Imágenes de páginas

over the hill, and the road through the archway to Holloway. It therefore commands the Highgate entrance into London, and the landlord avails himself of his " eminence" at the foot of the hill, by proffering his "horns" to all who desire to be free of Highgate.

13. Crown, . Stag's horns. This is the first public house in Highgate coming from Holloway.

14. Duke's Head, . . Stag's horns. 15 Cooper's Arms, . . Ram's horns.

16. Hose and Crown, . Stag's horns.

17. Angel, Stag's horns.

18. Flask, Ram's horns.

This old house is now shut up. It is

at the top of Highgate Hill, close by the pond, which was formed there by a hermit, who caused gravel to be excavated for the making of the road from Highgate to Islington, through Holloway. Of this labour old Fuller speaks, he calls it a "f.vo-handed charity, providing water on the hill where it was wanting, and cleanliness in the valley which before, especially in winter, was passed with difficulty."

19. Fox and Crown . Ram's Horns. This house, commonly called the " Fox" and the " Fox under the Hill," is nearly at the top of the road from Kentish Town to Highgate, and though not the most remarked perhaps, is certainly the most remarkable house for " swearinc; on the horns." Guiver, the present landlord, (January 1826) came to the house about Michaelmas 1824, and many called upon him to be sworn in; not having practised he was unqualified to indulge the requisitionUts, and very soon finding, that much of the custom of his house depended on the "custom of Highgate," and imagining that he had lost something by his indifference to the usage, he boldly determined to obtain " indemnity for the past, and security for the future." Thereupon he procured habiliments, and an assistant, and he is now an office-bearer as regards the aforesaid "manner" of Highgate, and exercises his faculties so as to dignify the custom. Robed in a domino with a wig and mask, and a hook wherein is written the oath, he recites it in this costume as he reads it through a pair of spectacles. The staff with " the horns" is held by an old villager who acts as clerk, and at every full stop, calls aloud, "Amen!" This performance furnishes the representation of the present engraving from a sketch by Mr. George Cruikshank. He has waggishly misrepresented

one of the figures, which not being the landlord, who is the most important character, no way affects the general fidelity of the scenes sometimes exhibited in the parlour of the Fox and Crown.

It is not uncommon for females to be "sworn at Highgate." On such occasions the word "daughter" is substituted for "son," and other suitable alterations are made in the formality. Anciently there was a register kept at the gate-house, wherein persons enrolled their names when sworn there, but the book unaccountably disappeared many years ago.— Query. Is it in Mr. Upcott s collection of autographs?

There seems to be little doubt, that the usage first obtained at the Gate-house; where, as well as in other public houses, though not in all, at this time, deputies are employed to swear in. An old inhabitant, who formerly kept a licensed house, says, "In my time nobody came to Highgate in any thing of a carriage, without being called upon to be sworn in. There was so much doing in this way at one period, that I was obliged to hire a man as a ' swearer-in:' I have sworn in from a hundred to a hundred and twenty in a day. Bodies of tailors used to come up here from town, bringing five or six new shopmates with them to be sworn; and I have repeatedly had parties of ladies and gentlemen in private carriages come up purposely to be made free of Highgate in the same way."

Officers of the guards and other regiments repeatedly came to the Gate-house and called for " the horns." Dinner parties were formed there for the purpose of initiating strangers, and as pre-requisite for admission to sundry convivial societies, now no more, the freedom of Highgate was indispensable.

Concerning the origin of this custom, there are two or three ttories. One is, that it was devised by a landlord, who had lost his licence, as a means of covering the sale of his liquors ; to this there seems no ground of credit.

Another, and a probable account, is, to this effect—That Highgate being the place nearest to London where cattle rested on their way from the north for sale in Smithfield, certain graziers were accustomed to put up at the Gate-house for the night, but as they could not wholly exclude strati,Its, who like themselves were trai t-lling on their business, they brought an ox to the doer, and those who did not choose to kiss its horns, after going through the ceiemony described, were not deemed lit members of their society.

It is imagined by some, because it is so staled in a modern book or two as likely, that the horns were adopted to swear this whimsical oath upon, because it was tendered at the parish of Hornt-ey, wherein Highgate is situated.

The reader may choose either of these origins; he has before him all that can be known upon the subject.

An anecdote related by Mrs. Southo of the Red Lion and Sun, may, or may not, be illustrative of this custom. She is a native of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, where her father kept the Griffin, and she says, that when any fresh waggoner came to that house with his team, a drinking horn, holding about a pint, fixed on a stand made of four rams' horns, was brought out of the house, and elevated above his head, and he was compelled to pay a gallon of beer, and to drink out of the horn. She never heard how the usage originated ; it had been observed, and the stand of rams' horns had been in the nouse, from time immemorial.


Mean Temperature ... 35 • 52.

Sanuarp 18.

St. Pritcian.
In the church of England calendar.

Old Twelfth Day.

This is still observed in some parts of England

Don Sebastian.

In default of holiday making by the editor, who during the Christmas season has been employed in finishing the indexes,which will be in the leaders' hands in . few days to enable them to complete ll.c irct volume of this work, he has now and tnen turned to his collections to relieve '.ne wearisomeness of his occupation, \nrl finding the following anecdote in

I'he Times'' of Dec. 1825, he subjoins

from his stores an illustration of the curious fact it relates to. "It may b* mentioned," The Thneii says," as a singular species of infatuation, that many Portuguese residing in Brazil as well as Portugal, still believe in the coming of Sebastian, the romantic king, who was killed in Africa about the year 1578, in a pitched battle with the emperor Muley Moluc. Some of these old visionaries will go out, wrapped in their large cloaks, oa a windy night, to watch the movements of the heavens, and frequently, if an exhalation is seen flitting in the air, resembling a falling star, they will cry out, " there he comes!" Sales of horses and other things are sometimes effected, payable at the coming of king Sebastian. It was this fact that induced Junot, when asked what he would be able to do with the Portuguese, to answer, what can I do with a people who are still waiting for the coming of the Messiah and king Sebastian?"

This superstitious belief is mentioned in a MS. Journal of a Residence at Lisbon in 1814, written by an individual personally known to the editor, who extracts from the narrative as follows :—

It is the daily practice at Lisbon for the master of the family to cater for the wants of his table himself. According to ancient usage, he must either employ and pay a porter to carry home his purchases at market, or send a servant for them. A certain doctor, well known to be a lover of fish, and an enthusiastic expectant of Don Sebastian, was watched several days in the fish market by some knavish youths, who contrived a tiick upon him. One morning, they observed him very intent upon a fine large fish, yet disagreeing with the fishmonger as to its price. One of these knaves managed to inform the man, if he would let the doctor have the fish at his own price he would pay the difference, and the fishmonger soon concluded the bargain with the doctor. As soon as he was gone, one of the party, without the fishmonger's knowledge, insinuated down the fish's throat a scroll of parchment curiously packed, and shortly afterwards, the doctor's servant arrived for his master's purchase. On opening the fish, in order to its being cooked, the parchment deposit was found, and the credulous man, to his astonishment and delight, read as follows :—

"Worthy and well-beloved Signor

, respected by the saints and now revered by men. From our long observ. atiori of thine heart's integrity, and in full knowledge of thy faith and firm belief, thou art selected as the happy instrument of our return; but know, most ■worthy Signor, the idea of a white horse in clouds of air, is a mere fable invented by weak men. It will be fai otherwise, out be thou circumspect and secret, and to thee these things will be explained hereafter. Know, that by the element of water, by which we make this known, we shall return. Not far from Fort St. Juliana is a spot thou knowest well, a smooth declivity towards the sea; it is there we first shall touch the shore of our loved Portugal to-morrow's night at twelve. Be thou there alone, and softly gliding on the water's surface a small boat shall appear. Be silent and remain quiet on onr appearance,for until we can join our prayers with thine thou must not speak; load not thyself with coin, for soon as dawn appears a troop of goodly horse from Cintra's Road will rise upon thy view. But be not destitute of wherewith to bear thine expense. All thy future life shall be thy prince's care.


The trick succeeded; for the next day the doctor left Lisbon as privately as possible, while his trepanners who had watched him quickly followed, two in a boat hired for the purpose, and two on shore, to make a signal. The boat arrived at the appointed hour, and the doctor expected nothing less than the landing of the long expected and well-beloved Sebastian. It reached the shore, and by those who stepped out and their confederates concealed on the beach, the doctor was eased of some doubloons he had with him, received a cool dip in the water, and was left on the beach to bewail his folly. The story soon got wind, and now (in 1814) there are wags who, when they observe the doctor coming, affect to see something in the sky; this hint concerning Don Sebastian's appearance is usually intimated beyond the reach of the doctor's cane.


Mean Temperature ... 36 - 12.

Sanuarp 19.

Feast of Lanthornt.

This is a festival with the Chinese on the fifteenth day of the first month of their year. It is so called from the great number of lanthornt hung out of the houses, and in the streets; insomuch that it rather appears a season of madness, than of feasting. On this day are exposed lanthorns of all prices, whereof some are said to cost two thousand crowns. Some of their grandees retrench somewhat every dr.y out of their table, their dress, their equipage, &c. to appear the more magnificent in lanthorns. They are adorned with gilding, sculpture, painting, japanning, &c. and as to their size, it is extravagant; some are from twenty-five to thirty feet diameter; they represent halls and chambers. Two or three such machines together would make handsome houses. In lanthorns of these dimensions the Chinese are able to eat, lodge, receive visits, have balls, and act plays. The great multitude of smaller lanthorns usually consist of six faces or lights, each about four feet high, and one and a half broad, framed in wood finely gilt and adorned; over these are stretched a fine transparent silk, curiously painted with flowers, trees, and sometimes human figures. The colours are extremely bright; and when the torches are lighted, they appear highly beautiful and surprising.

French Lark Shooting.

To the gentleman whose letter fiom Abbeville, descriptive of " Wild fow. shooting in France," is on p. 1575 of vol. I., the editor is indebted for another on " Lark shooting," which is successfully practised there by a singular device unknown to sportsmen in this country.*

* To his former letter J. J. II. are printed M In'tuUj by mistake, inatcad of J. H. H.

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Abbeville. Dear Sir, If I do not send you your wished for wood cuts I at least keep my promise of letting you hear from me. I told you in my last you should have something about 37.r '.ark-shooting, and so you shall, and at this time too; though I assure you writing flying as I almost do, is by no means so agreeable to me as shooting flying, which is the finest sport imaginable. When I come home I will tell you all about it, for the present I can only acquaint you with enough to let you into the secret of the enjoyment that I should always find in France, if I had no other attraction to the country. I must " level" at once, for I have no time to spare, and so " here goes," ai the boy says.

Partridge and quail shooting cease in this delightful part of the world about the middle of October, for by that time the partridges are so very wild and wary that there is no getting near them. The reason of this is, that our fields here are all open without either hedge or ditch, and when the corn and hemp are off, the stubble is pulled up so close by the poor people for fuel, that there is no cover for partridges; as to the quails, they are all either "killed off," or take their departure for a wilder climate; and then there is nothing left for the French gentry to amuse themselves with but lark-shooting. These birds are attracted to any given spot in great numbers by a singular contrivance, called a miroir. This is a small machine, made of a piece of mahogany,

[merged small][graphic]

By pulling a string fastened to the spindle, the miroir twirls, and the reflected light unaccountably attracts the larks, who hover over it, and become a mark for the sportsman. In this way I have had capital sport. A friend of mine actually shot six dozen before breakfast. While he sat on the ground he pulled the twirler himself, and his dogs fetched the birds as they dropped. However, I go on in the common way, and employ a boy to work the twirler. Ladies often partake in the amusement on a cold dry morning, not by shooting but by watching the sport. So many as ten or a dozen parties are sometimes out together, firing at a distance of about five hundred yards apart, and in this way the larks are constantly kept on the wing. The most favourable mornings are when there is a gentle light frost, with little or no wind, and a clear sky — for when there are clouds the larks will not approach. One would think the birds themselves enjoyed their destruction, for the fascination of the twirler is so strong, as to rob them of the usual " fruits of experience." After being fired at several times they return to the twirler, and form again into groupes above it. Some of them even fly down and settle on the ground, within a yard or two of the astonishing instrument, looking at it "this

way and that way, and all ways together," as if nothing had happened.

Larks in France fetch from three to four sous a piece. In winter, however, when they are plentiful, they are seldom eaten, because here they are always dressed with the trail, like snipes and woodcocks; bu» for this mode of cooking they are not fitted when the snow is on the ground, because they are then driven to eat turniptops, and other watery herbs, which communicate an unpleasant flavour to the trail. Were you here at the season, to eat larks in their perfection, and dressed as we dress them, I think your praise of the cooking would give me the laugh against you, if you ever afterwards ventured to declaim against the use of the gun, which, next to my pencil, is my greatest hobby. I send you a sketch of the sport, with the boy at the twirler—do what you like with it.

I rather think I did not tell you in my hist, that the decoy ducks, used in wildfowl shooting, are made of wood—any stump near at hand is hacked out any how for the body, while a small limb of any tree is thrust into the stump for the duck's neck; and one of the side branches left short makes his head. These ducks answer the purpose with their living prototypes, who fly by moonlight, and have not a perfect view, and don't stay for distinctions, like philosophers.

It will not be long before I'm oft" for England, and then, Sec.

I am, &c.



Mean Temperature . . . 37 02.

Sfamiarp 20.

In the church of England calendar.*


The dedication of each day in the year, by the Romish church, in honour of a saint, which converts every day into a festival, is a fact pretty well known to the readers of the Every-Day Book. It is also generally known, that in certain almanacs every part of the human body is distributed among the days throughout the year, as subjects of diurnal influence; but it is not perhaps so well known, that

* See vol. i. p. 1&5.

« AnteriorContinuar »