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SAP UMMAGING over the contents of an L old stall at a half book, half old-iron shop,
A in an alley leading from Wardour Street Lo t o Soho Square, yesterday, I lit upon a ragged duodecimo which had been the strange de. light of my infancy, and which I had lost sight of for more than forty years,—the “Queen-like Closet, or Rich Cabinet ;” written by Hannah Woolly, and printed for R. C. and T. S., 1681; being an abstract of receipts in cookery, confectionery, cosmetics, needlework, morality, and all such branches of what were then considered as female accomplishments. The price demanded was sixpence, which the owner (a little squab duodecimo character himself) enforced with the assurance that his "own mother should not have it for a farthing less." On my demurring at this extraordinary assertion, the dirty little vendor reinforced his assertion with a sort of oath, which seemed more than the occasion demanded : “And now,” said he, “I have put my soul to it.” Pressed by so solemn an asSeveration, I could no longer resist a demand which seemed to set me, however unworthy, upon a level with his dearest relations; and, depositing a tester, I bore away the tattered prize in triumph. I re
membered a gorgeous description of the twelve months of the year, which I thought would be a fine substitute for those poetical descriptions of them which your “Every-day Book” had nearly exhausted out of Spenser. “This will be a treat," thought I, “for friend Hone.” To memory they seemed no less fantastic and splendid than the other. But what are the mistakes of childhood ! On reviewing them, they turned out to be only a set of commonplace receipts for working the seasons, months, heathen gods and goddesses, &c., in samplers! Yet, as an instance of the homely occupation of our great-grandmothers, they may be amusing to some readers. “I have seen,” says the notable Hannah Woolly, “such ridiculous things done in work, as it is an abomination to any artist to behold. As for example: You may find, in some pieces, Abraham and Sarah, and many other persons of old time, clothed as they go now-a-days, and truly sometimes worse ; for they most resemble the pictures on ballads. Let all ingenious women have regard, that when they work any image, to represent it aright. First, let it be drawn well, and then observe the directions which are given by knowing men. I do assure you, I never durst work any Scripture story without informing myself from the ground of it; nor any other story, or single person, without informing myself both of the visage and habit : as followeth :
“If you work Jupiter, the imperial feigned God, he must have long, black, curled hair, a purple garment trimmed with gold, and sitting upon a golden throne, with bright yellow clouds about
THE TWELVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR. March. Is drawn in tawny, with a fierce aspect : a helmet upon his head, and leaning on a spade; and a basket of garden-seeds in his left hand, and in his right hand the sign of Aries; and winged.
April. A young man in green, with a garland of myrtle and hawthorn-buds; winged ; in one hand primroses and violets, in the other the sign Taurus.
May. With a sweet and lovely countenance ; clad in a robe of white and green, embroidered with several flowers ; upon his head a garden of all manner of roses ; on the one hand a nightingale, in the other a lute. His sign must be a Gemini.
Fune. In a mantle of dark grass-green ; upon his head a garland of bents, kings-cups, and maidenhair ; in his left hand an angle, with a box of cantharides; in his right, the sign Cancer; and upon his arms a basket of seasonable fruits.
July. In a jacket of light yellow, eating cherries; with his face and bosom sun-burnt; on his head a wreath of centaury and wild thyme ; a scythe on his shoulder, and a bottle at his girdle ; carrying the sign Leo.
August. A young man of fierce and choleric aspect, in a flame-coloured garment; upon his head a garland of wheat and rye; upon his arm a basket of all manner of ripe fruits ; at his belt a sickle : his sign Virgo.
September. A merry and cheerful countenance, in a purple robe ; upon his head a wreath of red and white grapes; in his left hand a handful of oats; withal carrying a horn of plenty, full of all manner of ripe fruits ; in his right hand the sign
October. In a garment of yellow and carnation ; upon his head a garland of oak-leaves with acorns ; in his right hand the sign Scorpio; in his left hand a basket of medlars, services, and chestnuts, and any other fruits then in season.
November. In a garment of changeable green and black: upon his head a garland of olives, with the fruit in his left hand; bunches of parsnips and turnips in his right : his sign Sagittarius.
December. A horrid and fearful aspect, clad in Irish rags, or coarse frieze girt unto him ; upon his head three or four night-caps, and over them a Turkish turban ; his nose red, his mouth and beard clogged with icicles ; at his back a bundle of holly, ivy, or mistletoe ; holding in furred mittens the sign of Capricornus.
January. Clad all in white, as the earth looks with the snow, blowing his nails ; in his left arm a billet ; the sign Aquarius standing by his side.
February. Clothed in a dark sky-colour, carrying in his right hand the sign Pisces.
The following receipt “To dress up a chimney very fine for the summer-time, as I have done many, and they have been liked very well,” may not be unprofitable to the housewives of this century :
“First, take a pack-thread, and fasten it even to the inner part of the chimney, so high as that you can see no higher as you walk up and down the house. You must drive in several nails to hold up all your work. Then get good store of old green moss from trees, and melt an equal proportion of beeswax and rosin together; and, while it is hot, dip the wrong ends of the moss in it, and presently clap it upon your pack-thread, and press it down hard with your hand. You must make haste, or else it will cool before you can fasten it, and then it will fall down. Do so all around where the pack-thread goes ; and the next row you must join to that, so that it may seem all in one : thus do till you have finished it down to the bottom. Then take some other kind of moss, of a whitish colour and stiff, and of several sorts or kinds, and place that upon the other, here and there carelessly, and in some places put a good deal, and some a little ; then any kind of fine snailshells, in which the snails are dead, and little toadstools, which are very old, and look like velvet, or any other thing that was old and pretty: place it here and there as your fancy serves, and fasten all with wax and rosin. Then, for the hearth of your chimney, you may lay some orpan-sprigs in order all over, and it will grow as it lies ; and, according to the season, get what flowers you can, and stick in as if they grew, and a few sprigs of sweet-briar : the flowers you must renew every week; but the moss will last all the summer, till it will be time to make a fire ; and the orpan will last near two months. A chimney thus done doth grace a room exceedingly.”
One phrase in the above should particularly recommend it to such of your female readers as, in the nice language of the day, have done growing some time, — “little toad-stools, &c., and anything that is old and pretty.” Was ever antiquity so smoothed over? The culinary recipes have nothing remarkable in them, except the costliness of them. Every thing (to the meanest meats) is sopped in claret, steeped in claret, basted with claret, as if claret were as cheap as ditch-water. I remember Bacon recommends opening a turf or two in your garden walks, and pouring into each a bottle of claret, to recreate the sense of smelling, being no