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new year's gifts from king James I. to the persons whose names are therein mentioned on the 1st of January 1605, with the new year's gifts that his majesty received the same day; the roll is signed by James himself and certain officers of his household. In a “Banquet of Jests, 1634,” 12mo. there is a pleasant story of Archee, the king's jester, who, having fooled many, was fooled himself. Coming to a nobleman, upon new year's day, to bid him good-morrow, Archee received twenty pieces of gold; but, covetously desiring more, he shook them in his hand, and said they were too light. The donor answered: “I prithee, Archee, let me see them again, for there is one amongst them I would be loth to part with:” Archee, expecting the sum to be increased, returned the pieces to his lordship; who put them in his Pocket with this remark, “I once gave money into a fool's hand, who had not the wit to keep it.” Pins were acceptable new year's gifts to the ladies, instead of the wooden skewess which they used till the end of the fifteenth century. Sometimes they recolved a composition in money; and hence allowances for their separate use is still denominated “pin-money.” Gloves were customary new year's gifts. They were more expensive than in our times, and occasionally a money present was tendered instead: this was called “glove-money.” Sir Thomas More, as lord chancellor, decreed in favour of * Mrs. Croaker against the lord Arundel. 9, the following new year's day, in oken of her gratitude, she presented sir Thomas with a pair of gloves, containing forty angels. “It would be against good manners," said the chancellor, to forsake a gentlewoman's new year's gift, and I Accept the gloves; their lining you will be pleased otherwise to bestow.” . Mr. Brand relates from a curious MS. in the British Museum, of the date of 1560, that the boys of Eton school used o, this day to play for little new year's gifts before is after supper; and also to make verses, which they presented to the provost and masters, and to each other: new year's gifts of verses, however, were not peculiar to schoolboys. A poet, the beauties of whose poetry are justly remarked to be “of a kind which time has * tendency rather to hallow than to inlife." Robert Herrick, presents us, in his He perides, with “a New Year's Gif.
justice, or for religious worship.
sent to Sir Simon Steward."
- a jolly
Mr. Ellis, in a note on Brand. introduces a poetical new year's gift in Latin, from the stern Buchanan to the unhappy Mary of Scotland.
“New year's gifts,” says Dr. Drake “were given and received, with the mutual expression of good wishes, and articularly that of a happy new year. The compliment was sometimes paid at each other's doors in the form of a song; but more geherally, especially in the north of England and in Scotland, the house was entered very early in the morning, by some young men and maidens selected for the purpose, who presented the spiced bowl, and hailed you with the gratulations of the season.” To this may be added, that it was formerly the custom in Scotland to send new year's gifts, on new year's eve; and on new year's day to wish each other a happy new year, and ask for a new year's gift. There is a citation in Brand, from the “Statistical Account of Scotland," concerning new year's gifts to servant maids by their masters; and it mentions that “there is a large stone, about nine or ten feet high, and four broad, placed upright in a plain, in the (Orkney) isle of North Ronaldshay; but no tradition is preserved concerning it, whether erected in memory of any signa! event, or for the purpose of administering
IIe com*mences it merrily, and goes on to call it
writer of this (the parish priest) has seen fifty of the inhabitants assembled there, on the first day of the year, dancing by moonlight, with no other music than their own singing.” In Mr. Stewart's “Popular Superstitions of the Highlands,” there is some account of the Candlemas bull, on new year's eve, as introductory to the new year. The term Candlemas, applied to this season, is supposed to have originated in some old religious ceremonies performed by candlelight. The Bull is a passing cloud, which Highland imagination perverts into the form of that animal; as it rises or falls or takes peculiar directions, of great significancy to the seers, so does it prognosticate good or bad weather. The more northern nations anciently assigned portentous qualities to the winds of new year's eve. One of their old legends in Brand may be thus versified—the last line eking out the verse: If New Year's eve night-wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth ; If west, much milk, and fish in the sea ; If north, much cold, and storms there will be; If east, the trees will bear much fruit If north-east, flee it man and brute. Mr. Stewart says, that as soon as night sets in it is the signal with the Strathdown highlander for the suspension of his usual employment, and he directs his attention to more agreeable callings. The men form into bands with tethers and axes, and, shaping their course to the juniper bushes, they return home laden with mighty loads, which are arranged round the fire to-dry till morning. A certain discreet person is despatched to the dead and living ford to draw a pitcher of water in profound silence, without the vessel touching the ground, lest its virtue should be destroyed, and on his return all retire to rest. Early on new year's morning the Usque-Cashrichd, or water from the dead and living ford, is drank, as a potent charm, until next new year's day, against the spells of witchcraft, the malignity of evil eyes, and the activity of all .nfertial agency. The qualified highlander then takes a large brush, with which he rofusely asperses the occupants of all ds; from whom it is not unusual for him to receive ungrateful remonstrances against ablution. This ended, and the doors and windows being thorcughly closed, and all crevices stopped, he kindles piles of the collected juniper, in the dif
ferent apartments, till the vapour from the burning branches condenses into opaque clouds, and coughing, sneezing, wheezing, gasping, and other demonstrations of susfocation ensue. The operator, aware that the more intense the “smuchdan," the more propitious the solemnity, disregards these indications, and continues, with streaming eyes and averted head, to increase the fumigation, until in his own defence he admits the air to recover the exhaustcd household and himself. He then treats the horses, cattle, and other bestial stock in the town with the same smothering, to keep them from harm throughout the year. When the gudewife gets up, and having ceased from coughing, has gained sufficient strength to reach the bottle dhu, she administers its comfort to the relief of the sufferers: laughter takes place of complaint, all the family get up, wash their faces, and receive the visits of their neighbours, who arrive full of gratulations peculiar to the day. Mu nase choil orst, “My Candlemas bond upon you " is the customary salutation, and means, in plain words, “You owe me a new year's gift." . A point of great emulation is, who shal! salute the other first ; because the one who does so is entitled to a gift from the person saluted. Breakfast, consisting of all procurable luxuries, is then served, the neighbours not engaged are invited to partake, and the day ends in festivity, Riding stang, a custom that will be observed on hereafter, prevails in some parts of England on new year's day to the present hour. The “stang" is a cowl-staff; the cowl is a water-vessel, borne by two persons on the cowl-staff, which is a stout pole whereon the vessel hangs. “Where's the cowl-staff" cries Ford's wife, when she purposes to get Falstaff into a large buck-basket, with two handles; the cowl-staff, or “stang," is produced, and, being passed through the handles,the fat knight is borne off by two of Ford's men. A writer in the Gentlemans Magazine, 1791, says, that in Westmoreland and Cumberland, on the 1st of Ja nuary, multitudes assemble en-ly in the morning with baskets and “statios," and whoever does not join them, whether inhabitant or stranger, is immediately mounted across the “stang,” and carried, shoulder height, to the next public-house, where sixpence liberates so prisoner
Women are seized in this way, and car. ried in baskets—the sex being privileged from riding “stang," in complimont, perhaps, to the use of o In the | same part of the country, no-one is allowed to work on new year's day, however industrious. Mr. Ellis shows that it | was a new year's day custom in ancient | |Rome for tradesmen to work a little only, for luck's sake, that they might have constant business all the year after. | " A communication in an English journal of January 1824 relates, that in Paris on new year's day, which is called le jour d'êtrenues, parents bestow portions on their children, brothers on their sisters, and husbands make presents to their wives. Carriages may be seen rolling through the | streets with cargoes of bon-bous, souvenirs, and the variety of et carterus with which little children and grown-up children are bribed into good humour; and here and there pastrycooks are to be met with, car| tying upon boards enormous temples, pa| godas, churches, and playhouses, made of fine flour and sugar, and the embellishments which render French pastry so inviting. But there is one street in Paris to which a new year's day is a whole year's fortune—this is the Rue des Lom| bards, where the wholesale confectioners reside; for in Paris every trade and profession has its peculiar quarter. For seVeral days preceding the 1st of January, this street is completely blocked up by carts and waggons laden with cases of sweetmeats for the provinces. These are of every form and description which the most singular fancy could imagine; bunches of carrots, green peas, boots and shoes, lobsters and crabs, hats, books, musical instruments, gridirons, frying-pans, and saucepans; all made of sugar, and coi. to imitate reality, and all made
with a hollow within to hold the bon-bons. The most prevailing device is what is called a cornet, that is, a little cone ornamented in different ways with a bag to draw over the large end, and close it up. |
In these things, the prices of which vary from one franc (tempence) to fifty, the bon-bons are presented by those who choose to be at the expense of them, and by those who do not, they are only wrapped in a piece of paper; but bon-bons in some way or other must be presented. It would not, perhaps, be an exaggeration to state that the amount expended for presents on new year's day in Paris, for sweetmeats | alone, exceeds 500,000 francs, or 20,000l. | sterling Jewellery is also sold to a very
large amount, and the fancy articles ex
orted in the first week in the year to *... and other countries, is computed at one-fourth of the sale during the twelve months. In Paris it is by no means uncommon for a man of 8,000 or 10,000 francs a year to make presents on new year's day which cost him a fifteenth part of his income. No person able to give must on this day pay a visit moi. Every body accepts, and every man gives according to the means which he possesses. Females alone are excepted from the charge of giving. A pretty woman, respectably connected, may reckon her new year's presents at something considerable. Gowns, jewellery, gloves, stockings, and artificial flowers, fill her drawing-room; for in Paris it is a custom to display all the gifts, in order to excite emulation, and to obtain as much as possible. At the palace the new year's day is a complete jour de Jete. Every branch of the royal family is then expected to make handsome presents to the king. For the six months preceding January 1824, the female branches were busily occupied in preparing presents of their own manufacture, which would fill at least two common-sized waggons. The duchess de Berri painted an entire room of japanned pannels, to be set up in the palace; and the duchess of Orleans prepared an elegant screen. An English gentleman who was admitted suddenly into the presence of the duchess de Berri two months before, found her, and three of her maids of honour, lying on the carpet, painting the legs of a set of chairs, which were intended for the king. The day commences with the Parisians, at an early hour, by the interchange of their visits and bon-bons. The nearest relations are visited first, until the furthest in blood have had their calls; then friends and acquaintances. The conflict to anticipate each other's calls, occasions the most agreeable and whimsical scenes among these proficients in polite attentions. In these visits, and in gossiping at the consectioners' shops, which are the great lounge for the occasion, the morning of new year's day is passed; a dinner is giver by some member of the family to all the rest, and the evening concludes, like Christmas day, with cards, dancing, or any other amusement that may be preferred. One of the chief attractions to a foreigner in Paris is the exhibition, which opens there on new year's day, of the finest specimens of the Sevres china manu. 'actured at the royal establishment in the neighbourhood of Versailles during the preceding year. Undoubtedly, new year's gifts originated in heathen observances, and were grossly abused in after ages; yet latterly they became a rational and pleasant mode of conveying our gentle dispositions towards those we esteem. Mr. Audley, in his compendious and useful “Companion to the Almanack," says, with truth, that they are innocent, if not praiseworthy; and he quotes this amiable sentimetit from Bourre: “If I send a new year's gift to my friend, it shall be a token of my friendship; if to my benefactor, a token of my gratitude; if to the poor, which at this season must never be forgot, it shall be to make their hearts sing for joy, and give praise and adoration to the Giver of all good gifts." The Jews on the first day of their new year give sumptuous entertainments, and joyfully wish each other “a happy new year.” This salutation is not yet obsolete even with us; but the new year's gift seldom arrives, except to honest rustics from their equals; it is scarcely remembered with a view to its use but by young persons, who, “unvexed with all the cares of gain,” have read or heard tell of such things, and who, with innocent hearts, feeling the kindness of the sentiment, keep up the good old custom among one another, till mixture with the world, and “long experience, makes them sage,” and sordid. New year's day in London is not observed by any public festivity; but little social dining parties are frequently formed amongst friends; and convivial persons may be found at taverns, and in publicans' arlours, regaling on the occasion. Dr Ferster relates, in his “Perennial Calenso to ay, and esteem the omission as unlucky: the practice, however, from such motives, must obviously be confined to the uninformed. The only open demonstration of joy in the metropolis, is the ringing of merry peals from the belfries of the numerous steeples, late on the eve of the new year, and until after the chimes of the clock have sounded its last hour. On new year's day the man of business opens new account-books. “A good beginning makes a good ending." Let every man open an account to himself; and to begin the new year that he may expect to say at its termination—it has been a
dar,” that many people make a wear some new clothes on this
good year. In the hilarity of the season let him not forget that to the needy it is a season of discomfort.
There is a satissaction In doing a good action:
and he who devises liberal things will find his liberality return to him in a ful! tide of happiness. An economist can afford to be generous. “Give me neither poverty nor riches,” prayed the wise man. To him who is neither encumbered by wealth, nor dispirited by indigence, the stores of enjoyment are unlocked.
He who holds fast the Golden Mean,
The tallest pines feel most the pow'r
The well-inform'd philosopher
If hindrances obstruct thy way,
1308. On the 1st of January in this year, William Tell, the Swiss patriot, as: sociated himself on this day with a band of his countrymen, against the tyranny of their oppressors. For upwards of three centuries the opposition was carried on, and terminated by the treaty of Westphalia in 1648, declaring the independence of Switzerland.
1651. On the 1st of January Charles II. was crowned at Scone king of the Scots Charles, when a child, was weak in the legs, and ordered to wear steel-boots. Their weight so annoyed him that he pined till recreation became labour. An old rocker took off the steel-boots, and concealed them; promising the countess of Dorset, who was Charles's governess, that she would take any blame for the act Usually at this period the rigour of cold |
on herself. Soon afterwards the king. Charles I., coming into the nursery, and seeing his boy's legs without the boots, angrily demanded who had done it ! “It was I, sir,” said the rocker, “who had the honour, some thirty years since, to attend on your highuess, in your infancy, when you had the same infirmity wherewith now the prince, your very own son is troubled; and then the lady Cary, (afterwards countess of Monmouth) commanded your steel-boots to be taken off, who, blessed be God, since have gathered strength, and arrived at a good stature.” Clare, chaplain to Charles II., at the time the affair happened, related this anecdote to old Fuller, who in 1660, contemplating “the restoration,” tells the story, and quaintly exclaims, “the nation is too noble, when his majesty shall return from foreign parts, to impose any other steelboots upon him, than the observing the laws of the land, which are his own stockings, that so with joy and comfort he may enter on what was his own inheritance.” The nation forgot the “steel-boots,” and Charles forgot the “stockings.” 1801. January 1. The Union of Great Britain with Ireland commenced according to act of parliament, and the event was solemnized by the hoisting of a new royal flag on the Tower of London, accompanied by the firing of guns there and in St. James's Park. On the 3d the king received the great seal of Great Britain from the lord chancellor, and causing it to be defaced, presented to him a new great seal for the U. Kingdom. On the same day, January 1st, 1801, Piazzi, the astronomer at Palermo, discovered a new primary o making an eleventh of that order: he called it Ceres, som the goddess of that name, who was highly esteemed by the ancients of Sicily.
is severely felt. The indisposition of lie-abeds to face its severity is pleasantly pictured by Mr.Leigh Hunt, in a paper in the Indicator. He imagines one of those persons to express himself in these terms:
“On opening my eyes, the first thing that meets them is my own breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, like smoke out of a cottage-chimney. Think of this sympton. Then I turn my eyes sideways and see the window all frozen over. Think of that. Then the servant comes
in. “It is very cold this morning, is it not "--' Very cold, sir."—“Very cold indeed, isn't it?”—“Very cold indecd, sir.’—“More than usually so, isn't it, even for this weather?" (Here the servant's wit and good nature are put to a considerable test, and the inquirer lies on thorns for the answer.) “Why, Sir ..
... I think it is.’ (Good creature! There,
is not a better, or more truth-telling ser. vant going.) “I must rise, however— Get me some warm water.’—IIere comes a fine interval between the departure of the servant and the arrival of the hot water; during which, of course, it is of ‘no use' to get up. The hot water comes. “Is it quite hot '-' Yes, sir." —‘Perhaps too hot for shaving : I must wait a little?'—“No, sir; it will just do.' (There is an over-nice propriety sometimes, an officious zeal of virtue, a little troublesome.) must air my clean shirt —linen gets very damp this weather.'—‘Yes, sir." Ilere another delicious five minutes. A knock at the door. “Oh, the shirt—very well. My stockings—I think the stockings had better be aired too.”—“Very well, sir.” —Here another interval. At length every thing is ready, except myself I now cannot help thinking a good deal—who can —upon the unnecessary and villainous custom of shaving; it is a thing so unmanly (here I nestle closer)—so effeminate, (here I recoil from an unlucky ste
into the colder part of the bed.)—No wonder, that the queen of France took part with the rebels against that degenerate king, her husband, who first affronted her stnooth visage with a face like her own. The emperor Julian never showed the luxuriancy of his genius to better advantage than in reviving the flowing beard. Look at cardinal Bembo's picture—at Michael Angelo's—at Titian's—at Shak. speare's—at Fletcher's—at Spenser's—at Chaucer's—at Alfred's—at Plato's. I could name a great man for every tick of my watch. Look at the Turks, a grave and otiose people—Think of Haroun A) Raschid and Bed-ridden Hassan—Think of Wortley Montague, the worthy son of his mother, a man above the prejudice of his time—Look at the Persian gentlemen, whom one is ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, their dress and appearance are so much finer than our own—Lastly, think of the razor itself—how totally opposed to every sensation of bed—how cold, how edgy, how hard 1 how utterly