The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIX. NO. 530.] SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 1832. [PRICE 2_d_.
* * * * *
[Illustration: LAW INSTITUTION.]
This handsome portico is situate on the west side of Chancery Lane. It
represents, however, but a portion of the building, which extends thence
into Bell Yard, where there is a similar entrance. The whole has been
erected by Messrs. Lee and Sons, the builders of the new Post Office and
the London University; whose contract for the present work is stated at
9,214_l_. The portion in our engraving is one of the finest structures of
its kind in the metropolis. The bold yet chaste character of the Ionic
columns, and the rich foliated moulding which decorates the pediment, as
well as the soffit ceiling of the portico, must be greatly admired. We
should regret this handsome structure being pent up in so narrow a street
as Chancery Lane, did not the appropriateness of its situation promise
advantages of greater importance than mere architectural display.
From the Fourth Annual Report, we learn that "the plan of the _Law
Institution_ originated with some individuals in the profession, who were
desirous of increasing its respectability, and promoting the general
convenience and advantage of its members." Rightly enough it appeared to
them "singular, that whilst the various public bodies, companies, and
commercial and trading classes in the metropolis, and indeed in many of
the principal towns in the kingdom, have long possessed places of general
resort, for the more convenient transaction of their business; and while
numerous institutions for promoting literature and science amongst all
ranks and conditions of society, have been long established, and others
are daily springing up, the attorneys and solicitors of the superior
courts of record at Westminster should still be without an establishment
in London, calculated to afford them similar advantages; more particularly
when the halls and libraries of the inns of court, the clubs of barristers,
special pleaders, and conveyancers, the libraries of the advocates and
writers to the signet at Edinburgh, and the association of attorneys in
Dublin, furnish a strong presumption of the advantages which would
probably result from an establishment of a similar description for
attorneys in London.
"For effecting the purposes of the institution, it was considered
necessary to raise a fund of 50,000_l_. in shares of 25_l_. each, payable
by instalments, no one being permitted to take more than twenty shares.
The plan having been generally announced to the profession, a large
proportion of the shares were immediately subscribed for, so that no doubt
remained of the success of the design, and the committee therefore
directed inquiries to be made for a site for the intended building, and
succeeded in obtaining an eligible one in Chancery Lane, nearly opposite
to the Rolls Court, consisting of two houses, formerly occupied by Sir
John Silvester (and lately by Messrs. Collins and Wells,) and Messrs.
Clarke, Richards and Medcalf, and of the house behind, in Bell Yard,
lately in the possession of Mr. Maxwell; thus having the advantage of two
frontages, and, from its contiguity to the law offices and inns of court,
being peculiarly adapted to the objects of the institution."
"It is the present intention of the committee to provide for the following
objects:--_viz_--_A Hall_, to be open at all hours of the day; but some
particular hour to be fixed as the general time for assembling: to be
furnished with desks, or inclosed tables, affording similar accommodations
to those in Lloyd's Coffee House; and to be provided with newspapers and
other publications calculated for general reference."
"An Ante-room for clerks and others, in which will be kept an account of
all public and private parliamentary business, in its various stages,
appeals in the House of Lords, the general and daily cause papers, seal
"A Library to contain a complete collection of books in the law, and
relating to those branches of literature which may be considered more
particularly connected with the profession; votes, reports, acts, journals,
and other proceedings of parliament; county and local histories;
topographical, genealogical, and other matters of antiquarian research, &c.
"An Office of Registry in which will be kept accounts and printed
particulars of property intended for sale, &c."
"A Club Room which may afford members an opportunity of procuring dinners
and refreshments, on the plan of the University, Athenaeum, Verulam, and
"A suite of rooms for meetings."
"Fire-proof rooms, in the basement story, to be fitted up with closets,
shelves, drawers, and partitions, for the deposit of deeds, &c."
Upon reference to the list of members to Jan. 1831, we find their number
to be 607 in town, and 88 in the country, who hold 2000 shares in the
Institution. A charter of incorporation has recently been granted to the
Society by his Majesty, by the style of "The Society of Attorneys,
Solicitors, Proctors, and others, not being Barristers, practising in the
Courts of Law and Equity in the United Kingdom," thus giving full effect
to the arrangements contemplated by this building in Chancery Lane.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
He mark'd two sunbeams upward driven
Till they blent in one in the bosom of heaven;
And when closed o'er the eye lid of night,
His own mind's eye saw it doubly bright,
And as upward and upward it floated on
He deemed it a seraph--and anon.
Through its light on heaven's floor he made,
The shadow bright of his dead love's shade,
In her living beauty, and he wrapt her in light,
Which dropped from the eye of the _Infinite_.
And as she breathed her heavenward sigh,
'Twas halved by that light all radiently,
As it lit her up to eternity.
Then the future opened its ocult scroll.
And his own inward man was refined to soul,
And straightway it rose to the realms above,
On the wings of thought till it joined his love,
And though from that beauteous trance he woke
Still linger'd the thought--and he called it--hope!
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
It was a custom in my time to look through a handkerchief at the new year's
moon, and as many moons as ye saw (multiplied by the handkerchief,) so
many years would ye be before ye were wed.
When sunset and moon-rise
Chill and burn at once on the earth--
When love-tears and love-sighs
Tickle up boisterous mirth--
When fate-stars are shooting,
Sparks of love to the maid
To fill her funeral eye with light,
And owlets are hooting
Her sire's ghost, which she's unlaid
With vexation, down backward in night;
Then the lover may spin from that light of her eye,
(As through his sigh it glances silkily,)
With the wheel of a dead witch's fancy,
The thread of his after destiny--
All hidden things to prove.
Then make a warp and a woof of that thread of sight,
And weave it with loom of a fairy sprite,
As she works by the lamp of the glow-worm's light,
While it lays drunk with the dew-drop of night,
And ye'll have the _kerchief_ of love:
Then peep through it at the waning moon,
And ye shall read your fate--anon.
* * * * *
A SKETCH OF SINGAPORE.
Near the village of Kampong Glam I observed a poor-looking bungalow,
surrounded by high walls, exhibiting effects of age and climate. Over the
large gateway which opened into the inclosure surrounding this dwelling
were watch-towers. On inquiry, I found this was the residence of the Rajah
of Johore, who includes Sincapore also in his dominions. The island was
purchased of him by the British Government, who now allow him an annual
pension. He is considered to have been formerly a leader of pirates; and
when we saw a brig he was building, it naturally occurred to our minds
whether he was about to resort to his old practices. We proposed visiting
this personage; and on arriving at the gateway were met by a peon, who,
after delivering our message to the Rajah, requested us to wait a few
minutes, until his _Highness_ was ready. We did not wait long, for the
Rajah soon appeared, and took his seat, in lieu of a throne, upon the
highest step of those which led to his dwelling. His appearance was
remarkable: he appeared a man of about forty years of age--teeth perfect,
but quite black, from the custom of chewing the betel constantly. His head
was large; and his shaven cranium afforded an interesting phrenological
treat. He was deformed; not more than five feet in height, of large body,
and short, thick, and deformed legs, scarcely able to support the
ponderous trunk. His neck was thick and short, and his head habitually
stooped; his face bloated, with the lower lip projecting, and large eyes
protruding, one of them having a cataractal appearance. He was dressed in
a short pair of cotton drawers, a sarong of cotton cloth came across the
shoulders in the form of a scarf, and with tarnished, embroidered slippers,
and handkerchief around the head (having the upper part exposed) after the
Malay fashion, completed the attire of this singular creature.
As much grace and dignity was displayed in our reception as such a figure
could show, and chairs were placed by the attendants for our accommodation.
He waddled a short distance, and, notwithstanding the exertion was so
extraordinary as to cause large drops of perspiration to roll down his
face, conferred a great honour upon us by personally accompanying us to
see a tank he had just formed for fish, and with a flight of steps, for
the convenience of bathing. After viewing this, he returned to his former
station, when he re-seated himself, with a dignity of look and manner
surpassing all description; and we took our departure, after a brief
I remarked, that on his approach the natives squatted down, as a mark of
respect: a custom similar to which prevails in several of the Polynesian
_Mr. G.B.'s MS. Jour., Nov. 15, 1830_.
 Singapoor is derived from Sing-gah, signifying to call or
touch at, bait, stop by the way; and poor, a village (generally
fortified), a town, & c.--(Marsden's Malay Dictionary). It is
considered at this island, or rather at this part of the island
where the town is now situated (the name, however, has been
given by Europeans to the whole island), there was formerly a
village, inhabited principally by fishermen. The Malays, who
traded from the eastward to Malacca, and others of the ports to
the westward, touched at this place. Singa also signifies a lion
(known by name only in the Malay countries), from which the name
of the island has been (no doubt erroneously) supposed to be
 Kampong Glam, near Sincapore, has its flame derived, it is
said, from Kampong, signifying a village; and Glam, the name of
a particular kind of tree.
* * * * *
MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
ROYAL AND NOBLE GLUTTONY.
(_For the Mirror_.)
The Emperor Claudius had a strong predilection for mushrooms: he was
poisoned with them, by Agrippina, his niece and fourth wife; but as the
poison only made him sick, he sent for Xenophon, his physician, who,
pretending to give him one of the emetics he commonly used after debauches,
caused a poisoned feather to be passed into his throat.
Nero used to call mushrooms the relish of the gods, because Claudius, his
predecessor, having been, as was supposed, poisoned by them, was, after
his death, ranked among the gods.
Domitian one day convoked the senate, to know in what fish-kettle they
should cook a monstrous turbot, which had been presented to him. The
senators gravely weighed the matter; but as there was no utensil of this
kind big enough, it was proposed to cut the fish in pieces. This advice
was rejected. After much deliberation, it was resolved that a proper
utensil should be made for the purpose; and it was decided, that whenever
the emperor went to war a great number of potters should accompany him.
The most pleasing part of the story is, that a blind senator seemed in
perfect ecstacy at the turbot, by continually praising it, at the same
time turning in the very opposite direction.
Julius Caesar sometimes ate at a meal the revenues of several provinces.
Vitellius made four meals a day; and all those he took with his friends
never cost less than ten thousand crowns. That which was given to him by
his brother was most magnificent: two thousand select dishes were served
up: seven thousand fat birds, and every delicacy which the ocean and
Mediterranean sea could furnish.
Nero sat at the table from midday till midnight, amidst the most monstrous
Geta had all sorts of meat served up to him in alphabetical order.
Heliogabalus regaled twelve of his friends in the most incredible manner:
he gave to each guest animals of the same species as those he served them
to eat; he insisted upon their carrying away all the vases or cups of gold,
silver, and precious stones, out of which they had drunk; and it is
remarkable, that he supplied each with a new one every time he asked to
drink. He placed on the head of each a crown interwoven with green foliage,
and gave each a superbly-ornamented and well-yoked car to return home in.
He rarely ate fish but when he was near the sea; and when he was at a
distance from it, he had them served up to him in sea-water.
Louis VIII. invented a dish called _Truffes a la puree d'ortolans_. The
happy few who tasted this dish, as concocted by the royal hand of Louis
himself, described it as the very perfection of the culinary art. The Duc
d'Escars was sent for one day by his royal master, for the purpose of
assisting in the preparation of a glorious dish of _Truffes a la puree
d'ortolans_; and their joint efforts being more than usually successful,
the happy friends sat down to _Truffes a la puree d'ortolans_ for ten, the
whole of which they caused to disappear between them, and then each
retired to rest, triumphing in the success of their happy toils. In the
middle of the night, however, the Duc d'Escars suddenly awoke, and found
himself alarmingly indisposed. He rang the bells of his apartment, when
his servant came in, and his physicians were sent for; but they were of no
avail, for he was dying of a surfeit. In his last moments he caused some
of his attendants to go and inquire whether his majesty was not suffering
in a similar manner with himself, but they found him sleeping soundly and
quietly. In the morning, when the king was informed of the sad catastrophe
of his faithful friend and servant, he exclaimed, "Ah, I told him I had
the better digestion of the two."
* * * * *
THE SKETCH BOOK.
EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR. A FRAGMENT.
(_For the Mirror_.)
During the rage of the last continental war in Europe, occasion--no matter
what--called an honest Yorkshire squire to take a journey to Warsaw.
Untravelled and unknowing, he provided himself no passport: his business
concerned himself alone, and what had foreign nations to do with him? His
route lay through the states of neutral and contending powers. He landed
in Holland--passed the usual examination; but, insisting that the affairs
which brought him there were of a private nature, he was
imprisoned--questioned--sifted;--and appearing to be incapable of design,
was at length permitted to pursue his journey.
To the officer of the guard who conducted him to the frontiers he made
frequent complaints of the loss he should sustain by the delay. He swore
it was uncivil, and unfriendly, and ungenerous: five hundred Dutchmen
might have travelled through Great Britain without a question,--they never
questioned any stranger in Great Britain, nor stopped him, nor imprisoned
him, nor guarded him.
Roused from his native phlegm by these reflections on the police of his
country, the officer slowly drew the pipe from his mouth, and emitting the
smoke, "Mynheer," said he, "when you first set your foot on the land of
the Seven United Provinces, you should have declared you came hither on
affairs of commerce;" and replacing his pipe, relapsed into immovable
Released from this unsocial companion, he soon arrived at a French post,
where the sentinel of the advanced guard requested the honour of his
permission to ask for his passports. On his failing to produce any, he was
entreated to pardon the liberty he took of conducting him to the
commandant--but it was his duty, and he must, however reluctantly, perform
Monsieur le Commandant received him with cold and pompous politeness. He
made the usual inquiries; and our traveller, determined to avoid the error
which had produced such inconvenience, replied that commercial concerns
drew him to the continent. "Ma foi," said the commandant, "c'est un
negotiant, un bourgeois"--take him away to the citadel, we will examine
him to-morrow, at present we must dress for the comedie--"Allons."
"Monsieur," said the sentinel, as he conducted him to the guard-room, "you
should not have mentioned commerce to Monsieur le Commandant; no gentleman
in France disgraces himself with trade--we despise traffic; you should
have informed Monsieur le Commandant, that you entered the dominions of
the Grand Monarque to improve in dancing, or in singing, or in dressing:
arms are the profession of a man of fashion, and glory and accomplishments
his pursuits--Vive le Roi."
He had the honour of passing the night with a French guard, and the next
day was dismissed. Proceeding on his journey, he fell in with a detachment
of German Chasseurs. They demanded his name, quality, and business. He
came he said to dance, and to sing, and to dress. "He is a Frenchman,"
said the corporal--"A spy!" cries the sergeant. He was directed to mount
behind a dragoon, and carried to the camp.
There he was soon discharged; but not without a word of advice. "We
Germans," said the officer, "eat, drink, and smoke: these are our
favourite employments; and had you informed the dragoons you followed no
other business, you would have saved them, me, and yourself, infinite
He soon approached the Prussian dominions, where his examination was still
more strict; and on answering that his only designs were to eat, and to
drink, and to smoke--"To eat! and to drink! and to smoke!" exclaimed the
officer with astonishment. "Sir, you must he forwarded to Postdam--war is
the only business of mankind." The acute and penetrating Frederick soon
comprehended the character of our traveller, and gave him a passport under
his own hand. "It is an ignorant, an innocent Englishman," says the
veteran; "the English are unacquainted with military duties; when they
want a general they borrow him of me."
At the barriers of Saxony he was again interrogated. "I am a soldier,"
said our traveller, "behold the passport of the first warrior of the
age."--"You are a pupil of the destroyer of millions," replied the
sentinel, "we must send you to Dresden; and, hark'e, sir, conceal your
passport, as you would avoid being torn to pieces by those whose husbands,
sons, and relations have been wantonly sacrificed at the shrine of
Prussian ambition." A second examination at Dresden cleared him of
Arrived at the frontiers of Poland, he flattered himself his troubles were
at an end; but he reckoned without his host.
"Your business in Poland?" interrogated the officer.
"I really don't know, sir."
"Not know your own business, sir!" resumed the officer; "I must conduct
you to the Starost."
"For the love of God," said the wearied traveller, "take pity on me. I
have been imprisoned in Holland for being desirous to keep my own affairs
to myself;--I have been confined all night in a French guard-house, for
declaring myself a merchant;--I have been compelled to ride seven miles
behind a German dragoon, for professing myself a man of pleasure;--I have
been carried fifty miles a prisoner in Prussia, for acknowledging my
attachment to ease and good living;--I have been threatened with
assassination in Saxony, for avowing myself a warrior. If you will have
the goodness to let me know how I may render such an account of myself as
not to give offence, I shall ever consider you as my friend and protector."
* * * * *
SPEECH OF KING HENRY THE FIRST.
(_To the Editor_.)
The following speech of Henry the First will, no doubt, be thought by some
of your numerous readers curious enough to deserve a corner in your
valuable _Mirror_. It is the first that ever was delivered from the throne;
--is preserved to us by only one historian (Mathew Paris), and scarcely
taken notice of by any other. Henry the First, the Conqueror's youngest
son, had dispossessed his eldest brother, Robert, of his right of
succession to the crown of England. The latter afterwards coming over to
England, upon a friendly visit to him, and Henry, being suspicious that
this circumstance might turn to his disadvantage, called together the
great men of the realm, and spoke to them as follows:--
"My friends and faithful subjects, both natives and foreigners,--You all
know very well that my brother Robert was both called by God, and elected
King of Jerusalem, which he now might have happily governed; and how
shamefully he refused that rule, for which he justly deserves God's anger
and reproof. You know also, in many other instances, his pride and
brutality: because he is a man that delights in war and bloodshed, he is
impatient of peace. I know that he thinks you a parcel of contemptible
fellows: he calls you a set of gluttons and drunkards, whom he hopes to
tread under his feet. I, truly a king, meek, humble, and peaceable, will
preserve and cherish you in your ancient liberties, which I have formerly
sworn to perform; will hearken to your wise councils with patience; and
will govern you justly, after the example of the best of princes. If you
desire it, I will strengthen this promise with a written character; and
all those laws which the Holy King Edward, by the inspiration of God, so
wisely enacted, I will again swear to keep inviolably. If you, my brethren,
will stand by me faithfully, we shall easily repulse the strongest efforts
the cruelest enemy can make against me and these kingdoms. If I am only
supported by the valour of the English nation, all the weak threats of the
Normans will no longer seem formidable to me."
The historian adds, that this harrangue of Henry to his nobles had the
desired effect, though he afterwards broke all his promises to them. Duke
Robert went back much disgusted; when his brother soon after followed,
gained a victory over him, took him prisoner, put out his eyes, and
condemned him to perpetual imprisonment.
* * * * *
REMEDY FOR ALDERMEN SLEEPING IN CHURCH.
"Sleep no more."--_Macbeth_.
Bishop Andrews was applied to for advice by a corpulent alderman of
Cambridge, who had been often reproved for sleeping at church, and whose
conscience troubled him on this account. Andrews told him it was an ill
habit of body, and not of mind, and advised him to eat little at dinner.
The alderman tried this expedient, but found it ineffectual. He applied
again with great concern to the bishop, who advised him to make a hearty
meal, as usual, but to take his full sleep before he went to church. The
advice was followed, and the alderman came to St. Mary's Church, where the
preacher was prepared with a sermon against sleeping at church, which was
thrown away, for the good alderman looked at the preacher during the whole
sermon time, and spoiled the design.
* * * * *
THE BARN OWL.
(_Concluded from page 28._)
When I found that this first settlement on the gateway had succeeded so
well, I set about forming other establishments. This year I have had four
broods, and I trust that next season I can calculate on having nine. This
will be a pretty increase, and it will help to supply the place of those
which in this neighbourhood are still unfortunately doomed to death, by
the hand of cruelty or superstition. We can now always have a peep at the
owls, in their habitation on the old ruined gateway, whenever we choose.
Confident of protection, these pretty birds betray no fear when the
stranger mounts up to their place of abode. I would here venture a surmise,
that the barn owl sleeps standing. Whenever we go to look at it, we
invariably see it upon the perch bolt upright, and often with its eyes
closed, apparently fast asleep. Buffon and Bewick err (no doubt,
unintentionally) when they say that the barn owl snores during its repose.
What they took for snoring was the cry of the young birds for food. I had
fully satisfied myself on this score some years ago. However, in December,
1823, I was much astonished to hear this same snoring kind of noise, which
had been so common in the month of July. On ascending the ruin, I found a
brood of young owls in the apartment.
Upon this ruin is placed a perch, about a foot from the hole at which the
owls enter. Sometimes, at midday, when the weather is gloomy, you may see
an owl upon it, apparently enjoying the refreshing diurnal breeze. This
year (1831) a pair of barn owls hatched their young, on the 7th of
September, in a sycamore tree near the old ruined gateway.
If this useful bird caught its food by day, instead of hunting for it by
night, mankind would have ocular demonstration of its utility in thinning
the country of mice, and it would be protected and encouraged every where.
It would be with us what the ibis was with the Egyptians. When it has
young, it will bring a mouse to the nest about every twelve or fifteen
minutes. But, in order to have a proper idea of the enormous quantity of
mice which this bird destroys we must examine the pellets which it ejects
from its stomach in the place of its retreat. Every pellet contains from
four to seven skeletons of mice. In sixteen months from the time that the
apartment of the owl on the old gateway was cleaned out, there has been a
deposit of above a bushel of pellets.
The barn owl sometimes carries off rats. One evening I was sitting under a
shed, and killed a very large rat, as it was coming out of a hole, about
ten yards from where I was watching it. I did not go to take it up, hoping
to get another shot. As it lay there, a barn owl pounced upon it, and flew
away with it.
This bird has been known to catch fish. Some years ago, on a fine evening
in the month of July, long before it was dark, as I was standing on the
middle of the bridge, and minuting the owl by my watch, as she brought
mice into her nest, all on a sudden she dropped perpendicularly into the
water. Thinking that she had fallen down in epilepsy, my first thoughts
were to go and fetch the boat; but before I had well got to the end of the
bridge, I saw the owl rise out of the water with a fish in her claws, and
take it to the nest. This fact is mentioned by the late much revered and
lamented Mr. Atkinson of Leeds, in his _Compendium_, in a note, under the
signature of W., a friend of his, to whom I had communicated it a few days
after I had witnessed it.
I cannot make up my mind to pay any attention to the description of the
amours of the owl by a modern writer; at least the barn owl plays off no
buffooneris here, such as those which he describes. An owl is an owl all
the world over, whether under the influence of Momus, Venus, or Diana.
When farmers complain that the barn owl destroys the eggs of their pigeons,
they lay the saddle on the wrong horse. They ought to put it on the rat.
Formerly I could get very few young pigeons till the rats were excluded
effectually from the dovecot. Since that took place, it has produced a
great abundance every year, though the barn owls frequent it, and are
encouraged all around it. The barn owl merely resorts to it for repose and
concealment. If it were really an enemy to the dovecot, we should see the
pigeons in commotion as soon as it begins its evening flight; but the
pigeons heed it not: whereas if the sparrow-hawk or windhover should make
their appearance, the whole community would be up at once, proof
sufficient that the barn owl is not looked upon as a bad, or even a
suspicious, character by the inhabitants of the dovecot.
Till lately, a great and well-known distinction has always been made
betwixt the screeching and the hooting of owls. The tawny owl is the only
owl which hoots; and when I am in the woods after poachers, about an hour
before daybreak, I hear with extreme delight its loud, clear, and sonorous
notes, resounding far and near through hill and dale. Very different from
these notes is the screech of the barn owl. But Sir William Jardine
informs us that this owl hoots; and that he has shot it in the act of
hooting. This is stiff authority; and I believe it because it comes from
the pen of Sir William Jardine. Still, however, methinks that it ought to
be taken in a somewhat diluted state; we know full well that most
extraordinary examples of splendid talent do, from time to time, make
their appearance on the world's wide stage. Thus, Franklin brought down
fire from the skies:--"Eripuit fulmen coelo, sceptrumque tyrannis."
Paganini has led all London captive, by a single piece of twisted
catgut:--"Tu potes reges comitesque stultos ducere." Leibnetz tells us
of a dog in Germany that could pronounce distinctly thirty words,
Goldsmith informs us that he once heard a raven whistle the tune of the
"Shamrock," with great distinctness, truth, and humour. With these
splendid examples before our eyes, may we not be inclined to suppose that
the barn owl which Sir William shot in the absolute act of hooting may
have been a gifted bird, of superior parts and knowledge (una de multis,
as Horace said of Miss Danaus), endowed perhaps, from its early days with
the faculty of hooting, or else skilled in the art by having been taught
it by its neighbour, the tawny owl? I beg to remark that though I
unhesitatingly grant the faculty of hooting to this one particular
individual owl, still I flatly refuse to believe that hooting is common to
barn owls in general. Ovid, in his sixth book _Fastortim_, pointedly says
that it screeched in his day:--
"Est illis strigibus nomen: sed nominis hujus
Causa, quod horrenda stridere nocte Solent."
The barn owl may be heard shrieking here perpetually on the portico, and
in the large sycamore trees near the house. It shrieks equally when the
moon shines and when the night is rough and cloudy; and he who takes an
interest in it may here see the barn owl the night through when there is a
moon; and he may hear it shriek when perching on the trees, or when it is
on wing. He may see it and hear it shriek, within a few yards of him, long
before dark; and again, often after daybreak, before it takes its final
departure to its wonted resting place. I am amply repaid for the pains I
have taken to protect and encourage the barn owl; it pays me a
hundred-fold by the enormous quantity of mice which it destroys throughout
the year. The servants now no longer wish to persecute it. Often, on a
fine summer's evening, with delight I see the villagers loitering under
the sycamore trees longer than they would otherwise do, to have a peep at
the barn owl, as it leaves the ivy-mantled tower: fortunate for it, if, in
lieu of exposing itself to danger, by mixing with the world at large, it
only knew the advantage of passing its nights at home; for here
"No birds that haunt my valley free
To slaughter I condemn;
Taught by the Power that pities me,
I learn to pity them."
_Magazine of Natural History._
 "He snatched lightning from heaven, and the sceptre from
 "Thou canst lead kings and their silly nobles."
 "One out of many."
 "They are called owls (striges) because they are accustomed
to screech (stridere) by night."
* * * * *
This species of bat is abundant at Tongatabu, and most of the Polynesian
Islands. At the sacred burial place at Maofanga (island of Tongatabu) they
were pendant in great numbers from a lofty Casuarina tree, which grew in
the enclosure. One being shot, at Tongatabu, it was given to a native, at
his request, who took it home to eat. From the number of skulls found in
the huts at the island of Erromanga (New Hebrides group), and the ribs
being also worn in clusters, as ornaments, in the ears, they very probably
form an article of food among the natives. Capt. S.P. Henry related to me,
that when at Aiva (one of the Fidji group) he fired at some of these bats,
which he had observed hanging from the trees, on which they all flew up,
making a loud screaming noise, at the same time discharging their foeces
on the assailants.--_Mr. G.B.'s MS. Journal, August, 1829._
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR AND LITERARY NOTICES OF WORKS.
ANNUAL BIOGRAPHY AND OBITUARY OF 1831.
Within this volume, it may almost be said, "keeps death his antic court."
It comprises biographies of celebrated persons, who have died within the
year, as well as a General Biographical List of others lower in the roll
of fame. The biographies are 31 in number: among them are memoirs of Henry
Mackenzie, Elliston, Jackson the artist, Abernethy, Mrs. Siddons, Rev.
Robert Hall, Thomas Hope, Carrington, the poet of Dartmoor, Northcote the
artist, and the Earl of Norbury, and William Roscoe. These names alone
would furnish a volume of the most interesting character, and they are
aided by others of almost equal note. The memoirs are from various sources,
in part original; but, as we have cause to know the difficulty of
procuring biographical particulars of persons recently deceased, from
their surviving relatives, we are not surprised at the paucity of such
details in the present volume. Nevertheless some of the papers are stamped
with this original value; as the memoirs of Mrs. Siddons and Mr. Thomas
Hope. Our extracts are of the anecdotic turn.
An anecdote illustrative of the sound integrity, as well as of the humour,
of Mr. Abernethy's character, may here be introduced. On his receiving the
appointment of Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the Royal College of
Surgeons, a professional friend observed to him that they should now have
something new.--"What do you mean?" asked Mr. Abernethy. "Why," said the
other, "of course you will brush up the lectures which you have been so
long delivering at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and let us have them in an
improved form."--"Do you take me for a fool or a knave?" rejoined Mr.
Abernethy. "I have always given the students at the Hospital that to which
they are entitled--the best produce of my mind. If I could have made my
lectures to them better, I would certainly have made them so. I will give
the College of Surgeons precisely the same lectures, down to the smallest
details:--nay, I will tell the old fellows how to make a poultice." Soon
after, when he was lecturing to the students at St. Bartholomew's, and
adverting to the College of Surgeons, he chucklingly exclaimed, "I told
the big wigs how to make a poultice!" It is said by those who have
witnessed it, that Mr Abernethy's explanation of the art of making a
poultice was irresistibly entertaining.
"Pray, Mr. Abernethy, what is a cure for gout?" was the question of an
indolent and luxurious citizen. "Live upon sixpence a-day--and earn it!"
was the pithy answer.
A scene of much entertainment once took place between our eminent surgeon
and the famous John Philpot Curran. Mr. Curran, it seems, being personally
unknown to him, had visited Mr. Abernethy several times without having had
an opportunity of fully explaining (as he thought) the nature of his
malady: at last, determined to have a hearing, when interrupted in his
story, he fixed his dark bright eye on the "doctor," and said--"Mr.
Abernethy, I have been here on eight different days, and I have paid you
eight different guineas; but you have never yet listened to the symptoms
of my complaint. I am resolved, Sir, not to leave this room till you
satisfy me by doing so." Struck by his manner, Mr. Abernethy threw himself
back in his chair, and assuming the posture of a most indefatigable
listener, exclaimed, in a tone of half surprise, half humour,--"Oh! very
well, Sir; I am ready to hear you out. Go on, give me the whole--your
birth, parentage, and education. I wait your pleasure; go on." Upon which
Curran, not a whit disconcerted, gravely began:--"My name is John Philpot
Curran. My parents were poor, but I believe honest people, of the province
of Munster, where also I was born, at Newmarket, in the County of Cork, in
the year one thousand seven hundred and fifty. My father being employed to
collect the rents of a Protestant gentleman, of small fortune, in that
neighbourhood, procured my admission into one of the Protestant
free-schools, where I obtained the first rudiments of my education. I was
next enabled to enter Trinity College, Dublin, in the humble sphere of a
_sizer_:"--and so he continued for several minutes, giving his astonished
hearer a true, but irresistibly laughable account of his "birth, parentage,
and education," as desired, till he came to his illness and sufferings,
the detail of which was not again interrupted. It is hardly necessary to
add, that Mr. Abernethy's attention to his gifted patient was, from that
hour to the close of his life, assiduous, unremitting, and devoted.
In lecturing, Mr. Abernethy's manner was peculiar, abrupt, and
conversational; and often when he indulged in episodes and anecdotes he
convulsed his class with laughter, especially when he used to enforce his
descriptions by earnest gesticulation. Frequently, while lecturing, he
would descend from his high stool, on which he sat with his legs dangling,
to exhibit to his class some peculiar attitudes and movements illustrative
of the results of different casualties and disorders; so that a stranger
coming in, unacquainted with the lecturer's topics, might easily have
supposed him to be an actor entertaining his audience with a monologue,
after the manner of Matthews or Yates. This disposition, indeed, gave rise
to a joke among his pupils of "_Abernethy at Home_," whenever he lectured
upon any special subject. In relating a case, he was seen at times to be
quite fatigued with the contortions into which he threw his body and limbs;
and the stories he would tell of his consultations, with the dialogue
between his patient and himself, were theatrical and comic to the greatest
_Northcote and the present King._
A certain Royal Duke was at the head of those who chaperoned Master Betty,
the young Roscius, at the period when the _furor_ of fashion made all the
_beau monde_ consider it an enviable honour to be admitted within
throne-distance of the boy-actor. Amongst others who obtained the
privilege of making a portrait of this chosen favourite of fortune, was Mr.
The royal Duke to whom we allude was in the habit of taking Master Betty
to Argyll Place in his own carriage; and there were usually three or four
ladies and gentlemen of rank, who either accompanied his Royal Highness,
or met him at the studio of the artist.
Northcote, nothing awed by the splendid coteries thus assembled,
maintained his opinions upon all subjects that were discussed,--and his
independence obtained for him general respect, though one pronounced him a
cynic--another an eccentric--another a humorist--another a
free-thinker--and the prince, with manly taste, in the nautical phrase,
dubbed him a d----d honest, independent, little old fellow.
One day, however, the royal Duke, being left with only Lady ----, the
young Roscius, and the painter, and his patience being, perhaps, worn a
little with the tedium of an unusually long sitting, thought to beguile an
idle minute by quizzing the personal appearance of the Royal Academician.
Northcote, at no period of life, was either a buck, a blood, a fop, or a
maccaroni; he soon dispatched the business of dressing when a young man;
and, as he advanced to a later period, he certainly could not be called a
dandy. The loose gown in which he painted was principally composed of
shreds and patches, and might, perchance, be half a century old; his white
hair was sparingly bestowed on each side, and his cranium was entirely
bald. The royal visiter, standing behind him whilst he painted, first
gently lifted, or rather twitched the collar of the gown, which Mr.
Northcote resented, by suddenly turning and expressing his displeasure by
a frown. Nothing daunted, his Royal Highness presently, with his finger,
touched the professor's grey locks, observing, "You do not devote much
time to the toilette, I perceive--pray how long?"
Northcote instantly replied, "Sir, I never allow any one to take personal
liberties with me;--you are the first who ever presumed to do so, and I
beg your Royal Highness to recollect that I am in my own house." He then
resumed his painting.
The Prince, whatever he thought or felt, kept it to himself; and,
remaining silent for some minutes, Mr. Northcote addressed his
conversation to the lady, when the royal Duke, gently opening the door of
the studio, shut it after him, and walked away.
Northcote did not quit his post, but proceeded with the picture. It
happened that the royal carriage was not ordered until five o'clock;--it
was now not four. Presently the royal Duke returned, reopened the door,
and said, "Mr. Northcote, it rains; pray lend me an umbrella." Northcote,
without emotion, rang the bell; the servant attended; and he desired her
to bring her mistress's umbrella, that being the best in the house, and
sufficiently handsome. The royal Duke patiently waited for it in the back
drawing-room, the studio door still open; when, having received it, he
again walked down stairs, attended by the female servant. On her opening
the street door, his Royal Highness thanked her, and, spreading the
"Surely his Royal Highness is not gone,--I wish you would allow me to ask,"
said Lady ----. "Certainly his Royal Highness is gone," replied Northcote;
"but I will inquire at your instance." The bell was rung again, and the
servant confirmed the assertion.
"Dear Mr. Northcote," said Lady ----, "I fear you have highly offended
his Royal Highness."--"Madam," replied the painter, "I am the offended
party." Lady ---- made no remark, except wishing that her carriage had
arrived. When it came, Mr. Northcote courteously attended her down to the
hall: he bowed, she curtsied, and stepping into her carriage, set off with
the young Roscius.
The next day, about noon, Mr. Northcote happening to be alone, a gentle
tap was heard, and the studio door being opened, in walked his Royal
Highness. "Mr. Northcote," said he, "I am come to return your sister's
umbrella, which she was so good as to lend me yesterday." The painter
bowed, received it, and placed it in a corner.
"I brought it myself, Mr. Northcote, that I might have the opportunity of
saying that I yesterday thoughtlessly took a very unbecoming liberty with
you, and you properly resented it. I really am angry with myself, and hope
you will forgive me, and think no more of it."
"And what did you say?" inquired the first friend to whom Northcote
related the circumstance. "Say! Gude God! what would 'e have me have said?
Why, nothing? I only bowed, and he might see what I felt. I could, at the
instant, have sacrificed my life for him!--such a Prince is worthy to be a
King!" The venerable painter had the gratification to live to see him a
King. May he long remain so!
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
THE DEVIL'S SONATA.
Tartini's compositions are very numerous, consisting of above a hundred
sonatas, and as many concertos. Among them is the famous "Sonata del
Diavolo," of the origin of which Tartini himself gave the following
account to the celebrated astronomer Lalande:--
"One night, in the year 1713, I dreamed that I had made a compact with his
Satanic Majesty, by which he was received into my service. Everything
succeeded to the utmost of my desires, and my every wish was anticipated
by my new domestic. I thought that, on taking up my violin to practise, I
jocosely asked him if he could play on this instrument? He answered, that
he believed he was able to pick out a tune; when, to my astonishment, he
began a sonata, so strange, and yet so beautiful, and executed in so
masterly a manner, that in the whole course of my life I had never heard
anything so exquisite. So great was my amazement that I could scarcely
breathe. Awakened by the violence of my feelings, I instantly seized my
violin, in the hope of being able to catch some part of the ravishing
melody which I had just heard, but all in vain. The piece which I composed
according to my scattered recollections is, it is true, the best I ever
produced. I have entitled it 'Sonata del Diavolo;' but it is so far
inferior to that which had made so forcible an impression on me, that I
should have dashed my violin into a thousand pieces, and given up music
for ever in despair, had it been possible to deprive myself of the
enjoyments which I receive from it."
Time, and the still more surprising flights of more modern performers,
have deprived this famous sonata of anything diabolical which it may once
have appeared to possess; but it has great fire and originality, and
contains difficulties of no trifling magnitude, even at the present day.
That process of mind, by which we sometimes hear in sleep a beautiful
piece of music, an eloquent discourse, or a fine poem, seems one of those
mysterious things which show how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. It
would appear that there are times when the soul, in that partial disunion
between it and the body which takes place during sleep, and when it sees,
hears, and acts, without the intervention of the bodily organs, exerts
powers of which at other times its material trammels render it
incapable.--What powers may it not exert when the disunion shall be total!
(From an interesting paper on "the Violin," in the _Metropolitan_.)
* * * * *
THE CAMBRIDGE "FRESHMAN."
See a stripling alighting from the Cambridge "Fly" at Crisford's Hotel,
Trumpington-street. It is a day or two before the commencement of the
October term, and a small cluster of gownsmen are gathered round to make
their several recognitions of returning friends, in spite of shawls,
cloaks, petershams, patent gambroons, and wrap-rascals, in which they are
enveloped; while our fresh-comer's attention is divided between their
sable "curtains" and solicitude for his bags and portmanteau. If his pale
cheek and lack-lustre eye could speak but for a moment, like Balaam's ass,
what painful truths would they discover! what weary watchings over the
midnight taper would they describe! If those fingers, which are now as
white as windsor soap can make them, could complain of their wrongs, what
contaminations with dusty Ainsworth and Scapulas would they enumerate! if
his brain were to reveal its labours, what labyrinths of prose and verse,
in which it has been bewildered when it had no clue of a friendly
translation, or Clavis to conduct it through the wanderings, would it
disclose! what permutations and combinations of commas, what elisions and
additions of letters, what copious annotations on a word, an accent, or a
stop, parallelizing a passage of Plato with one of Anacreon, one of
Xenophon with one of Lycophron, or referring the juvenile reader to a
manuscript in the Vatican,--what inexplicable explanations would it
The youth calls on a friend, and if "gay" is inveigled into a "wet night,"
and rolls back to the hotel at two in the morning _Bacchi plenus_, whereas
the "steady man" regales himself with sober Bohea, talks of Newton and
Simeon, resolves to read mathematics with Burkitt, go to chapel fourteen
times a week, and never miss Trinity Church on Thursday evenings. The
next day he asks the porter of his college where the tutor lives; the
key-bearing Peter laughs in his face, and tells him where he _keeps_; he
reaches the tutor's rooms, finds the door _sported_, and knocks till his
knuckles bleed. He talks of Newton to his tutor, and his tutor thinks him
a fool. He sallies forth from Law's (the tailor's) for the first time in
the academical toga and trencher, marches most majestically across the
grass-plot in the quadrangle of his college, is summoned before the master,
who had caught sight of him from the lodge-windows, and reprimanded. His
gown is a spick-and-span new one, of orthodox length, and without a single
rent; he caps every Master of Arts he meets; besides a few Bachelors, and
gets into the gutter to give them the wall. He comes into chapel in his
surplice, and sees it is not surplice-morning, runs back to his rooms for
his gown, and on his return finds the second lesson over. He has a
tremendous larum at his bed's head, and turns out every day at five
o'clock in imitation of Paley. He is in the lecture-room the very moment
the clock has struck eight, and takes down every word the tutor says. He
buys "Hints to Freshmen," reads it right through, and resolves to eject
his sofa from his rooms. He talks of the roof of King's chapel, walks
through the market-place to look at Hobson's conduit, and quotes Milton's
sonnet on that famous carrier. He proceeds to Peter House to see Gray's
fire-escape, and to Christ's to steal a bit of Milton's mulberry tree. He
borrows all the mathematical MSS. he can procure, and stocks himself with
scribbling paper enough for the whole college. He goes to a wine-party,
toasts the university officers, sings sentiments, asks for tongs to sugar
his coffee, finds his cap and gown stolen and old ones left in their place.
He never misses St. Mary's (the University Church) on Sundays, is on his
legs directly the psalmody begins, and is laughed at by the other gownsmen.
He reads twelve or thirteen hours a day, and talks of being a wrangler. He
is never on the wrong side of the gates after ten, and his buttery bills
are not wound up with a single penny of fines. He leaves the rooms of a
friend in college, rather late perhaps, and after ascending an
Atlas-height of stairs, and hugging himself with the anticipation of
crawling instanter luxuriously to bed, finds his door broken down, his
books in the coal-scuttle and grate, his papers covered with more curves
than Newton or Descartes could determine, his bed in the middle of the
room, and his surplice on whose original purity he had so prided himself,
drenched with ink. If he is matriculated he laughs at the _beasts_ (those
who are not matriculated), and mangles slang: _wranglers, fops, and
medalists become_ quite "household words" to him. He walks to Trumpington
every day before _hall_ to get an appetite for dinner, and never misses
grace. He speaks reverently of masters and tutors, and does not curse even
the proctors; he is merciful to his wine-bin, which is chiefly saw-dust,
pays his bills, and owes nobody a guinea--he is a Freshman!--_Monthly
 Mr. Simeon's. None of our well-beloved renders, we presume,
are so fresh as not to know this gentleman's name.
 One of the sage and momentous injunctions of this pastoral charge.
* * * * *
THE CONFESSION OF SERVENTIUS.
_From the Latin of an ancient Paduan Manuscript._
_By Miss M.L. Beevor._
(_For the Mirror_.)
The hours of my weary existence are fast verging to a close: already have
the dreadful preparations commenced. Heavily falls the sound of the
midnight bell upon my shrinking ear; upon my withered, quailing heart, it
is _felt_ in every stroke like a thunder-bolt; and the rude, reckless
shout, heard, though far distant, as distinctly as the fearful throbbings
of that miserable heart, tells but too eloquently that the faggots have
reached their place of destination, and that the fearful pile is even now
erecting. Once I believed myself one of the most courageous of men; I have
beheld _death_ in many terrible shapes, and feared it in none; but, oh! to
burn,--to _burn!_ this is a thing from which the startled spirit recoils
in speechless horror, and vainly, vainly strives to wrench itself by
forceful thought from the shuddering, encumbering frame! Even now, do I
seem to behold the finger of scorn pointed at me;--ay,--at ME! whilst
bound to the firm stake with thongs, strong as the iron bands of death, I
cannot even writhe under the anguish of shame, wrath, and apprehended
bodily torture! The pile is lighted,--the last words of the reckless
priest have died upon mine ear, and his figure and countenance, with the
myriad forms and faces, of the insulting multitude around me, are lost in
suffocating volumes of uprising, dense, white smoke! The blaze enfolds me
like a garment! my unspeakable tortures,--my infernal agonies have
commenced!--the diabolical shouts and shrieks of the fiendish
spectators--the crackling and hissing of my tender flesh--the bursting of
my over swollen tendons, muscles, and arteries, with the out-gush of the
crimson vital stream from every pore,--I hear,--I see,--I feel,--and in my
morbid imagination, die many deaths in one! I fancied myself brave; alas!
I never fancied myself--_burning!_ But, no more; since I have taken up my
pen solely to wile away these last, brief, melancholy hours, in narrating
those circumstances of my past life, which shall have tended to shrivel
ere long, amidst diabolical agonies, the trembling hand that records them,
like a parched scroll, and to scatter the ashes of this now vigorous body,
to the winds.
ROME,--the beautiful--the Eternal,--was my birthplace; and those, whom I
was taught to consider as my parents, said, that the blood of its ancient
heroes filled my veins. If so,--and if Servilius and Andrea, were indeed
my progenitors, our family must have suffered the most amazing reverses of
fortune; they were venders of fruit, lemonade, and perfumed iced waters,
in the streets, but a kind-hearted pair, and for their station,
In the clear moon-light of our Italian skies, in those soft nights, when,
instead of ingloriously slumbering away the cool calm hours, all come
forth who are capable of feeling the beauties and sublimities of nature,
and of inhaling inspiration with the rich, odorous breeze,--in those fresh,
fragrant, and impassioned hours, did Servilius and Andrea delight to lead
me through ROME, and to _read_ the Eternal City unto me, as a book; and
then fell upon me, in that most sacred place, a portion of divine
enthusiasm, of holy inspiration, until, in a retrospect of the thoughts,
feelings, schemes, and aspirations of that infantile era, freely could I
weep, and ask myself, were such things in sober earnest, _ever?_
It was singular, that Servilius and Andrea, never suffered _me_ to toil;
their sole care seemed to be, to bestow upon me, during their intervals of
labour, all the instruction and accomplishments which their limited means
allowed; and without vanity I may affirm, that my mind richly repaid them
for the trouble of cultivation. I trust I was not haughty in my childhood,
but when I observed other boys of my age and station, water-carriers,
labourers in the vineyards, and engaged in various menial occupations from
which I was exempted, the knowledge that in _something_ I was regarded as
their superior, soon forced itself upon me; I felt a distaste for the
society of little unlettered, and unmannered boors, and in silence and
solitude made progress in studies, which, mere matters of amusement to me,
would have been hailed by many youths as tasks more severe than daily
Servilius and Andrea associated with but few in their own rank of life;
but now and then received visits from their superiors; amongst these were
two, whom I shall never, never cease to remember, and to lament, and to
whom, as I look backwards through the vista of five-and-thirty years, I
still cannot forbear imagining that _I_ was _related_ by no _common ties_.
Of this interesting pair, one was a lady, young, pale, but strikingly
beautiful, and the other, a cavalier, her senior but by a very few years,
handsome, noble, graceful and accomplished.
Artemisia, so was the lady called, always wore the costume of a religious
house when she visited Andrea, but whether this were merely assumed for
convenience, or whether she were actually one of the holy sisterhood, I
had then neither the desire, nor the means of ascertaining; I only know,
that she used sometimes to call me her "dear child," and seemed to vie in
affection for me, with the cavalier. Serventius,--yes--the noble gentleman
bore my name, for which I liked him all the better, used occasionally to
meet her at the house of Servilius and Andrea; and their affection for
each other struck even my childish spirit as being more than fraternal;
shall I also confess, that I indulged myself in the indistinct idea--the
sweet dream--that this noble, virtuous, accomplished, and beautiful pair,
(whose only object in visiting our humble residence seemed to be to behold
me) were my real parents, and that of Servilius and Andrea, I was only the
One evening Serventius and Artemisia having concluded their usual repast
of bread, honey, eggs and fruit, amused themselves by asking me a thousand
different questions concerning the history, biography, geography, customs,
religion, and arts of the ancient Romans, to all of which, my replies were,
it seems, extremely satisfactory. Serventius warmly thanked Servilius and
Andrea for the pains they had bestowed upon my education, and then said,
turning to me:
"My son, the time is coming when we must begin to think of some profession
for you; what do you desire to be?"
"A soldier," said I.
"Then ask that lady."
I flew to Artemisia, who shook her head at me. "She will not--she will not,
Sir," I exclaimed, "let me be a soldier like you."
"No, my dear, I know she will not; she cannot spare you to go to the wars
and get killed, so you must make up your mind never to be a soldier."
"Then," answered I proudly, "I will be a poet." Hereupon Artemisia and
Serventius laughed, and informed me that the profession of a poet, if such
it might be termed, was the most laborious, thankless, and ill requited of
any, and that to be a poet, was in fact little better than being an
honourable mendicant. The Church and the Bar were mentioned, but as I
expressed a decided antipathy to them, Serventius named the medical
"Yes," said I, with great glee, "I like that, and I will be a doctor;" for
the bustle, importance, visiting, and gossiping of the honourable
fraternity of physicians, had given me an idea that the profession itself
was one of unmingled pleasure! Hapless choice! Miserable infatuation! And
shall I most blame myself for selecting that which has caused my present
fatal situation, or the foolish fondness which placed in the hands of a
child, the decision of his future fate? But, let me proceed; the first
faint glimmerings of dawn are stealing into my grated cell, and, at
Shortly after this memorable conversation, Andrea and Servilius appeared
overwhelmed with affliction, and one evening brought home with them a
large package, containing as I supposed, new clothes; next morning, I
found that those which I had been accustomed to wear had been removed
whilst I slept, and in their stead, suits of the very deepest mourning
appeared. I dressed myself in one of these, and upon asking Servilius and
his wife the meaning of this change, was answered by Andrea with so wild a
burst of grief, and incoherent lamentation, that I durst inquire no
further. After they had gone forth to their daily employment I also
quitted the cottage for a stroll, and detected a woman pointing me out to
her children as "a poor, little boy, who had probably lost both his
parents." "That I have not," said I, sharply, "for I breakfasted with them
not half an hour ago!" The woman stared at me with an expression of doubt,
and muttering something that sounded extremely like "little liar," turned
from me, and went her way.
(_To be concluded in our next_.)
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY
ORIGIN OF PRAIRIES.
The origin of prairies has occasioned much theory; it is to our mind very
simple: they are caused by the Indian custom of annually burning the
leaves and grass in autumn, which prevents the growth of any young trees.
Time thus will form prairies; for, some of the old trees annually perishing,
and there being no undergrowth to supply their place, they become thinner
every year; and, as they diminish, they shade the grass less, which
therefore grows more luxuriantly; and, where a strong wind carries a fire
through dried grass and leaves, which cover the earth with combustible
matter several feet deep, the volume of flame destroys all before it; the
very animals cannot escape. We have seen it enwrap the forest upon which
it was precipitated, and destroy whole acres of trees. After beginning;,
the circle widens every year, until the prairies expand boundless as the
ocean. Young growth follows the American settlement, since the settler
keeps off those annual burnings.
_American Quarterly Review_.
* * * * *
SUTTON WASH EMBANKMENT.
This is said to be one of the grandest public works ever achieved in
England. It is an elevated mound of earth, with a road over, carried
across an estuary of the sea situated between Lynn and Boston, and
shortening the distance between the two towns more than fifteen miles.
This bank has to resist, for four hours in every twelve, the weight and
action of the German Ocean, preventing it from flowing over 15,000 acres
of mud, which will very soon become land of the greatest fertility. In the
centre the tide flows up a river, which is destined to serve as a drain to
the embanked lands, and has a bridge over it of oak, with a movable centre
of cast iron, for the purpose of admitting ships.
* * * * *
BRITISH IRON TRADE.
The following view of the progressive and wonderful increase of the
iron-trade is extracted from the Companion to the Almanac for 1829:--
Iron made in Number
Great Britain. of
In 1740 17,000 59
1788 68,000 85
1796 125,000 121
1827 690,000 284
The difference iron districts in which it is made are as under, in 1827:
South Wales, 272,000 90
Staffordshire, 216,000 95
Shropshire, 78,000 31
Yorkshire, 43,000 24
Scotland, 36,500 18
North Wales, 24,000 12
Derbyshire, 20,500 14
"About 3/10ths of this quantity is of a quality suitable for the foundry,
which is all used in Great Britain and Ireland, with the exception of a
small quantity exported to France and America. The other 7/10ths is made
into bars, rods, sheets," &c. It will be seen that the make of the Welsh
furnaces is much greater with reference to their number, than that of any
other district. By a Parliamentary paper, it is stated that in 1828, of
"Iron and Steel, wrought and unwrought," there were exported from Great
Britain, 100,403 tons, of the _declared_ (under real) value of
1,226,617_l_. In the same year 15,495 tons of bar iron was imported from
abroad. We believe since 1828, the export of iron has greatly increased.
Our foreign trade, however, is likely to receive a check in a short period.
Both the French and Americans are beginning to manufacture extensively for
themselves; a result that might naturally be anticipated. An extensive new
joint-stock company has been established in the former country, one of the
principal proprietors of which is Marshal Soult, and works on a great
scale are forming near Montpellier. We have always thought that it was
excessively injudicious to permit our machinery to be exported abroad; and
it appears that the British iron masters are now constructing the
machinery for these very works, where it is stated that pig iron can be
made for half the price it now costs to manufacture it in this country.
The exportation of machinery is continually increasing, for we find by a
Parliamentary paper, the declared value in 1824 stated at 129,652_l._,
while the machinery exported in 1829, amounts to 256,539_l_. Time will
exhibit the policy of such proceedings.--VYVYAN.
* * * * *
FREDERICK I. OF PRUSSIA,
Whose chief pleasure was in the proficiency of his troops in military
discipline, whenever a new soldier made his first appearance in the guards,
asked him three questions. The first was, "How old are you?" the second,
"How long have you been in my service?" and the third, if he received his
pay and his clothing as he wished.
A young Frenchman, who had been well disciplined, offered himself to enter
the guards, where he was immediately accepted, in consequence of his
experience in military tactics. The young recruit did not understand the
Prussian language; so that the captain informed him, that when the king
saw him first on the parade, he would make the usual inquiries of him in
the Prussian language, therefore he must learn to make the suitable
answers, in the form of which he was instructed. As soon as the king
beheld a new face in the ranks, taking a lusty piece of snuff, he went up
to him, and, unluckily for the soldier, he put the second question first,
and asked him how long he had been in his service. The soldier answered as
he was instructed, "Twenty-one years, and please your Majesty." The king
was struck with his figure, which did not announce his age to be more than
the time he answered he had been in his service. "How old are you?" said
the king, in surprise. "One year, please your Majesty." The king, still
more surprised, said, "Either you or I must be a fool!" The soldier,
taking this for the third question, relative to his pay and clothing,
replied, "Both, please your Majesty." "This is the first time," said
Frederick, still more surprised, "that I have been called a fool at the
head of my own guards."
The soldier's stock of instruction was now exhausted; and when the monarch
still pursued the design of unravelling the mystery, the soldier informed
him he could speak no more German, but that he would answer him in his
Here Frederick perceived the nature of the situation, at which he laughed
very heartily, and advised the young man to apply himself to learning the
language of Prussia, and mind his duty.
* * * * *
Derham, in his _Physico-Theology_ on Respiration, says--"The story of Anne
Green, executed at Oxford, December 14, 1650, is still well remembered
among the seniors there. She was hanged by the neck near half an hour,
some of her friends in the mean time thumping her on the breast, others
hanging with all their weight upon her legs, sometimes lifting her up, and
then pulling her down again with a sudden jerk, thereby the sooner to
dispatch her out of her pain, as her printed account wordeth it. After she
was in her coffin, being observed to breathe, a lusty fellow stamped with
all his force on her breast and stomach, to put her out of her pain; but,
by the assistance of Dr. Piety, Dr. Willis, Dr. Bathurst, and Dr. Clark,
she was again brought to life. I myself saw her many years after, after
she had (I heard) borne divers children. The particulars of her crime,
execution, and restoration, see in a little pamphlet, called _News from
the Dead_, written, as I have been informed, by Dr. Bathurst (afterwards
the most vigilant and learned President of Trinity College, Oxon), and
published in 1651, with verses upon the occasion."
* * * * *
A pleasant young fellow, about half-seas-over, passing through the Strand
at a late hour, was accosted by a watchman, who began with all the
insolence of office to file a string of interrogatories, in the hope of
being handsomly paid for his trouble.
"What is your name, sir?"--"Five Shillings."
"Where do you live?"--"Out of the king's dominions."
"Where have you been?"--"Where you would have been with all your heart."
"Where are you going?"--"Where you dare not go for your ears."
The officious guardian of the night thought these answers sufficient to
warrant him to take the young man to the watch-house. The next morning, on
being brought before the magistrate, he told his worship, "that as to the
first question, his name was Thomas Crown; with regard to the second, he
lived in Little Britain; with respect to the third, he had been drinking a
glass of wine with a friend; and that as to the last," said he, "I was
going home to my wife." The magistrate reprimanded the watchman in severe
terms, and wished Mr. Crown a good morning.--I.B.D.
* * * * *
General Anstruther, having made himself unpopular, was obliged, on his
return to Scotland, to pass in disguise to his own estate; and crossing a
frith, he said to the waterman, "This is a pretty boat, I fancy you
sometimes smuggle with it." The fellow replied, "I never smuggled a
* * * * *
A NOBLE COUNT.
Amadeus the Ninth, Count of Savoy, being once asked where he kept his
hounds, he pointed to a great number of poor people, who were seated at
tables, eating and drinking, and replied, "Those are my hounds, with whom
I go in chase of Heaven." When he was told that his alms would exhaust his
revenues, "Take the collar of my order," said he, "sell it, and relieve my
people." He was surnamed "the Happy."
* * * * *
_In Stratford Churchyard, near Salisbury._
To the memory of Elizabeth, wife of William Brunsdon, who died Dec. 31,
1779, aged 101 years.
Freed from the sorrows, sickness, pain, and care,
To which all breath-inspired clay is heir,
The tend'rest mother, and the worthiest wife,
Reaps the full harvest of a well-spent life.
Here rest her ashes with her kindred dust--
Death's only conquest o'er the favoured just:
Her soul in Christ the tyrant's power defied,
And the _Saint_ triumphed when the woman died.
_In Amesbury Churchyard, Witts._
When sorrow weeps o'er virtue's sacred dust,
Then tears become us, and our grief is just;
Such cause had she to weep who gratefully pays
This last sad tribute of her love and praise,
Who mourns a sister and a friend combined,
Where female softness met a manly mind:
Mourns, but not murmurs--sighs, but not despairs--
Feels for her loss, but as a Christian bears.
* * * * *
On January 31st will be published, with many Engravings, price 5 s.,
ARCANA OF SCIENCE,
ANNUAL REGISTER of the USEFUL ARTS,
Abridged from the Transactions of Public Societies, and Scientific
Journals, British and Foreign, for the past year.
*** This volume will contain all the Important Facts in the year 1831--in
USEFUL AND ELEGANT ARTS,
MISCELLANEOUS SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION.
Printing for JOHN LIMBIRD, 143, Strand; of whom may be had volumes (upon
the same plan) for 1828, price 4_s_. 6_d_., 1829--30--31, price 5_s_. each.
* * * * *
_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,)
London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; G.G. BENNIS,
55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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