The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10,
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 10, No. 282.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1827. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
[Illustration: HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK.]
"The architectural spirit which has arisen in London since the late
peace, and ramified from thence to every city and town of the empire,
will present an era in our domestic history." Such is the opinion of an
intelligent writer in a recent number of Brande's "Quarterly Journal;"
and he goes on to describe the new erections in the Regent's Park as the
"dawning of a new and better taste, and in comparison with that which
preceded it, a just subject of national exultation;" in illustration of
which fact we have selected the subjoined view of _Hanover Terrace_,
being the last group on the left of the York-gate entrance, and that
next beyond Sussex-place, distinguishable by its cupola tops.
Hanover Terrace, unlike Cornwall and other terraces of the Regent's
Park, is somewhat raised from the level of the road, and fronted by a
shrubbery, through which is a carriage-drive. The general effect of the
terrace is pleasing; and the pediments, supported on an arched rustic
basement by fluted Doric columns, are full of richness and chaste
design; the centre representing an emblematical group of the arts and
sciences, the two ends being occupied with antique devices; and the
three surmounted with figures of the Muses. The frieze is also light and
simply elegant. The architect is Mr. Nash, to whose classic taste the
Regent's Park is likewise indebted for other interesting architectural
Altogether, Hanover Terrace may be considered as one of the most
splendid works of the neighbourhood, and it is alike characteristic of
British opulence, and of the progressive improvement of national taste.
On the general merits of these erections we shall avail ourselves of the
author already quoted, inasmuch as his remarks are uniformly
distinguished by moderation and good taste.
"Regent's Park, and its circumjacent buildings, promise, in few years,
to afford something like an equipoise to the boasted _Palace-group_ of
Paris. If the plan already acted upon is steadily pursued, it will
present a union of rural and architectural beauty on a scale of greater
magnificence than can be found in any other place. The variety is here
in the detached groups, and not as formerly in the individual dwellings,
by which all unity and grandeur of effect was, of course, annihilated.
These groups, undoubtedly, will not always bear the eye of a severe
critic, but altogether they exhibit, perhaps, as much beauty as can
easily be introduced into a collection of dwelling-houses of moderate
size. Great care has been taken to give something of a classical air to
every composition; and with this object, the deformity of _door-cases_
has been in most cases excluded, and the entrances made from behind. The
Doric and Ionic orders have been chiefly employed; but the Corinthian,
and even the Tuscan, are occasionally introduced. One of these groups is
finished with domes; but this is an attempt at magnificence which, on so
small a scale, is not deserving of imitation."
* * * * *
THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY.
(_To the Editor of the Mirror._)
Sir,--Under the _Arcana of Science_, in your last Number, I observed an
account of the inroads made by the sea on the Isle of Sheppey, together
with the exhumation there of numerous animal and vegetable remains. As
an additional fact I inform you, that, at about three hundred feet below
the surface of the sand-bank, (of which the island is composed,) there
is a vast prostrate antediluvian forest, masses of which are being
continually developed by the influence of marine agency, and exhibit
highly singular appearances. When the workmen were employed some years
back in sinking a well to supply the garrison with water, the aid of
gunpowder was required to blast the fossil timber, it having attained,
by elementary action and the repose of ages, the hard compactness of
rock or granite stone. Aquatic productions also appear to observation in
their natural shape and proportion, with the advantage of high
preservation, to facilitate the study of the inquiring philosopher. I
have seen entire lobsters, eels, crabs, &c. all transformed into perfect
lapidifications. Many of these interesting bodies have been selected,
and at the present time tend to enrich the elaborate collections of the
Museum of London and the Institute of France. During the winter of 1825,
in examining a piece of petrified wood, which I had picked up on the
shore, we discovered a very minute aperture, barely the size of a
pin-hole, and on breaking the substance by means of a large hammer, to
our surprise and regret we crushed a small reptile that was concealed
inside, and which, in consequence, we were unfortunately prevented from
restoring to its original shape. The body was of a circular shape and
iron coloured; but from the blood which slightly moistened the face of
the instrument, we were satisfied it must have been animated. I showed
the fragments of both to a gentleman in the island, who, like myself,
lamented the accident, as it had, in all likelihood, deprived science of
forming some valuable (perhaps) deductions on this incarcerated, or (if
I may be allowed the expression) compound phenomenon. I have merely
related the above incident in order to show the possibility of there
being other creatures accessible to discovery under similar
circumstances, and in their nature, perhaps homogeneous. I left the
island next day, and therefore had no further opportunities of
confirming such an opinion; but the place itself abounds with substances
which would authorize such conjectures.
D. A. P.
 We thank our correspondent for the above communication on
one of the most interesting phenomena of British geology; for,
as we hinted in our last, the pleasantest hours of our sojourn
at Margate, about three years since, were passed in the
watchmaker's museum, nearly opposite the Marine Library, which
collection contains many Sheppey fossils, especially a _prawn_,
said to be the only one in England. We remember the proprietor
to have been a self-educated man: he had been to the museum at
Paris twice or thrice, and spoke in high terms of the courteous
reception he met with from M Cuvier; and we are happy to
corroborate his representations. With respect to the _reptile_,
or, as we should say, _insect_, alluded to in the preceding
letter, we suppose it to have been a vermicular insect, similar
to those inhabiting the _cells_ of _corallines_, of whose tiny
labours, in the formation of coral islands, we quoted a spirited
poetical description in No. 279 of the MIRROR. Corallines much
resemble fossil or petrified wood; and we recollect to have
received from the landlady of an inn at Portsmouth a small
branch of _fossil wood_, which she asserted to be _coral_, and
_that_ upon the authority of scores of her visiters; but the
fibres, &c. of the wood were too evident to admit of a dispute.
* * * * *
ANTICIPATED FRENCH MILLENNIUM, OR THE PARISIAN "TRIVIA."
(_For The Mirror._)
"Travellers of that rare tribe, Who've _seen_ the countries
When daudling diligences drag
Their lumbering length along no more--
That odd anomaly!--or wag
Gon call'd, or coach--a misnomer--
That Cerberus three-bodied! and
That Cerberus of music!
Such rattle with their nine-in-hand!
O, Cerbere, an tu sic?
When this, (and of Long Acre wits
To rival this would floor some!)
When this at last the Frenchman quits.
Then! then is the _age d'or_ come!
When coxcomb waiters know their trade,
Nor mix their sauces with cookey's;
When John's no longer chamber maid,
And printed well a book is.
When sorrel, garlic, dirty knife,
_Et cetera_, spoil no dinners--
(The punishment is after life,
Are cooks to punish sinners?)
When bucks are safe, nor streets display
A sea Mediterranean;
When Cloacina wends her way
In streamlet sub-terranean.
When houses, inside well as out,
Are clean, and servants civil;
When dice (if e'er 'twill be I doubt)
Send fewer--to the devil.
When riot ends, and comfort reigns,
Right English comfort--players
Are fetter'd with no rhythmic chains--
French priests repeat French prayers.
When Palais Royal vice subsides,
(Who plays there's a complete ass--)
When footpaths grow on highway sides--
Then! then's the Aurea-Aetas!
There, France, I leave thee.--Jean Taureau!
What think'st thou of thy neighbours?
Or (what I own I'd rather know)
What--think'st thou of MY LABOURS?
A TRAVELLER OF 1827, (W. P.)
 "Which, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length
 It is, indeed, difficult to avoid one, call it what you
will, and quite as difficult to find a more absurd name than
that adopted, unless, indeed, (why the machine goes but five
miles an hour,) it is called a diligence from not being
diligent, as the speaker of our House of Commons may be so
designated from not speaking. It consists of three bodies,
carries eighteen inside, and is not unfrequently drawn by nine
horses. A cavalry charge, therefore, could scarcely make more
noise. Hence, and from the other circumstance, its association
in the second stanza with the triune sonorous Cerberus. A
 The intrusive garrulity of French waiters at dinner is
 This "sea Mediterranean" is a most filthy, fetid, uncovered
gutter, running down the middle of the most, even of the best
streets, and with which every merciless Jehu most liberally
bespatters the unhappy pedestrian. Truly _la belle nation_ has
little idea of decency, or there would be subterranean sewers
 French houses are cleaner even than ours externally, being
all neatly whitewashed! _mais le dedans! le dedans!_
 The servants are as notorious for their incivility as for
their intrusive loquacity.
 As Scott well observes in the introduction to Waverley, "the
word comfortable is peculiar to the English language." The thing
is certainly peculiar to us, if the word is not.
 All the tragedies are in rhyme, and that of the very worst
description for elocutionary effect. It is the anapestic, like,
as Hannah More remarks, "A cobbler there was, and he lived in a
 It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the absurdity
(exploded in England at the Reformation) of a Latin liturgy
still obtains in France.
 The Palais Royal! that pandemonium of profligacy! whose
gaming tables have eternally ruined so many of our countrymen!
So many, that he who, unwarned by their sad experience, plays at
them, is--is he not?--"complete ass."
 There are none, even in the leading streets; our
ambassador's, for instance.
 As the _Etoile_ lately translated John Bull. "When John's
no longer chamber-maid." Of the _propria quae maribus_ of French
domestic economy, this is not the least amusing feature. At my
hotel (in Rue St. Honore) there was a he bed-maker; and I do
believe the anomalous animal is not uncommon.
"When printed well a book is."
Both paper and types are very inferior to ours. But that I
respect the editor's modesty, I would say it were not easy to
find a periodical in Paris, at once so handsomely and
economically got up as--this MIRROR.
* * * * *
CARRYING THE TAR BARRELS AT BROUGH, WESTMORELAND.
(_To The Editor Of The Mirror._)
SIR,--In the haste in which I wrote my last account of the carrying of
"tar barrels" in Westmoreland, (owing to the pressure of time,) I
omitted some most interesting information, and I think I cannot do
better than supply the deficiency this year.
As I said before, the day is prepared for, about a month previously--the
townsmen employ themselves in hagging furze for the "bon-fire," which is
situated in an adjoining field. Another party go round to the different
houses, grotesquely attired, supplicating contributions for the "tar
barrels," and at each house, after receiving a donation, chant a few
doggerel verses and huzza! It is, however, well that people should
contribute towards defraying the expense, for if they do not get enough
money they commit sad depredations, and if any one is seen carrying a
barrel they wrest it from him.
For my part, I liked the "watch night" the best, and if it were possible
to keep sober, one might enjoy the fun--sad havoc indeed was then made
among the poultry--when ducks and fowls were crackling before the fire
all night; in fact, a few previous days were regular shooting days, and
the little birds were killed by scores. But ere morning broke in upon
them, many of the merry group were lying in a beastly state under the
chairs and tables, or others had gone to bed; but this is what _they_
called spending a _merry night_. The day arrives, and a whole troop of
temporary soldiers assemble in the town at 10 P.M. with their borrowed
instruments and dresses, and _a real Guy_,--not a _paper one_,--but a
_living one_--a regular painted old fellow, I assure you, with a pair of
boots like the Ogre's seven leagued, seated on an ass, with the mob
continually bawling out, "there's a _par_ o'ye!"
Thus they parade the town--one of the head leaders knocks at the
door--repeats the customary verses, while the other holds a silken purse
for the cash, which they divide amongst them after the expenses are
paid--and a pretty full purse they get too. In the evening so anxious
are they to fire the stack, that lanterns may be seen glimmering in all
parts of the field like so many will-o'-the-wisps; then follow the tar
barrels, and after this boisterous amusement the scene closes, save the
noise throughout the night, and for some nights after of the drunken
people, who very often repent their folly by losing their situations.
Now, respecting the origin of this custom, I merely, by way of hint,
submit, that in the time of Christian martyrdom, as tar barrels were
used for the "burning at the stake" to increase the ravages of the
flame:--the custom is derived,--out of rejoicings for the abolition of
the horrid practice, and this they show by carrying them on their heads
(as represented at page 296, vol. 8.), but you may treat this suggestion
as you please, and perhaps have the kindness to substitute your own, or
inquire into it.
 See MIRROR, vol. 8, page 296.
* * * * *
CUSTOM OF BAKING SOUR CAKES.
(_For The Mirror._)
Rutherglen, in the county of Lanarkshire, has long been famous for the
singular custom of baking what are called sour cakes. About eight or ten
days before St. Luke's fair (for they are baked at no other time in the
year), a certain quantity of oatmeal is made into dough with warm water,
and laid up in a vessel to ferment. Being brought to a proper degree of
fermentation and consistency, it is rolled up into balls proportionable
to the intended largeness of the cakes. With the dough is commonly mixed
a small quantity of sugar, and a little aniseed or cinnamon. The baking
is executed by women only; and they seldom begin their work till after
sunset, and a night or two before the fair. A large space of the house,
chosen for the purpose, is marked out by a line drawn upon it. The area
within is considered as consecrated ground, and is not, by any of the
bystanders, to be touched with impunity. The transgression incurs a
small fine, which is always laid out in drink for the use of the
company. This hallowed spot, is occupied by six or eight women, all of
whom, except the toaster, seat themselves on the ground, in a circular
form, having their feet turned towards the fire. Each of them is
provided with a bakeboard about two feet square, which they hold on
their knees. The woman who toasts the cakes, which is done on an iron
plate suspended over the fire, is called the queen, or bride, and the
rest are called her maidens. These are distinguished from one another by
names given them for the occasion. She who sits next the fire, towards
the east, is called the todler; her companion on the left hand is called
the trodler; and the rest have arbitrary names given them by the
bride, as Mrs. Baker, best and worst maids, &c. The operation is begun
by the todler, who takes a ball of the dough, forms it into a cake, and
then casts it on the bakeboard of the trodler, who beats it out a little
thinner. This being done, she, in her turn, throws it on the board of
her neighbour; and thus it goes round, from east to west, in the
direction of the course of the sun, until it comes to the toaster, by
which time it is as thin and smooth as a sheet of paper. The first cake
that is cast on the girdle is usually named as a gift to some man who is
known to have suffered from the infidelity of his wife, from a
superstitious notion, that thereby the rest will be preserved from
mischance. Sometimes the cake is so thin, as to be carried by the
current of the air up into the chimney. As the baking is wholly
performed by the hand, a great deal of noise is the consequence. The
beats, however, are not irregular, nor destitute of an agreeable
harmony, especially when they are accompanied with vocal music, which is
frequently the case. Great dexterity is necessary, not only to beat out
the cakes with no other instrument than the hand, so that no part of
them shall be thicker than another, but especially to cast them from one
board to another without ruffling or breaking them. The toasting
requires considerable skill; for which reason the most experienced
person in the company is chosen for that part of the work. One cake is
sent round in quick succession to another, so that none of the company
is suffered to be idle. The whole is a scene of activity, mirth, and
diversion. As there is no account, even by tradition itself, concerning
the origin of this custom, it must be very ancient. The bread thus baked
was, doubtless, never intended for common use. It is not easy to
conceive how mankind, especially in a rude age, would strictly observe
so many ceremonies, and be at so great pains in making a cake, which,
when folded together, makes but a scanty mouthful. Besides, it is
always given away in presents to strangers who frequent the fair. The
custom seems to have been originally derived from paganism, and to
contain not a few of the sacred rites peculiar to that impure religion;
as the leavened dough, and the mixing it with sugar and spices, the
consecrated ground, &c.; but the particular deity, for whose honour
these cakes were at first made, is not, perhaps, easy to determine.
Probably it was no other than the one known in Scripture (Jer. 7 ch. 18
v.) by the name of the Queen of Heaven, and to whom cakes were likewise
kneaded by women.
 These names are descriptive of the manner in which the
women, so called, perform their part of the work, To todle, is
to walk or move slowly, like a child; to trodle, is to walk or
move more quickly.
 From our Correspondent's description of these cakes, we
suppose them to resemble the wafers sold by the confectioners,
except in the elegant designs on their surface.
* * * * *
(_For The Mirror._)
How in the depth of winter rude
A lovely flower is prized,
Which in the month of April view'd,
Perhaps has been despised.
How fair amid the shades of night
Appears the stars' pale ray;
Behold the sun's more dazzling light,
It quickly fades away.
* * * * *
THE ORIGIN OF PETER'S PENCE.
(_For The Mirror._)
The custom of paying "Peter's pence" is of Saxon origin; and they
continued to be paid by the inhabitants of England, till the abolition
of the Papal power. The event by which their payment was enacted is as
follows:--Ethelbert, king of the east angles, having reigned single some
time, thought fit to take a wife; for this purpose he came to the court
of Offa, king of Mercia, to desire his daughter in marriage. Queenrid,
consort of Offa, a cruel, ambitious, and blood-thirsty woman, who envied
the retinue and splendour of the unsuspicious king, resolved in some
manner to have him murdered, before he left their court, hoping by that
to gain his immense riches; for this purpose she, with her malicious and
fascinating arts, overcame the king--her husband, which she most
cunningly effected, and, under deep disguises, laid open to him her
portentous design; a villain was therefore hired, named Gimberd, who was
to murder the innocent prince. The manner in which the heinous crime was
effected was as cowardly as it was fatal: under the chair of state in
which Ethelbert sat, a deep pit was dug; at the bottom of it was placed
the murderer; the unfortunate king was then let through a trap-door into
the pit; his fear overcame him so much, that he did not attempt
resistance. Three months after this, Queenrid died, when circumstances
convinced Offa of the innocence of Ethelbert; he therefore, to appease
his guilt, built St. Alban's monastery, gave one-tenth part of his goods
to the poor, and went in penance to Rome--where he gave to the Pope a
penny for every house in his dominions, which were afterwards called
_Rome shot_, or _Peter's pence_, and given by the inhabitants of
England, &c. till 1533, when Henry VIII. shook off the authority of the
Pope in this country.
* * * * *
ARCANA OF SCIENCE.
_Black And White Swans._
A few weeks since a _black swan_ was killed by his white companions, in
the neighbourhood of London. Of this extraordinary circumstance, an
eye-witness gives the following account:--
I was walking, between four and five o'clock on Saturday afternoon, in
the Regent's Park, when my attention was attracted by an unusual noise
on the water, which I soon ascertained to arise from a furious attack
made by two white swans on the solitary black one. The _allied_ couple
pursued with the greatest ferocity the unfortunate _rara avis_, and one
of them succeeded in getting the neck of his enemy between his bill, and
shaking it violently. The poor black with difficulty extricated himself
from this murderous grasp, hurried on shore, tottered a few paces from
the water's edge, and fell. His death appeared to be attended with great
agony, stretching his neck in the air, fluttering his wings, and
attempting to rise from the ground. At length, after about five minutes
of suffering, he made a last effort to rise, and fell with outstretched
neck and wings. One of the keepers came up at the moment, and found the
poor bird dead. It is remarkable, that his foes never left the water in
pursuit, but continued sailing up and down to the spot wherein their
victim fell, with every feather on end, and apparently proud of their
_Fascination Of Snakes._
I have often heard stories about the power that snakes have to charm
birds and animals, which, to say the least, I always treated with the
coldness of scepticism, nor could I believe them until convinced by
ocular demonstration. A case occurred in Williamsburgh, Massachussets,
one mile south of the house of public worship, by the way-side, in July
last. As I was walking in the road at noon-day, my attention was drawn
to the fence by the fluttering and hopping of a robin red-breast, and a
cat-bird, which, upon my approach, flew up, and perched on a sapling two
or three rods distant; at this instant a large black snake reared his
head from the ground near the fence. I immediately stepped back a
little, and sat down upon an eminence; the snake in a few moments slunk
again to the earth, with a calm, placid appearance; and the birds soon
after returned, and lighted upon the ground near the snake, first
stretching their wings upon the ground, and spreading their tails, they
commenced fluttering round the snake, drawing nearer at almost every
step, until they stepped near or across the snake, which would often
move a little, or throw himself into a different posture, apparently to
seize his prey; which movements, I noticed, seemed to frighten the
birds, and they would veer off a few feet, but return again as soon as
the snake was motionless. All that was wanting for the snake to secure
the victims seemed to be, that the birds should pass near his head,
which they would probably have soon done, but at this moment a wagon
drove up and stopped. This frightened the snake, and it crawled across
the fence into the grass: notwithstanding, the birds flew over the fence
into the grass also, and appeared to be bewitched, to flutter around
their charmer, and it was not until an attempt was made to kill the
snake that the birds would avail themselves of their wings, and fly into
a forest one hundred rods distant. The movements of the birds while
around the snake seemed to be voluntary, and without the least
constraint; nor did they utter any distressing cries, or appear enraged,
as I have often seen them when squirrels, hawks, and mischievous boys
attempted to rob their nests, or catch their young ones; but they seemed
to be drawn by some allurement or enticement, and not by any
constraining or provoking power; indeed, I thoroughly searched all the
fences and trees in the vicinity, to find some nest or young birds, but
could find none. What this fascinating power is, whether it be the look
or effluvium, or the singing by the vibration of the tail of the snake,
or anything else, I will not attempt to determine--possibly this power
may be owing to different causes in different kinds of snakes. But so
far as the black snake is concerned, _it seems to be nothing more than
an enticement or allurement with which the snake is endowed to procure
his fowl_.--_Professor Silliman's Journal_.
_Boring Marine Animals._
The most destructive of these is the _Teredo Navalis_, a fine specimen
of which was exhibited at a recent meeting of the Portsmouth
Philosophical Society. This animal has been said to extend the whole
length of the boring tube; but this assertion is erroneous, since the
tubes are formed by a secretion from the body of the animal, and are
often many feet in length, and circuitous in their course. This was
shown to be the fact, by a large piece of wood pierced in all
directions. The manner in which it affects its passage, and the interior
of the tubes, were also described. The assertion that the _Teredo_ does
not attack teak timber was disproved; and its destructive ravages on the
bottom of ships exemplified, by a relation of the providential escape of
his majesty's ship Sceptre, which having lost some copper from off her
bows, the timbers were pierced through to such an extent as to render
her incapable of pursuing her voyage without repair.
_Anthracite, or Stone Coal._
Professor Silliman's last journal contains a very important article,
illustrative of the practical application of this mineral; and the vast
quantities of it that may be found in Great Britain renders the
information highly valuable to our manufacturing interests. In no part
of the world is anthracite, so valuable in the arts and for economical
purposes, found so abundantly as in Pennsylvania. For the manufacture of
iron this fuel is peculiarly advantageous, as it embraces little sulphur
or other injurious ingredients; produces an intense steady heat; and,
for most operations, it is equal, if not superior to coke. Bar iron,
anchors, chains, steamboat machinery, and wrought-iron of every
description, has more tenacity and malleability, with less waste of
metal, when fabricated by anthracite, than by the aid of bituminous coal
or charcoal, with a diminution of fifty per cent. in the expense of
labour and fuel. For breweries, distilleries, and the raising of steam,
anthracite coal is decidedly preferable to other fuel, the heat being
more steady and manageable, and the boilers less corroded by sulphureous
acid, while no bad effects are produced by smoke and bitumen. The
anthracite of Pennsylvania is located between the Blue Bridge and
Susquehannah; and has not hitherto been found in other parts of the
state, except in the valley of Wyoming.
At Tynningham, the residence of the Earl of Harrington, are holly hedges
extending 2,952 yards, in some cases 13 feet broad and 25 feet high. The
age of these hedges is something more than a century. At the same place
are individual trees of a size quite unknown in these southern
districts. One tree measures 5 feet 3 in. in circumference at 3 feet
from the ground; the stem is clear of branches to the height of 14 feet,
and the total height of the tree is 54 feet. At Colinton House, the seat
of Sir David Forbes; Hopetown House, and Gordon Castle are also several
large groups of hollies, apparently planted by the hand of
Nature.--_Trans. Horticultural Society_.
In this country, the egg plant, brinjal, or aubergine, is chiefly
cultivated as a curiosity; but in warmer climates, where its growth is
attended with less trouble, it is a favourite article of the kitchen
garden. In the form of fritters, or farces, or in soups, it is
frequently brought to table in all the southern parts of Europe, and
forms a pleasant variety of esculent.--Ibid.
_Vinegar Made From Black Ants._
It is singular enough, that a discovery of modern chemistry should long
have been practically employed in some parts of Norway, for the purpose
of making vinegar from a large species of black ant. The method employed
in Norlanden is simply this: they first collect a sufficient quantity of
these little animals, by plunging a bottle partly filled with water up
to the neck in one of the large ant-hills; into which they naturally
creep, and are drowned. The contents are then boiled together, and the
acid thus produced is made use of by the inhabitants as _vinegar_, being
strong and good.
_Soil For Fruit Trees._
Low grounds that form the banks of rivers are, of all others, the best
adapted for the growth of fruit trees; the alluvial soil of which they
are composed, being an intermixture of the richest and most soluble
parts of the neighbouring lands, with a portion of animal and vegetable
matter, affording an inexhaustible store of nourishment--_Trans.
A patent has recently been procured for a most useful appendage to a
watch, for giving alarm at any hour during the night. Instead of
encumbering a watch designed to be worn in the pocket with the striking
apparatus, (by which it would be increased to double the ordinary
thickness), this ingenious invention has the alarum or striking part
detached, and forming a bed on which the watch is to be laid; a
communication being made by a lever, projecting through the watch case,
to connect the works. This appendage is described to be applicable to
any watch of the usual construction, and is by no means expensive.
* * * * *
November is associated with gloom, inasmuch as its days and nights are,
for the most part, sullen and sad. But the transition to this gloom is
slow, gradual, and almost imperceptible. The mornings of the month are
generally foggy, and are thus described by a modern poet:--
"Not pleasureless the morn, when dismal fog
Rolls o'er the dewy plain, or thin mist drives;
When the lone timber's saturated branch
In the progress of day,
"Shorn of his glory through the dim profound,
With melancholy aspect looks the orb
Of stifled day, and while he strives to pierce
And dissipate the slow reluctant gloom,
Seems but a rayless globe, an autumn moon,
That gilds opaque the purple zone of eve,
And yet distributes of her thrifty beam.
Lo! now he conquers; now, subdued awhile,
Awhile subduing, the departed mist
Yields in a brighter beam, or darker clouds
His crimson disk obscure."
The country has now exchanged its refreshing varieties of greens for the
hues of saffron, russet, and dark brown. "The trees," says an amusing
observer of nature, "generally lose their leaves in the following
succession:--walnut, mulberry, horse-chestnut, sycamore, lime, ash,
then, after an interval, elm:
"----'To him who walks
Now in the sheltered mead, loud roars above,
Among the naked branches of the elm,
Still freshening as the hurried cloud departs,
The strong Atlantic gale.'
"Then beech and oak, then apple and peach trees, sometimes not till the
end of November; and lastly, pollard-oaks and young beeches, which
retain their withered leaves till pushed off by the new ones in spring."
The rural economy of the month is thus described by the same
writer:--"The farmer endeavours to finish his ploughing this month, and
then lays up his instruments for the spring. Cattle are kept in the yard
or stable, sheep turned into the turnip-field, or in bad weather fed
with hay, bees moved under shelter, and pigeons fed in the dove-house."
The gardens, for the most part, begin to show the wear of desolation,
and but little of their floral pride remains without doors. Meanwhile, a
mimic garden is displayed within, and the hyacinth, narcissus, &c. are
assembled there to gladden us with anticipations of the coming spring.
Though sombre and drear, a November day is a _carnival_ for the
reflective observer; the very falling of the leaves, intercepted in
their descent by a little whirl or hurricane, is to him a feast of
meditation, and "the soul, dissolving, as it were, into a spirit of
melancholy enthusiasm, acknowledges that silent pathos, which governs
without subduing the heart."--"This season, so sacred to the enthusiast,
has been, in all ages, selected by the poet and the moralist, as a theme
for poetic description and moral reflection;" and we may add that amidst
such scenes, Newton drew the most glorious problem of his philosophy,
and Bishop Horne his simple but pathetic lines on the "Fall of the
Leaf,"--lessons of nature which will still find their way to the hearts
of mankind, when the more subtle workings of speculative philosophy
shall be forgotten with their promoters.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
THE ROBBER SPATOLINO.
The history of Spatolino exhibits rather the character of a man bred
where men are in a state of nature, than of one born in the midst of an
old European state. This extraordinary character, furiously irritated
against the French, who had invaded Italy, desperately bent himself upon
revenge, and directed his attacks unceasingly upon their battalions. He
might perhaps have become a great general, had he entered the military
profession: had he received a competent education, he might have been a
virtuous and eminent citizen. His first crime was an act of vengeance,
and all his following delinquencies flowed from the same source. An
enthusiastic feeling placed the blade in his hand against the invaders
of the Roman States, and a superior sagacity aided his terrible
energies. He died stigmatised with the titles of brigand and assassin;
but the French, on whom he had exercised the most striking acts of
revenge, were his judges, his accusers, and executioners. In all his
acts the man of courage could be distinguished, finding resources, in
whatever dangers, in his own genius. He never was a traitor himself,
although often betrayed by his most intimate friends. His vindictive
exploits were prompt and terrible. The French greatly dreaded him. His
life presents traits truly romantic; sometimes they may appear
exaggerated; but his history is from an authentic source, and from his
The reader may wish to know something of the person of Spatolino. He was
of low stature, long visage, fair skin, but his face of an olive pale
hue; his eyes of a light blue, and full of animation; his aspect fierce;
hair light; long whiskers; lips pale; broad back; swift of foot; and
particularly animated in his action. He wore a jerkin lined with red, a
dark yellow waistcoat, blue breeches, a breast-pouch with fifty
cartridges, four pistols, and a small hanger by his side. In his
breeches-pocket he kept a small stiletto. He also bore a long gun. On
his head he wore continually a net, and upon that his hat. His wife
followed him in all his excursions, and he greatly esteemed and loved
her. He remained some time in the mountains near Rome, and with his
associates laid in a store of whatever was necessary for their new
avocation. He then resolved upon proceeding to Sonnino, the common
rendezvous of the greater part of the banditti in the papal states. In
Sonnino he found some followers, who, going deeply into his notions, did
not scruple to join him. They swore to entertain an eternal friendship
for each other, implacable hatred against the French, and laid it down
as a duty to rob and kill them. Spatolino, before commencing his career
as brigand, repaired to the curate of Sonnino, and requested absolution
for all the crimes he had or might commit; the curate, surprised at this
request, observed to him, that absolution was only given after sins were
committed. Spatolino very soon quieted the scruples of the curate, by
making him a present of a very handsome watch; upon which he immediately
raised his hands and gave him the desired absolution. Sonnino may be
compared with Pontus, where Ovid was in exile, and which is thus
described by that celebrated author:--"The men I meet with are not even
worthy of the name; they are more fierce than wolves; have no laws, as
with them armed force constitutes justice, and injury rights. They live
by rapine, but seek it not without peril, and sword in hand. Every other
way of purveying for their necessities they view as base and
ignominious. It is enough for them to be seen to be hated and dreaded.
The sound of their voice is ferocious; their physiognomy horrible, and
their complexion cadaverous." Just such are the inhabitants of Sonnino
and its vicinity at present, and among such Spatolino came to complete
his band, which, when formed in Rome, consisted of seven only.
Before proceeding on his expedition, and to attach his wife more closely
to his person by proving his strong affection, he left his band and
proceeded to Civita Vecchia, and seeking a sailor who had seduced her,
he expressed a wish to speak with him a little distance from the town.
The sailor, conceiving it might be something to his advantage, followed
immediately. Spatolino conducted him a little beyond the gate of Civita
Vecchia, and giving him two thrusts of his stiletto in his heart, cut
off his ears and nose, to carry them as a present to his wife, and then
departed immediately for Sonnino. On his arrival, he proceeded to seek
Mary and his band. After the usual salutations, he took out of his
pocket the small bundle containing the nose and ears of the sailor, and,
presenting them to his wife, said, "From this you may judge my
affection. I was desirous of avenging your wrongs, and have done so by
killing your seducer. Here are the pledges of it, which you should keep,
in order to remind you of the betrayer, and as a guard against future
temptation. You cannot mistrust me, when I promise ever to afford you
proofs of true attachment, and I hope you will be faithful to me!" After
this they embraced affectionately, and swore to each other eternal
fidelity. Nor is it possible for any man to have kept his word more
scrupulously towards his wife. The following day Spatolino departed at
the head of his band, which was composed of eighteen persons, himself
and wife included, and proceeded to the vicinity of Portatta, near the
main road leading from Rome to Naples, which at that time was much
frequented by the French of every rank and condition, who proceeded
under orders between these two places. Towards night, Spatolino placed
himself and comrades in ambush on the high road, intending to take
advantage of a military body of which he had information. Ere long a
sound of horses was heard; they were immediately on the alert, and
succeeded in arresting a French escort of seven soldiers on foot, and
the same number on horseback, conducting the baggage-wagon of a French
colonel of the line. It contained all his effects, and money to a large
amount. Upon the first fire of Spatolino's band, five of the soldiers
were killed, and three desperately wounded; he then threw himself
amongst the others, who were placed on the defence, and who had expended
their fire without hurting a single individual of the band. Spatolino,
with his pistols, killed two, and a few moments saw him and his band
masters of the field. Spatolino ordered his men to strip the dead, and
placing every thing in the wagon, after digging a pit for the bodies,
they retired to a cave in a wood near the road, where the booty was
equally divided. He took himself two of the best horses, and armed and
equipped his band in a superior manner. He also presented to his wife a
part of the spoil, she having been armed in the action, performing the
duty of a sentinel on the highway in advance about half a mile off, to
give notice, in case of an overwhelming force appearing. Spatolino,
having made a fair division of the spoil to raise the courage of his
companions, sent all his own money to his parents, informing them at the
same time, that for the future they should be released from misery, as
he would ever bear in mind the beings who gave him birth.--_New Monthly
* * * * *
AN UNINSURABLE RISK.
A bookseller opened a shop on the coast,
(I'd rather not mention the spot,)
Where gentlemen lounged o'er the Herald and Post,
And ladies read Byron and Scott.
Much personal memoir, too, shone on the shelves,
Which boasted a whimsical olio;
Decorum sang small, in octavoes and twelves,
And scandal in quarto and folio.
The bookseller, prudently aiming to set
Th' ignipotent god at defiance,
To open a policy vainly essay'd
At the Albion, the Hope, and Alliance.
"My friend, your abortive attempt prithee stop,"
Quoth Jekyll, intent on a joke,
"How can you expect to insure, while your shop
Is rolling out volumes of smoke?"
* * * * *
On few subjects are the public under more misapprehension than on the
absolute and relative circulation of several portions of the London
daily press. The greater part of the people would startle were they told
that The Times circulates probably under 7,000 a day on an average; the
paper is seen, as one may say, in every pot-house in London, and all
over the country; and yet this is all its number.
The property of a paper is a matter of which most people have a very
vague and imperfect knowledge. I believe I am very near the truth when I
state the gross proceeds of The Times at 45,000l., a year. The present
proprietor of The Morning Chronicle gave for it, I believe, 40,000l. The
absolute property of The Courier, according to the current rate of its
shares, is between 90,000l. and 100,000l. Estimating the value of The
Globe on the same scale, the absolute property of it is probably
somewhere about 35,000l. The profits of a paper arise almost entirely
out of its advertisements, and hence the difference in value between the
two last, notwithstanding their circulation is so nearly equal. A
newspaper gets its advertisements by degrees, and, as it is supposed by
the public, its numbers increase; but it retains them long after the
cause by which they were acquired has vanished. It is thus that The
Courier, which got its advertisements when it basked in all the sunshine
of ministerial patronage, retains these when its numbers are reduced by
one-half, and the countenance of government is no longer held out to it.
These, however, it must be admitted, are the prizes in the lottery of
newspaper speculation: and in this, as in every other lottery, there are
more blanks than prizes. Mr. Murray, after having expended upwards of
10,000l. on his Representative, sold it to the proprietors of The New
Times for about 600l.: and The British Press, after having ruined I know
not how many capitalists, was sold to the same concern for, I believe, a
considerably smaller sum.--_London Magazine_.
* * * * *
Mademoiselle Cuvier, daughter of the celebrated naturalist, died a short
time since at Paris. There has seldom been any instance where the
strongest benevolence was so closely united to the charms of intellect.
She possessed a rare mixture of elevation of mind and firmness of
character--of strength and equanimity--sweetness and simplicity. It was
truly gratifying to witness her worship, or rather superstition, for
truth, and to watch the avidity with which she used to seize and
illustrate whatever she thought likely to remove ignorance, or promote
the cause of virtue and freedom. The circumstances which attended the
death of this amiable creature, have, if possible, greatly augmented the
grief of her family and friends. The day of her nuptials was fixed, and
she was to be united to a man of her own choice, and everything was
prepared for the ceremony. Being suddenly afflicted by rapid symptoms of
consumption, all hopes of her recovery soon vanished. Notwithstanding,
the ball dresses, veils, and shawls, continued to be sent home to the
unhappy parents, who dared not refuse them, lest they should themselves
be accused of giving way to despair. This mixture of preparations for
rejoicing, and the certainty of death, formed a picture the most
melancholy and pathetic. When the fatal moment arrived, her family and
many friends surrounded the dying couch in mournful silence. The funeral
was attended by all that is distinguished for rank and fortune at Paris;
a clergyman of the Protestant church read the service for the dead, and
a funeral sermon. A number of young females whom she had formed for
succouring the poor, were ranged round the bier, dressed in white, and
followed to the Cemetery of Pere la Chaise, where M. Salvandy, one of
her friends, undertook to deliver the final eulogy, which it is usual in
France to pronounce on departed worth.--_Monthly Magazine_.--_Letter
* * * * *
HOW TO LOSE TIME.
Few men need complain of the want of time, if they are not conscious of
a want of power, or of desire to ennoble and enjoy it. Perhaps you are a
man of genius yourself, gentle reader, and though not absolutely, like
Sir Walter, a witch, warlock, or wizard, still a poet--a maker--a
creator. Think, then, how many hours on hours you have lost, lying
asleep so profoundly,
"That the cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more could rouse you from your lazy bed."
How many more have you, not absolutely lost, but to a certain extent
abused, at breakfast--sip, sipping away at unnecessary cups of sirupy
tea, or gob, gobbling away at jam-buttered rolls, for which nature never
called--or "to party giving up what was meant for mankind"--forgetting
the loss of Time in the Times, and, after a long, blank, brown, and blue
study, leaving behind you a most miserable chronicle indeed! Then
think--O think--on all your aimless forenoon saunterings--round and
round about the premises--up and down the avenue--then into the garden
on tiptoe--in and out among the neat squares of onion-beds--now humming
a tune by the brink of abysses of mould, like trenches dug for the slain
in the field of battle, where the tender celery is laid--now down to the
river-side to try a little angling, though you well know there is
nothing to be had but Pars--now into a field of turnips, without your
double-barreled Joe Manton, (at Mr. Wilkinson's to be repaired,) to see
Ponto point a place where once a partridge had pruned himself--now home
again, at the waving of John's red sleeve, to receive a coach-full of
country cousins, come in the capacity of forenoon callers--endless
talkers all--sharp and blunt noses alike--and grinning voraciously in
hopes of a lunch--now away to dress for dinner, which will not be for
two long, long hours to come--now dozing, or daized on the drawing-room
sofa, wondering if the bell is ever to be rung--now grimly gazing on a
bit of bloody beef which your impatience has forced the blaspheming cook
to draw from the spit ere the outer folds of fat were well melted at the
fire--now, after a disappointed dinner, discovering that the old port is
corked, and the filberts all pluffing with bitter snuff, except such as
enclose a worm--now an unwholesome sleep of interrupted snores, your
bobbing head ever and anon smiting your breast-bone--now burnt-beans
palmed off on the family for Turkish coffee--now a game at cards, with a
dead partner, and the ace of spades missing--now no supper--you have no
appetite for supper--and now into bed tumbles the son of Genius,
complaining to the moon of the shortness of human life, and the
fleetness of time!
* * * * *
SLEEPING AFTER DINNER.
Mr. Fox at St. Ann's Hill was, for the last years of his life, in the
habit (never interfered with by his friends) of dosing for a few minutes
after dinner; and it was on this occasion, unconsciously yielding to the
influence of custom, I perceived that Mr. Garrow, who was the chief
talker (Parr was in his smoking orgasm,) began to feel embarrassed at
Mr. Fox's non-attention; and I, therefore, made signs to Mr. Fox, by
wiping my fingers to my eyes, and looking expressively at Garrow. Mr.
Fox, the most _truly_ polite man in the world, immediately endeavoured
to rouse himself--but in vain; Nature would have her way. Garrow soon
saw the struggle, and adroitly feigned sleep himself. Mr. Fox was
regenerated in ten minutes--apologized--and made the evening
delightful--_Senatorial Reminiscenses_.--_The Inspector_.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
* * * * *
CHRONICLES OF THE CANONGATE.
_The Two Drovers._
(_Concluded from page 289._)
[Our readers must have missed, and probably with some regret,
the conclusion of the above story, as promised for insertion in
our last Number; and unaccustomed as we are to an intentional
discrepancy of this sort, (for such was the above,) we shall
consider ourselves justified in briefly stating some of the
circumstances which led to the irregularity. We are not disposed
to enter into the tilts of rival journalists, some of whom, in
taking time by the forelock, may have perhaps been rather more
enterprising than the subject warranted. Nevertheless, in
the attempt to please the public, as in other races, the
youngest are often the fleetest. In the present case, the
appetite of the public had been _whetted_ with "reiterated
advertisement:" and one of our contemporaries, with more
playfulness than truth, had compared his priority to that of
_Fine-ear_ in the fairy tale. But his talisman failed, and a
young rival outstripped him; and from this quarter we were
induced to copy the first portion of the tale of _The Two
Drovers_, upon the editor's assurance of his own honesty in
obtaining the precedence, and which assurance We are still
unwilling to question: although, were we to do so, ours would
not he a solitary specimen of such ingratitude. On the day
of our publishing the first portion, we received a notice to
desist from its continuance,--full of the causticity of our
friends on the other side of the Tweed, and with whom, for the
credit of the south, we hope the measure originated. We next
resolved to suspend the conclusion; since the _brutum fulmen_
became louder and louder still, in an advertisement actively
inserted in the London newspapers. To make short of what is and
ought to be but a trifling affair, we have _abridged_ the whole
story, and accordingly now present the conclusion to our
readers, though certainly not in the promised state; how far we
have exculpated ourselves, is for our patrons to determine.--A
few words at parting, on the policy of the above conduct. We
need not enlarge upon the advantages which publishers (and, to
some extent, authors) derive from portions of their works
appearing in periodical journals. The benefit is not reciprocal,
but largely on their side, if they consider how many columns of
advertisement duty they thereby avoid. It is well known that the
_first edition_ of any work by such a master-spirit as Sir
Walter Scott is consumed in a few days by the circulating
libraries and reading societies of the kingdom; but how many
thousands would neither have seen nor heard of his most
successful works, had not the _gusto_ been previously created by
the caducei of these literary Mercuries. Again, sift any one of
them, with higher pretensions to originality than our economical
sheet will admit of, and you shall find it, in _quantity_, at
least, to resemble Gratiano's three grains. But we are not
inclined to quarrel with the scheme, for with Johnson we say,
"Quotation, sir (Walter), is a good thing," in the hope of
hearing our readers reply, "This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons
Some words passed after the departure, of Robin Oig, between the
bailiff, and Harry Wakefield, who was now not indisposed to defend Robin
Oig's reputation. But Dame Heskett prevented this second quarrel by her
peremptory interference. The conversation turned on the expected
markets, and the prices from different parts of Scotland and England,
and Harry Wakefield found a chap for a part of his drove, and at a
considerable profit; an event more than sufficient to blot out all
remembrances of the past scuffle. But there remained one from whose mind
that recollection could not have been wiped by possession of every head
of cattle betwixt Esk and Eden.
This was Robin Oig M'Combich.--"That I should have had no weapon," he
said, "and for the first time in my life!--Blighted be the tongue that
bids the Highlander part with the dirk--the dirk--ha! the English
blood!--My muhme's word--when did her word fall to the ground?"
Robin now turned the light foot of his country towards the wilds,
through which, by Mr. Ireby's report, Morrison was advancing. His mind
was wholly engrossed by the sense of injury the treasured ideas of
self-importance and self-opinion--of ideal birth and quality, had become
more precious to him, (like the hoard to the miser,) because he could
only enjoy them in secret. But insulted, abused, and beaten, he was no
longer worthy, in his own opinion, of the name he bore, or the lineage
which he belonged to--nothing was left to him--but revenge.
When Robin Oig left the door of the ale-house, seven or eight English
miles at least lay betwixt him and Morrison, whose advance was limited
by the sluggish pace of his cattle. And now the distant lowing of
Morrison's cattle is heard; and now he meets them--passes them, and
stops their conductor.
"May good betide us," said the South-lander--"Is this you, Robin
M'Combich, or your wraith?"
"It is Robin Oig M'Combich," answered the Highlander, "and it is
not.--But never mind that, give me pack my dirk, Hugh Morrison, or there
will be words petween us."
"There it is for you then, since less wunna serve."
"Cot speed you, Hughie, and send you good marcats. Ye winna meet with
Robin Oig again either at tryste or fair."
So saying, he shook hastily the hand of his acquaintance, and set out in
the direction from which he had advanced.
Long ere the morning dawned, the catastrophe of our tale had taken
place. It was two hours after the affray when Robin Oig returned to
Heskett's inn. There was Harry Wakefield, who amidst a grinning group of
smockfrocks, hob-nailed shoes, and jolly English physiognomies, was
trolling forth an old ditty, when he was interrupted by a high and stern
voice, saying "Harry Waakfelt--if you be a man, stand up!"
"Harry Waakfelt," repeated the same ominous summons, "stand up, if you
be a man!"
"I will stand up with all my heart, Robin, my boy, but it shall be to
shake hands with you, and drink down all unkindness.
"'Tis not thy fault, man, that, not having the luck to be an Englishman,
thou canst not fight more than a school-girl."
"I _can_ fight," answered Robin Oig, sternly, but calmly, "and you shall
know it. You, Harry Waakfelt, showed me to-day how the Saxon churls
fight--I show you now how the Highland Dunniewassal fights."
He then plunged the dagger, which he suddenly displayed, into the broad
breast of the English yeoman, with such fatal certainty and force, that
the hilt made a hollow sound against the breast bone, and the
double-edged point split the very heart of his victim. Harry Wakefield
fell, and expired with a single groan.
Robin next offered the bloody poniard to the bailiff's throat.
"It were very just to lay you beside him," he said, "but the blood of a
base pick-thank shall never mix on my father's dirk, with that of a
As he spoke, he threw the fatal weapon into the blazing turf-fire.
"There," he said, "take me who likes--and let fire cleanse blood if it
The pause still continuing, Robin Oig asked for a peace-officer, and a
constable having stepped out, he surrendered himself.
"A bloody night's work you have made of it," said the constable.
"Your own fault," said the Highlander. "Had you kept his hands off me
twa hours since, he would have been now as well and merry as he was twa
"It must be sorely answered," said the peace-officer.
"Never you mind that--death pays all debts; it will pay that too."
The constable, with assistance, procured horses to guard the prisoner to
Carlisle, to abide his doom at the next assizes. While the escort was
preparing, the prisoner, before he was carried from the fatal apartment,
desired to look at the dead body, which had been deposited upon the
large table, (at the head of which Harry Wakefield had just presided)
until the surgeons should examine the wound. The face of the corpse was
decently covered with a napkin. Robin Oig removed the cloth, and gazed
on the lifeless visage. While those present expected that the wound,
which had so lately flooded the apartment with gore, would send forth
fresh streams at the touch of the homicide, Robin Oig replaced the
covering, with the brief exclamation, "He was a pretty man!"
My story is nearly ended. The unfortunate Highlander stood his trial at
Carlisle. I was myself present. The facts of the case were proved in the
manner I have related them; and whatever might be at first the prejudice
of the audience against a crime so un-English as that of assassination
from revenge, yet when the national prejudices of the prisoner had been
explained, which made him consider himself as stained with indelible
dishonour, the generosity of the English audience was inclined to regard
his crime as the aberration of a false idea of honour, rather than as
flowing from a heart naturally savage, or habitually vicious. I shall
never forget the charge of the venerable judge to the jury.
"We have had," he said, "in the previous part of our duty, (alluding to
some former trials,) to discuss crimes which infer disgust and
abhorrence, while they call down the well-merited vengeance of the law.
It is now our still more melancholy duty to apply its salutary, though
severe enactments to a case of a very singular character, in which the
crime (for a crime it is, and a deep one) arose less out of the
malevolence of the heart, than the error of the understanding--less from
any idea of committing wrong, than from an unhappily perverted notion of
that which is right. Here we have two men, highly esteemed, it has been
stated, in their rank of life, and attached, it seems, to each other as
friends, one of whose lives has been already sacrificed to a punctilio,
and the other is about to prove the vengeance of the offended laws; and
yet both may claim our commiseration at least, as men acting in
ignorance of each other's national prejudices, and unhappily misguided
rather than voluntarily erring from the path of right conduct.
"In the original cause of the misunderstanding, we must in justice give
the right to the prisoner at the bar. He had acquired possession of the
enclosure, by a legal contract with the proprietor, and yet, when
accosted with galling reproaches he offered to yield up half his
acquisition, and his amicable proposal was rejected with scorn. Then
follows the scene at Mr. Heskett the publican's, and you will observe
how the stranger was treated by the deceased, and I am sorry to observe,
by those around, who seem to have urged him in a manner which was
aggravating in the highest degree.
"Gentlemen of the jury, it was with some impatience that I heard my
learned brother, who opened the case for the crown, give an unfavourable
turn to the prisoner's conduct on this occasion. He said the prisoner
was afraid to encounter his antagonist in fair fight, or to submit to
the laws of the ring; and that therefore, like a cowardly Italian, he
had recourse to his fatal stiletto, to murder the man whom he dared not
meet in manly encounter. I observed the prisoner shrink from this part
of the accusation with the abhorrence natural to a brave man; and as I
would wish to make my words impressive, when I point his real crime, I
must secure his opinion of my impartiality, by rebutting every thing
that seems to me a false accusation. There can be no doubt that the
prisoner is a man of resolution--too much resolution; I wish to heaven
that he had less, or rather that he had had a better education to
* * * * *
"But, gentlemen of the jury, the pinch of the case lies in the interval
of two hours betwixt the injury and the fatal retaliation. In the heat
of affray and _chaude melee_, law, compassionating the infirmities of
humanity, makes allowance for the passions which rule such a stormy
moment--But the time necessary to walk twelve miles, however speedily
performed, was an interval sufficient for the prisoner to have
recollected himself; and the violence and deliberate determination with
which he carried his purpose into effect, could neither be induced by
anger, nor fear. It was the purpose and the act of pre-determined
revenge, for which law neither can, will, nor ought to have sympathy.
* * * * *
"The law says to the subjects, with a voice only inferior to that of the
Deity, 'Vengeance is mine.' The instant that there is time for passion
to cool, and reason to interpose, an injured party must become aware,
that the law assumes the exclusive cognizance of the right and wrong
betwixt the parties, and opposes her inviolable buckler to every attempt
of the private party to right himself. I repeat, that this unhappy man
ought personally to be the object rather of our pity than our
abhorrence, for he failed in his ignorance, and from mistaken notions of
honour. But his crime is not the less that of murder, gentlemen, and, in
your high and important office, it is your duty so to find. Englishmen
have their angry passions as well as Scots; and should this man's action
remain unpunished, you may unsheath, under various pretences, a thousand
daggers betwixt the Land's-end and the Orkneys."
The venerable judge thus ended what, to judge by his emotion and tears,
was really a painful task. The jury, accordingly brought in a verdict of
guilty; and Robin Oig M'Combich, _alias_ M'Gregor, was sentenced to
death, and executed accordingly. He met his fate with firmness, and
acknowledged the justice of his sentence. But he repelled indignantly
the observations of those who accused him of attacking an unarmed man.
"I give a life for the life I took," he said, "and what can I do more?"
 _We_ remember the proverb, "Honour among thieves."
 But we cannot so far forget our country as to be
indifferent to them.--See a passage in the _Two Drovers_.
* * * * *
A PERSIAN FABLE.
A little particle of rain,
That from a passing cloud descended,
Was heard thus idly to complain:--
"My brief existence now is ended.
Outcast alike of earth and sky,
Useless to live, unknown to die."
It chanced to fall into the sea,
And there an open shell received it;
And, after years, how rich was he,
Who from its prison-house relieved it:
The drop of rain has formed a gem,
To deck a monarch's diadem.
* * * * *
"I am but a _Gatherer_ and disposer of other men's
* * * * *
A witty wight, on seeing the following line in our last,
_Necessitas non habet_ leg_em_,
supplied this new reading,
Necessity without a _leg_ to stand upon.
* * * * *
O. P. RIOTS.
"What is doing to-night?" asked Kemble, of one of the ballet-masters;
"Oh pis (O P) toujours, Monsieur," was the reply.
* * * * *
A CURIOUS FACT.
An absent man, whose heart can seldom resist the importunities of
beggars, was, a few mornings since, followed by a hungry half-starved
dog, when he inadvertently took from his pocket a penny, which he was
just about to give to the four-footed wanderer, when he perceived his
mistake. It should be mentioned that the above individual had, on nearly
the precise spot, on the previous night, assisted one of his fellow
creatures in the same manner as that in which he was about to relieve
the quadruped. The EDITOR of the MIRROR will be happy to substantiate
this fact to such as may be disposed to doubt its authenticity:--"if it
be madness, there's method in it."
* * * * *
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Seventeen hundred individuals a year, for the last seven years, have
been committed for poaching.--_Report Prison Discip. Society_.
Crime is a curse only to the period in which it is successful; but
virtue, whether fortunate or otherwise, blesses not only its own age,
but remotest posterity, and is as beneficial by its example, as by its
At the late Doncaster races, there were 30,000 persons well clothed, and
apparently well fed and happy. 2000l. were taken at the grand stand for
Mr. Kean is to receive, during the present season, _fifty pounds_ for
each night's performance--the yearly income of a curate!
Singing _Non Nobis Domine_ after dinner is a very foolish custom. People
in England pay 10,000l. a year for _non nobis_. Rather sing Dr.
Kitchener's Universal Prayer and the English grace. The common people of
every country understand only their native tongue; therefore if you do
not understand them, you will not understand each other. All Italian
music is detestable, and nothing like our genuine native song. Weber's
"unconcatenated chords" ought not to be listened to, while we have such
composers as Braham and Tom Cooke. The _national songs of Great Britain_
have not sold so well as the _Cook's Oracle_. "People like what goes
into the mouth better than what comes out of it."--_Dr. Kitchener_.
A museum, deanery, and a cattle-market are building at York. Various
other improvements and repairs are also in progress in that city!
According to the Report of the Commissioners of Public Charities, the
_annual_ sum of 972,396l. has been bequeathed by pious donors to
_England only_! This is surely the promised land of benevolence; but in
Salop only, there are arrears now due to the poor for upwards of 42
M. La Combe, in his _Picture of London_, advises those who do not wish
to be robbed to carry a brace of blunderbusses, and to put the muzzle of
one out of each window, so as to be seen by the robbers.
The silly habit of praising every thing at a man's table came in for a
share of the late Dr. Kitchener's severity. He said, "Criticism, sir, is
not a pastime; it is a verdict on oath: the man who does it is (morally)
sworn to perform his duty. There is but one character on earth, sir," he
would add, "that I detest; and that is the man who praises,
indiscriminately, every dish that is set before him. Once I find a
fellow do that at my table, and, if he were my brother, I never ask him
to dinner again."
A _daily_ literary journal has lately been started in Paris, and has, in
less than three weeks, above 2,000 subscribers.
_Reviewing_, as a profession by which a certain class of men seek to
instruct the public, and to support themselves creditably in the middle
order, and to keep their children from falling, after the decease of
enlightened parents, on the parish, is at the lowest possible ebb in
this country; and many is the once well-fed critic now an
_Oranges_.--It is not perhaps generally known or suspected, that the
rabbis of the London synagogues are in the habit of affording both
employment and maintenance to the poor of their own persuasion, by
supplying them with oranges at an almost nominal price.--Ibid.
_Noble Authors_.--The poor spinsters of the Minerva press can scarcely
support life by their labours, so completely are they driven out of the
market by the Lady Charlottes and the Lady Bettys; and a rhyming peer is
as common as a Birmingham button. It would take ten Horace Walpoles at
least to do justice to the living authors of the red book.
_Buying Books_.--Money is universally allowed to be the thing which all
men love best; and if a man buys a book, we may safely infer he thinks
well of it. What nobody buys, then, we may justly conclude is not worth
* * * * *
_On the Duchess of Devonshire's canvassing for Mr. Fox at the
Array'd in matchless beauty, Devon's fair
In Fox's favour takes a zealous part;
But, oh! where'er the pilferer comes beware,
She supplicates a vote, and steals a heart.
* * * * *
_Lines sent by a Surgeon, with a box of ointment, to a Lady who had an
The doctor's kindest wishes e'er attend
His beauteous patient, may he hope his friend;
And prays that no corrosive disappointment
May mar the lenient virtues of his ointment;
Of which, a bit not larger than a shot,
Or that more murd'rous thing, "a beauty spot,"
Warmed on the finger by the taper's ray,
Smear o'er the eye affected twice a day.
Proffer not gold--I swear by my degree,
From beauty's lily hand to take no fee;
No glittering trash be mine, I scorn such pelf,
The eye, when cured, will pay the debt itself.
* * * * *
George III. is said to have observed to a person who approached him in a
moment of personal restraint, indispensable in his situation, "Here you
see me _checkmated_."
* * * * *
The first Grimaldi celebrated on the stage, appeared at Paris about the
year 1735, when his athletic force and extraordinary agility procured
him the sobriquet of "Jambe de Fer," or iron-leg. In 1742, when Mahomet
Effendi, ambassador of the Porte, visited Paris, he was received with
the highest honour and utmost distinction; and the court having ordered
a performance for the Turk's entertainment, Grimaldi was commanded to
exert himself to effect that object. In obedience to his directions, in
making a surprising leap, his foot actually struck a lustre, placed high
from the stage, and one of the glass drops was thrown in the face of the
ambassador. It was then customary to demand some reward from the
personage for whom the entertainment was prepared, and, at the
conclusion of the piece, Grimaldi waited upon the Mussulman for the
usual present. If the Turk had concealed the expression of his anger at
the accident, it was not however extinct, for on the appearance of the
buffoon, he directed him to be seized by his attendants, and transported
in his theatrical costume, to his residence, where, after undergoing a
severe bastinado, the hapless actor was thrust into the street, with
only his pedal honour for his recompense.
* * * * *
NEGROES' HEIR LOOM.
Some years ago, the boiler-men negroes on Huckenfield estate were
overheard by the book-keeper discoursing on this subject, (the
superiority of the whites,) and various opinions were given, till the
question was thus set at rest by an old African:--"When God Almighty
make de world, him make two men, a nigger and a buckra; and him give dem
two box, and him tell dem for make dem choice. Nigger, (nigger greedy
from time,) when him find one box heavy, him take it, and buckra take
t'other; when dem open de box, buckra see pen, ink, and paper; nigger
box full up with hoe and bill, and hoe and bill for nigger till this
day."--_Barclay's Slavery in the West Indies_.
* * * * *
When Suffer, who had been fifty years a servant in the English factory
at Abesheber, or Bushire, a Persian sea-port, was on his death-bed, the
English doctor ordered him a glass of wine. He at first refused, saying,
"I cannot take it; it is forbidden in the Koran." But after a few
moments, he begged the doctor to give it him, saying, as he raised
himself in his bed, "Give me the wine; for it is written in the same
volume, that all you unbelievers will be excluded from Paradise; and the
experience of fifty years teaches me to prefer your society in the other
world, to any place unto which I can be advanced with my own
countrymen." He died a few hours after this sally.--_Sketches of
* * * * *
_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near
Somerset-House,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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