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without distinction contributing their quota,-a thing all very well in the olden time when her grace's coach, or his honour's chariot, was sold or fell to the trusty retainer, the family coachman, who with the old horses and vehicle took to the road, and ended their days thereon. The vulgarisation of the royal arms is also an abuse the Chamberlain should look to. But we must conclude, and will do so with cockades, suggesting to Mr. Lowe the extension of his ingenious system of “raising the wind” to their taxation, also ; for it is currently believed that many persons who never had the slightest connection with the army or navy lists disport this symbol of their gentility on the hats of their servitors, &c.
PASSING down Regent Street, London, the other day, the present writer was tempted, by what he had read in the newspapers, to drop in and see the wonderful performing fleas. It was not an edifying sight, nor a very amusing one, though some have called it. marvellous. Perform the nasty little insects do, but theirs is that sort of performance which we see a squirrel indulge in when he is put into a wheel-cage. They are confined, and they scramble for freedom ; and their struggles and kickings are converted into motive power for working tiny models, or drawing minute vehicles. The trick is as follows :—The flea is taken between the fingers, and a hair is passed round his body like a staple, the ends being held in a slit made lengthwise in a fine straw an inch long. In this position his back is against the straw, while his feet dangle in the air, and of course he wriggles and kicks his legs about. If he is put on the table he can walk, dragging the straw after him ; if the straw be fixed like a shaft to a little car, or a model on wheels, he pulls this along as he goes. This is harnessing a flea to a coach ! the straw be fixed over or against a sort of treadmill, so that the flea's legs just kicķ against it, the wheel will rotate under his struggles, and this rotation may be turned to account
in working any little piece of mechanism. A thread, passing over a pulley and connected to a small bucket, is brought near to the plunging limbs of a flea fixed to an upright straw. The prisoner clutches the thread, and tries to walk up it ; but, since he is tied and the string is free, he pulls at the string, and thus lifts the bucket. Two fleas, tied to a slender stick, balanced on a pivot, alternately jump to get away; and then you are told that they are playing at see-saw. One fea, suspended to a fine pendulum, kicks against a card in front thereof, and thus sets himself swinging, apparently for diversion-really, no doubt, in hopes of kicking away from his bondage. These are the types of all the tricks “performed.” They show nothing but the exhibitor's patience in tying or twisting the fleas upon the straws: as to training, there is no evidence of any whatever. The models are neat little machines, made by the showman. These, and his readily-imparted knowledge of the pulex irritans' natural history, render him deserving of the shillings he seeks. So call and see him, if you pass his way.
AGAIN have the photographers invited the public freely to an exhibition of their latest productions. Some four hundred specimens decorated for one week of the past month the walls of the Architectural Society's Museum in London. There were plenty of things to admire, but nothing to forcibly strike a visitor. The light painters, reporting progress, may say, “ As we were.” One might have expected an extensive display of pictures by the carbon and other modern pigment processes ; but the majority of the subjects were upon the old albumenised paper, with here and there a sample of dead, or matte, surface printing. No doubt, however, these pigment processes are at present too complicated for small producers. The Autotype Company-an association for working Swan's method of carbon printing-covered a large space of wall with specimens. An uninitiated visitor, however, would not have distinguished these works from others, for, strangely to my view, the artists persist in imitating the sepia tints of ordinary photographs. Now that they can produce any colour, they might adopt the more artistic tones of rich engravings. Curiously, when blacks were producible with great difficulty and risk of permanence, everybody wanted them ; now they are easily secured, and yet the old browns are retained. The Woodbury process, which prints in gelatinous ink from intaglio photo-types, was unrepresented. Portraiture is still under the influence of M. Salamon's example. Landscape operators have taken to old tricks, such as painting-in skies, and printing in figures which do not belong to the view, and betray their individuality by lights and shadows that are not in accord with the rest of the picture. Some twelve years ago the public were astounded by several large sea and cloud pieces by Gustave Le Gray, which, from their dark moon-light effects, were thought to have been really taken by moon's light; but they were day-pictures, and the sun caused the grand play of light and shadow on - sea and in sky that was attributed to the moon. A series of revivals of
this old ruse was exhibited by Colonel Stuart Wortley-grand pictures of cloud and water, proving the high skill of their producer, but, being ticketed with lunar titles, very deceitful to the popular eye. Old things seemed to have been exhibited for want of new. Mr. Rejlander sent his great “composition print,” entitled “Two Ways of Life," formed by the combination of thirty negatives, and first exhibited twelve years ago ; and Mr. Mayall contributed daguerreotype views of the Great Exhibition of 1851. These had interest, as showing the permanence of what were once thought would prove the least durable of light pictures. Few paper photographs of that date could now be shown in such integrity as these mercurialised plates of silver.
Man's nearest relative in the great family of nature is the ape. This is a familiar fact; but it is not so well known that man approaches in bodily conformation more and more nearly to his inferior relative the lower and lower his state of cultivation. Where and when was the line drawn? Is Darwin coming out triumphant from the battle that has raged against him? Quite recently some skulls and skeletons of races contemporary in France with the reindeer have been discovered ; and they have afforded material for establishing the above conclusion. The characteristics of the animal, the low forehead, and the projecting mouth disappear in man's conflict with circumstances. The mental labour which the conflict entails develops the brain: the forehead becomes upright, the skull higher and more dome-shaped, and the projecting countenance recedes under the skull. This chain of deductions was one of the results of a Paläontological Congress lately held at Copenhagen. Another not uninteresting item of intelligence there accepted and thence disseminated was, that the primeval Europeans, our progenitors, were cannibals, and savages of the lowest class; inferior, in spite of their white skin, to the lowest type of existing savagery—the Australian. Europe was probably the latest peopled part of the world. The last have become the first.
So it is true that there are people in Styria who eat arsenic as the Asiatic eats opium or the European chews tobacco-as a matter of taste. Travellers had asserted the fact though the learned denied it, declaring that the white substance taken for arsenic must have been some harmless mineral like chalk. But an official inquiry has been instituted, and seventeen Styrian physicians have reported upon the matter; and there is no doubt about the truth of the travellers' stories. There are people who take doses varying from pellets the size of a millet to pills the size of a pea, of various kinds of arsenic, the favourite being the white quality known as ratsbane. They will take it daily, or on alternate days, or twice a week, according to circumstances ; generally they abstain from the luxury at the time of new moon, beginning small doses with the
young moon and increasing them to a maximum by full moon. Why this lunar observance it is hard to guess, unless, as they profess that the arsenic makes them strong and healthy, they fancy that the waxing moon weakens them and renders the greater proportion of the restorative nece3sary. The habit is most commonly found among the lower orders; and it begins to attack the youth at about the same time as the tobacco taste affects our youngsters. Some few females are fond of ratsbane, but its patrons are mostly of the harder sex. The regular consumers live to good ages, and are strong, healthy, and courageous. So we have a proof that what is one man's poison is another man's food.
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ONE cannot always believe the reports of American curiosities; but two have lately come to hand that bring good credentials with them, and are worth coupling together. The first relates to a “fossil man recently exhumed upon a farm near Syracuse, in Onondaga county. It was a great find for the sensationalists; for the body was ten feet from head to foot, and corpulent in proportion. Unfortunately for the wondermongers, however, a geologist came upon the scene, and declared that the figure was a work of art-a statue hewn from a block of stratified sulphate of lime. Curiosity now centres upon the artists. It is assumed that they were the early Jesuists who frequented the Onondaga valley three centuries ago! That the sculpture had been purposely buried was evident from the traces of artificial packing : why it was so disposed of no one can, with any show of reason, conjecture. If it was valued, it may have been inhumed for preservation : if no one cared for it, it would be buried because its room was more valuable than its presence. The other item tells of tumuli that have been discovered on the summits of the Rocky Mountains. A Government surveyor stationed on the heights found lines of granite rock-masses, evidently placed there by the hands of man ; and connected with these were mounds of stones bearing marks of high antiquity. They measured about ten feet in diameter, and were formed from material found immediately on the spot. At three thousand feet above the timber-growing limit, they could not have been altars : no doubt, as the reporter suggests, they were like our barrows, places of sepulture. One marked feature which many of them present, is a projection towards the west. This stony finger is conceived to be a pointer indicating the direction from which the builders or their ancestors came ; but does it not rather point to the imagined home of the departed spirit
the setting sun ?
AN ANCIENT SCHOOL-BOOK. MR. URBAN,--Cocker's preface to a copy-book, as given in your November number, is characteristic of the age as well as the man. I have before me a school-book, translated from the German, of Mr. John Commenius, which contains an author's preface to the reader, and a translator's preface “to all judicious and industrious schoolmasters.” The translator is Charles Hoole, and his preface is dated" from my school in Lothbury, London, Jan. 25, 1658.” The author's preface to the reader begins as follows:
“Instruction is the means to expel rudeness, with which young wits ought to be well furbished in schools; but so as that the teaching be-1, True; 2, Full; 3, Clear; and 4, Solid. I, It will be true, if nothing be taught but such as are beneficial to one's life ; lest there be a cause of complaining afterwards. We know not necessary things because we have not learned things necessary. 2. It will be full, if the mind be polished for wisdom, the tongue for eloquence, and the hands for a neat way of living: This will be that grace of one's life, to be wise, to act, to speak. 3 & 4, It will be clear, and by that firm and solid, if whatever is taught and learned be not obscure, or consused, but apparent, distinct, and articulate, as the fingers on the hands. The ground of this business is, that sensual objects be rightly presented to the senses, for fear they may not be received. I say, and say it again aloud, that this last is the foundation of all the rest ; because we can neither act nor speak wisely unless we first rightly understand all the things which are to be done, and whereof we are to speak. Now there is nothing in the understanding which was not before in the senses. And, therefore, to exercise the senses well about the right proving the differences of things will be to lay the grounds for all wisdom, and all wise discourse, and all discreet actions in one's course of life, which, because it is commonly neglected in schools, and the things that are to be learned are offered to scholars, without being understood or being rightly presented to the senses, it cometh to pass, that the work of teaching and learning goeth heavily onward, and affordeth little benefit."
With a view to promote this teaching through the senses, he has produced a new help for schools, “A picture and nomenclature of all the chief things in the world, and of men's actions in their way of living. It is a little book, as you see, of no great bulk, and yet a brief of the whole world, and a whole language ; full of pictures, nomenclatures, and descriptions of things.” Of the pictures it would be difficult to give any idea, but the statements are curt, and sometimes very curious. For example :
“ The heavens hath fire and stars. The clouds hang in the air. Birds fly under the clouds. Fishes swim in the water. The earth hath hills, woods, fields, beasts, and men. Thus the greatest bodies of the world, the four elements, are full of their own inhabitants. The heaven is wheeled about, and encompasseth the earth, standing in the middle.”