Every-Day Book
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June 18.

Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus, A.D. 286. St. Marina, 8th Cent. St. Elizabeth of Sconage, Abbess, A.D. 1165. St. Amand, Bp. of Bourdeaux.


1815. The battle of Waterloo, which terminated the personal power of Napolean, [sic] was fought on this day.


There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men:
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage-bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it?—No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet---
But, hark!---that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, nearer, deadlier than before!
Arm! arm! it is!---it is---the cannon's opening roar!

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated: who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon nights so sweet such awful morn could rise?

And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused by the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips—"The foe! they come! they come!"

And wild, and high, the "Cameron's gathering rose!"
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes:
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! but with the breath which fills
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears

And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with Nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave,—alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay;
The midnight brought the signal sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms,---the day
Battle's magnificently-stern array!
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is covered thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent,
Rider and horse,---friend,---foe,---in one red burial blent!


On the 18th of June, 1817, the Strand-bridge, a noble structure, erected at the expense of private individuals, was opened for the public accommodation, under the denomination of Waterloo-bridge, with military and other ceremonies.

Buy a Broom?

"Buy a Broom?"

These poor "Buy-a-Broom" girls exactly dress now,
As Hollar etch'd such girls two cent'ries ago;
All formal and stiff, with legs, only, at ease—
Yet, pray, judge for yourself; and don't, if you please,
Like Matthews's "Chyle," in his Monolo-Play,
Cry "The Ev'ry-Day Book is quite right, I dare say;"
But ask for the print, at old print shops, (they'll show it,)
And look at it, "with your own eyes," and you'll "know it."

These girls are Flemings. They come to England from the Netherlands in the spring, and take their departure with the summer. They have only one low, shrill, twittering note, "Buy a broom?" sometimes varying into the singular plural, "Buy a brooms?" It is a domestic cry; two or three go together, and utter it in company with each other; not in concert, nor to a neighbourhood, and scarcely louder than will attract the notice of an inmate seen at a parlour window, or an open street-door, or a lady or two passing in the street. Their hair is tightened up in front, and at the sides, and behind, and the ends brought together, and so secured, or skewered, at the top of the head, as if it were constricted by a trouniquet: the little close cap, not larger than an infant's, seems to be put on and tied down by strings fastened beneath the chin, merely as a concealment of the machinery. Without a single inflexion of the body, and for any thing that appears to the contrary, it may be incased in tin. From the waist, the form abruptly and boldly bows out like a large beehive, or an arch of carpentry, built downward from above the hips, for the purpose of opening and distending the enormous petticoat into numerous plaits and folds, and thereby allowing the legs to walk without incumbrance. Their figures are exactly miniatured in an unpainted penny doll of turnery ware, made all round, before and behind, and sold in the toyshops for the amusement of infancy.

These Flemish girls are of low stature, with features as formal and old fashioned as their dress. Their gait and manner answer to both. They carry their brooms, not under the left arm, but upon it, as they would children, upright between the arm and the side, with the heads in front of the shoulder. One, and one only, of the brooms is invariably held in the right hand, and this is elevated with the sharp cry "Buy a broom?" or "Buy a brooms?" to any one likely to become a purchaser, till it is either bought or wholly declined. The sale of their brooms is the sole purpose for which they cross the seas to us; and they suffer nothing to divert them from their avocation. A broom girl's countenance, so wearisomely indicates unwearied attention to the "main chance," and is so inflexibly solemn, that you doubt whether she ever did or can smile; yet when she does, you are astonished that she does not always: her face does not relax by degrees, but breaks suddenly into an arch laugh. This appearance may be extorted by a joke, while driving a bargain, but not afterwards: she assumes it, perhaps, as a sort of "turn" to hasten the "business transaction;" for when that is concluded, the intercourse ends immediately. Neither lingering nor loitering, they keep constantly walking on, and looking out for customers. They seldom speak to each other; nor when their brooms are disposed of, do they stop and rejoice upon it as an end to their labours; but go homewards reflectively, with the hand every now and then dipping into the pocket of the huge petticoat, and remaining there for a while, as if counting the receipts of the day while they walk, and reckoning what the before accumulated riches will total to, with the new addition. They seem influenced by this admonition, "get all you can, and keep all you get."

Rather late in an autumn afternoon, in Battersea-fields, I saw one of these girls by herself; she was seated, with her brooms on her lap, in a bit of scenery, which, from Weirotter's etchings and other prints, I have always fancied resembled a view in the Low Countries: it is an old windmill, near the "Red-house," with some low buildings among willows, on the bank of the Thames, thrown up to keep the river from overflowing a marshy flat. To my imagination, she was fixed to that spot in a reverie on her "vader-land.*"[1] She gazed on the strait line of stunted trees, as if it were the line of beauty; and from the motion of her lips, and the enthusiasm of her look I deemed she was reciting a passage from a poet of her native country. Elevation of feeling, in one of these poor girls, was hardly to be looked for; and yet I know not why I should have excluded it, as not appertaining to their character, except from their seeming intentness on thrift alone. They are cleanly, frugal, and no wasters of time; and that they are capable of sentiment, I state on the authority of my imagining concerning this poor girl; whereon, too, I pledge myself not to have been mistaken, for the language of the heart is universal—and hers discoursed to mine; though from the situation wherein I stood, she saw me not. I was not, nor could I be, in love with her—I was in love with human nature.

The "brooms" are one entire piece of wood; the sweeping part being slivered from the handle, and the savings neatly turned over and bound round into the form of a besom. They are bought to dust curtains and hangings with; but good housewives have another use for them; one of them dipt in fair water sprinkles the dried clothes in the laundy, for the process of ironing, infinitely better than the hand; it distributes the water more equally and more quickly.

"Buy a Broom?!!"

There is a print with this inscription. It is a caricature representation of Mr. Brougham, with his barrister's wig, in the dress of a broom girl, and for its likeness of that gentleman, and the play on his name, it is amazingly popular; especially since he contended for a man's right to his own personal appearance, in the case of Abernethy v. The Lancet, before the chancellor. Mr. Brougham's good-humoured allusion to his own countenance, was taken by the auditors in court, to relate particularly to his portrait in this print, called "buy a Broom?" It is certainly as good as "The Great Bell of Lincoln's-inn," and two or three other prints of gentlemen eminent at the chancery-bar, sketched and etched, apparently, by the same happy hand at a thorough likeness.


Horned Poppy. Chelidonium glaucum.
Dedicated to St. Marina.

Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Vader-land, a word signifying country, but infinitely more expressive; it was first adopted by Lord Byron into our language; he englishes it "Fatherland." [return]