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84. Whence does the Court of Exchequer obtain its name?
The King's Exchequer anciently was a kind of subaltern court that was specially charged with the management of the revenue. It partly resembled that other primitive institution, the curia regis, and, just as that was not entirely a court of law, so the Exchequer was not merely a financial council, but also a court of law.
Its principal business, says Madox, related to the revenue, and, although the justices on circuit had cognizance of revenue-matters, such matters, as they arose, were certified or sent to the Exchequer, to which place the affairs of the royal revenue tended as to their centre.
From the reign of Henry III. the Exchequer was recognized as a separate court, the others being the King's Bench and the Common Pleas. The court received its name from the table at which it sat, which was “a four-cornered board, about ten feet long and five feet broad, fitted in manner of a table to sit about, on every side whereof is a standing ledge or border, four fingers broad. Upon this board is laid a cloth bought in Easter term, which is of black color, rowed with strokes, distant about a foot or span, like a chess-board.” On the spaces of the Saccharium, or checkered cloth, counters were ranged, with denoting marks, for checking the computations. These computations were at first very difficult to make, on account of the want of Arabic numerals, and this cloth was for the arithmetical process by counters, of which the monks struck a goodly number, still known by the name of “Abbey pieces.” It is therefore evident that the checkered cloth was not a mere table-ornament, but a necessary part of the apparatus of the court for estimating and computing the king's revenues. It was therefore quite natural that the court should take its name from the checkered cloth on which most of its work was done.-BIBOTA.
85. Whence did Hawthorne obtain the hint for his story of “Wakefield" ? and what monkish legend resembles it?
Hawthorne says that this sketch, which appeared among the “Twice-Told Tales" in 1837, was suggested to him by an article that he saw in an old magazine or newspaper,--he does not remember when or where,—which related the eccentricities of a man who, under the pretence of going on a journey, took lodgings in the street next to his own home, and there, unheard of by his wife and friends, dwelt in self-imposed banishment for more than twenty years. During that period he beheld his home every day, and frequently met his wife on the streets; and finally, one evening, he quietly entered his own door, as if returning from a day's absence, and finished out the measure of his days. To these outlines Hawthorne adds that “the incident is one of the purest originality, unexampled, and probably never to be repeated.”
We cannot agree that the incident is unexampled, while we have in mind the story of St. Alexis; for, although in the case of Hawthorne's hero the banishment was merely the result of inexplicable eccentricity, and in that of St. Alexis a matter of religious conviction, in both instances the exile was voluntary, and the two are almost identical in character. Cardinal Wiseman has dramatized the life of St. Alexis, under the title of "The Hidden Gem," written in 1858 for the College Jubilee of St. Cuthbert's, Ushaw. Alexius, or Alexis, was the son of Euphemian, a man of rank and wealth, who lived on the Colian Hill in Rome in the days of the Emperor Honorius and Pope Innocent I.
As a child Alexis devoted himself to the service of God; but when his father, in later years, selected a beautiful maiden of noble rank for his bride, although he remembered his vow, he dared not disobey his father; and the wedding was celebrated with great pomp. Then Alexis went to his bride, gave her a gold ring, a girdle of precious stones, and a purple veil, and, bidding her farewell, as if about to start on a short journey, he departed, and was seen no more. He really did go away, for a time, and then returned so changed in appearance that none recognized him when he went to his father's house and begged to be allowed to live upon his charity.
Euphemian, thinking upon his own lost son, ordered that the pilgrim should be provided for; but the servants ill-treated him, and gave him no other lodging than a hole under the marble steps of his home. Thus many years passed, during which Alexis daily saw all the members of his family, constantly came face to face with his wife, and heard her lament his absence. At length, feeling that his end was near, he asked for pen and ink, and wrote the story of his life, which he placed within his bosom. Soon after this, while celebrating, mass, a voice was heard saying, “Seek the servant of God.” The Pope and the Emperor, and Euphemian, together with the people, fell on their faces, and another voice asked, “ Where shall we seek?" and the answer was, “At the house of Euphemian.” When Euphemian led the way to his home, the servants met him, and told him the beggar had died; and when they uncovered his face it was glorified like an angel's. And the Pope took the letter from the dead hand of Alexis, and read it aloud.
His family, overwhelmed with grief, watched beside his body many days, during which the sick and infirm were healed by touching his holy remains. On the spot where his father's house stood is now the Church of St. Alexis, within which are the marble steps beneath which he lived and died, and near them stands a statue of the saint, who is regarded as the patron of beggars and pilgrims.-DAVUS.
86. What were the 0. P. Riots ?
On the night of the 20th of September, 1808, Covent Garden Theatre was burned. A new theatre was built, and the opening announced for September 18, 1809, one year after the
fire. Much expense was incurred, and, to make the opening attractive, Mr. Kemble, Mrs. Siddons, and Madame Catalani were engaged. In order to cover expenses, the managers decided to increase the admission-prices, putting them one shilling advance for boxes and sixpence advance for the pit. This announcement created great dissatisfaction, and a warcry was at once raised. The subject was discussed in clubs and coffee-houses. Newspapers took it up. Kemble and Covent Garden were as often discussed as Napoleon and France.
The plays on the opening night were “Macbeth” and, for an after-piece, “The Quaker." The house was crowded, especially the pit. As soon as the curtain rose, the noise began. “Old prices forever!" rang through the house.
Mr. Kemble tried to deliver an address in honor of the occasion, but could not be heard. The noise continued through the five acts of the play. Magistrates read the “Riot Act” on the stage. The next night the same scenes were repeated, with the addition of placards inscribed “Old prices forever!” Constables seized the placard-bearers and carried them off. The next night more placards appeared. Mr. Kemble came forward and said, “What do you want ?" A Mr. Leigh replied, “We want the old prices.” This started another tumult. Horns, whistles, and watchmen's rattles were heard in every part of the house, and dogs were brought in, whose barking and yelping added to the confusion. Placards inscribed
Come forth, 0 Komble,
Come forth and tremblo! and
Seventeen thousand a year goes pat
To Kemble, his sister, and Madame Cat, were shown through the house. On the fifth night the placards were marked “O. P.” for the first time. Another placard was,
John Kemble alone is the cause of this riot :
On the sixth night Mr. Kemble announced that the theatre would be closed and a committee appointed to determine whether the prices could be lowered. This announcement was received with applause and a placard exhibited bearing the following:
“Here lies the body of new price, an ugly brat and base-born, who expired on September 23, 1809, aged six days. Requiescat in pace."
A committee was appointed, made up of well-known gentlemen, who, after conferring together, decided that the managers could not afford to return to the old prices. So the theatre was reopened, and this announcement made. The riots were then worse than ever. Party feeling was shown everywhere. Ladies appeared in the boxes with O. P. on their bonnets; 0. P. hats for men were common; some wore waistcoats with O. embroidered on one lapel and P. on the other; O. P. tooth-picks were in fashion; 0. P. handkerchiefs were waved at the theatre, so also were 0. P. flags; O. P. medals were worn.
At a grand dinner given at the Crown and Anchor tavern to celebrate the victory of Mr. Clifford, a barrister who had espoused the 0. P. cause, been arrested, and by some quibble of the law been released after being fined five pounds, Mr. Kemble
appeared, and a conference was held. A treaty was signed which ended the 0. P. riots and restored peace to the drama.
Mr. Kemble announced at the theatre that night that the old prices would be restored. This announcement was greeted with applause, and the next night a placard was exhibited, inscribed
“ We are satisfied."
The contest ended on the 10th of December, after three months of disgraceful tumult.-OLIVE OLDSCHOOL.
87. Where are the two islands called respectively Jack-a-Dan and Kick-'em-Jenny ?
These two islands are in the Windward group of islands which belong to the Caribbean division of the West Indies.
They are very small; indeed, they are little more than mere islets, which, while they are not sufficiently large and important to appear on any but the most elaborate charts, must be known and recognized by pilots cruising in those waters, in order that they may be avoided. Jack-a-Dan is only thirty-three feet above the sea, and lies in Hillsborough Bay, on the westward coast of the English island of Barbadoes, off what is known as the Hope estate, a large tract of land originally occupied by Sir Edward Hope and still in the possession of the Hope family.
Diamond Islet (probably so called from its shape), or Kick-'em-Jenny, lies in the near vicinity. East of the west embankment of Hillsborough Bay is a strip of land, usually covered by twenty-one feet of water which breaks in a strong breeze.-Davus.
88. Who was called the “ Poet-Laureate of the Bees" ?
In &“History of the Honey-Bee," by W. H. Harris, published in London, in the first chapter occurs this passage: “In our own country (England) Dr. John Evans, who has been called the Poet-Laureate of the Bees," etc. In looking over an English Biographical Dictionary, I find that “Dr. John Evans lived in 1802, and wrote much about bees.”_OLIVE OLDSCHOOL.
NHOU art more ancient than the oldest skies,
But youth forever glances from thine eyes;
Florence Earle Coates.
THE COURTESIES OF SUMMER RESORTS.
“WHERE are you going this summer, Helen ?”
“I have not quite decided : either to Bar Harbor or York. Sarah always goes to Saratoga, and the rest of the family repair to Richfield to humor their gout and rheumatism: so, being fond of sea air, I am generally an odd sheep. Armine Neilson took pity on me last year and carried me off to Magnolia with her. She is perfectly wild about the scenery there, and says that there are no colors along the New England coast to compare with the 'tones' to be found at Mag. nolia. Except for the beauty of the place, however, and her delightful society, it was rather dismal. The house was packed with strangers, queer kind of people. Armine said that they were literary, artistic, and philanthropic. I should rather think they were! The girls wore their hair short, and their gowns ditto, and talked art, politics, and dress-reform, while the elders, most of them being on school-boards or prison-boards, discussed education and philanthropy, until I felt literally steeped in art and reform! Some of the artists were very nice, especially when they were separated from the rest of the fraternity; but when together they would rave for hours over a bit of beach, a single rock, or a ragged old mullein-stalk, until I was dead sick of color, tone, atmosphere, composition, and all the rest of the art jargon. I longed for somebody to be frivolous with. Armine wouldn't, and the short-haired girls couldn't. Some nicelooking people came afterwards, but we didn't know anything about them. There was positively no society in the house !"
Such a conversation as the foregoing naturally suggests a train of queries, as to what constitutes this vaunted society, what it is when found, and what it was designed for.
Society surely ought to mean the drawing together of agreeable and congenial people; but it does not always stand for that; for some occult reason it seems, quite as often, to mean the keeping aloof from persons whose social status has not been clearly defined. It has been charged against the Philadelphia matron, especially, that her social limitations are iron-b ed, that she will have nothing to do with strangers unless their genealogical relations are satisfactorily established, and that it has never yet entered into her philosophy that there are many persons of refinement and culture in other cities whose surnames are unknown to her, and even persons worth meeting in unexplored portions of her own city. This is of course gross exaggeration, and it is unfair to confine such strictures to the Philadelphia matron, for are there not Boston and Baltimore matrons, and some New York matrons belonging to old Knickerbocker families, who are making the same sort of stand against the progress of the world? hedging themselves about with aristocratic boundary-lines, that are as artificial as they are absurd in a country where our green-grocer's son may some day be our President.
Nowhere is this sort of feeling more noticeable, or more out of place, than in the hotels and boarding-houses in which so large a portion of the well-to-do among our citizens spend their summers. It may be a remnant of English conservatism left in some of us, or it may only be a remnant of the old Adam, but we citizens of the great Republic are apt to make ourselves a trifle absurd by
holding aloof from the people we meet, until all their bearings and boundaries have been established. We have even been known to stand off from persons because their appearance did not quite please us. The girls of the family may not have worn their bangs the regulation length; or their gowns may have been too flashy; or they may not have pronounced their a's properly; or the père de famille may have kept his hat on when, by all the canons, it should have been off. Forgive him, he may have been brought up a Quaker, and for the rest, wondrous thought!—there may have been something in our make-up that did not strike them as absolutely perfect. Even the aristocratic Sandwich-Islander has his little unconventional fancies about beads and bangles and head-adornments.
We once heard a lady, at a mountain resort, say, in a tone of great selfsatisfaction, “ I've been here for weeks, but I really don't know a soul in the house. I don't even know their names. You see, we have had our own party, and did not need other society.”
Some ladies in the same house found delightful and congenial companionship, and would have missed some pleasant pages from the history of their summer if they had sat aside in gloomy and elegant seclusion while a number of very bright but quite unknown persons were playing games around the centretable, or reading aloud to each other, or even comparing fancy-work on the piazzas after dinner, which is, as we all know, one of the staple amusements at summer resorts. This lady, who did not know any one in the house and did not want to know any one, must be an own cousin to the Philadelphia dame portrayed by Mr. Charles Dudley Warner, who is described as retiring gracefully from a sojourn of some weeks at a watering-place, during which time she had made a number of pleasant acquaintances from her own city, and saying, airily, “Good-by. I shall be sure to meet you at Moneymaker's some day.” How many of us can read this without feeling self-condemned ?
It seems as if the very fact of a woman feeling the necessity of making such a speech as this proves that there is something wrong at the very foundation of our social system, as if there were needed some code of etiquette for such occasions, or some teaching of common sense, to enable women to enter into pleasant and cordial intercourse with those whom they meet for a few weeks, at the seashore or among the mountains, without such intercourse presupposing future intimacy, unless all conditions are favorable thereto. It is often this dread of involving themselves and their families in an inextricable labyrinth of visits that makes so many women stand aloof from those whom they meet during their summer sojourns. And here is where men have the advantage of women: they can be hail-fellow-well-met with all the other men in the house, and have pleasant talks, and interchanges of opinion, and smoke together the pipe of peace, without having their future overcast with dark and lowering shadows of endless and wearisome calls, which begin in nothing and end in less than nothing. This is probably the reason why many sensible women are not sociable away from home. For the others who stand off, their motives reach deeper than our plummet-line can fathom. It may be that they entertain an insane idea that they are superior to most people whom they meet,-save the mark! Yet this must have been the idea of the sympathetic lady who represented herself as feeling so deeply for her next-door neighbor who was ill, that she really thought of calling to ask if she could do anything for her, and was only deterred from this act of benevolence by reflecting that in case of the recovery of the invalid she might consider her impulse of common humanity a visit and return it as