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this ignoble mongrel kind of mixture to a
tea; but, however dear in itself, compara-
A cup of tea is as convenient, too, as it is
The sound of approaching tea-things is always renovating to me; the rattle of the tray-the homely jingle of the spoons tumbling about among the cups—the whole bustle of the tea-arrangement, is truly agreeable. We all remember Cowper's lines on this subject; yet one circumstance escaped him-the hollow, but cheering, bubbling of the water, as it dashes from the " loud-hissing urn," into the tea-pot, to uncurl the leaves and extract their essence.
reverent shadow of his wig; and complacently
I am an enthusiastic lover of tea; and for many substantial reasons. Some of the hap piest hours of my life have been experienced
at the tea-table; and now, when left fevered and fretful from hours of changeful study, my heart leaps up at the well-known music of the brittle ware. After the first cup of fragrant Souchong, the peevishness of study dies away; my heart gradually tranquillises, and I begin to think that the world may boast of containing something good, while it can afford me a cup of good tea.
The tea-hour is moreover, a congenial time for reflection. While the faint fairy clouds of steam come swelling from the tea, and shed an imperceptible dew upon the face, a man very frequently repents of his faults -provided there be no danger of his toast cooling during the time. And how many a one, who sat down to tea with evil passions brewing in his brain, has gradually become ashamed of his purpose, and tapped them away with his spoon on the edge of his teacup!
A principal reason for the popularity of tea beverage in this country, is its comparative cheapness. Many a one can afford to give a friend a good cup of tea, when a dinner would create a terrible sensation in his purse. Some will object to " cheapness "applied to
Speaking of inviting a friend to drink tea with us-if the reader be as warm-hearted as I would have him to be, his memory will rouse at the mention of this, and recall the image of many a face, whose benevolent features have brightened round his winter fire, while tea, toast, and conversation inspired the hour with delight. One of my greatest pleasures, is to meet with an old school-fellow whom the hurly-burlies of life have separated, and secure his company to drink a cup of tea with me. Previous to his arrival, I take care to have my apartment in neat order. The writing desk is locked, all books are laid aside, particular orders are given to the servant respecting the management of the muffins, &c., &c. The hour for tea is fixed; and then I turn myself to the fire-place, rest my feet on the hobs (very ungenteel!), and await with the most delightful anticipations the arrival of my friend. Hark! that was his knock-I hear his well-known step on the stair-case-he taps at the door - 'tis he! and now for something like happiness.
If the weather be stormy, so much the better. We are comfortably sheltered in a
warm room;-let the sleet and the hail pepper the window panes; let the sullen winds bellow around the chimney-top, and the hissing flow of the street-drains come on our We are unchilled by the tempest !-a blazing fire is crackling merrily before us; and the only wish we feel at present is that everybody were as happy as ourselves.
What delicious hours are these! One of them is worth the mock and formal pageantries of ten thousand balls and masquerade nights. All the treasured recollections of greener years; all those kindly fancies which flash across the hearts of friends during their absence from each other, are now brought forward, with unaffected truth. The soul unburdens itself of a load of fondness, and revels in the sweet release. The tricks, the perils of school-boy days, come in for their share of discussion; the changes that have occurred since that wild time are next regarded; and here, alas! we are sure to find sad gaps. There are many honest sighs to be heaved at the mention of some brave fellow, whose boyhood promised a manhood of glory; whose bright eyes have long been quenched by the damp of death. Still, there is a luxury even in this; the melancholy we feel serves but to temper the gladness of the hour, and hallow the emotions of the mind. The last subject is, generally, concerning our mutual fortunes. Each of us has met with some hard rubs in his way; nevertheless, we are still inclined to hold out a friendly hand to the world, forgive its injuries, and forget everything but its benefits. And thus the evening glides on, and the heart seems bathing in the delights of friendship.--He that cannot relish such a night is a Goth.
In order to appreciate justly the delectable charms of a cup of tea, we have only to remember the joy with which we return to it, and taste it in the full perfection of its flavor, after a wearisome illness. During our malady, taste has been blunted by fever; and, principally, by the eternal and dismal operation of turning the throat into a morningtunnel for the conveyance of thick beetlecolored draughts, and similar liquids, industriously supplied by our anxious apothecaries. Of course tea, with its genuine effects on the nerves of the tongue, is out of the question while we are in this state. At last, the healthtints begin to bud on the cheek; the wan eye grows bright; the blood once more meanders unfevered through the veins, and the restored patient finds himself seated at the breakfasttable with the freshness of health clothing his limbs. Now is the time for a cup of tea; bring forth the tea-apparatus! Let the urn once more exhibit its august en-bon-point person; spread forth the rolls in all their crusty glory; let the eggs lift up their milky brows; draw your chair to its accustomed situ
ation; give the fire a powerful poke-and do your duty. With what a grateful smile you survey the room, and mark the morning sunbeam skipping about the walls, and tinting everything with its hue of gladness, while the hot crystal stream is prancing into your tea-pot! How pleasant are the tuneless murmurs of the street, after your long confinement to the mournful and monotonous silence of the sick chamber! How exquisite that stillbreathed prayer, exhaling from the very core of the soul-that prayer, whose fervency language could not translate-to the blessed God of all health and wisdom, for your recovery!
But I won't detain you; I hear the sugar hissing itself away in the bosom of your tea-cup; there is a rich and glossy brownness on the surface of your tea-enjoy it!
'Tis merry in the hall, when beards wag all, And welcome merry Shrovetide.
If we have cause to lament the degeneracy of some of the classes making up England's population, in manliness of character and physical strength, and to blush for the silly foppery and affectation of others, who
"Strut and stare, and a' that," "perfumed like milliners," and talking like "waiting gentlewomen"-we have, at the same time, no little cause for gratulation and pleasurable reflection, in contrasting the present pastimes and amusements of the" uneducated" many, with those of the times gone by. In former days, they were wont to testify their devotion, and to assert their Christian principles, by deeds of barbarism and blood. Christian festivals were the high days of
"Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood," upon which clerics and laics appeared as if sedulously bent on giving new vigor to the worst passions of the human soul, and in gratifying them even to satiety, regardless of the miseries which they spread around. Upon Good Friday, when they celebrated the death of Him who "did no violence," but who breathed " peace on earth and good-will towards men," they wreaked their vengeance upon some unhappy Jew, whom they waylaid and stoned; and upon Shrove Tuesday, when they were required to humble themselves, by a confession of sin, that so they might become partakers of their master's sufferings and joy, they concluded their devotions with the barbarous practice of "hen threshing," or the equally cruel " sports" of "cock-fighting," and " throwing at the hen." These barbarities have happily passed away,
and the harmless and child-loving practice of eating pancakes is all that remains of " the wisdom of our ancestors."
Tuesday, February 8th inst., will be the day of which we speak; and it may not be unacceptable to some of our readers, if we devote a little space to its origin and former celebration.
The word shrove, by which this Tuesday is distinguished in the calendar, is a corruption of the old Saxon word shrive, and signifies confession; this being the day upon which all the people were required by the Church to confess their sins to their respective parish priests. To ensure punctuality in their attendance, the curfew-bell was tolled at an early hour, and all servile work ceased.
In Catholic countries, where the Carnival is celebrated, this is the last day of that festival-a period of dinners, balls, masquerades, and popular indulgence. On the nights of the Carnival, a general confusion takes place;
masters are dressed as servants, valets as masters, the military as mechanics, and workmen as soldiers; every one puts on a strange dress, and plays the incognito under the favor of a mask; but the populace engross the remainder of the fete, by carrying through the streets an image called the Carnival or Shrove Tuesday; and, feigning grief and uttering piercing cries, they throw it into the river.
We borrow, says Pasquier, many things from the Pagans; as, instead of the ancient Bacchanalia, we have introduced the Car. nival, full of insolence and bad examples. The Bacchanalia were festivals which the Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians, and were celebrated in honor of Bacchus, whom they believed to be the same with Osiris. One of the most essential parts of the festival was to appear covered with the skins of hegoats, tigers, and other animals; their faces being smeared with blood or wine-lees. A fine, handsome, well-fed youth was selected to personate Bacchus, who was placed in a car; and to give an air of the marvellous to the scene, the pretended tigers drew the car, while the he-goats and the kids gambolled about them under the form of satyrs and fawns. Those who followed and accompanied the car were called Bacchants and Bacchantes; that is, male and female mourners: last of all, appeared an old man, representing Silenus, riding on an ass, and distributing his jokes and gibes among the surrounding populace. Thus the balls and masquerades of the French may, perhaps, derive their origin from these religious ceremonies of their ancestors. On the last day of the Carnival, they celebrate the ceremony of the "Femmes folles, or foolish women; but this is the case only when any one has commenced housekeeping in the course of the year. The married wo
men (not the youngest in the village) meet together, and disguise themselves by putting the front part of their caps behind, to which rags are suspended, and by blacking their faces: thus arrayed, they proceed dancing and singing, to the domicile of the new housekeeper. Having gained admittance, they leap, jump, and dance about, and sing couplets and songs adapted to the occasion, and to the music of the epistle at grand mass. The inhabitants of the house are bound to regale the actresses in this burlesque scene; and, if they refuse, the women make no scruple of taking away what furniture they like; and carrying it to the wine-house (cabaret), it is there deposited as a pledge for the entertainment they may choose to order; and the proprietor of it must pay the cabaretier his bill, before he is allowed to redeem his effects. cakes on this day is an English one, and oriIt is said that the custom of eating panginated, early in the fifteenth century, with one Simon Eyre, a Lord Mayor of London, who made a pancake-feast for all the apprentices in London; and ordered that, upon ringing a bell in every parish, still called the for the day. In Pasquier's Palinodia' (1634) pancake bell, these youths should leave work it is merely said, that on this day every
"Till it can hold no more,
Is fritter-filled, as well as heart can wish!
But pancake-eating was not, as we have already intimated, the only pastime in which our forefathers indulged. Upon this day," says an old author, "men ate and drank and abandoned themselves to every kind of sportive foolery, as if resolved to have their fill of pleasure before they were to die." Football, and snow-ball--if the snow remained upon the ground-were amongst the sports of the festival; and the "city 'prentices," dear lads for a brawl, which they loved the better if it assumed the character of a serious riot-turned out
"In Finsbury-fields ;-their brave intent To advise the king and parliament," whenever they took it into their wise heads that their advice was needed; and otherwise, when the day was spent in any other way that pleased their 'prenticeships.
The shying at the hen was the worst "sport" indulged in. The poor bird was tied by its leg to a stake; and he who first broke its leg, by a large stick thrown from a certain distance, was entitled to the prize. The schoolboy practice of shying at leaden cocks, is doubtless a harmless imitatiou of this brutal pastime. The cock-fighting of this season is
mentioned by Fitzstephens, who died at the latter end of the twelfth century. He says:"Yearly at shrove-tide, the boys of every school bring fighting-cocks to their masters; and all the fore noon is spent at school, to see these cocks fight together. After dinner, all the youth of the city goeth to play at the ball in the fields; the scholars of every study have their balls; the practisers also of all the trades have each their ball in their hands. The ancienter sort, the fathers, and the wealthy citizens, came on horseback, to see these youngsters contending at their sport, with whom, in a manner, they participate by motion; stirring their own natural heat in the view of the active youth, with whose mirth and liberty they seem to communicate"
Let us thank GOD, and the schoolmaster, that these brutalities have disappeared; and that we have nought of the old customs left, but the fritters and the pancakes.
We care not how often we are called upon to pay our compliments to the two last.
Piping Bullfinches.-My Dear Mr. Editor,The readers of OUR OWN JOUrnal no doubt like to hear, what they ought all to know; viz: the manner in which these birds are taught the various airs, in the execution of which they show so much excellence. They are not instructed here, but in Germany. They arrive in England about April. The month of June is the time for taking the young ones, in a wild state, from the nest. They should be about eight days old when so removed. They are then handed over to the care of one man only, who, by feeding and caressing them, becomes so much the object of their notice as to be able to command and direct them, at his
"SHALL I tell your fortune, good gentle- pleasure. They are attended to by him until they man?" said a sweet, musical voice, as we are about two months old, at which age they first were gazing on a group of swarthy beings routine of "exercises; begin to whistle. They then go through a regular 71 nor is the strictest milibusily employed in preparing a Gipsy encamp-tary discipline more arduous to the sergeant, or more oppressive to the men, than are these exercises to the bullfinch and his instructor. In receiving the first rudiments of their musical education, they are taught in "classes" of about six in each. They are naturally "imitative." The instrument by which they learn, is a barrelorgan of a single diapason. It plays nothing beyond the air to be acquired by the birds. The pupils, before they make their first essay, are kept very hungry. They are then placed in a dark room-the organ in the centre-and the air is slowly played over to them. Hunger works wonders, and most of these little imitators make the most of Nature's gifts. Children cry, dogs howl, and asses bray, always louder and oftener when they feel the vulture in their jaws." It is just so with these vocalists. They make a virtue of necessity. The moment they imitate the organ, at that moment the light is admitted into the room, and a morsel of food is given them. This is repeated so often-use is second naturesound of the organ is a sure presage of their being and works upon them so mechanically, that the fed. When they have been thus drilled for about a month, their old feeder, called in Germany Lehrer, hands them over to the care of some intelligent boy, kept for the purpose of playing the organ to their pupils. Each boy takes a bird, and during these exercises, or rather rehearsals, they
THE YOUNG GIPSY.
We turned, and beheld a young creature, slightly formed, with a complexion that might vie with the lily: a winning smile irresistibly aided her request, and we were prevailed on to listen to her prognostics of the future-marvelling how so fair a being could have aught in communion with the rude group around her. Regarding us intently for a few seconds, she sighed involuntarily, and pressed her hands over her eyelids, as if to control a sudden and unexpected emotion. "Stranger," said she, " you are young, and doubtless happy; pardon me if I seem intrusive, but I would not cast a shade on a brighter lot than my own. You have a wife that loves you dearly, is it not so? You need not answer me, I can see it in your looks. You have a father," she proceeded in a faltering voice-"would that mine still survived to guide my steps in this world of woe! Alas! the poor Gipsy has little to expect on earth save contempt and abhorrence!
Here her feelings overcame her, and she wept violently: we tried in vain to resist the infection, but every look at her sorrowful features weakened our stoicism. and at last we fairly began to use our handkerchief. Pressing a gold piece into her hand, we turned away, anxious to conceal our emotions.
Ere we had proceeded far, a most unsentimental laugh caused us to look back; and to
our horror, we beheld the lovely maiden displaying our purse and handkerchief, which she had contrived to abstract during our momentary fit of compassion. We could not bear the sight of a number of unwashed. ferocious-looking wretches, listening eagerly to her account of our credulity; so we turned rapidly down a bye-path; and safe at home, threw our affectionate wife into hysterics by our description of the too interesting Gipsy girl. MOTLEY.
Under this head, we shall contrive to give (by a peculiar mode of condensation) much and very valuable matter, on a multitude of interesting topics, jects introduced will be inexhaustible, and constantly
are occasionally visited and always fed by their old teacher. His duty, now, is to check or en courage them in their "piping," by various motions of the head and mouth, according to the degree of excellence they have attained in music. When they repeat the same stave twice, he scowls and blows upon them. When they perform correctly he waves his head like a "Great Mogul," and shows signs that he is pleased, These motions the birds perfectly comprehend; and by dint of perseverance on the part of the teacher, and practise on theirs, they acquire the habit of piping that never leaves them till death. Now, as regards the teaching of these birds-imitative though they be, it must be tiresome, indeed! It must be remembered, that one false note renders a bird "faulty." Herein the difficulty! Our English bullfinches have no song. It is a mere twitter. They are pretty birds, truly, and very affectionate, but cannot be named among song-birds. The value of "German piping bullfinches," ranges from one guinea, upwards. They must never be purchased of people who deal in parrots, or indeed any "noisy" birds. Bought at such places they are valueless, as you must be well aware.EMMA T, (an old fancier,) Belgrave Square.
Timidity and Ferocity combined.-The ready insertion you have given, Mr. Editor, to my many little anecdotes of animals, induces me to send you yet another curious fact. Some little time since, I had a puppy six months old. He was of a middle size; and would run and yelp at the sight of another dog, however small. Now [We thank you, Madam, for this kind and there was a large and savage bull-dog, living two friendly communication, which we know to be very doors off, in the village of Twickenham. This correct in all its details. Our English bullfinch beast, from some unascertained cause, would is, as you say, not musical, but "very affection-seek every opportunity to worry my puppy, who ate." We shall have much to say in his praise, bore all patiently. One day however, a very wet when his turn comes round, in our series of day, the bull-dog rolled the puppy in the mud,— "British Song and Cage Birds." The suggestion keeping him there until he was nearly smothered. in your note, about the nightingale and black- However, being hard pressed, and fearing for his cap, shall most assuredly be borne in mind. We life, the little fellow turned round and showed never can, never will, lose any opportunity of fight. His first sharp teeth were just grown. singing their praises. They will be here again With these, he seized his enemy by the side of in ten weeks!] the neck. In the struggle to retain his hold of so powerful an adversary, the carotid artery was severed. Blood streamed out, and the bull-dog lay prostrate-He was dead! This did not "satisfy" his conqueror, who forthwith turned a bitter enemy to all his race. No dog could pass him without insult, or undeserved punishment. He flew at them all! nor would he accept chastisement from me, his master. One day he attacked a little boy, who was upon the premises, just as I returned home in my "jockey-boots" from a long ride. I immediately struck him with my whip. He turned upon me at once, and furiously bit through the double leather of my boot. Next day, my man said to me,-" Master! you will soon lose Bounce;' his name is up,' ever since he settled the bull-dog.' True words these! Within a week he was stolen. He disappeared in the night, and I afterwards learnt that his new prescribed duty was to be the guardian of a barge on the River Thames. His sire was a retriever, between the setter and Newfoundland; his dam was a Blenheim spaniel. He had a twin brother, the bravest sporting dog I ever knew. He would leap from a rock fifty or more feet high into the water, to recover the game his master had shot. I gave him to Mr. Thomas, of Teddington.-VERAX.
Rooks. I crave your advice, Mr. Editor, in a matter of difficulty. I am particularly fond of rooks; and have been well pleased to find myself surrounded by them-my house being situate near some large trees used by the rooks as a colony. Now, unfortunately, the nests of my favorite birds have been robbed by idle boys. This has so disconcerted the rooks, that they have taken their departure. There are now no nests remaining in the trees; although the birds are still numerous in the neighborhood. Can you tell me, my dear Sir, how I can entice them back?-FREDERICA.
[The removal of the nests from your trees, is deeply to be regretted. Birds so disturbed seldom, if ever, take kindly to their original haunts. There are no direct means to entice them back, unless you could have a quantity of artificial nests placed in their old positions. This might, at a future time, induce some stragglers to reconnoitre; and if undisturbed, they might be prevailed on to remain. It is worth an effort to repair "the mistake" committed. A recurrence of it, we need hardly say, would render all further attempts at a reconciliation fruitless.]
The Cockatoo-This, Mr. Editor, is a charming species of bird; and so affectionate! Pray mention this in OUR JOURNAL, for the sake of invalids, who can have no more faithful and fond associate in the time of sickness. I have had
two of these birds. One is dead; but the survivor is equally attached as the other was. He keeps guard over me, whilst I sleep; and no person dare approach me unless he pleases. Even the doctor, if he chances to give me pain, “suffers" for it! When I leave the room, my drawers are carefully watched; and nothing is ever permitted to be removed from the table. When I have been moaning, from excessive pain, and any one has remained with me an undue time-woe be to them! My watchman has flown at them by way of a hint, and followed them to the door, pecking all the way at their feet. For himself, he cares nothing he eats little indeed! All his delight seems in watching my progress. He has his liberty in doors and out of doors; but he never attempts to leave the premises.-PATIENCE, Devon.
More of the "Blue-Cap."-Do not look grave Mr. Editor, when I tell you I once had a bird, who of his own free-will would live in a cage.' You may say it is unnatural; and so it is-an