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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Vol. 13, No. 355., Saturday, February 7, 1829
Release Date: February 5, 2004 [EBook #10950]
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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MIRROR OF LITERATURE, NO. 355 ***
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, and the Online Distributed Proofreading
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL 13, No. 355., SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1829. [PRICE 2d.]
VILLAS IN THE REGENT'S PARK.
[Illustration: MARQUESS OF HERTFORD'S VILLA.]
[Illustration: DORIC VILLA.]
The definition of the word _villa_ is a country seat; but the reader
will ask, how can a country seat be in the midst of a metropolis, or in
its brick and mortar confines? The term, however, admits of various
modifications. The villas of the Romans resembled large city palaces
removed into the country, and some of them were four times larger than
Versailles with its three thousand apartments. The villas of modern
Rome likewise more resemble palaces than abodes of domestic
convenience; and one of them, the Villa Mondrogone, has more windows
than there are days in the year. Such are the Italian villas, of which
the name conveys as accurate an idea as the English reader acquires
from the French _chateau_, which, in reality, implies a comfortless
factory-looking abode, with a blaze of fresco embellishments.
The first engraving in the annexed page is the villa, or, we should
rather say, the suburban retreat, of the Marquess of Hertford, designed
by Mr. Decimus Burton. The noble owner, who has enjoyed the peculiar
advantages of travel, and is a man of _vertu_ and fine taste, has
selected a design of beautiful simplicity and chastity of style. The
entrance-hall is protected by a hexastyle (six column) portico of that
singular Athenian order, which embellishes the door of the Tower of the
Winds. The roof is Venetian, with projecting eaves; and the wings are
surmounted by spacious glass lanterns, which light the upper rooms. The
buildings and offices are on a larger scale than any other in the park,
and correspond in style with the opulence of the noble owner. The
offices are spread out, like the villas of the ancients, upon the
ground-floor. Adjoining the front of the villa is a tent-like canopy,
surmounting a spacious apartment, set aside, we believe, for splendid
_dejeune_ entertainments in the summer. This roof may be seen from
several parts of the park. The entrance lodge is particularly chaste,
the gates are in handsome park-like style; and the plantations and
ornamental gardens in equally good taste. The establishment is, as we
have said, the most extensive in the Regent's Park, and is in every
respect in correspondent taste with the beautiful Italian fronted town
residence of the noble marquess, opposite the Green Park, in
Piccadilly; and its luxurious comforts well alternate with the
fashionable hospitalities of Sudborne Hall, the veritable _country
seat_ of this distinguished nobleman.
The second engraving is another specimen of the Regent's Park villa
style. The order is handsome Doric; but much cannot be said in praise
of its adaptation to a suburban residence. It nevertheless adds the
charm of variety to the buildings that stud and encircle the park, and
intermingle with lawns and bowery walks with more prettiness than rural
* * * * *
DESTRUCTION OF THE INTERIOR OF YORK MINSTER.
On Monday morning last, this magnificent structure was discovered to be
on fire. Soon after the alarm was given, the bells of twenty-three
churches announced the dismal tidings; but for some time the people
looked upon the report as a hoax, and it was not until after the lapse
of an hour that the city was fairly roused to a sense of the impending
On the Sunday evening previous, there was service in the Minster, as
usual, and all appeared to be left safe. A light was, however, observed
in the building, by a man passing through the Minster-yard, about four
o'clock on Monday morning; but he supposed some workmen were employed
there, and passed on without inquiry. Between six and seven o'clock,
the discovery was made in an extraordinary manner. One of the
choristers passing through the Minster-yard, accidentally stepping on a
piece of ice, was thrown on his back, in which position he saw a
quantity of smoke issuing from the roof.
In a letter dated York, February 2nd, the writer thus hastily describes
the extent of the conflagration:--
The first appearance I observed was the issue of an immense volume of
smoke from the junction of the western towers with the nave, a smaller
column from the great tower, and a third column from the roof of the
choir, thus presenting the appearance of the building being on fire in
all parts, whilst a dense smoke filled the interior to such a degree as
to preclude the immediate entrance of the firemen. At length, the
engines were rolled into the august edifice, when a scene beyond all
description presented itself; the interior of the choir enveloped in
flames, reflected upon the beautiful stained glass. The flames soon
burst through the roof of the choir, and in less than an hour the whole
was in a blaze, and the melted lead poured down the spouting. The roof
soon fell in, in about five or six dreadful crashes. Every effort was
made to prevent the flames spreading to the transept and nave, and I
trust with success, for though the engines are now (midnight) still
playing, I do not find that there is any other fire than the remains of
the roof on the floor of the choir.
[Footnote 1: No. 162, vol. vi., of the MIRROR, contains a fine view of
the Minster. The first religious foundation here by the Christians was
about the year 672. The Minster was burnt down in 1137, and lay in
ruins till the year 1171. The late cathedral was completed about the
year 1370. Appended to our engraving is an accurate historical and
architectural description of the whole fabric.]
The damage may be summed up thus: The roof of the choir quite gone, the
wood work on each side consumed, the matchless organ entirely
destroyed, many monuments broken, and the communion plate melted. On
the other hand, the east window is entire to the surprise of every one,
the screen is uninjured, although immediately below the organ, the
records in the vestry, the horn of Ulphus, the coronation chair, and
the brass eagle are saved, and the wills in the Prerogative office are
all safely lodged in Belfrey's Church. For some time the city was in
considerable danger; flakes of fire were carried as far as the Lord
Mayor's Walk; providentially there was very little wind.
[Footnote 2: The horn of Ulphus is one of the greatest curiosities in
possession of the church of York. It appears like the hollowed tusk of
an elephant, and the length of its curvature is from 18 to 24 inches.
It is the title deed by which the church of St. Peters holds lands to a
considerable value, given to it before the Heptarchy by Ulphus, king of
Deira and Northumbria. It is said, that when he presented it to the
church, he filled it with wine, which he drank off to its future
success. If the story be true, Ulphus must have been one of the most
strong-headed, as well as one of the must pious kings of his day; for
the draught which he is alleged to have swallowed would be sufficient
to upset the sobriety of any two men, such as men now are. The horn was
preserved by the successive possessors of St. Peter's with the most
careful affection during all the commotions of the Danish and Norman
invasions; but was stolen from them in the general confusion which
pervaded the city of York after the battle of Marston-moor and it was
delivered up to the Parliamentarian forces under the command of Lord
Fairfax and Cromwell. By some of the accidents of war, it came into the
possession of Lord Fairfax, who is reported to have purchased it of a
common soldier. On the restoration of Charles II., when church-properly
was again secure, his lordship restored it to the cathedral; and there
is now an inscription upon it, recording the gratitude of the Dean and
Chapter for having so valuable a possession restored them. It has now
escaped singularly enough from the destruction which has fallen upon
the other curiosities which were usually kept in the vestry-room; and
remains, as it has done for years past, to be sounded by all those
strong-winded visiters of the Minster who have strength enough to blow
From another account we learn that communication with the roof was not
at first apprehended, but the roof of the choir being very dry wood,
soon joined in the conflagration. It is impossible to describe the
awful picture of the flames rising above this majestic building. The
effect produced by the glare of light upon the stained glass of the
windows exceeds description. On the falling of the roof, the house of
prayer, which but the evening before had resounded with the voices of
worshippers, and where all was order and harmony, now resembled a fiery
furnace. The pillars, which once served to divide the choir from the
two side aisles, now stood alone, the whole being an open space, with
the roof burning on the ground, and nothing above but the blue canopy
Mr. Britton, in his valuable work on York Cathedral, gives a minute
description of that part of the Minster which has been destroyed; from
which the following is extracted:--
"After passing through the screen, the visiter is introduced to the
choir, which is grand in scale and rich in adornment. On each side is a
series of 20 stalls, with 12 at the west end, beneath the organ. These
are of oak, and are peculiarly rich in their canopies and carved
decorations. Each seat, or stall, has its movable miserecordia, with
projecting rests for the elbows, from which rise two detached slender
columns, supporting an elaborate canopy. At the eastern end of the
choir is the altar-table, raised above the regular floor by a series of
"On the north side of the altar, over the grated window that lights the
crypt, is an ancient pew, or gallery, to which there is an ascent by a
flight of narrow stairs, of solid blocks of oak. The exterior of this
gallery is very neat, and it is certainly older than the Reformation.
"Behind the stalls of the choir are closets, some of which are used as
vestries by the singing-men: modern staircases have been constructed,
leading to the galleries erected above, and which disfigure the view
into the aisles. These closets are fronted, next the aisles, by open
screens of oak, some of which are of excellent carving, and more
elaborate than others. In the centre of the choir stands a desk for the
vicars-choral to chant the litany in; it is enclosed in a pew of carved
The Minster was lighted with gas, to which the conflagration was at
first attributed; but the fire appears to have originated in one of the
vestries. When we remember the beauty of the carved work which has thus
been destroyed, and the elaborate skill which had been bestowed on its
execution, our sympathies are deeply awakened for its fate. Indeed, the
most listless admirer of art, as well as the antiquarian devotee, has
just cause to lament this accident; especially as the taste and labours
of our times fall far short of the olden glories of architecture. When
we think of the "unsubstantial pageant" of the recent "Festival," and
associate its fleeting show with the desert remains of this venerable
pile, our feelings deepen into melancholy, and the smoking fragments of
art seem to breathe--
Tell thou the lamentable fall of me,
And send the hearers weeping to their beds.
* * * * *
HARD FROSTS IN ENGLAND.
_(For the Mirror.)_
In the year
220. Frost lasted 5 months.
250. The Thames frozen 9 weeks.
291. Most rivers frozen 6 weeks.
508. The rivers frozen 2 months.
695. The Thames frozen 6 weeks; booths built on it.
759. Frost from October the 1st, till February 26th, 760.
827. Frost for 9 weeks.
923. The Thames frozen 13 weeks.
987. Frost lasted 120 days.
998. The Thames frozen 5 weeks.
1035. Frost on Midsummer Day so vehement that the
corn and fruits were destroyed.
1063. The Thames frozen for 14 weeks.
1076. Frost from November to April.
1114. Several wooden bridges carried away by the ice.
1407. Frost for 15 weeks.
1434. Thames frozen down to Gravesend; 12 weeks frost.
1683. Frost for 13 weeks.
1739. Frost for 9 weeks.
1788. Frost from November to January
1789, when the Thames was crossed opposite the Customhouse,
the Tower, Execution Dock, Putney, Brentford, &c. It
was general throughout Europe.
1796. Frost the most severe on Dec. 25th
that had ever been felt in the
memory of man.
1814. Severe frost, Thames frozen, and
tremendous falls of snow.
A French writer who visited England during the severe frost in the year
1688, says, (in a small volume which he published in Paris,) "that
besides hackney-coaches, a large sledge, or sledges, were then
exhibited on the frozen Thames, and that King Charles passed a whole
night upon the ice."
The following extract is also an account of this frost by an
eye-witness; which may be seen in the _Beauties of England and Wales_,
vol. x. page 83: he says, "On the 20th of December, 1688, a very
violent frost began, which lasted to the 6th of February, in so great
extremity, that the pools were frozen 18 inches thick at least, and the
Thames was so frozen that a great street from the Temple to Southwark
was built with shops, and all manner of things sold. Hackney coaches
plied there as in the streets. There were also bull-baiting, and a
great many shows and tricks to be seen. This day the frost broke up. In
the morning I saw a coach and six horses driven from Whitehall almost
to the bridge (London Bridge) yet by three o'clock that day, February
the 6th, next to Southwark the ice was gone, so as boats did row to and
fro, and the next day all the frost was gone. On Candlemas Day I went
to Croydon market, and led my horse over the ice to the Horseferry from
Westminster to Lambeth; as I came back I led him from Lambeth upon the
middle of the Thames to Whitefriars' stairs, and so led him up by them.
And this day an ox was roasted whole, over against Whitehall. King
Charles and the Queen ate part of it."
N.B. In 1740, a palace of ice was built by the Empress Anne of Russia,
on the banks of the Neva, 52 feet long, which, when illuminated, had a
P. T. W.
* * * * *
(_For the Mirror._)
The following is extracted from a book of Prophecies, called Muhamedys,
which is held in veneration by the Turks:--"The Turkish emperor shall
conquer Rome, and make the pope patriarch of Jerusalem; and he shall,
some time after, profess the Mahomedan faith. Christ shall then come,
and show the Christians their error in not having accepted the Alcoran;
and instruct them that the dove which came down from heaven was not the
Holy Ghost, but was Mahomet, who shall be again upon earth thirty
years, and confirm the Alcoran by new miracles. After that time the
power of the Turks shall decline, till they retire into Desert Arabia,
and then there shall be an end of the world. Their overthrow shall be
accomplished by a people from the north, called _caumico fer_,
(yellow-haired sons.) The ruin of Constantinople shall happen in sultan
Mahomet's time; and then the Turks shall be reduced to so few in
number, that sixty Turkish women shall have but one husband among
them." W. G. C.
* * * * *
POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS, &c.
(_Concluded from page 58._)
We have formerly alluded to the well-known feats of the weird
sisterhood on the broomstick; but it is affirmed that on these
occasions the spirit left its earthly abode, the body being previously
anointed with the ointment we have described. We cannot better
illustrate this question (the possibility of which has been the
subject-matter of many grave dissertations amongst the literati of
those times) than by giving the substance of the following singular
"Confession," which with many others equally interesting, was made in
1664, (the later days of the profession) before Robert Hunt, Esq., a
"justice with fat capon lined," in the county of Somerset, and in the
presence of "several grave and orthodox divines."
Elizabeth Styles, of Stoke Triston, in that county, was accused by
"divers persons of credit," of the crimes of witchcraft and sorcery.
She was afterwards found guilty by a jury at Taunton, but died before
the sentence could be carried into effect. She confessed "that the
devil, about ten years since, appeared to her in the shape of a
handsome man, and after of a black dog; that he promised her money, and
that she should live gallantly, and have the pleasure of the world for
twelve years, if she would, with her blood, sign his paper, which was
to give her soul to him, and observe his laws, and that he might suck
her blood. This, after four solicitations, the examinant promised to
do; upon which he pricked the fourth finger of her right hand, between
the middle and upper joints, (where the sign at the examination
remained), and with a drop or two of her blood, she signed the paper
with an O. Upon this the devil gave her sixpence, and vanished
with the paper. That since he hath appeared to her in the shape of a
man, and did so on Wednesday sevennight past, but more usually he
appears in the likeness of a dog, and cat, and a fly like a miller, in
which last he usually sucks in the poll, about four of the clock in the
morning, and did so January 27, and that it usually is pain to her to
be so suckt." When she desired to do harm, she called _Robin_; on his
appearance she opened her wants, saying, _O Satan, give me my purpose._
That a short time before, she and other witches had met a "gentleman in
black" in a field, about nine o'clock at night, to devise torments for
one Elizabeth Hill, who had come under their ban; they brought a waxen
image of her, and the "man in black" took and anointed it, saying, _I
baptize thee with this oyl_; and using other words. "He was godfather,
and the examinant and Ann Bishop were godmothers." They called it
Elizabeth; and the black man and weird sisters stuck thorns into
various parts of the luckless image. "After which, they had wine,
cakes, and roast meat, (provided by the gentleman in black,) which they
did eat and drink; and they danced and were very merry," &c. Many of
these unhallowed meetings took place afterwards, and their entertainer,
the gentleman in black--man or devil--seems to have been a regular
_gourmand_, "and never failed to bring with him abundance of excellent
cheer." The customary bill of fare was "wine, good ale, cakes, meat, or
the like." The spirit was, also, rather musical, for he "sometimes
played sweetly on the pipe or cittern," the ladies keeping time with a
dance, (we fear narrowly approaching the modern waltz.) On the whole
they seem to have had joyous doings of it, and wonder ceases that the
demon gained so many proselytes amongst the old women. These nocturnal
meetings were generally held for a similar purpose with the foregoing;
and it appears from the confession before us, that they were conveyed
to them by supernatural means--by that simplest, though despised engine
of loco--(or to coin a a word) aero-motion--a broomstick. They were
obliged to anoint themselves on these occasions "with an oyl the spirit
brought them;" and they were soon transported to the place of
appointment, using these words in their transit, _"Thout, tout, a tout
tout, throughout and about!"_ and on their return they say "Rentum,
tormentum!" Such is the information conveyed in the confession of
Elizabeth Styles, before these "grave and orthodox divines!"
They were also gifted by the "gentleman in black" with various other
wonderful powers and attributes. They could transform themselves into
the likeness of any animal in the creation, and therefore the better
execute their schemes of devilry; but, it appears, that they always
wanted that essential part--the tail; and there was a trial gravely
reported by a Lancashire jury, that a soldier having been set to watch
a mill from the depredations of some cats, skilfully whipped off the
leg of the largest, which lo! the next morning, was changed into the
arm of an old witch (who had long been suspected) in the neighbourhood!
This useful faculty of transformation also extended, in some measure,
to the persons of others; for Dr. Bulwer gives the following _easy
recipe_ for "setting a horse or ass' head" on a man's neck and
shoulders:--"Cut off the head of a horse or an ass _(before they be
dead, otherwise the virtue or strength thereof will be less
effectual,)_ and take an earthen vessel of a fit capacity to contain
the same. Let it be filled with the oyl or fat thereof; cover it
close, and daub it over with loam. Let it boil over a soft fire for
three dayes, that the flesh boiled may run into oyl, so as the bones
may be seen. Beat the hair into powder, and mingle the same with the
oyl, and _anoint the heads of the standers by, and they shall seem to
have horses or asses' heads!_ If beasts' heads be anointed with the
like oyl made of a man's head, (we suppose cut off while the said man
was 'alive!') they shall seem to have men's faces, as divers authors
[Footnote 3: Shakspeare must have derived from this hint, the similar
transformation in "The Midsummer Night's Dream."]
After dwelling on the dark and malignant qualities of witches, it is
but justice to give a few of the charms which, for a small
remuneration, they would bestow for the benefit of those who sought
their assistance in the hour of trouble. These charms were possessed of
various degrees of virtue, _ex. gratiae._
_Against the toothache._--Scarify the gums, in the grief, with the
tooth of one that hath been slain. Otherwise, _galbes, gabat, galdes,
galdat_. Otherwise say, "O horsecombs and sickles that have so many
teeth, come heal me of my toothache!"
These very simple remedies, if popular, would soon send the concocters
of nostrums for the teeth into the Gazette.
_To release a woman in travail._--Throw over the top of the house where
the woman lieth in travail, a stone, or any other thing that hath
killed three living creatures: namely, a man, a wild boar, and a
_Against the headache._--Tie a halter round your head wherewith one
hath been hanged.
_Against the bite of a mad dog._--Put a silver ring on the ringer,
within which the following words are engraven: _hobay, habas, heber_;
and say to the person bitten by a mad dog, "I am thy saviour, lose not
thy life;" and then prick him in the nose thrice, that at each time he
bleed. Otherwise take pills made of the skull of one that is hanged,
_To find her that bewitched your kine._--Put a pair of breeches upon
the cow's head, and beat her out of the pasture with a good cudgel,
upon a Friday, and she will run right to the witch's door, and strike
thereat with her horns.
We are exceeding our limits, else we should have added several other
pithy receipts, almost worthy of her who made the noted one against the
creaking of a door--"rub a bit of soft soap on the hinges." The most
celebrated and precious charm, however, (for the above are mostly
against every-day occurrences) was the _Agnus Dei_, which was a
"preservative against all manner of evil, a perfect catholicon; and
blessed indeed was the individual who possessed a treasure so
valuable." It was "a little cake, having the picture of a lamb carrying
a flag, on the one side, and Christ's head on the other side, and was
hollow; so that the Gospel of St. John, written on fine paper, was
placed in the concavity thereof;" and was a sovereign remedy against
lightning, the effects of heat, drowning, &c. &c. In some of the above
charms there is a little humour to be found; and as we have previously
observed, such are the effects of faith, that like the amulets of the
east (may not our own sprigs of witch-elm, &c. be so called?) they may
have had in many cases the desired effects in averting disease.
Reginald Scot furnishes us with directions "how to prevent and cure all
mischief wrought by charms or witchcraft." To prevent the entry of a
witch into a house, nail a horse-shoe in the inside of the outermost
threshold. We believe this rule is still in practice. Also it was a
custom in some countries to nail a wolf's head, or a root of garlic,
over the door, or on the roof of a house. And our Saviour's name, &c.
with four crosses at the four corners of a house, was a protection. The
Romish custom of driving out evil spirits by the smoke of sulphur, is
well known. "Otherwise the perfume made of the gall of a black dog, and
his bloode besmeared on the posts and walls of a house, driveth out of
the doores, both devils and witches." A sprig of witch-elm sewn in the
collar of the doublet, was celebrated amongst our great grandmothers as
a specific against the malignant deeds of the weird sisterhood.
But we must draw this article to a close. We may well rejoice that we
live in the nineteenth century; and that the disgusting infatuation and
baleful doctrines of witchcraft are gone for ever.
* * * * *
* * * * *
DESCRIPTION OF THE KING'S PALACE,
_By Mr. Nash, the Architect._
The grand entrance in front, which is to be reserved for the especial
use of his Majesty and the Royal Family, will be composed of white
marble, and will be a faithful model of the arch of Constantine, at
Rome, with the exception of the equestrian figure of his Majesty George
IV. on the top. The workmanship of this arch is expected to rival any
thing of the sort in the kingdom, and to equal the finest works of
antiquity. From each side of the arch a semicircular railing will
extend to the wings, executed in the most beautiful style, in
cast-iron, and surmounted by tips or ornamental spears of mosaic gold.
The area, within, will consist of a grass-plat, in the centre of which
will be an ornamental fountain, and the whole will be bounded by a
The wing on the left will comprise his Majesty's chapel, the kitchen,
and other offices; and that on the tight, his Majesty's private suite
of apartments. The entrance to the former is from the back, near to
where Buckingham-gate formerly stood, and it is by this door that the
visiters to the palace on gala days will be admitted. Passing through
the building, they will enter a spacious colonnade, which extends along
the front of the body of the palace, and in front of each wing; above
the colonnade is a magnificent balcony, supported by columns of the
Doric order. At the end of each wing is a pediment, supported by
Corinthian columns. The entablature of each pediment is tastefully
filled up with groups of figures in white marble, exquisitely carved in
_alto relievo_, illustrative of the arts and sciences. On the extreme
points of the wing on the left, are fixed statues representing History,
Geography, and Astronomy; and on those of the right wing, Painting,
Music, and Architecture. On the entablature of the pediment, in front
of the main body of the palace, it is intended to place the Arms of
England; and on the top are placed Neptune, with Commerce on one side,
and Navigation on the other. Around the entire building, and above the
windows, is a delicately worked frieze, combining in a scroll the Rose,
the Shamrock, and the Thistle.
The entrance-hall is about thirty-three feet in height. The pavement is
of white marble slightly veined with blue. The entire hall is bordered
with a scroll of Sienna or yellow, centred with rosettes of
puce-coloured marble, inlaid in the most masterly style of workmanship.
The walls are of Scagliola, and the ceiling is supported by a
succession of white marble pillars. From the hall are the avenues
leading to the state apartments--drawing-rooms, dining-rooms,
throne-room, statue-gallery, picture-gallery, &c.
* * * * *
THE ANECDOTE GALLERY.
* * * * *
WINDSOR AS IT WAS.
The last Number of the _London Magazine_ contains an article of
considerable graphic interest, under the above title. It is written by
one "born within a stone's throw of the castle," and, _ni fallor_, by
the author of the picturesque description of Virginia Water, in the
Magazine for September, last. As the whole article is much too long for
our space, we have abridged it, taking care to retain the most
characteristic portion of the writer's very pleasing reminiscences:--
My earliest recollections of Windsor are exceedingly delightful. I was
born within a stone's throw of the Castle-gates; and my whole boyhood
was passed in the most unrestrained enjoyment of the venerable and
beautiful objects by which I was surrounded, as if they had been my own
peculiar and proper inheritance. The king and his family lived in a
plain, barrack-looking lodge at his castle foot, which, in its external
appearance and its interior arrangements, exactly corresponded with the
humble taste and the quiet, domestic habits of George III. The whole
range of the castle, its terrace, and its park, were places dedicated
to the especial pleasures of a school-boy.
The Park! what a glory was that for cricket and kite-flying. No one
molested us. The beautiful plain immediately under the eastern terrace
was called the Bowling Green;--and, truly, it was as level as the
smoothest of those appendages to suburban inns. We took excellent care
that the grass should not grow too fast beneath our feet. No one
molested us. The king, indeed, would sometimes stand alone for half an
hour to see the boys at cricket; and heartily would he laugh when the
wicket of some confident urchin went down at the first ball. But we did
not heed his majesty. He was a quiet, good-humoured gentleman, in a
long blue coat, whose face was as familiar to us as that of our
writing-master; and many a time had that gracious gentleman bidden us
good morning, when we were hunting for mushrooms in the early dew, and
had crossed his path as he was returning from his dairy, to his eight
o'clock breakfast. Every one knew that most respectable and amiable of
country squires, called His Majesty; and truly there was no inequality
in the matter, for his majesty knew every one.
I have now no recollection of having, when a child, seen the king with
any of the appendages of royalty, except when he went to town, once a
week, to hold a levee; and then ten dragoons rode before, and ten after
his carriage, and the tradesmen in the streets through which he passed
duly stood at their doors, to make the most profound reverences, as in
duty bound, when their monarch looked "every inch a king." But the bows
were less profound, and the wonderment none at all, when twice a week,
as was his wont during the summer months, his majesty, with all his
family, and a considerable bevy of ancient maids of honour and half-pay
generals, walked through the town, or rode at a slow pace in an open
carriage, to the Windsor theatre, which was then in the High-street.
Reader, it is impossible that you can form an idea of the smallness of
that theatre; unless you have by chance lived in a country town, when
the assembly-room of the head inn has been fitted up with the aid of
brown paper and ochre, for the exhibition of some heroes of the sock
and buskin, vulgarly called strollers. At the old Windsor Theatre, her
majesty's apothecary in the lower boxes might have almost felt her
pulse across the pit. My knowledge of the drama commenced at the early
age of seven years, amidst this royal fellowship in fun; and most
loyally did I laugh when his majesty, leaning back in his capacious
arm-chair in the stage-box, shook the house with his genuine peals of
hearty merriment. Well do I remember the whole course of these royal
play-goings. The theatre was of an inconvenient form, with very sharp
angles at the junctions of the centre with the sides. The stage-box,
and the whole of the left or O.P. side of the lower tier, were
appropriated to royalty. The house would fill at about half-past six.
At seven, precisely, Mr. Thornton, the manager, made his entrance
backwards, through a little door, into the stage-box, with a plated
candlestick in each hand, bowing with all the grace that his gout would
permit. The six fiddles struck up God save the King; the audience rose;
the king nodded round and took his seat next the stage; the queen
curtsied, and took her arm-chair also. The satin bills of their
majesties and the princesses were then duly displayed--and the dingy
green curtain drew up. The performances were invariably either a comedy
and farce, or more frequently three farces, with a plentiful
interlarding of comic songs. Quick, Suett, and Mrs. Mattocks were the
reigning favourites; and, about 1800, Elliston and Fawcett became
occasional stars. But Quick and Suett were the king's especial delight.
When Lovegold, in the "Miser," drawled out "a pin a day's a groat a
year," the laugh of the royal circle was somewhat loud; but when Dicky
Gossip exhibited in his vocation, and accompanied the burden of his
song, "Dicky Gossip, Dicky Gossip is the man," with the blasts of his
powder-puff, the cachinnation was loud and long, and the gods prolonged
the chorus of laughter, till the echo died away in the royal box. At
the end of the third act, coffee was handed round to the court circle;
and precisely at eleven the performances finished,--and the flambeaux
gleamed through the dimly-lighted streets of Windsor, as the happy
family returned to their tranquil home.
There was occasionally a good deal of merriment going forward at
Windsor in these olden days. I have a dim recollection of having danced
in the little garden which was once the moat of the Round Tower, and
which Washington Irving has been pleased to imagine existed in the time
of James I. of Scotland. I have a perfect remembrance of a fete at
Frogmore, about the beginning of the present century, where there was a
Dutch fair,--and haymaking very agreeably performed in white kid gloves
by the belles of the town,--and the buck-basket scene of the "Merry
Wives of Windsor" represented by Fawcett and Mrs. Mattocks, and I think
Mrs. Gibbs, under the colonnade of the house in the open day--and
variegated lamps--and transparencies--and tea served out in tents, with
a magnificent scramble for the bread and butter. There was great good
humour and freedom on all these occasions; and if the grass was damp
and the young ladies caught cold, and the sandwiches were scarce, and
the gentlemen went home hungry--I am sure these little drawbacks were
not to be imputed to the royal entertainers, who delighted to see their
neighbours and dependants happy and joyous.
A few years passed over my head, and the scene was somewhat changed.
The king and his family migrated from their little lodge into the old
and spacious castle. This was about 1804. The lath and plaster of Sir
William Chambers was abandoned to the equerries and chance visiters of
the court; and the low rooms and dark passages that had scarcely been
tenanted since the days of Anne, were made tolerably habitable by the
aid of diligent upholstery. Upon the whole, the change was not one
which conduced to comfort; and I have heard that the princesses wept
when they quitted their snug boudoirs in the Queen's Lodge. Windsor
Castle, as it was, was a sad patchwork affair.
The late king and his family had lived at Windsor nearly thirty years,
before it occurred to him to inhabit his own castle. The period at
which he took possession was one of extraordinary excitement. It was
the period of the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon, when, as
was the case with France, upon the manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick,
"the land bristled."
The doings at Windsor were certainly more than commonly interesting at
that period; and I was just of an age to understand something of their
meaning, and partake the excitement. Sunday was especially a glorious
day; and the description of one Sunday will furnish an adequate picture
of these of two or three years.
At nine o'clock the sound of martial music was heard in the streets.
The Blues and the Stafford Militia then did duty at Windsor; and though
the one had seen no service since Minden, and most undeservedly bore
the stigma of a past generation; and the other was composed of men who
had never faced any danger but the ignition of a coal-pit;--they were
each a remarkably fine body of soldiers, and the king did well to
countenance them. Of the former regiment George III. had a troop of his
own, and he delighted to wear the regimentals of a captain of the
Blues; and well did his burly form become the cocked hat and heavy
jack-boots which were the fashion of that fine corps in 1805. At nine
o'clock, as I have said, of a Sunday morning, the noise of trumpet and
of drum was heard in the streets of Windsor; for the regiments paraded
in the castle quadrangle. The troops occupied the whole square. At
about ten the king appeared with his family. He passed round the lines,
while the salute was performed; and many a rapid word of inquiry had he
to offer to the colonels who accompanied him. Not always did he wait
for an answer--but that was after the fashion of royalty in general. He
passed onwards towards St. George's Chapel. But the military pomp did
not end in what is called the upper quadrangle. In the lower ward, at a
very humble distance from the regular troops, were drawn up a splendid
body of men, ycleped the Windsor Volunteers; and most gracious were the
nods of royalty to the well-known drapers, and hatters, and
booksellers, who had the honour to hold commissions in that
distinguished regiment. The salutations, however, were short, and
onwards went the cortege, for the chapel bell was tolling in, and the
king was always punctual.
Great was the crowd to see the king and his family return from chapel;
for by this time London had poured forth its chaises and one, and the
astonished inmates of Cheapside and St. Mary Axe were elbowing each
other to see how a monarch smiled. They saw him well; and often have I
heard the disappointed exclamation, "Is _that_ the king?" They saw a
portly man, in a plain suit of regimentals, and no crown upon his
head. What a fearful falling off from the king of the story-books!
The terrace, however, was the great Sunday attraction; and though
Bishop Porteus remonstrated with his majesty for suffering people to
crowd together, and bands to play on these occasions, I cannot think
that the good-tempered monarch committed any mortal sin in walking
amongst his people in their holiday attire. This terrace was a motley
The peasant's toe did gall the courtier's gibe.
The barber from Eton and his seven daughters elbowed the dean who
rented his back parlour, when he was in the sixth form,--and who now
was crowding to the front rank for a smile of majesty, having heard
that the Bishop of Chester was seriously indisposed. The prime minister
waited quietly amidst the crush, till the royal party should descend
from their dining-room,--smiling at, if not unheeding, the anxious
inquiries of the stock-broker from Change Alley, who wondered if Mr.
Pitt would carry a gold stick before the king. The only time I saw that
minister was under these circumstances. It was the year before he died.
He stood firmly and proudly amongst the crowd for some half-hour till
the king should arrive. The monarch, of course, immediately recognised
him; the contrast in the demeanour of the two personages made a
remarkable impression upon me--and that of the minister first showed me
an example of the perfect self-possession of men of great abilities.
After a year or two of this soil of excitement the king became blind;
and painful was the exhibition of the led horse of the good old man, as
he took his accustomed ride. In a few more years a still heavier
calamity fell upon him--and from that time Windsor Castle became,
comparatively, a mournful place. The terrace was shut up--the ancient
pathway through the park, and under the castle walls, was diverted--and
a somewhat Asiatic state and stillness seemed to usurp the reign of the
old free and familiar intercourse of the sovereign with the people.
* * * * *
NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
Towards the close of the battle of Navarino, one of our midshipmen, a
promising youth of about fourteen, was struck by a cannon-shot, which
carried off both his legs, and his right-hand, with which the poor
fellow had been grasping his cutlass at that moment. He lay in the
gun-room, as nothing could be done for him; and I was informed by one
of the men, that he repeatedly named his mother in a piteous tone, but
soon after rallied a little, and began to inquire eagerly how the
action was going on, and if any more Turkish ships had struck. He
lingered in great agony for about twenty minutes.--From a spirited
description in No. 2, _United Service Journal_, intended for abridgment
probably in our next.
* * * * *
The revenue of the thirteen theatres of Paris during last year,
amounted to the great sum of L233,561 sterling; that of the two
establishments for the performance of the _regular drama_ amounting
only to L26,600, or not more than a tithe of the whole.
* * * * *
A mask taken upon the face of Jean Jacques Rousseau after death,
recently fetched, at the sale of the late M. Houdon, 500 francs. The
purchaser has since refused an offer of 15,000 francs for it.
* * * * *
May be said to be next to Paris, the largest English colony on the
continent; and that there are not fewer at this moment than six
thousand English residents there. This is not at all surprising.
Cheapness of living, of education, of amusements--a mild government and
agreeable society--the abundance of all the necessaries of life, of
fine fruits and vegetables in particular, are temptations; though we
pity those who have not the virtue to resist them.
* * * * *
WRITING FOR THE STAGE.
Is it not extraordinary that the manager of a theatre is the only
purveyor who does not know the value of his wares? A bookseller will,
if he approves of a work, pay a certain sum for the copyright, and risk
an additional sum in the publication, at the hazard of losing by the
fiat of a very capricious public, the reading public. But the writer of
a drama must make up his mind to stake the labour of months on the
fortune of a single night. _New Monthly Mag._
* * * * *
EXPEDITIONS OF DISCOVERY.
Narratives of these important and interesting enterprizes multiply so
fast, that we are happy to announce, as preparing for publication, a
series of abstracts of the most recent _Voyages and Overland Journeys_.
They will be printed in an economical volume adapted to all classes of
purchasers, and will contain all the new facts in nautical and
geographical science; details of the _Natural History_ of the
respective countries, the manners and customs of the natives,
&c.--Fernando Po, Timbuctoo, Clapperton's African adventures, and Capt.
Dillon's discoveries relative to the fate of La Perouse, will, of
course, form prominent portions of this work, the popular title of
which will be, "_The Cabinet of Recent Voyages and Travels_."
* * * * *
A facetious gourmand used to say, that he had eaten so much beef for
the last six months, that he was ashamed to look a bullock in the
face.--_Twelve Years' Military Adventures._
* * * * *
If we believe in the divine origin of the commandment, the Sabbath is
instituted for the express purposes of religion. The time set apart is
the "Sabbath of the Lord;" a day on which we are not to work our own
works, or think our own thoughts. The precept is positive, and the
purpose clear. He who has to accomplish his own salvation, must not
carry to tennis courts and skittle grounds the train of reflections
which ought necessarily to be excited by a serious discourse of
religion. The religious part of the Sunday's exercise is not to be
considered as a bitter medicine, the taste of which is as soon as
possible to be removed by a bit of sugar. On the contrary, our
demeanour through the rest of the day ought to be, not sullen
certainly, or morose, but serious and tending to instruction. Give to
the world one half of the Sunday, and you will find that religion has
no strong hold of the other. Pass the morning at church, and the
evening, according to your taste or rank, in the cricket-field, or at
the Opera, and you will soon find thoughts of the evening hazards and
bets intrude themselves on the sermon, and that recollections of the
popular melodies interfere with the psalms. Religion is thus treated
like Lear, to whom his ungrateful daughters first denied one half of
his stipulated attendance, and then made it a question whether they
should grant him any share of what remained.--_Quart. Review._
* * * * *
Among the works under this denomination for 1829, we notice two, which
from their almost indispensible utility, deserve the name of _Hardy
Annuals_. The first is _Adcock's Engineers' Pocket Book_, and contains
tables of British weights and measures, multiplication and division
obtained by inspection, tables of squares and cubes and square and
cube roots, and mensuration; tables of the areas and circumferences of
circles, &c.; the mechanical powers, animal strength, mills and
steam-engines, treatises on hydraulics, pneumatics, heat, &c., and on
the strength and heat of materials. To these are superadded the usual
contents of a pocket book, so as to render the present volume a
desirable vade-mecum for the operative, the manufacturer, and engineer.
One of Mr. Adcock's most popular illustrations will not be
uninteresting to the reader:--
_"Force of Gunpowder."_--"If we calculate the quantity of motion
produced by gunpowder, we shall find that this agent, though extremely
convenient, is far more expensive than human labour; but the advantage
of gunpowder consists in the great rarity of the active substance; a
spring or a bow can only act with a moderate velocity on account of its
own weight; the air of the atmosphere, however compressed, could not
flow into a vacuum with a velocity so great as 1,500 feet in a second;
hydrogen gas might move more rapidly; but the elastic substance
produced by gunpowder is capable of propelling a very heavy cannon ball
with a much greater velocity."
Of an opposite character, but equally useful, and more attractive for
the general reader, is the second,--_The Spoilsman's Pocket Book_, by a
brother of the author of the preceding. Here are the usual pocket-book
contents, and the laws, &c. of British sports and pastimes--as
shooting, angling, hunting, coursing, racing, cricket, and _skating_:
from the latter we subjoin a hint for the benefit of the _Serpentine
Mercuries_; which proves the adage _ex liguo non fit Mercurius_:--
"Care should be taken that the muscular movements of the whole body
correspond with the movements of the skates, and that it be regulated
so as to be almost imperceptible to the spectators; for nothing so much
diminishes the grace and elegance of skating as sudden jerks and
exertions. The attitude of drawing the bow and arrow, whilst the skater
is forming a large circle on the outside, is very beautiful, and some
persons, in skating, excel in manual exercises and military salutes."
The whole series of pocket books by the Messrs. Adcocks, extend, we
believe, to eight, adapted for all descriptions of _industriels_, as
well as for the less occupied, who are not "the architects of their own
* * * * *
Dr. Parr was the last learned schoolmaster who was professedly an
amateur of the rod; and in that profession there was more of humour
and affectation than of reality, for with all his habitual affectation
and his occasional brutality, Parr was a good-natured, generous,
warm-hearted man; there was a coarse husk and a hard shell, like the
cocoa-nut, but the core was filled with the milk of human
* * * * *
On a celebrated craniologist visiting the _studio_ of a celebrated
sculptor in London, his attention was drawn to a bust with a remarkable
depth of skull from the forehead to the occiput. "What a noble head,"
he exclaimed, "is that! full seven inches! What superior powers of mind
must he be endowed with, who possesses such a head as is here
represented!" "Why, yes," says the blunt artist, "he certainly was a
very extraordinary man--that is the bust of my early friend and first
patron, John Horne Tooke." "Ay," answers the craniologist, "you see
there is something after all in our science, notwithstanding the scoffs
of many of your countrymen." "Certainly," says the sculptor; "but here
is another bust, with a greater depth and a still more capacious
forehead." "Bless me!" exclaims the craniologist, taking out his rule,
"eight inches! who can this be? this is indeed a head--in this there
can be no mistake; what depth of intellect, what profundity of thought,
must reside in that skull! this I am sure must belong to some
extraordinary and well-known character." "Why, yes," says the sculptor,
"he is pretty well known--it is the head of Lord Pomfret."
* * * * *
Anthony A'Wood has informed us that when Prynne studied, "his custom
was to put on a long quilted cap, which came an inch over his eyes,
serving as an umbrella to defend them from too much light, and seldom
eating any dinner. He would be every three hours munching a roll of
bread, and now and then refresh his exhausted spirits with ale."
* * * * *
The German students are a set of young men who certainly pursue their
studies with zeal, but who nevertheless are more brutal in conduct,
more insolent in manner, more slovenly and ruffian-like in appearance,
and more offensive from the fumes of tobacco and beer, onions and
sourcrout, in which they are enveloped, than are to be met with in any
other part of Europe. In a small town of a small state a German
university is a horrible nuisance; and how the elegant court of Weimar,
in particular, can tolerate the existence of one within an hour's ride
of its palace, where we have seen ragamuffins fighting with
broad-swords in the market-place, moves "our special wonder." To the
university of Bonn is attached a rich collection of subjects in natural
history, and a botanical garden; and such is its success, from the
celebrity of its professors, among whom is numbered the illustrious
William Schlegel, that, Dr. Granville states, "there are at this time
about one thousand and twenty students who, for twenty pounds in
university and professors' fees, and forty more for living, get a
first-rate education." The climate and the situation on the banks of
the Rhine are most inviting; and a beautiful avenue of chestnut trees,
nearly a mile in length, joins the castle of Popplesdorf, which
contains the cabinets of natural history, with the university.
* * * * *
GREAT SEAL OF ENGLAND.
The Great Seal itself, when not in the king's own custody, was
entrusted to the "Chancellor," whose salary, as fixed by Henry I.,
amounted to five shillings per diem, besides a "livery" of provisions.
And the allowance of one pint and a half, or perhaps a quart of claret,
one "gross wax-light," and forty candle-ends, to enable the Chancellor
to carry on his housekeeping, may be considered as a curious
exemplification of primitive temperance and economy.--_Quarterly Rev._
* * * * *
The good people of Weimar appear to be most enthusiastic lovers of
music, affording strong proofs of melomania. Every householder of any
importance subscribes an annual sum to a band of musicians, who go
round in long cloaks to each house, singing fugas and canons,
unaccompanied by instruments, in "the most beautiful and correct style
imaginable,"--something, we suppose, in the style of the Tyrolese
* * * * *
A friend of ours recently went to Russia by steam, and actually
breakfasted in Moscow the thirteenth morning after he left London.
There is now, he says, a road as good as that to Brighton over three
parts of the distance between St. Petersburg and Moscow--what a change
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS
* * * * *
THE MURDER HOLE.
_An Ancient Legend._
"Ah, frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near;
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly!
In a remote district of country belonging to Lord Cassillis, between
Ayrshire and Galloway, about three hundred years ago, a moor of
apparently boundless extent stretched several miles along the road, and
wearied the eye of the traveller by the sameness and desolation of its
appearance; not a tree varied the prospect--not a shrub enlivened the
eye by its freshness--nor a native flower bloomed to adorn this
ungenial soil. One "lonesome desert" reached the horizon on every side,
with nothing to mark that any mortal had ever visited the scene before,
except a few rude huts that were scattered near its centre; and a road,
or rather pathway, for those whom business or necessity obliged to pass
in that direction. At length, deserted as this wild region had always
been, it became still more gloomy. Strange rumours arose, that the path
of unwary travellers had been beset on this "blasted heath," and that
treachery and murder had intercepted the solitary stranger as he
traversed its dreary extent. When several persons, who were known to
have passed that way, mysteriously disappeared, the inquiries of their
relatives led to a strict and anxious investigation; but though the
officers of justice were sent to scour the country, and examine the
inhabitants, not a trace could be obtained of the persons in question,
nor of any place of concealment which could be a refuge for the lawless
or desperate to horde in. Yet, as inquiry became stricter, and the
disappearance of individuals more frequent, the simple inhabitants of
the neighbouring hamlet were agitated by the most fearful
apprehensions. Some declared that the deathlike stillness of the night
was often interrupted by sudden and preternatural cries of more than
mortal anguish, which seemed to arise in the distance; and a shepherd
one evening, who had lost his way on the moor, declared he had
approached three mysterious figures, who seemed struggling against each
other with supernatural energy, till at length one of them, with a
frightful scream, suddenly sunk into the earth.
Gradually the inhabitants deserted their dwellings on the heath, and
settled in distant quarters, till at length but one of the cottages
continued to be inhabited by an old woman and her two sons, who loudly
lamented that poverty chained them to this solitary and mysterious
spot. Travellers who frequented this road now generally did so in
groups to protect each other; and if night overtook them, they usually
stopped at the humble cottage of the old woman and her sons, where
cleanliness compensated for the want of luxury, and where, over a
blazing fire of peat, the bolder spirits smiled at the imaginary
terrors of the road, and the more timid trembled as they listened to
the tales of terror and affright with which their hosts entertained
One gloomy and tempestuous night in November, a pedlar-boy hastily
traversed the moor. Terrified to find himself involved in darkness
amidst its boundless wastes, a thousand frightful traditions, connected
with this dreary scene, darted across his mind--every blast, as it
swept in hollow gusts over the heath, seemed to teem with the sighs of
departed spirits--and the birds, as they winged their way above his
head, appeared, with loud and shrill cries, to warn him of approaching
dagger. The whistle with which he usually beguiled his weary pilgrimage
died away into silence, and he groped along with trembling and
uncertain steps, which sounded too loudly in his ears. The promise of
Scripture occurred to his memory, and revived his courage. "I will be
unto thee as a rock in the desert, and as an hiding-place in the
storm." _Surely_, thought he, _though alone, I am not forsaken;_ and a
prayer for assistance hovered on his lips.
A light now glimmered in the distance which would lead him, he
conjectured, to the cottage of the old woman; and towards that he
eagerly bent his way, remembering as he hastened along, that when he
had visited it the year before, it was in company with a large party of
travellers, who had beguiled the evening with those tales of mystery
which had so lately filled his brain with images of terror. He
recollected, too, how anxiously the old woman and her sons had
endeavoured to detain him when the other travellers were departing; and
now, therefore, he confidently anticipated a cordial and cheering
reception. His first call for admission obtained no visible marks of
attention, but instantly the greatest noise and confusion prevailed
within the cottage. They think it is one of the supernatural visitants
of whom the old lady talks so much, thought the boy, approaching a
window, where the light within showed him all the inhabitants at their
several occupations; the old woman was hastily scrubbing the stone
floor, and strewing it thickly over with sand, while her two sons
seemed with equal haste to be thrusting something large and heavy into
an immense chest, which they carefully locked. The boy in a frolicsome
mood, thoughtlessly tapped at the window, when they all instantly
started up with consternation so strongly depicted on their
countenances, that he shrunk back involuntarily with an undefined
feeling of apprehension; but before he had time to reflect a moment
longer, one of the men suddenly darted out at the door, and seizing the
boy roughly by the shoulder, dragged him violently into the cottage. "I
am not what you take me for," said the boy, attempting to laugh, "but
only the poor pedlar who visited you last year."--"Are you _alone?_"
inquired the old woman, in a harsh, deep tone, which made his heart
thrill with apprehension. "Yes," said the boy, "I am alone _here_; and
alas!" he added, with a burst of uncontrollable feeling, "I am alone in
the wide world also! Not a person exists who would assist me in
distress, or shed a single tear if I died this very night." "_Then_ you
are welcome!" said one of the men with a sneer, while he cast a glance
of peculiar expression at the other inhabitants of the cottage.
It was with a shiver of apprehension, rather than of cold, that the boy
drew towards the fire, and the looks which the old woman and her sons
exchanged, made him wish that he had preferred the shelter of any one
of the roofless cottages which were scattered near, rather than trust
himself among persons of such dubious aspect. Dreadful surmises flitted
across his brain; and terrors which he could neither combat nor examine
imperceptibly stole into his mind; but alone, and beyond the reach of
assistance, he resolved to smother his suspicions, or at least not
increase the danger by revealing them. The room to which he retired for
the night had a confused and desolate aspect; the curtains seemed to
have been violently torn down from the bed, and still hung in tatters
around it--the table seemed to have been broken by some violent
concussion, and the fragments of various pieces of furniture lay
scattered upon the floor. The boy begged that a light might burn in his
apartment till he was asleep, and anxiously examined the fastenings of
the door; but they seemed to have been wrenched asunder on some former
occasion, and were still left rusty and broken.
It was long ere the pedlar attempted to compose his agitated nerves to
rest; but at length his senses began to "steep themselves in
forgetfulness," though his imagination remained painfully active, and
presented new scenes of terror to his mind, with all the vividness of
reality. He fancied himself again wandering on the heath, which
appeared to be peopled with spectres, who all beckoned to him not to
enter the cottage, and as he approached it, they vanished with a hollow
and despairing cry. The scene then changed, and he found himself again
seated by the fire, where the countenances of the men scowled upon him
with the most terrifying malignity, and he thought the old woman
suddenly seized him by the arms, and pinioned them to his side.
Suddenly the boy was startled from these agitated slumbers, by what
sounded to him like a cry of distress; he was broad awake in a moment,
and sat up in bed,--but the noise was not repeated, and he endeavoured
to persuade himself it had only been a continuation of the fearful
images which had disturbed his rest; when, on glancing at the door, he
observed underneath it a broad, red stream of blood silently stealing
its course along the floor. Frantic with alarm, it was but the work of
a moment to spring from his bed, and rush to the door, through a chink
of which, his eye nearly dimmed with affright he could watch
unsuspected whatever might be done in the adjoining room.
His fear vanished instantly when he perceived that it was only a _goat_
that they had been slaughtering; and he was about to steal into his bed
again, ashamed of his groundless apprehensions, when his ear was
arrested by a conversation which transfixed him aghast with terror to
"This is an easier job than you had yesterday," said the man who held
the goat. "I wish all the throats we've cut were as easily and quietly
done. Did you ever hear such a noise as the old gentleman made last
night! It was well we had no neighbour within a dozen of miles, or they
must have heard his cries for help and mercy."
"Don't speak of it," replied the other; "I was never fond of
"Ha, ha!" said the other with a sneer, "you say so, do you?"
"I do," answered the first, gloomily; "the Murder Hole is the thing for
me--_that_ tells no tales--a single scuffle--a single plunge--and the
fellow's dead and buried to your hand in a moment. I would defy all the
officers in Christendom to discover any mischief _there_."
"Ay, Nature did us a good turn when she contrived such a place as that.
Who that saw a hole in the heath, filled with clear water, and so
small that the long grass meets over the top of it, would suppose that
the depth is unfathomable, and that it conceals more than forty people
who have met their deaths there! it sucks them in like a leech!"
"How do you mean to dispatch the lad in the next room?" asked the old
woman in an under tone. The elder son made her a sign to be silent, and
pointed towards the door where their trembling auditor was concealed;
while the other, with an expression of brutal ferocity, passed his
bloody knife across his throat.
The pedlar boy possessed a bold and daring spirit, which was now roused
to desperation; but in any open resistance the odds were so completely
against him, that flight seemed his best resource. He gently stole to
the window, and having by one desperate effort broken the rusty bolt by
which the casement had been fastened, he let himself down without noise
or difficulty. This betokens good, thought he, pausing an instant in
dreadful hesitation what direction to take. This momentary deliberation
was fearfully interrupted by the hoarse voice of the men calling
aloud, "_The boy has fled--let loose the bloodhound!_" These words
sunk like a death-knell on his heart, for escape appeared now
impossible, and his nerves seemed to melt away like wax in a furnace.
Shall I perish without a struggle! thought he, rousing himself to
exertion, and, helpless and terrified as a hare pursued by its ruthless
hunters, he fled across the heath. Soon the baying of the bloodhound
broke the stillness of the night, and the voice of its masters sounded
through the moor, as they endeavoured to accelerate its speed,--panting
and breathless the boy pursued his hopeless career, but every moment
his pursuers seemed to gain upon his failing steps. The hound was
unimpeded by the darkness which was to him so impenetrable, and its
noise rung louder and deeper on his ear--while the lanterns which were
carried by the men gleamed near and distinct upon his vision.
At his fullest speed, the terrified boy fell with violence over a heap
of stones, and having nothing on but his shirt, he was severely cut in
every limb. With one wild cry to Heaven for assistance, he continued
prostrate on the earth, bleeding, and nearly insensible. The hoarse
voices of the men, and the still louder baying of the dog, were now so
near, that instant destruction seemed inevitable,--already he felt
himself in their fangs, and the bloody knife of the assassin appeared
to gleam before his eyes,--despair renewed his energy, and once more,
in an agony of affright that seemed verging towards madness, he rushed
forward so rapidly that terror seemed to have given wings to his feet.
A loud cry near the spot he had left arose on his ears without
suspending his flight. The hound had stopped at the place where the
Pedlar's wounds bled so profusely, and deeming the chase now over, it
lay down there, and could not be induced to proceed; in vain the men
beat it with frantic violence, and tried again to put the hound on the
scent,--the sight of blood had satisfied the animal that its work was
done, and with dogged resolution it resisted every inducement to pursue
the same scent a second time. The pedlar boy in the meantime paused not
in his flight till morning dawned--and still as he fled, the noise of
steps seemed to pursue him, and the cry of his assassins still sounded
in the distance. Ten miles off he reached a village, and spread instant
alarm throughout the neighbourhood--the inhabitants were aroused with
one accord into a tumult of indignation--several of them had lost sons,
brothers, or friends on the heath, and all united in proceeding
instantly to seize the old woman and her sons, who were nearly torn to
pieces by their violence. Three gibbets were immediately raised on the
moor, and the wretched culprits confessed before their execution to the
destruction of nearly fifty victims in the Murder Hole which they
pointed out, and near which they suffered the penalty of their crimes.
The bones of several murdered persons were with difficulty brought up
from the abyss into which they had been thrust; but so narrow is the
aperture, and so extraordinary the depth, that all who see it are
inclined to coincide in the tradition of the country people that it is
unfathomable. The scene of these events still continues nearly as it
was 300 years ago. The remains of the old cottage, with its blackened
walls (haunted of course by a thousand evil spirits,) and the extensive
moor, on which a more modern _inn_ (if it can be dignified with such an
epithet) resembles its predecessor in every thing but the character of
its inhabitants; the landlord is deformed, but possesses extraordinary
genius; he has himself manufactured a violin, on which he plays with
untaught skill,--and if any _discord_ be heard in the house, or any
_murder_ committed in it, this is his only instrument. His daughter
(who has never travelled beyond the heath) has inherited her father's
talent, and learnt all his tales of terror and superstition, which she
relates with infinite spirit; but when you are led by her across the
heath to drop a stone into that deep and narrow gulf to which our story
relates,--when you stand on its slippery edge, and (parting the long
grass with which it is covered) gaze into its mysterious depths,--when
she describes, with all the animation of an _eye witness_, the
struggles of the victims grasping the grass as a last hope of
preservation, and trying to drag in their assassin as an expiring
effort of vengeance,--when you are told that for 300 years the clear
waters in this diamond of the desert have remained untasted by mortal
lips, and that the solitary traveller is still pursued at night by the
howling of the bloodhound,--it is _then only_ that it is possible fully
to appreciate the terrors of THE MURDER HOLE.
* * * * *
I never to a ball will go,
That poor pretence for prancing,
Where Jenkins dislocates a toe,
And Tomkins _thinks_ he's dancing:
And most I execrate that ball,
Of balls the most atrocious,
Held yearly in old Magog's hall,
The feasting and ferocious.
I execrate the mob, the squeeze,
The rough refreshment-scramble:
The dancers, keeping time with knees
That knock as down they amble;
Between two lines of bankers' clerks,
Stared at by two of loobies--
All mighty fine for city sparks,
But all and each one boobies:--
Boobies with heads like poodle-dogs,
With curls like clew-lines dangling;
With limbs like galvanizing frogs,
And necks stiff-starched and strangling;
With pigeon-breasts and pigeon-wings,
And waists like wasps and spiders;
With whiskers like Macready's kings',
Mustachios like El Hyder's.
Miss Jones, the Moorfields milliner,
With Toilinet, the draper,
May waltz--for none are _willinger_
To cut cloth or a caper.--
Miss Moses of the Minories,
With Mr. Wicks of Wapping,
May love such light tracasseries,
Such shuffle shoe and hopping:
Miss Hicks, the belle of Holywell,
And pride of Norton Falgate,
In waltzing may the world excel,
Except Miss Hicks of Aldgate.
Well, let them--'tis their nature--twirl,
And Smiths adore their twirlings,
Which kill with envy every girl
That fingers lace at Urling's,
I laugh while I lament to see
A fellow, made to measure
'Gainst grenadiers of six feet three,
"Die down the dance" with pleasure.
I laugh to see a man with thews
His way through Misses picking,
Like pig with tender pettitoes,
Or chicken-hearted chicken;
A tom-cat shod with walnut-shells,
A pony race in pattens,
A wagon-horse tricked out with bells,
A sow in silks and satins,
A butcher's hair _en papillote_,
And lounging Piccadilly,
A clown in an embroidered coat,
Are not more gauche and silly.
Let atoms take their dusty dance,
But men are not corpuscles:
An Englishman's not made in France,
Nor wire and buckram muscles.
The manly leap, the breathing race,
The wrestle, or old cricket,
Give to the limbs a native grace--
So, here's for double-wicket.
Leave dancing to the women, Men--
In them it is becoming;--
I never tire to see them, when
Joe Hart his fiddle's strumming,
Or Colinet and mild Musard
Have set their hearts quadrilling;--
Then be each nymph a gay Brocard,
And every woman killing.
I love to see the pretty dears
Go lightly caracolling,
And drinking love at eyes and ears,
With every look their soul in!
I like to watch the swan-like grace
They show in minuetting.
It hits one's bosom's tenderest place,
To see them pirouetting.
But when a measurer of tape
Turns butterfly and dandy,
Assumes their grace, their air, their shape,
I wish a pump were handy!
I never to such balls will go,
Those poor pretexts for prancing;
Where Jenkins dislocates his toe,
And Tomkins _thinks_ he's dancing.
* * * * *
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
* * * * *
Two Irishmen lately met, who had not seen each other since their
arrival from Dublin's fair city. Pat exclaimed, "How are you, my honey;
how is Biddy Sulivan, Judy O'Connell, and Daniel O'Keefe?" "Oh! my
jewel," answered the other, "Biddy has got so many children that she
will soon be a grandfather; Judy has six, but they have no father at
all, for she never was married. And, as for Daniel, he's grown so thin,
that he is as thin as us both put together."
W. G. C.
* * * * *
VARY-WEEL WHILE IT LASTS.
Two old Scotch gentlemen, having left their better halves in the Land
o' Cakes, on quitting Covent Garden theatre were discussing the merits
of the play, the School for Scandal. "I was vary gled to see Sir Peter
and my Leddy Tizzle sic gude frinds agin, Mr. M'Dougal, what think ye?"
"Eh, mon, vary weel while it lasts, but it's just Mrs. M'Dougal's way.
I'se warrant they're at it agin afore we are doon in our beds mon."
Poor Sheridan should have heard this himself.
* * * * *
One of his majesty's frigates being at anchor on a winter's night, in
a tremendous gale of wind, the ground broke, and she began to drive.
The lieutenant of the watch ran down to the captain and awoke him from
his sleep, and told him the anchor had come home. "Well," said the
captain, rubbing his eyes, "I think our anchor is perfectly right, for
who the d---- would stay out such a night as this?"
W. G. C.
* * * * *
Beer was first introduced into England in 1492; into Scotland as early
as 1482. By the statute of King James I. one full quart of the best
beer or ale was to be sold for one penny, and two quarts of small beer
for one penny.
* * * * *
In the museum of Stuttgard, is a portrait of the Countess of Salzburg,
who, at the age of 50 years, had mustachios, whiskers, and a beard, as
long and as black as those of any man.
* * * * *
TRIAL BY JURY.
The following anecdote is given in "_Lettres tres sur l'Angleterre par
A. de Stael Holstein_." "King George III. once gave directions for
closing up a gate and a road in his own park at Richmond, which had
been free to foot passengers for many years. A citizen of Richmond, who
found the road convenient to the inhabitants of that village, took up
the cause of his neighbours. He contended, that, although the
thoroughfare might have been originally an encroachment, it had become
public property by the lapse of time, and by prescriptive right, and
that he should compel the king to re-open it. He brought his suit,
without hesitating, into a court of justice, and gained his process."
* * * * *
This day is published, price 5s. with a Frontispiece, and thirty other
ARCANA OF SCIENCE, AND ANNUAL REGISTER OF THE USEFUL ARTS, FOR 1829.
The MECHANICAL department contains ONE HUNDRED New Inventions and
Discoveries, with 14 _Engravings_.
CHEMICAL, SEVENTY articles, with 2 _Engravings_.
NATURAL HISTORY, 135 New Facts and Discoveries, with 7 _Engravings_.
ASTRONOMICAL and METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA--35 articles--6 _Engravings_.
AGRICULTURE, GARDENING, and RURAL ECONOMY, 106 _Articles_.
DOMESTIC ECONOMY 50 _Articles_.
USEFUL ARTS, 50 _Articles_.
MISCELLANEOUS REGISTER, &c.
"We hope the editor will publish a similar volume
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement,
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EBooks posted prior to November 2003, with eBook numbers BELOW #10000,
are filed in directories based on their release date. If you want to
download any of these eBooks directly, rather than using the regular
search system you may utilize the following addresses and just
download by the etext year.
(Or /etext 05, 04, 03, 02, 01, 00, 99,
98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90)
EBooks posted since November 2003, with etext numbers OVER #10000, are
filed in a different way. The year of a release date is no longer part
of the directory path. The path is based on the etext number (which is
identical to the filename). The path to the file is made up of single
digits corresponding to all but the last digit in the filename. For
example an eBook of filename 10234 would be found at:
or filename 24689 would be found at:
An alternative method of locating eBooks: