Imágenes de páginas
PDF

tus p to their consideration. If each reader will only contribute something to the instruction and amusement of the rest, the editor has no doubt that he will be able to present a larger series of interesting notices and agreeable illustrations, than any work he is at present acquainted with. To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. February 6, 1826. Sir, I send you the account of two more games, or in-doors sports, in vogue among the country $o in Cornwall. Of the latter, Mr. D. Gilbert has made slight mention in the introduction to his carols, second edition; but he states that these games, together with carol-singing, may be considered as obsolete, which is by no means the case: even yet in most of the western parishes, (and of these I can speak from personal observation,) the carol-singers, not only sing their “auntient chaunts” in the churches, but go about from house to house in parties. I am told the practice is the same in many other parts of the county, as it is also in various places throughout the kingdom. I have added a slight notice respecting Piccadilly, which (if worth inserting) may be new to some of your readers; but, now for our Cornish sports: I state them as I found them, and they are considered provincial. Fisrt, then, the Tinkeler's(tinker's)shop.– In the middle of the room is placed a large iron pot, filled with a mixture of soot and water. One of the most humourous of the set is chosen for the master of the shop, who takes a small mop in his left hand, and a short stick in his right; his comrades each have a small stick in his right hand; the master gives each a separate name, as Old Vulcan, Save-all, Tear'em, All-my-men, Mend-all, &c. After these preliminaries, all kneel down, encircling the iron vessel. The master cries out, “Every one (that is, all together, or “one and all,' as the Cornish say,) and I; all then hammer away with their sticks as fast as they can, some of them with absurd grimaces. Suddenly the master will, perhaps, cry out, “All-my-men and I;" upon this, all are to cease working, except the individual called All-my-men ; and if any unfortunate delinquent fails, he is treated with a salute from the mop well dipped in the black liquid : this never fails to afford great entertainment to the spectators, and if the master is “well up to the sport,” he contrives that none of his comrades shall

escape unmarked; for he changes rapidly from All-my-men and I, to Old Vulcan and I, and so on, and sometimes names two or three together, that little chance of escaping with a clean face is left. The Corn-market.—Here, as before, an experienced reveller is chosen to be the master, who has an assistant, called Spythe-market. Another character is Old Penglaze, who is dressed up in some ridiculous way, with a blackened face, and a staff in his hand; he, together with part of a horse's hide girt round him, for the hobby-horse, are placed towards the back of the market. The rest of the players sit round the room, and have each some even price affixed to them as names; for instance, Two-pence, Four-pence, Sirpence, Twelve-pence, &c. The master then says “Spy-the-market,” to which the man responds, “Spy-the-market;” the master repeats, “Spy-the-market;” the man says, “Aye, sirrah.” The master then asks the price of corn, to which Spy-the-market, may reply any price he chooses, of those given to his comrades, for instance, “Twelve-pence.” The master then says, “Twelve-pence,” when the man hearing that price answers “Twelve-pence,” and a similar conversation ensues, as with Spy-the-market before, and Twelve-pence names his price, and so the game proceeds; but if, as frequently happens, any of the prices forget their names, or any other mistakes occur in the game, the offender is to be sealed, a ceremony in which the principal amusement of the game consists; it is done as follows, the master goes to the person who has forfeited, and takes up his foot, saying, “Here is my seal, where is old Penglaze's seal?” and then gives him a blow on the sole of the foot. Old Penglaze then comes in on his horse, with his feet tripping on the floor, saying, “Here I comes, neither riding nor a foot;” the horse winces and capers, so that the old gentleman can scarcely keep his seat. en he arrives at the market, he cries out, “What work is there for me to do?” The master holds up the foot of the culprit and says, “Here, Penglaze, is a fine shoeing match for you.” Penglaze dismounts; “I think it's a fine colt indeed.” He then begins to work by pulling the shoe off the unfortunate colt, saying “My reward is a full gallon of moonlight, besides all other customs for shoeing in this market;" he then gives one or two hard blows on the shoe-less foot, which make its proprietor tingle, and remounts his horse, whose duty it is now to get very restive, and poor Penglaze is so tossed up and down, that he has much difficulty to get to his old place without a tumble. The play is resumed until Penglaze's seal is again required, and at the conclusion of the whole there is a set dance. . Piccadilly.—The pickadil was the round hem, or the piece set about the edge or skirt of a garment, whether at top or bottom; also a kind of stiff collar, made in fashion of a band, that went about the neck and round about the shoulders; hence the term “wooden peccadilloes,” (meaning the pillory) ih “Hudibras,” and see Nares's “Glossary,” and Blount's “Glossographia.” At the time that ruffs, and consequently pickadils, were much in fashion, there was a celebrated ordinary near St. James's, called Pickadilly, because, as some say, it was the outmost, or skirt-house, situate at the hem of the town; but it more probably took its name from one Higgins, a tailor, who made a fortune by pickadils, and built this with a few adjoining houses. The name has by a few been derived from a much frequented shop for sale of these articles; this probably took its rise from the circumstance of Higgins having built houses there, which, however, were not for selling ruffs; and indeed, with the exception of his buildings, the scite of the present Piccadilly was at that time open country, and quite out of the way of trade. At a later period, when Burlington-house was built, its noble owner chose the situation, then at some distance from the extremity of the town, that none might build beyond him. The ruffs formerly worn by gentlemen were frequently double-wired, and stiffened with yellow starch; and the practice was at one time carried to such an excess that they were limited by . Elizabeth “to a nayle of a yeard in depth.” In the time of James I. they still continued of a preposterous size, so that previous to the visit made by that monarch to Cambridge in 1615, the vice-chancellor of the university thought fit to issue an order, prohibiting “the fearful enormity and excess of apparel seen in all degrees, as, namely, strange peccadilloes, vast bands, huge cuffs, shoe-roses, tufts, locks, and tops of hair, unbeseeming that modesty ard carriage of students in so renowned an university.” It is scarcely to be su posed that the ladies were deficient in

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the size of their ruffs; on the contrary, according to Andrews, (Continuation of Henry's History of England, vol. ii. 307) they wore them immoderately large, made of lawn and cambric, and stiffened with yellow starch, for the art of using which, in the proper method, they paid as much as four or five pounds, as also twenty shillings for learning “to seethe starche,” to a Mrs. Dingen Van Plesse, who introduced it, as well as the use of lawn, which was so fine that it was a byword, “that shortly they would wear ruffes of a spider's web.” The poking of these ruffs gracefully was an important attainment. Some satirical Puritans enjoyed the effects of a shower of rain on the ruff-wearers; for “then theyre great ruffes stryke sayle, and downe they falle, as dish-clouts fluttering in the winde.” Mrs. Turner, who was one of the persons implicated in the death of sir Thomas Overbury, is said to have gone to the place of execution in a fashionable ruff, after which their credit was very much diminished. I am, sir, Your obedient servant,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Having thus performed a duty to a valued correspondent without waiting till Christmas, the editor takes the liberty of referring to the observations by which the preceding letter was introduced, and respectfully expresses an earnest hope to be favoured with such communications as, from the past conduct of the Every-Day Book, may appear suitable to its columns. For the first time, he believes, he ventures to allude to any inconvenience he has felt while conducting it; nor does he hint at difficulty now from lack of materials, for he has abundance; but it is a truth, which he is persuaded many of his readers will be happy to mitigate, that at the present moment he is himself so very unwell, and has so much indisposition in his family to distract, his mind, that he cannot arrange his collec

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

His black eye, swelled face, and head and shoulders covered with clotted blood, too plainly told the history of his sufferings; and his woeful countenance formed a strange and ludicrous contrast with his account of the pleasures of the preceding evening.” He had obtained these features at a patron. “The poor fellow had travelled many a weary mile across the mountains to share its rustic mirth and revelry : but, ‘plaze your honour, there was a little bit of fighting in it,' and as no true follower of St. Macdarragh could refuse to take a part in such a peaceful contest, he had received, and no doubt given, many a friendly blow; but his meditations on a broken head during the night, had both cooled his courage and revived his prudence, and he came to swear before ‘his honour' a charge of assault and battery against those who had thus woefully demolished his upper works.” The constant use of the “shillelagh” by Irishmen at a “patron,” is a puzzling fact to Englishmen, who, on their own holidays, regard a “ shillelagh” as a malicious weapon. In the hand of an Irishman, in his own country, at such a season, it is divested of that character; this singular fact will be accounted for, when the origin of the custom comes to be considered. At present, nothing more is requisite than to add, that the “shillelagh” is seldom absent on St. Patrick's day, celebrated as a patron.

Some account of the commemoration of this festival, and of the tutelar saint of Ireland and his miracles, is already given in vol. i. p. 363. To this may be added the annexed notices relative to the day, obtained from an Irish gentleman.

It is a tradition that St. Patrick first landed at Croagh Patrick, a high and beautiful mountain in the county of Mayo, from which place he banished all venomous animals into the sea, and to this day, multitudes of the natives who are catholics, make pilgrimages to Croagh Patrick, under the persuasion of efficacy in these journies to atone for misdeeds, or mitigate the penalties attached to sin.

It is a very popular tradition that when St. Patrick was dying, he requested his weeping and lamenting friends to forego their grief, and rather rejoice at his comfortable exit, for the better furtherance of

which, he advised each one to take “a drop of something to drink;” and that this last injunction of the saint in reverence to his character was complied with. However this may be, it is a custom on his anniversary to observe the practice to supererogation; for the greater number of his present followers, who take a little “ ... for the purpose of dissipating woeful reminiscencies, continue to imbibe it till they “lisp and wink.” Some years ago, “Patrick's day” was welcomed, in the smaller country towns or hamlets, by every possible manifestation of gladness and delight. The inn, if there was one, was thrown open to all comers, who received a certain allowance of oaten bread and fish. This was a benevolence from the host, and to it was added a “Patrick's pot,” or quantum of beer; but, of late years, whiskey is the beverage most esteemed. The majority of those who sought entertainment at the village inn, were young men who had no families, whilst those who had children, and especially whose families were large, made themselves as snug as possible by the turf fire in their own cabins. Where the village or hamlet could not boast of an inn, the largest cabin was sought out, and poles were extended horizontally from one end of the apartment to #. other; on these poles, doors purposely unhinged, and brought from the surrounding cabins were placed, so that a table of considerable dimensions was formed, round which all seated themselves, each one providing his own oaten bread and fish. At the conclusion of the repast, they sat for the remainder of the evening over a “Patrick's pot,” and finally separated quietly, and it is to be hoped in perfect harmony. In the city of Dublin, “Patrick's day" is still regarded as a festival from the highest to the lowest ranks of society. There is an annual ball and supper at the lord lieutenant's residence in the castle, and there are private convivial assemblies of the most joyous character. On this day every Irishman who is alive to its importance, adorns his hat with bunches of shamrock, which is the common trefoil or clover,wherewith, according to tradition, St. Patrick converted the Irish nation to belief in the doctrine of the trinity in unity. In the humbler ranks, it is the universal practice to get a

[ocr errors][merged small]

morning dram as a po for the duties of the festival. They then attend chapel and hear high mass. After the ceremonies and observances peculiar to the Romish worship, they again resort to the whiskey shop, and spend the remainder of the day in devotions to Bacchus, which are mostly concluded, with what in England would be called, by persons of this class, “a row." On Patrick's day, while the bells of churches and chapels are tuned to Joyous notes, the piper and harper play # “Patrick's day in the morning;” ol women, with plenteous supplies of trefoil, are heard in every direction, crying “Buy

my shamrocks, green shamrocks," and children have “Patrick's crosses” pinned to their sleeves. These are small prints of various kinds; some of them merely represent a cross, others are representations of Saint Patrick, trampling the reptiles under his feet. It appears from this account, and from general narrations, that St. Patrick is honoured on his festival by every mode which mirth can devise for praise of his memory. The following whimsical song is a particular favourite, and sung to “his holiness” by all ranks in the height of convivial excitement:

St. Patrick was a Gentleman.

St. Patrick was a gentleman, and he came from decent people: In Dublin town he built a church and on it §. a steeple;

His father was a Wollaghan, his mother an

[ocr errors]

His aunt she was a Kinaghan, and his wife a widow Brady.
Tooralloo tooralloo, what a glorious man our saint was,
Tooralloo, tooralloo, O whack fal de lal, de lal, &c.

Och Antrim hills are mighty high and so’s the hill of Howth too; But we all do know a mountain that is higher than them both too; 'Twas on the top of that high mount St. Patrick preach'd a sermon,

He drove the frogs into the bogs, and banished all the vermin.

[ocr errors]

No wonder that we Irish lads, then, are so blythe and frisky;
St. Patrick was the very man that taught us to drink whiskey;
Och! to be sure, he had the knack and understood distilling,
For his mother kept a sheebeen shop, near the town of Enniskillen.

[ocr errors]

The day after St. Patrick's day is “Sheelah's day,"or the festival in honour of Sheelah. Its observers are not so anxious to determine who “Sheelah” was, as they are earnest in her celebration. Some say she was “Patrick's wife,” others that she was “Patrick's mother,” while all agree that her “immortal memory” is to be maintained by potations of whiskey. The shamrock worn on St. Patrick's day should be worn also on Sheelah's day, and, on the latter night, be drowned in the last glass. Yet it frequently happens that the shamrock is flooded in the last glass of St. Patrick's day, and another last 3. or two, or more, on the same night,

eluges the over-soddened trefoil. This is not “quite correct,” but it is endeavoured to be remedied the next morning by the display of a fresh shamrock, which

is steeped at night in honour of “Sheelah" with equal devotedness. That Saint Patrick was not married is clear from the rules of the Roman catholic church, which impose celibacy on its clergy. A correspondent suggests that the idea of his matrimonial connection, arose out of a burlesque, or, perhaps, ironical remark, by females of the poorer class in Ireland, to retaliate on their husbands for their excesses on the 17th of March; or, perhaps, from the opportunity the effects of such indulgence afforded them, these fair helpmates are as convivial on the following morning, as their “worser halves” were the preceding day. “Sheelah" is an Irish term, generally applied to a slovenly or muddling woman, more particularly if she be elderly. In this way, probably, the day after St. Patrick's ob

« AnteriorContinuar »