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ment repandues: aussi distingue-t'-on un grand nombre d'aiguilles differentes. On a les aiguilles a coudre, ou de tailleur; les aiguilles de chirurgie, d'artillerie, de bonnetier, ou faiseur de bas au metier, d'horloger, de cirier, de drapier, de gainier, de perruquier, de coiffeuse, de faiseur de coiffe a perruques, de piqueur d'etuis, tabatieres, et autres semblables ouvrages; de sellier, d'ouvrier en soie, de brodeur, de tapissier, de chandellier, d'emballeur; amatelas, aempointer, atricoter, aenfiler, apresser, a brocher, a relier, a natter, a boussole ou aimantee, &e. &c."
Needles are said to have been first made in England by a native of India, in 1545, but the art was lost at his death; it was, however, recovered by Christopher Greening, in 1560, who was settled with his three children, Elizabeth, John, and Thomas, by Mr. Damar, ancestor of the present Lord Milton, at Long Crendon, in Bucks, where the manufactory has been carried on from that time to the present period.*
Thus our readers will remark, that until far on in the sixteenth century, there was not a needle to be had but of foreign manufacture; and bearing this circumstance in mind, they will be able to enter more fully into the feelings of those who set such inestimable value on a needle. And, indeed, if all we are told of them be true, needles could not be too highly esteemed. For instance, we were told of an old woman who had used one needle so long and so constantly for mending stockings, that at last the needle was able to do them of itself. At length, and while the needle was in the full perfection of its powers, the old woman died. A neighbour, whose numerous "olive branches" caused her to have a full share of matronly employment, hastened to possess herself of this domestic treasure, and gathered round her the weekly accumulation of sewing, not doubting but that with her new ally, the wonder-working needle, the unwieldy work-basket would be cleared, "in no time/' of its overflowing contents. But even the all-powerful needle was of no avail without thread, and she forthwith proceeded to invest it with a long one. But thread it she could not; it resisted her most strenuous endeavours. In vain she turned and re-turned the needle, the eye was plain enough to be seen; in vain she cut and screwed the thread, she burnt it in the candle, she nipped it with the scissars, she rolled it with her lips, she twizled it between her finger and thumb: the pointed end was fine as fine could be, but enter the eye of the needle it would not. At length, determined not to relinquish her project whilst any hope remained of its accomplishment, she borrowed a magnifying glass to examine the "little weapon" more accurately. And there, "large as life and twice as natural," a pearly gem, a translucent drop, a crystal tear stood right in the gap, and filled to overflowing the eye of the needle. It was weeping for the death of its old mistress; it refused consolation; it was never threaded again.
* It is worth while to remark the circumstance, that by a machine of the simplest construction, being nothing in fact but a tray, 20,000 needles thrown promiscuously together, mixed and entangled in every way, are laid parallel, heads to heads, and points to points, in the course of three or four minutes.
We give this incident on the testimony of a gallant naval officer; an unquestionable authority, though we are fully aware that some of our readers may be ungenerously sceptical, and perhaps even rude enough to attempt some vile pun about the brave sailor's c drawing a long yarn."
If, however, Gammer Gurton's needle resembled the one we have just referred to, and that, too, at a time when a needle, even not supernaturally endowed, was not to be had of English manufacture, and therefore could only be purchased probably at a high price, we cannot wonder at the aggrieved feelings of her domestic circle when the catastrophe occurred which is depicted as follows:—The parties interested were the Dame Gammer Gurton herself; Hodge, her farming man; Tib, her maid; Cocke, her boy; and Gib, her cat. The play from which our quotation is taken is not without some pretensions to wit, though of the coarsest kind: it is supposed to have been first performed at Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1566; and Warton observes on it, that while Latimer's sermons were in vogue at court, Gammer Gurton's needle might well be tolerated at the university.
Act I. Scene 3. Hodge And Tib. Hodge." I am agast, by the masse, I wot not what to do; I had need blesse me well before I go them to: Perchance, some felon spirit may haunt our house indeed, And then I were but a noddy to venter where's no need." Tib. "I'm worse than mad, by the masse, to be at this stay.
I'm chid, I'm blam'd, and beaten all th' hours on the
day. Lamed and hunger starved, pricked up all in jagges, Having no patch to hide my backe, save a few rotten ragges."
Hodge. "I say, Tib, if thou be Tib, as I trow sure thou be,
What devil make ado is this between our dame and thee P1' Tib. " Truly, Hodge, thou had a good turn thou wart not here this while; It had been better for some of us to have been hence a
mile: My Gammer is so out of course, and frantike all at once, That Cocke, our boy, and I poor wench, have felt it on our bones." Hodge. "What is the matter, say on, Tib, whereat she taketh so on?" Tib. <( She is undone, she saith (alas) her life and joy is gone:
If she hear not of some comfort, she is she saith but dead,
dame? Tib. "My Gammer sat her down on the pes, and bade me reach thy breches, And by and by, a vengeance on it, or she had take two
stitches To clout upon the knee, by chaunce aside she lears, And Gib our cat, in the milk pan, she spied over head and
ears. Ah! out, out, theefe, she cried aloud, and swapt the
breeches down, Up went her staffe, and out leapt Gib at doors into the
town: And since that time was never wight cold set their eyes
upon it. God's malison she have Cocke and I bid twentie times light on it." Hodge. "And is not then my breches sewed up, to-morrow that I shuld wear?"
Tib. "No, in faith, Hodge, thy breches lie, for all this never the
near." Hodge. "Now a vengeance light on al the sort, that better shold
have kept it; The cat, the house, and Tib our maid, that better should
have swept it. Se, where she cometh crawling! Come on, come on thy
lagging way; Ye have made a fair daies worke, have you not? pray
Act I. Scene 4. Gammer, Hodge, Tib, Cocke.
Gammer. " Alas, alas, I may well curse and ban
This day, that ever I saw it, with Gib and the milke
pan. For these, and ill lucke together, as knoweth Cocke my
boy, Have stacke away my dear neele, and rob'd me of my
My fair long straight neele, that was mine only treasure,
The first day of my sorrow is, and last of my pleasure." Hodge. " Might ha kept it when ye had it; but fools will be fools still:Lose that is fast in your hands? ye need not, but ye will." Gommer. il Go hie the, Tib, and run along, to th' end here of the town.
Didst carry out dust in thy lap? seek where thou porest it down;And as thou sawest me roking in the ashes where I morned,
So see in all the heap of dust thou leave no straw unturned." Hodge. "Your neele lost? it is pitie you shold lacke care and endlf s sorrow.
Tell me, how shall my breches be sewid? shall I go thus to-morrow?" Gammer. "Ah, Hodge, Hodge, if that i could find my neele, by the reed,