WILLIS'S CURRENT NOTES
FOR THE MONTH.
No. XIV.] "I will make a prief of it in my Note-Book."—Shakspere.[February, 1852.
NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS
To the "Price Current of Literature."
G. Willis gratefully acknowledges the various interesting documents and letters he has received. He is anxious that it should be perfectly understood that he is not the author of any statement, representation, or opinion, that may appear in his "Current Notes," which are merely selections from communications made to him in the course of his business, and which appear to him to merit attention. Every statement therefore is open to correction or discussion, and the writers of the several paragraphs should be considered as alone responsible for their assertions. Although many notes have hitherto appeared anonymously, or with initial letters, yet wherever a serious contradiction is involved, G. Willis trusts that his Correspondents will feel the necessity of allowing him to make use of their names when properly required.
Ethnology.—The marvellous pamphlet published in New York, with reference to the Aztec Children exhibiting there, has reached G. W., with the copy to be presented to a distinguished traveller, which has been delivered to him; and he seems not inclined to disbelieve in the accuracy of any of its statements, whatever may be the opinion of G. W.'s New York Special Reporter. (See "Current Notes" for January, p. 4.)
The pamphlet purposes to give an account of the discovery of an idolatrous city called Iximaya, in Central America, with 85,000 inhabitants, situate somewhere about 16° 42' N. and 91° 35' W., whose priests seem to consider the flesh of Scotchmen to be a peculiar culinary luxury—when they can catch them. The information given to the discoverers of the ideal or real city of Iximaya, was "that a man of the same race as Senor Hammond, who was of a bright-florid complexion, with light hair and red whiskers, had been sacrificed and eaten by the Macbenachs or priests of Iximaya, the great city among the hills, about thirty moons ago, (previous to May, 1849)."
It has been asserted that Mr. Wheelwright, an American gentleman of the highest respectability, well known and much respected both in London and Liverpool as the originator of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, is (or was) well acquainted with the author of this very extraordinary pamphlet. And although it must be confessed, that if considered as a piece of mere invention, for in marvellous incident it is a formidable rival to the voyage and travels of one Lemuel Gulliver, or the life and adventures of the well known Mr. Robinson Crusoe,—yet the fact should not be forgotten, that "Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction."
G. W. anxiously looks for the opinions of the well-informed press upon this matter, which, with the exception of the Sunday Times of the 15th of February, have been silent about the "Pigmies" exhibiting in New York;—and about which, as G. W.'s "Special" observed last month—"there is NO MISTAKE."
The Bawdrick or Baldrock, (Illustrated Correction.)—Few people feel inclined to acknowledge an error, or to make a correction. See Willis's "Current Notes" for February last (p. 16), where Sir Walter Scott's remark is quoted, that "it is ill making holes in one's own stockings for the purpose of darning them again, darn we never so neatly." However, G. W. is always happy—not to feel himself in the wrong—but to correct any mistake which inadvertently he or his agents may have made. He has therefore no hesitation about printing the following communication.
"H. T. E. informs G. W. that the engraver of the sketch of the Bawdrick, which appeared in the last number of the "Current Notes" (p. 5), has omitted one important reference, and a letter of reference, (which H. T. E. believes he sent).
"In fig. 2, letter B, all is right.
"But in fig. 1, letter B is wrong; it should have been by the side, and where that B is should have been an E, which was thus described:
"E. A piece of hard wood, placed between the staple and the end of the clapper, which is made steady to the clapper by D, the busk board, &c.
"As engraved, H. T. E. fears it will be a terrible puzzler to the uninitiated in Campanology, and even Campanologists will wonder at the confusion. The upper joint should have been thus, and the lower joint square (but G. W.'s artist has reversed the thing), for it is at B that the clapper swings.
"Still it is well to have got the thing shewn to the public, and H. T. E. thanks G. W., and supposes all blunders must be set down to his correspondent's fault of indistinct writing."
Strood, Rochester, 13th Feb. 1852.
Sir,—In reference to the letter of H. T. E. page 5 of your work, I beg to send you the following extracts from the Account Book of the Churchwardens of this Parish, now in my possession:—
Itm. payd For a horse hyde xxd.
For maykyng of ye bawdreck ijd."
For whytt lether for ye bawdreck xijd.
For maykyng of iiij bawdrecks . viijd."
The Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire.
Liverpool, 30th Jan. 1852.
Sir,—I have to complain that your Correspondent T. M. rushes into print so incautiously on the subject of his tobacco-pipe. From the accuracy of his quotation, he appears to have had the Society's volume before him, yet he has taken no trouble to arrive at the truth. Mr. Lamb's paper was read three months before the woodcut of the pipe in question appeared; but as the latter was of peculiar form, it was engraved, as well as one or two others that had not been exhibited. All of these were minutely referred to. Thus, in the Note respecting the Plates, p. iii. there is the following:—"No. 14 [on Plate IV.] is from 'Willis's Current Notes,' for April, 1851; the stem is of bamboo, and the top of the bowl of brass. It was found in taking down an old inn at Fulham in 1836." From a mutilated copy I send you the actual leaf for the use of T. M.;  and have to express my sorrow that he does not possess either more patience or more civility,
A. Hume, D.C.L.