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gunge, so easy for all other uses, becomes obscure and unintelligible in wills and contracts; and that he who so clearly expresses whatever he speaks or writes, cannot, in these, find any way of declaring himself, which is not liable to doubt and contradiction, if it be not that the great men of this art (of law), applying themselves with peculiar attention to cull out hard words, and form artful clauses, have so weighed every syllable, and so thoroughly sifted every sort of connexion, that they are now confounded and entangled in the infinity of figures, and so many minute divisions, that they can no longer be liable to any rule or prescription, nor any certain inteligence. As the earth is made fertile the deeper it is ploughed and harrowed, so they, by starting and splitting of questions, make the world fructify and abound in uncertainties and disputes, and hence, as formerly we were plagued with vices, we are now sick of the laws. Nature always gives better than those which we make ourselves; witness the state wherein we see nations live that have no other. Some there are who, for their only judge, take the first passer-by that travels along their mountains to determine their cause; and others who, on their market-day, choose out some one amongst them who decides all their controversies on the spot. What danger would there be if the wiser should thus determine ours, according to occurrences, and by sight, without obligation of example and consequence 1 Every shoe to its own foot."

The French have it among their old sayings, that "a good lawyer is a bad neighbour," and Montaigne seems to have entertained the notion. He tells what he calls "A pleasant story against the practice of lawyers.—The baron of Coupene in Chalosse, and I, have between us the advowson of a benefice of great extent, at the foot of our mountains, called Lahontan. It was with the inhabitants of this angle, as with those of the vale of Angrougne; they fired a peculiar sort of life, had particular fashions, clothes, and manners, and were ruled and governed by certain particular laws and usages received from father to son, to which they submitted without other constraint than the reverence due to custom. This little state had continued frorr all antiquity in so happy a condition that no neighbouring judge was ever put to the trouble of enquiring into their

quarrels, no advocate was retained to giro them counsel, nor stranger ever called in to compose their differences; nor was ever any of them so reduced as to go a begging. They avoided all alliances and traffic with the rest of mankind, that they might not corrupt the purity of their own government; till, as they say, one of them, in the memory of their fathers, having a mind spurred on with a noble ambition, contrived, in order to bring his name into credit and reputation, to make one of his sons something more than ordinary, and, having put him to learn to write, made him at last a brave attorney for the village. This fellow began to disdain their ancient customs, and to buzz into the people's ears, the pomp of the other parts of the nation. The first prank he played was to advise a friend of his, whom somebody had offended by sawing off the horns of one of his she-goats, to make his complaint to the king's judges,— and so he went on in this practise till he spoiled all."

In 1376 the House of Commons ordered that "no man of the law" should be returned as knight of the shire, and, if returned, that he should have no wages. §

In 1381, Jack Cade's men beheaded all the lawyers they could find, and burnt the Temple and other inns of court, with the records of Chancery, and the hooks and papers belonging to the students at law. a

In 1454 by an act of parliament, reciting that there had formerly been only six or eight attomies for Suffolk, Norfolk, and Norwich together, that the number had then increased to more than eighty, most part of whom incited the people to suits for small trespasses, it was enacted that thereafter there should be but six for Suffolk, six for Norfolk, and two for the city of Norwich.* There are now above seventy attomies in Norwich alone.

In 1553, the first year of the reign of queen Mary, during Sir Thomas Wyatt's progress towards London with an army in behalf of the claim of Lady Jade Grey to the throne, so great was the terror ot the Serjeants at law, and other lawyers, that at Westminster-hall "they pleadedin harness."

• Andrews'* Hist. G. Brit. i. 888. t Noorthouck's Hist. London, 17.

X Andrews, ii. Hist. 149. $ Baker's Chronicle, 1665, p 339.


Armour was formerly called harness, which is in low Dutch "harnass," in French "arnois," in Spanish "anies."J Thus, Shakspeare says,

Ring the alarum-bell; blow wind I come wrack!

At least we'll die with harness on our back.


Although in strictness, and according to ancient usage, the Christmas holidays, and with Twelfth-day, they are seldom over until the close of the month.

In "A Fireside Book," there is a lively description of "Christmas at old Court," the seat of a country gentleman, with specimens of old stories, and story telling. It is a handsome little volume, full of amenity and kind feeling, with snatches of gentle poetry, of which the following is a specimen, which may well conclude tlJs merry-making month.


Come, help me to raise

Loud songs to the praise Of good old English pleasures ■

To the Christmas cheer.

And the foaming beer,
And the buttery's solid treasures ,—

To the stoat sirloin.

And the rich spiced wine,
And the boar's head grimly staring,

To the frumenty.

And the hot mince pie,
Which all folks were for sharing ;—

To the holly and bay.

In their green array.
Spread over the walls and dishes;

To the swinging sup

Of the wassail cup,
With its toasted healths and wishes; -

To the honest bliss

Of the hearty kiss.
Where the mistletoe was swinging;

When the berry white

Was claimed by right,
On the pale green branches dinginj

When the warm blush came

From a guiltless shame, And the lips, so bold in stealing,

Had never broke

The vows they spoke,
Of truth and manly feeling P-


To the story told

By the gossip old.
O'er the embers dimly glowing.

While the pattering sleet

On the casement beat,
And the blast was hoarsely blowing p-

To to the tuneful wait

At the mansion gate,
Or the glad, sweet voices blending.

When the carol rose.

At the midnight's close,
To the sleeper's ear ascending l —

To all pleasant ways,

In those ancient days, When the good folks knew their station;

When God was fear'd,

And the king revered.
By the hearts of a grateful nation ; —

When a father's will

Was sacred still.
As a law, by his children heeded;

And none could brook

The mild sweet look,
When a mother gently pleaded ;—

When the jest profane

Of the light and vain
With a smile was never greeted j

And each smooth pretence.

By plain good sense,
With its true desert was treated.


The desire of power in excess

caused angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess, caused man to fall; but in charity is no excess, neither can man nor angels come into danger by it.— Bacon.

Good sense is as different from

genius, as perception is from invention; yet, though distinct qualities, they frequently subsist together. It is altogether opposite to wit, but by no means inconsistent with it. It is not science, for there is such a thing as unlettered good sense; yet, though it is neither wit, learning, nor genius, it is a substitute for each, where they do not exist, and the perfection of all where they do.— H. More.

Never go to bed with cold feet, or

a cold heart.

h. m.

January 31.—Day breaks . . 5 31 Sun rises ... 7 29 — sets ... 4 31 Twilight ends . 6 39

The days now lengthen very perceptibly.



The milkmaid Bingmg leaves her bed,

As glad as happy thoughts can be;
While magpies chatter o'er her head,

As jocund in the change as she:
Her cows around the closes stray,

Nor ling'ring wait the foddering boy,
Tossing the mole-hills in their play,

And staring round with frolic joy.

Clake's SlusphercCs Calendar.

In February the sun attains considerable rains descend, and frequently continue dur

power, and finally dispels the cold of ing successive days; brooks become torrents,

winter. Thaws dissipate frost and ice; and rivers overflow their banks and sheet

the atmosphere teems with humid vapours; the plains.

Now shifting gales with milder influence blow,

Cloud o'er the skies, and melt the falling snow;

The soften'd earth with fertile moisture teems,

And, freed from icy bonds, down rush the swelling streams.

[merged small][table]

Toe Spirit Of Snow.

[For the Year Book.]

By the mint clouds of fog that creep over the sun. By the twinkles of stars that ethereally run. By the surge of the welkin that roars from the pole.

And the deep hollow murmurs of winter that mil,

I've the moonshine to guide me, the frost to restrain,

As I journey through space, to reach heaven again.

I'm the Spirit of snow, and my compass is wide;

I can fall in the storm, in the wind I can ride; I am white, I am pure, I am tender, I'm fair, I was born in the seas, to the seas I repair; By frost I am hardened, by wet I'm destroy'd. And, united with liquid, to Ocean decoy'd.

I have sisters of ether, have brothers of rime, And my friendships are formed in the northerly clime.

My foes are the elements jarring with strife; Air lets me pass on to my earth-bosomed wife; Fire covets and melts me -, but water '• so kind, That, when lost to th-t three, to the fourth I'm leajgn'd.

I have cousins of icicles, children of sleet; Some Battle with hail, others vanquish in heat, I'm the Spirit of snow. By the will of the blast.

In the shallows and depths I am drifted at last;

And a glance of the tun, while I brighten in tears.

Dissolves my pretensions to reign in the spheres.

J. K. Prior.

Dr. Forster arranges the year into six principal seasons or divisions, to one of which may be referred almost all the wild, and most of the hardy herbaceous plants of our climate.

This arrangement into six, instead of four seasons, seems to correspond better with the actual course of phenomena.

The first, or Primaveral season, may be considered as beginning at Candlemas, on the first opening of the early spring flowers.

The second, or Vernal season, begins about old Ladytide.

The Solstitial season begins about St. Barnabas.

The festival season begins about St Swithin's.

The Autumnal season begins about Michaelmas.

The Brumal season begins about the Conception.

It is to be observed, however, that many plants said to belong to one season, from first flowering in it plentifully, yet continue to blow, or remain in flower, through the greater part of the next season; as the primrose, which opens in the primaveral, and continues in flower through great part of the vernal season. The china aster, blowing in the aestival, lasts all through the autumnal, and abides till, in the beginning of the brumal season, it is cut off by frost; and some plants show flowers more or less all the year. These, however, have generally one time of the fullest flowering or efflorescence, and from the period of this first full blowing their proper season is determined. The dandelion, for instance, is seen in flower during all times except the end of the brumal season; nevertheless its efflorescence takes place about the 11th of April, and it gilds the meadows during the early part of the vernal period, till i' is gradually succeeded by the crowfoots and buttercups. Habits of observation will soon reconcile the attentive naturalist to this division, and will enable him to refer each plant to its proper season.

The Primaverul season begins about Candlemas. The increasing day becomes sensibly longer, and the lighter evenings begin to be remarked by the absence of candles till nearly six o'clock. The weather is generally milder, and the exception to this rule, or a frosty Candlemas day, is found so generally to be indicative of a cold primaveral period, that it has given rise to several proverbs. We have heard from infancy the adage,

If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.

According to different journals, examined by Dr. Forster, this is generally correct.

About this time the first signs of the early spring appear in the flowering of the snowdrops; they rise above ground, and generally begin to flower by Candlemas. The yellow hellebore accompanies, and even anticipates the snowdrop, and lasts longer, mixing agreeably its bright sulphur with the deep orange yellow of the spring crocus, which on an average blows about February 5th, and continues throughout March, fading away before Ladytide.

The three earliest sorts of crocuses are the yellow garden, of a deep orange yel

low; the cloth of gold, of a golden ye How, with chocolate stripes; and the Scotch, or white striped, the blue, the red, ai d the white hepatica, or noble liverworts, flower, and brave the cold and changing weather. All these, disposed in clun ps, alternating with snowdrops, crocuses, and hellebores, give to a well-conducted gapden a very brilliant aspect.

Crocuses like drops of gold
Studded on the deep brown mould.
Snowdrops fair like Sakcs of snov ,
And bright liverworts now blow.*

Alimentary Calendar.

Lent, which usually commences in February, occasions an increased and abundant supply of fish. The standing dish for all fast days is salt fish, commonly barrelled cod, with parsnips and egg sauce; but epicures mortify on princely turbot plainly boiled, or stewed with wire, gravy, and capers; or on a dish of soles, haddock, or skate. Poultry is by no means totally excluded: a capon, a di ckling, or even a pigeon-pye, is now regarded as an innocent transition from legitimate lent diet, and some indulge with roast beef, in direct violation of ecclesiastical ordinances. Codlings and herrings are in season, and continue until the end of May; peacocks, pea-hens, and guinea-fowls until July. The vegetables of February, besides the never-failing potato, are coleworts, cabbages, savoys, cress, lettuce, chard, beet, celery, endive, chervil; with forced radishes, cucumbers, kidney-beans, and asparagus. Green geese are admissible until the end of May, and ducklings to the end of April; both then come into season, and are consequently too vulgar to appear at fashionable tables.

Vegetable Garden Directory.

In fair and open weather, during the month of February,


Beans; the niazagan, long-pod, and Windsor, about the second and fourth week.

Radish; short-topped, and salmon, twice or thrice.

Cabbage; early York, ham, or sugar- loaf, to succeed the main crops; also, a

* Dr. Fnroter's F.ncy. Nat. Phenomrna.

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