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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, No. 287, December 15, 1827
Release Date: June 2, 2004 [eBook #12496]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 10, NO. 287, DECEMBER 15, 1827***
|VOL. X, NO. 287.]||SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1827.||[PRICE 2d.|
1. The Guide and Engineer, to whom the whole management of the machinery
and conduct of the carriage is intrusted. Besides this man, a guard will
2. The handle which guides the Pole and Pilot Wheels.
3. The Pilot Wheels.
4. The Pole.
5. The Fore Boot, for luggage.
6. The "Throttle Valve" of the main steam-pipe, which, by means of the handle, is opened or closed at pleasure, the power of the steam and the progress of the carriage being thereby regulated from 1 to 10 or 20 miles per hour.
7. The Tank for Water, running from end to end, and the full breadth of the carriage; it will contain 60 gallons of water.
8. The Carriage, capable of holding six inside-passengers.
9. Outside Passengers, of which the present carriage will carry 15.
10. The Hind Boot, containing the Boiler and Furnace. The Boiler is incased with sheet-iron, and between the pipes the coke and charcoal are put, the front being closed in the ordinary way with an iron door. The pipes extend from the cylindrical reservoir of water at the bottom to the cylindrical chamber for steam at the top, forming a succession of lines something like a horse-shoe, turned edgeways. The steam enters the "separators" through large pipes, which are observable on the Plan, and is thence conducted to its proper destination.
11. "Separators," in which the steam is separated from the water, the water descending and returning to the boiler, while the steam ascends, and is forced into the steam-pipes or main arteries of the machine.
12. The Pump, by which the water is pumped from the tank, by means of a flexible hose, to the reservoir, communicating with the boiler.
13. The Main Steam Pipe, descending from the "separators," and proceeding in a direct line under the body of the coach to the "throttle valve" (No. 6,) and thence, under the tank, to the cylinders from which the pistons work.
14. Flues of the Furnace, from which there is no smoke, coke and charcoal being used.
15. The Perches, of which there are three, conjoined, to support the machinery.
16. The Cylinders. There is one between each perch.
17. Valve Motion, admitting steam alternately to each side of the pistons.
18. Cranks, operating on the axle: at the ends of the axle are crotches (No. 21,) which, as the axle turns round, catch projecting pieces of iron on the boxes of the wheels, and give them the rotatory motion. The hind wheels only are thus operated upon.
19. Propellers, which, as the carriage ascends a hill, are set in motion, and move like the hind legs of a horse, catching the ground, and then forcing the machine forward, increasing the rapidity of its motion, and assisting the steam power.
20. The Drag, which is applied to increase the friction on the wheel in going down a hill. This is also assisted by diminishing the pressure of the steam—or, if necessary, inverting the motion of the wheels.
21. The Clutch, by which the wheel is sent round.
22. The Safety Valve, which regulates the proper pressure of the steam in the pipe.
23. The Orifice for filling the Tank. This is done by means of a flexible hose and a funnel, and occupies but a few seconds.
Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney, whose name is already familiar to most of our readers, after a variety of experiments, during the last two years, has completed a STEAM CARRIAGE on a new principle; or, as a wag said the other day, he has at length brought his plan to bear. We have, accordingly, procured a drawing of this extraordinary invention, which we shall proceed to describe generally, since the letters, introduced in the annexed Engraving, with the accompanying references, will enable our readers to enter into the details of the machinery:—First, as to its safety, upon which point the public are most sceptical. In the present invention, it is stated, that, even from the bursting of the boiler, there is not the most distant chance of mischief to the passengers. This boiler is tubular, constructed upon philosophical principles, and upon a plan totally distinct from any thing previously in use. Instead of being, as in ordinary cases, a large vessel closed on all sides, with the exception of the valves and steam conductors, which a high pressure or accidental defect may burst, it is composed of a succession of welded iron pipes, perhaps forty in number, screwed together in the manner of the common gas-pipes, at given distances, extending in a direct line, and in a row, at equal distances from a small reservoir of water, to the distance of about a yard and a half, and then curving over in a semi-circle of about half a yard in diameter, returning in parallel lines to the pipes beneath, to a reservoir above, thus forming a sort of inverted horse-shoe. This horse-shoe of pipes, in fact, forms the boiler, and the space between is the furnace; the whole being enclosed with sheet-iron. The advantage of this arrangement is obvious; for, while more than a sufficient quantity of steam is generated for the purposes requited, the only possible accident that could happen would be, the bursting of one of these barrels, and a temporary diminution of the steam-power of one-fortieth part. The effects of the accident could, of course, only be felt within its own enclosure; and the Engineer could, in ten minutes, repair the injury, by extracting the wounded barrel, and plugging up the holes at each end; but the fact is, that such are the proofs to which these barrels are subjected, before they are used, by the application of a steam-pressure five hundred times more than can ever be required, that the accident, trifling as it is, is scarcely possible.
A contemporary journal illustrates Mr. Gurney's invention by the following analogy:—"It will appear not a little singular that Mr. Gurney, who was educated a medical man, has actually made the construction of the human body, and [pg 395] of animals in general, the model of his invention. His reservoirs of steam and water, or rather 'separators,' as they are called, and which are seen at the end of our plate, are, as it were, the heart of his steam apparatus, the lower pipes of the boiler are the arteries, and the upper pipes the veins. The water, which is the substitute for blood, is first sent from the reservoirs into the pipes—the operation of fire soon produces steam, which ascends through the pipes to the upper part of the reservoir, carrying with it a portion of water into the separators, which of course descends to the lower part, and returns to fill the pipes which have been exhausted by the evaporation of the steam—the steam above pressing it down with an elastic force, so as to keep the arteries or pipes constantly full, and preserve a regular circulation. In the centre of the separators are perforated steam pipes, which ascend nearly to the tops, these tops being of course closed, so as to prevent the escape of the steam. Through these pipes the steam descends with its customary force, and is conducted by one main pipe all along under the carriage to the end of the platform, which is, in point of fact, the water tank, where it turns under till it reaches two large branch pipes which communicate with the cylinders, from which the pistons move and give motion to the machinery. The cranks of the axle are thus set in action, and the rotatory movement is given to the wheels. By the power thus engendered also a pump is worked, and which, by means of a flexible hose, pumps the water into the boiler, keeping the supply complete. The tank and furnace, it is calculated will hold sufficient water and fuel for one hour's consumption, the former being sixty gallons."
The vehicle resembles the ordinary stage-coaches, but is rather larger and higher. Coke or charcoal are to form the fuel, by which means smoke will be avoided; the flues will be above the level of the seated passenger, and it is calculated that the motion of the carriage will always disperse the heated rarefied air from the flues.
The present carriage would carry six inside and fifteen outside passengers, independent of the guide, who is also the engineer. In front of the coach is a very capacious boot; while behind, that which assumes the appearance of a boot is the case for the boiler and the furnace. The length of the vehicle, from end to end, is fifteen feet, and, with the pole and pilot-wheels, twenty feet. The diameter of the hind wheels is five feet; of the front wheels three feet nine inches; and of the pilot-wheels three feet. There is a treble perch, by which the machinery is supported, and beneath which two propellers, in going up a hill, may be set in motion, somewhat similar to the action of a horse's legs under similar circumstances. In descending a hill, there is a break fixed on the hind wheel to increase the friction; but independent of this, the guide has the power of lessening the force of the steam to any extent, by means of the lever to his right hand, which operates upon, what is called the throttle valve, and by which he may stop the action of the steam altogether, and effect a counter vacuum in the cylinders. By this means also he regulates the rate of progress on the road, going at a pace of two miles or ten miles per hour, or even quicker if necessary. There is another lever also by which he can stop the vehicle instanter, and, in fact, in a moment reverse the motion of the wheels, so as to prevent accident, as is the practice with the paddles of steam-vessels. The guide, who sits in front, keeps the vehicle in its proper course, by means of the pilot-wheels acting upon the pole, like the handle of a garden-chair.
The weight of the carriage and its apparatus is estimated at 1-1/2 tons, and its wear and tear of the road, as compared with a carriage drawn by four horses, is as one to six. When the carriage is in progress the machinery is not heard, nor is there so much vibration as in an ordinary vehicle, from the superior solidity of the structure. The engine has a twelve-horse power, but may be increased to sixteen; while the actual power in use, except in ascending a hill, is but eight-horse.
The success of the present improved invention is stated to be decided; but the public will shortly have an opportunity of judging for themselves, as several experimental journeys are projected. If it should attain its anticipated perfection, the contrivance will indeed be a proud triumph of human ingenuity, which, aided by its economy, will doubtless recommend it to universal patronage. Mr. Gurney has already secured a patent for his invention; and he has our best wishes for his permanent success.
London, in early times (King Ethelred's reign) consisted only of scattered buildings from Ludgate to Westminster, [pg 396] and none where the heart of the city now is; it was afterwards extended more westward and continued increasing—-eastward being neglected until a more later period. Who can view its present well constructed houses, its numerous elegant squares and terraces, and its general superior appearance, without almost doubting that the inhabitants of Britain once dwelt in the most miserable habitations, regardless in every respect of comfort and cleanliness. Indeed, at an early period we seem to have been in a very wretched condition. Without carrying ourselves too far back, we will look at the state of the English about the year 1520, (Henry the Eighth's reign.) The houses were built entirely regardless of all that health and comfort could suggest. The situation of the doors and windows was never thought of, and the former only opened. The floors were made either of clay, or sand, covered with rushes, which were very seldom removed.1 Some few houses were built of stone, but generally they were composed of wood, coated over with mud, or cement, with straw or reed roofs. Things seem to have been in no very enviable condition during this reign. The laws were little obeyed; thefts and robbery were frequent, for "22,000 criminals are said to have been executed by the rigid justice of Henry VIII."
It is not surprising that crime should have been great in this reign, for Henry himself was not only guilty of many crimes, but patronised vice in the regular system of bull and bear-baiting, particularly on Sundays, about four in the afternoon, which exhibitions were attended by great crowds of persons of all classes. The accommodations of a royal establishment at this period are thus described:—"The apartments at Hampton Court had been furnished on a particular occasion, each with a candlestick, a basin, goblet and ewer of silver; yet the furniture of Henry's chamber, independent of the bed and cupboard, consisted only of a joint-stool, a pair of andirons, and a small mirror. The halls and chambers of the wealthy were replenished with a cupboard, long tables, or rather loose boards placed upon tressels, forms, a chair, and a few joint-stools. Carpets were only employed to garnish cupboards." The food in this reign appears to be in character with everything else. From a household book of the Earl of Northumberland, it appears that his family, during the winter, fed mostly on salt meat and salt fish, with "an appointment of 160 gallons of mustard." On flesh days through the year, breakfast for my lord and lady was a loaf of bread, two manchets, a quart of beer, a quart of wine, half a chine of mutton, or a chine of beef, boiled. The earl had only two cooks to dress victuals for more than two hundred people. Hens, chickens, and partridges, were reckoned delicacies, and were forbidden except at my lord's table.
This excessive love for eating was not, however, confined to Henry's time, for about two centuries previous to this, (Edward III.) feasting was endeavoured to be restrained by a law, though Edward himself did not follow his own law, for when his "son, Lionel, of Clarence, married Violentes, of Milant there were thirty courses, and the fragments fed 1,500 persons."
The formation of London was but tardy and very irregular until the reign of Henry VIII. at which time, some extensive buildings and improvements were made. On the other hand, building seems at length to have gone on too rapidly, and caused such alarm, that about a century after Henry's reign, a proclamation was issued by James I. after mature deliberation, forbidding all new buildings within ten miles of London; and commanding if any were built after this they should be pulled down, though no notice was taken of them for seven years.
It is somewhat singular, that though the population in these early days were but a handful in comparison to the present number, the redundancy of population was as bitterly complained of as it ever has been in modern days. About thirty years after Henry's reign (Elizabeth) we learn from one Harrison, who wrote in 1577, that "a great number complain of the increase of povertie, laying the cause upon God, as though he were in fault for sending such increase of people, or want of wars that should consume them, affirming that the land was never so full. Some affirming that youth by marrying too soon do nothing to profit the countrie; but fill it full of beggars, to the hurte and utter undooing, they say, of the common wealth. The better minded doo forsake the realme for altogether, complaining of no room to be left for them at home." If there was no room in Elizabeth's time, what must be our present situation? Indeed the present crowded state of the metropolis, and the general closeness of the buildings, has frequently been a subject for regret, as tending to render it unhealthy and impure; but on referring to its state, when in comparison it was but a village, the old writers state that in the city, and all [pg 397] round it were a great number of pits and ditches, and sloughs, which were made the receptacle of all kind of filth, dead and putrid horses, and cattle, &c. In the time of Henry VIII. many parts are described as "exceedingly foul and full of pits and sloughs, and very noisome," and some years after (1625) in a tract, the author says, "Let not carkasses of horses, dogs, cats, &c. lye rotting and poisoning the aire, as they have done in More and Finsbury Fields, and elsewhere round about the cittie. Let the ditches towards Islington, Olde-street, and towards Shoreditch and Whitechapel, be well cleansed." In another tract published in 1665, it states, that "there are all sorts of unsavoury stenches, proceeding either from carrion, ditches, rotten dung-hills, vaults, sinks, nasty kennels, and streets, (strewed with all manner of filth) seldom cleansed." From these statements it is evident that notwithstanding all the present inconveniences that the inhabitants of London live in more healthy situations now that they are surrounded by houses, than when they were exposed to extensive open fields.
Chaste, as the icicle,
That's curded by the frost from purer snow,
And hangs on Dian's temple; Dear—old maid.
Sed mihi vel tellus optem prius ima dehiscat,
Vel Pater omnipotens adigat me fulmine ad umbras,
Pallentes umbras Erebi, noctemque profundum,
Ante, pudor, quam te violem, aut tua jure resolvam.
I have years on my back forty-eight,
SHAKSPEARE'S King Lear.
Four-and-twenty lap-dogs, all of a row,
Four-and-twenty monkeys, kits, and cats, dit-to;
Four-and-twenty colours in her tawdry dress,
(A rainbow she in all—but its loveliness!)
Four-and-twenty tempers, in the four-and-twenty hours;
Four-and-twenty dreams of suppos'd vanquished pow'rs,
To wit of four-and-twenty swains—more or less;
Who have four-and-twenty times, curs'd her ugliness!
Four-and-twenty trials, ere as many hours are o'er,
Of four-and-twenty genera of rival Kalydor;
Four-and-twenty scentings with her dear bergamot,
Four-and-twenty daubs of her dear paint-pot;
Four-and-twenty visitings to four-and-twenty friends,
And four-and-twenty tales of 'em, before the day ends;
Of these said four-and-twenty tales just four-and-twenty versions,
And all of them of all the facts most farcica perversions.
Four-and-twenty false curls, * *
Four-and-twenty false teeth, and quite as false a tongue,
Which tells how virtuous was the world when—she and it were young.
Or rather for these thirty years has moralizing told,
How this good deed and that she'll do, before she grows old:
Four-and-twenty sighs a-day, that our rude English sky
Is not precise as she—and may wash off the dye
Meretricious of her cheeks, which are then like gold,
(Though less tempting;) sweet and yellow as a marigold!2
Four-and-twenty wailings o'er the wedded state,
Yet twice as many every day 'tis not her fate;
Pretending to the world 'tis mere choice that has led
To singleness—yet choosing all the while to be wed,
If any doting fool could be doting fool enough
To bid for such a breaking down piece of stuff;
For any such a winter, that has shed the flowers of spring,
Whose autumn too is flown; nor left its fruit or any thing!
Yes, such are the marks deep branded on a class
Of busy blanks, non-entities, creation's very farce;
In these scales then be every piece of Eve's flesh weighed,
Find these criteria, and be sure you've found an—Ancient Maid!
Robert Cecil, great grandson to the first Earl of Salisbury, told Lord Dartmouth that his ancestor, inquiring into the character of king James, Bruce (his majesty's own ambassador) answered, "Ken ye a John Ape? en I's have him, he'll bite you; en you's have him, he'll bite me."
Speaker of the House of Commons, was one day coming to his duty, when his coach happening to break down, he ordered the beadle to stop the first gentleman's coach they met, and bring it to him. The owner felt much surprised to [pg 398] be turned out of his own coach; but Sir Edward told him it was much more proper for him to walk in the streets than the speaker of the House of Commons; and accordingly left him to do so without farther apology.—This arbitrary exercise of authority is perhaps without a parallel.
Of France used to say that a king should have the heart of a child towards God, but the heart of a father towards his subjects.
His late majesty was very partial to Mr. Carbonel, the wine-merchant, and frequently admitted him to the royal hunts. Returning from the chase one day, the king entered affably into conversation with his wine-merchant, and rode with him side by side a considerable distance. Lord Walsingham was in attendance, and watching an opportunity, called Mr. C. aside, and whispered something to him. "What's that? what has Walsingham been saying to you?" inquired the good-humoured monarch. "I find, sire, I have been unintentionally guilty of disrespect by not taking off my hat when I address your majesty; but you will please to observe, that whenever I hunt my hat is fastened to my wig, and my wig to my head; and as I am mounted on a very spirited horse, if any thing goes off, we must all go off together." The king laughed heartily at the whimsical apology.
A certain noble lord, who was the duke's aide-de-camp, visited his grace early on the morning of the battle of Salamanca, and perceiving him lying on a very small camp bedstead, observed, "that his grace had not room to turn himself;" who immediately, in his usual characteristic manner, rejoined, "When you have lived as long and seen so much as I have, you will know, that when a general thinks of turning in his bed, it is full time to turn out."
An artist named Brendel, possessed with the folly of the "philosopher's stone," proposed to Rubens to join him in the discovery of that mystery. He replied, "Your application is too late; for these twenty years past my pencils and pallet have revealed to me the secret about which you are so anxious."
When the ambassador of Henry IV. of France was in England, the queen asked him one birth-night, which was attended by a splendid assembly of the court, how he liked her ladies. Knowing her majesty was not averse to flattery, he made the following elegant reply: "It is hard, madam, to judge of stars in the presence of the sun."
Was remarkable in his youth for piety; entering a little village, the better sort of inhabitants wished to attend him with a canopy. He answered, "I hear you have no church here. I cannot suffer a canopy of state to be borne over my head in a place where God hath not a consecrated roof to dwell under."
Emperor of Germany, being once asked what was the surest method of living happy in the world, replied, "By doing in health those good works you promised to do on the bed of sickness."
Conductors affixed to houses should always be pointed, and the point should be kept in a state of cleanliness, and the conductors should terminate in a moist stratum of earth, or in London it might safely be conveyed into the common sewer. It has been objected to the use of pointed conductors, that we invite the lightning to the point; and that is true to a certain extent, and in gunpowder mills the conductor should be placed at some distance from the building. The conducting rod should be of copper or iron, and from half to three-fourths of an inch in diameter, so as not to be readily forced. Its upper end should be elevated about three or four feet above the highest part of the building, and all the metallic parts of the roof should be connected with the rod, which should be continuous throughout. As regards the question of what is the safest situation in a thunder-storm, we should be pretty safe in the middle of a large room in bed; we should be pretty safe among the feathers, which are bad conductors; but as the bell-wires will conduct the electricity into the room, the bed should be removed from them. It would be well to stand at a distance from the chimney on a woollen rug, which is a non-conductor. When out of doors, I scarcely need to say, that you should never stand under a tree; the tree being moist, the electric fluid generally passes down between the bark and the substance of the tree, splitting it in all directions, and the lightning will pass [pg 399] to the best conductor near it; if any unfortunate animal should happen to be under the tree, it will be killed. The safest plan is to go toward the middle of the field, at a distance from any tree, and to stretch yourself out upon the ground, although this is not a very pleasant situation, especially in hard rain. During a thunder-storm, the earth is in a state of electricity as well as the clouds, and the light and heat which are produced at the explosion indicate the annihilation of the two electricities. Sometimes the discharge is only from cloud to cloud, sometimes from the earth to the clouds, and sometimes from the clouds to the earth, as one or other may be in the positive or negative state. The clouds are usually more or less electrical when the vapour, floating about in the atmosphere, is condensed, and the earth being brought into an opposite state of electricity by induction, a discharge takes place, when the clouds approach within a certain distance, and sometimes the electric cloud perches upon a hill, and then discharges itself. The electricity passes through the clouds in a zig-zag direction, and the undulation of the air which it produces is the cause of the noise which we hear, called thunder, which is more or less intense, and of longer or shorter duration, according to the quantity of air acted upon, and the distance of the place where the report is heard from the point of discharge. If the danger be great, we have seldom any opportunity to count the time which elapses between the appearance of the lightning and the report: electrical effects take place at no sensible time; it has been found, that a discharge through a circuit of four miles is instantaneous, whilst sound moves at the rate of about twelve miles in a minute. So that, supposing the lightning to pass through a space of some miles, the explosion will be first heard from the point of the air agitated nearest to the spectator; it will gradually come from the more remote parts of the course of the electricity, and, last of all, will be heard from the very extremity; and the different degrees of the agitation of the air, and the difference of the distance, will account for the different intensities of the sound, and its apparent reverberations and changes. If you can count from two to three seconds between the appearance of the lightning and the sound, there is seldom much danger; and when the interval is a quarter of a minute, you are secure.—Brande's Lectures.—Lancet.
A crane for raising weights, on an entirely new principle—that of the application of the lever, assisted by wedges, instead of the usual plan of wheel and pinion, for multiplying power—has recently been constructed at the West India Docks. The power of two men, with the patent crane, is stated to be capable of lifting from 2-1/2 to 3 times the weight lifted through the same space in a given time, by the best constructed cranes on the old principle of wheel machinery.
The usual mode of ornamenting ivory in black, is to engrave the pattern or design, and to fill up the cavities thus produced with hard black varnish. Mr. Cathery has much improved and simplified the process, by covering the ivory with engraver's varnish, and drawing the design with an etching needle; he then pours on a menstruum, composed of 120 grains of fine silver, dissolved in an ounce measure of nitric acid, and diluted with one quart of pure distilled water. After half an hour, more or less, according to the required depth of tint, the liquor is to be poured off, and the surface is to be washed with distilled water, and dried with blotting paper. It is then to be exposed to the light for an hour, after, which the varnish may be removed by oil of turpentine. The design will now appear permanently impressed on the ivory, and of a black or blackish brown colour, which will come to its full tint after exposure for a day or two to the light. Varieties of colour may be given by substituting the salt of gold, platina, copper, &c. for the solution of silver.—Trans. of the Society of Arts.
Among the fossil bones lately dug from under the lava of the mountain of Boulade, in the neighbourhood of Issoire, in France, none have been discovered belonging to the human body. The same is the case in the other mountains of the vicinity. But, although there are no human bones, in several places, and especially in the mountain of Boutaresa, (which is not far from the mountain of Boulade,) pieces of wood have been discovered, buried under the ancient lava, which observers worthy of credit declare seem to have been fashioned by the hand of man, and to have been cut with a hatchet, although rudely, and as might be expected in the infancy of the arts. Did man exist then, at that remote period when elephants, lions, and tapirs, lived in Europe, with rein-deer and bears? This is an exceedingly difficult question, and one which hitherto does not, by any means, appear to have been satisfactorily resolved.—New Monthly Magazine.
The characteristics of November, for the most part, extend through the present month. Wind, rain, and gloom are its attributes; the sun
Scarce spreads through ether the dejected day,
Faint are his gleams, and ineffectual shoot
His struggling rays, in horizontal lines,
Through the thick air; as clothed in cloudy storm,
Weak, wan, and broad, he skirts the southern sky;
And soon descending, to the long dark night.
Wide-shading all, the prostrate world resigns.
Such is the gloomy picture of December, as drawn by the poet of the year.
To the contemplatist, and the man who has
But winter and rough weather,
the rural walk at this season is equally inviting with any of its predecessors; whilst he who can "suck melancholy from a song," will find melody in its storms and music in its wind. What are more beautiful than the fretwork frostings of rime and hoar spread on the hedges, glistening in the broad sun-beam, and in brilliancy and variety of colours vying with the richest display of oriental splendour—with here and there berries clustering on evergreens, or pendent in solitary beauty, like the "rich jewel in the Aethiop's ear." The winter stillness of animal life is a sublime subject for our meditation. Insects which floated on the gay sunshine of summer and autumn have now retired to their winter quarters, there to remain dormant till regenerated in the enlivening warmth of spring; and even the labours of husbandry are in a state of torpidity.
Within the circuit of gardens and shrubberies Nature, however, reserves the evergreen pride of firs and pines; and even flowers are left to gladden the eye of the winter observer; and the rose, that sweet emblem of our fragile and transitory state, will live and prosper during this month. In the forest, the oak, beech, and hornbeam in part retain their leaves; there, too, is the endless variety of mosses, and lichens, and ivy, spreading and clinging round aged trunks, as if to protect them with their fond warmth, or mantling over the neglected labours of human art, and mocking their proud import.
At this season, too, the social economy of man is wont to ripen into mirth; and in olden time, winter was the summer of hospitality, when the sunshine of Christmas shed its holy light on the hearts and faces of young and old. What the present generation have gained in head, they have lost in heart, and Christmas is almost the only surviving holiday of the calendar. But now, alas! "we live too late in time."
If knowledge be valuable only in the proportion in which it conduces to our happiness, then we have cause to deplore the loss of the wassail-bowl, the sports and wrestlings of the town green, the evening tales, and the elegant pastimes of [pg 401] masque, song, and dance, of our ancestors, which the taste of our times has narrowed into a commercial channel, or pared down to a few formal visits and their insipid returns; and friends, families, and fortunes are often sacrificed in this exchange.
But there are minds so attuned as not to be shut out from
"The gayest, happiest attitudes of things,"
nor to allow their social blaze to be darkened by such narrow conceits; and for a picture of this portion of mankind, we quote Mr. Bucke's Harmonies:—
"Awed by the progress of time, winter, ushered into existence by the howling of storms, and the rushing of impetuous torrents, and contemplating, with the satisfaction of a giant, the ruins of the year, still affords ample food for enjoyments, which the vulgar never dream of, if sympathy and association diffuse their attractive spells around us! In the bosom of retirement, how delightful is it to feel exempt from the mean intrigues, the endless difficulties and tumults, which active life ensures, and which retirement enables us so well to contemplate through the telescope of recollection. When seated by the cheerful fire among friends, loving and beloved, our hopes, our wishes, and our pleasures are concentrated; the soul seems imparadised in an enchanted circle; and the world, vain, idle, and offensive as it is, presents nothing to the judgment, and little to the imagination, that can induce the enlightened or the good to regret, that the knowledge they possess of it is chiefly from the report of others, or from the tumultuous murmur, which from a distance invades the tranquillity of their retreat, and operates as a discord in a soft sonata. These are the moments which affect us more than all the harmony of Italy, or all the melody of Scotland—moments, in which we appear almost to emulate the gods in happiness."
"Change," in the quaint language of Feltham, "is the great lord of the universe, and Time is the agent which brings all things under his dominion." This has been demonstrated through our past calendar of monthly characteristics; to which are subjoined, from a still more quaint authority than Feltham, said to be printed in the reign of Henry VII., in a Sarum black-letter missal:
The fyrst six yeres of mannesbyrth and aege
May well be compared to Janyere,
For in this moneth, is no strengeth nor courage
More than in a chylde of the aege of six yere.
The other six yeres is like February,
In the end thereof beguyneth (1) the Sprynge,
That tyme chyldren is moost asst and redy
To receyve chastysement, nurture and lernynge.
March betokeneth the six yeres followynge,
Arayeng the erthe with pleasaunt verdure;
That season youth thought for nothynge,
And wothout thought dooth his sporte and pleasure.
The next six yere maketh four-and-twenty,
And figured is to jolly Aprill
That tyme of pleasures man hath most plenty
Fresh, and louying (2) his lustes tofulfyll.
As in the moneth of Maye all thing in mygth (3)
So at thirty yeres man is in chief lyking,
Pleasaunt and lustie to every mannes sygth, (4)
In beauti and strengthe to women pleasynge.
In June, all thyns falleth to rypenesse,
And so dooth man at Ihirty-six yere old,
And studyetli for to acquyre rychesse.
And taketh a wyfe, to keepe his householde.
At forty yere of aege, or elles never
Is ony man endewed with wysdome
For than forgth (5) his mygth fayleth ever
As in July doth every blossome.
The goodes of the erthe is gadered evermore
In August, so at forty-eight yere
Man ought to gather some goodes in store
To susteyne aege that then draweth nere.
Let no man thynke, for to gather plenty
Yf, at fifty-four yere he have none
No more than yf his barne were empty
In September when all the come is gone.
By Octobre betokenyth sixty yere
That aege hastely dooth man assayle,
Yf he have outgh (6) than (7) it dooth appere
To lyve quyetly after his travayle.
When man is at sixty-six yere olde
Which lykened is to bareyne Novembre
He waxeth unweldy, (8) sekely (9) and cold
Than (7) his soule helth is time to remember.
The yere by Decembre takelh his ende,
And so dooth man at three-score and twelve,
Nature with aege wyll hym on message sende
Tho tyme is come that he must go hymselve.
1. Beginneth. 3. Loving. 3. Might 4. Sight. 5. Waste or barren, applied to mind. 6. Aught, anything. 7. Then. 8. Unwieldy. 9. Sickly.
A few words at parting, or rather in closing our calendar. Whilst we have endeavoured to attract by the little emblematic display of art at the head of each month, we have not neglected to direct [pg 402] the attention of our readers to "the good in every thing" which is scattered through each season of the year, by constantly recurring to the beneficence of the OMNIPOTENT BEING—thus enabling them to look
"Through Nature up to Nature's God."
Her study will moderate our joys and griefs, and enable us to carry the principle of "good in every thing" into every relation of social life. Let us learn to cherish in our remembrance that (in the language of the sublime Sterne) "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb;" and that the storms of the world, like those of nature, will at length clear off, and open to us a prospect unclouded and eternal.
[For the following Gulliverian sketch we are indebted to a lively volume of whim, humour, and pleasant sentiment, entitled Snatches from Oblivion: the work likewise contains some springy versification.—Ed.]
An honourable member of a certain enlightened assembly, who had greatly distinguished himself by his topographical ingenuity and taste for good society, had, in the course of some statistical researches, discovered a part of the globe hitherto unknown, called by the natives Russell Square, and which was considered would be an important acquisition to the English dominions. A council of state was called upon this occasion, who, after six successive meetings, determined upon sending out an expedition, at the head of which was the original discoverer, to reconnoitre, and, if eligible, to take possession of the terra incognita in the name and behalf of the British crown. Unfortunately I was myself at that time engaged in oddity-hunting in another part of the world, and was consequently unable to join the adventurous party, but have learned the whole particulars from the mouth of an intimate friend, who formed a portion of it, and who obliged me with the tie of a cravat of one of the extraordinary inhabitants of the soil. His relation is to the following effect:—
"The conditions of our enterprise having been finally arranged, and our instructions delivered, sealed by the Lords of the Admiralty, after a few months' preparation we were enabled to commence our adventurous career. Prayers having been put up for our safe return, our, wills having been made, and, in case of our never returning from
"'That undiscovered country (Russell Square),
From whence (it was dreaded) no traveller returns,'
"our property secured, as well as handsome annuities to our wives and children, we embarked on board the Admiralty yacht from Whitehall Stairs. Here a scene that would have melted the heart of a stoic took place. The difficulties and horrors of our campaign, the melancholy fates of Mungo Park, and Captains Cook and Bowditch, the agonizing consequences of starvation, cannibalism, and vulgarity, which we were likely to encounter in these unknown regions, were depicted in their most vivid and powerful colours. But each of us was a Roman, a Columbus, prepared to stand or fall in the service of his country.
"The vessel left the shores amidst the tears, groans, and perfumed handkerchiefs of the surrounding multitude; so heart-rending were our adieux, that three officers of the guards, overcome by the afflicting crisis, went into strong hysterics, and were obliged to have their stay-laces cut. Standing on the poop of the vessel with a white handkerchief in one glove, and a bottle of Eau de Cologne in the other, we waved farewell to our friends, and, as the last vestige of their whiskers disappeared from our sight, a sad presentiment filled our minds that it was for ever. Groups of beings, wearing the form and countenances of men, though most barbarously disguised, occasionally passed us in what we supposed to be canoes, saluting us in an unknown and discordant tone. Our voyage concluded at a point which, we have since been informed, was discovered by a noble lord in a sailing expedition, where he was driven by adverse winds and tides, and baptized by him 'Waterloo Bridge,' after a certain victory supposed to have been obtained by the ancient Britons some time previous to the flood. Having landed, we were immediately surrounded by a native tribe of a warlike and barbarous aspect, being in almost a primitive dress, having only the lower part of their persons covered. The appearance of their skin was most remarkable; it was intersected by blue seams, as if nature had supplied them with a shirt of her own formation—for not the slightest appearance of muslin or cambric was visible. The name of this horde of barbarism is, as we were afterwards informed, in their native patois, Scullers, and from the circumstance of [pg 403] their appearing peculiar to the river and its banks, the Professor of Natural History, whom we carried with us, after an elaborate investigation, declared them to be, peculiar to the soil, members of the animal kingdom, of a species between the alligator and crocodile.
"After reference to our geographical charts, we took our seats in our stanhopes, being preceded by our travelling chariots, a detachment of the Lancers, by way of security, two interpreters, a guide, and a surgeon, in case of casualties. By the instructions of the guide we steered in a direction N.E.E., and as we proceeded farther into the country, the barbarity and uncivilization became more apparent. Crossing a swamp called the Strand, we arrived at a native settlement called Drury Lane, inhabited by a horde infinitely more barbarous and rude than the tribe by which we were accosted on landing. The indigites of this soil, in ferocity of appearance, exceeded all our previous idea of savage life. They are generally tattooed, but the crevices in their skin, instead of variegated colours as the savages of the South Seas, seemed to be filled up by a composition much resembling dirt. They had, however, no tomahawks, nor implements of a warlike description, nor were any of them dressed in skins; although some of them had the hide of a beast hanging from their waist downwards, which appeared their only covering, and we understand is called by them—leathern apron.
"Passing by a native wigwam, which we found in our maps defined as Vinegar Yard, we were surrounded by a motley and terrific group of the inhabitants, both male and female. Of their sex we were in great doubt, especially of those who carried on their heads a kind of wicker basket, in which were a quantity of fish, of whose genus our naturalist declared himself perfectly ignorant. As we had often heard of the simplicity of man when undefiled by a knowledge of the world, of his hospitality, and his overflowing milk of human kindness, and feeling besides exhausted from the length and difficulties of our journey, we determined upon putting these fabled attributes to the proof. Holding up his stick, as an emblem of peaceable intentions, and backed by the Lancers, our interpreter advanced, and inquired for the hut of their chief, and requested, as we were much exhausted, they would oblige us with a small quantity of their ava, and a few of their native yams. As they seemed unable to detect his meaning, which we endeavoured to make more palpable, by all of us at the same time advancing, simultaneously putting our fingers down our mouths, and rubbing our stomachs, in order to have our urgent necessities immediately gratified.
"Instead of our wants having been anticipated, as we had naturally supposed, the whole tribe immediately set up a discordant yell. Believing that we were still misunderstood, we resolved on asking for food, and assuring them of our peaceable intentions in all the languages we were masters of. One of the Lancers who had, during foreign service, picked up a few expressions of the Cherokee Indians, and also a knowledge of their habits, proposed addressing them. A consultation being held, and the result being favourable, he advanced; and, in the Cherokian language, asked for food, invoked at the same time the great spirit, which he did by spitting on his hands (an Indian custom), and holding up his right foot for the purpose of his auditor kissing it, as a token of conciliation. The person whom he addressed, in an uncouth, but certainly melodious language, answered in these words:
"'Dom hew-er hies, gie us none o' hew-er-jaw.'
"Another, whom I had willingly entreated in my native tongue for a place of shelter, answered in the following couplet, which convinced me of the truth of the supposition of Mr. Thomas Campbell, the intended lecturer of poetry to the London University, that mankind in an aboriginal state is essentially poetical, and express their ideas either in rhythmical or figurative language—
An find it hout.'
"Others shouted with a peculiar strength of lungs, Bedlam! Bedlam! ha! ha! These words appeared to be instantly caught up by the surrounding groups, and communicated like wild-fire, amongst the different tribes, which by this time had increased to an alarming magnitude. * * *
"Arriving at a settlement, marked out in the maps as Great Russell Street, the marks of civilization became more apparent, particularly when we saw a native approaching in shoes, stockings, and a bona fide pair of breeches; but our surprise was increased on reaching the place of our destination, 'Russell Square,' to find very few traces of savage life, and a wigwam of considerable extent erected in close imitation of our beloved and long-lost homes!
"Having stopped at a house which had the appearance of being inhabited by a civilized being, our interpreter, in the patois of the country, requested we might [pg 404] be admitted inside, for tire sole purpose of judging of the manners and customs of foreign nations. The creature who received our request was habited much after the same fashion as our footmen, only the wretch, as if to put his uncivilization beyond a doubt, actually wore white cotton stockings, and his hair without powder. Being shown up stairs, we entered a room of considerable dimensions, and our astonishment may be more easily conceived than expressed, on our finding, instead of naked beings, squatted cross-legged on mats on the floor, we found them decently attired, and sitting upright in most Christian-like and indubitable chairs. The master of the house, a short, fat, and, for a savage, an apparently inoffensive man, having by no means a blood-thirsty appearance, made us welcome according to the fashion of the country, which he did by the following ceremony:—Placing himself about half a yard before us, with both sets of his toes so drawn in as to nearly meet, one of his his hands being stuck where his breeches pocket should be placed, he ducked his head and shoulders (as if he would make a bow), at the same time drawing one of his feet from the other, and scraping it on the floor; this accomplished, he resumed his former position, muttered some unintelligible words, which sounded like 'perdigiously happy,' tucked up the collar of his shirt (for the wretch actually wore one), and stalked away.
"It is needless to say that we were regarded with symptoms of infinite astonishment by the natives, with whom the room was filled, and who appeared to be mimicking the manners of civilized life, and often calling out words, which we have since understood to be names of liquids peculiar to the country, viz—'port,' 'sherry,' and 'lemonade.' Our curiosity being amply gratified, the short fat native, who had first addressed us, marched up to me, and to my indescribable alarm offered to introduce me to his daughter, a young savage of about seventeen, who he pointed out sitting in a nearly civilized attitude on a legitimate sofa. Perceiving me shudder at the proposal, for I had heard that the New Zealanders, and other barbarous tribes, sometimes eat their friends, as well as their enemies, he inquired of me the cause, and fearful of the consequence of exciting the anger of these savages while in their power, I expressed my total willingness to the introduction, and declared that my only objection was, lest she should scratch; upon his assuring me she was perfectly tame. I consented to be led (though like a lamb to the slaughter) to the couch, praying most fervently, though silently, she would not make a meal of me. What was my horror when the short fat gentleman addressed her with a horrid wink of the eye—'Poppett, as I know you to be partial to these smart young fellows (Heavens! she was then addicted to cannibalism), I have brought you one.' I heard no more, but making up my mind I was to be served up for supper, flew with the utmost' rapidity my stays would permit me, when my ears were electrified at the sounds of Stultz and Nugee. I knew not how it was, but the hearing of these words, surrounded as I was by doubt and danger, calmed at once my agitated spirits, like some well-remembered air which we have heard in our infancy, stealing over the waste of years and distance, I felt completely overcome by my feelings. Home, and my native land, with a thousand sweet associations of relatives, and all the charms of friendship and love, seemed to accompany the sounds, and I gazed with unqualified mildness on the innocent source of my happiness, who stood gazing in simple wonder at my ill-suppressed surprise. I was nearly fainting, and should have fallen, had it not been for a kind-hearted squaw in a satin slip, and blond trimmings, bathing my temples with a grateful distillation of otto of roses. The natural reserve of my disposition having been overcome by the force of nature, I proposed to our entertainer, if he would part with his daughter to take her back with us, and make her a member of the civilized world. He shook his head, and declared his inability to relinquish her; so great do we find the force of parental affection even in savage life; but upon the approach of his son, an eligible and ductile youth, with a promising pair of whiskers, and irreproachable pantaloons, he consented to part with him, declaring that next to his daughter he was the only solace of his life. As the youth bore the name of his tribe, the semi-barbarous cognomen of Simpson, he agreed to accept that of Lee boo, not only as being more civilized, but expressive of his situation. As he was of an ambitious nature, he had made, unknown to his parent, many excursions towards the west; we therefore agreed to accept of him as our guide; and we left our simple and promising friends with the assurance of a speedy return: as a pledge, we exchanged one of our cravats, well stiffened, and with the Petersham tie, for one of the collars worn by the male, and a flounce of the she-savage's petticoats; promising also to send them, on our arrival, a pattern of Lord H———h's beard, which [pg 405] approached nearer to savage life than any other object we could think of in the civilized world.
"We reached Connaught Place without any accident, with the young savage as a trophy, and received the most affectionate welcome on our unexpected and safe return. Prayers were put up the following day at most of the fashionable churches, and a solemn te deum was composed expressly for the occasion. The young savage has already realized the expectation we formed of his docility and capacity; already he speaks our language equal to a native—has run through the whole of his property—keeps race-horses —and has an opera singer under his protection—never pays a bill, and is admitted without a voucher at every hell in the metropolis; has forgot his father's name, and never hears the unknown region of 'Russell Square' mentioned, but he inquires—'if that is not the place where the people drink porter, and don't wear shoes and stockings?'"
Dust, than which nothing can, upon a superficial view, be considered more insignificant, was, a few years back, of very considerable value, far surpassing the value of many things acquired by difficulty and danger, and for which the breadth of oceans are traversed, through storms and tempests. Perhaps a cruise to the Gold Coast, with all its drawbacks and contingencies, is scarcely so profitable as the returns on the quantity of dust collected in the City of London, during the time necessary for the voyage, and its accomplished return. About the period I allude to, the parish of St. Luke received no less a sum than between one and two thousand pounds a-year for dust collected, which, being placed to the parish account, tended in a great measure to keep down the poor'-rates. In addition to its value, no kind of property is better secured; as will be evinced, when the reader is informed that his present Majesty, George IV., when he was Prince Regent, lost an action for the recovery of the value of dust, carried away from the palace, by his servants, to be used as manure. In order to a further illustration of the subject, it is necessary to inform the reader, that what has hitherto been considered is but a part of that incongruous combination, the contents of a dust-cart—the very last residuum—the matter called "brize;" previous to which, by the result of much labour, of picking, raking, sorting, and sifting, a very pretty property is collected by the various shareholders of this joint, stock company, as a recent case that was brought forward at the Bow-street office will suffice to convince us.3
Perhaps the reader may have never witnessed the ejection of a dust-cart: presuming he has not, I will endeavour to give him a general outline of the ceremony; together with all the circumstances attending it, and a sketch of the group and foreground. Suppose an eminence of about five or six feet already collected, in a circular form; on the heap is a man raking about, and a little child playing with a small brown shaggy mongrel of a dog, with a community of pigs battening on the acclivity; a youth below, with spade and axe, is supplying three women with stuff—if women they may be called, who, of all the progeny of old Mother Nox, seemed most the resemblances of age, misery, and want; I say seemed, for when one was called—one of three—I beheld, as she raised her dilapidated Dunstable, a face, where beams of pensive beauty struggled through dusty darkness, and which mantled to a smile at the sound of notes whistled to the tune of—"In Bunhill-row there liv'd a Maid"—indicating the approach of Joe—for it was his cart:—the dying cadence now gave way to the gee-up! uttered in deep bass, accompanied with a smart smack of the whip, to urge the horse up the ascent. Joe was a decent sort of boy enough for his avocation, not to be ranked among those who "troop under the sooty flag of Acheron;" but a clean, square-built fellow, with a broadish face and forehead, blue eyes, nose rather short, expanded, and inclined upwards, and tinted with that imperial hue that indicated his knowledge was not confined to dry measure; this, with a mouth a little elongated, formed a countenance, upon the whole, full of mirth and good-humour. This piece of device was surmounted by a hat of the usual professional form—a domed piece of felt, with a most prodigious margin: he wore a good stout flannel jacket, and waistcoat; his shirt collar fastened by a leaden brooch, in the [pg 406] shape of a heart, deviating from the general costume. His continuations were of white drill; but, mark the vanity! short enough to display a pair of hoppers, otherwise gaiters, of the same material; these, with a stout pair of ancle-Johns, completed his outward man of an order "simply Doric."
At Joe's approach, all was stir and bustle; the pigs, to the third and fourth generation, moved "in perfect phalanx," not "to the Dorian mood of flutes and soft recorders," but to their own equally inspiring grunt; varying from the shrill treble to the deep-toned bass. Jewler, too, ran barking; but with less interested feelings; and his little patron ran to take the whip.
A few interrogatories on each side, a joke, and its accompanying laugh, occupy brief space; when, suddenly, a general rush proclaims the load is strewed upon the ground! a chaotic mass—"old hats, old wigs, old boots, old shoes, and all the tribe of leather," remnants of all things, the ends and the beginnings, horticultural fragments and broken crockery, the hunter's bone and the beggar's rags, pilfered lace suspected, and the stolen jewel, the lost gold, and the mislaid spoon: and, for a climax, rejoice! gentle reader—for when the designs of the crafty are defeated by inadvertence, or otherwise, with the weird sisters, "we should rejoice! we should rejoice!"—a bill for fifteen pounds, drawn by a lawyer for expenses, and which was taken to the acceptor by the dustman, for which he received a considerate remuneration. Complicated as this mass appears, it is all reduced to the most perfect order, and each portion arranged according to the purposes intended for. Thus, the vegetable matter, so eagerly seized upon by the pigs, contributes to keep up a supply of dairy-fed pork and Epping sausages: the bones are laid aside for the purposes of making hartshorn and phosphorus, dominoes, and apple-scoops, &c. The old boots and shoes, with the tribe of leather, after a slight examination of their utter inefficiency, find their way, through divers passages to the glue-pot. How fractured bottles, and broken glass of every description, is disposed of, is easily seen through—to the furnace; and how the old iron is appropriated, is not hard to guess. The old woollen, if perchance any should exist in the shape of a pair of innominables, after exploring the pockets, and a sigh for their insolvency, are unceremoniously cast aside along with the worthless remains of rags of every description, string, paper, &c. &c., to pass through the operation necessary for making brown paper. What still remains, of coals, and cinders unconsumed, the dustman's perquisite, are measured first, "thence hurried back to fire:" the wood, the sifters take. Broken tiles, bricks, delf, crockery, with a variety of substances and etceteras, go towards the formation of roads. I had almost forgotten the crowning item, viz. old wigs! Towards the close of the last century, so much were they in request, that the supply was scarcely equal to the demand. Yes, in the days of Beau Tibbs, every street had its corner and every corner its shoe-black, and to every shoe-black might be traced an old wig, sometimes two. In those days of ruffles and etiquette, when a well-formed leg was advantageously displayed in whole silk stockings, shoes, and buckles, it was the custom with pedestrians, when making a call, to have their shoes wiped and touched up at the corner of the street nearest the place they were going to visit: and what so efficient for the purpose as an old wig? nothing. But, alas! those days are gone! and Beau Tibbs is gone! and, if we question where? only Echo answers. But what becomes of the old wigs? is the question at issue. Alas! again, such is the degeneracy of modern days, that, instead of being used as an appendage to the toilet, though humble, I fear they will be traced to the vulgar bricklayer and plasterer, to be mingled with mortar, and "patch a wall, to expel the winter's flaw." Now, I believe, every particle is accounted for; and any little article, in the shape of a bijou, is the perquisite of those pickers-up of unconsidered trifles, the sifters.
I was on duty at the Tuilleries from Monday, November 27; on that day, the Tuesday and Wednesday following, it was easy for me to observe a great alteration in the features of the empress, and a silent constraint in Napoleon. If in the course of dinner he broke the silence, it was to ask me some brief questions, to which he did not hear the reply. On those days the dinner did not last for more than ten minutes. The storm burst on Thursday the 30th.
[pg 497] Their majesties went to table. Josephine wore a large white hat, tied under her chin, and which concealed part of her face. I thought, however, that I perceived she had been weeping, and that she then restrained her tears with difficulty. She appeared to me the image of grief and of despair. The most profound silence reigned throughout the dinner; and they only touched the dishes which were presented to them out of mere form. The only words uttered were those addressed to me by Napoleon: "What o'clock is it?" In pronouncing them, he rose from table. Josephine followed slowly. Coffee was served, and Napoleon took himself the cup which was held by the page on duty, and gave the sign that he wished to be alone. I immediately retired, but restless, and a prey to my sad thoughts, I sat down in the attendance-room, which was commonly used for their majesties to dine in, in an armchair, on the side of which was the door to the emperor's room. I was mechanically watching the servants who were clearing the table, when on a sudden I heard violent cries from the empress Josephine issue from the emperor's chamber. The usher of the chamber, thinking she was taken ill, was on the point of opening the door, when I prevented him, observing, that the emperor would call for assistance if he thought it necessary. I was standing close to the door, when the emperor himself opened it, and perceiving me, said quickly "Come in, Bausset, and shut the door." I entered the chamber, and saw the empress Josephine stretched on the carpet, uttering piercing cries and complaints. "No, I will never survive it," said she. Napoleon said to me, "Are you sufficiently strong to raise Josephine, and to carry her to her apartments by the private staircase, in order that she may receive the care and assistance which she requires?" I obeyed, and raised the princess, who, I thought, was seized with a nervous affection. With the aid of Napoleon, I raised her into my arms, and he himself taking a light from the table, opened the door, which, by an obscure passage, led to the little staircase of which he had spoken. When we reached the first step of the staircase, I observed to Napoleon, that it was too narrow for it to be possible for me to descend without the danger of falling. He forthwith called the keeper of the portfolio, who day and night was in attendance at one of the doors of his closet, the entrance to which was on the landing-place of this little staircase. Napoleon gave him the light, of which we had little need, for the passages had become light. He commanded the keeper to go on before, and took himself the legs of Josephine in order to assist me in descending with less difficulty. At one moment, however, I was embarrassed by my sword, and I thought we must have fallen, but fortunately we descended without any accident, and deposited the precious burden on an ottoman in the sleeping-chamber. Napoleon immediately pulled the little bell, and summoned the empress's women. When I raised the empress in the chamber she ceased to moan, and I thought that she had fainted; but at the time I was embarrassed by my sword in the middle of the little staircase, of which I have already spoken, I was obliged to hold her firmly to prevent a fall which would have been dreadful to the actors in this melancholy scene. I held the empress in my arms, which encircled her waist, her back rested against my chest, and her hand leaned upon my right shoulder. When she felt the efforts which I made to prevent falling, she said to me in a very low tone, "You press me too hard." I then saw that I had nothing to fear for her health, and that she had not for an instant lost her senses. During the whole of this scene I was wholly occupied with Josephine, whose situation afflicted me; I had not power to observe Napoleon; but when the empress's women had come, he retired into a little room which preceded the sleeping-chamber, and I followed him. His agitation, his inquietude were extreme. In the distress which he felt he made me acquainted with the cause of every thing that had happened, and said to me these words:—"The interest of France and of my dynasty does violence to my heart—the divorce has become a rigorous duty to me—I am the more afflicted by what has happened to Josephine, because three days ago she must have learned it from Hortensia—the unhappy obligation which condemns me to separate myself from her—I deplore it with all my heart, but I thought she possessed more strength of character, and I was not prepared for the bursts of her grief." In fact, the emotion which oppressed him, compelled him to make a long pause between each phrase he uttered, in order to breathe. His words came from him with labour and without connexion; his voice was tremulous and oppressed, and tears moistened his eyes. It really seemed as if he were beside himself to give so many details to me, who was so far removed from his councils and his confidence. The whole of this transaction did not occupy more than seven or eight minutes. Napoleon immediately went to seek for Corvisart, [pg 498] queen Hortensia, Cambaceres, and Fouché; and before he returned to his apartment, he assured himself of the condition of Josephine, whom he found more calm and more resigned. I followed him, and after having recovered my hat, which I had thrown on the carpet that my motions might be more free, I retired to the attendance-chamber. To avoid all kinds of commentaries, I said before the pages and the ushers that the empress had been seized with a violent affection of the nerves.
"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton.
The origin of this nursery tale is sufficiently curious. About the year 1730, a French actor of equal talent and wealth, named Thevenard, in passing through the streets of Paris, observed upon a cobbler's stall, the shoe of a female, which struck him by the remarkable smallness of its size. After admiring it for some time, he returned to his house; but his thoughts reverted to the shoe with such intensity, that he reappeared at the stall the next day; but the cobbler could give him no other clue to the owner, than that it had been left in his absence, for the purpose of being repaired. Day after day did Thevenard return to his post to watch the re-integration of the slipper, which proceeded slowly; nor did the proprietor appear to claim it. Although he had completed the sixtieth year of his age, so extravagant became his passion for the unknown fair one, that he became (were it possible for a Frenchman of that day to be so) melancholy and miserable. His pain was, however, somewhat appeased by the avatar of the little foot itself, appertaining to a pretty and youthful girl in the very humblest class of life. All distinctions were levelled at once by love: the actor sought the parents of the female, procured their consent to the match, and actually made her his wife.
When Archbishop Fenelon was Almoner to Louis XIV. his majesty was astonished one Sunday to find, instead of the usual crowded congregation, only himself and his attendants, the priest, and the other officers of the chapel. "What is the meaning of this?" said the king; the prelate answered, "I caused it to be given out, that your majesty did not attend chapel to-day, in order that you might see, who came here to worship God, and who to flatter the king."
A poor man, having disposed of the letters of his name, according to his own fancy, upon his tax-cart, was summoned for the offence, and for turning the act of parliament into ridicule, by having the following letters on his tax-cart:—
ON A TAX
The poor fellow observed he was no scholar, but his name was Amos Todd, he lived at Acton, and he understood he was obliged to paint the letters, "A Tax-Cart."
A young fellow of the Surface school was one day heard to boast that from his continually breaking his promises made to his creditors, they must imagine him to have been brought up in a court:—"Yes," replied a byestander, "the Insolvent's Court."
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Footnote 1: (return)
It was reckoned an extraordinary luxury for Thomas à Becket to have his parlour strewed every day with clean rushes.
Footnote 2: (return)
So much for the "heinous crime of self-painting;" as Lord Chesterfield says; in speaking of which, "It is even whispered about the town, (he observes) of that excellent artist, Mr. Liobard, that he lately refused a fine woman to draw her picture, alleging that he never copied any body's works but his own and God Almighty's!"
Footnote 3: (return)
It was a dispute between a dustman and a sifter, as to which had the most rightful claim to a five-pound note, found in the ashes; and certainly nothing could be more impartially decided; for as their claims, or rather their non-claims, turned out to be equal—that is, in point of law—it was retained by the presiding magistrate in trust. In the course of the inquiry, it appeared that the sifter had realized sufficient property to enable her to be proprietress of three houses.
Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset-House,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 10, NO. 287, DECEMBER 15, 1827***
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