Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

proof of the accuracy of the French police; which, in this instance, in point of intelligence even in Vienna, was discovered to be so much superior to his own.” Colquhoun's Police of the Metropolis, p. 352.

It is well known that chastisements which Peter the Great inficted with his own hand were never supposed to disgrace those who suffered them. When a courtier was soundly drubbed, or pulled by the nose, or had a tooth torn out by the emperor, at all which exercises Peter was remarkably dextrous, he suffered only the bodily pain of the operation. His honour was not in the least affected. And as it seldom happened that his master put less confidence in him after such an accident than he had done before it, his credit suffered as little as his honour.

Peter had summoned a meeting of his council, I have forgot on what occasion, at seven in the morning. When he entered the senate-house, he was astonished to find not one of those arrived whom he had ordered to attend. By the time he had waited about ten minutes, and wrote himself up to a proper degree of rage, the president appears; who, seeing the storm that was about to fall on him, begins to make an apology. But in vain. Peter, whose passions never listened to excuses, instantly seizes and belabours him most severely. Every member shared the saine fate according to the order of his arrival, until general Gordon appeared. The general was not a little alarmed at the appearance which the council-room

presented. But the emperor's rage was by this time pretty well exhausted, and he only told Gordon, that, as he had not been punctual to his time, he was very lucky in being so far behind it. “For, added he, “ I am already sufficiently fatigued with beating these scoundrels; and I understand that

a Scotch constitution does not agree well with a drubbing."

Letters from Scandinavia, o. 1, p. 23. AMONG the extraordinary instances of the sins gular tastes and partialities of certain men, may be adduced that of choosing enormous large bells, Several are still preserved as curiosities in England; but all of these are surpassed by some on the Continent. The great bell at Moscow weighs 432,000lb. that at St Peter's in Rome, re-cast in 1785, is 18,6671b. Another of 17,000lb. weight is placed in the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, and is 275 feet from the ground. The great Tom of Oxford weighs 17,000lb. the great bell of St. Paul's, London, is only 8,400lb. The great bell of Exeter weighs 12,500lb. and the great Tom of Lincoln weighs 9,8941b.

The great power which the captains of the Isle of Wight had, may be instanced by the curious anecdote respecting attorneys, quoted by sir Richard Worsley from the papers of sir John Oglander, a descendant from one of the most ancient families in this island, and who lived at the beginning of the seventeenth century. “I have heard," observes the knight, “and partly know it to be true, that

not only heretofore there was no lawyer nor attorney in owre island; but in sir George Carey's time, an attorney coming in to settle in the island, was by his command, with a pound of candles hanging att his breech lighted, with bells about his legs, hunted owte of the island: insomuch that our ancestors lived here so quietly and securely, being neither troubled to London nor Winchester, so they seldom or never went owte of the island; insomuch as when they went to London, thinking it an EastIndia voyage, they always made their wills, supposing no trouble like to travaile.” In another part of his writings, sir John remarks, that law hath beggared us all;" but since his time, the legal practitioners have so greatly increased, that many of the inhabitants make little scruple of wishing that sir G. Carey was alive again. Beauties of England and Wales, v. 4 8 6, p. 69 & 343.

peace and

On the death of Hardicanute, (son of Canute, and Emma, Ethelred's widow,) Edward his half brother, surnamed the Confessor, from his presumed sanctity, was called to the throne by the general voice; and his coronation was conducted with great rejoicings in the city of Winchester. On this occasion, Edward granted a charter to the cathedral, ordering the donation of half a mark to the master of the choir; and a cask of wine, and 100 casks of white bread, to the convent, as often as a king of England should wear his crown in the city of Winchester.

During the reign of this monarch, a remarkable trial of the fiery ordeal is registered to have been

made on the person of queen Emma, who had been accused, among other calumnies, of a criminal intercourse with bishop Alwyn, her kinsman.

The particulars of this singular story, as detailed in the pages of Rndborne, and the Winchester Analist, are thus given by Milner. “ Emma having succeeded in her request to clear herself, and bishop Alwyn, by the fiery ordeal, came from the abbey of Wherwell to the cathedral church, and there spent the night, preceding her trial, in fervent prayer. The morning being come, the king, the bishops, and an immense multitude of persons, of all descriptions, assembled in the cathedral, to be spectators of the event. The pavement of the nave being swept, nine plough-shares red with heat, were placed in a line upon it, while Emma, hava ing invoked the Almighty to deal with her accordingly as she is innocent or guilty of the crimes laid to her charge, prepares herself for the trial, by laying aside her robes, and baring her feet. She is then conducted by two bishops, one having hold of each of her hands, to the glowing metal. the mean time, the vaults of the church thunder with the voices of the assembled multitude, who, in loud shouts, call upon the Almighty to save the royal sufferer, and their cries are echoed through the whole city, by the crowds who were unable to gain admittance into the church. She herself ,raising up her eyes to heaven, and walking slowly on, thus makes her prayer: 'O God, who didst save Susannah from the malice of the wicked elders, and the three children from the furnace of fire, save me, for the sake of thy holy servant Swithin, from

Rr

the fire prepared for me.' In a word, she is seen to tread upon each of the burning irons, and is not even sensible that she had touched them, but addressing herself to the bishops, who had now led her almost to the end of the church, she exclaims. • When shall I come to the plough-shares? They turn round, and shew her that she has already passed them: the lamentations of the multitude then ceasing, the air resounds with acclamations of joy and thanksgiving, still louder than their former prayers had been. The king alone is found overwhelmed with grief, and bathed in tears, lying upon the ground in the choir; to whom Emma being conducted, he begs her forgiveness, in terms of the utmost humility and sorrow, for the injurious suspicions that he had entertained concerning her, and the rigour with which he had treated her. Not content with this, he requires of her, and the bishops there present, to strike him with a wand, which he presents to them. She accordingly gave her son three blows; when, having embraced him, both she and bishop Alwyn were put into full possession of their former rights and property, and ever after enjoyed the royal favour and respect in the degree they merited.'

Related also in the Poly-Chronicon of Ranulph Higden.

The following popular account of curious service, and which still continues to be performed with the prescribed ceremonies, though not by the proprietors in person, is thus given in “ A True Account," printed and circulated at Whitby: “In the fifth year of the reign of Henry II., after the

« ПредишнаНапред »