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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 10, No. 282.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1827. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *




ARCHITECTURAL ILLUSTRATIONS.

NO. III.


[Illustration: HANOVER TERRACE, REGENT'S PARK.]

"The architectural spirit which has arisen in London since the late
peace, and ramified from thence to every city and town of the empire,
will present an era in our domestic history." Such is the opinion of an
intelligent writer in a recent number of Brande's "Quarterly Journal;"
and he goes on to describe the new erections in the Regent's Park as the
"dawning of a new and better taste, and in comparison with that which
preceded it, a just subject of national exultation;" in illustration of
which fact we have selected the subjoined view of _Hanover Terrace_,
being the last group on the left of the York-gate entrance, and that
next beyond Sussex-place, distinguishable by its cupola tops.

Hanover Terrace, unlike Cornwall and other terraces of the Regent's
Park, is somewhat raised from the level of the road, and fronted by a
shrubbery, through which is a carriage-drive. The general effect of the
terrace is pleasing; and the pediments, supported on an arched rustic
basement by fluted Doric columns, are full of richness and chaste
design; the centre representing an emblematical group of the arts and
sciences, the two ends being occupied with antique devices; and the
three surmounted with figures of the Muses. The frieze is also light and
simply elegant. The architect is Mr. Nash, to whose classic taste the
Regent's Park is likewise indebted for other interesting architectural
groups.

Altogether, Hanover Terrace may be considered as one of the most
splendid works of the neighbourhood, and it is alike characteristic of
British opulence, and of the progressive improvement of national taste.
On the general merits of these erections we shall avail ourselves of the
author already quoted, inasmuch as his remarks are uniformly
distinguished by moderation and good taste.

"Regent's Park, and its circumjacent buildings, promise, in few years,
to afford something like an equipoise to the boasted _Palace-group_ of
Paris. If the plan already acted upon is steadily pursued, it will
present a union of rural and architectural beauty on a scale of greater
magnificence than can be found in any other place. The variety is here
in the detached groups, and not as formerly in the individual dwellings,
by which all unity and grandeur of effect was, of course, annihilated.
These groups, undoubtedly, will not always bear the eye of a severe
critic, but altogether they exhibit, perhaps, as much beauty as can
easily be introduced into a collection of dwelling-houses of moderate
size. Great care has been taken to give something of a classical air to
every composition; and with this object, the deformity of _door-cases_
has been in most cases excluded, and the entrances made from behind. The
Doric and Ionic orders have been chiefly employed; but the Corinthian,
and even the Tuscan, are occasionally introduced. One of these groups is
finished with domes; but this is an attempt at magnificence which, on so
small a scale, is not deserving of imitation."

* * * * *


THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY.

(_To the Editor of the Mirror._)


Sir, - Under the _Arcana of Science_, in your last Number, I observed an
account of the inroads made by the sea on the Isle of Sheppey, together
with the exhumation there of numerous animal and vegetable remains. As
an additional fact I inform you, that, at about three hundred feet below
the surface of the sand-bank, (of which the island is composed,) there
is a vast prostrate antediluvian forest, masses of which are being
continually developed by the influence of marine agency, and exhibit
highly singular appearances. When the workmen were employed some years
back in sinking a well to supply the garrison with water, the aid of
gunpowder was required to blast the fossil timber, it having attained,
by elementary action and the repose of ages, the hard compactness of
rock or granite stone. Aquatic productions also appear to observation in
their natural shape and proportion, with the advantage of high
preservation, to facilitate the study of the inquiring philosopher. I
have seen entire lobsters, eels, crabs, &c. all transformed into perfect
lapidifications. Many of these interesting bodies have been selected,
and at the present time tend to enrich the elaborate collections of the
Museum of London and the Institute of France. During the winter of 1825,
in examining a piece of petrified wood, which I had picked up on the
shore, we discovered a very minute aperture, barely the size of a
pin-hole, and on breaking the substance by means of a large hammer, to
our surprise and regret we crushed a small reptile that was concealed
inside, and which, in consequence, we were unfortunately prevented from
restoring to its original shape. The body was of a circular shape and
iron coloured; but from the blood which slightly moistened the face of
the instrument, we were satisfied it must have been animated. I showed
the fragments of both to a gentleman in the island, who, like myself,
lamented the accident, as it had, in all likelihood, deprived science of
forming some valuable (perhaps) deductions on this incarcerated, or (if
I may be allowed the expression) compound phenomenon. I have merely
related the above incident in order to show the possibility of there
being other creatures accessible to discovery under similar
circumstances, and in their nature, perhaps homogeneous. I left the
island next day, and therefore had no further opportunities of
confirming such an opinion; but the place itself abounds with substances
which would authorize such conjectures.

D. A. P.[1]

[1] We thank our correspondent for the above communication on
one of the most interesting phenomena of British geology; for,
as we hinted in our last, the pleasantest hours of our sojourn
at Margate, about three years since, were passed in the
watchmaker's museum, nearly opposite the Marine Library, which
collection contains many Sheppey fossils, especially a _prawn_,
said to be the only one in England. We remember the proprietor
to have been a self-educated man: he had been to the museum at
Paris twice or thrice, and spoke in high terms of the courteous
reception he met with from M Cuvier; and we are happy to
corroborate his representations. With respect to the _reptile_,
or, as we should say, _insect_, alluded to in the preceding
letter, we suppose it to have been a vermicular insect, similar
to those inhabiting the _cells_ of _corallines_, of whose tiny
labours, in the formation of coral islands, we quoted a spirited
poetical description in No. 279 of the MIRROR. Corallines much
resemble fossil or petrified wood; and we recollect to have
received from the landlady of an inn at Portsmouth a small
branch of _fossil wood_, which she asserted to be _coral_, and
_that_ upon the authority of scores of her visiters; but the
fibres, &c. of the wood were too evident to admit of a dispute.

* * * * *


ANTICIPATED FRENCH MILLENNIUM, OR THE PARISIAN "TRIVIA."

(_For The Mirror._)


"Travellers of that rare tribe, Who've _seen_ the countries
they describe."
HANNAH MORE.

When daudling diligences drag
Their lumbering length along[2] no more -
That odd anomaly! - or wag
Gon call'd, or coach - a misnomer[3] -

That Cerberus three-bodied! and
That Cerberus of music!
Such rattle with their nine-in-hand!
O, Cerbere, an tu sic?

When this, (and of Long Acre wits
To rival this would floor some!)
When this at last the Frenchman quits.
Then! then is the _age d'or_ come!

When coxcomb waiters know their trade,
Nor mix their sauces[4] with cookey's;
When John's no longer chamber maid,
And printed well a book is.

When sorrel, garlic, dirty knife,
_Et cetera_, spoil no dinners -
(The punishment is after life,
Are cooks to punish sinners?)

When bucks are safe, nor streets display
A sea Mediterranean;[5]
When Cloacina wends her way
In streamlet sub-terranean.

When houses, inside well as out,
Are clean,[6] and servants civil;[7]
When dice (if e'er 'twill be I doubt)
Send fewer - to the devil.

When riot ends, and comfort reigns,
Right English comfort[8] - players
Are fetter'd with no rhythmic[9] chains -
French priests repeat French prayers.[10]

When Palais Royal vice subsides,[11]
(Who plays there's a complete ass - )
When footpaths grow on highway sides[12] -
Then! then's the Aurea-Aetas!

There, France, I leave thee. - Jean Taureau![13]
What think'st thou of thy neighbours?
Or (what I own I'd rather know)
What - think'st thou of MY LABOURS?

A TRAVELLER OF 1827, (W. P.)

_Carshalton_.

[2] "Which, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length
along" - POPE.

[3] It is, indeed, difficult to avoid one, call it what you
will, and quite as difficult to find a more absurd name than
that adopted, unless, indeed, (why the machine goes but five
miles an hour,) it is called a diligence from not being
diligent, as the speaker of our House of Commons may be so
designated from not speaking. It consists of three bodies,
carries eighteen inside, and is not unfrequently drawn by nine
horses. A cavalry charge, therefore, could scarcely make more
noise. Hence, and from the other circumstance, its association
in the second stanza with the triune sonorous Cerberus. A
diligence indeed!

[4] The intrusive garrulity of French waiters at dinner is
notorious.

[5] This "sea Mediterranean" is a most filthy, fetid, uncovered
gutter, running down the middle of the most, even of the best
streets, and with which every merciless Jehu most liberally
bespatters the unhappy pedestrian. Truly _la belle nation_ has
little idea of decency, or there would be subterranean sewers
like ours.

[6] French houses are cleaner even than ours externally, being
all neatly whitewashed! _mais le dedans! le dedans!_

[7] The servants are as notorious for their incivility as for
their intrusive loquacity.

[8] As Scott well observes in the introduction to Waverley, "the
word comfortable is peculiar to the English language." The thing
is certainly peculiar to us, if the word is not.

[9] All the tragedies are in rhyme, and that of the very worst
description for elocutionary effect. It is the anapestic, like,
as Hannah More remarks, "A cobbler there was, and he lived in a
stall!"

[10] It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the absurdity
(exploded in England at the Reformation) of a Latin liturgy
still obtains in France.

[11] The Palais Royal! that pandemonium of profligacy! whose
gaming tables have eternally ruined so many of our countrymen!
So many, that he who, unwarned by their sad experience, plays at
them, is - is he not? - "complete ass."

[12] There are none, even in the leading streets; our
ambassador's, for instance.

[13] As the _Etoile_ lately translated John Bull. "When John's
no longer chamber-maid." Of the _propria quae maribus_ of French
domestic economy, this is not the least amusing feature. At my
hotel (in Rue St. Honoré) there was a he bed-maker; and I do
believe the anomalous animal is not uncommon.

"When printed well a book is."

Both paper and types are very inferior to ours. But that I
respect the editor's modesty, I would say it were not easy to
find a periodical in Paris, at once so handsomely and
economically got up as - this MIRROR.

* * * * *


CARRYING THE TAR BARRELS AT BROUGH, WESTMORELAND.

(_To The Editor Of The Mirror._)


SIR, - In the haste in which I wrote my last account of the carrying of
"tar barrels" in Westmoreland,[14] (owing to the pressure of time,) I
omitted some most interesting information, and I think I cannot do
better than supply the deficiency this year.

As I said before, the day is prepared for, about a month previously - the
townsmen employ themselves in hagging furze for the "bon-fire," which is
situated in an adjoining field. Another party go round to the different
houses, grotesquely attired, supplicating contributions for the "tar
barrels," and at each house, after receiving a donation, chant a few
doggerel verses and huzza! It is, however, well that people should
contribute towards defraying the expense, for if they do not get enough
money they commit sad depredations, and if any one is seen carrying a
barrel they wrest it from him.

For my part, I liked the "watch night" the best, and if it were possible
to keep sober, one might enjoy the fun - sad havoc indeed was then made
among the poultry - when ducks and fowls were crackling before the fire
all night; in fact, a few previous days were regular shooting days, and
the little birds were killed by scores. But ere morning broke in upon
them, many of the merry group were lying in a beastly state under the
chairs and tables, or others had gone to bed; but this is what _they_
called spending a _merry night_. The day arrives, and a whole troop of
temporary soldiers assemble in the town at 10 P.M. with their borrowed
instruments and dresses, and _a real Guy_, - not a _paper one_, - but a
_living one_ - a regular painted old fellow, I assure you, with a pair of
boots like the Ogre's seven leagued, seated on an ass, with the mob
continually bawling out, "there's a _par_ o'ye!"

Thus they parade the town - one of the head leaders knocks at the
door - repeats the customary verses, while the other holds a silken purse
for the cash, which they divide amongst them after the expenses are
paid - and a pretty full purse they get too. In the evening so anxious
are they to fire the stack, that lanterns may be seen glimmering in all
parts of the field like so many will-o'-the-wisps; then follow the tar
barrels, and after this boisterous amusement the scene closes, save the
noise throughout the night, and for some nights after of the drunken
people, who very often repent their folly by losing their situations.

Now, respecting the origin of this custom, I merely, by way of hint,
submit, that in the time of Christian martyrdom, as tar barrels were
used for the "burning at the stake" to increase the ravages of the
flame: - the custom is derived, - out of rejoicings for the abolition of
the horrid practice, and this they show by carrying them on their heads
(as represented at page 296, vol. 8.), but you may treat this suggestion
as you please, and perhaps have the kindness to substitute your own, or
inquire into it.

W.H.H.

[14] See MIRROR, vol. 8, page 296.

* * * * *


CUSTOM OF BAKING SOUR CAKES.

(_For The Mirror._)


Rutherglen, in the county of Lanarkshire, has long been famous for the
singular custom of baking what are called sour cakes. About eight or ten
days before St. Luke's fair (for they are baked at no other time in the
year), a certain quantity of oatmeal is made into dough with warm water,
and laid up in a vessel to ferment. Being brought to a proper degree of
fermentation and consistency, it is rolled up into balls proportionable
to the intended largeness of the cakes. With the dough is commonly mixed
a small quantity of sugar, and a little aniseed or cinnamon. The baking
is executed by women only; and they seldom begin their work till after
sunset, and a night or two before the fair. A large space of the house,
chosen for the purpose, is marked out by a line drawn upon it. The area
within is considered as consecrated ground, and is not, by any of the
bystanders, to be touched with impunity. The transgression incurs a
small fine, which is always laid out in drink for the use of the
company. This hallowed spot, is occupied by six or eight women, all of
whom, except the toaster, seat themselves on the ground, in a circular
form, having their feet turned towards the fire. Each of them is
provided with a bakeboard about two feet square, which they hold on
their knees. The woman who toasts the cakes, which is done on an iron
plate suspended over the fire, is called the queen, or bride, and the
rest are called her maidens. These are distinguished from one another by
names given them for the occasion. She who sits next the fire, towards
the east, is called the todler; her companion on the left hand is called
the trodler;[15] and the rest have arbitrary names given them by the
bride, as Mrs. Baker, best and worst maids, &c. The operation is begun
by the todler, who takes a ball of the dough, forms it into a cake, and
then casts it on the bakeboard of the trodler, who beats it out a little
thinner. This being done, she, in her turn, throws it on the board of
her neighbour; and thus it goes round, from east to west, in the
direction of the course of the sun, until it comes to the toaster, by
which time it is as thin and smooth as a sheet of paper. The first cake
that is cast on the girdle is usually named as a gift to some man who is
known to have suffered from the infidelity of his wife, from a
superstitious notion, that thereby the rest will be preserved from
mischance. Sometimes the cake is so thin, as to be carried by the
current of the air up into the chimney. As the baking is wholly
performed by the hand, a great deal of noise is the consequence. The
beats, however, are not irregular, nor destitute of an agreeable
harmony, especially when they are accompanied with vocal music, which is
frequently the case. Great dexterity is necessary, not only to beat out
the cakes with no other instrument than the hand, so that no part of
them shall be thicker than another, but especially to cast them from one
board to another without ruffling or breaking them. The toasting
requires considerable skill; for which reason the most experienced
person in the company is chosen for that part of the work. One cake is
sent round in quick succession to another, so that none of the company
is suffered to be idle. The whole is a scene of activity, mirth, and
diversion. As there is no account, even by tradition itself, concerning
the origin of this custom, it must be very ancient. The bread thus baked
was, doubtless, never intended for common use. It is not easy to
conceive how mankind, especially in a rude age, would strictly observe
so many ceremonies, and be at so great pains in making a cake, which,
when folded together, makes but a scanty mouthful.[16] Besides, it is
always given away in presents to strangers who frequent the fair. The
custom seems to have been originally derived from paganism, and to
contain not a few of the sacred rites peculiar to that impure religion;
as the leavened dough, and the mixing it with sugar and spices, the
consecrated ground, &c.; but the particular deity, for whose honour
these cakes were at first made, is not, perhaps, easy to determine.
Probably it was no other than the one known in Scripture (Jer. 7 ch. 18
v.) by the name of the Queen of Heaven, and to whom cakes were likewise
kneaded by women.

J.S.W.

[15] These names are descriptive of the manner in which the
women, so called, perform their part of the work, To todle, is
to walk or move slowly, like a child; to trodle, is to walk or
move more quickly.

[16] From our Correspondent's description of these cakes, we
suppose them to resemble the wafers sold by the confectioners,
except in the elegant designs on their surface.

* * * * *


SONG.

FROM METASTATIO.

(_For The Mirror._)


How in the depth of winter rude
A lovely flower is prized,
Which in the month of April view'd,
Perhaps has been despised.
How fair amid the shades of night
Appears the stars' pale ray;
Behold the sun's more dazzling light,
It quickly fades away.

E.L.I.

* * * * *


THE ORIGIN OF PETER'S PENCE.

(_For The Mirror._)


The custom of paying "Peter's pence" is of Saxon origin; and they
continued to be paid by the inhabitants of England, till the abolition
of the Papal power. The event by which their payment was enacted is as
follows: - Ethelbert, king of the east angles, having reigned single some
time, thought fit to take a wife; for this purpose he came to the court
of Offa, king of Mercia, to desire his daughter in marriage. Queenrid,
consort of Offa, a cruel, ambitious, and blood-thirsty woman, who envied
the retinue and splendour of the unsuspicious king, resolved in some
manner to have him murdered, before he left their court, hoping by that
to gain his immense riches; for this purpose she, with her malicious and
fascinating arts, overcame the king - her husband, which she most
cunningly effected, and, under deep disguises, laid open to him her
portentous design; a villain was therefore hired, named Gimberd, who was
to murder the innocent prince. The manner in which the heinous crime was
effected was as cowardly as it was fatal: under the chair of state in
which Ethelbert sat, a deep pit was dug; at the bottom of it was placed
the murderer; the unfortunate king was then let through a trap-door into
the pit; his fear overcame him so much, that he did not attempt
resistance. Three months after this, Queenrid died, when circumstances
convinced Offa of the innocence of Ethelbert; he therefore, to appease
his guilt, built St. Alban's monastery, gave one-tenth part of his goods
to the poor, and went in penance to Rome - where he gave to the Pope a
penny for every house in his dominions, which were afterwards called
_Rome shot_, or _Peter's pence_, and given by the inhabitants of
England, &c. till 1533, when Henry VIII. shook off the authority of the
Pope in this country.

T.C.

* * * * *



ARCANA OF SCIENCE.


_Black And White Swans._

A few weeks since a _black swan_ was killed by his white companions, in
the neighbourhood of London. Of this extraordinary circumstance, an
eye-witness gives the following account: -

I was walking, between four and five o'clock on Saturday afternoon, in
the Regent's Park, when my attention was attracted by an unusual noise
on the water, which I soon ascertained to arise from a furious attack
made by two white swans on the solitary black one. The _allied_ couple
pursued with the greatest ferocity the unfortunate _rara avis_, and one
of them succeeded in getting the neck of his enemy between his bill, and
shaking it violently. The poor black with difficulty extricated himself
from this murderous grasp, hurried on shore, tottered a few paces from
the water's edge, and fell. His death appeared to be attended with great
agony, stretching his neck in the air, fluttering his wings, and
attempting to rise from the ground. At length, after about five minutes
of suffering, he made a last effort to rise, and fell with outstretched
neck and wings. One of the keepers came up at the moment, and found the
poor bird dead. It is remarkable, that his foes never left the water in
pursuit, but continued sailing up and down to the spot wherein their
victim fell, with every feather on end, and apparently proud of their
conquest.

_Fascination Of Snakes._

I have often heard stories about the power that snakes have to charm
birds and animals, which, to say the least, I always treated with the
coldness of scepticism, nor could I believe them until convinced by
ocular demonstration. A case occurred in Williamsburgh, Massachussets,
one mile south of the house of public worship, by the way-side, in July
last. As I was walking in the road at noon-day, my attention was drawn
to the fence by the fluttering and hopping of a robin red-breast, and a
cat-bird, which, upon my approach, flew up, and perched on a sapling two
or three rods distant; at this instant a large black snake reared his


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