The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14,
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 14, NO. 404.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
[Illustration: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.]
In the present _almanack season_, as it is technically called, the above
illustration of our pages may not be inappropriate or ill-timed,
inasmuch as it represents the spot whence all English astronomers make
The Observatory was built by Charles II., in the year 1675--probably,
observes a recent writer, "with no better motive than to imitate Louis
XIV.," who had just completed the erection and endowment of an
observatory at Paris. The English Observatory was fortunately placed
under the direction of the celebrated Flamstead, whose name the hill, or
site of the building, still retains. He was appointed astronomer-royal
in 1676; but Charles (as in the case of the curious dial at Whitehall,
described by us a few weeks since), neglected to complete what he had
so well begun: and Flamstead entered upon the duties of his appointment
with instruments principally provided _at his own expense_, and that
of a zealous patron of science, James Moore. It should seem that this
species of parsimony is hereditary in the English Government, for, upon
the authority of the _Quarterly Review_, we learn that "within the
wide range of the British Islands _there is only one observatory_
(Greenwich), _and scarcely one supported by the Government_. We say
scarcely one, because we believe that some of the instruments in the
observatory at Greenwich were purchased out of the private funds of the
Royal Society of London."
 For this very accurate Description with an Engraving, see
MIRROR, No. 400.
 For the remainder of the Extract, &c. see MIRROR, vol. xii.
p. 151. Only a few days since we saw recorded an instance of
enthusiasm in the study of astronomy, which will never be
forgotten. We allude to Mr. South's splendid purchase at Paris;
yet all the aid he received was some trifling remission of duty!
The first stone of this Observatory was laid by Flamstead, on the 10th
of August, 1675. It stands 160 feet above low-water mark, and
principally consists of two separate buildings: the first contains three
rooms on the ground-floor--viz. the transit-room, towards the east, the
quadrant-room, towards the west, and the assistant's sitting and
calculating-room, in the middle; above which is his bed-room, the latter
being furnished with sliding shutters in the roof. In the transit-room
is an eight-feet transit-instrument, with an axis of three feet, resting
on two piers of stone: this was made by Bird, but has been much improved
by Dolland, Troughton, and others. Near it is a curious transit-clock,
made by Graham, but greatly improved by Earnshaw, who so simplified the
train as to exclude two or three wheels, and also added cross-braces to
the gridiron-pendulum, by which an error of a second per day, arising
from its sudden starts, was corrected. The quadrant-room has a stone
pier in the middle, running north and south, having on its east face a
mural-quadrant, of eight feet radius, made by Bird, in 1749, by which
observations are made on the southern quarter of the meridian, through
an opening in the roof three feet wide, produced by means of two sliding
shutters; on its west face is another eight-feet mural quadrant, with an
iron frame, and an arch of brass, made by Graham, in 1725: this is
applied to the north quarter of the meridian. In the same apartment is
the famous zenith-sector, twelve feet in length, with which Dr. Bradley,
at Wanstead, and at Kew, made those observations which led to the
discovery of the aberration and nutation: here also is Dr. Hooke's
reflecting telescope, and three telescopes by Harrison. On the south
side of this room is a small building, for observing the eclipses of
Jupiter's satellites, occultations, &c., with sliding shutters at the
roof and sides, to view any portion of the hemisphere, from the prime
verticle down to the southern horizon: this contains a forty-inch
achromatic, by the inventor, Mr. John Dolland, with a triple
object-glass, a most perfect instrument of its kind; and a five-feet
achromatic, by John and Peter Dolland, his sons. Here, likewise, are a
two-feet reflecting-telescope (the metals of which were ground by the
Rev. Mr. Edwards), and a six-feet reflector, by Dr. Herschell.
The lower part of the house serves merely for a habitation; but above is
a large octagonal room, which, being now seldom wanted for astronomical
purposes, is used as a repository for such instruments as are too large
to be generally employed in the apartments first described, or for old
instruments, which modern improvements have superseded. Among the former
is a most excellent ten-feet achromatic, by the present Mr. Dolland, and
a six-feet reflector, by Short, with a clock to be used with them. In
the latter class, besides many curious and original articles, which are
deposited in boxes and cupboards, is the first transit instrument that
was, probably, ever made, having the telescope near one end of the axis;
and two long telescopes with square wooden tubes, of very ancient date.
Here, likewise, is the library, which is stored with scarce and curious
old astronomical works, including Dr. Halley's original observations,
and Captain Cook's Journals. Good busts of Flamstead and Newton, on
pedestals, ornament this apartment; and in one corner is a dark narrow
staircase, leading to the leads above, whence the prospect is uncommonly
grand; and to render the pleasure more complete, there is, in the
western turret, a _camera obscura_, of unrivalled excellence, by which
all the surrounding objects, both movable and immovable, are beautifully
represented in their own natural colours, on a concave table of plaster
of Paris, about three feet in diameter.
On the north side of the Observatory are two small buildings, covered
with hemispherical sliding domes, in each of which is an equatorial
sector, made by Sisson, and a clock, by Arnold, with a three-barred
pendulum, which are seldom used but for observing comets. The celebrated
_Dry-well_, which was made to observe the earth's annual parallax, and
for seeing the stars in the day-time, is situated near the south-east
corner of the garden, behind the Observatory, but has been arched over,
the great improvements in telescopes having long rendered it unnecesary.
It contains a stone staircase, winding from the top to the bottom.
The Rev. John Flamstead, Dr. Halley, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Bliss, Dr. Nev.
Maskelyne, and John Pond, Esq. have been the successive
astronomers-royal since the foundation of this edifice.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
The most extraordinary instance of this kind on record is that of the
united twins, born at Saxony, in Hungary, in 1701; and publicly
exhibited in many parts of Europe, among others in England, and living
till 1723. They were joined at the back, below the loins, and had their
faces and bodies placed half side-ways towards each other. They were
not equally strong nor well made, and the most powerful, (for they had
separate wills) dragged the other after her, when she wanted to go any
where. At six years, one had a paralytic affection of the left side,
which left her much weaker than the other. There was a great difference
in their functions and health. They had different temperaments; when one
was asleep the other was often awake; one had a desire for food when the
other had not, &c. They had the small pox and measles at one and the
same time, but other disorders separately. Judith was often convulsed,
while Helen remained free from indisposition; one of them had a catarrh
and a cholic, while the other was well. Their intellectual powers were
different; they were brisk, merry, and well bred; they could read,
write, and sing, very prettily; could speak several languages, as
Hungarian, German, French, and English. They died together, and were
buried in the Convent of the Nuns of St. Ursula, at Presburgh.
* * * * *
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A SPARROW.
_Catullus, Carmen 3_.
(_For the Mirror_.)
Oh, mourn ye deities of love.
And ye whose minds distress can move,
Bewail a Sparrow's fate;
The Sparrow, favourite of my fair,
Fond object of her tend'rest care,
Her loss indeed how great.
For so affectionate it grew,
And its delighted mistress knew
As well as she her mother;
Nor would it e'er her lap forsake,
But hopping round about would make
Some sportive trick or other.
It now that gloomy road has pass'd.
That road which all must go at last,
From whence there's no retreat;
But evil to you, shades of death,
For having thus deprived of breath
A favourite so sweet.
Oh, shameful deed! oh, hapless bird!
My charmer, since its death occurr'd,
So many tears has shed,
That her dear eyes, through pain and grief,
And woe, admitting no relief,
Alas, are swoln and red.
* * * * *
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror_.)
The following explanation of a few of the terms employed to designate
parts of Gothic architecture, may, perhaps, prove acceptable to some of
your readers. Having felt the need of such assistance in the course of
my own reading, &c. &c.--I extracted them from an expensive work on the
subject, and have only to lament that my vocabulary should be so
_Buttresses_.--Projections between the windows and at the corners.
_Corbel_.--An ornamental projection from the wall to support an arch,
niche, beam, or other apparent weight. It is often a head or part of a
_Bands_.--Either small strings around shafts, or horizontal lines of
square, round, and other formed panels, used to ornament spires, towers,
and similar works.
_Cornice_.--The tablet at the top of a wall, running under the
battlement. It becomes a
_Basement_ when at the bottom of it, and beneath this the wall is
_Battlement_.--It may be indented or plain; sunk, panelled, or pierced.
_Crockets_.--Small bunches of foliage, ornamenting canopies and
_Canopies_.--Adorned drip-stones.--_Vide_ Dripstone.
_Crypts_.--Vaulted chapels under some large churches, and a few small
_Crisps_.--Small arches; sometimes _double-feathered_, and according to
the number of them in immediate connexion; they are termed _tre_-foils,
_quatre_-foils, _cinque_-foils, &c.
_Dripstone_.--The tablet running round doors and windows.
_Featherings_ or _Foliations_.--Parts of tracery ornamented with small
arches and points, are termed _Feathered_, or _Foliated_.
_Finials_.--Large crockets surmounting canopies and pinnacles. This term
is frequently applied to the whole pinnacle.
_Machicolations_.--Projecting battlements, with intervals for
discharging missiles on the heads of assailants.
_Mullions_.--By these, windows are divided into lights.
_Parapet_.--When walls are crowned with a parapet, it is straight at the
_Pinnacle_.--A small spire, generally four-sided, and placed on the top
of buttresses, &c., both exterior and interior.
_Piers_.--Spaces in the interior of a building between the arches.
_Rood Loft_.--In ancient churches, not collegiate, a screen between the
nave and chancel was so called, which had on the top of it a large
projection, whereon were placed certain images, especially those which
composed the rood.
_Set-offs_.--The mouldings and slopes dividing buttresses into stages.
_Spandrells_.--Spaces, either plain or ornamented, between an arch and
the square formed round it.
_Stoups_.--The basins in niches, which held holy water. Near the altar
in old churches, or where the altar has been, is sometimes found another
niche, distinguished from the _stoup_, by having in it at the bottom,
a small aperture for carrying off the water; it is often double with a
place for bread.
_Tabernacle-work_.--Ornamented open work over stalls; and generally any
minute ornamental open-work.
_Tablets_.--Small projecting mouldings or strings, mostly horizontal.
_Tracery_.--Ornaments of the division at the heads of windows.
_Flowing_, when the lines branch out into flowers, leaves, arches, &c.
_Perpendicular_, when the mullions are continued through the straight
_Transoms_.--The horizontal divisions of windows and panelling.
_Turrets_.--Towers of great height in proportion to their diameter are
so called. Large towers have often turrets at their corners; often one
larger than the other, containing a staircase; and sometimes they have
only that one.
BRITISH STYLES OF ARCHITECTURE, AND THEIR DURATION.
_The Norman_--Commenced before the conquest, and continued until the
reign of Henry II. A.D., 1189. It is characterized by semicircular, and
sometimes pointed, arches, rudely ornamented.
_Early English_.--This style lasted until the reign of Edward I., A.D.
1307. Its characteristics are, pointed arches, long narrow windows, and
the jagged or toothed ornament.
_Decorated English_--Lasted to the end of Edward III., A.D. 1377. It is
characterized by large windows with pointed arches divided into many
lights by mullions. The tracery of this style is in flowing lines,
forming figures. It has many ornaments, light and delicately wrought.
_Perpendicular English_.--This last style employed latterly only in
additions, was in use, though much debased, even as late as 1630-40.
The latest whole building in it, is not later than Henry VIII. Its
characteristics are the mullions of the windows, and ornamental
panelings, run in perpendicular lines; and many buildings in this style
are so crowded with ornament, that the beauty of the style is destroyed.
The carvings of it are delicately executed.
* * * * *
* * * * *
ABAD AND ADA.
_A lost leaf from the Arabian Nights_.
(_For the Mirror_.)
In the days of Caliph Haroun Alraschid, the neighbourhood of Bagdad was
infested by a clan of banditti, known by the name of the "Ranger Band."
Their rendezvous was known to be the forests and mountains; but their
immediate retreat was a mystery time had not divulged.
That they were valiant, the intrepidity with which they attacked in the
glare of noonday would demonstrate; that they were numerous, the many
robberies carried on in the different parts of the Caliph's dominions
would indicate; and that they were bloody, their invariable practice of
killing their victim before they plundered him would argue. They had
sworn by their Prophet never to betray one another, and by the Angel of
Death to shed their blood in each other's defence. No wonder, then, that
they were so difficult to be captured; and when taken, no tortures or
promises of reward could extract from them any information as to the
retreat of their comrades.
One day, as Giafar, the Vizier, and favourite of the Caliph, was walking
alone in a public garden of the city, a stranger appeared, who, after
prostrating himself before the second man in the empire, addressed him
in these words: "High and mighty Vizier of Alraschid, Lord of the realms
of Alla upon earth, whose delegate and vicegerent he is, hear the
humblest of the sons of men--Vizier, hear me!"
"Speak, son," said the Vizier, "I am patient."
"And," continued the stranger, "what I have to communicate, be pleased
to transmit to our gracious and well-beloved Caliph."
"Let me hear thy suit--it may be in my power to assist you," replied the
"The beauteous Ada is in the clutches of ruffians," responded the
"Well," said the Vizier, "proceed."
"To be brief, the forest bandit snatched her from my arms--we were
betrothed. I have applied to a mighty enchanter, the Genius of the Dale,
who tells me she is still living, and in the cavern of the bandit--that
her beauty and innocence melted the hearts of robbers, and that were
they not afraid of their haunt being discovered, they would have
restored her to liberty; but where that cavern is was beyond his power
to tell. However, he has informed me how I may demand and obtain the
assistance of a much more powerful enchanter than himself; but that
genius being the help of Muloch, the Spirit of the Mountain, I need the
aid of the Caliph himself. May it please the highness of mighty Giafar
to bend before the majesty of the Sovereign of the East, and supplicate
in behalf of thy servant Abad."
"How," said the Vizier, "can the Caliph be of service to thee?"
"It is requisite," replied the stranger, "that my hand be stained with
the blood of the Caliph, before I summon this most mighty fiend!"--
"How!" cried the astonished Vizier, "would'st thou shed the blood of our
beloved master?--No, by Alla!"--
"Pardon me," rejoined the stranger, interrupting him, "and Heaven avert
that any thought of harm against the father of his people should warm
the breast of Abad; I wish only to anoint my finger with as much of his
precious blood as would hide the point of the finest needle; and should
this most inestimable favour be conferred upon me, I undertake, under
pain of suffering all the tortures that human ingenuity can devise, or
devilish vengeance inflict, to exterminate the hated race of banditti
who now infest the forests of the East."
"Son," said the aged Vizier, "I will plead thy cause; meet me here on
the morrow, and in the mean time consider thy request as granted."
"Father, I take my leave; and may the Guardian of the Good shower down
a thousand blessings on thy head!"
Abad made a profound obeisance to the Vizier, and they separated: the
latter to conduct the affairs of the state, and the former to toil
through the more menial labours of the day.
Morning came; Abad was at the appointed spot before sunrise, and waited
with impatience for the expected hour when the Vizier was to arrive.
The Vizier was punctual; and with him, in a plain habit, was the Caliph
himself, who underwent the operation of having blood drawn from him by
the hand of Abad.
At midnight, Abad, as he had been directed by the Genius of the Dale,
went to the cave of the Spirit of the Mountain. He was alone! It was
pitchy dark; the winds howled through the thick foliage of the forest;
the owls shrieked, and the wolves bayed; the loneliness of the place was
calculated to inspire terror! and the idea of meeting such a personage,
at such an hour, did not contribute to the removal of that terror! He
trembled most violently. At length, summoning up courage he entered the
mystic cell, and commenced challenging the assistance of the Spirit of
the Mountain in the following words:
"In the name of the Genius of the Dale I conjure you! by our holy
Prophet I command you! by the darkness of this murky night I entreat
you! and by the blood of a Caliph, shed by this weak arm, I allure you,
most potent Muloch, to appear! Muloch rise! help! appear!"
At this instant the monster appeared, in the form of a human being of
gigantic stature and proportions, having a fierce aspect, large, dark,
rolling eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a thick black beard--attired in the
habit of a blacksmith! He bore a huge hammer in his right hand, and in
his left he carried a pair of pincers, in which was grasped a piece of
shapeless metal. His eyes flashed with indignation as he flourished the
ponderous hammer over his head, as though it had been a small
sword--when, striking the metal he held in the forceps, a round,
well-formed shield fell from the stroke.
"Mortal!" vociferated the enchanter, in a voice of thunder, "there is
thy weapon and defence!"--flinging the weighty hammer on the ample
shield, the collision of which produced a sound in unison with the deep
bass of Muloch's voice; nor did the reverberation that succeeded cease
to ring in the ears of Abad until several minutes after the spectre had
Abad rejoiced when the fearful visit was over, and, well pleased with
his success, was preparing to depart; but his joy was damped on finding
the hammer so heavy that he could not, without difficulty, remove it
from off the shield. He left it in the cave, and returned with the
shield only, comforting himself that however he might be at a loss for
a weapon, he had a shield that would render him invincible.
His next care was to discover the retreat of the robbers, otherwise he
was waging a war with shadows. After making every inquiry, and wandering
in vain for several months in quest of them, he was not able to obtain
a glimpse of the objects of his search. Still they seemed to possess
ubiquity. Their depredations continued, murders multiplied, and their
attacks became more open and formidable. Missions were sent daily to
the royal city from the emirs and governors of provinces residing at a
distance with the most lamentable accounts, and soldiers were dispatched
in large bodies to scour the country, but all was of no avail.
Abad had almost abandoned himself to despair, when, one lovely evening,
as he wandered along the banks of the Tigris, he observed a boat, laden
with armed men, sailing rapidly down the river. "These must be a party
of the ranger band. Oh, Mahomet!" said he, prostrating himself on the
earth, "be thou my guide!" At length the crew landed on the opposite
shore, which was a continued series of crags, and fastening a chain
attached to the boat to a staple driven into the rock, under the surface
of the water, they suffered the vessel to float with the stream beneath
the overhanging rocks, which afforded a convenient shelter and hiding
place for it, as it was impossible for any one passing up or down the
river to notice it.
Having landed, the party ascended the acclivity, when, suddenly halting
and looking round, to ascertain that they were not observed, they
removed a large rolling stone that blockaded the entrance, and went into
what appeared a natural cavern, then closing the inlet. Not a vestige of
them remained in sight, and nature seemed to reign alone amidst the
sublimest of her works.
Hope again glowed in the breast of Abad; he soon found means for
crossing the stream, and marched boldly to the very entrance of the
robber's cave, and with all his might attempted to roll the stone from
its axis. But here he was again doomed to disappointment: without the
possession of the talisman, kept by the captain of the band, he might
as well have attempted to roll the mountain on which he stood into the
water beneath, as to have shifted the massy portal: the strength of ten
thousand men, could their united efforts have been made available at one
and the same time, would not have been sufficient even to stir it.
Abad was returning, disappointed and murmuring at his fate, when
he bethought himself of the hammer which Muloch, the Spirit of the
Mountain, had promised should be of such powerful aid. He hastened to
the place where he had left the large instrument, and the next day
brought it to the robbers' cave. He was in the act of lifting the
massive weight, to have shattered the adamantine stoppage, when he
was surprised by a noise behind him. He looked, and saw the banditti
trooping up the ravine: they were returning, on horseback, from an
expedition of plunder, laden with conquest. Abad hastily, to avoid
discovery, struck the large stone with the charmed hammer, when it
receded from the blow and, admitting him into the cave, closed itself
upon him. The bandit chief, on seeing a stranger enter, ordered his men
to advance rapidly up the ravine, which leads from the waters of the
Tigris to the very threshold of the cave, embosomed amidst gigantic and
The captain in vain applied the magic talisman to the charmed stone; the
more potent shield of Muloch was within. Enraged at being thus thwarted,
he demanded admittance. Abad made no reply, but, raising the enchanted
hammer against the ponderous bulwark with his whole strength (and he
felt as though gifted with more than mortal strength), he, at one
tremendous blow, dislodged the stone which had stood at the entrance of
the cave, amidst the shock of tempests and the convulsions of nature,
from the creation of the world--as hard as adamant, heavy as gold, and
as round as the balls on the cupolas of Bagdad. The bulk rolled down the
ravine, bearing with it trees and fragments of rock; men and horses, and
all meaner obstructions, were crushed to atoms beneath its weight, as it
thundered down the sloping track, and occasionally fell over the steep
precipices, which only served to increase its velocity! nor did it stop
in its headlong career until it had annihilated the whole of the ranger
band, and disappeared amidst the boiling foam of the angry Tigris!
Abad, wrapt in wonder, cast his eyes on the earth, to view the terrific
instrument with which he had performed so wonderful an exploit; but,
to add more to his astonishment, the hammer and shield had vanished!
Curiosity, and the hope of meeting his betrothed, now led him to explore
the winding recesses of the mystic cavern, which consisted of numerous
archways--some artificial, others, the natural formation of subterranean
rocks, leading to a large apartment, in which were deposited the spoils
which a century of plunder had contributed to accumulate. Whilst
feasting his eyes on the rich piles of jewellery, and reviewing the bags
of gold which everywhere presented themselves, his eyes met the features
of a female. He could not be mistaken--he looked again as she advanced
nearer the light--it was the beauteous Ada, still young and lovely!
Bagdad did not possess such a maiden, nor did poet ever paint a fairer
form! Abad thought her nothing inferior to the Houris of Paradise. She
fulfilled every expectation through a long and virtuous life, during
which time they enjoyed the ill-gotten wealth of the ranger band; and,
although the splendour of their living was exceeded only by that of the
Caliph's, they were bountiful to their dependents: they built an asylum
for the destitute--were universally beloved and respected--and their
magnificence was only surpassed by their benevolence!
* * * * *
* * * * *
Shame sticks ever close to the ribs of honour,
Great men are never found after it:
It leaves some ache or other in their names still,
Which their posterity feels at ev'ry weather.
* * * * *
From damned deeds abstain,
From lawless riots and from pleasure's vain;
If not regarding of thy own degree,
Yet in behalf of thy posterity.
For we are docible to imitate.
Depraved pleasures though degenerate.
Be careful therefore least thy son admit
By ear or eye things filthy or unfit.
* * * * *
Shame follows sin, disgrace is daily given,
Impiety will out, never so closely done,
No walls can hide us from the eye of heaven,
For shame must end what wickedness begun,
Forth breaks reproach when we least think thereon.
* * * * *
A wise man poor
Is like a sacred book that's never read,
T' himself he lives, and to all else seems dead.
This age thinks better of a gilded fool,
Than of thread-bare saint in Wisdom's school
* * * * *
She was a woman in the freshest age,
Of wondrous beauty, and of bounty rare,
With goodly grace, and comely personage.
That was on earth not easy to compare,
Full of great love; but Cupid's wanton snare
As hell she hated, chaste in work and will,
Her neck and breast were ever open bare,
That aye thereof her babes might suck their fill,
The rest was all in yellow robes arrayed still,
A multitude of babes about her hung,
Playing their sports that joyed her to behold,
Whom still she fed, while they were weak and young,
But thrust them forth still as they waxed old,
And on her head she wore a tire of gold;
Adorn'd with gems and ouches fair,
Whose passing price unneath was to be told,
And by her side there sat a gentle pair
Of turtle-doves, she sitting in an ivory chair.
* * * * *
It is a work of Charity God knows,
The reconcilement of two mortal foes.
* * * * *
When the air is calm and still, as dead and deaf
And under heaven quakes not an aspen leaf:
When seas are calm and thousand vessels fleet
Upon the sleeping seas with passage sweet;
And when the variant wind is still and lone
The cunning pilot never can be known:
But when the cruel storm doth threat the bark
To drown in deeps of pits infernal dark,
While tossing tears both rudder, mast, and sail,
While mounting, seems the azure skies to scale,
While drives perforce upon some deadly shore,
There is the pilot known, and not before.
* * * * *
The knotty oak and wainscot old,
Within doth eat the silly worm:
Even so a mind in envy cold,
Always within itself doth burn.
* * * * *
Opinion is as various as light change,
Now speaking courtlike, friendly, straight as strange,
She's any humour's perfect parasite,
Displeas'd with her, and pleas'd with her delight.
She is the echo of inconstancy,
Soothing her no with nay, her ay with yea.
* * * * *
Happy is he that lives in such a sort
That need not fear the tongues of false report.
EARL OF SURREY.
* * * * *
By care lay heavy Sleep the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone;
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath,
Small keep took he whom Fortune frown'd on,
Or whom she lifted up into a throne
Of high renown; but as a living death
So dead alive, of life he drew the breath.
* * * * *
War the mistress of enormity,
Mother of mischief, monster of deformity,
Laws, manners, arts, she breaks, she mars, she chases,
Blood, tears, bowers, towers, she spills, smites, burns, and rases,
Her brazen teeth shake all the earth asunder;
Her mouth a fire brand, her voice is thunder;
Her looks are lightning, every glance a flash,
Her fingers guns, that all to powder plash,
Fear and despair, flight and disorder, coast
With hasty march before her murderous host,
As burning, rape, waste, wrong, impiety,
Rage, ruin, discord, horror, cruelty,
Sack, sacrilege, impunity, pride.
Are still stern consorts by her barbarous side;
And poverty, sorrow, and desolation,
Follow her army's bloody transmigration.
* * * * *
Of all chaste birds the phoenix doth excel,
Of all strong beasts the lion bears the bell,
Of all sweet flowers the rose doth sweetest smell.
Of all pure metals gold is only purest,
Of all the trees the pine hath highest crest.
Of all proud birds the eagle pleaseth Jove,
Of pretty fowls kind Venus likes the dove,
Of trees Minerva doth the olive move.
* * * * *
COCHINEAL INSECT AND PLANT.
[Illustration: COCHINEAL INSECT AND PLANT.]
The frequent mention of the Cochineal Insect and Plant in our pages
will, probably, render the annexed cut of more than ordinary interest
to our readers.
 See the Propagation of the Insect in Spain, MIRROR, vol. xii.
and an attempt to naturalize the same at the Cambridge Botanical
Garden, page 217, of the present volume.
The plant on which the Cochineal Insect is found, is called the _Nopal_,
a species of Opuntia, or Prickly Pear, which abounds on all the coasts
of the Mediterranean; and is thus described by Mr. Thompson, in his work
entitled, _Official Visit to Guatemala;_ "The nopal is a plant
consisting of little stems, but expanding itself into wide, thick
leaves, more or less prickly according to its different kind: one or two
of these leaves being set as one plant, at the distance of two or three
feet square from each other, are inoculated with the cochineal, which, I
scarcely need say, is an insect; it is the same as if you would take the
blight off an apple or other common tree, and rub a small portion of it
on another tree free from the contagion, when the consequence would be,
that the tree so inoculated would become covered with the blight; a
small quantity of the insects in question is sufficient for each plant,
which in proportion as it increases its leaves, is sure to be covered
with this costly parasite. When the plant is perfectly saturated, the
cochineal is scraped off with great care. The plants are not very
valuable for the first year, but they may be estimated as yielding after
the second year, from a dollar and a half profit on each plant."
The insect is famous for the fine scarlet dye which it communicates to
wool and silk. The females yield the best colour, and are in number to
the males as three hundred to one. Cochineal was at first supposed to
be a grain, which name it retains by way of eminence among dyers, but
naturalists soon discovered it to be an insect. Its present importance
in dyeing is an excellent illustration of chemistry applied to the arts;
for long after its introduction, it gave but a dull kind of _crimson_,
till a chemist named Kuster, who settled at Bow, near London, about the
middle of the sixteenth century, discovered the use of the solution of
tin, and the means of preparing with it and cochineal, a durable and
Fine cochineal, which has been well dried and properly kept, ought to
be of a grey colour inclining to purple. The grey is owing to a powder
which covers it naturally, a part of which it still retains; the purple
tinge proceeds from the colour extracted by the water in which it has
been killed. Cochineal will keep a long time in a dry place. Hellot
says, that he tried some one hundred and thirty years old, and found it
produce the same effect as new.
* * * * *
There is now in the neigbourhood of Dovercourt, in Essex, upon the
estate of Sir T. Gaisford, a chestnut-tree fifty-six feet in
circumference, which flourishes well, and has had a very good crop of
chestnuts for many years.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
I'D BE AN ALDERMAN
I'd be an Alderman, born in the City,
Where haunches of venison and green turtles meet
Seeking in Leadenliall, reckless of pity,
Birds, beast, and fish, that the knowing ones eat
I'd never languish for want of a luncheon.
I'd never grieve for the want of a treat;
I'd be an Alderman, constantly munching,
Where haunches of venison and green turtles meet.
Oh! could I wheedle the votes at the vestry,
I'd have a share of those good sav'ry things;
Enchained by turkey, in love with the pastry.
And floating in Champagne, while Bow bells ring.
Those who are cautious are skinny and fretful,
Hunger, alas! naught but ill-humour brings;
I'd be an Alderman, rich with a net full,
Rolling in Guildhall, whilst old Bow bells ring.
What though you tell me that prompt apoplexy
Grins o'er the glories of Lord Mayor's Day,
'Tis better, my boy, than blue devils to vex ye,
Or ling'ring consumption to gnaw you away.
Some in their folly take black-draught and blue-pill,
And ask ABERNETHY their fate to delay;
I'd he an Alderman, WAITHMAN'S apt pupil,
Failing when dinner things are clearing away.
* * * * *
A PROVINCIAL REPUTATION.
I once resided in a country town; I will not specify whether that town
was Devizes or Doncaster, Beverley or Brighton: I think it highly
reprehensible in a writer to be _personal_, and scarcely more venial do
I consider the fault of him who presumes to be _local_. I will, however,
state, that my residence lay among the manufacturing districts; but lest
any of my readers should be misled by that avowal, I must inform them,
that in my estimation _all_ country towns, from the elegant Bath, down
to the laborious Bristol, are (whatever their respective polite or
mercantile inhabitants may say to the contrary), positively,
comparatively, and superlatively, manufacturing towns!
Club-rooms, ball-rooms, card-tables, and confectioners' shops, are the
_factories;_ and gossips, both male and female, are the _labouring
classes_. Norwich boasts of the durability of her stuffs; the
manufacturers I allude to weave a web more flimsy. The stuff of tomorrow
will seldom be the same that is publicly worn to-day; and were it not
for the zeal and assiduity of the labourers, we should want novelties to
replace the stuff that is worn out hour by hour.
No man or woman who ever ventures to deviate from the beaten track
should ever live in a country town. The gossips all turn from the task
of nibbling one another, and the character of the _lusus naturae_ becomes
public property. I am the mother of a family, and I am known to have
written romances. My husband, in an evil hour, took a fancy to a house
at a watering-place, which, by way of distinction, I shall designate by
the appellation of _Pumpington Wells_: there we established ourselves in
the year 1800.
The _manufacturers_ received us with a great show of civility,
exhibiting to us the most recent stuff, and discussing the merits of the
newest fabrications. We, however, were not used to trouble ourselves
about matters that did not concern us, and we soon offended them.
We turned a deaf ear to all evil communications. If we were told that
Mr. A., "though fond of show, starved his servants," we replied, we did
not wish to listen to the tale. If we heard that Mr. B. though uxorious
in public, was known to beat his wife in private, we cared not for the
matrimonial anecdote. When maiden ladies assured us that Mrs. C. cheated
at cards, we smiled, for we had no _dealings_ with her; and when we were
told that Mrs. D. never paid her bills, we repeated not the account to
the next person we met; for as we were not her creditors, her accounts
concerned us not.
We settled ourselves, much to our satisfaction, in our provincial abode:
it was a watering-place, which my husband, as a bachelor, had frequented
during its annual season.
As a watering-place he knew it well. Such places are vastly entertaining
to visiters, having no "local habitation," and no "name"--caring not for
the politics of the place, and where, if any thing displeases them, they
may pay for their lodgings, order post-horses, and never suffer their
names to appear in the arrival book again.
But with those who _live_ at watering-places, it is quite another
affair. For the first six months we were deemed a great acquisition.
There were two or three _sets_ in Pumpington Wells--the good, the bad,
and the indifferent. The bad left their cards, and asked us to dances,
the week we arrived; the indifferent knocked at our door in the first
month; and even before the end of the second, we were on the visiting
lists of the good. We knew enough of society to be aware that it is
impolitic to rush into the embraces of _all_ the arms that are extended
to receive strangers; but feeling no wish to affront any one in return
for an intended civility, we gave card for card; and the doors of good,
bad, and indifferent, received our names.
All seemed to infer, that the amicable gauntlet, which had been thrown
down, having been courteously taken up, the ungloved hands were
forthwith to be grasped in token of good fellowship; we had left our
_names_ for them, and by the invitations that poured in upon us, they
seemed to say with Juliet--
"And _for_ thy _name_, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself."
No man, not even a provincial, can visit every body; and it seems but
fair, that if a selection is to be made, all should interchange the
hospitalities of life with those persons in whose society they feel the
Many a dinner, therefore, did we decline--many a route did we reject; my
husband's popularity tottered, and the inviters, though they no longer
dinned their dinners in our ears, and teazed us with their "teas," vowed
secret vengeance, and muttered "curses, not loud, but deep."
I have hinted that we had no scandalous capabilities; and though slander
flashed around us, we seldom admitted morning visiters, and our
street-door was a non-conductor.
But our next door neighbours were maiden ladies, who _had been_ younger,
and, to use a common term of commiseration, had seen better days--by
which, I mean the days of bloom, natural hair, partners, and the
probability of husbands.
Their vicinity to us was an infinite comfort to the town, for those who
were unable to gain admittance at our door to disturb our business and
"For every man has business and desire,
Such as they are,"
were certain of better success at our neighbours', where they at least
could gain some information about us "from eye-witnesses who resided on
_My_ sins were numbered, so were my new bonnets; and for a time my
husband was pitied, because "he had an extravagant wife;" but when it
was ascertained that his plate was handsome, his dinner satisfactory in
its removes, and _comme il faut_ in its courses, those whose feet had
never been within our door, saw clearly "how it must all end, and really
felt for our trades-people."
I have acknowledged that I had written romances; the occupation was to
me a source of amusement; and as I had been successful, my husband saw
no reason why he should discourage me. A scribbling fool, _in_ or _out_
of petticoats, should be forbidden the use of pen, ink, and paper; but
my husband had too much sense to heed the vulgar cry of "blue stocking."
After a busy month passed in London, we saw my new novel sent forth to
the public, and then returned to our mansion at Pumpington Wells.
As we drove up to our door, our virgin neighbours gazed on us, if
possible, with more than their former interest. They wiped their
spectacles; with glances of commiseration they saw us alight, and with
unwearied scrutiny they witnessed the removal of our luggage from the
carriage. We went out--every body stared at us--the people we _did_
know touched the hands we extended, and hastened on as if fearful of
infection; the people we _did not_ know whispered as they passed us,
and looked back afterwards; the men servants seemed full of mysterious
flurry when we left our cards at the doors of acquaintances, and the
maid-servants peeped at us up the areas; the shopkeepers came from their
counters to watch us down the streets--and all was whispering and
I could not make it out; was it to see the authoress? No; I had been an
authoress when they last saw me. Was it the brilliant success of my new
work? It _could_ be nothing else.
My husband met a maiden lady, and bowed to her; she passed on without
deigning to notice him. I spoke to an insipid man who had always bored
me with his unprofitable intimacy, and he looked another way! The next
lady we noticed tossed her head, as if she longed to toss it _at_ us;
and the next man we met opened his eyes astonishingly wide, and said--
"Are _you_ here! Dear me! I was told you could not show your--I mean,
did not mean to return!"
There was evidently some mystery, and we determined to wait patiently
for its developement. "If," said I, "it bodes us _good_, time will
unravel it." "And if," said my husband, "it bodes us evil, some d--d
good-natured friend will tell us all about it."
We had friends at Pumpington Wells, and good ones too, but no friend
enlightened us; that task devolved upon an acquaintance, a little slim
elderly man, so frivolous and so garrulous, that he only wanted a
turban, some rouge, and a red satin gown, to become the most perfect of
He shook his head simultaneously as he shook our hands, and his little
grey eyes twinkled with delight, while he professed to feel for us both
the deepest commiseration.
"You are cut," said he; "its all up with you in Pumpington Wells."
"Pray be explicit," said I faintly, and dreading some cruel calumny, or
plot against my peace.
"You've done the most impolitic thing! the most hazardous"--
"Sir!" said my husband, grasping his cane.
"I lament it," said the little man, turning to me; "your book has done
it for you."
I thought of the reviews, and trembled.
"How _could_ you," continued our tormentor, "how could you put the
Pumpington Wells people in your novel?"
"The Pumpington Wells people!--Nonsense; there are good and bad people
in my novel, and there are good and bad people in Pumpington Wells; but
you flatter the good, if you think that when I dipped my pen in praise,
I limited my sketches to the virtuous of this place; and what is worse,
_you_ libel the bad if you assert that my sketches of vice were meant
personally to apply to the vicious who reside here."
"_I_ libel--_I_ assert!" said the old lady-like little man; "not
_I_!--every body says so!"
"You may laugh," replied my mentor and tormentor combined, "but
personality can be proved against you; and all the friends and relations
of Mr. Flaw declare you meant the bad man of your book for him."
"His friends and relations are too kind to him."
"Then you have an irregular character in your book, and Mrs. Blemish's
extensive circle of intimates assert that nothing can be more pointed
than your allusion to _her_ conduct and _her_ character."
"And pray what do these persons say about it themselves?"
"They are outrageous, and go about the town absolutely wild."
"Fitting the caps on themselves?"
The little scarecrow shook his head once more; and declaring that we
should see he had spoken too true, departed, and then lamented so
fluently to every body the certainty of our being _cut_, that every body
began to believe him.
I have hinted that _my_ bonnets and my husband's plate occasioned
heartburnings: no--that is not a correct term, the _heart_ has nothing
to do with such exhalations--bile collects elsewhere.
Those who had conspired to pull my husband from the throne of his
popularity, because their parties excited in us no _party spirit_, and
we abstained from hopping at their hops, found, to their consternation,
that when the novelty of my _novel_ misdemeanour was at an end, we went
on as if nothing had occurred. However, they still possessed heaven's
best gift, the use of their tongues, they said of us everything bad
which they knew to be false, and which they wished to see realized.
Their forlorn hope was our "extravagance." "Never mind," said one,
"Christmas must come round, and _then_ we shall see."
When once the match of insinuation is applied to the train of rumoured
difficulties, the suspicion that has been smouldering for awhile bounces
at once into a _report_, and very shortly its echo is bounced in every
parlour in a provincial town.
Long bills, that had been accustomed to wait for payment until
Christmas, now lay on my table at midsummer; and tradesmen, who drove
dennetts to cottages once every evening, sent short civil notes,
regretting their utter inability to make up a sum of money by Saturday
night, unless _I_ favoured them, by the bearer, with the sum of ten
pounds, "the amount of my little account."
Dennett-driving drapers actually threatened to fail for the want of ten
pounds!--pastry-cooks, who took their families regularly "to summer at
the sea," assisted the _counter_-plot, and prematurely dunned my
It is not always convenient to pay sums at midsummer, which we had been
in the habit of paying at Christmas; if, however, a single applicant was
refused, a new rumour of inability was started and hunted through the
town before night. People walked by our house, looking up wistfully at
the windows; others peeped down the area, to see what we had for dinner.
One _gentleman_ went to our butcher, to inquire how much we owed him;
and one _lady_ narrowly escaped a legal action, because when she saw a
few pipkins lying on the counter of a crockery-ware man, directed to me,
she incautiously said, in the hearing of one of my servants, "Are you
paid for your pipkins?--ah, it's well if you ever get your money!"
Christmas came at last; bills were paid, and my husband did not owe a
shilling in Pumpington Wells. Like the old ladies in the besieged city,
the gossips looked at us, wondering when the havoc would begin.
Ho who mounts the ladder of life, treading step by step upon the
identical footings marked out, _may_ live in a provincial town.
When we want to drink spa waters, or vary the scene, we now visit
watering-places; but rather than force me to live at one again, "stick
me up," as _Andrew Fairservice_ says, in _Rob Roy_, "as a regimental
target for ball-practice." We have long ceased to live in Pumpington.
Fleeting are the tints of the rainbow--perishable the leaf of the
rose--variable the love of woman--uncertain the sunbeam of April; but
naught on earth can be fleeting; so perishable, so variable, or so
uncertain, as the popularity of a provincial reputation.
* * * * *
* * * * *
JACK JONES, THE RECRUIT.--A HINT FROM OVID.
Jack Jones was a toper: they say that some how
He'd a foot always ready to kick up a row;
And, when half-seas over, a quarrel he pick'd,
To keep up the row he had previously kick'd.
He spent all, then borrow'd at twenty per cent.
His mistress fought shy when his money was spent,
So he went for a soldier; he could not do less,
And scorn'd his fair Fanny for hugging brown Bess.
"Halt--Wheel into line!" and "Attention--Eyes right!"
Put Bacchus, and Venus, and Momus to flight
But who can depict half the sorrows he felt
When he dyed his mustachios and pipe-clay'd his belt?
When Sergeant Rattan, at Aurora's red peep,
Awaken'd his tyros by bawling--"Two deep!"
Jack Jones would retort, with a half-suppress'd sigh,
"Ay! too deep by half for such ninnies as I."
Quoth Jones--"'Twas delightful the bushes to beat
With a gun in my hand and a dog at my feet,
But the game at the Horse-Guards is different, good lack!
Tis a gun in my hand and a cat at my back."
To Bacchus, his saint, our dejected recruit.
One morn, about drill time, thus proffer'd his suit--
"Oh make me a sparrow, a wasp, or an ape--
All's one, so I get at the juice of the grape."
The God was propitious--he instantly found
His ten toes distend and take root in the ground;
His back was a stem, and his belly was bark,
And his hair in green leaves overshadow'd the Park.
Grapes clustering hung o'er his grenadier cap,
His blood became juice, and his marrow was sap:
Till nothing was left of the muscles and bones
That form'd the identical toper, Jack Jones.
Transform'd to a vine, he is still seen on guard,
At his former emporium in Great Scotland-yard;
And still, though a vine, like his fellow-recruits,
He is train'd, after listing, his ten-drills, and shoots.
_New Monthly Magazine_.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF _NEW WORKS_.
* * * * *
THE JUVENILE KEEPSAKE,
Edited by Mr. Thomas Roscoe, and dedicated to Professor Wilson, is no
less attractive than its "Juvenile" rivals. Indeed, a few of the tales
take a higher range than either of theirs,--as the Children's Island, an
interesting Story, from the French of Madame Genlis; the Ball Dress; the
Snow Storm; and the Deserted Village. The Heir of Newton Buzzard, a Tale
in four cantos, by the late Mrs. John Hunter, is perhaps one of the
prettiest juvenile novelties of the season. It is divided into
Infancy--Childhood--Boyhood--and Youth--all which contain much amusement
and moral point without dulness. We have not room for an entire story,
but select one of Miss Mitford's village portraits:
"Dash was as beautiful a dog as eyes could be set on; one of the large
old English Spaniels which are now so rare, with a superb head, like
those which you see in Spanish pictures, and such ears! they more than
met over his pretty spotted nose; and when he lapped his milk, dipped
into the pan at least two inches. His hair was long and shiny and wavy,
not curly, partly of a rich dark liver colour, partly of a silvery
white, and beautifully feathered about the thighs and legs. He was
extremely lively and intelligent, and had a sort of circular motion, a
way of flinging himself quite round on his hind feet, something after
the fashion in which the French dancers twist themselves round on one
leg, which not only showed unusual agility in a dog of his size, but
gave token of the same spirit and animation which sparkled in his bright
hazel eye. Anything of eagerness or impatience was sure to excite this
motion, and George Dinely gravely assured his sisters, when they at
length joined him in the hall, that Dash had flung himself round six and
twenty times whilst waiting the conclusion of their quarrel.
"Getting into the lawn and the open air did not tend to diminish Dash's
glee or his capers, and the young party walked merrily on; George
telling of school pranks and school misfortunes--the having lost or
spoilt four hats since Easter, seemed rather to belong to the first
class of adventures than the second--his sisters listening dutifully
and wonderingly; and Dash, following his own devices, now turning up a
mouse's nest from a water furrow in the park--now springing a covey of
young partridges in a corn field--now plunging his whole hairy person
in the brook; and now splashing Miss Helen from head to foot? by
ungallantly jumping over her whilst crossing a stile, being thereunto
prompted by a whistle from his young master, who had, with equal want of
gallantry, leapt the stile first himself, and left his sisters to get
over as they could; until at last the whole party, having passed the
stile, and crossed the bridge, and turned the churchyard corner, found
themselves in the shady recesses of the vicarage-lane, and in full view
of the vine-covered cottage of Nurse Simmons."
Our closing extract is from "Anecdotes of South African Baboons," by
Thomas Pringle, Esq.:
"It is the practice of these animals to descend from their rocky
fastnesses in order to enjoy themselves on the banks of the mountain
rivulets, and to feed on the nutritious bulbs which grow in the fertile
valley ground. While thus occupied, they generally take care to be
within reach of a steep crag, or precipice, to which they may fly for
refuge on the appearance of an enemy; and one of their number is always
placed as a sentinel on some large stone, or other prominent position,
in order to give timely warning to the rest, of the approach of danger.
It has frequently been my lot, when riding through the secluded valleys
of that country, to come suddenly, on turning a corner of a wild glen,
upon a troop of forty or fifty baboons thus quietly congregated.
Instantly on my appearance, a loud cry of alarm being raised by the
sentinel, the whole tribe would scamper off with precipitation;
splashing through the stream, and then scrambling with most marvellous
agility up the opposite cliffs, often several hundred feet in height,
and where no other creature without wings, certainly, could attempt to
follow them; the large males bringing up the rear-guard, ready to turn
with fury upon the dogs, if any attempted to molest them; the females,
with their young ones in their arms, or on their shoulders, clinging
with arms clasped closely round the mothers' necks. And thus climbing,
and chattering, and squalling, they would ascend the almost
perpendicular crags, while I looked on and watched them--interested by
the almost human affection which they evinced for their mates and their
offspring; and sometimes not a little amused, also, by the angry
vociferation with which the old ones would scold me when they had got
fairly upon the rocks, and felt themselves secure from pursuit."
There are Seven Plates and a Vignette, and a glazed, ornamented cover
which will withstand the wear and tear of the little play or book-room.
* * * * *
PICTURE OF SHEFFIELD.
(_Concluded from page 396_.)
In the manufacture of a razor, it proceeds through a dozen hands; but it
is afterwards submitted to a process of grinding, by which the concavity
is perfected, and the fine edge produced. They are made from 1 s. per
dozen, to 20 s. per razor, in which last the handle is valued at 16s.6d.
"Scissors, in like manner, are made by hand, and every pair passes
through sixteen or seventeen hands, including fifty or sixty operations,
before they are ready for sale. Common scissors are cast, and when
riveted, are sold as low as 4s. 6d. per gross! Small pocket knives, too,
are cast, both in blades and handles, and sold at 6 s. per gross, or a
halfpenny each! These low articles are exported in vast quantities in
casks to all parts of the world.
"Snuffers and trays are also articles of extensive production, and the
latter are ornamented with landscapes, etched by a Sheffield artist, on
a resinous varnish, and finished by being dipped in diluted nitric acid
for a few seconds or minutes.
"Messrs. Rodgers also introduced me to an extensive range of workshops
for the manufacture of plated and silver ware, in which are produced the
most superb breakfast and dinner services. The method of making the
silver plate here and at Birmingham merits special notice, because the
ancient method was by dissolving mercury in nitrous acid, dipping the
copper, and depending on the affinity of the metals, by which a very
slight article was produced. But at Sheffield and Birmingham, all plate
is now produced by rolling ingots of copper and silver together. About
the eighth of an inch in thickness of silver is united by heat to an
inch of copper in ingots about the size of a brick. It is then flattened
by steel rollers worked by an eighty horse power. The greater
malleability of the silver occasions it to spread equally with the
copper into a sheet of any required thickness, according to the nature
of the article for which it is wanted. I saw some pieces of plated
metal, the eighth of an inch thick, rolled by hand into ten times their
surface, the silver spreading equally; and I was told that the plating
would be perfect if the rolling had reduced it to the thinness of silver
paper! This mode of plating secures to modern plate a durability not
possessed by any plate silvered by immersion. Hence plated goods are now
sought all over the world, and, if fairly used, are nearly as durable as
silver itself. Of this material, dinner and dessert services have been
manufactured from 50 to 300 guineas, and breakfast sets from 10 to 200
guineas, as sold on the spot.
"At Sheffield are actually cast and finished, most, if not all, the
parts of grates sold as their own make by the London furnishing
ironmongers. Their names are placed on them, but, in truth, they merely
put the parts together. I saw in Messrs. Picklay's rooms superior
castings for backs of grates, little inferior in delicacy to plaster of
Paris; and for grates connected with one of these patterns, I was told
100 guineas each was lately paid by a northern squire. Grates with
folding doors are made here as well as at Chesterfield. The doors are in
half heights, so as to serve two purposes, and grates so supplied sell
for about two guineas extra. Mr. Picklay has brought the kitchen range
to great perfection. With one fire he roasts, boils with water and
steam, and bakes. Economy and completeness were never more usefully
combined; and a public establishment in Sheffield is fitted with one
which has cooked a dinner complete for above three hundred persons. It
cost nearly L300, but such grates for small families may be had at ten
"The mercantile part of the Sheffield trade is performed chiefly by
travellers, but the principal shops in London deal directly with the
manufacturers here. To humour public prejudice in regard to "_Town
make_," as it is called, and to serve as an advertisement for various
retailers in London and other large towns, their connexions in Sheffield
keep steel brands, with which their names are placed on the articles,
and they thereby pass with the public as the real manufacturers. I saw
in different workshops, in Sheffield, the steel brands of our famous
_town makers_, and the articles in wholesale quantities packing up to
meet the demand in London for "_real town made_." This is a standing
joke at the expense of cockney credulity among the Sheffield cutlers.
"Sheffield is noted for the manufacture of superior files; and many
anecdotes are told of the artifices which have been made use of to
aggrandize or to repudiate the celebrity of the marks of some well-known
"In Sheffield generally the workmen get from 20s. to 24s. per week. Dry
grinders get L2, and some L5 or L6, and these high wages are paid as an
equivalent for the shortness of life. Many women are employed as filers,
burnishers, polishers, finishers, &c. &c.; and they get from 6s. to 12s.
"Very _fine_ cutlery is manufactured by Mr. Crawshaw. I saw in his
warehouse all those elegant patterns of pen-knives which, in the best
shops of London, Bath, &c. excite so much admiration. His lobster
knives, with four or more blades, on slit springs, with pearl and
tortoiseshell handles, are the most perfect productions of British
manufacture. His pen-knives with rounded or beveled backs, to turn in
the quill and shave the point, are simple and effective improvements. He
showed me plain pocket-knives so highly finished, that the first cost is
38s., yet so deceptive is cutlery, that I might have preferred others
which I saw at only 7s. or 8s. It is the same in regard to the scissors
of Champion and Son,--articles at two or three guineas did not appear to
my uninstructed eye worth more than others at a few shillings; yet in
all these high priced articles, nearly the whole cost is in workmanship,
and there are but few workmen who can produce them. At the same time,
Mr. Crawshaw deals in pen-knives at 5s. per dozen, and Mr. Champion in
scissors at 2s. or 3s. per dozen.
"The novelties and curiosities in this way are extremely numerous, and
the makers and inventers are as modest and communicative as they are
original and ingenious. Thus a knife an inch long, weighing eight
pennyweights six grains, containing seventy odd blades and instruments,
cost L30 in making: scissors the eighth of an inch long, twenty-five of
which weigh but a grain, sold at 3s. per pair: a knife, mounted in gold
and pearl, containing thirty blades, is valued at L30; pocket-knives
with twenty-six parts are sold at six guineas; the very best two blades
mounted with pearl and gold, made by Crawshaw, are in common sale
at two guineas in Sheffield. Messrs. Champion are esteemed the best
makers of scissors; and ladies' working scissors, in general commerce,
are finished and mounted as high as five or ten guineas. The best
pocket-knives are made by Crawshaw, and fetch, in mounting, from two to
five guineas. He is also the general maker of what are called the 'best
town made.' I may here add, that Messrs. Champion can make a single set
of table knives and forks, the fair market price of which would be 100
"The mechanical ingenuity of Mr. Crawshaw has also been displayed in the
construction of AN ORRERY consisting of at least 1,000 wheels, which, by
a single winch, turns all the planets in their respective periods; and
also the whole of the satellites, including those of Herschell. This
orrery, perhaps the completest in the world, was made in all its details
by this gentleman, and, in its wheel-work, is an astonishing production.
"One of the wonders of Sheffield is its Grinding Establishments. To aid
the grinders, companies have erected very spacious buildings divided
into small rooms, and provided the whole with steam engines. The rooms
are then let out by the month to master grinders; and at properly
adjusted grindstones in each room I saw every variety of grinding,
sharpening, and polishing. The finest work is polished by hand, and in
this slavery I saw the delicate hands of the superior sex solely
employed. The payment is trifling; but I was told that the hand of woman
is the softest, most pliable, and most accommodating tool which has yet
been discovered for conferring the finest polish on the refractory
substance of steel. Can we wonder at its effect in softening the
ruggedness of the other sex, and how hard must be the heart of that man
which does not yield to an influence which subdues even the hardness of
"The manufacture of spectacles, telescopes, microscopes, etc. is carried
on to a great extent in Sheffield. Above five gross per day are ground
of convex and concave glasses in one shop. Concave basins cast in iron
of the radii of curvature of proposed lenses are fixed in rows on a
frame, and rubbed with water and emery. A concentric convex basin is
then covered with round pieces of plate glass fixed with pitch; and the
convex stir face, with its glass pieces, is then turned and _wabbled_
in the concave basin by steam power. In this manner from six to twelve
dozen glasses are ground at once by one basin working within the other
on an eccentric axle which _wabbles_ the inner basin while it is
revolved. Of course, in time, i.e. in eight or ten hours, the glasses
are so abraded, that the outside of one basin exactly fits the other,
and the lenses between are of the true curvature. They are then knocked
off the pitch; turned and worked on the other side, on the second day;
cleaned with spirit of tar, rounded or clipt with blunt scissors, and
fitted in spectacle frames or tubes. In Mr. Cutt's factory I saw
twenty-six of these basins for spectacles, and about eighteen for
telescopes and microscopes; several being at work."
"The Sheffield trades require and promote the Fine Arts in many ways.
Chantrey was a carver and gilder here, and many persons in Sheffield
were his first patrons, when he began to model. He was a native of
Norton, where his parents still reside, and his first youthful
employment was that of bringing milk to the town on asses, as is the
present custom. At present, Mr. Law is an exquisite modeller in wax; and
there are some ladies who copy the best pictures with a degree of taste
and perfection which is astonishing. I allude particularly to those of
Miss Green, of Westville House, and Miss Sambourne, at Highfield Green.
Then this district possesses a treasure in Mr. Cowen, of Rotherham,
whose merit as a landscape painter, has recommended him to the zealous
patronage of Earl Fitzwilliam and the Duke of Devonshire. I confess I
have never seen more exquisitely finished and more poetical
"The Shrewsbury Hospital, at Sheffield, has lately been rebuilt in an
improved situation, by Messrs. Woodhead and Hurst, of Doncaster. It
accommodates eighteen aged men and eighteen women in a very convenient
manner. It has been liberally supported by the present Duke of Norfolk,
and is managed by trustees of his nomination. The men are allowed 10s.
per week, and the women 8s. There is also another hospital, founded by
a Mr. Hollis, a Sheffield cutler; as a provision for sixteen cutlers'
widows, who besides habitations, receive 7s. per week, coals, and a gown
every two years.
"In conclusion I have assembled some _miscellaneous_ facts. Sheffield
parish is ten miles by three. The Park of 2,000 acres was inclosed in
Queen Anne's time.
"The Duke of Norfolk is Lord of the Manor, from his ancestors the
Lovetots, Furnivals, Nevilles, Talbots, and Howards.
"Roger de Busli had 46 manors in Yorkshire, and in Nottinghamshire and
"The Cutlers' Company was incorporated 21st James I.--The cutlers are
8,000 or 10,000 in number.
"In 1751, the first stage-wagon went from Sheffield to London. In 1762,
the first stage-coach.
"In 1752, the plated manufacture began.
"In 1770, the first bank was opened.
"In 1786, the first steam-engine grinding-wheel was established.
"The casting or melting of steel began 60 years ago, till which time
Swedish bar-steel was used.
"There are iron-forges near every Roman station, and Abbey Dale is full
of cinders from smelting, with apertures to windward to serve as blasts.
"Beds of scoriae found in the parish, on which trees grow, and in old
pleasure parks.--Roman coins are also found in scoria.--A quarry of
stone at Wincobank Hill, contains fossilized vegetables, chiefly
calamites. They are succulent, and of the bamboo family. In the coal
districts, branches and trunks of trees are found; and Mr. Rhodes took
out of solid stone, a fossil post of walnut wood. South-east of
Tickhill, is an accumulation of subterranean trees, in black earth,
mixed with shells and rounded stones.
"It is believed at Sheffield, that the executioner of Charles I.,
was a person of the name of William Walker, a native of Darnall, near
Sheffield. Such was the tradition at his native place. He died at
Darnall in 1700 and was buried in Sheffield church, where there was a
brass plate to his memory. It is certain that a Walker, was one of the
masks, and that this Walker was an active partizan: but he was a man of
learning, and wrote some tracts on mathematics and politics.
"Dr. Buchan, began his career as a Scotch physician at Sheffield, and
actually wrote his famous 'Domestic Medicine,' in the house at the south
corner of Hartshead, in which for many years has resided Mr. J.
The varied and attractive character of our extract is the best plea for
its length; but reading like this never tires.---_Sir R. Phillips'
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
* * * * *
At St. Lawrence, October 13, 1828, wind S.W. the atmosphere was filled
with smoke, which, with intervening clouds, intercepted the sun's light,
so as to require the use of candles several times during the day. The
water which fell in the afternoon and evening was so much affected by
the smoke as to be bitter to the taste.
* * * * *
THE LIQUOR OF LIFE.
When the art of distilling spirits, generally attributed to Raymond
Lully, was discovered, the secret of longevity was supposed to have been
brought to light, the _mercurius volatilis_ to be at length fixed, and
the pernicious product received the name of _aqua vitae_--liquor of
life; "A discovery concerning which," says a learned physician, "it
would be difficult to determine, whether it has tended most to diminish
the happiness, or shorten the duration of life. In one sense it may be
considered the elixir of life, for it speedily introduces a man to
* * * * *
Is manufactured in great abundance in Paris from the bones of butchers'
meat. At one of the hospitals upwards of 1,000 basins of soup are
* * * * *
Are remarkable for the extraordinary size of their horns, some of which
are four feet long, seven inches in diameter near the head, and hold ten
* * * * *
Paul Spencer exhibits the following distich on his door, in Glasgow:--
"Entertainment here for all that passes,
Horses, mares, mules, and asses."
* * * * *
According to a calculation recently made, there are 103 canals in Great
Britain--extending 2,682 miles, and formed at an expense of thirty
* * * * *
"Do you know what made my voice so melodious?" said a celebrated vocal
performer, of awkward manners, to Charles Bannister. "No," replied the
other. "Why, then, I'll tell you: when I was about fifteen, I swallowed,
by accident, some train oil." "I don't think," rejoined Bannister, "it
would have done you any harm if, at the same time, you had swallowed a
* * * * *
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