Born: Robert Nicoll, poet, 1814.
Died: Fenelon de la Mothe, 1715; Allan Ramsay, the Scottish poet, 1757; J. H. Frere, poet, 1816.
Feast Day: St. Lucian, of Antioch, priest and martyr, 312. St. Cedd, bishop of London, 7th century. St. Thillo, 702. St. Kentigerna, widow, 728. St. Aldric, bishop of Mans, 856. St. Canut, 1171.
St. Lucian, whose name occurs in the calendar of the Church of England on the 8th of January, being the first Roman priest who occurs and is retained there, was a learned Syrian who busied himself in revising the Holy Scriptures-was for a while disaffected to orthodox doctrine, but after-wards conformed to it, and finally died at Nicomedia, after a long imprisonment.
St. Cedd was an Anglo-Saxon saint, who took a prominent part in Christianising his hitherto heathen countrymen in the midland districts of England. He long served God in the monastery of Lindisfarne. and afterwards was appointed bishop of the East Saxons. Amongst his noted acts was the building of a monastery at Tilbury, near the mouth of the Thames.
Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon was born at Perigord, in 1651. He preached a sermon at the early age of fifteen, before a select assembly at Paris; but his uncle, the Marquis de Fenelon, fearing that the praises of the world would make the boy vain, caused. him to enter the seminary of St. Sulpice, where he remained several years and took orders. He was sent by Louis XIV to Poitou, to convert the Protestants, when he nobly refused the aid of dragoons, relying solely on his powers of persuasion. He was appointed tutor to the young Duke of Burgundy, and in five years Louis made him Archbishop of Cambray. Thence began his troubles: he was suspected of favouring the doctrines of the Quietists, and upon his refusing to condemn them, Bossuet denounced him to the king as a heretic, and he was eventually banished from the court; he, however, signed a recantation, and would have been restored to royal favour, had not his celebrated romance of Telemaque, which he had written some years before, been published against his will, through the treachery of a servant.
Louis suspected several passages in this work to be directed against himself; it was suppressed in France, but rapidly circulated in Holland; and perhaps there is no book in the French language which has been more read. It is, at this day, a class-book in almost every European school. His work on Female Education, published in 1688, proceeds upon the uniformly indulgent theory, teaching without tears. He wrote his Dialogues of the Dead for the use of his pupil, the Duke of Burgundy: his noble zeal in not sparing the vices of kings shines through-out the work. His political opinions were liberal; and his acts of benevolence were munificent: in the year 1709 he fed the French army at his own expense.
ST. DISTAFF'S DAY
As the first free day after the twelve by which Christmas was formerly celebrated, the 7th of January was a notable one among our ancestors. They jocularly called it St. Distaff's Dag, or Rock Dag, because by women the rock or distaff was then resumed, or proposed to be so. The duty seems to have been considered a dubious one, and when it was complied with, the ploughmen, who on their part scarcely felt called upon on this day to resume work, made it their sport to set the flax a-burning; in requital of which prank, the maids soused the men from the water-pails. Herrick gives its the popular ritual of the day in some of his cheerful stanzas:
St. Distaff's Day; Or, the Morrow after Twelfth-day
Partly work and partly play
You must on St. Distaffs Day:
From the plough soon free your team;
Then cane home and fother them:
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give St. Distaff' all the right:
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation.
This mirthful observance recalls a time when spinning was the occupation of almost all women who had not anything else to do, or during the intervals of other and more serious work-a cheering resource to the solitary female in all ranks of life, an enlivenment to every fireside scene. To spin-how essentially was the idea at one time associated with the female sex! even to that extent, that in England spinster was a recognized legal term for an unmarried woman-the spear side and the distaff side were legal terms to distinguish the inheritance of male from that of female children-and the distaff became a synonym for woman herself: thus, the French proverb was:
'The crown of France never falls to the distaff.'
Now, through the change wrought by the organised industries of Manchester and Glasgow, the princess of the fairy tale who was destined to die by a spindle piercing her hand, might wander from the Land's End to John O' Groat's House, and never encounter an article of the kind, unless in an archaeological museum.
Mr. John Yonge Akerman, in a paper read before the Society of Antiquaries, has carefully traced the memorials of the early use of the distaff and spindle on the monuments of Egypt, in ancient mythology and ancient literature, and everywhere shews these implements as the insignia of womanhood. We scarcely needed such proof for a fact of which we have assurance in the slightest reflection on human needs and means, and the natural place of woman in human society. The distaff and spindle must, of course, have been coeval with the first efforts of our race to frame textures for the covering of their persons. for they are the very simplest arrangement for the formation of thread: the distaff, whereon to hang the flax or tow-the spindle, a loaded pin or stick, whereby to effect the twisting; the one carried under the arm, the other dangling and turning in the fingers below, and forming an axis round which to wind parcels of the thread as soon as it was made. Not wonderful is it that Solomon should speak of woman as laying her hands to the distaff (Prov. xxxi. 19), that the implement is alluded to by Homer and Herodotus, and that one of the oldest of the mythological ideas of Greece represented the Three Fates as spinning the thread of human destiny. Not very surprising is it that our own Chaucer, five hundred years ago, classed this art among the natural endowments of the fair sex in his ungallant distich:
Deceit, weeping, spinning, God hath given
To women kindly, while they may live.
It was admitted in those old days that a woman could not quite make a livelihood by spinning; but, says Anthony Fitzherbert, in his Boke of husbandrie 'it stoppeth a gap,' it saveth a woman from being idle, and the product was needful. No rank was above the use of the spindle. Homer's princesses only had them gilt. The lady carried her distaff in her gemmed girdle, and her spindle in her hand, when she went to spend half a day with a neighbouring friend. The farmer's wife had her maids about her in the evening, all spinning. So lately as Burns's time, when lads and lasses came together to spend an evening in social glee, each of the latter brought her spinning apparatus, or rock, and the assemblage was called a rocking:
'On Fasten's eve we had a rocking.'
It was doubtless the same with Horace's uxor Sabina persuta solibus, as with Burns's bonnie Jean.
The ordinary spindle, throughout all times, was a turned pin of a few inches in length, having a nick or hook at the small and upper end. by which to fasten the thread, and a load of some sort at the lower end to make it hang rightly. In very early times, and in such rude nations as the Laps, till more recent times, the load was a small perforated stone, many examples of which (called whorls) are preserved in antiquarian museums. It would seem from the Egyptian monuments as if, among those people, the whorl had been carried on the top.
Some important improvements appear to have been made in the distaff and spindle. In Stow's Chronicle, it is stated:
'About the 20th year of Henry VIII, Anthony Bonvise, an Italian, came to this land, and taught English people to spin with a distaff, at which time began the making of Devonshire kersies and Coxall clothes.' Again, Aubrey, in his Natural History of Wiltshire, says: 'The art of spinning is so much improved within these last forty years, that one pound of wool makes twice as much cloath (as to extent) as it did before the Civill Warres.'
Spinning with the Distaff
It is hard to say when the spinning-wheel superseded the simpler process of the distaff and spindle. The wheel is stated, in the Dictionnaire des Origins, to have been invented by a citizen of Brunswick in 1533; three years before was printed the Dictionary of Pelsgrave, wherein we find the phrase: 'I spinne upon a rock,' rendered 'Jo file an rouet.'
We have, however, evidence, in a manuscript in the British Museum, written early in the fourteenth century, of the use of a spinning-wheel at that date: herein are several representations of a woman spinning with a wheel: she stands at her work, and the wheel is moved with her right hand, while with her left she twirls the spindle: this is the wheel called a torn, the term for a spinning-wheel still used in some districts of England. The spinning-wheel said to have been invented in 1533 was, doubtless, that to which women sat, and which was worked with the feet.
Spinning with the wheel was common with the recluses in England: Aubrey tells us that Wiltshire was full of religious houses, and that old Jacques 'could see from his house the nuns of Saint Mary's (juxta Kington) come forth into the Nymph Hay with their rocks and wheels to spin, and with their sewing work.' And in his MS. Natural History of Wiltshire, Aubrey says:
'In the old time they used to spin with rocks; in Staffordshire, they use them still.'
The change from the distaff and spindle to the spinning-wheel appears to have been almost coincident with an alteration in, or modification of, our legal phraseology, and to have abrogated the use of the word spinster when applied to single women of a certain rank. Coke says:
'Generosus and Generosa are good additions: and, if a gentlewoman be named spinster in any original writ, etc., appeale, or indictmente, she may abate and quash the same; for she hath as good right to that addition as Baronesse, Viscountesse, Marchionesse. or Dutchesse have to theirs.'
Blount, in his Law Dictionary, says of spinster:
'It is the addition usually given to all unmarried women, from the Viscount's daughter downward.'
In his Glossographia, he says of spinster:
'It is a term or addition in our law dialect, given in evidence and writings to a femme sole, as it were calling her spinner: and this is the only addition for all unmarried women, from the Viscount's daughter downward.'
'I am unable' (says Mr. Akerman) 'to trace these distinctions to their source, but they are too remarkable, as indicating a great change of feeling among the upper classes in the sixteenth century, to be passed unnoticed. May we suppose that, among other causes, the art of printing had contributed to bring about this change, affording employment to women of condition, who now devoted themselves to reading instead of applying themselves to the primitive occupation of their grandmothers; and that the wheel and the distaff' being left to humbler hands, the time-honoured name of spinster was at length considered too homely for a maiden above the common rank.
Before the science of the moderns banished the spinning-wheel, some extraordinary feats were accomplished with it. Thus, in the year 1745, a woman at East Dereham, in Norfolk, spun a single pound of wool into a thread of 84,000 yards in length, wanting only 80 yards of 48 miles, which, at the above period, was considered a circumstance of sufficient curiosity to merit a place in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Since that time, a young lady of Norwich has spun a pound of combed wool into a thread of 168,000 yards; and she actually produced from the same weight of cotton a thread of 203,000 yards, equal to upwards of 115 miles: this last thread, if woven, would produce about 20 yards of yard-wide muslin.
The spinning-wheel has almost left us-with the lace-pillow, the hour-glass, and the horn-book; but not so on the Continent.
'The art of spinning, in one of its simplest and most primitive forms, is yet pursued in Italy, where the country-women of Cilia still turn the spindle, unrestrained by that ancient rural law which forbade its use without doors. The distaff has outlived the consular fasces, and survived the conquests of the Goth and the Hun. But rustic hands alone now sway the sceptre of Tanaquil., and all but the peasant disdain a practice which ones beguiled the leisure of high-born dames.'
SERMON TO THE JEWS
7th January 1615, Mr. John Evelyn was present at a peculiar ceremony which seems to have been of annual occurrence at Rome. It was a sermon preached to a compulsory congregation of Jews, with a view to their conversion. Mr. Evelyn says:
'They are constrained to sit till the hour is done, but it is with so much malice in their countenances, spitting, humming, coughing, and motion, that it is almost impossible they should hear a word from the preacher. A conversion is very rare.'
CATTLE IN JANUARY
Worthy Thomas Tusser, who, in Queen Mary's time, wrote a doggrel code of agriculture under the name of Five hundred Points of Good Husbandry recommends the farmer, as soon as Christmas observances are past, to begin to attend carefully to his stock.
Who both by his calf and his lamb will be known,
May well kill a neat and a sheep of his own;
And he that can rear up a pig in his house,
Hath cheaper his bacon and sweeter his souse.
He urges the gathering up of dung, the mending of hedges, and the storing of fuel, as employments for this mouth. The scarcity in those days of fodder, especially when frost lasted long, he reveals to us by his direction that all trees should be pruned of their superfluous boughs, that the cattle might browse upon them. The myrtle and ivy were the wretched fare he pointed to for the sheep. The homely verses of this old poet give us a lively idea of the difficulties of carrying cattle over the winter, before the days of field turnips, and of the miserable expedients which were had recourse to, in order to save the poor creatures from absolute starvation:
From Christmas till May be well entered in,
Some cattle wax faint, and look poorly and thin;
And chiefly when prime grass at first doth appear,
Then most is the danger of all the whole year.
Take verjuice and heat it, a pint for a cow,
Bay salt, a handful, to rub tongue ye wot how:
That done with the salt, let her drink off the rest;
This many times raiseth the feeble up beast.
CONNECTION OF DISTANT AGES BY THE TRIBES OF INDIVIDUALS
The shortness at once and speed of human life are brought strongly before our minds when we cast the simplest look back upon our own career, find ourselves grandfathers so long before what appears the proper time, and finally discover that we are about to leave the world with not half of our plans and wishes accomplished. The matter is also very pointedly illustrated by the great changes which every one finds in the personnel of his surrounding world every ten years or so; the boys become men, the little girls now reckoning each their two or three babies, the matronly hostesses who used to sit at the heads of hospitable tables now retired into quiet dowagerhood, the vigorous mature men now becoming shaky and unfit for business, the old and venerable now to be found only in the churchyard! On the other hand, one sometimes get an exhilaration as to human life and his own individual prospects, by instances of lives at once remarkably protracted and attended by singular health and vigour.
To find a Brougham at eighty-two; heading a great social gathering like that which took place at Glasgow in September 1860, or a Lyndhurst at eighty-eight pouring out the words of experience and sagacity in the House of Lords for four hours at a time, is felt by all younger persons as a moral glass of champagne. The day looks brighter by our even hearing such a fact alluded to. And the reason obviously is that we get from such facts a conviction of pleasant possibilities for ourselves. We all feel that such may, in favouring circumstances, be our own case. It seems to imply that time is, after all, not so deadly an enemy to us as he is generally represented: if we use him well, he will use us well. There is, moreover, a spirit in man which gives him the desire and the power to resist the influence of surrounding agencies. We delight to brave cold, hunger, fatigue, and danger. The unconquerable will joyfully hardens itself to throw off the common effects of life's many evils. It is a joy to this spirit to find that some valorous souls can and do live on, and on, and on, so long, seeming as if they had acquired some mastery over fate itself-that Power-'nil Miseraetis Orei,'-before which, alas, we must all fall sooner or later.
There is, we must admit, a limit to this satisfaction; for when life becomes in any instance protracted to a decidedly extraordinary extent, the individual necessarily feels himself amongst strangers-perhaps helplessly dependent on them -the voice of every youthful companion hushed-wife, perhaps even children, removed from his side-new things in which he has no part or vocation all around him. Then, indeed, it were better for him to follow those who have gone before. Yet, while the spectacle of such a superfluous relic of past ages gives us, of course, little pleasure in the contemplation, and can inspire us with no pleasant anticipations, it may become a matter of considerable interest to a mind which dwells upon time with a regard to either its historical or its sentimental relations.
For example, while no one could wish to imitate the recently deceased American, Ralph Farnham, in length of days-the fact being that he lived to 107-no one could see him, as the Prince of Wales did in November 1860, and reflect that here was still in the body one of the little civic band which defended Bunker Hill in 1775, without feelings of extreme interest. Such a man, thus so long surviving the multitude amongst whom he once acted, becomes to us as one returned from the dead. He ought to be a shadow and a recollection, and behold he is a reality! The whole story of the War of American Independence is now so far removed into the region of history, that any living link between it and the present time is necessarily heard of with extreme surprise. Yet Lord Lyndhurst, who still (1862) takes a part in our public affairs, was born in Boston, a British subject, the State of Massachusetts being then and for some years later a British province.
The affair of the Forty-five precedes the struggle for American independence by thirty years; yet even that event is brought into apparent closeness to us by many surprising connections. There were still one or two Culloden men living when George IV was king: one came to see him at Holyrood in 1822, and greeted him as 'the last of his enemies.' It is worth noting that an uncle of the present Lord Torphichen (1862) was an officer in the royal army in 1745, was present at the battle of Prestonpans, and is noted by Dr. Carlyle in his Autobiography as the only wounded man on the king's side who was carried to Bankton House, all the other wounded people taken there being Highlanders. [Lord Torphichen, however, had another uncle, who, when a boy in 1720, was supposed to be bewitched, and thus was the cause of a fast being held in Calder parish, and of three or four poor persons being imprisoned under suspicion of sorcery!] That there should be now moving in society in Edinburgh, a lady whose father-in-law attended the Prince in his wanderings, does not call for particular remark.
It becomes more startling to hear Mr. Andrew Coventry, of Edinburgh, a gentleman in the vigour of life, speak of having dined with the mother-in-law of the gallant Charles Edward. He did so in 1823, at the house of Mr. Bethmann in Frankfort. This lady was the Princess Stolberg, then ninety years of age. Her daughter, the Princess Louisa de Stolberg, had married the Prince about fifty years before. It appears from a note in Earl Stanhope's History of England, that his lordship also was introduced to the Princess at Frankfort. He states that she was ' still lively and agreeable,' and that she lived till 1826. ' It is singular,' his lordship very naturally adds, 'that a man born eighty-five years after the Chevalier, should have seen his mother-in-law.'
When George IV acceded to the throne in 1820, he had occasion to remark a very curious circumstance connecting his reign with one which we are accustomed to consider as remote. The decorations of the Order of the Garter, which then returned to the king from his deceased father, had only been worn by two persons since the reign of Charles II! By that monarch they had been conferred upon the Duke of Somerset-he who was commonly called the Proud Duke-and by him they had been retained till his death in 1748, when they were conferred upon the young Prince of Wales, subsequently George III. The entire time embraced by the two tenures of the honour was about a hundred and forty years. It was remarkable of the Duke of Somerset, that he figured in the pageants and politics of six reigns. 'At the funeral of Charles II, he was one of the supporters of the chief mourner, Prince George of Denmark. He carried the orb at the coronation of James II; at the coronation of William and Mary, he bore the queen's crown.
At the funeral of King William, he was again one of the supporters of the chief mourner, Prince George; and at the coronations of Queen Anne, George I, and George II, he carried the orb.' Mr. Jesse, in relating these circumstances a few years ago, makes the remark, that there might be individuals still living, who had con-versed with the Duke of Somerset, who had conversed with Charles II.
Lord Campbell quotes, in his Lives of the Chief Justices, the statement of the Earl of Mansfield to Mr. Murray of Henderland, about 1787, that 'he had conversed with a man who was present at the execution of the Blessed Martyr.' Mr. Murray, who died a very few years ago, accompanies his report of this statement with the remark, ' How wonderful it seems that there should be only one person between me and him who saw Charles's head cut off!' Perhaps this is scarcely so wonderful as that the mother of Sir Walter Scott, who survived 1820, had seen a person who had seen Cromwell make his entry into Edinburgh in 1650; on which occasion, by the way, the individual in question remarked nothing in the victor of Dunbar but the extraordinary magnitude of his nose!
It was also quite as singular that Charles James Fox, who might have lived to attend the levees of Queen Victoria without being much older than Lord Lyndhurst now is, had an uncle in office as joint paymaster of the forces in 1679! This last person was a son of Sir Stephen Fox by his first marriage. All Sir Stephen's first family having predeceased him, he wedded in his old age, in Queen Anne's time, a healthy young woman, the daughter of a Lincolnshire clergyman, and by her left two sons, one of whom was the father of Charles James.
Dr. Routh, who died December 22, 1854, President of Magdalen College, Oxford, in the hundredth year of his age:
'... knew Dr. Theophilus Leigh, Master of Baliol, the contemporary of Addison, who had pointed out to him the situation of Addison's rooms: and he had been told by a lady of her aunt, who had seen Charles II walking round the parks at Oxford (when the parliament was held there during the plague of London) with his dogs, and turning by the cross path to the other side when he saw the heads of horses coming.
One more such case may be noticed in reference to the reign of Charles II. Dr. John Mackenzie, who had been Burns's medical attendant at Mauchline, and who died in Edinburgh in 1841 at no very advanced age, had attended professionally a lady of rank who was born eight years before the death of the Merry Monarch. This was the Countess of Loudon, widow of the third Earl. She was born in 1677 and died in 1777, having attained the venerable age of a hundred.
Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Hardwicke, who died May 26, 1858, was daughter of a person who had been a naval officer of Queen Anne and a rebel at the battle of Sheriffmuir, namely, James, fifth Earl of Balearres. This venerable lady could have said that at her grandfather's first marriage King Charles gave away the bride; an event which took place nearly a hundred and ninety years before her own death.
This marriage, by the way, was a remarkable one. The young Colin Earl of Balcarres was obtaining for his bride, a young Dutch lady, Mauritia de Nassau, daughter of a natural son of Maurice Prince of Orange.
'The Prince of Orange, afterwards William III, presented his fair kinswoman on this joyful occasion with a pair of magnificent emerald ear-rings, as his wedding-gift. The day arrived, the noble party were assembled in the church, and the bride was at the altar; but, to the dismay of the company, no bridegroom appeared! The volatile Colin had forgotten the day of his marriage, and was discovered in his night-gown and slippers, quietly eating his breakfast! Thus far the tale is told with a smile on the lip, but many a tear was shed at the conclusion. Colin hurried to the church, but in his haste left the ring in his writing-case;-a friend in the company gave him one,-the ceremony went on, and, without looking at it, he placed it on the finger of his fair young bride:-it was a mourning ring, with the mort-head and cross-bones. On perceiving it at the close of the ceremony, she fainted away, and the evil omen had made such an impression on her mind, that, on recovering, she declared she should die within the year, and her presentiment was too truly fulfilled.'
When Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall in 1840 made a tour in Ireland, in order to prepare the beautiful book regarding that country which they afterwards published, they were startled one day by finding themselves in the company of a gentleman of the county of Antrim who could tell them that his father had been at the Battle of the Boyne, fought exactly a hundred and fifty years before. The latter was fifteen at the time of the battle. He lived a bachelor life till, on approaching old age, he overheard one day some young collateral relations talking rather too freely of what they would do with his property after his death; whereupon, in disgust, he took an early opportunity of marrying, and became the father of the gentleman in question.
It is even more remarkable that Maurice O'Connell of Derrynane, who died in 1825 at the age of 99, knew Daniel M'Carthy, who had been at the battle of Aughrim (July 12, 1691), who was indeed the first man to run away from it, but who, being 108 at his death in 1740, might have equally well remembered Cromwell's massacre at Drogheda in 1649. The gentleman who relates this fact in the Notes and Queries, says:
'I remember being told in the county of Clare, about 1828, of an individual then lately deceased, who remembered the siege of Limerick by General Ginkle, and the news of the celebrated Treaty of Limerick (October 3, 1691).'
If we go back to any former period of British history, we shall find precisely similar linkings of remote ages by the lives of individuals. Lettice Countess of Leicester, who died in 1634, was born about 1539; consequently might have remembered Henry VIII, whose queen, Anne Boleyn, was her great aunt. To pursue the remarks of a contemporary writer, 'during the reign of Edward VI, the young Lettice was still a girl; but Sir Francis Knollys, her father, was about the court, and Lettice no doubt saw and was acquainted with the youthful sovereign. The succession of Mary threw the family of Lettice into the shade. As a relative of the Boleyns, and the child of a Puritan, she could expect no favour from the daughter of Catherine of Arragon; but Mary and Philip were doubtless personally known to her.
At Elizabeth's succession, Lettice was in her eighteenth year, and in all the beauty of opening womanhood. About 1566, at the age of twenty-six, she was married to the young Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford, created Earl of Essex in 1572. He died in 1576, and in 1578 his beautiful Countess was secretly married to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The great favourite died in 1588, and within the year of her weeds Lettice was again married to an unthrifty knight of doubtful character, Sir Christopher Blount. In 1601, Lettice became a widow for the third time: her husband was a party to the treasonable madness of her son, and both suffered on the scaffold. Such accumulated troubles would have sufficed to kill an ordinary woman; but Lettice retired to Drayton Bassett, and lived on in spite of her sorrows. In James's time her connections were in favour. She came up to London to share the smiles of the new dynasty, and to contest for her position as Countess of Leicester against the base-born son of her predecessor in the Earl's affections. At James's death she had attained the age of eighty-five, with faculties unimpaired. We may imagine that she was introduced to the new sovereign. The grandmother of the Earls of Holland and Warwick, and the relation of half the court, would naturally attract the attention and share the courtesies of the lively Henrietta and the grave, stately, formal Charles. He was the sixth English sovereign (or the seventh if Philip be counted) whom she had seen. The last few years of her life were passed at Drayton:
Where she spent her days so well,
That to her the better sort
Came as to an holy court,
And the poor that lived near
Dearth nor famine could not fear
Whilst she lived.
'Until a year or two of her death, we are told that she 'could yet walk a mile of a morning.' She died on Christmas Day in 1634, at the age of ninety-four.
Lettice was one of a long-lived race. Her father lived till 1596, and one of her brothers attained the age of eighty-six, and another that of ninety-nine.
'There is nothing incredible, nor even very extraordinary, in the age attained by the Countess Lettice; but even her years will produce curious results if applied to the subject of possible trans-mission of knowledge through few links. I will give one example: Dr. Johnson, who was born in 1709, might have known a person who had seen the Countess Lettice. If there are not now, there were, amongst us, within the last three or four years, persons who knew Dr. Johnson. There might therefore be only two links between ourselves and the Countess Lettice who saw Henry VIII'
Even these cases, remarkable as they are when viewed by themselves, sink into comparative unimportance before some others now to be adverted to.
The first gives us a connection between the time of Cromwell and that of Queen Victoria by only two lives. William Horrocks, born in 1657, one year before the death of the Protector, was married at the usual time of life, and had a family. His wife was employed as a nurse in the family of the Chethams at Castleton Hall, near Rochdale. In 1711, when eighty-four years of age, he married for a second wife a woman of twenty-six, who, as his housekeeper, had treated him with a remarkable degree of kindness. The circumstance attracted some share of public attention, and the Chetham family got portraits of the pair painted, to be retained in their mansion as a curiosity; which portraits were not long ago. and probably still are, in existence.
To William Horrocks in 1744 there was born a son, named James, who lived down to the year 1844, on a small farm at Harwood, about three miles from Bolton. This remarkable centenarian, who could say that he had a brother born in the reign of Charles II, and that his father first drew breath as a citizen of the Commonwealth, is described as having been wonderfully well-preserved down almost to the last. At ninety, he had one day walked twenty-one miles, returning from Newton, where he had been recording his vote at an election.
The second case we have in store for the reader is a French one, and quite as remarkable as the preceding. It may first be stated in this form: a lady, who might be described as a niece of Mary Queen of Scots, died so lately as 1713. She was the widow of the Due d'Angouldme, a natural son of Charles IX, king of France, who died in 1574, so that she survived her father-in-law a hundred and thirty-nine years. At the time when she left the world, a sixth generation of the posterity of Mary ( Prince Frederick, father of George III) was a boy of five years.
A third case may be thus stated: A man residing in Aberdeenshire, within the recollection of people still living there, not only had witnessed some of the transactions of the Civil War, but he had seen a man who was connected with the battle of Flodden, fought in September 1513. The person in question was Peter Garden, who died at Auchterless in 1775, aged 131. When a youth, he had accompanied his master to London, and there saw Henry Jenkins, who died in 1670, at the extraordinary age of 169. Jenkins, as a boy, had carried a horse-load of arrows to Northailerton, to be employed by the English army in resisting the invasion of James IV of Scotland, and which were in reality soon after used at the battle of Flodden. Here two lives embraced events extending over two hundred and sixty-two years!