Page images
PDF
EPUB

How to Break Jil News.

A DIALOGUE.

SCENE.— The room of Mr. G. at Oxford. Enter to him his father's

steward. Mr. G.-Ha ! Jervois, my old boy ! how are you? How are things going on at home?

Steward.—Bad enough, your honour. The magpie's dead ! Mr. G.-Poor Mag! So he's gone! How came he to die ? Steward.—Over-ate himself, sir.

Mr. G.–Did he, faith a greedy dog! Why, what did he get that he liked so well ?

Steward.—Horseflesh, sir. He died of eating horseflesh.
Mr. G.-How came he to eat so much horseflesh ?

Steward.—All your father's horses, sir.
Mr. G.-What, are they dead, too?
Steward.-Aye, sir; they died of overwork.
Mr. G.–And why were they overworked, pray ?
Steward.—To carry water, sir.

Mr. G.–To carry water! And what were they carrying water for ?

Steward.—Sure, sir, to put out the fire.
Mr. G.–Fire ! What fire ?

Steward.—Oh, sir, your father's house is burnt down to the ground.

Mr. G.-My father's house burnt! And how came it to be set on fire ?

Steward. I think it must have been the torches.
Mr. G.-Torches ! What torches ?
Steward.–At your mother's funeral.
Mr. G.-My mother dead ?
Steward.—Aye, poor lady, she never looked up after it.
Mr. G.-After what ?
Steward.—The loss of your father, sir.
Mr. G.-My father gone, too?
Steward.—

Yes, poor gentleman, he took to his bed as soon as he heard of it !

Mr. G.-Heard of what ?
Steward.—The bad news, sir, an' please your honour.
Mr. G.–What! More miseries more bad news ?

Steward.—Yes, sir! Your bank has failed—your credit is lost -and you are not worth a shilling in the world ! I made bold, sir, to come and wait on you, to tell you about it, for I thought you would like to hear the news !

M

The Blind Girl to her Mother.
OTHER, they say the stars are bright,
And the broad heavens are blue :

I dream of them by day and night,
And think them all like you.
I cannot touch the distant skies,

The stars ne'er speak to me ;
Yet their sweet images arise,

And blend with thoughts of thee.
I know not why, but oft I dream
Of the far land of bliss

;
And when I hear thy voice, I dream

That heaven is like to this.
When my sad heart to thine is pressed,

My follies are forgiven,
Sweet pleasure warms my beating breast,
And this, I say, is heaven..

Ι
O mother, will the God above

Forgive my faults like thee?
Will He bestow such care and love

On a blind thing, like thee?
Dear mother, leave me not alone !

Go with me when I die ;
Lead thy blind daughter to the throne,

And stay in yonder sky.

February.

[ocr errors]

EBRUARY Fill-ditch is the Gothic title held by our

forefathers to be descriptive of the second month of the year. Notwithstanding all that can be said in its disparagement, February commences the resurrection of the year. The sun turns from the southern latitudes and begins his return journey

towards the equator, throwing long shadows of leafless trees on the yet soddened grass, and giving promise of brighter days and springtide flowers. The thrush, with his neatly-adjusted coat and his gorgeously-spotted waistcoat, whistles in the early dawn and makes the groves merry with his clear and mellow note. There is a merry little fellow who wakes out of his winter sleep in the lengthening days of February, and who may be seen by anyone living near a park or wood. This is the squirrel, who, waking up, sets to work to feed upon his store of slyly-gathered nuts, and, having improvidently gorged himself, skips about to promote digestion. Indeed, all bird and animal nature begins to rub its eyes, and to prepare for the full enjoyment that the fast-advancing spring bears within its bosom. The modest primrose, too, whose foliage has been nipped by the winter's frost, but whose roots are warm and strong, pushes forth trial leaves of delicate green, which it will either soon unfold or withdraw from human gaze, as the sun shines or the north wind roars. It is said by some that February, on the whole, has been an ill-used month. When Numa Pompilius decreed that the year should consist of twelve months, he gave to February twenty-nine days, with a thirtieth in Leap-year. But when Augustus chose to add a day to the month which he graced with his own name, he despoiled February of the required time, so reducing its duration to eight-and-twenty days. At this period of the year it was the custom of the Romans to offer to the gods sacrifices of atonement and purification. The month clearly takes its name from this association - Februare: to expiate. Snow in February was not regarded with dislike by those engaged in the cultivation of the soil, as may be seen from the following ancient rhyme :

February fill the dyke

Either with black or white:
If it be white 'tis the better to liko.

The “black” here obviously means rain ; and the "white"

RoBT. A. FARNWORTH, Longsight.

means snow.

What conscience dictates to be done,

Or warns me not to do
This teach me more than hell to shun,

That more than heaven pursue.

Pope.

The Introduction of Coaches.

LTHOUGH chariots and carriages of various descriptions were very anciently used in war and in triumphal processions, yet that luxury of fashion, the coach, is of very modern origin.

It was not until about the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth that coaches were introduced into

England. Before that time ladies chiefly rode on horseback, either single on their palfreys, or behind some person on a pillion. In this way Queen Elizabeth rode from London to Exeter behind the Lord Chancellor.

Coaches were introduced into England from France by Henry Fitzalan, the last earl of Arundel of that name. At first they were only drawn by two horses. About the year 1619, Buckingham, the favourite of James I., began to have them drawn by six horses. An old historian tells us this “ was wondered at as a novelty, and imputed to him as a mastering pride."

Sedan chairs were brought into fashion in England by Sir Saunders Duncombe, who was a great traveller, and had most probably seen them at Şedan, in France, where it is supposed they were first made.

The use of coaches was at first almost exclusively confined to members of the royal family. The first courtier that ever had one in France was Jean de Lavel de Bois Dauphin, whose enormous bulk prevented him from travelling on horseback.

In 1588, a curious proclamation was issued by Don Julius of Brunswick, in which the decline of the ancient spirit of the Germans --"manly virtue, sincerity, boldness, honesty, and resolution”—is attributed to their having, without distinction, young and old,“ dared to give themselves up to indolence and to ling coaches. He therefore orders that his subjects shall not travel or appear in coaches, but on riding horses only."

The coachman is generally placed on seat raised before the body of the coach ; but in Spain he was deprived of his situation through a very remarkable circumstance. The Duke d'Olivares having found that a very important secret, on which he had

[ocr errors]

conferred in his coach with a friend, had been overheard and revealed by his coachman, a royal decree was issued, by which the place of the Spanish coachman was fixed in the same position as the French stage coachman and our own postilion, namely, on the first horse to the left of the carriage.

The Enterprise of Scotchmen,

[graphic]

a

HE character which the Scotch have acquired, beyond almost

any other people, for the art of pushing their fortunes abroad was never, perhaps, more singularly illustrated than by the following anecdote, which Dr. Anderson relates in his “Bee," on the authority

of a baronet of scientific eminence :The Russians and Turks, in the war of 1739, having diverted themselves long enough in the contest,'agreed to treat for a peace. The commissioners for this purpose were, Marshal-General Keith on the part of the Russians, and the Grand Vizier on that of the Turks. These two personages met, and carried on their negotiations by means of interpreters.

When all was concluded they rose to separate ; the marshal made his bow with his hat in his hand, and the vizier his salaam with his turban on his head. But when these ceremonies of taking leave were over, the vizier turned suddenly, and coming up to Marshal Keith, took him cordially by the hand, and, in the broadest Scotch accent, declared, warmly, that it made him “ unco happy to meet a countryman in his exalted situation.” Keith stared with astonishment, eager for an explanation of this mystery, when the vizier added, “Dinna be surprised, mon ; I'm o' the same country wi' yoursel'. I mind weel seein' you and your brither when boys passin' by to the school at Kirkcaldy. My father, sir, was bellman o' Kirkcaldy."

What more extraordinary can be imagined than to behold in the plenipotentiaries of two mighty nations two foreign adventurers, natives of the same mountainous territory-nay, of the same village !

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »