« IndietroContinua »
practised annually by those who attendedruary, 1825, by over exertion on board corporate bodies in surveying the bounds the Cambria brig, bound for Mexico-the of parishes ; but from the many accidents vessel that saved the crew and passengers that usually attended that game, it is now of the Kent East Indiaman. He has been scarcely ever practised. Silver prizes in a very ill state of health ever since; the used to be awarded to the victor in the East India Company and others have games.
voted him remuneration, and many of the
sufferers have acknowledged their debt of Cornish Wrestling and the Hug.
gratitude to him for saving their lives. The mode of wrestling in Cornwall is With a view of maintaining the supevery different from that of Devonshire, the riority in amusements in which the former is famous in the “ hug," the latter Cornish delight, John Knill, Esq. of great in kicking shins. No kicks are allowed eminence at St. Ives, bequeathed the inin Conwall, unless the players who are in come of an estate to trustees, that the the ring mutually agree to it. A hat is same might be distributed in a variety of thrown in as a challenge, which being prizes, to those who should excel in accepted by another, the combatants strip racing, rowing, and wrestling. These and put on a coarse loose kind of jacket, games he directed should be held every of which they take hold, and of nothing fifth year for ever, around a mausoleum else: the play then commences. To con- which he erected in 1782, on a high rock stitute a fair fall, both shoulders must near the town of St. Ives. touch the ground, at, or nearly, the same The first celebration took place in July, moment. To guard against foul play, to 1801, when, according to the will of the decide on the falls, and manage the affairs founder, a band of virgins, all dressed in of the day, four or six sticklers (as the white, with four matrons, and a company umpires are called) are chosen, to whom of musicians, commenced the ceremony all these matters are left.
by walking in pairs to the summit of the In the “ Cornish hug,” Mr. Polwhele hill, where they danced, and chanted a perceived the Greek palæstral attitudes hymn composed for the purpose round finely revived ; two Cornishmen in the the mausoleum, in imitation of druids act of wrestling, bear a close resemblance around the mlechs of the departed to the figures on old gems and coins. brave. Ten guineas were expended in a
The athletic exercise of wrestling thrives dinner at the town, of which six of the in the eastern part of Cornwall, particu- principal inhabitants partook. Some larly about Saint Austle and Saint idea of the joyous scene may be conColumb. At the latter place resides Pol- ceived by reading an account of an eyekinhorne, the champion of Cornwall, and witness. by many considered to be entitled to the “ Early in the morning the roads from championship of the four western coun- Helston, Truro, and Penzance were lined ties. "He keeps a respectable inn there, with horses and vehicles of every descripis a very good-looking, thick-set man- tion, while thousands of travellers on foot still he does not look the man he is "he poured in from all quarters till noon, when has that within him that surpasses show." the assembly formed. The wrestlers enA contest between him and Cann, the tered the ring; the troop of virgins, Devonshire champion, was expected to dressed in white, advanced with solemn take place in the course of this summer; step to the notes of harmony; the spectamuch “ chaffing" passed between them tors ranged themselves along the hills ; at for some time in the country papers, but length the mayor of St. Ives appeared in it appears to be “ no go;" no fault of the his robes of state. The signal was given; Cornish hero, “who was eager for the the flags were displayed in waving splenfray”—the Devonshire lad showed the dour from the towers of the castle; the " white feather” it is acknowledged by sight was grand. Here the wrestlers all. Polkinhorne has not practised wreste exerted their sinewy strength; there the ling for several years past; while Cann rowers in their various dresses of blue, has carried off the prize at every place in white, and red, urged the gilded prows of Devon that he “showed” at. They cer- their boats through the sparkling wavestainly are both “good ones." Parkins, a the dashing of oars--the songs of the friend of the Cornish hero, is a famous virgins—all joined to enliven the picture. hand at these games; and so was James The ladies and gentlemen of Penzance reWarren, of Redruth, till disabled in Feb- turned to an elegant dinner at the Union
hotel, and a splendid ball concluded the the representation, appeared in the evening entertainments."
“ Times” the next morning :-“ It is a These games were again celebrated in dramatic resurrection of the story of. The 1806, 1811, 1816, and 1821, with in- Fetches, which is to be found in the creased fervour and renewed admiration. •Tales of the O'Hara Family, and has
The following chorus was sung by the been introduced to the stage by Mr. Benvirgins :
ham, the author of those tales. Consider
ing that it is exceedingly difficult, through Quit the bustle of the bay,
the medium of a dramatic entertainment, Hasten, virgins, come away ;
to impress the minds of an audience with Hasten to the mountain's brow Leave, oh! leave St. Ives below;
those supernatural imaginings, which each Haste to breathe a purer air,
individual may indulge in while reading Virgins fair, and pure as fair.
a volume of the mysterious and wonderful, Quit St. Ives and all her treasures,
we think Mr. Benham has manifested Fly her soft voluptuous pleasures ;
considerable adroitness in adapting his Fly her sons, and all the wiles
novel to the stage. We think, at the Lurking in their wanton smiles
same time, that his abilities might have Fly her splendid midnight-halls,
been much better employed. The perpeFly the revels of her balls ;
tuation of the idea of such absurd phanFly, oh! fly the chosen seat,
tasies as fetches and fairies-witches and Where vanity and fashion meet.
wizards is not merely ridiculous, but it Hither hasten; form the ring,
is mischievous. There was scarcely a Round the tomb in chorus sing, And on the loft mountain's brow, aptly dight, who last night witnessed the fetch' or
child (and we observed many present) Just as we should be-all in white, Leave all our baskets and our cares below.
double of the Gottingen student and his
mistress, and who recollects the wild glare The celebration of the foregoing game of Miss Kelly's eye, (fatuity itself, much falls in this year, 1826. Should any thing less childhood, would have marked it,) particular transpire more than the fore- that will not tremble and shudder when going, you shall hear from
the servant withdraws the light from the SAM SAM's Son. resting-place of the infant. Such scenes July 20, 1826.
cannot be useful to youth; and, leaving the skill of the actor out of the question,
we know not how they can give pleasure NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. Mean Temperature. . . 63 • 70.
to age. This theatre was ostensibly instituted as a sort of stay and support to
legitimate - English opera;' and we feel July 25.
convinced that one well-written English
opera, upon the model of the old school ST. JAMES.
--that school so well described by geneThis name in the calendar refers to St, excellent work, 'The Lord of the Manor,
ral Burgoyne, in his preface to his own James the Great, who was so called would do more credit to the proprietor of á either because he was much older than this theatre, and bring more money to the other James, or because our Lord conferred upon him some peculiar honours Frankensteins and Fetches.""
his treasury, than a wilderness of and favours."* He was put to death under Herod.
Rightly ordered minds will assent to
the observations in the “Times." Every « THE DEATH FETCH.'
correct thinker, too, is aware that from A new piece under the title of “ The
causes very easily to be discovered, but not Death Fetch, or the Student of Gottin- necessary to trace, the “regular houses” gen,” was brought out on this day in
must adopt degrading and mischievous 1826, at the English Opera-house, in the representations or close their doors. Nor Strand. The following notice of its deri
is any accession to our
“ stock plays” vation, with remarks on the tendency of to be expected; for if perchance a piece
of sterling merit were written, its author
would be lamentably ignorant of the • Ms. Audley,
business of the stage" were he to think
of “ offering it.” The “ regular drama" is heather that thatched them; but they and on its last legs.
their inmates were obviously unconnected
with the solitude in which I stood, their Leaving the fable of the play of the fronts and windows being turned towards “ Death Fetch” altogether, and merely that led to them must also have diverged.
the level country, and thence the paths taking its name for the purpose of acquaint- No moving thing animated my now aling the reader with the attributes of a "fetch," recourse is had in the outset to
most supernatural picture; no cow, horse, the “ Tales of the O'Hara Family.” The
nor sheep, saunteringly grazed along the notions of such of the good people of margin of iny wizard stream. The very Ireland, as believe at this time in that little birds flew over it, I conveniently “airy thing," are set forth with great
thought, with an agitated rapidity, or if clearness by the author of that work, who
one of them alighted on the shrivelled is a gentleman of the sister kingdom with spray, it was but to look round for a mowell-founded claims to distinction, as a
ment with a keen mistrustful eye; and man of genius and literary ability. The then bound into its fields of air, leaving
the wild branch slightly fluttered by his following is extracted preparatory, to other authorities regarding "fetches” in its own whispering waters made; or the
action. If a sound arose, it was but what general.
herdsboy's whistle faintly echoed from
far-off fields and meadows; or the hoarse A Tale of the O'Hara Family. and lonesome caw of the rook, as he wingI was sauntering in hot summer wea. ed his heavy fight towards more fertile ther by a little stream that now scarce places. strayed over its deep and rocky bed, often Amid all this light and silence, a very obliged to glance and twine round some aged woman, wildly habited, appeared, I large stone, or the trunk of a fallen tree, know not how, before me. Her approach as if exerting a kind of animated inge- had not been heralded by any accompanuity to escape and pursue its course. It nying noise, by any rustle among the ran through a valley, receding in almost bushes, or by the sound of a footstep; my uniform perspective as far as the eye could eyes were turned from the direction in reach, and shut up at its extremity by a which she became visible, but again unlofty hill, sweeping directly across it. consciously recurring to it, fixed on the The sides of the valley bore no traces startling figure. of cultivation. Briers and furze scantily She was low in stature, emaciated, and clothed them; while, here and there, a embrowned by age, sun, or tvil, as it might frittered rock protruded its bald forehead be; her lank white hair hung thickly at through the thin copse. No shadow broke either side of her face; a short red manor relieved the monotonous sheet of light tle fell loosely to her knees; under it a that spread over every object. The spare green petticoat descended to within some grass and wild bushes had become parch- inches of her ankles; and her arms, neck, ed under its influence; the earth, wherever head, and feet, were bare. There she it was seen bare, appeared dry and crumb- remained, at the distance of only about ling into dust; the rocks and stones were twenty yards, her small grey eyes vacantly partially bleached white, or their few set on mine; and her brows strenuously patches of moss burnt black or deep red. knit, but, as I thought, rather to shadow The whole effect was fiercely brilliant, and her sight from the sun, than with any exso unbroken, that a sparrow could not pression of anger or agitation. Her look have hopped, or a grass-mouse raced had no meaning in it; no passion, no across, even in the distance, without being subject. It communicated nothing with immediately detected as an intrusion upon which my heart or thought held any symthe scene.
pathy; yet it was long, and deep, and The desertion and silence of the place, unwincing. After standing for some time, sympathized well with its lethargic fea- as if spell-bound by her gaze, I felt con, tures. Not a single cabin met my eye scious of becoming uneasy and superstithrough the range of the valley; over tious in spite of myself; yet my sensation head, indeed, the gables of one or two was rather caused by excitement than by peeped down, half hidden by their same- fear, and saluting the strange visitant, I ness of colour with the weather-tanned advanced towards her. She stood on a rocks on which they hung, or with the broad slab in the centre of the bed of the
stream, but which was now uncovered by continued my walk, descending the breast the water. I had to step from stone to of the mountain which faced the valley, stone in my approach, and often wind but now avoiding the latter, and saunterround some unusually gigantic rock that ing against the thready current of the impeded my direct course; one of them stream, with no other feeling that I can was, indeed, so large, that when I came recollect, but an impatience to ascertain up to it, my view of the old woman was its hidden source. It led me all round the completely impeded. This roused me base of the hill. I had a book in my more: I hastily turned the angle of the pocket, with which I occasionally sat rock; looked again for her in the place down, in an inviting solitude; when tired she had stood—but she was gone.-My of it, I threw pebbles into the water, or eye rapidly glanced_round to detect the traced outlines on the clouds; and the day path she had taken. I could not see her. insensibly lapsed, while I thus rioted in
Now I became more disturbed. I leaned the utter listlessness of, perhaps, a dismy back against the rock, and for some eased imagination. moments gazed along the valley. In this Evening fell. I found myself, in its situation, my eye was again challenged deepest shades, once more on the side of by her scarlet mantle glittering in the sun- the mountain opposite that which turned light, at the distance of nearly a quarter towards the valley: I sat upon a small of a mile from the spot where she first ap- knoll, surrounded by curves and bumps, peared. She was once more motionless, wild and picturesque in their solitude." I and evidently looked at me. I grew too was listening to the shrill call of the plover, nervous to remain stationary, and hurried which sounded far and faint along the after her up the stony bed of the stream. dreary hills, when a vivid glow of light
A second time she disappeared; but ning, followed by a clattering thunderwhen I gained her second resting-place, I crash, roused me from my reverie. I saw her standing on the outline of the was glad to take shelter in one of the distant mountain, now dwindled almost cabins, which I have described as rather to the size of a crow, yet, boldly relieved numerously strewed in that direction. against the back-ground of white clouds, The poor people received me with an and still manifested to me by her bright Irish cead mille phalteagh—" a hundred red mantle. A inoment, and she finally thousand welcomes ”—and I soon sat in evaded my view, going off at the other comfort by a blazing turf fire, with eggs, side of the mountain. This was not to be butter, and oaten bread, to serve my need borne: I followed, if not courageously, as they might. determinedly. By my watch, to which I The family consisted of an old couple, had the curiosity and presence of mind to joint proprietors of my house of refuge; refer, it took me a quarter of an hour to a son and daughter, nearly full grown; win the summit of the hill; and she, an and a pale, melancholy-looking girl of aged woman, feeble and worn, had tra- about twenty years of age, whom I afterversed the same space in much less time.wards understood to be niece to the old When I stood on the ridge of the hill, man, and since her father's death, under and looked abroad over a widely-spread- his protection. From my continued ining country, unsheltered by forest, thicket, quiries concernitg my witch of the glen, or any other hiding-place, I beheld her our conversation turned on superstitions not.
generally. With respect to the ancient Cabins, or, to use the more poetical lady herself, the first opinion seemed to name, authorized by the exquisite bard of be the Lord only knows what she “ O'Connor's child," sheelings, were now was:"_but a neighbour coming in, and abundantly strewed around me, and men, reporting the sudden illness of old Grace women, and children, at work in thé Morrissy, who inhabited a lone cabin on fields, one and all assured me no such the edge of the hill, my anecdote instantly person had, that day, met their notice, occurred to the auditory, one and all; and added, it was impossible she could and now, with alarmed and questioning have crossed without becoming visible to eyes, fixed on each other, they concluded them. I never again beheld (excepting I had seen her “ fetch:” and determined in my dreams) that mysterious visitant, amongst themselves that she was to die nor have ever been able to ascertain whó before morning. or what she was.
The “ fetch” was not entirely new to After having spoken to the peasants, I me, but I had never before been afforded
so good an opportunity of becoming ac- and related what she saw, a strong party quainted with its exact nature and extent accompanied her by a winding way, Lack among the Irish peasantry. I asked ques- to her father's house, for they dared not tions, therefore, and gathered some to take that one by which she had come. me valuable information.
When they arrived, the old man was a In Ireland, a“ fetch” is the supernatural corpse; and as her mother had watched fac-simile of some individual, which comes the death-struggle during the girl's short to ensure to its original a happy longevity, absence, there could be no question of or immediate dissolution; if seen in the his not having left his bed in the interim. morning the one event is predicted; if The man who had come into us, and in the evening, the other.
whom my humble host called gossip,” During the course of my questions, and now took up the conversation, and related, of the tales and remarks to which they with mystery and pathos, the appearance gave rise, I could observe that the pale, to himself of the “ fetch” of an only child. silent girl, listened to all that was said He was a widower, though a young man, with a deep, assenting interest: or, sigh- and he wept during the recital. I took a ing profoundly, contributed only a few note of his simple narrative, nearly in his melancholy words of confirmation. Once, own words; and a rhyming friend has when she sighed, the old man remarked since translated them into metre. -“ No blame to you, Moggy mavourneen, fur it's you that lives to know it The mother died when the child was born, well, God help you, this blessed night." And left me her bady to keep ; To these words she replied with another I rocked its cradle the night and morn, long-drawn aspiration, a look upwards, Or, silent, hung o'er it to weep and an agitation of feature, which roused 'Twas a sickly child through its infancy, my curiosity, if not my sympathy, in
Its cheeks were so ashy pale ; no ordinary degree. I bazarded queries, Till it broke from my arms to walk in glee, shaped with as much delicacy as I could, Out in the sharp fresh gale. and soon learned that she had seen, before his death, the “ fetch " of her beloved And then my little girl grew strong, father. The poor girl was prevailed on And laughed the hours away ; to tell her own story; in substance as Or sung me the merry lark's mountain song, follows:
Which he taught her at break of day. Her father had, for some days, been ill When she wreathed her hair in thicket of a fever. On a particular evening, bowers, during his illness, she had to visit the
With the hedge-rose and hare-bell, blue; house of an acquaintance at a little dis- I called her my May, in her crown of flowers, tance, and for this purpose, chose a short And her smile so soft and new, cut across some fields. Scarcely arrived at the stile that led from the first into the And the rose, I thought, never shamed her
cbeek, second field, she happened to look back,
But rosy and rosier made it ; and beheld the figure of her father rapidly And her eye of blue did more brightly break, advancing in her footsteps. The girl's
Through the blue-bell that strove to shade fear was, at first, only human; she ima- it. gined that, in a paroxysm, her father had broken from those who watched his fever. One evening I left her asleep in her smiles, ish bed; but as she gazed, a consciousness
And walked through the mountains, lonely; crept through her, and the action of the I was far from my darling, ah! many long
miles, vision served to heighten her dread. It
And I thought of her, and her only ; shook its head and hand at her in an unnatural manner, as if commanding her to She darkened my path like a troubled dream, hasten on. She did so. On gaining the In that solitude far and drear; second stile, at the limit of the second I spoke to my child ! but she did not seem field, she again summoned courage to
To hearken with human ear look behind, and again saw the apparition standing on the first stile she had She only looked with a dead, dead eye, crossed, and repeating its terrible gesticu
And a wan, wan cheek of sorrowlations. Now she ran wildly to the cottage I knew her : fetch!" she was called to die,
And she died upon the morrow. of her friend, and only gained the threshold when she fainted. Having recovered,