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Oranges and Belts.
A literary hand at Newark is so obliging as to send the communication annexed, for which, in behalf of the reader, the editor utters his sincere thanks.
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.
Sir, Newark, Dee. 10, 1825.
On the 30th of January, the anniversary of king Charles's martyrdom, and on Shrove Tuesday, we have a custom here, which I believe to be singular, having never heard of it elsewhere. On those days, there are several stalls placed in the market-place, (as if for a regular market,) having nothing but oranges: you may purchase them, but it is rarely the case; but you " raffle'' for them, at least that is their expression. You give the owner a halfpenny, which entitles you to one share; if a penny, to two, and so on ; and when there is a sufficient sum, you begin the raffle. A ball nearly round, (about the size of a hen's egg,) yet having twenty-six square sides, each having a number, being one to twenty-six, is given you : (some balls may not have so many, others more, but I never saw them.) You throw the ball down, what I may term, the chimney, (which is so made as to keep turning the ball as it descends,) and it falls on a flat board with a ledge, to keep it from falling off, and when it stops you look at the number. Suppose it was twelve, the owner of the stall uses this expression, "Twelve is the highest, and one gone." Then another throws ; if his is a lesser number, they say, "Twelve is the highest, and two gone ;" if a higher numDer, they call accordingly. The highest number takes oranges to the amount of all the money on the board. When they first begin, a halfpenny is put down, then they call "One, and "who makes two?" when another is put down.it is "Two, and who makes three 1" and so on. At night the practice is kept up at their own houses till late hours; and others go to the inns and public-houses to see what they can do there.
Also every day, at six in the morning, and night, at eight o'clock, we have a bell rung for about a quarter of an hour: it is termed six o'clock and eight o'clock bell. On saint days, Saturdays, and Sundays, the time is altered to seven o'clock in the morning, and to seven o'clock at night, with an additional ringing at one o'clock Vol. II.—58.
at noon. Again, at eight o'clock on Sunday morning, all the bells are tolled round for a quarter of an hour.
I have mentioned the above, that, if they come within the notice of the EveryDay Book, you would give them insertion, and, if possible, account for their origin.
Whilst on the subject of " bells," perhaps you can mention how "hand bells came into the church, and for what purpose." We have a set in this church. I am, &c.
II. H. N. N.
The editor will be glad to receive elucidations of either of these usages.
Accounts of local customs are particularly solicited from readers of the EveryDay Book in every part of the country.
To the notice of this day in the Perennial Calendar, the following stanzas are subjoined by Dr. Forster. They are evident" developments" of phrenologies; thought.
VERSES ON A SKILL
7n a clmrch-tjard.
O empty vault of former glory!
Whate'cr thou wert in time of old, Thy surface tells thy living story,
Tho' now so hollow, dead, and cold;
The traces left of young desire;
The Muse's song, the Poet'u fire;
Dear Nature, constant in her laws,
Hath mark'd each mental operation, She ev'ry feeling's limit draws
On all the heads throughout the nation, That there might no deception be;
And he who kens her tokens well, Hears tongues which every where agree
In language that no lies can tell— Courage—Deceit—Destruction—Theft— Have traces on the skullcap left.
But through all Nature s constancy
Two forms are not which quite agree,
Endless variety in all,
From Fly to Man, Creation's pride, Each shows his proper form—to fall
Eftsoons in time's o'erwhelming tide, And mutability goes on With ceaseless combination.
Tis thine to teach with magic power
Those who still bend life's fragile stem, To suck the sweets of every flower,
Before the sun shall set to them; Calm the contending passions dire,
Which on thy surface I descry, like water struggling with the fire
In combat, which of them shall die;
Old wall of man's most noble par',
While now I trace with trembling hand Thy sentiments, how oft I start,
Dismay'd at such a jarring band! Man, with discordant frenzy fraught,
Seems either madman, fool, or knave; To try to live is all he's taught—
To 'scape her foot who nought doth save In life's proud race;—(unknown our goal) To strive against a kindred soul.
These various organs show the place
Where Friendship, lov'd, where Passion glow'd, Where Veneration grew in grace,
Where justice swayed, where man was proud— Whence Wit its slippery sallies threw
On Vanity, thereby defeated; Where Hope's imaginary view
Of tilings to come (fond fool) is seated; Where Circumspection made us fear, Mid gleams of joy some danger near.
Here fair Benevolence doth grow In forehead high—here Imitation
Adorns the stage, where on the Brow Are Sound, and Color's legislation.
Here doth Appropriation try,
By help of Secrecy, to gain
For heirs to dissipate again.
The use of every thing we know.
But here that fiend of fiends doth dwell,
While Ideality unshaken
Maddens the soul and fires our beacon. Whom memory tortures, love deludes,
Whom circumspection fills with dread, On every organ he obtrudes,
Until Destruction o'er his head Impends; then mad with luckless strife. He volunteers the loss of life.
And canst thou teach to future man
The way his evils to repair— Say, O momenta,—of the span
Of mortal life? For if the care Of truth to science be not given,
(From whom no treachery it can sever,) There's no dependance under heaven
That error may not reign for ever. May future heads more learning cull From thee, when my own head's a skull.
There is a parish game in Scotland, at this season of theyear,when the waters are frozen and can bear practitioners in the diversion. It prevails, likewise, in Northumberland, and other northern parts of south Britain; yet, nowhere, perhaps, is it so federalized as among-the descendants of those who "ha' wi' Wallace bled." This sport, called curling, is described by the georgical poet, and will be better apprehended by being related in his numbers: it being premised that the time agreed on, or the appointment for playing it, is called the tryst; the match is called the bonspiel; the boundary marks for the play are called the tees; and the stones used are called coits, or quoits, or coiling, or quoitingslones.
Now rival parishes, and shrievedoms, keep, On upland lochs, the long-expected tryst To play their yearly bonspiel. Aged men, Smit with the eagerness of youth, are there, While love of conquest lights their beamless eyes, New-nerves their arms, and makes them young once more.
The sides when ranged, the distance meted out, And duly traced the tees, some youngei hand Begins, with throbbing heart, and far o'ershoots, Or sideward leaves, the mark: in vain he bends His waist, and winds his hand, as if it still Retained the power to guide the devious stone.
Which, onward hurling, makes the circling groupe
Keen, keener still, as life itself were staked,
Naturalists' Calendar. Mean Temperature ... 36 • 85.
King George IV. proclaimed.at the Exchequer.
A newspaper of this day,* in the year 1821, relates the following anecdote :—
All through Ireland the ceremonial 6f wakes and funerals is most punctually attended to, and it requires some scavoir /aire to carry through the arrangement in a masterly manner. A great adept at the business, who had been the prime manager at all the wakes in the neighbourhood for many years, was at last called away from the death-beds of his friends to his own. Shortly before he died he gave minute directions to his people as to
• New Times.
the mode of waking him in proper style. "Recollect," says he, "to put three candles at the head of the bed, after you lay me out, and two at the foot, and one at each side. Mind now, and put a plate with the salt on it just a top of my breast. And, do you hear ? have plenty of tobacco Holiday and pipes enough; and remember to make the punch strong. And—but what the devil is the use of talking to you ? sure I know you'll be sure to botch it, as I won't be there myself."
Mr. John Bull, an artist, with poetical powers exemplified in the first volume* by a citation from his poem entitled "The Museum," which deserves to be belter known, favours the Evcry-Day Book with the following original lines. The conflict between the cross and the crescent, renders the communication peculiarly interesting to those who indulge a hope that the struggle will terminate in the liberation of Greece from "worse than Egyptian bondage."
THE RAINBOW IN GREECE.
By Mr. John Bull.
Arch of peace! the firmament
Hath not a form more fair Than thine, thus beautifully bent
Upon the lighten'd air.
Well might the wondrous bards of yore
Of thee so sweetly sing;
Returning with the spring!
An angel's form to thee they gave,
Celestial feign'd thy birth, Saw thee now span the light green wave.
And now the greener earth.
Yet then, where'er thy smile was seen
On land, or billowy main. Thou seem'd to watch, with look serene,
O'er Freedom's glorious reign.
Thy brilliant arch, around the sky,
The nurse of hope appear'd, Sweet as the light of liberty,
Wherewith their souls were cheer'd!
But ah! if thou, when Greece was young,
Didst visit realms above;
A messenger of love:
What tale, in heaven, hast thou to tell,
Of tyrants and their slaves— Despots, and soul-bound men that dwell
Without their fathers' graves!
Oh! when they see thy beauteous bow.
Surround their ancient skies,
Tis then their hour to rise 1
Let them unsheath the daring sword.
And, pointing up to thee.
And march to set them free
Upon thine arch of hope they'd glance,
"The clouds are breaking off—advance, "We will be slaves no more!"
The "Mirror of the Months" repreents of the coming month, that—
"Now the Christmas holidays are over, and all the snow in Russia could not make the first Monday in this month look any other than black, in the home-loving eyes of little schoolboys; and the streets of London are once more evacuated of happy wondering faces, that look any way but straight before them; and sobs are heard, and sorrowful faces seen to issue from sundry post-chaises that carry sixteen inside, exclusive of cakes and boxes;
and theatres are no longer conscious or unconscious iclaU de rire, but the whole audience is like Mr. Wordsworth's cloud, "which moveth altogether, if it move at all."
In the gardens of our habitations, and the immense tracts that provide great cities with the products of the earth, the cultivator seizes the first opportunity to prepare and dress the bosom of our common mother. "Hard frosts, if they come at all, are followed by sudden thaws; and now, therefore, if ever, the mysterious old song of our school days stands a chance of being verified, which sings of 'Three children sliding on the ice, All on a summer's day I' Now the labour of the husbandman recommences; and it is pleasant to watch (from your library-window) the ploughteam moving almost imperceptibly along, upon the distant upland that the bare trees have disclosed to you.—Nature is as busy as ever, if not openly and obviously, secretly, and in the hearts of her sweet subjects the flowers; stirring them up to that rich rivalry of beauty which is to greet the first footsteps of spring, and teaching them to prepare themselves for her advent, as young maidens prepare, months beforehand, for the marriage festival of some dear friend.—If the flowers think and feel (and he who dares to say that they do not is either a fool or a philosopher—let him choose between the imputations!)—if the flowers think and feel, what a commotion must be working within their silent hearts, when the pinions of winter begin to grow, and indicate that he is at least meditating his flight. Then do they, too, begin to meditate on May-day, and think on the delight with which they shall once more breathe the fresh air, when they have leave to escape from their subterranean prisons; for now, towards the latter end of this month, they are all of them at least awake from their winter slumbers, and most are busily working at their gay toilets, and weaving their fantastic robes, and shaping their trim forms, and distilling their rich essences, and, in short, getting ready in all things, that they may be duly prepared to join the bright procession of beauty that is to greet and glorify the annual coming on of their sovereign lady, the spring. It is true none of all this can be seen. But what a race should we be, if we knew and
When, in the zodiac, the Fish wheel round,
They loose the floods, and irrigate the ground.
Then, husbandmen resume their wonted toil.
Yoke their strong steers, and plough the yielding soil;
Then prudent gard'ners seize the happy time,
To dig and trench, and prune for shoots to climb,
Inspect their borders, mark the silent birth
Of plants, successive, from the teeming earth,
Watch the young nurslings with paternal care,
And hope for " growing weather" all the year.
Yet February's suns uncertain shine,
For raiu and frost alternately combine
To stop the plough, with sudden wintry storms—>
And, often, fearful violence the month deforms,