Page images
PDF
EPUB

remained to me, but they beat us back ugnin with the buts of their muskets.

"Where are your commissions, your uniforms, if you be British officers?" We had neither, and our fate appeared inevitable.

The doorway was filled with brushwood, fire was set to the hut, and we heard the crackling of the palm thatch, while thick stifling wreaths of white smoke burst in upon us through the roof.

"Lend a-hand, Tom, now or never, and kick up the dark man there," but he sat still as a statue. We laid our shonlders to the end wall, and heaved at it with all our might; when we were nearly at the last gasp it gave way, and we rushed headlong into the middle of the party, followed by Sneezer with his shaggy coat, that was full of clots of tar blazing like a torch. He unceremoniously seized "par le queue," the soldier who had throttled me, setting fire to the skirts of his coat, and blowing up his cartouch box. I believe under Providence, that the ludicrousness of this attack saved us from being bayonetted on the spot. It gave time for Mr. Splinter to recover his breath, when being a powerful man, he shook off the two soldiers who had seized him, and dashed into the burning hut again. I thought he was mad, especially when I saw him return with his clothes and hair on fire, dragging out the body of the captaiu. He unfolded the sail it was wrapped in, and pointing to the remains of 6 lie naval uniform in which the mutilated and putrifying corpse was dressed, jie said sternly to the officer, "We are W your power, and you may murder us if you will; but that was my captain four days ago, and you see, he at least was a British officer—satisfy yourself." The person he addressed, a handsome young Spaniard, with a clear olive complexion, oval face, small brown mustachios, and large black eyes, shuddered at the horrible spectacle, but did as he was requested.

When he saw the crown and anchor, and his majesty's cipher on the appointments oi the dead officer, he became .convinced of our quality, and changed his tone—" £s verdat, son de la marina Engleta;" "But gentlemen, were there not three persons in the hut?" There were indeed—the flames had consumed the dry roof and walls with incredible rapidity, and by this time they had fallen in, but Oreeque was no where to be seen. I thought I saw something move in the midst of the fire, but it might have been fancy. Again the

white ashes heaved, and a half-consumed hand and arm were thrust through the mouldering mass, then a human head, with the scalp burnt from the skull, and the flesh from the chaps and cheek-bones; the trunk next appeared, the bleeding ribs laid bare, and the miserable Indian, with his limbs like scorched rafters, stood upright before us, like a demon in the midst of the fire. He made no attempt to escape, but reeling to and fro like a drunken man, fell headlong, raising clouds of smoke and a shower of sparks in his fall. Alas! poor Oreeque, the newly risen sun was now shining on your ashes, and on the dead bodies of the ill-starred Bondia and her child, whose bones, ere his setting, the birds of the air, and beasts of the forest, will leave as white and fleshless as your own. The officer, who belonged to the army investing Carthagena, now treated us with great civility; he heard our story, and desired his men to assist us in burying the remains of our late commander.

We remained all day on the same part of the coast, but towards evening the party fell back on the outpost to which they belonged—after travelling an hour or so we emerged from a dry river course, in which the night had overtaken us, and came suddenly on a small plateau, where the post was established on the promontory of " Punto Canoa." There may be braver soldiers at a charge, but none more picturesque in a bivouac than the Spanish. A gigantic wild cotton-tree, to which our largest English oaks were but as dwarfs, rose on one side, and overshadowed the whole level space.

The bright beams of the full moon glanced among the topmost leaves, and tipped the higher branches with silver, contrasting strangely with the scene below, where a large watch- fire cast a strong red glare on the surrounding objects, throwing up dense volumes of smoke, which eddied in dun wreaths amongst the foliage, and hung in the still night air like a canopy, leaving the space beneath comparatively clear.

A temporary guard-house, with a rude verandah of bamboos and palm leaves, had been built between two of the immense spurs of the mighty tree, that shot out many yards from the parent stem like wooden buttresses, whilst overhead there was a sort of stage made of planks laid across the lower boughs, supporting a quantity of provisions covered with tarpaulins. The sentries in the back ground with their glancing arms, were seen pacing on their watch; some of the guard were asleep on wooden benches, and on the platform amongst the branches, where a little baboon-looking old man, in the dress of a drummer, had perched himself, and sat playing a Biscayan air on a sort of bagpipe; others were gathered round the tire cooking their food, or cleaning their arms.

It shone brightly on the long line of Spanish transports that were moored below, stem on to the beach, and on the white sails of the armed craft that were still hovering under weigh in the offing, which, as the night wore on, stole in, one after another, like phantoms of the ocean, and letting go their anchors with a splash, and a hollow rattle of the cable, remained still and silent as the rest.

Farther off, it fell in a crimson stream on the surface of the sheltered bay, struggling with the light of the gentle moon, and tinging with blood the small waves that twinkled in her silver wake, across which a guard boat would now and then glide, like a fairy thing, the arms of the men flashing back the red light.

Beyond the influence of the hot smoky glare, the glorious planet reassumed her sway in the midst of her attendant stars, and the relieved eye wandered forth into the lovely night, where the noiseless sheet lightning was glancing, and ever and anon lighting up for an instant some fantastic shape in the fleecy clouds, like prodigies forerunning the destruction of the stronghold over which they impended; while beneath, the lofty ridge of the conventcrowned Popa, the citadel of San Felipe bristling with cannon, the white batteries and many towers of the fated city of Carthagena, and the Spanish blockading squadron at anchor belore it, Slept in the moonlight.

We were civilly received by the captain, who apologized for the discomfort under which we must pass the night. He gave us the best he had, and that was bad enough, both of food and wine, before showing us into the hut, where we found a rough deal coffin lying on the very bench that was to be our bed. This he ordered away with all the coolness in the world. "It was only one of his people who had died that morning of vomito, or yellow fever." "Comfortable country this," quoth Splinter," and a pleasant morning we have had of it, Tom!"

Blackwood's Magazine.

DIRGE.

Green he the turf o'er thy heart,

Light lie the earth on thy breast,

Peaceful and calm be thy sleep,

Till thou'rt called to rejoice with the blest.

Though we weep, yet we joy at thy lot.
Though we mourn thee.we yetcao resign.
Though we sorrow, 'tis not without hope.
Though we lose thee, forbear to repine.
From the cares and the pains of this world
Thy beatified spirit is free,
'Twould be selfish in us to deplore,
For we know that thy God is with thee.

Royal Lady's Magazint. No. 1.

THE REBELLION IN STOCK FOOIS.

Answer to Mrs. Jones's Letter in Hood'* Comic Annual.•

Padinton third Janeary 1831. Da. Mrs. Jones,—I take Pin in hand to Scratch you a few Remarks in return for your kind Pestle : it however gav me a sevear Blow to hear of my deer frends Roofall Sitawayshun: keep up your Spirits, do my deer Frend, I dout not in your next I shall hear you have taken to your Old Rum again down stairs and find the Windy-Pains in a Hole condishun—Yet what can you Relie on when the Country Gernals is filled with sheets of Flams of Steaks and Bairns burnt to their foundhayshones. But let you and me Mrs. J. hop that these evil Doors may be sicured. I have a bit of Noose for you—Swing is taken and Lockt up—let us hop then that Steps may be taken for capshining his Canfeedrats—You enquier what our King and Manystirs think of Stuck Puggys I beleeve they think your Magasstearall Funkshunareas mite have shone more Hacktivity and Incision again armed Poplars and Incieders—but its all owing to the March of Intellx—instid of mindin there work they are always runnin to heer some Seedishus Ourang or other on the Harrastocrazy — they now call themselves the Industerious Classis, formally they was called The Lore Ordurs. My Servint gal atends Love Feasts and Missinarea Meetins and has the impidence to tell me she hag a Soul as valleyable as my own and actally agkt if her minnyster mite be aloud to come and prepair me for Heavn; but I told the uzzy to prepair herself for smother place and gav her a munths warnin to soot herself—but about the parleymeant — Hurl Grey the Primer has a load on his sholders wich I hop he will be able to discharg an all go oft quiet: He has pledgd himself for to the caws for Rilorm an says hell Redrench evry Place where he has Grounds : and they all talk

* From the Literary Gaztttt. Sec Notice of the Comic Annual—Mirror, No. 467.

about Pooling Mesurs; but the Wet- SOME PASSAGES FROM THE DIARY OF terun Bishop Sincurers and Cloaths THE LATÉ MR. ST. JOHN LONG. borrowers show pourfull Oppisishun and perplix and embrace all his Plans

" Aye-there's the rub."-HAMLET. Pettyshuns come in from all Parts for 'Tis all one !” said I, laying down the Necromancypassion, wich I take to be newspaper on the breakfast table, after some new plan for washin the Black- reading an erroneous representation of amer wite-also for the vote by Ballad myself and the Marquess of Sligo :-which Mr. Hum supports and likewis “I am resolved to remove this stain Mr. Oconl the Hireish mimber wich from my character, and, if hard-rubwants the Onion to be repeeled and ouws bing can do it, I may hope to succeed.” all Hireland Watery eyes; but I hop I had scarcely pronounced these words, sich Cryses will niver arrive -I supose when my servant entered the room to in. youve herd Hunt is returnd for Prestun form me that a person had arrived in wherby Im sorry to heer of a incindery breathless haste, imploring my assissittin in the ows, for he not only first tance for a gentleman in a dying condiburnt the Corn but sold it after to the tion. Heedful, as I ever um to attend pure Peeple—but is Blackin his good to the sufferings of others-a pursuit in Our new lord Canceller Brewem gives which I have found ample fee-licity-1 us Hops that he will put a end to all drew on my boots and followed the apthe Old Suits without making any New plicant to the house of the suffering Breeches wich wrong incisionswold gentleman. This was situated in a pico show Shear hignoranc — but hes no turesque part of the metropolis, and, Goos!-Mr. Grant wants to Mancypate on knocking, the coor was opened to the Jews-Porkreetchers ! my next Na- me by a man who might be six and forty bor Levy says they are a Pursycutish years of age — there, or thereabout. Race thogh they hav Numbers of Ge- Guessing the purport of my visit, he nesis among them fit for Trusts on Se- said nothing, but led me up to his mas. curitys; but let who will be in or out ter's room, when a spectacle of the somethin must be done. Winters com most appalling character met my eyes. and the ole Country wants instand Re- A gentleman in the prime of life, lay leafing thoug I hop no Treesunable acts extended on a bed-his hair dishevelled, will be manny fisted be the Peeple— his dress disordered, and his complexion Nobody now cant sell nothing Goods a midway hue between the tints of hangs on hand and Malefactors are chalk and Cheshire cheese. His tongue dropping in every line-Soverins is scars hung out of his mouth, loaded with and Peeples ready to tear each other to evidence of internal strife. I naturally peeces för um—We want some change believed that the present was a confirm --- In the Naborhood of Manshistered case of phthisis pulmonalis, and I thirty thousn Wafers are in a state of accordingly had recourse to my well Risibility which is no laughin matter, known, and, with- few - exceptions - alhavin struck for more Wags tho' they ways-successful remedy of inhaling. In get therty shillins a Weak and are al- this instance, however, it did not answer ways in Labor !-this abolition of feelin my expectations. Instead of benefitting shold be checkt, for if it is to go on it the trachea, it produced a sympathetic will most likly continew--As you ob- affection of the stomach and diaphragm, serve, the Rag for Chang is grate-as and the oesophagus formed the medium they say The Scullmasters Abroad and of communication between the patient the Scull all in confushon-- Old Head and myself. Having taken a pinch of devices done away with and Hairy Cassles snuff, I was about to give my other insupplyin the place-Aspics on the Con- fallible remedy a fair trial, when the tinence seem very embracing-tho the patient opened his eyes. But, gracious Trials in France is over the People are heaven ! what eyes! The visual orb in Truble- I hope the Rising in the was swoln, blood-shot, troubled and Low Kantrys is over - The Poles seem intolerably dull. At the same moment, to be makin head again the Rushons in some incoherent expressions fell from great Armd Bodis -bent on Deth or the unfortunate gentleman. After a imprisenment to get Liberty-In short reference to the kidneys, he seemed to all Eurups in Harms; but nothins so wish for something to be found in the Barberus as Civil comoshins Hopin all coal-hole, or the cider-cellar : but the is over with You, and restin asshurd search of the servant below stairs was Stuck Puggys is not likely to rise again, unavailing. I now began to apprehend I conclude remaining Your sincer Frend delirium. To be sure of the state of and well wisher A HUMPHRIES. his mind, I inquired if there were any

clergyúan whom he would wish to see :

He exclaimed, "0 venerable old Offley!" But when I expressed to the servants a wish that this reverend gentleman might be sent for, they assured me that they had never heard of him! The patient then muttered some inarticulate sounds, and turned on his side. This position being favourable for my original operation of rubbing, I slit up the back of his coat, waistcoat, and all other vestmental impediments, and smartly applied a solution of tartarised antimony along the course of the spine. The effect was instantaneous on the alimentary canal, and a griping in the transverse arch of the colon well nigh put a full stop to the patient's sufferings. The ductus communis choledochus again deluged the stomach, and with the customary consequences. The scene now, became almost insupportable. An aged nurse, who had, from the infancy of the patient, been his domestic, declared that she could hold out no longer. Poor creature! the tear of affection glistened in her eye; while her convulsed features betrayed uncontrollable sensations. It was a struggle between the heart and the stomach: the heart remained true, but the stomach turned. At this the patient commenced cursing, swearing, and blaspheming, in a way which will be found fully detailed with all due dashes — ! — ! —! &c. &c. in the last number of a Northern magazine. "Zounds I" cried he, starting up on his scant—" Who are you? who sent for you? May the fiends catch you and cleave to you for ever! Give us the hips! a small glass of brandy ! ha ! ha I ha! O my back! D—n all doctors! Here am I slung and tortured with gastritis, hepatitis, splenitis, nephritis, epistaxis, odontalgia, cardialgia, diarhuia, and a whole legion of devils with Latin names! D—n all doctors again, suy I!" And with this exclamation, he hurled a curious crown of crockery at my head, which fitted on so tightly, that only by breaking it, could I disengage myself from the delfic diadem. I hastily ran down stairs, and, meeting the man of six and forty in the passage, I inquired of him very mmutely concerning the state of his master. He answered all my questions with perfect candour, and not without a certain archness of look and manner rather unusual among men of six and forty in his rank of life. From all I elicited, and also from certain corroborative proofs, which I do not think it necessary now to specify, I have no hesitation in declaring, lor the information of the profession to which I do not belong, andofthepublicgenerally,

that in this case my abstruse remedies had not a fair trial, inasmuch as the patient's state was vulgarly simple. He had been drunk the night before!

J. St. J. L.
Fraser's Magazine.

XUtrospectrte<Sleamngs.

HISTORY OF THE PENNY.

(For the Mirror.J

"She sighs and shakes ber empty shoes In vain, No silver-penny to reward ber pain."

Dryden.

According to Camden and Spelman, the ancient English penny* was the first silver coin struck in England, and the only one current among our Saxon ancestors.

In the time of Ethelred, it was equal in weight to our threepence. Till the time of King Edward I. the penny was struck with a cross, so deeply indented in it, that it might be easily broken, and parted on occasion into two parts, thence called half-pennies ; or into four, thence caWed fourthings, or farthings; but that

{irince coined it without indenture, ia ieu of which he struck round halfpence and farthings. He also reduced the weight of the penny to a standard, ordering that it should weigh thirty-two grains of wheat taken out of the middle of the ear. This penny was called the penny sterling. Twenty of these pence were to weigh an ounce; whence the penny became a weight, as well as a coin. By subsequent acts it has been further reduced. In ancient statutes, the penny was used for all silver money; hence the ward-penny, the avert-penny, the rete-penny, &c.

The ward-penny was formerly a customary due paid to the sheriff, or other officer, for maintaining watch and ward. It was payable at the feast of St. Martin; and is still paid within the manor of Sutton Colfield, in Warwickshire, and that with some very singular ceremonies.

The aver-penny, or average-penny, was contributed towards the king's averages, or money given to be freed thereof.

The rete-penny was an ancient customary due of one penny for every person to the parish priest.

The schar-penny was a compensation paid by tenants who neglected to pen up their cattle at night in the pounds or yard of their lord, for the benefit of their dung, or scearn, as the Saxons called it.

Peter-pence were an ancient tax of a penny on each house throughout Eng* Derived from pecunia.

Innd, paid to the Pope. It was called Peter-pence because collected on the day of St. Peter ad vineula. By the Saxons it was called Rome-feoh—l. e. the fee of Rome; and atao llome-scot, and Rome-pennying, because collected and sent to Rome. And lastly, it was called hearth-money, because every dwelling-house was liable to it, provided there were thirty pence vivce pecunice belonging to it—nay, every religious house, the Abbey of St. Alban's alone excepted. It was finally prohibited under Queen Elizabeth.

"The money of England (says Chamberlayne) was abused and falsified for a long time; till Queen Elizabeth, in the year 1560, to her great praise, called in all such money; since whjch time, no base money hath been coined in the Mint of England, but only of pure gold and silver, called sterling money; only of latter time, in relation to the necessity of the poor, and exchange of great money, a small piece of copper, called a farthing, or fourth part of a penny, hath been permitted to be coined; and so likewise an halfpenny of two farthings."

Penny pieces of copper were first issued in England June 26, 1797

N. B. This is a penny article, but it is hoped the reader will not object to pay twopence for it. P. T. W.

ORIGIN OF BAIL.

(For the Mirror J

"Worry'd with debts, and past all hopeH of bail. The uopity'd wretch lies rottinfr in a jail."

Roscommon.

The system of giving securities, or bail, to answer an accusation, is a custom (says Brewer) which appears to have been coeval with the Saxon nation. This system was, indeed, subsequently carried by the Saxons to a burthensome and degrading height—not being confined to those who were accused of crime, but extending to the whole community, who thus gave surety to answer anticipated criminality. This object was effected by the division of England into counties, hundreds, and tithings, and by the direction that every man should belong to some tithing or hundred; which divisions were pledged to the preservation of the public peace, and were answerable for the conduct of their inhabitants.

The system of placing all the people under borh, or bail, the origin of which was attributed to Alfred, is first clearly enforced in the laws of Edgar.

P. T. W.

ANCIENT DIVISIONS OF THE DAY.

(For the Mirror.)
"See the minutes how they run:
How many makes the hour full compleat,
How many hours bring about the day.
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live."

Shakspeare.

The Chaldeeans, Syrians, Persians, and Indians began the day at sun-rise, and divided both the day and night into four parts. This division of the day into quarters was in use long before the invention of hours.

The Chinese, who begin their day at midnight, and reckon to the midnight following, divide this interval into twelve hours, each equal to two of ours, and distinguished by a name and particular figure.

In Egypt the day was divided into

unequal hours. The clock invented by

Ctesibius, of Alexandria, 136 years B. C.

was so contrived as to lengthen or shorten

the hours.

The Greeks divided the natural day

into twelve hours—a practice derived

from the Babylonians.

The Romans called the time between

the rising and setting sun, the natural day; and the time in the twenty-four hours, the civil day. They began and ended their civil day at midnight, and derived this practice from their ancient

jurisprudence and rites of religion, established long before they had any idea of the division into hours. The first sundial seen at Rome was brought from Catania, in Sicily, in the first punicwar, as part of the spoils of that city; and lifter this period, they divided the day into twenty-four hours. An officer, called accendus, used to proclaim the hours; and at the bench ol justice (says Kennett) gave notice every three hours what it was o'clock.

Throughout the Turkish empire, time is reckoned by certain portions of the natural day, resembling the vigils of the ancient Jews and Romans. Public clocks not being in use, these divisions of time are proclaimed from the minarets.

P. T. W.

tlije &opograpf)er.

TRAVELLING NOTES IN SOUTH WALES.

Voyage up the Bristol Channel.— Two steam-packets ply twice every week throughout the year between Bristol and Swansea. The opposition has been so great this season, that the cabin fare is only Ss. and the steerage 2«. 6rf. for a distance of seventy-five miles. The voyage down is performed in fine wea

« PreviousContinue »