Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the name Dionysgus this is still more plainly seen. The former is a corruption of the name—this is a simple translation of it. Dionwros is from Dios the genetire of Zeus Jupiter and nuktos, the genetire of nur night; so that he is literally “ Lord of the night, or as before Lord Noah. Those obsorvations will not be very intelligible unless you have had the resolution to wade through the whole of the M. S. which it is too much to suppose you have been able yet to de

You will also notice in the M. S. à curious extract from Mr. Turnour's book respecting a woollen cord twisted with gold and put round the heck of Chandagutto, to indicate this being born to the sovereignty. This passage 1 have used in illustration bf tire plaiting of Shem's beard. But as we see in the foregoing instance that a cord is substituted for it, I have been led to imagine that the Brahminical cord or thread may be a relict of this ancient custom, and in reality derived from the Patriarch Shem; and still worn as an indication of their being a “ royal priesthood;" their claims to superiority appear in fact to amount to this.

It is time that this long epistle were brought to a close.

I remain, my dear Sir,

Very truly your's

(Signed) N. GILBERT.

THE FESTIVAL OF PARVATIE.

000

TAE Noratri (or nine days festival) is celebrated in honor of the goddess Parratie, the consort of Siva. The ceremonies commenco on the second day after the new moon in the month of September, with the formation of an earthen image of Parvatie; a small trench is then opened in the earth, in which nine sorts of grain are sown, the ground is irrigated and the grain germinates; on the last day of the festival, they are taken up and presented to the friends of the family who wear them in the head dress. At this time all their books and writing instruments are placed before the altar, they be. ing forbidden to read any book during those days, but they are enjoined to sing extempore. The School-Masters and boys haring committed to memory several songs in praise of the goddess, and clothed in magnificent apparel after their own fashion, march in procession with great rejoicing to their sea veral houses, where they sing and dance to the sound of musical instruments. Tho parents, pleased with this, present the master with gold and silver coins as well as cloths, after which they are sumptuously entertained. Others, cof. sidering tho last day of the festival an auspicious time for the commence. went of education, bring their children before the altar and make them re. cite the alphabet. Religious persons rise early in the morning, after ablution say their prayers and eat but once during the day. While they fast they abstain from sinful thoughts and acts. They continue thus for nine days and after the usual ceremony in the temple, distribute cloths and money to poor persons and Brahmins, and take their usual meals. On the other hand the Princes and the warriors on the first day of the festital, after the usual ceremonies, order their weapons to be bronght from the armoury, wbich are then carried in procession to the sbrine of Parvatie and allowed to remain there during the festival at the end of whicb, on the ninth day, the nobles and courtiers proceed in a train with the Prince and his troops at their head, and repair to the temple of Parvatie; there they distribute presents to the Priest and Brahmins, after which a great feast is given, to which individuals of all descriptions are invited. The cause of the festival or rejoicing is the following—a Giant by name Mayedasooran had for a long time practised habits of austerity, and obtained the favor of Siva, who; being pleased, bestowed on him the mastery of the world-Mayedasooran filled the world with tumults and oppression, until mankind, unable to contend against the Giant, betook themselves to Parvatie and entreated her to assist them in destroying their enemy; upon which Parvatie took compassion on her creatures and des. troyed the cruel and powerful Mayedasooran, which caused great grief amongst his friends, but at the same time restored universal peace-As these trans. actions occupied a space of nine days in their accomplishment, the Tamils hold the festival in commemoration of them for a like period of time.

E

[ocr errors]

SKETCHES OF MEN AND THINGS.

BY THE EDITOR.

-000

« A chiels amang ye takin notes,

An faith he'll prent it.

No. 2.- Knockers.

It has often struck me that there is more philosophy,--the phia losophy of every day life--in Knockers than many can be aware of, or would be incliced to admit. The reader will doubtless shake bis bead, and ask, “ what can be learnt from Knockers ?" I answer much,—of habits, of occupations, of human nature, of all that can interest and amuse a speculative and enquiring mind. It is not to be supposed that from Knockers we can obtain a thorough insight into the minds or actions of their owners; but it is certain that by a careful study of the different varieties of them we may glean some useful bints of character and manners. I have often been thus amused whilst threading the noisy labyrinths of the great metropolis : many a successive day have I passed in the study of this Knocker.philosophy : many a mile have I gone, exploring the deepest and dirtiest mazes of cockney-land, and many å lime have been roused from a deep, contemplative reverie on some new variety of Knocker just discoyered, by a rude hustle from a porter's knot or a milk. woman's țin-pail.- If the reader feels inclined for a stroll, I will take him with me and point out the several kinds of Knockers in existence, and how they may be made an index to the characters of the individuals using them.

First we have the Elbow or Learned Knocker, indiginous to Portland Place, Saville Row, Great Cumberland Street, Cadogan Place, &c., it is a stiff, lazy sort of an affair, formed, as its namie indicates, like an elbow or the handle of a gigantic tea-urn, The doors on which these are fastened have usually a nice, snug little bramah in one corner of the middle panel, which opens with a watch key, and by this the F. R. S. and S. A., lets himself in, all nire and comfortable, when the Sociсties and the Opera break up, with one of Davy's patent safety-lamps left burning on the hall-table to light him up-stairs. These gentry have a great portion of the alphabet tacked to their names ; à curious and rather expensive habit, seeing that each trio of letters costs from five to fifty pounds per annum. Popular superstition has long been in the habit of supposing these to indicate profound learning in the possessors, which may perhaps account for the harmless penchant. The British Museum is their most favorite resort, and they may be seen there, wading through heaps of dusty manuscripts, and poring over fine old illegible Caxtons, with a diligence and perseverance truly edifying, quiting it daily with the strongest possible conviction that they are engaged in one of the greatest works ever put in type, and calculating how many more quires of foolscap will be Becessary to ensure their immortality-ship,

The Clerical and Medical Knocker is a piece of gross imposition: it is in fact no knocker at all, but a plain circle of iron with a wire running thro' it, so that when raised for an honest knock it merely agitates something between a prompter's and a muffin-man's bell

. They are to be met with chiefly in quiet, dark streets, or no-thoroughfare squares, and are a remarkably sober and business-like race. If you happen to have a letter to one of these knockers, be sure, on entering, that you wipe your shoes clean and quietly, without knocking the paint off the ball wainscoat, and moreover do not speak above a whisper. These individuals peculiarly attached to easy-chairs and dressing gowns, and love to make a great parade of doing nothing. They will sit for hours in their studies up to their ears in books and papers, with quires of nice hot-press'd bath and bundles of well nibb'd german quills before them, and at three rise, dress, and ride out, labouring un. der the delusion of having been busy, a thing of which they were pever guilty in their lives. Visitors are shown into a waiting room

are

in the front, generally very dark, having one set of curtains ine side the windows and another set outside, the former composod of very antient damask, the latter of very recent street mud. There is à circnlar table in the rooni, on which are numbers of the John Bull and the kiterary Gazette, some six years old, and an odd volume of Reecés Cyclopedia bearing date 1806. A fire-paper, a figure of Cupid, a dog's skull and an umberella-stand, with six or eight superannuated chairs form the properties, useful and ornamental of this anti-room. On entering the audience chamber, do not fall over any of the books or papers strewed about the floor at least, if you can avoid it. Do not speak too loudly, nor give occasion to have a question repeated : and on leaving, beware of letting the wind blow the door to for he will be certain 10 remind you

of it when he next sees you. The Mercantile Knocker predominates in such places. As Russell, Euston and Regent Squares, the Grove Paddington, St. John's Wood, Brixton and New Kent Roads, &c. &c. They are substantial

, oblong pieces of metal, easily moved and well cleaned. Should one of them be bronzed depend upon it the

owner is a liver-less. Nabob from Cawnpoor or Hydrabad. This species of Knocker are very regular in their movements being lifted at precisely the same hour, in precisely the same manner every day, about half-past four. Ewice a week, in the season, they attend the Philharmonic, the Ancient or the Queen's concerts, and may

be seen at the National Gallery on the very first day of its opening: They subscribe to the Zoological Gardens, and it is even rumoured that one or two have ascended with Green in his great Nassau Balloon. Brighton and Cheltenham are their chief summer residencies, with an occasional ten guinea's worth of sea-sickness and bone-shaking to Paris. On these occasions every thing is left in the greatest possible security at home, the plate is sent to the counting-house or the bankers: the servants are put on board wages :curtains are taken down, carpets are taken up; the Venetian blinds are put into curl-papers, and the drawing-room fire-irons are wrapt up in the stair-carpets, for fear of their catching cold. The male portion of these Knockers are great patrons of white-bait dinners at Blackwall, and are deeply read in the literature of the Times and Morning Chronicle. As to the feminine part, their acme of enjoyment consists in a morning lounge through Waterloo House and Soho Bazaar, an afternoon's drive in the parks, a nice innocent scandalizing dinner-party, and a very quiet rubber of wbist, guinea points.

The Independent Knocker, is most decidedly one of the old school; a heavy, inconvenient, obstinate sort of old fellow, that won't move a bit faster than usual for anybody. It's weight may be computed at about thirty pounds avoirdupoise, and it is consequently the the terror of all under sized butcher-boys and diminutive watercress girls. The race is becoming gradually extinct and is only to be met with in very old fashioned streets and squares. Bloomsbury appears to be their stronghold, for they muster there pretty

ever

strongly, along with curiously carved, grim-looking faces over the doors, and iron tubes fixed on either railing, that might bare been Brobdinnag extinguishers or Liliputian Çornucopias. The persous who belong to these Knockers are of the fine-old-english-gentleman school, driving to Somerset House, Whitehall or the Admiralty in their Britzchas and Poney Pủaetons, and amusiiig then, selves while there, with scribbling their names on nicely ruled government paper, with large government goose-qulls and government japan inş; or they sit for a couple of hours making holea in sheeis of foolscap and threading them on bițs of red tape ; fur all of which they condescend to receive no more than a thousand or two & year.

The nearest approximation to the last is the Difficult Knocker located in St. Helen's Place, Fly Place, Kirby Street, Lambeib Terraceor; Walnut tree Walk. It'a is harsh, bard-moving knocker : sinall but wearysome. The most powerful ticket-porter that put hand to it could never prodice above two or three rapa in a minutę, and those not much louder than the click of a watchman's rattle. Hercules himself would have found it a queer customer. Begging letters avoid this knocker as they would a Police Officer. As to her Majesty's letter carriers ibey ar® on the very verge of despair, and two strong-minded postmen, one | two-penny, the olher a general, have had fits of temporary ivsaniiy, owing to their utter inability to produce the requisite official sounds. It is rumoured that the body are getting up a petition to Parliament on the subject. The pessons who attach themselves to these are rusty, crusty old boys, or țhin-skin’d tabbies. The majority of them are three per cents, with a sprinkling of consols, and here and there a dock or å mine, Railways they have nothing to do with, abhoring all such innovations in travelling · cab-companies are shunned on the same principle; they know of no conveyance like the venerable hạckney coaches that go three miles in three quarters of an hour. They look upon the old jarvies and yaichaen as a deeply injured race of beings, and still subscribe to keep one of the latter in their street that they may hear þiş qreak iremulous cy in the dead of the night and fancy themselves transported back to happy olden times. The docks and mines indulge in four wheeld chaises and small footboys with white cording rouud the edge of their plain coats. They may be seen at Tonbridge Wells or Richmond in the summer, and at the Exeter Hall and Man. sion bouse meetings in the winter. The three per cenţs are usually content with hiring a one borse fly when they visių a jelation in Highgate or a friend at Clapham, and seldom go beyond Rainsgate or Dovor for their summer excursions, alțhough one of them have had the hardihood to cross the channel and spend a five pound note in Boulogne,

The Professional Knocker is well meaning but dangerous. It has a peculiar and by no meaps agreeable, habit of running up bills with tradesmen, and when the latter express a desire to see their money, of takiug a short trip to the surrey side of the water, not

or two

« PreviousContinue »