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This Second Volume of the Table Book concludes my endeavours of this nature. My engagement was to continue the work so long as the public continued to be pleased. I have gone a little further in justice to my readers, who might have felt disappointed had the volume not been concluded. I have cause to regret its commencement.
The Table Book, like the Every-Day Book, is undeformed by blemishes that would render it unfit for the Family Table. This, its praise in particular, is, to the public in general, a defect, in a work of low price and humble pretension. It has likewise the disadvantage of containing some things of higher reach, and more literary merit than usually fall to such a publication: it "flies too much over men's heads”-is a little too much in advance of the “march of intellect." I supposed that a sheet so filled, “with engravings—every Saturday -price threepence,” would sell to an extent that would leave something weekly to its conductor : I erred.
The Gimmal Ring, Tais is an ancient form of the "tool of nearly corresponding with the figures on inatrimony," from one found at Horsley. the ring, the better opinion seems to be, down, and exbibited in 1800 to the Society that the Arabian method of notation was of Antiquaries. Mr. Robert Smith, the unknown to the Europeans until about the possessor of this curious ring, transmitted middle of the 13th century. It is conjecwith it some remarks and descriptions of a ture, therefore, that the figures were meant nature very interesting to the lovers of to express, not a date, but the artist's numarchæology, and the “ happy estate;" and ber; such as we see still engraven on from thence is derived the following ac- watches. The workmanship is not incuri. count of this particular ring, with illustra. ous; and the ring furnishes a genuine spetions of the form and use of the gimmal cimen of the gimmal, (a term now alr ring generally
forgotten.) This ring is constructed, as the name Rings, it is well known, wie of gi imports, of twin or double hoops, which quity; and, in the early ages of the ups thee play one within another, like the links of a denoted authority and government. chain. Each hoop has one of its sides flat, were communicated, symbolically, by the other convex; each is twisted once delivery of a ring to the person on w round, and each surmounted by a hand, they were meant to be conferred. issuing from an embossed fancy-work wrist Pharaoh, when he committed the gove or sleeve; the hand rising somewhat above ment of Egypt to Joseph, took the ri the circle, and extending in the same direc- from his finger and gave it 10 Joseph, as tion. The course of the twist, in each token of the authority with which he inhoop, is made to correspond with that of vested him. So also did Ahasuerus to his its counterpart, so that on bringing toge- favourite Haman, and to Mordecai, who ther the flat surfaces of the hoops, the latter succeeded him in his dignity. immediately unite in one ring. On the In conformity to this ancient usage, relower hand, or that of which the palm is corded in the Bible, the Christian church uppermost, is represented a heart; and, as afterwards adopted the ceremony of the the hoops close, the hands slide into con- ring in marriage, as a symbol of the authotact, forming, with their
ornamented wrists, rity which the husband gave the wife over a head to the whole. The device thus pre- his household, and over the “ earthly goods” sents a triple emblem of love, fidelity, and with which he endowed her. union. Upon the flat side of the hoops are But the gimmal ring is comparatively of engraven
*« Usé de Vertu," in Roman modern date. It should seem, that we are capitals; and, on the inside of the lower indebted for the design to the ingenious wrist, the figures “990.” The whole is of fancies of our Gallic neighbours, whose skill fine gold, and weighs two pennyweights in diversifying the symbols of the tender four grains.
passion has continued unrivalled, and in It is of foreign workmanship, probably the language of whose country the mottoes French, and appears to be of no great anti- employed on almost all the amorous trifles quity; perhaps about the reign of our are still to be found. It must be allowed, queen Elizabeth: for though the time of that the double hoop, each apparently free the introduction into Europe of the Arabic yet inseparable, both formed for uniting, numerals be referred by some to an æra and complete only in their union, affords a
not unapt representation of the married machinery,” and refers to Hanmer: but he
inclines to think the name gradually corAmong the numerous “ love-tokens ” rupted from geometry or geometrical, bewhich lovers have presented to their mis, cause, says he,“ any thing done by occult tresses, in all ages, the ring bears a con- means is vulgarly said to be done by geospicuous part; nor is any more likely than metry.” the gimmal to “steal the impression of a The word is not in Chaucer, nor in Spenmistress's fantasy," as none so clearly ex- ser; yet both Blount in his “Glossography," presses its errand. In the “Midsummer- and Philips in his “ World of Words," have Night's Dream” of Shakspeare, where geminals ; which they interpret twins. Egeus accuses Lysander, before the duke, Shakspeare has gimmal in two or three of having inveigled his daughter's affec- places; ihough none of the commentators tions, or, as the old man expresses it, seem thoroughly to understand the term. “ witch'd the bosom” of his child, he ex- Gimmal occurs in “ King Henry the claims,
Fifth,” Act IV. Scene II., where the French ** Thou hast given her rhimes,
lords are proudly scoffing at the condition And interchang'd love-tokens with my child:
of the English army. Grandpree says, Thou hast, by moon-light, at her window sung, “ The horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks, With feigning voice, verses of feigning love ; With torch-staves in their hands; and their poor jades And stol'n the impression of her fantasie,
Lob down their heads, dropping the hide and hips : With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits."
The gim down-roping from their pale dead eyes; From a simple love-token, the gimmal And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal bit
Lies foul with chaw'd grass, still and motionless." was at length converted into the more serious“ sponsalium annulus," or ring of affi- We may understand the gimmal bit,
The lover putting lis finger through therefore, to mean either a double bit, in -ne of the hoops, and his mistress hers the ordinary sense of the word (duplex,)
to the other, were thus, symbolically, or, which is more appropriate, a bit com
getiri;,a yoke which neither could posed of links, playing one within another,
wholly to wear, une half being (gemellus.) d to the other. In this use of the In the “ First Part of King Henry the al may be seen typified, “a commu- Sixth,” after the French had been beaten Sf interesis, mutual forbearance, and a back with great loss, Charles and his lords cipation of authority."
are concerting together the farther measures he French term for it is foi, or alli- to be pursued, and the king says,
9; which latter word, in the “Dictionire de Trévoux," is defined, " bague ou
"Let's leave this town, for they are hare-brain'd slaves, jonc que l'accordé donne à son accordée, où And hunger will enforce them to be more eager: il y a un fil d'or, et un fil d'argent." This Of old I know them ; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down, than forsake the siege." definition not only shows the occasion of its use, but supposes the two hoops to be To which Reignier subjoins, composed, one of gold, the other of silver; a distinction evidently meant to characterise
" I think, by some odd gimmals or device, the bridegroom and bride Thus Columella Else they could ne'er hold out so, as they do,
Their arms are set, like clocks, still to strike on; calls those vines which produce two differ- By my consent we'll c’en let them alone." ent sorts of grapes, “gemellæ vites.”
Our English glossaries afford but little Some of the commentators have the folinformation on the subject. Minshew refers lowing note upon this passage: "A gimmal the reader from gimmal to gemow ; the is a piece of jointed work, where one piece former he derives from “gemellus," the moves within another; whence it is taken latter from the French “ jumeau :” and he at large for an engine. It is now vulgarly explains the gemow ring to signify“ double called 'gimcrack.' or twinner, because they be rings with two or more links." Neither of the words is in Junius. Skinner and Ainsworth deduce Mr. Archdeacon Nares instances a stage gimmal from the same Latin origin, and direction in “ Lingua," an old playsuppose it to be used only of something “ Enter Anamnestes (a page to Memory) consisting of correspondent parts, or dou- in a grave sattin sute, purple buskins, &c. ble. Dr. Johnson gives it a more extensive a gimmal ring with one link hanging." He signification; he explains gimmal to mean, adds, that gimmal rings, though originally “some little quaint devices, or pieces of double, were by a further refinement made