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MISCELLANEOUS SUPERSTITIONS.

tice of believing that dreams are indicative or symbolic and heard.” The devil said to him, “Saw you that! of coming events, is one of the weakest of our popular It was not my hand; it was my father's : my hand is superstitions, and is now very properly ridiculed by more black in the loof (palm.) Would you see me,” every rational mind,

says the foul thief, “put out the candle, and I shall come butt the house (into the outer room) among you

like fireballs,”' &c. The visit of the minister was unDuring the seventeenth century, the belief in witch- availing. About this time the devil began with new craft, fairies, apparitions, charms, and every other assaults; and ng the ready meat which was in the species of supernatural agency, was universal in Britain, house, did sometimes hide it in holes by the door-posts, both among high and low, and clergy as well as laity. and at other times hid it under the beds, and sometimes So ill instructed were the people in the art of tracing among the bed-clothes and under the linens, and at events to simple natural causes, that there appears to last did carry it quite away, till nothing was left there have been a continual liability to ascribe occurrences save bread and water, The goodwife, one inorning to the direct influence of good or evil spirits, but par-making porridge for the children's breakfast, had the ticularly to the devil. "Give me leave,' says Walker wooden plate, wherein the meal lay, snatched from her in his . History of Independency,'' here to relate a pas- quickly. "Well,” says she, “ let me have my plate sage, which I received from a person of quality-namely, again." Whereupon it came flying at her, without any It was believed, and that not without good cause, that skaith done.' Any further extract from this ridiculous, Cromwell, the same morning that he defeated the king's though at one time universally believed narrative, army at Worcester fight, had conference personally would be unnecessary. A modern police officer would with the devill, with whom he made a contract, that to have effectually relieved the afflicted family, in. have his will then, and in all things else, for seven stantly discovering the performer of the tricks, and years after that time (being the 3d of Septeniber 1651), taking him into custody. he should, at the expiration of the said years, have him Besides the belief in aërial and terrestrial spirits, our at his command, to do at his pleasure, both with his credulous ancestors put faith in all kinds of romancing soul and body. Now if any one will please to reckon stories of river and sea demons. The more prevalent from the 3d of September 1651 till the 3d of September of these superstitious notions was a belief in mermaids 1358, he shall find it to a day just seven years, and no and mermen, a class of creatures who lived in the sea, more, at the end whereof he died; but with such ex- and had bodies half-human half-fish. Mermaids appear tremity of tempestuous weather, that was by all men to have been much more common than mermen. The judged to be prodigious.' Such is a specimen of the mermaid, we are told, possessed the body, from the egregious fallacies which passed for sound argument middle upwards, of a beautiful female, with a head flow. among our ancestors.

ing with long yellow hair, which she incessantly combed In Scotland, where religion assumed the garb of with one hand, while she held a small mirror with the gloom and fanaticism, a belief in the personal appear- other. This female monster of the deep is described ance of devils was universal in the seventeenth century, as having been a constant schemer of destruction to and continued among the vulgar till within the last confiding navigators, or those who haunted unfrequented fifty years. The narrations of Satan's mean pranks, parts of the sea-shores. in assaulting ministers, waylaying travellers, and dis- Another of the vulgar superstitions of our ancestors turbing families while at worship, would fill a large was a belief, common to nations of Germanic origin, volume. In the Rev. Mr Robert Law's Memorials that the corpse of a murdered person would bleed on of Memorable Things, from 1638 to 1684 ?-[edited by being touched by the person who was guilty of the C. Kirkpatrick Sharpe, from the manuscript. Edin- murder. Strange to say, this species of evidence of burgh: 1818]—we find the following entry :- guilt was at one time admitted in the Scottish criminal

• October 1670.—There was a devill that troubled a courts. The following incredible instance was commuhouse in Keppoch, within a mile of Glasgow, for the nicated to Sir Walter Scott, and is given in his 'Minmatter of eight days' tyme (but disappeared again), in strelsy of the Scottish Border' (vol. ii. p. 54). "Two casting pots, and droping stones from the roof, yet not young men, going a-fishing in the river Yarrow, fell hurting any, like that which appeared in the west, in a out, and so high ran the quarrel, that the one, in a weaver's house, a good man, about fourteen yeirs agoe, passion, stabbed the other to the heart. Astonished at which did the lyke, and spoke to them audibly. The the rash act, he hesitated whether to fly, give himself tricks of the devil, here referred to, as having taken up to justice, or conceal the crime ; and in the end place in a weaver's house in the west, about the year fixed on the latter expedient, burying the body of his 1656, and which were implicitly believed by the most friend very deep in the sands. As the meeting had learned clergy of the time, are related at great length been accidental, he was never suspected, although a by Mr George Sinclair, professor of philosophy in the visible change was observed in his behaviour, from College of Glasgow, in his work, .Satan's Invisible gaiety to a settled melancholy. Time passed on for the World Discovered. The alleged events occurred at space of fifty years, when a smith, fishing near the same Glenluce in Wigtonshire, and would be too contemptible place, discovered an uncommon and curious bone, which for quotation, if it were not desirable to show what he put in his pocket, and afterwards showed to some paltry tricks were played off, and believed to be super- people in his smithy. The murderer being present, natural in those days. The family of the weaver being now an old white-headed man, leaning on his staff, devexed with noises and appearances, send for the neigh- sired a sight of the little bone; but how horrible was bouring clergyman to allay the deyil, betwixt whom the issue !-- no sooner had he touched it, than it streamed and the worthy man & dialogue takes place, from with purple blood. Being told where it was found, he which we extract a few passages:— The minister re- confessed the crime, was condemned, but was prevented turning back a little, and standing upon the floor, the by death from suffering the punishment due to his devil said, “ I knew not these Scriptures till my father crime.' We need only add, that no evidence is given taught me them.” Then the minister conjured him to of the truth of this improbable tale, and it is, therefore, tell whence he way. The foul fiend replied, “ That he utterly unworthy of belief. was an evil spirit, come from the bottomless pit of hell Ignorance has often been justly termed the mother to vex this house, and that Satan was his father.” And of superstition; wherever mankind are most ignorant, presently there appeared a naked hand, and an arm or least accustomed to trace events to their natural from the elbow down, beating upon the floor till the and proximate causes, there do all kinds of superstihouse did shake again; and also he uttered a most fear- tious notions luxuriantly flourish. When the mind ful and loud cry, saying, “Come up, my father-come once allows that matters of ordinary occurrence may up. I will send my father among you: see, there he is take place by the interference of invisible agents, such behind your backs!” Then the minister said, “ I saw, as spirits, apparitions, devils, and so forth, there is indeed, a hand and an arm, when the stroke was given, 1 obviously no limit to the actions they are supposed to

THE ROSICRUCIANS.

perform. Hence the number of events believed to be former country was Peter Mormius, an alchymist. In ominous of evil in unenlightened society. The appear- England, the high priest of the doctrine was one Dr ance of two or three magpies, hares crossing one's path, Fludd, or, as he loved to call himself, Robertus à the spilling of salt at table, the cracking of furniture, Fluctibus. This man had very strange notions upon the howling of dogs, putting on the left shoe first, the medicine, which he had studied chiefly in the pages ticking noise of an insect (the death-watch) rotten of Paracelsus. He warmly embraced the Rosicruwood, and a hundred other trifling occurrences, are cian creed ; boasted of his intercourse with the eleimagined to be harbingers of evil.

mentary spirits, with whom he had conversations far surpassing those of Dr Dee with the angels; asserted

that he could live without food for a couple of cenIn the early part of the seventeenth century, while turies, or until it pleased him to die; and that he could the inost degrading superstitions prevailed in Europe, render himself invisible, and turn all metals into gold. there sprung up a sect in Germany under the name of But the most illustrious Rosicrucian was Joseph Francis Rosicrucians, who taught the wildest fancies. Though Boni, an Italian, who wrote a treatise on the doctrines as far astray in their notions as the Demonologists and of the sect; and on this treatise the Abbé de Rellars witch believers, their creed was more graceful. They founded his cabalistic romance, The Count de Gataught that the elements swarmed not with hideous, bolis,' which is now the best authority on the subject. foul, and revengeful spirits, but with beautiful crea- According to this work, the leading doctrine of the tures, more ready to do man service than to inflict in- Rosicrucians is, that the whole of creation-earth, air, jury. They taught that the earth was inhabited by water, fire-is occupied by spirits.' The air is filled Gnomes, the air by Sylphs, the fire by Salamanders, with an innumerable multitude of beings in human and the water by Nymphs or Undines; and that man, shape-proud and majestic in their appearance, but by his communication with them, might learn the very mild in reality. They are great lovers of science, secrets of nature, and discover all those things which subtle, fond of rendering service to the wise, but great had puzzled philosophers for ages---Perpetual Motion, enemies of the foolish and the ignorant. ... The seas the Elixir of Life, the Philosopher's Stone, and the and the rivers are inhabited in like manner. The anEssence of Invisibility.

cient sages named these people the Undines, or the The Rosicrucians derived their name from Christian Nymphs. The males are few

among them, but the Rosencreŭtz, their founder, who died in 1484. This females are in great number. Their beauty is extreme, man was a professor of alchymy, or the pretended art and the daughters of man cannot be compared to them. of transmuting the baser metals into gold, which was The earth is filled almost to the centre with Gnomesspoken of as the discovery of the Philosopher's Stone. people smaller in stature, who guard the treasures of Being therefore a visionary, it was natural for such a the mines, and keep watch over precious stones. These person to found a religious sect, with doctrines of a

are very ingenious, very friendly to man, and easy to fantastic kind. He is said to have bound his disciples, command. They furnish the children of philosophy by solemn oaths, to keep his doctrine secret for one (the Rosicrucians) with all the money they require, hundred and twenty years after his burial. Certain it and think themselves sufficiently rewarded by our is, they were never heard of under this name until the friendship. The Gnomides, their females, are small, year 1604, when they first began to excite attention but very beautiful and agreeable, and their dress is in Germany. Michael Meyer, an alchymist, and a phy- very curious. As regards the Salamanders, inhabitants sician of repute, was the first person of any note who of the fire, they also render service to the children of lent the authority of his name to the promulgation of philosophy, but do not seek their company so eagerly their tenets. He published at Cologne, in 1615, a work as the others; and their wives and daughters are very entitled Themis Aurea, hoc est de legibus Fraterni. rarely seen by mortal eyes. . ... They are by far the tatis Roseæ Crucis,' which purported to contain all the most beautiful of the elementary spirits, being conlaws and ordinances of the brotherhood.

pounded of the most subtile and beautiful of all the The sect may be said to have now fairly commenced elements. By becoming a member of our fraternity, operations, the members calling themselves brethren you will be enabled to see and converse with all these of the Rosy Cross, by a play on the name of the glorious multitudes; you will see their mode of life, founder. From the work of Meyer above cited, their manners, and make acquaintance with their ad. it appeared that, by perfect temperance and chastity, mirable laws.' These beings are mortal; but é a Nymph the brethren expected to hold converse with the ele- or a Sylphid becomes immortal, and has a soul like mental spirits; that they could render themselves man, if she can inspire one of us with love towards her; invisible ; draw gold and jewels from the bowels thus a Sylph or a Gnome ceases to be mortal if one of of the earth by incantation; be subject neither to the daughters of man will consent to marry him.' disease nor death; and subsist without eating or drink. The Rosicrucians taught that by the practice of ing! They also laid claim to the power of foretelling virtue alone, man could hope to hold communion with all events, and of curing all diseases; and asserted that the spirits of the elements: the attendant spirit in they possessed all wisdom and knowledge in a supreme Comus teaches the same doctrine :degree. But beyond the confines of Cologne, Frankfort, and some other German cities, the name of the sect was

Mortals, that would follow me, not much known until the year 1623, when some of the

Love Virtue; she alone is free:

She can teach ye how to climb, brethren suddenly made their appearance in Paris, and

Higher than the sphery chime; frightened the good people of that capital from their

Or if Virtue feeble were, propriety: On the 3d of March in that year, the fol

Heaven itself would stoop to her.' lowing placard was stuck upon the walls, but how it came there nobody could tell :

There being a degree of elegance and poetry in these We, the deputies of the principal college of the wild reveries of the Rosicrucians, they are believed to Brethren of the Rosy Cross, have taken up our abode, hare furnished a basis for the Sylphs, Sylphids, and visible and invisible, in this city, by the grace of the Ariels of Shakspeare, Milton, and other English poets. Most High, towards whom are turned the hearts of the In recent times, literature is not slightly indebted to just. We show and teach without any books or symbols the superstitious conceptions of the Rosicrucians. It whatever, and we speak all sorts of languages in the will suffice to mention the charming story of. Undine," countries wherein we deign to dwell, to draw mankind, by the Baron de la Motte Fouqué; Zanoni,' by Sir our fellows, from error, and to save them from death.' E. L. Bulwer; and, more recently, the popular poem of

Viewed as impostors, the Rosicrucians were driven the “Salamandrine,' by Dr Charles Mackay, to show for a while from France, and their philosophyfor such how rich are the materials afforded to poets and moit was called--found believers and preachers in Hol- mance writers by the fancies of this curious, and nor land, England, and Italy. The most celebrated in the all but forgotten sect.

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KEY TO THE CALENDAR.

with hardened white sugar and many little ornaments, JANUARY

and its abundant appearance in the windows of bakers JANUARY and FEBRUARY are said to have been added to and confectioners on this day never fails to arrest the the list of months by the second Roman king, Numa attention of strangers. In Scotland there is not, so far Pompilius, in the year before Christ 672. The name as we can learn, the least trace of either a religious or of the former month is unquestionably from Janus, the popular observance of Twelfth Day. god of the year in the Roman mythology, to whom the Shakspeare has shown the respect in which the obserfirst day was sacred, and in whose honour it was cele- vances of• Twelfth Night' were held in the Elizabethan brated with riotous feastings and givings of presents. age, by applying it as a title to one of his most delightWe learn from Ovid's Fasti, that a Roman workman ful dramas, although he does not appear to have introdid not spend the Kalends or 1st of January entirely duced any of the festivities peculiarly appropriate to in debauchery: he wrought a little at his trade, for the that season, with the exception perhaps of the gross sake of good-luck throughout the year.

orgies of Sir Toby Belch and his boon companions.

Till the reign of George III., it was customary at 1. Circumcision.--A festival of the Romish Church, court on Twelfth Night to hold a public assembly for from about the year 487, and of the Church of England playing the game of basset, in which the king and royal since 1550, in honour of the circumcision of Christ. family took part, the winnings being for the benefit of The banks and public offices are shut on this day. As the groom-porter, an officer who in those days had an the first day of the year, it is celebrated throughout especial charge of the games of chance played in the the modern Christian world with festive rejoicings, too palace, at which he acted as umpire. often approaching or exceeding the bounds of propriety. The day after Twelfth Day was a popular rustic fesIn England, till a period not very remote, it was custo- tival, under the mock name of St Distaff's or Rock Day. mary to usher in the year by drinking spiced liquor (Rock is the appellation given to a quantity of lint put from the Wassail Bowl, so called from the Anglo- upon a distaff.) It seems to have been a sort of fare. Saxon Wacs-hael (Be healthy), the toast used on the well to the festivities of Christmas. occasion. The custom without the name still exists in 18. Septuagesima Sunday.—[It is necessary here to Scotland. It was also customary on this day to give mention that the Movable Feasts and Holy-Days of and receive gifts, originally with the superstitious de- the church are nearly all regulated by Easter-that is, sign of securing good fortune for the year, and after- so long before or after Easter. Easter, the great feswards for affection and to promote good neighbour- tival of the church, is itself movable. According to hood. Even the kings of England accepted presents canonical regulations, Easter-day is always the first from their courtiers on this morning. The 1st of Janu- Sunday after the full moon which happens upon, or ary, under the name of Le Jour de l'an, continues next after, the 21st day of March; and if the full moon in France to be distinguished by a universal system happens upon a Sunday, Easter Sunday is the Sunday of present-giving, in which the royal family partakes. after. The first of these movable feasts is SeptuaIt has been calculated that sweetmeats to the value of gesima Sunday, which occurs on January 18th, when £20,000 are sold in Paris on this day.

Easter Sunday is on March 22d. In this place we 6. The Epiphany, a festival in honour of the mani. propose setting down the movable feasts on the earfestation of the infant Jesus to the three wise men of liest days on which they ever occur; and Septuagesima the East, who came to worship him. It began to be Sunday is therefore put under January 18th. All celebrated in 813. This continues to be observed as a the rest will follow in order, as in the calendar for festival in the English Church, and is marked by the a year on which they occur on the earliest possible shutting of many of the public offices. The popular day.) Quadragesima is an ancient name of Lent, as name for the festival is Twelfth Day, with reference to meaning the forty days' fast. The first Sunday in its occurring twelve days after Christmas. Twelfth Day, Lent hence received the name of Quadragesima. Early and more particularly Twelfth Night, are distinguished in the seventh century, Pope Gregory appointed three by joyful observances. It is a tradition of the Romish Sundays of preparation for Lent, and, assuming a Church, that the three wise men were kings, and many decimal reckoning for convenience, they were respecsets of names have been furnished for them, Caspar, tively called, reckoning backwards, Quinquagesima, Melchior, and Balthazar being the set best known: Sexagesima, and Septuagesima. their remains were said to have been recovered in the 21. St Agnes's Day, a festival of the Church of Rome. fourth century by the Empress Helena, and the skulls The annals of canonisation present no image of greater are still shown, under circumstances of great pomp and sweetness and purity than St Agnes. She is described ceremony, in the great church at Cologne. Perhaps it is as a very young and spotless maid, who suffered marowing to this idea of the regal rank of the wise men, tyrdom in the tenth persecution under Dioclesian, in that a custom has existed from early ages throughout the year 306. A few days after her death, her parents, Europe of choosing a person to act as king on Epiphany. going to make the offerings of affection at her tomb, In England this custom has blossomed out a little. beheld a vision of angels, amidst which stood their Both a king and queen were chosen. It was done by daughter, with a snow-white lamb by her side. She is placing beans on a large cake. The cake was divided therefore usually represented with a lamb standing among the company, and whoever of the male sex got beside her. Perhaps this legend has been partly founded a bean was king, whoever of the female sex queen. on the resemblance of the name Agnes to Agnus, Latin Latterly, other characters have been added, and these for a lamb, for mere coincidences of sound often led to were expressed on slips of paper. The Twelfth Night very important ideas in the middle ages. At Rome, cake continues to be eaten by merry companies, and on St Agnes's Day, during mass, and while the Agnus the characters of king, queen, &c. being drawn in that is saying, two lambs as white as snow, and covered manner, are supported amidst much jocularity till mid- with finery, are brought in and laid upon the altar. night. There is reason to suppose that the custom of Their fleeces are afterwards shorn and converted into choosing a king is also connected with ancient heathen palls, which are highly valued. rites, as in Rome a king of the Saturnalia was chosen Throughout the Christian world, and in England as by beans. Twelfth cake in England is generally covered much as elsewhere, it was customary for young women No. 78,

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on St Agnes's Eve to endeavour to divine who should hence the name of the month. The vanity of Augustus be their husbands. This was called fasting St Agnes's is said to have been the cause of this month being so Fast. The proper rite was to take a row of pins, and much shortened. The arrangement of Julius Cæsar pull them out one after another, saying a pater-uoster, seems to have contemplated an alternation of months and sticking one pin in the sleeve. Then going to rest of thirty with those of thirty-one days. August was one without food, their dreams were expected to present of thirty days; but when Augustus gave it his name, to them the image of the future husband. In Keats's he could not endure that it should be one of the shorter poem, entitled “The Eve of St Agnes,' the custom is class, and therefore gave it an additional day, at the thus alluded to:

expense of February, already one of that class. Our They told her how upon St Agnes' Eve,

Saxon ancestors called February sprout kale, from the Young virgins might have visions of delight,

sprouting of the cabbage, still called kale in Scotland. And soft adorings from their loves receive, Upon the honied middle of the night,

1. Quinquagesima Sunday ; seven weeks before If ceremonies due they did aright;

Easter: called also Shrove Sunday. As, supperless to bed they must retire,

2. Candlemas Day, or the Purification of the Virgin, And couch supine their beauties, lily white;

a festival of the Church of Rome, and holiday in the Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require

English Church. It is said to have been founded upon Of heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

Roman rites in which candles were carried. The early 25. Sexagesima Sunday; eight weeks before Easter. fathers of the church held it in commemoration of the

Conversion of St Paul.- A festival of the Romish attendance of Mary in the Temple, forty days after and English churches, and in London a holiday at the child-birth, as commanded by the law; and it was public offices, excepting the Excise, Stamps, and Cus- their custom on this day to bless candles and distribute toms. The populace in former times thought this day them among the people, by whom they were carried in prophetic as to the weather of the year :

solemn procession. The saying of Simeon respecting

the infant Christ in the Temple, that he would be a If St Paul's Day be fair and clear,

light to lighten the Gentiles, probably supplied an erIt doth betide a happy year;

cuse for adopting the candle-bearing procession of the If blustering winds do blow aloft,

heathen, whose external religious practices the founders Then wars will trouble our realm full oft; And if it chanco to snow and rain,

of the Romish Church made a practice of imitating, in Then will be dear all sorts of grain.

order to take advantage of the habits of the people.

Apparently in consequence of the celebration of Mary's In Germany, when the day proved foul, the common puritication by candle-bearing, it became customary for people used to drag the images of St Paul and St Urban

women to carry candles with them when, after child. in disgrace to duck them in the river.

birth, they went to be churched. It was to this custom 30. The Martyrdom of King Charles I.-A holiday that William the Conqueror referred in his famous reof the English Church, in whose behalf Charles is held mark on a jest of the king of France. The latter hear. to have lost his life; observed by the closing of all the ing that William seemed too fat and unwieldy to take public offices, except the Stamps, Excise, and Customs. the field, said, “Methinks the king of England lies long A motion in the house of Commons in 1772, to repeal in childbed.' • When I am churched,' said William, as much of the act of 12th Charles II., cap. 30, as re- there will be a thousand lights in France.' And hislates to the ordering of the 30th of January to be kept as tory knows he made good his boast. a day of fasting and humiliation, was lost by 125 against Candlemas Day is a holiday at the public offices, ex. 97. The sheet in which the head of Charles was re- cepting the Stamps, Excise, and Customs. It is called ceived upon the scaffold, presenting large black stains a Grand Day in the Inns of Court, a Gaudy Day at the from his blood, together with his watch, are preserved two universities, and a Collar Day at St James's, being at Ashburnham Church in the county of Sussex, having one of the three great holidays, during the terms, on been given at the time to his friend Lord Ashburnham. which all legal and official business is suspended. The cap, of laced satin, which he wore on the scaffold,

There is an ancient superstitious notion, universal in and which he directed to be sent to his friend the Europe, that if Candlemas be a sunshiny day, the Laird of Carmichael in Scotland, passed through the winter is not half finished. The Germans say-The hands of that gentleman's descendants, the Earls of badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day, and if Hyndford, and is now, or was lately, the property of he finds snow he walks abroad; if he sees the sun shinRobert Logan, Esq., residing at New Lanark.

ing, he draws back again into his hole. It is, or rather Natural History. ---January, in our climate, is the was, an ancient custom in Scotland for scholars on coldest month of the year, on an average; for in some this day to make presents of money to their masters, years February and March are both colder. The store and to enjoy it as a holiday. of heat acquired in summer is now completely dissi

3. St Blaise's Day.-St Blaise, who has the honour pated, and the sun has not yet attained sufficient power of a place in the Church of England calendar, was a to replace it. In the central parts of the island of Great bishop of Sebaste in Armenia, and suffered martyrdom Britain, the general average of the thermometer this in 316. He is the patron saint of the craft of wool. month is 37 degrees. Vegetation is nearly at a stand combers, and his name was once considered potent in during January. Our ancestors thought it necessary curing sore throats. At Bradford there is still a septhat it should be a severe month, for the sake of the tennial procession of the wool trade upon his day. For. rest of the year. This mode of judging, however, is merly, it was celebrated extensively by fires lighted on not confirmed by modern experience; for a mild winter hills, and this is still done in Scotland on the previous is often followed by a warm summer. In sheltered situ- evening, under the name of the Candlemas Blaze, the ations a few flowers, as the crocus, mezereon, and poly- resemblance of the name Blaise to blaze having appaanthus, are occasionally seen to blossom in the latter rently suggested the practice. part of January; and about the same time (in England) Shrove Tuesday.-According to the plan already laid the hedge-sparrow, thrush, and wren begin to pipe.

down, we place Shrove Tuesday upon this day of the

month of February. As the day before the commenceFEBRUARY

ment of Lent, it has been from an early age celebrated The establishment of February as the second month throughout Christian Europe by feasting and merryof the year by Numa Pompilius has already been men- making of such an extravagant nature, as to appear tioned. According to Ovid in his . Fasti,' a curious designed to impart a disgust with all such indulgences, record of Roman customs, all objects which were in order to make the subsequent mortifications less felt. thought to have the effect of moral purgation in the It is the concluding day of the time of Carnival, which religious ceremonials of that people were called Februa. in various Catholic countries is of greater or less erCeremonials of this kind took place at this season; 1 tent, but celebrated with most distinction at Venice and Rome. Carnival is obviously a term from caro occasion, each generally consisting of a single sheet of and vale, as meaning a farewell to Alesh, this article of paper, on the first page of which is seen some ridicufood being unused during the whole of Lent. In these lous coloured caricature of the male or female figure, two Italian cities, and partially in many others, the with a few burlesque verses below. More rarely, the Carnival is distinguished by shows, masquerades, races, print is of a sentimental kind, such as a view of Hymen's and a variety of other exhibitions and amusements. altar, with a pair undergoing an initiation into wedded The people may be said to live for several days in pub- happiness before it, while Cupid flutters above, and lic. The wealthier classes parade about in their car- hearts transfixed with his darts decorate the corners. riages, from which they pelt each other with sweetmeats. These are paltry frivolities compared with the observWhim and folly are tolerated in their utmost extent, ances of St Valentine's Day at no remote period. Ridiso that only there be nothing said or done to burlesque culous letters were then unknown; and if letters of ecclesiastical dignitaries. In Germany the masqueings any kind were sent, they contained only a courteous and mummings of the time of Carnival, called there profession of attachment from some young man to some Faschings, are said to have given birth to the dramatic young maiden, honied with a few compliments to her literature of the country.

various perfections, and expressive of a hope that his The main distinction of Shrove Tuesday, in the early love might meet with return. But the true proper times of our own history, was the eating of pancakes ceremony of St Valentine's Day was the drawing of a made with eggs and spice. The people indulged in kind of lottery, followed by ceremonies not much unlike games at football, at which there was generally much what is generally called the game of forfeits. Misson, license; also in the barbarous sport of throwing at cocks. a learned traveller of the early part of the last cenIn the latter case, the animal being tied by a short tury, gives apparently a correct account of the prinstring to a peg, men threw sticks at it in succession, cipal ceremonial of the day. “On the eve of St Valentill an end was put to its miseries and its life at once. tine's Day, he says, the young folks in England and Cockfights were also common on this day, not only Scotland, by a very ancient custom, celebrate a little amongst the rustics, but at the public schools, the festival. An equal nuniber of maids and bachelors masters condescending to receive the defeated and slain get together; each writes his or her true or some feigned cocks as a perquisite. The festive and mirthful ob- name upon separate billets, which they roll up, and servances of Shrove Tuesday are now much decayed; draw by way of lots, the maids taking the men's billets, but the eating of pancakes or fritters still continues. and the men the maids”; so that each of the young men And in some parts of the country, when young people lights upon a girl that he calls his ralentine, and each have met together for the festivities of the evening, it of the girls upon a young man whom she calls hers. is customary for the individual to whose lot it falls to By this means each has two valentines ; but the man make the pancakes, to put a ring in the dish contain- sticks faster to the valentine that is fallen to him than ing the materials of which they are to be composed; to the valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having and the person who has the good fortune to receive the thus divided the company into so many couples, the cake containing the ring is to be first married.

valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, 4. Ash Wednesday, the first day in Lent, a holiday of wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or the Church of England, observed by the closing of all sleeves, and this little sport oiten ends in love.' the public offices, excepting the Stamps, Excise, and In the various jesting ceremonies of the day, there Customs. The palms or substitute branches, consecrated always seems to have been a disposition to believe that and used on Palm Sunday of one year, were kept till the person drawn as a valentine had some considerable the present season of another, when they were burnt, likelihood of becoming the associate of the party in and their ashes blessed by the priest and sprinkled on wedlock. At least we may suppose that this idea the heads of the people: hence the name given to the would be gladly and easily arrived at, where the party day. This sprinkling of ashes was performed with so drawn was at all eligible from other considerations. many ceremonies and great devotion. On this day also The common people seem to have imagined that an persons convicted of notorious sin were put to open influence was inherent in the day, which rendered in penance. In England it is still a season for the saying some degree binding the lot or chance by which any of the commination' in the Prayer-book, by which the youth or maid was now led to fix attention on a person doers of certain kinds of wickedness are cursed. of the opposite sex. It was supposed, for instance, that

8. First Sunday in Lent. — The Wednesday, Friday, the first unmarried person of the other sex whom one and Saturday after this Sunday are called Ember Days, met on St Valentine's morning in walking abroad, was and the week in which they occur Ember Week. On a destined wife or husband. Ember Days our forefathers ate no bread but what 15. Second Sunday in Lent. was baken in a simple and primitive fashion under hot 22. Third Sunday in Lent. ashes; hence the name. The other Ember Days of the 24. St Matthias the Apostle.- A festival of the Church year are the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after of England. St Matthias was chosen by lot after the the Feast of Pentecost, Holyrood Day (Sept. 14), and Crucifixion, in place of the traitor Judas (Acts i. 23). St Lucia's Day (Dec. 15).

Natural History. The popular voice allots a course 14. St Valentine's Day.--St Valentine was a priest of snow, rain, and their hybrid sleet, to this month, of Rome, martyred in the third century, but he seems and considers it necessary that such should be its feato have had no connection with the notions and practures, in order that all the powers of humidity may be tices to which his day has since been given up. This, exhausted before the commencement of March, when it is scarcely necessary to say, is a day thought to be an opposite kind of weather is looked for. It is indeed especially devoted to the business of Cupid and Hymen. true that frost, followed by regular thaw, and that sucPossibly its being about the season when the birds ceeded by the sharp drying winds of March, bring the choose their mates may be the origin of this belief. ground into the most favourable state for ploughing Antiquaries have also pointed out that the Lupercalia and seed-sowing. The general average of the thermo-feasts of ancient Rome in honour of Pan and Juno-meter is 39 degrees; that of different years varies from were held at this time, and that amongst the cere- 32 to 42. The snowdrop and crocus are the chief ornamonies was a game in which young persons of the op- ments of our flower-borders at this season. The primposite sexes chose each other jocularly by lot.

rose will also flower; the hepatica come forth in some St Valentine's Day is now almost everywhere a de- strength; and in mild seasons several other of our generated festival, the only observance of any note earlier flowers and flowering shrubs begin to show blosconsisting in the sending of anonymous letters, by way som. In England the raven and rook begin to build of practical joke, and this confined very much to the their nests; the house-pigeon has young; the ringdore humbler classes. The approach of the day is heralded coos, the goldfinch sings, and thrushes pair. In Scotby the appearance in the printsellers' shop windows of land the notes of the thrush and blackbird give token vast numbers of missives calculated for use on this of the approach of spring.

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