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to the river, where he is sentenced to leap over a wide place, which he of course fails in attempting, and leaps into the water. A small contribution towards the good cheer of the day easily compounds for the leap. About nine o'clock the revellers appear before the grammarschool, and demand a holiday for the schoolboys. After which they collect contributions from house to house. They then fade into the country, (fade being an old English word for go,) and, about the middle of the day, return with flowers and oak branches in their hats and caps. From this time they dance hand in hand through the streets, to the sound of the fiddle, playing a particular tune, running into every house they pass without opposition. o, the afternoon, a select party of the ladies and gentlemen make a progress through the street, and very late in the evening repair to the ball-room. A stranger visiting the town on the eighth of May, would really think the people mad; so apparently wild and thoughtless is the merriment of the day. There is no doubt of “the Furry” originating from the “Floralia,” anciently observed by the Romans on the fourth of the calends of May.”
“Every pot has two handles.” This means “that one story's good, till another story's told;" or, “there is no evil without its advantages.”
If it is generally “good” to anticipate festival days in the Every-Day Book, it is an “evil” to be “behind-hand;” and yet “advantages” have sometimes resulted from it. For instance, the day of “ the Furry” at Helston, elapsed before this sheet was sent to press; but a correspondent who was present at the festival on that day in the present year, 1826, sends an account of the manner wherein it is conducted at present; and though the former “story's good,” his particular description of the last Furry, is a lively picture of the pleasant manner, wherein it continues to be celebrated: thus is illustrated the ancient saying, that “every pot has two handles.”
It would be ill acknowledgment of the annexed letter to abridge it, by omitting its brief notice of the origin of the Furry, already adverted to, and therefore the whole is inserted verbatim.
* Guide to Mount's Bay.
Helston “FURRy, or Flora Day.”
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Sir-Having for several years past resided in Cornwall, (from whence I have lately returned,) I beg to inform you of one of their gayest days of amusement, which is regularly kept up in the borough of Helston on the eighth day of May. It originated from the Roman custom of paying an early tribute of respect to the goddess Flora; the garlands of flowers worn on the occasion confirms this opinion. This festival commences at an early hour: the morning is enlivened by the sound of “drum and fife;” and music, harmony, and dance are the sports of high and low”—“from morn to night.” Some of the oldest townsmen chant some ancient ditties—not very comprehensible, “nor is the melody thereof enchanting.” The hilarity of the day precludes the possibility of doing business; every consideration but mirth, music, and feasting is set at naught. Should any persons be found at work, they are instantly seized, set astride on a pole, and jolted away on men's shoulders, amidst thousands of huzzas, &c., and at last sentenced to leap over the river, (which by the by is none of the narrowest,) the result which therefore frequently happens is—they jump into it. The payment of a certain fine towards the expenses of the day saves them from this cooling. At nine in the morning the mob gathers round the various seminaries, and countless voices demand a holiday for all in them, which is acceded to : a collection from the housekeepers is then commenced towards the general fund. While this is going on, the young folks of both sexes go to the gardens of the neighbourhood, and return at twelve with their heads dressed out with gay flowers, oak branches, &c. On entering the town they are joined by . a band of music; they dance through the streets to the “Flora Tune.” In their progress they go through every house and garden they please without distinction; all doors are opened, and, in fact, it is thought much of by the householders to be thus favoured. The older branch of the population dance in the same manner, for it is to be noticed they have select parties, and at different hours; no two sets dance together, or at the same time. Then follows the gentry, which is really a very pleasing sight on a fine day from the noted respect
ability of this rich borough. In this set the sons and daughters of some of the first and noblest families of Cornwall join. The appearance of the ladies is enchanting. Added to their personal charms, in ball-room attire, each tastefully adorned with beautiful spring flowers, in herself appears to the gazer's eye a Flora, and leads us to conceive the whole a scene from fairy land. The next set is, the soldiers and their lasses; then come the tradesmen and their wives; journeymen and their sweethearts; and, “though last not least,” the male and female servants in splendid livery; best bibs and tuckers are in request, and many pretty brunettes are to be found in their Sunday finery, with healthy smiling looks, which on such a day as this are sure to make sad havoc with the hearts of the young men. In the evening a grand ball is always held at the assembly rooms; to which, this year, were added the performance of the “Honey Moon” at the theatre, by Dawson's company of comedians, Powell's celebrated troop of horse at the Circus, and Mr. Ingleby's sleight of hand at the rooms. The borough was thronged with visiters from all parts of the country. It is a pleasing task to conclude o being able to state, that Aurora rose on the ninth without any account of accident or disappointment being experienced by any of its numerous attendants. I have man other anecdotes of Cornwall, which I shall forward you in case you deem them worthy a place in your Every-Day Book, to which P. the success it really deserves. I am, Sir, Your's truly, SAM SAM’s SoN. London, May 16, 1826.
county, Mr. Jesse Johnson, being eighteen or nineteen years of age, and four feet one inch high, and weighing about seventy-five pounds, was married to Miss Nancy Fowler about twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age, six feet two inches high, and weighing about two hundred and fifty pounds. “Sure such a pair were never seen.”
NATURALISTS' cALENDAR. Mean Temperature. .. 54 - 20.
In May, 1736, Henry Justice, of the Middle Temple, Esq., was tried at the Old Bailey, for stealing books out of Trinity-college library in Cambridge. He attempted to defeat the prosecution by pleading, that in the year 1734, he was admitted fellow-commoner of the said college, whereby he became a member of that corporation, and had a property in the books, and therefore could not be guilty of felony, and read several clauses of their charter and statutes to prove it. But after several hours' debate, it appeared he was only a boarder or lodger, by the words of the charter granted by Henry VIII, and queen Elizabeth. He was found guilty.
On the tenth of the month, having been
Y put to the bar to receive sentence, he
moved, that as the court had a discretionary power, he might be burnt in the hand and not sent abroad; first, for the sake of his family, as it would be an injury to his children and to his clients, with several of whom he had great concerns, which could not be settled in that time; secondly, for the sake of the university, for he had numbers of books belonging to them, some in friends’ hands, and some sent to Holland, and if he was transported he could not make restitution. As to himself, considering his circumstances, he had rather go abroad, having lived in credit till this unhappy mistake, as he called it, and hoped the university would intercede for him. The deputyrecorder commiserated his case, told him how greatly his crime was aggravated by his education and profession, and then sentenced him to be transported to some of his majesty's plantations in America for seven years.
NATURALISTS' cALENDAR. Mean Temperature ... 53 - 87.
The establishment of this institution is of so great importance to the health and manners of the metropolis, that to ass it unregarded would be inexcusable. K. of mental infirmity proceeds from bodily infirmity. Without activity, the entire human being is diseased. A disposition to inactivity generates imbecility of character; diligence ceases, indolence prevails, unnatural feelings generate unnatural desires, and the individual not only neglects positive duties, but becomes sensual and vicious. The “London Gymnastic Society,” therefore, in a national point of view is of the highest regard. A letter, subjoined, will be found to represent some of its exercises and advantages in an agreeable and interesting IIlanner.
GYMNAstic Exercises. To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Sir, On the twenty-second of March, not less than fifteen hundred persons assembled at the Mechanics' Institute for the purpose of forming a “London Gymnastic Society.” This event is likely to have very important and useful results to the cominunity, and, therefore, within the plan of the EveryDay Book to record. I have no intention to describe what passed on the occasion, any further than by stating that a series of resolutions in support of the proposed object were unanimously adopted; and as great misconception prevails as to the nature of gymnastic exercises, some light on the subject, beyond that conveyed in your first volume, may be interesting.
The grounds on which the use of exercise generally are recommended, are precisely those from which the benefits of this particular class are to be inferred; with this advantage in favour of gymnastics, that they combine the advantages of almost every other species. If it be desirable that the body should be strengthened, the limbs acquire flexibility, the muscles be brought into full play, and the spirits be invigorated, gymnastics must be allowed to be salutary for such are their ordinary effects. Moreover, if it be desirable that a man should become acquainted with his physical capabilities, in order that he may be encouraged to exert them
on suitable occasions, within the compass of safety, and be aware when he is in danger of trespassing beyond the proper limit, gymnastics must be beneficial, for they instruct him where that limit lies, and give him entire confidence within it, And so gradual are the steps by which the pupil is led on towards proficiency. now mastering a small difficulty, then advancing to one a little greater, then to another, and another, that at last he accomplishes the evolution which at one time appeared to him of greatest difficulty with more facility than É. at first accomplished the first lesson; while all the time he has been acquiring in the process increased capability, strength, .#. and presence of mind. For the utility of these exercises does not end in the gymnasium; it only begins there. The performances of the evolutions are means by which great ends are attained; the vigour acquired in performing them, being afterwards useful wherever vigour may be required. . In the preliminary exercises, the pupil is taught to accustom himself to extend his arms and legs in various natural positions, in quick succession; sometimes exerting the arms only, the legs resting passive, sometimes the reverse; and sometimes exerting both legs and arms together. These exercises are not so strictly E. as to require the pupil to become perfect in them before he engages, in others. On the contrary, he may with advantage, at a very early stage, combine them with those of greater difficulty; and also at an advanced stage, find it useful occasionally to recur to them. Butlet us proceed to the bars. The bars consist of two pieces of wood placed parallel, in a horizontal position, on supporters, extending breast-high from the ground. The pupil having raised himself erect between the bars (they are something less than two feet apart, and about five feet in length) passes from one end to the other by the help of his hands only, moving one hand forward at a time, as the feet are moved in walking. He next places himself in the centre between the bars, and keeping his legs straight and close together projects them over the right hand bar, and so arrives on the ground. He then does the same on the left side, then on the right side backwards, either with or without previously swinging, then on the left side backwards in the same way. He next resumes his position at the end of the bars; but instead of walking or treading along the bars with his hands, as in the first exercise, he this time lifts both hands together, and asses to the other end by short jumps. }. then returns to the centre of the bars, and retaining hold of them, projects his body over the left hand bar, from which #. by slightly o *::::: imself over that on his right. This evo: lution he performs also on both sides, and later in his progress backwards also. Then there is the half moon, or semi-circle, which is performed by projecting the legs over one of the bars in front, and then bringing them back, and swinging them over the same bar behind. As the pupil advances, he is enabled to project himself over the bars unassisted by the lower part of his arms; also to rest the lower part of his arms on the bars, and from that position to raise himself erect by the hands only, repeating the evolution several times in succession, to pass from one side of the bar to the other, without touching the ground, and many other evolutions all conducing in one way or another to the strength and elasticity of his frame. The horizontal poles are placed at various heights from the ground, according to the height of the pupil, and the exercises to be performed on them. Those chiefly used are a few inches above the head. One of the first lessons on the pole is analogous to the first on the parallel bars, the pupil passing from one end of the pole to the other, by the help of his hands only, first by moving one hand at a time as in walking, afterwards by moving both hands together. Grasping the pole with both hands, the pupil is taught to raise himself in various ways above it—to pass over it—to pass from one side of the pole to the other, &c. &c. The exercises on the pole are equal in diversity to those on the bars, perhaps on the whole more arduous, and certainly equally beneficial. I believe the arms and back are particularly strengthened by this diversion of the exercises. Leaving the pole, let us attend a moment to the masts, the ropes, and the ladders. These are of various heights and dimensions. The pupil first learns to climb the rope and mast by the assistance of his hands and feet, afterwards by his hands only, and by degrees he learns to ascend the latter without the assistance of his feet or legs. The leaping with and
without a pole, jumping, running, throwing the javelin, the use of the broad sword, &c., do not require description as they are more or less familiar to every one. I therefore confine myself to naming them, and observing that familiar as some of them are, the regulations under which they are practised tend greatly to increase their utility.” There is still a division of these exercises which I have not mentioned, and which deserves a full description, and that is, the exercises on the horse—a wooden horse—without head or tail— but, as I feel myself quite unable to bear anything like adequate testimony to the merits of this very useful and quiet quadruped, I must reluctantly leave his eulogium to others more competent. It is a subject I cannot well get upon, being but a very indifferent equestrian. remain, Sir, &c. A PARALLEL BARR1stER.
To all individuals of sedentary occupations, in great towns and cities, gymnastic exercises are of immense benefit. It is difficult to convince, but it is a duty to attempt persuading them, that their usual habits waste the spirits, destroy health, and shorten life. Hundreds of Londoners die every year for want of exercise.
It is not necessary that we should cultivate gymnastics “after the manner of the ancients," but only so much as may be requisite to maintain the even tenour of existence. The state of society in towns, continually imposes obstructions to health, and offers inducements to the slothful, in the shape of palliatives, which ultimately increase “the miseries of human life.” Exercise is both a prevention and a remedy; but, we must not mistake—diligence is not, therefore, exercise.
Our present pastimes are almost all within |. the old ones were in the open air. Our ancestors danced “on the green” in the day time; we, if we dance at all, move about in warm rooms at night: and then there are the
* The information relative to the exercise so crudely conveyed throughout this hasty letter, is derived from observation of the gymnasium in the New Road, under the excellent manage ment of professor Voelker.
Be cloudless, ye skies!—And be Colin but there;
first smile can more lovely appear
Than his looks, since my wishes I cannot conceal.
We'll court joys to come, and exchange vows of truth:
Decry, like good folks, the vain follies of youth.