Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

But now no more; enough, enough,
Of these prosaic numbers rough:
We cease th' attempt, since it requires
A poet to tell, a poet's fires.

ANECDOTES. The late Doctor William Cullen of Edinburgh was no less remarkable for whim and vivacity in his youth, than for sagacity and luminous powers of ratiocination in his matured years. A strong vein of that kind of eccentricity which is often found accompanying a lively imagination and vigorous genius, ran, it is said, through the whole family, and descended to the Doctor's sons in an increased degree, or perhaps in a degree which appeared to be increased only because they had more ample means to indulge it, and moved in a more conspicuous orbit. Respecting one of these (we are not sure whether it may not be the present lord of session) there was some years ago an anecdote, diverting in itself, extremely characteristic of the family humour, and indicative of the archness and highmettled spirit which rendered the boys, more than any others of their time, indomable. One day, the liule fellow having committed some very high offence, the Doctor resolved to punish him. A friend, who was present, interposed, argued and implored him for pardon, adding, “ Do, doctor, forgive him this time-I'll be his sponsor-for he's a clever little fellow after all."_" Yes," said the arch young rogue, who to his wit and humour added the most extraordinary powers of mimicry perhaps ever known, “Yes, father, I am a clever little fellow after all.The doctor, startled and chagrined at the accuracy of the mimicry, and the unfeeling hardihood of his son, replied—“Ay, ay, I see you are too much so, and I'll try whether I cannot deprive you of a little of your cleverness;" saying which he ordered him to be locked up in a room in the garret, and passed sentence of bread and water on him. It so happened that a cat was shut up in the room along with him; and his mind, fruitful in plans of playful mischief, immediately suggested to him one of the most whimsical and bold projects of revenge imaginable. He tore the sheets of the bed, and formed from them a string of sufficient length to touch the street below: to one end of this he fastened the cat, and, throwing up the sash, stood prepared for what

a

[ocr errors]

might happen. The doctor, having visited his patients, returned home at the usual time; and getting out of his sedan-chair with his hat, according to custom, under his arm, ascended the steps to enter. No one who has ever seen that great man, or even the portrait of him, can have forgotten his wig:-it was of an enormous size, large enough to cover an ordinary bee-hive, and white with powder. Our arch youngster let down the cat by the string, and calculated its descent with such unlucky precision, that it alighted exactly on the top of the old gentleman's cranium, where, in terror, it fastened its claws. As soon as the arch dog perceived that puss had a firm hold of her new acquisition, he hawled her up again as fast as he could. Nothing could exceed the surprise and merriment of the people who were passing by, at seeing the well powdered caxon of Doctor Cullen ascending to the air in the claws of a cat, who mewled most lamentably in her passage, while the doctor himself, with his bald pate, stood staring in astonishment and rage, looking up at his son. “Ha, you young villain!” exclaimed he, “is this your doing?"_"Even so," replied the impudent young varlet: “ don't be angry, father. Turn about is fair playyou threatened to deprive me of some of my cleverness, and I'll be hanged if I have not deprived you of all of yours.”

Reflecting upon the foregoing anecdote, one of an extraordinary kind, and not very unlike it, that took place a few years ago in Dublin, recurred to our recollection. A gentleman who had a son, one of those wicked young wits whose pranks, though at the time of their execution extremely mortifying, often disclose the seeds of future greatness, and at the worst serve afterwards for pastime in the recounting of them—a kind of being with which Ireland is thought more to abound than any other country.--This gentleman, I say, having received some sharp provocation from his untoward boy, ordered him to be stripped, for the purpose of correcting him with more formality and effect; and having laid it on with a switch till he had given him as much as he thought salutary, left him to put on his clothes. Returning in about an hour after, and finding the chap still undressed, he asked him angrily why he had not put on his clothes; and fearing the boy might catch cold, ordered him to dress himself directly. “I sha'nt,” replied the other surlily “ Put on your clothes directly, sir!"-" They're not my clothes, and I'll not wear them!"" What do you mean, you rascal?”. “They are your clothes, not mine," replied the unlucky brat; "after

a

execution, the clothes of the criminal belong to the hangman: so take your perquisite with you."

a

EXTRACTS FROM ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS. The following extract from a curious and authentic manuscript in possession of the respectable family of Astle in England, furnishes an instance of the rude manners of that country in ancient times. This manuscript contains among other things the private expenses of king Edward the Second, wherein it appears that cross and pile, or tossing up heads and tails (as it is now called) was a royal diversion. The following translation from the old French may afford some amusement.

Item. Paid to the king himself to play at cross and pile, by the hands of Richard de Mereworth, the receiver of the treasury, the sum of twelve pence.

Item. Paid there to Henry, the king's barber, for money which he lent to the king to play at cross and pile, 5d.

Item. Paid there to Peres Barnard, usher of the king's chamber, money which he lent to the king, and which he lost at cross and pile to Monsieur Robert Watterwylle, 8d.

Item. Paid to the king himself to play at cross and pile, by Peres Barnarel, two shillings, which the said Peres won of him.

Item. Paid to Sir William de Kyngeston, for cabbage which he bought to make pottage in the boat.

Item. Paid at the lodge at Wolmer, when the king was stag hunting there, to Morris Ken, of the kitchen, because he rode there before the king, and often fell from his horse, at which the king laughed exceedingly; a gift by command, 20d.

It may be an amusement to many of our readers to peruse an Order of Council, describing the dress of a page in the reign of queen Elizabeth, said to be copied from the original in the library of Thomas Astle, Esq.

“ These are to praye and requier you to make present serch within your ward and charges presently to make hew and cry for a young stripling of the age of 22 yeres: the colour of his apparell as foloweth: One doblet of yelow million fustion, th’one half therof buttoned with peche colour buttons, and th' other half laced downwards; one payer of peche colour hose laced with smale tawnye

a

lace; a graye hat with a copper edge rounde aboute it with a band of the same and a payer of swatched* stockings. Likewise he hath twoe clokes, th' one of vessey collor with twoe gards of black cloth and twisted lace of carnation colour and lyned with crymson bayes, and th' other is a red shipp russet colour stryped aboute the cape and downe the fore face twisted with twoe rowes of twisted lace, russet and gold buttons afore and uppon the sholdier being of the cloth itself set with the said twisted lace and the buttons of russet silke and gold. This youthes name is Gilbert Edwodd and page to Sir Valentine Browne knyght, who is run awaye this fowerth day of January with theis parcell following, viz. A chaine of wyer worke gold with a button of the same and a smalle ringe of gold at it twoe flagging chaines of gold th' one being marked with the letters V and B uppon the locke, and th' other with a little broken jewell at it, one earkanet of pearle and jasynitts therto hangeing a jewell like a marimade of gold enameled the tayle therof being set with diamonds the bellye of the made with ruby and the shilde a diamond the cheine of gold whereon it hangeth is set with smale diamonds and rubyes, and certeyne money in gold and white money. « To all constables bayliffs and hedboroughs, and to all other the

queenes officers whatsoever to whome the same belongeth
and apperteyneth.

“ BURGHLYE WARWICKE.
“ HUNSDONE HOWARD.”

The last extract which we shall at present lay before our readers is the copy of Sir John Lesley's letter to Sir Thomas Biddle, of Gateshead, upon the siege of Newcastle by the Scotts in 1664.

« Sir THOMAS, “ Between me and God, it makes my heart bleed bleud, to see the warks gae thro' sae trim a gaerden as yours. I hae been twa times wi' my cousin, the general, an' sae shall I sax times mare afore the work gae that gate; but gin a'this be dune, Sir Thomas, yee maun mack the twenty pound thretty, an' I maun hae the tag'd taild troopers that stands in the staw, and the little wee trim gaeing Ithing that stands in the neuk o'the ha' chirping and chiming at the nountide of the day, and forty Sbows of beer to saw the *mains witha'; and as I am a chevalier of fortune, and a limb o'the house of Rothes, as the muckle maun kist in Edinburgh, auld kirk can weel witness for these taught hundred years bygaine, nought shall skaith your house, within or without, to the validome of a twa-penny chicken.

• Blue

† Horse.

| Clock.

Two bushels.

1 Barley.

“I am your humble servant, John Lesley, major-general and captain over sax score and twa men and some mare; crowner of Cumberland, Northumberland, Murrayland, and Fife; baillie of Kinkaldie; governor of Burnt Island and the Bass; laird of Libertine, Tilly and Wolly; siller tacher of Stirling; constable of Leith; and Sir John Lesley, Knight, to the boot of a' that."

a

BOXING THE COMPASS. A seaman once coming before the Committee of Shipping of the East India Company, in Leadenhall-street, to be examined for some offence on board of one of the company's ships, was treated with great slight and contempt by one of the members, who went 80 far as to say, that he doubted the fellow could box the compass, that is to say, to run over regularly all the points of it. Jack very sturdily but humorously replied, “ I'll be dd but I can, and better than you can say the Lord's prayer.” All the other members laughed; and Jack encouraged offered to lay him five guineas of it. “ You can't be off,” said some. So the insolent gentleman thinking it best to put a good face upon the matter, said “ Done with you," and laid down his five guineas too.--The honest tar went through his part, and boxed off the compass in high spirits, and with great precision and rapidity. The member of the committee then followed, and with little trouble went through the Lord's prayer; having done which, he stretched forth his hand to take up the cash. “ Avast! dn my dear eyes, avast!” cried Jack, griping his wrist with the strength of an ox, “not so fast neither."-" Why," said the other, “ you have not said the compass better than I did the Lord's prayer."“Ay, but hold, I'm not half done yet," returned the sailor; and immediately began and said the compass backwards with no less precision and quickness than he had before said it forwards. “Now, say the Lord's prayer backwards, if

* Low lands. | Eight. Two rocks on the coast of Scotland. For a description, see Pennant's Tour.

« PredošláPokračovať »