Page images
PDF
EPUB

with contempt on some at the upper end of the table. By this craft, I at once gratify my humour (which is pride) and preserve my character, and am at meat as wise men would be in the world,—

Extremi primorum, extremis usque priores.

"And to this purpose, my way is to carry a little pocketcompass in my left fob, and from that I take my measures imperceptibly, as from a watch, in the usual way of comparing time before dinner; or, if I chance to forget that, I consider the situation of the parish church, and this is my never-failing regulator."

LIV. A CHARM.

Worse poetry has been written than the following, which is the production of Agnes Sampson, who was burnt for a witch in Scotland in the year 1590. It is entitled, "A prayer and incantation for hailling of seik folkis," and would, no doubt, put a stop to many a nervous fit.

All kindis of illis that ever may be,
In Chrystis name I conjure ye,
I conjure ye, baith mair and less,
By all the vertewes of the Mess j
And rycht sa, by the naillis sa,
That naillit Jesu, and na ma;
And rycht sa, by the samyn blude,
That reikit owre the ruthful rood,
Furth of the flesh and of the bane, 1
And in the erth and in the stane, >
I conjure ye in Goddis name 1 J

LV.

SWEARING OF FRENCH POSTILIONS IN 1608.

All our readers who have travelled in France, must retain a lively recollection of the obscene, sonorous, and constant swearing of the postilions there; and, we doubt not, many will remember the subterfuge of the poor lady abbess in Tristram Shandy, who, wanting to make her mules go with "the magical words," thought she could avoid the sin by pronouncing one syllable of them herself, and getting her companion, the lay sister, to pronounce

[graphic]

the other. It should appear, from Master Thomas Coryat, that these public functionaries were much more decent in their swearing in 1608, and yet he complains of them! Surely, Thomas was too squeamish. He says, "The French guides, otherwise called the postilians, have one most diabolicall custome in their travelling upon the wayes. Diabolicall it may well be called: for whensoever their horses doe a little anger them, they will say in their fury, 'AUons, diable,' that is, ' Go, thou divell.' Also, if they happen to be angry with a stranger upon the way upon any occasion, they will say to him,' Le diable femporte,' that is, 'The divell take thee.' This I know by mine owne experience.—C. Crudities."

[ocr errors]

London: Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street.

THE

BOOK OF TABLE-TALK.

ILLUSTRATED WITH WOOD-CUTS.

BY SEVERAL CONTRIBUTORS.

NEW EDITION.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

Vol. II.

LONDON:

C. COX, 12, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND. 1847.

« PreviousContinue »