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pays de Galles," or, a rabbit of Wales, and then told his readers in a note, that the lapins, or rabbits of Wales, have a very superior flavour, which makes them be in great request in England.
The writer of the Neapolitan government paper, 'II Giornale delle due Sicilie,' was more ingenuous. He was translating from some English newspaper the account of a man who had killed his wife by striking her with a poker, and at the end of his story the honest journalist, with a modesty unusual in his craft, said " Non sappiamo per certo se qvestopohero Inglese, sia vno strumento domestico o bensi chirurgico "—(We are not quite certain whether this English poker (pokero) be a domestic or surgical instrument).
During the last war, an English newspaper told its readers that the whole army of the Archduke Charles was "on horseback, upon the Danube." The reporter of this startling news had been translating from the Moniteur, and did not happen to know the value of a common French military idiom—etre a cheval, "to be on both sides of," and signifying, in this instance, that a part of the archduke's army was on the left, and part on the right bank of the Danube.
A writer in the Quarterly Review, in translating from an interesting Italian pamphlet, which gave an account of the sudden seizure by French gensdarmes of the person of Pius VII., makes the Pope say, " Here we are, and here we must remain ;" while the Italian idiomatic expression, " Ci siamo e bisogna starvi," meant " We are in trouble, and we must face it," or, more familiarly, "We are in for it, and must get out of it as well as we can." But the " bisogna starci," which may be rendered into French by 3 y jatitfaire face, meant anything rather than "here we must remain ; " which desponding expression spoiled the whole context, and gave a false notion of the old Pope's conduct, which was firm and spirited on that trying occasion.
In a surgical treatise on diseases of the bladder, the English author, in order to avoid a coarser expression, says, that in such a time after an operation which he recommends, the patient will be able " to turn to the wall." This, an ingenious surgeon in the south of Italy, who very laudably employed himself in translating and publishing English medical works, but who knew English only from the study of such books, rendered by " epoi, guarito del sue male il paziente avra la forza di rovesciare un muro," (" and then, cured of his disorder, the patient will have strength to knock down (or overturn) a wall"). Our surgeon stopped there; but had he been such a philosophic raisonneur as the Frenchman who explained Welsh rabbits, no doubt he would have gone on to say, that in England, where they are built of bricks, walls are much easier to knock down than in Italy, where they are built of stones. A bookseller of Naples announced, by means of a placard in large letters, stuck on the walls, that he had just published a discourse on St. Paul's Epistles—Discorso suite Pistole di San Paolo. "What an absurdity," cried an English tourist, "the
Cistolsof Saint Paul!" and he made "a prief in his noteook," which, for all that we know to the contrary, may have been published long ago, giving it as an instance of 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, VEpistole, 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 'Dictionnaire 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,
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 eve, 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 Cyclopaedia, or Dictionary of Conversation, and swell that 'Repertory of Usual Knowledge ' * with matters that are equally 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 set in for the night, to make himselt 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,—Bischo/, and not Bishop. Thus, we believe, our own bench of prelates had nothing to do with the invention of it.
XXXV. A CHAPTER ON HANGING
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 d la lanterne,he turned round,
* "Connoissances usuelles." Usuelles here means things usually or commonly useful.
and said, "Well, my good people, supposing you do carry me to the lantern, will that make you see any the better at night?" 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, &e. 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 stand