« PreviousContinue »
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 ?” 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 Johnson, in his Dictionary, conjectures, that they were originally made at Sedan, a strong city in the department of the Ardennes, and late province of Champaigne, France.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. Piquerl 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 his 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.
“ Most fools have still an itching to deride,
And fain would be upon the laughing side.” But as this is an eminence which few only can ascend, and which none can occupy long, observation should teach us to moderate our risibility—the muscles of which are frequently excited by causes much less conspicuous than the following :-A certain official character, some years since, in the county of Staffordshire, having an occasion to make out his bill upon the parish, had unfortunately found sixty-three weeks in the year. The tax-gatherer, who was present, laughed inmoderately at the blunder ; but on producing his bill, an item was discovered, that he had paid a given sum in aid of the county rats ! The constable, who was highly diverted at the blunders which both had committed, produced his bill, without any apprehension of sharing in the fate of his neighbours; but, unfortunately, he had charged a specific sum for holding a conquest over the body of a man found dead !
A man, who was asked after a friend of his who had been executed lately in the new method before Newgate, replied,
« Ah! poor fellow, he died, as many an honest man has before him, by taking a drop too much.”
A Prince laughing at one of his courtiers, whom he had employed in several embassies, told him," he looked like an owl.” “ I know not,” answered the courtier, “ what I look like ; but this I know, that I have had the honour to represent your Majesty.”
Jacob Tonson, the most eminent of his profession as publisher, having refused to advance Dryden a sum of money for a work in which he was engaged, the incensed bard sent a message to him, and the following lines, adding, “ Tell the dog, that he who wrote these can write more :"
“With leering looks, bull-fac’d, and freckled fair,
And frouzy pores that taint the ambient air.” The bookseller felt the force of the description : and, to avoid a completion of the portrait, immediately sent the money.
It has been said, that there is no vice, except that of ingratitude, of which some wretch or other has not had the impudence to boast. It, however, sometimes happens, that the appearance of this detestable vanity is introduced where the reality is not, in order to give reproof where it might be suspected that plain language would prove ineffectual. But this, at the very best, is
more than a specious varnish thrown over temporizing morality, to conceal its deformity. We are not justifiable in doing evil, that good may come. Whether the following anecdote may be considered as a branch of triumph, or of reproof, must be left to the determination of our readers.—“ Sir,” said an inn
keeper, one day, to a person who had frequently visited his house, but who had never been famed for his attachment to truth, “You have taken away my character.” '-" It is impossible,” was the reply
“ I have never mentioned your name : and should be glad to know in what manner I have injured you?”—“Sir,” rejoined Boniface, “I do not charge you with having mentioned my name ; but before you came hither, I was always considered as the greatest liar in this town.”
Parson's, the player, going to visit Edwin one day, was told by the maid-servant he was not at home, though he knew he was. A few days after, Edwin went to see Parsons, who hearing his voice, called out, that he was not within.—“Why,” said Edwin, “ don't I hear your voice ?” To which Parsons replied, : You are an impudent fellow ; I believed your maid, and you will not believe me.”
A gentleman has just published a treatise on baking, in which, he says, will be found a hard crust for the critics.
Some time since, a country gentleman, at a coffee-house, looking over a newspaper, said to another who sat near him, “ I have been endeavouring for some time to see what the Ministry are doing, but not being accustomed to the London prints, I know not where to find these articles.” To this, the other archly replied, “ You must look among the robberies, sir.”
CAN DEAD FISHES SPEAK ?-A negro, about to purchase some fish, visited a shop where several were exposed to sale. But suspecting that one, which he had intended to buy, was not altogether so fresh as he could wish, he presumed either to dissipate, or to confirm his suspicions, by applying it to his nose. The fishmonger, conscious that it would not bear much examination, and fearing that other customers might catch the scent, exclaimed, in a surly tone, “ How dare you smell to my fish!” “Me no smell to it,” replied the black man. • What then were you “ Me only talking to it, massa.
" And what were you talking about ? “ Me ask him, massa, what the best news
" And what reply did he give you ?" « Oh, massa, he says he know no news, as he have not been there these three weeks!”
ROYAL MODESTY.-King Charles II. asked Stillingfleet, how it came about, that he always read his sermons before him, when, he was informed, he always preached without a book elsewhere? He told the King, that the awe of so noble an audience, where he saw nothing that was not greatly superior to himself, but chiefly the seeing before him so great and wise a Prince, made him afraid to trust himself. With which answer the King was very well contented. “ But pray,” says Stillingfleet,
will your Majesty give me leave to ask you a question, Why you read your speeches, when you can have none of the same reasons ?" “ Why, truly, doctor," says the King, " your question is a very