« PreviousContinue »
sacrificed to him, the latter, because of its being destructive to the vines. The ceremonies and sacrifices of this festival were performed by females, crowned with ivy. On the twenty-second, offerings were made to Pluto and Proserpine. The Brumalia began on the twenty-fourth, and continued for several days. They were instituted by Romulus, in honour of Bacchus, and during the continuance of them he used to give entertainments to the senate. The mortuary sacrifices, in the Forum Boarium, took place on the twenty-seventh.
The sun, during this month, is in the sign Scorpio and Sagittarius.
(From Wine and Walnuts.)
The little difficulty with which that bustling see-er of sights, Old Memory, forces a passage through the crowd of events of sixty years, is manifest by the ease with which my crazy reminiscence can make its way back to a scene, which is now again preparing for an audience of, at least, ninety-nine in a hundred, who witnessed not the last performance-one of no less importance than the coronation of a new sovereign.
Yet how long, how many ages has it seemed to us few remaining greybeards, as we have travelled onwards, step by step, from the year 1761, when our late venerable king, then in the bloom and vigour of youth, and his virtuous consort, yet younger than himself, were seated beneath that Gothic roof, which had witnessed a like awful ceremony with so many sovereigns in the regal chair.-Yes! how long, counting all the mighty changes that had intervened since then—and now, when I am dipping my pen in the ink, to tell this “ Old Man's Tale."
What trifles seem to burst the lengthened chain of life, and bring again together the links that form each end! The air of a nursery-ballad, or the scent of a particular shrub or flower that pleased in youth, will strike the senses unawares, and make the sage, as it were, shake the hoar frost from his pate, and feel another spring—make him believe himself once more a child, before the dreaded period of his second childishness.
Thus it was with me, but a few days since, when, after being imprisoned by the long north-east, the vane kindly pointing to the south, I ventured out to take a peep at what was doing in Westminster-Hall. The smell of the new timber, the loud hammering of the busy carpenters, the raised platform, the long galleries-all I heard, all I saw, all I felt, verily appeared but a continuation of the same preparations I had witnessed in my youth, in the summer of 1761.
I turned me round, but all were strangers there. The banquet over, and all who graced the royal feast ; Princes, Peers, and noble Knights, and Ladies fair-all gone! and he, the King, for whom the gorgeous banqueting was made, I have lived to see proceed through every stage of life with dignity, and in awe of heaven-even until old age overtook him. That age! mysterious heaven! for which the righteous monarch was reserved, when the dim lamp of life wasted its remaining incense upon the sacred altar, within that living sepulchre ! his unconscious self!
SAGACITY OF A BEAR.
A nobleman, in the province of Novogored, being out hunting with several other noblemen, perceived in a forest a bear, with a muzzle on, tied to a tree : the animal appeared to be very tame, and, by his wailings, indicated that something particular was the matter with him. The nobleman gave orders to untie him from the tree, on which the bear, led by a countryman with a rope, immediately ran to a neighbouring spot, and began very eagerly to scratch up the ground—the creature only wanted language to show, that something nearly concerning him was there buried. The possibility of this was evident to the nobleman, and he ordered his people to dig up the spot pointed out by the bear, which consisted of very loose earth. To the no little astonishment and horror of all present, they soon found two dead bodies covered with blood, which appeared to have been very recently interred, whose wounds the bear, with a lamentable howling, began to lick, making the persons who stood around understand, by a very singular look, that they should remove the bodies. They made a bier of young trees, on which they laid the bodies, to convey them to the next village. The bear, still led by a peasant, goes first, and seems to follow, like a dog, a scent that he has of the murderers of his masters. He is suffered to take his own way, and they very soon reach a village on the skirts of the forest, when he halts at the door of a cottage, and his former wailing is changed to a dreadful roaring. This induces the nobleman to call together the male inhabitants, and place them in a certain order, thinking, perhaps, by the help of the bear, to discover the murderers, as of course all deny any knowledge of the deed. The people, belonging to the hut before which the bear stopped, also came up from another side ; and scarcely had they, according to the nobleman's desire, placed themselves with the others, when the ear, with a dreadful howl, rushed upon two tall fellows, whom only the animal's muzzle saved from his fury. He was removed from them by force, but the persons so singularly accused were immediately subjected to a strict examination. They confessed all; the two bear leaders, who had money about them, had been murdered by them in the forest, and hastily buried; the hunting horn of the party having made them fly precipitately, leaving the bear tied to the tree, by which the discovery of the murder was effected in a manner so strange. The criminals were delivered into the hands of justice, and brought to that punishment which they so justly deserved.
A few days ago, a young woman, residing at Sunny-brae, parish of Saline, had an illegitimate child, and in order to avoid the shame which an exposure of her situation might have drawn upon her, barbarously murdered the innocent infant in a manner at which human nature shudders. The unhappy mother lived under the same roof with an old woman, whose apartment was separated only by a thin partition, on whom she called to come and make her a warm drink, but prohibited her from preparing it at the fire of the room they were in, saying, that she had just heaped on fuel to warm the house, which she was unwilling to have touched or broken down. The old woman was surprised on finding something very disagreeable issuing from the fire, and, after repeatedly interrogating the sick female, without obtaining any satisfactory answer, turned up the coals, and, to her unspeakable horror, found in the midst of them, the halfconsumed remains of the hapless victim of the unnatural parent's inhumanity.
A CURIOUS Wager. There is a certain degree of whim in some of the wagers we find recorded in the newspapers, that, however absurd the bettors may appear, a smile is excited perforce. In the year 1724, two gentlemen, full of money, and destitute of wit, had a dispute respecting the quantity that might be eaten at one meal. This ended in the bet of £5. proposed by one of them, that himself and another would eat a bushel of tripe, and drink four bottles of wine, within an hour. The parties met at Islington, where the tripe was produced, and the wine displayed : nothing remained but the introduction of the another; that another, gentle reader, proved a sharp-set bear, who' fully justified his friend's prognostic, with the tripe diluted by three bottles of wine poured on it.-Malcomb's Anecdotes.
In the year 1776 a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons, for the better watching of the Metropolis ; in order to effect which object, one of the clauses went to propose that watchmen should be compelled to sleep by day. Lord Nugent, with admirable humour, got up, and desired that “ he might be personally included in the provisions of the Bill, being frequently so tormented with the gout as to be unable to sleep either by day or night.”
M. d'Elbene was enthusiastically fond of epic poetry. He called one day on Menage, and in a very pressing manner, intreated that he would do him a favour the favour was to write an epic poem !
A gentleman remarkably fond of intelligence, meeting a courtier, asked, “What news ?"“Why Sir,” replied he," there are forty thousand men risen to-day.” “To what end," said the first, “ and what do they intend ?” “ Why, to go to bed at night," an. swered he.
Wanted, a Sexton for the parish of Harleigh. He must be of a grave disposition, and have no connection with resurrection men.—This notice appeared in a provincial paper.
“ Where did you learn wisdom ?" said Diogenes to a wise man—" From the blind (said he), who try the path with a stick before they tread on it.”
Buck, the player at York, was asked how he came to turn his coat twice, he replied, smartly-one good turn deserv'd another!
Curious ADVERTISEMENT.-Smith and Bolton, of Indianapolis, advertise ten dollars reward, for “a superfine scoundrel, who calls himself Matthew Patrick, printer,” and whom they describe
as about five feet four or five inches high—an ackonwledged liar, a proven villain, sandy-haired, red-faced, blue-eyed, longnosed, stoop-shouldered, gallows-looking, pretendingly-learned, stultified, woman-hated, blue-coated, black-vested, grey-pantalooned, dandy-dressed, deceiver-one of those pestiferous insects that often take their flight into the western country, destroying as they go the herbage of honesty, and poisoning the foliage of the innocent and unsuspecting."-Trenton True American..
A curious affair occurred about two years ago, at a small church in Wales. The parson having a tame goat, which followed him to the church, and sat under the pulpit, the animal was so struck with the nodding of a drowsy Cambrian, who sat opposite to him, that taking the frequent inclinations of his head for a challenge to combat, he made a butt at his supposed antagonist, who, not perceiving whence the blow proceeded, struck the person next to him. The parson, (who was also of the quorum) would have committed the drowsy Cambrian, when brought before him next day, especially as the latter had been convicted of reading in and commenting on the newspapers : but' as it was proved by several witnesses, that his goat was the aggressor, he observed, that if the people ' tespised tivine service, it would pe no wunder if peasts of the field were to rise upon all the chakopins in the country!
A Lady having the misfortune to have her husband hang himself on an apple tree, the wife of a neigbour iinmediately came to heg a branch of that tree, to have it grafted into one in her own orchard, “ for who knows (she said) but it may bear the same kind of fruit?"
Council's OPINION.-An eminent barrister had, some years ago, a case sent to him for an opinion. The case stated was the most preposterous and improbable that ever occurred to the mind of man, and concluded by asking, Whether, under such circumstanees, action would lie ? He took his pen, and wrote“ Yes, if the witnesses will lie too ;" but not otherwise.
A gentleman travelling in Wales, had his attention suddenly arrested by the appearance of a bull drawing a cart, led by an ass. An honest Welchman passing at the same time, archly exclaimed, “Ah ! poor John Bull, hur is sorry to see hur follow such company.
Judge Burnet being one day applied to by an old farmer in his neighbourhood for his advice in a law-suit, he heard his case with great patience, and then asked him whether he ever put