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Your letter to me, within the first two months from the
commencement of the present work, approving my notice of St. Chad's Well, and your afterwards daring to publish me your “ friend," with
your proper name" annexed, I shall never forget. Nor can I forget your and Miss Lamb's sympathy and kindness. when glooms outmastered me ; and that your pen spontaneously sparkled in the book, when my mind was in clouds and darkness. These “ trifles," as each of you would call them, are benefits scored
This volume is a specimen of a work undertaken for the purpose of forming a collection of the manners and customs of ancient and modern times, with descriptive accounts of the several seasons of popular pastime.
Each of the three hundred and sixty-five days in the year is distinguished by occurrences or other particulars relating to the day, and by the methods of celebrating every holyday; the work is therefore what its title purports, THE EVERY-Day Book.
It is an EVERLASTING CALENDAR-because its collection of facts concerning the origin and usages of every remarkable day, including movable feasts and fasts, constitute a calendar for every year.
It is a HISTORY OF THE YEAR-because it traces the cominencement and progress of the year from the first day to the last.
It is a HISTORY OF THE MONTHS—because it describes the appearances that distinguish each month from the other months.
It is a HISTORY OF THE SEASONS--because it describes the influences and character of the four quarters into which the year is divided, and the most remarkable objects in natural history peculiar to each season.
It is a PERPETUAL KEY TO THE ALMANACK-because it explains the signification of every name and term in the almanack.
Its antiquarian and historical notices are calculated to engage the attention of almost every class of readers, and to gratify several who would scarcely expect such particulars in such a miscellany. The perplexities attending the discovery of certain facts, and the labour of reducing all into order, will be appreciated by the few who have engaged in similar pursuits. Some curious matters are now, for the first time, submitted to the public; and others are so rare as to seem altogether new.
As regards the engravings, to such as are from old masters, notices of their prints are always annexed. The designs for the allegorical and other illustrations, have originated with myself; and the drawings been accommodated, and the engravings executed, according to my own sense of subject and style. In numerous instances they have been as satisfactory to me as to my readers ; many of whom, however, are less difficult to please than I am, and have favourably received some things which I have been obliged to tolerate, because the Frigency of publication left me no time to supply their place. I know what art can accomplish, and am therefore dissatisfied en artists fail to Becomplish.
I may now avow that I have other aims than I deemed it expedient to mention in the prospectus :—to communicate in an agreeable manner, the greatest possible variety of important and diverting facts, without a single sentence to excite an uneasy sensation, or an embarrassing inquiry; and, by not seeming to teach, to cultivate a high moral feeling, and the best affections of the heart :-to open a storehouse, from whence manhood may derive daily instruction and amusement, and youth and innocence be informed, and retain their innocency.
To these intentions I have accommodated my materials under such difficulties as I hope may never be experienced by any one engaged in such a labour. To what extent less embarrassed and more enlarged facul. ties could have better executed the task I cannot determine; but I have always kept my main object in view, the promotion of social and benevolent feelings, and I am persuaded this prevailing disposition is obvious throughout. The poetical illustrations, whether“ solemn thinkings," or light dispersions, are particularly directed to that end.
I may now be permitted to refer to the copious indexes for the multifarious contents of the volume, and to urge the friends to the undertaking for assist. ance towards its completion. There is scarcely any one who has not said"Ah! this is something that will do for the Every-Day Book :" I crave to be favoured with that “ something." Others have observed—“I expected something about so and so in the Every Day Book." It is not possible, however, that I should know every thing ; but if each will communicate “something." the work will gratify every one, and my own most sanguine wishes.
And here I beg leave to offer my respectful thanks to several correspondents who have already furnished me with accounts of customs, &c. which appear under different signatures. Were I permitted to disclose their real names, it would be seen that several of these communications are from distinguished characters. As a precaution against imposition, articles of that nature have not been, nor can they be, inserted, without the name and address of the writer being confided to myself. Accounts, so subscribed, will be printed with any initials or mark, the writers may please to suggest.
From the publication of the present volume, a correct judgment may be formed of the nature and tendency of the work, which incidentally embraces almost every topic of inquiry or remark connected with the ancient and present state of manners and literature. Scarcely an individual is without a scrap-book, or a portfolio, or a collection of some sort ; and whatever a kindhearted reader may deem curious or interesting, and can conveniently spare, I earnestly hope and solicit to be favoured with, addressed to me at Messrs. Hunt and Clarke's, Tavistock-street, who receive communications for the work, and publish it in weekly sheets, and monthly parts, as usual.
W. HONE. May, 1826.
JANUARY This is the first and the coldest month Discerns sereneness in that brow, of the year. Its zodiacal sign is Aquarius That all contracted seem'd but now. or the Waterbearer. It derives its name His revers'd face may show distaste, from Janus, a deity represented by the
And frown upon the ills are past; Romans with two faces, because he was
But that which this way looks is clear,
And smiles upon the new-born year. acquainted with past and future events. Cotton introduces him into a poem on the According to the ancient mythology, new year
Janus was the god of gates and avenues, Hark, the cock crows, and yon bright star
and in that character held a key in his Tells us, the day himself's pot far; right hand, and a rod in his left, to symAnd see where, breaking from the night, bolize his opening and ruling the year : He gilds the westera hills with light. sometimes he bore the number 300 in one With him old Janus doth appear,
hand, and 65 in the other, the number of Peeping into the future year,
its days. At other times he was reproWith such a look as seems to say,
sented with four heads, and placed in a The prospect is not good that way. Thus do we rise ill sights to see,
temple of four equal sides, with a door
and three windows in each side, as emAnd 'gainst ourselves to prophesy;
blems of the four seasons and the twelve When the prophetic fear of things A more tormenting mischief brings,
months over which he presided. More full of soul-tormenting gall
According to Verstegan (Restitution of Than direst mischiefs can befall.
Decayed Intelligence, 460. 1628, p. 59) But stay! but stay! Methinks my sight, the Saxons called this month « WolfBetter informd by clearer light,
monat,” or Wolf-month, because the