Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

portioned, handsome,"and in stature like
Mrs. Siddons. I speak of London wo-
men. Let not the ladies of the metro-
polis conceive offence, if I maintain that
some of their mothers, and more among
their grandmothers, were taller and more
robust than they. That they are other-
wise may not be in their eyes a misfor-

Her hair loose curl'd, the rest tuck'd up between
Her neatly frill'd mob-cap, was scarcely seen ; ,
A black chip-hat, peculiarly her own.
With ribbon puff'd around the small flat crown
Pinn'd to her head-dress, gave her blooming face
A jaunty openness and winning grace. ,

tune; should they, however, think it so, "their schools are more in fault than they." Be that as it may, I am merely stating a fact.' They have declined in personal elevation, as they have increased in moral elevation.

At that time lived the London barrow* woman:—

'On her legs were'" women's blacks," or, in dry sunny weather, as at this season, stockings of white cotton, with black high-heeled shoes, and a pair of bright sparkling buckles; tight lacing distended her hips, which were further enlarged by her flowered cotton or chintz gown being drawn through the pocket-holes to balloon out behind, and display a quilted glazed petticoat of black or pink stuff, terminating about four inches above the ancles; she wore on her bosom, which was not so confined as to injure its fullness, a light gauze or muslin kerchief. This was her full dress, as she rolled through the street, and cried—

"Round and sound, Two-pence a pound, Cherries! rare ripe cherries f

"Green and ripe 'gooseberries! amberberries! ripe amber-berries V "Currants! rare ripe currants!" ending, as she began, with cherries:—

"Cherries a ha'penny a stick!
Come and pick! come and pick
Cherries! big as plums!
Who comes? who comes?"

Each side of her well-laden barrow was dressed nearly halfway along with a row of sticks having cherries tied on them. To assist in retailing her other fruit, there lay before her a "full alehouse measure" of clean pewter, and a pair of shining brass scales, with thick turn-over rims, and leaden weights, for the " real black-hearts" that dyed the white cloth they lay on with purple stains. If she had an infant, she was sometimes met with it, at a particular spot, for her to suckle. She was then a study for a painter. Her hearty caresses of her child, while she hastily sat down on the arm of her barrow, and bared her bountiful bosom to give it nourishment; the frolic

with which she tickled it; the tenderness with which she looked into its young, up-turned eyes, while the bland fluid overflowed its laughing mouth; her smothering kisses upon its crowing lips after its nurture; and her loud affectionate "God bless it 1" when it was carried away, were indescribably beautiful.

As the seasons changed, so her wares varied. With the "rolling year," she rolled round to us its successive fruits; but cherry-time was the meridian of her glory. Her clear and confident cry was then listened for, in the distance, with as much anxiety to hear it, as the proclamation of a herald, in the full authority of office, was awaited in ancient times. "What can keep the barrow-woman so long? — Surely she has not gone another way!—Hush! there she is; I hear her!" These were tokens of her importance in the neighbourhood she circled; and good housewives and servant girls came to the doors, with basins and dishes, to await her approach, and make their purchases of fruit for their pies and puddings. As she slowly trundled her barrow along the pavement, what doating looks were cast upon its delicacies by boys with ever-ready appetites! How he who had nothing to lay out envied him who a halfpenny entitled to a perplexing choice amidst the tempt-, ing variety! If currants were fixed on, the question was mooted, " Which are best—red or white?" If cherries—" whitehearts, or blacks V If gooseberries— "red or yellow?" Sometimes the decision as to the comparative merits of colour was negatived by a sudden impulsive preference for " the other sort," or " something else;" and not seldom, after these deliberations, and being " served," arose doubts and regrets, and an application to be allowed to change " these for " them,"

and perhaps" the last choice was, in the end, the least satisfactory. Indecisive ness is not peculiar to childhood; "men are but children of a larger growth," and their " conduct of the understanding" is

nearly the

Mr. George Cruikshank, whose pencil is distinguished by power of decision in every character he sketches, and whose close observation of passing manners is unrivalled by any artist of the day, has sketched the barrow-woman for the EveryDay Book, from his own recollection of her, aided somewhat by my own. It is engraved oa wood by Mr. Henry White, and placed at the head of this article.

"Before barrow-women quite "went out," the poor things were sadly used. If they stopped to rest, or pitched their seat of custom where customers were likely to pass, street-keepers, authorized by orders unauthorized by law, drove them off, or beadles overthrew their fruit into the road. At last, an act of parliament made it penal to roll a wheel or keep a stand for the sale of any articles upon the pavement; and barrow-women and fruitstalls were " put down."

Fruit Stall*. These daily purveyors to the refreshment of passengers in hot weather are not wholly extinct; a few, very few, still exist by mere sufferance—no more. Upon recollection of their number, and the grateful abundance heaped upon them, I could almost exclaim, in the words of the old Scotch-woman's epitaph—

"Such desolation in my time has been
I have an end of all perfection seen!"

Ah ! what a goodly sight was Holbornhill in "my time." Then there was a comely row of fruit-stalls, skirting the edge of the pavement from opposite the steps of St. Andrew's church to the corner of Shoe-lane. The fruit stood on tables covered with white cloths, and placed end to end, in one long line. In autumn, it was a lovely sight. The pears and apples were neatly piled in "ha'p'orths," for there were then no pennyworths; "a pen'orth" would have been more than sufficient for'moclerate eating at one time. First, of the pears, came the "ripe Kat'er'nes;" these were succeeded by •' fine Windsors," and "real bergamys." Apples " came in"

with "green codlins;'' then followed "golden rennets," "golden pippins," and " ripe nonpareils." These were the common street-fruits. Such "golden pippins" as were then sold, three and four for a halfpenny, are now worth pence a piece, and the true "golden rennet" can only be heard of at great fruiterers. The decrease in the growth of this delightful apple is one of the " signs of the times!"

The finest apples in Covent-garden market come from Kent. Growers in that county, by leaving only a few branches upon the tree, produce the most delicious kinds, of a surprisingly large size. For these they demand and obtain very high prices; but instead of London in general being supplied, as it was formerly, with the best apples, little else is seen except swine-feed, or French, or American apples. The importations of this fruit are very large, and under the almost total disappearance of some of our finest sorts, very thankful we are to get inferior ones of foreign growth. Really good English apples are scarcely within the purchase of persons of rate means.

"Women's Black." This is the name of the common black worsted stockings, formerly an article of extensive consumption; they are now little made, because little worn. One of the greatest wholesale dealers in "women's blacks," in a manufacturing town, was celebrated for the largeness of his stock; his means enabled him to purchase all that were offered to him for sale, and it was his favourite article. He was an oldfashioned man, and while the servantmaids were leaving them off, he was unconscious of the change, because he could not believe it; he insisted it was impossible that household work could be done in " white cottons." Offers of qu were made to him at reduced which he bought; his immense capital became locked up in his favourite "women's blacks;" whenever their price in the market lowered, he could not make his mind up to be quite low enough; his warehouses were filled with them; when he determined to sell, the demand had wholly ceased; he could effect no sales; and, becoming bankrupt, he literally died of a broken heart—from an excassive and unrequited attachment to "women's, blacks."

Sfulp 5.

St. Peter, of Luxemburg, Card." A. D. 1387. St. Modwena, 9th Cent. 8t. Edana, of Elohim and Tuam.

There is a beautiful mention of flowers, at this season, in some lines from the Italian of Louis Gonzago.

With an Indian Perfume-box to Maria de Mancini, 1648.

Oh! the Florence rose is fresh and faire,']
And rich the young carnations blowe,

Wreathing in beauties' ebonne haire, ,
Or sighing on her breast of snow,

But onlie violotte shall twine

Thy ebonne tresses, ladyc mine.

Oh! dazzling shines the noon-daye sunne,
So kinglye in his golden carre,

But sweeter 'tis when day is done,
To watch the evening lb dewye starre,

In silence lighting fieldc and grove,

How like mye heart, how like mye love 1

Then, ladye, lowlye at thy feete ,

I lay this gift of memorie, All strange and rude, but treasures sweete

Within its gloomy bosome lie. Trifles, Marie '. may telle the tale, When wisdom, witte, and courage faile.

Pulci.

FLORAL DIRECTORY.

Double Yellow Rose. Rota Sulphured. m Dedicated to St. Edana.

3ulp 6.

St. Palladitu, A. n. 450. St. Julian, Anchorite, 4th Cent. St. Sexburgh, 7th Cent. St. Goar, A. D. 575. St Moninna, A. D. 518.

FLORAL DIRECTORY

'Garden Hawks'-eyes. Crepu barbata. , Dedicated to St. Julian.

3ulp 7.

St. Pantcnmu, 3d Cent. St. Willibdld, Bp. 8th Cent. St. Hedda, A. D. 705. St. Edelburga. St. Felix, Bp. of Nantes, / A. B. 584. 8t. Benedict XL Pope, A.b. 1304. t

Chronology.

1816. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the poet, dramatist, orator, and statesman, died. He was the third son of Mr. Thomas Sheridan, celebrated as an actor, eminent as a lecturer on elocution, and entitled to the gratitude of the public for his judicious and indefatigable exertions to improve the system of education in this country. His father, the rev. Dr. Thomas Sheridan, was a distinguished divine, the ablest school-master of his time, and the intimate friend of the dean of St. Patrick. Mr. Thomas Sheridan died at Margate, on the 14th of August, 1788. Mrs. Frances Sheridan, the mother of Richard Brinsley, was the author of " Sidney Biddulph, a novel, which has the merit of combining the purest morality with the most powerful interest. She also wrote " Nourjanad,*' an oriental tale, and the comedies of the "Discovery," the "Dupe," and "A Trip to Bath." She died at Blois, in France, the 17th of September, 1766.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan was born in Dorset-street, Dublin, in the month of October, 1751. He was placed, in his seventh year, under the tuition of Mr. Samuel Whyte, of Dublin, the friend of their father. He was placed at Harrow school, after the Christmas of 1762. His literary advancement at this seminary appears to have been at first retarded; and it was reserved for the late Dr. Parr, who was at that time one of the sub-preceptors, to discover and call into activity the faculties of young Sheridan's mind. H's memory was found to be uncommonly retentive, and his judgment correct; so that when his mind was quickened by competition, his genius gradually expanded. But to be admired seemed hi* only object, and when that end was attained, he relaxed in his application, and sunk into his former indolence. His last year at Harrow was spent more in reflecting on the acquirements he had made, and the eventful scenes of a busy life, which were opening to his view, than in enlarging the circle of his classical and literary attainments. His father deemed it unnecessary to send him to the university; and he was, a short time after his departure from Harrow, entered as... student of the Middle Temple.

Mr. Sheridan, when about twenty, was

peculiarly fond of the society of men of taste and learning, and soon gave proofs that he was inferior to none of his companions in wit and argument. At this age he had recourse to his literary talents for pecuniary supplies, and directed his attention to the drama; but disgusted with some sketches of comic character which he drew, he actually destroyed them, and in a moment of despair renounced every hope of excellence as a dramatic writer. His views with respect to the cultivation and exertion of his genius in literary pursuits, or to the study of the profession to which he had been destined by his father, were all lost in a passion that mastered his reason. He at once saw and loved Miss Linley, a lady no less admirable for the elegant accomplishments of her sex and the affecting simplicity of her conversation, than for the charms of her person and the fascinating powers of her voice. She was the principal performer in the oratorios at Drury-lane theatre. The strains which she poured forth were the happiest combinations of nature and art; but nature predominated over art. Her accents were so melodious and captivating, and their passage to the heart so sudden and irresistable, that "list'ning Envy would have dropped her snakes, and stern-ey'd Fury's self have melted" at the sounds.

Her father, Mr. Linley, the late ingenious composer, was not at first propitious to Mr. Sheridan's passion, and he had many rivals to overcome in his attempts to gain the lady's affections. His perseverance, however, increased with the difficulties that presented themselves, and his courage and resolution were displayed in vindicating Miss Linley's reputation from a calumnious report, which had been basely thrown out against it.

Mr. Mathews, a gentleman then well known in the fashionable circles at Bath, had caused a paragraph to be inserted in a public paper at that place, and had set out for London. He was closely pursued by Mr. Sheridan. They met and fought a duel with swords at a tavern in Henrietta-street, Covent-garden, the house at the north-west corner, opposite Bedfordcourt. Mr. Sheridan's second on the occasion was his brother, Charles Francis, a late secretary at war in Ireland. Great courage and skill were displayed on both sides ; but Mr. Sheridan having succeeded in disarming his adversary, compelled him to sign a formal retraction of the paragraph which had been published. The conqueror instantly returned to Bath;

and thinking that, as the insult had been publicly given, the apology should have equal notoriety, he caused it to be published in the same paper. Mr. Mathews soon heard of this circumstance, and, irritated at his defeat, as well as the use which his antagonist had made of his apology, repaired to Bath, and called upon Mr. Sheridan for satisfaction. The parties met on Kingsdown. The victory was desperately contested, and, after a discharge of pistols, they fought with swords. They were both wounded, and closing with each other fell on the ground, where the fight was continued until they were separated. They received several cuts and contusions in this arduous struggle for life and honour, and a part of his opponent's weapon was left in Mr. Sheridan's ear. Miss Linley rewarded Mr. Sheridan for the dangers he had braved in her defence, by accompanying him on a matrimonial excursion to the continent. The ceremony was again performed on their return to England, with the consent of her parents; from the period of her marriage, Mrs. Sheridan, never appeared as a public performer.

Mr. Sheridan, when encumbered with the cares of a family, felt the necessity of immediate exertion to provide for the pressing calls inseparable from a domestic establishment, which, if not splendid, was marked with all the appearance of genteel life.

On finishing his play of the " Rivals," he presented it to the manager of Coventgarden theatre, and it was represented on the 17th of January, 1775. In consequence of some slight disapprobation, it was laid aside for a time, after the first night's performance. Mr. Sheridan having made some judicious alterations, both in the progress of the plot and in the language, it was shortly after brought forward again, and received in the most favourable manner. His next production was the farce of '' St. Patrick's Day, or The Scheming Lieutenant." This was followed by the comic opera of the "Duenna," a composition in every respect superior to the general class of English operas then in fashion. It surpassed even the "Beggar's Opera" in attraction and popularity, and was performed seventy-five nights during the season, while Gay's singular production ran only sixty-five.

Mr. Garrick having resolved to retire from the management of Drury-lane

« ПредишнаНапред »