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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 20, No. 582, December 22, 1832 online

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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 20, NO. 582.] SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1832. [PRICE 2d.




* * * * *





[Illustration: THE YORK COLUMN, (from St. James's Park.)]




THE YORK COLUMN.


Five years have now elapsed since the improvements in St. James's Park
were commenced, by order of Government, for the gratification of the
people. We were early in our congratulation, as well as illustration, of
the prospective advantages of these plans for the public enjoyment, as
will be seen on reference to our tenth volume; and, with respect to the
re-disposal of St. James's Park, we believe the feeling of satisfaction
has been nearly universal.

At the period to which we have just alluded, the removal of Carlton
House, (for it scarcely deserved the name of Palace,) had been decided
on. The walls were dismantled of their decorative finery, and their
demolition commenced; the grounds were, to use a somewhat grandiloquent
phrase, dis-afforested; and the upper end of "the sweet, shady side
of Pall Mall" marked out for public instead of Royal occupation. Thus,
within a century has risen and disappeared from this spot the splendid
abode and its appurtenances; for, it was in the year 1732 that Frederic,
Prince of Wales, first purchased the property from the Earl of
Burlington; though it was not until 1788 that the erection of Carlton
House was commenced for the late King, then Prince of Wales; so that the
existence of the Palace must be restricted within forty years - a term
reminding us of the duration of a pavilion, rather than of a kingly
mansion.

Upon the precise site of the courtyard and part of Carlton House have
been erected two mansions, of splendid character, appropriated to the
United Service and Athenaeum Clubs: the first built from the designs of
Mr. Nash, and the latter from those of Mr. Decimus Burton. They front
Pall Mall West, or may be considered to terminate Waterloo Place.

The site of Carlton House Gardens is now occupied by palatial houses,
which are disposed in two ranges, and front St. James's Park. The
substructure, containing the kitchens and domestic offices, forms a
terrace about 50 feet wide, adorned with pillars of the Paestum Doric
Order, surmounted with a balustrade. The superstructure consists of
three stories, ornamented with Corinthian columns. The houses at each
extremity have elevated attics. Only small portions of these superb
elevations are shown in the Engraving, with the Athenaeum Club House in
the distance.

In the space between the two ranges, it was proposed to erect a
fountain, formed of the eight column's of the portico of Carlton House,
(which was in elaborate imitation of the Temple of Jupiter Stator,
at Rome,[1]) to which eight on the same model were to be added. The
balustraded terrace had been continued fronting the Park with a view to
this embellishment. It however occurred to some guardian of the public
weal, that the above space presented an eligible opportunity for a grand
public entrance from Pall Mall into the Park. The idea was mooted in
Parliament; but some difficulties arose, from the leases already granted
to the builders of the houses on the terrace, who had calculated on the
_exclusive_ appropriation of the latter. The anxiety of the public
for the improvement at length reached the present King; and it was the
first popular act of his patriotic reign to command a grand triumphal[2]
entrance to be formed, with all possible speed; the difficulties
being then easily removed. The necessary portion of the terrace was
accordingly removed, and the magnificent approach formed, as shown in
the Engraving.

While these improvements were in progress, a monumental memorial had
been projected by the British Army to their late commander-in-chief, the
Duke of York; an expression of grateful sympathy which must be recorded
to the honour of truly British hearts. The funds for this tribute were
augmented by each individual of the above branch of the service
contributing one day's pay. The design was furnished by Mr. Benjamin
Wyatt, the architect of the superb mansion built for the Duke of York;
and, after the execution was somewhat advanced, it was resolved to set
up the tribute in the place it now occupies.

The monument consists of a plain Doric column, surmounted with a
colossal statue of the Duke of York. The pedestal and shaft are of fine
granite. The plinth, or base of the pedestal, is 22 feet square, and the
pedestal 18 feet; the circumference of the shaft is 11 feet 6 inches,
decreasing to 10 feet 2 inches at the top; the abacus is 13 feet 6
inches square. The interior of the column may be ascended by a winding
staircase of 169 steps, lit by narrow loop-holes.

From the top stair a doorway opens to the exterior of the abacus, which
will be enclosed with a massive iron railing, so as to form a prospect
gallery. The iron-work is not yet completed; but, as we have enjoyed the
view from two sides of the square, we can vouch for its commanding a
fine _coup d'oeil_ of the whole metropolis, and certainly the
finest view of its most embellished quarter. From this spot alone can
the magnificence of Regent-street be duly appreciated, and above all the
skill of the architect in effecting the junction of the lines by the
classical introduction of the Quadrant.

That part of the structure which is, strictly speaking, upon the abacus
of the column, has a domed roof, upon which will be placed the colossal
statue, executed in bronze, by Mr. Westmacott. The Duke is represented
in a flowing robe, with a sword in his right hand, and in the left, one
of the insignia of the Order of the Garter. The height of the figure
is 13 feet 6 inches. The total height of the column, exclusive of the
statue, is 124 feet. The masonry, (executed by Mr. Nowell, of Pimlico,)
deserves especial notice. Its neatness and finish are truly astonishing,
and the solidity and massiveness of the material appear calculated "for
all time."

We should mention that the embellishment about the upper part of the
pedestal (as seen in the cut,) has not yet been placed on the original;
nor has the statue yet been raised to the summit of the column.

[1] The above columns, with those of the handsome Ionic calonnade
which screened the Palace from Pall Mall, are, we believe, the
only remains of the building.

[2] The entrance deserves this epithet on more than one account.

* * * * *




MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

* * * * *


ANCIENT AND MODERN CHRISTMAS.


"Anciently there was in the king's house," says Stow, "wheresoever he
lodged, at the feast of Christmas, a 'Lord of Misrule, or Master of
Merry Disports;' and the like also was there in the house of every
nobleman of honour or good worship, whether spiritual or temporal.
Among these, the Mayor and Sheriffs of London had their several Lords of
Misrule, ever contending, without quarrel or offence, who should make
the rarest pastime to divert the beholders. These Lords began their
rule, or rather misrule, on All Hallow's-eve, and continued the same
until Candlemas-day, in which space there were fine and subtle
disguisings, masques, and mummeries, with playing at cards for counters,
nails, and points, in every house, more for pastime than for gain.
Against this feast, the parish churches and every man's house were
decked with holm, ivy, bay, and whatsoever the season of the year
afforded that was green; and the conduits and standards in the streets
were likewise garnished."

W.G.C.


_Kent._

At Ramsgate they commence their Christmas festivities by the following
ceremony: - A party of the youthful portion of the community having
procured the head of a horse, it is affixed to a pole, about four feet
in length; a string is attached to the lower jaw, a horse-cloth is tied
round the extreme part of the head, beneath which one of the party is
concealed, who, by repeated pulling and loosening the string, causes
the jaw to rise and fall, and thus produces, by bringing the teeth in
contact, a snapping noise, as he moves along; the rest of the party
following in procession, grotesquely habited, and ringing hand-bells!
In this order they proceed from house to house, singing carols and
ringing their bells, and are generally remunerated for the amusement
they occasion by a largess of money, or beer and cake. This ceremony is
called "a hoodening." The figure which we have described is designated
"a hooden," or wooden horse. The ceremony prevails in many parts of
the Isle of Thanet, and may probably be traced as the relic of some
religious ceremony practised in the early ages by our Saxon ancestors.


_Norfolk._

The following account of a pageant which took place at Christmas, 1440,
is from the records of Norwich: - "John Hadman, a wealthy citizen, made
disport with his neighbours and friends, and was crowned King of
Christmas. He rode in state through the city, dressed forth in silks and
tinsel, and preceded by twelve persons habited as the twelve months of
the year, their costumes varying to represent the different seasons of
the year. Alter King Christmas followed Lent, clothed in white garments
trimmed with herring skins, on horseback, the horse being decorated with
trappings of oyster-shells, being indicative that sadness and a holy
time should follow Christmas revelling. In this way they rode through
the city, accompanied by numbers in various grotesque dresses, making
disport and merriment, - some clothed in armour, carrying staves, and
occasionally engaging in martial combat; others, dressed as devils,
chased the people, and sorely affrighted the women and children; others,
wearing skin-dresses, and counterfeiting bears, wolves, lions, and other
animals, and endeavouring to imitate the animals they represented, in
roaring and raving, alarming the cowardly and appalling the stoutest
hearts."

_Dalmatia._

At Selenico, in Dalmatia, according to Fortis; they elect a king at
Christmas, whose reign lasts only a fortnight; but notwithstanding the
short duration of his authority, he enjoys several prerogatives of
sovereignty: such, for example, as that of keeping the keys of the town,
of having a distinguished place in the cathedral, and of deciding upon
all the difficulties or disputes which arise among those who compose his
court. The town is obliged to provide him with a house suitable to the
dignity of his elevated situation. When he leaves his house, he is
always compelled to wear a crown of wheat-ears, and he cannot appear
in public without a robe of purple or scarlet cloth, and surrounded
by a great number of officers. The governor, the bishops, and other
dignitaries, are obliged to give him a feast; and all who meet him must
salute him with respect. When the fortnight is at an end, the king quits
his palace, strips off his crown and purple, dismisses his court, and
returns to his hovel. For a length of time this pantomimical king was
chosen from amongst the nobles, but at present it has devolved on the
lowest of the people.

* * * * *




NEW BOOKS.

* * * * *


THE LITERARY SOUVENIR, FOR 1833,


[Is, in our estimation, a splendid failure. It lacks the variety which
the _Annual_ should possess for a family of readers; and its
sameness is, moreover, of the saddest character in the whole region of
romance. The stories are long, and lazily told; and they overflow with
the most lugubrious monotony. There is scarcely a relief throughout the
volume, from Wordsworth's "majestic sonnet" on Sir Walter Scott, to
Autumn Flowers, by Agnes Strickland; we travel from one end to the
other, and all is lead and leaden - dull, heavy, and sad, as old Burton
could wish; and full of moping melancholy, unenlivened by quaintness, or
humour of any cast. Not that we mean to condemn the pieces individually;
but, collectively, they are too much in the same vein: the Editor has
studied too closely his text-motto:

"Fairy tale to lull the heir,
Goblin grim the maids to scare."

It is all shade, without a gleam of sunshine, if we except two or three
of the most trifling of the papers. The best tale in the volume is the
Marsh Maiden, by Leigh Ritchie; next is the Jacobite Exile and his
Hound: Retrospections of Secundus Parnell, are an infliction upon the
reader; and these, with two _mediocre_ tales, and a sketch or two,
make up the prose contents. The poetry has greater merit, though almost
in one unvaried strain. Mr. Watts has contributed but one lyric, and
Mrs. Watts a stirring ballad of Spanish revenge; Mary Howitt has
contributed a fairy ballad, pretty enough; and the Sin of Earl Walter, a
tale of olden popish times in England, of some 60 or 70 verses. We quote
two specimens from the poetry:]


SONNET ON SIR WALTER SCOTT'S QUITTING ABBOTSFORD FOR NAPLES.

_By William Wordsworth._


A trouble, not of clouds, or weeping rain,
Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light
Engendered, hangs o'er Eildun's triple height:
Spirits of Power assembled there complain
For kindred Power departing from their sight;
While Tweed, best pleased in chanting a blithe strain,
Saddens his voice again and yet again.
Lift up your hearts, ye Mourners! for the might
Of the whole world's good wishes with him goes;
Blessings and prayers, in nobler retinue
Than sceptred king or laurelled conqueror knows,
Follow this wondrous Potentate. Be true
Ye winds of ocean and the midland sea,
Wafting your charge to soft Parthenope!


THE SKELETON DANCE.

_After the German of Goethe._


The warder looked out at the mid-hour of night,
Where the grave-hills all silently lay;
The moon-beams above gave so brilliant a light,
That the churchyard was clear as by day:
First one, then another, to open began;
Here came out a woman - there came out a man, -
Each clad in a shroud long and white.

And then for amusement - perchance it was cold -
In a circle they seemed to advance;
The poor and the rich, and the young and the old, -
But the grave-clothes impeded the dance:
And as no person thought about modesty there,
They flung off their garments, and stripped themselves bare,
And a shroud lay on each heap of mould.

They kicked up their heels, and they rattled their bones,
And the horrible din that they made
Went clickety-clackety - just like the tones
Of a castanet noisily played.
And the warder he laughed as he witnessed the cheer,
And he heard the Betrayer speak soft in his ear,
"Go and steal away one of their shrouds."

Swift as thought it was done - in an instant he fled
Behind the church portal to hide;
And brighter and brighter the moon-beam was shed,
As the dance they still shudderingly plied; -
But at last they began to grow tired of their fun,
And they put on their shrouds, and slipped off, one by one,
Beneath, to the homes of the dead.

But tapping at every grave-hill, there staid
One skeleton, tripping behind;
Though not by his comrades the trick had been played -
Now its odour he snuffed in the wind:
He rushed to the door - but fell back with a shock;
For well for the wight of the bell and the clock,
The sign of the cross it displayed.

But the shroud he must have - not a moment he stays;
Ere a man had begun but to think,
On the Gothic-work his fingers quickly he lays,
And climbs up its chain, link by link.
Now woe to the warder - for sure he must die -
To see, like a long-legged spider, draw nigh
The skeleton's clattering form:

And pale was his visage, and thick came his breath;
The garb, alas! why did he touch?
How sick grew his soul as the garment of death
The skeleton caught in his clutch -
The moon disappeared, and the skies changed to dun,
And louder than thunder the church-bell tolled one -
The spectre fell tumbling to bits!



[and one of the prose tales, abridged:]


BEATRICE ADONY AND JULIUS ALVINZI.


There is not in all Germany a more pleasant station for a regiment of
horse than the city of Salzburgh, capital of the province of that name,
in the dominions of the House of Austria. Here, during the summer and
autumn of 1795, lay the third regiment of Hungarian hussars. This corps
had sustained a heavy loss during the campaign of the year previous in
Flanders, and was sent into garrison to be recruited and organized anew.
Count Zichy, who commanded it, was a noble of the highest rank, of
princely fortune, and of lavish expenditure; and being of a cheerful and
social turn of mind, he promoted all the amusements of the place, and
encouraged the gaiety of his officers.

The scenery around is grand and alpine. The narrow defiles and
picturesque valleys are watered by mountain rivers; and, at an easy
distance from the city, is the lone lake of Berchtolsgaden, lying
beneath a lofty, inaccessible alp, of the most stern and majestic
aspect. Need it be told how sweet upon that placid lake sounded the
mellow horns of the Hungarian band; and may it not be left to fancy to
image out, how these parties, these scenes, and these sensations, gave
birth to some abiding, and to very many passing loves.

Among the fair women of Salzburgh, the palm of beauty was yielded
readily by all to Beatrice Adony, the only daughter of a respected
statesman, long favoured at court, and then resident upon a private
estate in the neighbourhood. He had retired from public affairs a few
years before, when under deep affliction from the loss of a beloved
wife; and lived a life of fond parental devotion with this lovely
Beatrice, who was the image of her departed mother. He had directed
all her studies; and with such judgment, that he had imparted to her
character a masculine strength, which elevated her above all the common
dangers of that season of life when woman passes forth into society.

The Count Zichy was a relation of Count Adony, and a constant and
welcome guest at his mansion; and Beatrice, therefore, attended many and
most of the entertainments which the Count and his officers gave to the
society of Salzburgh during their stay. As she smiled no encouragement
upon the attentions which the Count seemed at first disposed to pay her,
and as he was a cheerful, manly-hearted creature, and though made of
penetrable stuff, by no means a person to lose either appetite, society,
or life, for love, he bestowed his gallantries elsewhere. She liked him
for this all the better; and gave him, in return, that free-hearted,
sisterly friendship, which might be innocently suffered to grow out of
their connexion and intimacy.

All the regular, conceited male coquettes were abashed and perplexed by
manners so natural, that they could make nothing of her; while those
more dangerous, but much to be blamed admirers, who stand apart with
sighs and gazes, were baffled and made sad by the silent dignity of eyes
serenely bright, that never looked upon their flattering worship with
one ray of favour. Such was Beatrice Adony; all the fair girls were fond
of her, and proud of her - because she was no one's rival. They looked on
her as a being of a higher order; one whose thoughts were chaste as the
unsunned Alps. She was admired by them, meditated upon - but never
envied.

Most true it was, Beatrice was of another and a higher order. She was
"among them, not of them." She took part in those amusements which
belong to the customs of her country; and filled that place, and
performed those customs, which her station in society demanded, with
unaffected ease and grace. But while the trifles and pleasures of the
passing day were to her companions everything, they were to her little
and unsatisfying. For the last few years of her mother's life, whose
habits were meditative and devotional, she had daily listened to the
gracious lessons of divine truth, and the closet of Beatrice Adony was
hallowed by the Eye that seeth in secret, and that often saw her there
upon her knees.

It was on a fine day, in the early spring of 1796, that orders reached
Salzburgh for the march of these Hungarian hussars. They were to
traverse the Tyrol, and to join the army of Italy. They were to march at
sunrise on the following morning; and Count Adony, collecting all the
acquaintances of the corps in the town and neighbourhood, gave the
Hungarian officers a farewell banquet and ball; preparations for which,
in anticipation of their early departure, Beatrice had already directed.

Beatrice was the radiant queen of this fair festival; and it was strange
to think, that from the presence of such a being so many men were going
to part without one lover's pang. Amiable, affable, natural, and full of
grace, she presided over this little court of love - serene, unmoved,
herself. Yet any thoughtful and suspicious observer would have said,
that her heart was not quite at ease; for every now and then, as the
night wore on, her eyes gave less attention to those who spoke with her,
and her thoughts were evidently turning inwards with trouble. The supper
was over - the tastefully decorated table was deserted - and the guests
were again assembled in the ball-room. Fond partners that might never
dance with each other again, stood side by side - hand locked in
hand - and waited for the rising swell of the tender music, to which they
were to dance their last waltz. Beatrice stood up with her cousin Count
Zichy, and deadly pale she looked. The Count and all others thought she
had a headach, and would have had her sit down; but she persisted, with
a faint smile, in doing the last honours.

Just at this very moment a manly young officer, whose dress denoted that
he had been on duty, and was ready again to mount and go forward, came
in to make a report to the colonel.

As the first bars of the music were heard, he stood aside, his cap in
his hand, and looked on. Already, however, a young brother officer had
run from his partner's side, to renew to him, with all extravagance of
gratitude, his thanks for having, by an exchange of duty, enabled him to
enjoy a last, long parting with the girl he loved. The dance went
forward, and Julius Alvinzi leaned cheerfully upon his sabre. Suddenly
Count Zichy and his fair cousin broke out from the large circle, and
setting to him, he was led off to the waltz movement before he had time
to ungird his sword. This, however, even as he danced, he gracefully
effected; and afterwards for one tour of waltzing, Beatrice Adony was
the partner of Julius Alvinzi, quitting for the time her own.

This is a custom, in Germany, so common, and seemed so natural and so
kind a courtesy to Julius, under the particular circumstances of his
late and short appearance at the ball, that neither himself, nor any one
in the room, attached to it any other character than that of a pretty
and gentle compliment. But if the ear of Julius had been quickened by
the faintest spark of sympathy, he might have heard the very heart of
Beatrice beat.

"You are tired," said Julius, as the music suddenly ceased.

"Rather so," she replied.

He led her, faint, pale, and trembling, to a seat. Some colour returned
to her cheek as she sat down; and, with an open and cheerful air, she
put out her hand to him, and said, "Farewell, Captain Alvinzi; all
honour, and all happiness go with you."

As he took her hand, he observed, for the first time, that pale-changing
of the cheek which is so eloquent of love; and, looking into her eyes,
he felt his heart sink with a sweeter emotion than he had ever known
before.

Thus silently they parted; and Julius went out from her presence sad,
but happy. "Il est si doux aimer, et d'etre aimé." He felt that he was
beloved. In half an hour, the noble gateway at Salzburgh, cut through
the solid rock, rang to the loud echo of trampling hoofs; and Julius was
riding under it with an advanced guard, and a few troop-sergeants, to
prepare the quarters of the regiment, then mustering for their march.

In all the camps of Europe, a finer youth, or a nobler spirit, could
no where have been found than Julius Alvinzi. Five years of military


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