Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beards, Snuff and the English Bar.


Forty years ago an Old Bailey practitioner who wore a beard was summoned to attend a meeting of the bar and charged with "violating the honorable traditions of the profession." He sought acquittal on the ground that a serious affection of the throat compelled his transgression of the unwritten ordinances of the bar, but his judges declined to accept his defense and sent him to Coventry. Times, The Law Journal, points out, have changed now. "Half of the ordinary members of the court of appeals now wear beards, Lord Justice Lopes, Lord Justice Rigby and now Lord Justice Kay having departed from the traditions of the bench. The only other judges who wear beards are Lord Watson and Sir Francis Jeune."

Another terrible instance of departure from ancient precedent was deplored last night by the lord chief justice in his amusing speech to the Hardwicke society. The "eminently judicial" habit of taking snuff was, he regretted to say, falling into almost complete desuetude. He remembered Sir James Bacon telling him on one occasion that when he was a junior there was not a single man in the court, from the judge on the bench to the usher, who did not carry a snuffbox, and he ended by saying, "Here I am, the only man left with a snuffbox." And now the only man left is the chief himself, but all that one man can do he does. — Westminster Gazette.

Sir Henry Layard.


The late Sir Henry Layard was a man to whose abilities, achievements and personal qualities but scant justice was done in the obituary notices which appeared at the time of his death.

He did not "wear his heart upon his sleeve," and those who had only a slight acquaintance with him may perhaps be excused for not perceiving the stanch and genuine kindness of that heart — a kindness which none of his friends could fail to experience, but his achievements and his career are written large in the history of the nineteenth century, and the impetus which his researches and discoveries gave to the study of archaeology — to say nothing of the inestimable value of the light they throw on the Old Testament narrative — will never be forgotten or underrated by those whose opinions on such subjects is worth having. Sir Henry Layard's later years were chiefly devoted to historical, archaeological and artistic research, and during his residence in Venice, where he spent a considerable part of every year, he came to be regarded almost as an unaccredited representative of his country in that city. — John Murray in Good Words.

Where Love Is Secondary.


A conspicuous difference between the English and Chinese dramas is explained by the fact that, whereas in the former love holds a leading part, in the latter it is relegated to a secondary place. In England it is a passion, in China a sentiment only; hence the thousand intrigues love gives rise to are, in the latter country, either thrown into the shade or tabooed entirely. Without their ardent passions many of our theatrical productions would lose their interest and most of their merit. An English, or, to use a wider term, a European playgoer, requires a due quantum of love.

In China, on the other hand, this demand finds little echo, since love there is not the chief theme of bard and painter. Convention and the strength of parental authority have crushed in a great measure those amorous longings which exist in the human heart, and as love, courtship and matrimony are even more prosaic in the far east than in our part of the world the first of these feelings, if handled as a passion, cannot powerfully arrest the attention of the multitude. — Nineteenth Century.

The Deep Breath Habit.


Cultivate the habit of breathing through the nose and taking deep breaths. If this habit was universal, there is little doubt that pulmonary affections would be decreased one-half. An English physician calls attention to the fact that deep and forced respiration will keep the entire body in a glow in the coldest weather, no matter how thinly one may be clad. He was himself half frozen to death one night and began taking deep breaths and keeping the air in his lungs as long as possible. The result was that he was thoroughly comfortable in a few minutes. The deep respirations, he says, stimulate the blood currents by direct muscular exertion and cause the entire system to become pervaded with the rapidly generated heat. — Philadelphia Times.

Ownership of Farms.


The statistics show that Ohio has the largest number of farms of any state in the Union, 256,264; Illinois comes second, 252,953; then Missouri, 250,832; Texas, 248,782; New York, 226,632; Pennsylvania, 211,472; Iowa, 205,435; Indiana, 205,331. No other state has more than 200,000. The percentage of ownership in farms is largest in the north and west, as is the percentage of homes also.

Like Some Shoes.

"They say that the paving brick is only 8 inches long."
"I always knew that it was under the foot." — Syracuse Post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



His Work Produced With Astonishing Speed Regardless of His Surroundings.

I remember a characteristic discussion about their mode of writing between Trollope and George Eliot at a little dinner party at her house.

"Why," said Anthony, "I sit down every morning at 5:30, with my watch on my desk, and for three hours I regularly produce 250 words every quarter of an hour."

George Eliot positively quivered with horror at the thought — she who could write only when she felt in the vein, who wrote, rewrote and destroyed her manuscript two or three times, and as often as not sat at her table without writing at all.

"There are days and days together," she groaned out, "when I cannot write a line."

"Yes," said Trollope, "with imaginative work like yours that is quite natural, but with my mechanical stuff it's a sheer matter of industry. It's not the head that does it. It's the cobbler's wax on the seat and the sticking to my chair."

In his "Autobiography" he has elaborately explained this process — how he wrote day by day, including Sundays, whatever his duties, his amusements or the place, measuring out every page, counting the words and exacting the given quantity hour by hour. He wrote continuously 2,500 words in each day and at times more than 25,000 words in a week. He wrote while engaged in severe professional drudgery, while hunting thrice a week and in the whirl of London society. He wrote in railway trains, on a sea voyage and in a town clubroom. Whether he was on a journey, or pressed with office reports, or visiting friends, he wrote just the same. — Frederick Harrison in Forum.



Slitting the Nostrils Still Practiced In Some Parts of the World.

Slitting a horse's nostrils is still practiced in some parts of the world, as in Persia, Mongolia and even in northern Africa, and ponies with slit nostrils are often seen in the Himalayas and in Afghanistan. This mutilation is resorted to in the erroneous belief that the horse can inhale more air when going at a fast pace, and also that it prevents neighing, a disqualification of much importance during war, or when it is desirable to travel as silently as possible. It was practiced in Hungary not long ago, if we are to accept as evidence the copy of a finished sketch of a horse's head, by the celebrated Zoffani, given in Colonel Hamilton's work on horses. It is rather surprising that the fashion was not renewed in England, for two or three centuries ago, to prevent a horse neighing, it was recommended to tie a woolen band around the tongue. Markham says:

"If either when you are in service in the wars and would not be discovered, or when upon any other occasion you would not have your horse to neigh or make a noise, you shall take a lyste (band) of woolen cloth and tye it fast in many folds about the middle of your horse's tongue, and believe it, so long as the tongue is so tyed, so long the horse can by no means neigh or make any extraordinary noise with his voice, as hath often been tried and approved of."

A very barbarous and useless operation for the prevention of stumbling in horses was fashionable toward the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. This was the exposure of the tendon of a muscle that assists in dilating the nostrils and twisting it round two or three times, when it was divided. "In doing this you shall see the horse bring his hinder legs to his fore legs almost, when you have thus pulled and turned the sinew two or three times." Such a statement will give some idea of the pain the animal experienced during the senseless operation. — Nineteenth Century.

A Wonder of Relationship.


In an old scrapbook which contains a number of clippings without date I find the following: "William Harman, who committed suicide at Titusville, Pa., a short time since, did so because some one had convinced him that he was his own grandfather! Here is a copy of the singular letter he left: 'I married a widow who had a grownup daughter. My father visited us often, fell in love with my stepdaughter and married her. Thus he became my son-in-law, and my stepdaughter became my mother, because she was my father's wife. Soon after this my wife gave birth to a son, which, of course, was my father's brother-in-law, and my uncle, for he was the brother of my stepmother. My father's wife also became the mother of a son. He was, of course, my brother, and also my grandchild, for he was the son of my daughter. Accordingly my wife was my grandmother, because she was may mother's mother. I was my wife's husband and grandchild at one and the same time. And, as the husband of a person's grandmother is his grandfather, I was my own grandfather!" Was it any wonder that the poor man rid himself of such tangled relationship? — St. Louis Republic.

The Still, Small Voice.


The mother and grandmother of small Susan were "talking her over," and in small Susan's presence. "Have you taught her anything yet about the still, small voice?" asked the grandmother. "No," replied the mother, "she is too young. I'll teach her about the still, small voice when she's able to understand it." A day or two after this small Susan's mother heard the most dreadful howls and yells coming from the nursery. Rushing there she found small Susan prone upon the floor.

"What is the matter, my darling?" cried the affrighted mother. Whereat small Susan picked herself up deliberately and replied, serenely enough, "That, mamma, is the still, small voice." — New York Sun.

Ismail and Ferry.


On one occasion, the late Ismail Pasha was advised by Jules Ferry, the prime minister, to visit London in order to enlist the support of the British government in his scheme to oust his son Tewfik at Cairo. He showed a new high hat to a friend, with the remark: "Ferry says I should not go to London in a fez; it's too oriental. He recommended me to his hatter, and the pig has charged me 40 francs for this thing. I suspect Ferry has a commission on it."


"So the insolent fellow refused to pay his rent?"
"He did not say so in words, but he intimated it."
"How so?"
"He kicked me down stairs." — Figaro.


The angelica plant is native to Europe. It grows wild in most of the northern parts of that continent, being also found in the Alps, the Carpathian and the Ural mountains.

By distilling it at a very high heat wood may be made to yield a good article of gas.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reward for Stolen Clothing.

New York, 1895

John Quincy Adams, of Riverhead, whose daughters, Nettie and Sadie, aged 19 and 16, respectively, had their clothes stolen while bathing at Wildwood lake, posted the following notice:

$100 reward is offered for evidence that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the party who stole clothing belonging to my children while in bathing at the great pond, Riverhead, June 1895. JOHN Q. ADAMS.
The theft is believed to have been the work of a practical joker. The clothes have not been recovered.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, July 5, 1895, p. 1.

Upset the Dinner Table.

New York, 1895

James Hall, of Flushing, invited Michael Edwards, a neighbor, to his house Sunday morning to play cards. Several pints of ale were disposed of. Edwards accused Hall of cheating. Hall put Edwards out and then sat down to read. In a few minutes Edwards returned and commenced throwing stones through Hall's windows. Hall escaped, and Edwards entered the house, found the table set for dinner, took hold of the end of the cloth and pulled all the dishes and dinner off on the floor.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, July 5, 1895, p. 1.


New York, 1895

Poles and Germans Fight and Two Get Stabbed.

A stabbing affray occurred at Flushing at an early hour Monday morning in which one man was seriously injured and another wounded so badly that his life is despaired of. One of them is lying in the Flushing hospital, and he may die. A number of Poles, who are employed on various farms at Blackstump, on the Jamaica road, Monday decided to have a picnic among themselves. They bought a keg of beer and repaired to the residence of Joseph Czeeski, where they drained its contents and became hilariously drunk.

At about 11 o'clock Monday night two Germans and a Pole intruded and tried to break up the festivities. When ordered off the premises they refused to go and a fight ensued. Joseph Buschofski, one of the picnicers, was stabbed in the left shoulder and it is believed that the knife penetrated the man's lungs. Another Pole named Tommasso Stofflaski was cut in the back.

Coroner Corey took the wounded man's ante mortem statement. Captain Allen and Constable Slavin arrested five Poles on the suspicion of being implicated in the affair. They were taken to the hospital to be identified by the injured man and he named Felix Bushnoski as the man who stabbed him.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, July 5, 1895, p. 1.


New York, 1895

No Refusal on the Part of the Husband to Support His Wife.

Yesterday Judge Hendrickson, of Jamaica, heard testimony in the case of the people against John J. Bodge, of Dunton, who is charged by his wife with failing to support her. Mrs. Bodge came to court attended by Mrs. Benemiller, who seems to exercise an hypnotic influence over her. Counselors Stanford of Jamaica and Mahoney of Brooklyn appeared for the wife, and Counselor Fleming appeared for Mr. Bodge, who is a very gentlemanly looking person.

Mrs. Bodge was a widow with one child when she met Mr. Bodge. They were married in December, 1893, and Mrs. Bodge left him in June, 1894, and has since been living with Mrs. Benemiller. Before action was brought for abandonment, Mr. Fleming sent a letter to Mrs. Bodge's attorney in answer to one from him, and this letter constituted part of Mrs. Bodge's cross examination.

She said she received Mr. Fleming's letter and remembered its contents. The letter, she said, stated that Mr. Bodge would not support her, as she had left his home without provocation. The letter itself is as follows:

JAMAICA, N. Y., June 8th, 1895.

Peter Mahoney, Esq.:

DEAR SIR — Your letter of June 5th to Mr. John J. Bodge has been handed to me by him, I appearing for him as attorney in the matters referred to in your communication. He instructs me to say that he has never refused or declined to maintain and support his wife, and that her withdrawal from her home is entirely voluntary upon her part and without justification. Yours truly.


The case was going on in the afternoon when THE FARMER went to press.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, July 5, 1895, p. 1.