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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
THE EARL OF DARLINGTON,
LORD LIEUTENANT AND VICE-ADMIRAL OF THE COUNTY
TO YOUR LORDSHIP-as an encourager of the old country sports and usages chiefly treated of in my book, and as a maintainer of the ancient hospitality so closely connected with them, which associated the Peasantry of this land with its Nobles, in bonds which degraded neither—
I RESPECTFULLY DEDICATE THIS VOLUME;
not unmindful of your Lordship's peculiar kindness to me under difficulties, and not unmoved by the pride which I shall have in subscribing myself,
YOUR LORDSHIP'S HIGHLY HONOURED,
AND VERY HUMBLE SERVANT,
BEFORE EFORE remarking on the work terminating with this volume, some notice should be taken of its Frontispiece.
I. The "Clog" or " Perpetual Almanack" having been in common use with our ancient ancestors, a representation and explanation of it seemed requisite among the various accounts of manners and customs related in the order of the calendar.
Of the word "clog,” there is no satisfactory etymology in the sense here used, which signifies an almanack made upon a square stick. Dr. Robert Plot, who published the "History of Staffordshire," in 1686, instances a variety of these old almanacks then in use in that county. Some he calls " public," because they were of a large size, and commonly hung at one end of the mantle-tree of the chimney; others he calls "private," because they were smaller, and carried in the pocket. For the better understanding of the figures on these clogs, he caused a family clog "to be represented in plano, each angle of the square stick, with the moiety of each of the flat sides belonging to it, being expressed apart." From this clog, so represented in Dr. Plot's history, the engraving is taken which forms the frontispiece now, on his authority, about to be described.
There are 3 months contained upon each of the four edges; the number of the days in them are represented by the notches; that which begins each month has a short spreading stroke turned up from it; every seventh notch is of a larger size, and stands for Sunday, (or rather, perhaps, for the first day of each successive natural week in the year.)
Against many of the notches there are placed on the left hand several marks or symbols denoting the golden number or cycle of the Moon, which number if under 5, is represented by so many points, or dots; but if 5, a line is drawn from the notch, or day, it belongs to, with a hook returned back against the course of the line, which, if cut off at due distance, may be taken for a V, the numeral signifying 5. If the golden number be above 5, and under 10, it is then marked out by the hooked line, which is 5; and with one point, which makes 6; or two, which makes 7; or three, for 8; or four, for 9; the said line being crossed with a broad stroke spreading at each end, which represents an X, when the golden number for the day, over against which it is put, is 10; points being added (as above over the hook for 5,) till the number arises to 15, when a hook is placed again at the end of the line above the X, to show us that number.
The figures issuing from the notches, towards the right hand, are symbols or hieroglyphics, of either, 1st, the offices, or endowments of the saints, before whose festivals they are placed; or 2dly, the manner of their martyrdoms; or 3dly, their actions, or the work or sport in fashion about the time when their feasts are kept.
For instance: 1. from the notch which represents January 13th, on the feast of St. Hilary, issues a cross or badge of a bishop, as St. Hilary was; from March 1st, a harp, showing the feast of St. David, by that instrument; from June 29th, the keys for St. Peter, reputed the Janitor of heaven; from October 25th, a pair of shoes for St. Crispin, the patron of shoe-makers. Of class 2, are the axe against January 25th, the feast of St. Paul, who was beheaded with an axe; the sword against June 24th,
the feast of St. John Baptist, who was beheaded; the gridiron against August 10th, the feast of St. Lawrence, who suffered martyrdom on one; a wheel on the 25th of November, for St. Catherine, and a decussated cross on the last of that month, for St. Andrew, who are said also to have suffered death by such instruments. Of the 3d kind, are the star on the 6th of January, to denote the Epiphany; a true lover's knot against the 14th of February, for Valentine's-day; a bough against the 2d of March, for St. Ceadda, who lived a Hermit's life in the woods near Litchfield; a bough on the 1st of May, for the May-bush, then usually set up with great solemnity; and a rake on the 11th of June, St. Barnabas'-day, importing that then it is hay-harvest. So, a pot is set against the 23d of November, for the feast of St. Clement, from the ancient custom of going about that night to beg drink to make merry with: for the purification, annunciation, and all other feasts of our lady, there is always the figure of a heart and lastly, for December 25th, or Christmas-day, a horn, the ancient vessel in which the Danes use to wassail, or drink healths; signifying to us, that this is the time we ought to rejoice and make merry.
II. Respecting this second volume of the Every-Day Book, it is scarcely necessary to say more than that it has been conducted with the same desire and design as the preceding volume; and that it contains a much greater variety of original information concerning manners and customs. I had so devoted myself to this main object, as to find no lack of materials for carrying it further; nor were my correspondents, who had largely increased, less communicative: but there were some readers who thought the work ought to have been finished in one volume, and others, who were not inclined to follow beyond a second; and their apprehensions that it could not, or their wishes that it should not be carried further, constrained me to close it. As an "Everlasting Calendar" of amusements, sports, and pastimes, incident to the year, the Every-Day Book is complete; and I venture, without fear of disproof, to affirm, that there is not such a copious collection of pleasant facts and illustrations, " for daily use and diversion," in the language; nor are any other volumes so abundantly stored with original designs, or with curious and interesting subjects so meritoriously engraven.
III. Every thing that I wished to bring into the Every-Day Book, but was compelled to omit from its pages, in order to conclude it within what the public would deem a reasonable size, I purpose to introduce in my Table Book. In that publication, I have the satisfaction to find myself aided by many of my “ Every-Day” correspondents, to whom I tender respectful acknowledgments and hearty thanks. This is the more due to them here, because I frankly confess that to most I owe letters; I trust that those who have not been noticed as they expected, will impute the neglect to any thing rather than insensibility of my obligations to them, for their valuable favours.
Although I confess myself to have been highly satisfied by the general reception of the Every-Day Book, and am proud of the honour it has derived from individuals of high literary reputation, yet there is one class whose approbation I value most especially. The "mothers of England" have been pleased to entertain it as an every-day assistant in their families; and instructors of youth, of both sexes, have placed it in school-libraries :-this ample testimonial, that, while engaged in exemplifying "manners," I have religiously adhered to "morals," is the most gratifying reward I could hope to receive.