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'• Charlton, in Kent, is as pleasantly situated, as any village in the environs of London, having Shooter's Hill, Blackheath, Greenwich Park, and Hanging Wood, in its immediate vicinity, with a fine and picturesque view of the river. The Manor House, of which we give a representation, was built by sir Adam Newton about the year 1612. The saloon contains the original ceiling as it was finished by him, richly ornamented in the fashion which prevailed in his time. In a room adjoining the south side of the saloon is a chimney-piece with a slab of black marble, so finely polished, that lord Downe is said to have seen in it a robbery committed on Blackheath; the tradition adds he sent out his servants, who apprehended the thieves. In the gallery, on the north side of the house, are portraits of Henry, prince of Wales, and Thomas Wilson, secretary of state to queen Elizabeth, (ancestor of sir T. Wilson.) It contains also a large and valuable collection of natural history, made by lady Wilson, consisting of minerals, extraneous fossils, various insects, and other subjects. The house, in the year 1742, was in the occupation of John, earl of Egmont; it was many years in the Egmont family, and was afterwards rented for a short time by the marquis of Lothian.
There are several interesting recollections connected with Charlton. The parish church, which was partly rebuilt in 1630, contains monuments of Edward Wilson, master cook to queen Elizabeth—of several of the Egmont family—and the-late Spencer Percival: Henry Oldenbourg and Dr.
Robert Hooke, both men of literature, died here in the year 1678. A farm house, now called Cherry-Garden farm, is said to have been built by Iuigo Jones, for his own residence.
Charlton, however, is most celebrated from a fair held on St. Luke's day, by grant from the crown in 1268. Formerly, a burlesque procession passed from Deptford, through Greenwich, to Charlton, each person wearing some ornament of horn upon his head. Mr. Brande learnt from an old newspaper, that it was customary for a procession to go from some of the inns in Bishopsgate-street, in which were a king, a queen, a miller, a counsellor, and a great number of others, with the" crest of cuckoldom" in their hats, to Charlton, where they went round the church three times. It appears, from " The whole Life of Mr. William Fuller," (London, 1703,) that it was the fashion in his time to go to Horn fair dressed in women's clothes. "I remember being there upon Horn fair day; I was dressed in my land-ladies best gown, and other woman's attire, and to Horn fair we went, and as we were coming back by water, all the clothes were spoiled by dirty water, that was flung on us in an inundation, for which I was obliged to present 'her with two guineas, to make atonement for the damage sustained."
Those processions have been discontinued since 1768: according to tradition they owed their origin to a compulsive grant, made by king John to a miller, of all the land from Charlton to Cuckold's Point, when detected in an adventure of gallantry, being then resident at Eltham palace,—establishing the fair for a tenure. We wish some of our legal readers would ascertain whether the practice of giving damages in cases of crim. con., which we believe is peculiar to this country, originated in this faux pas of the English monarch.
The fair is not now disgraced by its ancient licentious scenes, and in fine weather we have seen it enlivened by much of the beauty and fashion of that highly respectable vicimty. A sermon is preached in the church on the fair-day.
But for the production of a new opera, our present number had been barren of fresh dramatic remark; because, probably, neither of the theatres would have offered any thing affording scope for original criticism. Wednesday week's theatricals were distinguished by the appearance at Drury Lane of The Fall of Algiers, with new music, scenery, dresses, and decorations. The manager modestly terms it a grand opera, and we wish we could, with justice, echo the epithet; we wish we could say of this little more than a second edition of Cobb's Siege of Belgrade—that it possesses in its plot, language, or characters, any claims to the particular attention of the critical auditor, or in its representation any title to public applause. Its dramatis personae are,
Orasmin, (Bey of Algiers) Sapio.
Admiral Rockwardine Terry.
Timothy Tourist Harley.
Lieutenant Hartley Mercer.
Ben Brown C. Smith.
Almanda Miss Graddon.
Lauretta Miss Stephens.
Zaida Miss Nicoll.
Almaide Miss Carr.
Now, while in the Old admiral we view an indifferent copy of Sir Anthony Absolute, wc recognise the Seraskier in the Bey, /Alia in Lauretta, and Katherina in Almanda; while, however, we assert that those who look for precisely the same incidents, and listen for a repetition of the same identical jests which they have often witnessed and heard before, will not be wholly disappointed; we are ready to admit, that the series of the former, and the turn of the latter, impart somewhat of novelty to the general effect; and that if some of the jeux d''esprit with which we had previously been amused, are rendered partly new, by being partly Spoiled, they
are, at any rate, presented to us less stale, and less commonplace. Though the language of distinguished eulogy would be misemployed were it applied to the poetic portion of this production, we may justly say of it, that it exhibits some of the mechanical merits of verse, and that if it be not pregnant with originality of idea, neither is it destitute of euphonious smoothness, or of correctness of rhyme and metre.
Of the music of The Fall of Algiers we have much to say, and shall express ourselves with the more freedom, as we are not unacquainted with the principles on which the harmonic science is founded. That the prevailing characteristic of this music borders on that of excellence, in the style Mr. Bishop has adopted, we willingly allow, but cannot yield up our decided disapprobation of the style itself. Arne, Arnold, Shield, Lindley, and2Storace, judiciously avoided introducing on the English stage either Italian or German strains; we mean, when the dramas they illustrated were avowedly English, and not characteristically and professedly imitative of a foreign manner,—as, for instance, are the airs in Artaxerxes. The music of the present English opera is German in its very cut and trim ;—German mistakenly and servilely applied. We say mistakenly, because it is unappropriate; and we say servilely, because we constantly hear the chromatic, constrained, and unnatural style of Weber; and can hardly persuade ourselves that Mr. B. did not, before he sat down to the task of this composition, invoke the quaint and squalid muse that inspired the outre starts and transitions which characterise the extravaganzas of the movements in Der Freischutz. Besides that Mr. Bishop is evidently deficient in those dark depths of science, and that gloomy abstraction of thought, peculiar to the effusions of most of the German masters, he ought studiously to avoid them. Their conceptions, their feelings, and their mode of .expressing them, are foreign .from the character of the English drama, and though he who copies them may be tolerated for the passing moment, it is impossible that it should continue to delight, or ever take root in our operatic soil.
However, notwithstanding this strong and irreparable objection to the music of this opera, some few of the melodies are tinctured with a degree of sweetness; and the style in which Miss Stephens and Me. Sapio acquitted themselves in their execution, heightened their inherent attractions. The first of these excellent vocalists is daily improving as an actress,
(her Lauretta is arch, pleasant, and natural,) and the latter is successfully converting his high finished, concert, cantabile manner into the more simple and appreciable style proper to the English opera, and demanded by an English audience. But the truth is, that Mr. Bishop's anxious and indiscreet ambition to become a second Weber, (which he never will, can, or ought to wish to be,) has denied to these singers the scope necessary to the display of their best powers; and we cannot name an opera in which we would not rather hear them than in the Fall of Algiers. Miss Graddon acquits herself respectably in Almanda; and the comicality of Harlev's Timothy Tourist, the vocal execution of Horn.in Algernon, together with the appropriate features given to the General by the judgment of Terry, form Jno slight supports to the piece.; Stanfield's [and Roberts's scenery evince great talents in their particular province ,of the pictorial art; some of the dresses are tasteful and splendid: and pleased with these various accessary embellishments, a candid and patient public may probably endure this dull, dramatic, wholesale plagiarism for some little time longer.
There are few who have not been struck with the vast number of words in our language, to which no labour or ingenuity of grammarians can affix a reasonable derivation. When Greek and Latin, Saxon and Celtic, throw no dubious light upon the term, their efforts generally terminate in some far-fetched and ridiculous conjecture ; so that one cannot peruse the labours, even of that Colossus of literature, Dr. Johnson, without sometimes being moved to risibility. The great fault of this class of writers undoubtedly is, that they rarely look for a derivation beyond their philological learning, and, therefore, as often as they meet with a mongrel foreign term, which has been curtailed of its fair proportions, to suit both our orthography and pronunciation, in nine cases out of ten they are at a dead stand. There are many words in our language of French extraction which, on a mere inspection of the word, we should instantly pronounce to be Saxon, but the etymology of which is undeniably fixed the moment we attend to "the meaning of the word, and the period of history to which it refers. So firmly are we possessed of this idea, especially with regard to the French, that when a disputed etymology comes under our observation, we invariably try it in a French garb, and we are persuaded that
if all our philologists had done the "same, we should have been spared many of those puerilities which belong to the class of Incus a non lucendo. Many words, too, refer to some portion of the domestic arts now unknown, or to some incident long since forgotten. These are always the most difficult to trace; and in most instances afford nothing but conjecture. The truth of these Observations will be abundantly evident, on a perusal of some of the instances which we subjoin; observing, however, that we have not confined the selection to such as bear directly on the foregoing remarks, but extended it to any instance of etymological curiosity which appeared to be little known.
Beef Eaters.—This appellation, which many people think so appropriate, is a corruption of buffetiers. It refers to the original duties of the yeomen of the Guard, which were to wait at table during great feasts.
Black Ness.—This is the name which our seamen give to a promontory near Calais, but which in French is Blanc Nez. Can any thing be more opposite than black and white 1
Bull and Mouth Street.—Most people know that this is a corruption of Boulogne Mouth, though they are ignorant of the incident to which it points. When Henry VIII. took Boulogne, he brought the gates over with him, and the exploit seems to have been very much thought of at the time, as the subject became very popular for signposts. Witness also Bulland-Mouth Gate.
O, Yes! O, Km.'—What can be more nonsensical, and at the same time more natural, than this [well-known corruption of oyez, oyez.
Bum-bailiff.— This term would seem at first sight to defy etymology. Blackstone, however, makes it bound bailiff, in allusion to the security he was obliged to find.
Checkers. — We believe few people know the origin of this mark of an alehouse. We have heard it said that it was first used out of compliment to some individual whose duty it was to license taverns, and whose coat of arms it made a part of. The real fact is, however, that it represented a sort of draughtboard, used in a game called tables, now in disuse, and signified that it might be played there.
Belle Sauvage Inn.—The Spectator suggested, that this inn derived its name from a beautiful Savage found in the woods, and his orthography accordingly has been since adopted. The name originally, however, was Bell Savage, and is a familiar abbreviation o( lady Arabella Savage?" upon whose property it was built.
Three Blue Balls.—We recollect being once told that the reason of pawnbrokers exhibiting three balls, was to signify that it was two to one that any thing deposited with them is ever taken up again, which in good sooth is very true. The three blue balls, however, were the arms of two brothers from Lombardy, who first carried on the business of pawnbrokers here, and who, by the by, gave their name to Lombard-street. In honour of these patriarchs of the fraternity, their armorial bearings have ever since been adopted by their descendants.
i Radical.—What will posterity make of this word? After our politics and parties have been buried in oblivion, this word will remain incorporated in our language to puzzle the philologists of posterity.
Curious Discovery.—In the late arrangement:of the archives of the ancient family of Trevelyon, at Nettlecombe, was discovered a single leaf of vellum, which was recognised to belong to some copy of Doomsday Book. The copy of Doomsday published by order of government wanted one leaf, and it has been found, on comparing the discovered leaf with the copy of Doomsday preserved in the records at Exeter, from which the government copy had been copied or corrected, that it exV actly corresponded in ink, indenture, and size of vellum, supplying the sole deficiency of matter.
New University.—In consequence of the overflow of students at both our Universities, it is in contemplation to found a third University in the neighbourhood of York, towards which the venerable and excellent earl Fitzwilliam has promised to subscribe fifty thousand pounds. The total number of members in all the colleges at Cambridge in 1824, was 4,489; in 1748, the number amounted to 1,500; in 1813, to 2,805; in 1823, to 4,277.
A lady who rouged very highly, inquired of a gentleman, under the idea of indisposition, how he thought she looked. The latter replied, " I really cannot tell, madam, except you uncover your face."
Sir Walter Scott, it is said, has offered to edit gratuitously the manuscripts of the late Rev. C. Maturin, for the benefit of his widow.
Aurora Borealis.—The last number of the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal contains a memoir by Professor Hansteen, (translated from a foreign journal,) in
which that eminent naturalist has sketched out a' very bold and plausible theory of the | Aurora Borealis. The connection of that phenomenon with magnetism has been long remarked, and is further confirmed by the observations of the professor. He considers the A urora Borealis as a luminous ring surrounding the magnetic pole, with a radius varying from 20 deg. to 40 deg., and at the height of about one hundred miles above the surface of the earth. It is formed, he thinks, by.luminous columns shooting upward from the earth's surface, in a direction parallel to the inclination of the needle, and to the direction of the earth's magnetism: these columns render the atmosphere opaque while they pass through-it, and only become luminous after they pass beyond it. From the outer or convex side of the ring, beams dart forth in a direction nearly perpendicular to the arch, and ascend towards the zenith; and if they are so long as to pass towards the south, | they collect in the south in a sort of corona or glory, which is situated in that point of the heavens to which the south pole of the needle points. Professor Hansteen finds that the observations made respecting the northern Aurora are well explained by this hypothesis; and he has collected facts to show that a similar ring exists round the southern magnetic pole situated in New Holland, the northern being in North America. He infers farther, though the stock of observations is rather deficient, that similar luminous rings exist above the two extremities of the secondary magnetic axis, in Siberia and in Terra del Fuego.
A new vegetable called the Asparagus Potato, has been introduced into this country: it comes into season just as the asparagus goes out.
The equalization of the wine and beer measures, which takes place on the 1st of May next, is important. The old wine gallon contained 231 solid inches, and that of beer 282; the new equalized gallon is to contain 277 solid inches, which will be an increase of one-fifth in the size as compared with the old gallon.
Copper Sheathinc—At a meeting of the Royal Society, on the 13th instant, the learned President informed the Fellows, that the accounts which had appeared of the failure of his mode of protecting ships' bottoms, were wholly without foundation; and that the results, on the contrary, were of a most satisfactory description.
The French Institute have determined that the Quadrature of the Circle is a vain and impossible research.
At the Edinburgh School of Arts, Dr. Fyfe gave a decided opinion in favour of Brown's Pneumatic Engine; the object
of which is to obtain power, by means of a vacuum created during the combustion of inflammable gas. Should this new invention answer, it will completely supersede the steam-engine, and it will be especially useful in propelling vehicles on railways, which it will of course traverse, without leaving behind a column of smoke.
Starj) of ©ccurontcs.
Jan. 15.—Platonic Love.—It seems now certain that his Grace of Buckingham, on a late visit at Dunvegan castle, did actually kiss the daughter of Flora Macdonald; the fair lady is only seventy years of age. The noble duke is considered the flower of chivalry; and on parting, presented the faithful adherent of the Stuarts with a beautiful snuffbox, enclosing a white rose, the well-known emblem of prince Charles.—Long Dan is found!
A law proposed in France to punish the profanation of the consecrated wafer by chopping off the hand. Marriage, too, is to be made a religious, instead of a civil, contract. This is the very ghost of the St. Bartholomew days! It is all very unfortunate for the English Catholics, as people will begin to think the persecuting spirit 'of the Romish church is not yet extinct.
17.—Alderman Cox obtains 800/. from Kean the actor, in compensation for the loss of the comfort and society of his "most virtuous " spouse. The public are getting very much out of humour with Kean ; they have for a long time tolerated his caprice and his intemperance, but they appear determined not to put up with his debaucheries. Penance and mortification will do him good, and it is thought he will be obliged to retire.
Generally reported, that on the meeting of Parliament the wine duties will be reduced—the assessed taxes repealed— the corn laws abolished—and that Dr. Stoddart will have a place under government.
A fish company forming for the supply of the metropolis with fish at a moderate price. The company proposes to build a market, at which prime fish alone shall be sold at one-third the price now charged for it. This is very good, and has long been wanted: the fishwives, of course, like the canal people against railways, will grumble at the improvement, and perhaps petition Parliament against it!
The kingof France has lately nominated sir Thomas Lawrence a knight of the Legion of Honour. * A coffee-house, lately opened at Vienna,
of which the lamps, locks, and frames for the journals and ornaments of the billiard tables are of massive silver. Mr. Williams cannot come this.—About 8000/. subscribed for the Italian and Spanish refugees, for whom situations are solicited as instructors of languages.—The oranges and lemons imported into Great Britain, in 1823, amounted to 78,549,865.—At a recent meeting of the Catholics in Deanstreet, Soho-square, a rent was agreed to be levied, and a division of London into districts determined on.
A most complete hoax played off at a village near Cheltenham, by a fellow styling himself Felix Dowtijumpthroalhum, emperor of all the conjurors; his bill announced his arrival with five Arabian conjurors, who, amongst other wonderful feats, would successively jump down one another's throats, and that the remaining one would jump down his own throat. The bait was swallowed—the place filled with company, and the emperor decamped with the money! The age of credulity not yet passed.—A bill twice read in the Congress of the United States for granting to General La Fayette, who is on a visit to America, 200,000 dollars, in compensation for his services and expenditure during the American revolution; and also one entire township of land. The ci-devant Marquis is a rare example of inflexible adherence to his first principles.
19.—Working People.—It is reported that an attempt will be made on the assembling of Parliament, to re-enact the Combination Laws. It is one evil attending bad laws, that they cannot be repealed without temporary inconvenience. The vassals, when rescued from the grasp of their feudal oppressors, gave way to excesses and disorder; the French peasantry, at the commencement of the revolution, were guilty of shocking outrages against the seigneurs; and probably the emancipation of the Negroes, would, for a time, have a similar tendency. But in all these cases the evil is temporary, while the benefit is lasting; and it only requires time and consideration to enable those on whom new privileges are conferred, rightly to appreciate and properly to enjoy the advantages of their new condition. It is to be hoped the journeymen tradesmen will not follow the examples alluded to, and that the inconsiderate—for it can only be such—will afford no pretext to the legislature to rescind the boon they so lately granted.
A cabinet-maker named Stone, killed last Sunday near Chalk Farm, whilst fighting Packer, a butcher, with whom he had a public-house quarrel; this did^ not