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It will be seen from this engraving that the person, whose business it was to "watch" and trim the lamp, did not ascend for that purpose by a ladder, as the gas-lighters do our gas-lamps, or as •the lamp-lighter did the oil-lamps which they superseded, but by climbing the pole, hand and foot, by means of the projections on each side.
St. John's Eve Watch at Nottingham.
The practice of setting the watch, at Nottingham, on St. John's eve, was maintained until the reign of Charles I., the the manner whereof is thus described :—
"In Nottingham, by an ancient custom, they keep yearly a general watch every Midsummer eve at night, to which every inhabitant of any ability sets forth a man, as well voluntaries as those who are charged with arms, with such munition
as they have; some pikes, some muskets, calivers, or other guns, some partisans, holberts, and such as have armour send their servants in their armour. The number of these are yearly almost two hundred, who, at sun-setting, meet on the Row, the most open part of the town, where the mayor's Serjeant at mace gives them an oath, the tenor whereof followeth, in these words: ' They shall well and truly keep this town till to-morrow at the sun-nsing; you shall come into no house without license, or cause reasonable. Of all manner of casualties, of fire, of crying of children, you shall due warning make to the parties, as the case shall require you. You shall due search make of all manner of affrays, bloud-sheds, outcrys, and of all other things that be suspected,' 8cc. Which done, they all march in orderly array through the principal parts of the town, and then they are sorted into several companies, and designed to several parts of the town, where they are to keep the watch until the sun dismiss them in the morning. In this business the fashion is for every watchman to wear a garland, made in the fashion of a crown imperial, bedeck'd with flowers of various kinds, some natural, some artificial, bought and kept for that purpose; as also ribbons, jewels, and, for the better garnishing whereof, the townsmen use the day before to ransack the gardens of all the gentlemen within six or seven miles about Nottingham, besides what the town itself affords them, their greatest ambition being to outdo one another in the bravery of their garlands." So pleasant a sight must have been reluctantly parted with; and accordingly in another place we find that this Midsummer show was held at a much later period than at Nottingham, and with more pageantry in the procession.
St. John's Eve Watch at Chester. The annual setting of the watch on St. John's eve, in the city of Chester, was an affair of great moment. By an ordinance of the mayor, aldermen, and common councilmen of that corporation, dated in the year 1564,' and preserved among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, a pageant which is expressly said to be "according to ancient custom," is ordained to consist of four giants, one unicorn, one dromedary, one camel, one luce, one dragon, and six hobby-horses
• Deering'i Nottingham.
with other figures. By another MS. in the same library it is said, that Henry Hardware, Esq., the mayor, in 1599, caused the giants in the Midsummer show to be broken, " and not to goe the devil in hit feathert ;" and it appears that he caused a man in complete armour to go in their stead: but in the year 1601, John Ratclyffe, beer-brewer, being mayor, set out the giants and Midsummer show as of old it was wont to be kept. In the time of the commonwealth the show was discontinued, and the giants with the beasts were destroyed.
At the restoration of Charles IL, the citizens of Chester replaced their pageant, and caused all things to be made new, because the old models were broken. According to the computation, the four great giants were to cost five pounds a-piece, at the least, and the four men to carry them were to have two shillings and six-pence each: the materials for constructing them were to be hoops of various sizes, deal boards, nails, pasteboard, scaleboard, paper of various sorts, buckram, size-cloth, and old sheets for their body-sleeves and shirts, which were to be coloured; also tinsel, tinfoil, gold and silver leaf, and colours of various kinds, with glue and paste in abundance. The provision of a pair of old sheets to cover the " father and mother giants," and three yards of buckram for the mother's and daughter's hoods, seems to prove that three of these monstrous pasteboard figures represented females. A desire to preserve them may be inferred from an entry in the bill of charges :—" For arsnick to put into the paste, to save the giants from being eaten by the rats, one shilling and four-pence." There was an item in the estimate—" For the new making the city mount, called the maior's mount, as auntiently it was, and for hireing of bays for the same, and a man to carry it, three pounds six shillings and eight-pence." Twenty-pence was paid to a joiner for cutting pasteboard into several images for the " merchant's mount,"
which being made, " as it aunciently was, with a ship to turn round," cost four pounds, including the hiring of the "bays," and five men to carry it. The charge for the ship, and new dressing it, was five shillings. Strutt, who sets forth these particulars, conjectures, that the ship was probably made with pasteboard, that material seeming, to him, to have been a principle article in the manufacturing of both these movable mountains. The ship was turned, he says, by means of a swivel, attached to an iron handle underneath the frame; the " bays "was to hang round the bottom of the frames to the ground, and so conceal the bearers. Then there was a new "elephant and castell, and a cupid," with his bows and arrows, " suitable to it;" the castle was covered with tin foil, and the cupid with skins, so as to appear to be naked, and the charge for these, with two men to carry them, was one pound sixteen shillings and eight-pence. The " four beasts called the unicorne, the antelop, the flower-de-luce (O and thecamell, cost one pound sixteen shillings and four-pence each, and eight men were paid sixteen shillings to carry them. Four boys for carrying the four hobby-horses, had four shillings, and the hobby-horses cost six shillings and eight-pence each. The charge for the new dragon, with six naked boys to beat at it, was one pound sixteen shillings. Six morris-dancers, with a pipe and tabret, had twenty shillings; and "hance-staves, garlands, and balls, for the attendants upon the mayor and sheriffs cost one pound nineteen shillings."
These preparations it will be remembered were for the setting forth of the Midsummer-watch at Chester, so late as the reign of Charles II. After relating these particulars, Mr. Strutt aptly observes, that exhibitions of this kind for the diversions of the populace, are well described in a few lines from a dramatic piece, entitled " A pleasant and stately Morall of theThrceLordes of London:"— Somersetshire Custom,
"Let nothing that's magnifies],
Or that may tend to London's graceful state,
* Strati's SperU.
In the parishes of Congresbury and Puxton, are two large pieces of common land, called East and West Dolemoors, (from the Saxon dal, which signifies a share or portion,) which are divided into single acres, each bearing a peculiar and different mark cut in the turf; such as a horn, four oxen and a mare, two oxen and a mare, a pole-axe, cross, dung-fork, oven, duck's-nest, hand-reel, and hare's-tail, On the Saturday before Old-Midsummer, several proprietors of estates in the parishes of Congresbury, Puxton, and Week St. Lawrence, or their tenants, assemble on the commons. A number of apples are previously prepared, marked in the same manner with the before-mentioned acresj which are distributed by a young lad to each of the commoners from a bag or hat. At the close of the distribution each person repairs to his allotment, as his apple directs him, and takes possession for the ensuing year. An adjournment then takes place to the house of the overseer of Dolemoors, (an officer annually elected from the tenants,) where four acres, reserved for the purpose of paying expenses, are let by inch of candle, and the remainder of the day is spent in that sociability and hearty mirth so congenial to the soul of a Somersetshire yeoman.*
Our Lady's Slipper. Cypripediwn
Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The Martyrs of Rome under Nero, A. D. 64. St. Bartholomew.
Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
At Oxford on this day there was lately a remarkable custom, mentioned by the Rev. W. Jones of Nayland, in his " Life of Bishop Home," affixed to the bishop's works. He says, "a letter of July the
25th, 1755, informed me that Mr. Home, according to an established custom at Magdalen-college in Oxford, had begun to preach before the university on the day of St. John the baptist. For the preaching of this annual sermon, a permanent pulpit of stone is inserted into a corner of the first quadrangle; and, so long as the stone pulpit was in use, (of which I have been a witness,) the quadrangle was furnished round the sides with a large fence of green boughs, that the preaching might more,nearly resemble that of John the baptist in the wilderness; and a pleasant sight it was: but for many years the custom has been discontinued, and the assembly have thought it safer to take shelter under the roof of the chapel."
Without descanting at this time on the manifold construction of the pulpit, it may be allowable, perhaps, to observe, that the ambo, or first pulpit, was an elevation consisting of two flights of stairs; on the higher was read the gospel, on the lower the epistle. The pulpit of the present day is that fixture in the church, or place of worship, occupied by the minister while he delivers his sermon. Thus much is observed for the present, in consequence of the mention of the Oxford pulpit; and for the purpose of introducing the representation of a remarkably beautiful structure of this kind, from a fine engraving by Fessard in 1710.
This pulpit is larger than the pulpit of the church of England, and the other Protestant pulpits in our own country. It is a pulpit of the Homish church with a bishop preaching to a congregation of high rank. It is customary for a Roman Catholic prelate to have the ensigns of his prelacy displayed in the pulpit,and hence they are so exhibited in Fessard's print. This, however, is by no means so large as other pulpits in Romish churches, which are of increased magnitude for the purpose of congregating the clergy, when their occupations at the altar have ceased, before the eye of the congregation; and hence it is common for many of them to sit robed, by the side of the preacher, during the sermon.
For the Every-Day Book.
This is quarter-day !—what a variety of thought and feeling it calls up in the minds of thousands in this great metropolis. How many changes of abode,' voluntary and involuntary, for the better and for the worse, are now destined to take place! There is the charm of novelty at least; and when the mind is disposed to be pleased, as it is when the will leads, it inclines to extract gratification from the anticipation of advantages, rather than to be disturbed by any latent doubts which time may or may not realize.
Perhaps the removal is to a house of decidedly superior class to the present; and if this step is the consequence of augmented resources, it is the first indication to the world of the happy circumstance. Here, then, is an additional ground of pleasure, not very heroic indeed, but perfectly natural. Experience may have shown us that mere progression in life is not always connected with progression in happiness; and therefore, though we may smile at the simplicity which connects them in idea, yet our recollection of times past, when we ourselves indulged the delusion, precludes us from expressing feelings that we have acquired by experience. The pleasure, if from a shallow source, is at least a present benefit, and a sort of counterpoise to vexations from imaginary causes. It does not seem agreeable to contemplate retrogression; to behold a familydescendingfrom their wonted sphere, and becoming the inmates of a humbler dwelling; yet, they who have had the resolution, I may almost say the magnanimity, voluntarily to descend, may reasonably be expected again to rise. They have given proof of the possession of one quality indispensable in such an attempt — that mental decision, by which they have achieved a task, difficult, painful, and to many, impracticable. They have shown, too, theirability to form a correct estimate of the value of the world's opinion, so far as it is influenced by external appearances, and boldly disregarding its terrors, have wisely resolved to let go that which could not be much longer held. By this determination, besides rescuing themselves from a variety of perpetually recurring embarrassments
store for them, had their decline reached its expected crisis, while they have secured the approbation and kind wishes of all the good and considerate. The consciousness of this consoles them for what is past, contents them with the present, and animates their hopes for the future.
Now, let us shift the scene a little, and look at quarter-day under another aspect. On this day some may quit, some may remain; all must pay—that can! Alas, that there should be some unable 1 I pass over the rich, whether landlord or tenant; the effects of quarter-day to them are sufficiently obvious: they feel little or no sensation on its approach or arrival, and when it is over, they feel no alteration in their accustomed necessaries and luxuries. Not so with the poor man; I mean the man who, in whatever station, feels his growing inability to meet the demands periodically and continually making on him. What a day quarter-day is to him.' He sees its approach from a distance, tries to be prepared, counts his expected means of being so, finds them short of even his not very sanguine expectations, counls again, but can make no more of them; and while day after day elapses, sees his little stock diminishing. What shall he do? He perhaps knows his landlord to'be inexorable; how then- shall he satisfyhim? Shall he borrow? Alas, of whom? Where dwell the practicers of this precept —" From him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away?" Most of the professors of the religion which enjoins this precept, construe it differently; What shall he do? something must be soon decided on. He sits down to consider. He looks about his neatly-fumished house or apartments, to see what out of his humble possessions, he can convert into money. The faithful wife of his bosom becomes of his council. There is nothing they have, which they did not purchase for some particular, and as they then thought, necessary purpose; how, then, can they spare any thing? they ruminate; they repeat the names of the various articles, they fix on nothing—there is nothing they can part with. They are about so to decide; but their recollection that external resources are now all dried up, obliges them to resume their task, and resolutely determine to do without something, how ever painful may be the sacrifice. Could we hear the reasons which persons thns situated assign, why this or that article