« PreviousContinue »
CHRISTMAS PLANTS.* The manner of its propagation (according (For the Mirror.)
to Miller) is as follows :The mistletoe.
thrush, which feeds upon the berries of « When rosemary and bays, the poet's crown, this plant in winter, when it is ripe, doth Are bawl'd in frequent cries through all the
open the seed from tree to tree; for the town,
viscous part of the berry, which imme. - Then judge the festival of Christmas near
diately surrounds the seed, doth someChristmas, the joyeus period of the year. Now with bright holly all your temples strow', times fasten it to the outward part of the With laurel green and sacred inistletoe.”
bird's beak, which, to get disengaged of, GAY.
he strikes his beak at the branches of a ROSEMARY is a small but a very odo- sticking by this viscous matter to the
neighbouring tree, and so leaves the seed riferous shrub; the principal use of it is
bark, which, if it lights upon a smooth to perfume chambers, and in decoctions for washing. Its botanical name is ros
part of the tree, will fasten itself, and the marinus, so called from ros, dew, and following winter put out and grow.”
The above are the principal plants or marinus, alluding to its situation on the
shrubs used at the festival of Christmas, sea-shore. It is seen mantling the rocks which occurs very opportunely to enliven of the Mediterranean in winter, with its
this period of the year. grey flowers glittering with dew. The ancient Latin name of the bay-tree is
Of the rosemary, it may be expedient
to add, that this shrub has ever been laurus, for which it is retained by mo.
treated with great respect for its efficacy dern bolanists, and along with which it now comprehends a great number of spe- the memory,
in comforting the brain and strengthening
which has made rosemary an cies, constituting one of the noblest genera emblem of fidelity in lovers. It was, in the whole vegetable kingdom. The therefore, worn at weddings and funerals, origia of the word is lost in the obscurity
on which latter occasion it is still, in some of antiquity; and whether etymologists parts of England, distributed among the derive it from lavo, to wash, or from laus, praise or honour, they give us little more
company, who frequently throw the sprigs
into the grave along with the corpse. satisfaction in one case than the other.
This circumstance is beautifully noticed The Holly, or Ilex. The leaves are set
in the following stanzas by Kirke White : about the edges with long, sharp, stiff prickles ; the berries are small, round,
THE ROSEMARY. and generally of a red colour, containing
SWEET scented flower! who art wont to bloom four triangular striated seeds in each. of this tree there are several species,
On January's front severe,
And o'er the wintery desert drear some variegated in the leaves, some with
To waft thy waste perfume ! yellow berries, and some with white. It
Come, thou shalt form my nosegay now, is found very useful as a hedge-plant. And I will bind thee round my brow; Its scarlet berries are asserted never to And, as I twine the mournful wreath, suffer from the severest of our winters : I'll weave a melancholy song,
And sweet the strain shall be, and long, “ Fairest blossoms drop with every blast,
The melody of death. But the brown beauty will like hollies last.”
Come, funeral flow'r ! who lov'st to dwell
With the pale corse in lonely lomb, The mistletoe, so famous in the his. And throw across the desert gloom tory of the superstitious rites of our ances- A sweet decaying smell, tors, groweth (says Bacon) chiefly upon Come, press my lips, and lie with me crab-trees, apple-irees, sometimes upon
Beneath the lowly alder tree; hazel, and rarely upon oaks, the mistletoe
And we will sleep a pleasant sleep,
And not a care shall dare intrude, whereof is counted very medicinal ; it is
To break the marble solitude, ever green winter and summer, and bear
So peaceful, and so deep. eth a white glittering berry, and it is a plant utterly differing from the plant upon And, hark! the wind-god, as he flies, which it groweth.” The ancients ac
Moans hollow, in the forest-trees, counted it a super-plant, who thought it
And, sailing on the gusty breeze, to be an excrescence on the trec without
Mysterious music dies.
Sweet flower! that requiem wild is mine ; seed. It was named by Pliny viseum.
It warns me to the lonely shrine,
The cold turf altar of the dead ; * Our much respected correspondent, PT.W. must pardon us for omitting to publish this ex
My grave shall be in yon lone spot, cellent article in our preceding number, but our
Where, as I lie by all forgot, arrangements were completed when it reached A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed. The Christmas festivities, however, are
P. T. W. still celebrating, and our friend's seasonable observations are never out of season. ED.
ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVA. Mercury arrives at his greatest elonga. TIONS FOR JANUARY. tion on the 4th in 200 of Sagittarius, (For the Mirror.)
when he may be observed a short time
before the sun ascends ; he attains his “ Again, with unremitted specd,
aphclion on the 28th, being then in 22° Time hath his annual circle run,
Venus becomes stationary on the 13th
in 24° Sagittarius, when she will afford ANOTHER year has elapsed, gone never
a good opportunity for observation. She more to be recalled. A new one has
is in perihelio on the 15th, in the same commenced equal in variety and import. geocentric longitude ; her greatest brightance to that which has almost imper.
ness is on the 27th. ceptibly glided away. One of our best
Jupiter also becomes stationary on the poets remarks, that a mind without re
29th in 14° Libra, southing at 4 h. 12 min. flection,
morning. There are five visible eclipses « Like a pile without inhabitants,
of his first satellite this month; the imTo ruin runs.»
mersions are as follow: There is nothing to which a reflective On the 8th, at 2 h. 12 min. 25 sec. morn. mind is more inclined than to an interest.
15th,-4 h. 5 min. 49 sec. ing survey of past events. What a crowd 22nd,5 h. 59 min. 12 sec. of impressive images would fix our atten
24th, - 0h. 27 min. 30 sec. tion, awaken our astonishment, soften us 31st, 2 h. 20 min. 54 sec. to grief, or elevate us to joy, should this Saturn still pursues a retrograde course. retrospection not only include the circle He is on the ist in 20 Cancer, and on in which we may have individually the 31st in 30° Gemini. A line extend. moved, but extend to the infinite variety ed from the centre star in the Girdle of of circumstances, that during the years of Orion through Betelgeuse, in his right our own remembrance have transpired on shoulder, will point out Saturn; he also the face of the globe. From considering forms a large triangle with Aldebaran the various changes which have taken and Capella. A line drawn from Bellaplace on the earth, (a mere atom in the trix, in Orion's left shoulder, through immensity of creation), we are naturally Saturn, will shew the first twin Castor ; led to look upward, and contemplate with the star immediately below him is Pollux, feelings of awe and reverence the works the second twin. of that Being in whom there is no change, Herschel is in conjunction with the and gaze with admiration on the wonders Sun on the 14th, at Oh. 43 min. afternoon. displayed in the formation of the pla- A Comet has lately been observed in netary world.
the north-West, near the horizon, situated Josephus observes, that longevity was in the constellation Ophiucus. Their apbestowed upon Adam and his posterity proach not being exactly known, even by for the express purpose of improving the the most learned astronomers, they are sciences of geometry and astronomy ; and seldom heard of till they become visible. ascribes to Seth and his posterity an ex- The term is derived from the Greek Coma, tensive knowledge of the latter. The dis. a hair, by reason of their figure, which is covery of the pole star, the mariner's sure that of a star floating in vapour, engen, and certain guide, is attributed by the dered in the upper regions of the air, and Chinese to the emperor Hong-ti, the which causes them to appear hairy. They grandson of Noah.
are sometimes observed with a long tail, How often do we observe at this period a beard, sometimes like a rose, a sword, of the year the sun rising majestically, &c., according to their position with rehis beams gloriously bursting forth, and gard to the Sun. Some persons imagine seeming to bid defiance to the approach that Comets are the forerunners of great of gloom; but ere he has attained the calamities or evils, as the death of some meridian, the gathering clouds have drawn great personage, the sign of war, the dean impenetrable veil between us and his struction of armies, and various other brightness, discharging their contents with direful events. relentless tury. A few months since, and We read of blazing stars, or comets, how large a portion of his cheering influ. so far back as the year 750, and in almost ence did we enjoy; now he just glides every century since. The comet of the along at a trifling elevation above the how longest continuance was in the time of rizon, casts on us a few weak and watery Nero, which was visible for six months. rays, and withdraws in such haște, that Most of you readers, I have no doubt, the visit appears as if it was unintended. remember the very brilliant one which On the 20th of the month he enters Aqua- made its appearance in 1811, and was rius, at 6 h. 9 min. afternoon.
visible from the middle of August till the
BY MISS MITFORD.
latter end of the following November ; its 66 Hester Hewitt's home-brewed,” still tail was computed to be 33,000,000 of continued to figure above the door of that miles long. They are of different magni. respectable hostelry. Two days after the tudes, but the greater number are sup- wedding, that happy event seemed to be posed to be less than the moon.
most comfortably forgotten by all the par
PASCHE. ties concerned the only persons who P.S. On the 8th of January, 1642,
took any note of the affair being piecisely Galileo, the celebrated astronomer, died
those who had nothing to do with the near Florence. He was cited before the
matter ; that is to say, all the gossips of Holy Inquisition, and forced to abjure
the neighbourhood, male and female
who did, it must be confessed, lift up the Copernican or true system of the
their hands, and shake their heads, and world. After going through the humi.
bless themselves, and wonder what this liating cereinony, he stamped with his
world would come to. foot on the earth, saying, e pur si muove, 6 it moves notwithstanding.”
On the succeeding Saturday, however, his regular day, Jacob re-appeared on
the road, and, after a pretty long traffic The Sketch-Book. in the village, took his way to the Bell ;
and, the next morning, the whole cortège, No. XXVIII.
bride and bridegroom, lame ostler, red
haired lass, grey mare, and black sheepA CHRISTMAS PARTY. dog, adorned exactly as on the pre ding
Monday, made their appearance at
church; Jacob_looking, as aforetime, The wedding of Jacob Frost and Hester
very knowing-Hester, as usual, very deHewitt, commemorated in my last,* took
After the service there was place on a Monday morning ; and, on the grand assemblage of Master Frost's acnext day (Tuesday), as I was walking quaintances ; for, between his customers along the common-blown along would
and his playmates, Jacob was on intibe the properer phrase, for it was a wind
mate ternis with half the parish-and that impelled one onward like a steam
many jokes were prepared on his smagengine-what should I see but the well. gled marriage and subsequent desertion ; known fish-cart sailing in the teeth of --but he of the brown jerkin evaded that raging gale, and Jacob and his old
them all, by handing his fair lady into companions, the grey mare and the black sheep.dog, breasting, as well as they side her, and even lending a friendly hoist
the cart, lifting the poor parish girl bemight, the fury of the tempest. As we
to the lame ostler ; after which he drove neared, I caught occasional sounds of off, with a knowing nod, in total silence; “herring3—oysters ! oysters-herrings!” being thereunto prompted partly by his although the words, being as it were
wife's intreaties, partly by a sound more blown away, came scatteringly and feebly powerful over his associations—an impa. on the ear; and when we at last met, and
tient neigh from the old grey mare, who, he began in his old way to recommend, as
never having attended church before, had was his wont, these oysters of a week old began to weary of the length of the ser(note that the rogue was journeying coast
vice, and to wonder on what new course wise, outward-bound), with a profusion of duty she and her master were enterof praises and asseverations which he ne.
ing. ver vented on them when fresh,-and
By this despatch, our new-married when I also perceived tha: Jacob had
couple certainly contrived to evade the doused his old garments, and that his
main broadside of jokes prepared for company had doffed their bridal favours,
their reception ; but a few random jests, -it became clear that our man of oysters Aung after them at a venture, hit notdid not intend to retire yet awhile to the
withstanding; and one amongst them, landlordship of the Bell; and it was soon
containing an insinuation that Jacob had equally certain that the fair bride, thus
stolen a match to avoid keeping the wed. deserted in the very outset of the honey; ding, touched our bridegroom, a man of moon, intended to maintain a full and
mettle in his way, on the very point of undisputed dominion over her own terri- honour-the more especially as it protories ----she herself, and her whole esta.
ceeded from a bluff old bachelor of his blishment--the lanie ostler, who still
own standing-honest George Bridgwacalled her Mistress Hester--the red hair.
ter, of the Lea---at whose hospitable gate ed charity girl, and the tabby cat, still
he had discussed many a jug of ale and remaining in full activity ; whilst the knoll of bacon, whilst hearing and telling very inscription of her maiden days, the news of the country side. George * See MIRROR, p. 389, vol. viti.
Bridgwater to suspect him of stinginess -the thought was insupportable. Before ment of a Christmas party ; nor was she he reached the Bell he had formed, and so much startled at the idea of a dance communicated to Hester, the spirited re- —dancing, as she observed, being a solution of giving a splendid party in the mighty provoker of thirst ; neither did Christmas week-a sort of wedding-feast she very greatly object to her husband's or house-warming; consisting of smok- engaging old Timothy, the fiddler, to offiing and cards for the old, dancing and ciate for the evening, on condition of givsinging for the young, and eating and ing him as much ale as he chose to drink. drinking for all ages ; and, in spite of although she perfectly well knew what Hester's decided disapprobation, invita- that promise implied, Timothy's exam. tions were given and preparations entered ple being valuable on such an occasion. on forthwith.
But when the dreadful truth stared her Sooth to say, such are the sad contra- in the face, that this entertainment was to dictions of poor human nature, that Mrs. be a boná-fide treat—that not only the leg Frost’s displeasure, albeit a bride in the of mutton, the fat goose, and the plum. honey-moon, not only entirely failed in puddings, but the ale, wine, spirits and topersuading Master Frost to change his bacco were to come out of her coffers, than plan, but even seemed to render him party, dancing, and fiddler became nui. more confirmed and resolute in his pur- sances past endurance, the latter above all. pose. Hester was a thrifty housewife ; Old Timothy was a person of some and although Jacob was apparently, after note in our parish, known to every man, his fashion, a very gallant and affection- woman, and child in the place, of which, ate husband, and although her interest indeed, he was a native. He had been a had now become his--and of his own in- soldier in his youth, and having had the terest none had ever suspected him to be good luck to receive a sabre wound on careless-yet he did certainly take a cer- his skull, had been discharged from the tain sly pleasure in making an attack at service as infirm of mind, and passed to once on her hoards and her habits, and his parish accordingly ; where he led a forcing her into a gaiety and an outlay wandering pleasant sort of life, somewhich made the poor bride start back times in one public-house, sometimes in aghast.
another--tolerated, as Hester said, for his The full extent of Hester's misfortune bad example, until he had run up a score in this ball, did not, however, come that became intolerable, at which times upon her at once.
She had been accus- he was turned out, with the workhouse tomed to the speculating hospitality of the to go to, for a pis aller, and a comfort. Christmas parties at the Swan, whose host able prospect that his good humour, his was wont at tide times to give a supper good fellowship, and his fiddle, would in to his customers, that is to say, to fur. process of time be missed and wanted, nish the eatables thereof_the leg of mut. and that he might return to his old ton and turnips, the fat goose and apple. haunts and run up a fresh score.
When sauce, and the huge plum-puddings- of half tipsy, which happened nearly every which light viands that meal usually con. day in the week, and at all hours, he sisted, on an understanding that the afore. would ramble up and down the village, said customers were to pay for the drink. playing snatches of tunes at every corner, ables therewith consumed ; and, from and collecting about him a never-failing the length of the sittings, as well as the audience of eight and ten year old urchins reports current on such occasions, Hester of either sex, amongst which small mob was pretty well assured that the expendi. old Timothy, with his jokes, his songs, ture had been most judicious, and that and his antics, was incredibly popular. the leg of mutton and trimmings had Against Justice and Constable, treadmill been paid for over and over. She herself and stocks, the sabre cut was a protection, being, as she expressed it, “ a lone wo. although, I must candidly confess, that I man,
and apt to be put upon,” had never do not think the crack in the crown ever gone farther in these matters than a cup made itself visible in his demeanour until of hyson and muffins, and a cup of hot a sufficient quantity of ale had gone down elder-wine, to some of her cronies in the his throat, to account for any aberration neighbourhood; but, having considerable of conduct, supposing the broadsword in confidence both in the extent of Jacob's question never to have approached his connexions and their tippling propensis skull. That weapon served, however, as ties, as well as in that faculty of getting a most useful shield to our modern Timotipsy, and making tipsy in Jacob himself, theus, who, when detected in any outwhich she regarded “ with one auspici- rageous fit of drunkenness, would imme. ous and one dropping eye,” as good and diately summon sufficient recollection to bad for her trade, she had at first no very sigh and look pitiful, and put his poor, great objection to try for once the experi. shaking, withered hand to the seam
which the wound had left, with an air of with a laughing eye and a merry tongue. appeal, which even I, with all my scepti- Why Hester should hate Martha Glen cism, felt to be irresistible.
was one of the puzzles of the parish. In short, old Timothy was a privileged Hate her she did, with that venomous person; and terrible sot though he were, and deadly hatred that never comes to he almost deserved to be so, for his good words; and Martha repaid the obligation humour, his contentedness, his constant in kind, as much as a habitually genial festivity of temper, and his good will to- and relenting temper would allow, al. wards every living thing—a good will though certainly the balance of aversion which met with its usual reward in being was much in favour of Mrs. Frost. AC heartily and universally returned. Every exceedingly smooth, genteel, and civil body liked old Timothy, with the soli. hatred it was on both sides ; such a one tary exception of the hostess of the Bell, as would have done honour to a more who, having once had him as an inmate polished society. They dealt with each during three weeks, had been so scanda. Other, curtsied' to each other, sate in the lized by his disorderly habits, that, after same pew at church, and employed the having with some difficulty turned him sam.e charwoman-which last accordance, out of her house, she had never admitted by the way, may partly account for the him into it again, having actually resort. long duration of discord between the pared to the expedient of buying off her in- ties. Betty Clarke, the help in question, tended customer, even when he presented being a sharp, shrewish, vixenish woman, himself pence in hand, by the gift of a with a positive taste for quarrels, who repint of home-brewed at the door, rather gularly reported every cool inuendo utthan suffer him to effect a lodgment in tered by the slow and soft-spoken Mrs. her tap-room-a mode of dismissal sa Frost, and every hot retort elicited from much to Timothy's taste, that his incur- the rasḥ and hasty Martha, and contrived sions had become more and more fre- to infuse her own spirit into each. With quent, insomuch that " to get rid of the such an auxiliary on either side, there fiddler and other scape-graces, who were could be no great wonder at the continuapt to put upon a lone woman,” formed ance of this animosity; how it began was a main article in the catalogue of reasons still undecided. There were, indeed, ruassigned by Hester to herself and the mours of an early rivalry between the fair world, for her marriage with Jacob Frost. dames for the heart of a certain lame Accordingly, the moment she heard that shepherd, the first husband of Martha ; Timothy's irregularities and ill example other reports assigned as a reason the un. were likely to prove altogether unprofit. lucky tricks of Tom Mariin, the only son able, she revived her old objection to the of Mrs. Glen by her penultimate spouse, poor fiddler's morals, rescinded her con. and the greatest pickle within twenty sent to his admission, and insisted so miles ; a third party had, since the mar. vehemently on his being unordered, that riage, discovered the jealousy of Jacob to her astonished husband, fairly out-talked be the proximate cause, Martha Glen and out-scolded, was fain to purchase a having been long his constant customer, quiet evening by a promise of obedience. dealing with him in all sorts of fishery Having carried this point, she forth with, and fruitery for herself and her shop, according to the example of all prudent from red-herrings to golden-pippins ; wives, began an attack on another, and, whilst a fourth party, still more scandal. having coinpassed the unordering of Ti- ous, placed the jealousy, to which they mothy, began to bargain for uninviting also attributed the aversion, to the score her next neighbour, the widow Glen. of a young and strapping Scotch pedlar,
Mrs. Martha Glen kept a baker's and Simon Frazer by name, who travelled the chandler's shop in a wide lane, known by country with muslins and cottons, and for the name of the Broadway, and adorned whom certain malicious gossips asserted with a noble avenue of oaks, terminating both ladies to entertain a lacking penin the green whereon stood the Bell, a chant, and whose insensibility towards lane which, by dint of two or three cot- the maiden was said to have been the real tages peeping out from amongst the trees, origin of her match with Jacob Frost, and two or three farm-houses, the smoke whose proffer she had accepted out of from whose chimneys sailed curlingly spite. For my own part, I disbelieve all amongst them, might, in comparison with and each of these stories, and hold it very that lonely nook, pass for inhabited. hard that an innocent woman cannot enMartha was a buxom widow, of about the tertain a little harmless aversion towards same standing with Mistress Frost. She her next neighbour without being called had had her share of this world's changes, to account for so natural a feeling. It being the happy relict of three several seems that Jacob thought so too, for on spouses, and was now a comely rosy dame. Hester's conditioning that Mrs. Glen