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"This utensil," says the Antiquarian Repertory, " is called a curfew, or couvrefeu, from its use, which is that of suddenly putting out a fire: the method of applying it was thus ;—the wood and embers were raked as close as possible to the back of the hearth, and then the curfew was put over them, the open part placed close to the back of the chimney; by this contrivance, the air being almost totally excluded, the fire was of course extinguished. This curfew is of copper, rivetted together, as solder would have been liable to melt with the heat. It is 10 inches high, 16 inches wide, and 9 inches deep. The Rev. Mr. Gostling, to whom it belongs, says it has been in his family for time immemorial, and was always called the curfew. Some others of this kind are still remaining in Kent and Sussex." It is properto add to this account, that T. Row, in the " Gentleman's Magazine," because no mention is made " of any particular implement for extinguishing the fire in any writer," is inclined to think " there never was any such." Mr. Fosbroke in the "Encyclopedia of An
tiquities" says, " an instrument of copper presumed to have been made for covering the ashes, but of uncertain use, is engraved." It is in one of Mr. F.'s plates.
On T. Row's remark, who is also facetious on the subject, it may be observed, that his inclination to think there never was any such implement, is so far from being warrantable, if the fact be even correct, that it has not been mentioned by any ancient writer, that the fair inference is the converse of T. Rowe's inclination. Had he consulted "Johnson's Dictionary," he would have found the curfew itself explained as "a cover for a fire; a fireplate.—Bacon." So that if Johnson is credible, and his citation of authorities is unquestionable, Bacon, no very modern writer, is authority for the fact that there was such an implement as the curfew.
Football at Kingston.
Mr. P., an obliging contributor, furnishes the Every-Day Book with a letter from a Friend, descriptive of a custom on this day in the vicinity of London.
Respected Friend, Having tome business which called me 10 Kingston-upon-Thames on the day called Shrove Tuesday, I got upon the Hampton-court coach to go there. We bad not gone above four miles, when the n exclaimed to one of the pas"It'» Foot-ball day j" not under_ the term, I questioned him what he meant by it; his answer was, that I would see what he meant where I was going.—Upon entering Teddington, I was not a little amused to see all the inhabitants securing the glass of all their front windows from the ground to the roof, some by placing hurdles before them, and some by nailing laths across the frames. At Twickenham, Bushy, and Hampton-wick, they were all engaged in the same w ay: having to stop a few hours at Ilampton-wick and Kingston, I had an opportunity of seeing the whole of the cuitom, which is, to carry a foot-ball from door to door and beg money :—at about 12 o'clock the ball is turned loose, and those who can, kick :t. In the town of Kingston, all the shops are purposely kept shut upon that day ; there were several balls in the town, and of course several parties. I observed some persons of respectability following the ball: the game pans lasts about four hours, when the parties naps retire to the public-houses, and spend the '' money they before collected in refresh
I was rather surprised that such a custom should have existed so near Loudon, without my ever before knowing of it.
From thy respected Friend, Third Month, 1815. J. B. .
Pancake* and Confession.
I understand the corporation of Kings
Pancake Day is another name for Shrove Tuesday, from the custom of eating pancakes on this day, still generally observed. A writer in the " Gentleman's Magazine, 1790," says, that" shrine is an old Saxon word, of which shrove is a corruption, and signifies confession. Hence Shrove Tuesday means Confession Tuesday, on which day all the people in every parish throughout the kingdom, during the Romish times, were obliged to confess their sins, one by one, to their own parish priests, in their own parish churches; and that this might be done the more regularly, the great bell in every parish was rung at ten o'clock, or perhaps sooner, that it might be heard by all. And as the Romish religion has given way to a much better, I mean the protestant religion, yet the custom of ringing bell in our ancient parish
the game, and it now legally continues, to the no small annoyance of some of the inhabitants, besides the expense and trouble they are put to in securing all
the name of Pancahe-bell: the usage of dining on pancakes or fritters, and such like provision, still continues." In "Pasquil's Palinodia, 1634," 4to. it is merrily observed that on this day every stomach
till it can hold no more.
Thrahing the Hen.
At Shrovetide to shroving, go thresh the fat hen,
corning its origin is, that the fowl was a
delicacy to the labourer, and therefore given to him on this festive day, for sport and food.
Os Shrove Tuesday, at a certain ancient borough in Staffordshire, a hen was set up by its owner to be thrown at by himself and his companions, according to the usual custom on that day. This poor hen, after many a severe bang, and many a broken bone, weltering in mire and blood, recovered spirits a little, and to the unspeakable surprise and astonishment of all the company, just as her late master was handling his oaken cudgel to fling at her again, opened her mouth and said—" Hold thy hand a moment, hardhearted wretch! if it be but out of curiosity, to hear one of my feathered species utter articulate sounds.—What art thou, or any of thy comrades, better than I, though bigger and stronger, and at liberty, while I am tied by the leg? What art thou, I say, that I may not presume to reason with thee, though thou never reasonest with thyself? What have I done to deserve the treatment I have suffered this day, from thee and thy
barbarous companions? Whom have I ever injured? Did I ever profane the name of my creator, or give one moment's disquiet to any creature under heaven? or lie, or deceive, or slander, or rob my fellow-creatures? Did I ever guzzle down what should have been for the support and comfort (in effect the blood) of a wife and innocent children, as thou dost every week of thy life? A little of thy superfluous grain, or the sweeping of thy cupboard, and the parings of thy cheese, moistened with the dew of heaven, was all I had, or desired for my support; while, in return, I furnished thy table with dainties. The tender brood, which I hatched with assiduity, and all the anxiety and solicitude of a humane mother, fell a sacrifice to thy gluttony. My new laid eggs enriched thy pancakes, puddings, and custards; and all thy most delicious fare. And I was ready myself, at any time, to lay down my life to support thine, but the third part of a day. Had I been a i£ffji », "hangman, and been commanded 6y Kpnority to take away thy life for a crir*., that deserved death, I would have performed my office with reluctance, and with the shortest, and the least pain or insult, to thee possible. How much more if a wise providence had so ordered it, that thou hadst been my proper and delicious food, as I am thine? I speak not this to move thy compassion, who hast none for thy own offspring, or for the wife of thy bosom, nor to prolong my own life, which through thy most brutal usage of me, is past recovery, and a burden to me; nor yet to teach thee humanity for the future. I know thee to have neither a head, a heart, nor a hand to show mercy; neither brains, nor bowels, nor grace, to hearken to jeason, or to restrain thee from any folly. I appeal from thy cruel and relentless heart to a future judgment; certainly there will be one sometime, when the meanest creature of God shall have justice done it, even against proud and savage man, its lord ; and surely our cause will then be heard, since, at present, we have none to judge betwixt us. O, that Some good Christian would cause this my first, and last speech to be printed, and published through the nation. Perhaps the legislature may not think it beneath them to take our sad case into consideration. Who can tell but some faint remains of common sense among the vulgar themselves, may be excited by a suffering dying fellow-creature's last words, to find out a more good-natured exercise for their youth, than this which hardens their hearts, and taints their morals? But I find myself spent with speaking. And now villain, take good aim, let fly thy truncheon, and despatch at one manly stroke, the remaining life of two miserable mortal, who is utterly unable to resist, or from thee." Alas! he heeded not. e sunk down, and died immediately, without another blow. Header, farewell! but learn compassion towards an innocent creature, that has, at least, as quick a sense of pain as thyself.
This article is extracted from the "Gentleman's Magazine," for the year 1749. It appeals to the feelings and the judgment, and is therefore inserted here, lest one reader should need a dissuasive against the cruelty of torturing a poor animal on Shrove Tuesday.
Hens were formerly thrown at, as cocks are still, in some places.
THROWING AT COCKS.
This brutal practice on Shrove Tuesday is still conspicuous in several parts of the kingdom. Brand affirms that it was retained in many schools in Scotland within the last century, and he conjectures " perhaps it is still in use:" a little inquiry on his part would have discovered it in English schools. He proceeds to observe, that the Scotch scnoolmastern "were said to have presided at the battle, and claimed the run-away cocks, called fugee6, as their perquisites." To show the ancient legitimacy of the usage, he instances a petition in 1355, from the scholars of the school of Ramera to their schoolmaster, for a cock he owed them upon Shrove Tuesday, to throw sticks at, according to the usual custom for their sport and entertainment. No decently circumstanced person however rugged his disposition, from neglect in his childhood, will in our times permit one of his sons to take part in the sport. This it a natural consequence of the influence which persons in the higher ranks of life can beneficially exercise. Country gentlemen threw at the poor cock formerly: there is not a country gentleman now who would not discourage the shocking usage.
Strutt says that in some places, it was a common practice to put a cock into an earthen vessel made for the purpose, and to place him in such a position that his head and tail might be exposed to view; the vessel, with the bird in it, was then suspended across the street, about 12 or 14 feet from the ground, to be thrown at by such as chose to make trial of their skill; twopence was paid for four throws, and he who broke the pot, and delivered the cock from his confinement, had him for a reward. At North Walsham, in Norfolk, about 60 years ago, some wags put an owl into one of these vessels; and having procured the head and tail of a dead cock, they placed them in the same position as if they had appertained to a living one; the deception was successful; and at last, a labouring man belonging to the town, after several fruitless attempts, broke the pot, but missed his prize; for the owl being set at liberty, instantly flew away, to his great astonishment, and left him nothing more than the head and tail of the dead bird, with the potsherds, for his money and his trouble; this ridiculous adventure ex