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The EVERY-DAY BOOK.-JANUARY 7.
They kept at an awful distance, and sometimes would not look at the utensils, lest they might face fresh horrors; of these tempting opportunities she availed herself. She put the eggs in motion, and after one only fell down, threw the other at the cat. Their terrors at the time, and their subsequent conversations magnified many of the circumstances beyond the facts. She took advantage of absences to loosen the hams and bacon, and attach them by the skins; in short, she ef. sected all the mischief. She caused the water in the pail to appear as if it boiled, by slipping in a paper of chemical powdets as she passed, and afterwards it bubbled. “Indeed,” said Mr. B y “there was a love story connected with the case, and when I have time, I will write out the whole, as I got it by degrees from the woman herself. When she saw the effect of her first feats, she was tempted to exercise the dexterity beyond her original purpose for mere amusement. She was astonished at the astonishment she caused, and so went on from one thing to another; and being quick in her motions and shrewd, she puzzled all the simple old people, and nearly frightened them to death.” Mr. B– chuckled mightily over his recollections; he was nd of a practical joke, and enjoyed the tricks of Ann Robinson with all his heart. By his acuteness, curiosity, and love of drollery, he drew from her the entire consession; and “as the matter was all over years ago, and no more harm could be done," said Mr. B., “I never talked about it much, for her sake; but of this I can assure you, that the only magic in the thing was, her dexterity and the people's simplicity.” Mr. B. promised to put down the whole on paper; but he was ailing and infirm, and accident prevented the writer from caring much for a “full, true, and particular account,” which he ould have had at any time, till Mr. Brayfield's death rendered it unattainable.
Mr. Arthur Aikin, in his “Calendar of ature,” presents us with a variety of ac©eptable information concerning the operations of nature throughout the year. “The plants at this season,” he says, “are provided by nature with a sort of wintero which secure them from the efof cold. Those called herbaceous, which die down to the root every autumn are now safely concealed under-ground, preparing their new shoots to burst forth
when the earth is softened in spring. Shrubs and trees, which are exposed to the open air, have all their soft and tender parts closely wrapt up in buds, which by their firmness resist all the power of frost; the larger kinds of buds, and those which are almost ready to expand, are further guarded by a covering of resin or gum, such as the horse-chestnut, the sycamore, and the lime. Their external covering, however, and the closeness of their internal texture, are of themselves by no means adequate to resist the intense cold of a winter's night: a bud detached from its stem, enclosed in glass, and thus protected from all access of external air, if suspended from a tree during a sharp frost, will be entirely penetrated, and its parts deranged by the cold, while the buds on the same tree will not have sustained the slightest injury; we must therefore attribute to the living principle in vegetables, as well as animals, the power of resisting cold to a very considerable degree : in animals, we know, this power is generated from the decomposition of air by means of the lungs, and disengagement of heat; how vegetables acquire this property remains for future observations to discover. If one of these buds be carefully opened, it is found to consist of young leaves rolled together, within which are even all the blossoms in miniature that are afterwards to adorn the spring.” During the mild weather of winter, slugs are in constant motion preying on plants and green wheat. Their coverings of slime prevent the escape of animal heat, and hence they are enabled to ravage when their brethren of the shell, who are more sensible of cold, lie dormant. Earthworms likewise appear about this time but let the man ..} nice order, with a little garden, discriminate between the destroyer, and the innocent and useful inhabitant. One summer evening, the worms from beneath a small grass plat, lay halt out of their holes, or were dragging “ their slow length” upon the surface. They were all carefully taken up, and preserved as a breakfast for the ducks. In the following year, the grass-plat, which had flourished annually with its worms, vegetated unwillingly. They were the under gardeners that loosened the sub-soil, and let the warm air through their entran. ces to nourish the roots of the herbage. “Their calm desires that asked but little room,” were unheeded, and their usefulness was unknown, until their absence was test
The first Monday after Twelfth-day is called Plough Monday, and appears to have received that name because it was the first day after Christmas that husbandmen resumed the plough. In some parts of the country, and especially in the north, they draw the plough in procession to the doors of the villagers and townspeople. Long ropes are attached to it, and ihirty or forty men, stripped to their clean white shirts, but protected from the weather by waistcoats beneath, drag it along. Their arms and shoulders are decorated with gay-coloured ribbons, tied in large knots and bows, and their hats are smartened in the same way. They are usually accompanied by an old woman, or a boy dressed up to represent one; she is gaily bedizened, and called the Bessy. Sometimes the sport is assisted by a humorous countryman to represent a fool. He is covered with ribbons, and attired in skins, with a depending tail, and carries a box to collect money from the spectators. They are attended by music, and Morris-dancers when they can be got; but there is always a sportive dance with a few lasses in all their finery, and a superabundance of ribbons. When this merriment is well managed, it is very pleasing. The money collected is spent at night in conviviality. It must not be supposed, however, that
in these times, the twelve days of Christmas are devoted to pastime, although the custom remains. Formerly, indeed, little was done in the field at this season, and according to “Tusser Redivivus,” during the Christmas holidays, gentlemen feasted the farmers, and every farmer feasted his servants and taskmen. Then Plough Monday reminded them of their business, and on the morning of that day, the men and maids strove who should show their readiness to commence the labours of the year, by rising the earliest. If the ploughman could get his whip, his plough-staff, hatchet, or any field implement, by the fireside, before the maid could get her kettle on, she lost her Shrove-tide cock to the men. Thus did our forefathers strive to allure youth to their duty, and provided them innocent mirth as well as labour On Plough Monday night the farmer gave them a good supper and strong ale. In some places, where the ploughman went to work on Plough Monday, if, on his return at night, he came with his whip to the kitchen-hatch, and cried “Cock in pot,” before the maid could cry “Cock on the dunghill,” he gained a cock for Shrove Tuesday. Blomefield's History of Norfolk tend. to clear the origin of the annual processions on Plough Monday. Anciently, a light called the Plough-light, was maintained by old and young persons who were husbandmen, before images in some churches, and on Plough Monday they had a feast, and went about with a plough and dancers to get money to support the Plough-light. The Reformation p Out these lights; but the practice of going about with the plough begging for money remains, and the “money for light” increases the income of the village alehouse. Let the sons of toil make glad their hearts with “Barley-wine;” let them also remember to “be merry and wise.” Their old acquaintance, “Sir John Barleycorn,” has had heavy complaints against him. There is “The Arraigning and Indicting of Sir John BARLEY corn, knt. printed for Timothy Tosspot.” This whimsical little tract describes him as of “noble blood, well beloved in England, a great support to the crown, and a maintainer of both rich and poor.” It formally places him upon his trial, at the sign of the Three Loggerheads, before “Oliver and Old Nick his holy father,” as judges. The witnesses for the prosecution were cited under the hands and seals of the said judges, sitting “at the sign of the Three merry Companions in Bedlam ; that is to say, Poor Robin, Merry Tom, and Jack Lackwit." At the trial, the prisoner, sir John Barleycorn, pleaded not guilty. Lawyer Noisy—May it, please your lordship, and gentlemen of the jury, I am counsel for the king against the prisoner at the bar, who stands indicted of many heinous and wicked crimes, in that the said prisoner, with malice prepense and several wicked ways, has conspired and brought about the death of several of his majesty's loving subjects, to the great loss of several poor families, who by this means have been brought to ruin and
beggary, which, before the wicked designs.
and contrivances of the prisoner, lived in a flourishing and reputable way, but now are reduced to low circumstances and great misery, to the great loss of their own families and the nation in general We shall call our evidence; and if we make the facts appear, I do not doubt but you will find him guilty, and your lordships will award such punishment as the nature of his crimes deserve.
, Pulcan, the Blacksmith.—My lords, sir John has been a great enemy to me, and many of my friends. Many a time, when I have been busy at my work, not thirking any harm to any man, having
a fire-spark in my throat, I, going over to the sign of the Cup and Can for one pennyworth of ale, there I found sir John, and thinking no hurt to any man, civilly sat me down to spend my twopence; but in the end, sir John began to pick a quarrel with me. Then I started up, thinking to go away; but sir John had got me by the top of the head, that I had no power to help myself, and so by his strength and power he threw me down, broke my head, my face, and almost all my bones, that I was not able to work for three days; nay, more than this, he picked my purse, and left me never a penny, so that I had not wherewithal to support my family, and my head ached to such a degree, that I was not able to work for three or four days; and this set my wife a scolding, so that I not only lost the good opinion my neighbours had of me, but likewise raised such a storm in my family, that I was forced to call in the parson of the parish to quiet the raging of my wife's temper, JPill, the JP'eaver.—I am but a poor man, and have a wife and a charge of children: yet this knowing sir John will never let me alone; he is always enticing me from my work, and will not be quiet till he hath got me to the alehouse; and then he quarrels with me, and abuses me most basely; and sometimes he binds me hand and foot, and throws me in the ditch, and there stays with me all night, and next morning leaves me but one penny in my pocket. About a week ago, we had not been together above an hour, before he began to give me cross words: at our first meeting, he seemed to have a pleasant countenance, and often smiled in my face, and would make me sing a merry catch or two; but in a little time, he grew very churlish, and kicked up my heels, set my head where my heels should be, and put my shoulder out, so that I have not been able to use my shuttle ever since, which has been a great detriment to my family, and great misery to myself. Stitch, the Tailor, deposed to the same effect. Mr. JP'heatly.—The inconveniencies I have received from the prisoner are with out number, and the trouble he occasions in the neighbourhood is not to be expressed. I am sure I have been oftentimes very highly esteemed both with lords, knights, and squires, and none could please them so well as James Wheatly, the baker; but now the case is altered; sir John Barleycoon is the man that is highly esteemed in every place. I am now but poor James Wheatly, and he is sir John Barleycorn at every word; and that word hath undone many an honest man in England; for I can prove it to be true, that he has caused many an honest man to waste and consume all that he hath.
The prisoner, sir John Barleycorn, being called on for his defence, urged, that to his accusers he was a friend, until they abused him; and said, if any one is to be blamed, it is my brother Malt. My brother is now in court, and if your lordships please, may be examined to all those facts which are now laid to my charge.
Court.—Call Mr. Malt.
Court.—Mr. Malt, you have (as you have been in court) heard the indictment that is laid against your brother, sir John Barleycorn, who says, if any one ought to be accused, it should be you; but as sir John and you are so nearly related to each other, and have lived so long together, the court is of opinion he cannot be acquitted, unless you can likewise prove yourself innocent of the crimes which are laid to his charge.
Malt.—My lords, I thank you for the liberty you now indulge me with, and think it a great happiness, since I am so strongly accused, that I have such learned judges to determine these complaints. As for my part, I will put the matter to the bench. First, I pray you consider with yourselves, all tradesmen would live; and although Master Malt does make sometimes a cup of good liquor, and many men come to taste it, yet the fault is neither in me nor my brother John, but in such as those who make this complaint against us, as I shall make it appear to
In the first place, which of you all can say but Master Malt can make a cup of good liquor, with the help of a good brewer; and when it is made, it will be sold. I pray which of you all can live without it ! But when such as these, who complain of us, find it to be good, then they have such a greedy mind, that they think they never have enough, and this overcharge brings on the inconveniences complained of, makes them quarrelsome with one another, and abusive to their very friends, so that we are forced to lay them down to sleep. From hence it ap
pears it is from their own greedy desires all these troubles arise, and not from wicked designs of our own. Court.—Truly, we cannot see that you are in the fault. Sir John Barleycorn, we will show you so much favour, that if you can bring any person of reputation to speak to your character, the court is disposed to acquit you. Bring in your evidence, and let us hear what they can say in your behalf. - Thomas, the Ploughman.—May I be allowed to speak my thoughts freely, since I shall offer nothing but the truth. Court.—Yes, thou mayest be bold to speak the truth, and no more, for that is the cause we sit here for; therefore speak boldly, that we may understand thee. Ploughman.-Gentlemen, sir John is of an ancient house, and is come of a noble race; there is neither lord, knight, nor squire, but they love his company, and he theirs; as long as they don't abuse him, he will abuse no man, but doth a reat deal of good. In the first place, few ploughmen can live without him; for if it were not for him, we should not pay our landlords their rent; and then what would such men as you do for money and clothes? Nay, your gay ladies would care but little for you, if you had not your rents coming in to maintain them; and we could never pay, but that sir John Barleycorn feeds us with money; and yet would you seek to take away his life! For shame, let your malice cease, and pardon his life, or else we are all undone. Bunch, the Brewer.—Gentlemen, I beseech you, hear me. My name is Bunch, a brewer; and I believe few of you can live without a cup of good liquor, no more than I can without the help of sir John Barleycorn. As for my own part, I maintain a great charge, and keep a great many men at work; I pay taxes forty pounds a year to his majesty, God bless him, and all this is maintained by the help of sir John; then how can any man for shame seek to take away his life. Mistress Hostess.--To give evidence in behalf of sir John Barleycorn, gives me pleasure, since I have an opportunity of doing justice to so honourable a person. Through him the administration receives large supplies; he likewise greatly supports the labourer, and enlivens the conversation. What pleasure could there be at a sheep-clipping without his come pany, or what joy at a feast without his assistance? I know him, to te an honest
man, and he never abused any man, if they abused not him. If you put him to death, all England is undone, for there is not another in the land can do as he can do, and hath done; for he can make a cripple go, the coward fight, and a soldier neither feel hunger nor cold. I beseech you, gentlemen, let him live, or else we are all undone; the nation likewise will be distressed, the labourer impoverished, and the husbandman ruined. Court.—Gentlemen of the jury, you have now heard what has been offered against sir John Barleycorn, and the evidence that has been produced in his defence. If you are of opinion he is guilty of those wicked crimes laid to his charge, and has with malice prepense conspired and brought about the death of several of his majesty's loving subjects, you are then to find him guilty; but if, on the contrary, you are of opinion that he had no real intention of wickedness, and was not the immediate, but only the accidental, cause of these evils laid to his charge, then, according to the statute law of this kingdom, you ought to acquit him. Perdict, Not GUILTY.
the church of England was the saint of that name mentioned yesterday.
Is the patroness of Brussels, and is said to have |. about 712. She suffered the misfortune of having her candle blown out, and possessed the miraculous power of praying it a-light again, at least, so says Butler; “whence,” he affirms, “she is usually represented in pictures with a lantern.” He particularizes no other miracle she performed. Surius however relates, that as she was praying in a church without shoes, the priest compassionately put his gloves under her feet; but she threw them away, and they miraculously hung in the air for the space of an hour— whether in compliment to the saint or the priest does not appear.
1821. A newspaper of January 8, mentions an extraordinary feat by Mr. Huddy, the postmaster of Lismore, in the 97th year of his age. He travelled, for a wager, from that town to Fermoy in a Dungarvon oyster-tub, drawn by a pig, a badger, two cats, a goose, and a hedgehog; with a large red nightcap on his head, a pigdriver's whip in one hand, and in the other a common cow's-horn, which he blew to encourage his team, and give notice of this new mode of posting.
Let us turn away for a moment from the credulity and eccentricity of man's feebleness and folly, to the contemplation of “the firstling of the year” from the bosom of our common mother. The Snow-drop is described in the “Flora Domestica” “as the earliest flower of all our wild flowers, and will even show her head above the snow, as if to prove her rivalry in whiteness;” as if —Flora's breath, by some transforming power, Had chang'd an icicle into a flower.
One of its greatest charms is its “coming in a wintry season, when few others visit us: we look upon it as a friend in adversity; sure to come when most needed.”