Every-Day Book
vol II date    /    index  


January 11.

St. Theodosius. St. Hyginus. St Egwin. St. Salvius.

St. Theodosius

This saint visited St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar and had his fortune told. He ate coarse pulse and wild herbs, never tasted bread for thirty years, founded a monastery for an unlimited number of monks, dug one grave large enough to hold the whole community, when he received strangers, and had not food enough, he prayed for its miraculous increase and had it multiplied accordingly, prophesied while he was dying, died in 529, and had his hair shirt begged by a count, who won a victory with it. He was buried according to Butler, who relates these particulars, in the cave wherein the three kings of Cologne were said to have lodged on their way to Bethlehem.


In hard frosts holes must be broken in the ice that forms upon fish ponds, or the fish will die. It is pleasing to watch the finny tenants rising half torpic beneath a new-formed hole for the benefit of the air. Ice holes should be kept open during the frost; one hole to a pond is sufficient.

At Logan or Port Nessock in Wigtownshire, North Britain, a large salt-water pond was formed for Cod in 1800. It is a basin of 30 feet in depth, and 160 feet in circumference, hewn out from the solid rock, and communicating with the sea by one of those fissures which are common to bold and precipitous coasts. Attached to it is a neat Gothic cottage for the accomodation of the fisherman, and the rock is surmounted all round by a substantial stone wall at least 300 feet in circumference. In every state of the wind or tide, winter and summer, when not a single boat dare venture to sea, Colonel M'Dowal can command a supply of the finest fish and study at his leisure the instincts and habits of the "finny nations," with at least all the accuracy of those sage naturalists who rarely [venture] farther than Exeter 'Change. From the inner or back door of the lodge, a winding stair-way conducts to the usual halting place—a large flat stone projecting into the water and commanding a view of every part of the aquatic prison. When the tide is out, this stone is left completely dry, and here a stranger perceives with surprise, a hundred mouths simultaneously opened to greet his arrival.

The moment the fisherman crosses his threshold, the pond is agitated by the action of some hundred fins, and otherwise thrown into a state of anarchy and confusion. Darting from this, that, and the other corner, the whole population move as it were to a common centre, elevate their snouts, lash their tails, and jostle one another with such violence, that on a first view they actually seem to be menacing an attack on the poor fisherman, in place of the creel full of limpets he carries. Many of the fish are so tame, that they will feed greedily from the hand, and bite your fingers into the bargain, if you are foolish enough to allow them; while others again are so shy, that the fisherman discourses of the different tempers, as a thing quite as palpable as the gills they breathe, or the fins they move by. One gigantic cod, which seems to answer to the name of "Tom," and may well be described as the patriarch of the pond, forcibly arrests attention. This unfortunate, who passed his youth in the open sea, was taken prisoner at the age of five, and has since sojourned at Port Nessock, for the long period of twelve years, during all which time he has gradually increased in bulk and weight. He is now wholly blind from age or disease, and he has no chance whatever in the general scramble. The fisherman, however, is very kind to him, and it is affecting as well as curious, to see the huge animal raise himself in the water; and then resting his head on the flat stone, allow it to be gently patted or stroked, gaping all the while to implore that food which he has no other means of obtaining. In this pond, cod appears to be the prevailing species; there are also blochin or glassin, haddocks, flounders, and various other kinds. Salmon, which at spawning time visit the highest rivers, could not of course obey their instincts here, and accordingly there is only one specimen of this favourite fish in the pond at present. As the fisherman remarked, "he is far soupler than any o' the rest," and by virtue of this one quality, chases, bites, and otherwise annoys a whole battalion of gigantic cod, that have only, one would think, to open their mouths and swallow him. To supply them with food is an important part of the fisherman's duty; and with this view he must ply the net, and heave the line, during two or three days of every week. He has also to renew the stock, when the pond appears to be getting thin, from the contributions levied on it by the cook.

A letter from Cairo, in a journal of January 1824, contains a whimsical exemplification of Turkish manners in the provinces, and the absurdity of attempting to honour distant authorities, by the distinctions of civil society. A diploma of honorary member of the Society of Frankfort was presented to the Pacha, at the divan (or council.) The Pacha, who can neither read nor write, thought it was a firman (despatch) from the Porte. He was much surprised and alarmed; but the interpreter explained to him that it was written in the Nemptchee (German) language, contained the thanks of the ulemas (scholars) of a German city named Frankfort, for his kindness to two Nemptchee travelling in Egypt.

But the most difficult part was yet to come; it was to explain to him that he had been appointed a member of their society; and the Turkish language having no word for this purely European idea, the interpreter, after many hesitations and circumlocutions, at last succeeded in explaining, "that as a mark of respect and gratitude, the society had made him one of their partners." At these words the eyes of the Pacha flashed with anger, and with a voice of thunder he roared that he would never again be the partner of any firm; that his partnership with Messrs. Briggs and Co. in the Indian trade, cost him nearly 500,000 hard piasters; that the association for the manufactory of sugar and rum paid him nothing at all; and, in short, that he was completely tired of his connections with Frank merchants, who were indebted to him 23,000,000 of piasters, which he considered as completely lost. In his rage, he even threatened to have the interpreter drowned in the Nile, for having presumed to make offer of a mercantile connection, against his positive orders.

The poor interpreter was confounded, and unable to utter a word in his defence. At this critical moment, however, Messrs. Fernandez, Pambone, and others who have access to the Pacha, interposed; and it was some time before they could reduce his Highness to reason; his passion had thrown him into an hysterical hiccup. When his Highness was a little recovered, Mr. Fernandez endeavoured to explain to him that there was no question about business: that the ulemas of Frankfort were possessed of no stock but books, and had no capital. "So much the worse," replied the Pacha; "then they are sahhaftehi, (booksellers,) who carry on their business without money, like the Franks at Cairo and Alexandria." "On, no they are no sahhaftehi, but ulemas, kiatibs, (authors,) physicians, philossoufs, &c., who are only engaged in science." "Well," said he, "and what am I then to do in their society; I, a Pacha of three horse tails?" "Nothing at all, your Highness, like perhaps most of the members of their society, but by receiving you into their society, these gentlemen intended to show you their respect and gratitude." "That is a strange custom, indeed," cried the Pacha, "to show respect to a person by telling or writing to him in funny letters—you are worthy of being one of us." "But this is the custom," added Divan Effendi (his Secretary.) "Your Happiness knows that the friends (Franks) have many customs different from ours, and often such as are very ridiculous. For instance, if they wish to salute a person, they bare their heads, and scrape with their right foot backwards; instead of sitting down comfortably on a sofa to rest themselves, they sit on little wooden chairs, as if they were about to be shaved: they eat the pillao with spoons, and the meat with pincers; but what seems most laughable is, that they humbly kiss the hands of their women, who, instead of the yashmak, (veil,) carry straw baskets on their heads; and that they mix sugar and milk with their coffee." This last sally set the whole assembly (his Highness excepted) in a roar of laughter. Among those who stood near the fountain in the middle of the hall, several exclaimed with respect to the coffee with sugar and milk, Kiafirler! (Ah, ye infidels!)

In the end the Pacha was pacified, and "Alls well that ends well;" but it had been better, it seems, if, according to the customs of the east, the society of Frankfort had sent the Pacha the unquestionable civility of a present, that he could have applied to some use.


On the 11th of January, 1825, a sketch of this church was taken from a second-floor window in the house No. 115, Fleet-street, which stands on the opposite side of the way to that whereon the opening was made by the late fire; and the subjoined engraving from the sketch is designed to perpetuate the appearance through that opening. Till then, it had been concealed from the view of passengers through Fleet-street by the houses destroyed, and the conflagration has been rightly deemed a favourable opportunity for endeavouring to secure a space of sufficient extent to render the church a public ornament to the city. To at least one person, professionally unskilled, the spire of St. Bride's appears more chaste and effective than the spire of Bow. In 1805, it was 234 feet high, which is thirty-two feet higher than the Monument, but having been struck by lightning in that year, it was lowered to its present standard.

St. Bride's church was built by sir Christopher Wren, and completed in 1680. It has been repeatedly beautified: its last internal decorations were effected in 1824. In it are interred Thomas Flatman the poet, Samuel Richardson, the novelist, and William Bingley, a bookseller, remarkable for his determined and successful resistance to interrogatories by the court of King's Bench—a practice which that resistance abated for ever: his latter years were employed, or rather were supported, by the kindness of the venerable and venerted John Nichols, Esq. F. S. A. whose family tablet of brass is also in this church. As an ecclesiastical edifice, St. Bride's is confessedly one of the most elegant in the metropolis: an unobstructed view of it is indispensable therefore to the national character. Appeals which will enable the committee to purchase the interests of individuals on the requisite site are now in progress, and can scarcely be unheeded by those whom wealth, taste, and liberality dispose to assist in works of public improvement. The engraved sketch does not claim to be more than such a representation as may give a distant reader some grounds for determining whether a vigorous effort to save a build ing of that appearance from enclosure a second time ought not now to be made. The proceedings for that purpose are in this month, and are entitled to a place in this sheet.

St. Bride's Church, London, as it appeared Jan. 11, 1825.

From the opening in Fleet-street made by the Fire of Sunday, November 14, 1824.


This diversion, resorted to at visitings during the twelve days of Christmas, as of ancient custom, continues without abatement during the prolongation of friendly meetings at this season. Persons who are opposed to this recreation from religious scruples, do not seem to distinguish between its use and its abuse. Mr. Archdeacon Butler refers to the "harmless mirth and innocent amusements of society," in his sermon on "Christian Liberty," before the duke of Gloucester, and the university of Cambridge, on his royal highness's installation as chancellor, June 30, 1811. The archdeacon quotes, as a note on that point in his sermon, a remarkable passage from Jeremy Taylor, who says, "that cards, &c. are of themselves lawful, I do not know any reason to doubt. He can never be suspected, in any criminal sense, to tempt the Divine Providence, who by contingent things recreates his labour. As for the evil appendages, they are all separable from these games, and they may be separated by these advices, &c." On the citation, which is here abridged, the archdeacon remarks, "Such are the sentiments of one of the most truly pious and most profoundly learned prelates that ever adorned any age or country; nor do I think that the most rigid of our disciplinarians can produce the authority of a wiser or a better man than bishop Jeremy Taylor." Certainly not; and therefore an objector to this pastime will do well to read the reasoning of the whole passage as it stands at the end of the archdeacon's printed sermon: if he desire further, let him peruse Jeremy Taylor's "advices."

Cards are not here introduced with a view of seducing parents to rear their sons as gamblers and blacklegs, or their daughters to

"a life of scandal, an old age of cards;"

but to impress upon them the importance of "not morosely refusing to participate in" what the archdeacon refers to, as of the "harmless mirth and innocent amusements of society." Persons who are wholly debarred from such amusements in their infancy, frequently abuse a pleasure they have been wholly restrained from, by excessive indulgence in it on the first opportunity. This is human nature: let the string be suddenly withdrawn from the overstrained bow, and the relaxation of the bow is violent.

Look at a juvenile card-party—not at that which the reader sees represented in the engraving, which is somewhat varied from a design by Stella, who grouped boys almost as finely as Fiamingo modelled their forms—but imagine a juvenile party closely seated round a large table, with a Pope Joan board in the middle; each well supplied with mother-o'-pearl fish and counters, in little Chinese ornamented red and gold trays; their faces and the candles lighting up the room; their bright eyes sparkling after the cards, watching the turn-up, or peeping into the pool to see how rich it is; their growing anxiety to the rounds, till the lucky card decides the richest stake; then the shout out of "Rose has got it!" "It's Rose's!" "Here, Rose, here they are—take 'em all; here's a lot!" Emma, and John, and Alfred, and William's hands thrust forth to help her to the prize; Sarah and Fanny, the elders of the party, laughing at their eagerness; the more sage Matilda checking it, and counting how many fish Rose has won; Rose, amazed at her sudden wealth, talks the least; little Samuel, who is too young to play, but has been allowed a place, with some of the "pretty fish" before him, claps his hands and halloos, and throws his playthings to increase Rose's treasure; and baby Ellen sits in "mother's" lap, mute from surprise at the "uproar wild," till a loud crow, and the quick motion of her legs, proclaim her delight at the general joy, which she suddenly suspends in astonishment at the many fingers pointed towards her, with "Look at baby! look at baby!" and gets smothered with kisses, from which "mother" vainly endeavours to protect her. And so they go on, till called by Matilda to a new game, and "mother" bids them to "go and sit down, and be good children, and not make so much noise:" whereupon they disperse to their chairs; two or three of the least help up Samuel, who is least of all, and "mother" desires them to "take care, and mind he does not fall." Matilda then gives him his pretty fish "to keep him quiet;" begins to dress the board for a new game; and once more they are "as merry as grigs."

In contrast to the jocund pleasure of children at a round game, take the picture of "old Sarah Battle," the whist-player. "A clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigour of the game," was her celebrated wish. "She was none of your lukewarm gamesters, your half-and-half players, who have no objection to take a hand, if you want one to make up a rubber; who affirm that they have no pleasure in winning; that they like to win one game, and lose another; that they can wile away an hour very agreeably at a card-table, but are indifferent whether they play or no; and will desire an ad versary, who has slipt a wrong card, to take it up and play another. Of such it may be said that they do not play at cards, but only play at playing at them. Sarah Battle was none of that breed; she detested them from her heart and soul; and would not, save upon a striking emergency, willingly seat herself at the same table with them. She loved a thorough-paced partner, a determined enemy. She took and gave no concessions; she hated favours; she never made a revoke, nor ever passed it over in her adversary, without exacting the utmost forfeiture. She sat bolt upright, and neither showed you her cards, nor desired to see yours. All people have their blind side—their superstitions; and I have heard her declare, under the rose, that Hearts was her favourite suit. I never in my life (and I knew Sarah Battle many of the best years of it) saw her take out her snuffbox when it was her turn to play, or snuff a candle in the middle of a game, or ring for a servant till it was fairly over. She never introduced, or connived at, miscellaneous conversation during its process: as, she emphatically observed, cards were cards. A grave simplicity was what she chiefly admired in her favourite game. There was nothing silly in it, like the nob in cribbage—nothing superfluous. To confess a truth, she was never greatly taken with cribbage. It was an essentially vulgar game, I have heard her say,—disputing with her uncle, who was very partial to it. She could never heartily bring her mouth to pronounce 'go,' or 'that's a go.' She called it an ungrammatical game. The pegging teased her. I once knew her to forfeit a rubber, because she would not take advantage of the turn-up knave, which would have given it her, but which she must have claimed by the disgraceful tenure of declaring 'two for his heels.' Sarah Battle was a gentlewoman born." These, omitting a few delicate touches, are her features by the hand of Elia. "No inducement," he says, "could ever prevail upon her to play at her favourite game for nothing." And then he adds, "With great deference to the old lady's judgment on these matters, I think I have experienced some moments in my life when playing at cards for nothing has even been agreeable. When I am in sickness, or not in the best spirits, I sometimes call for the cards, and play a game at piquet for love with my cousin Bridget—Bridget Elia[.]" Cousin Bridget and the gentle Elia seem beings of that age wherein lived Pamela, whom, with "old Sarah Battle," we may imagine entering their room, and sitting down with them to a square game. Yet Bridget and Elia live in our own times: she, full of kindness to all, and of soothings to Elia especially;—he, no less kind and consoling to Bridget, in all simplicity holding converse with the world, and, ever and anon, giving us scenes that Metzu and De Foe would admire, and portraits that Denner and Hogarth would rise from their graves to paint.