Page images

the sad ignorance prevalent at Naples, where people wrote books about pistols, in days when, as everybody knew, there was no gunpowder. It did not strike him that, though pistole means pistols, it also means epistles, and that the Italians may write with equal propriety, I'Epistole, or le Pistole, the latter being the form more generally used. In spoken language there is a difference in the accentuation of the word; it is pistola, with the accent on the penultimate syllable, when the fire-arm is meant; and pistola, when letter or epistle.

The following tirade, though not exactly a mistranslation, must have the effect of one on many persons who may happen to look into the already mentioned "Die* tionnaire de la Conversation et de la Lecture" for the meaning of the word "Bishop ;" and the whole passage is so curious, that it deserves being preserved in our Book of Table-Talk.

"Bishop," says Monsieur le Docteur Charbonnier, the author of the article, "is a vinous punch, so called in Holland, and some other northern countries, where they make use of it at the theatres, balls, and other assemblies where pleasure is the aim. This word 'Bishop'" (but here we must give the French)—" Ce mot Bishop signifie eveque en Anglais, and it probably designates a drink fit for a bishop (eveque), or a luxurious drink. It is prepared with as much promptitude as facility, by pouring into good red wine, warmed and sugared, a quantity of the following tincture, the proper proportion of which is ascertained by tasting the mixture: take of orange-peelings two ounces, of cloves one ounce, of nutmeg, one ditto: steep these (he does not tell us in what liquid,an inexcusable omission) during a month in a vessel carefully closed." After this direction, which puts us in mind of the glee,

"Nutmeg and ginger, cinnamon and cloves,
And that gave me this jolly red nose—"

the learned doctor moralizes on the subject. "People," he says, "may reproach a humble priest of the temple of Hygeia, like myself, for propagating the knowledge of a liquor that does not conform with the sober precepts of that goddess. I feel the justice of the reproach; and these lines would have been condemned to oblivion by a scruple of conscience, but for the reflection that Bishop is a less intoxicating drink than Punch made with rum, or rack, or brandy; and that it is useful to substitute for dangerous agents, other agents that are less dangerous. It has also been conceived, that there would be an advantage in showing people how to vary their liquors, which are not without their use in cold climates, and during the nights we consecrate to pleasures, which, also, Hygeia does not exactly approve of; pleasures, however, which her priests (the doctors) regard with an indulgent eye, for fear of passing for over-severe censors, who are always unwelcome, and, above all, to the eyes of the more beautiful half of our species."

Sound moralist—gallant priest of the Goddess of health —most excellent physician! May you long live to drink mulled wine, to write in the Cyclopsedia, or Dictionary of Conversation, and swell that "Repertory of Usual Knowledge,"* with matters that are equally

* " Connoissances usuelles." Usuelles here means things usually or commonly useful.

useful and entertaining. We like the preparation ourselves, having often drunk Bishop at Geneva and Lausanne, where the wintry winds from the Alps and the Lake make much colder weather than Horace ever felt in Italy, where, "Ligna super foco large reponens," he sate in for the night, to make himself comfortable over a jar of red Falernian. Ce punch vineux, as M. Charbonnier calls it, seemed to be in pretty general use among the Genevese, but they called it by a German and not an English name,—Bischq/i and not Bishojo. Thus, we believe, our own bench of prelates had nothing to do with the invention of it.


The leading and main incident in Mr. Theodore Hook's strange novel, called " Maxwell," is the resuscitation of a man who had suffered the last penalties of the law; and a great deal of pathos and tragical interest is worked out from this event, without much attention to legal points, which novel-readers do not care for, and which the author probably did not understand.

During the frenzy of the French revolution, when the people of Paris carried to the lamp-posts, and ropes across the street that supported the lanterns which illuminated the city by night, all such gentlemen as were suspected of royalist principles, there were several instances of men who were only half-hanged, coming to life again. But then executions were always performed in a hurry, and by unprofessional hands. The humorous Abbe de was saved by a witty speech: as the mob were seizing him, and crying out a la lanterne, he turned round, and said, ""Well, my good people, supposing you do carry me to the lantern, will that make you see any the better at night V The rogues laughed, and let him go; but a friend of the Abbe, who was fairly tucked up to the lantern, and then lowered and left for dead, came to afterwards, and lived for many years, although his head always remained in rather an oblique position.

There are, however, several instances of persons surviving this mode of execution, even when the hanging has been regularly and professionally performed. The most striking and best authenticated case we find upon record, is that of one Anne Greene, who was hanged at Oxford, on the 10th day of January 1650, for the murder of her infant child; a crime of which the poor creature was most evidently innocent, if any trust is to be put in facts afterwards produced, or even in the evidence given on her trial, that was hurried over in a manner alike disgraceful to judge and jury.

Our account is taken from a contemporary, and now rare pamphlet in the British Museum, which is bound up in a volume with other curious tracts of the period. The pamphlet is entitled "A wonder of Wonders; being a faithful narrative of one Anne Greene, servant to Sir Thomas Reed, in Oxfordshire, who being, &c. by a gentleman, was hanged, and came to life again, &c. The whole witnessed by Doctor Petty, (the physician who cured her,) and licensed according to order. Published at Oxford, January 13, 1651."

According to this narrative, on arriving at the ladderfoot, Anne Greene again most solemnly protested her innocence of the murder of her child, for which she had been condemned, prayed that Heaven would forgive her false accusers, and then entreated her "dear cousin," a young man "standing at the foot of the ladder," that he would use all possible means to despatch her out of her pain.

"Accordingly, upon being turned off the ladder, the kinsman took hold of her feet, and hung with all the weight and force of his body on them, that so he might the sooner rid her of her pain. Moreover, a soldier standing by, gave her four or five blows on the breast with the butt-end of his musket. And having hung for half-an hour, she was cut down, being quite dead, and put into the chirurgeon's chest, who had begged her for an anatomy, and was carried to Mr. Clarke's house, an apothecary, where the physicians met to try their skill, and having prefixed a time for the reading a lecture over her, that being usual upon the anatomizing of either man or woman.

"When they were all met, her body was taken out of the coffin, and laid upon a large table, where, in the presence of them all, she began to breathe, which was no small terror nor admiration to all that were then present. Whereupon a large discourse arose about her; and one amongst the rest, Doctor Petty by name, went to her, took her by the hand, and laid his ear to her temples, and, perceiving life, declared that there was a great hand of God in the business, and immediately let her blood in three places. After which, he caused a warm bed to be prepared for her, and a woman to lie with her; and applied several oils unto her, using many other circumstances of art, until she recovered, which was within

« PreviousContinue »