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October 17.

St. Hedwiges, or Avoice, duchess of Poland, A. D. 1243, St. Anstrudis, or Anstru, A. D. 688. St. Andrew of Crete, A. D. 761.

St. Etheldreda.

She was daughter of Annas, king of the East Angles, and born about 630, at Ixning, formerly a town of note on the western border of Suffolk, next Cambridgeshire. At Coldingham Abbey, Yorkshire, she took the veil under Ebba, daughter of king Ethelfrida, an abbess, afterwards celebrated for having saved herself and her nuns from the outrage of the Danes by mutilating their faces; the brutal invaders enclosed them in their convent and destroyed them by fire.

Notwithstanding Etheldreda's vow to remain a nun, she was twice forced by her parents to marry, and yet maintained her vow; hence she is styled, in the Romish breviaries, "twice a widow and always a virgin." On the death of her first husband Tonbert, a nobleman of the East Angles, the isle of Ely became her sole property by jointure, and she founded a convent, and the convent church there; and for their maintenance endowed them with the whole island. She married her second husband Egrid, king of Northum berland, on the death of Tonbert, in 671, but persisted in her vow, and died abbess of her convent on the 23d of June, 679. On the 17th of October, sixteen years afterwards, her relics were translated, and therefore on this day her festival is commemorated. In 870, the Danes made a descent on the isle of Ely, destroyed the convent and slaughtered the inhabitants. By abbreviation her name became corrupted to Auldrey and Audrey.*[1]

Tawdry—St Audrey.

As at the annual fair in the isle of Ely, called St. Audrey's fair, "much ordinary but showy lace was usually sold to the country lasses, St. Audrey's lace soon became proverbial, and from that cause Taudry, [sic] a corruption of St. Audrey, was established as a common expression to denote not only lace, but any other part of female dress, which was much more gaudy in appearance than warranted by its real quality and value." This is the assertion of Mr. Brady, in his "Clavis Calendaria," who, for aught that appears to the contrary, gives the derivation of the word as his own conjecture, but Mr. Archdeacon Nares, in his admirable "Glossary," shows the meaning to have been derived from Harpsfield, "an old English historian," who refers to the appellation, and "makes St. Audrey die of a swelling in her throat, which she considered as a particular judgment, for having been in her youth much addicted to wearing fine necklaces." There is not now any grounds to doubt that tawdry comes from St. Audrey. It was so derived in Dr. Johnson's "dictionary" before Mr. Todd's edition. Dr. Ash deemed the word of "uncertain etymology."


The pleasant correspondent of Mr. Urban, whose account of his squirrels is introduced on the seventh day of the present month[2], was induced, by Mr. Cowper's experience in the management of his hares, to procure a hare about three weeks old. "The little creature," he says, "at first pined for his dam, and his liberty, and refused food. In a few days I prevailed with him to take some milk from my lips, and this is still his favourite method of drinking. Soon after, observing that he greedily lapped sweet things, I dipped a cabbage-leaf in honey, and thus tempted him to eat the first solid food he ever tasted. I beg leave to add to Mr. Cowper's mill of fare, nuts, walnuts, pears, sweet cakes of all kinds, sea biscuits, sugar, and, above all, apple-pie. Every thing which is hard and crisp seems to be particularly relished.—the iris of the hare is very beautiful; it has the appearance of the gills of a young mushroom, seeming to consist of very delicate fibres, disposed like radii issuing from a common centre. I shall be glad to be informed by any person, skilled in anatomy, whether this structure of the iris be not of use to enable the eye to bear the constant action of the light; as it is a common opinion that this animal sleeps, even in the day-time, with its eyes open. I have observed, likewise, that the fur of the hare is more strongly electrical than the hair of any other animal. If you apply the point of a finger to his side in frosty weather, the hairs are immediately strongly attracted towards it from all points, and closely embrace the finger on every side."

It should be added from this agreeable writer, as regards the squirrel, that he was much surprised at the great advantage the little animal derives from his extended tail, which brings his body so nearly to an equipoise with the air, as to render a leap or fall from the greatest height perfectly save to him. "My squirrel has more than once leaped from the window of the second story, and alighted on stone steps, or on hard gravel, without suffering any inconvenience. But I should be glad to have confirmation, from an eye-witness, of what Mr. Pennant relates on the credit of Linnæus, Klein, Rzaczinski, and Scheffer, viz. that a squirrel sometimes crosses a river on a piece of bark by way of boat, using his tail as a sail. Not less astonishing is the undaunted courage of these little brutes: they seem sometimes resolved to conquer as it were, by reflection and fortitude, their natural instinctive fears. I have often known a squirrel tremble and scream at the first sight of a dog or cat, and yet, within a few minutes, after several abortive attempts, summon resolution enough to march up and small at the very nose of his gigantic enemy. These approaches he always makes by short abrupt leaps, stamping the ground with his feet as loud as he can; his whole mien and countenance most ridiculously expressive of ancient Pistol's affected valour and intrepidity."


Be it remembered, that C. L. comes here and represents his relations; that is to say, on behalf of the recollections, being the next of kin, of him, the said C. L., and of sundry persons who are "aye treading" in the manner of squirrels aforesaid; and thus he saith:—

For the Every-Day Book.

What is gone with the Cages with the climbing Squirrel and bells to them, which were formerly the indispensable appendage to the outside of a Tinman's shop, and were in fact the only Live Signs? One, we believe, still hangs out on Holborn; but they are fast vainishing with the good old modes of our ancestors. They seem to have been superseded by that still more ingenious refinement of modern humanity—the Tread-mill; in which human Squirrels still perform a similar round of ceaseless, improgressive clambering; which must be nuts to them.

We almost doubt the fact of the teeth of this creature being so purely orange-coloured, as Mr. Urban's correspondent gives out. One of our old poets—and they were pretty sharp observers of nature—describes them as brown. But perhaps the naturalist referrred to meant "of the colour of a Maltese orange,"*[3] which is rather more obfuscated than your fruit of Seville, or Saint Michael's; and may help to reconcile the difference. We cannot speak from observation, but we remember at school getting our fingers into the orangery of one of these little gentry (not having a due caution of the traps set there), and the result proved sourer than lemons. The Author of the Task somewhere speaks of their anger as being "insignificantly fierce," but we found the demonstration of it on this occasion quite as significant as we desired; and have not been disposed since to look any of these "gift horses" in the mouth. Maiden aunts keep these "small deer" as they do parrots, to bite people's fingers on purpose to give them good advice "not to venture so near the cage another time." As for their "six quavers divided into three quavers and dotted crotchet," I suppose, they may go into Jeremy Bentham's next budget of Fallacies, along with the "melodious and proportionable kinde of musicke," recorded in your last number of another highly gifted animal.* [4]

C. L.


Tenleaved Sunflower. Helianthus decapetalus.
Dedicated to St. Anstrudis.

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

1. Audley. Brady. [return]

2. See the entry for October 7. [return] [KG]

3. Fletcher in the "Faithful Shepherdess."—The Satyr offers to Clorin,

  —grapes whose lusty blood
Is the learned Poet's good.
Sweeter yet did never crown
The head of Bacchus: nuts more brown
Than the squirrels' teeth that crack them.— —[return]

4. Page 1360. [return]