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mas, there is not a barn unoccupied, and that every parish hires fiddlers at the public charge. On Twelfth-day, the fiddler lays his head in some one of the girls' laps, and a third person asks, who such a maid, or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another; to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the untimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment. But whatever he says is as absolutely depended on as an oracle; and if he happens to couple two people who have an aversion to each
other, tears and vexation succeed the
mirth. This they call cutting off the fiddler's head; for, after this, he is dead for the whole wear.” It appears from the Gentleman's Magazine, that on Twelfth-day 1731, the king and the prince at the chapel royal, St. James's, made their offerings at the altar, of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, according to custom, and that at night their majesties, &c. played at hazard for the benefit of the groom-porter. These offerings which clearly originate from the Roman church, and are not analogous to any ceremony of the church of England, continue to be annually made; with this difference, however, that the king is represented by proxy in the person of some distinguished officer of the house. hold. In other respects the proceedings are conducted with the usual state.
Midwinter is over. According to astronomical reckoning, we have just passed that point in the earth's orbit, where the north pole is turned most from the sun. This position is represented in the diagram above, by the direction of the terminator, or boundary line of light and darkness, which is seen to divide the globe into two equal parts; the north pole, which is the upper pole in the figure, and all parts within 323 degrees, being enveloped in constant darkness. We now trace the sun among the stars of the constellation Capricorn or sea-goat, and it is winter in the whole northern
hemisphere. At the beginning of January the earth is at its least distance from the sun, which is proved by measuring the apparent magnitude of that luminary by means of an instrument called a micrometer, his disc being now about 32 minutes of a degree; whereas at the opposite season, or at the beginning of July, near our Midsummer, his apparent diameter is only about 31 minutes. The coldness of winter therefore does not depend on the distance of the earth from the sun, but on the very oblique or slanting direction of his rays; less heat falling on any given part of the earth, than when the rays fall more direct. From the slanting direction of his rays they pass through a more dense region of the atmosphere, and are somewhat intercepted; while another cause of the cold is the shortness of our days and the length of our nights; the sun continuing only about seven hours and a half above the horizon, while he is absent for about sixteen hours and a half. This position of the earth relatively to the sun is exemplified in the Popular Lectures on Astronomy, now delivering at the Assembly-room, Paul's Head, Cateaton-street, by Mr. John Wallis, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. His explanations of this noble science are familiarly and beautifully illustrated, by an original and splendid apparatus devised and constructed by his own hands. It consists of extensive mechanism and numerous brilliant transparencies. Mr. Wallis's lectures on Tuesday and Thursday next, the 18th and 20th of January, 1825, are under the patronage of the Lord Mayor. Here is a sure mode of acquiring astronomical knowledge, accompanied by the delightful gratification of witnessing a display of the heavens more bewitching than the mind can conceive. , Ladies, and young persons especially, have a delightful opportunity of being agreeably entertained ". the novelty and beauty of the exhibition and the eloquent descriptions of the enlightened lecturer.
The holly with its red berries, and the “fond ivy,” still stick about out houses to maintain the recollection of the seasonable festivities. Let us hope that we may congratulate each other on having, while we kept them, kept ourselves within compass. Merriment without discretion is an abuse for which nature is sure to
punish us. She may suffer our violence for a while in silence; but she is certain to resume her rights at the expense of our health, and put us to heavy charges to malntain existence.
This saint is in the calendar of the church of England on the following day, 8th of January. He was a learned Syrian. According to Butler, he corrected the Hebrew version of the Scriptures for the inhabitants of Palestine, during some years was separated from the Romish church, afterwards conformed to it, and died after nine years imprisonment, either by famine or the sword, on this day, in the year 312. It further appears from Butler, that the Arians affirmed of St. Lucian, that to him Arius was indebted for his distinguishing doctrine, which Butler however denies.
ST. Distaff's DAY, on Rock-DAY.
of rustic life than to the comparative refinement of our own, this contest be. tween firc and water must have afforded great amusement.
Chronology. 1772. “An authentic, candid, and circumstancial narrative of the astonishing transactions at Stockwell, in the county of Surry, on Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th days of January, 1772, containing a series of the most surprising and unaccountable events that ever happened; which continued from first to last upwards of twenty hours, and at different places. Published with the consent and approbation of the family, and other parties concerned, to authenticate which, the original Copy is signed by them.” This is the title of an octavo tract published in “London, printed for J. Marks, bookseller, in St. Martin's-lane, 1772.” It describes Mrs. Golding, an elderly lady, at Stockwell, in whose house the transactions happened, as a woman of unblemished honour and character; her niece, Mrs. Pain, as the wife of a farmer at Brixton-causeway, the mother of several children, and well known and respected in the parish; Mary Martin as an elderly woman, servant to Mr. and Mrs. Pain, with whom she had lived two years, having previously lived four years with Mrs. Golding, from whom she went into Mrs. Pain's service ; and Richard Fowler and Sarah, his wife, as an honest,industrious, and sober couple, who lived about opposite to Mr. Pain, at the Brick-pound. These were the subscribing witnesses to many of the surprising transactions, which were likewise witnessed by some others. Another person who bore a principal part in these scenes was Ann Robinson, aged about twenty years, who had lived servant with Mrs. Golding but one week and three days. The “astonishing transactions” in Mrs. Golding's house were these : On Twelfth-day 1772, about ten o'clock in the forenoon, as Mrs. Golding was in her parlour, she heard the china and glasses in the back kitchen tumble down and break; her maid came to her and told her the stone plates, were falling from the shelf; Mrs. Golding went into the kitchen and saw them broke. Presently after, a row of plates from the next shelf fell down likewise, while she was there, and nobody near them; this
astonished her much, and while she was thinking about it, other things in different places began to tumble about, some of them breaking, attended with violent noises all over the house; a clock tumbled down and the case broke; a lantern that hung on the staircase was thrown down and the glass broke to E.; an earthen pan of salted beef roke to pieces and the beef fell about; all this increased her surprise, and brought several persons about her, among whom was Mr. Rowlidge, a carpenter, who gave it as his opinion that the foundation was giving way and that the house was tumbling down, occasioned by the too great weight of an additional room erected above: “so ready,” says the narrative, “are we to discover natural causes for every thing!” Mrs. Golding ran into Mr. Gresham's house, next door to her, where she fainted, and in the interim, Mr. Rowlidge, and other persons, were removing Mrs. Golding's effects from her house, for fear of the consequences prognosticated. At this time all was quiet; Mrs. Golding's maid remaining in her house, was gone up stairs, and when called upon several times to come down, for fear of the dangerous situation she was thought to be in, she answered very coolly, and after some time came down deliberately, without any seeming fearful apprehen sions. Mrs. Pain was sent for from Brixtoncauseway, and desired to come directly, as her aunt was supposed to be dead;— this was the message to her. When Mrs. Pain came, Mrs. Golding was come to nerself, but very faint from terror. Among the persons who were present, was Mr. Gardner, a surgeon, of Clapham, whom Mrs. Pain desired to bleed her aunt, which he did; Mrs. Pain asked him if the blood should be thrown away; he desired it might not, as he would examine it when cold. These minute particulars would not be taken notice of, but as a chain to what follows. For the next circumstance is of a more astonishing nature than any thing that had preceded it; the blood that was just congealed, sprung out of the basin upon the floor, and presently after the basin broke to pieces; this china basin was the only so broke belonging to Mr. Gresham; a bottle of rum that stood by it broke at the same time. Among the things that were removed
to Mr. Gresham's was a tray full ct china, &c. a japan bread-basket, some mahogany waiters, with some bottles of liquors, jars of pickles, &c. and a pier glass, which was taken down by Mr. Saville, (a neighbour of Mrs. Golding's;) he gave it to one Robert Hames, who laid it on the grass-plat at Mr. Gresham's; but before he could put it out of his hands, some parts of the frame on each side flew off; it raining at that time, Mrs. Golding desired it might be brought into the parlour, where it was put under a side-board, and a dressing-glass along with it; it had not been there long before the glasses and china which stood on the side-board, began to tumble about and fall down, and broke both the glasses to pieces. Mr. Saville and others being asked to drink 2. glass of wine or rum, both the bottles broke in pieces before they were uncorked. Mrs. Golding's surprise and fear increasing, she did not know what to do or where to go; wherever she and her maid were, these strange, destructive circumstances followed her, and how to help or free herself from them, was not in her power or any other person's present: her mind was one confused chaos, lest to herself and every thing about her, drove from her own home, and afraid there would be none other to receive her, she at last left Mr. Gresham's, and went to Mr. Mayling's, a gentleman at the next door, here she staid about three quarters of an hour, during which time nothing happened. Her maid staid at Mr. Gresham's, to help put up what few things remained unbroken of her mistress's, in a back apartment, when a jar of pickles that stood upon a table, turned upside down, then a jar of raspberry jam broke to pieces. Mrs. Pain, not choosing her aunt should stay too long at Mr. Mayling's, for fear of being troublesome, persuaded her to go to her house at Rush Common, near Brixton-causeway, where she would endeavour to make her as happy as she could, hoping by this time all was over, as nothing had happened at that gentleman's house while she was there. This was about two o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. and Miss Gresham were at Mr Pain's house, when Mrs. Pain, Mrs Golding, and her maid went there. It being about dinner time they all dined together; in the interim Mrs. Golding's servant was sent to her house to see bow tnings remained. When she returned, she told them nothing had happened since they left it. Sometime after Mr. and Miss Gresham went home, every thing remain
ing quiet at Mr. Pain's: but about eight
o'clock in the evening a fresh scene began; the first thing that happened was, a whole row of pewter dishes, except one, fell from off a shelf to the middle of the floor, rolled about a little while, then settled, and as soon as they were quiet, turned upside down; they were then put on the dresser, and went through the same a second time: next fell a whole row of pewter plates from off the second ...” over the dresser to the ground, and being taken up and put on the dresser one in another, they were thrown down again. Two eggs were jo one of the pewter shelves, one of them flew off, crossed the kitchen, struck a cat on the head, and then broke to pieces. ext Mary Martin, Mrs. Pain's servant, went to stir the kitchen fire, she got to the right hand side of it, being a large chimney as is usual in farm houses, a pestle and mortar that stood nearer the left hand end of the chimney shelf, jumped about six feet on the floor. Then went candlesticks and other brasses: scarce anything remaining in its place. After this the glasses and china were put down on the floor for fear of undergoing the same fate. A glass tumbler that was put on the floor jumped about two feet and then broke. Another that stood by it jumped about at the same time, but did not break till some hours after, when it jumped again and then broke. A china bowl that stood in the parlour jumped from the floor, to behind a table that stood there. This was most astonishing, as the distance from where it stood was between seven and eight feet, but was not broke. It was put back by Richard Fowler, to its place, where it remained some time, and then flew to pieces. The next thing that followed was a mustard-pot, that jumped out of a closet and was broke. A single cup that stood upon the table (almost the only thing remaining) jumped up, flew across the kitchen, ringing like a bell, and then was dashed to pieces against the dresser. A tumbler with rum and water in it, that stood upon awaiter upon a table in the o jumped about ten feet and was roke. The table then fell down, and along with it a silver tankard belonging to Mrs. Golding, the waiter in which had
stood the tumbler, and a candlestick. A case bottle then flew to pieces. The next circumstance was, a ham, that hung on one side of the kitchen chimney, raised itself from the hook and fell down to the ground. Some time after, another ham, that hung on the other side of the chimney, likewise underwent the same fate. Then a flitch of bacon, which hung up in the same chimney, fell down. All the family were eye-witnesses to these circumstances as well as other persons, some of whom were so alarmed and shocked, that they could not bear to stay, At all the times of action, Mrs.Golding's servant was walking backwards and forwards, either in the kitchen or parlour, or wherever some of the family happened to be. Nor could they get her to sit down five minutes together, except at one time for about half an hour towards the morning, when the family were at prayers in the parlour; then all was quiet; but, in the midst of the greatest confusion, she was as much composed as at any other time, and with uncommon coolness of temper advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy, as she said these things could not be helped. “This advice,” it is observed in the narrative, surprised and startled her mistress, almost as much as the circumstances that occasioned it. “For how can we suppose,” says the narrator, “that a girl of about twenty years old, (an age when female ti midity is too.cften assisted by superstition,) could remain in the midst of such cala mitous circumstances, (except they proceeded from causes best known to herself.) and not be struck with the same terror as every other person was who was present. These reflections led Mr. Pain, and at the end of the transactions, likewise Mrs. Golding, to think that she was not altogether sounconcerned as she appeared to be.” About ten o'clock at night, they sen" over the way to Richard Fowler, to desire he would come and stay with them. He came and continued till one in the morn ing, when he was so terrified, that he could remain no longer. As Mrs. Golding could not be persuaded to go to bed, Mrs. Pain, at one o'clock, made an excuse to go up stairs to her youngest child, underpretence of getting it to sleep; but she really acknowledged it was through fear, as she declared she could not situp to see such strange things going on, as everything one after another was broken, till there was not above two or three cups and saucers remaining out of a
considerable quantity of china, &c. which was destroyed to the amount of some unds. About five o'clock on Tuesday morning, the 7th, Mrs. Golding went up to her niece, and desired her to get up, as the noises and destruction were so great she could continue in the house no longer. Mrs. Golding and her maid went over the way to Richard Fowler's: when Mrs. Golding's maid had seen her safe to Richard Fowler's, she came back to Mrs. Pain, to help her to dress the children in the barn, where she had carried them for fear of the house falling. At this time all was quiet: they then went to Fowler's, and then began the same scene as had happened at the other places. All was quiet here as well as elsewhere, till the maid returned. When they got to Mr. Fowler's, he began to light a fire in his back room. When done, he put the candle and candlestick upon a table in the fore room. This apartment Mrs. Golding and her maid had passed through. Another candlestick with a tin lamp in it that stood by it, were both dashed together, and fell to the ground. At last the basket of coals tumbled over, and the coals rolling about the room, the maid desired Richard Fowler not to let her mistress remain there, as she said, wherever she was, the same things would follow. In consequence of this advice, and fearing greater losses to himself, he desired Mrs. Golding would quit his house; but first begged her to consider within herself, for her own and the public sake, whether or not she had not been guilty of some atrocious crime, for which Providence was determined to pursue her on this side the grave. Mrs. Golding told him she would not stay in his house, or any other person's, as her conscience was quite clear, and she could as well wait the will of Providence in her own house as in any other place whatever; upon which she and her maid went home, and Mrs.Pain went with them. After they had got to Mrs. Golding's, a pail of water, that stood on the floor, boiled like a pot; a box of candles fell from a shelf in the kitchen to the floor, and they rolled out, but none were broken, and the table in the parlour fell over. Mr. Pain then desired Mrs. Golding to send her maid for his wife to come to them, and when she was gone all was quiet; upon her return she was immediately discharged, and no aisturbances happened afterwards; this was between
six and seven o'clock on Tuesday morning. At Mrs. Golding's were broken the quantity of three pails full of glass, china, &c. Mrs. Pain's filled two pails. The accounts here related are in the words of the “narrative,” which bears the attestation of the witnesses before mentioned. The affair is still remembered by many persons: it is usually denominated the “Stockwell Ghost,” and deemed inexplicable. It must be recollected, however, that the mysterious movements were never made but when Ann Robinson, Mrs. Golding's maid-servant, was present, and that they wholly ceased when she was dismissed. Though these two circumstances tend to prove that this girl was the cause of the disturbances, scarcely any one who lived at that time listened patiently to the presumption, or without attributing the whole to witchcraft One lady, whom the editor of the EveryDay Book conversed with several times on the subject, firmly believed in the witchcraft, because she had been eye-witness to the animation of the inanimate crockery and furniture, which she said could not have been effected by human means— it was impossible. He derived, however, a solution of these “impossibilities” from the late Mr. J. B–—, at his residence in Southampton-street, Camberwell, towards the close of the year 1817. Mr. B said, all London was in an uproar about the “Stockwell Ghost” for a long time, and it would have made more noise than the “Cock-lane Ghost,” if it had lasted longer; but attention to it gradually died away, and most people believed it was supernatural. Mr. B–, in continuation, observed, that some years after it happened, he became acquainted with this very Ann Robinson, without knowing for a long time that she had been the servant-maid to Mrs. Golding. He learned it by accident, and told her what he had heard. She admitted it was true, and in due season, he says, he got all the story out. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery, and put wires under others; on pulling these, the “movables” of course fell. Mrs. Golding was terribly frightened, and so were all who saw any thing tumble. Ann Robinson herself, dexterously threw many of the things down, which the persons present, when they turned round and saw them in motion or broken, attributed to unseen agency. These spectators were all too much alarmed by their own dread of infernal power to examine any thing.