no longer the scholar's library, or the chemist's laboratory;—the gardens, the groves, were resorted to for amusement, and parties of hunting and fishing, with evenings spent in the dance, seemed to announce that the studies of wisdom were for a time abandoned for the pursuits of pleasure. It was not difficult to guess the meaning of this; the Baron of Arnheim and his fair guest, speaking a language different from all others, could enjoy their private conversation, even amid all the tumult of gaiety around them; and no one was surprised to hear it formally announced, after a few weeks of gaiety, that the fair Persian was to be wedded to the Baron of Arnheim.
"The manners of this fascinating young person were so pleasing, her conversation so animated, her wit so keen, yet so well tempered with good nature and modesty, that, notwithstanding her unknown origin, her high fortune attracted less envy than might have been expected in a case so singular. Above all, her generosity amazed and won the hearts of all the young persons who approached her. These good qualities, her liberality above all, together with a simplicity of thought and character, which formed a beautiful contrast to the depth of acquired knowledge which she was well-known to possess,—these, and her total want of ostentation, made her superiority be pardoned among her companions. Still there was notice taken of some peculiarities, exaggerated perhaps by envy, which seemed to draw a mystical distinction between the beautiful Hermione and the mere mortals with whom she lived and conversed. In the merry dance she was so unrivalled in lightness and agility, that her performance seemed that of an aerial being. She could, without suffering from her exertion, continue the pleasure till she had tired out the most active revellers; and even the young Duke of Hochspringen, who was reckoned the most indefatigable at that exercise in Germany, having been her partner for half an hour, was compelled to break off the dance and throw himself, totally exhausted, on a couch, exclaiming he had been dancing not with a woman, but with an ignis fatuus. Other whispers averred, that while she played with her young companions in the labyrinth and mazes of the castle gardens at hide-and-seek, or similar games of activity, she became animated with the same supernatural alertness which was supposed to inspire her in the dance. She appeared amongst her companions, and vanished from them with a degree of rapidity which was inconceivable; and hedges, treillage, or such like obstructions, were surmounted by her in a manner which the most vigilant eye could not detect; for, after being observed on the other side of the barrier at one instant, in another she was beheld close beside the spectator. In such moments, when her eyes sparkled, her cheeks reddened, and her whole frame became animated, it was pretended that the opal clasp amid her tresses, the ornament which she never laid aside, shot forth the little spark, or tongue of flame, which it always displayed, with an increased vivacity. In the same manner, if in the twilight hall the conversation of Hermione became unusually animated, it was believed that the jewel became brilliant, and even displayed a twinkling and flashing gleam which seemed to be emitted by the gem itself, and not produced in the usual manner, by the reflection of some external light. Her maidens were also heard to surmise, that when their mistress was agitated by any hasty or brief resentment (the only weakness of temper which she was ever observed to display,) they could observe dark-red sparks flash from the mystic brooch, as if it sympathized with the wearer's emotions. The women who attended on her toilette farther reported, that this gem was never removed but for a few minutes, when the baroness' hair was combed out; that she was unusually pensive and silent during the time it was laid aside, and particularly apprehensive when any liquid was brought near it. Even in the use of holy water at the door of the church, she was observed to omit the sign of the cross on the forehead, for fear, it was supposed, of the water touching the valued jewel.
"These singular reports did not prevent the marriage of the Baron of Arnheim from proceeding as had been arranged. In the course of twelve months the lovely baroness presented her husband with a daughter, which was to be christened Sibylla, after the count's mother. As the health of the child was excellent, the ceremony was postponed till the recovery of the mother from her confinement; many were invited to be present on the occasion, and the castle was thronged with company. It happened that amongst the guests was an old lady, notorious for playing in private society the part of a malicious fairy in a minstrel's tale. This was the Baroness of Steinfeldt, famous in the neighbourhood for her insatiable curiosity and overweening pride. She had not been many days in the castle, ere, by the aid of a female attendant, who acted as an intelligencer, she had made herself mistress of all that was heard, said, or suspected, concerning the peculiarities of the Baroness Hermione. It was on the morning of the day appointed for the christening, while the whole company were assembled in the hall, and waiting till the baroness should appear, to pass with them to the chapel, that there arose between the censorious and haughty dame whom we have just mentioned, and the Countess Waldstettin, a violent discussion concerning some point of disputed precedence. It was referred to the Baron von Arnheim, who decided in favour of the countess. Madame de Steinfeldt instantly ordered her palfrey to be prepared, and her attendants to mount. 'I leave this place,' said she, 'which a good Christian ought never to have entered; I leave a house of which the master is a sorcerer, the mistress a demon who dares not cross her brow with holy water, and their trencher companion one who for a wretched pittance is willing to act as match-maker between a wizard and an incarnate fiend!' She then departed, with rage in her countenance, and spite in her heart. The Baron of Arnheim then stepped forward, and demanded of the knights and gentlemen around, if there were any among them who would dare to make good with his sword the infamous falsehoods thrown upon himself, his spouse, and his kinswoman. There was a general answer, utterly refusing to defend the Baroness of Steinfeldt's words in so bad a cause, and universally testifying the belief of the company that she spoke in the spirit of calumny and falsehood. 'Then let that lie fall to the ground which no man of courage will hold up,' said the Baron of Arnheim; 'only, all who are here this morning shall be satisfied whether the Baroness Hermione doth or doth not share the rites of Christianity.' The Countess of Waldstetten made anxious signs to him while he spoke thus; and when the crowd permitted her to approach near him, she was heard to whisper,—'O, be not rash! try no experiment! there is something mysterious about that opal talisman; be prudent, and let the matter pass by.' The baron, who was in a more towering passion than well became the wisdom to which he made pretence, said, 'Are you, too, such a fool?' and retained his purpose.
"The Baroness of Arnheim at this moment entered the hall, looking just so pale from her late confinement as to render her lovely countenance more interesting, if less animated, than usual. Having paid her compliments to the assembled company, she was beginning to inquire why Madame de Steinfeldt was not present, when her husband made the signal for the company to move forward to the chapel, and lent the baroness his arm to bring up the rear. The chapel was nearly filled by the splendid company, and all eyes were bent on their host and hostess as they entered the place of devotion immediately after four young ladies, who supported the infant babe in a light and beautiful litter. As they passed the threshold, the baron dipt his finger in the font-stone and offered holy-water to his lady, who accepted it, as usual, by touching his finger with her own. But then, as if to confute the calumnies of the malevolent lady of Steinfeldt, with an air of sportive familiarity which was rather unwarranted by the time and place, he flirted on her beautiful forehead a drop or two of the moisture which remained on his own hand. The opal, on which one of these drops had lighted, shot out a brilliant spark like a falling star, and became the instant afterwards lightless and colourless as a common pebble, while the beautiful baroness sunk on the floor of the chapel with a deep sigh of pain. All crowded around her in dismay. The unfortunate Hermione was raised from the ground and conveyed to her chamber; and so much did her countenance and pulse alter within the short time necessary to do this, that those who looked upon her pronounced her a dying woman. She was no sooner in her own apartment than she requested to be left alone with her husband. He remained an hour in the room, and when he came out he locked and double locked the door behind him. He then betook himself to the chapel, and remained there for an hour or more, prostrated before the altar. In the meantime most of the guests had dispersed in dismay; though some abode out of courtesy or curiosity. There was a general sense of impropriety in suffering the door of the sick lady's apartment to remain locked; but, alarmed at the whole circumstances of her illness, it was some time ere any one dared disturb the devotions of the baron. At length medical aid arrived, and the Countess of Waldstetten took upon her to demand the key. She spoke more than once to a man who seemed incapable of hearing, at least of understanding, what she said. At length he gave her the key, and added sternly, as he did so, that all aid was unavailing, and that it was his pleasure that all strangers should leave the castle. There were few who were inclined to stay; when upon opening the door of the chamber in which the baroness had been deposited little more than two hours before, no traces of her could be discovered, unless that there was about a handful of light grey ashes, like such as might have been produced by burning fine paper, found on the bed where she had been laid. A solemn funeral was nevertheless performed, with masses and all other spiritual rites, for the soul of the high and noble Lady Hermione of Arnheim; and it was exactly on that same day three years that the baron himself was laid in the grave of the same chapel of Arnheim, with sword, shield, and helmet, as the last male of his family."
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[Footnote 1: The above brief account of a veritable old English Manor House, transcribed from a few rough notes, taken at the period of personal observation, is now supplied by the writer as an article entitled "The Siege of Sawston," appears this month, in that clever and amusing work The United Service Journal.]
Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers join'd By no quite lawful marriage of the arts, Might shock a connoisseur; but when combin'd Form'd a whole, which, irregular in parts, Yet left a grand impression on the mind At least, of those whose eyes are in their hearts. We gaze upon a giant for his stature, Nor judge at first, if all be true to nature.
Quoting from the same poem, we may truly say of Sawston Hall, Cambridgeshire—"The mansion's self is vast and venerable,"—for it is one of the most pleasing architectural relics of the "elder time," which at present exists in England. The house, a large, old, substantial mansion, built partly, as says the tradition, from the walls of Cambridge Castle, has been the property of the Roman Catholic family of Huddleston, for some centuries; and assuming its present appearance early in the reign of Queen Mary, has, with only the trifling alterations incidental to necessary repairs, retained it; for the Huddlestons, inhabiting Sawston Hall, and residing there in each generation, highly respected as country gentlemen, either from the extravagance of some of the family, or from a taste for old associations, have been prevented from altering it. As the manor house, it stands near the church; the baronial chiefs who were always lords of the manor, frequently building, if seldom patronizing, their village churches.
The mansion is a large, square building, situated in a garden, wherein may be observed the remains of aggera, a moat, terrace, &c.; a river so shallow that it might be easily forded, flows at the back of the house, and serves as one boundary to this garden. In the very small inner court, stands a tower, enclosing a spiral staircase, which leads to the top of the house; the whole length of the southern front of it is occupied by a gallery, and the dormitories upon this floor, which communicate with each other, are hung with old tapestry. The principal entrance is through a porch and door, which opens immediately into the baronial hall, a curious place certainly, but slightly differing in arrangement and appearance from what we had previously seen at Arundel Castle, Haddon Hall, and several colleges. The oriel window, instead of its usual place at the upper end of the hall, was situated on one side, very near the corner; in the recess formed by it, stood the baron's table, not as we had anticipated upon a dais, but at least so veiled from the vulgar gaze of the retainers who feasted at a separate board in the apartment, that it answered the purpose of distinguishing ranks equally well. The hall is paved with red brick, and has a large, open fire-place, intimating well the hospitable spirit of former days; its panels, curiously carved, are painted white and brown; the latter in imitation of walnut wood, is probably a mere coating of paint drawn over the original panels of that material, to ensure their preservation. Here too are the arms of the family emblazoned, in which may be observed the lion of Britain and Fleur-de-lis of France, the Huddlestons being descended from, or united to, the royal line of each nation.
There is, near the hall, an ancient refectory, or dining-room, shut up, and in so dangerous a state as to require to be filled with props to support its ceiling. The grand staircase, which is of oak, and coeval with the building, leads to the gallery, in which are situated the principal sleeping-rooms, distinguished as the green, blue, red chambers, &c., according to the predominant colours of the ancient and faded tapestry with which they are hung; nor would the old manor-house deserve the name of such, was there not in one of these a concealed door behind the arras, and in another, the report at least of a ghost. A narrow door, near the end of the gallery, opens immediately upon an old and narrow staircase, the ascent to that chapel in the very roof of the building, which at the period of the Reformation, was contrived and fitted up for the secret advantage of the Roman Catholic proprietors of Sawston; this chamber, for it is nothing more, is certainly little calculated to impress the mind of the spectator with an idea of the splendour of Catholic worship; we approached it by a narrow decaying staircase, stepped over bare rafters, and were scarcely able to pilot ourselves securely by the faint glimmerings of day-light, streaming through the chinks in the tiling overhead. Upon the opening of the chapel door, however, a full tide of light greeted us, admitted by a dormer window, and this displayed an apartment, known by its altar and benches to be appropriated to sacred purposes, the sole decorations of whose plain white-washed walls were some few engravings of madonnas, saints, and holy families, &c., chiefly French, and not particularly beautiful or valuable.
On returning from the chapel we were shown an ingenious hiding-place for the priest in troublous times: a cell covered by a trap-door in the staircase, and just large enough to contain one person, a small table, and a stool; whilst a loop-hole in the wall admitted an apology for light and air. Of heir-looms, there are at Sawston Hall, plenty of curious old pictures and engravings, books, missals, a real relic of chivalry, (light, well-poised, and made of the true lance-wood,) a tilting lance; Queen Mary's bed, and her pincushion; and a singular glass water-jug, made in the reign of Queen Anne, which, when the present proprietor of Sawston took possession of his inheritance, had been laid up for seventy years; it is now, we believe, off the superannuated list, and sees daily service. We have only space briefly to allude to the tradition, which, sketched at length in the valuable periodical to which we have referred our readers, induced us to supply the present illustrative account. The Princess Mary fleeing from the persecutions of the heads of the Protestant party, was entertained and lodged for a night by Sir John Huddleston, of Sawston. The hall was in consequence besieged by an immense mob from Cambridge, fired, and nearly destroyed; Mary and her host with difficulty escaped, (she disguised as a market-woman,) and as queen, she rebuilt Sawston with the stones of Cambridge Castle.
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MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
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(For the Mirror.)
The cities of China are generally of a square form, surrounded with lofty walls, having projecting towers at regular intervals, and are usually encompassed by a ditch, either dry or full of water. Distributed through the streets and squares, or situated in the vicinity of the principal gates, are round, hexagonal or octagonal towers, of various heights, triumphal arches, beautiful temples dedicated to idols, and monuments erected in honour of those who have rendered important services to the nation, or the people; and lastly some public buildings more remarkable for extent than magnificence.
The squares are large, the streets long and of different breadths, the houses have, for the most part, but a ground floor, and rarely exceed one story. The shops are varnished, and ornamented with silk and porcelain. Before each door is fixed a painted and gilded board, seven or eight feet high, supported on a pedestal, and having inscribed on it three large characters chosen by the merchant for the sign of his shop, to distinguish it from all others. To these are often added a list of the articles to be disposed of, and the name of the seller. Under all, conspicuous for their size, are the characters "Pou-Hou," (no cheating here.)
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(For the Mirror.)
Figs have, from the earliest times, been reckoned among the delights of the palate. Shaphan the scribe, who made for the use of the young king Josiah, that compendium of the law of Moses, which is called Deuteronomy, enumerates among the praises of his country, that it was a land of figs.
The Athenians valued figs at least as highly as the Jews. Alexis called figs a "a food for the gods." Pausanias says, that the Athenian Phytalus was rewarded by Ceres, for his hospitality, with the gift of the first fig tree. Some foreign guest, no doubt, transmitted to him the plant, which he introduced into Attica. It succeeded so well there, that Uthanaeus brings forward Lynceus and Antiphones, vaunting the figs of Attica as the best on earth. Horapollo, or rather his commentator Bolzani, says, that when the master of the house is going a journey, he hangs out a broom of fig boughs for good luck. Our forefathers preferred a broom of birch; as if, in the master's absence, it was well to remember the rod.
A taste for figs marked the progress of refinement in the Roman empire. In Cato's time, but six sorts of figs were known; in Pliny's, twenty-nine. The sexual system of plants, seems first to have been observed in the fig tree; whose artificial impregnation is taught by Pliny, under the name of caprification.
In modern times, the esteem for figs has been still more widely diffused.
When Charles the Fifth visited Holland, in 1540, a Dutch merchant sent him a plate of figs, as the greatest delicacy which Ziriksee could offer.
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Alnwick, in Northumberland, is remarkable for the peculiar manner of making freemen. Those to be made free, or as the saying is, to leap well, assemble in the market place early on St. Mark's day on horseback, with every man a sword by his side, dressed in white, all with white night caps, attended by four chamberlains mounted and armed in the same manner. Hence they proceed with music to a large, dirty pool, called Freeman's Well, where they dismount, and draw up in a body, and then rush through the mud as fast as they can. As the water is generally very foul, they come out in a dirty condition; but after taking a dram, they put on dry clothes, remount their horses, and ride full gallop round the confines of the town, when they return, sword in hand, and are met by women decorated with ribands, bells, &c. ringing and dancing. These are called timber vasts. The houses of the new freemen are, on this day, distinguished by a holly bush, as a signal for their friends to assemble and make merry.
This ridiculous ceremony is attributed to King John, who being mired in the well, as a punishment for not mending the road, made the above custom a part of the charter of the town.
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THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
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How many a fine mind has been lost to mankind by the want of some propitious accident, to lead it to a proper channel; to prevent its current from "turning awry and losing the name of action!" We know not whether the story of Newton's apple be true, but it may serve for an illustration, and if that apple had not fallen, where would have been his Principia? If the Lady Egerton had not missed her way in a wood, Milton might have spent the time in which he wrote "Comus," in writing "Accidence of Grammar;" and if Ellwood, the quaker, had not asked him what he could say on "Paradise Regained," that beautiful poem (so greatly underrated) would have been lost to us.
Samuel Parr was born at Harrow-on-the-Hill, June 15 (o.s.) 1747. He was the son of Samuel Parr, a surgeon and apothecary of that place, and through him immediately descended from several considerable scholars, and remotely (as one of his biographers, Mr. Field, asserts) from Sir W. Parr, who lived in the reign of Edward IV., and whose granddaughter was Queen Catharine Parr, of famous memory. It does not appear from Parr's writings (as far as we remember) that he laid claim to this high ancestry; yet the name of Catharine, which he gave to one of his daughters, may be imagined to imply as much. His mother, whose maiden name was Mignard, was of the family of the celebrated painter. It was the accident of Parr's birthplace that, probably, laid the foundation of his fame, for to the school of his native village, then one of the most flourishing in England, he was sent in his sixth year; whilst, under other circumstances, it is likely that he would have been condemned to an ordinary education and his father's business. So many seeds is Nature constantly and secretly scattering, in order that one may fall upon a spot that shall foster it into a a plant. In his boyhood, he is described by his sister, Mrs. Bowyear, as studious after his kind, delighting in Mother Goose and the Seven Champions, and not partaking much in the sports usual to such an age. He had a very early inclination for the church, and the elements of that taste for ecclesiastical pomp, which distinguished him in after life, appeared when he was not more than nine or ten years old. He would put on one of his father's shirts for a surplice, (till Mr. Sanders, the vicar, supplied him, as Hannah did his namesake, with a little gown and cassock;) he would then read the church service to his sister and cousins, after they had been duly summoned by a bell tied to the banisters; preach them a sermon, which his congregation was apt to think, in those days, somewhat of the longest; and even, in spite of his father's remonstrances, would bury a bird or a kitten (Parr had always a great fondness for animals) with the rites of Christian burial. Samuel was his mother's darling; she indulged all his whims, consulted his appetite, and provided hot suppers for him almost from his cradle. He was her only son, and was at this time very fair and well-favoured. Providence, however, foreseeing that at all events vanity was to be a large ingredient in Parr's composition, sent him, in its mercy, a fit of small-pox; and, with the same intent, perhaps, deprived him of a parent, who was killing her son's character by kindness. Parr never was a boy, says, somewhere, his friend and school-fellow, Dr. Bennet. When he was about nine years old, Dr. Allen saw him sitting on the churchyard gate at Harrow, with great gravity, whilst his school-fellows were all at play. "Sam. why don't you play with the others?" cried Allen. "Do not you know, sir," said he, with vast solemnity, "that I am to be a parson?" And Parr himself used to tell of Sir W. Jones, another of his school-fellows, that as they were one day walking together near Harrow, Jones suddenly stopped short, and, looking hard at him, cried out, "Parr, if you should have the good luck to live forty years, you may stand a chance of overtaking your face." Between Bennet, Parr, and Jones, the closest intimacy was formed; and though occasionally tried, it continued to the last. Sir W. Jones, indeed, was soon carried, by the tide of events, far away from the other two, and Dr. Bennet quickly shot a-head of poor Parr in the race of life, and rose to the Irish bench.
These three challenged one another to trials of skill in the imitation of popular authors—they wrote and acted a play together—they got up mock councils, and harangues, and combats, after the manner of the classical heroes of antiquity, and under their names—till, at the age of fourteen, Parr being now at the head of the school, was removed from it and placed in his father's shop.
The doctor must have found in the course of his practice, that there are some pills which will not go down—and this was one. Parr began to criticize the Latin of his father's prescriptions, instead of "making the mixture;" and was not prepared for that kind of Greek with which old Fuller's doctor was imbued, who, on being asked why it was called a Hectic fever, "Because," saith he, "of an hecking cough which ever attendeth that disease." Accordingly, Parr having in vain tried to reconcile himself to the "uttering of mortal drugs" for three years, was at length suffered to follow his own devices, and in 1765, was admitted of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Dr. Farmer was at that time tutor. Of this proficient in black letter (he was one of the earliest, and perhaps the cleverest, of his tribe) we are told by Archdeacon Butler, in a note, that he was a man of such singular indolence, as to neglect sending in the young men's accounts, and is supposed to have burnt large sums of money, by putting into the fire unopened letters, which contained remittances, conveyed remonstrances, and required answers.
At college Parr remained about fourteen months, when his resources were cut off by the sudden death of his father. On balancing his accounts, three pounds seventeen shillings appeared to be all his worldly wealth; and it has been asserted by one of the many persons who have contributed their quota to the memorabilia of Parr, that had he been aware beforehand of possessing so considerable a sum, he would have continued longer in an university which he quitted with a heavy heart, and which he was ever proud to acknowledge as his literary nursing-mother. It is melancholy to reflect on the numbers of young men who squander the opportunities afforded them at Cambridge, and Oxford, without a thought; "casting the pearl away, like the Aethiop," while, at the very moment, many are the sons of genius and poverty, who, with Parr, are struggling in vain to hold fast their chance of the learning, and the rewards of learning, to be gained there, and which would be to them instead of house and land. Thus were Parr's hopes again nipped in the bud, and those years, (the most valuable of all, perhaps, for the formation of character,) the latter years of school and college life, were to him a blank. Meanwhile Dr. Sumner, then master of Harrow, offered him the situation of his first assistant. With this Parr closed; he took deacon's orders in 1769; and five years passed away, as usefully and happily spent as any which he lived to see. It was while he was under-master of Harrow that he lost his cousin, Frank Parr, then a recently elected Fellow of King's College. Parr loved him as a brother; and, though himself receiving a salary of only fifty pounds a year, and, as he says, and as may be well believed, "then very poor," he cheerfully undertook for Frank, by way of making his death-bed more comfortable, the payment of all his Cambridge debts, which proved to be two hundred and twenty-three pounds; a promise which, it is needless to say, he faithfully kept, besides settling an annuity of five pounds upon his mother.
In 1771, when Parr was in his twenty-fifth year, Dr. Sumner was suddenly carried off by apoplexy. Parr now became a candidate for the head mastership of Harrow, founding his claims on being born in the town, educated at the school, and for some years one of the assistants. The governors, however, preferred Dr. Benjamin Heath, an antagonist by whom it was no disgrace to be beaten, and whose personal merit Parr himself allowed to justify their choice. A rebellion among the boys, many of whom took Parr's part, ensued; and in an evil hour he threw up his situation of assistant, and withdrew to Stanmore, a village a very few miles from Harrow. Here he was followed by forty of the young rebels, and with this stock in trade he proceeded to set up a school on his own account. This, Dr. Johnstone thinks, was the crisis of Parr's life. The die had turned up against him, and the disappointment, with its immediate consequences, gave a complexion to his future fortunes, character, and comfort. He had already mounted a full-bottomed wig when he stood for Harrow, anxious, as it should seem, to give his face a still further chance of keeping its start. He now began to ride on a black saddle, and bore in his hand a long wand with an ivory head, like a crosier in high prelatical pomp. His neighbours, who wondered what it could all mean, had scarcely time to identify him with his pontificals, before they saw him stalking along the street in a dirty, striped dressing-gown. A wife was all that was now wanted to complete the establishment at Stanmore, and accordingly Miss Jane Marsingale, a lady of an ancient Yorkshire family, was provided for him, (Parr, like Hooker, appears to have courted by proxy, and with about the same success,) and so Stanmore was set a going as the rival of Harrow. These were fearful odds, and it came to pass, that in spite of "Attic symposia," and groves of Academus, and the enacting of a Greek play, and the perpetual recitation of the fragment in praise of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the establishment at Stanmore declined, and at the end of five years, Parr was not sorry to accept the mastership of an endowed school at Colchester. To Colchester, therefore, he removed with his wife and a daughter in the spring of 1777. Here he took priest's orders at the hands of Bishop Lowth, and found society congenial to him in Dr. Foster, a kindred whig, and in Thomas Twining, a kindred scholar.
* * * * *
This poor boy, whose destiny has suffered so remarkable a change, appears to have been a child of great promise, both for intelligence and goodness of heart. The anecdotes concerning him are of the most pleasing kind. From the time that he knew how to speak, he became, like most children, a great questioner. He loved, above every thing, to watch the people walking in the garden and in the court of the Tuileries, over which his windows looked. There was always a crowd of people assembled there to see him. Having remarked that many of the persons who entered the palace, had rolls of paper under their arms, he desired to know of his gouvernante what that meant. He was told that they were unfortunate people, who came to ask some favour of his papa. From this moment he shouted and wept whenever he saw a petition pass, and was not to be satisfied till it was brought to him; and he never failed to present himself, every day at breakfast, all those which he had collected in the course of the day before. It may be easily supposed, that when this practice was known to the public, the child was never at a loss for petitions.
He saw one day under his windows a woman in mourning who held by the hand a little boy about four years old, also in mourning. This little fellow had in his hand a petition which he held up from a distance to the young prince. The boy would know why this poor, little one was clothed all in black. His governess answered that it was, no doubt, because his papa was dead. He manifested a strong desire to talk with the child.—Madame Montesquieu, who seized every occasion of developing his sensibility, consented, and gave an order that he should be brought in with his mother. She was a widow whose husband had been killed in the last campaign, and finding herself without resources, had petitioned the emperor for a pension. The young Napoleon took the petition and promised to deliver it to his papa. The next morning he made up his ordinary packet of petitions, but the one in which he took a particular interest he kept separate, and after putting the mass into the hands of the emperor according to custom; "Papa," said he, "here is the petition of a very unfortunate little boy; you are the cause of his father's dying, and now he has nothing. Give him a pension, I beg." Napoleon took up his son and embraced him tenderly, gave him the pension, which he antedated, and caused the patent to be made out in the course of the day.—Translated from the French.—Westminster Review.
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AN ESKDALE ANECDOTE.
Extract of a Letter from the Ettrick Shepherd.
I chanced to be on a weeks' visit to a kind friend, a farmer in Eskdale-muir, who thought meet to have a party every day at dinner, and mostly the same party. Our libations were certainly carried rather to an extremity, but our merriment corresponded therewith. There was one morning, indeed, that several of the gentlemen were considerably hurt, and there were marks of blood on the plaster, but no one could tell what had happened. It appeared that there had been a quarrel, but none of us knew what about, or who it was that fought.
But the most amusing part of the ploy (and a very amusing part it was) regarded a half hogshead of ale, that was standing in the lobby to clear for bottling. On the very first forenoon, our thirst was so excessive, that the farmer contrived to insert a spigot into this huge cask, and really such a treasure I think was hardly ever opened to a set of poor thirsty spirits. Morning, noon, and night, we were running with jugs to this rich fountain, and handing the delicious beverage about to lips that glowed with fervour and delight. In a few days, however, it wore so low, that before any would come, one was always obliged to hold it up behind; and, finally, it ran dry.
On the very morning after that, the farmer came in with a wild raised look. "Gentlemen," said he, "get your hats—haste ye—an' let us gang an' tak a lang wauk, for my mother an' the lasses are on a-scrubbing a whole floorfu' o' bottles; an' as I cam by, I heard her speaking about getting the ale bottled the day."
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An old, but a true Story.
I was bred a linen-draper, and went into business with better than a thousand pounds. I married the daughter of a country tradesman, who had received a boarding-school education. When I married I had been in business five years, and was in the way of soon accumulating a fortune. I was never out of my shop before it was shut up, and was remarked by my friends as being a steady young man, with a turn for business.
I used to dine in the parlour, where I could have an eye upon the shop; but my new acquaintances told me this was extremely ungenteel; that if I had no confidence in my men I should get others; that a thief would be a thief, watch him how I would, and that I was now too forward in the world to be a slave to the shop.
From being constantly in my shop from seven in the morning till eight in the evening, I lay in bed till nine, and took a comfortable breakfast before I made my appearance below. Things, however, went on very well—I bowed to my best customers, and attended closely to my business while I was in it, trade went on briskly, and the only effect of this acquaintance was the necessity of letting our friends see that we were getting above the world, by selling some of our old-fashioned furniture, and replacing it with that which was more genteel, and introducing wine at dinner when we had company.
As our business increased, our friends told us it would be extremely genteel to take a lodging in summer just at the outskirts of the city, where we might retire in the evening when shop was shut, and return to it next morning after breakfast; for as we lived in a close part of the town, fresh air was necessary to our health; and though, before I had this airy lodging, I breathed very well in town, yet indulging in the fresh air, I was soon sensible of all the stench and closeness of the metropolis; and I must own I began to relish a glass of wine after dinner as well when alone as when in company: I did not find myself the worse in circumstances for this lodging; but I did not find I grew richer, and we had no money to lay by.
We soon found out that a lodging so near town was smothered with dust, and smelt too much of London air, therefore I took a small house we had seen about five miles from town, near an acquaintance we had made, and thought it imprudent to sleep from home every night, and that it would be better for my business to be in town all the week, and go to this house on Saturday, and continue there until Monday; but one excuse or other often found me there on Tuesday. Coach-hire backward and forwards, and carriage of parcels, generally cost us seven or eight shillings a week; and as a one-horse chaise would be attended with very little more expense, and removing to a further distance, seeing the expense would be saved by not having our house full of company on Sunday, which was always the case, being so near town; besides the exercise would be beneficial, for I was growing corpulent with good living and idleness. Accordingly we removed to the distance of fifteen miles from town, into a better house, because there was a large garden adjoining it, and a field for the horse. It afforded abundance of fruit, and fruit was good for scorbutic and plethoric habits, our table would be furnished at less expense, and fifteen miles was but an hour's ride more than seven miles.
All this was plausible, and I soon found myself under the necessity of keeping a gardener; so that every cabbage that I before put on my table for one penny cost me one shilling, and I bought my dessert at the dearest hand; but I was in it—I found myself happy—in a profusion of fruit, and a blight was little less than death to me.
This new acquired want, now introduced all the expensive modes of having fruit in spite of either blasts or blights. I built myself a small hot house, and it was only the addition of a chaldron or two of coals; the gardener was the same, and we had the pride of putting on our table a pine-apple occasionally, when our acquaintance were contented with the exhibition of a melon.
From this expense we soon got into a fresh one. As we often out-staid Monday in the country, it was thought prudent that I should go to town on Monday by myself, and return in the evening; this being too much for one horse, a second-hand chariot might be purchased for a little more than what the one-horse chaise would sell for; the field was large enough for two horses; going to town in summer in an open carriage was choking ourselves with dust, burning our faces, and the number of carriages on the road made driving dangerous; besides, having now a genteel acquaintance in the neighbourhood, there was no paying a visit in a one-horse chaise. Another horse would be but very little addition in expense; we had a good coach-house, and the gardener would drive. All this seemed true. I fell into the scheme; but soon found that the wheels were so often going that the gardener could not act in both capacities; whilst he was driving the chariot, the hot-house was neglected; the consequence was, that I hired a coachman. The chariot brought on the necessity of a footman—a better acquaintance—wax candles—Sherry—Madeira—French Wines, &c. In short, I grew so fond of these indulgencies that they became WANTS, and I was unhappy when in town and out of the reach of them.
All this would have done very well if I had not had a business to mind; but the misfortune was, that it took me off from trade—unsettled my thoughts; my shopmen were too much left to themselves, they were negligent of my business, and plundered me of my property. I drew too often upon the till—made no reserve for the wholesale dealers and manufacturers—could not answer their demands upon me—and became—Bankrupt.
Reduced now to live upon a chop and a draught of porter, I feel my wants more than ever; my wife's genteel notions having upset her, she has lost her spirits. We do little but upbraid each other, and I am become despicable in my own opinion, and ridiculous in that of others. I once was happy, but now am miserable.
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A snapper up of unconsidered trifles. SHAKSPEARE
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Copied from an inscription over the fireplace of a public-house in Edinburgh, the frequent resort of Burns.
Willie Christie tells them wha dinna ken, that he has a public house, first door down Libbertown Wynd, in the Lawn Market, whaur he keeps the best o' stuff; gude nappy Yill frae the best o' Bruars in big bottels an' wee anes, an' Porter frae Lunnon o' a' sorts; Whuske as gude as in the Toun, an o' a' strength, an' for cheapness ekwall to ony that's gaun. Jinger Beer in wee bottells at Tippence, an' Sma' Beer for three bawbees the twa bottels out of the house, an' a penny the bottel in.
N.B. Toddy cheap an' unco' gude if 'tis his ain mackin.
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Whilst Mary kissed her infant care, "You like my lip," she cried, "my dear." The smiling child, though half afraid, Thus to her beauteous mother said: "With me, mamma, oh, do not quarrel, I thought your lip had been my coral."
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A newspaper tells us that an old woman died April 26, at Wolverhampton, aged 150 years.
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LIMBIRD'S EDITION of the Following Novels is already Published:
s. d. Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6 Paul and Virginia 0 5 The Castle of Otranto 0 6 Almoran and Hamet 0 5 Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia. 0 6 The Castles of Athlia and Dunbayne 0 6 Rasselas 0 8 The Old English Baron 0 8 Nature and Art 0 8 Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 Sicilian Romance 1 0 The Man of the World 1 0 A Simple Story 1 4 Joseph Andrews 1 6 Humphry Clinker 1 8 The Romance of the Forest 1 8 The Italian 2 0 Zeluco, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Roderick Random 2 6 The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6 Peregrine Pickle 4 6