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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 10, No. 282.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1827. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
[Illustration: HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK.]
“The architectural spirit which has arisen in London since the late peace, and ramified from thence to every city and town of the empire, will present an era in our domestic history.” Such is the opinion of an intelligent writer in a recent number of Brande's “Quarterly Journal;" and he goes on to describe the new erections in the Regent's Park as the “dawning of a new and better taste, and in comparison with that which preceded it, a just subject of national exultation;” in illustration of which fact we have selected the subjoined view of Hanover Terrace, being the last group on the left of the York-gate entrance, and that next beyond Sussex-place, distinguishable by its cupola tops.
Hanover Terrace, unlike Cornwall and other terraces of the Regent's Park, is somewhat raised from the level of the road, and fronted by a shrubbery, through which is a carriage-drive. The general effect of the terrace is pleasing; and the pediments, supported on an arched rustic basement by fluted Doric columns, are full of richness and chaste design; the centre representing an emblematical group of the arts and sciences, the two ends being occupied with antique devices; and the three surmounted with figures of the Muses. The frieze is also light and simply elegant. The architect is Mr. Nash, to whose classic taste the Regent's Park is likewise indebted for other interesting architectural groups.
Altogether, Hanover Terrace may be considered as one of the most splendid works of the neighbourhood, and it is alike characteristic of British opulence, and of the progressive improvement of national taste. On the general merits of these erections we shall avail ourselves of the author already quoted, inasmuch as his remarks are uniformly distinguished by moderation and good taste.
“Regent's Park, and its circumjacent buildings, promise, in few years, to afford something like an equipoise to the boasted Palace-group of Paris. If the plan already acted upon is steadily pursued, it will present a union of rural and architectural beauty on a scale of greater magnificence than can be found in any other place. The variety is here in the detached groups, and not as formerly in the individual dwellings, by which all unity and grandeur of effect was, of course, annihilated. These groups, undoubtedly, will not always bear the eye of a severe critic, but altogether they exhibit, perhaps, as much beauty as can easily be introduced into a collection of dwelling-houses of moderate size. Great care has been taken to give something of a classical air to every composition; and with this object, the deformity of door-cases has been in most cases excluded, and the entrances made from behind. The Doric and Ionic orders have been chiefly employed; but the Corinthian, and even the Tuscan, are occasionally introduced. One of these groups is finished with domes; but this is an attempt at magnificence which, on so small a scale, is not deserving of imitation.”
* * * * *
THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY.
(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
Sir,—Under the Arcana of Science, in your last Number, I observed an account of the inroads made by the sea on the Isle of Sheppey, together with the exhumation there of numerous animal and vegetable remains. As an additional fact I inform you, that, at about three hundred feet below the surface of the sand-bank, (of which the island is composed,) there is a vast prostrate antediluvian forest, masses of which are being continually developed by the influence of marine agency, and exhibit highly singular appearances. When the workmen were employed some years back in sinking a well to supply the garrison with water, the aid of gunpowder was required to blast the fossil timber, it having attained, by elementary action and the repose of ages, the hard compactness of rock or granite stone. Aquatic productions also appear to observation in their natural shape and proportion, with the advantage of high preservation, to facilitate the study of the inquiring philosopher. I have seen entire lobsters, eels, crabs, &c. all transformed into perfect lapidifications. Many of these interesting bodies have been selected, and at the present time tend to enrich the elaborate collections of the Museum of London and the Institute of France. During the winter of 1825, in examining a piece of petrified wood, which I had picked up on the shore, we discovered a very minute aperture, barely the size of a pin-hole, and on breaking the substance by means of a large hammer, to our surprise and regret we crushed a small reptile that was concealed inside, and which, in consequence, we were unfortunately prevented from restoring to its original shape. The body was of a circular shape and iron coloured; but from the blood which slightly moistened the face of the instrument, we were satisfied it must have been animated. I showed the fragments of both to a gentleman in the island, who, like myself, lamented the accident, as it had, in all likelihood, deprived science of forming some valuable (perhaps) deductions on this incarcerated, or (if I may be allowed the expression) compound phenomenon. I have merely related the above incident in order to show the possibility of there being other creatures accessible to discovery under similar circumstances, and in their nature, perhaps homogeneous. I left the island next day, and therefore had no further opportunities of confirming such an opinion; but the place itself abounds with substances which would authorize such conjectures.
D. A. P.
 We thank our correspondent for the above communication on
one of the most interesting phenomena of British geology; for,
as we hinted in our last, the pleasantest hours of our sojourn
at Margate, about three years since, were passed in the
watchmaker's museum, nearly opposite the Marine Library, which
collection contains many Sheppey fossils, especially a prawn,
said to be the only one in England. We remember the proprietor
to have been a self-educated man: he had been to the museum at
Paris twice or thrice, and spoke in high terms of the courteous
reception he met with from M Cuvier; and we are happy to
corroborate his representations. With respect to the reptile,
or, as we should say, insect, alluded to in the preceding
letter, we suppose it to have been a vermicular insect, similar
to those inhabiting the cells of corallines, of whose tiny
labours, in the formation of coral islands, we quoted a spirited
poetical description in No. 279 of the MIRROR. Corallines much
resemble fossil or petrified wood; and we recollect to have
received from the landlady of an inn at Portsmouth a small
branch of fossil wood, which she asserted to be coral, and
that upon the authority of scores of her visiters; but the
fibres, &c. of the wood were too evident to admit of a dispute.
* * * * *
ANTICIPATED FRENCH MILLENNIUM, OR THE PARISIAN “TRIVIA.”
(For The Mirror.)
“Travellers of that rare tribe, Who've seen the countries
When daudling diligences drag
Their lumbering length along no more—
That odd anomaly!—or wag
Gon call'd, or coach—a misnomer—
That Cerberus three-bodied! and
That Cerberus of music!
Such rattle with their nine-in-hand!
O, Cerbere, an tu sic?
When this, (and of Long Acre wits
To rival this would floor some!)
When this at last the Frenchman quits.
Then! then is the age d'or come!
When coxcomb waiters know their trade,
Nor mix their sauces with cookey's;
When John's no longer chamber maid,
And printed well a book is.
When sorrel, garlic, dirty knife,
Et cetera, spoil no dinners—
(The punishment is after life,
Are cooks to punish sinners?)
When bucks are safe, nor streets display
A sea Mediterranean;
When Cloacina wends her way
In streamlet sub-terranean.
When houses, inside well as out,
Are clean, and servants civil;
When dice (if e'er 'twill be I doubt)
Send fewer—to the devil.
When riot ends, and comfort reigns,
Right English comfort—players
Are fetter'd with no rhythmic chains—
French priests repeat French prayers.
When Palais Royal vice subsides,
(Who plays there's a complete ass—)
When footpaths grow on highway sides—
Then! then's the Aurea-Aetas!
There, France, I leave thee.—Jean Taureau!
What think'st thou of thy neighbours?
Or (what I own I'd rather know)
What—think'st thou of MY LABOURS?
A TRAVELLER OF 1827, (W. P.)
 “Which, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length
 It is, indeed, difficult to avoid one, call it what you
will, and quite as difficult to find a more absurd name than
that adopted, unless, indeed, (why the machine goes but five
miles an hour,) it is called a diligence from not being
diligent, as the speaker of our House of Commons may be so
designated from not speaking. It consists of three bodies,
carries eighteen inside, and is not unfrequently drawn by nine
horses. A cavalry charge, therefore, could scarcely make more
noise. Hence, and from the other circumstance, its association
in the second stanza with the triune sonorous Cerberus. A
 The intrusive garrulity of French waiters at dinner is
 This “sea Mediterranean” is a most filthy, fetid, uncovered
gutter, running down the middle of the most, even of the best
streets, and with which every merciless Jehu most liberally
bespatters the unhappy pedestrian. Truly la belle nation has
little idea of decency, or there would be subterranean sewers
 French houses are cleaner even than ours externally, being
all neatly whitewashed! mais le dedans! le dedans!
 The servants are as notorious for their incivility as for
their intrusive loquacity.
 As Scott well observes in the introduction to Waverley, “the
word comfortable is peculiar to the English language.” The thing
is certainly peculiar to us, if the word is not.
 All the tragedies are in rhyme, and that of the very worst
description for elocutionary effect. It is the anapestic, like,
as Hannah More remarks, “A cobbler there was, and he lived in a
 It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the absurdity
(exploded in England at the Reformation) of a Latin liturgy
still obtains in France.
 The Palais Royal! that pandemonium of profligacy! whose
gaming tables have eternally ruined so many of our countrymen!
So many, that he who, unwarned by their sad experience, plays at
them, is—is he not?—“complete ass.”
 There are none, even in the leading streets; our
ambassador's, for instance.
 As the Etoile lately translated John Bull. “When
no longer chamber-maid.” Of the propria quae maribus of French
domestic economy, this is not the least amusing feature. At my
hotel (in Rue St. Honore) there was a he bed-maker; and I do
believe the anomalous animal is not uncommon.
“When printed well a book is.”
Both paper and types are very inferior to ours. But that I
respect the editor's modesty, I would say it were not easy to
find a periodical in Paris, at once so handsomely and
economically got up as—this MIRROR.
* * * * *
CARRYING THE TAR BARRELS AT BROUGH, WESTMORELAND.
(To The Editor Of The Mirror.)
SIR,—In the haste in which I wrote my last account of the carrying of “tar barrels” in Westmoreland, (owing to the pressure of time,) I omitted some most interesting information, and I think I cannot do better than supply the deficiency this year.
As I said before, the day is prepared for, about a month previously—the townsmen employ themselves in hagging furze for the “bon-fire,” which is situated in an adjoining field. Another party go round to the different houses, grotesquely attired, supplicating contributions for the “tar barrels,” and at each house, after receiving a donation, chant a few doggerel verses and huzza! It is, however, well that people should contribute towards defraying the expense, for if they do not get enough money they commit sad depredations, and if any one is seen carrying a barrel they wrest it from him.
For my part, I liked the “watch night” the best, and if it were possible to keep sober, one might enjoy the fun—sad havoc indeed was then made among the poultry—when ducks and fowls were crackling before the fire all night; in fact, a few previous days were regular shooting days, and the little birds were killed by scores. But ere morning broke in upon them, many of the merry group were lying in a beastly state under the chairs and tables, or others had gone to bed; but this is what they called spending a merry night. The day arrives, and a whole troop of temporary soldiers assemble in the town at 10 P.M. with their borrowed instruments and dresses, and a real Guy,—not a paper one,—but a living one—a regular painted old fellow, I assure you, with a pair of boots like the Ogre's seven leagued, seated on an ass, with the mob continually bawling out, “there's a par o'ye!”
Thus they parade the town—one of the head leaders knocks at the door—repeats the customary verses, while the other holds a silken purse for the cash, which they divide amongst them after the expenses are paid—and a pretty full purse they get too. In the evening so anxious are they to fire the stack, that lanterns may be seen glimmering in all parts of the field like so many will-o'-the-wisps; then follow the tar barrels, and after this boisterous amusement the scene closes, save the noise throughout the night, and for some nights after of the drunken people, who very often repent their folly by losing their situations.
Now, respecting the origin of this custom, I merely, by way of hint, submit, that in the time of Christian martyrdom, as tar barrels were used for the “burning at the stake” to increase the ravages of the flame:—the custom is derived,—out of rejoicings for the abolition of the horrid practice, and this they show by carrying them on their heads (as represented at page 296, vol. 8.), but you may treat this suggestion as you please, and perhaps have the kindness to substitute your own, or inquire into it.
 See MIRROR, vol. 8, page 296.
* * * * *
CUSTOM OF BAKING SOUR CAKES.
(For The Mirror.)
Rutherglen, in the county of Lanarkshire, has long been famous for the singular custom of baking what are called sour cakes. About eight or ten days before St. Luke's fair (for they are baked at no other time in the year), a certain quantity of oatmeal is made into dough with warm water, and laid up in a vessel to ferment. Being brought to a proper degree of fermentation and consistency, it is rolled up into balls proportionable to the intended largeness of the cakes. With the dough is commonly mixed a small quantity of sugar, and a little aniseed or cinnamon. The baking is executed by women only; and they seldom begin their work till after sunset, and a night or two before the fair. A large space of the house, chosen for the purpose, is marked out by a line drawn upon it. The area within is considered as consecrated ground, and is not, by any of the bystanders, to be touched with impunity. The transgression incurs a small fine, which is always laid out in drink for the use of the company. This hallowed spot, is occupied by six or eight women, all of whom, except the toaster, seat themselves on the ground, in a circular form, having their feet turned towards the fire. Each of them is provided with a bakeboard about two feet square, which they hold on their knees. The woman who toasts the cakes, which is done on an iron plate suspended over the fire, is called the queen, or bride, and the rest are called her maidens. These are distinguished from one another by names given them for the occasion. She who sits next the fire, towards the east, is called the todler; her companion on the left hand is called the trodler; and the rest have arbitrary names given them by the bride, as Mrs. Baker, best and worst maids, &c. The operation is begun by the todler, who takes a ball of the dough, forms it into a cake, and then casts it on the bakeboard of the trodler, who beats it out a little thinner. This being done, she, in her turn, throws it on the board of her neighbour; and thus it goes round, from east to west, in the direction of the course of the sun, until it comes to the toaster, by which time it is as thin and smooth as a sheet of paper. The first cake that is cast on the girdle is usually named as a gift to some man who is known to have suffered from the infidelity of his wife, from a superstitious notion, that thereby the rest will be preserved from mischance. Sometimes the cake is so thin, as to be carried by the current of the air up into the chimney. As the baking is wholly performed by the hand, a great deal of noise is the consequence. The beats, however, are not irregular, nor destitute of an agreeable harmony, especially when they are accompanied with vocal music, which is frequently the case. Great dexterity is necessary, not only to beat out the cakes with no other instrument than the hand, so that no part of them shall be thicker than another, but especially to cast them from one board to another without ruffling or breaking them. The toasting requires considerable skill; for which reason the most experienced person in the company is chosen for that part of the work. One cake is sent round in quick succession to another, so that none of the company is suffered to be idle. The whole is a scene of activity, mirth, and diversion. As there is no account, even by tradition itself, concerning the origin of this custom, it must be very ancient. The bread thus baked was, doubtless, never intended for common use. It is not easy to conceive how mankind, especially in a rude age, would strictly observe so many ceremonies, and be at so great pains in making a cake, which, when folded together, makes but a scanty mouthful. Besides, it is always given away in presents to strangers who frequent the fair. The custom seems to have been originally derived from paganism, and to contain not a few of the sacred rites peculiar to that impure religion; as the leavened dough, and the mixing it with sugar and spices, the consecrated ground, &c.; but the particular deity, for whose honour these cakes were at first made, is not, perhaps, easy to determine. Probably it was no other than the one known in Scripture (Jer. 7 ch. 18 v.) by the name of the Queen of Heaven, and to whom cakes were likewise kneaded by women.
 These names are descriptive of the manner in which the
women, so called, perform their part of the work, To todle, is
to walk or move slowly, like a child; to trodle, is to walk or
move more quickly.
 From our Correspondent's description of these cakes, we
suppose them to resemble the wafers sold by the confectioners,
except in the elegant designs on their surface.
* * * * *
(For The Mirror.)
How in the depth of winter rude
A lovely flower is prized,
Which in the month of April view'd,
Perhaps has been despised.
How fair amid the shades of night
Appears the stars' pale ray;
Behold the sun's more dazzling light,
It quickly fades away.
* * * * *
THE ORIGIN OF PETER'S PENCE.
(For The Mirror.)
The custom of paying “Peter's pence” is of Saxon origin; and they continued to be paid by the inhabitants of England, till the abolition of the Papal power. The event by which their payment was enacted is as follows:—Ethelbert, king of the east angles, having reigned single some time, thought fit to take a wife; for this purpose he came to the court of Offa, king of Mercia, to desire his daughter in marriage. Queenrid, consort of Offa, a cruel, ambitious, and blood-thirsty woman, who envied the retinue and splendour of the unsuspicious king, resolved in some manner to have him murdered, before he left their court, hoping by that to gain his immense riches; for this purpose she, with her malicious and fascinating arts, overcame the king—her husband, which she most cunningly effected, and, under deep disguises, laid open to him her portentous design; a villain was therefore hired, named Gimberd, who was to murder the innocent prince. The manner in which the heinous crime was effected was as cowardly as it was fatal: under the chair of state in which Ethelbert sat, a deep pit was dug; at the bottom of it was placed the murderer; the unfortunate king was then let through a trap-door into the pit; his fear overcame him so much, that he did not attempt resistance. Three months after this, Queenrid died, when circumstances convinced Offa of the innocence of Ethelbert; he therefore, to appease his guilt, built St. Alban's monastery, gave one-tenth part of his goods to the poor, and went in penance to Rome—where he gave to the Pope a penny for every house in his dominions, which were afterwards called Rome shot, or Peter's pence, and given by the inhabitants of England, &c. till 1533, when Henry VIII. shook off the authority of the Pope in this country.
* * * * *
Black And White Swans.
A few weeks since a black swan was killed by his white companions, in the neighbourhood of London. Of this extraordinary circumstance, an eye-witness gives the following account:—
I was walking, between four and five o'clock on Saturday afternoon, in the Regent's Park, when my attention was attracted by an unusual noise on the water, which I soon ascertained to arise from a furious attack made by two white swans on the solitary black one. The allied couple pursued with the greatest ferocity the unfortunate rara avis, and one of them succeeded in getting the neck of his enemy between his bill, and shaking it violently. The poor black with difficulty extricated himself from this murderous grasp, hurried on shore, tottered a few paces from the water's edge, and fell. His death appeared to be attended with great agony, stretching his neck in the air, fluttering his wings, and attempting to rise from the ground. At length, after about five minutes of suffering, he made a last effort to rise, and fell with outstretched neck and wings. One of the keepers came up at the moment, and found the poor bird dead. It is remarkable, that his foes never left the water in pursuit, but continued sailing up and down to the spot wherein their victim fell, with every feather on end, and apparently proud of their conquest.
Fascination Of Snakes.
I have often heard stories about the power that snakes have to charm birds and animals, which, to say the least, I always treated with the coldness of scepticism, nor could I believe them until convinced by ocular demonstration. A case occurred in Williamsburgh, Massachussets, one mile south of the house of public worship, by the way-side, in July last. As I was walking in the road at noon-day, my attention was drawn to the fence by the fluttering and hopping of a robin red-breast, and a cat-bird, which, upon my approach, flew up, and perched on a sapling two or three rods distant; at this instant a large black snake reared his head from the ground near the fence. I immediately stepped back a little, and sat down upon an eminence; the snake in a few moments slunk again to the earth, with a calm, placid appearance; and the birds soon after returned, and lighted upon the ground near the snake, first stretching their wings upon the ground, and spreading their tails, they commenced fluttering round the snake, drawing nearer at almost every step, until they stepped near or across the snake, which would often move a little, or throw himself into a different posture, apparently to seize his prey; which movements, I noticed, seemed to frighten the birds, and they would veer off a few feet, but return again as soon as the snake was motionless. All that was wanting for the snake to secure the victims seemed to be, that the birds should pass near his head, which they would probably have soon done, but at this moment a wagon drove up and stopped. This frightened the snake, and it crawled across the fence into the grass: notwithstanding, the birds flew over the fence into the grass also, and appeared to be bewitched, to flutter around their charmer, and it was not until an attempt was made to kill the snake that the birds would avail themselves of their wings, and fly into a forest one hundred rods distant. The movements of the birds while around the snake seemed to be voluntary, and without the least constraint; nor did they utter any distressing cries, or appear enraged, as I have often seen them when squirrels, hawks, and mischievous boys attempted to rob their nests, or catch their young ones; but they seemed to be drawn by some allurement or enticement, and not by any constraining or provoking power; indeed, I thoroughly searched all the fences and trees in the vicinity, to find some nest or young birds, but could find none. What this fascinating power is, whether it be the look or effluvium, or the singing by the vibration of the tail of the snake, or anything else, I will not attempt to determine—possibly this power may be owing to different causes in different kinds of snakes. But so far as the black snake is concerned, it seems to be nothing more than an enticement or allurement with which the snake is endowed to procure his fowl.—Professor Silliman's Journal.
Boring Marine Animals.
The most destructive of these is the Teredo Navalis, a fine specimen of which was exhibited at a recent meeting of the Portsmouth Philosophical Society. This animal has been said to extend the whole length of the boring tube; but this assertion is erroneous, since the tubes are formed by a secretion from the body of the animal, and are often many feet in length, and circuitous in their course. This was shown to be the fact, by a large piece of wood pierced in all directions. The manner in which it affects its passage, and the interior of the tubes, were also described. The assertion that the Teredo does not attack teak timber was disproved; and its destructive ravages on the bottom of ships exemplified, by a relation of the providential escape of his majesty's ship Sceptre, which having lost some copper from off her bows, the timbers were pierced through to such an extent as to render her incapable of pursuing her voyage without repair.
Anthracite, or Stone Coal.
Professor Silliman's last journal contains a very important article, illustrative of the practical application of this mineral; and the vast quantities of it that may be found in Great Britain renders the information highly valuable to our manufacturing interests. In no part of the world is anthracite, so valuable in the arts and for economical purposes, found so abundantly as in Pennsylvania. For the manufacture of iron this fuel is peculiarly advantageous, as it embraces little sulphur or other injurious ingredients; produces an intense steady heat; and, for most operations, it is equal, if not superior to coke. Bar iron, anchors, chains, steamboat machinery, and wrought-iron of every description, has more tenacity and malleability, with less waste of metal, when fabricated by anthracite, than by the aid of bituminous coal or charcoal, with a diminution of fifty per cent. in the expense of labour and fuel. For breweries, distilleries, and the raising of steam, anthracite coal is decidedly preferable to other fuel, the heat being more steady and manageable, and the boilers less corroded by sulphureous acid, while no bad effects are produced by smoke and bitumen. The anthracite of Pennsylvania is located between the Blue Bridge and Susquehannah; and has not hitherto been found in other parts of the state, except in the valley of Wyoming.
At Tynningham, the residence of the Earl of Harrington, are holly hedges extending 2,952 yards, in some cases 13 feet broad and 25 feet high. The age of these hedges is something more than a century. At the same place are individual trees of a size quite unknown in these southern districts. One tree measures 5 feet 3 in. in circumference at 3 feet from the ground; the stem is clear of branches to the height of 14 feet, and the total height of the tree is 54 feet. At Colinton House, the seat of Sir David Forbes; Hopetown House, and Gordon Castle are also several large groups of hollies, apparently planted by the hand of Nature.—Trans. Horticultural Society.
In this country, the egg plant, brinjal, or aubergine, is chiefly cultivated as a curiosity; but in warmer climates, where its growth is attended with less trouble, it is a favourite article of the kitchen garden. In the form of fritters, or farces, or in soups, it is frequently brought to table in all the southern parts of Europe, and forms a pleasant variety of esculent.—Ibid.
Vinegar Made From Black Ants.
It is singular enough, that a discovery of modern chemistry should long have been practically employed in some parts of Norway, for the purpose of making vinegar from a large species of black ant. The method employed in Norlanden is simply this: they first collect a sufficient quantity of these little animals, by plunging a bottle partly filled with water up to the neck in one of the large ant-hills; into which they naturally creep, and are drowned. The contents are then boiled together, and the acid thus produced is made use of by the inhabitants as vinegar, being strong and good.
Soil For Fruit Trees.
Low grounds that form the banks of rivers are, of all others, the best adapted for the growth of fruit trees; the alluvial soil of which they are composed, being an intermixture of the richest and most soluble parts of the neighbouring lands, with a portion of animal and vegetable matter, affording an inexhaustible store of nourishment— Trans. Horticultural Society.
A patent has recently been procured for a most useful appendage to a watch, for giving alarm at any hour during the night. Instead of encumbering a watch designed to be worn in the pocket with the striking apparatus, (by which it would be increased to double the ordinary thickness), this ingenious invention has the alarum or striking part detached, and forming a bed on which the watch is to be laid; a communication being made by a lever, projecting through the watch case, to connect the works. This appendage is described to be applicable to any watch of the usual construction, and is by no means expensive.
* * * * *
November is associated with gloom, inasmuch as its days and nights are, for the most part, sullen and sad. But the transition to this gloom is slow, gradual, and almost imperceptible. The mornings of the month are generally foggy, and are thus described by a modern poet:—
“Not pleasureless the morn, when dismal fog
Rolls o'er the dewy plain, or thin mist drives;
When the lone timber's saturated branch
In the progress of day,
“Shorn of his glory through the dim profound,
With melancholy aspect looks the orb
Of stifled day, and while he strives to pierce
And dissipate the slow reluctant gloom,
Seems but a rayless globe, an autumn moon,
That gilds opaque the purple zone of eve,
And yet distributes of her thrifty beam.
Lo! now he conquers; now, subdued awhile,
Awhile subduing, the departed mist
Yields in a brighter beam, or darker clouds
His crimson disk obscure.”
The country has now exchanged its refreshing varieties of greens for the hues of saffron, russet, and dark brown. “The trees,” says an amusing observer of nature, “generally lose their leaves in the following succession:—walnut, mulberry, horse-chestnut, sycamore, lime, ash, then, after an interval, elm:
”——'To him who walks
Now in the sheltered mead, loud roars above,
Among the naked branches of the elm,
Still freshening as the hurried cloud departs,
The strong Atlantic gale.'
“Then beech and oak, then apple and peach trees, sometimes not till the end of November; and lastly, pollard-oaks and young beeches, which retain their withered leaves till pushed off by the new ones in spring.”
The rural economy of the month is thus described by the same writer:—“The farmer endeavours to finish his ploughing this month, and then lays up his instruments for the spring. Cattle are kept in the yard or stable, sheep turned into the turnip-field, or in bad weather fed with hay, bees moved under shelter, and pigeons fed in the dove-house.”
The gardens, for the most part, begin to show the wear of desolation, and but little of their floral pride remains without doors. Meanwhile, a mimic garden is displayed within, and the hyacinth, narcissus, &c. are assembled there to gladden us with anticipations of the coming spring.
Though sombre and drear, a November day is a carnival for the reflective observer; the very falling of the leaves, intercepted in their descent by a little whirl or hurricane, is to him a feast of meditation, and “the soul, dissolving, as it were, into a spirit of melancholy enthusiasm, acknowledges that silent pathos, which governs without subduing the heart.”—“This season, so sacred to the enthusiast, has been, in all ages, selected by the poet and the moralist, as a theme for poetic description and moral reflection;” and we may add that amidst such scenes, Newton drew the most glorious problem of his philosophy, and Bishop Horne his simple but pathetic lines on the “Fall of the Leaf,”—lessons of nature which will still find their way to the hearts of mankind, when the more subtle workings of speculative philosophy shall be forgotten with their promoters.
* * * * *
THE ROBBER SPATOLINO.
The history of Spatolino exhibits rather the character of a man bred where men are in a state of nature, than of one born in the midst of an old European state. This extraordinary character, furiously irritated against the French, who had invaded Italy, desperately bent himself upon revenge, and directed his attacks unceasingly upon their battalions. He might perhaps have become a great general, had he entered the military profession: had he received a competent education, he might have been a virtuous and eminent citizen. His first crime was an act of vengeance, and all his following delinquencies flowed from the same source. An enthusiastic feeling placed the blade in his hand against the invaders of the Roman States, and a superior sagacity aided his terrible energies. He died stigmatised with the titles of brigand and assassin; but the French, on whom he had exercised the most striking acts of revenge, were his judges, his accusers, and executioners. In all his acts the man of courage could be distinguished, finding resources, in whatever dangers, in his own genius. He never was a traitor himself, although often betrayed by his most intimate friends. His vindictive exploits were prompt and terrible. The French greatly dreaded him. His life presents traits truly romantic; sometimes they may appear exaggerated; but his history is from an authentic source, and from his voluntary confession.
The reader may wish to know something of the person of Spatolino. He was of low stature, long visage, fair skin, but his face of an olive pale hue; his eyes of a light blue, and full of animation; his aspect fierce; hair light; long whiskers; lips pale; broad back; swift of foot; and particularly animated in his action. He wore a jerkin lined with red, a dark yellow waistcoat, blue breeches, a breast-pouch with fifty cartridges, four pistols, and a small hanger by his side. In his breeches-pocket he kept a small stiletto. He also bore a long gun. On his head he wore continually a net, and upon that his hat. His wife followed him in all his excursions, and he greatly esteemed and loved her. He remained some time in the mountains near Rome, and with his associates laid in a store of whatever was necessary for their new avocation. He then resolved upon proceeding to Sonnino, the common rendezvous of the greater part of the banditti in the papal states. In Sonnino he found some followers, who, going deeply into his notions, did not scruple to join him. They swore to entertain an eternal friendship for each other, implacable hatred against the French, and laid it down as a duty to rob and kill them. Spatolino, before commencing his career as brigand, repaired to the curate of Sonnino, and requested absolution for all the crimes he had or might commit; the curate, surprised at this request, observed to him, that absolution was only given after sins were committed. Spatolino very soon quieted the scruples of the curate, by making him a present of a very handsome watch; upon which he immediately raised his hands and gave him the desired absolution. Sonnino may be compared with Pontus, where Ovid was in exile, and which is thus described by that celebrated author:—“The men I meet with are not even worthy of the name; they are more fierce than wolves; have no laws, as with them armed force constitutes justice, and injury rights. They live by rapine, but seek it not without peril, and sword in hand. Every other way of purveying for their necessities they view as base and ignominious. It is enough for them to be seen to be hated and dreaded. The sound of their voice is ferocious; their physiognomy horrible, and their complexion cadaverous.” Just such are the inhabitants of Sonnino and its vicinity at present, and among such Spatolino came to complete his band, which, when formed in Rome, consisted of seven only.
Before proceeding on his expedition, and to attach his wife more closely to his person by proving his strong affection, he left his band and proceeded to Civita Vecchia, and seeking a sailor who had seduced her, he expressed a wish to speak with him a little distance from the town. The sailor, conceiving it might be something to his advantage, followed immediately. Spatolino conducted him a little beyond the gate of Civita Vecchia, and giving him two thrusts of his stiletto in his heart, cut off his ears and nose, to carry them as a present to his wife, and then departed immediately for Sonnino. On his arrival, he proceeded to seek Mary and his band. After the usual salutations, he took out of his pocket the small bundle containing the nose and ears of the sailor, and, presenting them to his wife, said, “From this you may judge my affection. I was desirous of avenging your wrongs, and have done so by killing your seducer. Here are the pledges of it, which you should keep, in order to remind you of the betrayer, and as a guard against future temptation. You cannot mistrust me, when I promise ever to afford you proofs of true attachment, and I hope you will be faithful to me!” After this they embraced affectionately, and swore to each other eternal fidelity. Nor is it possible for any man to have kept his word more scrupulously towards his wife. The following day Spatolino departed at the head of his band, which was composed of eighteen persons, himself and wife included, and proceeded to the vicinity of Portatta, near the main road leading from Rome to Naples, which at that time was much frequented by the French of every rank and condition, who proceeded under orders between these two places. Towards night, Spatolino placed himself and comrades in ambush on the high road, intending to take advantage of a military body of which he had information. Ere long a sound of horses was heard; they were immediately on the alert, and succeeded in arresting a French escort of seven soldiers on foot, and the same number on horseback, conducting the baggage-wagon of a French colonel of the line. It contained all his effects, and money to a large amount. Upon the first fire of Spatolino's band, five of the soldiers were killed, and three desperately wounded; he then threw himself amongst the others, who were placed on the defence, and who had expended their fire without hurting a single individual of the band. Spatolino, with his pistols, killed two, and a few moments saw him and his band masters of the field. Spatolino ordered his men to strip the dead, and placing every thing in the wagon, after digging a pit for the bodies, they retired to a cave in a wood near the road, where the booty was equally divided. He took himself two of the best horses, and armed and equipped his band in a superior manner. He also presented to his wife a part of the spoil, she having been armed in the action, performing the duty of a sentinel on the highway in advance about half a mile off, to give notice, in case of an overwhelming force appearing. Spatolino, having made a fair division of the spoil to raise the courage of his companions, sent all his own money to his parents, informing them at the same time, that for the future they should be released from misery, as he would ever bear in mind the beings who gave him birth.—New Monthly Magazine.
* * * * *
AN UNINSURABLE RISK.
A bookseller opened a shop on the coast,
(I'd rather not mention the spot,)
Where gentlemen lounged o'er the Herald and Post,
And ladies read Byron and Scott.
Much personal memoir, too, shone on the shelves,
Which boasted a whimsical olio;
Decorum sang small, in octavoes and twelves,
And scandal in quarto and folio.
The bookseller, prudently aiming to set
Th' ignipotent god at defiance,
To open a policy vainly essay'd
At the Albion, the Hope, and Alliance.
“My friend, your abortive attempt prithee stop,”
Quoth Jekyll, intent on a joke,
“How can you expect to insure, while your shop
Is rolling out volumes of smoke?”
* * * * *
On few subjects are the public under more misapprehension than on the absolute and relative circulation of several portions of the London daily press. The greater part of the people would startle were they told that The Times circulates probably under 7,000 a day on an average; the paper is seen, as one may say, in every pot-house in London, and all over the country; and yet this is all its number.
The property of a paper is a matter of which most people have a very vague and imperfect knowledge. I believe I am very near the truth when I state the gross proceeds of The Times at 45,000l., a year. The present proprietor of The Morning Chronicle gave for it, I believe, 40,000l. The absolute property of The Courier, according to the current rate of its shares, is between 90,000l. and 100,000l. Estimating the value of The Globe on the same scale, the absolute property of it is probably somewhere about 35,000l. The profits of a paper arise almost entirely out of its advertisements, and hence the difference in value between the two last, notwithstanding their circulation is so nearly equal. A newspaper gets its advertisements by degrees, and, as it is supposed by the public, its numbers increase; but it retains them long after the cause by which they were acquired has vanished. It is thus that The Courier, which got its advertisements when it basked in all the sunshine of ministerial patronage, retains these when its numbers are reduced by one-half, and the countenance of government is no longer held out to it.
These, however, it must be admitted, are the prizes in the lottery of newspaper speculation: and in this, as in every other lottery, there are more blanks than prizes. Mr. Murray, after having expended upwards of 10,000l. on his Representative, sold it to the proprietors of The New Times for about 600l.: and The British Press, after having ruined I know not how many capitalists, was sold to the same concern for, I believe, a considerably smaller sum.—London Magazine.
* * * * *
Mademoiselle Cuvier, daughter of the celebrated naturalist, died a short time since at Paris. There has seldom been any instance where the strongest benevolence was so closely united to the charms of intellect. She possessed a rare mixture of elevation of mind and firmness of character—of strength and equanimity—sweetness and simplicity. It was truly gratifying to witness her worship, or rather superstition, for truth, and to watch the avidity with which she used to seize and illustrate whatever she thought likely to remove ignorance, or promote the cause of virtue and freedom. The circumstances which attended the death of this amiable creature, have, if possible, greatly augmented the grief of her family and friends. The day of her nuptials was fixed, and she was to be united to a man of her own choice, and everything was prepared for the ceremony. Being suddenly afflicted by rapid symptoms of consumption, all hopes of her recovery soon vanished. Notwithstanding, the ball dresses, veils, and shawls, continued to be sent home to the unhappy parents, who dared not refuse them, lest they should themselves be accused of giving way to despair. This mixture of preparations for rejoicing, and the certainty of death, formed a picture the most melancholy and pathetic. When the fatal moment arrived, her family and many friends surrounded the dying couch in mournful silence. The funeral was attended by all that is distinguished for rank and fortune at Paris; a clergyman of the Protestant church read the service for the dead, and a funeral sermon. A number of young females whom she had formed for succouring the poor, were ranged round the bier, dressed in white, and followed to the Cemetery of Pere la Chaise, where M. Salvandy, one of her friends, undertook to deliver the final eulogy, which it is usual in France to pronounce on departed worth.—Monthly Magazine.—Letter from Paris.
* * * * *
HOW TO LOSE TIME.
Few men need complain of the want of time, if they are not conscious of a want of power, or of desire to ennoble and enjoy it. Perhaps you are a man of genius yourself, gentle reader, and though not absolutely, like Sir Walter, a witch, warlock, or wizard, still a poet—a maker—a creator. Think, then, how many hours on hours you have lost, lying asleep so profoundly,
“That the cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more could rouse you from your lazy bed.”
How many more have you, not absolutely lost, but to a certain extent abused, at breakfast—sip, sipping away at unnecessary cups of sirupy tea, or gob, gobbling away at jam-buttered rolls, for which nature never called—or “to party giving up what was meant for mankind”—forgetting the loss of Time in the Times, and, after a long, blank, brown, and blue study, leaving behind you a most miserable chronicle indeed! Then think—O think—on all your aimless forenoon saunterings—round and round about the premises—up and down the avenue—then into the garden on tiptoe—in and out among the neat squares of onion-beds—now humming a tune by the brink of abysses of mould, like trenches dug for the slain in the field of battle, where the tender celery is laid—now down to the river-side to try a little angling, though you well know there is nothing to be had but Pars—now into a field of turnips, without your double-barreled Joe Manton, (at Mr. Wilkinson's to be repaired,) to see Ponto point a place where once a partridge had pruned himself—now home again, at the waving of John's red sleeve, to receive a coach-full of country cousins, come in the capacity of forenoon callers—endless talkers all—sharp and blunt noses alike—and grinning voraciously in hopes of a lunch—now away to dress for dinner, which will not be for two long, long hours to come—now dozing, or daized on the drawing-room sofa, wondering if the bell is ever to be rung—now grimly gazing on a bit of bloody beef which your impatience has forced the blaspheming cook to draw from the spit ere the outer folds of fat were well melted at the fire—now, after a disappointed dinner, discovering that the old port is corked, and the filberts all pluffing with bitter snuff, except such as enclose a worm—now an unwholesome sleep of interrupted snores, your bobbing head ever and anon smiting your breast-bone—now burnt-beans palmed off on the family for Turkish coffee—now a game at cards, with a dead partner, and the ace of spades missing—now no supper—you have no appetite for supper—and now into bed tumbles the son of Genius, complaining to the moon of the shortness of human life, and the fleetness of time!
* * * * *
SLEEPING AFTER DINNER.
Mr. Fox at St. Ann's Hill was, for the last years of his life, in the habit (never interfered with by his friends) of dosing for a few minutes after dinner; and it was on this occasion, unconsciously yielding to the influence of custom, I perceived that Mr. Garrow, who was the chief talker (Parr was in his smoking orgasm,) began to feel embarrassed at Mr. Fox's non-attention; and I, therefore, made signs to Mr. Fox, by wiping my fingers to my eyes, and looking expressively at Garrow. Mr. Fox, the most truly polite man in the world, immediately endeavoured to rouse himself—but in vain; Nature would have her way. Garrow soon saw the struggle, and adroitly feigned sleep himself. Mr. Fox was regenerated in ten minutes—apologized—and made the evening delightful—Senatorial Reminiscenses.—The Inspector.
* * * * *
* * * * *
CHRONICLES OF THE CANONGATE.
The Two Drovers.
(Concluded from page 289.)
[Our readers must have missed, and probably with some regret,
the conclusion of the above story, as promised for insertion in
our last Number; and unaccustomed as we are to an intentional
discrepancy of this sort, (for such was the above,) we shall
consider ourselves justified in briefly stating some of the
circumstances which led to the irregularity. We are not disposed
to enter into the tilts of rival journalists, some of whom, in
taking time by the forelock, may have perhaps been rather more
enterprising than the subject warranted. Nevertheless, in
the attempt to please the public, as in other races, the
youngest are often the fleetest. In the present case, the
appetite of the public had been whetted with “reiterated
advertisement:” and one of our contemporaries, with more
playfulness than truth, had compared his priority to that of
Fine-ear in the fairy tale. But his talisman failed, and a
young rival outstripped him; and from this quarter we were
induced to copy the first portion of the tale of The Two
Drovers, upon the editor's assurance of his own honesty in
obtaining the precedence, and which assurance We are still
unwilling to question: although, were we to do so, ours would
not he a solitary specimen of such ingratitude. On the day
of our publishing the first portion, we received a notice to
desist from its continuance,—full of the causticity of our
friends on the other side of the Tweed, and with whom, for the
credit of the south, we hope the measure originated. We next
resolved to suspend the conclusion; since the brutum fulmen
became louder and louder still, in an advertisement actively
inserted in the London newspapers. To make short of what is and
ought to be but a trifling affair, we have abridged the whole
story, and accordingly now present the conclusion to our
readers, though certainly not in the promised state; how far we
have exculpated ourselves, is for our patrons to determine.—A
few words at parting, on the policy of the above conduct. We
need not enlarge upon the advantages which publishers (and, to
some extent, authors) derive from portions of their works
appearing in periodical journals. The benefit is not reciprocal,
but largely on their side, if they consider how many columns of
advertisement duty they thereby avoid. It is well known that the
first edition of any work by such a master-spirit as Sir
Walter Scott is consumed in a few days by the circulating
libraries and reading societies of the kingdom; but how many
thousands would neither have seen nor heard of his most
successful works, had not the gusto been previously created by
the caducei of these literary Mercuries. Again, sift any one of
them, with higher pretensions to originality than our economical
sheet will admit of, and you shall find it, in quantity, at
least, to resemble Gratiano's three grains. But we are not
inclined to quarrel with the scheme, for with Johnson we say,
“Quotation, sir (Walter), is a good thing,” in the hope of
hearing our readers reply, “This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons
Some words passed after the departure, of Robin Oig, between the bailiff, and Harry Wakefield, who was now not indisposed to defend Robin Oig's reputation. But Dame Heskett prevented this second quarrel by her peremptory interference. The conversation turned on the expected markets, and the prices from different parts of Scotland and England, and Harry Wakefield found a chap for a part of his drove, and at a considerable profit; an event more than sufficient to blot out all remembrances of the past scuffle. But there remained one from whose mind that recollection could not have been wiped by possession of every head of cattle betwixt Esk and Eden.
This was Robin Oig M'Combich.—“That I should have had no weapon,” he said, “and for the first time in my life!—Blighted be the tongue that bids the Highlander part with the dirk—the dirk—ha! the English blood!—My muhme's word—when did her word fall to the ground?”
Robin now turned the light foot of his country towards the wilds, through which, by Mr. Ireby's report, Morrison was advancing. His mind was wholly engrossed by the sense of injury the treasured ideas of self-importance and self-opinion—of ideal birth and quality, had become more precious to him, (like the hoard to the miser,) because he could only enjoy them in secret. But insulted, abused, and beaten, he was no longer worthy, in his own opinion, of the name he bore, or the lineage which he belonged to—nothing was left to him—but revenge.
When Robin Oig left the door of the ale-house, seven or eight English miles at least lay betwixt him and Morrison, whose advance was limited by the sluggish pace of his cattle. And now the distant lowing of Morrison's cattle is heard; and now he meets them—passes them, and stops their conductor.
“May good betide us,” said the South-lander—“Is this you, Robin M'Combich, or your wraith?”
“It is Robin Oig M'Combich,” answered the Highlander, “and it is not.—But never mind that, give me pack my dirk, Hugh Morrison, or there will be words petween us.”
“There it is for you then, since less wunna serve.”
“Cot speed you, Hughie, and send you good marcats. Ye winna meet with Robin Oig again either at tryste or fair.”
So saying, he shook hastily the hand of his acquaintance, and set out in the direction from which he had advanced.
Long ere the morning dawned, the catastrophe of our tale had taken place. It was two hours after the affray when Robin Oig returned to Heskett's inn. There was Harry Wakefield, who amidst a grinning group of smockfrocks, hob-nailed shoes, and jolly English physiognomies, was trolling forth an old ditty, when he was interrupted by a high and stern voice, saying “Harry Waakfelt—if you be a man, stand up!”
“Harry Waakfelt,” repeated the same ominous summons, “stand up, if you be a man!”
“I will stand up with all my heart, Robin, my boy, but it shall be to shake hands with you, and drink down all unkindness.
“'Tis not thy fault, man, that, not having the luck to be an Englishman, thou canst not fight more than a school-girl.”
“I can fight,” answered Robin Oig, sternly, but calmly, “and you shall know it. You, Harry Waakfelt, showed me to-day how the Saxon churls fight—I show you now how the Highland Dunniewassal fights.”
He then plunged the dagger, which he suddenly displayed, into the broad breast of the English yeoman, with such fatal certainty and force, that the hilt made a hollow sound against the breast bone, and the double-edged point split the very heart of his victim. Harry Wakefield fell, and expired with a single groan.
Robin next offered the bloody poniard to the bailiff's throat.
“It were very just to lay you beside him,” he said, “but the blood of a base pick-thank shall never mix on my father's dirk, with that of a brave man.”
As he spoke, he threw the fatal weapon into the blazing turf-fire.
“There,” he said, “take me who likes—and let fire cleanse blood if it can.”
The pause still continuing, Robin Oig asked for a peace-officer, and a constable having stepped out, he surrendered himself.
“A bloody night's work you have made of it,” said the constable.
“Your own fault,” said the Highlander. “Had you kept his hands off me twa hours since, he would have been now as well and merry as he was twa minutes since.”
“It must be sorely answered,” said the peace-officer.
“Never you mind that—death pays all debts; it will pay that too.”
The constable, with assistance, procured horses to guard the prisoner to Carlisle, to abide his doom at the next assizes. While the escort was preparing, the prisoner, before he was carried from the fatal apartment, desired to look at the dead body, which had been deposited upon the large table, (at the head of which Harry Wakefield had just presided) until the surgeons should examine the wound. The face of the corpse was decently covered with a napkin. Robin Oig removed the cloth, and gazed on the lifeless visage. While those present expected that the wound, which had so lately flooded the apartment with gore, would send forth fresh streams at the touch of the homicide, Robin Oig replaced the covering, with the brief exclamation, “He was a pretty man!”
My story is nearly ended. The unfortunate Highlander stood his trial at Carlisle. I was myself present. The facts of the case were proved in the manner I have related them; and whatever might be at first the prejudice of the audience against a crime so un-English as that of assassination from revenge, yet when the national prejudices of the prisoner had been explained, which made him consider himself as stained with indelible dishonour, the generosity of the English audience was inclined to regard his crime as the aberration of a false idea of honour, rather than as flowing from a heart naturally savage, or habitually vicious. I shall never forget the charge of the venerable judge to the jury.
“We have had,” he said, “in the previous part of our duty, (alluding to some former trials,) to discuss crimes which infer disgust and abhorrence, while they call down the well-merited vengeance of the law. It is now our still more melancholy duty to apply its salutary, though severe enactments to a case of a very singular character, in which the crime (for a crime it is, and a deep one) arose less out of the malevolence of the heart, than the error of the understanding—less from any idea of committing wrong, than from an unhappily perverted notion of that which is right. Here we have two men, highly esteemed, it has been stated, in their rank of life, and attached, it seems, to each other as friends, one of whose lives has been already sacrificed to a punctilio, and the other is about to prove the vengeance of the offended laws; and yet both may claim our commiseration at least, as men acting in ignorance of each other's national prejudices, and unhappily misguided rather than voluntarily erring from the path of right conduct.
“In the original cause of the misunderstanding, we must in justice give the right to the prisoner at the bar. He had acquired possession of the enclosure, by a legal contract with the proprietor, and yet, when accosted with galling reproaches he offered to yield up half his acquisition, and his amicable proposal was rejected with scorn. Then follows the scene at Mr. Heskett the publican's, and you will observe how the stranger was treated by the deceased, and I am sorry to observe, by those around, who seem to have urged him in a manner which was aggravating in the highest degree.
“Gentlemen of the jury, it was with some impatience that I heard my learned brother, who opened the case for the crown, give an unfavourable turn to the prisoner's conduct on this occasion. He said the prisoner was afraid to encounter his antagonist in fair fight, or to submit to the laws of the ring; and that therefore, like a cowardly Italian, he had recourse to his fatal stiletto, to murder the man whom he dared not meet in manly encounter. I observed the prisoner shrink from this part of the accusation with the abhorrence natural to a brave man; and as I would wish to make my words impressive, when I point his real crime, I must secure his opinion of my impartiality, by rebutting every thing that seems to me a false accusation. There can be no doubt that the prisoner is a man of resolution—too much resolution; I wish to heaven that he had less, or rather that he had had a better education to regulate it.
* * * * *
“But, gentlemen of the jury, the pinch of the case lies in the interval of two hours betwixt the injury and the fatal retaliation. In the heat of affray and chaude melee, law, compassionating the infirmities of humanity, makes allowance for the passions which rule such a stormy moment—But the time necessary to walk twelve miles, however speedily performed, was an interval sufficient for the prisoner to have recollected himself; and the violence and deliberate determination with which he carried his purpose into effect, could neither be induced by anger, nor fear. It was the purpose and the act of pre-determined revenge, for which law neither can, will, nor ought to have sympathy.
* * * * *
“The law says to the subjects, with a voice only inferior to that of the Deity, 'Vengeance is mine.' The instant that there is time for passion to cool, and reason to interpose, an injured party must become aware, that the law assumes the exclusive cognizance of the right and wrong betwixt the parties, and opposes her inviolable buckler to every attempt of the private party to right himself. I repeat, that this unhappy man ought personally to be the object rather of our pity than our abhorrence, for he failed in his ignorance, and from mistaken notions of honour. But his crime is not the less that of murder, gentlemen, and, in your high and important office, it is your duty so to find. Englishmen have their angry passions as well as Scots; and should this man's action remain unpunished, you may unsheath, under various pretences, a thousand daggers betwixt the Land's-end and the Orkneys.”
The venerable judge thus ended what, to judge by his emotion and tears, was really a painful task. The jury, accordingly brought in a verdict of guilty; and Robin Oig M'Combich, alias M'Gregor, was sentenced to death, and executed accordingly. He met his fate with firmness, and acknowledged the justice of his sentence. But he repelled indignantly the observations of those who accused him of attacking an unarmed man. “I give a life for the life I took,” he said, “and what can I do more?”
 We remember the proverb, “Honour among thieves.”
 But we cannot so far forget our country as to be
indifferent to them.—See a passage in the Two Drovers.
* * * * *
A PERSIAN FABLE.
A little particle of rain,
That from a passing cloud descended,
Was heard thus idly to complain:—
“My brief existence now is ended.
Outcast alike of earth and sky,
Useless to live, unknown to die.”
It chanced to fall into the sea,
And there an open shell received it;
And, after years, how rich was he,
Who from its prison-house relieved it:
The drop of rain has formed a gem,
To deck a monarch's diadem.
* * * * *
“I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's
* * * * *
A witty wight, on seeing the following line in our last,
Necessitas non habet leg_em,
supplied this new reading,
Necessity without a leg to stand upon.
* * * * *
O. P. RIOTS.
“What is doing to-night?” asked Kemble, of one of the ballet-masters; “Oh pis (O P) toujours, Monsieur,” was the reply.
* * * * *
A CURIOUS FACT.
An absent man, whose heart can seldom resist the importunities of beggars, was, a few mornings since, followed by a hungry half-starved dog, when he inadvertently took from his pocket a penny, which he was just about to give to the four-footed wanderer, when he perceived his mistake. It should be mentioned that the above individual had, on nearly the precise spot, on the previous night, assisted one of his fellow creatures in the same manner as that in which he was about to relieve the quadruped. The EDITOR of the MIRROR will be happy to substantiate this fact to such as may be disposed to doubt its authenticity:—“if it be madness, there's method in it.”
* * * * *
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Seventeen hundred individuals a year, for the last seven years, have been committed for poaching.—Report Prison Discip. Society.
Crime is a curse only to the period in which it is successful; but virtue, whether fortunate or otherwise, blesses not only its own age, but remotest posterity, and is as beneficial by its example, as by its immediate effects.
At the late Doncaster races, there were 30,000 persons well clothed, and apparently well fed and happy. 2000l. were taken at the grand stand for admission.
Mr. Kean is to receive, during the present season, fifty pounds for each night's performance—the yearly income of a curate!
Singing Non Nobis Domine after dinner is a very foolish custom. People in England pay 10,000l. a year for non nobis. Rather sing Dr. Kitchener's Universal Prayer and the English grace. The common people of every country understand only their native tongue; therefore if you do not understand them, you will not understand each other. All Italian music is detestable, and nothing like our genuine native song. Weber's “unconcatenated chords” ought not to be listened to, while we have such composers as Braham and Tom Cooke. The national songs of Great Britain have not sold so well as the Cook's Oracle. “People like what goes into the mouth better than what comes out of it.”—Dr. Kitchener.
A museum, deanery, and a cattle-market are building at York. Various other improvements and repairs are also in progress in that city!
According to the Report of the Commissioners of Public Charities, the annual sum of 972,396l. has been bequeathed by pious donors to England only! This is surely the promised land of benevolence; but in Salop only, there are arrears now due to the poor for upwards of 42 years!
M. La Combe, in his Picture of London, advises those who do not wish to be robbed to carry a brace of blunderbusses, and to put the muzzle of one out of each window, so as to be seen by the robbers.
The silly habit of praising every thing at a man's table came in for a share of the late Dr. Kitchener's severity. He said, “Criticism, sir, is not a pastime; it is a verdict on oath: the man who does it is (morally) sworn to perform his duty. There is but one character on earth, sir,” he would add, “that I detest; and that is the man who praises, indiscriminately, every dish that is set before him. Once I find a fellow do that at my table, and, if he were my brother, I never ask him to dinner again.”
A daily literary journal has lately been started in Paris, and has, in less than three weeks, above 2,000 subscribers.
Reviewing, as a profession by which a certain class of men seek to instruct the public, and to support themselves creditably in the middle order, and to keep their children from falling, after the decease of enlightened parents, on the parish, is at the lowest possible ebb in this country; and many is the once well-fed critic now an hungered—Blackwood.
Oranges.—It is not perhaps generally known or suspected, that the rabbis of the London synagogues are in the habit of affording both employment and maintenance to the poor of their own persuasion, by supplying them with oranges at an almost nominal price.—Ibid.
Noble Authors.—The poor spinsters of the Minerva press can scarcely support life by their labours, so completely are they driven out of the market by the Lady Charlottes and the Lady Bettys; and a rhyming peer is as common as a Birmingham button. It would take ten Horace Walpoles at least to do justice to the living authors of the red book.
Buying Books.—Money is universally allowed to be the thing which all men love best; and if a man buys a book, we may safely infer he thinks well of it. What nobody buys, then, we may justly conclude is not worth reading.
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On the Duchess of Devonshire's canvassing for Mr. Fox at the Westminster Election.
Array'd in matchless beauty, Devon's fair
In Fox's favour takes a zealous part;
But, oh! where'er the pilferer comes beware,
She supplicates a vote, and steals a heart.
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Lines sent by a Surgeon, with a box of ointment, to a Lady who had an inflamed eye.
The doctor's kindest wishes e'er attend
His beauteous patient, may he hope his friend;
And prays that no corrosive disappointment
May mar the lenient virtues of his ointment;
Of which, a bit not larger than a shot,
Or that more murd'rous thing, “a beauty spot,”
Warmed on the finger by the taper's ray,
Smear o'er the eye affected twice a day.
Proffer not gold—I swear by my degree,
From beauty's lily hand to take no fee;
No glittering trash be mine, I scorn such pelf,
The eye, when cured, will pay the debt itself.
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George III. is said to have observed to a person who approached him in a moment of personal restraint, indispensable in his situation, “Here you see me checkmated.”
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The first Grimaldi celebrated on the stage, appeared at Paris about the year 1735, when his athletic force and extraordinary agility procured him the sobriquet of “Jambe de Fer,” or iron-leg. In 1742, when Mahomet Effendi, ambassador of the Porte, visited Paris, he was received with the highest honour and utmost distinction; and the court having ordered a performance for the Turk's entertainment, Grimaldi was commanded to exert himself to effect that object. In obedience to his directions, in making a surprising leap, his foot actually struck a lustre, placed high from the stage, and one of the glass drops was thrown in the face of the ambassador. It was then customary to demand some reward from the personage for whom the entertainment was prepared, and, at the conclusion of the piece, Grimaldi waited upon the Mussulman for the usual present. If the Turk had concealed the expression of his anger at the accident, it was not however extinct, for on the appearance of the buffoon, he directed him to be seized by his attendants, and transported in his theatrical costume, to his residence, where, after undergoing a severe bastinado, the hapless actor was thrust into the street, with only his pedal honour for his recompense.
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NEGROES' HEIR LOOM.
Some years ago, the boiler-men negroes on Huckenfield estate were overheard by the book-keeper discoursing on this subject, (the superiority of the whites,) and various opinions were given, till the question was thus set at rest by an old African:—“When God Almighty make de world, him make two men, a nigger and a buckra; and him give dem two box, and him tell dem for make dem choice. Nigger, (nigger greedy from time,) when him find one box heavy, him take it, and buckra take t'other; when dem open de box, buckra see pen, ink, and paper; nigger box full up with hoe and bill, and hoe and bill for nigger till this day.”—Barclay's Slavery in the West Indies.
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When Suffer, who had been fifty years a servant in the English factory at Abesheber, or Bushire, a Persian sea-port, was on his death-bed, the English doctor ordered him a glass of wine. He at first refused, saying, “I cannot take it; it is forbidden in the Koran.” But after a few moments, he begged the doctor to give it him, saying, as he raised himself in his bed, “Give me the wine; for it is written in the same volume, that all you unbelievers will be excluded from Paradise; and the experience of fifty years teaches me to prefer your society in the other world, to any place unto which I can be advanced with my own countrymen.” He died a few hours after this sally.—Sketches of Persia.
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