The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction,
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Allen Siddle and the Online Distributed
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
NO. 329.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 1828. [PRICE 2d.
NEW CHURCH, BUILDING AT STAINES.
[Illustration: NEW CHURCH, BUILDING AT STAINES.]
Who has journeyed on the Exeter road without noticing the town of STAINES,
with its host of antiquarian associations--as the _Stana_ (Saxon) or
London Stone, its ancient bridge, for the repair of which three oaks
out of Windsor Forest were granted by the crown in the year 1262, besides
_pontage_ or temporary tolls previous to the year 1600.--Dr. Stukeley's
conjectures respecting the _Via Trinobantica_ passing here--and the _old_
parish church, the situation of which appeared to denote the site of the
more ancient town of Staines. It is here too, that the tourist begins to
imagine himself _in rure_, after he has been whirled through the brick and
mortar avenues of _Kensington_, and _Hammersmith_, and the unsightly
lane-street of _Brentford_, with all its cockney reminiscences of
equestrianism and election squabbles; _Hounslow_ and its by-gone days of
highway notoriety and powder-mill and posting celebrity, and _Bedfont_,
with its yew trees tortured into peacock shapes, and the date 1704. Then,
who does not recollect and venerate the convivial celebrity of this route,
its luxurious inns, and their "thrones of human felicity;" along which
Quin, Dr. Johnson or Shenstone could scarcely have accomplished a stage a
In our days, hundreds of London tourists breakfast at the _Bush_, although,
after sixteen miles' ride, their appetites do not require this stimulant
any more than do the glories of the _Bush_ cellars after dinner.
But we must pass on to the church. The _old_ building was in the Gothic or
pointed style, with lancet windows, &c., but much disfigured by
churchwardens' repairs, although the great Inigo Jones is said to have
built its square, brick tower. At length, a considerable portion of this
ancient structure fell in one Sunday morning, during the service, but, as
the newspapers say, "fortunately no lives were lost." The inhabitants then
resolved to rebuild nearly the whole, and the design of Mr. J.B. Watson
was adopted. The foundation stone was laid March 31, in the present year,
and the building is to be completed by Christmas next. The church is
intended to contain 1,100 persons. The length of the interior, 65 feet;
width, 47 feet; height to ceiling, 25 feet. The chancel is to be rebuilt
at the expense of the impropriators. The lower part of Inigo Jones's tower
is to remain, and the whole is to be raised 23 feet. These repairs, with
the enclosure of the churchyard, will not exceed 4,000_l_.; and the
progress of the undertaking is highly creditable to the taste and
execution of all the parties concerned.
As one act of public spirit generally leads to another, the erection of a
new stone bridge is projected at Staines; it is to be nearer the church
than the present bridge, and will afford a better view of the new
structure. An elegant stone bridge was erected here in 1796, but two of
the piers sinking, the bridge was taken down, and an iron one substituted;
this failed, and has since been supported by wooden piles and frame-work.
 This is a boundary stone which marks the extent of the jurisdiction
possessed by the City of London over the western part of the River
Thames. It stands on the margin of the river, in the vicinity of
Staines church, and bears the date of 1280. On a moulding round the
upper part is inscribed "GOD preserve the City of London, A.D. 1280."
 George II. used to say when riding through Brentford, with his heavy
guards, "I do like dis place, 'tis so like Yarmany."
* * * * *
THE SPECTRE'S VOYAGE.
_(For the Mirror.)_
"There is a part of the river Wye, between the city of Hereford and
the town of Moss, which was distinguished and well known for upwards
of two centuries, by the appellation of the Spectre's Voyage; across
which, so long as it retained that name, neither entreaty nor
remuneration could induce any boatman to convey passengers after a
certain hour of the night. The superstitious ideas current amongst the
lower orders of people were, that on every evening about the hour of
eight, a beautiful female figure was seen in a small vessel, sailing
from Hereford to Northrigg, (a small village about three miles
distant,) with the utmost rapidity, against wind and tide, or even in
a dead calm--landed at the little village, returned, and vanished,
when arrived at a certain part of the river, where the current is
remarkably strong, about half a mile from the city of Hereford."
--_Neele's Romance of History._ See MIRROR, vol. x, page 352.
Bright shines the silver queen of night,
Upon fair Wye's soft stream;
Which throws a ray of heavenly light
Reflected from her beam.
Yet this smooth water, wide and clear,
This scene of sweet repose;
Erst filled the villagers with fear
As ancient story goes.
'Tis told us that in dead of night,
(In days of yore long past)
A skiff was seen compact and light,
With sail, and oars, and mast.
And in it sat the spectral form,
Of a most beauteous maid;
Who heeded neither wind nor storm,
As she this voyage made.
Nor heeded she the pelting rain,
Nor winter's blinding snows;
But to the destin'd spot amain,
The scudding vessel goes;
Or if so calm, the placid Wye,
No wave was on its face,
Yet onward did that light bark fly
To reach the fated place.
When on the deck she was espied,
Each trembled to behold;
As on she sail'd 'gainst wind and tide,
('Tis scarce believ'd when told)
Then sail and oar were both applied,
And swift the vessel flew;
But where the man--who could abide
That vessel to pursue?
Ah! who could dare approach the spot
Where Isabel did steer?
That mariner existeth not,
But did that phantom fear.
Or where's the man whose courage bold,
Could lend him strength one hour,
To gaze upon that form so cold,
Or place him in her power.
And when the spectral sail was spread,
That flutter'd to and fro;
The hair would bristle on each head,
Which awful fear did show.
And when the moon-beam seem'd to kiss,
That dreaded maiden's brow;
Something each knew would go amiss,
Nor judg'd such wrong, I trow.
For tho' the form was wond'rous fair,
'Twas terrible to view;
And to avoid it was the care
Of every vessel's crew.
Full many a dismal tale was told,
Of that fam'd spectre ship;
And none were ever known so bold
To watch this nightly trip.
Why did that troubled shade proceed
Along that watery way?
Or what the purpose, or the deed,
Which caus'd her thus to stray?
For good, or bad, did Isabel,
Forsake her dreary grave?
Or was't because she lov'd to sail
On Wye's pellucid wave?
The spectre came to meet her dear,
Lord Hugh--the young and brave;
When dreadful tidings met her ear,
"He'd found a traitor's grave."
When second Edward rul'd this land,
(A wretched prince was he,)
Of favourites he'd a numerous band,
As worthless as could be.
Two noblemen amongst this set
Were hated above all;
And many were the lords who met,
To work the Spencer's fall.
Success attends these foe-men's strife,
Lord Hugh is doom'd to die;
And in his happiest hours of life,
That precious life did fly.
His manly form did never more,
Bless Isabel's fond eyes;
With him--the joys of life were o'er,
For him--the maiden dies.
Yet still the spirit fondly clings,
To what in life has been,
Thus Isabel, it nightly brings
To this beloved scene.
But when her feet have touch'd the ground,
With silent, noiseless tread;
No tender lover there is found,
He's number'd with the dead.
No more of love the tender strain,
Falls on her list'ning ear,
In life--her joy, was turn'd to pain,
Her hope--gave place to fear.
'Tis then, that dread laments they hear,
Who pass by night that way;
Which the scar'd traveller, so clear,
Hears till returning day;
When re-embarks sad Isabel,
That spectre shade so fair;
Then dashing in the water's swell,
She vanishes in air.
No trace remains in Sol's bright ray,
Of boat or awful spright;
For grief--or guilt conceived by day,
Conspicuous is at night.
Thus Isabel's unearthly woe,
Remain'd for many years;
But as our superstitions go,
So go unfounded fears
* * * * *
_(To the Editor of the Mirror.)_
Sir,--Wishing to add to your numerous accounts of our local customs, I
send you a description of the manner of celebrating harvest home in
The farmers of Appleby, Kirby, Thore, and many of the neighbouring and low
towns thereabout, devote the last day of the harvest to mirth and
festivity. The men generally endeavour to get the corn all in pretty early
in the day; and at the last cart-load the horses are decked by the men
with ears of corn and flowers and ribands; and then the lasses' straw-
bonnets, who, in return, perform the same compliments on them. Thus they
move on through the lanes and roads, till they reach the farm-yard,
shouting, "Harvest Home," and singing songs in their way. When they reach
the farm-yard, they set up an exulting shout, and ale is distributed to
them by their master. About nine o'clock, a supper is prepared for them in
their master's house. A wheat-sheaf is brought, and placed in the middle of
the room, decorated with ribands and flowers, and corn is hung in various
parts of the room. The supper mostly consists of some good old English
dish, (of which there is plenty,) and the jolly farmer presides at the
head of the table. After the cloth is cleared, liquor in abundance is
brought forward, and the "president" sings, (not a _Non Nobis Domine_,)
but a good, true, mirth-stirring song, and then the _fun_ commences;
singing and dancing alternately occupy the evening, and the bottle
circulates speedily, and the festival generally breaks up about midnight.
Thus, Mr. Editor, is harvest home spent in that county, and I send you the
only account I can furnish of the harvest merriments, hoping some of your
correspondents will add to my little mite.
* * * * *
STANZAS TO, AND IN ILLUSTRATION OF, A LANDSCAPE BY CLAUDE.
_(For the Mirror.)_
Young land of beauty, and divine repose!
Art thou a dream? a vision from on high
Unveiling Paradise? uncurt'ning those
Supernal glories, Eden doth supply
To glad immortals? o'er thee, ev'ning glows,
Brilliant, as seraph's blush--pure as his breath--
Smiling an antidote to tears and death!
Young land of beauty! (fancy could not dwell
In lovelier, albeit her rainbow wings
Fold, but in fairy-spheres) a living well
Of sylvan joy art thou, whose thousand springs
Gush, sinless, gladness, peace ineffable,
And that luxuriousness of being, which
Mocks eloquence: warm, holy, ruby, rich.
Young land of beauty! 'neath thy sun-ting'd shades,
Beside thy lake, crystal in roseate light,
Enam'ring music breathes: there, raptur'd maids
In dances, with adoring youths unite;
There, magic voices sigh in song; and glades
With birds and blossoms, all but vital, seem
Entranc'd, like hermit in divinest dream!
Young land of beauty! art thou but a ray
Of intellect, emerg'd from one? and shrin'd,
That thine immortal light may dim the day,
Faint struggling thro' some lowlier, cloudier, mind:
Dream of the painter-poet! oh! we'll say,
Lur'd to ethereal musings by thy thrall,
Tho' dream in part, no dream art thou in all!
* * * * *
MARCH OF "IMPROVEMENT."
_(For the Mirror.)_
An old Subscriber has sent us the following _questions_ on the improvement
of the metropolis, which we insert as a castle-building _jeu d'esprit_
rather than as a serious matter. They will, however, serve for the
_committee of taste_ to crack after dinner, and give a zest for their
Ought not the new palace to have been built in the richest Gothic
style, so as to have deviated in appearance from every other edifice
in the metropolis; and to have been erected on the north bank of the
Serpentine?--And, if the _dome_ of the present erection is not to be
removed, cannot it be ornamented?--Or could not the pediment, fronting
the park, be raised another story, so as to hide it (the dome) from
that side?--Indeed, would not the palace be much improved by such an
alteration? I think if it be left as it is, when the wings are raised
to the height of the body of the palace, (though they are a wonderful
improvement upon those first erected) the whole will have a very flat
appearance.--Are not the statues of Neptune, &c., much too small, and
the other ornaments, consisting of representations of warlike implements,
&c., much too heavy to look well?
Is not the Borough a very improper place for the king's, or any other,
college?--Is it not the very mart of trade, and consequently ever noisy
and in confusion?--And what a magnificent improvement would its erection
near Westminster Abbey be to that ancient and very sumptuous pile. Could
it not be erected from Tothill Street, and extend towards Storey's
Gate?--And should it not be built in the Gothic style to correspond with
the abbey? The seat of learning and wisdom is in that neighbourhood
(Westminster School, Houses of Parliament, Courts of Justice, &c.);
therefore it is the place best adapted for the erection of a college.
Ought not also those disgraceful erections close to the abbey's western
front, to be instantly removed?--And ought not the house of the dean, &c.
to be also rebuilt in the Gothic style, and extend from Tothill Street
towards St. John's church? I never see this abbey (the glory of London)
without feeling utterly disgusted at the surrounding objects. The great
tower, also, should be erected in the same style as the other two. But
should not the council office, and Somerset House, be finished before
other works are begun?--Should not the interior of the dome of St. Paul's
be repainted and gilt, and the windows (particularly the three over the
altar) be of stained glass?--And should not the railing on the top of the
dome on the outside (which is much decayed) be replaced by railing made of
the new metal lately invented, which imitates brass, and does not
tarnish?--Would not the entrance for the public, from Piccadilly into St.
James's Park, be much better two or three yards from the new royal archway,
as it will be very likely to be injured by people passing so near it?
Would not a Swiss cottage and a Chinese temple very materially improve the
appearance of the islands in St. James's Park; and two or three vessels
upon that water, and the Serpentine in Hyde Park, also add very much to
the effect?--Would a tower, surrounded by a railing, as the monument, and
surmounted by a statue of George III. (looking with surprise to see what
his son had done), or Canning, or Byron, be a proper sort of monument as a
tribute to their memories; and to be erected in the centre of the Regent's
Park? Oh! what a prospect would its summit command! Would not
magnificent baths for males and females, erected on either side of
Waterloo Place, and to be supplied from the new fountain, be a great
addition to the beauty and comfort of this great city.
These additions, alterations, and improvements, ought to be made now; and
I doubt not, in the course of time, all warehouses will be removed from
the banks of the Thames, above Blackfriars' Bridge, and that streets will
run by the waterside as at Dublin. Also the time will come when the houses
round St. Paul's will be pulled down and rebuilt in the Grecian style of
architecture to correspond with the cathedral (the wonder of England), and
be re-erected at a much greater distance from it.
I would also ask, "should not the chimney pots upon the palaces in Regent
Street, &c. be of a slate colour?--Should not all tiles be painted of the
same colour? (slate.)--Should not the names of streets be more
particularly attended to?"
* * * * *
INTRODUCTION OF SILK INTO EUROPE.
_(For the Mirror.)_
The frequency of open hostilities between the Emperor of Constantinople
and the monarchs of Persia, together with the increasing rivalry of their
subjects in the trade with India, gave rise to an event which produced a
considerable change in the silk trade. As the use of that article, both in
dress and furniture, became more general in the court of the Greek
emperors, who imitated and surpassed the sovereigns of Asia in splendour
and magnificence; and as China, in which, according to the concurring
testimony of oriental writers, the culture of silk was originally known,
_(Herlelot. Biblioth. Orient.)_, still continued to be the only country
which produced that valuable commodity; the Persians improving the
advantages which their situation gave them over the merchants from the
Arabian Gulf, supplanted them in all the marts of India, to which silk was
brought by sea from the east. Having it likewise in their power to molest
or to cut off the caravans, which, in order to procure a supply for the
Greek empire, travelled by land to China through the northern provinces of
their kingdom, they entirely engrossed that branch of commerce.
Constantinople was obliged to depend on the rival power for an article
which luxury reserved and desired as essential to elegance. The Persians,
with the usual rapacity of monopolists, raised the price of silk to such
an exorbitant height, that the Emperor Justinian eager, not only to obtain
a full and certain supply of a commodity which was become of indispensible
use, but solicitous to deliver the commerce of his subjects from the
exactions of his enemies, endeavoured, by means of his ally, the christian
monarch of Abyssinia, to wrest some portion of the silk trade from the
Persians. In this attempt he failed; but when he least expected it, he, by
an unforeseen event, attained in some measure (A.D. 55.) the object which
he had in view. Two Persian monks having been employed as missionaries to
some christian churches which were established (as we are informed by
Cosmas) in different parts of India, had penetrated into the country of
the Seres, or China. There they observed the labours of the silk-worm, and
became acquainted with all the arts of men in working up its productions
into such a variety of elegant fabrics. The prospect of gain, or perhaps
an indignant zeal excited by seeing this lucrative branch of commerce
engrossed by unbelieving nations, prompted them to repair to
Constantinople. There they explained to the emperor the origin of silk,
as well as the various modes of preparing and manufacturing it--mysteries
hitherto unknown, or very imperfectly understood in Europe, and encouraged
by his liberal promises, they undertook to bring to the capital a
sufficient number of those wonderful insects to whose labours man is so
much indebted. This they accomplished by conveying the eggs of the
silk-worm in a hollow cane. They were hatched by the heat of a dunghill;
fed with the leaves of a wild mulberry-tree, and they multiplied and worked
in the same manner as in those climates where they first became objects of
human attention and care. Vast numbers of these insects were soon reared
in different parts of Greece, particularly in the Peloponnesus. Sicily
afterwards undertook to breed silk-worms with equal success, and was
imitated from time to time in several towns of Italy. In all these places
extensive manufactures were established and carried on with silk of
domestic production. The demand for silk from the East diminished, of
course. The subjects of the Greek emperors were no longer obliged to have
recourse to their enemies, the Persians, for a supply of it; and a
considerable change took place in the nature of the commercial intercourse
between Europe and India.
Before the introduction of the silk-worm into Europe, and as often as its
production is mentioned by the Greek and Roman authors, they had not, for
several centuries after the use of it became common, any certain knowledge
either of the countries to which they were indebted for this favourite
article of elegance, or the manner in which it was produced, By some, silk
was supposed to be a fine down adhering to the leaves of trees or flowers;
others imagined it to be a delicate species of wool or cotton; and even
those who had learned that it was the work of an insect, show by their
description that they had no distinct idea of the manner in which it was
formed. A circumstance concerning the traffic of silk among the Romans
merits observation. Contrary to what usually takes place in the operations
of trade, the more general use of that commodity seems not to have
increased the quantity imported in such proportion as to answer the
growing demand for it; and the price of silk was not reduced during the
course of 250 years from the time of its being first known in Rome. In the
reign of Aurelian it still continued to be valued at its weight in gold.
(See Robertson's _History of India_.)
It is a singular circumstance in the history of silk, that, on account of
its being an exertion of a worm, the Mahomedans consider it as an unclean
dress, and it has been decided with the unanimous assent of all their
doctors, that a person wearing a garment made entirely of silk cannot
lawfully offer up the daily prayers enjoined by the Koran. _(Herbel. Bibl.
* * * * *
_(To the Editor of the Mirror.)_
If you think the following observations conformable to the plan of your
useful and entertaining publication, perhaps you may be induced to give
them a place, or notice the subject I have in view, in some other way.
Notwithstanding the host of publications periodically issuing from the
press, independent of the incalculable list of newspapers and reviews; and
though the rage for periodicals is so great, that a single event will give
rise to one, yet there does not appear to me to be any thing like those
works which used to amuse and instruct our great grandfathers. I mean the
"Spectator," "Tatler," and others, whose influence extends to the present
day, and which are continually affording pleasure to cultivated minds by
the soundness of their doctrines, aided by the extensive knowledge of
human nature that the authors display throughout. But as they are now
become standard works, they are not so capable of "shooting folly as it
flies," and being as it were aged in the service, can only have a proper
effect when folly will stand still to listen to them; but as that is, in
most instances, out of the question, we want something more active, or in
other words, something new; and novelty being the order of the day,
attention is thereby excited, and the follies and extravagances of the
"age," may possibly have some advantageous pruning.
Caricatures, whether exhibited in pantomimes or print shops, (though often
got up for any other purpose than instruction) are not sufficient; they
are too ridiculous, though sometimes not devoid of humour, instance the
picture of a lady striving ineffectually to make a way through Temple Bar,
but is prevented by the enormous size of her bonnet, which shows likewise
that this extravagance in dress is not confined to the west end. But as
these things are only laughed at, some other means ought to be adopted;
and I should think myself extremely fortunate if I could be the humble
means of inducing you, or your correspondents, to take the matter in hand.
Certainly not the least to be deprecated are the "ladies' present dresses;"
the extravagances of which are not confined to the head, but are exhibited
also all down the arm (not unaptly likened to series of balloons) and are
also, in most instances, by some unusual "bustling," equally absurd. I
wonder what would be said by Mr. Addison, were he to witness the present
fashions. He would certainly think that all the care he took to keep the
fair sex in order was in vain; and though enormous head dresses were not
in vogue in his time, he seems to have anticipated that they would be, by
his recommending the perusal of his 98th paper of the "Spectator" to his
female readers by way of prevention, but which, alas! has not been studied
with the attention it merits. Probably the transcription of one passage
will not be misapplied here:--
He says, "I would desire the fair sex to consider how impossible it is for
them to add any thing that can be ornamental to what is already the
masterpiece of nature. The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well
as the highest station, in a human figure. Nature has laid out all her art
in beautifying the face; she has touched it with vermilion, planted in it
a double row of ivory, made it the seat of smiles and blushes, lighted it
up and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes, hung it on each side
with curious organs of sense, given it airs and graces that cannot be
described, and surrounded it with such a flowing shade of hair as sets all
its beauties in the most agreeable light. In short she seems to have
designed the head as the cupola to the most glorious of her works; and
when we load it with such a pile of supernumerary ornaments, we destroy
the symmetry of the human figure, and foolishly contrive to call off the
eye from great and real beauties to childish gew-gaws, ribbons, and
Womankind, Mr. Editor, I do not believe, are naturally vain; but as they
were made for us and for our comfort, it is natural that they should
endeavour to gain our esteem; but they carry their endeavours too far; by
straining to excite attention they overstep the mark, become vain and
coquetish, one strives to outdo another, others say they must do as other
women do, and they thus make themselves ridiculous unknowingly. It is
really painful to see a woman of sense and education become a slave to the
tyranny of fashion--and injuring both body and mind--and it is, I think,
an insult to a man of understanding to endeavour to excite his attention
by any such peculiarities.
Having now generally stated the subject that I should wish to be taken up
by abler hands than mine, I will conclude by recommending all your
town-bred, and coquetish ladies to study and restudy a letter signed "Mary
Home," in No. 254 of the excellent work before alluded to, "The Spectator."
--H. M--._Great Surrey Street, Aug. 1828_.
* * * * *
* * * * *
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF SMITHFIELD.
_(For the Mirror.)_
Stowe, in his "Survey of London," 1633, says, "Then is Smithfield Pond,
which of (old time) in records was called Horsepoole, for that men watered
horses there, and was a great water. In the 6th of Henry V. a new building
was made in the west part of Smithfield, betwixt the said poole and the
river of Wels, or Turne-mill-brooke, in a place then called the Elms, for
that there grew many elme-trees, and this had been the place of execution
for offenders. Since the which time, the building there hath been so
increased, that now remaineth not one tree growing. In the yeere 1357, the
31st of Edward III., great and royall justs were then holden in Smithfield,
there being present the kings of England, France, and Scotland, with many
other nobles, and great estates of divers lands. In the yeere 1362, the
36th of Edward III., on the first five daies of May, in Smithfield, were
justs holden, the king and queene being present, with the most part of the
chivalry of England and of France and of other nations; to which came
Spaniards, Cyprians, and Armenians, knightly requesting ayde of the king
of England against the Pagans, that invaded their confines. The 48th of
Edward III., Dame Alice Perrers, or Pierce, (the king's concubine,) as
lady of the Sunne, rode from the Tower of London through Cheape,
accompanied of many lords and ladies, every lady leading a lord by his
horse bridle, till they came into West Smithfield, and then began a great
just, which endured seven daies after.--In the 14th of Richard II., royal
justs and turnements were proclaimed to be done in Smithfield, to begin on
Sunday next, after the feast of Saint Michael; many strangers came forth
of other countries, namely, Valarian, Earle of St. Paul, that had married
King Richard's sister, the Lady Maud Courtney; and William, the young
Earle of Ostervant, son to Albert of Baviere, Earle of Holland and Henault.
At the day appointed, there issued forth at the Tower, about the third
houre of the day, 60 coursers, apparelled for the justs, upon every one an
esquire of honour riding a soft pace; then came forth 60 ladies of honour,
mounted upon palfraies, riding on the one side, richly apparelled, and
every lady led a knight with a chain of gold; those knights, being on the
king's party, had their armour and apparell garnished with white harts,
and crownes of gold about the harts' neckes; and so they came riding
through the streets of London to Smithfield, with a great number of
trumpets, &c. The kinge and the queene, who were lodged in the bishop's
palace of London, were come from thence, with many great estates, and
placed in chambers, to see the justs. The ladies that led the knights were
taken down from their palfraies, and went up to chambers prepared for them.
Then alighted the esquires of honour from their coursers, and the knights
in good order mounted upon them; and after their helmets were set on their
heads, and being ready in all points, proclamation made by the heralds,
the justs began, and many commendable courses were runne, to the great
pleasure of the beholders. The justs continued many days with great
feastings, as ye may reade in _Froisard_," &c. &c.
Smithfield, says Pennant, "was also the spot on which accusations were
decided by duel, derived from the Kamp-fight ordeal of the Saxons. I will
only (says Mr. P.) mention an instance. It was when the unfortunate
armourer entered into the lists, on account of a false accusation of
treason, brought against him by his apprentice, in the reign of Henry VI.
The friends of the defendant had so plied him with liquor, that he fell an
easy conquest to his accuser. Shakspeare has worked this piece of history
into a scene, in the second part of _Henry VI_., but has made the poor
armourer confess his treasons in his dying moments; for in the time in
which this custom prevailed, it never was even suspected but that guilt
must have been the portion of the vanquished. When people of rank fought
with sword and lance, plebeian combatants were only allowed a pole, armed
with a heavy sand-bag, with which they were to decide their guilt or
innocence. In Smithfield were also held our autos-de-fee; but to the
credit of our English monarchs, none were ever known to attend the
ceremony. Even Philip II. of Spain never honoured any, of the many which
were celebrated by permission of his gentle queen, with his presence,
notwithstanding he could behold the roasting of his own subjects with
infinite self-applause and _sang-froid_. The stone marks the spot, in this
area, on which those cruel exhibitions were executed. Here our martyr
_Latimer_ preached patience to friar _Forest_, agonizing under the torture
of a slow fire, for denying the king's supremacy; and to this place our
martyr _Cranmer_ compelled the amiable _Edward_, by forcing his reluctant
hand to the warrant, to send _Joan Bocher_, a silly woman, to the stake.
Yet _Latimer_ never thought of his own conduct in his last moments; nor
did _Cranmer_ thrust his hand into the fire for a real crime, but for one
which was venial, through the frailty of human nature. Our gracious
Elizabeth could likewise burn people for religion. Two Dutchmen,
Anabaptists, suffered in this place in 1675, and died, as Holinshed sagely
remarks, with "roring and crieing." But let me say, (says Pennant,) that
this was the only instance we have of her exerting the blessed prerogative
of the writ _De Haeretico comburendo_. Her highness preferred the halter;
her sullen sister faggot and fire. Not that we will deny but Elizabeth
made a very free use of the terrible act of her 27th year. One hundred and
sixty-eight suffered in her reign, at London, York, in Lancashire, and
several other parts of the kingdom, convicted of being priests, of
harbouring priests, or of becoming converts. But still there is a balance
of 109 against us in the article persecution, and that by the agonizing
death of fire; for the smallest number estimated to have suffered under
the savage Mary, amounts, in her short reign, to 277. The last person who
suffered at the stake in England was Bartholomew Logatt, who was burnt
here in 1611, as a blasphemous heretic, according to the sentence
pronounced by John King, bishop of London. The bishop consigned him to the
secular of our monarch James, who took care to give the sentence full
effect. This place, as well as Tybourn, was called _The Elms_, and used
for the execution of malefactors even before the year 1219. In the year
1530, there was a most severe and singular punishment inflicted here on
one John Roose, a cook, who had poisoned 17 persons of the Bishop of
Rochester's family, two of whom died, and the rest never recovered their
health. His design was against the pious prelate Fisher, who at that time
resided at Rochesterplace, Lambeth. The villain was acquainted with the
cook, and, coming into the bishop's kitchen, took an opportunity, while
the cook's back was turned to fetch him some drink, to fling a great
quantity of poison into the gruel, which was prepared for dinner for the
bishop's family, and the poor of the parish. The good bishop escaped.
Fortunately, he that day abstained from food. The humility and temperance
of that good man are strongly marked in this relation, for he partook of
the same ordinary food with the most wretched pauper. By a retrospective
law, Roose was sentenced to be boiled to death, which was done accordingly.
In Smithfield, the arch-rebel, Wat Tyler, met with, in 1381, the reward of
his treason and insolence."
Smithfield is at present celebrated, and long since, for being the
great market for cattle of all kinds, and likewise for being the place
where Bartholomew fair is held, alias the _Cockneys' Saturnalia_, which
was granted by Henry II. to the neighbouring priory.
 After the Great Fire, many Londoners resided here in huts.
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
* * * * *
THE ANDALUSIAN ASS.
A gay lieutenant of the Spanish Royal Guards, known by the name of Alonzo
Beldia, became violently enamoured of the beautiful Carlotta Pena, the
eldest daughter of a reputable gunsmith, whose humble habitation adjoined
the vast cemetery of Valencia, and whom Beldia had casually seen at a
public entertainment given in that good city.
Alonzo was affable and extremely complaisant, though an egotist and
somewhat loquacious; but nature had, nevertheless, bestowed upon him a
prepossessing exterior with an enviable pair of jet black whiskers, and
the most expressive eyes; he could sing a _tonadilla_ divinely; dance the
_fandango_ with inimitable grace; and "strike the light guitar" with
unparalleled mastery. He was, in truth, an accomplished man of pleasure,
and by his gallantry he subdued the tender hearts of many fair daughters
of Ferdinand's domains.
On a dark night in the month of December, just as Alonzo had played one of
his bewitching airs, with his wonted execution, and was engaged, in
converse sweet, with the enraptured Carlotta, an extraordinary and
seemingly supernatural noise suddenly proceeded from a distant part of the
hallowed ground where Alonzo sacrificed at the shrine of love. Jesu Maria!
exclaimed the terrified damsel, what, in the name of heaven, can it be?
ere the silvery tones of her sweet voice had reached the ears of the
petrified Alonzo, the "iron tongue" of the cathedral clock announced the
hour of midnight, and the solemn intonation of its prodigious bell
instilled new horrors into the confused minds of the affrighted lovers.
The brave, the royal Alonzo heard not the voice of his enchanting dulcinea;
he, poor fellow, with difficulty supported his trembling frame against an
ancient _memento mori_, which reared its tristful crest within a whisper
of the lattice of the lovely Carlotta. Large globules of transparent
liquid adorned his pallid brow, and his convulsed knees sought each other
with mechanical solicitude. It was a moment pregnant with the gravest
misery to poor Alonzo; not a star was seen to enliven the murky night, and
the wind whistled most lugubriously. He was in a state of insensibility,
and would have fallen to the cold earth, but luckily for the valiant youth,
the melodious voice of the enchanting girl again breathed the tenderest
hopes for the safety of her adored Alonzo. He sprang upon his legs and
drew a pistol from his girdle, which he discharged with unerring aim at
the dreaded goblin. A horrible groan followed this murderous act, which
was succeeded by a confused noise, and a solemn silence ensued! "It's
vanished, Carlotta! I have hurried the intruding demon to the nether
world!" exclaimed the valorous guardsman. "Heavens be praised," cried the
superstitious girl, "but hasten, my love--quit this spot directly--my
father has alarmed his people--away, away!"
The worthy maker of guns approached the scene of carnage, accompanied by
the inmates of his dwelling, with rueful countenances, illumined by tapers,
when the cause of their disquietude was soon discovered. No apparition or
sprite forsooth, but a full grown _donkey_ of the Andalusian breed, lay
weltering in gore, yet warm with partial life! By timely liberality the
valorous Alonzo escaped detection, though the heroic deed is still
remembered in merry Valencia, and often cited as an instance of glorious
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY.
* * * * *
IMPROVED SAFETY LAMP.
Mr. Dillon has lately introduced to the notice of the scientific world, an
improvement upon the _Safety Lamp_ of Sir Humphry Davy, which appears to
us of sufficient interest for illustration in our columns. As the _Davy
Lamp_ is too well known to need special description here, it will be
merely necessary to allude to the principle of the invention, in order to
point out Mr. Dillon's improvement.
He maintains, in opposition to Sir Humphry Davy, that the Davy lamp acts
by its heat and rarefaction, and not from Sir H. Davy's theory, that flame
is cooled by a wire-gauze covering. He shows, by a simple experiment, that
the Davy lamp is not safe in a current of hydrogen or carburetted hydrogen
gas, and that many lives may have been lost from the confidence of miners
in its perfect safety. A current of hydrogen or carburetted hydrogen gas
steadily directed on the flame of the lamp from a bladder and stopcock,
_by cooling the wire gauze_, brings the flame of the lamp through the
gauze to the mouth of the stopcock, (even should there be six folds of
gauze intervening.) He shows also, by immersing the lamp, when cold and
newly lighted, into a jar of dense hydrogen or carburetted hydrogen gas,
or an explosive mixture with atmospheric air, that explosion takes place
inside and outside of the lamp; whereas, when the lamp has burnt
sufficiently long to heat the wire gauze, no explosion takes place on the
outside of the lamp. These experiments appear incontrovertible in support
of his theory, which is, "_that the wire gauze is merely the rapid
receiver and the retainer of heat, and that it is the caloric in its
meshes which prevents the flame of the lamp from being fed by the oxygen
of the atmosphere on the outside_."
The experiments of Libri, showing that flame is inflected by metallic rods,
and that "when two flames are made to approach each other, there is a
mutual repulsion, although their proximity increases the temperature of
each, instead of diminishing it," support Mr. Dillon's theory--the
inflection being occasioned by the rarefaction of the air between the rod
and the flame, the latter seeking for oxygen to support it in a denser
medium, the two flames repelling each other for the same reason, and not
from any mysterious and "repulsive effect of the wires of the gauze
tissue." Mr. Dillon increases the heat of the lamp, and places on it a
shield of talc to protect it from a current, and, upon his theory, the
shafts or workings of iron and coal mines may be lighted with gas with
perfect safety, protecting the flame with wire gauze and a circular shield
* * * * *
EPITAPH ON A FRENCH SCOLD.
Ci git ma femme; ah! qu'il est bien
Pour son repos et pour le mien.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
* * * * *
PENELOPE, OR LOVE'S LABOUR LOST.
This is one of the most deservedly attractive novels of the past season;
and the good sense with which it abounds, ought to insure it extensive
circulation. It has none of the affectation or presumptuousness of
"fashionable" literature; but is at once a rational picture of that order
of society to which its characters belong, and a just satire on the
_superior_ vices of the wealthy and the great. The author is evidently no
servile respecter of either of the latter classes, for which reason, his
work is the more estimable, and is a picture of _real_ life, whereas
fashion at best lends but a disguise, or artificial colouring to the
actions of men, and thus renders them the less important to the world, and
less to be depended on as scenes and portraitures of human character. The
former will, however, stand as lasting records of the men and manners of
the age in which they were drawn, whilst the latter, being in their own
day but caricatures of life, will, in course of time, fade and lose their
interest, and at length become levelled with the mere ephemera, or
day-flies of literature. It is true that novel-writing has, within the last
sixteen, or eighteen years, attained a much higher rank than it hitherto
enjoyed; but it should be remembered that this superiority has not been
grounded in mawkish records of the fashionable follies of high life, such
as my Lord Duke, or my Lady Bab, might indite below stairs, for the
amusement of those in the drawing-room; on the contrary, it was founded in
portraits and pictures of human nature, strengthened by historical, or
matter-of-fact interest, and stripped of the trickery of fancy and romance;
whereas, the chronicles of fashion are little better than the vagaries of
an eccentric few, who bear the same proportion to the general mass of
society, that the princes, heroes, and statesmen of history do to the
whole world. This is a fallacy of which thousands of Bath and Cheltenham
novel-readers are not yet aware, and which the listless _Dangles_ of
Brighton and Margate have yet to learn, ere they can hope to arrive at a
correct estimate of human nature; but to such readers we cordially
recommend _Penelope_ as the best corrective we can prescribe for the bile
of fashionable prejudice, or the nausea arising from overstrained fiction,
modified as it is to the romance of real life.
_Penelope_ has, however, one of the failings common to fashionable novels.
Its plot is weak and meagre--but it is still simple and natural, and has
not borrowed any of those adventitious aids to which we have alluded above.
It bears throughout an air of probability, untinctured by romance, and has
the strong impress of truth and fidelity to nature. Sketchy and vivacious,
always humorous and sometimes witty; it has many scenes and portraits,
which in terseness and energy, will compare with any of its predecessors;
and occasionally there are touches of genuine sentiment which seize on the
sympathies of the reader with more than common effect. The incidents of
the narrative do not present many opportunities for these displays of the
writer's talent, and we cannot refrain from thinking that their more
frequent introduction would have increased the success of the work--that
is, if we may be allowed to judge from the specimens with which the author
has here favoured us.
But we are getting somewhat too critical, and consequently as much out of
our element as modern aeronauts, who are no sooner in the air than they
seem to think of their descent. We shall not, however, impair the pleasure
of the reader by giving him a foretaste of the whole plot of _Penelope_;
but we shall rather confine ourselves to a few portrait-specimens of
characters, whose _drawing_ will, we hope, _attract_ the general reader;
presuming, as we do, that its claims to his attention will be found to
outweigh dozens of the scandalous chronicles of high fashion. We are not
told whether the parties ate with silver or steel forks, or burned wax or
tallow; but those characters must be indeed poorly drawn which do not
enable the reader to satisfy himself about such trifles, allowing that he
thinks them worth his study.
An outline of the characters may not be unacceptable. The scene lies
principally in the villages of Neverden and Smatterton; and between their
rectors Dr. Greendale and Mr. Darnley, and their families; the Earl of
Smatterton, of Smatterton Hall; Lord Spoonbill, his son; Sir George
Aimwell, of Neverden Hall; _Penelope Primrose_, the heroine, who is placed
by her father under the care of Dr. Greendale, whilst Mr. Primrose seeks
to repair his fortune in the Indies; and Robert Darnley, Penelope's suitor,
also for sometime in the Indies, who is thwarted in his views by Lord
Spoonbill, and a creature named colonel Crop, &c.
In the early part of the narrative, Dr. Greendale dies, and Penelope is
removed from Smatterton to London, where she is to be brought out as a
singer, under the patronage of the Countess of Smatterton, and Spoonbill
is first struck with her charms, and resolves to frustrate his absent
The roguery of a postboy named Nick Muggins, who is employed by the noble
suitor to intercept letters, and the aid of Crop, who acts as a sort of
go-between, are put in requisition for this purpose; but the villany of the
latter is finely defeated in his mistaking a silly, forward girl, Miss
Glossop, for Penelope, and accordingly prevailing on her to elope with him
to Lord Spoonbill's villa, where the blunder is soon discovered by his
lordship, who in return is horsewhipped by the father of Miss Glossop;
and Darnley and Penelope are eventually married.
There are two or three adjuncts, as Peter Kipperson, a "march of intellect"
man, Erpingham, one of Spoonbill's companions in debauchery, Ellen
Fitzpatrick, one of his victims, Dr. Greendale's successor, Charles
Pringle; and Zephaniah Pringle, a literary coxcomb of the first order.
The portrait of Dr. Greendale is of high finish--full of the truth and
amiability of the Christian character--one who regarded the false
distinctions of society in their proper light, and knew how to set a right
value upon the influence of good example, and who was "loved and respected
for the steadiness and respectability of his character; for the integrity,
purity, simplicity, and sincerity of his life." At the same time, the
doctor is finely contrasted with his wife, who possessed the common
failing of paying homage to her illustrious neighbours to obtain their
notice and patronage, and who felt flattered by a collateral branch of the
Smattertons accepting an invitation to her table. Of the _heroine_, we
quote the author's outline:--
_Penelope Primrose_ exceeded the middle stature, that her dark blue eyes
were shaded by a deep and graceful fringe, that her complexion was
somewhat too pale for beauty, but that its paleness was not perceptible as
a defect whenever a smile illumined her countenance, and developed the
dimples that lurked in her cheek and underlip. Her features were regular,
her gait exceedingly graceful, and her voice musical in the highest degree.
Seldom, indeed, would she indulge in the pleasure of vocal music, but when
she did, as was sometimes the case to please the Countess of Smatterton,
her ladyship, who was a most excellent judge, used invariably to pronounce
Miss Primrose as the finest and purest singer that she had ever heard.
The character of Lord Spoonbill is struck out with singular felicity and
Lord Spoonbill was not one of those careless young men who lose at the
university what they have gained at school; one reason was, that he had
little or nothing to lose; nor was his lordship one of those foolish
people who go to a university and study hard to acquire languages which
they never use, and sciences which they never apply in after-life. His
lordship had sense enough to conclude that, as the nobility do not talk
Greek, he had no occasion to learn it; and as hereditary legislators have
nothing to do with the exact sciences, it would be a piece of idle
impertinence in him to study mathematics. But his lordship had heard that
hereditary legislators did occasionally indulge in other pursuits, and for
those pursuits he took especial care to qualify himself. In his lordship's
cranium, the organ of exclusiveness was strongly developed. We do not mean
that his head was so constructed internally, as to exclude all useful
furniture, but that he had a strong sense of the grandeur of nobility and
the inseparable dignity which attaches itself to the privileged orders.
The only instances in which he condescended to persons in inferior rank,
were when he was engaged at the race-course at Newmarket, or when he found
that condescension might enable him to fleece some play-loving plebeian,
or when affairs of gallantry were concerned. In these matters no one could
be more condescending than Lord Spoonbill. We should leave but an
imperfect impression on the minds of our readers if we should omit to
speak of his lordship's outward and visible form. This was an essential
part of himself which he never neglected or forgot; and it should not be
neglected or forgotten by his historian. He was tall and slender, his face
was long, pale and thin, his forehead was narrow, his eyes large and dull,
his nose aquiline, his mouth wide, his teeth beautifully white and well
formed, and displayed far more liberally than many exhibitions in the
metropolis which are only "open from ten till dusk." His lips were thin,
but his whiskers were tremendously thick. Of his person he was naturally
and justly proud. Who ever possessed such a person and was not proud of it?
_Colonel Crop_ was only Colonel Crop; he enjoyed the rank of colonel, and
that was all the rank that he could boast; he was tolerated at the castle;
he dined occasionally with his lordship; and occasionally partook of the
pleasure of shooting the birds which were cultivated on his lordship's
estate. In town, he patronised the countess' routs, and in the country he
was a companion for the earl, when not otherwise engaged. He was proud of
the earl's acquaintance, though he was not weak enough to suppose that he
was more than tolerated. The haughtiest of the great do sometimes pick up
such acquaintances as Colonel Crop, and they cannot easily get rid of them.
We must pass over Peter Kipperson, an excellent whole-length portrait of a
man who makes a noise in these marching times, and show in _Sir George
Aimwell_, of Neverden Hall, Bart., who was descended from a long line of
illustrious ancestry, and was a wholesale poulterer, and one of the great
unpaid. Not that we mean by this expression to insinuate that the retail
poulterers did not pay him for what they had: we merely mean to say, that
the preserve-worshiping, springgun-setting, poacher-committing baronet
administered justice for nothing; and with reverence be it spoken, that
was quite as much as it was worth. The worthy baronet was a most active
magistrate, peculiarly acute in matters of summary conviction; and
thinking it a great pity that any rogue should escape, or that any accused,
but honest man, should lose an opportunity of clearing his character by
means of a jury of his fellow-countrymen, he never failed to commit all
that were brought before him.
Sir George professed Whig politics; these were hereditary in his family,
but by no means constitutional in him as an individual. Therefore he
passed for a very moderate Whig; for one who would not clog the wheels of
government. In short, he was no more a Whig than a game preserver ought to
be; and that, as our readers know, is not much. He took especial pains to
keep the parish clear of vagrants and paupers; and by his great activity
he kept down the poor-rates to a moderate sum. Sir George, though a
professed Whig, was not very partial to the education of the lower orders,
and he always expressed himself well pleased when he met with a country
booby who could neither read nor write. For this reason Nick Muggins, the
postboy, was a great favourite with him. Our worthy baronet could not see
the use of reading, and he thought it a great piece of affectation for
country gentlemen to have libraries. His own books, for he had a few, were
huddled together in a light closet, where he kept his guns and sporting
tackle. There was a Lady Aimwell, wife to Sir George; but this lady was a
piece of still life, of whom the neighbours knew nothing, and for whom her
husband cared nothing.
Everybody in the neighbourhood remembers the impressive admonition which
Sir George gave to an old man who was convicted at the quarter sessions of
having a bit of string in his pocket, and therefore strongly suspected of
a design of a malicious nature against the game.
"John Carter," said the worthy baronet, "let me address to you a few
words on the sin of poaching. Poaching, John Carter--is--is a sin of which
too many are guilty, owing to the lenity of our most excellent laws. I
think that if everybody thought, as I think, of the moral heinousness of
this offence, nobody would be guilty of it. Poaching is not yet made
felony; but there is no saying how soon it may be made so, if the crime be
persisted in. It is a moral offence of the greatest enormity, and is one
of those crying, national sins, which may one day or other bring down the
vengeance of heaven on our guilty country. Now, John Carter, if you go to
gaol for six months, I hope the tread-mill and the chaplain will work a
thorough reformation in your morals."
Of course the contact of Sir George with such a man as Kipperson, affords
great merriment: _ex. gr._ part of a dinner scene at Neverden Hall:--
Now Peter was a very literary man, who thought there was nothing worth
living for but science and literature; and having somewhere read that it
was impossible to take shelter in a shower of rain with such a man as
Burke, without discovering him to be a man of genius, Peter was desirous
of continually showing off, and was instant in season and out of season.
Therefore when sitting at the table of the worthy baronet, he assailed the
magistrate with various scientific subjects, but all to no purpose; there
was no response from his worthy host. Endeavouring to adapt himself to the
moderate talents and circumscribed reading of the baronet, he next started
the subject of novels and novel reading, taking care to insinuate that,
though Sir George might not read the trash of circulating libraries, he
might be acquainted with some of our best novels. To this at last the
baronet replied--"Oh, yes; I remember many years ago reading a novel
called Tom Jones, written by a Bow Street officer. I recollect something
about it--it was very low stuff--I forget the particulars, but it was
written in the manner of servants."
Hereupon Mr. Peter Kipperson set it down as an indisputable fact that
baronets and magistrates were the most ignorant creatures on the face of
the earth, and he congratulated himself that neither he nor Sir Isaac
Newton were baronets.
A scene between Lord Spoonbill and one of his victims, whom he meets in
his father's park, has some fine touches of remorse:--
Agitated by distracting thoughts, he stood at the park gate, gazing
alternately in different directions; and by the intensity of his feelings
was at last rivetted in an almost unconscious state of mind to the spot on
which he was standing. Suddenly his pulse beat quicker, and his heart
seemed to swell within him, when at a little distance he saw the dreaded
one approaching him. Had he seen her anywhere else his first impulse would
have been to avoid her; but here his truest and best policy was to submit
to an interview, however painful. Shall he meet her with kindness?--
Shall he meet her with reproaches?--Shall he meet her with coldness? These
were inquiries rapidly passing through his mind as she drew nearer and
nearer. It was difficult for him to decide between cruelty and hypocrisy;
but the last was the most natural to him, so far as custom is a second
The afflicted one moved slowly with her eyes fixed on the ground, and she
saw not her enemy till so near to him, that on lifting up her face and
recognising his well-known features, the sudden shock produced a slight
Lord Spoonbill was not so lost to all feeling of humanity as to be
insensible to the anguish of mind which she now suffered, who had once
regarded him as a friend, and had loved him, "not wisely, but too well."
He held out his hand to her with an unpremeditated look of kindness and
affection; and which, being unpremeditated, bore the aspect of sincerity.
The stranger at first hesitated, and seemed not disposed to accept the
offered hand; but she looked up in his face, and the blood mounted to her
cheeks and the tears stood in her eyes, and she gave him her hand, and
covered her face and wept bitterly.
There are moments in which shameless profligates look foolish and feel
that they are contemptible. This was such a moment to Lord Spoonbill. He
was moved, and he was mortified that he was moved; and there was a general
feeling of confusion and perplexity in his mind. What could he say? or how
could he act? He began to stammer out something like gentleness, and
something like reproof. But she who stood before him was as an accusing
spirit, to whom apology was mockery, and repentance too late.
In the first volume too, there is a successful satire on the changes of
sixteen years in the condition of the people of England--between Mr.
Primrose, who had been absent for that period, and the egregious Peter
Kipperson. It is quite in the _forte_ of the writer, and we regret that we
have not room to quote it at full length.
Such are the only specimens which our limits enable us to present to the
reader; but we hope they will be sufficient to induce him to turn to the
work itself--and we doubt not--for his further gratification. Digressions
occur too frequently to suit the pioneering taste of a certain class of
readers; they may serve as resting-places in an intricate plot, but they
were not, on that account, wanted here. At the same time, they are
recommended by plain sense, knowledge of the world, shrewdness, and
harmless satire on the weak sides of our nature, and are therefore
_useful_; whilst their terseness and vivacity will free them from the
charge of dulness, or the sin of prosing.
* * * * *
DIALOGUES ON FLY FISHING.
_By Sir Humphry Davy._
We continue our extracts from this "philosophical angler's" delightful
little book. The present will serve such as are unacquainted with the
mysteries of fly-fishing, and interest all who are fond of inquiries in
_Management of Flies._
_Hal_--Whilst you are preparing I will mention a circumstance which every
accomplished fly-fisher ought to know. You changed your flies on Saturday
with the change of weather, putting the dark flies on for the bright
gleams of the sun, and the gaudy flies when the dark clouds appeared. Now
I will tell you of another principle which it is as necessary to know as
the change of flies for change of weather; I allude to the different kinds
of fly to be used in particular pools, and even for particular parts of
pools. You have fished in this deep pool; and if you were to change it for
a shallower one, such as that above, it would be proper to use smaller
flies of the same colour; and in a pool still deeper, larger flies;
likewise in the rough rapid at the top, a larger fly may be used than
below at the tail of the water; and in the Tweed, or Tay, I have often
changed my fly thrice in the same pool, and sometimes with success--using
three different flies for the top, middle, and bottom. I remember when I
first saw Lord Somerville adopt this fashion, I thought there was fancy in
it; but experience soon proved to me how accomplished a salmon-fisher was
my excellent and lamented friend, and I adopted the lesson he taught me,
and with good results, in all bright waters.
_Hal_--I never use any hooks for salmon-fishing, except those which I am
sure have been made by O'Shaughnessy, of Limerick; for even the hooks made
in Dublin, though they seldom break, yet they now and then bend; and the
English hooks made of cast steel in imitation of Irish ones are the worst
of all. _There_ is a fly nearly of the same colour as that which is
destroyed; and I can tell you that I saw it made at Limerick by
O'Shaughnessy himself, and tied on one of his own hooks. Should you catch
with it a fish even of 30 lbs., I will answer for its strength and temper;
it will neither break nor bend.--We should have such hooks in England, but
the object of the fishing-tackle makers is to obtain them cheap, and most
of their hooks are made to sell, and good hooks cannot be sold but at a
good price.--The early Fellows of the Royal Society, who attended to all
the useful and common arts, even improved fish-hooks; and Prince Rupert,
an active member of that illustrious body, taught the art of tempering
hooks to a person of the name of Kirby, under whose name, for more than a
century, very good hooks were sold.
_Variety in Trout._
_Phys._--Tell us why they are so different from the river-trout, or why
there should be two species or varieties in the same water.--_Hal._ Your
question is a difficult one, and it has already been referred to in a
former conversation; but I shall repeat what I stated before, that
qualities occasioned by food, peculiarities of water, &c. are transmitted
to the offspring, and produce varieties which retain their characters as
long as they are exposed to the same circumstances, and only slowly lose
them. Plenty of good food gives a silvery colour and round form to fish,
and the offspring retain these characters. Feeding on shell-fish thickens
the stomach, and in many generations, probably, the gillaroo trout becomes
so distinct a variety, as to render it doubtful if it be not a distinct
species. Even these smallest salmon trout have green backs, _only_ black
spots, and silvery bellies; from which it is evident that they are the
offspring of lake trout, or _lachs forelle_, as it is called by the
Germans; whilst the river trout, even when 4 or 5 lbs., as we see in one
of these fish, though in excellent season, have red spots.
_Phys._ The char is a most beautiful and excellent fish, and is, of
course, a fish of prey. Is he not an object of sport to the angler?--_Hal.
_ They generally haunt deep, cool lakes, and are seldom found at the
surface till late in the autumn. When they are at the surface they will,
however, take either fly or minnow. I have known some caught in both these
ways; and have myself taken a char, even in summer, in one of those
beautiful, small, deep lakes in the Upper Tyrol, near Nazereit; but it was
where a cool stream entered from the mountain; and the fish did not rise,
but swallowed the artificial fly under water. I have fished for them in
many lakes, without success, both in England and Scotland, and also
amongst the Alps; and I am told the only sure way of taking them is by
sinking a line with a bullet, and a hook having a live minnow attached to
it, in the deep water which they usually haunt; and in this way, likewise,
I have no doubt the _umbla_, or _ombre chevalier_, might be taken.
 _Sabling_ of the Germans.
_Naturalization of Fish._
_Hal._ At Lintz, on the Danube, I could have given you a fish dinner of a
different description, which you might have liked as a variety. The four
kinds of perch, the _spiegil carpfen_, and the _siluris glanis_; all good
fish, and which I am sorry we have not in England, where I doubt not they
might be easily naturalized, and where they would form an admirable
addition to the table in inland counties. Since England has become
Protestant, the cultivation of fresh water fish has been much neglected.
The _burbot_, or _lotte_, which already exists in some of the streams
tributary to the Trent, and which is a most admirable fish, might be
diffused without much difficulty; and nothing could be more easy than to
naturalize the _spiegil carpfen_ and _siluris_; and I see no reason why
the _perca lucio perca_ and _zingil_ should not succeed in some of our
clear lakes and ponds, which abound in coarse fish. The new Zoological
Society, I hope, will attempt something of this kind; and it will be a
better object than introducing birds and beasts of prey--though I have no
objection to any sources of rational amusement or philosophical curiosity.
_Phys._--In Austria, the art of carrying and keeping fish is better
understood than in England. Every inn has a box containing grayling, trout,
carp, or char, into which water from a spring runs; and no one thinks of
carrying or sending _dead_ fish for a dinner. A fish-barrel full of cool
water, which is replenished at every fresh source amongst these mountains,
is carried on the shoulders of the fisherman. And the fish, when confined
in wells, are fed with bullock's liver, cut into fine pieces, so that they
are often in better season in the tank or stew than when they were taken.
I have seen trout, grayling, and char even, feed voraciously, and take
their food almost from the hand. These methods of carrying and preserving
fish have, I believe, been adopted from the monastic establishments. At
Admondt, in Styria, attached to the magnificent monastery of that name,
are abundant ponds and reservoirs for every species of fresh water fish;
and the char, grayling, and trout are preserved in different waters--
covered, enclosed, and under lock and key.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
We wonder why clergymen do not oftener write accounts of their parishes;
not mere statistical accounts, though these are most valuable, as witness
the contributions of the Scottish Clergy to the truly patriotic Sir John
Sinclair's work; but accounts comprehending every thing interesting to all
human beings, whatever be their political or religious creed. A
description of a church that has principally ceased to exist, is in
general very, very, very dry; inscriptions on tombstones, without comment,
or moral, are hard reading; an old pan dug up among rubbish proves a sore
affliction in the hands of the antiquary, and twenty pages quarto, with
plates, about a rusty spur without a rowel, is, in our humble opinion, an
abuse of the art of printing. But how easy--how pleasant, to mix up
together all sorts of information in due proportions into one whole, in
the shape of an octavo--epitomizing every kind of history belonging to the
parish, from peer's palace to peasant's hut! What are clergymen
perpetually about? Not always preaching and praying; or marrying,
christening, and burying people. They ought to tell us all about it; to
moralize, to poetize, to philosophize; to paint the manners living as they
rise, or dead as they fall; to take Time by the forelock, and measure the
marks of his footsteps; to show us the smoke curling up from embowered
chimneys; or, since woods must go down, to record the conquests of the
biting axe; to celebrate the raising of every considerable roof-tree, to
lament all dilapidations and crumbling away of ivied walls; to inform us
how many fathoms deep is the lake with its abbeyed island--why the pool
below the aged bridge gets shallower and shallower every year, so that it
can no more shelter a salmon--what are the sports, and games, and pastimes
of the parishioners--what books they read, if any--if the punishment of
the stocks be obsolete--or the stang--or the jougs--if the bowels of the
people yearn after strange doctrine--if the parish has produced any good
or great murderer, incendiary, or other criminal. In short, why might not
the history of each of the twenty or thirty thousand parishes of Great
Britain--we speak at random--be each a history of human nature, at once
entertaining and instructive? How infinitely better such books than
pamphlets on political economy, for example, now encumbering the whole
land! Nay, even than single sermons, or bundles of sermons, all like so
many sticks--strong when tied all together, but when taken separately,
weak and frush. We have no great opinion of county histories in general,
though we believe there are some goodish ones, from which we purpose, ere
long, to construct some superior articles. A county history, to be worth
much, should run from sixty to six hundred volumes. No library could well
stand that for many years. But a judicious selection might be made from
the thirty thousand parish histories--that would afford charming reading
to the largest family during the longest nights--in the intervals between
the Scotch Novels. Form the circle round the fire--when winter crimps and
freezes--or round the open bow-window, now that summer roasts and broils,
and get her whose voice is like a silver bell to read it up, right on from
beginning to end, only skipping a few lists of names now and then, and we
pledge our credit on the prediction, that you will be delighted as on a
summer ramble, now in sunlight and now in moonlight, over hill and dale,
adorned with towers, turrets, pinnacles of halls and churches, and the low
roofs,--blue or brown, slated or strawed.--
"Of huts where poor men lie!"
* * * * *
"A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."
* * * * *
Iambe was a servant-maid of Metanira, wife of Celeus, king of Eleusis, who
tried to exhilarate Ceres when she travelled over Attica in quest of her
daughter Proserpine. From the jokes and stories which she made use of,
free and satirical verses have been called _iambics_.--_Apollod_, i._c_. 5.
* * * * *
BISHOP AND NEGUS.
Two dustmen were lately disputing the difference between _bishop_ and
_negus_. "Don't you know?" said one of them; "I vonders at your ignorance--
vy bishop is made all vine vithout no vater vatsomever; vereas negus is
made with vine and vater mixed--that's the difference, to be sure."
* * * * *
At the Wells assizes, the other day, a butcher's wife, in giving her
evidence, repeatedly turned towards the prisoner at the bar, and
designated him as "that gentleman!" The judge at last lost all patience,
and exclaimed, "Old woman, you are become quite offensive." This
exemplifies Steele's speaking of "sin as a fine gentleman."
* * * * *
Baron Garrow lately observed at Monmouth, that a respected friend of his,
in the city of London, would sign his name on the outside of letters, in
such a way as to defy the skill of every man in the court, even if
assisted by the greater sagacity of the other sex, in finding out what his
signature could possibly be meant for. The post-offices indeed, knew that
a certain number of straight strokes, up and down, meant W. Curtis; but
probably that was not because they could read the signature, but because
nothing else at all like it ever came there.
* * * * *
Dr. Solo, on hearing of the glorious victory obtained by Bolivar, was
determined that every bird and beast that he possessed should get drunk on
this glorious occasion. For this purpose he gave the horses, cows, pigs,
and poultry and birds as much juice of the sugar-cane as they could drink;
and it was very amusing to see the pigs jump about in the most frolicsome
manner.--_Hutchinson's Travels in Colombia._
* * * * *
BELL ROCK LIGHT-HOUSE.
In the _Album_ at the Bell Rock Light-House are the following lines by Sir
Far in the bosom of the deep,
O'er these wild shelves my watch I keep;
A ruddy gem of changeful light,
Bound on the dusky brow of night;
The seaman bids my lustre hail,
And scorns to strike his timorous sail.
* * * * *
Flights of wild ducks and geese, in numbers _sufficiently multitudinous to
darken the air_, have already migrated to the moors--a circumstance
scarcely existing in the memory of the oldest inhabitant at this period of
the year.--_Hereford Journal._
* * * * *
A countryman, who was cutting wood near the falls of Niagara, on the 10th
of July, was attacked by a rattle-snake; in his terror he leaped across a
tremendous gulf, sixty-seven feet wide, and escaped unhurt!--_Charleston
* * * * *
The _Weedsport Advertiser_ (an American Journal) relates an incident which
had just occurred in the town of Cato, Cross Lake. A young man named
Stockwell, son of a widow woman of that name, living in the town, after
repeated threats to kill a favourite cat belonging to the house, in order
to vex his mother, at length undertook to carry them into execution. In
the morning he took the cat and started with her into the woods, telling
his youngest sister that he was going to destroy her. They were absent
until the afternoon, when the cat came home, _apparently looking_ as
though she had been in the water. The next morning the young man's clothes
were seen on the bank of Cross Lake, and in the water was found his body,
the face and shoulder dreadfully scratched, evidently by the cat in
struggling, so that little doubt existed that he was drowned in attempting
to destroy puss. All speculation on the matter, however, was set at rest
on the body being brought home, for the cat flew at the corpse, and could
with difficulty be kept off.
* * * * *
IMPROMPTU ON RELIEVING A BEGGAR.
_(For the Mirror.)_
Take this, old man, thy looks bespeak thy need,
And pity never questions want and woe;
A bright-hair'd angel registers the deed
In heaven--the meed of charity below!
* * * * *
Rosamond's Labyrinth--We shall feel obliged by a call from the gentleman
who favoured us with the original of this engraving; or, if more
convenient, by a note enclosing his address.
Back to Full Books