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Where the river's rough current ran rapid and hoarse,
(To be continued.)
THE ORIGIN OF SURNAMES.
Before the arrival of the Normáns, men were usually named from their condition and properties, as Godred, the Saxon word for good advice; and a woman was called from some quality of her body, Swcanshalfe, for the whiteness of her neck; but after that period, men began to be known by their dwellings, and to have an appellation from the possessions they enjoyed ; at that time the names of John, Thomas, Nicolas, Francis, Stephen, and Henry, were introduced, with others scriptural, and now in use among us. Such as had lands assigned to them were called from these ; thus, if Thomas had got the township of Norton, Sutton, Knowles, or Combe, he was thenceforth called Thomas of Norton, of Sutton, or of Combe; others again preferred the places in Normandy or Britany, whence they had arrived ; ihus if a man came from a village called Vernon, Montague, Howard, or Spencer, to be put after their Christian names so long as should any of them remain.
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January 25, 1817.
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THE NARRATOR, No. XV.
65 Every man has a right to bestride his own hobby, and to ride it a trot, a canter, or a gallop, or any other pace faney may dictate, provi. ded always he does not prejudice or give offence to his neighbour.”
AMONG all the subjects that have employed the pens of the scientific, since the days of Lawrence Sterne, I have not seen one essay to commemorate the hobby-horsical pursuits of our bipedal race, at which I greatly wonder, since no age has been more whimsical than the past, or more productive of folly than this in which we live. To our great disappointment the Reverend Gentleman we have just mentioned, did but slightly touch on the matter; had he continued as he began, there is not a doubt remaining he had left us a panacea for melancholy, leisure for laughter, an antidote for somnolency, and for that disorder our French neighbours call ennui, a lazy stupid affectation, better cured by the horsewhip than by all the volumes of the profoundest philosophy.
Printed by T. Kaygill, 36, Frith-Street, Soho.
After an example so eminent, I shall presume to step forward, and to fill up in some degree, the ample hiatus
I mount my hobby-horse and wield my quill,
'Tis not to torture but to MEND THE MIND. Mr. Pope, our English Homer, who couid sometimes laugh with the rest, was surely glancing at our bobby-horsical
propensities, when he thus describes the eventful history of his fellow man :
66 Behold the CHILD by Nature's kindly law,
Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.” Hobby horses have been ridden in all ages, by men as well as children.
66 Men are but children of a larger growth,” And full as often by their attachments call up our risibility ; yes, as any of our juvenile equestrians. But, according to the whimsicality of Sterne, we have no right to censuré so long as the cap and bells are not put on at the expense of another : and now I am inclined to think, that to manage the hobby within these rules or restrictions, merits commendation, nay, stands in some rank of praise : and farther, that the hobby may be ridden even to the advantage of the state, for every subject who promotes a free circulation of that Eldorado metal, without which no tradesman can keep his counter, or his credit unpolluted, becomes a strengthening link in the great chain of society.
Having given our sentiments thus far, we shall proceed largely in our progress, and endeavour to describe some of those hobbies which have been more conspicuous in their paces for eccentricity than the common hacks, which only serve to offend our feelings and to provoke our contempt. The drunkard's hobby is among the latter, the libertine's, and the hobby of the unprincipled squanderer.
Perhaps it may be asked by the fastidious, to what good end can a principle be bent, that only serves to wrinkle the brow of the sagacious ? I answer, so long as such pursuits open the field-gate to health, and dissipate those gloomy moments which might otherwise engender melancholy, they become of utility, and claim our respect more than the tricks of the physical empyric, who spreads the golden leaf upon the pill we swallow to our destruction.
That there exists a sympathetical, or mutual sensation, between the mind of man and his corporeal substance, is beyond disputation, and that the one cannot be in any way affected without a participation of the other, must also be admitted ; to guard them, then, from every adverse assailant, and to keep them in the most perfect repair, becomes a duty to ourselves and our posterity. The active limbwith a good flow of spirits, enables us to do wonders; and it is of little consequence how these advantages are acquired, whether by riding a hobby-horse or a field-marshall's chara ger, a dray-horse or a donkey, an Arabian stallion or on the back of one of his Majesty's creams, which have of late become less respected than the wooden horses bestrode by infant boys from the nursery.
But now to my subject, and thou! Cervantes, teach me to show the utility of hobby-horses.
As I was walking one morning up the High-street at Mar. gate, I overtook my old London acquaintance, Leander Lively, but no more like the pleasant fellow I once knew him to be, than a Dutch porter to a French valet. After a cordial salutation, he told me “ he was almost melancholy, and that he had been in that place upwards of two months, in hopes of recovering the flow of spirits which once accompanied his pursuits, but in that hope he feared he was disappointed ; that he found no pleasure, as before, in society, and that this malady seemed hourly increasing, for want, as he verily believed, of a recurrence of those habits he had for so many years been accustomed to enjoy. To be brief, continued Leander, "although I have plenty of that the world calls riches, I find time to be such a burden on my mind, that I wish to shake it off for ever; and to prepare me for the event, (whispered my friend) I am now going to lasten to a sermon to be preached by an itinerant methodist, once a tripe seller in Pudding-lane. He has lately made a great noise in this part of the Island, and is followed by half the dowagers in Thanet.” I had happily eloquence enough to divert the desponding man from his purpose, and he went on with me discoursing, and somewhat relieved in mind, till we arrived at St. Peter's. After resting a short space, I tempted my friend to proceed the other two miles, and about one o'clock we entered the port town of Ramsgate, The Nelson's Head above the Cliff was our resort, where, after a light dinner of sea-fish, we enjoyed our bottle in a temperate degree, when Leander consented to walk on the silver sands at the foot of the rock, continually kissed by the wanton waves of the ocean. As we were progressing to the music of the dashing surges, a recurrent wave, or some other cause, had laid the beautiful shell of the Nauti. lus on the shining pebbles before us: as Leander stooped to pick it up, his eyes seemed to beam with new pleasure.. I told him it was the Argonautic Conque, so well described by the learned concologist Romphis, when, having ex patiated on the wonderful economy and singular sagacity of the fish, that once was the tenant, Leander, with a more lively emos. tion exclaimed, “And is this the bark of the little navigator so tunefully described by Mr. Pope?" I replied it is. “Bless me," continued Leander, in a less elevated tone of voice, "how have I lost my time not to know of these things, and to admire, as I ought, the wisdom of the great Creator in bis works!” We had passed hut a few paces further, when the returning wave laid at our feet the concatusor, or great spiral shell, the formation of which first furnished Archi, medes with the idea of the screw, and of its vast importance in the circle of mathematics. This Leander recovered with as much ayidity as he had done the Nautilus just before ; and now perceiving my companion had found a recess in his brain for rational amusement, I encouraged the pursuit, which I denominate “ The Conchological Hobby-horse. And I determined my friend should ride it at once for his profit and his pleasure,
And now perceiving as we returned, that the particles of a saline atmosphere bad begun to strengthen his faculties, and that the dark pogramatic spirit had forsaken him, I wished him joy on the happy change ; he still became more cheerful, and frequently looked with new admiration on the shelly treasures as we traversed the sands, while Leander as sured me his intention was to enter warmly into the fancy, and that the next day should be the commencement of his conchacological labours.-We reached our hotel together, and after a frugal sacrifice to the comforts, each returned to his chamber of rest,