Page images
PDF
EPUB

woman.

were persons in the family, and each had drew lots for kingdoms, and like kings his share. Portions of it were also as- exercised their temporary authority.” Insigned to Christ, the Virgin, and the deed, it appears, that the question is three Magi, and were given in alms. almost at rest. Mr. Fosbroke affirms tha:

“the king of Saturnalia was elected by On Twelfth-day the people of Ger- beans, and that from thence came our many and the students of its academies king and queen on this day.” The coinci chose a king with great ceremony and dence of the election by beans having sumptuous feastings.

been common to both customs, leaves • In France, the Twelfth-cake is plain, scarcely the possibility of doubt that with a bean; the drawer of the slice con ours is a continuation of the heathen taining the bean is king or queen. All practice under another name. Yet "some drink to her or his majesty, who reigns, of the observances on this day are the and receives homage from all, during remains of Druidical, and other superstithe evening. There is no other drawing, tious ceremonies.”

Ón these points, if and consequently

, the sovereign is the Mr. Fosbroke's Dictionary of Antiquities only distinguished character. In Nor- be consulted by the curious inquirer, he mandy they place a child under the will there find the authorities, and be in table, which is so covered with a cloth other respects gratified. that he cannot see; and when the cake is divided, one of the company taking up The Epiphany is called Twelfth-duy, the first piece, cries out, " Fabe Domini because it falls on the twelfth day after pour qui ?" The child answers, “ Pour Christmas-day. Epiphany signifies male bon Dieu:” and in this manner the nifestation, and is applied to this day pieces are allotted to the company. If because it is the day whereon Christ was the bean be found in the piece for the manifested to the Gentiles. Bourne in “ bon Dieu,” the king is chosen by draw- his Vulgar Antiquities, which is the sub- ' ing long or short straws. Whoever gets structure of Brand's Popular Antiquities, the bean chooses the king or queen, remarks that this is the greatest of the according as it happens to be a man or twelve holidays, and is therefore more

According to Brand, under the jovially observed, by the visiting of friends old order of things, the Epiphany was and Christmas gambols, than any other. kept at the French court by one of the Finally, on observances of this festival courtiers being chosen king, and the not connected with the Twelfth-night other nobles attended an entertainment king and queen. It is a custom in on the occasion; but, in 1792, during the many parishes in Gloucestershire on this revolution, La Fête de Rois was abo- day to light up twelve small fires and lished; Twelfth-day was ordered to be one large one; this is mentioned by called La Fête de Sans-Culottes ; the old Brand : and Mr. Fosbroke relates, that in feast was declared anti-civic; and any

some countries twelve fires of straw are priest keeping it was deemed a royalist. made in the fields “to burn the old The Literary Pocket Book affirms, that at witch," and that the people sing, drink, La Fête de Rois the French monarch and dance around it, and practise other and his nobles waited on the Twelfth- ceremonies in continuance. He takes night king, and that the custom was not “ the old witch” to be the Druidical God revived on the return of the Bourbons, of Death. It is stated by sir Henry Piers, but that instead of it the royal family in genl. Vallancey's “ Collectanea,” that, washed the feet of some people and gave at Westmeath,“ on Twelve-eve in Christthem alms.

mas, they use to set up as high as they

can a sieve of oats, and in it a dozen of There is a difference of opinion as to candles set round, and in the centre one the origin of Twelfth-day. Brand says, laiger, all lighted; this in memory of our “ that though its customs vary in different saviour and his apostles, lights of the countries, yet they concur in the same world.” Sir Henry's inference may reasonend, that is, to do honour to the Eastern ably be doubted; the custom is probably Magi.” He afterwards observes, “ that of higher antiquity than he seems to have the practice of choosing king,' on suspected. Twelfth-day, is similar to a custom that A very singular merriment in the Isle existed among the ancient Greeks and of Man is mentioned by Waldron, in his Romans, who, on the festival days of history of that place. He says, that Saturn, about this season of the year, during the whole twelve days of Christ.

year.”

mas, there is not a barn unoccupied, and hemisphere. At the beginning of Januthat every parish hires_ fiddlers at the ary the earth is at its least distance from public charge. On Twelfth-day, the the sun, which is proved by measuring fiddler lays his head in some one of the the apparent magnitude of that laminary girls' laps, and a third person asks, who by means of an instrument called a such a maid, or such a maid shall marry, micrometer, his disc being now about naming the girls then present one after 32 minutes of a degree; whereas another; to which he answers according at the opposite season, or at the beginto his own whim, or agreeable to the ning of July, near our Midsummer, his intimacies he has taken notice of during apparent diameter is only about 31 this time of merriment. But whatever minutes. The coldness of winter therehe says is as absolutely depended on as fore does not depend on the distance an oracle; and if he happens to couple of the earth from the sun, but on the two people who have an aversion to each very oblique or slanting direction of his other, tears and vexation succeed the rays; less heat falling on any given part mirth. This they call cutting off the of the earth, than when the rays fall more fiddler's head; for, after this, he is dead direct. From the slanting direction of for the whole

his rays they pass through a more dense It

appears from the Gentleman's Ma- region of the atmosphere, and are somegazine, that on Twelfth-day, 1731, the what intercepted; while another cause king and the prince at the chapel royal, of the cold is the shortness of our days St. James's, made their offerings at the and the length of our nights; the sun altar, of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, continuing only about seven hours and a according to custom, and that at night half above the horizon, while he is absent their majesties, &c. played at hazard for for about sixteen hours and a half. the benefit of the groom-porter. These This position of the earth relatively to offerings which clearly originate from the sun is exemplified in the Popular the Roman church, and are not analogous Lectures on Astronomy, now delivering to any ceremony of the church of Eng- at the Assembly-room, Paul's Head, land, continue to be annually made; with Cateaton-street, by Mr. John Wallis, on this difference, however, that the king is Tuesday and Thursday evenings. His represented by proxy in the person of explanations of this noble science are some distinguished officer of the house- familiarly and beautifully illustrated, by hold. In other respects the proceedings an original and splendid apparatus deare conducted with the usual state. vised and constructed by his own hands.

It consists of extensive mechanism and TIIE SEASON.

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 con

ceive. Ladies, and young persons espeMidwinter is over. According to as- cially, have a delightful opportunity of tronomical reckoning, we have just passed being agreeably entertained by the novelty that point in the earth’s orbit, where the and beauty of the exhibition and the north pole is turned most from the sun. eloquent descriptions of the enlightened This position is represented in the dia- lecturer. gram above, by the direction of the terminator, or boundary line of light and darkness, which is seen to divide the The holly with its red berries, and globe into two equal parts; the north the “fond ivy,” still stick about our pole, which is the upper pole in the houses to maintain the recollection of the figure, and all parts within 324 degrees, seasonable festivities. Let us hope that we being enveloped in constant darkness. may congratulate each other on having, We now trace the sun among the stars while we kept them, kept ourselves within of the constellation Capricorn or sea-goat, compass. Merriment without discretion and it is winter in the whole northern is an abuse for which nature is sure to

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

punish us. She may suffer our violence of rustic life than to the comparative
for a while in silence; but she is certain to refinement of our own, this contest be.
resume her rights at the expense of our tween fire and water must have afforded
health, and put us to heavy charges to great amusement.
maintain existence.

CHRONOLOGY.
January 7.

1772. “An authentic, candid, and cir

cumstancial narrative of the astonishing St. Lucian. St. Cedd. St. Kentigerna. transactions at Stockwell, in the county St. Aldric. St. Thillo. St. Canut.

of Surry, on Monday and Tuesday, St. Lucian.

the 6th and 7th days of January, 1772, This saint is in the calendar of the

containing a series of the most surchurch of England on the following day,

prising and unaccountable events that 8th of January

He was
a learned

ever happened ; which continued from Syrian. According to Butler, he cor

first to last upwards of twenty hours, rected the Hebrew version of the Scrip

and at different places. Published with

the consent and approbation of the tures for the inhabitants of Palestine, during some years was separated from

family, and other parties concerned, to the Romish church, afterwards con

authenticate which, the origin Copy formed to it, and died after nine years

is signed by them.imprisonment, either by famine or the lished in “ London, printed for J. Marks,

This is the title of an octavo tract pubsword, on this day, in the year 312. It bookseller, in St. Martin's-lane, 1772." further appears from Butler, that the It describes Mrs. Golding, an elderly Arians affirmed of St. Lucian, that to him lady, at Stockwell, in whose house the Arius was indebted for his distinguish- transactions happened, as a woman of ing doctrine, which Butler however

unblemished honour and character; her denies, ST. DISTAFF'S DAY, OR ROCK-DAY..

niece, Mrs. Pain, as the wife of a farmer

at Brixton-causeway, the mother of seveThe day after Twelfth-day was ral children, and well known and recalled because it was celebrated in ho- spected in the parish; Mary Martin nour of the rock, which is a distaff held

as an elderly woman, servant to Mr. in the hand, from whence wool is spun and Mrs. Pain, with whom she had lived by twirling a ball below. It seems that

two years, having previously lived four the burning of the flax and tow belonging years with Mrs. Golding, from whom to the women, was the men's diversion in she went into Mrs. Pain's service; and the evening of the first day of labour Richard Fowler and Sarah, his wife, as an after the twelve days of Christmas, and honest,industrious, and sober couple, who that the women repaid the interruption to lived about opposite to Mr. Pain, at the their industry by sluicing the mischief- Brick-pound." These were the subscribmakers. Herrick tells us of the custom ing witnesses to many of the surprising in his Hesperides :

transactions, which were likewise wit

nessed by some others. Another person St. Distaff's day, or the morrow after who bore a principal part in these scenes Twelfth-day.

was Ann Robinson, aged about twenty Partly work, and partly play,

years, who had lived servant with Mrs. Ye must on S. Distaff's day :

Golding but one week and three days. From the plough soone free your teame, The “astonishing transactions” in Mrs. Theu come home and fother them,

Golding's house were these : If the maides a spinning goe,

On Twelfth-day 1772, about ten o'clock Burne the flax, and fire the tow; in the forenoon, as Mrs. Golding was in Bring in pailes of water then,

her parlour, she heard the china and Let the maides bewash the men :

glasses in the back kitchen tumble down Give S. Distaffe all the right,

and break; her maid came to her and Then bid Christmas sport good-night.

told her the stone plates were falling And next morrow, every one

from the shelf; Mrs. Golding went into To his owne vocation.

the kitchen and saw them broke. Pre

sently after, a row of plates from the In elder times, when boisterous diver next shelf fell down likewise, while she seons were better suited to the simplicity was there, and nobody near them; this

*

[ocr errors]

astonished her much, and while she was to Mr. Gresham's was

a tray full of thinking about it, other things in different china, &c. a japan bread-basket, some places began to tumble about, some of mahogany waiters, with some bottles of them breaking, attended with violent liquors, jars of pickles, &c. and a pier noises all over the house; a clock tum- glass, which was taken down by Mr. bled down and the case broke; a lan- Saville, (a neighbour of Mrs. Golding's;) tern that hung on

the staircase was he gave it to one Robert Hames, who thrown down and the glass broke to laid it on the grass-plat at Mr. Gresham's; pieces; an earthen pan of salted beef but before he could put it out of his broke to pieces and the beef fell about; hands, some parts of the frame on each all this increased her surprise, and side flew off'; it raining at that time, Mrs. brought several persons about her, among Golding desired it might be brought whom was Mr. Rowlidge, a carpenter, into the parlour, where it was put under who gave it as his opinion that the a side-board, and a dressing-glass along foundation was giving way and that the with it; it had not been there long before house was tumbling down, occasioned by the glasses and china which stood on the the too great weight of an additional side-board, began to tumble about and room erected above: “so ready,” says fall down, and broke both the glasses to the narrative, are we to discover natu- pieces. Mr. Saville and others being ral causes for every thing!”

asked to drink a glass of wine or rum, Mrs. Golding ran into Mr. Gresham's both the bottles broke in pieces before house, next door to her, where she fainted, they were uncorked. and in the interim, Mr. Rowlidge, and Mrs. Golding's surprise and fear inother persons, were removing Mrs. Gold- creasing, she did not know what to do ing's effects from her house, for fear of or where to go; wherever she and her the consequences prognosticated. At maid were, these strange, destructive cirthis time all was quiet; Mrs. Golding's cumstances followed her, and how to maid remaining in her house, was gone help or free herself from them, was not up stairs, and when called upon several in her power or any other person's pretimes to come down, for fear of the dan- sent: her mind was one confused chaos, gerous situation she was thought to be lost to herself and every thing about her, in, she answered very coolly, and after drove from her own home, and afraid some time

down deliberately, there would be none other to receive her, without any seeming fearful apprehen- she at last left Mr. Gresham's, and went sions.

to Mr. Mayling's, a gentleman at the Mrs. Pain was sent for from Brixton- next door, here she staid about three causeway, and desired to come directly, quarters of an hour, during which time as her aunt was supposed to be dead ; nothing happened. Her maid staid at this was the message to her. When Mrs. Mr. Gresham's, to help put up what few Pain came, Mrs. Golding was come to things remained unbroken of her mistress's, herself, but very faint from terror. in a back apartment, when a jar of

Among the persons who were present, pickles that stood upon a table, turned was Mr. Gardner, a surgeon, of Clapham, upside down, then a jar of raspberry jam whom Mrs. Pain desired to bleed her broke to pieces. aunt, which he did ; Mrs. Pain asked Mrs. Pain, not choosing her aunt should him if the blood should be thrown away; stay too long at Mr. Mayling's, for fear he desired it might not, as he would of being troublesome, persuaded her to examine it when cold. These minute go to her house at Rush Common, near particulars would not be taken notice of, Brixton-causeway, where she would enbut as a chain to what follows. For the deavour to make her as happy as she next circumstance is of a more astonish- could, hoping by this time all was over , ing nature than any thing that had as nothing had happened at that gentlepreceded it; the blood that was just man's house while she was there. This congealed, sprung out of the basin upon was about two o'clock in the afternoon. the floor, and presently after the basin Mr. and Miss Gresham were at Mr. broke to pieces ; this china basin was Pain's house, when Mrs. Pain, Mrs. the only thing broke belonging to Mr. Golding, and her maid went there. It Gresham; a bottle of rum that stood by being about dinner time they all dined 't broke at the same time.

together; in the interim Mrs. Golding's Among the things that were removed servant was sent to her house to see how

came

things remained. When she returned, stood the tumbler, and a candlestick. A she told them nothing had happened since case bottle then flew to pieces. they left it. Sometime after Mr. and Miss The next circumstance was, a ham, that Gresham went home, every thing remain- hung on one side of the kitchen chimney, ing quiet at Mr. Pain's : but about eight raised itself from the hook and fell down o'clock in the evening a fresh scene to the ground. Some time after, another began; the first thing that happened ham, that hung on the other side of the was, a whole row of pewter dishes, chimney, likewise underwent the same except one, fell from off a shelf to the fate. Then a Aitch of bacon, which hung middle of the floor, rolled about a little up in the same chimney, fell down. while, then settled, and as soon as they All the family were eye-witnesses to were quiet, turned upside down; they these circumstances as well as other perwere then put on the dresser, and went sons, some of whom were so alarmed and through the same a second time: next fell shocked, that they could not bear to stay. a whole row of pewter plates from off At all the times of action, Mrs.Golding's the second shelf over the dresser to servant was walking backwards and forthe ground, and being taken up and put wards, either in the kitchen or parlour, or on the dresser one in another, they were wherever some of the family happened to thrown down again. Two eggs were be. Nor could they get her to sit down upon one of the pewter shelves, one five minutes togethe

except at one time of them flew off, crossed the kitchen, for about half an hour towards the mornstruck a cat on the head, and then broke ing, when the family were at prayers in the to pieces.

parlour; then all was quiet ; but, in the Next Mary Martin, Mrs. Pain's ser midst of the greatest confusion, she was vant, went to stir the kitchen fire, she got as much composed as at any other time, to the right hand side of it, being a large and with uncommon coolness of temper chimney as is usual in farm houses, a pestle advised her mistress not to be alarmed or and mortar that stood nearer the left hand uneasy, as she said these things could not end of the chimney shelf, jumped about be helped. six feet on the floor. Then went candle “ This advice,"it is observed in the narsticks and other brasses : scarce any thing rative, surprised and startled her mistress, remaining in its place. After this the almost as much as the circumstances that glasses and china were put down on the occasioned it. “For how can we suppose,” floor for fear of undergoing the same fate. says the narrator, “ that a girl of about

A glass tumbler that was put on the twenty years old, (an age when female tifoor jumped about two feet and then midity is too cften assisted by superstition,) broke. Another that stood by it jumped could remain in the midst of such calaabout at the same time, but did not break mitous circumstances, (except they protill some hours after, when it jumped again ceeded from causes best known to herself,) and then broke. A china bowl that stood and not be struck with the same terror as in the parlour jumped from the floor, to every other person was who was present. behind a table that stood there. This These reflections led Mr. Pain, and at the was most astonishing, as the distance from end of the transactions, likewise Mrs. where it stood was between seven and Golding, to think that she was not altogeeight feet, but was not broke. It was ther so unconcerned as she appeared to be." put back by Richard Fowler, to its place, About ten o'clock at night, they sent where it remained some time, and then over the way to Richard Fowler, to desire flew to pieces.

he would come and stay with them. He The next thing that followed was a mus came and continued till one in the morntard-pot, that jumped out of a closet ing, when he was so terrified, that he and was broke. A single cup that stood could remain no longer. upon the table (almost the only thing re As Mrs. Golding could not be persuadmaining) jumped up, flew across the ed to go to bed, Mrs. Pain, at one o'clock; kitchen, ringing like a bell, and then was made an excuse to go up stairs to her dashed to pieces against the dresser. A youngest child, under pretence of getting tumbler with rum and water in it, that it to sleep; but she really acknowledged it stood upon a waiter upon a table in the was through fear, as she declared she parlour, jumped about ten feet and was could not sit up to see such strange things broke. The table then fell down, and going on, as every thing one after another along with it a silver tankard belonging to was broken, till there was not above two or Mrs. Golding, the waiter in which had three cups and saucers remaining ou: of

« PreviousContinue »