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GUT FAUX DAY.
A writer in the Every Day Book, in 1826, says," scuffles seldom happen now, but in my youthful day, when guy met guy—then came the tug of war!" The partisans fought, and a decided victory ended in the capture of the guy belonging to the vanquished. Sometimes desperate bands, who omitted, or were destitute of the means to make "guys," went forth like Froissart's knights upon adventures. An enterprise of this sort was called "going to swing a guy," that is, to steal one by force of arms, by fists, and sticks, from its rightful owners. These partisans were always successful, for they always attacked the weak.
In such times, the burning of " a good guy " was a scene of uproar unknown to the present day. The bonfire in Lincoln's Inn Fields was of this superior order of disorder. It was made at the Great Queen-street corner, immediately opposite Newcastle House. Fuel came all day long in carts properly guarded against surprise: old people have remembered when upwards of two hundred cart loads were brought to make and feed this bonfire, and more than thirty "guys" were burnt upon gibbets between eight and twelve o'clock at night.
At the same period, the butchers in Clare-market had a bonfire in the open space of the market, next to Bear-yard, and they thrashed each other "round about the wood-fire," with the strongest sinews of slaughtered bulls. Large parties of butchers from all the markets paraded the streets, ringing peals from marrow-bones and cleavers, so loud as to overpower the storms of sound that came from the rocking belfries of the churches. By ten o'clock, London was so lit up by bonfires and fireworks, that from the suburbs it looked in one red heat. Many were the overthrows of horsemen and carriages from the discharge of hand-rockets, and the pressure of moving mobs inflamed to violence by drink, and fighting their way against each other.
Lord Mayor's Day, November 9th.—The office of chief magistrate of London was held for life 'till about 1214, nor was it till more than a hundred years afterwards that the title of Lord was given to the mayor. This arose in the time of Bichard II. on occasion of Walworth, the mayor of the day, basely murdering Wat Tyler in Smithfield.
That, which in later days has been called the Lord Mayor's Show, was but a degenerate copy of the old Pageant or Triumph, which assumed a variety of forms at different times, blending paganism, Christianity and chivalry in marvellous confusion. This however was not always the the case, for at one period it became the fashion for the city to employ dramatists of note upon these matters; and there are yet extant certain pageants by Decker, Middleton, Webster, and by other, though perhaps inferior writers.
Martinmas, Martlemas,or Martilmasse; November 11th.— The festival of St. Martin, one of the most celebrated saints in the Romish calendar, who was born about the year 402 at Sabaria, a city of Hungary. Sulpicius Severus affirms that he equalled Plato, Socrates, and the apostles. Martin was said to rival the apostles, not from the multitude of his miracles, but on account of one in particular. This it is. One day in the depth of winter he met, at the gates of Amiens in Picardy, a poor man quite naked, whom the hardhearted passers-by refused to relieve; hereupon the saint possessing nothing but the garment he wore, having spent all besides in charity, immediately cut it into two, and gave one half to the pauper. In a vision of the night, the saint saw Christ clothed in the identical half of the robe he had thus given away in charity; at the same time he heard him say to the surrounding angels, "Martin, although he is only a catechumen, gave me this cloak."
Alexander E. of Russia d. 1825.
0 Winter! ruler of th* inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fiHM,
1 love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art. Cowper's Task.
This month is, in general, the most unpleasant of any in the whole year, the day is rapidly decreasing, and the frost being seldom fully confirmed till quite the latter end of the year, or the commencement of the next, vapours, and clouds, and storms, form the only vicissitudes of weather, thus fully justifying the expression in Shakespeare,
The rain and wind beat dark December.
Every change seems only an advance towards the stagna