Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

roving-but reason returned in a moment, and she said in a voice suffocating with emotion, Alas! Alas! I am a poor old bewildered being, and know not to whom I speak, nor what I say-did not the young lord stand on that floor and mock me, and laugh at me even now?' Overpowered by the keen agony of spirit, she fell into strong and shuddering convulsions, and would have fallen full length on the floor, had I not timeously caught her in my arms. The man of the moorlands gazed on the scene before him with a face of the darkest dismay-considering it as a prelude to some master spell which would operate to his personal damage-and in nowise believing it to arise from the language of an old wounded mind

ANY of those individuals whose deaths are recorded for the edification of the public, are the cause of much dull reading being sent into the world about their lives. Because the exit of a man attracts attention, it is supposed to be of importance to state, when he was born, who were his parents, and where he went to school. I shall take good care not to fall into this error, by avoiding all mention of my "birth, parentage, and education."

THE PRESENT:

OR TRAVELS OF A HARE AFTER HIS DECEASE. From the London Literary Gazette.

Passing then at once to that period of my travels when I lost my life (it is much to be regretted that few travellers reach that period so soon), I begin by telling you, that the week before last, I had the misfortune to get my neck dislocated by a stick thrown from a rustic's hand, who, from being unconscious of the inconvenience he had occasioned me, went on without offering me the smallest assistance.

A moment afterwards Captain Cockelshell, of the Lumber-troop, (who had just succeeded in wounding a hay-stack which stood within a hundred feet of the place from which a covey of birds had sprung,) came to the spot where I

Eh! horrid be't, horrid be't,' ejaculated he, in the current tone of Annandale, rendered more provincial by terrorfearfu' woman! fearfu' woman! sad! sad! I wadnae bide anither glower o' thae cat-grey een for a' the holms of Dryfe-She'll better it! she'll better it, and then whare am I-she'll shake her robe, and make me into a sooty sheldrake-to swoom to the day o' doom amang the lake dubs of Lockmaben! ye may bide there, mark me man-but as for me, Sandie Macbirn o' Hirselcleugh, I'se take the bent-' and out at the door darted the man of the heather top and ling, leaving his ewe-milk cheese to atone for his breach of natural courtesy."

[ocr errors]

lay, very busily engaged in performing my last convulsions.

The Captain did not mistake me for one of the birds that he had missed. He very soon found that I was defunct; and, being quite satisfied that I should not run away, he, with that presence of mind and composure which distinguishes the true hero in battle, serenely retired twenty paces,—re-loaded his gun, and discharged its contents into my prostrate carcase, which he forthwith carried off in triumph, as an undoubted proof of his shooting prowess.

Arrived at his house in Little East Cheap, I was introduced in form to the Captain's Lady, with a yery minute account of the manner in which the redoubted Lumber Trooper thought proper to say that I had come by my death. According to this,it appeared that he had tracked me for more than a mile and a half, and at length perceived me just retiring into a thicket, when he levelled his piece, and shot me dead, at the distance of a hundred and fifty, or a hundred and sixty yards.

For three days every person who came to the house was entertained with this little interesting narrative, and treat

[ocr errors]

ed with a sight of my person, which placed the truth of the statement beyond all doubt. The lady now considering that I had been sufficiently productive of eclat, proposed to have me for dinner. I was glad of this, for the weather was so cold, that I felt quite impatient to be dressed.

But the Captain objected. A tame rabbit, twice as big as I happened to be, might be bought for half-a-crown, and would be a better dish, while I was worth more than the money he had named to send as a present. With this feeling, he finished by proposing to send me to his cousin Street, at Margate.

66

Why should we send it to him?" enquired the lady, "What does he ever send us?"

[blocks in formation]

don relations; but I must remark, that she behaved very unhandsomely to me, whom she called "a miserable little starveling, not worth cooking, or even eating, if I could have been sent ready cooked."

After a very short debate, both came to a resolution that I was absolutely good for nothing, and, in consequence of this, they determined on dispatching me to a very particular friend at Canterbury, and I became the subject of two letters. The first, from Mrs. Street to to Mrs. Cockleshell ran thus:

I shall not follow her through her transports, nor detail the many civil things with which she entertained her husband on the subject of his fine Lon

"My dear Madam,-Mr. Street and myself beg to return you our best thanks for the beautiful hare which you were so good as to send us. It arrived very opportunely, for it came when we had a large company of fashionable folks to dine with us, and we had been every where trying, but in vain, to procure such a thing for love or money. We are, however, very sorry that you should rob yourselves of such a treat, for it was the nicest ever tasted, and must earnestly beg you will not think of conferring on us a similar favour for the time to come, as we are quite distressed from not knowing how to make a suitable return. I remain, my dear Madam, (with best remembrance to the Captain and all the family), "TITALANDA STREET. "To Mrs. Cockleshell, Little East Cheap, London."

The second was as follows:"My dear Sir,-As a very small return for the many favours which I and Mrs. Street have received at your bands, we take the liberty of sending you a leveret, which we hope you will do us the favour to accept. We fear it is hardly worth presenting, as it is but a small, though, we trust, a very fine one; but we know your kindness will take the will for the deed. I should have called to return a part of the cash you were so good as to favour me with as a loan in the summer, but that I understood you were a great deal in town, and feared that you would be out of the way. By the end of next month I shall make a point of coming to Canterbury. Hoping it will not be inconvenient to wait till then, I am, my

The debtor had now to consider of finding bail. No person seemed fitter "HUMPHREY STREET. to be applied to on such an occasion "Charles Longpurse, Esq. than his friend, Captain Cockleshell, of Canterbury. the Lumber-troop. To prepare him to accede to such a request, he bethought himself he could not do better than to send him a hare. He there. fore wrote a letter, dated Hampshire, describing me to have been killed on the day but one preceding that on which he was writing, and by himself, on the manor of his friend, Lord Sharpset; and with this statement, back I went to my old master.

"Look here," said the Captain, (who immediately recognized me), addressing himself to his wife, "the hare has come back again; I can swear to its being the same that I killed last Monday."He meant that he had found dying.

"No, sure it can't be !" exclaimed the lady." Yes it is."

"And Diddler says he shot it the day before yesterday." "Indeed!"

dear Sir, (with best regards from Mrs. S.) very faithfully yours,

Though I went carriage paid, and the letter post free, Mr. Longpurse did not treat me with all the respect in the world. "What!" he exclaimed, "Here's another sprat! Well, its my own fault if those who sent you catch a herring, that's one comfort."

I now found myself introduced to the society of half a dozen hares, and about as many pheasants and braces of partridges. The footman' was told the next day that he might have me (on account of the smallness of my size) to deal with as he pleased. He being quite surfeited with such things, sold me for eighteen-pence to a journeyman apothecary, his friend, who wished to inspire his master with some respect for his connexions; and the apothecary, on receiving the present as from his journeyman's uncle, a great landholder, sent me with all speed to the house of the rector, through whose interest he hoped to be promoted on the first vacancy, to physic the paupers in the parish workhouse.

The person for whom I was now intended was really (as the son of Galen knew) very fond of all sorts of game. But he happening to be out when I arrived, and his wife not being at all par tial to the trouble of cooking a hare, which he always expected her to superintend herself, I was again sent on my travels, and started by the first Dover coach that passed for the metropolis.

Again in London, a bailiff paid the porter who was entrusted to carry me from the inn, and took me from him at the door of the house to which he had been directed. He had the honesty to return with me, having himself assumed the garb of a porter, and, in this disguise, he easily gained an entrance, touched the gentleman for whom I was destined on the shoulder, and conducted his prisoner, with little delay, to a sponging-house in .Chancery Lane.

"And on the manor of his friend, Lord Sharpset."

"How ridiculous," said the Lady, "do such people make themselves by endeavouring thus to show their consequence."

"It is contemptible," the Lumbertrooper added." Then, to tell such bouncing falsehoods, and unnecessarily; that puzzles me. How can people make up their minds to that."

And both agreed to condemn such conduct as most absurd and improper ; though this had not occurred to the Captain when I first fell into his hands. It was now debated whether or not I should be sent any where else; but, from the circumstance of their finding it convenient to close their nostrils when their noses were turned towards me, this, it was thought, would be rather too high a joke. The idea was accordingly abandoned, and I was ordered into the kitchen for the servants, where I am now roasting.

I am, Mr. Editor, truly your's,
Puss.

BROWN'S ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS.

From the Literary Gazette.

to indi

cate the style and nature of this publication, especially as applying to the mauners of the Hebrew people, we shall only offer one extract more, on the treatment of the dying; and conclude with a singular passage on the most important of all subjects to a Christian reader, touching one of the greatest miracles at the death of our Saviour.

"Visiting the sick was enjoined to be neither in the three morning, nor in the three evening hours, from motives of delicacy and convenience for the distressed, and when they went, they commonly said, "God pity you, and all the sick among the Israelites." If the person was dangerously ill, either the friends or some Rabbi discoursed with him on subjects suited to his situation; and if near death, they had a formula for the confession of sin, which is given by Buxtorff: for they considered a natural death as the expiation of all his sins; a doctrine which, although it might soothe the patient with a false hope, was yet of dangerous tendency to his eternal interests. At the approach of death, the person dying assembled his children round his bed and blessed them, well knowing that the heart was then susceptible, and that the instructions of a dying parent might be remembered when his body was mouldering in the grave. The patient then, if not formerly, made his will, bequeathing his property equitably among his children, and if he was rich, he gave legacies to the poor, for the endowment of schools, and for the erecting of synagogues. They had a strange custom of changing the name of a person before he died, the reason of which will be seen in the following prayer: "O God, take pity on N, and restore him to his former health; let him be called henceforth O; let him be glad in his new name, and let it be confirmed to him. Be pleased, we intreat thee, O God, that this change of

name may abolish all the hard and evit

decrees against him, and destroy the broad sentence. If death be decreed upon N (his former name), it is not decreed upon O (his present one). If an evil decree was made against N, lo, this hour, he is another man, a new creature, and, like a child, born to a good life and length of days." In the prospect of death, the patient was never left alone, that he might receive advice and every attendance; and when about to expire, the nearest relation, or dearest friend, closed his eyes, and kissed him. Hence Philo, when relating Jacob's complaints on the unexpected death of Joseph, makes him say, that " He will not have the comfort of closing his eyes, and giving him the last embrace."

66

Treatment between the death and fuhad neral." When the person breathed his last, the nearest relations tore their upper garment from head to foot, but the spectators tore about a handbreadth in length on the left side, which was also a heathen practice. Immediately upon the decease, dismal cries were raised by the people in the house and their neighbours, who thronged in on hearing of the event; and at the death of persons in better condition, women were hired to howl, and sing doleful ditties, in which honourable mention was made of the age, beauty, strength, courage, virtues, and actions of the deceased, with the intention of increasing the sorrow of the afflicted relations; and minstrels were employed to accompany them with instruments of music. But what kinds of lamentations these were, will be best understood by the following extracts from Sir John Chardin's manuscript observations, as quoted by Harmer: "I was lodged, in the year 1676,at Ispahan,in Persia, near the royal square. The mistress of the house next mine died at that time in the night. The moment she expired all the family, to the number of 25 or 30 people, set up such a furious cry,

that I was quite startled. These cries
continued a long time, and then ceased
all at once. They began again at day-
break, as suddenly, and in concert. It
is this suddenness which is so terrify-
ing, together with a greater shrillness
and loudness than one can easily ima-
gine." In Barbary they term this
screaming woulliah woo, because it con-
sists in the repetition of that word.
But let us attend to their care of the
corpse. The first thing done was to
extend the body on a cloth, on the floor
or table, with the face covered, and to
wash it with a warm infusion of camo-
mile flowers and dried roses. This
was done for two reasons; to restore
life if suspended, and to make the per-
fumes enter the pores more easily. Wo-
men were the persons formerly employ-
ed in this office, and hence the two
Marys went to the sepulchre of our
Lord, but afterwards it was thought
more decorous to employ persons of
the same sex. When the washing was
completed, it was laid on a table, all the
vents shut up, and the body embalmed.
This embalming was different accord-
ing to the rank or vanity of the deceas-
ed. The most common way was to
anoint the body with a solution of some
odoriferous drugs, and wrap it in linen;
but to persons of affluence, spices in
great abundance were used. Thus Jo-
seph of Arimathea and Nicodemus,
because they were wealthy, and wished
to do honour to Jesus, wrapped his
body in a linen cloth, with a hundred
pounds weight of myrrh and lign aloes,
which was said to be the manner of the
Jews to bury; not that they all em-
ployed so many spices, but thereby im
plying that they merely wrapped the
body in spices, and did not embowel it.
The two Marys, not knowing what was
done by these worthy men, and never
suspecting a resurrection, had also pre-
pared spices and ointments. After the
washing with water and embalming, the
body was bound up in grave-clothes,
and laid in an upper chamber. The
shrouds were either simple or magnifi-
cent, according to circumstances, and
sometimes they retained their ordinary
clothes, or were buried in a shroud of

their own preparing.
But although
embalming, by being wrapt in spices,
was the usual way of the Jews to bury,
it was not the only one, for they also
embowelled, in the manner of the
Egyptian and the common way of
doing it was this: "The body was giv-
en to the embalmers, who first took out
the brains and entrails, and washed
them in palm wine, impregnated with
strong astringent drugs; after which
they began to anoint the body with oil
of cedar, myrrh, cinnamon, and cassia,
and this lasted thirty days. They next
put it into a solution of nitre for forty
days longer, so that they allowed seven-
ty days to complete the embalming ;
after which they wound it up in swathes
of linen, besmeared with gum. Being
then able to resist putrefaction, it was
delivered to the relations, inclosed in a
paper or wooden figure, somewhat re-
sembling a coffin, and laid in the cata-
comb or cave belonging to the family.
Thevenot says, that "the mummy he
examined had above a thousand ells of
filletting about the body, besides what
was wrapt about the head." The an-
cient Jewish method seems to resemble
the modern eastern practice, however,
rather than the ancient Egyptian, which
according to Dr. Perry, consists in
wrapping up the body in two, three, or
more different sorts of stuffs, accord-
ing to the circumstances of the deceas-
ed, with spices intermixed.--

Those who were engaged in preparing the body for burial, were considered ceremonially unclean for seven days; the first three more so than the remaining four, and on the last of the first three days they were sprinkled with water, in which were some of the ashes of the red heifer. According to Sir John Chardin, however, the Persians carry matters farther after the death of their kings, for they displace (mazoul) the physicians and astrologers; the first for not having driven away death, and the second for not having predicted it; and he very ingeniously conjectures that Daniel had been displaced, or zoulied, on the death of Nebuchadnezzar, which was the reason why he was unknown to Belshazzar the son, but well

ma

« VorigeDoorgaan »