The following story is told of a one time Pennsylvania legislature:
The session was about to expire. In accordance with the usual custom, the chair was occupied by a rapid worker, who was deaf to objections and blind to objectors. His name was Alexander McClure. Under his able management the bills were going through at a lightning express rate when one measure was reached that was particularly obnoxious to a noisy minority. Utterly oblivious to the demonstration, Mr. McClure declared that the bill had passed.
Over in one corner of the legislative chamber one member was especially vociferous. He would not be quieted, and Mr. McClure was finally compelled to notice him for the sake of peace.
"For what purpose does the gentleman rise?" asked the chair.
"I want to offer an amendment to the bill," was the reply.
"Too late," said Mr. McClure without a smile. "Offer it to the next bill. The clerk will read." — Washington Post.
Horses' False Tails
It is said that horses appear on the streets now docked, now with long tails. The manufacture of false tails for horses has reached so high a degree of perfection that the counterfeit may be buckled on to the stump of a docked horse, and he will travel along beside a mate with a natural long tail, defying detection. — New York Sun.
Mithridates is said to have known by name every soldier in his army of 10,000 to 20,000 men. He spoke 22 different languages, all that were used in his kingdom.
The first article of human clothing mentioned in history was an apron. It is spoken of in the book of Genesis, B. C. 4004.
Monday, June 30, 2008
A Mathematician Tries to Clear Up a Difficulty In Family Descent.
It goes without saying that a man has two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on, so that if we go back, say, ten generations, doubling at each stop, we have 2,048 ancestors. This sort of argument has been used by superficial genealogists to show that at the time of William the Conqueror each of us had more ancestors than the total population of England; hence we must each be descended from every Englishman of that day, including the immortal William himself.
The absurdity of this sort of reasoning has been pointed out by Professor Brooks of Johns Hopkins. His immediate object is to establish a point in the theory of evolution, but he confutes all silly genealogists at the same time. While it is true that we do have four grandparents they need not be four separate and distinct persons. First cousins have not more than three separate grandparents. If they are doubly cousins, they have but two. So in the tenth generation one's 2,048 ancestors are never 2,048 separate persons. They abound in "duplicates," so to speak, as every one knows who has tried to trace his descent, not in one line, but in all possible lines. These duplicates abound especially in small communities whose inhabitants have intermarried for years.
Besides this the lines from a given pair of ancestors tend to become extinct sooner or later, so as ancestry is traced back the probability is that all the persons living in a given community will be found to be descended, not from all, but from a very few — perhaps only one or two — of the inhabitants of the community as they were centuries ago. So, instead of having all Englishmen of the year 1000 for our ancestors, the probability is that we are descended from comparatively few of them — the number may be technically many thousands, but one individual does duty for several scores, or even several hundreds of these, the lines of ancestry converging upon him from many different directions. This is what Professor Brooks calls the "convergence of ancestry." — Exchange.
The Time Coming When Good English Will Be Written.
There are indications — not very marked as yet, but still indications — that the day of the dialect versifier and story teller is waning. The literary epidemic for which he is responsible has raged with unabated virulence in this country for the past ten years or more. But all epidemics exhaust themselves in time, and we are encouraged to believe that this one is nearly spent. A tabulation of the contents of our popular magazines would now, we think, show a smaller proportion of pages unreadable for their bad spelling than would have been disclosed by a similar investigation made two years ago. Many a literary worker is beginning to suspect that to misspell as many words as possible is not exactly the noblest of ambitions. We by no means anticipate the complete disappearance of the dialect element from our imaginative literature, nor would such a reaction be desirable. But we do expect the time to come when dialect shall occupy its proper place in composition and be treated as a means rather than as an end. There is an important distinction between the story written for the sake of dialect and the use of dialect for the sake of the story. The latter practice is as excusable or even praiseworthy as the former is reprehensible.
When used with discrimination and artistic restraint, dialect is, of course, an admissible element in both poetry and fiction. English literature would be far the poorer without the treasures of Scotch dialect preserved in the poems of Burns and the novels of the author of "Waverley." Likewise we could ill spare the work of the Provencal poets from the literature of France, of Goldoni's Venetian comedies from that of Italy or of Reuter's Plattdeutsch tales from that of Germany. Even in our country a similar plea may be made for the language of Hosea Biglow, or of Mr. Cable's creoles, or of Miss Murfree's Tennessee mountaineers. But the swarm of commonplace and uninspired scribblers of dialect that have descended upon our periodical press during the past decade need not hope to find a safe refuge in the shadow of such really significant names as have been cited. Their pretensions are too utterly without warrant and their productions too entirely without justification. — Chicago Dial.
Mr. Polhemus was very fond of duck shooting, and he used to go to a point near Chesapeake bay where the Pennsylvania had a flag station. He was always left off or taken on, whatever the train that passed might be. One day Mr. Polhemus got on a train with a new conductor, and after leaving Philadelphia he said to him, "I want to be let off at such a station." "Can't let you off. I've had no such orders," the conductor said. "Well, whether you let me off or not, the train will stop there," said Polhomus. "The train will not stop there," said the conductor and went on.
At Wilmington Mr. Polhemus interviewed the engineer, who knew him, and he said to the engineer, "I suppose you are going to have a hot box when we get near my flag station," and he slipped a $10 bill into the engineer's hand. As they neared the station the train slowed down, and when it came to a stop the engineer got off with his oil can and waste. Mr. Polhemus also got off with his gunbag and bade the conductor an affectionate goodby. A few days later an order was issued that Mr. Polhemus was to be let off or taken on at that station whenever he desired.
That at least is the story which is told at the Brooklyn club, and Mr. Polhemus has told it himself, although he said that he had no other influence with the Pennsylvania officials than that which was due to mutual respect and esteem.
Lonely Grandeur of the Last Hours of the Bloody King of Matabele Land.
A correspondent, writing to a South African contemporary, supplies what he states is the true story of the death of the great Matabele chief, Lobengula. It is a pathetic story. The correspondent relates: "Lobengula, suffering from smallpox, worn out by his long flight, disappointed in his hope of peace and altogether broken down by the loss of his country, his power and possessions, came to a halt at last among the mountains north of the Shangani river.
"Here he begged his witch doctor to give him poison with which to end his life, but the man refused. The despairing chief went up the hill to the foot of the crag which tops it, and sitting there he gazed for a long time at the sun as it slowly sunk toward the west. Then, descending, he again demanded poison of his doctor and insisted till finally it was given him. Once more ascending the slope, he seated himself against the krantz, took the poison and gazed at the setting sun, stolidly awaiting the death which presently put an end to his sufferings and his blood stained life.
"There is something pathetic and grand in the picture. It is the last scene of the great epic, the conquest of Matabeleland. His followers found him seated there in death, and piling stones and rocks around him they left him. Whether he was placed in his royal chair, flanked by guns and covered over with his blankets and other possessions, as described in The South African Review, I know not. All this may be true, and also that a strong palisade of tree trunks was planted around this spot, but I give the story as I heard it and believe that, as it emanates from Mr. Dawson, it is the correct one." — Westminster Budget.
Carbide of Calcium and Water Produce a Brilliant Illuminating Gas.
Decidedly the most interesting and curious of recent chemical products is calcium carbide, or calcium acetylide, as it might be called from a theoretical chemical point of view. It was first described by Wohler, who made it by strongly heating an alloy of zinc and calcium with charcoal, but it is now turned out on a considerable scale by heating a mixture of dry lime and coal dust in an electric furnace. In other words an immense electric current, such as is used in the production of aluminium, for example, is passed through the mixture, whereupon a part of the carbon takes the oxygen from the lime and carries it off as carbon monoxide gas, while another part of the carbon combines with the calcium thus set free. Analogous bodies, all of which are explosive, are formed with copper, silver, sodium and potassium. The noteworthy feature of the new compound, which is of a greenish gray color and somewhat resembles the mineral serpentine, is that, on contact with water, it develops acetylene, the hydrogen of the water combining with the carbon to form this gas, while the oxygen of the water forms lime by combination with the calcium.
From information kindly given by Dr. Henry Morton of Stevens institute it appears that the calcium carbide is claimed to be obtainable at a cost of £3 or £4 a ton. If this be so, the compound would promise well as a source of illuminating gas, since acetylene gas burns with a very luminous flame. In a country house, for example, it would be necessary only to have a closed vessel, charged with the calcium carbide and provided with an automatic stopcock, which would allow water to flow in as required. Then, the piping of the house being connected with the closed vessel, and with a small gas holder to regulate pressure, the light supply would be complete and automatic. A piece of carbide of calcium may be held in the hand and sprinkled with a few drops of water. A gas will then be developed which may be lighted with a match and will continue to burn as long as a few drops of water are sprinkled on the substance from time to time. — Cassier's Magazine.
New York, 1895
District Attorney Noble has asked the board of Supervisors to offer a reward of $250 for the apprehension of an Italian who killed another Italian in a fight, and in doing so Mr. Noble violated the law by saying publicly that the fugitive had been indicted, a fact which the law commands shall be kept a secret until after the offender has been apprehended.
There is no necessity for offering a reward in this case. Legally the Supervisors have no such power, but the power has been assumed with public consent where the victim of the crime was a prominent citizen, as in the case of Samuel Jones, who was murdered by Jackson and Jarvis, and in the case of the murder of the Maybee women by Rugg.
If the Italian has left this country for some other the country that has lost him is to be congratulated. To find him within our jurisdiction would entail an additional expense of $1,000 to try him, with a possible verdict of manslaughter. There are plenty of criminals out on bail who should be tried, some of them guilty of offenses more harmful to society than the killing of a man, the Democratic bribe takers, for example. Mr. Noble had better fry the fish he has in hand rather than go fishing for more.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 12, 1895, p. 2.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
New York, 1895
John W. Hoffman, aged 24 years, died in the Flushing hospital Tuesday night after an illness of several weeks. Hoffman was a devout member of the local branch of the Salvation Army, and was known as "Happy Jack." Hoffman's mother went to Coroner Corey and declared that her son had been poisoned by his wife, and that the poison must have been put into food she had taken him. The Coroner says it is not true.
Shinnecocks in a Big Row
The Shinnecock Indians are having a row over the question of selling their reservation and dividing the proceeds among the members of the tribe now living on the land. It is feared that the trouble will cause a fight between the two factions. The agitation to sell the land has brought back a lot of Indians who left the reservation some time ago. Those who have remained on the land are fighting against the returned prodigals.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 12, 1895, p. 1.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
New York, 1895
Little Mary Wiley, whose feet were cut off by a Long Island railroad train at Jamaica in 1891, and who got a verdict for $12,000 damages against the company in the Circuit Court the other day, was given into the custody of her father, John J. Wiley, of Jamaica, by Justice Cullen on Saturday. Mary's mother, Sarah Wiley, who was seriously injured at the same time, consented that her daughter should be given to Wiley. Since the child was discharged from the Emergency hospital she has been cared for at the Mineola home, first at the cost of the King's Daughters, who raised the money to buy her artificial feet, and then at the expense of the county.
Setauket's Rubber Industry
The rubber trust, which absorbed the Long Island rubber company at Setauket, has sold out to the North American rubber company, composed of local and New York capitalists. The stipulation is that the new company will not manufacture rubber boots and shoes, but confine its output to bicycle tires, waterproof blankets, coats and horse goods. The company will employ about two hundred Polish Jews.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 12, 1895, p. 8.
New York, 1895
The Hon. John F. Finerty, who will be heard here in conjunction with Mr. M. J. Murphy, the noted singer, next Wednesday night, at the Opera House, is a man with a record.
In 1864 he delivered a stirring patriotic speech at Slabh-na-mon in the County Tipperary, which so aroused the people that the authorities compelled young Finerty, then a mere lad to leave the country. He came to this country, enlisted in the Federal army, served to the close of the war and came out a non-commissioned officer. The Fenian movement then sprang up and he became one of the leading spirits in it.
In 1876, he became war correspondent for the Chicago Times and served in the great Sioux and Apache campaigns under Generals Crook, Miles and Gibbon. While in this capacity he saw some pretty hard service and was with Lieut. Sibley in his famous scouting expedition, one of the most daring exploits in modern warfare.
On his return to Chicago he founded the Citizen, of which paper he is still the editor. Mr. Finerty is one of the ablest orators on the lecture platform in this country, and is unexcelled as an Irish historian.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 12, 1895, p. 8.
New York, 1895
If a Suit for Divorce Went to Trial in Queens County.
Lawyer Calvin applied to Justice Cullen of the supreme court one day last week to strike from the calendar the suit for absolute divorce brought by Charles P. Crowell against Lidie S. Crowell, formerly of Jamaica. The ground urged was that the wife was not ready to proceed to trial and that it had been stipulated by counsel appearing for her that some later date for hearing should be agreed upon. Mr. Crowell is a railroad man, representing a Southern transportation company in New York. In his suit he names Jacob R. Shipherd of Richmond Hill as co-respondent. He is a lawyer and a speculator now and was, at one time, a clergyman.
In addition to the divorce suit Mr. Crowell has also pending a suit against Shipherd for criminal conversation. There is still further litigation connected with the suit at bar. One is by Sadie T. Bennet against Hewlett J. Norris for $600 for services rendered, and another is by the same plaintiff against Shipherd for false imprisonment. In this latter suit a judgment for $2,239.39 was recovered, but the execution was returned unsatisfied.
Lawyer McKoon, in opposing the motion in the divorce suit, read an affidavit in which he deposed that it had been represented to him that Mrs. Crowell was in a condition of utter collapse through fear of the consequences of public exposure of the facts in the case which would follow a trial of the suit in court. In truth, counsel declared that she had even gone as far as to threaten that if the case ever came to trial in Long Island City she would take her own life rather than face it. It was out of sympathy for her, counsel said, that he had stipulated to try the case in another county and to accept $500 and discontinue the action for services and for false imprisonment, as the parties to those suits were all members of the family. But he said the other side had not kept faith and had not lived up to the terms of the stipulation. Accordingly he asked the court to retain the cause on the calendar for trial.
Judge Cullen set the case down for hearing in Queens county in June.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 12, 1895, p. 8.
Friday, June 27, 2008
OLD MINES RICH IN MINERALS AND DEAD MEN'S BONES.
Mr. Russell's Discoveries In the Stronghold of a Race of Strange Indians — Remarkable Stories Told by an American Residing In Mexico.
Fabulous deposits of gold are known to exist in the Sierra de Nayarat, in the territory of Tepic, near the west coast of Mexico. D. B. Russell, a well known American residing in this place, and who is an extensive manufacturer and dealer in machinery and apparatus for mining, has returned from a trip into the mysterious fastnesses which, with their inhabitants, have long baffled the attempts of the prospectors to unravel their golden mystery of the centuries. Mr. Russell, who is an old resident here, and whose word is never disputed, is perhaps the only man who has been allowed to view the riches and live to repeat the story. Others have penetrated a part of the way into the Eldorado, but have always met death at the hands of the Alacian Indians, who hold the stronghold and jealously guard its secret.
The gold belt lies in the Sierra de Nayarat, a rugged and almost inaccessible range of mountains some 90 miles north of the road to San Blas and several days' journey from this city. There is also another range known as the Alica, running nearly parallel with the Nayarat, which is inhabited and guarded by a brave and warlike race of Indians, the Alacians. They are supposed to be direct descendants of the Aztecs. Securing a military escort from the governor of Tepic, Mr. Russell set out on his perilous journey and in due time reached the entrance to the canyon, in and about which are all the settlements of this mysterious people.
Near the close of the second day the explorers passed over the last range of mountains shutting in the Alacians and had their first glimpse of the entrance to the valley. It is a narrow pass between two cliffs, which rise almost perpendicularly to a height of nearly 3,000 feet, and is a natural wonder. The view into the valley proper is shut off by a mountain wall running at right angles to the pass. From the top of the mountain the captain of the escort sent an interpreter to notify the chief of the first village beyond of the coming of Mr. Russell and his party, while they followed cautiously. It was after dark when they neared the entrance to the village and were met by a chief and a crowd of natives in their gala dress, who, accompanied by a band of music, came to extend a seemingly hearty welcome. All the natives except the chief wore complete suits of birds' feathers, which covered them from head to foot. At daybreak they started for the main city, a placo of 6,000 or 7,000 persons, a long day's travel away. The intervening country was found to be under a high state of cultivation, corn, vegetables, fruits and other products being raised in abundance on terraces 2,000 feet or more up the mountain sides, which, in places, have a slope of 45 degrees. Even the highest of these terraces seemed to be well irrigated.
The houses along the route were roomy and comfortable adobe structures, and the people were well supplied with cattle, cows especially, and large numbers of tame deer. The natives are straight featured, with long rather than oval faces, very quick and energetic in their movement and experts at handling their bows, arrows and slings, with which they always go armed.
Mr. Russell scanned the surrounding hills eagerly during the journey for evidence of the mineral wealth, and it was not long before he was overwhelmed by it. The valley is so narrow that he could scrutinize the mountains on both sides, and along toward the middle of the day he began to catch glimpses of old tunnels and the openings of abandoned mining shafts. On nearing a projecting spur he saw what looked like a mineral vein, and when he came to it there was plainly to be seen a fine streak of gold quartz, 8 inches wide, running through rocks.
That night was spent at the house of the chief of the main village, who told Mr. Russell that his people were the descendants of the "fathers of Mexico" and had been conquered by either Spaniards or Mexicans in their wars with the latter. Some 50 years ago Mexican troops tried to subjugate them, but were driven out of the valley and far beyond. Then the government made peace with them, so that now they have to pay only a small tribute to be left alone in their mountain homes. The old chief hesitated long before granting Mr. Russell permission to inspect the holes in the mountains, but finally consented and the next morning sent him off with a guard of 30 men. These were greatly exercised when Mr. Russell announced that he was going down into the shafts, and it was only on the chief's order that they accompanied him. When Mr. Russell climbed up to the shafts, he saw at once that they were openings of old mines.
The first mine Mr. Russell entered was dark, and he had to descend by means of a log of wood notched for footholds. When he landed at the bottom, he felt something under his foot, and holding a candle down was horrified to find himself standing on a mass of human bones, Which fell apart and rattled with every move he made. He was so overcome that he sank down on a rock and gazed aghast at the mementos of either some tragedy or religious observance, but as he sat his eyes fell upon the finest ledge of gold he had ever seen in his life. By this time the horrors of the dead chamber had worn away, and he chipped off some specimens. Mr. Russell visited half a dozen other mines and in every one found human bones, some of the shafts being filled to the brim with them, and in all also rich gold ledges.
By this time his guides had become so surly that he had to return to the village, where the first move was to ascertain from the chief the cause of the mines being filled with bones. Talking through an ignorant interpreter, he found it difficult to follow the chief's explanation, but he gathered that many years ago there had been a great revolution, in which many thousands perished in battle, so many that the bodies could not be buried, and all, friend and foe, were thrown into these shafts to prevent a pestilence in the valley below. The only inference is that the foes were Spaniards, and that these people had thus gained the independence they yet maintain under Mexican rule. Doubtless the bones of many missing Americans also rest in those charnel pits. — Guadalajara (Mexico) Cor. St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
Tom — You look awful blue. I suppose it's because of Miss Maybelle's having rejected you?
Cholly — Yes; I can't help feeling sorry for the poor girl. — Pick Me Up.
The capacity of the English language for the making of paradoxes or apparent but not real contradictions is almost unlimited.
Two men were riding in an electric car recently when it was stopped by a street blockade. As they were near their destination, they decided to get out and walk. The track was soon cleared, however, and the car overtook them.
"When we left the car," said one of them, "I thought that we should get on better by getting off. But, after all, we should have been better off if we had staid on." — Youth's Companion.
Priests and Beards
The beardless priest is only a matter of custom, there being no edict upon the subject. All of the popes from Adrian VI to Innocent XII and all the cardinals and other church clerics during the same period were bearded dignitaries. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, Vincent de Paul and the Cardinals Bellarmine and Richelieu all wore full beards. — St. Louis Republic.
Miss De Fashion (a few years hence) — You are wanted at the telephone.
Mrs. De Fashion — Oh, dear! I presume it's Mrs. De Style to return my telephone call. I hope she won't talk long. — London Tit-Bits.
"One of the surest preventives of seasickness is draw poker," said Hugh S. Royston of St. Louis. "I have tried it and am willing to recommend it as a sovereign remedy. I came across the Atlantic in the City of Paris. We had a rough voyage, and at times it looked as though the Paris was bent on turning bottom side up. The captain, however, said he never knew of such a thing, and as his nautical experience was great the passengers were somewhat reassured. But at the very outset of the trip I joined a party of five citizens of the United States, and we played poker day and night, with only needed intervals of sleep. The game was only for a small limit, but it was jolly and interesting, and it effectually banished the mal de mer. Now and then a player would leave just for a short space to commune with the deep, but would invariably get back in time to play his hand, and the game suffered no delay. Here was a clear case of mental excitement and diversion ruling the physical man, for outside of the poker party hardly a passenger aboard escaped a very prolonged sickness." — Washington Star.
He Likes Them Better Than Oats and Prefers the Mince Ones.
Leonard Jacobs, a pie peddler, has one of the most remarkable horses in Connecticut. Other towns have boasted of horses that chew tobacco, chew gum and drink beer, but Jacob's horse will eat pie. The horse is 23 years old. Jacob's pies come from New Haven, packed in cases, and in transportation some of them generally get broken and cannot be sold. One day Jacobs threw a broken pie on the ground near the horse's head. The animal smelled of it, touched it with his tongue, lapped it up and ate it with a relish. Then Jacobs began to feed pies to the horse. The horse soon got to like them and would even refuse oats when pie was to be had. The habit has grown on him until now, when Jacobs says "pie" to him, the horse will turn his head and wink expectantly.
He has a decided preference for mince pie, and the more raisins and currants and cider there are the better he is pleased. Apple pie is not a great favorite with him. Most bakers put grated nutmeg into the apple pie, and this doesn't seem to agree with the equine taste. Pumpkin pie he likes, and cranberry tarts are an especial delight. Peach, apricot, berry and prune pies are acceptable, but unless the prunes are stoned he will not touch prune pie after the first bite. The horse is fat, slick and youthful in his movements, and Jacobs expects to keep him on the pie cart until he is long past the age when most horses are turned out to grass for the rest of their days or are carted to the horse cemetery by the side of the murky waters of the Naugatuck river. — Baltimore American.
An Engineer's Experience With It After a Session With Tequila.
"For manifesting a grave and imperturbable courtesy in every circumstance of life give me the Mexican people," said a civil engineer who lived in the southwest. "Here is a case in point. A dozen years ago I was visiting Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, and falling in with an old engineering comrade one afternoon we drank not a little tequila. Tequila, or mescal, perhaps you know, is a clear white liquor distilled from the century plant and possessing much of the taste and potency of Irish whisky. There was a circus in town, and in the evening Johnson and I went up the street to see it. The performance did not greatly interest us, and we left the show before it was half through and started down the street on our way to the hotel. The tequila we had drunk was still animating us and inspiring a spirit of adventure. As we came opposite the great house of Dr. Monteverde, one of the grandees of Sonora, we saw perched on a stone post at the entrance of the courtyard a white turkey, and here we stopped and fell to guessing at the weight of the bird.
"At last, to settle our difference of opinion, we started in to catch the turkey. It ran into the courtyard, and we followed. Upon the veranda at one side of the courtyard the household were sitting enjoying the evening coolness. At our unceremonious advent they raised not a word of protest, but only laughed as the turkey ran wildly around, with Johnson and me in pursuit. After a long chase we caught the bird, and approaching the group on the veranda tried to inform them that we should like a pair of scales to weigh it with. Neither Johnson nor I had an idea what the Spanish word for scales was, and so we indicated the best we could by signs what we wanted. They showed much interest in the endeavor to catch our meaning, and at last we made ourselves understood.
"Si, senor," said the head of the house, with perfect bonhomie, and calling a servant gave him some directions in Spanish. The servant departed, and presently came back with a pair of scales, which were placed at our disposal. We weighed the turkey, set the bird at liberty, returned the scales with thanks, and declining the courteous invitation of the hospitable hidalgo that we should sit down and have a glass of wine we lifted our hats and went on our way.
"Fancy two strangers invading private premises and going through such a madcap performance anywhere else you have over heard of, and then tell me the Mexicans are not the politest people in the world." — New York Sun.
It is said that the expression, "There is a skeleton in every closet," arose from the following incident: A young Italian student, finding he was dying, fearing to break the news to his mother, adopted the following device: He informed her that he was ill, and that it had been foretold he would not recover until he had worn a shirt made by a woman who had no trouble. The widow soon discovered it was no easy task to find such a person, but at length was referred to a lady who seemed surrounded with every comfort and happiness and possessed a husband who seemed devoted to her. The widow made known her request and for an answer was shown a closet, where a skeleton hung suspended from a beam. She was told it was the remains of the lady's former lover, who from motives of jealousy had been slain by her husband, and that he compelled her to visit it every day. The widow concluded that no one was without trouble, that "there is a skeleton in every closet," and became reconciled to the approaching loss of her son. — London Tit-Bits.
The Opera Journalized
Night Editor — What's this?
Musical Critic — It's my criticism of the opera; very important; first production in this country —
Night Editor (wearily) — Yes, I know. The whole local staff was there. We have three columns of names of occupants of the boxes and five columns' description of dresses. Think I want to fill the whole paper with it? Cut that stuff of yours down to two sticks. — New York Weekly.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
New York, 1895
Nearly Everything in the House Lost — $30,000 Damage.
The handsome country residence of Thomas Mott, president of the agricultural society, was destroyed by fire Sunday morning, together with nearly all the contents. Mr. Mott lives in a secluded neighborhood near the west shore of Hempstead harbor, about one and one-half miles from Port Washington. The house was comparatively new. It was occupied by Mr. Mott's family during the winter, and Sunday there was also present Frederick Hicks, of Old Westbury. All the hired men, excepting one, had gone away for the day.
About 10 o'clock Mr. Mott and Mr. Hicks stood in the door-yard talking. Mr. Mott chanced to glance upward and was horrified to see flame and smoke issuing from the roof of his home. He rushed into the house and alarmed the ladies, who were seated in the dining room. A hasty examination convinced Mr. Mott that nothing could be done with the means at hand to subdue the flames, so the members of the family turned their attention toward saving as much of the contents as possible. Nearly all the furniture and bric-a-brac on the lower floor, together with a small safe containing valuable papers, was successfully removed before the fire reached that part of the building.
When first seen, the fire had gained considerable headway, and had spread so rapidly that it was impossible to ascend to the second story. The family therefore saved only such articles of clothing as they wore when the alarm was given.
Mr. Mott's loss is heavy. The house alone cost $20,000, and the upper floors were filled with antique furniture and bric-a-brac which cannot be duplicated, much of it being heirlooms of the Mott family. The building was insured, while the contents are a total loss, Mr. Mott will rebuild.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 5, 1895, p. 8.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
FROM ENGLAND TO GIBRALTAR IN COMPANY WITH 250 CRIMINALS.
How the Prisoners Were Guarded and Fed and Their Efforts at Amusements — One Intractable Convict Received Four Dozen Lashes With the Cat.
"I know something of life on a convict ship," said a retired officer of an East Indian merchantman. "I was on the Warwick, a merchantman just back from a voyage to Calcutta, when the government chartered her to carry convicts and troops from England to Gibraltar. It was a most interesting experience. We were to take convicts from three different prisons. About midnight on Dec. 22, 1869, we left the East Indian docks and dropped down the river to Gravesend, where the next afternoon we took on 100 men of the Seventy-first highlanders — by the way, they were all Irishmen — who were to act as guard for the convicts. Next tide we towed to Sheerness, near The North Foreland, where we came to an anchor and waited for the first installment of convicts sent from Chatham. They were brought alongside on a small steamer. I shall never forgot how they looked to me — I was a youngster then — in their yellow and black stripes and with the short, flat, brown arrow, which is the English government mark, stamped on their clothing. Having got them aboard, we made sail for Portsmouth, our next receiving station, where we got about a hundred more. From there we sailed to Portsmouth and took the balance of 250 from the prison there.
"We lay in Portland Roads three or four days on account of storm and then started for Gibraltar. While lying there an incident occurred which I can never forget. But first let me tell you something about the arrangement and discipline of the ship on this voyage. A staff surgeon of the royal navy was in charge of the ship, and every one was subordinate to him. He was absolutely an autocrat. We were a full rigged iron sailing vessel of 1,005 tons register, and we had now on board, with convicts, wardens, soldiers, crew and families of some of the soldiers, about 425 souls. So you can see we were pretty thick.
The sailors, who usually had quarters in the forecastle, had to give them up and live in part of the after between decks. A barricade was built across the ship at the mainmast, both between decks and on the main deck. The convicts lived between decks forward and were turned up for exercise every day before this barricade on the main deck.
"But while we lay in Portland Roads a convict named Sturgess, who was serving a 20 years' term, became intractable, and on being reproved by one of the wardens threatened the latter's life when his sentence should be served. I fancy if what followed should happen in one of your penitentiaries a howl of denunciation would go up all over the country, but British prison discipline is very rigorous, you know. Sturgess was immediately put in irons and thrust into the solitary confinement box for 24 hours and sentenced to receive four dozen at the expiration of his confinement. He was a stolid brute and did not seem to mind, remarking he had been flogged five times before and it would go hard with him if he couldn't take another dose.
It is generally the duty of the boatswain to do the flogging aboard ship, but the night watchman from Portland prison was sent off to punish this fellow. With the exception of the women, every one aboard was compelled to turn up to witness the flogging. All the convicts were ordered up before the barricade, and each one craned his neck to see the show and anxiously watched Sturgess to see if he were game. The thief's cat, with a knot in each string, was the weapon of punishment. The convict was brought up, stripped to the waist, his foot and knees lashed to two spars which were stood upright on the deck, his hands were chained, and a rope passing under the chain traced them up high above his head, and his breast was pushed against an iron grating lashed between the spars. The staff surgeon then read the accusation and sentence, and the night watchman was ordered to do his duty. I can see him now as he ran his hand among the strings of the cat and then with a quick, sharp stroke brought it down between the convict's shoulder blades. The chief warden, Donald Bain, counted the strokes, 'One, two, three,' and after each stroke the convict counted, too, and when he got to 24 he said coolly:
"'Well, there's half of them.'
"When he received the forty-eighth, without having once flinched or murmured, the other 249 convicts set up a cheer. But the staff surgeon turned on them and thundered:
"'If you do not keep silence, I'll flog every man of you.'
"About their food? It was of a better quality than that furnished either the soldiers or crew. They always got corned beef where the sailors got salt horse. Compressed vegetables and preserved potatoes were supplied them; also suet for their duff where that of the sailors was mixed with slush from the coppers. Then they had plums for their duff of a Sunday, while the sailors got none in their 'lump of lead.' The convicts got a gill of sherry every day at 11 where the soldiers got a pint of porter and the crew nothing. Many a convict told me he wished the voyage could last for years.
"They had their amusements too. They were not allowed to read newspapers, but once in awhile one would steal one from a warden's pocket. The warden would discover the loss, and hunting up the thief take his paper away and stick it back in his pocket. But before he had gone very far another would pick his pocket. I have seen a warden kept trotting a whole forenoon hunting up a precious old journal he had brought aboard with him. Then they often amused themselves by holding mock trials. They had judge, jury and counsel for the prosecution and defense. One night some of us got permission to go down to the main hatchway and look through the bars on one of these trials. It was one of the funniest performances I ever saw. The judge's bench was a mess table, and he wore a bunk blanket for a robe. His decisions were provocative of great mirth, and the speeches of the learned counsel were screamingly absurd. When the trial was finished, we were allowed to hand them in a little tobacco for a treat." — New York Sun.
The Japanese are apt at queer comparisons. A dolphin is always represented in sculpture as diving, head downward. So a man "walking dolphin" is either standing or falling on his head. A man with protruding teeth is called yamazakura, after the cherry tree, which puts forth its "ha" (leaves) before its "hana" (flowers), the same words meaning teeth and nose. A yamazakura man, therefore, carries his teeth before his nose. — New York Recorder.
The Growing Boy Ahead of the Anaconda
"I used to think," said Mr. Billtops, "that the anaconda did a wonderful thing when it ate at one meal enough for a dozen meals, even though it slept a month afterward. But, goodness! my oldest boy eats the anaconda's meal and then sleeps only one night." — Exchange.
Camlet was first made in England during the reign of Elizabeth. It was so called not, as some suppose, from its being made of camel's hair, but from the river Camlet, in Montgomeryshire, on which the first factory was located.
During the reign of Vitellius lions from Africa were worth nearly $100 each.
To fully appreciate what a noble thoroughfare the Bowery is it should be studied in the block between Delancey and Spring streets. There are the up and down cable tracks of the Third avenue road, outside of those the up and down tracks of the Fourth avenue horse line, outside of those the up and down tracks of the West Twenty-third and Grand street ferries' horse car line, which swings in at Spring street going east and at Delancey street going west, outside of those the up and down tracks of the Third avenue elevated, or at least the supporting pillars, and outside of them all the two roomy sidewalks, and with those eight transportation tracks there is left on the roadway of the Bowery room for unobstructed vehicle traffic, second in extent to Broadway probably. It is a grand highway, of which New York is justly proud and concerning which, in the unenlightened provinces, there reigns cimmerian darkness. — New York Sun.
Popp and Becker, German chemists, recommend sterilizing the materials used in butter making. They find that butter from pasteurized and sterilized cream keeps much longer than that from unsterilized cream.
The manufacture of candles was greatly aided by the investigation of fats and oils, the result of Chevreul's experiments.
New York, 1895
American gentlemen with British tastes, who, in default of a fox, know how to amuse themselves by chasing an aniseed bag, ought to enjoy a French traveler's account of a bull fight as witnessed in Peru.
It is impossible to describe the poverty of the country, he says, speaking of the shores of Lake Titicaca. The people lank everything, including honesty. At Ancoraimes I saw a bull fight of a new sort. The unhappy people have no large cattle, and so, of course, a bull is never seen in the town, but in South America bull fights are a necessity, and the Ancoraimes Indians find a way out of the difficulty.
At Puno they buy some heads of oxen or cows, with the skins and horns, and dry them in the sun. Then on fete days some of the men attach those heads to their belts and rig themselves out in the most fantastic manner possible. They represent the bulls. Other Indians get themselves up as matadors, and than there is a grand bull fight on the plaza.
The matadors strike with their swords, the bulls butt with their horns, the crowd laughs and applauds, and in the evening there is a feast at the expense of the vanquished party. — Youth's Companion.
What They Ate and How the Dishes Were Served In 1570.
Scappi's book is illustrated, and the drawings represent the state of culinary affairs even more forcibly than the text. There is scarcely a kitchen utensil now in use among us that is not to be found among Scappi's diagrams. It is true that some of them are clumsily fashioned, especially in the matter of hinges, but their practical efficiency cannot be doubted. The menus of dinners given to exalted personages, a single one often filling six pages, form part of these books and show that profusion without any particular design as to sequence or harmony was their chief characteristic.
A novelty presents itself here in the credenza, or buffet. This was no doubt partly brought about by the acquisition of magnificent gold and silver plate, goblets and vases of Venetian glass. Trophies of these beautiful things were associated with a credenza service, which consisted of antipasti in variety, highly decorated cold pieces montees, all sorts of fruits, pickles, preserves, both savory and sweet, roes of fish, etc., and contributed greatly to the grandeur of the banqueting hall. A service from the credenza preceded each great division of courses of hot dishes (servizio di cucina), and the feast ended with sweet-meats and confectionery, which were handed round after the removal of the cloth.
It should be specially noted that forks formed part of the table equipment; that perfumed water was handed round after each course; that napkins of the finest damask linen were deftly folded and laid before each guest, with a minute del pranzo, and that the utmost cleanliness was maintained both in the table appointments and cookery. As for the dishes themselves, it need scarcely be said that few of them would be considered nice nowadays.
Sauces, as we understand them, clear soups and delicate entrees, in which the savory character of the ingredients is maintained with scrupulous care, had not yet been discovered. Meats were covered with spices and sprinkled with sugar, wines were sweet, and savories and sweets were mixed promiscuously, showing that no very great discrimination prevailed in regard to their distinct characteristics. — National Review.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A dear, pretty old lady once said to me, when I, with the sublime uncharitableness which youth considers divine humor, had been ridiculing some one's personal appearance: "My dear, never quiz people for what they can't help. That's their Creator's affair — not yours. Be as down on them as you like for what they can help, but always draw the line there and make it a rule through life." We can't shape our noses as we can our lives, and really I think, considering the mess that some of us make of the latter, it is perhaps just as well. We can't model our cheeks as we can our waists, and that is decidedly a pity, for so long as men admire small waists so long shall we dutifully seek to attain them, by fair means or foul. I suppose we can make our faces innocent or wicked, and that is unfortunate, for the innocent often like to wear wicked masks, and the wicked oftener contrive angel faces. Ah, well!" — Philadelphia Times.
Girls With Voices
Mme. Marchesi, who is the famous teacher of many famous singers, among them Sibyl Sanderson, gives a bit of advice to English and American girls with voices. "No girl," says she, "who would become a singer must neglect to know one other language besides her own. If her ear and tongue have never been trained to hear or pronounce anything but her native English, she will have a hard time of it. It does not matter which language it is — French, German, Spanish, Italian — any one will do. It is the premier pas qui coute. When one is learned, others will come easily enough afterward." This skillful instructor counts two years as the minimum in which to perfect a singer, three years being preferable.
Until a year or two before his death Froude had retained much of his youthful vigor. His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. He could still land his salmon, and he had been a famous angler. He could still handle a gun, and he had been a crack shot in his time. When aboard the tidy little craft that he kept at Salcombe, especially if the waves ran high, he was almost boyishly elate. Sometimes, no doubt, he was sad, but it was the sadness of one who, looking before and after, has found that the riddle is hard to read. he had indeed an ever present sense of the mysteries of existence and of the awful responsibility of the creature to the unknown and invisible Lawgiver.
I have heard him described by shallow observers as "taciturn" and "saturnine." No two words could be less descriptive. He was a singularly bright and vivacious companion. His smile was winning as a woman's. Possibly he did not always unbend, but when he unbent he unbent wholly. In congenial society he was ready to discourse on every topic in the heaven above or on the earth beneath, and when at his best he was not only a brilliant and picturesque, but a really suggestive talker. — Blackwood's Magazine.
How the Man Who Dares Acts When He Goes Courting.
Out of 100 cases 36 gentlemen take lady in arms, 67 gentlemen kiss lady on lips, 4 gentlemen kiss lady on cheek, 8 gentlemen show very good taste by kissing lady on eyes, 2 gentlemen kiss lady on hand. It is to be presumed that those two out of 100 are the timid, diffident kind, though it is possible that they might be of the quietly sentimental nature. One gentleman kisses lady on nose. It must be added that the statistician is careful to insert the saving clause "by mistake."
There is even a record of a man kissing a lady on the edge of her shawl; but, thank goodness, there is only one in 100, and the chances are that this man is peculiar.
Seventy-two hold lady's hand, 17 hold it very tightly, 14 have lumps in their throats and 9 exclaim aloud, "Thank God!" Only 7 out of 100 declare themselves to be deliriously happy, and 5 are too full for utterance.
Three out of 100 stand on one foot when they make a proposal, and 2 go down on one knee, while 9 make a formal prelude, something like the slow music at the play, we suppose, when the villain appeals to heaven to witness the consuming flame of his affections for the heart he plots to ruin, etc. — New York Advertiser.
A New Plan of Defense Outlined by an Army Officer.
It may safely be assumed that the "point of attack" is the engine and then the express car, writes Lieutenant Wright in The North American Review. Why, then, not separate them as much as possible by putting the express car the last in the train? Have alarm bells on each coach and sleeper, which can be rung by the express messenger when he is directed or requested at this unusual time and place to open the door of his car. In each coach and sleeper have, in a glass front case similar to those now in use for the ax and saw, two repeating shotguns, each magazine containing live buckshot cartridges, thus giving from 6 to 12 most effective weapons in the hands of the train crew and passengers. The alarm bells should be electric, though it is believed that the ordinary bellcord could be made to serve the purpose. When the messenger sounds his tocsin of war, there would soon be a sufficient force of brave men at the express car to give the robbers a warm welcome. For the latter to cover the engine cab and each door and side of each coach or sleeper would require a force of men too great in numbers to make "the divide" profitable. Besides the greater number of accomplices or principals the greater the chances of a capture and the possibility of some one turning "state's evidence."
Under such an arrangement in the makeup of a train, should the rear or express car be the sole point of attack, then the first step would be to cut this car loose from the train and then loot it. The automatic airbrake would give the alarm to the engineer, and he, in turn, to the coaches, or, better still, the concealed electric wire could be so arranged as to sound the alarm when the car parted from the train. Should the engine, as in the past, be the first point of attack, then the crew and passengers (armed) have the advantage of being between the forces of robbers, and with every probability can throw the greater number in the fight, and, Napoleonlike, repulse or defeat in detail.
Under the present order of things the crime of "holding up" trains has become one of almost daily occurrence. And why? Because two, three or four men can successfully effect it, and the ill gotten gains are large. Render the act one more difficult and dangerous of accomplishment, and the attempts will be less frequent. It matters not how invulnerable the car, so long as it remains in the train near the engine it will offer but slight resistance to the robber and his stick of dynamite.
I must now make a disgraceful confession. Among the letters in the postmaster's office were a number from firms in England and America which deal in postage stamps, some of which had inclosed considerable sums of money. The treasury was in dire straits, and a sum of £200 was well worth a sacrifice of self respect. We determined to change our stamps. The change could be effected for 40, and the sale of our old stamps, thus enhanced in value, would bring us in £200 or more.
I have since heard that a year later the government of Costa Rica descended to the same disreputable expedient, but believe I may fairly take to myself the discredit of being the first to devise the scheme. — "The Discoveries Of a Prime Minister," Basil Thomson.
One Thing She Can Drive
They met by a strange chance.
"A woman is driving me," moaned the Horse.
"I know just how uncertain you feel," sighed the Nail.
"I don't understand you at all," observed the Bargain frankly.
The Horse and the Nail contemplated the Bargain enviously. — Detroit Tribune.
New shoes can be worn with as much ease as old ones if they are stuffed to the shape of the foot with cloth or paper and patiently sponged with hot water, or if they pinch in some particular spot a cloth wet with hot water and laid across the place will cause immediate and lasting relief. — New York Dispatch.
While Edison, then a boy, was living in Port Huron he found one of those opportunities to distinguish himself that seem to be always falling in the way of some men. The anecdote is related in "The Life and Inventions of Edison," recently published.
It was near the end of an exceptionally severe winter, and the ice had formed in such masses as to sever the cable between Port Huron and the Canadian city of Sarnia. The river, a mile and a half wide, was impassable, and multitudes of people were greatly inconvenienced.
Edison, who had just learned to telegraph, saw a way out of the difficulty. Jumping upon a railway engine, he began to whistle in the rhythmic cadences of the Morse alphabet:
"Hullo, Sarnia! Sarnia, do you get what I say?"
Again and again the short and the long toots shaped themselves into the dots and dashes of telegraphy, and finally some one on the other side became alive to their meaning. The answer came back, clear and cheery, and communication between the two cities was resumed.
The Old Cradle of Liberty, the Pride of the "Hub."
Fanuuil hall, the old "Cradle of Liberty," was presented to the town of Boston by Peter Faneuil for the free use of the people. It was completed in September, 1742, and was 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, only half its present width, but large for those days. Three days after its completion it was formally accepted in public meeting and a vote of thanks passed to the donor. It was also voted that the hall should be called Faneuil hall forever. Peter Faneuil died six months after, and his funeral eulogy was the first public oration delivered in the hall.
"May liberty always spread her joyful wings over this place," said Master Lovell of the Latin school in his oration. It was a prophecy; but, sad to say, the prophet afterward turned Tory and loft Boston when it was evacuated by the British. The interior of the hall was destroyed by fire in 1763, but the town immediately voted to repair the damage. The first gathering on the day of the Boston tea party was held here, but the hall was too small to hold them all, and the meeting was adjourned to the Old South church.
During the siege of Boston the hall was turned into a theater by the British. The merchants of the city gave Lafayette a dinner here in 1784. In 1806 the hall was enlarged from 40 to 80 feet in width, and a third story was added. The hall is still used for public meetings and is also used as the rendezvous of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery company, whose history dates back to 1673. — Boston Traveller.
Some Things That Should Be Closely Watched by All Housewives.
In face of the frequent accounts of accidental poisoning the following facts may prove both interesting and useful. In the first place, all copper vessels should be retinned directly the surface shows signs of being worn. Neither acid, salt nor fatty bodies will attack well cleaned copper vessels. Vinegar may be even boiled in them with safety, but should it be allowed to cool in the vessels it will dissolve enough copper to become dangerous. The advantage in copper poisoning is that one of the first symptoms is vomiting — that is to say, the poison is rejected from the system.
Zinc, though it conceals itself so often under the name of "galvanized iron," is still more dangerous than copper. No acid foods or liquids should ever be allowed to remain in galvanized vessels. Lead, from a culinary point of view, is the least to be recommended of all the metals, as it poisons slowly without producing vomiting, while tin, iron, steel and nickel are practically harmless.
But it is not only these vessels used in preparing food which are dangerous. Many foods in themselves are legitimate objects of suspicion. For instance, the potato becomes unfit for food when it has commenced to germinate or when it is green from having been partially exposed to the air while growing. The green parts and the "eyes" contain an undoubted poison, which has a sharp taste and is capable of producing paralysis or even death. At the end of the winter many pigs are unhealthy through having been fed on these green potatoes or on potatoes from which the eyes containing the germs have not been carefully cut.
Mushrooms should always be carefully verified by a person thoroughly acquainted with their peculiarities. Some cooks put a silver coin with them when cooking. If the coin turns black, they reject the mushrooms. This is really no test at all, as many of the poisonous fungi will not blacken silver. All animal food in an advanced state of decomposition is more or less poisonous. For this reason tinned fish is never to be trusted, as the fish are often stale when tinned. Smokers especially should be careful, as their taste is often not so fine as that of a nonsmoker, and they are consequently less likely to detect a tin of doubtful fish. Mussels, again, are always poisonous, although the seat and nature of the poison have never been discovered. — Philadelphia Press.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The Vast Number Which a War Vessel Needs to Have Ready.
Before a man-of-war is completely equipped she must be supplied with a varied assortment of the flags of all nations. The flag lockers of a cruiser like the New York will contain more than 200 different ensigns.
All the flags for our navy are made in the equipment building at the Brooklyn navy yard. The floor of the flagroom is covered with lines representing the exact measurements of the various ensigns, and it is no easy matter to turn out a flag which will be exactly according to pattern, both as to design and measurement.
There are eight colors used in flags — red, white, blue, orange, yellow, green, brown, black and canary yellow.
The canary yellow is used instead of white in flags used for signaling. This is because it is found that, when signaling at a distance, a white flag or a device on a white ground blends with the horizon and becomes almost invisible.
The largest American flag made is called No. 1. It measures 34.86 feet in length and 13.12 feet in breadth and is very rarely used.
The size called No. 2, which is considerably smaller, is the one generally used by warships.
Cruisers carry the stars and stripes in seven different sizes, but only the Minneapolis and the Detroit fly the gigantic No. 1 size.
The most difficult flag to make is that of San Salvador. This flag requires all the colors, and Costa Rica runs it close, requiring all but brown.
Our own flag is by no means an easy one to make. The 44 stars in their blue field have to be accurately arranged and the stripes mathematically exact according to the official pattern.
The stars are made of muslin, folded 25 times and punched out by a steel punch, which cuts a dozen or more stars at each operation.
There are used in the navy yard 50,000 yards of bunting annually, which is all made in the United States. Before being made up into flags the bunting is put to a very severe test. From each lot a sample is taken and steeped in fresh water for 24 hours. After that it is thoroughly scrubbed with strong soap and then rinsed and dried. It is then exposed to the direct sunlight for 18 hours, and if it shows no fading in color it is accepted.
The industry gives employment to a great many men and women. — Boston Globe.
She stands on a street corner in the rain. One hand upholds an umbrella and the other grasps her skirts. She glances down to see that they escape the slush and at the same time cover her shoe tops. Simultaneously her umbrella tilts over, knocks her hat to one side and lets the rain drive down her neck. She straightens herself quickly; also her hat. In the meantime one side of her skirt hangs at half mast, while the other drags under her heel. Now she nods her head haughtily, as if bowing to a distant acquaintance down the avenue. Evidently the salute is not recognized, for she looks surprised and nods again. Now she stares hard and bobs her head vigorously. Her hat slides around over her head, and she looks mad. Now she joggles her umbrella up and down in the air and glares wildly. If expression counts for anything, she would evidently like to swear. She drops her skirts and waves the other hand vigorously. Finally she lowers her umbrella and breaks into a scurrying gallop across the street. It is a woman trying to catch a cable car. — Washington Post.
No Cheese For Lunch
It is wretchedly bad form to serve cheese and wafers at luncheon, although one often sees it done. They are alone permissible with the dessert of a dinner, never of a lunch. — Philadelphia Press.
A midwinter festival was known and observed in Europe long before the Christmas era.
It is the feudal sentiment of good Sir Walter and his successors which makes our daughters despise the democracy which their fathers founded and dream of baronial castles, parks and coronets and a marriage with a British peer as the goal of their ambitions.
It is the same feudal sentiment which makes their mothers share and encourage their aspirations and equip them in Paris with all the ethereal ammunition required for the English campaign. Half the novels they read glorify these things, and it would be a wonder if the perpetual glorification did not produce its effect, for the idea that literature of amusement is a neutral agency which affects you neither for good nor for ill is a pernicious fallacy. What you read, especially in youth, will enter into your mental substance and will and must increase or impair your efficiency. Much you will outgrow, no doubt, but there always remains a deposit in the mind which you will never outgrow.
It is therefore of the utmost importance that that which you read should tend to put you en rapport with the present industrial age, in which, whether you like it or not, you have to live, rather than with a remote feudalism, whose ideals were essentially barbaric and certainly cruder and less humane than ours. — H. H. Boyesen in Forum.
Another one of those rare instances in which the "forked fury" has drawn a photograph upon glass is reported from the observatory situated on Mount Arie, near the summer resort of West Baden. One of the astronomers of that institution, on making an examination of the object glass of one of the telescopes, was surprised to find a perfect photograph of a flower upon both lenses of the instrument. It is believed that the photograph was drawn by lightning, the glass having been left exposed during a storm on one of the upper platforms of the observatory. The flower is one known only in the Mount Arie country. — St. Louis Republic.
What They Frequently Give
About the only thing some stingy people ever give to others is an unfavorable impression. — Galveston News.
THE STORY OF A HUNTER'S ADVENTURE IN NEWFOUNDLAND.
The Ferocious Beasts Wanted the Dressed Caribou, Were Willing to Compromise by Taking the Man, but They Got Neither, Though It Was a Close Call.
There's a master lot of game in Newfoundland, they told me, when you go back a bit from the shore. There was one old hunter named Bongthorn I fell in with at a little post on the west coast who used to bring down caribou meat to sell to the people of the settlements and to vessels that put in there. The caribou — reindeer, as some folks call 'em — run in great herds there, hundreds of 'em together. By all he said there must be great hunting there for a man who cared to risk his life in such a wilderness.
One story he told me about wolves that's enough to make one's hair stand. It was in the early spring, when the snow still lay deep on the ground, that he killed a caribou one day, and having dressed him hung him up to a tree limb, out of the way of the wolves, while he went on to look for more game. When he came back for his caribou, he saw so many wolves gathered about under the tree trying to get at the meat that, for the first time in his life, he was frightened at 'em. He'd about made up his mind that he'd go quietly away and come again for the caribou when wolves were scarcer, when they spied him and all came for him together. There was a large spruce tree near by that had been blown over and had lodged against other trees so that its trunk slanted up just about as steep as a man could easily climb. He ran to the foot of the tree, and not stopping to take off his snowshoes walked right up that leaning trunk to the forking of its lower limbs. How he ever got up there on snowshoes was a wonder to him afterward, but he found himself among the lower branches with something to hold on to, and then he turned around and set down a-straddle of the trunk. The wolves were all around underneath where he sat, and some had followed him part way up on the leaning tree, but they had to come along it one at a time, and the foremost one would jump off every time before he got half way up, so they didn't get very near him.
The first thing Bongthorn did was to take off his snowshoes and hang 'em up safe among the branches. While he was doing this he had the misfortune to drop his gun, that he had kept with him so far. The moment it struck the snow, bang it went, its charge of slugs taking one wolf's fore legs clean off. At the flash and noise of the report all the other wolves fell back a moment from where the wounded one was yelping in the snow. Then they flew at him, tore him to pieces in no time and ate him up in short order. After fighting over the bones awhile they turned again to Bongthorn, jumping up toward him from beneath where he sat and coming one by one part way up the leaning trunk toward him. All the time they kept up a snapping of teeth that told him what would happen if he fell among them.
This was in the month of March, when it's mighty cold in Newfoundland, and Bongthorn knew that the way things were going it was one of two things with him — to freeze in the tree or to be torn to pieces by the wolves below. There was his gun sticking in the snow. If he could only get that into his hands again, he might fight off the wolves. His hatchet was in his belt, and he climbed farther up the trunk and cut a long, slim branch. This he trimmed smooth, leaving a fork at the lower end, and, using it as a grappling hook, tried to pick up the gun. But 'twas no use. As soon as he pushed the stick down within their reach the wolves snapped for it and nearly tore it out of his hands. If he could get them away from the spot, or at least draw their attention to something else, he might stand a chance to get his gun. There was only one way he could think of to bring this about. It was a desperate risk to let the hatchet go, but he took as good aim as he could at a big wolf, let it drive, and as luck would have it it struck another one in the back. There it stuck fast, while the wolf ran off yelping and the others after him. They caught up with him after he had run a little way, and, while they were serving him as they had served the other, Bongthorn tried again to hook his gun up, but he couldn't make his grapple work, for the gun dropped back as often as be lifted it from the snow. Time was precious, for he knew that as soon as the wolves got their companion eaten up they would be back under the tree. For the moment they were all fighting in a heap around the wounded one, 50 steps away, tearing at it and each other and paying no attention to him.
'Twas now or never, and the boldest course was the best. Down he dropped from the tree into the snow, grabbed his gun; wallowed through the snow to the foot of the leaning tree trunk, and back up it he climbed as fast as his legs and arms would carry him.
It was a close shave for the hunter, for the wolves were at the foot of the tree before he got up to the forks, but a miss is as good as a mile in such a case. Then, when he got his gun to work among the wolves, his turn at the fun began. He shot seven of them before the others went away and left him. The wolves that were not left lying dead on the snow scattered all of a sudden, each making off in a different direction, and it wasn't two minutes before not one of them was to be seen or heard about the place.
Bongthorn came down from the tree and traveled all night for home. He didn't stop till he got to the settlement. Then he came back with some companions and brought in his caribou and wolfskins. He showed me the marks of wolves' teeth on the gunstock where the wolves had seized it as it fell from the tree. It was the only time in all his life that the wolves attacked him, but that once was enough for a lifetime. — New York Sun.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
She was as elegantly a dressed woman as you will find in a day's walk. She stopped at the curb stone and gathered her rustling skirts daintily in one hand before she essayed the muddy crossing. Midway the sweep stopped her with a request for a penny.
"What would you do with it?" she inquired.
"Me grandmother's got to pay her rent tomorrow er git put out, an she ain't got no money."
"Poor boy," said the elegant one as she opened her purse. "Of course I'll help you pay the old lady's rent. She mustn't be put out. There, give her that."
And dropping two pennies into the boy's grimy hand she sailed on, surrounded by the halo of sweet charity. — Philadelphia Times.
Not Many Valuables Lost on Trains Considering the Amount of Travel.
At the terminal stations of all railroads the cars of incoming trains are searched for things left by passengers. The methods may vary in detail, but they are substantially alike.
At the Pennsylvania station in Jersey City there are three searchers, two working by day and one at night. Of the day men, one searches the through trains and the other the way trains. The moment the train has halted in the station the searcher stops aboard the rear platform of the last car and works toward the front. He walks straight ahead, following the receding wave of passengers, but though he walks right along nothing escapes his practiced eye. Whatever he finds he takes to the bureau of information. There a record is made of the thing found, containing a description of it, the marks, if any, and the train upon which it was found. Things of little value are kept awaiting the owner's claim for six months. Things of considerable value are kept a year or more. Things finally unclaimed are given back to the searcher, who is, however, called upon to make them good should they be claimed subsequently.
While in the course of a year many things are found in the cars, their number compared with the great number of travelers is small, and as a matter of fact they are generally of small value, usually umbrellas, overshoes and packages of one sort or another. People seem generally to hang on to really valuable things. At the same time there are found in the cars occasionally watches, diamonds, pocketbooks (usually containing small amounts), musical instruments and personal property of almost every possible description.
Valuable things are usually claimed pretty promptly. The loser sometimes goes from the train to a steamer for Europe or on a longer journey. Various circumstances sometimes prevent the prompt claiming of valuables. Claims are sometimes made after the lapse of months or perhaps a year or more. Persons claiming property are required to describe it, with its marks, and to tell upon what train they lost it. When property remaining unclaimed has about it evidences of its ownership, the company endeavors to restore it to its owner.
With the great increase of travel there is an increase in the number of the things found in the cars, but proportionately the number of things so found is not greater than formerly. In this respect the people do not appear to have undergone any change. They are just about as forgetful as they were — no more, no less. — New York Sun.
In the summer of 1871 proof was published of vast frauds by leading New York city officials, prominent among them "Boss" William M. Tweed, superintendent of the street department. Having made themselves supreme, these men so worked the city elections as to control the city government, placing themselves in 1866 each in the office he wished. A new charter, of which they secured the adoption, gave them absolute charge of the city's purse.
Exorbitant claims for work and material had been paid, raising the city's debt from $50,000,000 to $113,000,000, with bills to an unknown amount not adjusted. Thus the courthouse, building at this time, ostensibly cost $12,000,000. The ring's robberies cheated the city's taxpayers, first and last, out of no less than $160,000,000, "or four times the fine levied on Paris by the German army." — Scribner's Magazine.
Some Kansas girls are businesslike. One of them with four married sisters received a proposal of a marriage last week and asked a week to think it over. She went to see all of her married sisters. One, who used to be a belle, had three children, did all her own work and hadn't been to the theater or out riding since she was married. Another, whose husband was a promising young man at the time she married, was supporting him. A third didn't dare say her life was her own when her husband was around, and the fourth was divorced. After visiting them and hearing their woes the heroine of this narrative went home, got pen, ink and paper and wrote an answer to the young man. It would only be natural to suppose that it was a refusal, but it wasn't. She accepted the young man and said she could be ready for the ceremony within a month. — Boston Herald.
"Say," began Raggles as he stopped the man on the street, "you see before you" — "Oh, I know what you're going to say," interrupted the man. "Your wife is sick, your children are starving, your house leaks, and you haven't had anything to eat for 36 hours. You can't get work and" —
"You're on to me, ain't you?" returned Raggles.
"Well, I should say I was!"
"Been round a good deal, ain't you?" "That's what I have!" and he straightened up proudly.
"It's a pretty smart man that works you for a coin. I knowed that when I first seen you. I says to myself that a man with such an intelligent face as you be can't be fooled, but I goes against my better jedment and tries it, and now see what a fool I've made of myself! I humbly axes your pardon!" and Raggles made a humble obeisance.
"Oh, you needn't feel so bad about it!" replied the man. "Here, take this," and he deposited a quarter in Raggles' uncalloused palm and strode on with his head in the air.
"Flattery pays, and it don't cost much,'" said Raggles to himself as he started to find his friend Dusty and tell him to head off the soft and shining mark on the next block. — Indianapolis News.
How the Game of Poker Flourished In Georgia In the Good Old Days.
Speaking about cards and card players, there was a gentleman from one of the lower counties of Georgia telling his experience in the legislature a good many years ago, when he represented his county in the general assembly.
"Poker's a mighty funny thing," he said. "You never know when you have run against a good player. Take me, for instance. I was here in the legislature some time ago, and I know I didn't appear to be what you call up to date — not a bit of it. The members from Augusta and Macon and Savannah and the other cities thought they had a soft piece of pie when they got me in the first game. Well, I was well up. I had been playing the game a little more'n they expected to see in a fellow wearing the clothes I wore.
"Well, to make a long story short, boys, I was here in the legislature the whole of that session and had sent supplies home to the folks every now and then, built and paid for a new corncrib, bought the old lady a stove and a sewing machine and hadn't touched my per diem; which Bob Hardeman paid me in a bulk at the close of the session. Them fellers were surprised in their man." — Atlanta Constitution.
Dibbs (rather shortsighted, overtaking total stranger and slapping him on back from behind) — Hello, old fellow, how are you? So glad to see you again! Who'd have thought of meet —
Stranger — Confound you, sir, how dare you strike me in that blackguardly manner? You ought to be more careful that you've got the right person.
Dibbs — Really, sir, I must apologize, but I took you for the Earl of B—. The likeness is really wond —
Stranger (greatly modified) — Say no more, sir, I entreat. I quite see how the mistake occurred. Magnificent weather, isn't it? Good morning to you, good morning! — London Standard.
In the Line of Duty
"The Scripters," said Deacon Dinguss, "says distinct an plain that the fool an his money is soon parted." "I allow, then," said the grocer, with whom the deacon does not trade, "I allow, then, that when you ketch some pore feller hard up an perseed to git ebeout 30 per cent intrust out of him you think you air jist aidin him to kerry out the Scripteral idea." — Cincinnati Tribune.
The first use of gas in a place of public amusement was in the Lyceum theater in London in 1803. It was begun as an experiment, and for a time was discontinued because the audience complained of the odor.
In domestic lighting for nearly the first half of the present century candles hold undisputed sway. Old stagers may yet recall the dimly lighted parlor, the fire burning softly in the twilight, where the elders kept blind man's holiday. The bell is rung, and Mary brings in candles, a pair of molds in tall brass candlesticks, brightly polished, with snuffers on a tray — a sharp beaked snuffers of steel, with jaws that opened and shut with a snap, and something sinister in their appearance.
There were plated candlesticks and snuffers, too, for occasions of state, with silver branches that suggested the spoils of Jerusalem, but there was also a lamp, a stately edifice of bronze that towered over the family circle at times and shed a generous and genial light when so inclined. But what a demon it was to smoke and to smell! And it would burn, when it condescended to burn at all, nothing but the very finest sperm oil at a fabulous price per gallon. — All the Year Round.
The produce was carried in sacks on horseback or on sledges, or — later in the century — on tumbrils, which were sledges on "tumbling" wheels of solid wood, with wooden axle trees, all revolving together. These machines were often so small that in a narrow passage the carter could lift them bodily, for they held little more than a wheelbarrow. They had wheels a foot and a half in diameter, made of three pieces of wood pinned together like a butter firkin, and which quickly wore out and became utterly shapeless, so that a load of 600 pounds was enormous for the dwarfish animals to drag. Yet even such vehicles were triumphs of civilization when they came into use when the century was young.
Carts are a later invention still, and when one, in 1723, first carried its tiny load of coals from East Kilbride to Cambuslang, "crowds of people," it is reported "went to see the wonderful machine. They looked with surprise and returned with astonishment." In many parts of the lowlands they were not in ordinary use, even till 1760, while in the northern districts sledges or creels on the backs of women were chiefly employed to the end of the century. The wretched condition of the roads was the chief cause of the reluctant adoption of carts.
In the driest weather the roads were unfit for carriages and in wet weather almost impassable, even for horses — deep in ruts of mire, covered with stones, winding up heights and down hills to avoid swamps and bogs. It was this precarious state of the roads which obliged judges to ride on circuit, and a practice began as a physical necessity was retained as a dignified habit, so that in 1744 Lord Dun resigned his judgeship because he was no longer able to "ride on circuit." — Scottish Review.
A Peculiar Incident in the Life of the Tragedian Macready.
Between Macready and my brother Charles existed a kind of ferocious friendship. Macready, whatever he may have been in private life, had at the theater a simply horrible temper, and he was in the habit of using at rehearsals and even in an undertone when acting the most abusive language — language which my brother sometimes passed by with a smile, but which he occasionally hotly resented. He did not mind Macready constantly addressing him as "beast," but he objected to having his eyes, his limbs and his internal organs coupled with invective terms. Yet, oddly enough, the great tragedian, with whom he was constantly quarreling, had a grim respect and liking for him. He knew him to be a gentleman and a scholar and one who was a competent judge of picturesque effect and an acute dramatic critic.
On one occasion Macready having to play "Othello," and my brother not being included in the cast, the tragedian thus addressed him: "Beast, I want you to go in front tonight and give me afterward a full and candid opinion as to the merits of my acting. Omit nothing. Tell me how I played and how I looked. I have an idea that I shall surpass myself this evening." Now, the great actor used to go through a tremendous amount of realistic effort in the part of Othello, and toward the close of the tragedy would get into such a disorganized physical condition that he was all perspiration and foaming at the mouth and presented a somewhat shocking spectacle.
My brother duly occupied a seat in the front row of the dress circle and narrowly watched the performance from beginning to end. Then he went behind the scenes and repaired to Macready's dressing room. The artist was being disrobed by his dresser and was panting with excitement in an armchair.
"Well, beast, what was it like?"
My brother told him that he had derived the highest gratification from the performance and he had never seen him play Othello more superbly. He was magnificent in his speech to the Venetian senate, the jealousy scenes with Iago were splendid, the murder of Desdemona was superb, and he died inimitably. Macready's face lighted up more and more as my brother answered his many queries.
"'Tis well, beast," he observed at last; "'tis well — very well, and, now, what was my appearance — how did I look, beast?"
My brother cogitated for a moment and then, with perfect candor, replied, "Like a sweep, sir!" — G. A. Sala's "Recollections."
Note: "Sweep," someone who cleans soot from chimneys.
Forrest, the actor, once visited a lunatic asylum before producing Lear to study the insane. He watched one of the male patients for some time, during which the man kept saying: "I wonder how long? I wonder how long?"
Finally Forrest interrupted him. "What is it that you wonder so long?"
The man turned on him, with a laugh, "I wonder how long a fool like you will stand here looking for something he can't see!" — Amusing Journal.
Silk Mills Robbed Again
The Rhenania silk mills, College Point, have been robbed again. At 10 o'clock Thursday night, after Watchman Jockers had left the place, thieves entered through a window and took away $300 worth of raw silk. Two potato bags which the burglars left is the only clue.
—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, April 5, 1895, p. 4.
It was clearly meant that all men as well as all women should marry, and those who, for whatever reason, miss this obvious destiny are, from nature's point of view, failures.
It is not a question of personal felicity (which in eight cases out of ten may be more than problematic), but of race responsibility. The unmarried man is a skulker, who, in order to secure his own ease, dooms some woman, who has a rightful claim upon him, to celibacy. And in so doing he defrauds himself of the opportunities for mental and moral development which only the normal experience can provide. He deliberately stunts the stature of his manhood, impoverishes his heart and brain and chokes up all the sweetest potentialities of his soul.
To himself he is apt to appear like the wise fox that detects the trap, though it be ever so cunningly baited; that refuses to surrender his liberty for the sake of an appetizing chicken or rabbit, which may, after all, be a decoy, stuffed with sawdust, while, as a matter of fact, his case is that of the cowardly servant in the parable, who, for fear of losing his talent, hid it in a napkin, and in the end was deemed unworthy of his stewardship. — North American Review.
Then not only all the learned, but all the educated, were familiar with Latin. Whoever read indeed must read Latin, for there was little else to read. Theology, history, philosophy, all were in Latin. The national literatures were only in their cradles. Nearly a century after the time of Erasmus, Bacon deliberately buried his greater works in Latin in the hope of securing his fame, and even Milton chose Latin as the vehicle of some of the best of his early poetry and did not abandon it without hesitation.
To Erasmus it was everything — the language of his tongue as well as of his pen. He traveled everywhere, in Italy, France, England, Germany, but he certainly knew no English or German and apparently made his Latin carry him through wherever he went. And whatever difficulties of language he found with innkeepers and servants and officers of customs he found none among the clergy or the nobles, at whose houses his introductions made him everywhere welcome. — Temple Bar.
A blue breakfast that Mr. Edmund Russell tells about is both suggestive and amusing. It was in summer time of course. He says: "In a city where I was lecturing, a society dame asked a number of friends to a little breakfast. They found their hostess exquisitely gowned in blue, presiding over a beautiful breakfast table, the center of which, up to the plate line, was one mass of lovely blue morning glories — bloom and tendril. This artistic effect was produced by fine wire netting adjusted over graduated glasses of water, in which the delicate stems of the vines were kept moist and fresh. The harmony of blue and green was carried out through the entire service — one course in old blue Conton china, then one in green majolica, followed by a third — a grandmother's set of green and blue and gold bands.
"But what excited the most interest and admiration was a set of pale blue open work dessert plates, just the tint of the beautiful morning glories. When asked about these unique plates, the hostess touched with her slender, turquoise decked hand her plate, which seemed almost as rare and fine as her jewels, and said: Yes, I purchased those on my trip abroad. They were my greatest extravagance and are said to be literally unique. I could secure but nine, so when I wish to use them I have to limit my guests to that number. These unique blue plates were for a number of days the talk of all society. A few weeks after the little blue breakfast one of the guests, visiting an unfrequented part of the city on an errand of charity, discovered on the pavement before a small, shabby china store six baskets of the identical pale blue plates — marked 12½ cents each. Was the hostess of the blue breakfast attempting art, cleverness or impudence?" — Philadelphia Ledger.