The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20,
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
Vol. 20 No. 572.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1832. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
BIRTHPLACE OF DR. JOHNSON, AT LICHFIELD.
In the large corner house, on the right of the Engraving, SAMUEL
JOHNSON was born on the 18th of September, N.S. 1709. We learn from
Boswell, that the house was built by Johnson's father, and that the
two fronts, towards Market and Broad Market-street stood upon waste
land of the Corporation of Lichfield, under a forty years lease; this
expired in 1767, when on the 15th of August, "at a common hall of the
bailiffs and citizens, it was ordered, (and that without any
solicitation,) that a lease should be granted to Samuel Johnson,
Doctor of Laws, of the incroachments at his house, for the term of
ninety-nine years, at the old rent, which was five shillings. Of
which, as town clerk, Mr. Simpson had the honour and pleasure of
informing him, and that he was desired to accept it, without paying
any fine on the occasion, which lease was afterwards granted, and the
doctor died possessed of this property."
 Note to Boswell's Life of Johnson, 2nd edition, vol. iii.
In the above house, the doctor's father Michael Johnson, a native of
Derbyshire, of obscure extraction, settled as a bookseller and
stationer. He was diligent in business, and not only "kept shop" at
home, but, on market days, frequented several towns in the
neighbourhood, some of which were at a considerable distance from
Lichfield. "At that time booksellers' shops in the provincial towns of
England were very rare, so that there was not one even in Birmingham,
in which town old Mr. Johnson used to open a shop every market-day. He
was a pretty good Latin scholar, and a citizen so creditable as to be
made one of the magistrates of Lichfield; and, being a man of good
sense and skill in his trade, he acquired a reasonable share of
wealth, of which, however, he afterwards lost the greatest part, by
engaging unsuccessfully in the manufacture of parchment." This
failure is attributed to the dishonesty of a servant; but it is
observable in connexion with an incident in Dr. Johnson's literary
history, which has not escaped the keen eye of Mr. Croker, the
ingenious annotator of Boswell's _Life_ of the great lexicographer.
 To show the great estimation in which the father of our
great moralist was held, we may quote a letter, dated
"Trentham, St. Peter's Day, 1716," written by the Rev.
George Plaxton, then chaplain to Lord Gower:--"Johnson,
the Lichfield librarian, is now here. He propagates
learning all over this diocese, and advanceth knowledge to
its just height. All the clergy here are his pupils, and
suck all they have from him; Allen cannot make a warrant
without his precedent, nor our quondam John Evans draw a
recognizance _sine directione Michaelis_."--_Gent. Mag.
 Boswell, vol. i. p. 14.
 Johnson, in his Dictionary, defines EXCISE "a hateful tax,
levied upon commodities, and adjudged not by the _common
judges_ of property, but by _wretches_ hired by those to
whom excise is paid;" and, in the _Idler_ (No. 65) he
calls a _commissioner of excise_ "one of the _lowest_ of
all human beings." This violence of language seems so
little reasonable, that the editor was induced to suspect
some cause of _personal animosity_; this mention of the
trade in parchment (an _excisable_ article) afforded a
clue, which has led to the confirmation of that suspicion.
In the records of the Excise Board is to be found the
following letter, addressed to the supervisor of excise at
Lichfield:--"July 27, 1725--The commissioners received
yours of the 22nd instant; and since the justices would
not give judgment against Mr. Michael Johnson, the
_tanner_, notwithstanding the facts were fairly against
him, the board direct that the next time he offends, you
do not lay an information against him, but send an
affidavit of the fact, that he may be prosecuted in the
Exchequer." It does not appear whether he offended again,
but here is sufficient cause of his son's animosity
against commissioners of excise, and of the allusion in
the Dictionary to the _special_ jurisdiction under which
that revenue is administered. The reluctance of the
justices to convict will not appear unnatural, when it is
recollected that Mr. Johnson was, _this very year_, chief
magistrate of the city.--_Note to Boswell, by Croker_,
Johnson's mother was a woman of distinguished understanding and piety;
and to her must be ascribed those early impressions of religion upon
the mind of her son, from which the world afterwards derived so much
benefit. Johnson was the elder of two sons, the younger of whom died
in his infancy.
Of Johnson's childhood at Lichfield it would not be difficult to
assemble many interesting particulars: from his listening to Dr.
Sacheverel, when he was but three years old; his being first taught to
read English by Dame Oliver, a widow who kept a school for young
children in Lichfield, and who gave him a present of gingerbread, and
said he was the best scholar she ever had; to his arrival in London
with the unfinished tragedy of _Irene_ in his pocket, and the prospect
of a slender engagement with Cave of the _Gentleman's Magazine_. One
thing is certain, that however unpromising were Johnson's early days
at Lichfield, he ever retained a warm affection for his native city,
and which, by a sudden apostrophe, under the word _Lich_, he
introduces with reverence into his immortal work, the ENGLISH
DICTIONARY: _Salve magna parens. (Boswell.)_ His last visit was in his
75th year when he writes to Boswell:--"I came to Lichfield, and found
every body glad enough to see me."
The annexed view is of the date 1785, being from the first volume of
the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for that year. The building to the extreme
left is part of the market-cross, erected by dean Denton, but replaced
some years since by a light brick building. The church is that of St.
Mary, one of the three parishes into which Lichfield is divided: it is
a modern structure, of the year 1717, and upon the site of the
original church, said to have been founded in the year 885. In the
extreme distance of the Engraving is seen the Guild or Town Hall, a
neat stone edifice, adorned with the city arms, a bas-relief of the
* * * * *
* * * * *
CLASSICAL ANECDOTES OF CONTINENCE IN MAN.
Many noble instances are recorded by ancient historians of the
practice of this noble virtue; but in the reminiscences of our
youthful studies, there is no incident that occurs with more freshness
to the memory than that of the continence of Scipio Africanus, related
by Livy. It appears that the soldiers of Scipio's army, after the
taking of new Carthage, brought before him a young lady of great
beauty. Scipio inquiring concerning her country and parents,
ascertained that she was betrothed to Allutius, prince of the
Celtiberians. He immediately ordered her parents and bridegroom to be
sent for. In the meantime he was informed that the young prince was so
excessively enamoured of his bride, that he could not survive the loss
of her. For this reason, as soon as he appeared, and before he spoke
to her parents, he took great care to talk with him. "As you and I are
both young," said he, "we can converse together with greater freedom.
When your bride, who had fallen into the hands of my soldiers, was
brought before me, I was informed that you loved her passionately;
and, in truth, her perfect beauty left me no room to doubt of it. If I
were at liberty to indulge a youthful passion--I mean honourable and
lawful wedlock, and were not solely engrossed by the affairs of my
republic, I might have hoped to have been pardoned my excessive love
for so charming a mistress; but as I am situated, and have it in my
power, with pleasure I promote your happiness. Your future spouse has
met with as civil and modest treatment from me, as if she had been
amongst her own parents, who are soon to be yours too. I have kept her
pure, in order to have it in my power to make you a present worthy of
you and of me." The magnanimity of his behaviour did not close here,
for when the parents of the fair captive brought an immense sum of
money to ransom her, they were much surprised at Scipio's noble
conduct, and in the ecstacy of joy and gratitude, they pressed him to
accept it as a token of thankfulness. Scipio, unable to resist their
importunate solicitations, told them he accepted it; but ordering it
to be laid at his feet, he thus addressed Allutius:--"To the portion
you are to receive from your father-in-law, I add this, and beg you
would accept it as a nuptial present:" thus exhibiting in the whole
transaction a rare instance of modesty, disinterestedness, and
benevolence, well worthy of imperishable record, as a moral lesson for
When Araspes had commended the fair Panthea to Cyrus, as a beauty
worthy his admiration, he replied--"For that very reason I will not
see her, lest if by thy persuasion I should see her but once, she
herself might persuade me to see her often, and spend more time with
her than would be for the advantage of my own affairs."--Alexander the
Great would not trust his eyes in the presence of the beauteous Queen
of Persia, but kept himself out of the reach of her charms, and
treated only with her aged mother. These, as they were peculiar acts
of continence, so were they as absolutely checks of curiosity, which
never sleeps in youthful breasts when beauty elicits admiration.
Cicero, treating of the many degrees of human commerce and society,
places matrimony in the first rank. In fact, marriage is not only a
state capable of the highest human felicity, but it is an institution
well calculated to destroy those rank and noxious weeds of the
passions which, by their pestiferous influence, spread misery and
death around the social hemisphere. Marriage is the basis of
community, and the cement of society;--it is, or ought to be, that
state of perfect friendship in which there are, according to
Pythagoras, "two bodies with but one soul." It is in the genial
atmosphere of this noble communion of sentiment and affection that the
virtue of continence comes forth in all its dazzling splendour. Milton
has touched this subject with so chaste and elegant a pen, that the
description, one would think, must confirm the husband in his
happiness, and reclaim the man of profligate and licentious
"Hail, wedded love! mysterious law! true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise, of all things common else.
By thee adultrous lust was driven from men,
Among the beastial herds to range; by thee,
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounc'd,
Present or past, as saints or patriarchs us'd.
Here Love his golden shafts employs; here lights
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings:
Reigns here, and revels not in the bought smile
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
Casual fruition; nor in court amours,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball;
Or serenade, which the starv'd lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain."
* * * * *
THE GREAT LORD THURLOW.
Of the eloquence of Lord Thurlow, and of his manner in debate, Mr.
Butler has given a striking account:--"At times Lord Thurlow was
superlatively great. It was the good fortune of the Reminiscent to
hear his celebrated reply to the Duke of Grafton, during the inquiry
into Lord Sandwich's administration of Greenwich Hospital. His Grace's
action and delivery, when he addressed the house, were singularly
dignified and graceful; but his matter was not equal to his manner. He
reproached Lord Thurlow with his plebeian extraction, and his recent
admission into the peerage: particular circumstances caused Lord
Thurlow's reply to make a deep impression on the Reminiscent. His
lordship had spoken too often, and began to be heard with a civil but
visible impatience. Under these circumstances he was attacked in the
manner we have mentioned. He rose from the woolsack, and advanced
slowly to the place from which the chancellor generally addresses the
house; then fixing on the duke the look of Jove when he grasps the
thunder, 'I am amazed,' he said, in a level tone of voice, 'at the
attack the noble duke has made on me. Yes, my lords,' considerably
raising his voice, 'I am amazed at his grace's speech. The noble duke
cannot look before him, behind him, or on either side of him, without
seeing some noble peer who owes his seat in this house to his
successful exertions in the profession to which I belong. Does he not
feel that it is as honourable to owe it to these, as to being the
accident of an accident? To all these noble lords the language of the
noble duke is applicable and as insulting as it is to myself. But I
don't fear to meet it single and alone. No one venerates the peerage
more than I do;--but, my lords, I must say that the peerage solicited
me, not I the peerage;--nay, more, I can say, and will say, that as a
peer of parliament, as speaker of this right honourable house, as
keeper of the great seal, as guardian of his majesty's conscience, as
lord high chancellor of England, nay, even in that character alone in
which the noble duke would think it an affront to be considered--as a
_Man_, I am at this moment as respectable--I beg leave to add, I am at
this time as much respected, as the proudest peer I now look down
upon.' The effect of this speech, both within the walls of parliament
and out of them, was prodigious. It gave Lord Thurlow an ascendancy in
the house which no chancellor had ever possessed: it invested him, in
public opinion, with a character of independence and honour; and this,
though he was ever on the unpopular side in politics, made him always
popular with the people."
The legal talents and acquirements of Lord Thurlow have been the
subject of frequent panegyric; but it may, perhaps, be questioned,
whether in all cases those eulogiums were just. It has been said--but
with what truth it is difficult to form an opinion--that his lordship
was much indebted to Mr. Hargrave, for the learning by which his
judgments were sometimes distinguished, and that Mr. Hargrave received
a handsome remuneration for these services. "As lord chancellor," says
a writer who was personally acquainted with his lordship, "from a
well-placed confidence in Mr. Hargrave, who was indefatigable in his
service, he had occasion to give himself less trouble than any other
man in that high station. An old free-speaking companion of his, well
known at Lincoln's Inn, would sometimes say to me, 'I met the great
law lion this morning going to Westminster; but he was so busily
reading in the coach what his provider had supplied him with, that he
took no notice of me.'"
The ardent zeal with which Lord Thurlow contested the great question
of the regency, led him, if we may credit the narrative of one who was
a party to the debate, to be guilty of an act of great disingenuousness.
Dr. Watson, the Bishop of Llandaff, in the course of a speech, in
which he supported the claims of the Prince of Wales, incidentally
cited a passage from Grotius, with regard to the definition of the
word _right_. "The chancellor, in his reply," says the bishop in his
memoirs, "boldly asserted that he perfectly well remembered the
passage I had quoted from Grotius, and that it solely respected
natural, but was inapplicable to civil, rights. Lord Loughborough, the
first time I saw him after the debate, assured me that before he went
to sleep that night he had looked into Grotius, and was astonished to
find that the chancellor, in contradicting me, had presumed on the
ignorance of the house, and that my quotation was perfectly correct.
What miserable shifts do great men submit to, in supporting their
parties! The Chancellor Thurlow," continues the bishop, "was an able
and upright judge, but as the speaker of the house of lords, he was
domineering and insincere. It was said of him, that in the cabinet he
opposed everything, proposed nothing, and was ready to support
anything. I remember Lord Camden's saying to me one night, when the
chancellor was speaking contrary, as he thought, to his own
conviction, 'There now! I could not do that: he is supporting what he
does not believe a word of.'"
_Roscoe's Lives of Eminent Lawyers--Cabinet Cyclopaedia_.
* * * * *
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
* * * * *
It is an interesting circumstance in the habits of the ancient Romans,
that their journeys were pursued very much in the night-time, and by
torchlight. Cicero, in one of his letters, speaks of passing through
the towns of Italy by night, as a serviceable scheme for some
political purpose, either of avoiding too much to publish his motions,
or of evading the necessity (else perhaps not avoidable) of drawing
out the party sentiments of the magistrates in the circumstances of
honour or neglect with which they might choose to receive him. His
words, however, imply that the practice was by no means an uncommon
one. And, indeed, from some passages in writers of the Augustan era,
it would seem that this custom was not confined to people of
distinction, but was familiar to a class of travellers so low in rank
as to be capable of abusing their opportunities of concealment for the
infliction of wanton injury upon the woods and fences which bounded
the margin of the high-road. Under the cloud of night and solitude,
the mischief-loving traveller was often in the habit of applying his
torch to the withered boughs of wood, or to artificial hedges: and
extensive ravages by fire, such as now happen not unfrequently in the
American woods (but generally from carelessness in scattering the
glowing embers of a fire, or even the ashes of a pipe), were then
occasionally the result of mere wantonness of mischief. Ovid
accordingly notices, as one amongst the familiar images of daybreak,
the half-burnt torch of the traveller; and, apparently, from the
position which it holds in his description, where it is ranked with
the most familiar of all circumstances in all countries--that of the
rural labourer going out to his morning tasks it must have been common
"Semiustamque facem vigilata nocte viator
Ponet; et ad solitum rusticus ibit opus."
This occurs in the _Fasti_: elsewhere he notices it for its danger.
"Ut facibus sepes ardent, cum forte viator
Vel nimis admovit, vel jam sub luce reliquit."
He, however, we see, good-naturedly ascribes the danger to mere
carelessness, in bringing the torch too near to the hedge, or tossing
it away at daybreak. But Varro, a more matter-of-fact observer, does
not disguise the plain truth--that these disasters were often the
product of pure malicious frolic. For instance, in recommending a
certain kind of quickset fence, he insists upon it as one of its
advantages--that it will not readily ignite under the torch of the
mischievous wayfarer: "Naturale sepimentum," says he, "quod obseri
solet virgultis aut spinis, _praetereuntis lascivi non metuet facem_."
It is not easy to see the origin or advantage of this practice of
nocturnal travelling, (which must have considerably increased the
hazards of a journey,) excepting only in the heats of summer. It is
probable, however, that men of high rank and public station may have
introduced the practice by way of releasing corporate bodies in large
towns from the burdensome ceremonies of public receptions; thus making
a compromise between their own dignity and the convenience of the
provincial public. Once introduced, and the arrangements upon the road
for meeting the wants of travellers once adapted to such a practice,
it would easily become universal. It is, however, very possible that
mere horror of the heats of daytime may have been the original ground
for it. The ancients appear to have shrunk from no hardship as so
trying and insufferable as that of heat. And in relation to that
subject, it is interesting to observe the way in which the ordinary
use of language has accommodated itself to that feeling. Our northern
way of expressing effeminacy, is derived chiefly from the hardships of
cold. He that shrinks from the trials and rough experience of real
life in any department, is described by the contemptuous prefix of
_chimney-corner_, as if shrinking from the cold which he would meet on
coming out into the open air amongst his fellow men. Thus, a
_chimney-corner_ politician for a mere speculator or unpractical
dreamer. But the very same indolent habit of aerial speculation, which
courts no test of real life and practice, is described by the ancients
under the term _umbraticus_, or seeking the cool shade, and shrinking
from the heat. Thus an _umbraticus doctor_ is one who has no practical
solidity in his teaching. The fatigue and hardship of real life, in
short, is represented by the ancients under the uniform image of heat,
and by the moderns under that of cold.
* * * * *
* * * * *
"PROGRESS" OF CHARLES II. AND HIS COURT.
The accompanying memorandum relative to Charles II. and his Court, is
copied from an old Family Prayer Book, and from the date of the book,
(?) and appearance of the writing, there is little doubt of its
"King Charles the Second, with his Queen Katharine, the Duke of York,
and his Duchess, and Prince Rupert, the Duke of Monmouth, and many
others of the nobility did lodge in Wickomb, the 30th day of
September, in the yeare 1663. They did come into the town about 4 of
the clock the same day. They came from Oxford. The King in his
progress going back again to London. The King did go out of the town
between v and vi of the clock the next morning, and was at his palace
at Whitehall before 9 of the clock in the morning. The Queen did go
out about viii of the clock, and dined at Uxbridge, and then went to
Whitehall. The King was lodged with his Queen at the _Catharine
* * * * *
The vicarage of Wyburn, or Winsburn, Cumberland, is of the following
tempting value: Fifty shilling per annum, a new surplice, a pair of
clogs, and feed on the common for one goose. This favoured church
preferment is in the midst of a wild country, inhabited by shepherds.
The clerk keeps a pot-house opposite the church. The service is once a
fortnight; and when there is no congregation, the Vicar and Moses
regale themselves at the bar.
* * * * *
In the time of the Saxons, it was a custom in the city of Chester,
that any person who brewed bad ale should either be placed in a
ducking-chair, and plunged into a pool of muddy water, or, in lieu of
that punishment, should forfeit four shillings.
* * * * *
In _Domesday Book_ we find frequent mention of goldsmiths; and we know
the Anglo-Saxons had their goldsmiths, silversmiths, and coppersmiths.
Bowyers, or makers of cross-bows, are frequently mentioned--as are
carpenters, potters, bakers, and brewers, the last of which were
chiefly women. Both war and agriculture want the smith: hence his
importance among the Saxons. They were free from all other services,
on payment of a penny yearly for their forge. We also meet with
butchers, barbers, embroiderers, saddlers, parchment-makers, and
* * * * *
In a book called _Levamen Infirmi_, written in 1700, the usual fees to
physicians and surgeons at that time are thus stated:--"To a graduate
in physic, his due is about _10s._, though he commonly expects, or
demands, _20s_. Those that are only licensed physicians, their due is
no more than _6s. 9d._, though they commonly demand _10s_. A surgeon's
journey is _12d._ a mile, be his journey far or near. Ten groats to
set a bone broke, or out of joint; and for letting of blood, _1s_. The
cutting off or amputation of any limb is _5l._, but there is no
settled price for the cure."
* * * * *
In the journals of the House of Commons, during the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, appears the following entry:--"This day a black raven came
into the House, which was considered as _malum omen_."
* * * * *
HENRY VIII. AND QUEEN KATHERINE.
The following letter was sent by Queen Katherine to Henry VIII., after
she was put away by that prince, to make room for Anne Boleyn. It was
written from Kimbolton, in Huntingdonshire, to which place Katherine
repaired after the divorce. It is dated 29th January, 1536. The bull
for the divorce, bearing date 1529, is to be found in the Life of
Henry VIII., written by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, 1649.
"My most dear Lord, King, and Husband,--The houre of my death now
approaching, I cannot choose, but out of the love I beare you, to
advise you of your soule's health, which you ought to prefer before
all considerations of the world or flesh whatsoever. For which yet you
have cast me into many calamities, and yourself into many troubles.
But I forgive you all, and pray God to do soe likewise. For the rest,
I commend unto you Mary, our daughter, beseeching you to be a good
father to her, as I have heretofore desired. I must entreat you also
to respect my maids, and give them in marriage, which is not much,
they being but three, and to all my other servants, a year's pay
besides their due, lest otherwise they should be unprovided for.
Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.
* * * * *
* * * * *
SPEED AND DIET OF THE OSTRICH.
In the _Annals of Sporting_ it is observed:--"If we are to place
confidence in traveller's tales, the ostrich is swifter than the
Arabian horse. During the residence of Mr. Adamson at Pador, a French
factory on the south side of the river Niger, he says that two
ostriches, which had been about two years in the factory, afforded him
a sight of a very extraordinary nature. These gigantic birds, though
young, were of nearly the full size. They were (he continues) so tame,
that two little blacks mounted both together on the back of the
larger. No sooner did he feel their weight, than he began to run as
last as possible, and carried them several times round the
village,--and it was impossible to stop him, otherwise than by
obstructing the passage. This sight pleased me so much, that I wished
it to be repeated, and, to try their strength, directed a full-grown
negro to mount the smallest, and two others the larger. This burden
did not seem at all disproportioned to their strength. At first, they
went at a pretty sharp trot; but when they became heated a little,
they expanded their wings, as though to catch the wind, and moved with
such fleetness that they seemed scarcely to touch the ground. Most
people have, at one time or other, seen the partridge run, and
consequently must know that there is no man able to keep up with it;
and it is easy to imagine, that if this bird had a longer step, its
speed would be considerably augmented. The ostrich moves like the
partridge, with this advantage; and I am satisfied that those I am
speaking of would have distanced the fleetest race-horses that were
ever bred in England. It is true, that they would not hold out so long
as a horse; but they would, undoubtedly, be able to go over the space
in less time. I have frequently beheld this sight, which is capable of
giving one an idea of the prodigious strength of the ostrich, and of
showing what use it might be of, had we but the method of breaking and
managing it as we do the horse."
The following interesting particulars, relating to the capability of
the ostrich to digest hard substances, is given by Mr. Fuller, in his
_Tour of the Turkish Empire_:--"An ostrich, belonging to an English
gentleman, arrived at Cairo from Upper Egypt, and afforded us an
opportunity of observing this curious peculiarity in the natural
history of that animal. The persons in charge of him observing his
great propensity for hard substances, mistook, unfortunately, for his
natural and ordinary diet, things that were only the objects of his
luxury; and while they gave him corn only occasionally, administered
every day a certain portion of iron, chiefly in the form of nails, to
which he occasionally added a knife or a razor, which he chanced to
pick up, or a few loose buttons, which he pulled from the coats of his
attendants. This metallic system did not however succeed; the poor
bird drooped gradually, his strength just lasted him to walk with a
stately step into the court of the Consulate, and he died in about an
hour afterwards. On a _post mortem_ examination, at which I was
present, about three pounds of iron were taken from his stomach. A
considerable portion of the hardest parts, such as the blades of the
knives and razor, was dissolved; and it is possible that the whole
might in time have been digested, as the death of the animal was in
part accidental, being immediately occasioned by a sharp
boat-builder's nail, three or four inches long, which he had
swallowed, and which had penetrated quite through the stomach, and
* * * * *
EFFECTS OF LIGHT AND AIR ON PLANTS.
The importance of light and air to plants is well known. When
unassisted by these agents, plants lose their colour, and are deprived
of many of their properties. Colour is thus evidently produced by the
absorption of carbonic acid gas: and the colouring matter may be
detected by a powerful microscope, lodged in the cellular substance of
the leaf. How this colour is formed, and why it assumes different
tints in different plants, are, however, questions which it is at
present impossible to decide. The secretions of plants depend upon
light, and their flavour and nutritious qualities are materially
altered by their exclusion from it. The importance of this knowledge
to a practical horticulturist is proved by the fact, that sea-kale, so
well known as a wholesome and palatable vegetable, is not eatable in
its original state; and that any part of the cultivated plant, if
accidentally left exposed to the action of the air and light, becomes
tough, and so strong in flavour as to be extremely unpleasant to the
taste. Celery, also, in its native state, is poisonous; and it is only
the parts that are blanched that are perfectly fitted for the table.
Though colour is generally supposed to depend principally on the
plant's being exposed to the light, some portion of colouring matter
appears to be occasionally absorbed by the root. This colouring
substance is, however, never a deep green. Red and yellow, as may be
seen in forced rhubarb, &c., are the most common hues. Succulent
plants are less susceptible of the influence of light than any others.
As they are always natives of hot countries, nature, to prevent the
danger they would be exposed to from excessive evaporation, has
provided them with leaves almost destitute of pores; and the moisture
they absorb by their roots thus remains for the nourishment of the
plant. It is for this reason that cactuses, mesembryanthemums, and
other plants of a similar description, require very little water when
kept in pots. Scarcely any carbon is found in plants grown in the
dark. Many experiments have been tried to show the stimulus afforded
to vegetation by light; trees of the same species and variety have
been planted in the same garden and the same soil, but against walls
with different aspects, and differently situated with regard to shade.
The effect has been, not only a difference in the growth and
appearance of the tree, but also in the size, colour, and flavour of
the fruit which it produced. The contrast between plants grown in
hot-houses with wooden sash frames, and those grown in hot-houses with
iron sash-frames, has been found equally striking; the difference of
light between the two kinds of houses being as seven to twenty-seven,
or, sometimes, as three to twenty-three. Light is required at an early
period of vegetation; but, as its properties are to give strength and
flavour, it must be admitted with caution, as it is sometimes
injurious. Too much light renders the skin of fruits tough, and will
make cucumbers bitter. Berard of Montpelier found that the ripening of
fruits is merely the turning the acid which they contain into sugar,
by exposure to the light; and that too much light and heat, before
they have attained their proper size, will bring on premature
ripening, and make them insipid.
_Lindley's Lectures, reported in the Gardeners' Magazine._
* * * * *
PLANTS IN ROOMS.
It is very difficult to make plants grow in rooms. They must
necessarily be deficient in the three important auxiliaries to
vegetable life, light, air, and moisture; the latter of which cannot
be maintained in apartments that are daily occupied. In large towns,
plants cannot thrive even in the open air, as the minute particles of
soot, which are constantly floating about, settle upon their leaves,
and choke up their pores. The gases produced by the combustion of
coal, &c., are also injurious to plants. Sulphurous acid, which
abounds in the atmosphere of London, turns the leaves yellow; and the
want of evaporation and absorption by the leaves prevents the proper
elaboration of the sap, and makes the trees stunted and unproductive.
* * * * *
In our account of _the Nine-banded Armadillo_, at page 57 of the
present volume, we noticed the curious fact of the whole series of
armadillos offering a notable example of one genus being confined to a
particular country, viz. South America; of their standing perfectly
insulated, and exhibiting all the characters of a creation entirely
distinct, and, except as to the general character of mammiferous
quadrupeds, perfectly of its own kind.
The nearest resemblance to the armadillo is, we believe, to be traced
in a very curious little quadruped which is occasionally to be seen in
the district of Cuyo, at the foot of the Andes, on the eastern side.
The first instance of its being brought to Europe was a specimen
preserved in spirit, which was added to the Museum of the Zoological
Society, about four years since, by the Hon. Capt. Percy, R.N. who
received it from Woodbine Parish, Esq. British consul at Buenos Ayres.
It had been previously known only by the figures and description given
by Dr. Harlan, in the Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New
York. His specimen was, however, deprived of the skeleton and internal
parts, which are perfect in the specimen, in one of the lower rooms of
the Museum in Bruton-street. It is called the _Chlamyphorus_, and may
be said to unite the habits of the mole with the appearance of the
armadillo. Its upper parts and sides are defended by a coat, or rather
cloak, of mail, of a coriaceous nature, but exceeding in inflexibility
sole-leather of equal thickness. This cloak does not adhere, like that
of the armadillo, to the whole surface, occupying the place of the
skin--but is applied over the skin and fur, forming an additional
covering, which is attached only along the middle of the back and on
the head. The hinder parts of the animal are also protected by it, to
cover which, it is suddenly bent downwards at nearly a right angle.
The tail is short, and is directed forwards along the under surface of
the body. Owing to the rigidity of the case which so nearly encloses
the animal, its motions must be limited almost entirely to those of
mere progression, and even for these, the structure of its fore-feet
is ill suited. The anterior limbs are, indeed, scarcely fitted for any
other purpose than that of burrowing. For this operation, the long and
broad claws with which they are furnished are truly admirably adapted;
and their sharp points and cutting lower edges must materially assist
in clearing through the entangled roots which the animal may encounter
in its subterranean travels. Its teeth resemble those of the sloth
more nearly than any other animal's; and it seems to represent,
beneath the earth, that well-known and singular inhabitant of
trees--for its motions, so far as can be conjectured from its
conformation, must also be executed with extreme slowness.
[Illustration: (The Chlamyphorus.)]
The dimensions of the specimen in the Museum are as follow: length
from tip of nose to root of tail, 5-1/2 inches; ditto tail, 1-1/4 in.;
height at shoulder, 1-3/4 in. A more detailed account of the internal
structure and economy of this extraordinary little animal will be
found in the _Zoological Journal_, vols. ii. and iii.
* * * * *
[Mr. Andrew Mathews, of Lima, has communicated to the _Gardeners'
Magazine_ the following account of the Otaheitan method of preparing
the excellent farinaceous substance termed _Arrow Root_, so
extensively used in this country.]
The root (_Tacca_ pinnatifida _Lin._, the _Pea_ of the natives) grows
in the greatest abundance in all the islands which we visited; viz.,
in Otaheite, Eimeo, Huaheine, Raiatea, and Otaha. Its favourite
situation is on the sides and ridges of the hills which rise directly
from the sea, and which are generally covered with a coarse grass, on
a red sandy loam. The root is round, white, smooth, full of eyes like
a potato, and from 2 to 3 in. in diameter. The flower-stem rises
directly from the root, simple; from 2 to 4 ft. in height, as thick as
a man's finger, bearing its flowers in a loose simple umbel on the
summit; and, when large and full blown, it presents a beautiful and
delicate appearance. The leaf is large, tri-pinnatifid, segments
acute, of a rich shining green: it is subject to great variation in
the size of the segments, some leaves being much more cut, and having
the segments narrower, than others. When a sufficient quantity of the
roots is collected, they are taken to a running stream, or to the
sea-beach, and washed; the outer skin is carefully scraped off at the
same time with a shell; and those who are particular in the
preparation scrape out even the eyes. The root is then reduced to a
pulp, by rubbing it up and down a kind of rasp, made as follows:--A
piece of board, about 3 in. wide, and 12 ft. long, is procured, upon
which some coarse twine, made of the fibres of the cocoa nut husk, is
tightly and regularly wound, and which affords an admirable substitute
for a coarse rasp. The pulp, when prepared, is washed first with salt
or sea water, through a sieve made of the fibrous web which protects
the young frond of the cocoa-nut palm; and the starch, or arrow-root,
being carried through with the water, is received in a wooden trough
made like the small canoes used by the natives. The starch is allowed
to settle for a few days; the water is then strained, or, more
properly, poured off, and the sediment rewashed with fresh (or river)
water. This washing is repeated three times with spring water; after
which the deposit is made into balls of about 7 or 8 in. in diameter,
and in this state dried in the sun for twelve or twenty-four hours.
The balls are then broken, and the powder spread for some days in the
sun to dry; after which it is carefully wrapped in _tapa_ (the native
cloth), and put into baskets, and hung up in the houses. The natural
indolence of the people is so great, and their avarice such, that but
few of them will give the arrow-root sufficient time to dry, if they
have an opportunity of parting with it, which I suspect was the case
with that sent to England some few years back by the missionaries. So
abundant is the root, that several tons might be prepared annually by
proper management: as it is, there is a considerable quantity
prepared; it being not only eaten by the natives and strangers on the
island, but also by the crews of the vessels that touch there.
At present, when the roots are taken up, the only precaution used to
secure a crop the following year is to throw the smaller roots back
into the holes from which they were taken, and to leave them to
chance. I have no doubt that, with proper care and cultivation, any
quantity might be produced. When we visited the island, we purchased
the prepared arrow-root at _2d._ per lb., and a missionary there
informed us, that he would engage to procure any given quantity at
_1-1/2d._ per lb., which is, I believe, much less than it can be
purchased at either in the East or the West Indies. Its quality is
excellent; I should say equal to that of the East Indies, and far
superior to that of Chile, with which I have since my return, had an
opportunity of comparing it.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene."
The traditionary story of _Romeo and Juliet_ is fact. The animosities
of the houses of Montagu and the Capulet are matter of the history of
Verona, where, in olden times, Pliny and Catullus were born. Juliet
was buried in the _soutterain_ of Fermo Maggiore, which belonged to an
order of Franciscan friars, and was founded in 1230. Some years ago
the monastery was burnt down, and the vaults and burying-place reduced
to ruins. At this time the stone sarcophagus, the sepulchre of Juliet,
was removed, and placed where it now is, in the entrance gateway of
the monastery. The upper edge of it was entire when it was first put
here, but has since been mutilated, as is represented in the Cut, for
scraps to carry away as relics. Thus noted Mr. Duppa, a few years
since; but we have other pilgrims and fair pens to establish the
[Illustration: (_Juliet's Tomb._)]
Lord Byron, in a postscript to one of his letters from Verona, dated
Nov. 7, 1816, says, "I have been over Verona. Of the truth of Juliet's
story, they seem tenacious to a degree, insisting on the fact--giving
a date (1303), and showing a tomb. It is a plain, open, and partly
decayed sarcophagus, with withered leaves in it, in a wild and
desolate conventual garden--once a cemetery, now ruined to the very
graves. The situation struck me as very appropriate to the legend,
being blighted as their love. I have brought away a few pieces of the
granite, to give to my daughter and my nieces."
 Moore's Life of Byron, vol. ii. 4to. p. 50.
Mrs. Maria Callcott writes, in 1829:--"The tomb now shown as that of
Juliet, is an ancient sarcophagus of red granite: it has suffered from
the fire which burnt down the church, where it was originally
 See a sketch accompanying an Engraving of Verona, in vol.
xiv. of the _Mirror_, p. 321.
Lastly, the accomplished authoress of _Characteristics of Women_ adds
her testimony, and illustrates the fondness with which the relics of
Juliet are cherished, by noting that she met in Italy a gentleman, who
being then "_dans le genre romantique_," wore a fragment of Juliet's
tomb set in a ring.
 See p. 118 of the present volume.
* * * * *
It is a strange error to conceive that English monasteries, before the
dissolution, fed the indigent part of the nation, and gave that
general relief which the poor laws are intended to afford.
* * * * *
Mr. Hallam makes the following excellent observations upon the
frequency of piracy in the middle ages:--"A pirate, in a well-armed,
quick-sailing vessel, must feel, I suppose, the enjoyments of his
exemption from control more exquisitely than any other free-booter;
and, darting along the bosom of the ocean, under the impartial
radiance of the heavens, may deride the dark concealments and hurried
nights of the forest robber. His occupation is indeed extinguished by
the civilization of later ages, or confined to distant climates. But
in the 13th or 14th centuries, a rich vessel was never secure from
attack; and neither restitution nor punishment of the criminals was to
be obtained from governments, who sometimes feared the plunderer, and
sometimes connived at the offence."
* * * * *
GOOD EFFECTS OF SALT.
Salt appears to be a necessary and universal stimulus to animated
beings; and its effects upon the vegetable as well as animal kingdom
have furnished objects of the most interesting inquiry to the
physiologist, the chemist, the physician, and the agriculturist. It
appears to be a natural stimulant to the digestive organs of all
warm-blooded animals, and that they are instinctively led to immense
distances in pursuit of it. This is strikingly exemplified in the
avidity with which animals in a wild state seek the salt-pans of
Africa and America, and in the difficulties they will encounter to
reach them: this cannot arise from accident or caprice, but from a
powerful instinct, which, beyond control, compels them to seek, at all
risks, that which is salubrious. To those who are anxious to gain
further information upon this curious subject, I would recommend the
perusal of a work entitled "_Thoughts on the Laws relating to Salt_,"
by Samuel Parkes, Esq., and a small volume by my late lamented friend
Sir Thomas Bernard, on the "_Case of the Salt Duties, with Proofs and
Illustrations_." We are all sensible of the effect of salt on the
human body; we know how unpalatable fresh meat and vegetables are
without it. During the course of my professional practice, I have had
frequent opportunities of witnessing the evils which have attended an
abstinance from salt. In my examination before a committee of the
House of Commons in 1818, appointed for the purpose of inquiring into
the laws respecting the salt duties, I stated, from my own experience,
the bad effects of a diet of unsalted fish, and the injury which the
poorer classes, in many districts, sustained in their health from an
inability to procure this essential condiment. I had some years ago a
gentleman of rank and fortune under my care, for a deranged state of
the digestive organs, accompanied with extreme emaciation. I found
that, from some cause which he could not explain, he had never eaten
any salt with his meals: I enforced the necessity of his taking it in
moderate quantities, and the recovery of his digestive powers was soon
evinced in the increase of his strength and condition. One of the ill
effects produced by an unsalted diet is the generation of worms. Mr.
Marshall has published the case of a lady who had a natural antipathy
to salt, and was in consequence most dreadfully infested with worms
during the whole of her life.--(_London Medical and Physical Journal_,
vol. xxix. No. 231.) In Ireland, where, from the bad quality of the
food, the lower classes are greatly infested with worms, a draught of
salt and water is a popular and efficacious anthelmintic. Lord
Somerville, in his Address to the Board of Agriculture, gave an
interesting account of the effects of a punishment which formerly
existed in Holland. "The ancient laws of the country ordained men to
be kept on bread alone, unmixed with salt, as the severest punishment
that could be inflicted upon them in their moist climate. The effect
was horrible; these wretched criminals are said to have been devoured
by worms engendered in their own stomachs." The wholesomeness and
digestibility of our bread are undoubtedly much promoted by the
addition of salt which it so universally receives.
_Dr. Paris--quoted in the Doctor._
* * * * *
PROGRESS OF THE SCIENCES.
The first savages collected in the forests a few nourishing fruits, a
few salutary roots, and thus supplied their most immediate wants. The
first shepherds observed that the stars moved in a regular course, and
made use of them to guide their journeys across the plains of the
desert. Such was the origin of the mathematical and physical sciences.
Once convinced that it could combat nature by the means which she
herself afforded, genius reposed no more, it watched her without
relaxation, it made incessantly new conquests over her, all of them
distinguished by some improvement in the situation of our race. From
that time a succession of conducting minds, faithful depositories of
the attainments already made, constantly occupied in connecting them,
in vivifying them by means of each other, have conducted us, in less
than forty ages, from the first essays of rude observers to the
profound calculations of Newton and La Place, to the learned
classifications of Linnaeus and Jussieu. This precious inheritance,
perpetually increasing, brought from Chaldea into Egypt, from Egypt
into Greece, concealed during ages of disaster and of darkness
recovered in more fortunate times, unequally spread among the nations
of Europe, has everywhere been followed by wealth and power; the
nations which have reaped it are become the mistresses of the world;
such as have neglected it, are fallen into weakness and obscurity.
_Curtis's Lectures on the Ear._
* * * * *
THE CAUSES OF DISEASE.
Daily observation demonstrates that the human structure, even in its
most perfect formation is liable to lesions of organization and
derangment of function, producing that state of the system in which
its usual actions or perceptions are either interrupted or attended
with pain--this state is called disease. Every animal carries within
itself the germ of its own destruction, or, in other words, it is
formed for a limited existence. Many diseases, therefore arise
spontaneously, or without any assignable external cause; but many more
are produced by causes, over which we have some control, and perhaps
the chief source of the physical ills to which we are liable, is the
deviation we make from the simplicity of nature. The injurious
influence that domestication has upon the health of the lower animals
is very strikingly apparent; and in proportion as their subjugation is
more complete, and their manner of life differs more widely from that
which is natural to them, so are their diseases more numerous and
severe. The diseases of our more valuable domestic animals are
sufficiently numerous and important to employ a particular class of
men; and the horse alone has professional assistance appropriated to
him. Men of education and talent have devoted themselves to the
investigation of the diseases of this noble and useful creature. The
poor little canary birds confined in their prisons, are very liable to
disease, more especially inflammation of the bowels, asthma, epilepsy,
and soreness of the bill. No animal deviates so far from the
simplicity of nature in its habits, as man; none is placed under the
influence of so many circumstances, calculated to act unfavourably
upon the frame. His morbid affections are hence abundant and
diversified, as may be seen by referring to the different nosological
arrangements; these long catalogues of diseases affording strong
evidence that man has not carefully followed that way of life which
has been marked out for him by nature. The crowded state of the
inhabitants of large cities; the injurious effects of an atmosphere
loaded with impurities; sedentary occupations; various unwholesome
avocations; intemperance in food; stimulating drinks; high-seasoned
and indigestible viands (and these taken hastily in the short
intervals allowed by the hurry and turmoil of business); the constant
inordinate activity of the great central circulation, kept up by the
double impulse of luxurious habits and high mental exertions; the
violent passions by which we are agitated and enervated; the various
disappointments and vexations to which all are liable, reacting upon
and disturbing the whole frame; the delicacy and sensibility to
external influences, caused by heated rooms, too warm clothing, and
other indulgencies; are all contrary to the voice of nature, and they
produce those morbid conditions of the system which a more simple and
uniform mode of living would prevent. Our associates of the animal
kingdom do not escape the influence of such causes: the mountain
shepherd and his dog are equally hardy, and form an instructive
contrast between a delicate lady and her lap-dog; the extreme point of
degeneracy and imbecility of which each race is susceptible. In the
early ages of society man enjoyed long life, his manner of living was
simple, his food, habitation, and pursuits, were all calculated to
fortify the body, and no anxious cares disturbed his mind.
_Curtis's Essay on the Deaf and Dumb._
* * * * *
REFORM OF CRIMINAL LAW.
How noble and pure was the ambition of Sir Samuel Romilly we may learn
from the following beautiful passages, where he has explained the
motives by which he was actuated in his proposed reforms of the
criminal law. "It was not," said he, "from light motives---it was from
no fanciful notions of benevolence, that I have ventured to suggest
any alteration in the criminal law of England. It has originated in
many years' reflection, and in the long-established belief that a
mitigation of the severe penalties of our law will be one of the most
effectual modes to preserve and advance the humanity and justice for
which this country is so eminently distinguished. Since the last
session of parliament, I have repeatedly reconsidered the subject: I
am more and more firmly convinced of the strength of the foundation
upon which I stand; and even if I had doubted my own conclusions, I
cannot forget the ability with which I was supported within these
walls; nor can be insensible to the humane and enlightened philosophy
by which, in contemplative life, this advancement of kindness has been
recommended. I cannot, therefore, hastily abandon a duty which, from
my success in life, I owe to my profession--which, as a member of this
house, I owe to you and to my country--and which, as a man blessed
with more than common prosperity, I owe to the misguided and
_Roscoe's Lives of Eminent Lawyers._
* * * * *
AN UPRIGHT JUDGE.
The character of Sir Matthew Hale as a judge was splendidly
pre-eminent. His learning was profound; his patience unconquerable;
his integrity stainless. In the words of one who wrote with no
friendly feeling towards him, "his voice was oracular, and his person
little less than adored." The temper of mind with which he entered
upon the duties of the bench is best exemplified in the following
resolutions, which appear to be composed on his being raised to the
dignity of chief baron at the restoration.
"Things necessary to be continually had in remembrance:--
"1. That in the administration of justice I am intrusted for God, the
king, and country; and therefore,
"2. That it be done--1. uprightly; 2. deliberately; 3. resolutely.
"3. That I rest not upon my own understanding or strength, but implore
and rest upon the direction and strength of God.
"4. That in the exertion of justice I carefully lay aside my own
passions, and not give way to them, however provoked.
"5. That I be wholly intent upon the business I am about, remitting
all other cares and thoughts as unseasonable and interruptions.
"6. That I suffer not myself to be pre-possessed with any judgment at
all, till the whole business and both parties be heard.
"7. That I never engage myself in the beginning of any cause, but
reserve myself unprejudiced till the whole be heard.
"8. That in business capital, though my nature prompt me to pity, yet
to consider there is a pity also due to the country.
"9. That I be not too rigid in matters purely conscientious, where all
the harm is diversity of judgment.
"10. That I be not biassed with compassion to the poor, or favour to
the rich, in point of justice.
"11. That popular or court applause or distaste have no influence in
anything I do, in point of distribution of justice.
"12. Not to be solicitous what men will say or think, so long as I
keep myself exactly according to the rule of justice.
"13. If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and
"14. In criminals that consist merely in words, where no more harm
ensues, moderation is no injustice.
"15. In criminals of blood, if the fact be evident, severity is
"16. To abhor all private solicitations, of what kind soever, and by
whomsoever, in matters depending.
"17. To charge my servants--1. Not to interpose in any matter
whatsoever; 2. Not to take more than their known fees; 3. Not to give
any undue precedence to causes; 4. Not to recommend counsel.
"18. To be short and sparing at meals, that I may be the fitter for
Under the influence of resolutions like these, the conduct of Hale on
the bench appears to have been almost irreproachable.
* * * * *
THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
'Twas morn--but not the ray which falls the summer boughs among,
When beauty walks in gladness forth, with all her light and song;
'Twas morn--but mist and cloud hung deep upon the lonely vale,
And shadows, like the wings of death, were out upon the gale.
For He whose spirit woke the dust of nations into life--
That o'er the waste and barren earth spread flowers and fruitage rife--
Whose genius, like the sun, illumed the mighty realms of mind--
Had fled for ever from the fame, love, friendship of mankind!
To wear a wreath in glory wrought his spirit swept afar,
Beyond the soaring wing of thought, the light of moon or star;
To drink immortal waters, free from every taint of earth--
To breathe before the shrine of life, the source whence worlds had birth!
There was wailing on the early breeze, and darkness in the sky,
When, with sable plume, and cloak, and pall, a funeral train swept by;
Methought--St. Mary, shield us well!--that other forms moved there,
Than those of mortal brotherhood, the noble, young, and fair!
Was it a dream?--how oft, in sleep, we ask, "Can this be true?"
Whilst warm imagination paints her marvels to our view;--
Earth's glory seems a tarnish'd crown to that which we behold,
When dreams enchant our sight with things whose meanest garb is gold!
Was it a dream?--methought the "dauntless Harold" passed me by--
The proud "Fitz-James," with martial step, and dark, intrepid eye;
That "Marmion's" haughty crest was there, a mourner for his sake;
And she, the bold, the beautiful, sweet "Lady of the Lake."
The "Minstrel," whose _last lay_ was o'er, whose broken harp lay low,
And with him glorious "Waverley," with glance and step of wo;
And "Stuart's" voice rose there, as when, 'midst fate's disastrous war,
He led the wild, ambitious, proud, and brave "Ich Ian Vohr."
Next, marvelling at his sable suit, the "Dominie" stalk'd past,
With "Bertram," "Julia" by his side, whose tears were flowing fast;
"Guy Mannering," too, moved there, o'erpowered by that afflicting sight;
And "Merrilies," as when she wept on Ellangowan's height.
Solemn and grave, "Monkbarns" approached, amidst that burial line;
And "Ochiltree" leant o'er his staff, and mourn'd for "Auld lang syne!"
Slow march'd the gallant "McIntyre," whilst "Lovel" mused alone;
For _once_, "Miss Wardour's" image left that bosom's faithful throne!
With coronach, and arms reversed, forth came "MacGregor's" clan--
Red "Dougal's" cry peal'd shrill and wild--"Rob Roy's" bold brow
The fair "Diana" kissed her cross, and bless'd its sainted ray;
And "Wae is me!" the "Bailie" sighed, "that I should see this day!"
Next rode in melancholy guise, with sombre vest and scarf,
Sir Edward, Laird of Ellieslaw, the far-renowned "Black Dwarf;"
Upon his left, in bonnet blue, and white locks flowing free--
The pious sculptor of the grave--stood "Old Mortality!"
"Balfour of Burley," of "Claverhouse," the "Lord of Evandale,"
And stately "Lady Margaret," whose woe might naught avail!
Fierce "Bothwell" on his charger black, as from the conflict won;
And pale "Habakuk Mucklewrath," who cried, "God's will be done!"
And like a rose, a young white rose, that blooms mid wildest scenes,
Passed she,--the modest, eloquent, and virtuous "Jeanie Deans;"
And "Dumbedikes," that silent laird, with love too _deep_ to _smile_,
And "Effie," with her noble friend, the good "Duke of Argyle."
With lofty brow, and bearing high, dark "Ravenswood" advanced,
Who on the false "Lord Keeper's" mien with eye indignant glanced;
Whilst graceful as a lonely fawn, 'neath covert close and sure,
Approached the beauty of all hearts--the "Bride of Lammermoor!"
Then "Annot Lyle," the fairy queen of light and song, stepped near,
The "Knight of Ardenvohr," and _he_, the gifted Hieland Seer:
"Dalgetty," "Duncan," "Lord Monteith," and "Ranald," met my view--
The hapless "Children of the Mist," and bold "Mhich-Connel-Dhu!"
On swept "Bois Guilbert"--"Front de Boeuf"--"De Bracy's" plume of woe;
And "Coeur de Lion's" crest shone near the valiant "Ivanhoe;"
While soft as glides a summer cloud "Rowena" closer drew,
With beautiful "Rebecca"--peerless daughter of the Jew!
Still onward like the gathering night advanced that funeral train--
Like billows when the tempest sweeps across the shadowy main;
Where'er the eager gaze might reach, in noble ranks were seen,
Dark plume, and glittering mail and crest, and woman's beauteous mien!
A sound thrilled through that lengthening host! methought the vault
Where in his glory and renown fair Scotia's bard reposed!--
A sound thrilled through that length'ning host! and forth my vision fled!
But, ah! that mournful dream proved true,--the immortal Scott was dead!
* * * * *
LORD BYRON'S "LOVE."
_From Lady Blessington's Conversations._
Of love he had strange notions: he said that most people had _le
besoin d'aimer_, and that with this _besoin_ the first person who fell
in one's way contented one. He maintained that those who possessed the
most imagination, poets for example, were most likely to be constant
in their attachments, as with the _beau ideal_ in their heads, with
which they identified the object of their attachment, they had nothing
to desire, and viewed their mistresses through the brilliant medium of
fancy, instead of the common one of the eyes. "A poet, therefore (said
Byron), endows the person he loves with all the charms with which his
mind is stored, and has no need of actual beauty to fill up the
picture. Hence he should select a woman, who is rather good-looking
than beautiful, leaving the latter for those who, having no
imagination, require actual beauty to satisfy their tastes. And after
all (said he), where is the actual beauty that can come up to the
bright 'imaginings' of the poet? where can one see women that equal
the visions, half mortal, half angelic, that people his fancy? Love,
who is painted blind (an allegory that proves the uselessness of
beauty), can supply all deficiencies with his aid; we can invest her
whom we admire with all the attributes of loveliness, and though time
may steal the roses from her cheek, and the lustre from her eye, still
the original _beau ideal_ remains, filling the mind and intoxicating
the soul with the overpowering presence of loveliness. I flatter
myself that my Leila, Zuleika, Gulnare, Medora, and Haidee will always
vouch for my taste in beauty: these are the bright creations of my
fancy, with rounded forms, and delicacy of limbs, nearly so
incompatible as to be rarely if ever united; for where, with some rare
exceptions, do we see roundness of contour accompanied by lightness,
and those fairy hands and feet that are at once the type of beauty and
refinement. I like to shut myself up, close my eyes, and fancy one of
the creatures of my imagination, with taper and rose-tipped fingers,
playing with my hair, touching my cheek, or resting its little
snowy-dimpled hand on mine. I like to fancy the fairy foot, round and
pulpy, but small to diminutiveness, peeping from beneath the drapery
that half conceals it, or moving in the mazes of the dance. I detest
thin women; and unfortunately all, or nearly all plump women, have
clumsy hands and feet, so that I am obliged to have recourse to
imagination for my beauties, and there I always find them. I can so
well understand the lover leaving his mistress that he might write to
her, I should leave mine, not to write to, but to think of her, to
dress her up in the habiliments of my ideal beauty, investing her with
all the charms of the latter, and then adoring the idol I had formed.
You must have observed that I give my heroines extreme refinement,
joined to great simplicity and want of education. Now, refinement and
want of education are incompatible, at least I have ever found them
so: so here again, you see, I am forced to have recourse to
imagination, and certainly it furnishes me with creatures as unlike
the sophisticated beings of civilized existence, as they are to the
still less tempting, coarse realities of vulgar life. In short, I am
of opinion that poets do not require great beauty in the objects of
their affection; all that is necessary for them is a strong and
devoted attachment from the object, and where this exists, joined to
health and good temper, little more is required, at least in early
youth, though with advancing years, men become more _exigeants_."
Talking of the difference between love in early youth and in maturity,
Byron said, "that, like the measles, love was most dangerous when it
came late in life."
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
_By one of the year 1750._
Umbrellas, in my youth, were not ordinary things; few but the
macaronis of the day, as the dandies were then called, would venture
to display them. For a long while it was not usual for men to carry
them without incurring the brand of effeminacy, and they were vulgarly
considered as the characteristics of a person whom the mob hugely
disliked, namely, a mincing Frenchman! At first, a single umbrella
seems to have been kept at a coffee-house for some extraordinary
occasion--lent as a coach or chair in a heavy shower--but not commonly
carried by the walkers. The Female Tatler advertises, "the young
gentleman belonging to the custom-house who, in fear of rain, borrowed
_the umbrella from Wilks' Coffee-House_, shall the next time be
welcome to the maid's _pattens_." An umbrella carried by a man was
obviously then considered as extreme effeminacy. As late as in 1778,
one John Macdonald, a footman, who has written his own life, informs
us that when he used "a fine silk umbrella, which he had brought from
Spain, he could not with any comfort to himself use it; the people
calling out 'Frenchman! why don't you get a coach?'" The fact was that
the hackney-coachmen and the chairmen, joining with the true _esprit
de corps_, were clamorous against this portentous rival. This footman,
in 1778, gives us further information. "At this time there were no
umbrellas wore in London, except in noblemen's and gentlemen's houses,
where there was a large one hung in the hall to hold over a lady or a
gentleman, if it rained between the door and their carriage." His
sister was compelled to quit his arm one day from the abuse he drew
down on himself and his umbrella. But he adds, that "he persisted for
three months till they took no further notice of this novelty.
Foreigners began to use theirs, and then the English. Now it is become
a great trade in London." This footman, if he does not arrogate too
much to his own confidence, was the first man distinguished by
carrying and using a silken umbrella. He is the founder of a most
populous school. The state of our population might now in some degree
be ascertained by the number of umbrellas.
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
Gipsies in times of yore were the scape-goats of the peasantry: if
"cock" were "purloined" or any other rural mischief done by night, it
was immediately fathered upon a neighbouring tent of "the dark race."
No further evidence was required than the pot boiling on stick
transverse: no one hesitated to conclude that the said pot contained
the _corpus delicti_: that the individual missing cock was there
parboiling, and that the swarthy race lolling around the fire, or
peeping from beneath the canvass roof, were resting from the unholy
labours of the night. Crime, however, has made such rapid marches that
it has long been seen that the gipsies could not perpetrate the whole
of it: and now it is pretty clear they are, and probably have always
been, innocent of the whole of it. It is an event of extreme rarity to
see a gipsy in a court of justice, and we have reason to believe that
it has come to pass that farmers entertain a belief that the tent of
the wanderer, with its nightly blaze and its dark shadows flitting
about it, is a protection to their property. There is every
probability in favour of the justice of this character. The life of
the gipsy is not unlucrative: his wants are few and coarse, and the
calls upon him are scarcely any. He pays no rent: he is exempt from
taxes: he spends nothing in the luxury of attire: no man can bring him
in a bill. Being himself a mender and universal repairer, he is under
the necessity of demanding no man's aid. His horse or his ass feeds on
Nature's common, the hedge-side, the waste corner, the forest thicket,
well known and long haunted by him and his tribe. Gipsies are subject
to few diseases: they seldom ask the doctor's assistance but for one
friendly office, and that serves a man his lifetime. The open air, the
inconstancy of their labour, the sufficiency of their food, and the
quantity of healthy exercise, necessarily render these Arabs of
civilization the healthiest part of the people. As the monks of old
always managed to select a happy site for their establishments, so
does the gipsy always contrive to fix upon a pleasant and healthy spot
for the pitching of his tent. It is sure to be near a brook for the
supply of fresh water for the pot, and a washing-place for the family
rags: it generally lies under the shelter of some umbrageous tree, it
will always be found to have a view of the road, and invariably placed
on the edge of some nice short and sweet morsel of grass for the
recreation of the quadrupeds of the party.
The character of the gipsy has not been well understood. It is
altogether oriental: he is quiet, patient, sober, long suffering,
pleasant in speech, indolent but handy, far from speculative, and yet
good at succedaneum: when his anger is kindled, it descends like
lightning: unlike his dog, his wrath gives no notice by grumbling: he
blazes up like one of his own fires of dried fern. Quarrels do not
often take place among them, but when they do, they are dreadful. The
laws of the country in which they sojourn have so far banished the use
of knives from among them that they only grind them, otherwise these
conflicts would always be fatal. They fight like tigers with tooth and
nail, and knee and toe, and seem animated only with the spirit of
daemonism. Luckily the worst weapon they use is a stick, and, if the
devil tempts, a hedge-stake.
We have been put in mind to say something of the gipsies by having
witnessed the consequences of one of these affrays, which has brought
us still better acquainted with these singular people. A quarrel
originating in jealousy had produced results of the most serious
nature. A blow on the head with a tent-pole had evidently produced
concussion of the brain if not fracture, and the victim was lying on
his straw bed in a state of profound coma. The tent was tripartite,
being formed of three main tops meeting in a centre: one was sacred to
the women--the gynekeion of the Greeks, the anderoon of the Persians:
in the others were collected the whole faction of the dying man. Nine
or ten swarthy but handsome countenances were anxiously watching the
struggling breath of their unhappy comrade--some sobbing, some
grief-stricken, some sombre, none savage. An old crone was
administering ineffectual milk, perhaps the very woman who had found
the same fluid so nutritious some thirty years ago. Before, or rather,
under her lay as noble a form as nature ever moulded, with a fine
dark, but thoroughly Indian face, covered with the clammy sweat of
apoplectic death. There was no want of light, the fire at the mouth
every now and then sent in a volume of illumination, and when the
medical men arrived there was scarcely a hand that did not contain a
candle in the hope of aiding their investigation. The man died on the
fourth day: the surgeons were compelled to mangle him in their search
for a fracture; after his death justice demanded a still further
investigation of the corpse: and yet during all these trying
circumstances an important witness can declare that the behaviour of
the supposed lawless people was not merely decent--it was more than
exemplary--it was delicate, tender, nay, refined; it was moreover
exempt from prejudice, at the same time that it was full of feeling.
Were the details in place here, it would perhaps be allowed that few
brighter examples of friendship and right feeling were to be found
than in this instance occurred among the "dark race," as they call
_New Monthly Magazine._
* * * * *
* * * * *
Owen Feltham says: "I never yet found pride in a noble nature, nor
humility in an unworthy mind. It may seem strange to an inconsiderate
eye, that such a poor violet virtue should ever dwell with honour; and
that such an aspiring fume as pride is, should ever sojourn with a
constant baseness. It is sure, we seldom find it, but in such as being
conscious of their own deficiency, think there is no way to get honour
but by a bold assuming it. If you search for high and strained
carriages, you shall for the most part meet with them in low men.
Arrogance is a weed that ever grows in a dunghill. It is from the
rankness of that soil that she hath her height and spreadings. Witness
clowns, fools, and fellows that from nothing are lifted some few steps
upon fortune's ladder; where, seeing the glorious representment of
honour above, they are so greedy of embracing, that they strive to
leap thither at once: so by overreaching themselves in the way, they
fail of the end, and fall. And all this happiness, either for want of
education, which should season their minds with the generous precepts
of morality; or, which is more powerful, example; or else for lack of
a discerning judgment, which will tell them that the best way thither,
is to go about by humility and desert. Otherwise the river of contempt
runs betwixt them and it: and if they go not by these passages, they
must of necessity either turn back with shame, or suffer in the
desperate venture. Of trees, I observe, God hath chosen the vine, a
low plant that creeps upon the helpful wall. Of all beasts, the soft
and patient lamb. Of all fowls, the mild and gall-less dove. Christ is
the rose of the field, and the lily of the valley. When God appeared
to Moses, it was not in the lofty cedar, nor the sturdy oak, nor the
spreading plane; but in a bush, an humble, slender, abject shrub: as
if he would, by these elections, check the conceited arrogance of man.
Nothing procureth love like humility; nothing hate, like pride. The
proud man walks among daggers pointed against him; whereas the humble
and the affable, have the people for their guard in dangers. To be
humble to our superiors, is duty; to our equals, courtesy; to our
inferiors, nobleness: which for all her lowness, carries such a sway
that she may command their souls. But we must take heed, we express it
not in unworthy actions. For then leaving virtue, it falls into
disdained baseness, which is the undoubtable badge of one that will
betray society. So far as a man, both in words and deeds, may be free
from flattery and unmanly cowardice, he may be humble with
commendation; but surely no circumstance can make the expression of
pride laudable. If ever it be, it is when it meets with audacious
pride, and conquers. Of this good it may then be author, that the
affronting man, by his own folly, may learn the way to his duty and
wit. Yet this I cannot so well call pride, as an emulation of the
divine justice; which will always vindicate itself upon presumptuous
ones, and is indeed said to fight against no sin but pride."
* * * * *
_Curious Marriage_.--In the church of St. Martin, formerly called St.
Crosse, Leicester, the marriage register contains an entry of the
names of Thomas Tilsey and Ursula Russel, the first of whom being
"deofe and also dombe," it was agreed by the bishop, mayor, and other
gentlemen of the town, that certain signs and actions of the
bridegroom should be admitted instead of the usual words enjoined by
the Protestant marriage ceremony: "First he embraced her with his
armes, and tooke her by the hande, put a ringe upon her finger, and
laide his hande upon his harte, and upon her harte, and helde up his
handes towards heaven; and, to shew his continuance to dwell with her
to his lyves ende, he did it by closing of his eyes with his hands,
and digging out the earthe with his fete, and pullinge as though he
would ringe a bell, with divers other signes approved."
* * * * *
_Fanny Kemble Tulip_.--This famous tulip which was sold a few weeks
since for L100. was raised by a Mr. Clarke, of Croydon, Surrey, lately
deceased. He was considered to have a first-rate show of tulips, and
spent much of his time in their cultivation; the remainder of the bed
was knocked down for L500. The above gentleman was an infatuated
admirer of Miss Kemble, and, as a token of his admiration he named his
favourite tulip after her. He was a man of the most eccentric habits:
though possessed of a competent fortune, he was continually harrassed
by the fear of coming to poverty--and so powerfully was he impressed
with the dread of being buried in a trance, that he ordered in his
will, two panes of glass to be introduced in his coffin lid, and that
he should be placed in the vault without being screwed down.
* * * * *
In answer to H.H. who advertises in No. 568, p. 208, of _The Mirror_,
for a translation in one line rhyming with Virgil's hemistich:
Mollissima tempora fandi--
the following is suggested:
Times for persuasive speech most meet and handy.
The following motto for a tea-caddy was quoted by the celebrated J.
Te veniente die, Te discedente.
And when Dr. Johnson complained to Mrs. Piozzi, that her tea was so
strong as to make him tipsy, he was thus answered by that learned
Equidem de Te nil tale verebar.
* * * * *
Dum aeger ait, "ah! ah!"
Tu dicito, "da, da."
_Mirror_, No. 568, p. 208.
While the sick man in pain cries out "ah! me!"
Tell him "before I cure, first pay my fee."
Whilst your patient sighs, "ah, me!"
You must cry, "my fee, my fee!!"
* * * * *
_Shaving or Throat-cutting_.--Damel, the King of the Yaloffs, (a
people of Africa,) being at war with Abdulkader, King of Foota Torra,
the latter inflamed with zeal for propagating his religion, sent an
ambassador to Damel, accompanied by two of the principal Bashreens,
who carried each a knife fixed on the top of a long pole. When they
obtained admission into the presence of Damel, they announced the
object of their embassy in the following manner:--"With this knife,"
said the ambassador, "Abdulkader will condescend to shave the head of
Damel, if Damel will embrace the Mahomedan faith; and with this other
knife, Abdulkader will cut the throat of Damel, if Damel refuses to
embrace it--take your choice." Damel coolly replied, "That he had no
choice to make; he neither chose to have his head shaved nor his
throat cut;" and with this answer the ambassador was civilly
* * * * *
_Guides_.--The guides that precede travellers in India are kept in
such admirable wind by their offices, that they keep up with your
horse at a trot, for seven or eight miles.
* * * * *
Thy swain discarded calls thee shrew;
Would'st thou, girl, prove the charge untrue,
Marry the fool who long hath wooed,
And all will swear thou art not shrewd.
* * * * *
_The Pledge redeemed_.
Said Tom to Sam, "Dear friend, I'm bound
To see your fortune through;"
Sam lost his wealth to Tom, and found
The rogue had spoken true.
* * * * *
_Men of no business and Paper-cutting_.--Men of great parts (says
Swift) are unfortunate in business, because they go out of the common
road. I once desired Lord Bolingbroke to observe that the clerks used
an ivory knife, with a blunt edge, to divide paper, which cut it even,
only requiring a strong hand; whereas a sharp penknife would go out of
the crease, and disfigure the paper.
* * * * *
_Tremendous Explosion_.--January 4, 1649, a parish feast was held at
the Rose tavern, in Tower-street, where 70 barrels of gunpowder took
fire and destroyed 60 houses; all the persons assembled were killed
and mangled in a shocking manner, except the mistress of the tavern,
who was found sitting upright in the bar, and a drawer standing
without it, with a pot in his hand; both being suffocated with smoke
* * * * *
_Value of Steam Packets_.--A steam packet of 100 horse power, equipped
as it ought to be, will probably cost about 20,000_l._; expenditure of
fuel, at the rate of one-half chaldron of coals per hour, wages and
victualling, per month, 250_l._; tonnage duty, lights, pilotage, and
port charges, 200_l._ per annum; insurance, 100_l._ per month; small
repairs and winter expenses, about 500_l_. Besides which, being
calculated to last only ten years, the owners should be able to lay by
a sinking fund, or reserve of 2,000_l._ per annum, and 1,500_l._ for a
new set of boilers during that time, making altogether the sailing
expenses of such a vessel about 1,000_l._ per month.
* * * * *
THE LATE SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
* * * * *
AN ILLUSTRATED SUPPLEMENT,
Containing NOTICES of the LIFE and WRITINGS
of the late
SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
With Five Engravings.
* * * * *
_Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset
House,) London; sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin,
Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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