Графични страници
PDF файл

the room, and read or delivered, in a loud and angry tone, a most insulting and offensive message, addressed to the company present, from a person who lived in an adjoining street, whom the bridegroom had not thought proper to invite; “ He pitied the master of the house for his want of taste and discernment, in preferring so many trifling and worthless characters, to him, who had passed his life in the bosom of temperance and philosophy: it was not the disappointment of a dainty palate that had induced him to send the present messenger, nor did he wish to interrupt the harmony of a wedding dinner, but he could not help thinking, that after he had paid so much attention to him, and for so many years, it was rather hard, that men in every respect his inferiors, should be selected before him."

The stranger concluded with accusing the majority of the persons present of various crimes, and told the bridegroom, that if by way of making his peace with the offended man he should feel inclined to send him a ham, a plate of venison, or a basket of sweet cakes, he had instructed the lad not to accept of them.

Such a proceeding would not have been quietly submitted to, under any circumstances; the effect of it, on men inflamed with wine, may be easily imagined; by accident, or by design, the messenger of the hungry philosopher had placed himself near the door, or he probably would have been demo lished; a massy goblet, which narrowly missed his head, as he hurried out, was the signal for war.

Disappointed, by the object of their vengeance

escaping, the company quarrelled with each other, proceeded from reproaches and abuse to blows; the women screamed, and the room became a scene of uproar, outrage, and confusion; the combatants, with some difficulty, at length were separated, but not till they had disfigured the faces and torn the clothes of each other.

Lounger's Common-place Book, d. 1, p. 30. Wir without knowledge is a sort of cream which gathers in a night to the top, and by a skilful hand may be soon whipped into froth; but, once scummed away, what appears underneath, will be fit for nothing but to be thrown to the hogs.

Swiftiana, v. 1, p. 143.

A good man, who had purchased some peas, and laid them by, in order to keep lent, was robbed of them. He made every inquiry, among his neighbours, and at length discovered that the thief's name was Zorababel. The man was entirely unknown to him, and all his inquiries proved fruitless; and, it being an uncommon name, in a few days, he forgot it and gave up the search, until happening to be at mass, on the day of the nativity of the virgin, when the evangelist, St. Matthew, relates, in the first chapter, the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The priest had no sooner read these words, genuit Zorababel, Zorababel autem genuit, than the good man cried out, The


fellow who stole my pease.” That part of the congregation, who were ignorant of the circumstance, concluded that the man was mad, while his neighbours

could not suppress their laughter on the occasion. The man, however, retained the name of the thief in his memory, and it proved the means of his recovering what he had lost. Collectanea, p. 229.

In the year 1212, as we learn from an Italian antiquary, a general belief prevailed in Germany that the Mediterranean sea was to be dried up, that believers might pass to Jerusalem on foot. Italy was crowded with thousands of German pilgrims.

Walpoliana, v. 2, p. 77.

A scholar, running short of cash, sold his books, and writing to his father, said" Rejoice father, for books are now my nourishment.'

E. " One sold all his books

To one Mr Brooks,
Then he gave his father warning,

He should have regard

To his studying so hard,
For now he liv'd by his learning."

Westminster Quibbles.

SIR THOMAS ROBINSON, who was tall and thin, one day asked lord Chesterfield to make some verses on him; upon which his lordship immediately made the following distich:

Únlike my subject, now, shall be my song;
It shall be wiity, and it sha’n't be long.

Dutensiana, p. 103.

CHARACTER of sailors. The race of sailors are so truly eccentric, that notwithstanding the

numberless anecdotes with which they supply con versation, there are many interesting circumstances relative to their very peculiar character, yet left untold. Like other arts, that of navigation possesses a number of technical terms peculiar to itself. The sailor forms these into a language, and introduces them, without hesitation, into all companies, on all occasions, and, generally, with brilliant success, as nautical expressions are pointed, humorous, and easily adapted to the situations of common life.

Inured to hardships, to dangers, and to a perpetual change of companions, the seaman contracts a species of stoicism which might raise the envy even of a Diogenes. “ Avast there!" cried a sailor to his comrade, who was busied in heaving overboard the lower division of a messmate, just cut in halves by a chain shot; “ avast! let us first see if he have not got the key of our mess-chest in his pocket!"

Two of the brightest points in the character of a seaman seem to be intrepidity, and presence of mind. Without partiality, we may say, that it is in the British mariner, particularly, that these qualities are to be observed. In the hour of extreme danger, he does not, like the Portuguese, the Italian, or the Russ, either ask assistance from, or denounce vengeance against, his patron-saint. No, he trusts to his own agility and resolution for safety; and if he imprecates curses on any head, it is on his own, or on that of some lubber, who is not as active as himself in the general work of preservation.

Naval Chronicle, v. 17, p. 467. Voltaire has the merit of having discovered the physical cause of the superiority of the English at


sea. The natives of the south of Europe navigate smooth seas; those of the north are frozen up during the winter; but the English seas are navigated in long, dark, stormy nights, when nothing but great skill, and incessant exertion, cap preserve the vessel. Hence arises a degree of confidence in their sailors, which is almost ineredible; the greater the danger, the greater is the activity. Instead of shrinking from toil, every man is at his post. Have ing no faith in miracles for their deliverance, they almost work miracles to deliver themselves; and instead of preparing for death, strain every sinew to avoid it. Added, to this confidence, they have also in war that which arises from constant success. The English sailor feels that he is master of the

Whatever he sees is to do him homage. He is always on the look-out, not with the fear of an enemy before his eyes, but like a strong pirate, with the hope of gain; and when going into action with an equal, or even superior force, he calculates his profits as certainly as if the enemy were already taken. “ There," said the master of a frigate, when the captain did not choose to engage a superior French foree, because he had a convoy in charge—“ there,” said he with a groan; “ there's seven hundred pounds lost to me for ever.” As for fear, it is not in their nature. One of these men went to see a juggler exhibit his tricks; there happened to be a quantity of gun-powder in the apartment underneath, whieh took fire, and blew up the house. The sailor was thrown into the garden behind, where he fell without being hurt. He stretched his arms and legs, got up; shook himself,

« ПредишнаНапред »