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   Then came old January, wrapped well
   In many weeds to keep the cold away;
   Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell;
   And blow his nayles to warm them if he may;
   For they were numb'd with holding all the day
   An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood,
   And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray
   Upon a huge great earth-pot steane he stood,
From whose wide mouth there flowed forth the Romane flood.


Laus Deo!—was the first entry by merchants and tradesmen of our forefathers' days, in the beginning of their new account-books with the new year. LAUS DEO! then, be the opening of this volume of the Every-Day Book, wherein we take further "note of time," and make entries to the days, and months, and seasons, in "every varied posture, place, and hour."

JANUARY, besides the names already mentioned,* [1] was called by the Anglo-Saxons Giuli aftera, signifying the second Giul, or Yule, or, as we should say, the second Christmas.* [2] Of Yule itself much will be observed, when it can be better said.

To this month there is an ode with a verse beautifully descriptive of the Roman symbol of the year:† [3]

'Tis he! the two-fac'd Janus comes in view;
   Wild hyacinths his robe adorn,
   And snow-drops, rivals of the morn:
      He spurns the goat aside,
      But smiles upon the new
      Emerging year with pride:
   And now unlocks, with agate key,
   The ruby gates of orient day.


Mr. Luke Howard is the author of a highly useful work, entitled "The Climate of London, deduced from Meteorological Observations, made at different places in the neighbourhood of the Metropolis: London, 1818" 2 vols. 8vo. Out of this magazine of fact it is proposed to extract, from time to time, certain results which may acquaint general readers with useful knowledge concerning the weather of our latitude, and induce the inquisitive to resort to Mr. Howard's book, as a careful guide of high authority in conducting their researches. That gentleman, it is hoped, will not deem this an improper use of his labours: it is meant to be, as far as regards himself, a humble tribute to his talents and diligence. With these views, under each month will be given a state of the weather, in Mr. Howard's own words: and thus we begin.


The Sun in the middle of this month continues about 8 h. 20 m. above the horizon. The Temperature rises in the day, on an average of twenty years, to 40.28°; and falls in the night, in the open country, to 31.36°—the difference, 8.92°, representing the mean effect of the sun's rays for the month, may be termed the solar variation of the temperature.

The Mean Temperature of the month, if the observations in this city be included, is 36.34°. But this mean has a range, in ten years, of about 10.25°, which may be termed the lunar variation of the temperature. It holds equally in the decade, beginning with 1797, observed in London, and in that beginning with 1807, in the country. In the former decade, the month was coldest in 1802, and warmest in 1812, and coldest in 1814. I have likewise shown, that there was a tendency in the daily variation of temperature through this month, to proceed, in these respective periods of years, in opposite directions. The prevalence of different classes of winds, in the different periods, is the most obvious cause of these periodical variations of the mean temperature.

The Barometer in this month rises, on an average of ten years, to 3[0].40 in., and falls to 28.97 in.: the mean range is therefore 1.43 in.; but the extreme range in ten years is 2.38 in. The mean height for the month is about 29.79 inches.

The prevailing Winds are the class from west to north. The northerly predominate, by a fourth of their amount, over the southerly winds.

The average Evaporation (on a total of 30.50 inches for the year) is 0.832 in., and the mean of De Luc's hydrometer 80.

The mean Rain, at the surface of the earth, is 1.959 in.; and the number of days on which snow or rain falls, in this month, averages 14, 4.

A majority of the Nights in this month have constantly the temperature at or below the foregoing point.‡ [4]

Long ere the lingering dawn of that blythe morn
Which ushers in the year, the roosting cock,
Flapping his wings, repeats his larum shrill;
But on that morn no busy flail obeys
His rousing call; no sounds but sounds of joy
Salute the ear—the first-foot's [5] entering step,
That sudden on the floor is welcome heard,
Ere blushing maids have braided up their hair;
The laugh, the hearty kiss, the good new year
Pronounced with honest warmth. In village, grange,
And burrow town, the steaming flaggon, borne
From house to house, elates the poor man's heart,
And makes him feel that life has still its joys.
The aged and the young, man, woman, child,
Unite in social glee; even stranger dogs,
Meeting with bristling back, soon lay aside
Their snarling aspect, and in sportive chace,
Excursive scour, or wallow in the snow.
With sober cheerfulness, the grandam eyes
Her offspring round her, all in health and peace;
And, thankful that she's spared to see this day
Return once more, breathes low a secret prayer,
That God would shed a blessing on their heads.


January 1.

The Saints of the Roman calendars and martyrologies,

So far as the rev. Alban Butler, in his every-day biography of Roman catholic saints, has written their memoirs, their names have been given, together with notices of some, and especially of those retained in the calendar of the church of England from the Romish calendar. Similar notices of others will be offered in continuation; but, on this high festival in the calendar of nature, particular or further remark on the saints' festivals would interrupt due attention to the season, and therefore we break from them to observe that day which all enjoy in common,

New Year's Day.

Referring for the "New-year's gifts," the "Candlemas-bull," and various observances of our ancestors and ourselves, to the first volume of this work, wherein they are set forth "in lively pourtraieture," we stop a moment to peep into the "Mirror of the Months," and inquire "Who can see a new year open upon him, without being better for the prospect—without making sundry wise reflections (for any reflections on this subject must be comparatively wise ones) on the step he is about to take towards the goal of his being? Every first of January that we arrive at, is an imaginary mile-stone on the turnpike track of human life; at once a resting place for thought and meditation, and a starting point for fresh exertion in the performance of our journey. The man who does not at least propose to himself to be better this year than he was last, must be either very good, or very bad indeed! And only to propose to be better, is something; if nothing else, it is an acknowledgement of our need to be so, which is the first step towards amendment. But, in fact, to propose to oneself to do well, is in some sort to do well, positively; for there is no such thing as a stationary point in human endeavours; he who is not worse to-day than he was yesterday, is better; and he who is not better, is worse."

It is written, "Improve your time," in the text-hand set of copies put before us when we were better taught to write than to understand what we wrote. How often these three words recurred at that period without their meaning being discovered! How often and how serviceably they have recurred since to some who have obeyed the injunction! How painful has reflection been to others, who recollecting it, preferred to suffer rather than to do!

The author of the paragraph quoted above, expresses forcible remembrance of his youthful pleasures on the coming in of the new year.—"Hail! to thee, JANUARY!—all hail! cold and wintry as thou art, if it be but in virtue of thy first day. THE DAY, as the French call it, par excellence, 'Le jour de l'an.' Come about me, all ye little schoolboys that have escaped from the unnatural thraldom of your taskwork—come crowding about me, with your untamed hearts shouting in your unmodulated voices, and your happy spirits dancing an untaught measure in your eyes! Come, and help me to speak the praises of new-year's day!—your day—one of the three which have, of late, become yours almost exclusively, and which have bettered you, and have been bettered themselves, by the change. Christmay-day [sic], which was; New-year's-day, which is; and Twelfth-day, which is to be; let us compel them all three into our presence—with a whisk of our imaginative wand convert them into one, as the conjurer does his three glittering balls—and then enjoy them all together,—with their dressings, and coachings, and visitings, and greetings, and gifts, and "many happy returns"—with their plum-puddings, and mince-pies, and twelfth-cakes, and neguses—with their forfeits, and fortune-tellings, and blindman's-buffs, and sittings up to supper—with their pantomimes, and panoramas, and new penknives, and pastrycooks' shops—in short, with their endless round of ever new nothings, the absence of a relish for which is but ill supplied, in after life, by that feverish lingering and thirsting after excitement, which usurp without filling its place. Oh! that I might enjoy those nothings once again in fact, as I can in fancy! But I fear the wish is worse than an idle one; for it not only may not be, but it ought not to be. "We cannot have our cake and eat it too," as the vulgar somewhat vulgarly, but not less shrewdly, express it. And this is as it should be; for if we could, it would neither be worth the eating nor the having.*" [6]



The Wassail Bowl.

Health, my lord king, the sweet Rowena said,
Health, cry'd the chieftain, to the Saxon maid;
Then gayly rose, and 'midst the concourse wide,
Kiss'd her hale lips, and plac'd her by his side:
At the soft scene such gentle thoughts abound,
That health and kisses 'mongst the guests went round;
From this the social custom took its rise,
We still retain, and must for ever prize.

Now, on New-year's-day as on the previous eve, the wassail bowl is carried from door to door, with singing and merriment. In Devonshire,

A massy bowl, to deck the jovial day,
Flash'd from its ample round a sunlike ray.
Full many a cent'ry it shone forth to grace
The festive spirit of th' Andarton race,
As, to the sons of sacred union dear,
It welcomed with lambs' wool the rising year.

Mr. Brand says, "It appears from Thomas de la Moore,* [7] and old Havillan,† [8] that was-haile and drine-heil were the usual ancient phrases of quaffing among the English, and synonimous [sic] with the 'Come, here's to you,' and 'I'll pledge you,' of the present day.["]

In the "Antiquarian Repertory," a large assemblage of curious communications, published by Mr. Jeffery, of Pall-mall, in 4 vols. 4to. there is the following paper relating to an ancient carving represented in that work, from whence the above engraving is taken. The verses beneath it are a version of the old lines in Robert of Gloucester's chronicle, by Mr. Jeffery's correspondent.

For the Antiquarian Repertory.

In the parish of Berlen, near Snodland, in the county of Kent, are the vestiges of a very old mansion, known by the name of Groves. Being on the spot before the workmen began to pull down the front, I had the curiosity to examine its interior remains, when, amongst other things well worth observation, appeared in the large oak beam that supported the chimney-piece, a curious piece of carved work, of which the preceding is an exact copy. Its singularity induced me to set about an investigation, which, to my satisfaction, was not long without success. The large bowl in the middle is the figure of the old wassell-bowl, so much the delight of our hardy ancestors, who, on the vigil of the new year, never failed (says my author) to assemble round the glowing hearth with their cheerful neighbours, and then in the spicy wassell-bowl (which testifies the goodness of their hearts) drowned every former animosity—an example worthy modern imitation. Wassell, was the word; Wassell, every guest returned as he took the circling goblet from his friend, whilst song and civil mirth brought in the infant year. This annual custom, says Geoffrey of Monmouth, had its rise from Rouix, or Rowen, or as some will have it, Rowena, daughter of the Saxon Hengist; she, at the command of her father, who had invited the British king Voltigern to a banquet, came in the presence with a bowl of wine, and welcomed him in these words, Louerd king wass-heil; he in return, by the help of an interpreter, answered, Drinc heile; and, if we may credit Robert of Gloster,

Ruste hire and sitte hire adowne and glad dronke hire heil
And that was tho in this land the berst was-hail
As in language of Saxoyne that we might ebere iwite
And so well he paith the fole about, that he is yut borgute.

Thomas De Le Moor, in his "Life of Edward the Second," says partly the same as Robert of Gloster, and only adds, that Wass-haile and Drine-hail were the usual phrases of quaffing amongst the earliest civilized inhabitants of this island.

The two birds upon the bowl did for some time put me to a stand, till meeting with a communicative person at Hobarrow, he assured me they were two hawks, as I soon plainly perceived by their bills and beaks, and were a rebus of the builder's name. There was a string from the neck of one bird to the other, which, it is reasonable to conjecture, was to note that they must be joined together to show their signification; admitting this, they were to be red hawks. Upon inquiry, I found a Mr. Henry Hawks, the owner of a farm adjoining to Groves; he assured me, his father kept Grove farm about forty years since, and that it was built by one of their name, and had been in his family upwards of four hundred years, as appeared by an old lease in his possession.

The apple branches on each side of the bowl, I think, means no more than that they drank good cyder at their Wassells. Saxon words at the extremities of the beam are already explained; and the mask carved brackets beneath, correspond with such sort of work before the fourteenth century.

T. N.

The following pleasant old song, inserted by Mr. Brand, from Ritson's collection of "Antient Songs," was met with by the Editor of the Every-day Book, in 1819, at the printing-office of Mr. Rann, at Dudley, printed by him for the Wassailers of Staffordshire and Warwickshire. It went formerly to the tune of "Gallants come away."


A jolly Wassel-Bowl,
   A Wassel of good ale,
Well fare the butler's soul,
   That setteth this to sale;
         Our jolly Wassel.

Good Dame, here at your door
   Our Wassel we begin,
We are all maidens poor,
   We pray now let us in,
         With our Wassel.

Our Wassel we do fill
   With apples and with spice,
Then grant us your good will
   To taste here once or twice
         Of our good Wassel.

If any maidens be
   Here dwelling in this house,
They kindly will agree
   To take a full carouse
         Of our Wassel.

But here they let us stand
   All freezing in the cold;
Good master, give command,
   To enter and be bold,
         With our Wassel.

Much joy into this hall
   With us is entered in,
Our master first of all,
   We hope will now begin,
         Of our Wassel;

And after his good wife
   Our spiced bowl will try,
The Lord prolong your life,
   Good fortune we espy,
         For our Wassel.

Some bounty from your hands,
   Our Wassel to maintain:
We'll buy no house nor lands
   With that which we do gain,
         With our Wassel.

This is our merry night
   Of choosing King and Queen,
Then be it your delight
   That something may be seen
         In our Wassel.

It is a noble part
   To bear a liberal mind,
God bless our master's heart,
   For here we comfort find,
         With our Wassel.

And now we must be gone,
   To seek out more good cheer;
Where bounty will be shown,
   As we have found it here,
         With our Wassel.

Much joy betide them all,
   Our prayers shall be still,
We hope and ever shall,
   For this your great good will,
         To our Wassel.

From the "Wassail" we derive, perhaps, a feature by which we are distinguished. An Englishman eats no more than a Frenchman; but he makes yule-tide of all the year. In virtue of his forefathers, he is given to "strong drink." He is a beer-drinker, an enjoyer of "fat ale;" a lover of the best London porter and double XX, and discontented unless he can get "stout." He is a sitter withal. Put an Englishman "behind a pipe" and a full pot, and he will sit till he cannot stand. At first he is silent; but as his liquor gets towards the bottom, he inclines towards conversation; as he replenishes, his coldness thaws, and he is conversational; the oftener he calls to "fill again," the more talkative he becomes; and when thoroughly liquefied, his loquacity is deluging. He is thus in public-house parlours: he is in parties somewhat higher, much the same. The business of dinner draws on the greater business of drinking, and the potations are strong and fiery; full-bodied port, hot sherry, and ardent spirits. This occupation five or six hours, and sometimes more, after dining. There is no rising from it, but to toss off the glass, and huzza after the "hip! hip! hip!" of the toast giver. A calculation of the number who customarily "dine out" in this manner half the week, would be very amusing, if it were illustrated by portraits of some of the indulgers. It might be further, and more usefully, though not so agreeably illustrated, by the reports of physicians, wives, and nurses, and the bills of apothecaries. Habitual sitting to drink is the "besetting sin" of Englishmen—the creator of their gout and palsy, the embitterer of their enjoyments, the impoverisher of their property, the widow-maker of their wives.

By continuing the "wassail" of our ancestors, we attempt to cultivate the body as they did; but we are other beings, cultivated in other ways, with faculties and powers of mind that would have astonished their generations, more than their robust frames, if they could appear, would astonish ours. Their employment was in hunting their forests for food, or battling in armour with risk of life and limb. They had no counting-houses, no ledgers, no commerce, no Christmas bills, no letter-writing, no printing, no engraving, no bending over the desk, no "wasting of the midnight oil" and brain together, no financing, not a hundredth part of the relationships in society, nor of the cares the we have, who "wassail" as they did, and wonder we are not so strong as they were. There were no Popes nor Addisons in the days of Nimrod.

The most perfect fragment of the "wassail" exists in the usage of certain corporation festivals. The person presiding stands up at the close of dinner, and drinks from a flaggon usually of silver having a handle on each side, by which he holds it with each hand, and the toast-master announces him as drinking "the health of his brethren out of the 'loving cup.' The loving cup, which is the ancient wassail-bowl, is then passed to the guest on his left hand, and by him to his left-hand neighbour, and as it finds its way round the room to each guest in his turn, so each stands up and drinks to the president "out of the loving cup."

The subsequent song is sung in Gloucestershire on New-year's eve:—

Wassail! Wassail! over the town,
Our toast it is white, our ale it is brown:
Our bowl it is made of a maplin tree,
We be good fellows all; I drink to thee.

Here's to * * * * ,* [9] and to his right ear,
God send our maister a happy New Year;
A happy New Year as e'er he did see—
With my Wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

Here's to * * * *,† [10] and to his right eye,
God send our mistress a good Christmas pye:
A good Chrismas pye as e'er I did see—
With my Wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

Here's to Filpail,‡[11] and her long tail,
God send our measter us never may fail
Of a cup of good beer; I pray you draw near,
And then you shall hear our jolly wassail.

Be here any maids, I suppose here be some;
Sure they will not let young men stand on the cold stone;
Sing hey O maids, come trole back the pin,
And the fairest maid in the house, let us all in.

Come, butler, come bring us a bowl of the best:
I hope your soul in Heaven may rest:
But if you do bring us a bowl of the small,
Then down fall butler, bowl, and all.


Of this usage in Scotland, commencing on New-year's eve, there was not room in the last sheet of the former volume, to include the following interesting communication. It is, here, not out of place, because, in fact, the usage runs into the morning of the New Year.


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

The annexed account contains, I believe, the first notice of the acting in our Daft Days. I have put it hurriedly together, but, if of use, it is at your service.

I am, Sir, &c.

Falkirk, December, 1825.

During the early ages of christianity, when its promulgation among the barbarous Celts and Gauls had to contend with the many obstacles which their ignorance and superstition presented, it is very probable that the clergy, when they were unable entirely to abolish pagan rites, would endeavour, as far as possible, to twist them into something of a christian cast; and of the turn which many heathen ceremonies thus received, abundant instances are afforded in the Romish church.

The performance of religious MYSTERIES, which continued for a long period, seems to have been accompanied with much licentiousness, and undoubtedly was grafted upon the stock of pagan observances.—It was discovered, however, that the purity of the chirstian religion could not tolerate them, and they were succeeded by the MORALITIES, the subjects of which were either historical, or some existing abuse, that it was wished to aim a blow at. Of this we have an interesting instance in an account given by sir William Eure, the envoy of Henry the Eighth to James the fifth, in a letter to the lord privy seal of England, dated 26th of January 1540, on the performance of a play, or morality, written by the celebrated sir David Lindsay. It was entitled The Satire of the Three Estates, and was performed at Linlithgow, "before the king, queene, and the whole counsaill, spirituall and temporall," on the feast of Epiphany. It gives a singular proof of the liberty then allowed, by king James and his court witnessing the exhibition of a piece, in which the curruptions of the existing government and religion were treated with the most satirical severity.

The principal dramatis personæ were a king, a bushop, [sic] a burges man, "armed in harness, with a swerde drawn in his hande," a poor man, and Experience, "clede like ane doctor." The poor man (who seems to have represented the people) "looked at the king, and said he was not king in Scotland, for there was another king in Scotland that hanged Johne Armstrong with his fellows, Sym the laird, and mony other mae." He then makes "a long narracione of the oppression of the poor by the taking of the corse-presaunte beits, and of the herrying of poor men by the consistorye lawe, and of mony other abusions of the spiritualitie and church. Then the bushop raised and rebuked him, and defended himself. Then the man of arms alleged the contrarie, and commanded the poor man to go on. The poor man proceeds with a long list of the bushop's evil practices, the vices of cloisters, &c. This is proved by EXPERIENCE, who, from a New Testament, showes the office of a bishop. The man of arms and burges approve of all that was said against the clergy, and allege the expediency of a reform, with the consent of parliament. The bushop dissents. The man of arms and burges said thay were two and he but one, wherefore their voice should have the most effect. Thereafter the king in the play ratified, approved, and confirmed all that was rehearsed."

None of the ancient religious observances, which have escaped, through the riot of time and barbarism, to our day, have occasioned more difficulty than that which forms the subject of these remarks. It is remarkable, that in all disputed etymological investigations, a number of words got as explanatory, are so provokingly improbable, that decision is rendered extremely difficult. With no term is this more the case, than HOGMENAY. So wide is the field of conjecture, as to be the signification of this word, that we shall not occupy much space in attempting to settle which of the various etymologies is the most correct.

Many complaints were made to the Gallic synods of the great excesses committed on the last night of the year and first of January, by companies of both sexes dressed in fantastic habits, who ran about with their Christmas boxes, calling tire lire, and begging for the lady in the straw both money and wassels. The chief of these strollers was called Rollet Follet. They came into the churches during the vigils, and disturbed the devotions. A stop was put to this in 1598, at the representation of the bishop of Angres; but debarred from coming to the churches, they only became more licentious, and went about the country frightening the people in their houses, so that the legislature having interfered, an end was put to the practice in 1668.

The period during the continuance of these festivities corresponded exactly with the present daft days, which, indeed, is nearly a translation of their French name fêtes de fous. The cry used by the bachelettes during the sixteenth century has also a striking resemblance to the still common cry "hogmenay trololay—gi'us your white bread and nane o' your grey," it being "au gui menez, Rollet Follet, au gui menez, tiré liré, mainte du blanc et point du bis."

The word Rollet is, perhaps, a corruption of the ancient Norman invocation of their hero, Rollo. Gui, however, seems to refer to the druidical custom of cutting branches from the mistletoe at the close of the year, which were deposited in the temples and houses with great ceremony.

A supposition has been founded upon the reference of this cry to the birth of our Saviour, and the arrival of the wise men from the east; of whom the general belief in the church of Rome is, that they were three in number. Thus the language, as borrowed from the French may be "homme est né, trois rois allois!" A man is born, three kings are come!

Others, fond of referring to the dark period of the Goths, imagine that this name had its origin there. Thus, minne was one of the cups drunk at the feast of Yule, as celebrated in the times of heathenism, and oel is the general term for festival. The night before Yule was called hoggin-nott, or hogenat, signifying the slaughter night, and may have originated from the number of cattle slaughtered on that night, either as sacrifices, or in preparation for the feast on the following day. They worshipped the sun under the name Thor. Hence, the call for the celebration of their sacrifices would be "Hogg-minne! Thor! oel! oel!" Remember your sacrifices, the feast of Thor! the feast!

That the truth lies among these various explanations, there appears no doubt; we however turn to hogmenay among ourselves, and although the mutilated legend which we have to notice remains but as a few scraps, it gives an idea of the existence of a custom which has many points of resemblance to that of France during the fêtes du fous. It has hitherto escaped the attention of Scottish antiquaries.

Every person knows the tenacious adherence of the Scottish peasantry to the tales and observances of auld lang syne. Towards the close of the year many superstitions are to this day strictly kept up among the country people, chiefly as connected with their cattle and crops. Their social feelings now get scope, and while one may rejoice that he has escaped difficulties and dangers during the past year, another looks forward with bright anticipation for better fortune in the year to come. The bannock of the oaten cake gave place a little to the currant loaf and bun, and the amories of every cottager have goodly store of dainties, invariably including a due proportion of Scotch drink. The countenances of all seem to say

"Let mirth abound; let social cheer
Invest the dawnin' o' the year,
Let blithsome Innocence appear
      To crown our joy,
Nor envy we' sarcastic sneer,
      Our bliss destroy.

When merry Yuleday comes, I trow
You'll scantlings find a hungry mou;
Sma' are our cares, our stomacks fu'
      O' gusty gear
An' kickshaws, strangers to our view
      Sin' fairnyear.

Then tho' at odds we' a' the warl,
Among oursels we'll never quarrel
Though discard gie a canker'd snarl
      To spoil our glee,
As lang's there pith into the barrel
      We'll drink and gree!"

Ferguson's Daft Days.


It is deemed lucky to see the new moon with some money (silver) in the pocket. A similar idea is perhaps connected with the desire to enter the new year rife o' roughness. The grand affair among the boys in the town is to provide themselves with fausse faces, or masks; and those with crooked horns and beards are in greatest demand. A high paper cap, with one of their great grandfather's antique coats, then equips them as a guisard—they thus go about the shops seeking their hogmenay. In the carses and moor lands, however, parties of guisards have long kept up the practice in great style. Fantastically dressed, and each having his character allotted him, they go through the farm houses, and unless denied entrance by being told that the OLD STYLE is kept, perform what must once have been a connected dramatic piece. We have heard various editions of this, but the substance of it something like the following:—

One enters first to speak the prologue in the style of the Chester mysteries, called the Whitsun plays, and which appear to have been performed during the mayoralty of John Arneway, who filled that office in Chester from 1268 to 1276. It is usually in these words at present—

Rise up gudewife and shake your feathers!
Dinna think that we're beggars,
We are bairns com'd to play
And for to seek our hogmenay;
Redd up stocks, redd up stools,
Here comes in a pack o' fools.* [12]
Muckle head and little wit stand behint the door,
But sic a set as we are, ne'er were here before.

One with a sword, who corresponds with the Rollet, now enters and says:

Here comes in the great king of Macedon,
Who has conquer'd all the world but Scotland alone.
When I came Scotland my heart grew so cold
To see a little nation so stout and so bold,
So stout and so bold, so frank and so free!
Call upon Galgacus to fight wi' me.

If national partiality does not deceive us, we think this speech points out the origin of the story to be the Roman invasion under Agricola, and the name of Galgacus (although Galacheus and Saint Lawrence are sometimes substituted, but most probably as corruptions) makes the famous struggle for freedom by the Scots under that leader, in the battle fought at the foot of the Grampians, the subject of this historical drama.

Enter Galgacus.

Here comes in Galgacus—wha doesna fear my name?
Sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game!

They close in a sword fight, and in the "hash smash" the chief is victorious. He says:

Down Jack! down to the ground you must go—
Oh O! what's this I've done?
I've killed my brother Jack, my father's only son!
Call upon the doctor.

Enter Doctor (saying)

Here comes in the best doctor that ever Scotland bred.

Chief. What can you cure?

The doctor then relates his skill in surgery.

Chief. What will ye tak to cure this man?

Doctor. Ten pound and a bottle of wine.

Chief. Will six not do?

Doctor. No, you must go higher.

Chief. Seven?

Doctor. That will not put on the pot, &c.

A bargain however is struck, and the doctor says to Jack, start to your feet and stand!

Jack. Oh hon, my back, I'm sairly wounded.

Doctor. What ails your back?

Jack. There's a hole in't you may turn your tongue ten times round it!

Doctor. How did you get it?

Jack. Fighting for our land.

Doctor. How mony did you kill?

Jack. I killed a' the loons save ane, but he ran, he wad na stand.

Here, most unfortunately, there is a "hole i'the ballad," a hiatus which irreparably closes the door upon our keenest prying. During the late war with France Jack was made to say he had been "fighting the French," and that the loon who took leg bail was no less a personage than NAP. le grand! whether we are to regard this as a dark prophetic anticipation of what did actually take place, seems really problematical. The strange eventful history however is wound up by the entrance of Judas with the bag. He says:

Here comes in Judas—Judas is my name,
If ye pit nought sillar i' my bag, for gudesake mind our wame!
When I gaed to the castle yett and tirl't at the pin,
The keepit the keys o' the castle wa', and wad na let me in.
I've been i' the east carse,
I've been i' the west carse,
I've been i' the carse o' Gowrie,
Where the clouds rain a' day wi' peas and wi' beans!
And the farmers theck houses wi' needles and prins!
I've seen geese ga in' on pattens!
And swine fleeing i' the air like peelings o' onions!
Our hearts are made o' steel, but our body's sma' as ware,
If you've onything to gi' us, stap it in there!

This character in the piece seems to mark its ecclesiastical origin, being of course taken from the office of the betrayer in the New Testament; whom, by the way, he resembles in another point; as extreme jealously exists among the party, this personage appropriates to himself the contents of the bag. The money and wassel, which usually consists of farles of short bread, or cakes and pieces of cheese, are therefore frequently counted out before the whole.

One of the guisards who has the best voice, generally concludes the exhibition by singing an "auld Scottish sang." The most ancient melodies only are considered appropriate for this occasion, and many very fine ones are often sung that have not found their way into collections: or the group join in a reel, lightly tripping it, although encumbered with buskins of straw wisps, to the merry sound of the fiddle, which used to form a part of the establishment of these itinerants. They anciently however appear to have been accompanied with a musician, who played the kythels, or stock-and-horn, a musical instrument made of the thigh bone of a sheep and the horn of a bullock.

The above practice, like many customs of the olden time, is now quickly falling into disuse, and the revolution of a few years may witness the total extinction of this seasonable doing. That there does still exist in other places of Scotland the remnants of plays performed upon similar occasions, and which may contain many interesting allusions, is very likely. That noticed above, however, is the first which we remember of seeing noticed in a particular manner.

The kirk of Scotland appears formerly to have viewed these festivities exactly as the Roman church in France did in the sixteenth century; and, as a proof of this, and of the style in which the sport was anciently conducted in the parish of Falkirk, we have a remarkable instance so late as the year 1702. A great number of farmers' sons and farm servants from the "East Carse" were publicly rebuked before the session, or ecclisiastical court, for going about in disguise upon the last night of December that year, "acting things unseemly;" and having professed their sorrow for the sinfulness of the deed, were certified if they should be found guilty of the like in time coming, they would be proceeded against after another manner. Indeed the scandalised kirk might have been compelled to put the cutty stool in requisition, as a consequence of such promiscuous midnight meetings.

The observance of the old custom of "first fits" upon New-year's day is kept up at Falkirk with as much spirit as any where else. Both Old and New Style have their "keepers," although many of the lower classes keep them in rather a "disorderly style." Soon as the steeple clock strikes the ominous twelve, all is running, and bustle, and noise; hot-pints in clear scoured copper kettles are seen in all directions, and a good noggin to the well known toast "A gude new year, and a merry han'sel Monday," is exchanged among the people in the streets, as well as friends in the houses. On han'sel Monday O. S. the numerous colliers in the neighbourhood of the town have a grand main of cocks; but there is nothing in these customs peculiar to the season.

Falkirk, 1825.

J. W. R.


The following are recorded particulars of a whimsical custom in Yorkshire, by which a right of sheep-walk is held by the tenants of a manor:—

Hutton Conyers, Com. York.

Near this town, which lies a few miles from Ripon, there is a large common, called Hutton Conyers Moor, whereof William Aislabie, esq. of Studley Royal, (lord of the manor of Hutton Conyers,) is lord of the soil, and on which there is a large coney-warren belonging to the lord. The occupiers of messuages and cottages within the several towns of Hutton Conyers, Baldersby, Rainton, Dishforth, and Hewick, have right of estray for their sheep to certain limited boundaries on the common, and each township has a shepherd.

The lord's shepherd has a preeminence of tending his sheep on every part of the common; and wherever he herds the lord's sheep, the several other shepherds are to give way to him, and give up their hoofing-place, so long as he pleases to depasture the lord's sheep thereon. The lord holds his court the first day in the year, to entitle those several townships to such right of estray; the shepherd of each township attends the court, and does fealty, by bringing to the court a large apple-pye, and a twopenny sweetcake, (except the shepherd of Hewick, who compounds by paying sixteen pence for ale, which is drank as after mentioned,) and a wooden spoon; each pye is cut in two, and divided by the bailiff, one half between the steward, bailiff, and the tenant of the coney-warren before mentioned, and the other half into six parts, and divided amonst the six shepherds of the above mentioned six townships. In the pye brought by the shepherd of Rainton an inner one is made, filled with prunes. The cakes are divided in the same manner. The bailiff of the manor provides furmety and mustard, and delivers to each shepherd a slice of cheese and a penny roll. The furmety, well mixed with mustard, is put into an earthen pot, and placed in a hole in the ground, in a garth belonging to the bailiff's house; to which place the steward of the court, with the bailiff, tenant of the warren, and six shepherds, adjourn with their respective wooden spoons. The bailiff provides spoons for the stewards, the tenant of the warren, and himself. The steward first pays respect to the furmety, by taking a large spoonful, the bailiff has the next honour, the tenant of the warren next, then the shepherd of Hutton Conyers, and afterwards the other shepherds by regular turns; then each person is served with a glass of ale, (paid for by the sixteen pence brought by the Hewick shepherd,) and the health of the lord of the manor is drank; then they adjourn back to the bailiff's house, and the further business of the court is proceeded in.

Each pye contains about a peck of flour, is about sixteen or eighteen inches diameter, and as large as will go into the mouth of an ordinary oven. The bailiff of the manor measures them with a rule, and takes the diameter; and if they are not of a sufficient capacity, he threatens to return them, and fine the town. If they are large enough, he divides them with a rule and compasses into four equal parts; of which the steward claims one, the warrener another, and the remainder is divided amongst the shepherds. In respect to the furmety, the top of the dish in which it is put is placed level with the surface of the ground; all persons present are invited to eat of it, and those who do not, are not deemed loyal to the lord. Every shepherd is obliged to eat of it, and for that purpose is to take a spoon in his pocket to the court; for if any of them neglect to carry a spoon with him, he is to lay him down upon his belly, and sup the furmety with his face to the pot or dish, at which time it is usual, by way of sport, for some of the bystanders to dip his face into the furmety; and sometimes a shepherd, for the sake of diversion, purposely leave his spoon at home.* [13]


To the Editor of the Every-Day Book.

A practice which well deserves to be known and imitated is established at Maresfield-park, Sussex, the seat of sir John Shelley, bart. M. P. Rewards are annually given on New-year's day to such of the industrious poor in the neighbourhood as have not received parish relief, and have most distinguished themselves by their good behaviour and industry, the neatness of their cottages and gardens, and their constant attendance at church, &c. The distribution is made by lady Shelley, assisted by other ladies; and it is gratifying to observe the happy effects upon the character and disposition of the poor people with which this benevolent practice has been attended during the few years it has been established. Though the highest reward does not exceed two guineas, yet it has excited a wonderful spirit of emulation, and many a strenuous effort to avoid receiving money from the parish. Immediately as the rewards are given, all the children belonging to the Sunday-school and national-school lately established in the parish, are set down to a plentiful dinner in the servants' hall; and after dinner they also receive prizes for their good conduct as teachers, and their diligence as scholars.

I am, &c.
J. S.



A Gentleman of Literary Habits and Means.

For the Every-Day Book.

All hail to the birth of the year,
See golden haired Phœbus afar;
Prepares to renew his career,
And is mounting his dew spangled car.

Stern Winter congeals every brook,
That murmured so lately with glee;
And places a snowy peruke,
On the head of each bald pated tree.

Now wild duck and widgeon abound,
Snipes sit by the half frozen rills:
Where woodcocks are frequently found,
That sport such amazing long bills.

The winds blow out shrilly and hoarse,
And the rivers are choking with ice;
And it comes as a matter of course,
That Wallsends are rising in price.

Alas! for the poor! as unwilling
I gaze on each famishing group;
I never miss giving a shilling,
To the parish subscription for soup.

The wood pigeon, sacred to love,
Is wheeling in circles on high;
How charming he looks in the grove,
How charming he looks in the pye.

Now gone is St. Thomas's day,
The shortest, alas! in the year.
And Christmas is hasting away,
With its holly and berries and beer,

And the old year for ever is gone,
With the tabor, the pipe, and the dance;
And gone is our collar of brawn,
And gone is the mermaid to France.

The scythe and the hour glass oftime,
Those fatal mementos of woe,
Seem to utter in accents sublime,
"We are all of us going to go!"

We are truly and agreeably informed by the "Mirror of the Months," that "Now periodical works put on their best attire; the old ones expressing their determination to become new, and the new ones to become old; and each makes a point of putting forth the first of some pleasant series (such as this, for example!), which cannot fail to fix the most fugitive of readers, and make him her own for another twelve months at least."


Under this head it is proposed to place the "Mean temperature of every day in the Year for London and its environs, on an average of Twenty Years," as deduced by Mr. Howard, from observations commencing with the year 1797, and ending with 1816.

For the first three years, Mr. Howard's observations were conducted at Plaistow, a village about three miles and half N.N.E. of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, four miles E. of the edge of London, with the Thames a mile and a half to the S., and an open level country, for the most part well-drained land, around it. The thermometer was attached to a post set in the ground, under a Portugal laurel, and from the lowness of this tree, the whole instrument was within three feet of the turf; and had the house and offices, buildings of ordinary height, to the S. and S.E. distant about twenty yards, but was in other respects freely exposed.

For the next three years, the observations were made partly at Plaistow and partly at Mr. Howard's laboratory at Stratford, a mile and a half to the N.W., on ground nearly of the same elevation. The thermometer had an open N.W. exposure, and six feet from the ground, close to the river Lea.

The latter observations were made at Tottenham-green, four miles N. of London, which situation, as the country to the N.W. especially is somewhat hilly and more wooded, Mr. Howard considers more sheltered than the former site; the elevation of the ground is a trifle greater, and the thermometer was about ten feet from the general level of the garden before it, with a very good exposure N., but not quite enough detached from the house, having been affixed to the outer door-case, in a frame which gave it a little projection, and admitted the air behind it.

On this day, then, the average of these twenty years' observations gives

Mean Temperature   . . .   36 . 57.

It is, further, proposed to notice certain astronomical and meteorological phenomena; the migration and singing of birds; the appearance of insects; the leafing and flowering of plants; and other particulars peculiar to animal, vegetable, and celestial existences. These observations will only be given from sources thoroughly authentic, and the authorities will be subjoined. Communications for this department will be gladly received.

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

1. In vol. i. p. 2. [return]

2. Sayers. [return]

3. See vol. i. p. 1. [return]

4. Howard on Climate. [return]

5. The first visitant who enters a house on New-year's day is called the first-foot. [return]

6. Mirror of the Months. [return]

7. vita Edw. II. [return]

8. In Architren. lib. 2. [return]

9. The name of some horse [return]

10. The name of another horse. [return]

11. The name of a cow. [return]

12. The author of Waverly, in a note to the Abbot, mentions three Moralities played during the time of the reformation—The Abbot of Unreason, The Boy Bishop, and the Pepe o' Fools—may not pack o' fools be a corruption of this last? [return]

13. Blount's Frag. Antiq. by Beckwith. [return]

A. See also the response to this article at January 16. [KG] [return]