Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Day and Martin, and Warren's blacking.' Oh! that is all nonsense! they are only the mysterious characters which he traces, to mark the boundary of his dominion, and by which he prevents all escape from his tremendous power. How have I toiled and laboured to get beyond the limits of his influence! Once I walked for three days and three nights, till I fell down under a wall, exhausted by fatigue, and dropped asleep; but, on awakening, I saw the dreadful signs before my eyes, and I felt myself as completely under his infernal spells at the end, as at the beginning of my journey.'

"It is probable that this gentleman had actually ascended to the top of St. Paul's, and that impressions there received, being afterwards renewed in his mind when in a state of vivid excitement, in a dream of ecstatic reverie, became so blended with the creations of fancy, as to form one mysterious vision, in which the true and the imaginary were afterwards inseparable. Such, at least, is the best explanation of the phenomena that occurs to us."

LVI. THE DUKE DE LAVAL

Was renowned for making bulls; so that, as ordinarily happens in such cases, all that the wits of Paris could devise were fathered upon him. Thus he is reported to have said, that he had received an anonymous letter signed by all the officers of his regiment; and to have observed very quietly, that he had placed sofas in the four corners of his octagon sitting-room. One of his sayings is shrewd enough, and smacks rather of the cold

VOL. I. u

ness of a confirmed egotist, than the giddy kindness of a bull-maker. He was rich, but always refused to lend money, "because," said he, "the best thing that can happen is to get my money back."

LVII. BISHOPS AND THEIR BARONIES IN FEE.

In the year 1070, in the fourth year of the reign of William the Conqueror, or, as others think, in 1086, in his 20th year, the feudal tenures were fully established; and from that time the bishops, who had hitherto sat in any great councils of the nation by the right of prelacy or ecclesiastical dignity, being obliged to hold their lands as baronies, began to sit as barons, preceding the temporal barons by the sanctity of their function. Of this the fullest testimony is given in the Constitutions of Clarendon, passed in the 10th Hen. II. A.D. 1163, by which it is enacted that archbishops, bishops, and all others who hold of the King in capite shall be considered as possessing baronies, and be obliged to be present at trials in the King's court: "Archiepiscopi, episcopi, et universal persona? regni qui de Rege tenent in capite, habeant possessions suas de Rege sicut baroniam, et inde respondeant justiciariis et ministris Regis; et sicut cseteri barones debent interesse judiciis curise Regis cum baronibus, quousque perveniatur ad diminutionem membrorum vel ad mortem."—(See Spelm. Glossar. &c. p. 80.) And soon after, in the year 1165, when Archbishop Becket was condemned in parliament to the forfeiture of all his goods and chattels, a controversy arising between the bishops and temporal barons concerning the office of passing sentence, which the barons endeavoured to impose upon the bishops, because the criminal was an ecclesiastic, one of the bishops made this reply: "Non est hoc judicium ecclesiasticum sed seculare, non sedemus Hic episcopi sed Barones; nos barones, et vos barones pares hic sumus." (See the Life of Becket by Fitzstephen, as quoted by Selden, Tit. of Hon. p. 584.)

LVIII. A DOMESTIC MEDICINE-CHEST.

The Bourgeois Gentilhomme of Moliere manifests extreme surprise when he finds that he has been talking prose for forty years without knowing it: and we doubt not that many will be equally astonished when they learn that they have had a medicine-chest in their house for forty years without knowing it—in the shape of a set of well-filled cruets. The salt, for example, is a decided cathartic in the dose of half an ounce or an ounce; it is also a vermifuge in large doses, and its power is great in preventing as well as killing worms. It has been repeatedly stated that those criminals in Holland who were formerly condemned to live without salt were dreadfully infested with worms, and there is recent evidence to the same effect. Dr. Dyer informs us, from his personal experience, that in the Mauritius the planters' slaves rarely obtain salt, and are extremely subject to worms; while the Government slaves and the convicts get salt in their rations, and seldom suffer from the disease. Some planters, regarding economy and the health of the slaves at the same time, give a tablespoonful of salt in half a pint of water to each slave regularly every Saturday after work; and they find that this dose acts not only as a vermifuge, but as a tonic.

The vinegar, again, is refrigerant and diaphoretic; and is moderately stimulant and astringent when applied externally. It formerly had great reputation in cases of poisoning by narcotics; but here, it must be confessed, that it is of doubtful efficacy. It is certainly useful, however, when soda, potash, or ammonia are taken in over-doses, as the acetic acid which it contains combines with and chemically neutralizes them.

The mustard comes next, but this requires no panegyric at our hands, for not many years have elapsed since it was the fashion to attribute every virtue under heaven to mustard-seeds. More lately, too, a mustard emetic was extolled as infallible in cholera, just as a salt-and-water emetic was during the last autumn: so that a disease numbered among the opprobria medicorum has found two specifics in the domestic medicine-chest. A mustard poultice is no mean rival of a blister. Olive-oil has great merits. The best dispensatory that we have tells us that it is "demulcent, relaxant, and laxative." It is a good antidote against acrid poisons, and seems to be obnoxious to worms; perhaps some of the undigested oil reaches these disagreeable animals, and stops their breathing-holes. Lastly, my Lord Bacon is of opinion that rubbing the skin with oil is very conducive to longevity.

Nor is our chest deficient in stimulants. First comes the common pepper, whether black or white matters not, save that the latter is the stronger. Among its more special virtues let us mention its power, when infused in water, of curing a relaxed sore-throat; and piperin, the alkaloid extracted from it, has cured ague, in the hands of Dr. Meli and others. The Dublin Pharmacopoeia has an ointment of black pepper, which has been recommended against ringworm.

The Cayenne possesses similar virtues, but in a very exalted degree. It is the king of peppers, and whether in lending its fires to fish and wild fowl, or stimulating an ulcerated throat, it shows itself worthy of its high reputation, and is impressed on the memory and the palate in characters not to be effaced. We will not go through the spice-box, and the herbarium of the pantry, though they would afford materials for another lecture on the materia medica: but there are two articles which have such testimony in their favour, that it is impossible to refrain from mentioning them,—we mean sage and cinnamon.

Their merits have been pithily expressed in the following leonine verses. Of sage the poet says:

Salvia salvatrix, natura conciliatrix!

Cur moriatur homo, cui salvia crescit in horto 1

And cinnamon prompts the same question:

Cur moriatur homo, qui sumit de cinnamomo?

LIX. LE PETIT PERE ANDRE,

AND OTHER ODD PREACHERS.

Mr. D'ishaeli has mentioned this droll monk, in his section on "Jocular Preachersbut has given no specimens of his manner, which was quite as startling and curious as that of Menot or Maillard, of both of whom he speaks at some length.

« PreviousContinue »