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45]
Varieties. Omens and Charms

[46 countenances, which have not yet lost What then is to be the fate of these the traces of childhood! Let any man unfortunate beings, whose doom appears' walk from the Exchange to Charing- thus to be fixed, before reason or choice cross, under the glare of the mid-day can take any part in the event ? Must sun, and the slightest degree of observa- they perisb by misery and disease before tion will point out to himn a multitude of the pen of Time has written Woman victims to early disgrace, who, io point upon the brow? or will the benevoient of age, are hardly yet fit to be enanci- stretch out the hand of compassion, and pated from the restraints of the nursery ; rescue from sorrow, from sin, and from and who, it is a melancholy truth, are no the grave, these hapless daughters of less distinguishable by their infantile Athiction, who have yet known little of appearance, than by the unblushing life, except its crimes and its miseries ? manner in which they force themselves A more favourable prospect seems to upon the attention of the passenger. open upon us : “A Guardian Society for

Whatever may be said relative to the providing an asylum for unfortunate causes which seduce those of a more Females," has been formed ; and sure mature age from the paths of Virtue (and I am that the claims of this most pitiable I have in general found this most unfor. class of sufferers will not be permitted to tunate description of persons to be far pass upheeded by the philanthropic more sinned against than sinning,) we characters wbo conduct the affairs of this cannot impute to extravagance, to excellent Charity. credulity, or to the operation of uncon I will now leave the subject to the trolled passions, the fall of these youth- consideration of your Readers; requestful sacrifices to the depravity of the other ing those who, at this festive season, sex. They are, and from the nature of behold their own blooming offspring the case must be, involuntary, passive, smiling around them in peace and secuunresisting victims upon the altar of Mo- rity, to contrast the sufferings of the loch! but whether overawed through infant daughters of Sin with these happier the operation of fear, or forced by open prospects, and to shew their gratitude to and undisguised violence, they are alike the Giver of all good things, by uniting plunged into the abyss of destruction, to save his fallen and deserted creatures! before they are conscious of the ruin they Yours, &c.

E. L are compelled to suffer.

VARIETIES,
CRITICAL, LITERARY, AND HISTORICAL

OMENS AND CHARMS. as they are apt to cut love or friendship. KNIVES Scissors. Razors,&c.-.-It To navoid the ill effects of this, a pin, a

is uplucky, says Grose in bis Popu- farthing, or some trifling recompense bet Antiquities, to lay one's knife and fork must be taken. To find a knife or racrosswise. Crosses and misfortunes are zor denotes ill luck or disappointment to likely to follow. Melton, in his Astrols the party. egator, obserses, that “ It is naught for The Howling or Dogs.-A superany man to give a pair of knives to his stitious opinion prevails, that the howling sweetheart, for fear it cut away all love of a dog by night in a neighbourhood is that is between them.” Thus Gay, in the presage of death to any that are sick the Shepherd's Week:

in it. We know not what has given rise ** Bat wo is me ! such preserta juckless prove, to this : dogs have been known to stand * For knives, they tell me, always sever love." and howl over the dead bodies of their

It is, says Grose, ui ky to present a masters, when they have been murdere' knife

, scissors, razor Mog. Vi sharp or cut- or died an accidental or sudden death ting instrument to ess or friend, taking such note of what is past, is

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THE

47]
Varieties : Lilerary, Critical, and Historical.

[48 instance of great sensibility in this faithful

Bars op GRATES, PURSES, animal, without supposing that it has in and Coffins.—A flake of soot hanging the smallest degree any prescience of the at the bars of the grate, says Grose, defuture. Shakspeare ranks this among notes the visit of a stranger, like the funomens :

gus of the candle, from that part of the The owl shriek'd at my birth; an evil sign! country nearest the object. Dr. Gold4 The night-crow cry'd aboding luckless time, smith, in his Vicar, among the omens of " Dogs howld, and hideoas tempests shook his hero's daughter, tells us, “ purses down trees."

hounded from the fire.” In the north of The howling of dogs, says Grose, is a England, the cinders that bound from the certain sign that some one of the family fire are carefully examined by old women, will very shortly die. The following and, according to their respective forms, , passage is in the Merry Devil of Ed- are called either coffins or purses ; and monton :

consequently thought to be the pre." I hear the watchful dogs sages of death or wealth ; aut Ce“ With hollow howling tell of ty approach:"

sar aut nullus. A coal, says Grose, and the subsequent is cited in Poole's in the shape of a coffin, flying out of the English Parnassus :

fire to any particular person, betokens “The air that night was fill'd with dismal their death not far off.

groans, “ And people oft awaked with the bowls

Charms. Saliva, OR Spitting.as Of wolves and fatal dogs.”

Spittle, among the ancients, was esteemed CANDLE OMENS.— The fungus par

a charm against all kinds of fascination : cels, as Sir Thomas Brown calls them,

so Theocritus, about the wicks of candles, are common- « From fascinating charms.?

“ Thrice on my hreast I spit, to guard me safe ly thought to foretell strangers. Io the north as well as in other parts of England,

And thus Persius, upon the custom of they are called letters at the candle, as if

nurses spitting upon children ; the forerunners of some strange news.

“ See how old Beldams expiation make:

" To atone the Gods the hantling up they take, These, says Brown, with his usual pedan “ His lips are wel with lustral spitile, thus try of style, which is well atoned for by They think to make the guds propitious.” his good sense and learning, only indi- Spitting, according to Pliny, was supercate a moist and pluvious air, which hin- stitiously observed in averting witchcraft, ders the avolation of the light and favil- and in giving a shrewder blow to an eneJous particles whereupon they settle upon my. Hence seems to be derived the the shast. That candles and lights, he custom our bruisers have of spitting in observes also, burn blue and dim at the their hands before they begin their barbaapparition of spirits, may be true, if the rous diversion, unless it wrs originally ambient air be full of sulphureous spirits, for luck's sake. Several other vestiges of as it happens often in mines. Melton this superstition, relative to fasting spittle, in his Astrologaster, says, that “if a can• mentioned also by Pliny, may yet be dle burne blew, it is a signe that there is placed among our vulgar custoins. -a spirit in the house, or not farre from it." The boys in the north of England A collection of tallow, says Grose, rising have a custom amongst themselves of up against the wick of a candle, is styled spitting their faith (or as they call it in a winding sheet, and deemed an omen of the northern dialect, “ their saul,” i.e. death in the family. A spark at the can- soul), when required to make asseveradle, says the same author,denotes that the tions in matters which they think of conparty opposite to it will shortly receive sequence. a letter. A kind of fungus in the candle, To the combinations of the colliers, observes the same writer, predicts the &c. about Newen-tle-upon-Tyne, for the visit of a stranger froin that part of the purpose of raising their wages, they are couptry nearest the object. Dr. Gold- said to sit upo- stone together, hy caith, in liis Fier of IV akefield, speak- way of cement to their confederae).

of the waking dreams of his hero's Hence the ponark of ing, when per-'75 ighter, says, the girls had their omens are of the

pil

e in sentint They saw rings in the candle.

that they “ 51

aine stonn."

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49] Shakspeare's Birth-day.- Remarkable Proverbs, obscure Sayings,&c. [50

Mr. Urban,

Fish women generally spit upon their But as among these are several that have handsels, i. e. the first money they take, made remarks in the highest degree acute, for good luck. Grose mentions this as a judicious, and elegant; and the others common practice among the lower class (like an execrable puu) being frequently of hucksters, pedlars, and dealers in fruit highly entertaining from their very and or fish, on receiving the price of the first extreme absurdity,--might not in this goods they sell.

book-making age) a very useful and We gather from a collection of the an- interesting book be got up, by printing, cient religious customs in North Wales, in large octavo, with two columns, on a drawn up by a clergyman deceased, that very small type, ALL the Prefaces, Esthere, “ in the church, they usually spit says, Remarks, Poems, &c. &c. &c. that at the name of the devil, and smite their have ever been written, published with or breasts at the name of Judas. In their without, or anywise relating to Shakordinary conversation, the first name gives speare? This book should be got up them no salivation, but is too familiar in uniformly with Miller's edition, 8vo. their mouths.”

1806; a good Family Shakspeare: or

Ayscough's Concordance of the Bard. SHAKSPEARE.

The Prefaces, Essays, Poems, &c. to Westfelton, Salop, April 5. come first, and the Annotations to follow,

regularly distributed under the heads of SHAKSPEARE has this present each Act, Scene, &c. of the particular month lived, with increasing warmth Plays : so would this book serve for and brilliance, in the hearts of his Coun- any edition ; and people already protrymen exactly two hundred years from vided might so have what they would his mortal decease; and I have authority not otherwise procure ; and the things to say, the event is likely to be celebrated themselves become a million times more with cordial rapture, both at the place pleasing and useful than when tacked to exulting in the high honour of his nativity, the text, ever distracting the attention and as well as in the Metropolis. For my- interest by “thrusting their farthing self, it will be the seventh annual recur- candles to the sun.” The method of rence of the convivial delight, since my reading recommended by Dr. Johnson residence here, wherewith his birthday in his admirable Preface to the Bard has been garlanded, by a few literary (which it is “useless to praise, and folly friends, who on that occasion have hon- to blame,") would then and thus be more oured my humble dwelling; where, readily attained. There can be no even should I be unable to resist the doubt of the success of sale to the persons impulse of revisiting Stratford-on-Avon embarking in such an undertaking; and this time, I shall take care the day goes arrangement might be made for incornot ungraced with its usual garniture. I porating therein whatever the right of cannot embrace a fitter time, Mr. Urban, copy might otherwise exclude. I to propose, through your pages, a thought merely drop this as a seed into your I have long been desirous of extending, pages, where I hope to see it ramify and with respect to the immortal remains of blossom hereafter; and finally be the this “ matchless man." Disgusted to means of producing the projected fruit. see his blossoms of ambrosial and purest I cannot more appropriately conclude, bloom loaded, stuffed, and daubed with than with the four verses that may be the trash and trampery of certaio crea- fouod written on one of the fly-leaves of irres calling themselves Commentators, my first folio of the Bard : that stick to Authors, as the Remora to the Whale, hoping so to glide down the Goode frende, for Shakspeare's sake forbcare stream of time, I would recommend that To marre one jotte that's written here; in future his text be always printed Bless'd bee they that rigbtlie conn hin, without any gloss or comment whatever. And cursed they that comment on him.

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1

Betty Martin,"

51]
Varieties : Literary, Critical, and Historical

[52 ILLUSTRATION OF REMARKABLE amounts to no more than this, that the PROVERBS, &c.

prisoner has an opportunity and full libMY EYE BETTY MARTIN.

erty of manifesting his iunocence. This is a vulgarism to be met with

A CLINCHER. only in low companies, though it has sometimes been transplanted from thence, when some extravagant circumstance is

This word is frequently made use of and introduced into noble and even related which it would be an insult to princely mansions. It is an expression the understanding to believe : but as it of contempt and defiance, when a per, is seldom heard except among the lower son is not to be convinced or satisfied with any thing that is said in the way of orders of society, so it entirely derives explanation, in opposition to which the its origin from thence. Two journey

men mechanics were one day contendindignant sceptic is apt to exclaim : “'Tis all my eye 'Betty Martin," of these ing for superiority in the art of invenstrange and apparently unmeaning words tion, and at length laid a wager which

of them could coin the greatest lie. When the following appears to be a correct de

the stakes were deposited, he that was finition. A man going once into ehurch or chapel of the Romish persua- moonlight night he threw a tenpenny

to begin swore vebemently that one sion on St. Martin's day, heard the La- pail with such force, that it went quite tin Litany chaunted, when the words “ Mihi Beate Martin,” occurred so often, through the body of the lunar orb, which

was then at full. " That's true," said that upon being asked how he liked the

bis service, he replied it was nothing but side at the very moment, and with my

“ for I was on the other

opponent ; nonsense or something worse, as from

claw hammer I clinched the nail.” The beginning to end " it was all my eye last fellow was adjudged the prize, and

from that time every outrageous falseCULPRIT.

hood has been termed a clincher. It is universally known that our an. eient proceedings in the courts were ma

Blarney Castle, the ancient seat of the naged in the French language ; and this Macarty family, is situated about three will lead to an explanation of the word miles from Cork; and adjoining to it is culprit, about which there has been a

an old ruinous tower on an eminence, strange difference of opinion among law with winding stone steps up to the sumwriters. After reading the indictment, the pri- for all strangers who ascended to the top

mit. Formerly it was a singular custom soner at the bar is asked whether he is of this tower to creep on their hands guilty or not guilty of the matter charged and knees to the corner stone of the against him : if he answers not guilty, highest pinnacle, and kiss the same, by the clerk of arraigns replies culprit ; virtue of which it was pretended that which is said by some to be derived from they acquired the singular power of pleaculp prist, and culp prit from culpabilist sing in conversation. Hence came the and presto, signifying guilty already. expression, in speaking of a fawning, This far-fetched interpretation is out wheedling fellow, that he had been at of all character, and contrary to the spirit Blarney. of the law, which supposes a person innocent till his guilt is proved by the evidence of others, or his own confession. Right and Wrong. Exhibited in the The word is clearly a corruption of the

History of Rosa and Agnes. Wm. French Qu'il paroit? The officer of the

ten for her Children, by a Mother,

Author of Alwuys Happy ;". court says, “Guilty or not guilty ?"

Introduction to Mrs. Barbauld's LesNow if the prisoner replies “guilty," and persists in so doing, bis confession is re

sons ;" “ Key to Knowledge,” &c. corded; but if he answers “not guilty,” In the opposite conduct, in early life, the officer says Culprit,” when he of these Twin Sisters, the Author of should rather say “Qu'il paroit i. e. his little volume has largely exemplified make it appear, or let it appear; and it the consequences of acting “right” and

HE HAS BEEN AT BLARNEY.

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53]
Varieties : Literary, Critical, and Historical.

[54 "wrong," in a variety of instances, which within their reach. The very cessation cannot fail of impressing the mind of a of labour and exertion, to those who toil young reader. Of the neat simplicity of hard during six successive days, is no the Author's language, her description of small blessing, and such as the wealthy a Sunday shall serve as a specimen : and the indolent can form no just con“The morning was fine, and was

ception of.'.' There is something cheerfully ustered in with the enlivening pleasant in the very idea, that even the chime of the church bells. The twin. poor beasts enjoy, on this day, rest and sisters, as usual, rose somewhat earlier freedom from ill-treatment,' said Rosa. on this welcome day, for many were its True, Rosa ; and that man, under the peculiar privileges and pleasures. Neatly most inclement seasons, has still his dressed in tbeir best attire, clean, and

comforts. The wholesome meal, round decent, with fresh-washed cheeks, and which his family assemble, the blazing eyes beaming with good humour, they fire, beaming on many a happy face, joined their parents at the breakfast the evening hours profitably spent in table. :I am always so glad when it is reading the sacred volume, which conSunday,' said Agnes ; for we have so firms our best purposes, and invigorates many pleasant things to do, and to talk our highest bopes; or innocently cheerabout; so much variety, and so much ed by the soothing notes of sacred melody comfort !' And I love Sunday too,

of prayer and praise, or the social convery much,' said the little lisping Ed- verse that, opening the heart, binds man win, her young brother ; for

you
know,

to man in the strong link of social papa, it is the forgiving day. His fa- converse and friendly confidence.'-Yog ther smiled at his innocent prattle. . If have left me,' said the attentive husband, you never did wrong, Edwin, there to name one other Sunday blessing; would be no occasion for a forgiving

the noblest joy of all.'-—' I understand day, as you call it.'—But, as I do wrong ihe satisfaction of going to church.

you, papa,' said Aghes ; 'you mean sometimes, papa, I love to be forgiving ; and you know you always forgive me,

• You are right, Agnes; for, what can most willingly, on Sunday. Yes, Ed be a nobler employment than to offer, win, because Sunday is a holy day, a to the Great Giver of Good, the thanksday set apart by God for

givings of our grateful hearts, to appear fort.'—. And therefore we ought to for- in his more immediate presence, and, get and forgive, and love every body,

in his own sacred temple, confess our and be as happy and as quiet as ever

frailties, entreat his mercy, and adore we can,' said Edwin. His sisters laugh

bis power? Oh, my children! what a ed at his curious list of Sunday duties, blessing is this, what a high, what a closing with what he thought a great glorious privilege !—The little circle virtue, to be as quiet as we can — listened with reverence to this affect

For my part,' said his mother, one ing appeal. Their worthy father conof my many Sunday pleasures is, to be- tinued. "How soothing to the best afhoid all classes of people enjoying them- fections, to bebold our fellow creatures selves in their several modes, The joining with us in this sacred act of piety, shopkeepers taking pleasant walks with to look around us, and view a whole their wives and children, the poor day- kneeling congregation uniting in the labourers resting from their week's hard same expression of adoration ; one great service, and dressed in their best gar- family, acknowledging their Universal ments, playing with their little ones, and Father! Who can so feel, and leave the having a little harmless chat with their house of God with any other feelings friends and neighbours,'—. And there than those of pious awe and unbounded fore mamma, I am always sorry when charity! - The bell

now proclaimed the the weather is bad on a Sunday," said hour of worship. The smiling family, Agnes. 'So am I, Agnes ; but, even with eager haste, prepared to obey the in that case, there are many pleasures welcome summons ; the little ones

peace and

com.

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