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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 commencement 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 exigency of publication left me no time to supply their place. I know what art can accomplish, and am therefore dissatisfied when artists fail to accomplish.
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 faculties 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 assistance 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.
READERS OF THE EVERY-DAY BOOK.
OUR ancestors were persons of leisure. They appropriated each day in the year to the memory of remarkable persons or events. THE EVERY-DAY BOOK will relate the origin of these three hundred and sixty-five celebrations, with interesting accounts of the individuals and circumstances commemorated.
It will especially describe the National and Domestic Festivities at the Remarkable Seasons, and on the great Holidays that are still kept; particularly those on New Year's day-Twelfth day-St. Agnes' eve—Candlemas day—St. Valentine's day Shrovetide-Ash Wednesday-St. David's day-St. Patrick's day.-Palm Sunday-Lady day—All Fools' day-Maundy Thursday-Good Friday-Eastertide-Hock day-St. George's day-May day-Royal Oak day-WhitsuntideSt. Barnabas' day-St. John's eve-St. Swithin's day-Lammas-tide-Corpus Christi day-Midsummer-tide-Michaelmas-tide-Allhallow e'en - Gunpowder Plot day-St. Andrew's day-Christmas-tide-Childermas day-New Year's eve, &c.
While recording such observances, it will entertain the reader with descriptions of numerous Popular Merriments and Usages, a few of which may be mentioned as instances : namely, Fairs-Wakes-Morris Dancings—Harvest Homes-Shearings-Mayings-Aleings-Wassailings-Mummings - Soulings-Waits - Eton Montem-Hogmany-Yule, &c.
Besides a multitude of subjects of this description, the amusing character of the EVERY-DAY BOOK will be increased by curious details respecting Flinging the stocking-The Wandering Jew-Hand of Glory-Glastonbury thorn-Wrestling -Kissing-Man in the Moon-Robin Hood-The Merry Thought-Tea-The Drama-Highgate oath-Dunmow flitch-Winifred's well-Music-Horn Fair -Old Nick-Joint ring-Robin Goodfellow-Robin Badfellow-Passing bellWedding ring-Death watch-the Grace cup-Archery-Cockfighting-Breaking up-Jack a' Lanthorn-Second sight-Barber's pole-Strewing rushes — Bleeding of the Murdered-Under the Rose-Sitting cross legged-Longevity— Coronation stone-Sneezing-Bear baiting-Lady in the straw-Seventh son of a seventh son-True lover's knot-Blindman's buff-Curfew bell-Divining rodHunt the slipper-Roodloft-Nightmare-Pricking in the belt-Dress-Cursing by bell, book and candle-Golf-Black's the white o' my eye-Garnish-Barring out at school-Groaning cake-Chiromancy-Cunning men-Undertakers-Marriages MolesPenny weddings-Vanes - Love charms- Toys - Storms Cramp rings-Horseshoes-Fools-Jesters-Apparitions-Babies in the eyesFairy rings-Autographs-Witch finders-Witches-Wizards-Shop signs-Cries - Amulets-Duels-Charms Healths - Exorcisms - Evil eyes - Eclipses Shooting stars-Gypsies-Sin eaters-Corpse candles-Misers-Quacks-Incantations-Crickets-Bonfires-Old saws-Philtres-Frosts-Fairies-Somnambulists-Christenings - Pawnbrokers' balls - Burials-Cuckolds- ProcessionsSpectres-Lucky and unlucky numbers-Newspapers-Christmas boxes-Bogles, Brownies-Spunkies-Kelpies-Wraiths-Dwarfs -Giants-Fascinations-Tobacco Snuff-Sorcerers-Songs-Hair and Wigs-Vigils-Spirits-Omens—
Familiars-Holy Wells-Gossips-Cards-Wrecks-Divinations-BetrothingsShrouds-Inventions-Phenomena, &c. &c. &c. By the introduction of various topics and facts of a still more interesting and important nature, with suitable Historical, Biographical, Astronomical, and Seasonable Anecdotes-information that is useful to all, will be combined with amusement that is agreeable to most. THE EVERY-DAY BOOK will be a History of the Year. Whether it be con'sulted respecting to-day or to-morrow, or any other day, it will present acceptable particulars respecting the day sought. It becomes, therefore, a Perpetual Guide to the Year-not to any one year in particular, but to every year-and forms a Complete Dictionary of the Almanac, for the daily use and instruction of every person who possesses an Almanac, and desires a Key to it.
In this view it will be the EVERY-DAY BOOK of pleasure and business-of parents and children, teachers and pupils, masters and servants: and, as Cowper says, that, a volume of verse is a fiddle that sets the universe in motion," it is believed that his remark may be somewhat verified by the pleasant images and kind feelings, which the interspersion of much excellent poetry throughout the work is designed to create in all classes of its readers.
Many essential particulars relating to the days of the week, the twelve months, the four seasons, and the year generally, will be arranged by way of Appendix, and there will be a copious Index to the whole.
A number, or sheet of thirty-two columns, price threepence, will be published every Saturday til! the undertaking is completed, which will be in about a year-a few weeks more or less. The Engravings in each will vary as to number: in some there may be only one or two; in others, three, or four, or five-according to the subject.
It will form a large and handsome volume, containing a greater body of curious and interesting anecdotes and facts than exists in any other in the English language; and be illustrated by nearly two hundred Engravings from the original designs of superior artists, or from rare and remarkable prints and drawings.
This mode of publication is adopted with a view to two objects: 1st, the general diffusion of useful facts in connection with curious information; and 2dly, the attainment of additional particulars during its progress.
To a large mass of materials already collected, communications respecting local usages or customs in any part of the United Kingdom, and Festival Ceremonials abroad, will be especially acceptable. Such communications, or any useful hints or suggestions, or permission to extract from books or manuscripts, it will give me great pleasuree to receive, and to acknowledge as circumstances may require.
31st December, 1824.
NOTE. This Leaf and the Title are to be cut off, and thrown aside, when the Volume is bound. A new title, &c. will be given gratis.
THE HISTORY OF PARODY, with ENLARGED REPORTS OF MY THREE TRIALS, a royal octavo Volume of 600 pages, handsomely printed and illustrated by numerous Engravings on copper and wood, plain and coloured, is in considerable forwardness. The price will be 27. 2s. in extra boards. The favour of additional names to the list of Subscribers is respectfully solicited, in order to regulate the number of copies to be printed—but NO MONEY WILL BE RECEIVED until the book is delivered.