Графични страници
PDF файл

thinks ungentlemanly behaviour. He is also liable to be rendered irritable by sickness; partly because he has been used to command others, and to be served with all possible deference and alacrity; and partly, because the idea of suffering E. without any honour or profit to get y it, is unprofessional, and he is not accustomed to it. He treats talents unlike his own with great respect. He often perceives his own so little felt that it teaches him this feeling for that of others. Besides, he admires the quantity of information which people can get, without travelling like himself; especially when he sees how interesting his own becomes, to them as well as to every body else. When he tells a story, particularly if full of wonders, he takes care to maintain his character for truth and simplicity, by qualifying it with all possible reservations, concessions, and anticipations of objection; such as “in case, at such times as, so to speak, as it were, at least, at any rate.” He seldom uses sea-terms but when jocosely provoked by something contrary to his habits of life; as for instance, if he is always meeting you on horseback, he asks if you never mean to walk the deck again; or if he finds you studying day after day, he says you are always overhauling your log-book. He makes more new acquaintances, and forgets his old ones less, than any other man in the busy world; for he is so compelled to make his home every where, remembers his native one as such a place of enjoyment, has all his friendly recollections so fixed upon his mind at sea, and has so much to tell and to hear when he returns, that change and separation lose with him the most heartless part of their nature. He also sees such a variety of customs and manners, that he becomes charitable in his opinions altogether; and charity, while it diffuses the affections, cannot let the old ones go. Half the secret of human intercourse is to make allowance for each other. When the officer is superannuated or retires, he becomes, if intelligent and inquiring, one of the most agreeable old men in the world, equally welcome to the silent for his card-playing, and to the conversational for his recollections. He is fond of astronomy and books of voyages; and is immortal with all who know him, for having been round the world, or seen the Transit of Venus, or had one of

his fingers carried off by a New Zealand

hatchet, or a present of feathers from an Otaheitean beauty. If not elevated by his acquirements above some of his humbler tastes, he delights in a corner-cu board holding his cocoa-nuts and punchbowl; has his summer-house castellated and planted with wooden cannon; and sets up the figure of his old ship, the Britannia or the Lovely Nancy, for a statue in the garden; where it stares eternally with red cheeks and round black eyes, as if in astonishment at its situation.

NATURALISTs' cALENDAR. Mean Temperature ... 36 20,

3altuarp 15. Changes of Climate.

An opinion has been long entertained, that there are vicissitudes in the climate and temperature of the air unknown to former times, and that such variations exist in America as well as in Europe. It is said that the transatlantic changes have been more frequent, and the heat of the sun not so early or so strongly experienced as formerly. In America, these alterations are attributed to a more obvious cause than uncertain hypothesis, and at not many degrees distance. For instance, the ice in the great river St. Lawrence, at Quebec, did not break up till the first week in May, 1817, when it floated down the stream in huge masses, and in vast quantities; these, with other masses from the coast of Labrador, &c. spread a general coldness many degrees to the southward. But a few weeks before the snow fell in some parts of New England, and New York, to a considerable depth, and there were severe frosts. The vessels from England and Ireland, which arrived at Quebec, all concurred in their accounts of the dangers which they encountered, and the cold which they suffered. In fine, it would appear that the ice in those regions had accumulated to so alarming a degree, as to threaten a material change in all the adjacent countries, and to verify the theory of some who imagined that the extreme cold of the north was gradually making encroachments upon the extreme heat of the south. They have remarked, in confirmation of their opinions, that the accounts of travellers and navigators, furnish strong reasons for supposing that the islands of ice in the higher northern latitudes, as well as the glaciers. on the

Alps, continue perpetually to increase in bulk. At certain times, in the ice mountains of Switzerland, there occur fissures, which show the immense thickness of the frozen matter; some of these cracks have measured three or four hundred ells deep. The great islands of ice, in the northern seas bordering upon Hudson's Bay, have been observed to be immersed one hundred fathoms beneath the surface of the sea, and to have risen a fifth or sixth part above the surface, measuring, at the same time, about a mile and a half in diameter. It has been shown by Dr. Lyster, that the marine ice contains some salt, and less air, than common ice, and that it therefore is more difficult of solution. From these premises, he endeavours to account for the perpetual augmentation of those floating islands. By a celebrated experiment of Mr. Boyle, it has been demonstrated that ice evaporates very fast, in severe frosty weather, when the wind blows upon it; and as ice, in a thawing state, is known to contain six times more cold than water, at the same degree of sensible coldness, it is easy to conceive that winds sweeping over islands and continents of ice, perhaps much below northing on Farenheit's scale, and rushing thence into our latitudes, must bring most intense degrees of cold along with them. If to this be added the quantity of cold produced by the evaporation of the water, as well as by the solution of ice, it can scarcely be doubted but that the arctic seas are the principal source of the cold of our winters, and that it is brought hither by the regions of the air blowing from the north, and which take an apparently easterly direction, by their coming to a part of the surface of the earth, which moves faster than the latitude from which they originate. Hence, the increase of the ice in the polar regions, by increasing the cold of our climate, adds, at the same time, to the bulk of the glaciers of Italy and Switzerland.

There in her azure coif, and

Reasonings of this kind are supported by the greatest names, and countenanced by the authentic reports of the best informed travellers. Mr. Bradley attributes the cold winds and wet weather, which sometimes happen in May and June, to the solution of ice islands accidentally detached and floating from the north. Mr. Barham, about the year 1718, in his voyage from Jamaica to England, in the beginning of June, met with some of those islands, which were involved in such a fog that the ship was in danger of striking against them. One of them measured sixty miles in length.

On the 22d of December, 1789, there was an instance of ice islands having been wafted from the southern polar regions. It was on these islands that the Guardian struck, at the commencement of her passage from the Cape of Good Hope towards Botany Bay. These islands were wrapt in darkness, about one hundred and fifty fathoms long, and above fifty fathoms above the surface of the waves. In the process of solution, a fragment from the summit of one of them broke off, and plunging into the sea, caused a tremendous commotion in the water, and dense smoke all around it.

These facts were strongly urged upon public attention in the autumn of 1817,” as grounds of not only curious and interesting, but likewise of highly important speculation. A supposed change in the temper, and the very character of , our seasons, was deemed to have fallen within the observation of even young men, or at least middle-aged men; and upon this supposition, it was not deemed extravagant to anticipate the combined force of the naval world employed in navigating the immense masses of ice into the more southern oceans ; while to render the notion more agreeable, and to enliven the minds of such as might think such matters of speculation dull or uninteresting, the project was laid before them in a versified garb, characterising the arctic regions.

starry stole,

Grey Twilight sits, and rules the slumbering pole; "
Bends the pale moon-beams round the sparkling coast,
And strews, with livid hands, eternal frost
There, Nymphs! alight, array your dazzling powers,
With sudden march alarm the torpid hours;
On ice-built isles expand a thousand sails,
Hinge the strong helm, and catch the frozen gales;
The winged rocks to feverish climates guide,
Where fainting zephyrs pant upon the tide;

[ocr errors]

Pass where to Ceuta Calpe's thunder roars,
And answering echoes shake the kindred shores;
Pass where with palmy plumes Canary smiles,
And in her silver girdle binds her isles;
Onward, where Niger's dusky Naiad laves
A thousand kingdoms with prolific waves,
Or leads o'er golden sands her threefold train
In steamy channels to the fervid main,
While swarthy nations crowd the sultry coast,
Drink the fresh breeze, and hail the floating frost;
Nymphs' veil'd in mist, the melting treasures steer,
And cool with artic snows the tropic year.
So from the burning line, by monsoons driv'n,
Clouds sail in squadrons o'er the darken'd heav'n;
Wide wastes of sand the gelid gales pervade,
And ocean cools beneath the moving shade,
Darwin.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Mr. REDDock's paper on this subject, at page 13, has elicited the following letter from a literary gentleman, concerning a dramatic representation in England similar to that which Mr. Reddock instances at Falkirk, and other parts of North Britain. Such communications are particularly acceptable; because they show to what extent usages prevail, and wherein they differ in different parts of the country. It will be gratifying to every one who peruses this work, and highly so to the editor, if he is obliged by letters from readers acquainted with customs in their own vicinity, similar to those that they are informed of in other counties, and particularly if they will take the trouble to describe them in every particular. By this means, the Every-Day Book will become what it is designed to be made,-a storehouse of past and present manners and customs. Any customs of any place or season that have not already appeared in the work, are earnestly solicited from those who have the means of furnishing the information. The only condition stipulated for, as absolutely indispensable to the insertion of a letterfrespecting facts of this nature, is, that the name and address of the writer be communicated to the editor, who will subjoin such signature as the writer may choose his letter should bear to the eye of the public. The various valuable articles of

this kind which have hitherto appeared in
the work, however signed by initials or
otherwise, have been so authenticated to
the editor's private satisfaction, and he
is thus enabled to vouch for the genuine-
ness of such contributions.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Sir,
In your last number appeared a very
amusing article touching some usages and
customs in Scotland, and communicated
from Falkirk. In the description of the
boys' play, ingeniously suggested as
typical of the Roman invasion under
Agricola, we, however, read but a varied
edition of what is enacted in other parts
besides Scotland, and more particularly
in the western counties, by those troops
of old Father Christmas boys, which
are indeed brief chronicles of the times.
I mean, those paper-decorated, brick-
dust-daubed urchins, 'yclept Mummers.
To be sure they do not begin,

“Here comes in the king of Macedon;”.

but we have instead,

“Here comes old Father Christmas,
Christmas or Christmas not,
I hope old Father Christmas never will be
forgot.”
And then for the Scottish leader Galgacus,
we find,
“Here comes in St. George, St. George
That man of mighty name,
With sword and buckler by my side
I hope to win the game.”

These “western kernes” have it, you see,
Mr. Editor, “down along,” to use their
own dialect, with those of the thistle.
Then, too, we have a fight. Oh! how

beautiful to my boyish eyes were their wooden swords and their bullying gait ! —then we have a fight, for lo

“Here's come I, the Turkish knight, Come from the Soldan's land to fight, And be the foe's blood hot and bold With my sword I'll make it cold.”

A vile Saracenic pun in the very minute of deadly strife. But they fight—the cross is victorious, the crescent o'erthrown, and, as a matter of course, even in our pieces of mock valour, duels we have therein—the doctor is sent for; and he is addressed, paralleling again our players of “Scotia’s wild domain,” with

“Doctor, doctor, can you tell What will make a sick man well ?”

and thereupon he enumerates cures which would have puzzled Galen, and put Hippocrates to a “non-plus;” and he finally agrees, as in the more classical drama of your correspondent, to cure our unbeliever for a certain sum. . The “last scene of all that ends this strange eventful history” consists in the entrance of the most diminutive of these Thespians, bearing, as did Æneas of old, his parent upon his shoulders, and reciting this bit of good truth and joculation (permitting the word) by way of epilogue: “Here comes I, little Johnny Jack, With my wife and family at my back, Yet, though my body is but small, I'm the greatest rogue amongst ye all; This is my scrip—so for Christmas cheer If you've any thing to give throw it in here.”

This may be but an uninteresting tailpiece to your correspondent's clever communication, but still it is one, and makes the picture he so well began of certain usages more full of point.

I doat upon old customs, and I love hearty commemorations, and hence those mimics of whom I have written—I mean the mummers---are my delight, and in the laughter and merriment they create I forget to be a critic, and cannot choose but laugh in the fashion of a Democritus, rather than weep worlds away in the style of a Diogenes.

I am, &c. &c.
J. S. Jun.
Little Chelsea,
Jan. 4, 1826.

In the preface to Mr. Davies Gilbert's work on “Ancient Christmas Carols,” there is an account of Cornish sports,

[blocks in formation]

very naturally conceiving ream an' swats, from the delectable style of their carousing, to be a brace of Tam's pot companions, actually introduced them as such, as we find in the bill that the characters of “Ream" and “Swats" are to be personated by two of the performers' This reminds us of an anecdote, connected with the same subject, which had its origin nearer home. Some time ago we chanced to be in the shop of an elderly bookseller, when the conversation turned upon the identity of the characters introduced by Burns in his Tam O'Shanter. The bibliopole, who had spent the early part of his life in this neighbourhood, assured us that, “exceptin' Kerr, he kent every body to leuk at that was mentioned, frae Tam himsel' doun to his mare Maggie.” This being the first time we had ever heard Mr. Kerr's cognomen alluded to, in connection with Tam O'Shanter, we expressed considerable surprise. and stated that he undoubtedly must have made a mistake in the name. “It ma be sae, but its a point easily sattled,” said he, rairing down a copy of Burns from the shelf. With “spectacles on nose,” he turned up the poem in question. “Ay, ay,” said he, in an exulting tone, “I thocht I was na that far wrang—

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Itinerant companies of comedians frequently print their play-bills by the following contrivance: The form of letter is placed on a flat support, having ledges at each side, that rise within about a thirteenth of an inch of the inked surface of the letter. The damped . is laid upon the letter so disposed, and previously inked, and a roller, covered with woollen cloth, is passed along the ledges over its surface; the use of the ledges is to prevent the roller from rising in too obtuse an angle against the first letters, or going off too abruptly from the last, which would cause the paper to be cut, and the impression to be injured at the beginning and end of the sheet. The roller must be passed across the page, for if it moves in the order of the lines, the paper will bag a little between each, and the impression will be less neat.t

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

On the 16th and 17th of January, 1809, Mr. Howard observed, that the snow exhibited the beautiful blue and pink shades at sunset which are sometimes observable, and that there was a strong evaporation from its surface. A circular area, of five inches diameter, lost 150 grains troy, from sunset on the 15th to sunrise next morning, and about 50 grains more by the following sunset; the gauge being exposed to a smart breeze on the i. top. The curious reader may hence compute for himself, the enormous quantity raised in those 24 hours, without any visible lique

* Ayr Courier." † Dr. Aikin's Athenæum.

[ocr errors]

faction, from an acre of snow : the effects of the load thus given to the air were soon

erceptible. On the 17th, a small bril

iant meteor descended on the S. E. horizon about 6 p. m. On the 18th, though the moon was still conspicuous, the horns of the crescent were obtuse. On the 19th appeared the Cirrus cloud, followed by the Cirrostratus. In the afternoon a freezing shower from the eastward glazed the windows, encrusted the walls, and encased the trees, the garments of passengers, and the very plumage of the birds with ice. Birds thus disabled were seen lying on the ground in great numbers in different parts of the country. Nineteen rooks were taken up alive by one person at Castle Eaton Meadow, Wilts. The composition of this frozen

shower, examined on a sheet of paper,

was no less curious than these effects. It consisted of hollow spherules of ice, filled with water; of transparent globules of hail; and of drops of water at the point of freezing, which became solid on touching the bodies they fell on. The thermometer exposed from the window indicated 30,5°. This was at Plaistow. The shower was followed by a moderate fall of snow. From this time to the 24th, there were variable winds and frequent falls of snow, which came down on the 22d in flakes as large as dollars, with sleet at intervals. On the 24th a steady rain from W. decided for a thaw. This and the following night proved stormy: the melted snow and rain, making about two inches depth of water on the level, descended suddenly by the rivers, and the country was inundated to a greater extent than in the year 1795. The River Lea continued rising the whole of the 26th, remained stationary during the 27th, and returned into its bed in the course of the two following days. The various channels by which it intersects this part of the country were united in one current, above a mile in width, which flowed with great impetuosity, and did much damage. From breaches in the banks and mounds, the different levels, as they are termed, of embanked pasture land, were filled to the depth of eight or nine feet. The cattle, by great exertions, were preserved, bein

mostly in the stall; and the inhabitants

driven to their upper rooms, were relieved by boats plying under the windows. The Thames was so full during this time, that no tide was perceptible; happily, how. ever, its bank suffered no injury; and the

« ПредишнаНапред »