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ART. XIX. — The Sister's Budget: a collection of original Tales in prose and verse, by the Authors of the “Odd Volume,” with Contributions from Mrs. Hemans, Miss Mitford, Miss Jewsbury, Mrs. Hodson, Mrs. Kennedy, Mr. Mac Farlane, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. H. G. Bell, Mr. Malcolm, &c. In two vols. 8vo. London : Whittaker & Co. 1831. If we were briefly to state our opinion of the “Sister's Budget,” we feel that we should be doing no injustice to its claims if we likened it to one of the tamest of last year's Annuals. The Editors, in both cases, boast of the distinguished names which are enrolled in the catalogue of their contributors: but in both we equally observe turgid promises succeeded by “lank performances.” With respect to the three first names mentioned in the title page, we have a few observations to make. We find, in the first place, that Mrs. Hemans has contributed nothing whatever to the prose, unless the few thoughts which she has facetiously put into the fetters of metre and rhyme, be considered worthy of being placed under that category. Fourteen orthodox lines being the full amount of her contingent, we leave the angel of forgiveness to wash away the fault with a tear. The strange character in which Miss Mitford makes her appearance in this volume, has exceeded our most extravagant apprehensions. Why, she really makes a sonnetteer of the first water. She who used to rule the world of wit and fun, and make all the eccentrics and cynics of her acquaintance tremble before her, dreading her powers of conferring immortality She to condescend to become “poet laureate” to St. Valentine, and assist the labours of the cockney muses on the fourteenth of February Ve
rily the authors of our days occasionally remind us of the folly of some capital stage players, who will stick at no fantastic exhibition when invited by a favourite colleague to enact some rarity for his benefit. Now if the reader be surprised that the two first of the distinguished contributors have mustered scarcely a substantial page between them, what will be his wonder when he hears that Miss Jewsbury has contributed less? In fact this lady's share came too late for the printer, and though formally “booked” for the public, she has lost her place for the present. So that we are now in the condition of the party in Virgil's poem, and we can with great truth declare, in the language of that immortalbard,
Nulla tuarum audita nec visa sororum.
The Sisters having thus so awkwardly abandoned the family “Budget,” its protection has been left almost entirely to a band of volunteers, who, in the generous warmth of fraternal feelings, determined to assert the cause of the sisterhood. Mr. Mac Farlane for example, has, in the most gallant manner, in proportion to his means, given the story of a Greek Pilot, the noblest adventure in whose annals, as far as we can discover, appears to be his miraculous promotion from the maritime profession to the office of waiting man to his biographer. The next of those generous volunteers is Mr. Kennedy, or we should perhaps be more regular in saying simply “ Kennedy,” as he is styled in these volumes, after the manner of Homer, Shakspeare, Byron, and the like. But Kennedy though he be, we will concede to him the privileges that are due to common mortals, and since, upon this occasion, he is accompanied by his lady, we shall waive our critical right in such a presence, and observe a decorous silence. We would, however, respectfully convey to his ear, that bad imitations of the German school of romance do not afford us, we infer from the specimen before us, a congenial soil for the cultivation of his talents, his fancy, and his taste. We hope to see better things from this gentleman, and this hope is rather prompted by the consideration of the claims of which Mrs. Kennedy, we believe on her debut, sets forth in the present volume. The tale of tragic distress which she has conjured out of the elements of a few facts connected with the Greek revolution, is distinguished by the evidences of considerable dramatic talent, by energy and grace of diction, such as to surround the first appearance of Mrs. Kennedy in the world of letters, with auspices of the highest promise.
ART. XX. — The Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Pompeii. Vol. I. Published by the Society, for the Diffusion of Useful Kowledge. London: C. Knight, 1831.
Not one of all the volumes hitherto sent forth by the Society abovementioned, more properly corresponds with the description of what their publications ought to be, than the volume before us; for, in point of fact, it does diffuse knowledge, both useful and entertaining, amongst a multitude of readers, who never, except through the same medium, could expect to attain it. Replete as is the history of the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii, with the most fascinating interest,
it is surprising that, up to this time, no attempt had been made to render the details of the discovery familiar to British readers. An Englishman, Sir William Gell, it is true, has expended a great deal of money and toil in obtaining authentic descriptions of the buildings which have been recovered; and there are few of our travellers who have returned from the great tour without adding something to the stock of information, which had been published respecting Pompeii. All this intelligence lay scattered in a variety of books, requiring more labour and money to reach it, than any ordinary person could possibly spare.—But even were it ever so accessible, it was still partial and imperfect; for it is to the Italians we must look for the complete and satisfactory history of this interesting discovery. The task of collecting the materials for this little work was confided to Mr. Wm. Clarke, an architect, who has had it in his power by personal observations on the spot, to confirm or correct the representations of his authorities. A detailed account of the ruins of Pompeii, as they may at present be seen, forms the commencement of this volume. A reference for the sake of comparison is then made, to the ancient condition of the city, so far as the lights of history enable the compiler to determine that condition. Copious descriptions of the public edifices—the walls and gates—public roads-streets, &c., next follow in succession ; and the whole is illustrated by nearly one hundred and forty engravings, including representations of architectural decorations, facsimiles of inscriptions, sculptural figures and groups, and articles of domestic use.
Guy Faur Day.—As a curious illustration of the changes which the progress of time effects on national feelings and customs, we may mention that Guy Faux's Day in 1831, was celebrated by the profanation, and finally the ignominious destruction of effigies, not indeed of supposed Catholic delinquents, but avowedly of contemporary Protestant bishops. How profoundly true it is, that time is the great avenger. It may be stated as a circumstance worthy of note, that there is in the city of Norwich a charity, called the “ Gunpowder Treason Gift,” from which 10s. each are given on the 5th of November, to twenty poor widows, whose united ages amount to the number corresponding with the year of the Gunpowder Plot, 1605.
Specimen of Mechanism. — A watchmaker, at Dundee, is now exhibiting a most singular specimen of workmanship, which possesses additional attraction, in consequence of its having been the property of the Scotch gentleman, who, according to Sir Walter Scott's avowal, stood for the well-known claracter of Monkbarns, in the Antiquary. This specimen consists of a pure orb of crystal, which exhibits, by small golden or brass knobs, fixed to the interior of the glass, a complete view of the firmament. The constellations are cut in crystal, and the whole appears to roll over the spectator, in imitation of the motions of the stars in the heavens.
Manchester and Liverpool Railway.—During the twelve months that have passed from the first opening of this railway, nearly 'alf a
million of persons have travelled in the steam-carriages, from town to town. The gross sum produced on account of passengers and goods, amounts to 160,000l. Drunkenness in America.-Drunkards in the United States, are treated by the laws of the country as lunatics. Thus, if the overseers of the poor of any city or town, are able to prove that any resident, however rich, is a habitual drunkard, he, (the overseer,) is required to inform the Court of Chancery. The Court, in case the charge be true, appoints a committee, which remains in the management of the drunkard's property, until proof can be brought that he has completely renounced his licentious habits. Strange Club.-There is in Lincoln, a society called the “ Last Man,” the object of which is altogether of an extraordinary nature. A bottle of wine was placed, at the institution of the club, in a case, the custody of which is determined by lots annually drawn. The member who has the care of the wine, at Christmas gives a dinner or supper to the whole club. The bottle is to be preserved until one member of the society remains—and he, “The Last Man,” is to drink it to the memory of his former friends. Late Patents.-Patents have been recently taken out for improvements in the mode of evaporating syrups and saccharine juices—in fire-arms —in apparatus for preserving lives from shipwreck—in manufacturing flax—in manufacturing metallic pens —in pattens or clogs for the feetin machinery for acquiring power in tides or currents—in the boilers or generators of steam—in making be traced to a divine origin.
bobbin or twist lace-net—in manufacturing mangel wurzel—in making clothes—buttons—in tanning– in manufacturing street gas—in machinery for propelling vessels—in drawing salt from salt-pans — in machinery for making bread or biscuits—and also for a durable copybook, or writing-tablet, and improved delible ink to be used therewith. French Character. — We have often had occasion to smile, as we
perused the list of the diversified
and incongruous questions which the French Academy of Sciences proposed to entertain on the same day. We have now before us a catalogue of the papers which were read in succession before this patient assembly, and from this enumeration we select the following titles: 1. A cure for the cholera, proposed by a Dr. Duterte, who declares, that he will give himself up to be guillotined, if his remedy fails in a single instance. 2. Discovery of the quadrature of the circle, by M. Garnier. 3. A description of the head of a flying dragon, accompanied by the specimen itself, which Cuvier immediately pronounced to be the head of a pig; and fourthly, a copy of verses on a new remedy for the cholera. Tithes—At a recent meeting of the county of Hereford Reformers, Dr. Meyrick, whose minute acquaintance with the ancient history of this country no one will dispute, positively denied that tithes could They arose, he added, from a very opposite source. A Saxon king murdered his brother, and to get rid of the clamour of the people who inveighed against the atrocity, the royal culprit had recourse to the power of the clergy. The latter agreed to exercise their influence in his favour, provided that they received an adeVO L. I I I. N. O. IV.
quate permanent compensation for so great a benefit. The terms were readily complied with, and the wages of this guilty transaction are still paid under the innocent appellation of tithes. Pegetable-growth. —The annals of gardening have nothing to exhibit worthy of being compared with the amazing turnip which has been grown in the late season, by a publican of Balborough, county of Derby. The seed of this turnip was only four months in the ground, and during that time, from the size of a small pea it increased in dimensions, so as that its circumference measured half an inch more than a whole yard, whilst its weight amounted to seventeen pounds and a quarter Education and the Clergy. — It may be regarded as a curious coincidence at least, that in those places in England where the clergy most abound, there the ignorance and degradation of the labouring classes are greatest; but that where the number of resident clergymen is comparatively the least, the people are most intelligent as well as independent. Norfolk, which has 731 parishes, and Suffolk,which contains 510, have a population backward as to civilization by whole centuries, when compared with that of the counties of the North of England. Lancashire, where a common jury has always been deemed equal in intelligence to a special jury in most counties, has only seventy parishes. The truth is, that in those districts where the people cannot have access to a clergyman of the established church, they get a minister of their own choice, whose interest it is to do the duties of his profession. Mr. Moore, the Poet.—At a dinner given in Devizes to the Marquis of Lansdowne, Mr. Moore, in the course T T
of an elegant and forcible speech, used the following remarkable expressions:—“It is buttoo true, what the enemies of the popular voice aver—that when the infant liberties of America, and France, were to be strangled in their cradles, the people of England were but too ready to put their hands to the unholy work. Nor can I forget, that had it depended upon the people of this country, I myself, one of Catholic millions, as worthy to be free as they, would now have stood before you in the same chains which I wore when first we met—chains, of which the marks are, I fear, too recent, and I too old, for me to expect to outlive the recollection of them.” Home Traffick.-The number of private bills brought into parliament for the purpose of facilitating communication between one part of the kingdom and another, is always an inquiry of great interest to the public. We are happy to be able to state, that in the course of the session recently closed, the number of acts which passed for making or repairing roads was 39 —rail roads, 16—and enclosures, navigation docks, &c., 60. Novel Literary Contention.—The Committee of the Literary Society, which sits at Bromley House, Nottingham, offered, at the close of its last session, a prize of the value of five guineas, to any lady who would produce the best poem on Sherwood Forest. We are glad to inform our readers, that no less than three poems, from three fair candidates, have been already given in to the secretary, and that the 5th instant is the day appointed for determining the successful candidate. It is proper to state, that no contributions can be received from any lady who is not a resident in the town or the county of Nottingham.
Royal Geographical Society.— The first premium of fifty guineas awarded by his Majesty, was conferred on Richard Lander, by the president of this society, for the discovery, by that enterprising traveller, of the termination of the Niger in the sea. On the same evening, a paper was read by Colonel Leake, on the question, whether or not the Quorra was the Niger of antiquity ? This question the gallant writer resolved in the affirmative.
Hours of Mortality.—It has been proved, beyond dispute, that the mortality of mankind is greater at some hours than at others. The largest number die between two and three o'clock in the afternoon : less from the latter hour until eight o'clock in the evening: fewer, again, from twelve to one, A. M.: fewer still from eight to ten, A. M.; and fewest of all from ten o'clock, P.M., to three o'clock, A. M. These proportions, however, vary with climate and seasons; but they are not correct in the summer months, and in warm climates; and are most likely to be reversed during winter, and in cold regions.
We have received the letter dated “Manchester, Nov. 22nd,” together with the accompanying copy of a Testimonial, to the conduct of the writer, in the performance of his pastoral duties. We can sincerely assure him, that his communication has afforded us a great deal of pleasure, as it proves that he is, in his own person, an exception to the general description given in our last, and in a preceding number, of the indifference of the clergy of the establishment in general, to the spiritual necessities of those of their flocks, who are confined to the bed of sicknessOur correspondent will see at once, that such an exception, which he must admit to be a very rare one, instead of militating against our charge, rather demonstrates its truth.