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The Graphic: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper from London, Greater London, England • 20

London, Greater London, England
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Extracted Article Text (OCR)

October 2 526 THE GRAPHIC Jin Jtrtt0tk while the third he left empty. Then the person who wi-hed look into matrimonial futurity should be led up to th blindfolded; if he dipped his hand into the clear water future wife would be a maid, if into the foul she would be a -vidr, and if into the empty dish there would be no marriage at all A spell much practised was to stand before a looking-gUs eat a apple from one hand and comb your hair with the other and nr sently the face of your future helpmate would be seen pee'mn? ov your shoulder. But the most popular of all these Spell mor especially in England, was to go out into the night and setter a Br M. H. SPIELMANN It is strange that after all these years doubt should be thrown upon the colour of Napoleon's barb Marengo, the horse he rode at Waterloo and at previous engagements, and which was five times wounded under his Imperial master.

Yet a writer in a morning paper roundly declares his belief that the horse was not white, but bay judging from his hoof, now a snuffbox in the guardroom at St. James's Palace, as if the general colour of a hoof was any criterion of the colour of the horse. As a matter-of-fact, the artists' records are all against the doubter. The picture in the museum of the Royal United Service Institution at Whitehall shows Marengo as white. Meissonier, who never worked at his historical pictures without plenty of documentary evidence, has on every occasion painted him as white.

James Ward, R.A., who died in 1859, at the age of ninety-one, represented him in a lithograph, which he published so late as 1824, and which lies before me as I write, as white and I am informed by the painter's grandson that his making of this drawing as he made that of Wellington's Copenhagen "from life was a matter of common talk in the family, and the colour was always referred to as white. I have seen Charlet's lithograph of Napoleon 1815," when the Emperor is seated on a white charger; and the several lithographs from life by Meissonier's great predecessor, Raffet, and the colour is invariably white. And so has David painted him. The evidence of Captain Gronow, that king of gossips, of O'Meara, and of ill the historians of the fateful day of Waterloo, may be doubted, if you will but I fancy that the concensus of artists have settled the fact that Napoleon rode Marengo, and that Marengo was white. This is a point which Mr.

Sala a profound student of the Napoleonic legend could perhaps settle up and confirm. pallfjfoc'fn; wMsrn Upon that night, when fairies light, On Cassilis' Downans dance. Or owre the lays, in splendid blare, On sprightly coursers prance. Burns. HOW rapidly old customs, old festivals, old superstitions are dying out in this country! Christmas plum-pudding.

Shrove Tuesday pancakes, and Good Friday hot-cross buns are almost the all that remain of our ancient festivals. Easter and Wh.tsunude have degenerated into mere Bank holidays, during which the town flows into the country and the country flows into the town, and such observances as those of AU-hallowes' Lve are almost forgotten. These were undoubtedly a survival of sun-worship, since they celebrated the passing away of autumn and the coming in ot winter while in Christian times Hallowe en appears to have been a kind of mardi eras to All Saints' Day, which follows it. It is to Irish and Scotch folklore that we must turn for the most quaint, curious, and fantastic of the ancient observances of the last day of October. Witches, warlocks, and especially the fairies, were supposed to hold high revels on that night the terrible Phooka was abroad the Phooka -was a large, dusky-looking creature that sometimes took the form of a horse or pony, sometimes that ot a bull, and not unfrequently of a huge bird like the roc, with tire gleaming from its eyes and nostrils.

On Hallowe'en it would lurk in lonesome places, creep noise'essly behind the belated and unwary traveller, and, thrusting its monstrous head between his legs, whisk nim on to its back and whirl him up to the moon, or plunge with him to the bottom of a lake, or fly with him over the ocean, or up to the tops of mountains, or traverse the most remote realms.of space between dark and dawn. On that night mortals were supposed to have power over the fairies, and if they took a handful of dust from beneath their feet and threw it at them the good folk would be compelled to give up any human being who might be held captive in elfland. It was a very significant custom among the Irish peasantry on Hallowe'en to go about armed with sticks and clubs, collecting money, eggs, cheese, cakes, and other provisions, which they demanded in the name of St. Columbkiln, in whose honour verses were repeated. Most of the Hallowe'en observances, however, were love-spells.

At midnight the boys and the colleens would go out into the garden blindfolded and each would pull up a cabbage. The forms of the heads and stalks were supposed to denote the physical peculiarities of the future husband or wife, and if earth adhered to the roots it denoted that he or she would have a dower, while according as the taste of the roots was sweet or sour so was the temper of the coming spouse. It was a great time for the eating of apples and nuts. The shells of the latter were burned and a divination was taken from the ashes. Another spell was to put nuts upon the bars of the grate, giving to each the name of a sweetheart.

If a nut jumped or cracked that lover would prove unfaithful if it began by blazing, he was a true love; and if two nuts named after a girl and a boy burned together it was a sure SPELL COMB THE LOOKING-GLASS, APPLE, AND From the point of view of fame, there never was a more unfortunate artist than Samuel Laurence. He was a portrait-painter of great charm, who painted many of the most eminent men ot his day with brilliancy and picturesqueness but when he died his identity was forthwith fused, so to speak, with that of his more famous predecessor, Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. The incident that gives birth to this remark is the recent publication in every illustrated newspaper of the charming portrait of Lord Tennyson at the age of thirty or thereabouts, that was originally engraved in 1844, in the New Spirit of the Age, and its invariable ascription to Sir Thomas Lawrence. And this, it may be observed, is always the case with all the best of Laurence's portraits. But, although Mr.

Graves records no fewer than ninety portraits exhibited at the Royal Academy by Mr. Samuel Laurence bet-ween 1834 and 1879, no biographical dictionary, whether general or artistic, save the Dictionary of National Biography," so mucn as mentions him and the last-named work came very near to entering him as Lawrence," too. handful of hemp seed, harrowing it with whatever you could most conveniently draw after you, muttering the words, Hemp seed, I sow thee hemp seed, I mow thee and he or she who is to be my true love come after and pou' thee and thereupon the spirit thus exorcised would appear in the attitude of pulling hemp. It was customary in the Highlands to fasten a bunchof broom upon a pole, set it on fire after dusk, run through the village, followed by a It was owing to illness to a temporary but severe lameness. Irom whicu he has since greatly recovered that Mr.

G. F. Watts, R.A., was unaole to attend the funeral of his friend the late Lord Tennyson, and accept the invitation to be one of the pall-bearers. This invitation which the artist conceives to be ne highest, or at least the most welcome, ever offered to him was made to him not only as a life-long friend, but as a representative of Art. By the way, Mr.

Watts speaks of Tennyson's hand as being the finest and handsomest he ever saw so much so that a couple of years ago he urged the Honourable Hallam to have a cast taken of it for Art's sake. Speaking of Mr. Watts, I should, perhaps, explain that it is not quite accurate to say as appeared in the Athenaum and other papers that I had "discovered in a country-house the long-lost Sentinels of that artist. I had been on the look-out tor the picture for a number ot years, as I knew from its painter that tne work was considered his best of the period at which it was painted. As a matter of fact I came upon it in the gallery belonging to the municipality of York only just bequeathed to it by tne late Mr.

Burton, in whose country-house it had lain unknown for two score years or thereabouts. Its history, by the way, I have ascertained to be this. In his younger days Mr. Watts, being in want of a piano which he could not well afford to buy, exchanged it for an instrument with a member of the firm of Cramer. When that gentleman died his effects were sold up, and Mr.

Watts's big picture was bought by a frame-maker of the Strand for 40. or less. From him Mr. Burton purchased it for 60. in i860, and from that day up till a few weeks ago it was buried in his Yorkshire abode, unknown to anyone interested in matters of Art.

The art of silver-point, so delightfully and daintity illustrated by Mr. C. Sainton in his present exhibition at the Burlington Gallery in Bond Street, is little understood by the general public, although it is so prettily expressive, and like to become a popular favourite. For there is no medium more flattering, no line sweeter than that of the silver-point. Its chief danger in tasteless hands is that it may become what the French call bon-bon that is, sickly sweet.

As Mr. Sainton employs it applying it to ballet-land, the subject par excellent of Degas it does not display its weakness, for in the use of it Mr. Sainton is a worthy successor of Mr. Burne JonesandM. Alphonse Legros.

Now, so far as I am aware, you will vainly seek every dictionary, general and technical alike, for the description of this method, which the Germans call silberstift and the French pointe 'argent. Yet it is a process employed by many of the great masters, as you may see in the Print-room of the British Museum and the condition of these drawings is an eloquent testimony to its qualities of permanency. The implements required merely consist of a sheet of chalk-surfaced paper and a silver-pointed pencil, either fine or broad, according to taste, so that the line drawn is truly a silvern line. The chief peculiarity about it and its chief advantage from the educational point of view is that a line once drawn can nevei be erased; and any blunder that maybe made must be "worked up to and concealed as well as may be. Not even Ruskin (the Shakespeare of the art-world) refers in any of his writings to silver-point, so far as I can find out, though he seems to have referred to everything else besides.

Only Mr. Hamerton, in his Graphic Arts," has something to say upon the subject. VING AND HARROWING HEMP-SEED WATCHING NUTS ON THE BARS OF THE GRATE sign that they would be married. Lamb's-wool, made of bruised, roasted apples, mixed with ale or milk, was the prescribed beverage for the occasion. The word is a corruption of la mas ubhal," the day of the apple-fruit, the ingathering of the apple-harvest being celebrated on that day, and this drink was a kind ol libation to the saint who watched over fruits and seeds.

In Wales bonfires were lit on the night of All-hallows white stones, upon each of which the name of some person was written, were thrown into them, and if any one of these was missing in the morning it was a sign of death; the people joined hands and danced round the fire, and, after jumping through it, ran away to avoid a demon that took the form of a black sow. Very curious was the Welsh custom according to which the youth of both sexes would go out seeking an even-leaved sprig of ash the first who found it would call out Cyniver," and would be answered by the first of the opposite sex who succeeded in discovering another, which was a sign that those two would be mated. Scotch folklore is peculiarly rich in Hallowe'en superstition. Burns has immortalised some of them in one of his most characteristic poems. The working of a favourite spell was for a lassie to steal out of the house unperceived, go to the barn, open both doors, and, if possible, unhang them, lest the apparition should close them anddo her some injury then, takingthe instruments used in winnowing corn, go through the process of letting down the corn before the wind, repeating the movement three times at the third an apparition, it was thought, would pass through the place, coming in at the wind-door and going out at the opposite, and this figure would indicate not only the appearance but the occupation of her future husband.

Or you were to go out to a rivulet where three lairds' lands met and dip your sleeve in the water then return home, hang the wet garment before the fire and go to bed, and about midnight the wraith of your future husband or wife would appear and turn it to dry on the other side. Another spell ordered that a man should take three dishes, put clean water in one, foul in another, crowd, fling it upon the ground, and then pile faggo's r1, it until aS hugeP bonfire was kindled. Very anc.eii must have been, an observance that once obtained in of St. Lewis this took the form of a sacrifice to the sea- oa On Hallowe'en the inhabitants all trooped to the churcn 10 Mulvay, laden with provisions, and each brought a pec which was at once brewed into ale. Then at night one oi ttepW with a cup of this beverage in his hand, would wade into 1 and cry, Shony, I give you this cup of ale, hoping you fcn plenty of sea-ware." Thereupon the liquor would be cast nt sea.

All would then return to the church, where a can die wow burning upon the altar. At a given signal this light woui tinguished, after which the crowd would stream out into the and dance and sing and drink until morning. But these superstitions seem to nave iiv tint: nrl horseplay episodes the general revel ot dnnmng, mu, marked the festival. It was a favourite game to float appi catch them with their mouii: tub of water and set girls and boys to 1 have seen v.n, anrl involving mahV a SOUSlDg. a picture of a man balancing himself upon a pole stietchea two tubs of water at the end of the poll was a lighted which he was trying to light another at the risk of a ducking..

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