Obrázky na stránke

Jacques, which is the French for our James. How came the confusion ? I do not remember to have met with the name James in early English history, and it seems to have reached us from Scotland. Perhaps, as Jean and Jaques were among the commonest French names, John came into use as a baptismal name, and Jaques or Jack entered by its side as a familiar term. John answers to the German Johann or Jehann, the Sclavonic Ivan, the Italian Giovanni (all these languages using a strengthening consonant to begin the second syllable): the French Jean, the Spanish Juan, James to the German Jacob, the Italian Giacomo, the French Jacques, the Spanish Jago. It is observable that of these, James and Giacomo alone have the m. Most of our softened words are due to the smooth-tongued Normans. The harsh Saxon Schrobbesbyrigschire, or Shropshire, was by them softened into le Comté de Salop, and both names are still used.


I one day was looking over the different monuments in Cranbrook Church in Kent, when in the chancel my attention was arrested by one erected to the memory of Sir Richard Baker. The gauntlet, gloves, helmet, and spurs were (as is often the case in monumental erections of Elizabethan date) suspended over the tomb. What chiefly attracted my attention was the color of the gloves, which was red. The old woman who acted as my cicerone, seeing me look at them, said, " Aye, miss, those are Bloody Baker's gloves; their red color comes from the blood he shed.” This speech awakened my curiosity to hear more, and with very little pressing I induced my old guide to tell me the following strange tale:

The Baker family had formerly large possessions in Cranbrook, but in the reign of Edward VI. great misfortunes fell on them; by extravagance and dissipation they gradually lost all their lands, until an old house in the village (now used as the poorhouse) was all that remained to them. The sole representative of the family remaining at the accession of Queen Mary was Sir Richard Baker. He had spent some years abroad in consequence of a duel; but when, said my informant, Bloody Queen Mary reigned, he thought he might safely return, as he was a Papist. When he came to Cranbrook he took up his abode in his old house. He only brought one foreign servant with him, and these two lived alone. Very soon strange stories began to be whispered respecting unearthly shrieks having been heard frequently to issue at nightfall from his house. Many people of importance were stopped and robbed in the Glastonbury woods, and many unfortunate travellers were missed and never heard of more. Richard Baker still continued to live in seclusion, but he gradually repurchased his alienated property, although he was known to have spent all he possessed before he left England. But wickedness was not always to prosper. He formed an apparent attachment to a young lady in the neighborhood, remarkable for always wearing a great many jewels. He often pressed her to come and see his old house, telling her he had many curious things he wished to show her. She had always resisted fixing a day for her visit, but happening to walk within a short distance of his house, she determined to surprise him with a visit; her companion, a lady older than herself, endeavored to dissuade her from doing so, but she would not be turned from her purpose. They knocked at the door, but no one answered them; they, however, discovered it was not locked, and determined to enter. At the head of the stairs hung a parrot, which, on their passing, cried out,

“Peepoh, pretty lady, be not too bold,

Or your red blood will soon run cold."

And cold did run the blood of the adventurous damsel when, on opening one of the room doors, she found it filled with the dead bodies of murdered persons, chiefly women.

Just then they heard a noise, and on looking out of the window saw Bloody Baker and his servant bringing in the murdered body of a lady. Nearly dead with fear, they concealed themselves in a recess under the staircase.

As the murderers with their dead burden passed by them, the hand of the unfortunate murdered lady hung in the baluster of the stairs; with an oath Bloody Baker chopped it off, and it fell into the lap of one of the concealed ladies. As soon as the murderers had passed by, the ladies ran away, having the presence of mind to carry with them the dead hand, on one of the fingers of which was a ring. On reaching home they told their story, and in confirmation of it displayed the ring. All the families who had lost relatives mysteriously were then told of what had been found out, and they determined to ask Baker to a large party, apparently in a friendly manner, but to have constables concealed ready to take him into custody. He came, suspecting nothing, and then the lady told him all she had seen, pretending it was a dream. “Fair lady," said he, “ dreams are nothing; they are but fables.” “They may be fables," said she; “but is this a fable ?” and she produced the hand and ring Upon this the constables rushed in and took him; and the tradition further says, he was burnt, notwithstanding Queen Mary tried to save him, on account of the religion he professed.


Coleridge, in his Biographia Literaria, 1st edit., vol. i. p. 28, relates a story of some one who desired to be introduced to him, but hesitated because he asserted that he had written an epigram on "The Ancient Mariner," which Coleridge had himself written and inserted in The Morning Post, to this effect :

Your poem must eternal be,

Dear sir! it cannot fail
For 'tis incomprehensible,

And without head or tail.

This was, however, only a Gadshill robbery,--stealing stolen goods. The following epigram is said to be by Mr. Hole, in a MS. collection made by Spence, and it appeared first in print in Terræ Filius, from whence Dr. Salter copied it in his Confusion worse Confounded, p. 88:

Thy verses are eternal, O my friend !
For he who reads them, reads them to no end.

In The Crypt, a periodical published by the late Rev. P. Hall, vol. i. p. 30, is the following poem by Coleridge :

[blocks in formation]

This is merely an amplified version of the 199th epigram of the 3d Book of Owen.

Divitias Jobo, sobolemque, ipsamque salutem

Abstulit (hoc Domino non prohibens) Satan.
Omnibus ablatis, miserò, tamen una superstes,

Quæ magis afflictum redderet, uxor erat.

Of this there are several imitations in French, three of which are given in the Epigrammes Choisies d'Owen, par M. de Kerivalant, published by Labouisse, at Lyons, in 1819.

There is also another version of Job's luck :

The devil engaged with Job's patience to battle,

Tooth and nail strove to worry him out of his life ;
He robb’d him of children, slaves, houses, and cattle,

But, mark me, he ne'er thought of taking his wife.

But heaven at length Job's forbearance rewards,

At length double wealth, double honor arrives,
He doubles his children, slaves, houses, and herds,

But we don't hear a word of a couple of wives.


Mr. Knight, in a note on As You Like It, gives us the description of a dial presented to him by a friend who had picked it "out of a deal of old iron," and which he supposes to be such a one as the “fool i' the forest” drew from his poke, and looked on with lack-lustre eye. It is very probable that this species of chronometer is still in common use in the sister kingdom. Mr. Carleton, in his amusing Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, thus describes them :

The ring-dial was the hedge-schoolmaster's next best substitute for a watch. As it is possible that a great number of our readers may never have heard of, much less seen one, we shall in a word or two describe it-nothing, indeed, could be more simple. It was a bright brass ring, about three quarters of an inch broad, and two inches and a half in diameter. There was a small hole in it, which, when held opposite the sun, admitted the light against the inside of the ring behind. On this were marked the hours and the quarters, and the time was known by observing the hour or the quarter on which the slender ray, that came in from the hole in front, fell.

« PredošláPokračovať »