October was the eighth month of Romulus's year, as the name implies, being derived from Octo, eight, and imber, a shower of rain; but in the calendar of Numa, and of Julius Caesar, it was classed as the tenth month of the calendar, as at the present time. The Senate of Rome gave this month the name of Faustinus, in compliment to Faustina, the wife of the Emperor Antoninus; and Domitian called it after himself; but, in spite of all attempts to alter the name, it has continued to preserve the one originally given by the old Romans. The number of its days, in the time of Romulus, was the same as at present. Numa Pompilius reduced them to twenty-nine; but Julius and Augustus Caesar each added one day, so that the original number of days was restored, and has not been altered since.
Among our Saxon ancestors this month was called Wyn Monath, or wine month, wyn signifying wine; and Verstegan observes: - "Albeit they had not antiently wines made in Germany, yet in this season had they them from divers countries adjoining." They also called it Winter fulleth, or fylleth, from the approach of winter.
Synonymes. - In Latin, October; in French, Octobre; in Italian, Ottobre; and in Portuguese, Outubro.
The Symbol, or Allegory of the month is a young man, dressed in a garment of carnation and yellow, indicative of the hue of the trees at this season; his head is decorated with a garland of acorns and oak-leaves, and his face
"Full of merry glee, For yet his noule was totty of the must, Which he was treading, in the wine-fat's Ice, And of the joyous oyle, whose gentle gust Made him so frollick."
In his right-hand he held a basket of medlars, chesnuts, mushrooms, and other fruits, "ripe and rare;" while in his left hand he grasped the sign Scorpio, the scorpion, eymbolical of the sun entering that constellation on the 23rd of the month. On the 17th day of October, 1777, Bur-goyne, finding himself surrounded, and despairing of recieving reinforcements, surrendered his ;army to General Gates, who had shortly prior been appointed to the command of the Northern division, whereby the American army came into the possession of a fine train of brass artillery, 5,000 muskets, and immense quantities of other munitions of war.
6th. Faith. - This name, in the Church of England calendar, was given in honour of a female at Aquitaine, who was put to death under Dacian. She was the titular saint of several churches in France, particularly that of Longueville, in Normandy, which was erected by Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham.
9th. St. Denys, or Denis, is the patron saint of France, and the legend informs us, that he was beheaded, with some other martyrs, in the year 272, upon an eminence in the neighbourhood of Paris, since called Mont Martyrum (Montmartre), in honour of them.
11th. Old Michaelmas-day. - A custom formerly prevailed in Hertfordshire for young men to assemble in the fields, and choose a leader, whom they were obliged to follow through fields and ditches. This occurred every seven years, and every publican then supplied a gallon of ale and a ganging cake - a plum cake - so called from the day being termed a ganging-day.
17th. St. Etheldreda was the daughter of Annas, king of the East Angles, and born about 630, at Ixning, formerly a noted town on the western border of Suffolk. Having taken the veil, she ultimately became an abbess, and acquired celebrity for having saved herself and nuns from the outrage of the Danes by mutilating their faces, which so exasperated the Danes, that they fired the convent, and destroyed its inmates.
18th. St. Luke. - This festival was appointed in the twelfth century, in honour of the Evangelist. He is said to have died about the year 70, at the age of eighty-four, having written his gospel when seventy-six years of age.
20th. On this day, in 1632, was born the celebrated architect, Sir Christopher WreN. He was the son of the Dean of Windsor, and first drew his breath at East Knoyle, in Wiltshire. His mathematical talents were precociously manifested; and at the age of fifteen ho wrote "A New
System of Spherical Trigonometry ;" but it was in 1663 that his architectural genius was first railed into action, when he was commissioned to prepare designs for the restoration of St. Paul's cathedral, the building of which was begun in 1675. Besides this magnificent pile he erected the hospitals at Chelsea and Greenwich, various public edifices, and about sixty churches. He died in 1723.
26th. St. Crispin. - Formerly St. Cris-pinian's name was coupled with St. Crispin's, but it has long been disjoined from it. These two saints are said to have been two Roman youths of good birth, brothers, who in the third century went us Christian missionaries to France, and preached for a long time at Soissons. In imitation of St. Paul, they supported themselves by working at the trade of a shoemaker by night, while they preached during the day.
28th. St. Simon and St. Jude is a festival of the English Church. Simon is said to have suffered martyrdom in Britain. St. Jude, also called Thaddeus, suffered martyrdom in Persia.
29th. On this day was beheaded the illustrious navigator and historian, Sir Walter RaLEiGh. He was born at Bud-leigh, in Devonshire, and did eminent service for Queen Elizabeth, particularly in his discovery of Virginia, and in the defeat of the Spanish Armada; but on the accession of James I. he lost his interest at Court, was stripped of his preferments, unjustly accused of high treason, tried, condemned, and executed on the 29th October, 1618. The grand work which has established his fame is "The History of the World," to the end of the Macedonian Empire, B.C. 323.
31st. All-hallow Even, or Hallow E'en, is the great festival of the month, and is the vigil of All-Saints'-day. Many curious customs are connected with this day. Burns informs us, in a note to his poem on "Hallow E'en," that "the first ceremony of the festival is pulling each a stock or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with; its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells - the husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune ; and the taste of the custoc, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question."