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the imminent danger of his old acquaintance, flew at the hawk with such violence, and gave him such a severe stroke with his spurs, as he was going to seize his prey, as to knock him from the hen to a considerable distance; aud the timely aid of this faithful auxiliary, the turkey-cock, saved the bantam from being devoured by the hawk."
POWER OF GENIUS.
The following has been preserved relating to the Overture of Don Giovanni.- This original composition, which is on all hands admitted to be a masterpiece of genius and science, was begun and finished in one night. Mozart wrote the opera of Don Juan for the theatre at Prague, (1787). The songs, finales, in short, all vocal pieces of the work, had been finished, studied by the singers, and rehearsed ; nay, the last grand rehearsal took place, without the overture being even begun by the composer, although the public performance was fixed for the next day. Mozart's friends, his wife, and, above all, the manager, were in a state of alarm, easily to be conceived ; they represented to him the ruinous consequences, to the theatre as well as to himself, which must result from an eventual disappointment, and conjured him not to blast his greatest work by so wanton a procrastination.
“I shall write the overture this afternoon ; I have it all in my head,” was the answer given to them. The afternoon came ; but Mozart, seduced by the fineness of the weather, took a trip into the country, and made merry, returned in the evening, and sat down to a bowl of punch, with some friends, who trembled at the idea of his situation. It was midnight before he left this jovial party, in a state so little calculated for mental exertion, that he determined to lie down for an hour, at the same time charging Mrs. Mozart to call him at the expiration of that time. The fond wife, seeing him in the sweetest slumber, and conscious of his power, suffered him to lie two hours, called him up, made a bowl of punch, his favourite beverage, put pen, ink, and staves before him, sat down by his side, and while filling the glass, entertained the composer with a number of laughable stories, in the telling of which she possessed a peculiar talent. Mozart listened with the greatest glee, and laughed till the tears trickled down his eyes. All at once the divine spark within him brightened into radiant name, he felt “ full of the god," and exclaimed, “Now is the time, Constantia ; now we are in trim for it.” Showers of crotchets and quavers now gushed from the rapid pen. At times, however, and in the midst of writing, nature would assert her sway, and cause the composer to relapse into a nod or two. To these, it is generally pretended, the leading passage in the overture, turned, repeated and modulated into a hundred varied shapes, owed its origin.—The somnolent fits, however, soon gave way to the cheerful converse of Constantia, and the excellent punch which formed its accompaniment. The overture was completed before breakfast, and the copyists scarcely had time to write out the score. A rehearsal being thus out of the question, the orchestra played it at the public representation in the evening without previous trial, and it is no small eulogium on their talents to add, that the execution electrified the audience, who with thunders of applause called for a repetition.
FREDERICK THE GREAT DEFEATED.
At a review at Potsdam, the king was desirous of placing himself with his suite on an eminence, on which some female sutlers had erected their booths. These took it into their heads to dispute the ground with him—asserting, that it was convenient for selling their wares, that they had, in consequence, paid him his dues, and that he might see his puppets equally well from any other place. Some expressions which the king made use of upon the occasion offending these ladies, they addressed him in such forcible language that he soon made off, saying to his officers, “ It is laughable, that I, who make so many thousands of men move at my command, must give way to a couple of Billingsgates?"
JUPITER AND THE SHEEP.
The sheep, finding herself a prey to the cruelty of other animals, came to complain to Jupiter, and to beg him to alleviate her misery. Jupiter received her graciously. “ I see plainly, my good creature,” said he, “ that I ought to have furnished you with some weapon of defence ; but let us see what can we best do to supply the deficiency. I leave the choice to yourself. Shall I furnish your mouth with terrible teeth, or your feet with sharp claws ?"
“O! no,” cried the sheep, “ I will have nothing in common with the beast of prey." “ Shall I put poison in your mouth?” “ Ah !” replied the sheep, venomous serpents are so detested !” “ What shall I do then ? Shall I give strength to your neck, and arm your head with formidable horns ?"
50! no, father; I might then easily become as quarrelsome as the goat.” “ But you must have the power to injure others, if you would prevent them from injuring you.” “ I injure others !" replied the sheep, with a sigh. “ Ah! my father, leave me as I am : I fear that possessing the power, might give the desire to injure, and I had much rather suffer than commit injustice.” Jupiter blessed the peaceable sheep, and from that moment she has never been heard to complain.
Sedan-chairs were first introduced in London, in 1634, when Sir Sanders Duncomb obtained the sole privilege to use, let, and hire a number of such covered chairs, for fourteen years. Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, conjectures, that they were originally made at Sedan, a strong city in the department of the Ardennes, and late province of Champaigne, France. The first sedan-chair seen in England was in the reign of James I. and was used by the Duke of Buckingham, to the great indignation of the people, who exclaimed, “ that he was employing his fellow-creatures to do the service of beasts.”
The following narrative, taken from the records of Languedoc, will evince the magnificence, folly, and barbarity habitual to the nobility of the early ages. In 1174, Henry II. called together the seigneurs of Languedoc, in order to mediate peace between the Count of Thoulouse and the King of Arragon. As Henry, however, did not attend, the nobles had nothing else to do but to emulate each other in wild magnificence, extended to insanity. The Countess Urgel sent to the meeting a diadem worth two thousand modern pounds, to be placed on the head of a wretched buffoon. The Count of Thoulouse sent a donation of four thousand pounds to a favourite knight, who distributed that sum among all the poorer knights who attended the meeting. The Siegneur Guillaume Gros de Martel gave an immense dinner, the viands having all been cooked by the flame of wax tapers. But the singularly rational magnificence of Count Bertrand de Rimbault induced the loudest applause--for he set the peasants around Beaucaire to plough up the soil, and then he openly and proudly sowed therein small pieces of money, to the amount of fifteen hundred English guineas. Piqued at this princely extravagance, and determined to out do his neighbours in savage brutality, if he could not in prodigality, the Lord Raymond Venous ordered thirty of his most beautiful and valuable horses to be tied to stakes and surrounded with dry wood ; he then heroically lighted the piles, and consumed his favourites alive.
Henry Jenkins, who lived to the age of 170, was born in the North-Riding of Yorkshire. Two years before his death, which happened in 1670, he was able to bind sheaves after the reapers. As there was no register old enough to evidence the time of his birth, it was gathered from the following circumstance :-Being asked whether he remembered the battle of Flodden (which he called Plowden), he answered in the affirmative; and gave as good an account of it as could be expected, considering that he was then, as he said, only twelve years of age. This battle was fought in 1513. Besides this, there were in his neighbourhood several persons 100 years old, who all agreed, that from their earliest remembrance, Harry Jenkins was looked upon as an old
In the last century of his life, he followed the employment of a fisherman ; and when 157 years of age, he went to York assizes, where his evidence was allowed of, in an affair of 140 years standing. His sight and hearing continued to the last.
BENEVOLENT Sailor.—Two brothers, the one a carman, the other a sailor, had been confined for a misdemeanour some time in the King's Bench prison. They applied to the court to be discharged, but were opposed by the prosecutor. The court directed the sailor to be released, but the carman was ordered to be continued in confinement. When this sentence was passed, the sailor addressed the court as follows: “ My Lord, my brother has a wife and seven children, who starve while he is prevented from working. I have neither wife nor child. If your Lordship would be so kind as to let him go, and permit me to stay in gaol for him, I shall be very much obliged to your Lordship." Lord Mansfield, on hearing this, immediately called to the prosecutor's counsel to say, “ Whether, after such a speech, he could press for the confinement of either of the men?" The counsel replied, “I should be ashamed to do it.” Upon this his Lordship told the sailor he was a very benevolent fellow, and that he and his brother should be both discharged; which was done accordingly.
A lady of fainily, and of considerable expectations in Ireland, marrying some years since without her father's consent, incurred bis displeasure to such a degree, that he never forgave her, and on his death did not leave her a shilling, although he knew her circumstances
were embarrassed. Her affectionate brother, however, on succeeding to the estate, sent for her, and on her arrival put into her hands notes to the amount of ten thousand pounds, saying, that he was too unhappy in the loss of a father, to be deprived of so valuable a relation as his sister.
ALL MAY MAKE BLUNDERS.-Although it may be true, that “the man who never made a blunder, never made a discovery;" yet, if the order could be inverted, and we were to suppose that discoveries are made as often as blunders, vanity would incline us to think, that not many things would now remain unknown. There is a propensity in human nature to smile at the follies of mankind ; and in every department of life we are ready to indulge it at the expense of others, even when we are furnishing them with similar occasions for mirth.