These rushes are in the best condition in the height of summer: but may be gathered, so as to answer

purpose well, quite on to autumn. It would be needless to add, that the largest and longest are best. As soon as they are cut, they must be flung into water, and kept there; for otherwise they will dry and shrink, and the peel will not run, At first a person would find it no easy matter to take the peel away from a rush, so as to leave one regular, narrow, even rib, from top to bottom, that may support the pith : but this, like other feats, soon becomes familiar, even to children; and we have seen an old woman, stone blind, performing this business with great dispatch, and seldom failing to strip them with the nicest regularity. When these rushes are thus far prepared, they must lie out on the grass to bleach, and take the dew for some nights, and afterwards be dried in the sun.

Some address is required in dipping these rushes in the scalding fat or grease;

but this knack also is to be attained by practice. The careful wife of an industrious Hampshire labourer obtains all her fat for nothing: for she saves the scummings of her bacon-pot for this use; and if the grease abounds with salt, she causes the salt to precipitate to the bottom, by setting the scummings in a 'warm oven. Where hogs are not much in use, and especially by the sea side, the coarser animal-oils will come cheap. A pound of common grease may be procured for fourpence; and about six pounds of grease will dip a pound of rushes; and one pound of rushes may be bought for one shilling ; so that a pound of rushes, covered with the fat, and ready for use, will cost three shillings. If men that keep bees will mix a little wax with the grease, it will give it a consistency, and render it more cleanly, and make the rushes burn longer: mutton-suet would have the same effect.

A good rush which measured in length two feet,

four inches, and half, being minuted, burnt an hour all but three minutes; and a rush of still greater length has been known to burn one hour and a quarter.

These rushes give a good clear light. Common rush-lights shed a dismal light, the wicks of those have two ribs of the rind, or peel, to support the pith, while the wick of the dipped rush has but one. The two ribs are intended to impede the progress of the flame, and make the candle last.

In a pound of dry rushes, avoirdupois, which I caused to be weighed and numbered, we found upwards of one thousand six hundred rushes. Now suppose each of these burns, one with another, only half an hour, then a poor man will purchase 800 hours of light, a time exceeding thirty-three entire days and nights, for three shillings. According to this account each rush, before dipping, costs t's part of a farthing, and in part afterwards. Thus a poor family will enjoy five hours and a half of comfortable light for a farthing.

An experienced old housekeeper assures me that one pound and a half of rushes completely supplies his family the year round, since working people burn no candle in the long days, because they rise and go to bed by day light.

Little farmers use rushes much in the short days, both morning and evening, in the dairy and kitchen; but the very poor buy an halfpenny candle every evening, which, in their blowing open rooms, does not burn much more than two hours. Thus have they only two hours light for their halfpenny instead of eleven.

LETTER XXVI. Selborne, Nov. 1, 1775.


Let me enter thy house, O Lord, this day with re. collected thoughts, composed behaviour, and with a thankful and devout temper of mind. Grant me the true spirit of prayer; may I hear thy word with attention, and with a particular application of it to the state of my own heart. Grant, O Lord, that I may always so observe this holy day of rest here below, that I may celebrate an eternal rest with Thee hereafter in thy heavenly kingdom, through the merits and intercession of my blessed Saviour. Amen,

[merged small][graphic]

THERE is, on Salisbury * plain, a number of vast stones, having a very curious appearance; some of them are laid across the others, and have a sort of resemblance to a gallows; and it was probably from

• Wiltshire,

this appearance, that the name of "Stonehenge” was given to these celebrated remains of ancient times. The word “ Stonehenge" is Saxon, and signifies a “stone gallows." It is not exactly known what this building was originally intended for, or when it was first erected.

One opinion is, that it was built as a great monument to the memory of 460 Britons, who were murdered by the Saxons.

Some say that it was erected to the memory of an ancient British king.

Others think that it is the monument of Boadicea, the queen of the ancient Britons.

Some think that it is the remains of a Roman temple; and some consider that it was erected by the Danes, who were for two years masters of Wiltshire.

The most common opinion, however, and probably the right one, is, that it was a temple belonging to the Britons of former days, and that in it the Druids performed their worship, and conducted their religious ceremonies. These Druids were the priests of the ancient Britons. The Draids were accustomed to place one large stone on another for religious memorials, and some of these are so exactly balanced, that the slightest touch will make them move. One such stone remains at Stonehenge, and there are others, in different parts of the country, especially a very carious one near Penzance, in Cornwall, called the rocking stone, or logan. "These rocking stones are of such vast, size, and so firm in reality, that it has appeared beyond the power of man to remove them from their station, though they may be made to vibrate with a single band.

Not long since, some English sailors, determined to try what they could do, and actually succeeded in removing the logan from its situation. It was, bowever, considered so great a piece of barbarism

to spoil this curious piece of antiquity, that the stone has been restored to its situation with great pains and labour. Some of these rocking stones are nataral ; some made by art; and it is believed chiefly by the Druids of old.

(From Rivington's National School Magazine.]

WYCOMBE PROVIDENT SOCIETY. With a little assistance from those who can afford to give their money, or their time, and attention, and with a little prudence and forethought on the part of those who are in need, a plan might be adopted, in every parish, which would prevent a very great deal of the misery which the poor now endure -especially in the cold season of winter. The following extract is taken from an introduction to the rules and regulations of the High Wycombe Provident Society:

“ This society was established at High Wycombe, in July 1823, under the patronage of Lord and Lady Carrington, and has been continued to the present time, to the great relief of the poor, upwards of 230 of whom have deposited their money, and received a considerable addition thereto from the donations and subscriptions of the respectable inhabitants, together with the interest accruing thereon, in the Savings' Bank; but the advantages derived by the poor are not confined to these sources, great as they undoubtedly are; the smallness of the payments made by them, in most instances not more than a penny per week, prevent their pressing hard upon their earnings, and the deduction is made without any material sacrifice; also, the articles received by them being purchased in large quantities and on the best terms, the portion received is larger, and the quality better than

« ElőzőTovább »