Page images

knok not a lovelier sight than a young family home for the holidays, full of health and vigour, and strolling through the streets with their parents, on a clear, frosty day, with their liule buas . and shawls, and great coats, wondering at and admiring everything, as they wend their way to the Soho-Bazuar and the Polytechnic. l'hey have all got their shillings and their hall-crowns 10 spend; lo tesn small furtunes, and their little hearts beat quickly as they draw near the great emporium of wys and trinkels. They walk in two and two, with their parents behind. For some time not a word is spoken ; there is too much to look at to allotv of chattering. There are the splendid toys, the beautiful pietudes; the long loliy rooms, the many tine ladies, and above all ibe crowds of lica ile visitors, like themselves, dressed in their best, and like them too, wondering and happy. When this fairy scene of childhood has been fully explored, they bend their steps to Regent Street; loaded with spoil, and there with their last shilling obtain a sight of the wonders of the Polytechnie - Altogether it is a happy day for them and at night, after a substantial ita of hot muffins and trumpets, Astley's crowns their enjoyments. They never saw anything like it before-such beautiful, genile horses-stich dreadful men in armour -such pretty little children on pretty poneys, and then the clown in the circle-oh, what a funny fellow he is! What dioll things be says, what faces he makes, and what its he gets from ibe man with the long whip! But they are drowsy long before the last piece is over, and half of them fall asleep as they ride bome. Their slumbers are sweet and their dreams are of happiness. Gud bless their young bearts !

The London shops are in their zenith at this time, and the sight of them in the full blaze of gas and plate glass, gives one a good idea of the immense wealth of the capital. What a seene the streets of London present on New Year's nighi, when every shop looks like a divan or a palace: and every court, and lane, and nook pours forth its own uide of human beings, that rolls on and oni, seeniingly as endless as countless ; while the carriage way is so shickly studded with vehicles Ayng like the wind, in every direction, as to make an allempt at crossing appear the act of a maniac, and equivalent to sudden death. Allor gether it is a dazzling sight,-a second enchanted garden of Aladdin bere industry is the Wonderful Lamp that brings the possessor wealth, and honor, and fame. To see the costly luxuries of Regent or Bond Street, she rich merchandize of the Strand and Oxford Street, one would wonder where the poverty and distress could be that are described in the daily prinis. Can want exist in the midst of these emporiums of the world? Yes, in these busy streets wealth jostles against lean, cold, poverty--the sleek, smiling millionuaire rubs shoulders with the half-starved, half clothed vagrant.

The Strand is perhaps the busiest of all busy places on this busy night. The shops are in a blaze of light, and almost as full as the strects without. The Grocer is in the zenith of his glory, and buch is the demand for his fruits and spices that before midnight two of his apprentices and the shop porter are carried out in a com: plete state of insensibility, and several pairs ot scales are quite knocked np. The Silk-mercer is beside himseli with the Aow of business, and has recourse to gentle stimulants åt an early hour of the evening. The Cheesemonger knows not who to serve first ; and as to the Gia Palaces there is no getting into them for the crowd. From Aloor to ceiling, from shop-window to back-parlour, from wall to wall, the retailer has piled up his wares in gay, teinpting profusion. Every art has been employed in the carelul disposition of his goods, and he is well repaid for this pains: liis heart is gladdened wilh the incese sapt chiuk of crowus and sovereigns upon his counter.

Covent-Garden market is a little illuminated fairy-land of itself an urbimu garden of the Hesperides'; the richest and rarest fruits from all countries of the world, are piled up in countless heaps, and de: kylt at once the sight and the smell. There are powers too, event at this time of the year, sweet and fresh, and the bright holly and misseltoe add to the gaity of the scene which is enlivened by myriads of siniling faces, many of whom are there to seek their New Year's luxuries, but more to gaze and pass on.

Nut less busy and bustling though in a different style, are the Nervgate and Leadenhall Markets. You there see the most delicate meat, poultry and game that can be met with in all London. Al most every county in England has sent its contributions of delicacies for the feasting of the good and wealthy citizens of the great metropolis. Ducks and geese from Norfolk and Suffolk : plump capons and rabbits from Kent and Surrey : Hampshire pork: veal from Essex, and butter and eggs from Epping and Reading: Fish too from the mighty deep. All are clean and sweet, characteristic of an English market. The tramp of many feet is heard upon the stone pavement, slow and heavy. There is a sober quietness in the bustle of these mål: kets, for here buyers are cautious in making purchases, a joint of meat or a turkey being of far more importance to the family man than a pound of raisins and an ounce of spice for the pud. ding, or a handful of herbs for tbe turkey, The long jets of blazing gas, the rows and heaps of eatables, the merry hum of the passing crowd, the loud laughing voices of the sellers, and the sharp bissing suund of kuife and steel, all unite to form one merry, pleasing scexe of happy bustle, not to be surpassed in any part of London.

Whitechapel is more crowded than ever : from Aldgate Pump to Bow Road is one dense mass of dandy Jews, drunken Irish and boisterous sailors. Almost every other house is a gin palace, and in each of them are seven or eight distinct fights. Near the Par sillion Thcatre the odour of the gin and the butcher's meat gives place to that of oranges and ginger beer, and the sharp, shortory of “thrup-pence a pound, thrup-pence a pound," is stipplanted by " bills o' the play, bills o' the play." The entertain ment at this Theatre is suited to the peuliar tastes of the refined population around, and almost sure to consist of a nautical drama, * Cherokee tradgedy and a nursery pautomine. Cargoes of sailors tre pouring in four abreast,- they would not walk in pairs for the Lord High Admiral himself-they have just enouyh money left fur a gallery titket, and so long as they see a bloody-minded pio rate, a bold boat-swain, and a Chippewa chieftain who hops across yocks and rivers, a hornpipe and a broad-sword combat, they are pretty sure to be satisfied, unless the pirate happens to kill the boatswain and then they are perfectly mutinous, but that is not often allowed, it is too dangerous an experiment with a nautical audience.

One meets with a different description of gaity in the sober neighbourhood of Goswell Street and Islington, at this season of universal unbending. There are glad sounds of music and merry voices from more ihan one upstairs window, whence proceeds also an unusual quantity of candle-light. The music is but humble and the voices are juvenile, so that we may safely conclude them to be family affairs. We panse before a house to listen to the merry peals of laughter, and the quick tramp bf many light feet above, joining in the county dance. We caich a momentary glimpse of some fair one near ihe window which is thrown parily open to cool the heated roon, and a very pretty specimen of cockney, plebian beauty, it is 100. A pair of bright laughing jet eyes ; silken tresses dark and long, en wreathed with a handful of white roses : a neck of surpassing loveliness, and then a light fairy scarf Aung witchingly over the fair shouldei's, and held together with a sprig of holly but so contrived as to allow them to peep wickedly forth. This one brief glimpse is enough to satisiy us of the happiness within. We fancy we

the merry dancers tripping it lightly along, full of youthful, laughing gaity, the two old fiddlers and the harper al one end of the rooin, and a goodly table at the other, grvaning beneath the weight of whole hetacombs of sandwiches, steaming hot jugs of negus, and trays of creams. The walls are nicely decorated with sprigs of fresh holly, and the good old english “misseltoe-hough" beams, bright as ever, in its “pride of place.”' There are the elder branches of the family too, filling the important posts of lookers-on: a decent sprinkling of auuils, uncles and cousins of various degrees, and even of ro degrees at all, from the Borongh and Norton Folgate; and we are quite positive that the old antiquated couple close to the chimney corner, are relations from the country. The hostess is sitting by them and doing all that the occasion requires, while her husband, good man, is stationed rear the door ready for any energency: he keeps a sharp look-out on the “musicians" and is most attentive to all the juniors, carrying them sandwiches; cakes and creams without end, which he wont hear of their resusing, and then bustles back for more with as much glee as though he were selling them at a large profit. In short he runs about, rubs his hands and feels as happy, as if he were in his shop on Saturday night. We dearly love such humble festivities as these, and are vulgar enough to own that

we had rather spend one happy evening with this merry party than a dozen al “Almacks,

or your

Bals de



It's a

The very

Saison" in any of the aristocratical squares or crescerts at the rest end. Give us the ungioved hund of a laughing, bright-cyed city damsel, in a regular hard-working, country-dance, and a fig for the delicate fingers and waspish waist of your duchesses and your countesses in the most languishing Spanish dauce or waltz iu ex. istence.

But there are New-Year revellers of another class-jolly, bale old fellows who meet in queer, antiquated hostelries in out-of-the-way streets, and call for hot eighteen pen'orths, talk politics, laugh at the landlord's jokes and sing niimerous nondescript songs. rare sight to see a knot of these sturdy old oaks clustered closely around a goodly fire, with the Yule log blazing high iu the chimney, and we have treated our young eyes lo such a sight before now. We shall not soon forget the

“Black Dog" in Vauxhall Walk, not that there is anything very strikingly picturésque about it, for it is a heavy,

a heavy, dinggi misshapen heap of bricks and mortar, but there is a charm about it, connected with old associations not easily effaced. It is one of those spots which, some how or other, seem in aliei life to be linked to our existence.

horse-trough at the door seems as familiar to us as though we bad been born and cradled in it. It is a cold, dark frosty night and the small, glimmering lamp fixed to the elm tree near the door, throws a sickly light upon the dingy sign-board above it. A few straggling customers are hastering from the portals with their vessels of pewter and brown-ware soaming at the mouth, and the active wailer is rushing from bar to parlor and from parlor to kitchen, in a state of unusual excitement. More bot eighteen-pen-orths have been called for from the parlor of the “ Black Dog" on that one New-Year's night than within the memory of the most aged pot-boy in the parish af Lambeth. From the half open door of the little, low, dark parlor proceed sounds not to be mistaken. They are certainly not the vesper hymns of water-drinkers and beyond all doubt noi the out pourings of sentimentalists. No, no,--they are good sterling notes of the olden times ; echoes of jolly Tom Dibdin and as opposite to Haynes Baily as brown stout is to vin ordinaire, Tis a goodly chorus, but there is one thunderer heard far above the rest, like the organ of Westminster Abbey amidst a concert of jews hařps, and it echoes about the old oak panelling of the room and up the great smoky chimney in fine style. If we take a peep into the room we shall see what a merry crew they are. There is the thunderer of song, a red, oily faced old gentleman, close to the hearth, with a genuine Meersham in hand. A little silver-haired, laughing eyed neighbour is opposite, and around them sundry groups of thin and plump, short and tall. Onc is a stock-broker, him with the iwink. ling eye and bald forehead ; that dark haired man with surtout and military stock is a reporter to a daily paper ; and he on his right, blue spectacled and white cravatted, looking as prim and compact as though he had just been turned out of one of Bramah's bydraulic presses, is a clerk in some government office. These are the principal members of this festive club met to celebrate the birth of the new year and if the length and loudness of the songs, the peals of laughter and the rattling of pipes and glasses on the round table, be any criterion of joviality and happiness, why all we can say is that the "Black Dog" contains as true a little band of good-tellows' as ever assembled in ouken parlor or red-bricked kitchen. Al length the sounds wax fewer and tainter, until the slamming of doors and the sliding of chairs are the only noises that disturb the neighbours." The little party are dispersing,' allright and proper, and as they sally forth in suber gaity of heart, ibey determine that those who reside nearest shall be seen home by the more remote dwellers ; arm in arm they move onwards, stretching right across the street, 'apd ever and anua there is a halt, a knock or a ring, a shaking of hands all round, and then the party moves on one less in number. At length but two remain ; they pause at the corner of a' ljule' terrace; the moon bursts from a silvery cloud; their hands are united in a friendly grasp ; and as the cool breeze of midnight sweeps past us, our ears catch a well known greeting pronounced in deep sincerity. With that farewell we now take leave of our 'readers— A merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all."



BY SIMON CASIE CHITTY, Esq.-(Continued.)

27. Arunakiri, a celebrated poet who helonged to the temple of Tiruan. namalei, in the Carnatic, but the period at which he lived is uncertain. Hocomposed a series of one hundred Tiruppugal, or encomiastic songs to his favorite god Skanda, which are still extant and often sung at the death bed of a Hindoo. He was also the author of a poem, called Udatkour Vannam, descriptive of the different stages of human life, and as it may not be unin. teresting to the readers, I shall just subjoin an abridged translation of it, witbout, however, pretending to convey any of its poetical beautios.

“ The beginning of man is as a dew drop falling from the tip of a blade of grass : he assumes his corporal form in the womb of his mother in tho course of ten moons, and is then brought forth; he lies down, crawls, prattles, walks and becomes acquainted with science. At sixteen he is in the bloom of his youth ; goes forth richly dressed, and adorned with jewels, courts the Society of young women, is ravished by their eyes, lets himself loose to all

« PreviousContinue »