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on the following Sunday, to visit my happy subjects, and close my peaceable reign.”
Masquerades in England are, on a small scale, similar to the Carnivals. On this day, 1724, the Bishop of London preached a sermon against Mas querades, which made such an impression, that orders were issued for the discontinuance of these scenes of folly and vice. After a lapse of many years, they were again introduced, but as they are only the resort of dissipation they never can become popular among sober-minded Englishmen: The following account of their introduction and progress in this country, is from a small volume entitled " A Companion to the Theatres."
6 This species of entertainment, in the present day, is far from flourishing. It is in England like a puny exotic. The first masquerade given in this country upon the foreign plan, was by the queen of Charles I. It was on a Sunday, when, in front of the banqueting-house at Whitehall, a scuffle ensued between the soldiers and the people, in which six of the latter were killed. This made the queen very unpopular, and raised a violent opposition to masquerades for nearly a century. The most splendid English masquerade on record was provided at the Opera House in 1717-8, by that celebrated caterer, Mr. Heidegger. It was allowed to be more magnis ficent than had been known in Italy, Venice, or any other country, and was thus described in Mist's Weekly Journal, February 15, 1718:-“ The room" says the writer, “ is exceedingly large, beautifully adorned, and illuminated with 500 wax lights; on the sides are divers beaufets, over which is written the several wines therein contained, -as Canary. Burgundy, Champagne, Rhenish, &c., of which all are at liberty to drink what they please; with large services of all sorts of sweetmeats: there are also two sets of music, at due distance from each other, performed by very good hands. By the vast variety
of dresses, (many of them very rich,) you would fancy it a congress of the principal persons of all nations in the world, -as Turks, Italians, Indians, Polanders, Spaniards, Venetians, &c. There is an absolute freedom of speech, without the least offence given thereby; while all appear better bred than to offer anything profane, rude, or immodest; but wit incessantly flashes about in rapartees, honor, and good humour, and all kinds of pleasantry. There was also the groom-porter's office, where all play that please; while heaps of guineas pass about with so little concern in the losers, that they are not to be distinguished from the winners. Nor does it add a little to the beauty of the entertainment, to see the generality of the masqueraders behave themselves agreeable to their several habits. The number when I was there, on Tuesday, last week, was computed at 700, with some files of musqueteers at hand, for the preventing of any disturbance which might happen by quarrels, &c.,—so frequent in Venice, Italy, and other countries, in such entertainments. At 1] o'clock, a person gives notice that supper is ready, when the company pass into another large room, where a noble cold entertainment is provided; the whole diversion continuing from nine o'clock till seven the next morning. In short, the whole ball was sufficiently illustrious, in every article of it, for the greatest prince to give on the most extraordinary occasion.”
“The masquerades formerly given at the Pantheon were very celebrated. In 1783, Delpini, the famous clown, got up a grand masquerade there, in celebration of his present majesty (then Prince of Wales,) attaining the age of majority. The tickets were all sold at three guineas each, but Delpini was a loser by the speculation. About six years since, the king sent the poor artiste £200; but the latter part of Delpini's life was passed in sickness, misery, and suffering. In the same year, Garrick attended a masquerade at the Pantheon, as king of the gipsies, a character which, according to local report, he rendered inimitable, by his spirit and humour. Masquerades, carnivals, and fancy-dress balls, are given, upon special occasions, at Drury Lane and Covent i Garden theatres, when the whole theatre is formed into a saloon, by flooring over the pit level with the stage, which has a most imposing effect. The admission is from one to two guineas. There are annually, at the Italian Opera House, three masquerades, and the same number at the Argyle Rooms, in Regent-street. They are numerously attended; but in their motley assemblages we miss the character and spirit, the gentlemanly ease and fashion, of the times of Killegrew and Heidegger.
“ Venice is, however, the city for masquerades; and in Paris a carnival is still held fifteen days previous to Ash Wednesday. In 1790, it was prohibited; but on its restoration, for some years, nothing could exceed the beauty and richness of the costumes displayed on these occasions. Thousands of masked persons then paraded the streets; but the entertainment has now lost its charms, and the masks are few and unmeaning. Masked balls were introduced in 1716; and a Carmelite friar (good soul!) invented machinery for elevating the floor of the pit to a level with the stage. They now commence about the end of January, and continue on fixed days throughout the carnival. The charge to the most splendid is only six franks; to others, three franks; and these balls are given at almost every theatre in Paris.
66 Masks were very common among the ancients, and were more particularly used by the performers at their theatres. It is uncertain whether the Egyptians understood theatrical amusements; but remains of their monuments prove them to have
been accustomed to conceal their faces with masks. They were originally made of the bark of trees, then of leather, subsequently of wood, and lastly of paper, varnished. The mask was likewise worn in several ancient religious ceremonies, and fêtes of the heathen deities, as also in the Saturnalia Female masks were likewise worn by boys, who formerly played women's parts on our stage.”
6.-THE HALSEWELL WRECKED. On this day, one of the finest East-Indiamen was wrecked near St. Adelm's head, a famous sea mark, consisting of a bold cliff rising to the height of nearly 300 feet. A short time before the ship went to pieces, the captain called the second mate into the cuddy, where his two daughters, two nieces, and three other young ladies were clinging round him for protection, and on being told that it was impossible for the ladies to escape, he nobly resolved to share their fate; and addressing his daughters, and folding tbem in his arms, said, “ then my dear children, we will perish together."
St. Adelm's head is near Encombe in Dorsetshire,
at which place, Lord Eldon has a splendid residence,
in a delightful situation opening to the Bristol Channel. The mansion is built of Purbeck stone, and the grounds are extensive and tastefully laid out.
7.-ST. DISTAFF'S DAY. The day after Twelfth-day, formerly so called because it was celebrated in honor of the distaff held in the hand, from whence wool is spun by twirling a ball below. On the conclusion of the Christmas holydays, or day after Twelfth-day, the men amused themselves by burning the flax and tow belonging to the women, who in return sluiced the men with pails of water. Herrick alludes to this custom in one of his poems:
Partly work, and partly play,
8.-ST. LUCIAN. This is the first Saint in the English Calendar. There are two of this name, and some doubt exists as to which belongs to this day. Alban Butler in his Lives of the Saints affirms, that the St. Lucian of the Protestant Calendar came from Rome to preach in Gaul, where he suffered death about 290. The other Saint stands in the Romish Calendar on the preceeding day, and according to Butler, corrected the Hebrew version of the Scriptures for the inhabitants of Palestine, during some years he was separated from the Romish Church, but he afterwards conformed to it, and died after nine years'