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THE COCTET.I

LITERATURE AND THE ARTS. --

. OUR MISCELLANY. I

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OUR MISCELLANY. I A Strong woma of the marvels of May, Fair, in its latest revival, was the performance of a strong woman, the wife of a frenchman, exhibiting in a house in Sun-court, Shepherd s- market. The follow- inc account is given by John Carter, and may be relied on, as Carter was born andpasseahis youthful days in Piccadilly (Carter's Statuary). He tells us that a blacksmith's anvil being procured from White Horse- street, with three of the men, they brought it up, and placed it on the floor of the exhibition-room. The woman was short, bat most beautifully and delicately formed, and of a most lovely countenance. >~he hrst let down her hair (a light auburn), of a length de- scending to her knees, which she twisted round the projecting part of the anvil, and then, with seeming ease, lifted the ponderous mass soma inches from the floor. After this a bed was placed in the middle of the room; when, reclining on her back, and uncover- ing her bosom, the husband ordered the smiths to place thereon the anvil, and forge upon it II a horseshoe! This they obeyed, by taking from the fire a red-hot piece of iron, and, with their forg- ing hammers, completing the shoe with the same might and indifference as when in the shop at their I constant labour. The prostrate fair one seemed to endure this with the greatest composure, talking and singing during the whole process; then, with an effort which, to the bystanders, appeared supernatural, she cast the anvil from off her body, jumping up at the same moment with extreme gaiety, a.nd without the least discomposure of her dress or person. That there was no trick or collusion was obvious from the evi- dence; the spectators stood about the room with Carter's family and friends; the smiths were strangers to the Frenchman, but known to Carter, the narrator. She next placed her naked feet on a rod-hot sala- mander, without injury, the wonder of which was, however, understood even at that time.— Romance of London. Gentlemen and Players.—The player held for a. long time a very questionable position in society. Sufferance was the badge of his tribe. He was counted among the "vagrom men," whom "Dog- berry" especially charged" his watch to compre- hend." He was one of the vagabonds whom an ancient statute describes to be such as wake on the night and sleep on the day, and haunt customable taverns and alehouses and routs about; and no man wot from whence they come or whither they go.' In public estimation he was little above the outlandish persons calling themselves Egyptians or gypsies,' for whom the law provided vigorous treatment enough: holding their abiding in the kingdom for a period longer than a month to be a felony. The Legislature has always dearly loved to keep suspicious charac- ters moving. The actor, however amusing, was a ro"ue all the same, and therefore fit food for Bride- well, the stocks, and the whipping-post. He occupied in regard to the general public the position of the jester in the private family. He was allowed con- siderable licence, but was scourged upon occasions. He oftentimes received halfpence; but he was not permitted to consider it a grievance if kicks were dealt to him instead. He was as much the serf of society as Wamba, the son of Witless, was the thrall of Cedric the Saxon though he wore no soldered collar round. his Deck announcing the fact. King Edward III. is said to have ordained by Act of Parliament, "that a company of men called vagrants, who had made masquerades throughout the city, should be whipped out of London, because they represented scandalous things in the alehouses and other places where the populaoo assembled. Once a Week. A German Love Episode.—He parted the boughs a little and leaned forward. Mabel blushed, feeling sure that some sort of confession impended. They both sighed. At last Carle said—(it was as if a boy of fourteen courted a girl of twelve)—" Are you sorry because I must go away, Mabel, dear P" A smile came then, as young children's smiles come, whilst yet the tears are plain, and she bent her head lower for joy and sweet shame. Yes," she whispered. What would you give if I stayed and spent all my time in playing and talking with you ?" "I have nothing worth giving, and then-" "And then-I must go. But listen." He broke off a hazel branch, a small branch heart-shaped, and went on-" As many nuts as are here, so many weeks and no more shall pass before I come back to you. Hold out your apron and count them after me." The two clear young voices echoed each other eagerly. One—two — three—four—five—six—Seven!" Was not theirs a childish auspicium ? Yet, without priest, and waving wand and consecrated tent, they contrived to gain the happiest of happy auguries. Carle swung himself lightly to the ground, and, making a cup of his palms, held Mabel's face close to his own. As if telling her some wonderful secret, not even guessed at before, to be wondered at ever afterwards, he whispered—' We will be married by and by, won't we ?' Then the boy and girl kissed each other shyly and silently, but the very woods had ears, and needing to take no more auspices, contented themselves with talk of the blessed number Seven.-Lisabee's Love Story. Ludgate-hill in the Last Century.—Since it was necessary for fashionable folk to be provided with all the artillery then in mode, Mistress Hazelrig gave her good squire no peace until he took himself and Dolly to a well-known toy-shop on Ludgate-hill. Such places were the grand resort of the Georgian belles during the interval between a late breakfast and a modish dinner at three or four. There were gathered on shelf and counter vases of china; dragons in porcelain, blue, gold, speckled, and green; tiny tea-sets like delicately tinted egg-shells; fans of many forms, glittering with all that colour and artistic skill could do to suit them to the fickle tastes of fashion; snuff-boxes with jewelled and painted lids; clouded canes adorned with dainty silken tassels; jars of snuff and pulvillio; bottles of essence; gilded flasks of cut and coloured glass for holding ratafia and spirit of clary; pocket glasses; ivory combs; boxes of patches cut in fanciful shapes; gloves and lace; trinkets and shawls; vizards for the Mall; Dacca muslins sprigged with gold and silver; and a thousand other things to charm from their netted seclusion guineas won at bassett or spadille. Once fairly within this seductive scene, where the tattle of tongues and the variety of beau- tiful knick-knacks delighted the country ladies be- yond measure, the squire found himself helpless in the hands of two or three ministering fairies in hoops and powder, who combined with his, wife and daughter in making him the unwilling purchaser of almost every kind of ware they showed. Rainbow fans unfurled ooquettishly before his eyes, silken scarfs flung with careless ease round gracetul shoulders, bewildered the fat farmer into buying almost ere he knew; and, when he seemed wearied at last of this drain upon his guineas, Mistress Betty, who had a little private hoard of her own to expend, derived principally from the profits of her hen-coops, released him from the duty of attendance, and sent him o £ to pick up the Tory gossip at the Cocoa Tree —a famous chocolate house in St. James's.-From Pictures of the Periods." Ants and their Wars. The accounts of the wars and expeditions of ants read like pages of man's history. Ants of different species assail one another in their foraging excursions; and pitched battles are fought between the coloni t ants. Miiber describes thousands of combatants thus engaged, with great carnage; and a naturalist has seen fifty wood ants fighting within a few inches' area of what were supposed to be the boundaries of their several territories. Their bite is so sharp, and the aerid juice which they infuse is so deleterious, that many are thus disabled or killed outright. Hiiber a'so describes the exploits of the warrior ants, which almost exceed belief; but in 1832 such accounts were verified in the Black Forest and in Switzerland, with respect to the amazon ant," and on the Rhine as to the sanguinary ant." Both these species make war on the ants of other species, particularly the dusky ant," not for mere fighting, but to make slaves of the vanquished, to do the drudgery of the conquerors ant- home. They are as cunning as diplomatists: they do not capture the adult ants, and carry them into slavery, but make booty of their eggs and cocoons, which, after the contest is decided—and the warriors are always conquerors-are carried off to the Amazonian citadel, and being hatched there, the poor slaves are probably not aware that it is not their native-colony. Hiiber testifies to such expeditions for capturing slaves; and a living naturalist witnessed, in a great number of instances, the slaves at work for the victo- rious captors. But the chief destroyer of ants is the great ant-bear, or ant-eater, which, in its native forests of the Amazon, feeds almost entirely on white ants, tearing open their nests with its powerful claws, and thrusts in its long and slender tongue, which being probably mistaken for a worm is seized by myriads of ants, who thus become an easy prey. The Indians, who eat white ants, catch them by pushing into the nests what the insects seize on. and hold most tena ciously. "No one," says Azara, "need wonder that such a large beast as the ant-bear should be able to derive its sustenance from such minute prey, who is made aware of the myriads of insects each ant-nest contains; and that in some districts these nests are crowded so as almost to touch each other." A fine ant-bear, the first brought alive to England, was ex- hibited at the Zoological Society's Garden's, in the Regent's-park, in 1853.—Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper.

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