This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, Issue 566, September 15, 1832
Release Date: November 11, 2004 [eBook #14024]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 20, ISSUE 566, SEPTEMBER 15, 1832***
|VOL. XX., NO. 566.]
|SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1832.
Bolsover is a populous village on the eastern verge of Derbyshire upon the adjacent county of Nottingham; and but a short distance from the town of Chesterfield. The Castle occupies the plain of a rocky hill that rises abruptly from the meadows. The building is of great extent, and, from its elevated situation, it is a landmark for the surrounding country.
Bolsover has been the site of a castle from the Norman Conquest to the present time; but, of the first fabric of this description not a single vestige now remains. At the Domesday survey it belonged to William Peveril, lord of Derbyshire, in whose family it remained for three generations. King John, when Earl of Moreton, became the possessor of Bolsover; but, during his continuation with Longchamp, bishop of Ely, it became the property of that prelate. Subsequently it again reverted to John, who, in the eighteenth year of his reign, issued a mandate to Bryan de L'Isle, the then governor of Bolsover, to fortify the castle and hold it against the rebellious barons; or, if he could not make it tenable, to demolish it. This no doubt was the period when the fortifications, which are yet visible about Bolsover, were established.
In the long and tumultuous reign of Henry III., this castle still retained its consequence. William, Earl Ferrars, had the government of it for six years: afterwards it had eleven different governors in twice that term. It is not necessary to trace the place through all its possessors. In the reign of Henry VIII. it was the property of Thomas Howard, the first Duke of Norfolk. On the attainder of his son, the castle escheated to the crown. Shortly afterwards it was granted to Sir John Byron for fifty years. In the reign of James I., Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was the owner of Bolsover. In the year 1613, he sold it to Sir Charles Cavendish, whose eldest son William, was the first Duke of Newcastle, a personage of great eminence among the nobility of his time, and in high favour at court.1 He was sincerely attached to his [pg 162] royal master, Charles I., whom he entertained at Bolsover Castle, on three different occasions, in a style of princely magnificence. On the king's second visit here, where he was accompanied by his queen, upwards of 15,000l. were expended. The Duchess of Newcastle, in her Life of the Duke, her husband, says, "The Earl employed Ben Jonson in fitting up such scenes and speeches as he could devise; and sent for all the country to come and wait on their Majesties; and, in short, did all that even he could imagine to render it great and worthy of their royal acceptance." It was this nobleman who erected the edifice which is now in ruins. Mr. Bray, in his Tour in Derbyshire, observes: "This place was seized by the Parliament after the Duke went abroad, and was sold and begun to be pulled down, but was then bought by Sir Charles, the Duke's youngest brother, and so restored to the family."2
The present castle was built at different periods. The north-east end, which was erected by Sir Charles Cavendish, about the year 1613, is the oldest. The interior of this portion is uncomfortably arranged. The rooms are small, and the walls are wainscoted, and fancifully inlaid and painted. The ceilings of the best apartments are carved and gilt, and nearly the whole of the floors are coated with plaster. There is a small hall, the roof of which is supported by pillars; and a star-chamber, richly carved and gilt. The only comfortable apartment, according to Mr. Rhodes, is now called the drawing room, but was formerly the pillar-parlour, from its having in the centre a stone column, from which springs an arched ceiling, while round the lower part of the shaft is a plain dinner-*table, in the right chivalric fashion. From the roof of this building, to which the ascent is by winding stairs, the view extends "till all the stretching landscape into mist decays." The garden beneath is surrounded with a wall about three yards thick, and contains an old fountain of curious and expensive workmanship, which Dr. Pegge, (who was a native of Chesterfield, and wrote a history of Beauchief Abbey,) has laboured to prove very beautiful.
Hitherto we have spoken but of that part of Bolsover Castle which was formerly denominated the Little House, to distinguish it from the more magnificent structure adjoining. This immense fabric, whose walls are now roofless and rent into fissures, was built by William, the first Duke of Newcastle, in the course of the reign of Charles II., but is said never to have been entirely finished. The interior walls are but bare stones; the door and window cases, and the different apartments, are of unusually large dimensions, the principal remaining apartment being 220ft. by 28: the entire western part, including the Little House at the northern extremity, extends about 150 yards. The designs for the whole castle are said to have been furnished by Huntingdon Smithson, (an architect noticed by Walpole,) but he did not live to witness its erection. He collected his materials from Italy, where he was sent by the Duke of Newcastle for the purpose. Smithson died at Bolsover, in 1648, and was buried in the chancel of the church, where there is a poetical inscription to his memory, in which his skill in architecture is commemorated.
The whole pile is now wearing away. Trees grow in some of the deserted apartments, and ivy creeps along the walls; though the ruins have little of the picturesqueness of decay. The best point of view, or north-west, is represented in the Engraving; a short distance hence lies the village of Bolsover.
As your journal is open to the elucidation of any facts or traditions connected with history, perhaps you will not consider the following attempt at the elucidation of a singular subject, unworthy of your pages. There is something pleasing in every successful attempt at tracing tradition to a rational and philosophical cause, an origin to which many of the most absurd and incredible may be referred.
It was well known that to witchcraft was ascribed only the power of effecting the destruction of certain parts of the human body, and that some of the members could be protected [pg 163] against the effects of incantation. The spells of contra-incantation were often successfully exerted in the destruction of the human body, except in those parts previously rendered invulnerable. Jezebel was destroyed except her hands and feet, and the same fate is recorded of many other witches, or of those who suffered under the influence of malevolent spells.
Might not the vulgar, in search of a cause for so singular a phenomenon, which has often occurred, as spontaneous combustion of the human body, find in the powers of witchcraft an easy solution? Grace Pitt who was burnt in this manner in Suffolk (recorded in the Philosophical Transactions,) was a reputed witch, and her death was assigned by the country people to the effects of contra-incantation; that her hands and feet (generally left untouched by this phenomenon) were not consumed, was attributed to the influence of her spell. Indeed, we may suppose that these old ladies, who were distinguished by the respectable appellation of witches, gained that title by their excessive devotion to spirituous liquors, which, in every case that has occurred, have been found to predispose to spontaneous combustion, of the human body.
Mad. de Pomp.—Who may this lady be with acquiline nose and large black eyes; with such height and noble bearing; with mien so proud, yet so coquettish, who enters my chamber without being announced, and makes her obeisance in a religious fashion?
Tullia.—I am Tullia, born at Rome, about eighteen hundred years ago; I make the Roman obeisance, not the French, and have come, I scarce know from whence, to see your country, yourself, and your toilette.
Mad. de. P.—Ah, madam, do me the honour of seating yourself. An arm-chair for the Lady Tullia.
Tullia.—For whom? me, madam? and am I to sit on that little incommodious sort of throne, so that my legs must hang down and become quite red?
Mad. de P.—Upon what then would you sit?
Tullia.—Madam, upon a couch.
Mad. de P.—Ay, I understand—you would say upon a sofa; there stands one, upon which you may recline at your ease.
Tullia.—I am charmed to see that the French have furniture as convenient as ours.
Mad. de P.—Hah, hah, madam, you've no stockings! your legs are naked, but ornamented, however, with a very pretty ribbon, after the fashion of a sandal.
Tullia.—We knew nothing about stockings, which, as a useful and agreeable invention, I certainly prefer to our sandals.
Mad. da P.—Good heavens, madam, I believe you've no chemise!
Tullia.—No, madam, in my time nobody wore one.
Mad. de P.—And in what time did you live?
Tullia.—In the time of Sylla, Pompey, Caesar, Cato, Cataline; and Cicero, to whom I have the honour of being daughter: of that Cicero, of whom one of your protegés has made mention in barbarous verse.3 I went yesterday to the theatre, where Cataline was represented with all the celebrated people of my time, but I did not recognise one of them; and when my father exhorted me to make advances to Cataline, I was astonished! But, madam, you seem to have some beautiful mirrors; your chamber is full of them; our mirrors were not a sixteenth part so large as yours; are they of steel?
Mad. de P.—No, madam, they are made with sand, and nothing is more common amongst us.
Tullia.—What an admirable art! I confess we had none such! And oh! what a beautiful painting too you have there!
Mad. de P.—It is not a painting, but a print, done merely with lamp-black; a hundred copies of the same design may be struck off in a day, and this secret immortalizes pictures, which time would otherwise destroy.
Tullia.—It is indeed an astonishing secret! we Romans had nothing like it!
Un Savant.—(A literary man there present, taking up the discourse, and producing a book from his pocket, says to Tullia:) You will be astonished, madam, to learn, that this book is not written by hand, but that it is printed almost in a manner similar to engravings; and that this invention also immortalizes works of the mind.
(The Savant presents his book, a collection of verses dedicated to the Marchioness, to Tullia, who reads a page, admires the type, and says to the author:)
Tullia.—Truly, sir, printing is a fine thing; and if it can immortalize such verses as these, it appears to me to be the noblest effort of art. But do you not at least employ this invention in printing the works of my father?
The Savant.—Yes, madam, but nobody reads them; I am truly concerned for your father, but in these days, little is known of him save his name.
(Here are brought in chocolate, tea, coffee, and ices. Tullia is astonished to see, in [pg 164] summer, cream and strawberries4 iced. She is informed that such congealed beverages are obtained in five minutes, by means of the salt-petre with which they are surrounded, and that by continual motion, is produced their firmness and icy coldness. She is speechless with astonishment. The dark colour of the chocolate and coffee, somewhat disgust her, and she asks whether these liquids are extracted from the plants of the country?—A duke who is present, replies:)
Duke.—The fruits of which these beverages are composed, come from another world, and from the Gulf of Arabia.
Tullia.—Arabia I remember; but never heard mention made of what you call coffee; and as for another world, I know only of that from whence I came, and do assure you, we have no chocolate there.
Duke.—The world of which we tell you, madam, is a continent, called America, almost as large as Europe, Asia, and Africa, put together; and of which we have a knowledge less vague, than of the world from whence you came.
Tullia.—What! Did we then, who styled ourselves masters of the world, possess only half of it? The reflection is truly humiliating!
The Savant.—(piqued that Tullia had pronounced his verses bad, replies dryly:) Yes, your countrymen who boasted of having made themselves masters of the world, had scarce conquered the twentieth part of it. We have at this moment, at the further end of Europe, an empire larger in itself than the Roman:5 it is governed, too, by a woman, who excels you in intellect and beauty, and who wears chemises; had she read my verses, I am certain she would have thought them good.
(The Marchioness commands silence on the part of the author, who has treated a Roman lady, the daughter of Cicero, with disrespect. The duke explains the discovery of America, and taking out his watch, to which is appended, by way of trinket, a small mariner's compass, shows her how, by means of a needle, another hemisphere is reached. The amazement of the fair Roman redoubles at every word which she hears, and every thing she beholds; and she at length exclaims:)
Tullia.—I begin to fear that the moderns really do surpass the ancients; on this point I came to satisfy myself, and doubt not I shall have to carry back a melancholy report to my father.
Duke.—Console yourself, madam, no man amongst us equals your illustrious sire; neither does any come near Caesar, with whom you were contemporary, nor the Scipios who preceded him. Nature, it is true creates, even at this day, powerful intellects, but they resemble rare seeds, which cannot arrive at maturity in an uncongenial soil. The simile does not hold good respecting arts and sciences; time, and fortunate chances, have perfected them. It would, for example, be easier for us to produce a Sophocles, or an Euripides, than such individuals as your father, because, theatres we have, but no tribunals for public harangues.6 You have hissed the tragedy of Cataline; when you shall see Phaedrus played, you will probably agree that the part of Phaedrus, in Racine, is infinitely superior to the model you have known in Euripides. I hope, also, that you will agree our Molière surpasses your Terence. By your permission, I shall have the honour of escorting you to the opera, where you will be astonished to hear song in parts; that again is an art unknown to you.7 Here, madam, is a small telescope, have the goodness to apply your eye to this glass, and look at that house which is a league off.
Tullia.—Immortal gods! the house is now at the end of the telescope, and appears much larger than before.
Duke.—Well, madam, it is by means of such a toy that we have discovered new heavens, even as by means of a needle, we have become acquainted with a new earth. Do you see this other varnished instrument, in which is inserted a small glass tube? by this trifle, we are enabled to discover the just proportion of the weight of the atmosphere. After much error and uncertainty, there arose a man who discovered the first principle of nature, the cause of weight, and who has demonstrated that the stars weigh upon the earth, and the earth upon the stars. He has also unthreaded the light of the sun, as ladies unthread a tissue of gold.
Tullia.—What, sir, is it to unthread?
Duke.—Madam, the equivalent of this term will scarcely be found in the orations of Cicero. It is to unweave a stuff, to draw out thread by thread, so as to separate the gold. Thus has Newton done by the rays of the sun, the stars also have submitted to him; and one Locke has accomplished as much by the Human Understanding.
Tullia.—You know a great deal for a duke and a peer of the realm; you seem to me more learned than that literary man who wished me to think his verses good, and you are far more polite.
Duke.—Madam, I have been better brought up; but as to my knowledge it is merely commonplace. Young people now, when they quit school, know much more than all the philosophers of antiquity. It is only a pity that we have, in Europe, substituted half-a-dozen imperfect jargons, for the fine Latin language, of which your father made so noble a use; but with such rude implements we have produced, even in the belles lettres, some very fair works.
Tullia.—The nations who succeeded the Romans must needs have lived in a state of profound peace, and have enjoyed a constant succession of great men, from my father's time until now, to have invented so many new arts, and to have become acquainted so intimately with heaven and earth.
Duke.—By no means, madam, we are ourselves, some of those barbarians, who almost all came from Scythia, and destroyed your empire, and the arts and sciences. We lived for seven or eight centuries like savages, and to complete our barbarism, were inundated with a race of men termed monks, who brutified, in Europe, that human species which you had conquered and enlightened. But what will most astonish you is, that in the latter ages of ignorance amongst these very monks, these very enemies to civilization, nature nurtured some useful men. Some invented the art of assisting the feeble sight of age; and others, by pounding together nitre and charcoal, have furnished us with implements of war, with which we might have exterminated the Scipios, Alexander, Caesar, the Macedonian phalanxes, and all your legions; it is not that we possess warriors more formidable than the Scipios, Alexander, and Caesar, but that we have superior arms.8
Tullia.—In you, I perceive united, the high breeding of a nobleman, and the erudition of a man of (literary) consideration; you would have been worthy of becoming a Roman senator.
Duke.—Ah, madam, far more worthy are you of being at the head of our court.
Mad. de P.—In which case, this lady would prove a formidable rival to me.
Tullia.—Consult your beautiful mirrors made of sand, and you will perceive you have nothing to fear from me. Well, sir, in the gentlest manner in the world, you have informed me that your knowledge (infinitely) transcends our own.
Duke.—I said, madam, that the latter ages are better informed than those which preceded them; at least no general revolution has utterly destroyed all the monuments of antiquity: we have had horrible, but temporary convulsions, and amid these storms, have been fortunate enough to preserve the works of your father, and of some other great men: thus, the sacred fire has never been utterly extinguished, and has in the end produced an almost universal illumination. We despise the barbarous scholastic systems, which have long had some influence among us, but revere Cicero and all the ancients who have taught us to think. If we possess other laws of physics than those of your times, we have no other rules of eloquence, and this perhaps may settle the dispute between the ancients and moderns.
(Every one agreed with the duke. Finally they went to the opera of Castor and Pollux, with the words and music of which, Tullia was much gratified, and she acknowledged such a spectacle to be extremely superior to that of a combat of gladiators.9)
Great Marlow, Bucks.
[In continuation of our extracts from the very amusing Private Correspondence of a Woman of Fashion are the following incidents of this memorable era.]
Return of Napoleon.—At half-past nine o'clock the secretary announced to us that Napoleon had entered Paris quietly, without pageantry or mark of splendid triumph, and was seated at supper in the vacated palace of Louis XVIII!—
"On that same throne where Henri great and good,
In glory sat—now sits this man of blood;
Yet let not prejudice debase my line,
As warrior, as statesman, let him shine,—
Through all the world his mighty name resound,
For arts of peace and deeds of arms renown'd:
Mark with what steady hand he rules the State!
Yet wants the stamp of Virtue to be Great!"
Thus did the French people permit his [pg 166] return without firing a gun in defence of truth, and of their legitimate sovereign, whom they had recalled to the throne of his ancestors only ten months before! Our excellent friend, the minister, joined us soon after; but he was taciturn and thoughtful, and retired early. The next morning I determined to see Napoleon; but when our carriage arrived at the Pont Royal, thousands were collected there. Our servant advised us to descend and make our way on foot. The crowd civilly made way—they were waiting to see the review. An unusual silence prevailed, interrupted only by the cries of the children, whom the parents were thumping with energy for crying "Vive le Roi," instead of "Vive l'Empereur!"—which, some months before, they had been thumped for daring to vociferate! We proceeded to the Bibliothêque Royale: its outward appearance is that of an hospital or prison, its interior heavy and dark,—it was almost deserted.—Van Pratt still lingered there.—A Dutchman's phlegm tempered his emotions on the proceedings without; perhaps the repeated changes of government during his long life had diminished his interest in them. After showing me, with great complacency, much of the valuable possessions of this national collection of learning, splendid missals written on vellum, MSS. &c. &c. upon which my mind cannot now dwell, he recommended us to proceed to the review, to see which he had the good-nature to procure me admittance to the small apartment of a friend in the Tuileries; and from the window I saw and heard for the first time this scourge of the Continent,—his martial, active figure mounted on his famed white horse. He harangued with energetic tone (and in those bombastic expressions we have always remarked in all his manifestoes, and which are so well adapted to the French,) the troops of the divisions of Lepol and Dufour. There was much embracing of Les Anciens Aigles of the Old Guard—much mention of "great days, and souvenirs dear to his heart," of the "scars of his brave soldiers;" which, to serve his views, he will re-open without remorse, like the vampire of Greece. The populace were tranquil, as I had remarked them on the bridge. Inspirited by my still unsatisfied curiosity, I rejoined my escort, and proceeded to the gardens, where not more than thirty persons were collected under the windows. There was no enthusiastic cry, at least none deemed sufficient to induce him to show himself. In despair at not being able to contemplate his physiognomy at greater ease, I made my cavalier request some persons in the throng to cry "Vive l'Empereur!" Some laughed, and replied "Attendez un peu," while others advised us to desire some of the children to do so. A few francs thrown to the latter, soon stimulated their little voices into cries of the loyalty of that day, and Napoleon presented himself at the window; but he did not stand there in a firm attitude—he retired often, and re-appeared, standing rather sideways, as if wanting confidence in the disposition of our little assemblage. A few persons arrived from the country, and held up petitions, which he sent an aid-de-camp to receive. His square face and figure struck me with involuntary emotion. I was dazzled, as if beholding a supernatural being!—and then dismayed, as gazing upon one mortal like myself, but possessing such powers and capabilities of outraging humanity, and over-stepping the bounds of honour, good faith, and freedom's laws,—the laws of God and man! There is a sternness spread over his expansive brow, a gloom on the lids of his darkened eye, which renders futile his attempts to smile. Something of the Satanic sported round his mouth, indicating the ambitious spirit of the soul within!
The Day after the Battle of Waterloo.—June 19.
British bayonets are victorious!—Napoleon's army a wreck, panic-stricken, flies before Wellington and Blucher! I will not forget your anxieties even in this moment of fatigue and agitation. The combined forces are covered with immortal fame; they have vanquished the élite of Napoleon's empire, and those veteran generals most attached to his person and dynasty. They are in full flight, and we in glorious pursuit!—Ere this reaches you, the Allies will probably have entered Paris a second time within the year. We learnt that Napoleon had left the capital of France on the 12th: on the day of the 15th the frequent arrival of couriers excited extreme anxiety; and towards evening General Mufflin presented himself at the Duke's with dispatches from Blucher. We were all aware that the enemy was in movement, and the ignorant could not resolve the enigma of the Duke going tranquilly to the ball at the Duke of Richmond's:—his coolness was above their comprehension; had he remained at his own hotel, a panic would have probably ensued amongst the inhabitants, which would have embarrassed the intended movement of our division of the army.
I returned home late, and we were still talking over our uneasiness, when our domestic distinctly heard the trumpet's shrill appeal to battle within the city walls, and the drum beat to arms. Ere the sun had risen in full splendour, I distinguished martial music approaching, and I soon beheld from my windows the 5th reserve of our army passing: the Highland brigade, in destructive warlike bearing, were the first in advance, led by their noble thanes, the bagpipes playing their several pibrochs; they were succeeded by the 28th, their bugles' note falling more blithely upon the ear. Each regiment [pg 167] passed in succession with its band playing, impatient for the affray and fearless of death, meeting the peaceful peasant's carts bringing sustenance for the living. Those of my acquaintance looked gaily up at the window—alas! how many of them were before sunset numbered with the dead;—Scotland's thanes, ere they had traversed the Bois de Soignies, and the Duc de Brunswick-Oels that evening at Quatre Bras, stimulating onward his valiant hussars, and too carelessly exposing his person.
On the 17th the Duke of Wellington displayed his whole force to the enemy, and seemed to defy them to the combat—but in the evening retired upon Waterloo, and there reposed with some of his officers in the village, which lies embosomed in the Forêt de Soignies. Picton had fallen; each herald brought us tidings of a hero less, where all were heroes.
That night was dreadful for the soldier and his horse. No sooner had darkness covered the earth, than a fearful tempest arose; it was awful for man and beast—for the houseless peasant and his children, who had been driven from their late peaceful habitations, and stood exposed to the pitiless storm, viewing in wild dismay their fields devastated, the spring produce of their gardens laid low in human gore! At early dawn, on the Sabbath,—that hallowed day, enjoined to be held sacred for the worship of God, and for rest to toil-worn animals—the British army beheld the chevaleresque legions of the enemy, in all its superior numbers, ranged in order of battle on the rising ground. The sun at mid-day flashed its brilliant radiance over their military casques and arms. The cannonade then became general; the Duke of Wellington exposed himself like a subaltern; his personal venture in the strife excited anxiety; it was in vain that the officers of his staff urged him to be less conspicuous, that the fate of the battle hung upon his life: it was evident that he had determined to conquer or die: we knew it in Bruxelles, and we knew also that the Prince of Orange would succeed to the command in such a dread emergency; and although we did not doubt his Royal Highness's personal valour, we questioned much his experience in military tactics. In the streets every one demanded, "Will Blucher be able to advance?" and we were fully aware if that veteran General could not effect a junction with Wellington before eight o'clock that evening, all would be lost. At nine o'clock the two heroes mutually felicitated each other at the small auberge of Genappe. But it was not till three o'clock in the morning that the word "Victory!" was proclaimed by an affiche on the walls to the terrified population of Bruxelles!
The Prince of Orange had been wounded early in that evening, after having in the morning disputed every inch of ground against the superior force of the enemy, and continued to fight like a valourous chevalier each succeeding day for his kingdom: he has fairly won it. May his future subjects record the fact in ineffaceable characters on their memory! The British army had faught thirteen successive hours; they halted, and to the fresh troops of the Prussians the task of pursuing the fugitive enemy was assigned: they gladly forgot all fatigue, in vengeful feeling and relentless retaliation against their former merciless and insulting invaders. The British moved forward this day, and will enter France to-morrow. Eight hundred lion-mettled and noble sons of Britain have fallen by the side of thirty thousand of their own brave soldiers! It has been a dear-earned victory to England; a dread tragedy, in the small circumference of three miles! The veterans of the Peninsular campaign assert that those scenes of carnage were less cruel. This city, where pleasure so lately reigned, now presents only the images of death. Vraiment nous respirons la mort dans les rues! L'Hôtel-de-Ville, the hospitals, and some of the churches, are already occupied by the wounded; wagons full remaining in the streets, and many sitting on the steps of the houses, looking round in vain for immediate succour!
Our escape has been mavellous, for Napoleon's plan was to penetrate to Bruxelles, and to surprise the Duke and his staff at the ball, when surrounded by the British belles; for he had his spies to report even the hour of our pastimes, and he reckoned upon a rise of the Belgians in his favour. For three days and nights we expected the enemy to enter; treachery reigned around us, and false reports augmented our alarms, as we knew the terrible numbers of the French forces. It was Bulow and his corps that protected us from that calamity. On the Saturday we took refuge within the city, from the scenes of horror before our villa. Baggage-wagons of the different regiments advancing—the rough chariots of agriculture, with the dead and the dying, disputing for the road—officers on horseback wounded! I spoke to one: 'twas Colonel C——, of the Scotch brigade; he replied with his wonted urbanity to my inquiries—gave me his hand—"I am shot through the body—adieu for ever!" He left me petrified with horror, and I saw him no more! One hour afterwards I sent to his apartment—the gallant veteran had expired as they lifted him from his horse!
I could not abandon the Baroness and her children in such an hour; but I must ever gratefully recollect the kind offers of asylum made to me by my Belgian acquaintance, and for months, they said, had the battle been lost. It is truly pitiable to see the wounded [pg 168] arriving on foot; a musket reversed, or the ramrod, serving for a staff of support to the mutilated frame, the unhappy soldier trailing along his wearied limbs, and perhaps leading a more severely-wounded comrade, whose discoloured visages declare their extreme suffering;—their uniforms either hanging in shreds, or totally despoiled of them by those marauders who ravage a field of battle in merciless avidity of plunder and murder. These brave fellows, these steady warriors, so redoubtable a few hours since, are now sunk into the helplessness of infancy, the feebleness of woman, over whom man arrogates a power that may not be disputed, but whose solacing influence in the hour of tribulation and sickness they are willing to claim.
The Belgian females are in full activity, acting with noble benevolence. They are running from door to door begging linen, and entreating that it may be scraped for lint; others beg matrasses.
The Cuts represent unostentatious yet affectionate tributes to three of the most illustrious names in literature and art: DANTE, and PETRARCH, the celebrated Italian poets; and CANOVA, whose labours have all the freshness and finish of yesterday's chisel. Lord Byron, whose enthusiasm breathes and lives in words that "can never die," has enshrined these memorials in the masterpiece of his genius. Associating Dante and Petrarch with Boccaccio, he asks:
But where repose the all Etruscan three—
Dante and Petrarch, and scarce less than they,
The Bard of Prose, creative spirit! he
Of the Hundred Tales of Love—where did they lay
Their tones, distinguish'd from our common clay
In death as life? Are they resolved to dust,
And have their country's marbles naught to say?
Could not their quarries furnish forth one bust?
Did they not to her breast their filial earth entrust?10
Dante was born at Florence in the year 1261. He fought in two battles, and was fourteen times ambassador, and once prior of the republic. Through one fatal error, he fell a victim to party persecution, which ended in irrevocable banishment. His last resting-place was Ravenna, where the persecution of his only patron is said to have caused the poet's death. What an affecting record of gratitude! His last days at Ravenna are thus referred to by an accomplished tourist:11
"Under the kind protection of Guido Novello da Polenta, here Dante found an asylum from the malevolence of his enemies, and here he ended a life embittered with many sorrows, as he has pathetically told to posterity, 'after having gone about like a mendicant; wandering over almost every part to which our language extends; showing against my will the wound with which fortune has smitten me, and which is so often imputed to his ill-deserving, on whom it is inflicted.' The precise time of his death is not accurately ascertained; but, it was either in July or September of the year 1321. His friend in adversity, Guido da Polenta, mourned his loss, and testified his sorrow and respect by a sumptuous funeral, and, it is said, intended to have erected a monument to his memory; but, the following year, contending factions deprived him of the sovereignty which he had held for more than half a century; and he, in his turn, like the great poet whom he had protected, died in exile. I believe, however, that the tomb, with an inscription purporting to have been written by Dante himself, of which I have [pg 169] here given an outline, was erected at the time of his decease: and, that his portrait, in bas-relief, was afterwards added by Bernardo Bembo, in the year 1483, who, at that time was a Senator and Podestà of the Venetian republic."
Byron truly sings:
Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar,
Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore;
Thy factions, in their worse than civil war,
Proscribed the bard whose name for evermore
Their children's children would in vain adore
With the remorse of ages.
There is a tomb in Arquà; rear'd in air,
Pillar'd in their sarcophagus, repose
The bones of Laura's lover.
They keep his dust in Arquà, where he died;
The mountain-village where his latter days
Went down the vale of years; and 'tis their pride—
An honest pride—and let it be their praise,
To offer to the passing stranger's gaze
His mansion and his sepulchre, both plain
And simply venerable, such as raise
A feeling more accordant with his strain
Than if a pyramid form'd his monumental fame.12
"The tomb is in the churchyard at Arquà. Petrarch is laid, for he cannot be said to be buried, in a sarchophagus of red marble, raised on four pilasters on an elevated base, and preserved from an association with meaner tombs. The revolutions of centuries have spared these sequestered valleys, and the only violence that has been offered to the ashes of Petrarch was prompted, not by hate, but veneration. An attempt was made to rob the sarcophagus of its treasure, and one of the arms was stolen by a Florentine through a rent which is still visible."13
The third Memorial is a red porphyry Vase containing the heart of Canova. It is placed in the great hall of the Academy of Arts at Venice, beneath the magnificent picture of the Assumption of the Virgin, by Titian. The vase is ornamented with ormoulu, and bears the inscription Cor magni Canovae, in raised gold letters. M. Duppa describes it as "a vase fit for a drawing-room, not grand, nor lugubrious: it is surmounted with a capsule of a poppy, which is a great improvement on a skull and cross bones."
Canova was not only the greatest sculptor of his own but of any age. Byron says—
Such as the great of yore, Canova is to-day.
He was, in great part, self-taught. In one of his early letters, he says, "I laboured for a mere pittance, but it was sufficient. It was the fruit of my own resolution; and, as I then flattered myself, the foretaste of more honourable rewards—for I never thought of wealth." He wrought for four years in a small ground cell in a monastery. From his great mind originated the founding of [pg 170] the study of art upon the study of nature. His enthusiasm was perfectly delightful: he made it a rule never to pass a day without making some progress, or to retire to rest till he had produced some design. His brother sculptors, hackneyed in the trammels of assumed principles, for a time ridiculed his works, till, at length, in the year 1800, his merits hecame fully recognised; from which time till his death, in 1822, he stood unrivalled amidst the honours of an admiring world.
"They sin who tell us Love can die.
With Life all other Passions fly,
All others are but Vanity;—
"But Love is indestructible.
Its holy flame for ever burneth,
From Heaven it came, to Heaven returneth;
Too oft on earth a troubled guest,
At times deceived, at times oppressed,
It here is tried and purified,
And hath in Heaven its perfect rest."—SOUTHEY.
Thou movest in visions, Love!—Around thy way,
E'en through this World's rough path and changeful day,
For ever floats a gleam,
Not from the realms of Moonlight or the Morn,
But thine own Soul's illumined chambers born—
The colouring of a dream!
Love, shall I read thy dream?—Oh! is it not
All of some sheltering, wood-embosomed spot—
A Bower for thee and thine?
Yes! lone and lonely is that Home; yet there
Something of Heaven in the transparent air
Makes every flower divine.
Something that mellows and that glorifies
Bends o'er it ever from the tender skies,
As o'er some Blessed Isle;
E'en like the soft and spiritual glow,
Kindling rich woods, whereon th' ethereal bow
Sleeps lovingly awhile.
The very whispers of the Wind have there
A flute-like harmony, that seems to bear
Greeting from some bright shore,
Where none have said Farewell!—where no decay
Lends the faint crimson to the dying day;
Where the Storm's might is o'er.
And there thou dreamest of Elysian rest,
In the deep sanctuary of one true breast
Hidden from earthly ill:
There wouldst thou watch the homeward step, whose sound
Wakening all Nature to sweet echoes round,
Thine inmost soul can thrill.
There by the hearth should many a glorious page,
From mind to mind th' immortal heritage,
For thee its treasures pour;
Or Music's voice at vesper hours be heard,
Or dearer interchange of playful word,
Affection's household lore.
And the rich unison of mingled prayer,
The melody of hearts in heavenly air,
Thence duly should arise;
Lifting th' eternal hope, th' adoring breath,
Of Spirits, not to be disjoined by Death,
Up to the starry skies.
There, dost thou well believe, no storm should come
To mar the stillness of that Angel-Home;—
There should thy slumbers be
Weighed down with honey-dew, serenely blessed,
Like theirs who first in Eden's Grove took rest
Under some balmy tree.
Love, Love! thou passionate in Joy and Woe!
And canst thou hope for cloudless peace below—
Here, where bright things must die?
Oh, thou! that wildly worshipping, dost shed
On the frail altar of a mortal head
Gifts of infinity!
Thou must be still a trembler, fearful Love!
Danger seems gathering from beneath, above,
Still round thy precious things;—
Thy stately Pine-tree, or thy gracious Rose,
In their sweet shade can yield thee no repose,
Here, where the blight hath wings.
And, as a flower with some fine sense imbued
To shrink before the wind's vicissitude,
So in thy prescient breast
Are lyre-strings quivering with prophetic thrill
To the low footstep of each coming ill;—
Oh! canst Thou dream of rest?
Bear up thy dream! thou Mighty and thou Weak
Heart, strong as Death, yet as a reed to break,
As a flame, tempest swayed!
He that sits calm on High is yet the source
Whence thy Soul's current hath its troubled course,
He that great Deep hath made!
Will He not pity?—He, whose searching eye
Reads all the secrets of thine agony?—
Oh! pray to be forgiven
Thy fond idolatry, thy blind excess,
And seek with Him that Bower of Blessedness—
Love! thy sole Home is Heaven!
New Monthly Magazine.
In India a hookah, in Persia a nargilly, in Egypt a sheesha, in Turkey a chibouque, in Germany a meerschaum, in Holland a pipe, in Spain a cigar—I have tried them all. The art of smoking is carried by the Orientals to perfection. Considering the contemptuous suspicion with which the Ottomans ever regard novelty, I have sometimes been tempted to believe that the eastern nations must have been acquainted with tobacco before the discovery of Raleigh introduced it to the occident; but a passage I fell upon in old Sandys intimates the reverse. That famous traveller complains of the badness of the tobacco in the Levant, which, he says, is occasioned by Turkey being supplied only with the dregs of the European markets. Yet the choicest tobacco in the world now grows upon the coasts of Syria.
What did they do in the East before they smoked? From the many-robed Pacha, with his amber-mouthed and jewelled chibouque, longer than a lancer's spear, to the Arab clothed only in a blue rag, and puffing through a short piece of hollowed date-wood, there is, from Stamboul to Grand Cairo, only one source of physical solace. If you pay a visit in the East, a pipe is brought to you with the same regularity that a servant in England places you a seat. The procession of the pipe, in great houses, is striking: slaves in showy dresses advancing in order, with the lighted chibouques to their mouths waving them to and fro; others bearing vases of many-coloured sherbets, and surrounding a superior domestic, who carries the strong and burning coffee in small cups of porcelain supported in frames of silver fillagree, [pg 171] all placed upon a gorgeous waiter covered with a mantle of white satin, stiff and shining with golden embroidery.
In public audiences all this is an affair of form. "The honour of the pipe" proves the consideration awarded to you. You touch it with your lips, return it, sip a half-filled cup of coffee, rise, and retire. The next day a swarm of household functionaries call upon you for their fees. But in private visits, the luxury of the pipe is more appreciated. A host prides himself upon the number and beauty of his chibouques, the size and clearness of the amber mouth-piece, rich and spotless as a ripe Syrian lemon, the rare flavour of his tobaccos, the frequency of his coffee offerings, and the delicate dexterity with which the rose water is blended with the fruity sherbets. In summer, too, the chibouque of cherry-wood, brought from the Balkan, is exchanged for the lighter jessamine tube of Damascus or Aleppo, covered with fawn-coloured silk and fringed with silver.
The hills of Laodicea celebrated by Strabo for their wines, now produce, under the name of Latakia, the choicest tobacco in the world. Unfortunately this delicious product will not bear a voyage, and loses its flavour even in the markets of Alexandria. Latakia may be compared to Chateau Margaux; Gibel, the product of a neighbouring range of hills, similar, although stronger in flavour, is a rich Port, and will occasionally reach England without injury. This is the favourite tobacco of Mehemet Ali, the Pacha of Egypt. No one understands the art of smoking better than his Highness. His richly carved silver sheesha borne by a glossy Nubian eunuch, in a scarlet and golden dress, was a picture for Stephanoff. The Chibouquejee of the Viceroy never took less than five minutes in filling the Viceregal pipe. The skilful votary is well aware how much the pleasure of the practice depends upon the skill with which the bowl is filled. For myself, notwithstanding the high authority of the Pacha, I give the preference to Beirout, a tobacco from the ancient Berytus, lower down on the coast, and which reminded me always of Burgundy. It sparkles when it burns, emitting a bright blue flame. All these tobaccos are of a very dark colour.
In Turkey there is one very fine tobacco, which comes from Salonichi, in ancient Thrace. It is of a light yellow colour, and may be compared to very good Madeira. These are the choicest tobaccos in the world. The finest Kanaster has a poor, flat taste after them.
The sheesha nearly resembles the hookah. In both a composition is inhaled, instead of the genuine weed. The nargilly is also used with the serpent, but the tube is of glass. In all three, you inhale through rose-water.
The scientific votary after due experience, will prefer the Turkish chibouque. He should possess many, never use the same for two days running, change his bowl with each pipe-full, and let the chibouque be cleaned every day, and thoroughly washed with orange flower water. All this requires great attention, and the paucity and cost of service in Europe will ever prevent any one but a man of large fortune from smoking in the Oriental fashion with perfect satisfaction to himself.—New Monthly Magazine.
[We find the following "labour of love" recorded by the Rev. W.S. Gilly, in his Life of Felix Neff, Pastor of the French Protestants in these cheerless regions. Its philanthropy has few parallels in the proud folio of history, and will not be lessened in comparison with any record of human excellence within our memory.]
It was among the grandest and sternest features of mountain scenery, that Neff not only found food for his own religious contemplations, and felt that his whole soul was filled with the majesty of the ever present God, but here also he discovered, that religious impressions were more readily received and retained more deeply than elsewhere by others. In this rugged field of rock and ice, the Alpine summit, and its glittering pinnacles, the eternal snows and glaciers, the appalling clefts and abysses, the mighty cataract, the rushing waters, the frequent perils of avalanches and of tumbling rocks, the total absence of every soft feature of nature, were always reading an impressive lesson, and illustrating the littleness of man, and the greatness of the Almighty.
The happy result of his experiments, made the pastor feel anxious to have a more convenient place for his scholastic exertions than a dark and dirty stable; and here again the characteristic and never-failing energies of his mind were fully displayed. The same hand which had been employed in regulating the interior arrangements of a church, in constructing aqueducts and canals of irrigation, and in the husbandman's work of sowing and planting, was now turned to the labour of building a school-room. He persuaded each family in Dormilleuse to furnish a man, who should consent to work under his directions, and having first marked out the spot with line and plummet, and levelled the ground, he marched at the head of his company to the torrent, and selected stones fit for the building. The pastor placed one of the heaviest upon his own shoulders—the others did the same, and away they went with their burthens, toiling up the steep acclivity, till they reached the site of the proposed building. [pg 172] This labour was continued until the materials were all ready at hand; the walls then began to rise, and in one week from the first commencement, the exterior masonry work was completed, and the roof was put upon the room. The windows, chimney, door, tables, and seats, were not long before they also were finished. A convenient stove added its accommodation to the apartment, and Dormeilleuse, for the first time probably in its history, saw a public school-room erected, and the process of instruction conducted with all possible regularity and comfort.
I had the satisfaction of visiting and inspecting this monument of Neff's judicious exertions for his dear Dormilleusians—but it was a melancholy pleasure. The shape, the dimensions, the materials of the room, the chair on which he sat, the floor which had been laid in part by his own hands, the window-frame and desks, at which he had worked with cheerful alacrity, were all objects of intense interest, and I gazed on these relics of "the Apostle of the Alps," with feelings little short of veneration. It was here that he sacrificed his life. The severe winters of 1826-7, and the unremitted attention which he paid to his duties, more especially to those of his school-room, were his death-blow.
[Neff then relates some preliminary arrangements.]
Dormilleuse was the spot which I chose for my scene of action, on account of its seclusion, and because its whole population is Protestant, and a local habitation was already provided here for the purpose. I reckoned at first that I should have about a dozen élèves; but finding that they were rapidly offering themselves, and would probably amount to double that number, at the least, I thought it right to engage an assistant, not only that I might be at liberty to go and look after my other churches and villages, but that I might not be exposed to any molestation, for in France nobody can lawfully exercise the office of a schoolmaster without a license, and this cannot be granted either to a foreigner or a pastor. For these reasons I applied to Ferdinand Martin, who was then pursuing his studies at Mens, to qualify himself for the institution of M. Olivier, in Paris. It was a great sacrifice on his part to interrupt his studies, and to lose the opportunity of an early admission to the institution; nor was it a small matter to ask him to come and take up his residence at the worst season of the year, in the midst of the ice and frightful rocks of Dormilleuse. But he was sensible of the importance of the work, and, without any hesitation, he joined our party at the beginning of November. The short space of time which we had before us, rendered every moment precious. We divided the day into three parts. The first was from sunrise to eleven o'clock, when we breakfasted. The second from noon to sunset, when we supped. The third from supper till ten or eleven o'clock at night, making in all fourteen or fifteen hours of study in the twenty-four. We devoted much of this time to lessons in reading, which the wretched manner in which they had been taught, their detestable accent, and strange tone of voice, rendered a most necessary, but tiresome duty. The grammar, too, of which not one of them had the least idea, occupied much of our time. People who have been brought up in towns, can have no conception of the difficulty which mountaineers and rustics, whose ideas are confined to those objects only to which they have been familiarized, find in learning this branch of science. There is scarcely any way of conveying the meaning of it to them. All the usual terms and definitions, and the means which are commonly employed in schools, are utterly unintelligible here. But the curious and novel devices which must be employed, have this advantage,—that they exercise their understanding, and help to form their judgment. Dictation was one of the methods to which I had recourse: without it they would have made no progress in grammar and orthography; but they wrote so miserably and slowly, that this consumed a great portion of valuable time. Observing that they were ignorant of the signification of a great number of French words, of constant use and recurrence, I made a selection from the vocabulary, and I set them to write down in little copy-books,14 words which were in most frequent use; but the explanations contained in the dictionary were not enough, and I was obliged to rack my brain for new and brief definitions which they could understand, and to make them transcribe these. Arithmetic was another branch of knowledge which required many a weary hour. Geography was considered a matter of recreation after dinner: and they pored over the maps with a feeling of delight and amusement, which was quite new to them. I also busied myself in giving them some notions of the sphere, and of the form and motion of the earth; of the seasons and the climates, and of the heavenly bodies. Every thing of this sort was as perfectly novel to them, as it would have been to the islanders of Otaheite; and even the elementary books, which are usually put into the hands of children, were at first as unintelligible as the most abstruse treatises on mathematics. I was consequently forced to use the simplest, and plainest modes of demonstration; but these amused and instructed them at the same time. A ball made of the box tree, [pg 173] with a hole through it, and moving on an axle, and on which I had traced the principal circles; some large potatoes hollowed out; a candle, and sometimes the skulls of my scholars, served for the instruments, by which I illustrated the movement of the heavenly bodies, and of the earth itself. Proceeding from one step to another, I pointed out the situation of different countries on the chart of the world, and in seperate maps, and took pains to give some slight idea, as we went on, of the characteristics, religion, customs, and history of each nation. These details fixed topics of moment in their recollection. Up to this time I had been astonished by the little interest they took, Christian-minded as they were, in the subject of Christian missions, but, when they began to have some idea of geography, I discovered, that their former ignorance of this science, and of the very existence of many foreign nations in distant quarters of the globe, was the cause of such indifference. But as soon as they began to learn who the people are, who require to have the Gospel preached to them, and in what part of the globe they dwell, they felt the same concern for the circulation of the Gospel that other Christians entertained. These new acquirements, in fact, enlarged their spirit, made new creatures of them, and seemed to triple their very existence.
In the end, I advanced so far as to give some lectures in geometry, and this too produced a happy moral developement.
Lessons in music formed part of our evening employment, and those being, like geography, a sort of amusement, they were regularly succeeded by grave and edifying reading, and by such reflections as I took care to suggest for their improvement.
Most of the young adults of the village were present at such lessons, as were within the reach of their comprehension, and as the children had a separate instructor, the young women and girls of Dormilleuse, who were growing up to womanhood, were now the only persons for whom a system of instruction was unprovided. But these stood in as great need of it as the others, and more particularly as most of them were now manifesting Christian dispositions. I therefore proposed that they should assemble of an evening in the room, which the children occupied during the day, and I engaged some of my students to give them lessons in reading and writing. We soon had twenty young women from fifteen to twenty-five years of age in attendance, of whom two or three only had any notion of writing, and not half of them could read a book of any difficulty. While Ferdinand Martin was practising the rest of my students in music, I myself and two of the most advanced, by turns, were employed in teaching these young women, so that the whole routine of instruction went on regularly, and I was thus able to exercise the future schoolmasters in their destined profession, and both to observe their method of teaching, and to improve it. I thus superintended teachers and scholars at the same time.
It is quite impossible for those who have not seen the country, to appreciate the devotedness to the Christian cause, which could induce Neff to entertain even the thought of making the dreary and savage Dormilleuse his own head quarters from November to April, and of persuading others to be the companions of his dismal sojournment there. I learn from a memorandum in his Journal, that the severity of that, winter commenced early. "We have been in snow and ice since the first of November, on this steep and rugged spot, whose aspect is more terrible and severe than any thing can be supposed to be in France." He himself was the native of a delightful soil and climate, and even some of the mountaineers, whom he drew to that stern spot, were inhabitants of a far less repulsive district, but had yet made it their custom to seek a milder region than their own, during the inclemency of an Alpine winter. To secure attendance and application, when once his students were embarked in their undertaking, he selected this rock, where neither amusement, nor other occupations, nor the possibility of frequent egress or regress, could tempt them to interrupt their studies:—and he had influence enough to induce them to commit themselves to a five months' rigid confinement within a prison-house, as it were, walled up with ice and snow.
It was a long probation of hardship. Their fare was in strict accordance with the rest of their situation. It consisted of a store of salted meat, and rye bread, which had been baked in autumn, and when they came to use it, was so hard, that it required to be chopped up with hatchets, and to be moistened with hot water. Meal and flour will not keep in this mountain atmosphere, but would become mouldy,—they are, therefore, obliged to bake it soon after the corn is threshed out. Our youthful anchorites were lodged gratuitously by the people of Dormilleuse, who also liberally supplied them with food for fuel, scarce as it was, but if the pastor had not laid in a stock of provisions, the scanty resources of the village could not have met the demands of so many mouths, in addition to its native population.
A note of the expenditure upon this occasion will excite some wonder in the minds of many readers, who are not aware how much good may be done at a small cost, when the stream of bounty is made to pass through proper channels.
"Our disbursements for the adult school, including candles, ink, and paper, the salary [pg 174] of an assistant master, and food for the sixteen or seventeen students who came from a distance, did not exceed 560 francs (about 22l. 10s.) for four months. Of this sum I can replace a little more than two-thirds, because some of the students have repaid their share of the expense, and even the poorest furnished their quota of bread. We did not provide commons for those who belonged to Dormilleuse, because they boarded at home."
Habits of the Fern Owl, by Rusticus.—Beyond Godalming, on the Liphook road, is a great tract of barren heathy land: it stretches wide in every direction, and includes immense peat-bogs, and several large ponds. One particular district, called the Pudmores, is the favourite resort of the fern owl. In the daytime, while walking across the moor, you will every now and then put up one of these singular birds; their flight is perfectly without noise, and seldom far at a time: but of an evening it is far different; about twenty minutes after sunset, the whole moor is ringing with their cry, and you see them wheeling round you in all directions. They look like spectres; and, often coming close over you, assume an unnatural appearance of size against a clear evening sky. I believe its very peculiar note is uttered sitting, and never on the wing. I have seen it on a stack of turf with its throat nearly touching the turf, and its tail elevated, and have heard it in this situation utter its call, which resembles the birr of the mole-cricket, an insect very abundant in this neighbourhood. I have almost been induced to think this noise serves as a decoy to the male mole-cricket, this being occasionally found in the craw of these birds when shot. Those who may not be acquainted with the cry of the bird or the insect, may imagine the noise of an auger boring oak, or any hard wood, continued, and not broken off, as is the noise of the auger, from the constant changing of the hands. The eggs of the fern owl have frequently been brought me by boys: they are only two in number, greyish white, clouded and blotched with deeper shades of the same colour; the hen lays them on the soil, which is either peat, or a fine soft blue sand, in which she merely makes a slight concavity, but no nest whatever. The first cry of the fern owl is the signal for the night-flying moths to appear on the wing, or rather the signal for the entomologist expecting them.
The migratory periods of this bird are not well ascertained; but I have known one shot Nov. 27th, 1821, and they had arrived April 28th, 1830. As there is scarcely a British bird of which so little is known, the following notes may be interesting:—It has been seen perched on the bar of a gate, not across, but according to its length, with the tail elevated; uttering its peculiar sounds; but when perching, as it often does, on the summit of a twig of oaken copse, it fixes upright, with the feet grasping the twig, and not sitting; just as the swift perches against a wall. One was killed in broad daylight, perched on the upper side of a sloping branch of considerable size; the head was uppermost, and it rested on the feet and tarsi, the latter being bare on the under surface for that purpose. Its attitude in this situation much resembled that of a woodpecker. One that was kept alive with its wing broken sat across the finger, like another bird. When about to take flight it makes a cracking noise, as if the wings smote together, after the manner of a pigeon.
Harbingers of Spring.—One of the earliest intimations of approaching spring is the appearance of the Phalaena primaria, and of one or two other moths, floating with expanded wings on the surface of ponds and still water. A butterfly, Caltha palustris, is commonly drawn forth from its winter quarters by one of the first warm and sunny days that happen to occur in the month of March: hence it has been termed fallax veris indicium, (the deceitful token of spring.) In the Isle of Wight it has been seen on the wing the 8th of January, 1805.—Rev. W.T. Bree.
Ravages of the Beetle.—Mr. Bree describes the Scarabaeus horticola as "exceedingly destructive in gardens. Being on a visit in Staffordshire, in the month of June, I observed whole beds of strawberries (not hautboys) likely to prove nearly barren, though they had flowered copiously, and the season, was favourable for a crop. I was informed that the failure was owing to the fernshaws (the provincial name for the beetle), which are accused of eating the anthers and interior parts of the blossom. In the same garden my attention was also called to the ravages committed by this depredator on the apples, by gnawing holes in the young fruit; which consequently dies and falls of, or at least becomes much blemished. I was assured that the fernshaws had been detected in the fact; and I am rather disposed to think that the charge in both instances is well founded. I had long been aware of the insect's partiality for rosebuds and blossoms, which it greedily devours. In the north of England, where it is much used as a killing bait for trout, the insect is commonly known by the name of 'bracken-clock,' a name of the same import with the Staffordshire term 'fernshaw,' each signifying 'fern-beetle.'" Another correspondent says—Scarabaeus horticola, called "the chovy" in Norfolk, is there deemed very injurious to apple-trees, and other trees and plants, as it feeds both on leaves and all the parts of the flower. Chovies were abundant at Thetford, Norfolk, about ten years ago; but, as far as my experience has reached, always rare about Bury St. Edmunds. On the 9th of June, 1829, I saw one in the botanic garden of the last-named town, flitting about a flowering bush of the Provence rose.
Ink of the Cuttle-fish.—[By way of addenda if not corrigenda to our description of the Cuttle-fish, at page 104 of the present volume, we quote the following observations.]
"When in danger, cuttle-fish are said to eject a copious black liquor through their funnel or excrementary canal, as a means of obscuring the circumfluent water, and concealing themselves from all foes:—
"Long as the craftie cuttle lieth sure
In the blacke cloud of his thicke vomiture."15
This inky fluid is a very remarkable secretion, produced in a bag that lies near the liver, and sometimes even embosomed in it, and communicating with the funnel by means of its own excretory duct. The interior of the bag is not a simple cavity; it is filled with a soft cellular or spongy substance in which the ink is diffused. This has no relation or analogy with bile, as Munro believed; but it is a peculiar secretion, somewhat glutinous, readily miscible with water, and variable in point of shade, according to the species of cephalopode from which it comes; so that, as Dr. Grant remarks, a more intimate acquaintance with this character might be useful in tracing relations among the different species. The colour of the ink in Loligo sagittata16 is a deep brown, approaching to yellowish brown when much diluted, and corresponds remarkably with the coloured spots on the skin of that species; but in Octopus ventricosus the colour of the ink is pure black, and it is blackish grey when diluted on paper. "The ink (Edin. Phil. Journ. vol. xvi. p. 316.) brought in a solid state from China has the same pure black colour as in the Octopus ventricosus, and differs entirely in its shade, when diluted, from that of the Loligo sagittata, as may be seen from specimens of these three colours on drawing paper. Swammerdam suspected the China ink to be made from that of the Sepia; Cuvier found it more like that of the Octopus and Loligo; but different kinds of that substance are brought from China, probably made from different genera of these animals, where they abound of gigantic size." At the present day, according to Cuvier, an ink is prepared from the liquor of these animals in Italy, which differs from the genuine China ink only in being a little less black. (Mem., vol. i. p. 4.) Davy found it to be "a carbonaceous substance mixed with gelatine;" but on a more careful analysis, Signor Bizio procured from it a substance sui generis [peculiar in kind], which he calls melania. "The melania is a tasteless, black powder, insoluble in alcohol, ether, and water, while cold, but soluble in hot water: the solution is black. Caustic alkalies form with it a solution even in the cold, from which the mineral acids precipitate it unchanged. It contains much azote: it dissolves in, and decomposes, sulphuric acid: it easily kindles at the flame of a candle: it has been found to succeed, as a pigment, in some respects better than China ink." (Edin. Phil. Journ., vol. xiv. p. 376.)
Upper Louisiana (we are told) has all the trees known in Europe, besides others that are here unknown. The cedars are remarkably [pg 176] fine; the cotton trees grow to such a size, that the Indians make canoes out of their trunks; hemp grows naturally; tar is made from the pines on the sea coast; and the country affords every material for ship-building. Beans grow to a large size without culture; peach trees are heavily laden with fruit; and the forests are full of mulberry and plum trees. Pomegranates and chestnut trees are covered with vines, whose grapes are very large and sweet. There are three or four crops of Indian corn in the year; as there is no other winter besides some rains. The grass grows to a great height, and towards the end of September is set on fire, and in eight or ten days after, the young grass shoots up half a foot high.
Annual Cost of a Private Soldier.—The daily pay of a foot soldier is one shilling, with a penny for beer; the daily pay of a life-guardsman is 1s. 11-1/2d. and the annual cost is 74l. 4s. 11d. per man, besides horse and allowances, or 1l. 8s. 6d. per week; dragoons, 56l. 11s. 5d. per annum, or 1l. 1s. 9d. per week; footguards 34l. 6s. or 13s. 2d. per week; infantry, 31l. per annum, or 11s. 10d. per week. A regiment of horse soldiers, of about 360, officers and men, cost about 25,000l. per annum. The wages of seamen in the Royal Navy are 2l. 12s. per month, or 13s. per week; and 1l. 12s. or 8s. per week more, are allowed for their provisions.—Examiner.
The Morning Chronicle report of the examination of Mr. Horsley, the Governor of the Bank of England, has the following odd question:—"Is there any large proportion of London noses circulated by the Branch Banks?"—"There are none."
Convenient Deafness.—A few days since at the Court of Assizes, in Paris, a M. Lecluse, who was summoned on the jury, produced a certificate that he was deaf, and consequently unable to serve. The Advocate General was observing to the court, in no very elevated tone of voice, that the certificate was inadmissible, since it bore date so far back as June 24, 1813, when M. Lecluse immediately set him right by stating that the date was July 13, instead of June 24, 1813. This at once decided the question, as it proved the acuteness of his hearing, and the Court ordered him to be sworn.
Walnut Water.—Dr. Sully, of Wiveliscombe, a very eminent medical practitioner, in a letter to the editor of the Taunton Courier, has communicated the mode of preparing this article, which has been found so effectual a remedy in subduing nausea and vomiting:—"Take a quarter of a peck of walnuts at the time they are fit for pickling; bruise them, and, with four ounces of fresh angelica seeds, put them into an alembic, with a bottle of French brandy, and enough water to prevent empyreuma, or burning; distil from this mixture a quart, which is called walnut water, and administer a wineglass-full to the patient, to be repeated every half-hour till the vomiting ceases." Dr. Sully says that he communicated this recipe to Sir Astley Cooper and Mr. Abernethy, both of whom frequently used it in their practice, and that it has been prepared by a house in London for him for the last 40 years.—Morning Herald.
The first Review.—Reviews of books originated in the Journal des Scavans, projected by Dennis de Sallo, in 1664.
Hint to Tea Makers.—Put a small quantity of carbonate of soda into the pot along with the tea, and this, by softening the water, will accelerate the infusion amazingly. Should the water be hard, it will increase the strength of your tea at least one half.—Mechanics' Magazine.
It is a curious fact, that the Chinese make no use of milk, either in its liquid state, or in the shape of curds, butter, or cheese.
Chairing Members of Parliament.—This custom was taken from the practice in the northern nations, of elevating the king after his election, upon the shoulders of the senators. The Anglo-Saxons carried their king upon a shield when crowned. The Danes set him upon a high stone, placed in the middle of twelve smaller. Bishops were chaired upon elections, as were abbots and others.
Illumination was formerly common not only upon occasions of joy, but even the return home of the master of the house. Some writers have contended, but evidently by mistake, that it was only a part of religious ceremonies. It is even mentioned in Ossian's Carthon, and obtained in the middle ages. The classical illuminations were made not only with lamps, but links, and wax flambeaux.
Lord Mayor.—The first Lord Mayor who went by water to Westminster, was John Norman, in 1453. Sir John Shaw, according to Lambard, was the first who rode on horseback, in 1501; but Grafton says, correctly, that they rode before. Sir Gilbert Heathcote was the last, in Queen Anne's time. Before building the Mansion-House, the first stone of which was laid Oct. 25, 1739, the Lord Mayor resided in the hall of some Company, hired for the term of the mayoralty.
Footnote 1: (return) The duke was an important personage in the hostilities between his soverign and the parliament. In 1642, he was appointed general of all his majesty's forces, raised north of Trent, with very full powers. He levied a considerable army at his own expense, with which he for some time maintained the king's cause in the north. He, however, possessed little of the skill of a general, though he was a splendid soldier of fortune. He gained a signal victory over Lord Fairfax, near Bradford, and some others of less importance; but he was utterly defeated at Marston Moor, after which he left the country in despair of the royal cause. He resided for some time at Antwerp with his lady, where they were frequently in much distress. On his return to England, at the Restoration, he was received with the respect due to his unshaken fidelity, and in 1664, was created Earl of Ogle and Duke of Newcastle. He passed the remainder of his life in retirement, devoting himself to literature, to which he was much attached, and attending to the repair of his fortune. He died in 1676, aged 84, and was buried with his duchess in Westminster Abbey. His literary labours are now almost forgotten, if we except his principal production, "A new method and extraordinary invention to dress Horses," &c., which has obtained much praise from judges in the art. Grainger quaintly remarks, that "the Duke of Newcastle was so attached to the Muses, that he could not leave them behind him, but carried them to the camp, and made Davenant the poet-laureate, his lieutenant-general of the ordnance." His second wife was Margaret, the imaginative Duchess of Newcastle, who never revised what she had written, lest it "should disturb her following conceptions," by which means she composed plays, poems, letters, philosophical discourses, orations, &c.; of these she left enough to fill thirteen folio volumes, ten of which have actually been printed. Lord Orford has drawn a curious picture of the literary characters both of this lady and her husband. They were panegyrised and flattered by learned contemporaries; for, in those days flattery was well paid. It is, however, gratifying to learn that the duchess derives infinitely more honour from her fine character as a wife and mistress of a family, than from either her literary productions or these panegyrics.
Footnote 2: (return) Rhode's Excursions, Part iv.
Footnote 3: (return) Crébillon, author of Catalina.
Footnote 4: (return) Groseilles, literally; gooseberries or currents; but we have taken the liberty here, and elsewhere, slightly to deviate from the original text, in compliment to English customs, tastes, idioms, &c.
Footnote 5: (return) Russia: whose Empress, Catherine II, is intended by the succeeding sentence.
Footnote 6: (return) The well-known poetic vanity of Voltaire must be taken into full account, when he thus talks of the easiness of producing a (modern) Sophocles, or an Euripides; perhaps he thought his own tragedies equal, or superior to theirs; and for what follows, the French national prejudice in favour of their own dramatic writers, and which is far more laudable than the English indifference to the interests of the drama, should be recollected.
Footnote 7: (return) To "astonished" the author might almost have added alarmed, or disgusted. The conversant in music, know that song in parts, i.e. harmonized, is peculiarly distasteful to the ear unaccustomed to it; song, in unison, is the natural music of savage man; harmony is art; to be pleased with it therefore, implies a mind and ear cultivated and refined. The same remark hold good with instrumental music.
Footnote 8: (return) We apologize to our zealous correspondent for omitting the ingenious defence of War, contained in the Note to this passage. Its insertion would involve ourselves in a war—we mean of words, words, words." As a private opinion, we admit the argument of the defence; though it militates so strongly with passion and prejudice that its insertion would be the war-hoop for a whole community of peace-makers to break in upon our literary otium. We wish to be the last in the world to feed a popular fallacy on any subject; but in some respects the argument employed in the journal quoted by M.L.B. is of too general a description to controvert the error in the present case. We must be courteous—though not of the court: ours is a system of non-intervention in politics; ever, in matters of literary dispute we do little more than "bite our thumb." It is hoped our correspondent will rightly understand us; and so now, like Mr. Peake's bashful man in the farce, we offer our apology for having apologized. By the way, in the, newspapers is advertised a pamphlet, containing an apology for its publication.—ED, M.
Footnote 9: (return) It is a pity that when Voltaire wrote this clever paper, Gas and Steam were not in vogue to add to the "astonishments" of Tullia. This would also most miraculously have assisted Madame de Genlis, in that no less clever exposition of the wonders of nature and art, the story of Alphonso and Thelismon.
Footnote 10: (return) Childe Harold, canto 4, st. lvi.
Footnote 11: (return) Duppa—Observations on the Continent.
Footnote 12: (return) Childe Harold, canto 4, st. xxxi, xxxii.
Footnote 13: (return) Notes to Childe Harold, ibid.—See Engraving of Petrach's House at Arquà, Mirror, vol. xvii, p. 1.
Footnote 14: (return) They have no slates in this country—nor in the valleys of Piemont.—Two benevolent benefactors to the Protestant cause in Italy, who wished to confer a benefit upon the schools of Piemont, have enabled me to supply the Vaudois schools with this useful and economical article.
Footnote 15: (return) "The ink secreted in this bag has been said to be thrown out to conceal the animal from its pursuers; but, in a future lecture, I shall endeavour to show that this secretion is to answer a purpose in the animal economy connected with the functions of the intestines." (Hume's Comp. Anat. vol. i. p. 376.) Dr. Coldstream, in a letter to the author, detailing the manners of Octopus ventricosus in captivity, says, "I have never seen the ink ejected, however much the animal may have been irritated." I have, however, been told by our fishermen, that they have seen this species eject the black liquid, with considerable force, on being just taken from the sea.
Footnote 16: (return) Sir B. Sibbald says that the Loligo, or hose-fish, besides its ink has another purple juice. (Scot. Illust. vol. ii. lib. 3. p. 26.) I find no mention of this in any other author.
Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 20, ISSUE 566, SEPTEMBER 15, 1832***
******* This file should be named 14024-h.txt or 14024-h.zip *******
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:
Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed.