« PreviousContinue »
was imprisoned; and, having confessed more acts of villainy than were even suspected, was broken alive upon the wheel in 1673.
The Marchioness endeavoured to get possession of the box; but, failing to do this, she fled first to England, and afterwards to Liege, where she took refuge in a convent. She was decoyed from this asylum by Desgrais, an active officer of justice, disguised as an abbe, and was conveyed to Paris. She went with much firmness to the place of execution, July 16th, 1676, where she was beheaded, and afterwards burned,—" a punishment," says Beckman, "too mild for such an offender." She had been flattered with the hopes of a pardon; and when she mounted the scaffold, she cried out, "C'est, done, tout de bon!" (It's in earnest, then !")
In many of the cases of secret poisoning recorded in history, the proofs of poisoning were clear enough, but inquiry was hushed up on account of the rank of the parties; in others, nothing was wanted but an examination conducted by competent persons. The progress of law has delivered us from one kind of danger; the progress of chemistry is daily liberating us from the other. Investigations which, in the last century, would have been abandoned as too difficult, are now conducted to a satisfactory termination: thus Christison tells us, when discussing the tests for the oxide of arsenic in the solid state:—" In the ruder periods of analytic chemistry we find Hahnemann recommending a retort as the fittest instrument, and stating ten grains as the least quantity he could detect. Afterwards, Dr. Black substituted a small glass tube, coated with clay, and afterwards well heated; and in this way he could detect a single grain. In a paper published in the 'Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal,' I showed how a sixteenth of a grain might be detected; and, more lately, how so minute a quantity might be subjected to this test as a hundredth part of a grain."—(Christison on Poisons, p. 179.)
If it was a just subject of exultation to the Roman lyrist that punishment was the constant, though tardy, follower of guilt,* it is still more grateful when Vengeance, guided by the torch of Science, tracks the footsteps of the poisoner with such rapidity that detection, like lightning following the thunder, seems the adjunct, rather than the consequence of the crime.
XIV. A FOREIGN COOK IN 1630.
To my noble lady, the Lady Cot.
You spoke to me for a cook who had seen the world abroad, and I think the bearer hereof will fit your ladyship's turn. He can marinatef fish, make gellies: he is excellent for piquant sauce, and the Haugou ;% besides, Madam, he is passing good for an Olla: he will tell your ladyship that the reverend Matron, the Olla podrida, hath intellectuals and senses: Mutton, Beef, and Bacon are to her as the Will, Understanding, and Memory are to the Soul; Cabbage, Turnips, Artichokes, Potatoes, and Dates, are her five Senses, and Pepper the Common Sense; she
* Rard antecedentem scelestum Deseruit pede Poena claudo. t Marinate. From the French verb mariner, t Haugou. A misprint for haut-gout, literally high taste, or high flavour. Most ragouts may be called haut-gouts.
must have Marrow to keep Life in her, and some Birds to make her light: by all means she must go adorned with chains of Sausages. He is also good at larding of meat after the mode of France. Madam, you may make proof of him, and if your ladyship find him too saucy or wasteful, you may return him whence you had him."
Howell's Letters, let. xxxvi. In this humorous letter the author speaks of chains of sausages. An old name in the city for a roast turkey surrounded by sausages is, "An Alderman in Chains."
XV. SEASON FOR OYSTERS AND LOBSTERS.
In an age when useful knowledge is freely diffused on all sides, few persons would thank us for telling them that oysters are in season during the months that have an R in their name; but we are informed, in addition, by Drs. J. P. Brandt and J. T. C. Ratzeburg, in their Medizinische Zoologie, published at the famous city of Berlin in two quarto volumes, that crawfish are finest in the months without an R. This axiom they back with what seems to be a Latin verse in a sore state of decay, as thus:
"Mensis in quo non est R. Tu debes edere cancer;" a line which might be much improved by reading,
Per menses sine n tu debes gdere cancrum: a very decent verse for the middle ages, with only one false quantity in it. Were it still the custom, as in the days of old, to embody laws in verse, these gastronomic precepts might be exhibited in our native tongue as follows:
The oyster-lover eats his dar-
XVI. EXPENSES FOR MARRIAGE-DRESSES IN THE TIME OF HENRY VIII. The following curious accounts were copied, under the direction of the Rev. Richard Kay, a prebendary of Durham, from a MS. belonging to the family of Nevile of Chevet, near Wakefield, com. Ebor., and first made known to a small part of the public, some sixty years ago, by Mr. J. C. Brook,, Somerset herald:—
The marriage, of my son-in-law Gervas Clifton and my daughter Mary Nevile, the 17th day of January, in the 21st year of the reign of our Soveraigne Lord King Henry the VIHth.
£. s. d.
First, for the apparell of the said Gervas
yard 8* 0 48 0
Item, 12 yards of Tawney Camlet . . 0 49 4 Item, 6 yards of Tawney Velvet, every
yard 14" 4 4 0
Item, 2 rolls of Buckram . . .060 Item, 3 Black velvet Bonnets for Women,
every bon. 17" . . . - .0 51
Item, 3 pair of gloves . . . .02
Item, 3 pastb. 0 0
Item, a fur of White Lusants . . 0 40
Item, 12 White hares . : . 0 12
Item, 20 Black Conies . . . 0 10