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Title: Queer questions and ready replies : A collection of four hundred questions in history, geography, biography, mythology, philosophy, natural history, science, philology, etc., etc., with their answers : Fourth Edition
Author: Oliphant, S. Grant
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Queer questions and ready replies : A collection of four hundred questions in history, geography, biography, mythology, philosophy, natural history, science, philology, etc., etc., with their answers : Fourth Edition" ***

                            QUEER QUESTIONS


                            READY REPLIES.

                 SCIENCE, PHILOLOGY, ETC., ETC., WITH
                            THEIR ANSWERS.


                          S. GRANT OLIPHANT.

                            Fourth Edition.


                           COPYRIGHT, 1886,



                           CARRIE G. NORRIS


                            BY THE AUTHOR.


The design of this little work is to offer, in a convenient form, to
the reading public of the country, much quaint and curious as well
as interesting and instructive information in history, geography,
biography, philosophy, science, philology, etc., to correct several
popular fallacies, to promote accurate scholarship, and to tender an
explanation of many expressions which occur in daily conversation.

Considerable time and pains have been given to the selection of the
matter herein contained, and to the verification of the same. Care has
been taken that no statement should be made which cannot be supported
by good authority.

The information covered by the questions and answers is not generally
known, even by intelligent and educated readers, and much of it has
never before been published in a form accessible to the great mass of

With the hope that it may prove an acceptable and _ready help_ to
all intelligent readers, the author submits it to an appreciative and
critical public.
                                                           S. G. O.



    Acting Vice-Presidents of the United States                  159

    Adam’s beard                                                  93

    African capital named from a United States President          76

    Albany Regency, The                                           95

    Alien and Sedition Laws, The                                 119

    Amber                                                          3

    American Fabius, The                                         169

    American Pathfinder, The                                     146

    American Pope of Rome, The                                    30

    Ancient account for the origin of amber                        4

    Ancient city that perished through silence                     5

    Ancient Mariner, The                                          65

    Ancient name of the ring-finger                               22

    Animal noted for its large tail                               72

    Antarctic Continent discovered                                38

    Auld Reekie                                                  134

    Author of “Curfew must not ring To-night”                     59

    Author of “Greenbacks”                                        89

    Author of the name America                                    21


    Balm of Gilead                                               126

    Banshee                                                       66

    Battle fought above the clouds                                89

    Battle of Herrings, The                                      137

    Battle of Spurs, The                                         133

    Beautiful Parricide, The                                      23

    Beautiful Rope-maker, The                                    165

    Bible of the Greeks, The                                     151

    Bird with neither tail nor wings                               6

    Birthplace of two Presidents                                  40

    Black Hole of Calcutta                                       136

    Black Jack                                                   136

    Blue Hen State, The                                           88

    Blue-Noses, The                                              163

    Boundary between United States and Canada                     14

    Bravest of the brave, The                                     33

    Breeches Bible, The                                          130

    Bridge of Sighs, The                                         145

    Brightest star visible                                        62

    Bug Bible, The                                               104

    Burial place of Columbus                                     102

    Burial place of our Presidents                               105


    Causes of the American Revolution                            116

    Causes of the Civil War                                      119

    Cave of the winds                                             40

    Celluloid                                                    104

    Chains of Columbus                                           176

    Children of Columbus                                         101

    Christ of India, The                                          50

    Cities without elections                                      28

    City destroyed by an ill-timed jest                          125

    City of Elms, The                                             43

    City of Magnificent Distances, The                           134

    City of Oaks, The                                            167

    City of the Red Staff, The                                    28

    City where burials are made above ground                     141

    Colony founded as a home for the poor                         91

    Color and portrait of our postage-stamps                      40

    Colossus of American Independence, The                        91

    Columbus’s line extinct                                      101

    Confederate candle                                            80

    Copperheads, The                                             171

    Country in which grass grows upon trees                      145

    Country in which prayers are said by wheels                   95

    Country in which the clergymen are blacksmiths                25

    Cousin Michael                                               131


    Dark day, The                                                142

    Day of Barricades, The                                       143

    Day of Corn-sacks, The                                       170

    Defects of the Confederation                                 118

    Deliverer of Washington’s funeral oration                     76

    Derivation of Alaska                                         122

    Derivation of Canada                                         124

    Derivation of magnet                                         130

    Devil’s Wall, The                                             81

    Deviser of our decimal coinage                               107

    Diamond necklace affair                                       23

    Discovery of the Pacific Ocean                                82

    Dynamite                                                      99


    Easter                                                        25

    Eight motions of the earth                                   172

    El Dorado                                                    144

    Election on which the price of flour depended                 77

    Explorer of the Mississippi with La Salle                     64

    Explorer who drove a herd of hogs before him                  72


    Famous men killed by lice                                    168

    Father of Ridicule, The                                       41

    Fat man’s misery, The                                         11

    “Fiery serpents” of Numbers xxi                                8

    First American bird taken to England                         156

    First Bible printed in America                               138

    First bloodshed in the Civil War                              75

    First bloodshed in the Revolution                             52

    First census of the United States                             38

    First circumnavigator of the globe                           166

    First Colonial Congress                                      117

    First duel in the United States                               13

    First English book                                           147

    First English child born in America                          147

    First English child born in New England                       27

    First flag of a republic set up in America                    80

    First gun of the Civil War                                    75

    First land discovered by Columbus                             21

    First legislative assembly in America                         74

    First martyr to American liberty                              59

    First national political convention                           87

    First national political platform                             88

    First paper-makers                                            46

    First post-offices                                            12

    First President nominated by national convention              87

    First purchaser of United States postage-stamps              159

    First temperance society                                     145

    First watches                                                168

    First white child born in America                            173

    First woman hung in the United States                        162

    Foul-weather Jack                                             81

    Floral emblem of the United States                           172

    Flying Dutchman, The                                          65

    Franklin’s oft-quoted epitaph                                 55

    French game-cock, The                                         95


    Gate of Tears, The                                           175

    Gems emblematic of the Twelve Apostles                       111

    General fired at fifteen times but unharmed                  164

    Goblets used as preservatives against poison                 157

    Golden number and how determined                             115

    Golomynka                                                     53

    Grandest funeral pageant ever known                           54

    Granite City, The                                            174

    Great American Commoner, The                                 100

    Ground Hog Day                                               105


    Hæmadynamometer                                                4

    Hagar’s well                                                  63

    Hairy men, The                                               115

    Handsome Englishman, The                                     164

    Heaviest metal                                               134

    Hebrew manner of naming the books of the Bible               138

    Height of Goliath                                            126

    Highest spot inhabited by human beings                       142

    Highest tides known                                           25

    History changed by a flight of birds                          20

    History of the poem “Sheridan’s Ride”                        109

    Holy Grail, The                                               80

    Horse Latitudes, The                                         148

    How all the greenbacks, etc., are destroyed                   96

    How Napoleon was paid for Louisiana                           80

    How the Red Sea gets its color                                46

    How the schooner obtained its name                            43

    How the swallow obtained its name                            176

    How to determine the years of a Congress                      39

    How umbrellas are put together                                17


    Indian chief made an English peer                             36

    Indians’ present to Penn’s widow                              71

    Indians with red hair and pale complexions                     7

    Inventor of decimal fractions                                107

    Inventor of the first steamboat                              139

    Inventor of the most perfect alphabet                         53

    Irish Night, The                                              67

    Iron Duke, The                                               148

    Island discovered by two lovers                               10

    Island of St. Brandon                                        148

    Island of the Seven Cities                                   149

    Ivan Ivanovitch                                              131


    Japanese national beverage                                    37

    Jersey blues, The                                             93

    Jewish year corresponding to 1886 A. D.                       49

    John Bull                                                    132

    Johnny Crapaud                                               130

    John of Gaunt                                                122


    Keystone State, The                                           67

    King who boasted of being a good cook                         10

    King who said “I am the state”                                60

    King who wrote an essay against tobacco                      173

    Kitchen Cabinet, The                                          52

    Kosciusko’s mound                                             97


    Lalla Rookh                                                  151

    Land of Steady Habits, The                                   151

    Land of the Incas, The                                       138

    Land of the Midnight Sun, The                                 77

    Land of the Rising Sun, The                                   77

    Largest clock in the world                                    11

    Largest locomotive in the world                              146

    Largest stationary engine in the world                        55

    Last Union general killed in the Rebellion                    73

    Last words of Benedict Arnold                                 92

    Last words of Columbus                                       101

    Last writing of Columbus                                     102

    Learned tailor, The                                           62

    Left-handed marriage                                           1

    Lightest metal                                               135

    Light-horse Harry                                             95

    Little Giant, The                                             54

    Little Magician, The                                          72

    Little Paris                                                  16

    Longest word in the English language                         111

    Lumber State, The                                            151

    Luz                                                          152


    Maiden town, The                                             155

    Maid of Saragossa, The                                        68

    Man of Destiny, The                                           57

    Martha Washington                                            125

    Meaning of the phrase “By hook or by crook”                  158

    Meaning of the phrase “By Jingo”                             113

    Meaning of the phrase “Fitting to a T”                       129

    Metals valued at over one thousand dollars a pound           173

    Mill-boy of the Slashes, The                                  43

    Mistress of the World, The                                    35

    Modern Athens, The                                           106

    Mollusk that swims by fins on the side of its neck             2

    Money of North American Indians                               42

    Most deadly epidemic ever known                               31

    Most famous heroine of antiquity                              98

    Most useful conquest ever made by man                         52

    Most useful tree in the world                                 73

    Mother Goose                                                  60

    Mother of Cities, The                                          9

    Mourning colors of various nations                            34


    Name of the penitent thief                                    50

    National emblematic flower of China and Japan                139

    National hymn composed in a single night                      32

    Nearest approach made to the North Pole                       77

    Newspaper called “The Thunderer”                              57

    Newton of Antiquity, The                                     172

    Nimrod of the Bible, The                                      75

    Nine Worthies, The                                            41

    Northeast Passage discovered                                 156

    Northwest Passage discovered                                  26

    Number of languages                                           29

    Number of people brought over in the “Mayflower”              76


    Oath of office administered to Washington                     35

    O Grab Me Act, The                                            61

    Old Bullion                                                   13

    Oldest President                                              90

    Oldest street in New England                                 155

    Old Hickory                                                   42

    Old Nick                                                     113

    Old Public Functionary                                        94

    Old Scratch                                                  135

    Only bird that can see an object with both eyes at once        6

    Only canonized saint of American birth                        74

    Only monarchy on the Western Continent                        96

    Order of the Garter                                           39

    Origin of “April Fool”                                       128

    Origin of “Before one could say Jack Robinson”                69

    Origin of “bigot”                                            164

    Origin of “bogus”                                            112

    Origin of “Brother Jonathan”                                  36

    Origin of “catch-penny”                                       58

    Origin of “getting into a scrape”                            129

    Origin of “halcyon days”                                      50

    Origin of “honeymoon”                                         43

    Origin of “humbug”                                           108

    Origin of “I acknowledge the corn”                            18

    Origin of “Johnnies”                                         176

    Origin of “Lynch Law”                                         67

    Origin of “Mugwump”                                          177

    Origin of “Old Harry”                                        106

    Origin of “pin-money”                                         56

    Origin of “printer’s devil”                                   44

    Origin of “quiz”                                              68

    Origin of “sardonic smile”                                   166

    Origin of “Simon Pure”                                       154

    Origin of “tariff”                                            57

    Origin of tarring and feathering                             112

    Origin of Thanksgiving Day                                   114

    Origin of “That’s a feather in your cap”                     161

    Origin of the barber’s pole                                  126

    Origin of the minute and second                               15

    Origin of the names of the days of the week                   48

    Origin of the names of the months                             47

    Origin of the names of the oceans                            143

    Origin of “The three R’s”                                     16

    Origin of the word “Mississippi”                              61

    Origin of “To catch a Tartar”                                154

    Origin of “To haul over the coals”                           155

    Origin of “To have a bone to pick with one”                  157

    Origin of “To row up Salt River”                             145

    Origin of “To speak for Buncombe”                            120

    Origin of “To throw dust in one’s eye”                       157

    Origin of Uncle Sam                                           16

    Origin of “Whig” and “Tory”                                  106

    Origin of $                                                  156


    Palace containing five hundred rooms                          52

    Parents of Columbus                                          100

    Parthenopean Republic, The                                    47

    Patriot Preacher of the Revolution, The                       24

    Peeping Tom of Coventry                                      132

    Petrified City, The                                          161

    Philosopher who thought the sun was a huge fiery stone       175

    Physiologist who thought man should live a century            29

    Pine-Tree State, The                                          15

    Pocahontas’ real name                                         35

    Poet noted for his thinness                                   92

    Poet’s death caused by his bald head                          26

    Porkopolis                                                   148

    Postal cards                                                  78

    Pouter pigeon                                                 92

    Prairie State, The                                           135

    President buried at the expense of his friends               121

    Presidential administration compared to a parenthesis        137

    Presidential election in which three States did not vote      34

    Presidents born in Virginia                                   96

    President twice married to the same lady                     121

    President who never attended school                           79

    President who worked on a ferry-boat                          78

    President who wrote his own epitaph                           87

    Prince of Destruction, The                                   151

    Proper name of Columbus                                      100

    Punishment of bachelors at Sparta                             71

    Putnam and the wolf                                           78


    Quaker Poet, The                                             171

    Queen of Hearts, The                                         152

    Queen of Tears, The                                           33


    Railroad City, The                                           124

    Rail-splitter, The                                            69

    Rare Ben                                                     113

    Red Prince, The                                              123

    Religious sect that depend on prayer                          51

    Remarkable Esquimaux stratagem                                20

    Roundheads, The                                              153


    Sacred writings of the Buddhists                              83

    Sacred writings of the Chinese                                83

    Sacred writings of the Hindoos                                85

    Sacred writings of the Japanese                               86

    Sacred writings of the Mohammedans                            86

    Sacred writings of the Persians                               85

    Sacred writings of the Scandinavians                          84

    Sage Brush State, The                                        124

    Sage of Monticello, The                                      170

    Sailor king, The                                             176

    Samian letter, The                                           177

    Scourge of God, The                                          158

    Sect believing in one hundred and thirty-six hells            82

    Seed supposed to confer invisibility                          10

    Seven against Thebes, The                                    169

    Seven Bibles of the world, The                                86

    Seven Champions of Christendom, The                           45

    Seven Sleepers, The                                           44

    Seven Wise Men of Greece, The                                 45

    Seven Wonders of the ancient world, The                       45

    Shadeless forests                                             97

    Shakespeare of India, The                                      5

    Socrates’ fundamental doctrine                                51

    Sovereign who owns the greater part of his realm               9

    State called “The Dark and Bloody Ground”                     89

    “Stonewall” Jackson’s sobriquet                              136

    St. Tammany                                                   69

    Sucker State, The                                            103

    Symmes’ Hole                                                 171


    Taffy                                                        131

    Tallest trees in the world                                    98

    Tam O’Shanter                                                 93

    Terms of the treaty of 1783                                  117

    Three kings of Cologne, The                                  142

    Title of the Czar of Russia                                  119

    Town in Vermont captured by the Confederates                   1

    Tree regarded as an emblem of death                           11

    Trivial incident that led to a grand discovery                 6

    Turpentine State, The                                        136

    Two consecutive Bible verses that contradict                 175


    Unconditional Surrender                                      167

    Underground river in the United States                        58


    Value of a pound of hair-springs for watches                   4

    Veiled Prophet, The                                            7

    Via Dolorosa                                                 135

    Vice-President not elected by the people                      38

    Vice-President who did not serve                              38

    Vinegar Bible, The                                           130

    Violet stones                                                 36


    Wagoner Boy, The                                              64

    War of the Roses, The                                        155

    Water volcano, The                                            62

    Wealthiest President                                          93

    Well-known hymn composed in a few minutes                    129

    What the Indians did to raise ammunition                      75

    What the Indians supposed the ships of Columbus to be         79

    When a gallon of vinegar weighs more                          35

    Whence the cravat obtains its name                           147

    Where the Declaration of Independence was written            115

    Where the different Presidents were nominated                 88

    White Lady, The                                               28

    Who ate Roger Williams?                                       70

    Whose daughter was Noah?                                     115

    Whose wife was Adam?                                         114

    Why a dog turns round before he lies down                     46

    Why buckwheat is so called                                   112

    Why John Quincy Adams was so named                            90

    Why New Jersey is called a foreign country                   123

    Why New Jersey is called Spain                               153

    Why people move on March 25                                  150

    Why Presidents are inaugurated on the 4th of March            56

    Why the Baldwin apple is so called                           161

    Why the “Hoosiers” are so called                             160

    Why the passion flower is so called                          160

    Why the shamrock is the emblem of Ireland                    127

    Why the White House is so called                             132

    Wicked Bible, The                                             46

    Wife of Columbus                                             100

    Words containing all the vowels in order                      73


    Youngest President                                            81

    Youngest Territory                                           127


    Zopyrus                                                      175


1. What town in Vermont was taken by the Confederates during the late
Civil War?

On the 19th of October, 1864, between twenty and thirty armed
Confederates left Canada, entered St. Albans, Vermont, robbed the
banks, stole horses and stores, fired and killed one man, wounded
others, and returned to Canada. Thirteen were arrested Oct. 21, but
they were discharged on account of some legal difficulty by Judge
Coursol, Dec. 14. This raid caused great excitement in the United
States; Gen. Dix proclaimed reprisals; volunteers were called out to
defend the Canadian frontiers; but President Lincoln rescinded Dix’s
proclamation in December. The raiders were all discharged March 30,
1865, and Secretary Seward gave up claim to their extradition in April.

2. What is a “left-handed” marriage?

A morganatic or left-handed marriage, as it is sometimes called, is
a lower sort of matrimonial union, which, as a civil engagement,
is completely binding, but fails to confer on the wife the title
or fortune of her husband, and on the children the full status of
legitimacy or right of succession. The members of the German princely
houses have for centuries been in the practice of entering into
marriages of this kind with their inferiors in rank. Out of this
usage has gradually sprung a code of matrimonial law, by which the
union of princes with persons of lower rank, in other than morganatic
form, involves serious consequences, especially toward the lady. The
penalty of death was actually enforced in the case of the beautiful and
unfortunate Agnes Bernaur. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a
fashion began among the German princes of taking a morganatic wife in
addition to one who enjoyed the complete matrimonial status,--Landgrave
Philip of Hesse setting the example, with a very qualified
disapprobation on the part of the leading reformers. An energetic
attempt was made in the first half of the last century by Anton
Ulrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, to upset the established practice, and
to obtain for his morganatic wife the rank of duchess, and for her
children the right of succession. The most recent morganatic marriage
was that of the late Czar of Russia, Alexander II., to the Princess
Dolgorouki, 1880.

3. What mollusk has a distinct head, and swims by fins attached to the
side of the neck?

This is the Gymnosomata (Greek, “naked-bodied”), an order of
pteropodous mollusks, destitute of shell. They constitute one family,
the Cliidæ. They are all marine; and the right whale feeds largely
upon some of the species, engulfing great numbers in its open mouth,
and straining them from the water by means of its baleen. The _Clio
borealis_ of the Arctic Seas is the best known and most interesting

4. What substance was once a vegetable, but is now a mineral; was once
valued as a medicine, but is now used only for purposes of ornament?

Amber is the fossilized resinous exudation from several species of
extinct coniferous trees, of which one, the _Pinites succinifer_,
is supposed to have produced a greater part. It now appears like
coal, in connection with beds of which it is usually found, as a
product of the mineral kingdom. It formerly had a high reputation
as a medicine, but the virtues ascribed to it were almost entirely
imaginary. It is usually of a pale yellow color, sometimes reddish
or brownish, sometimes transparent, sometimes almost opaque. It is
now extensively used for ornaments, and especially for mouthpieces
of pipes, the consumption being greatest in Eastern Europe, Turkey,
Persia, etc. Fine pieces are worth more than their weight in gold.
The largest mass known is in the Royal Cabinet at Berlin; its weight
is eighteen pounds, and it is valued at $30,000. Most of the amber of
commerce is obtained from the shores of the Baltic, between Königsberg
and Memel. It was an article of exchange long anterior to the dawn of
history, as we know by its frequent occurrence in the remains of the
lake dwellings of Switzerland. The earliest notice of amber we find
occurs in Homer’s “Odyssey,” where, in the list of jewels offered by
the Phœnicians to the Queen of Syria, occurs “the gold necklace hung
with bits of amber” (Od., XV. 460). It becomes negatively electric by
friction, and possesses this property in a high degree, which, indeed,
was first observed in it, and the term “electricity” is derived from
_Elektron_, the Greek name of amber.

5. How did the ancients account for the origin of amber?

Among the Greek fables purporting to account for the origin of amber,
it is narrated that the Heliadæ, on seeing their brother, Phaëthon,
hurled by the lightning of Zeus (Jupiter) into the Eridanus, were by
the pitying gods transformed into poplar-trees, and the tears they
shed were dropped as amber on the shores of the river. A less poetical
theory of its origin states that it was formed from the condensed urine
of the lynx inhabitating Northern Italy, the pale varieties being
produced by the females, while the deeper tints were attributed to the

6. What is the value of a pound of steel when made into hair-springs
for watches?

A pound of steel that costs but a few cents becomes worth $128,000 in
the shape of hair-springs for watches.

7. Who devised the instrument for determining the pressure of the blood
in the arteries and veins of the living body?

The Hæmadynamometer (from the Greek αἶμα, blood, δύναμις, force,
and μέτρον, a measure) was devised for this purpose by Poisseville.
The pressure of the blood is measured, as in the barometer, by the
column of mercury that it balances. The instrument has recently been
improved in various ways, and a contrivance has been added by which the
oscillations of the mercury are inscribed in the form of an undulating
curve on a cylinder made to revolve by clock-work; the height of the
undulations denoting the pressure, and their horizontal amplitude the

8. What ancient city perished through silence?

Amyclæ, an ancient town of Laconia, situated on the eastern bank of
the Eurotas, was a famous city in the heroic age. It was the abode
of Tyndarus and his spouse Leda, of Castor and Pollux, who are hence
called the “Amyclæan Brothers.” It was only shortly before the first
Messenian War (743–724 B. C.) that the town was conquered by the
Spartan King Teleclus. The inhabitants had been so often alarmed by
false reports of the approach of the Spartans that, growing tired of
living in a state of continual alarm, they decreed that no one should
henceforth mention or even take notice of these disagreeable fictions;
and, accordingly, when the Spartans at last came, no one dared to
announce their approach. Hence arose the Greek saying, “Amyclæ perished
through silence,” and also the Latin proverb, “_Amyclis ipsis
taciturnior_” (More silent than even Amyclæ).

9. What dramatic poet has been called the “Shakespeare of India”?

Kalidasa was the greatest dramatic poet of India. His drama,
“Sakuntala,” translated by Sir William Jones, 1789, produced a great
sensation in Europe. He is noted for the variety of his creations, his
ingenious conceptions, beauty of narrative, delicacy of sentiment, and
fertility of imagination; hence the sobriquet.

10. What trivial incident in 1666 led to one of the grandest
discoveries ever made?

It was during this year that the celebrated philosopher, Sir Isaac
Newton, while sitting beneath an apple-tree in his mother’s orchard at
Woolsthorpe, England, conceived the idea of gravitation from seeing an
apple fall from the tree. This tree remained standing until the year
1814, when it was blown down. The wood of it was preserved and made
into various articles. Several trees still exist which were raised from
the seeds of its fruit.

11. Which is the only bird that can use both eyes at once in looking at
an object?

This bird is the owl. Its eyes are very large, directed forward, more
or less surrounded by a disk of radiating bristly feathers, and in
most of the species formed for seeing in the twilight or at night,
presenting a vacant stare when exposed to daylight. The Greeks and
Romans made it the emblem of wisdom, and sacred to Minerva, and,
indeed, its large head and solemn eyes give it an air of wisdom which
its brain does not sanction.

12. What bird has neither tail nor wings?

The Apteryx (Greek α, privative, πτέρυξ, wing) is a bird allied to the
ostrich and emu. It is found in New Zealand, particularly in regions
covered with extensive and thick beds of fern, in which it hides
when alarmed. It is called _kiwi-kiwi_ by the natives. It has
a very long and slender bill, of which it makes a remarkable use in
supporting itself when it rests. The natives pursue it for its skin,
which is very tough and flexible, and much prized by the chiefs for the
manufacture of their state mantles. Happy is the Maori who possesses a
cloak of _kiwi-kiwi_ feathers.

13. What race of Indians, still unconquered, is supposed to have red
hair and pale complexions?

The Guatuso Indians, a race of the Aztec family. They dwell along the
banks and head-waters of the Rio Frio, which flows into Lake Nicaragua.
Their country has never been penetrated. The attempts made by the
Catholic missionaries and the governors of Nicaragua to reach them,
though often renewed, have always been repulsed.

14. Who was the “Veiled Prophet”?

Hakim Ben Allah, or Ben Hashem, the founder of an Arabic sect in the
eighth century, during the reign of Mahadi, the third Abassidian
caliph, at Neksheb, or Meru in Khorassan, was surnamed Mokanna, or
“the veiled prophet.” He was so called on account of his constantly
wearing a veil of silver, or, according to others, of golden gauze.
Some writers attribute this habit to a desire to conceal a deformity,
one of his eyes having been pierced by an arrow, others to the desire
to conceal his extraordinary ugliness. His own explanation, which
was believed by his followers, was that the veil was necessary to
shroud from the eyes of the beholder the dazzling rays emanating
from his divine countenance. Hakim set himself up as a god. He had
first, he said, assumed the body of Adam, then that of Noah, and
subsequently those of many other wise and great men. The last human
form he pretended to have adopted was that of Abu Moslem, a prince
of Khorassan. He appears to have been well versed in the arts of
legerdemain and “natural magic,” principally as regards producing
startling effects of light and color. Among other miracles, he, for
a whole week, to the great delight and bewilderment of his soldiers,
caused a moon or moons to issue from a deep well; and so brilliant
was the appearance of these luminaries, that the real moon quite
disappeared by their side. On this account he was sometimes called
Sagende Nah, or the “Moon-maker.” When the Sultan Mahadi had, after
a long siege, taken the last stronghold in which Hakim had fortified
himself, he, having first poisoned all his soldiers at a banquet, threw
himself into a vessel filled with a burning acid of such a nature that
his body was entirely dissolved, and nothing remained but a few hairs.
This was done that the faithful might believe him to have ascended
to heaven alive. Some remnants of his sect still exist. Hakim has
furnished the subject of many romances, of which the one contained in
Moore’s “Lalla Rookh” is the most brilliant and best known.

15. What were supposed to be the “fiery serpents” which attacked the
Israelites in the desert?

It has been argued with great plausibility that they were in reality
Guinea or Medina worms (_Filaria medinensis_), a parasite that
inhabits the flesh of men and other animals, and that seems to have
been known from the earliest times. It is from six inches to four feet
in length, and about one ninth of an inch in diameter. It is found in
many parts of Africa, India, Sumatra, Persia, Arabia, and the island
of Curaçoa. It is believed to enter the flesh through the skin, and as
many as fifty have been reported in a single person. In some cases they
cause much pain and inconvenience; in others, none. Death has sometimes
resulted from them.

16. What sovereign owns the greater part of the territory over which he

At least three different rulers can claim this distinction. Prince
Heinrich XXII., present sovereign of the Principality of Reuss-Greiz,
has no civil list. He is very wealthy, and the greater part of the
territory over which he reigns is his own private property.

Prince Heinrich XIV. is the present sovereign of the Principality of
Reuss-Schleiz, of which the greater part is the private property of the
reigning family.

Friedrich Wilhelm I., present Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, is
one of the wealthiest of German sovereigns, more than half of the Grand
Duchy being his own property.

17. What Oriental town is called the “Mother of Cities”?

Mecca, one of the oldest towns of Arabia, the capital of the province
of Hedjaz, and, through being the birthplace of Mohammed, the central
and most holy city of all Islam, is, on this account, called by the
Arabs _Om Al Kora_, the “Mother of Cities.”

This title is also given by the native population to Balkh, in Central
Asia, formerly a great city, but now for the most part a mass of
ruins. This is a city of great antiquity, and was at an early date a
rival of Nineveh and Babylon.

18. What seed was supposed to render its possessor invisible, and why?

Plants were once thought to impart their own characteristics to the
wearer. Thus the herb-dragon was thought to cure the bite of serpents;
wood-sorrel, which has a heart-shaped leaf, to cheer the heart;
liver-wort, to benefit the liver, etc. Certain kinds of ferns have
seeds so minute as to be invisible to the naked eye, and, carried about
the person, were supposed to confer invisibility. Shakespeare says, “We
have the receipt of fern-seed; we walk invisible.” (1 Henry IV., Act
II., 1.)

19. What king prided himself on being the best cook in his country?

Louis XV. (1710–1774), the grandson of Louis XIV., is said to have
boasted of being the best cook in France, and to have been much pleased
when the courtiers ate eagerly of the dishes which he had prepared.

20. What island was discovered by two lovers?

There is a story to the effect that two lovers, Robert Machim and Anna
d’Arfet, fleeing from England to France in 1346, were driven out of
their course by a violent storm, and cast on the coast of Madeira at
the place subsequently named Machico, in memory of one of them. The
truth of this romantic story has recently been demonstrated by Mr.

21. Where is the “Fat Man’s Misery”?

This is a narrow serpentine path in the Mammoth Cave. The walls, only
eighteen inches apart, change direction eight times in one hundred
and five yards, while the distance from the sandy path to the ledge
overhead is but five feet.

22. What tree is regarded as an emblem of death?

The cypress has been so used for centuries, from the sombre aspect
of its dark green leaves, and from the fact that when once cut down
it never grows again. In ancient times cypress logs were placed on
funeral piles; probably on account of both their emblematic use and the
aromatic odor, emitted by the burning wood, which would counteract any
smell arising from the burning body.

23. Where is the largest clock in the world?

In the English House of Parliament. The four dials of this clock are
twenty-two feet in diameter. Every half-minute the minute-hand moves
nearly seven inches. The clock will go eight and one half days, but
will strike for only seven and one half days, thus indicating any
neglect in winding it up. The winding up of the striking apparatus
takes two hours. The pendulum is fifteen feet long; the wheels are
cast iron; the hour bell is eight feet high and nine feet in diameter,
weighing nearly fifteen tons, and the hammer alone weighs more than
five hundred pounds. This clock strikes the quarter-hours. Its pendulum
beats every two seconds. The motion is kept up by a remontoir, or
gravity escapement.

24. When were post-offices first established?

The first letter post was established in the Hanse towns in the early
part of the thirteenth century. A line of letter posts followed,
connecting Austria with Lombardy, in the reign of the Emperor
Maximilian, which are said to have been organized by the princes of
Thurn and Taxis; and the representatives of the same house established
another line of posts from Vienna to Brussels, the most distant parts
of the dominions of Charles V. This family continue to the present day
to hold certain rights with regard to the German postal system, their
posts being entirely distinct from those established by the crown,
and sometimes in rivalry with them. In England, in early times, both
public and private letters were sent by messengers, who, in the reign
of Henry III., wore the royal livery. They had to provide themselves
with horses until the reign of Edward I., when posts were established
where horses were to be had for hire. Edward IV., when engaged in war
with Scotland, had dispatches conveyed to his camp with great speed, by
means of a system of relays of horses, which, however, fell into disuse
on the restoration of peace. Camden mentions the office of “master of
the postes” as existing in 1581, but the duties of that officer were
probably connected exclusively with the supply of post horses. The
posts were meant for the conveyance of government dispatches alone,
and it was only by degrees that permission was extended to private
individuals to make use of them. A foreign post for the conveyance of
letters between London and the Continent seems to have been established
by foreign merchants in the fifteenth century; and certain disputes
which arose between the Flemings and the Italians regarding the right
of appointing a postmaster, and were referred to the privy council,
led to the institution of a “chief postmaster,” who should have charge
both of the English and foreign post. The American post-office is one
of our earliest institutions, and was provided for by legislation in
Massachusetts in 1639, and in Virginia in 1657. A monthly post between
New York and Boston was established in 1672.

25. Who was “Old Bullion”?

This sobriquet was conferred on Col. Thomas Hart Benton (1782–1852),
a distinguished American statesman, on account of his advocacy of
the gold and silver currency as a true remedy for the financial
embarrassments in which the United States was involved after the
expiration of the charter of the national bank, and as the only proper
medium for government disbursements and receipts.

26. When, where, and between whom was the first duel fought in the
United States?

The first duel in the United States was at Plymouth, Mass., on June
18, 1621, between Edward Doty and Edward Leicester, two servants, both
of whom were wounded. For this outrage they were sentenced to the
punishment of having their heads and feet tied together, and of lying
thus twenty-four hours without food or drink. After suffering, however,
in that posture an hour, at their master’s intercession and their
humble request, with the promise of amendment, they were released by
the governor.

27. How is the northern boundary line of the United States marked?

The northern boundary line of this country is marked by stone cairns,
iron pillars, wood pillars, earth mounds, and timber posts. A stone
cairn is seven and a half feet by eight feet; an earth mound seven
feet by fourteen feet; an iron pillar seven feet high, eight inches
square at the bottom, and four inches at the top; timber posts five
feet high and eight inches square. There are three hundred and
eighty-five of these marks between the Lake of the Woods and the base
of the Rocky Mountains. That portion of the boundary which lies east
and west of the Red River Valley is marked by cast-iron pillars at
even mile intervals. The British place one every two miles, and the
United States one between each British post. Our pillars or markers
were made at Detroit, Mich. They are hollow iron castings, three
eighths of an inch in thickness, in the form of a truncated pyramid,
eight feet high, eight inches square at the bottom, and four at the
top, as before stated. They have at the top a solid pyramidal cap,
and at the bottom an octagonal flange one inch in thickness. Upon the
opposite faces are cast, in letters two inches high, the inscriptions,
“Convention of London,” and “October 20th, 1818.” The inscriptions
begin about four feet six inches above the base and read upwards. The
interiors of the hollow posts are filled with well-seasoned cedar
posts, sawed to fit, and securely spiked through spike holes cast in
the pillars for that purpose. The average weight of each pillar when
completed is eighty-five pounds. The pillars are all set four feet
in the ground, with their inscription faces to the north and south,
and the earth is well settled and stamped about them. For the wooden
posts well-seasoned logs are selected, and the portion above the ground
painted red, to prevent swelling and shrinking. These posts do very
well, but the Indians cut them down for fuel, and nothing but iron
will last very long. Where the line crosses lakes, mountains of stone
have been built, the bases being in some places eighteen feet under
water, and the tops projecting eight feet above the lake’s surface at
high-water mark. In forests the line is marked by felling the timber a
rod wide, and clearing away the underbrush. The work of cutting through
the timbered swamps was very great, but it has been well done, and the
boundary distinctly marked by the commissioners the whole distance from
Michigan to Alaska.

28. What is the origin of the minute and second?

We have sixty divisions on the dials of our clocks and watches, because
the old Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, who lived in the second century
before Christ, accepted the Babylonian system of reckoning time, that
system being sexagesimal. The Babylonians were acquainted with the
decimal system, but for common or practical purposes they counted by
_sossi_ and _sari_, the _sossos_ representing sixty, and
the _saros_ sixty times six,--thirty-six hundred. From Hipparchus
that mode of reckoning found its way into the works of Ptolemy about
150 A. D., and hence was carried down the stream of science and
civilization, and found its way to the dial plates of our clocks and

29. Which is the “Pine Tree State”?

Maine. The majestic mast pines which have given this State its
sobriquet are fast receding before the demands of commerce. This tree
is the heraldic emblem of the State.

30. What city is called “Little Paris”?

Milan, Italy, from its resemblance in point of gayety to the French

31. What was the origin of the term “Uncle Sam”?

This term came into use in the War of 1812, and was born at Troy, N.
Y. The government inspector there was Uncle Sam Wilson, and when the
war opened Elbert Anderson, the contractor at New York, bought a large
amount of beef, pork, and pickles for the army. These were inspected by
Wilson, and were duly labelled E. A.--U. S., meaning Elbert Anderson,
for the United States. The term U. S. for the United States was then
somewhat new, and the workmen concluded that they referred to Uncle
Sam Wilson. After they discovered their mistake, they kept up the name
as a joke. These same men soon went to the war. There they repeated
the joke. It got into print and went the rounds. From that time on the
term “Uncle Sam” was used facetiously for the United States, and it now
represents the nation.

32. What is the origin of the phrase “The Three R’s”?

It is said that this phrase was originated by Sir William Curtis, who
was Lord Mayor of London in 1795. A writer in _Notes and Queries_
says: “I remember an aged member of the corporation, now deceased,
asserting that Sir William Curtis, in the days when Dr. Bell and the
Quaker Lancaster were pleading on behalf of increased facilities for
the education of the poor, gave as a toast at a city dinner, ‘The three
R’s.’ My friend assured me that Sir William Curtis, although a man of
limited education, was very shrewd, and not so ignorant as to suppose
his presumed orthography was correct. He chose the phrase in the above
form purely for a jocular reason.”

33. How is an umbrella put together?

The first thing to be done is to prepare the stick to receive the
cover. The two springs are first put in, one at the top to hold the
umbrella open, and one at the bottom to keep it closed. The slots in
which the springs are put are cut by a machine. This is a very delicate
and dangerous operation, as, unless great care is taken, the man who
does it is liable to lose his fingers. After this is done another man
takes the stick, and with a knife prepares it to receive the spring.
The springs are then set, and the ferrule is put on at the top of the
stick. If the handle is of different material from the stick, it is now
fastened to it. All of the counters in the work-rooms are carpeted to
prevent the sticks from being scratched. After the handle is securely
fastened and a band put on to finish or ornament the stick, it is sent
to the frame-maker. He fastens the stretchers to the ribs, strings the
top end of the ribs on a wire, and fits into the “runner notch.” He
then strings the lower ends of the “stretchers” on a wire and fastens
with the “runner.” When both of the “runners” are securely fixed,
the umbrella is ready for the cover. The cutter lays his cloth very
smoothly on a long counter, folding it until the fabric is sixteen
layers deep and several yards long. The edges have been previously
hemmed on a sewing machine. When everything is ready, the cutter lays
on his pattern (this is usually made of wood tipped with brass), and
with a very sharp knife cuts along the sides of it, thus cutting two
covers at once. Every piece is then carefully examined, to see that
there is no bad place or hole in it. A man then carefully stretches
the edges, that it may fit the frame. The pieces are then stitched on
a sewing machine, in what is called a pudding-bag seam. The tension
is very carefully adjusted so that the thread will not break when the
cover is stretched over the frame. The cover is first fastened to the
frame at the top and bottom. The umbrella is then half raised, and
held in position by a small tool for that purpose, while the seams
are fastened to the ribs. When this is done, the tie is sewed on, the
cap is put on, and the umbrella is entirely put together. A woman
then takes it and presses the edges with a warm flat-iron. Afterward
another woman takes it and inspects it before a very strong light to
make sure that it is perfect. If it bears this inspection it is neatly
adjusted about the handle, the tie fastened, and it is then ready for a

34. What is the origin of the phrase “I acknowledge the corn”?

This phrase originated in the following manner: In 1828, Mr. Stewart,
a member of Congress, said in a speech that Ohio, Kentucky, and
Indiana sent their hay-stacks, corn-fields, and fodder to New York and
Philadelphia for sale. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, called him to order,
declaring that those States did not send hay-stacks, corn-fields, and
fodder to New York and Philadelphia for sale. “Well, what do you send?”
asked Mr. Stewart. “Why, horses, mules, cattle, and hogs.” “Well, what
makes your horses, mules, cattle, and hogs? You feed $100 worth of hay
to a horse. You just animate and get upon the top of your hay-stack and
ride off to market. How is it with your cattle? You make one of them
carry $50 worth of hay or grass to the Eastern market. How much corn
does it take, at thirty-three cents a bushel, to fatten a hog?” “Why,
thirty bushels.” “Then you put thirty bushels into the shape of a hog
and make it walk to the Eastern market.” Then Mr. Wickliffe jumped up
and said, “Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the corn.”

Another account of the origin of this phrase is as follows: Some
years ago, a raw customer, from the upper country, determined to try
his fortune at New Orleans. Accordingly he provided himself with two
flat-boats, one laden with corn and the other with potatoes, and down
the river he went. The night after his arrival he went up town to a
gambling-house. Of course he commenced betting, and his luck proving
unfortunate, he lost. When his money was gone, he bet his “truck”; and
the corn and potatoes followed the money. At last, when completely
cleaned out, he returned to his boats at the wharf, when the evidences
of a new misfortune presented themselves. Through some accident or
other, the flat-boat containing the corn was sunk, and a total loss.
Consoling himself as well as he could, he went to sleep, dreaming of
gamblers, potatoes, and corn. It was scarcely sunrise, however, when
he was disturbed by the “child of chance,” who had arrived to take
possession of the two boats as his winnings. Slowly awakening from his
sleep, our hero, rubbing his eyes and looking the man in the face,
replied, “Stranger, _I acknowledge the corn_,--take ’em; but the
potatoes you _can’t_ have, by thunder!”

35. How did a flight of birds change the history of America?

When Columbus sailed westward over the broad expanse of the unknown
waters of the Atlantic, he expected to reach Zipangu (Japan). Having
sailed westward from Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, for many days,
he grew uneasy at not having discovered Zipangu, which, according to
his reckoning, he should have met with two hundred and sixteen nautical
miles more to the east. After a long debate, he yielded to the opinion
of Martin Alonzo Pinzon, the commander of the _Pinta_, and steered
to the southwest. Pinzon was guided in his opinion by a flight of
parrots towards the southwest. The effect of this change in his course
curiously exemplifies the influence of small and apparently trivial
events on the world’s history. If Columbus, resisting the counsel of
Pinzon, had kept his original route, he would have entered the warm
current of the Gulf Stream, have reached Florida, and thence perhaps
have been carried to Cape Hatteras and Virginia. The result would
probably have been to give the present United States a Roman Catholic
Spanish population, instead of a Protestant English one, a circumstance
of immeasurable importance. “Never,” says Humboldt, “had the flight of
birds more important consequences. It may be said to have determined
the first settlements on the new continent, and its distribution
between the Latin and Germanic races.”

36. When did an American race have recourse to a stratagem similar to
the celebrated wooden horse of Troy?

In order to destroy the last settlement of the Northmen in Greenland,
“the savages,” says Dr. I. I. Hayes, the famous Arctic explorer, “had
recourse to a stratagem worthy to be compared with the celebrated
wooden horse of Troy.” Over an immense raft of boats, they constructed
an immense scaffolding, and covered it with white sealskins to make it
look like an iceberg. Filled with armed men, it floated down the fiord.
It was seen by the sentinels and other people of the settlement, but
was supposed by them to be nothing more than a harmless mass of ice,
till it was run aground near the church. Then the Esquimaux rushed out
of it, slaughtered the inhabitants, and destroyed the settlement.

37. Which was the first land discovered by Columbus?

The spot which he first reached was a small island, called by the
natives Guanahani, to which Columbus gave the name of San Salvador,
the Spanish for Holy Saviour. This was the island now known as Watling
Island, as was suggested by Muñoz in 1793, and proved by Mr. R. H.
Major in 1870, and not the island now called San Salvador.

38. With whom did the name America originate?

In a paper distinguished for great learning and able criticism,
Mr. Major has shown that the word “America” first appeared on the
_Mappe Monde_, drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, and he explains the
circumstances which led to its adoption. The first map known to exist
with the New World delineated upon it is that drawn by Juan de la
Cosa, the pilot of Columbus in his second voyage. This map is dated
1500. Juan de la Cosa was with Ojeda and Vespucci, and afterwards with
Ojeda in his last and ill-fated expedition. In May, 1507, just a year
after the death of Columbus, one Martin Waldseemuller (Hylacomulus)
wrote a book called _Cosmographiæ Introductio_, to which was
appended a Latin edition of the four voyages of Vespucci. In this book,
which was published at St. Dié in Lorraine, he proposed that the name
_America_ should be given to the New World. In 1508 the first
engraved map containing the New World appeared in an edition of Ptolemy
printed at Rome, but it does not bear the name of America. But in 1509
the name America, proposed by Hylacomulus in 1507, appears as if it was
already accepted as a well-known denomination, in an anonymous work
entitled _Globus Mundi_, published at Strasburg. The _Mappe
Monde_ of Leonardo da Vinci, to which Major assigns the date 1514,
has the name of America across the South American continent.

39. What was the ancient name of the “ring-finger”?

The fingers, as anciently known, are: thumb; toucher, foreman, or
pointer; long man, or long finger; lich-man, or ring-finger; little
man, or little finger. The Romans believed that a nerve ran through
the ring-finger to the heart. Both they and the Greeks called it the
medical finger, and used it for stirring their mixtures, believing that
nothing harmful could touch it without despatching a warning to the
heart. The notion is said still to exist in some parts of England that
salve must not be applied to the flesh or the skin scratched with any
but the ring-finger.

40. Who was “The Beautiful Parricide”?

Beatrice Cenci was so called. According to Muratori, her father,
Francesco, was twice married, Beatrice being his daughter by the first
wife. After his second marriage he treated the children of his first
wife in a revolting manner, and was even accused of hiring bandits
to murder two of his sons on their return from Spain. The beauty of
Beatrice inspired him with the horrible and incestuous desire to
possess her person; with mingled lust and hate, he persecuted her
from day to day, until circumstances enabled him to consummate his
brutality. The unfortunate girl besought the help of her relatives and
of Pope Clement VII., but did not receive it, whereupon, in company
with her step-mother and her brother, Giacomo, she planned and executed
the murder of her unnatural parent. The crime was discovered, and
both she and Giacomo were put to the torture. Giacomo confessed, but
Beatrice persisted in the declaration that she was innocent. All,
however, were condemned, and put to death August, 1599, in spite of
efforts made in their behalf.

41. What was the Diamond Necklace Affair?

This wonderful piece of jewelry, made by Boehmer, the court jeweller of
Paris, was intended for Madame du Barry, the favorite of Louis XV. On
the death of the monarch, however, she was excluded from court, and the
bawble was left on the jeweller’s hands. Its immense value, 1,800,000
livres ($400,000), precluded any one from becoming its purchaser,
but in 1785 Boehmer offered it to Marie Antoinette for $320,000, a
considerable reduction. The queen much desired the necklace, but was
deterred from its purchase by the great expense. Learning this, the
Countess de la Motte forged the queen’s signature, and, by pretending
that her Majesty had an attachment for the Cardinal de Rohan, the
queen’s almoner, persuaded him to conclude a bargain with the jeweller
for $280,000. De la Motte thus obtained possession of the necklace and
made off with it. For this she was tried in 1786 and sentenced to be
branded on both shoulders and imprisoned for life, but she subsequently
escaped and fled to London. The cardinal was tried and acquitted the
same year. The French public at that time believed that the queen was
a party to the fraud, but no conclusive evidence was ever adduced to
support the charge. Talleyrand wrote at the time, “I shall not be
surprised if this miserable affair overturn the throne.” His prediction
was, to a great extent, fulfilled.

42. Who was the “Patriot Preacher of the Revolution”?

The Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (1746–1807) has been so termed.
He was educated at Halle, ordained to the ministry in England, and
in 1772 became Lutheran minister of Woodstock, Va. He soon became a
leading spirit among those opposed to British oppression. His last
sermon was upon the duty men owe to their country. In concluding, he
said: “There is a time for all things, a time to preach and (with a
voice that echoed like a trumpet blast through the church) a time to
fight, and now is the time to fight.” Then, laying aside his sacerdotal
gown, he stood before his flock in the full regimental dress of a
Virginia colonel. He ordered the drums to be beaten at the church door
for recruits; and almost his entire male audience, capable of bearing
arms, joined his standard. Nearly three hundred men enlisted under his
banner on that day. The scene has been described in verse by Thomas
Buchanan Read in the “Wagoner of the Alleghanies.” In February, 1777,
Congress promoted Muhlenberg to the rank of brigadier-general; and at
the close of the war he was made a major-general.

43. When does Easter come?

The Council of Nice (325 A. D.) authoritatively declared for the whole
Church, Easter to be always the first Sunday after the full moon which
occurs on or next after March 21; and if the full moon happen on a
Sunday, Easter is to be the Sunday following.

44. Where are the highest tides found?

The high tides that rise in the Bay of Fundy are one of the wonders
of the world. The funnel-shaped and rapidly narrowing entrance to the
bay enables a disproportionally long tidal wave to enter, and as it
becomes narrower and shallower the height necessarily increases. The
tide, which at the entrance is eighteen feet, rushes with great fury
up the bay, and swells to the enormous height of sixty feet, and even
to seventy feet in the highest spring tides. With such velocity does
it rush up the constantly narrowing bay, that hogs and other animals
feeding along the shore are frequently overtaken by it.

45. In what country are nearly all of the clergymen blacksmiths?

The clergymen of Iceland are so miserably paid that they are generally
obliged to do the hardest work of day laborers to preserve their
families from starving. Besides making hay and tending cattle, they
are all blacksmiths from necessity, and the best horse-shoers on the
island. The feet of an Iceland horse would be cut to pieces over the
sharp rocks and lava if not well shod. The church is the great resort
of the peasantry; and should any of the numerous horses have lost a
shoe, or be likely to do so, the clergyman dons his apron, lights
his little charcoal fire in his smithy, one of which is attached to
every parsonage, and sets the animal on its legs again. The task of
getting the charcoal is not the least of his labors, for whatever the
distance may be to the nearest thicket of dwarf birch, he must go
thither to burn the wood, and bring it home when charred. His hut is
scarcely better than that of the meanest fisherman; a bed, a rickety
table, a few chairs, and a chest or two are all his furniture. This
is, as long as he lives, the condition of the Icelandic clergyman, and
learning, virtue, and even genius are but too frequently buried under
this squalid poverty. In no Christian country, perhaps with the sole
exception of Lapland, are the clergy so poor as in Iceland, but in none
do they exert a more beneficial influence.

46. What noted poet’s bald head caused his death?

The ancient writers are unanimous in regard to the manner of the death
of Æschylus (525–456 B. C.), the father of the Greek tragic drama. An
eagle, say they, mistaking the poet’s bald head for a stone, let a
tortoise fall upon it to break the shell, and so fulfilled an oracle,
according to which Æschylus was fated to die by a blow from heaven.

47. Who discovered the Northwest Passage?

In 1850 an expedition was sent out from England under the command of
Sir Robert John Le Mesurier McClure, to whom belongs the honor of the
discovery of this long-sought passage. Having passed through Behring’s
Strait in August of this year, McClure’s ship, the _Investigator_,
was ice-bound in the middle of October. A land party from the ship
discovered the Northwest Passage, Oct. 26, from Mount Observation,
latitude 73 degrees 30 minutes 39 seconds north; longitude 114
degrees 39 minutes west. After this discovery the party returned to
the _Investigator_; but that vessel was not destined herself to
sail homeward through the passage discovered by her commander. Three
winters were spent in the ice; but in April, 1853, a relief party on
board of H. M. S. _Resolute_ appeared, having discovered McClure’s
whereabouts by means of a cairn left by him in Winter Harbor. Commander
McClure now resolved to abandon his ship altogether. He reached England
on Sept. 28, 1854. His first reward was to receive his commission of
post-captain, dated back to the day of the discovery of the Northwest
Passage. Shortly afterward he received from her Majesty the honors of
knighthood, and a reward of £5,000 was voted him by Parliament. Both
the English and French geographical societies gave him a gold medal.
A reward of £10,000 was also granted to the officers and crew of the
_Investigator_, as a token of national approbation of the men who
had discovered a Northwest Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic

48. Who was the first child born of English parents in New England?

Peregrine White, son of William White and of his wife Susanna, the
first child born of English parents in New England, was born on board
the _Mayflower_ in the harbor of Cape Cod, Nov. 20, 1620. He died
at Marshfield in 1704.

49. Who was the “White Lady”?

A being who, according to popular legend, appears in many of the
castles of German princes and nobles, by night as well as by day, when
any important event, whether joyful or sad, but particularly when the
death of any member of the family is imminent. She is regarded as the
ancestress of the race, shows herself always in snow-white garments,
carries a bunch of keys at her side, and sometimes rocks and watches
over the children at night when their nurses sleep. The earliest
appearance of this apparition spoken of was in the sixteenth century,
and was famous under the name of Bertha of Rosenberg (in Bohemia). In
the castle of Berlin she is said to have been seen in 1628, and again
in 1840 and 1850.

50. In what cities are there no elections held?

Washington and Georgetown, D. C. By the law of 1874 these
municipalities were abolished, and the elective franchise suppressed
throughout the District of Columbia. The district is under the control
of Congress, but has no representatives; and its municipal affairs are
regulated by three commissioners appointed by the President and Senate.

51. Which is the “City of the Red Staff”?

Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is said that when the place was first
settled, there was growing on the spot a cypress (the bark of which
tree is of a reddish color) of immense size and prodigious height,
entirely free from branches, except at its very top. One of the
settlers playfully remarked that this tree would make a handsome cane;
whence the place has since been called Baton Rouge, that is, “red

52. How many languages are there?

The various languages, dialects, etc., ancient and modern, are
estimated to be 3,064. They are distributed as follows: Asiatic, 937;
European, 587; African, 276; American, 1,264.

53. What noted physiologist estimated one hundred years as man’s normal
term of life?

Marie Jean Pierre Flourens (1794–1867), the celebrated French
physiologist, asserts, in one of his numerous publications, that
the normal period of man’s life is one century. It is, he argues, a
fact in natural history, that the length of each animal’s life is in
exact proportion to the period the animal takes in growing. Monsieur
Flourens has ascertained this period, and based upon it the theory that
it depends on “the union of the bones to their epiphyses. As long,”
he observes, “as the bones are not united to their epiphyses, the
animal grows; as soon as the bones are united to their epiphyses, the
animal ceases to grow.” Now, in man, according to this philosopher,
the union of the bones and the epiphyses takes place at the age
of twenty, and that, as among all animals, life is or should be
prolonged to five times the period they take in attaining their full
growth, the normal duration of the life of man is consequently one
century. Applied to domestic animals, this theory appears to be fully
verified. In the camel, the union of the bones with the epiphyses
takes place at eight years of age, and the animal lives to be forty,
in the horse, at five years, and he lives to be twenty-five; in the
ox, at four years, and he lives to be twenty; in the dog, at two
years, and he lives to be ten or twelve years. In view of these
conclusions, Flourens modifies considerably the different stages of
man’s existence. “I prolong the duration of infancy,” he says, “up to
ten years, because it is from nine to ten that the second dentition is
terminated. I prolong adolescence up to twenty years, because it is at
that age that the development of the bones ceases, and consequently
the increase of the body in length. I prolong youth up to the age of
forty, because it is only at that age that the increase of the body
in bulk terminates. After forty, the body does not grow, properly
speaking, the augmentation of its volume which then takes place is
not a veritable organic development, but a simple accumulation of
fat. After the growth, or, more properly speaking, the development in
length and bulk has terminated, man enters into what I call the period
of invigoration, that is, when all our parts become more complete and
firm, our functions more assured, and the whole organism more perfect.
This period lasts to sixty-five or seventy years, and then begins old
age, which lasts for thirty years.” When it was asked of Flourens why
so few attained to the age of a century, he replied, “Man does not die!
With our manners, our passions, our torments, he kills himself!”

54. Who was the “American Pope of Rome”?

Among the earliest settlers of the District of Columbia was an
Englishman named Pope, who bought land and named the stream flowing
through it the Tiber. To the eminence on which the Capitol now stands
he gave the name of Capitoline Hill. He called his whole plantation
Rome, and signed himself “Pope of Rome.”

55. Which was the most deadly epidemic ever known?

The Black Death, which in the fourteenth century desolated the world.
It took this name from the black spots, symptomatic of a putrid
decomposition which at one of its stages appeared upon the skin. Among
the symptoms may be noticed great imposthumes on the thighs and arms,
and smaller boils on the arms and face; in many cases black spots all
over the body; and in some, affections of the head, stupor, and palsy
of the tongue, which became black as if suffused with blood; burning
and unshakable thirst; putrid inflammation of the lungs, attended by
acute pains in the chest, the expectoration of blood, and a fetid,
pestiferous breath. On the first appearance of the plague in Europe,
fever, the evacuation of blood, and carbuncular affection of the lungs
brought death before the other symptoms could be developed; afterwards,
boils and buboes characterized its fatal course in Europe, as in
the East. In almost all cases its victims perished in two or three
days after being attacked. Its spots and tumors were the seals of a
doom which medicine had no power to avert, and which in despair many
anticipated by self-slaughter. The precise date of the appearance of
the plague in China is unknown, but from 1333 till 1348 that great
country suffered a terrible mortality from droughts, famines, floods,
earthquakes which swallowed mountains, and swarms of innumerable
locusts; and in the last few years of that period from the plague.
During the same time Europe manifested sympathy with the changes
which affected the East. The theory is, that this great tellurian
activity, accompanied by the decomposition of vast organic masses,
myriads of bodies of men, brutes, and locusts, produced some change
in the atmosphere unfavorable to life; and some writers, speaking
of the established progress of the plague from east to west, say
that the impure air was actually visible as it approached with its
burden of death. In 1340 the Black Death first appeared in Italy. It
spread throughout Christendom and raged during many years, causing
unprecedented mortality. Thousands perished in Germany. In London alone
two hundred persons were buried daily in the Charter House yard in
1348. The horrors of the time were further heightened by the fearful
persecutions to which the Jews were subjected, from a popular belief
that the pestilence was owing to their poisoning the public wells. The
people rose to exterminate the Hebrew race, of whom, in Mayence alone,
twelve thousand were cruelly murdered. They were killed by fire and by
torture wherever they could be found, and for them to the terrors of
the plague were added those of a populace everywhere infuriated against
them. In some places the Jewish people immolated themselves in masses;
in others, not a soul of them survived the assaults of their enemies.
No adequate notion can be conveyed of these horrors.

56. What noted national hymn was composed (words and music) in a single

The _Marseillaise_, the name by which the grand song of the
first French Revolution is known. The circumstances which led to its
composition are as follows: In the beginning of 1792, when a column
of volunteers was about to leave Strasburg, the mayor of the city, who
gave a banquet on the occasion, asked an officer of artillery, named
Rouget de Lisle, to compose a song in their honor. His request was
complied with, and the result was the _Marseillaise_,--both verse
and music being the work of a single night. De Lisle entitled the piece
_Chant de Guerre de l’Armee du Rhin_. Next day it was sung with
the rapturous enthusiasm that only Frenchmen can exhibit, and instead
of six hundred volunteers, one thousand marched out of Strasburg. Soon
from the whole army of the North resounded the thrilling and fiery
words, “_Aux armes! Aux armes!_” Nevertheless the song was still
unknown at Paris, and was first introduced there by Barbaroux, when he
summoned the youth of Marseilles to the capital in July, 1792. It was
received with transports by the Parisians, who, ignorant of its real
authorship, named it _Hymne des Marseillais_, which name it has
ever since borne.

57. Who was the “Queen of Tears”?

This name was given to Mary of Modena, the second wife of James II., of
England. “Her eyes,” says Noble, “became eternal fountains of sorrow
for that crown her ill policy contributed to lose.”

58. Who was called the “Bravest of the Brave”?

The celebrated Marshal Ney (1769–1815) was so called by the French
troops at Friedland (1807), on account of his fearless bravery. He
was in command of the right wing, which bore the brunt of the battle,
and stormed the town. Napoleon as he watched him passing unterrified
through a storm of balls, exclaimed, “That man is a lion!” and
henceforth the army styled him, “_Les Braves des Braves._”

59. What are the different colors used by different nations for

_Black._ The color of mourning in Europe, also in ancient Greece
and Rome.

_Black and White striped._ Expressive of sorrow and hope combined;
worn by the South Sea Islanders.

_Grayish Brown._ The color of the earth; worn in Ethiopia.

_Pale Brown._ The color of withered leaves; worn in Persia.

_Sky-blue._ Expressive of hope for the deceased; worn in Syria,
Cappadocia, and Armenia.

_Deep Blue._ The mourning of Bokhara, in Central Asia; worn also
by the Romans under the Republic.

_Purple and Violet._ Denotes royalty; worn for cardinals and the
kings of France. Violet is the mourning of Turkey.

_White._ Mourning of China. Henry VIII. wore white for Anne
Boleyn; until 1498 it was the mourning of Spain.

_Yellow._ Mourning worn in Egypt and Burmah. Anne Boleyn wore
yellow for Catherine of Aragon. Yellow may be regarded as a token of

60. During which Presidential election did three States not vote? Why?

This has twice occurred within our history.

1. In the first election, Washington’s, 1789, North Carolina, Rhode
Island, and New York did not vote. North Carolina and Rhode Island did
not vote, because they had not then ratified the Constitution; and New
York, because it had failed to make provisions for electors.

2. In the Presidential election of 1868, when Grant was elected for his
first term, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas did not vote, as they had
not been readmited since the Rebellion.

61. When does a gallon of vinegar weigh more, in summer or in winter?

A gallon of vinegar weighs more in winter than in summer, because the
cold causes the vinegar to contract, so that the measure holds more
than it does in warm weather, when the vinegar is not so dense.

62. When, where, and by whom was the oath of office administered to
Washington as President of the United States?

On the 30th of April, 1789, by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, in
Federal Hall, Wall Street, New York.

63. What city was commonly called the “Mistress of the World”?

Rome; because it was for centuries the grandest, richest, and most
populous of European cities, and was regarded as the capital of a kind
of universal empire.

64. What was the real name of Pocahontas?

Her “real name” was Matoax, or Matoaka, but it was rarely uttered, as
the Indians believed that a knowledge of the real names of persons
gave their enemies power to cast spells upon them. Pocahontas was her
household name, by which she was generally called, though she had still
another name, Amonate.

65. What Indian chief was made an English peer, and with what title?

Manteo, the faithful Indian chief, after receiving Christian baptism,
was, “by the commandment of Sir Walter Raleigh,” invested with the
rank of baron, and the title, Lord of Roanoke. This was on the 13th of
August, 1587. Thus even in the American wilderness the vanities of life
were not forgotten.

66. What are violet stones?

This name is given to certain stones found upon high mountains, as in
Thuringia, upon the Harz Mountains, and the Riesengebirge, which, in
consequence of being covered with what is called _violet moss_,
emit a smell like that of violets. They retain this smell for a long
time, and it is increased by moistening them.

67. What was the origin of the term “Brother Jonathan”?

When George Washington, after being appointed commander of the army
of the Revolutionary War, went to Massachusetts to organize it, and
make preparations for the defence of the country, he found a great
want of ammunition and other means necessary to meet the powerful foe
with whom he had to contend, and great difficulty in obtaining them.
If attacked in such condition, the cause at once might be hopeless. On
one occasion, at that anxious period, a consultation of the officers
and others was had, when it seemed no way could be devised to make
such preparation as was necessary. His Excellency Jonathan Trumbull,
the elder, was then governor of Connecticut, and as Washington placed
the greatest reliance on his judgment and aid, he remarked, “We must
consult Brother Jonathan on the subject.” He did so, and the governor
was successful in supplying many of the wants of the army. When
difficulties afterward arose, and the army was spread over the country,
it became a by-word, “_We must consult Brother Jonathan._” The
origin of the expression being soon lost sight of, the name _Brother
Jonathan_ came to be regarded as the national sobriquet.

68. What is the national beverage of Japan?

This beverage is brewed from rice, and is called _saké_. The color
of the best _saké_ resembles very pale sherry; the taste is rather
acid. None but the very best grain is used in its manufacture, and the
principal breweries are Itami, Nada, and Hiôgo, all in the province of

69. What was the “Kitchen Cabinet”?

This name was given to the Hon. Francis P. Blair and to the Hon. Amos
Kendall, by the opponents of President Jackson’s administration. Blair
was the editor of the _Globe_, the organ of the president, and
Kendall was one of the principal contributors to the paper. As it was
necessary for Jackson to consult frequently with these gentlemen, and
as, to avoid observation, they were accustomed, when they called upon
him, to go in by a back door, the Whig party styled them, in derision,
the _Kitchen Cabinet_, alleging that it was by their advice that
the President removed so many Whigs from office and put Democrats in
their place.

70. When was the first census of the United States taken, and what was
the population?

The first census was taken in 1790, and the returns showed a population
of 3,929,214.

71. What Vice-President was not elected by the people?

Richard Mentor Johnson, of Kentucky, in 1837. No candidate for the
Vice-Presidency received a majority of the electoral votes, and,
according to the terms of the Constitution, the selection fell upon the
Senate, who elected Johnson.

72. What Vice-President did not serve?

William Rufus King, of Alabama, who was elected in 1852. Owing to his
poor health, he went to Cuba to spend the winter of 1852–53. The oath
of office was administered to him there by the American consul, but
he died April 18, 1853, soon after his return from the island to his
plantation at Cahawaha, Ala.

73. When and by whom was the Antarctic Continent discovered?

On Jan. 16, 1840, by the United States Exploring Expedition, under the
command of Lieut. Charles Wilkes (1801–1877). The land was first seen
from the mast-head. This was in latitude 61° 30″ south, and longitude
161° east. Wilkes traced the coast westward to 101° east, but was
prevented from landing by an impassable barrier of ice.

74. What led to the establishment of the “Order of the Garter”?

The Order of the Garter was instituted by King Edward III. It was one
of the most famous of the military orders of Europe. Selden says that
it “exceeds in majesty, honor, and fame all chivalrous orders in the
world.” It is said to have been devised for the purpose of attracting
to the king’s party such soldiers of fortune as might be likely to aid
in asserting the claim which he was then making to the crown of France,
and to have been intended as an imitation of King Arthur’s Round Table.
The original number of knights of the garter was twenty-five, his
Majesty himself making the twenty-sixth. The story that the Countess of
Salisbury let fall her garter when dancing with the king, and that the
king picked it up and tied it round his own leg, but that, observing
the jealous glances of the queen, he restored it to its fair owner,
with the exclamation, “_Honi soit que mal y pense_” (Evil be to
him who evil thinks), is about as well authenticated as most tales of
the kind, and has, moreover, in its favor, that it accounts for the
otherwise unaccountable emblem and motto of the order.

75. How do you determine the years covered by a given Congress?

To determine the years covered by a given Congress, double the number
of the Congress, and add the product to 1789; the result will be the
year in which the Congress closed. Thus, the forty-fifth Congress
equals 90 plus 1789 equals 1879, that being the year which terminated
the forty-fifth Congress, on the 4th of March. To find the number of a
Congress sitting in any given year, subtract 1789 from the year; if
the result is an even number, half that number will give the Congress
of which the year in question will be the closing year. If the result
is an odd number, add one to it, and half the result will give the
Congress, of which the year in question will be the first year.

76. What town was the birthplace of two Presidents?

Braintree, Massachusetts, is the only town in the United States which
can claim this distinction. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were both
born in this town, in that part which, in 1792, was set off as the town
of Quincy, where the Adams family still have their summer residence.
John Hancock was also born in the same town.

77. Where is the “Cave of the Winds”?

It lies in behind the cataract of Niagara, midway between the American
and the Horseshoe Falls. It is fifty feet wide, seventy feet high,
and thirty feet deep. Visitors, provided with oil-skin dresses and
attendant guides, make the tour of the cave, which forms an exciting
and novel amusement.

78. Give the color and portrait of each of our postage stamps.

     1c. Imperial ultramarine blue, Benjamin Franklin.
     2c. Terra-cotta, George Washington.
     2c. (old). Vermilion, Andrew Jackson.
     3c. Green, George Washington.
     4c. Green, Andrew Jackson.
     5c. Steel, James A. Garfield.
     5c. (old). Blue, Zachary Taylor.
     6c. Red, Abraham Lincoln.
     7c. Vermilion, Edwin M. Stanton.
    10c. Chocolate, Thomas Jefferson.
    12c. Neutral purple, Henry Clay.
    15c. Orange, Daniel Webster.
    24c. Purple, Winfield Scott.
    30c. Black, Alexander Hamilton.
    90c. Carmine, Oliver H. Perry.

79. Who were the “Nine Worthies”?

These famous personages, so often alluded to by writers and poets, have
been counted up in the following manner:

                      { 1. Hector, son of Priam.
    Three Gentiles    { 2. Alexander the Great.
                      { 3. Julius Cæsar.

                      { 4. Joshua, conqueror of Canaan.
    Three Jews        { 5. David, king of Israel.
                      { 6. Judas Maccabæus.

                      { 7. Arthur, king of Britain.
    Three Christians  { 8. Charlemagne.
                      { 9. Godfrey of Bouillon.

80. Who was the “Father of Ridicule”?

Francois Rabelais (1495?-1553), the most original and remarkable of all
humorists, and the first noteworthy comic romancer of modern times,
is chiefly noted for his great satirical work, _Les Faits et Dicts
du Geant Gargantua et de son Fils Pantagruel_, which continues to
take rank as one of the world’s masterpieces of humor and grotesque
invention. Lord Bacon calls Rabelais “the great jester of France”;
others have called him a “comic Homer.” More than sixty editions of his
work have been published.

81. What did the North American Indians use as money?

Strings of shells and shell-beads called wampum. There were two kinds:
_wampumpeag_, which was white, and was made from the conch or
periwinkle; and _suckanhock_, which was black, or rather purple,
and was made from the hard-shell clam. The latter was worth twice as
much as the former. The shell was broken into pieces, rubbed smooth on
a stone till about the thickness of a pipe-stem, then cut and pierced
with a drill. It was then strung or made into belts, and served not
only as money, but also as ornaments.

82. Who was “Old Hickory”?

This sobriquet was conferred upon General Andrew Jackson, in 1813,
by the soldiers under his command. “The name of ‘Old Hickory,’” says
Parton, “is not an instantaneous inspiration, but a growth. First of
all, the remark was made by some soldier, who was struck with his
commander’s pedestrian powers, that the general was ‘tough.’ Next it
was observed of him that he was ‘tough as hickory.’ Then he was called
Hickory. Lastly, the affectionate adjective ‘old’ was prefixed, and the
general thenceforth rejoiced in the completed nickname, usually the
first-won honor of a great commander.” According to another account,
the name sprung from his having on one occasion set his men an example
of endurance by feeding on hickory nuts, when destitute of supplies.

83. Which is the “City of Elms”?

This is a familiar denomination of New Haven, Ct., many of the streets
of which are thickly shaded with lofty elms.

84. How did the schooner obtain its name?

The first schooner ever constructed is said to have been built in
Gloucester, Mass., about the year 1713, by a Capt. Andrew Robinson,
and to have received its name from the following trivial circumstance.
When the vessel went off the stocks into the water, a by-stander cried
out, “Oh, how she _scoons_!” Robinson instantly replied, “A
_scooner_ let her be”; and, from that time, vessels thus masted
and rigged have gone by this name. The word _scoon_ is popularly
used in some parts of New England to denote the act of making stones
skip along the surface of water.

85. Who was the “Mill-boy of the Slashes”?

This nickname was given to Henry Clay, who was born in the neighborhood
of a place in Hanover County, Va., known as _the Slashes_ (a local
term for a low, swampy country), where there was a mill, to which he
was often sent on errands when a boy.

86. What was the origin of “Honeymoon”?

The term “honeymoon” is of Teutonic origin, and is said to be derived
from a luxurious drink prepared with honey by the ancients. It was the
custom to drink of diluted honey for thirty days, or a moon’s age,
after a wedding feast.

87. What was the origin of the expression “Printer’s Devil”?

Aldus Manutius (1449–1515), the celebrated Venetian printer and
publisher, had a small black slave whom the superstitious believed
to be an emissary of Satan. To satisfy the curious, one day he said
publicly in church, “I, Aldus Manutius, printer to the Holy Church,
have this day made public exposure of the printer’s devil. All who
think he is not flesh and blood, come and pinch him.” Hence in Venice
arose the somewhat curious sobriquet of the “printer’s devil.”

88. Who were the “Seven Sleepers”?

According to a very widely diffused legend of early Christianity, seven
noble youths of Ephesus, in the time of the Decian persecution, who
fled to a certain cavern for refuge, and were pursued, discovered, and
walled in for a cruel death, were made to fall asleep, and in that
state were miraculously kept for almost two centuries. Their names are
said to have been Maximian, Malchus, Martinian, Denis, John, Serapion,
and Constantine. The legend, in speaking of their death, said,
following the usual form, that they had fallen asleep in the Lord.
The vulgar took occasion thence to say that these holy martyrs were
not dead; that they had been hid in the cavern, where they had fallen
asleep; and that they at last awoke, to the great astonishment of the
spectators. Such is the origin of the legend of the Seven Sleepers.
At Ephesus the spot is still shown where this pretended miracle took
place. As a dog had accompanied these seven martyrs into their retreat,
he has been made to share the celebrity of his masters, and is fabled
to have remained standing all the time they slept, without eating or
drinking, being wholly occupied with guarding their persons. The Church
has consecrated the 27th of June to their memory. The Koran relates the
tale of the Seven Sleepers, and declares that out of respect for them
the sun altered his course twice a day that he might shine into the

89. Who were the “Seven Wise Men of Greece”?

These men, who lived in the sixth century B. C., were distinguished for
their practical sagacity and their wise maxims or principles of life.
Their names are variously given, but those most generally admitted to
the honor are Solon, Chilo, Pittacus, Bias, Periander (in place of whom
some give Epimenides), Cleobulus, and Thales. They were the authors of
the celebrated mottoes inscribed in later days in the Delphian temple:
Know thyself (_Solon_); Consider the end (_Chilo_); Know
thy opportunity (_Pittacus_); Most men are bad (_Bias_);
Nothing is impossible to industry (_Periander_); Avoid excess
(_Cleobulus_); Suretyship is the precursor of ruin (_Thales_).

90. Who were the “Seven Champions of Christendom”?

St. George, the patron saint of England; St. Denis, of France; St.
James, of Spain; St. Anthony, of Italy; St. Andrew, of Scotland; St.
Patrick, of Ireland; and St. David, of Wales.

91. What were the “Seven Wonders of the World”?

These very remarkable objects of the ancient world have been variously
enumerated. The following classification is the one most generally
received: 1. The Pyramids of Egypt; 2. The Pharos of Alexandria; 3.
The Walls and Hanging Gardens of Babylon; 4. The Temple of Diana at
Ephesus; 5. The Statue of the Olympian Jupiter; 6. The Mausoleum of
Artemisia; 7. The Colossus of Rhodes.

92. What was the “Wicked Bible”?

This name was given to an edition of the Bible published in 1632 by
Barker & Lucas, because the word _not_ was omitted in the Seventh
Commandment. The printers were called before the High Commission, fined
heavily, and the whole impression destroyed.

93. Why does a dog turn round several times before he lies down?

The dog belongs to the same genus as the wolf, fox, etc., and
originally made his home in the forests and jungles. In preparing his
lair in these places, nature prompted him to turn round several times
in order to arrange the grass or weeds, and bend them from his body
before he lay down. In his domesticated state he has not yet overcome
this early prompting of nature.

94. Who were the first paper-makers?

Wasps. Their nest is made of a paper-like substance, which is merely
wood reduced to a paste by the action of the jaws of the insects, and
this, put into the required form, is left to dry: essentially the same
thing that our paper manufacturers are doing by other processes and on
a larger scale in their mills to-day.

95. How does the Red Sea get its color?

The reddish appearance of the waters of this sea is due to the
prevalence of a minute bright red plant, which is a kind of sea-weed.
This plant is said to be so small that twenty-five millions of them
can live and thrive in one square inch. From it is made a beautiful
red dye, which tradition says was used hundreds of years ago. In some
places, where the weed is not found, the waters are blue or green. To
the Hebrews it was known as _Yam Sûph_, the sea of weeds or sedge.

96. What was the Parthenopean Republic?

This was the name given to the state into which the kingdom of
Naples was transformed by the French Republicans, Jan. 23, 1799, and
which lasted only till the following June. The name is derived from
Parthenope, an ancient name for Naples.

97. What is the origin of the names of the months?

January is derived from _Janus_, the god of the year, to whom this
month was sacred.

February is from _Februus_, an old Italian divinity, or from
_Februa_, the Roman festival of expiation, celebrated on the 15th
of this month. January and February were added to the Roman calendar by
Numa, Romulus having previously divided the year into ten months.

March is from _Mars_, the god of war, and reputed father of
Romulus. It was the first month of the Roman calendar.

April is from the Latin _Aperire_, to open, from the opening of
the buds, or the bosom of the earth in producing vegetation.

May is from _Maia_, the mother of Mercury, to whom the Romans
offered sacrifices on the first day of this month.

June is from _Juno_, the sister and wife of Jupiter, to whom this
month was sacred.

July was named by Mark Antony after _Julius Cæsar_, who was born
in this month. It was previously called _Quintilis_, the fifth

August was named after _Augustus Cæsar_, on account of several
of the most fortunate events of his life having occurred during this
month. It was formerly _Sextilis_, or sixth month.

September is from the Latin _septem_, seven, because it was
originally the seventh month.

October, formerly the eighth month, is formed from the Latin
_octo_, eight.

November is from the Latin _novem_, nine, as this month was
originally the ninth month.

December is from the Latin _decem_, ten, as it was formerly the
tenth and last month of the Roman calendar.

98. What was the origin of the names of the days of the week?

As the names of the months were all derived from the Romans, so the
names of the days of the week come to us from the Saxons.

Sunday takes its name from the sun, which was one of the principal
objects of worship.

Monday is so called after the moon, also an ancient object of worship.

Tuesday is so called from _Tiu_ or _Tiw_, the son of Odin,
and the old Saxon god of war and of fame.

Wednesday derives its name from _Woden_, or _Odin_, the god
of battle, and the chief god of the Northern mythology.

Thursday is so styled from _Donar_, or _Thor_, who, as god of
the air, had much in common with the Roman Jupiter, to whom the same
day was dedicated.

Friday is named from _Frigga_, the wife of Odin and the mother of
all the deities.

Saturday is named from _Saterne_, or _Saturn_, to whom the
day was consecrated.

99. What year is 1886 by the Jewish calendar?

The year 5646 of the Jewish era began Sept. 10, 1885, and will continue
385 days, as it is an embolismic year. The Jewish calendar is dated
from the creation, which is considered to have taken place 3760 years
and three months before the commencement of the Christian era. The year
is luni-solar, and, according as it is ordinary or embolismic, consists
of twelve or thirteen lunar months, each of which has twenty-nine or
thirty days. Thus the duration of the ordinary year is 354 days, and
that of the embolismic year is 384 days. In either case it is sometimes
made a day more, and sometimes a day less, in order that certain
festivals may fall on proper days of the week for their due observance.
The following table gives the names of their months and the number of
days in each:--


      Month. | Ordinary. | Embolismic.
    Tisri    |    30     |     30
    Hesvan   |    29+[1] |     29+
    Kislev   |    30--[1]|     30--
    Tebet    |    29     |     29
    Sebat    |    30     |     30
    Adar     |    29     |     30
    Veadar   |   (--)[2] |    (29)
    Nisan    |    30     |     30
    Yiar     |    29     |     29
    Sivan    |    30     |     30
    Tamuz    |    29     |     29
    Ab       |    30     |     30
    Elul     |    29     |     29
      Total  |   354     |    384

    [1] The signs + and -- are respectively annexed to Hesvan and
Kislev to indicate that the former of these may sometimes require to
have one day more, and the latter one day less, than the number of days
shown in the table.

    [2] The intercalary month, Veadar, is introduced in embolismic
years in order that Passover, the 15th day of Nisan, may be kept at its
proper season, which is the full moon of the vernal equinox, or that
which takes place after the sun has entered the sign Aries.

The following table shows when Tisri 1, the Jewish New-Year, occurs for
each of the next five years by our calendar.

    Tisri 1, 5647 == September 30, 1886.
        „    5648 ==     „     19, 1887.
        „    5649 ==     „      6, 1888.
        „    5650 ==     „     26, 1889.
        „    5651 ==     „     15, 1890.

100. What was the name of the penitent thief?

St. Dismas is the name which Romish tradition has attached to the “good
thief.” He is represented with a cross beside him.

101. What was the origin of the term “halcyon days”?

The seven days which precede and the seven days which follow the
shortest day were, by the ancients, called halcyon days, on account
of the fable that, during this time, while the halcyon bird, or
kingfisher, was breeding, there always prevailed calms at sea. From
this the phrase “halcyon days” has come to signify times of peace and

102. Who was the “Christ of India”?

Buddha Gautama (624–543 B. C.), the reputed founder of Buddhism, has
been so termed. He was of ascetic habits, till, tempted by his father,
he abandoned himself to every pleasure. Afterward he renounced the
world, and as a result of long study and bodily maceration, discovered
that non-sentient repose is the highest good attainable by the pure and
the just.

103. What religious sect anoint the sick with oil, depending upon this
unction and prayer, and rejecting the use of medicine?

The Tunkers are found widely scattered throughout the northern and
middle parts of the United States, but are nowhere numerous. They were
recently estimated to have over five hundred churches and some fifty
thousand members. The name which they take for themselves is simply
that of Brethren, and they profess that their association is founded on
the principle of brotherly love. The name Tunkers is of German origin,
signifying Dippers, and is due to their dipping in baptism. They
anoint their sick with oil, depending upon this unction and prayer for
their recovery, and rejecting the use of medicine. They do not insist
upon celibacy as an absolute rule; but they commend it as a virtue,
and discourage marriage. Chiefly engaged in agriculture, they are
industrious and honest, and universally held in good repute among their

Sole dependence upon prayer is the characteristic also of a small
religious sect of which a few members are to be found in England,
calling themselves the _Peculiar People_.

In Switzerland, the name of Dorothea Trudel, who died in 1862, was long
famous for the cure of ailments by prayers.

104. What noted sage advocated the doctrine that virtue was
intellectual, a necessary consequence of knowledge; while vice was
ignorance, and akin to madness?

This was the fundamental doctrine of the philosophy of Socrates, the
Athenian philosopher (469–399 B. C.). Knowledge, virtue, and happiness
he held to be inseparable. His religious doctrines culminated in the
conception of the Deity as the author of the harmony of nature and the
laws of morals, revealed only in his works, and of the soul as a divine
and immortal being, resembling the Deity in respect to reason and
invisible energy.

105. What palace in an ancient city contains five hundred rooms?

The Palazzo Imperiale, at Mantua, Italy, contains five hundred rooms,
whose choicest embellishment consists in the glorious paintings and
exquisite designs of the great Mantuan artist, Giulio Romano.

106. What was the “most useful conquest ever made by man”?

Baron Cuvier, the most eminent naturalist, says of the dog: “It is
the completest, the most singular, and the most useful conquest ever
made by man.” This conquest was made long before the dawn of history.
Cuvier has also asserted that the dog was, perhaps, necessary for the
establishment of human society. Though this may not be apparent in the
most highly civilized communities, a moment’s reflection will convince
us that barbarous nations owe much of their elevation above the brute
to the possession of the dog.

107. When was the first blood shed in the Revolution?

In the conflict known as the “Boston Massacre,” between the
British soldiers and the citizens of Boston, March 5, 1770. Two
Americans--Samuel Gray and James Caldwell--and a half-breed Indian
negro--Crispus Attucks--were killed, and eight citizens were wounded,
two of them mortally,--an Irishman named Carr, and Maverick, an

108. What remarkable fish is found only in Lake Baikal?

The golomynka, the only known species of its genus, which belongs to
the goby family. It is about a foot long, is destitute of scales, and
is very soft, its whole substance abounding in oil, which is obtained
from it by pressure. It is never eaten.

109. Who was inventor of the most perfect alphabet ever devised for any

George Guess, or Sequoyah, a half-breed Cherokee Indian (1770–1843),
invented, in 1826, a syllabic alphabet of the Cherokee language, which
consisted of eighty-five characters, each representing a single sound
in the language. This is said to be the most perfect alphabet ever
devised for any language. For the characters he used, as far as they
went, those which he found in an English spelling-book, although he
knew no language except his own. A newspaper called the _Phœnix_
was established, a part of it printed in Cherokee, using the alphabet
of Guess. A part of the New Testament was also printed in this
character. Guess was not a Christian, and is said to have regretted his
invention when he found it was used for this purpose.

110. Who was the “Little Giant”?

This was a popular sobriquet conferred upon Stephen Arnold Douglass
(1813–1861), a distinguished American statesman, in allusion to the
disparity between his physical and his intellectual proportions.

111. Which was the grandest funeral pageant ever known?

That of Alexander the Great. For two years after his death the body
was deposited at Babylon, while preparations were being made for the
march to Egypt. At length all was ready, and the grandest funeral
pageant ever witnessed on earth started on the long march of over one
thousand miles from Babylon to Alexandria. Over a year was occupied
in this journey. The accounts of the splendor and magnificence of the
golden car that bore his body are almost incredible. The spokes and
naves of the wheels were overlaid with gold, and the extremities of the
axles, where they appeared outside at the centre of the wheels, were
adorned with massive golden ornaments. Upon the wheels and axle-trees
was supported a platform twelve feet wide and eighteen feet long, upon
which was erected a magnificent pavilion supported by Ionic columns,
and profusely ornamented, both within and without, with purple and
gold. The interior of this pavilion was resplendent with precious
stones and gems. Upon the back of the platform was placed a throne,
profusely carved and gilded, and hung with crowns representing the
various nations over which Alexander had ruled. At the foot of the
throne was the coffin, made of solid gold, and containing, besides
the body, a large quantity of the most costly spices and aromatic
perfumes, which filled the air with fragrance. Between the coffin
and throne were laid the arms of Alexander. On the four sides of the
carriage were _basso-relievos_, representing Alexander himself,
with various military concomitants. There were the Macedonian columns,
the squadrons of Persia, the elephants of India, troops of horses, etc.
Around the car was a fringe of golden lace, to the pendants of which
were attached bells, which tolled continually with a mournful sound as
the carriage moved along. This ponderous car was drawn by a long column
of sixty-four mules, in sets of four, all selected for their great
size and strength, and richly caparisoned. Their collars and harnesses
were mounted with gold and enriched with precious stones. A large army
of workmen kept at a considerable distance in advance, repairing the
roads, strengthening the bridges, and removing all obstacles along the
entire line.

112. What is the “oft-quoted epitaph” composed by Franklin?

BOOK, _its contents torn out, and stripped of its lettering and
gilding, lies here food for worms_. Yet the work itself shall not be
lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more
beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.”

113. Which is the largest stationary engine in the world?

The largest stationary engine in the world is at the famous zinc mines
at Friedensville, Pennsylvania. It is known as the “President,” and
there is no pumping engine in the world that can be compared with the
monster. The number of gallons of water raised every minute is 17,500.
The driving-wheels are thirty-five feet in diameter, and weigh forty
tons each. The sweep-rod is forty feet long, the cylinder one hundred
and ten inches in diameter, and the piston-rod eighteen inches in
diameter, with a ten-foot stroke.

114. What was the origin of “pin-money”?

“Pin-money” is a term applied to a lady’s allowance of money for her
own personal expenditure. Long after the invention of pins, in the
fourteenth century, they were very costly, and the maker was allowed to
sell them in open shop only on the 1st and 2d of January. It was then
that the ladies of the court and city dames flocked to the stores to
buy them, having been first provided with the requisite money by their
husbands. When pins became common and cheap, the ladies spent their
allowance on other fancies, but the term “pin-money” remained in vogue.

115. Why are our Presidents inaugurated on the 4th of March?

The reason why the 4th of March is the day on which our Presidents are
always inaugurated is that the Continental Congress appointed the first
Wednesday in January, 1789, for the people to choose electors; the
first Wednesday in February for those electors to choose a President;
and the first Wednesday in March for the government to go into
operation under the new Constitution. The last-named day, in 1789, fell
on the 4th of March; hence, the 4th of March following the election of
a President is the day appointed for his inauguration. By the act of
1792, it was provided that the Presidential term of four years should
commence on the 4th of March. By the amendment to the Constitution made
in 1804, if the House of Representatives should not elect a President
by the 4th of March, the Vice-President becomes President. The 4th
of March is thus virtually made, by the Constitution as well as by
statute, the day when a new Presidential term begins.

116. What was the origin of the word “tariff”?

On the coast of Spain, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar, there
is an island called Tarifa. When the Moors had possession of Spain,
they established a custom-house upon it. The taxes were fixed by the
collector. Every vessel passing through the straits in either direction
was brought to and robbed of as much as this collector saw fit. If
the captain delivered up about fifteen per cent of his cargo, or paid
its equivalent in money, he was allowed to go in peace. If he proved
stubborn, his vessel and cargo were confiscated. Generally, however,
no resistance was offered. When the vessel arrived at the port of
discharge, her owner assessed the loss on the purchasers of the goods.
Hence all money collected on cargoes is called a tariff, from the
island whence the custom was first started.

117. What newspaper is called “The Thunderer”?

The London _Times_. This name was originally given to it on
account of the powerful articles contributed to its columns by the
editor, Edward Sterling.

118. Who was the “Man of Destiny”?

This appellation was conferred on Napoleon Bonaparte, who believed
himself to be a chosen instrument of Destiny, and that his actions
were governed by some occult and supernatural influence.

119. What was the origin of “catch-penny”?

This term originated in London, in 1824, just after the execution of
Thurtell for the murder of Weare. A publisher made a great deal of
money from the sale of Thurtell’s “last dying speech.” When the sale of
this speech fell off, a second edition was advertised, headed, “_We
are_ alive again!” with little space between the first two words.
These two words the people took for the name of the murdered man,
reading it, “_Weare_ alive again!” A large edition was rapidly
sold. Some one called it a “catch-penny,” and the word rapidly spread
until it came into general use.

120. Where is there an underground river in the United States?

There are two underground rivers--the Echo and the Styx--in the Mammoth
Cave, Kentucky. The Echo is about three fourths of a mile long, two
hundred feet wide at some points, and from ten to forty feet deep.
It is crossed by boats. Its course is beneath an arched ceiling of
smooth rock, varying in height from ten to thirty-five feet, and
famous for its musical reverberations; not a distinct echo, but a
harmonious prolongation of sound for from ten to thirty seconds after
the original tone is produced. The long vault has a certain key-note
of its own, which, when struck, excites harmonics, including tones
of incredible depth and sweetness. The Styx is much smaller than the
Echo. It is about four hundred and fifty feet long, from fifteen to
forty feet wide, and from thirty to forty feet deep. It is spanned by
an interesting natural bridge about thirty feet above it. Both these
streams have an invisible communication with Green River, the depth of
the water and direction of the current in them being regulated by the
stage of water in the latter stream. In the waters of both streams are
found a blind fish (_Amblyopsis speleans_) of an almost pure white

121. Who was the first martyr to American liberty?

Thomas Hansford, one of the leading participants of Bacon’s Rebellion,
is generally accredited with this honor. After the failure of the
rebellion, he was captured at the house of a young lady to whom he
was paying his addresses, taken to Accomac, and hung as a rebel, by
Berkeley, the royal governor, in spite of his prayer that he might be
“shot like a soldier.” This was Nov. 13, 1676.

This name has also been applied to Christopher Snider, a boy eleven
years of age, who was killed in a mob in Boston, Feb. 22, 1770.

122. Who was the author of “Curfew must not Ring To-night”?

This exquisite poem was written in April, 1867, by Miss Rosa Hartwick,
now Mrs. Edward C. Thorpe. She resides at Litchfield, Michigan. She
was in her seventeenth year when she wrote the poem. She has written
others, but none so fine or so famous as this. It is founded on an
incident in English history. Basil Underwood was a young man in the
time of the Protectorate, and his only crime seems to have been
unswerving loyalty to the king. The maiden pleaded in vain for a
reprieve from the judges. They would not delay the execution even
until Cromwell should arrive. After her fruitless appeal to the
judges, she returns to the old sexton, and it is at this point that the
poem takes up the story.

123. Who was “Mother Goose”?

“Mother Goose,” from whom the popular nursery rhymes were named, was
not an imaginary personage. She belonged to a wealthy family in Boston,
Mass., where she was born and resided for many years. Her eldest
daughter, Elizabeth Goose, was married to a printer named Fleet, and
when a son was born to them, the grandmother spent all her time nursing
him and singing the songs and ditties she had heard in her younger
days. This greatly annoyed her son-in-law, who vainly tried in every
way to make her desist. He then conceived and carried out the idea
of collecting these ditties and publishing them in book form, giving
the edition the title of “Songs for the Nursery; or, Mother Goose’s
Melodies for Children.” The adoption of this title was originally in
derision of his mother-in-law; but it became so well known and liked,
that now there are few boys or girls who do not revel in the delights
of the old lady’s melodies and rhymes.

124. What king said “I am the state”?

This was the famous saying of Louis XIV. (1638–1715), king of France,
and it expresses the principle to which everything was accommodated.
In the zenith of his career all Europe feared him; and his own nation
had been brought by tyranny, skilful management, and military glory to
regard him with Asiatic humility. Under his absolute sway all remnants
of political independence were swept away. Even the courts of justice
yielded to the absolute sway of the monarch, who interfered at pleasure
with the ordinary course of law.

125. What was the origin of the word “Mississippi”?

“Its original spelling,” says the “Magazine of American History,” “and
the nearest approach to the Algonquin word, ‘the father of waters,’ is
Meche Sepe, a spelling still commonly used by the Louisiana Creoles.
Tonti suggested Miche Sepe, which is somewhat nearer the present
spelling. Father Laval still further modernized it into Michispi,
which another father, Labatt, softened into Misisipi. The only changes
since have been to overload the word with consonants. Marquette added
the first and some other explorer the second _s_, making it
Mississipi, and so it remains in France to this day, with only one
_p_. The man who added the other has never been discovered, but he
must have been an American, for at the time of the Louisiana purchase
the name was generally spelled in the colony with a single _p_.”

126. What was the “O Grab Me Act”?

The _Embargo Act_ passed by Congress, Dec. 21, 1807. By its
provisions all American vessels were detained in the ports of the
United States. The object was, by cutting off commercial intercourse
with France and Great Britain, to compel them to recognize the rights
of American neutrality. The act was the subject of much ridicule. The
opponents of the measure, spelling the word backward, called it the
“O Grab Me Act”. The measure was of little avail; and after fourteen
months it was repealed.

127. Who was “the learned tailor”?

Henry Wild (1684–1764). He acquired some knowledge of Greek and Latin
at the grammar school of his native town, Norwich, England, after which
he worked fourteen years at his trade. Then, during a long sickness,
he amused himself by reading some volumes of controversial theology
abounding in quotations from the Bible in the original Hebrew. This led
him to devote his spare time for several years to the study of Hebrew,
and afterward of Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Persian, in all of which
he became proficient.

128. Where is the “Water Volcano”?

The _Volcan de Agua_, or “Water Volcano,” is a huge mountain in
Central America, noted for emitting torrents of boiling water which
have twice destroyed the town of Guatemala. It is of a conical shape
and rises fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea. In close
proximity are the volcanoes of Pacaya, on the southeast, and Fuego, on
the west; and the three together present a scene of great magnificence.

129. Which is the brightest star visible?

Sirius, or the Dog-star, of the constellation _Canus Major_, or the
“Great Dog.” Sir John Herschel estimates its light as exceeding more
than twofold that of _Canopus_, the second star in brilliancy, and
more than fourfold that of _Alpha Centauri_, the third, whose light
the same astronomer takes as the standard for stars of the first
magnitude. Sirius is about one hundred and twenty-three billions of
miles distant from the earth. By photometric measurement it has been
shown that, supposing the intensity of the sun’s light for unit of
surface to equal that of Sirius, it would require four hundred suns at
the distance of Sirius to send us the light that star does; and our sun
at the distance of Sirius would appear less than a star of the sixth
magnitude, and be invisible to the naked eye.

130. Who originated our decimal coinage?

Our decimal coinage was devised by Thomas Jefferson. Two years before
Governeur Morris, a clerk in the office of his uncle, Robert Morris,
had conceived the idea of applying the decimal system to the notation
of money. The details of the system devised by Morris were so cumbrous
and awkward as almost to neutralize the simplicity of the leading idea.
Jefferson rescued the fine original conception by proposing our present
system of dollars and cents, which was adopted by Congress in 1785.

131. Where is the sacred well from which Hagar is said to have drawn
water for her son Ishmael?

According to Mohammedan tradition, the Zamzam, the sacred well in the
Great Mosque, at Mecca, is the source from which Hagar drew water for
her son Ishmael (Gen. xxi. 19). This is, of course, pure invention;
and, indeed, the legend tells that the well was long covered up and
rediscovered by Abd-el-Muttalib, the grandfather of the prophet.
Sacred wells are peculiar to Semitic sanctuaries, and Islam, retaining
the well, made a quasi Biblical story for it, and endowed its tepid
waters with miraculous curative virtues. They are eagerly drunk by the
pilgrims, and when poured over the body are held to give a miraculous
refreshment after the fatigues of religious exercise. The manufacture
of bottles or jars for carrying the water to distant countries is a
considerable industry. Ibu Jubair mentions a curious superstition of
the Meccans, who believed that the water rose in the shaft at the full
moon of the month Sha’bán. On this occasion a great crowd, especially
of young people, thronged round the well with shouts of religious
enthusiasm, while the servants of the well dashed buckets of water over
their heads.

132. Who was the “Wagoner Boy”?

Thomas Corwin (1794–1865), a distinguished American statesman. While
Corwin was yet a lad, Harrison and his army were on the northern
frontier, almost destitute of provisions, and a demand was made on
the patriotism of the people to furnish the necessary subsistence.
The elder Corwin loaded a wagon with supplies which was delivered by
his son, who remained with the army during the rest of the campaign,
and who is said to have proved himself “a good whip and an excellent

133. Who explored the Mississippi River with La Salle?

The Chevalier Henry de Tonty (1650–1704), an Italian explorer. He
was the son of Lorenzo de Tonty, who is famous as the inventor of
the tontine system of association. In 1678 he accompanied La Salle
to Canada, and then in his exploration of the Mississippi. La Salle
left him in command of a fort near Peoria. He twice descended the
Mississippi to its mouth in search of La Salle, and a third and last
time to meet Iberville; after which he remained in that region and died
at Fort Louis (now Mobile) in September, 1704. He wrote a memoir of
La Salle’s voyage, which has been translated and published in English
under the title “Account of M. de la Salle’s last Expedition and
Discoveries in North America.”

134. Who was the “Ancient Mariner”?

He is the hero of Coleridge’s poem of the same name, who, for the
crime of having shot an albatross, a bird of good omen to voyagers,
suffers dreadful penalties, together with his companions, who have
made themselves accomplices in his crime. These penalties are at last
remitted in consequence of his repentance. He reaches land, where he
encounters a hermit, to whom he relates his story,--

    “Since then, at an uncertain hour,
          The agony returns,”--

and drives him on, like the Wandering Jew, from land to land, compelled
to relate the tale of his suffering and crime as a warning to others,
and as a lesson of love and charity towards all God’s creatures. The
conception of this poem, and the mystical imagery of the skeleton ship,
are said by Dyce to have been borrowed by Coleridge from a friend who
had experienced a strange dream.

135. What was the “Flying Dutchman”?

This is the name given by sailors to a spectral ship, which is supposed
to cruise in storms off the Cape of Good Hope, and the sight of which
is considered the worst of all possible omens. She is distinguished
from earthly vessels by bearing a press of sail when all others are
unable, from stress of weather, to show an inch of canvas. The cause
of her wandering is variously explained. According to one account, a
Dutch captain, bound home from the Indies, met with long-continued
head-winds and heavy weather off the Cape of Good Hope, and refused
to put back as he was advised to do, swearing a very profane oath
that he would beat round the Cape, if he had to beat there until the
Day of Judgment. He was taken at his word, and doomed to beat against
head winds all his days. His sails are believed to have become thin
and sere, his ship-sides white with age, and himself and crew reduced
almost to shadows. He cannot heave to or lower a boat, but sometimes
hails vessels through his trumpet, and requests them to take letters
home for him. Dr. John Leyden, who introduces the story of the Flying
Dutchman into his “Scenes of Infancy,” imputes with poetical ingenuity
the doom of the ship to its having been the first to engage in the
slave-trade. But the common tradition is, as stated by Sir Walter
Scott, “that she was originally a vessel loaded with great wealth, on
board of which some horrid act of murder and piracy had been committed;
that the plague broke out among the wicked crew, and that they sailed
in vain from port to port, offering, as a price of shelter, the whole
of their ill-gotten wealth; that they were excluded from every harbor,
and that, as a punishment of their crimes, the apparition of the ship
still continues to haunt those seas in which the catastrophe took
place.” The superstition has its origin, probably, in the looming,
or apparent suspension in the air, of some ship out of sight,--a
phenomenon sometimes witnessed at sea, and caused by unequal refraction
in the lower strata of the atmosphere.

136. What was the “Banshee”?

In the popular superstitions of the Irish and the Scotch, the Banshee,
or Benshie, was an invisible being, supposed to announce by mournful
presence and voice the approaching death of members of certain ancient
houses. It was said that, on the decease of a hero, the harps of
his bards voluntarily emitted mournful sounds. In later times it
was popularly supposed that each family had its banshee, which gave
warnings of misfortune, or haunted the scenes of past troubles.

137. What was the “Irish Night”?

This was a night of agitation and terror in London after the flight of
James II., occasioned by an unfounded report that the Irish Catholics
of Feversham’s army had been let loose to murder the Protestant
population, men, women, and children.

138. Which is the “Keystone State”?

The State of Pennsylvania is so called from its having been the central
State of the Union at the time of the formation of the Constitution. If
the names of the thirteen original States are arranged in the form of
an arch, Pennsylvania will occupy the place of the keystone.

139. What was the origin of “Lynch Law”?

This term is usually alleged to be derived from one John Lynch, who
lived in what is now the Piedmont district of Virginia, at the time
when that district was the western frontier of the State, and when, on
account of the distance from the courts of law, it was customary to
refer the adjustment of disputes to men of known character and judgment
in the neighborhood. This man became so eminent by reason of the wisdom
and impartiality of his decisions, that he was known throughout the
country as “Judge Lynch.” According to another account, the term is
derived from Col. Charles Lynch, a brother of the founder of Lynchburg,
Va., who was an officer of the American Revolution. His residence
was on the Staunton, in Campbell County. At that time the country
was thinly settled, and infested by a lawless band of tories and
desperadoes. The necessity of the case involved desperate measures, and
Colonel Lynch, then a leading Whig, apprehended and had them punished
without any superfluous legal ceremony. A third account derives the
term from one James Lynch Fitz Stephen, a merchant of Galway, and
in 1526 its mayor. His son having been convicted of murder, he,
Brutus-like, sentenced him to death, and, fearing a rescue, caused him
to be brought home and hanged before his own door. Another writer has
suggested that the origin of the term is to be found in the provincial
English word _linch_, to beat or maltreat. If this were admitted,
Lynch law would then be simply equivalent to “club law.”

140. Who was the “Maid of Saragossa”?

This appellation was bestowed upon Augustina Zaragosa, a young Spanish
woman, distinguished for her heroism during the defence of Saragossa in
1808–1809. She first attracted notice by mounting a battery where her
lover had fallen, and working a gun in his place. Byron has celebrated
her in the first canto of his “Childe Harold.”

141. What was the origin of “quiz”?

Daly, the manager of a Dublin play-house, laid a wager that a new word
of no meaning should be the common talk and puzzle of the city in
twenty-four hours. In consequence of this, the letters _q_, _u_, _i_,
_z_ were chalked by him on all the walls of Dublin, with an effect that
won the wager.

142. Who was the “Rail Splitter”?

This popular designation was given to Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the
sixteenth President of the United States, who is said to have supported
himself for one winter, in early life, by splitting rails for a farmer.

143. What is the origin of the phrase “Before one could say Jack

This saying, used to express a very short time, is said by Grose to
have originated from a very volatile gentleman of that appellation,
who would call on his neighbors and be gone before his name could be
announced. The following lines “from an old play” are elsewhere given
as the original phrase:--

    “A warke it ys as easie to be doone,
    As tys to saye, Jacke! robys on.”

144. Who was “St. Tammany”?

This Indian chief has been _popularly_ canonized as a saint, and
adopted as the tutelary genius of one branch of the Democratic party.
Tammany was of the Delaware nation, and lived probably in the middle
of the seventeenth century. He resided in the country which is now
Delaware until he was of age, when he moved beyond the Alleghenies,
and settled on the banks of the Ohio. He became a chief sachem of his
tribe, and, being always a friend of the whites, often restrained his
warriors from deeds of violence. His rule was always discreet, and he
endeavored to induce his followers to cultivate agriculture and the
arts of peace rather than those of war. When he became old he called a
council to have a successor appointed, after which the residue of his
life was spent in retirement; and tradition relates that “young and old
repaired to his wigwam to hear him discourse wisdom.” His great motto
was, “Unite in peace for happiness, in war for defence.” When and by
whom he was first styled _Saint_, or by what whim he was chosen to
be the patron of Democracy, does not appear.

145. Who ate Roger Williams?

“The truth that matter passes from the animal back to the vegetable,
and from the vegetable to the animal kingdom again, received, not long
since, a curious illustration. For the purpose of erecting a suitable
monument in memory of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, his
private burying-ground was searched for the graves of himself and wife.
It was found that everything had passed into oblivion. The shape of the
coffins could only be traced by a black line of carbonaceous matter.
The rusted hinges and nails, and a round wooden knob, alone remained in
one grave; while a single lock of braided hair was found in the other.
Near the graves stood an apple-tree. This had sent down two main roots
into the very presence of the coffined dead. The larger root, pushing
its way to the precise spot occupied by the skull of Roger Williams,
had made a turn as if passing around it, and followed the direction of
the backbone to the hips. Here it divided into two branches, sending
one along each leg to the heel, when both turned upward to the toes.
One of these roots formed a slight crook at the knee, which made the
whole bear a striking resemblance to the human form. (These roots
are now deposited in the museum of Brown University.) There were the
graves, but their occupants had disappeared; the bones, even, had
vanished. There stood the thief--the guilty apple-tree--caught in
the very act of robbery. The spoliation was complete. The organic
matter--the flesh, the bones--of Roger Williams had passed into an
apple-tree. The elements had been absorbed by the roots, transmuted
into woody fibre, which could now be burned as fuel or carved into
ornaments; had bloomed into fragrant blossoms, which had delighted
the eye of passers-by, and scattered the sweetest perfume of spring;
more than that, had been converted into luscious fruit, which, from
year to year, had been gathered and eaten. How pertinent, then, is the
question, ‘Who ate Roger Williams?’”--_Steele’s Chemistry._

146. How were bachelors punished at Sparta?

The male citizens of Sparta who remained unmarried after a certain age
were subjected to a species of atimy or public disgrace. They were not
allowed to witness the gymnastic exercises of the maidens; and, during
winter, they were compelled to march naked around the market-place,
singing a song composed against themselves, and expressing the justice
of their punishment. The usual respect of the young to the old was not
paid to bachelors.

147. What did the Indians present to Penn’s widow?

On the death of William Penn, the Indians sent his widow a message of
sorrow for the loss of their “brother Onas” (the Indians called him
“Onas,” their word for _quill_, which was the nearest they could
arrive at _pen_), with some choice skins to form a cloak which
might protect her “while passing through the thorny wilderness without
her guide.”

148. What animal has a tail so large that it sometimes requires to be
carried on wheels?

The long-tailed sheep which inhabits Syria and Egypt has a tail so
large and so loaded with fat, that to prevent it from being injured by
dragging on the ground, a board is fastened to the under side of it,
and wheels are often attached to the board. The peculiar fat of the
tail is considered a great delicacy, and is so soft as to be frequently
used as butter. The weight of a large tail is about seventy pounds.

149. Who was the “Little Magician”?

Martin Van Buren (1782–1862), the eighth President of the United
States, was so termed from his adroitness in political methods, and the
art with which he made friends and avoided making enemies.

150. What explorer drove a herd of hogs before him for food?

When Ferdinand De Soto set out on his conquest of Florida, he took,
among other things, a large herd of hogs with him to fatten on the
maize of the country. It was thought that these, together with their
rapid increase, would form a considerable supply of food for the
conquering army.

151. When, where, and by whom was the first gun of the late Civil War

At half past four o’clock, Friday morning, April 12, 1861, from Battery
Stevens in Charleston Harbor, upon Fort Sumter, by Edmund Ruffin, of
Virginia. At seven o’clock, Captain Abner Doubleday, U. S. A., fired
the first shot in defence of the Union.

152. Who was the last Union general killed in the Rebellion?

Brigadier-General Thomas Smythe. He was mortally wounded near
Farmville, Virginia, April 6, 1865, and died at Petersburg on the 9th
of the same month. General Smythe was a native of Ireland, and came to
America in childhood, settling at Wilmington, Delaware. He entered the
Union ranks in 1861, and was made a brigadier-general June 3, 1864, for
gallant conduct at the battle of Cold Harbor.

153. What words contain all the vowels in order?

The author knows of but three,--abstemiously, arsenious, and

154. Which is the most useful tree in the world?

The palm-tree is undoubtedly the most useful product of the vegetable
kingdom. It is impossible to overestimate the utility of these trees.
They furnish food, shelter, clothing, timber, fuel, building materials,
sticks, fibres, paper, starch, sugar, oil, wax, wine, tannin, dyeing
materials, resin, and a host of minor products, which rend render them
most valuable to the natives and to tropical agriculturists.

155. Which is the only canonized saint of American birth?

St. Rosa (1580–1617), commonly called St. Rose of Lima. Her parents
were wealthy Spaniards, and gave her in baptism the name of Isabel;
but, it is said, her extreme beauty in childhood made them call her
Rosa. Their fortune having been swept away, Rosa was taken into the
household of the treasurer Gonsalvo, where she supported her parents by
her labor while following her bent for asceticism. She refused every
matrimonial offer, assumed the habit of the third order of St. Dominic,
and lived a recluse in the garden of her protectors. She was canonized
by Pope Clement X. in 1671, and her feast was fixed on Aug. 30.

150. When and where did the first legislative assembly convene in

The first legislative body that ever assembled in America was the
Virginia House of Burgesses, which convened at Jamestown, July 30,
1619. Virginia had previously been divided into eleven boroughs,--James
City, Charles City, the City of Henricus, Kiccowtan or Hampton,
Martin-Brandon, Smythe’s Hundred, Martin’s Hundred, Argall’s Gift,
Lawne’s Plantation, Ward’s Plantation, and Flowerdieu Hundred,--each
of which sent two burgesses. They held their session in the old church
at Jamestown until they could provide more suitable quarters. They sat
with their hats on, as in the English Commons, the members occupying
“the choir,” with the governor and council in the front seats. The
Speaker, Master John Pory, with the clerk and sergeant, faced them,
and the session was opened with prayer by Mr. Bucke, after which the
burgesses took the oath of supremacy.

157. Who was the Nimrod of the Bible?

Izdubar, an early Babylonian king and hero, was most probably the
Nimrod of the Bible. In a fragment of a Chaldæan tradition of the
Deluge, discovered in 1872 by Mr. George Smith of the British Museum,
Izdubar appears as a giant residing in the country of Accad, a subduer
of great animals in the post-diluvian times, and a mighty conqueror who
acquired the sovereignty, which he exercised in the city of Erech or
Uruk, the earliest capital of Babylonia.

158. Where in the Bible are we told in one verse not to do a thing and
in the next to do it?

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto
him.”--Prov. xxvi. 4.

“Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own
conceit.”--Prov. xxvi. 5.

159. What did the Indians at Jamestown plant in order to raise

It is said that, having seized a quantity of gunpowder belonging to the
colonists, they planted it for seed, expecting to reap a full harvest
of ammunition for the next contest.

160. When was the first bloodshed in the late Civil War?

On the 19th of April, 1861, two young men--Luther C. Ladd and A. O.
Whitney--from Lowell, Mass., were killed by a mob while their regiment
was passing through the streets of Baltimore on their way to the
defence of Washington. This was the first bloodshed in the Rebellion.
To their honor a granite monument has been erected in Merrimack Street,
Lowell, and in the same enclosure is a bronze statue of Victory, by the
German sculptor Rauch, to commemorate the triumph of the Northern cause.

161. What African capital was named from a President of the United

Monrovia, the capital of the republic of Liberia, was named in honor of
James Monroe, who was President of the United States at the time of the
establishment of the Liberian Republic.

162. How many people did the ship _Mayflower_ bring over?

There was on board of this single ship of one hundred and eighty tons
a “floating village of one hundred and two souls,” not of resolute men
only, but also their wives and children.

163. Who delivered the funeral oration on the death of Washington?

General Henry Lee, commonly known as “Light Horse Harry,” delivered
the funeral oration of Washington, at the German Lutheran Church,
Philadelphia, Dec. 26, 1799. A resolution of thanks was unanimously
passed by Congress the following day.

164. Which is the nearest approach yet made to the North Pole?

On the 18th of May, 1882, Lieutenant James B. Lockwood, U. S. A., of
the Greely expedition, reached the latitude of eighty-three degrees
and twenty-four minutes on the north coast of Greenland. This was
twenty-eight miles farther north than ever before known. Previous to
this the greatest northing was that made by Commander Markham, R. N.,
who, on May 12, 1876, reached eighty-three degrees twenty minutes and
twenty-six seconds north on the frozen Polar Ocean.

165. When was the price of flour made to depend upon the result of a
Presidential election?

In 1840, men of business advertised to pay six dollars a barrel if
Harrison were elected, and only three dollars a barrel if Van Buren
were elected.

166. Which is the “Land of the Rising Sun”?

The poetical name by which the Japanese designate their country is the
“Land of the Rising Sun,” which well describes its location as the most
eastern of all Asiatic empires, and their national emblem represents
the sun as rising from the sea. The name Japan is a corruption of
Marco Polo’s term _Zipangu_, which, in turn, is a corruption of
_Jipunquo_, which is of Chinese origin, and means “The Country at
the Root of the Sun.”

167. Which is the “Land of the Midnight Sun”?

The Scandinavian Peninsula. “From the last days of May to the end of
July, in the northern part of this land, the sun shines day and night
upon its mountains, fjords, rivers, lakes, forests, towns, villages,
hamlets, fields, and farms; and thus Sweden and Norway may be called
‘The Land of the Midnight Sun.’ During this period of continuous
daylight the stars are never seen, the moon appears pale and sheds no
light upon the earth.”--_Du Chaillu’s Land of the Midnight Sun._

168. When did the postal card come into use in the United States?

By the Act of June 8, 1872, the Postmaster-General was authorized and
directed to issue postal cards to the public at a cost of one cent
each. The first cards were issued in May, 1873. The invention of postal
cards is attributed to Prof. Emanuel Herman, of Vienna. They were used
in England, Germany, and Switzerland in 1870, and have since been
introduced into other European countries. In some countries a card is
attached on which an answer can be returned.

169. What President worked on a ferry-boat when a young man?

In 1825, Abraham Lincoln, then in his seventeenth year, was employed by
James Taylor for nine months at _six_ dollars a month to manage
a ferry-boat which plied between the banks of the Ohio and also of
Anderson Creek.

170. What general shot a wolf in her den by the light of her own eyes?

General Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame, once had a famous
encounter with a she-wolf that had for several years preyed upon the
flocks and cattle of the neighborhood. Having discovered her den, he
entered it alone by creeping into a narrow opening, and shot and killed
the wolf by the light of her own glaring eyes as she was advancing
to attack him. This adventure, which gave him a wide reputation
for courage, took place near Pomfret, Conn., when Putnam was but
twenty-five years old.

171. What did the Indians suppose the ships of Columbus to be?

They supposed the ships to be huge white-winged birds, and the
Spaniards to have come from heaven.

172. What President never attended school a day in his life?

Andrew Johnson, on account of extreme poverty, never received any
schooling, and at the age of ten he was apprenticed to Mr. Selby, a
tailor in Raleigh, N. C. A gentleman was in the habit of visiting the
shop and reading to the workmen, generally from “The American Speaker,”
and Andrew became intensely interested, especially in the extracts from
the speeches of Pitt and Fox, and determined to secure an education.
From a fellow-workman he learned the alphabet, and from a friend
something of spelling. Thenceforth, after working ten or twelve hours
a day at his trade, he spent two or three every night in study. After
his marriage at Greenville, Tenn., he continued his studies under the
instruction of his wife, with whose aid he learned to write and cipher,
while pursuing his trade as before by day.

173. How was Napoleon paid for the cession of Louisiana?

He was paid $11,250,000 in six per cent. bonds, payable fifteen years
after date. The price paid for Louisiana was $15,000,000, but one
quarter of this was due to American citizens for French depredations
upon our commerce.

174. When was the flag of a republic first set up on American soil?

In 1497, John Cabot discovered North America and set up--together with
the standard of England--the banner of his native land, the republic of

175. What was the “Confederate candle”?

The “Confederate candle” consisted of a long wick coated with wax and
resin, and wound on a little wooden frame, at the top of which was
nailed a bit of tin. The end of the wick, being passed through a hole
in the tin, was lighted and uncoiled as needed.

176. What was the Holy Grail?

According to some legends of the Middle Ages, the Holy Grail was the
cup (said to be emerald) used by our Saviour in dispensing the wine at
the Last Supper; and according to others, it was the platter on which
the Paschal Lamb was served at the last Passover observed by our Lord.
By some it was said to have been preserved by Joseph of Arimathea, who
received into it the blood which flowed from the Redeemer’s wounds
as he hung on the cross. By others it was said to have been brought
down from heaven by angels, and committed to the charge of a body of
knights, who guarded it on the top of a lofty mountain. This cup,
according to the legend, if approached by any but a perfectly pure,
chaste, and holy person, would be borne away, and vanish from their
sight. This led to the quest of the Holy Grail, which was to be sought
on every side by a knight who was perfectly chaste in thought, word,
and act. It is to this that some of the later English poets have
referred, especially Tennyson in his “Sir Galahad”:

    “Sometimes on lonely mountain meres
      I find a magic bark;
    I leap on board; no helmsman steers;
      I float till all is dark.
    A gentle sound, an awful light!
      Three angels bear the Holy Grail.
    With folded feet, in stoles of white,
      On sweeping wings they sail.”

177. Where is the “Devil’s Wall”?

This name is given by the inhabitants of the neighborhood to the old
Roman wall separating England from Scotland, because they suppose that
from the strength of the cement and the durability of the stone, the
devil must have built it. The superstitious peasantry are said to be
in the habit of gathering up the fragments of this wall to put in the
foundation of their own tenements, to insure an equal solidity.

178. Who was the youngest President?

Ulysses S. Grant, who was not forty-seven years of age at the time of
his inauguration.

179. Who was “Foul-weather Jack”?

Commander Byron (1723–1786) was so called by the men who sailed under
him, in allusion to his ill-fortune at sea.

180. When and by whom was the Pacific Ocean discovered?

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Marco Polo and his
successors travelled far to the East, and came to an ocean of unknown
extent; and they partially explored its western coast. But it was not
until nearly two centuries after this, that the existence of this great
ocean was established to Europeans; and the honor of its discovery
justly belongs to Vasco Nuñez de Balbao, or Balboa, the leader of a
Spanish party exploring the Isthmus of Panama, who, on the 29th of
September, 1513, saw, from the summit of a mountain, a vast ocean to
the west. Balbao prostrated himself upon the ground; then, rising to
his knees, he thanked God “it had pleased his Divine Majesty to reserve
unto that day the victory and praise of so great a thing unto him.”
When he reached the coast he advanced waist-deep into the waves, drew
his sword, and swore, as a true knight, that he would defend it, with
its coast, islands, and all that it contained, for his master, the king
of Spain. Because he discovered it on Michaelmas day, Balbao named it
the _Golfo de San Miguel_.

181. What sect believes in the existence of one hundred and thirty-six

According to Buddhist belief, there are, situated in the interior of
the earth, one hundred and thirty-six hells. These places of punishment
have a regular gradation in the intensity of the suffering and the
length of time the sufferers live, the least term of life being ten
millions of years, the longer terms being almost beyond the powers of
even Indian notation to express. But however long the life, it has an
end, and at its close the individual must be born again.

182. What are the sacred writings of the Buddhists called?

The _Tripitaka_ (_i. e._, “Triple Basket”) is the Bible of Buddhism.
It contains one hundred and sixteen volumes, and is divided into
three classes: the _Sutra_, or discourses of Buddha; the _Vinaya_, or
discipline, and the _Abhidharma_, or metaphysics. They contain sublime,
moral, and pure aspirations, and their author lived and died in the
sixth century B. C. Buddhism has now existed for nearly twenty-five
centuries, and may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world,
as its adherents are estimated at from 400,000,000 to 500,000,000
souls,--more than one third of the human race.

183. What are the sacred writings of the Chinese called?

_King_ (_i. e._, “The Books”) is the collective name of the canonical
works of the adherents of Confucius. It is divided into five books.
These are the _Yih-King_, or the Book of Changes,--originally a
cosmological essay, now, curiously enough, regarded as a treatise
on ethics; _Shu-King_, or the Book of Annals,--a history of the
deliberations between the Emperors Yayu and Shun, and other personages,
called by Confucius the _Ancient Kings_, and for whose maxims and
actions he had the highest veneration; the _Shi-King_, or the Book
of Songs,--a book of sacred songs, consisting of three hundred and
eleven poems, the best of which every well-educated Chinaman gets by
heart; the _Le-King_, or the Book of Rites,--the foundation of Chinese
manners, prescribing, as it does, the ceremonies to be observed in all
the relationships of life, and the great cause of the unchangeableness
and artificiality of Chinese habits; and the _Chun-tsien_,--a history
by Confucius of his own times, and those which immediately preceded
him. These works stand at the head of the vast literature of the
Chinese, and constitute the sacred books of about 80,000,000 of people.

184. What are the sacred books of the ancient Scandinavians called?

The _Eddas_ are the sacred books of the old Scandinavian tribes.
There are two works which bear this name,--the _Edda Sæmundar
hins Froda_, or Edda of Sæmund the Wise, and the _Edda Snorri
Sturlusonar_. The former, and older of these, contains the mythology
of the Scandinavians, with some historical narrations of a romantic
cast, embodied in thirty-nine poems, of unknown authorship and
date, which were collected by Sæmund Sigfusson, surnamed Frodi, an
Icelandic priest, 1054–1133. The second is a collection of the myths
of the gods, and of explanations of the types and metres of the pagan
poetry, intended for the instruction of the young skalds, or poets.
It is chiefly in prose, and is the work of several authors, although
ascribed to Snorri Sturleson, 1178–1241. The name Edda, which means
great-grandmother (_i. e._, of Scandinavian poetry), was applied
to these works by Brynjolf Svendson, bishop of Skalholt, by whom
they were discovered and first brought before the notice of European
scholars in 1643.

185. What are the sacred writings of the Hindoos called?

The _Vedas_ (“Knowledge”) are the sacred books of the Hindoos. These
books are of great antiquity, but of uncertain date. There are four
books: the oldest is the _Rijveda_,--the Veda of praise; next, the
_Yajurveda_,--the Veda of sacrifice; the _Samaveda_,--the Veda of
chanting; and the latest the _Atharvaveda_, which is made up after the
manner of the _Samaveda_, but containing additional extracts from the
_Rijveda_; its object is to teach how to appease, to bless, to curse,
etc. Each of the Vedas contains a _Sanhita_, or collection of hymns,
and an accompanying _Brahmana_, or commentary. They are written in

186. What are the sacred writings of the Persians called?

The _Zend-Avesta_ (“Commentary and Text,” _Avesta_ being
properly the sacred text; and _Zend_, its interpretation into more
modern and intelligible language) is the Bible of the ancient Persians
and of the modern Parsees or Guebres, who number about 7,000 in Persia,
and 200,000 in India. It is ascribed to Zoroaster, who is said to have
written 2,000,000 verses, covering 12,000 cow-skin parchments. In
its present fragmentary state, it consists of the _Vendidad_ of
twenty-two chapters, being the one surviving part (the twentieth) of
an original work of twenty-one parts; the _Yazna_, of seventy-two
chapters; the _Visparad_, of twenty-three chapters; twenty-four
sections called _Yashts_; and a few fragments. It is, next to the
Bible, the best of the sacred writings.

187. What are the sacred writings of the Mohammedans called?

The Koran, or _Al-Coran_, (“The Reading”), is the book of faith
of the Mohammedans, or of about one seventh of the human race. It is
a single volume of one hundred and fourteen chapters, of very unequal
length, written in Arabic, and containing the doctrines and pretended
revelations of Mohammed, “The Prophet,” whose followers number about

188. What are the sacred writings of the ancient Japanese?

The _Kojiki_ (“Book of Ancient Traditions”) is the Bible and
oldest monument of Shintonism, the ancient religion of Japan. It is
written in pure Japanese, and was composed by order of the Mikado
Gemmio, A. D. 712, and first printed about 1625. Shintonism has no
moral code, and consists chiefly in the imitation and deification of
illustrious ancestors, emperors, heroes, and scholars, the veneration
of fire and light, and the inculcation of obedience to the will of the
Mikado. Its adherents now number only about 14,000,000, as Buddhism is
now the prevailing religion in Japan.

189. What are the “Seven Bibles of the World”?

They are the _Scriptures_ of the Christians; the _Zend-Avesta_ of
the Persians; the four _Vedas_ of the Hindoos; the _Tripitaka_ of
the Buddhists; the five _Kings_ of the Chinese; the two _Eddas_ of
the Scandinavians, and the _Koran_ of the Mohammedans. Of these the
_Scriptures_ are the oldest and the _Koran_ the most recent.

190. What President wrote his own epitaph?

Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph, as follows: “Here lies buried
THOMAS JEFFERSON, author of the Declaration of Independence,
of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the
University of Virginia.”

191. When was the first national convention for the nomination of
candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency held?

National conventions for the nomination of candidates were unknown
before 1830. In 1830, an Anti-Masonic national convention was held, in
which the party resolved, among other things, to put forward candidates
for President and Vice-President, and a second convention was called
to meet in Baltimore, in September, 1831, to make the nominations.
In 1832, that being the election year, the Democrats held a national
convention at Baltimore, to nominate a Vice-President, it being
generally understood that Jackson was to be re-elected.

192. Who was the first President nominated by national convention?

Martin Van Buren in 1835. The Whigs, his opponents, held no such
meeting, and contented themselves with supporting Harrison as
the nominee of the Pennsylvania State Convention. In 1839 the
Whigs nominated Harrison in national convention, and elected him
triumphantly. Thenceforward, the practice of holding national
conventions became general with all parties.

193. Where were the different Presidents nominated?

    Van Buren, at Baltimore, 1835, by the Democrats.
    Harrison, at Harrisburg, 1839, by the Whigs.
    Polk, at Baltimore, 1844, by the Democrats.
    Taylor, at Philadelphia, 1848, by the Whigs.
    Pierce, at Baltimore, 1852, by the Democrats.
    Buchanan, at Cincinnati, 1856, by the Democrats.
    Lincoln (first term), at Chicago, 1800, by the Republicans.
    Lincoln (second term), at Baltimore, 1864, by the Republicans.
    Grant (first term), at Chicago, 1868, by the Republicans.
    Grant (second term), at Philadelphia, 1872, by the Republicans.
    Hayes, at Cincinnati, 1876, by the Republicans.
    Garfield, at Chicago, 1880, by the Republicans.
    Cleveland, at Chicago, 1884, by the Democrats.

194. When and by whom was the first national political platform adopted?

The first national political platform was adopted by the Democratic
convention at Baltimore, May 5, 1840.

195. Which is the “Blue Hen State”?

This is a popular name for the State of Delaware. This sobriquet is
said to have had its origin in a certain Captain Caldwell’s fondness
for the amusement of cock-fighting. Caldwell was, for a time, an
officer of the First Delaware Regiment, in the war of the Revolution,
and was greatly distinguished for his daring and undaunted spirit.
He was exceedingly popular in the regiment, and its high state of
discipline was generally conceded to be due to his exertions; so that
when officers were sent on a recruiting service, to enlist new men,
in order to fill vacancies caused by death or otherwise, it was a
saying, that they had gone home for more of Caldwell’s game-cocks;
but as Caldwell insisted that no cock could be truly game unless the
mother was a blue hen, the expression _Blue Hen’s Chickens_ was
substituted for game-cocks.

196. What State is called “The Dark and Bloody Ground”?

Kentucky, of which name the above is said to be the translation. The
phrase is an epitome of the early history of the State, of the dark
and bloody conflicts of the first white settlers with their savage
foes; but the name originated in the fact that this was the grand
battle-ground between the Northern and Southern Indians.

197. Who was the author of “Greenbacks”?

Salmon Portland Chase (1808–1873), President Lincoln’s Secretary of
the Treasury, and afterwards Chief Justice of the United States. The
financial policy which carried the nation through the civil war was
mainly the work of Mr. Chase. One of its essential features was the
issue of United States notes, known as “Greenbacks,” which bore no
interest, but were made legal tender.

198. What battle of the Rebellion was fought above the clouds?

This far-famed “battle above the clouds” took place on Lookout
Mountain, Tennessee, on the morning of the 23d of November, 1863. A
dense fog hung like a hood over the mountain, as the Federals under
Hooker charged the Rebel fortifications. His troops had been ordered to
stop on the high ground, but, taking advantage of the fog, and carried
away by the ardor of the attack, they sprang up the almost inaccessible
slopes of the mountain with resistless energy, and swept over the
crest, driving the enemy before them. The Union flag was carried to the
top; and before two o’clock in the afternoon, Lookout Mountain, with
its cloud-capped summit, was swarming with Federal soldiers. Grant is
reported to have declared the so-called “battle above the clouds” to
be “all poetry, there having been no action there worthy the name of

199. Why was John Quincy Adams so named?

The origin of his name was thus stated by himself: “My
great-grandfather, John Quincy, was dying when I was baptized, and his
daughter, my grandmother, requested I might receive his name. This
fact, recorded by my father, has connected with my name a charm of
mingled sensibility and devotion. It was filial tenderness that gave
the name,--it was the name of one passing from earth to immortality.
These have been through life perpetual admonitions to do nothing
unworthy of it.”

200. What President was the oldest when elected?

William Henry Harrison, who was sixty-eight years of age when
inaugurated. The average age of Presidents, when elected, has been
fifty-seven years.

201. What colony was founded as a home for the poor?

Georgia, the thirteenth American colony, was founded in a spirit of
pure benevolence. The laws of England permitted imprisonment for debt.
Thousands of English laborers, who through misfortune and thoughtless
contracts had become indebted to the rich, were annually arrested and
thrown into jail. Whole families were destitute or starving. To provide
a refuge for these downtrodden poor of England, and the distressed
Protestants of other countries, James Oglethorpe, the philanthropist,
a member of Parliament, appealed to George II. for the privilege of
planting a colony in America. The petition was favorably heard, and
on the 9th of June, 1732, a royal charter was issued, by which the
territory between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, and westward from
the upper fountains of those rivers to the Pacific, was organized and
granted to a corporation for twenty-one years, _to be held in trust
for the poor_. In honor of the king, the new province received the
name of Georgia.

202. Who was the “Colossus of American Independence”?

John Adams. By his energy and eloquence he did more than any other man
to crystallize the American sentiment in favor of independence. He was
a member of the celebrated committee appointed to draft the immortal
“Declaration.” In the debates on that instrument, he was its chief
defender; and it was he who persuaded Congress to adopt it. He was the
most distinguished signer. Jefferson himself said, that “he [Adams] was
the pillar of its support; its ablest advocate and defender.”

203. What were the last intelligible words of Benedict Arnold?

“Bring me, I beg you, the epaulets and sword-knots which Washington
gave me. Let me die in my old American uniform, the uniform in which I
fought my battles. God forgive me for ever putting on any other.”

204. What bird is an apt illustration of the proverb that “Pride will
have a fall”?

The pouter pigeon. It stands perpendicularly erect, and seems
exceedingly vain of the swollen crop which gives it the name of pouter.
It can inflate its crop with air, until the head is almost hidden
behind it. This inflation oftentimes causes the bird to lose its
balance, and to fall down chimneys, on which it is fond of standing,
thereby aptly illustrating the proverb, that “Pride will have a fall.”

205. What noted poet was so thin that he was said to wear lead in his
shoes to keep himself from being blown away by the wind?

Philetas, a distinguished poet and critic of the Alexandrian school,
who lived in the fourth and third centuries B. C., was so sickly and
so thin, that the comic poets stated that he used to wear lead in his
shoes to keep himself from being blown away. The story runs that he
died from the excessive assiduity with which he sought the answer to
the sophistical problem, called “The Liar,” viz.: If a man says he is
telling a lie, does he speak truly or falsely?

206. Was Adam created with a beard?

Scripture does not tell us, but the tradition that he was created with
one (which may be described as bushy rather than flowing) is recorded
on ancient monuments, and especially on an antique sarcophagus, which
is one of the ornaments of the Vatican. The Jews, with the Orientals
generally, seem to have accepted the tradition for a law. Among them
the beard was a cherished and sacred thing. The Scriptures abound with
examples of how the beard and its treatment interpreted the feelings,
the joy, the pride, the sorrow, or the despondency of the wearer.

207. Who was the wealthiest President?

Washington, who left an estate valued at $800,000. The next in order of
wealth was Van Buren, whose property was valued at $400,000.

208. Who were the original “Jersey Blues”?

They were a battalion of five hundred soldiers from New Jersey, during
King George’s War (1745–1748), and were so called from the color of
their uniform,--blue, faced with red, gray stockings, and buckskin
breeches. They were described at the time as “the likeliest well-set
men who ever entered upon a campaign.”

209. Who was “Tam O’Shanter”?

He was the hero of Burns’s poem of the same name, a farmer, who, riding
home very late and very drunk, from Ayr, in a stormy night, had to
pass by the kirk of Alloway, a place reputed to be a favorite haunt of
the devil and his friends and emissaries. On approaching the kirk,
he perceived a light gleaming through the windows; but having got
courageously drunk, he ventured on till he could look into the edifice,
when he saw a dance of witches merrily footing it round their master,
who was playing on the bagpipe to them. The dance grew so furious that
they all stripped themselves of their upper garments, and kept at it
in their shifts. One “winsome wench,” happening unluckily to have a
shift which was considerably too short to answer all the purposes of
that useful article of dress, Tam was so tickled that he involuntarily
roared out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!” (Well done, Short-smock);
whereupon, in an instant, all was dark, and Tam, recollecting himself,
turned and spurred his horse to the top of her speed, chased by the
whole fiendish crew. It is a current belief, that witches, or any evil
spirits, have no power to follow a poor wight any farther than the
middle of the next running stream. Fortunately for Tam, the river Doon
was near; for, notwithstanding the speed of his horse, by the time
he gained the middle of the arch of the bridge, and consequently the
middle of the stream, the pursuing vengeful hags were so close at his
heels, that one of them, “Cutty-sark,” actually sprang to seize him;
but it was too late,--nothing was on her side of the stream but the
horse’s tail, which immediately gave way at her infernal gripe, as if
blasted by a stroke of lightning; but the farmer was beyond her reach.

210. Who was “Old Public Functionary”?

This sobriquet, which was sometimes humorously abbreviated O. P. F.,
was sometimes given to James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the
United States. He was the first to apply the expression to himself, in
his annual message to Congress in 1859:--

“This advice proceeds from the heart of an _old public functionary_,
whose service commenced in the last generation, among the wise and
conservative statesmen of that day, now nearly all passed away, and
whose first and dearest earthly wish is to leave his country tranquil,
prosperous, united, and powerful.”

211. Who was “Light-Horse Harry”?

This sobriquet was popularly conferred upon General Henry Lee
(1756–1818), a gallant American cavalry officer in the war of the
Revolution, in allusion to his rapid and daring movements in battle,
particularly during the campaign in the Carolinas.

212. Who was the “French Game-cock”?

On account of his bravery, this name was given by the American soldiers
to Marie Jean Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

213. What was the “Albany Regency”?

It was a junto of astute Democratic politicians, having their
headquarters at Albany, who controlled the action of the Democratic
party for many years, and who had great weight in national politics.
The effort to elect William H. Crawford President, instead of John
Quincy Adams, was their first great struggle.

214. In what country are prayers said by wheels?

An important part of the duties of a pilgrim to Lassa, the centre of
Lamaism, is penance. Among the lighter forms of penance is turning a
wheel called _Tchu-Kor_, “revolving prayer.” This devotional
machine is usually a sort of barrel, moving upon an axis and inscribed
all over with Buddhistic petitions. The worshipper sets it going, and
it turns prayers for his benefit, while he pursues some more mundane

215. What Presidents were born in Virginia?

Thus far seven of our Presidents have been natives of Virginia, viz.:--

Washington, born in Westmoreland County, Feb. 22, 1732; Jefferson, born
at Shadwell, Albemarle County, April 2, 1743; Madison, born at King
George, March 16, 1751; Monroe, born in Westmoreland County, April 28,
1758; Harrison, born at Berkeley, Charles City County, Feb. 9, 1773;
Tyler, born in Charles City County, March 29, 1790; Taylor, born in
Orange County, Sept. 24, 1784.

216. Which is the only monarchy on the Western Continent?

The government of Brazil is a mild form of a constitutional and
hereditary monarchy. The laws of succession are the same as in England.
The Emperor Dom Pedro II., of the house of Bragança, and the Empress,
a sister of the king of Naples, are universally beloved and respected
for their intellectual and moral endowments, and their affectionate
interest in the welfare of their subjects.

217. What becomes of all the greenbacks and banknotes after they have
served their few years of usefulness?

They go to the government. After about three years of service they
are pretty well worn, and are taken to the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing, and placed in a machine containing immense knives, which chop
the notes into fragments. Three officers of the Treasury Department are
stationed to watch the destruction of the notes. No one else is allowed
to be present except the officials and the men who run the machine.
They are compelled to remain in the room until each separate note is
destroyed. They must account afterwards to the Redemption Bureau for
each note, and should one become lost or mislaid and afterwards find
its way into circulation, the result would be the immediate discharge
of the three who daily have in their custody millions of dollars of
notes and bonds. The shreds are reduced to pulp, and then moulded into
figures of birds and animals and sold as mementos to visitors. Often it
will happen that one little object will be composed of what was once
$1,000,000 worth of money.

218. What sort of mound has been raised to the memory of Kosciusko?

Near Cracow there is a mound of earth one hundred and fifty feet
high, which was raised to the memory of the Polish patriot, Thaddeus
Kosciusko, by the people, earth being brought for this purpose from
every great battlefield of Europe on which Polish blood had been shed.
From a fanciful resemblance in shape to this tumulus, the loftiest
known mountain in Australia has received the name of Mount Kosciusko.

219. In what country are the forests without shade?

With few exceptions, the Australian trees are evergreens, and they show
a peculiar reverted position of their leaves, which hang vertically,
turning their edges instead of their sides toward the sun, and giving
no shade. There are great shadeless forests of eucalypti and other

220. Which are the tallest trees in the world?

The loftiest product of the vegetable kingdom is the eucalypti-trees,
indigenous to Australia and Tasmania. They are sometimes called
“gum-trees,” because they abound in resinous exudations. The
_Eucalyptus gigantea_, called “Stringy bark,” sometimes attains a
height of four hundred and eighty feet, and a diameter of over eighty
feet; over one hundred feet higher than the highest specimen of the
mammoth trees of California (_Sequoia gigantea_), now standing.
These trees form a characteristic feature of the peculiar vegetation
of those islands, having entire leathery leaves, of which one edge is
directed toward the sky, so that both surfaces are equally exposed
to the light. They also have the peculiarity of shedding their bark
annually instead of their leaves.

221. Who was the most famous heroine of antiquity?

Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra. Her second husband, Septimius Odenathus,
prince of Palmyra, was assassinated in A. D. 266, by his nephew
Mæonius. Zenobia put the assassin to death, and assumed the vacant
Palmyrene throne. For five years she governed Palmyra, Syria, and
adjoining parts of the East with vigor and judgment, independent of
the Roman power. She assumed the title of “Queen of the East,” and
exacted from her subjects the same adoration that was paid to Persian
monarchs. She maintained her power through the reigns of Gallienus and
Claudius, but was finally defeated and captured by Aurelian, 273 A. D.
Decked with splendid jewels, and almost fainting under the weight of
gold chains, she adorned the triumph of the emperor, but was presented
by him with large possessions near Tivoli, where she passed the rest
of her life in comfort and even splendor. Her daughters married into
noble Roman families, and her descendants were still living in the
fifth century. She was exceedingly beautiful, dark in complexion, with
large black, fiery eyes. She spoke Latin, Greek, Syriac, and Egyptian,
and wrote for her own use an epitome of Oriental history. She was a
passionate hunter, and thoroughly inured to fatigue, sometimes walking
on foot at the head of her troops.

222. What is dynamite?

This explosive, of which we hear so much, looks very much like moist
brown sugar. It is made of nitro-glycerine, a heavy, oily liquid which
explodes with great violence, mixed with an absorbent to make it safer
to handle. Nitro-glycerine is composed of nitric acid, sulphuric acid,
and that clear, sweet, soothing liquid called glycerine. The absorbent
material is a fine, white powder, composed of the remains of infusoria.
This takes up two or three times its weight of the nitro-glycerine
without becoming pasty; the ingredients are mixed in leaden vessels
with wooden spoons to avoid friction. If fire is applied to this mass,
it burns with a strong flame without any explosion; but the application
of a full sudden blow causes it to explode with tremendous force.

223. Who was the “Great American Commoner”?

Thaddeus Stevens (1793–1868), of Pennsylvania, an American statesman,
was so called on account of his opposition to slavery and secession. He
was elected representative in Congress in 1848 and re-elected in 1850.
He strongly opposed the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill. He was again elected to Congress in 1858, and held his seat till
his death.

224. What was the proper name of Columbus?

His Genoese name was Christoforo Colombo, which, according to the
custom of the time, he Latinized into Columbus. When he went into Spain
he adopted the Spanish form of it, Christobal Colon.

225. Who were the parents of Columbus?

Columbus was the eldest son of Domenico Colombo, a wool comber of
Genoa, and Susanna Fontanarossa. They had two other sons, Bartolommeo
(Bartholomew) and Giacomo (James, called in Spain Diego), and a
daughter who married a butcher.

226. Who was the wife of Columbus?

In the convent of All Saints, Lisbon, where Columbus was accustomed to
attend religious service, were certain ladies of rank, either resident
as boarders, or in some religious capacity. With one of these, Doña
Felipa Moñis de Perestrello, Columbus became acquainted. Her father,
Bartolommeo Moñis de Perestrello, an Italian cavalier, lately deceased,
had been one of the most distinguished navigators under Prince Henry,
and had colonized and governed the island of Porto Santo. Columbus soon
fell in love with the lady, and married her. By her he had one son,
Diego, born about 1472. A few years afterward his wife died.

227. How many children had Columbus?

He had two sons. The eldest, Diego, was by his wife. His second son,
Fernando, born in 1487, was the illegitimate child of Doña Beatriz
Enriquez, a noble lady of Cordova, to whom Columbus became attached,
while waiting for an opportunity to appear at court. This son became
the historian of his father.

228. When did the line of Columbus become extinct?

Diego married Doña Maria de Toledo, daughter of the Duke of Alva. Their
eldest son, Luis, exchanged the hereditary dignity of admiral for a
pension and the title of Duke of Veragua, Marquis of Jamaica. Luis’s
eldest daughter married her cousin Diego, and died without issue,
the male line thus becoming extinct. Finally the property and titles
became, in 1608, merged by marriage through the female line in a branch
of the house of Bragança.

229. What were the last words of Columbus?

He died while repeating the following words in Latin: “Lord, into thy
hands I commit my spirit.”

230. Where do the remains of Columbus now repose?

The body of Columbus was deposited in the convent of San Francisco,
Valladolid, Spain. It was thence transported, 1513, to the Carthusian
Monastery of Seville, where a handsome monument was erected by command
of Ferdinand and Isabella, with the simple inscription, “To Castile and
Leon, Colon gave a new world.” In 1536, his body and that of his son
Diego were removed to the city of St. Domingo, Hayti, and interred in
the principal chapel. But, in 1796, the remains, as was supposed, were
taken to Havana with imposing ceremonies. The tomb in the cathedral is
marked by a slab elaborately carved, on which is inscribed,--

    “Restos e Imagen del grande Colon!
    Mil siglos durad guardades en la Urna
    Y en la remembranza de nuestra Nacion,”

which is Spanish for,

    “Oh, rest thou, image of the great Colon,
    Thousand centuries remain, guarded in the urn,
    And in the remembrance of our nation.”

In 1877, however, while excavating near the cathedral in St. Domingo,
the vault was opened and a leaden coffin found containing human bones,
and inscribed in Spanish, “Illustrious and renowned man, Christopher
Columbus.” It is therefore thought that the body carried to Havana was
not that of the great admiral.

231. What was the last writing of Columbus?

It is contained in a final codicil to the will of 1498, made at
Valladolid on the 19th of May, 1506. By this the old will is confirmed,
the mayorazgo is bequeathed to his son Diego and his male heirs,
failing these to Fernando, his second son, and failing these to the
male heirs of his brother Bartholomew: only in case of the extinction
of the male line, direct or collateral, is it to descend to the females
of the family; and those into whose hands it may fall are never to
diminish it, but always to increase and ennoble it by all means
possible. The head of the family is to sign himself “The Admiral.” A
tenth of the annual income is to be set aside yearly for distribution
among the poor relations of the house. A chapel is founded and endowed
for the saying of masses. Beatriz Enriquez is left to the care of the
young admiral in most graceful terms. Among other legacies is one of
“half a mark of silver to a Jew who used to live at the gate of Jewry,
in Lisbon.” The codicil was written and signed with the admiral’s own
hand. Next day (May 20, 1506) he died.

232. Which is the “Sucker State”? Why so named?

This is a cant name given to the State of Illinois, the inhabitants of
which are very generally called _suckers_ throughout the West. The
origin of this term is said to be as follows: The Western prairies are,
in many places, full of the holes made by the “crawfish” (a fresh-water
shell-fish, similar in form to the lobster), which descends to the
water beneath. In early times, when travellers wended their way over
these immense plains, they very prudently provided themselves with a
long, hollow reed, and, when thirsty, thrust it into these natural
artesians, and thus easily supplied their longings. The crawfish well
generally contains pure water, and the manner in which the traveller
drew forth the refreshing element gave him the name of “sucker.”

233. What was the “Bug” Bible?

What is known as the “Bug” Bible was printed in 1551, and contained a
prologue by Tyndall. Its name is derived from the peculiar rendering of
the fifth verse of the ninety-first Psalm, which is made to read, “So
that thou shalt not need to be afraid for any bugs by night.”

234. How is celluloid made?

A roll of paper is slowly unwound, and at the same time saturated with
a mixture of five parts of sulphuric acid and two of nitric, which
falls upon the paper in a fine spray. This changes the cellulose of the
paper into fine pyroxyline (gun cotton). The excess of acid having been
expelled by pressure, the paper is washed with plenty of water until
all traces of acid have been removed; it is then reduced to pulp, and
passes on to the bleaching trough. Most of the water having been got
rid of by means of a strainer, the pulp is mixed with from twenty to
forty per cent. of its weight of camphor, and the mixture thoroughly
triturated under millstones. The necessary coloring matter having been
added in the form of powder, a second mixture and grinding follow. The
finely divided pulp is then spread out in thin layers on slabs, and
from twenty to twenty-five of these layers are placed in a hydraulic
press, separated from one another by sheets of thick blotting paper,
and are subjected to a pressure of one hundred and fifty atmospheres
until all traces of moisture have been got rid of. The plates thus
obtained are broken up and soaked for twenty-four hours in alcohol. The
matter is then passed between rollers heated to between one hundred and
forty and one hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit, whence it issues
in the form of elastic sheets. Celluloid is made to imitate amber,
tortoise-shell, coral, malachite, ebony, ivory, etc., and besides
its employment in dentistry, is used to make mouthpieces for pipes
and cigar-holders, handles for table-knives and umbrellas, combs,
shirt-fronts and collars, and a number of fancy articles.

235. When is “Ground Hog Day”?

Candlemas day (Feb. 2). In Germany’s folklore there is a superstition
that the badger, on that day, peeps out of his hole, and when he finds
snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining, draws back into his
hole. This latter action, so the legend goes, signifies that the winter
weather is not over, the sun’s rays being too prematurely warm for the
season. Doubtless the superstition concerning the ground hog in this
country is derived from the above source.

236. Where are our Presidents buried?

Washington was buried at Mount Vernon, Va.; John Adams, at Quincy,
Mass.; Jefferson, at Monticello, Va.; Madison, at Montpelier, Va.;
Monroe, at Richmond, Va.; John Quincy Adams, at Quincy, Mass.; Jackson,
at the Hermitage, near Nashville, Tenn.; Van Buren, at Kinderhook, N.
Y.; Harrison, at North Bend, Ind.; Tyler, at Richmond, Va.; Polk, at
Nashville, Tenn.; Taylor, at Washington, D. C.; Fillmore, at Buffalo,
N. Y.; Pierce, at Concord, N. H.; Buchanan, at Lancaster, Pa.; Lincoln,
at Springfield, Ill.; Johnson, at Greenville, Tenn.; Garfield, at
Cleveland, Ohio; and Grant, at Riverside Park, New York City; Arthur,
at Albany, N. Y.

237. Which is the “Modern Athens”?

This name is often given to Edinburgh, on account of its many noble
literary institutions, the taste and culture of the people, the many
distinguished men who have issued from it or resided in it, and the
high character of its publications; and also on account of a marked
resemblance to Athens in its topographical position and its general

The same epithet is applied to Boston, Mass., a city remarkable for the
high intellectual character of its citizens, and for its many excellent
literary, scientific, and educational institutions and publications.

238. What was the origin of the term “Old Harry”?

It has been suggested that this vulgar appellation for the devil comes
from the Scandinavian _Hari_ or _Heira_, names of Odin, who
came in time to be degraded from his rank of a god to that of a fiend
or evil spirit.

According to Henley, the hirsute honors of the Satan of the ancient
religious stage procured him the name _Old Hairy_, corrupted into
Old Harry.

239. What was the origin of the terms “Whig” and “Tory”?

These designations of political parties in English, and more lately in
American history, were originally applied as terms of reproach. There
are three accounts for the origin of the term Whig.

1. That it is derived from _whig_, whey, which the Scottish
Covenanters used to drink, and hence a name applied to them.

2. That it is a contraction of _whiggam_, a term used in Scotland
in driving horses, or from _whiggamore_, a driver of horses.
In 1648 a party of these people marched to Edinburgh to oppose the
king and the Duke of Hamilton. “This,” says Burnet, “was called the
Whiggamore’s inroad; and ever after all that opposed the court came in
contempt to be called _whiggs_; and from Scotland the word was
brought into England.”

3. That it is formed from the initials of the motto, “_We hope in
God_,” the motto of the club from which the Whig party took its rise.

The term Tory is derived from an Irish term applied, says Roger North,
to “the most despicable savages among the wild Irish”; and the name was
first given to the followers of the Duke of York, in 1679, because he
favored Irishmen.

Another account of its origin is that it is derived from _toree_,
give me (sc. your money), a term used by the Irish robbers.

240. Who invented decimal fractions?

The inventor of decimal fractions was Simon Stevin, of Bruges, whose
tract, published in 1585, was entitled the “Disme.” But the simple plan
we now have was not then invented. He used circles to designate the
numbers that showed the value of the figures; thus, he wrote 27.847 as
27 (0) 8 (1) 4 (2) 7 (3), and read it as 27 commencements, 8 primes,
4 seconds, 7 thirds. The (0) showed the zero point, the (1) showed
tenths, and so on. These terms “primes,” “seconds,” “thirds,” etc.,
have disappeared. “Primes” were the first to the right of the whole
numbers, “seconds” the second place, etc.

Dispute has arisen concerning the origin of the simpler notation by
means of the decimal point, whether used before the fraction alone,
or as separating it from the integer. Napier claimed the discovery,
so also has De Morgan. But Mr. Glaisher, in a paper read before the
mathematical section of the British Association, seems to establish
Napier’s priority in introducing the decimal point into arithmetic.
The full modern use of it was first exemplified in a posthumous work
of Napier’s called “Mirifici Logarithmorum Canon’s Constructio,”
edited by his son, in 1619, where the formal definition of the decimal
separator is given and illustrated, and the point subsequently used in
operation as we now use it. Briggs, who died in 1631, constantly used
an underscored line to distinguish the decimal part of a number; and
Oughtred, one of his followers, improved on this by using, together
with the line, a vertical bar to mark the separation still more plainly.

241. What is the origin of “humbug”?

The origin of this word is not certainly known. Webster says it is
probably derived from _hum_, to impose on, to deceive, and
_bug_, a frightful object, a bugbear.

Another account states that it is derived from Hamburg, a city of
Germany: “A piece of Hamburg news” being in Germany a proverbial
expression for false political rumors.

A third account gives its origin as follows: “There once lived in
Scotland a gentleman of landed property whose name was Hume or Home,
and his estate was called the Bogue. From the great falsehoods which he
was in the habit of telling about himself, his family, and everything
connected with them, it became the custom to say when anything
improbable was stated, ‘Oh, that’s a Hume o’ the Bogue!’ The expression
spread throughout the neighborhood, and even beyond, and by degrees was
shortened into humbug by those who did not understand how the phrase
first came to be used.”

A fourth account, that of Mr. F. Crosley, suggests the Irish _uim bog_
(pronounced _umbug_), meaning “soft copper” or “worthless money.” James
II. issued from the Dublin Mint a mixture of lead, copper, and brass,
so worthless that a sovereign was intrinsically worth only twopence,
and might have been bought after the revolution for a half-penny.
_Sterling_ and _umbug_ were therefore expressive of real and fictitious
worth, merit and humbug.

242. What is the history of the poem “Sheridan’s Ride”?

This famous poem by T. B. Read, beginning, “Up from the south at
break of day,” has quite a history. The battle of Cedar Creek took
place before dawn on the morning of Oct. 19, 1863. The Confederate
forces, under Gen. Early, were gaining the upper hand, when a report
of the battle reached Gen. Sheridan, who was at Winchester, twenty
miles distant. Putting spurs to his horse, he hastened to the scene
of battle, and by his encouragement, turned a threatened defeat into
a glorious victory. The news of the victory, and the cause of it,
reached Chicago at nine o’clock. Mr. Read, the poet, was staying there
at a hotel, and Mr. Murdock, a noted reader, was with him at the time.
Slapping his friend on the shoulder, Murdock exclaimed: “Read, you must
write a poem on that subject to-day! By to-morrow others, with less
ability, will be ahead of you.”

Mr. Read demurred, but, after half an hour’s talk, yielded to his
friend’s wishes. He retired to his room, locked the door, and in four
hours produced one of our grandest national poems.

His wife and Mr. Murdock praised it enthusiastically. The latter
especially appreciated the beauty and spirit of the lines, for being a
personal friend of Gen. Sheridan, he had ridden upon the gallant black

    “That saved the day
    By carrying Sheridan into the fight
    From Winchester--twenty miles away.”

Mr. Murdock committed the lines to memory, and that evening, at a
meeting of rejoicing over the victory, he recited them. An intense
silence prevailed throughout the hall, broken only by the tones of the
speaker. As the last words of the grand poem left his lips, storms of
applause shook the building. Coming so soon after the victory, while
the people were still flushed with their success, it wrought the
audience up to an excitement which could not be controlled. Every one
supposed that Mr. Murdock had composed the poem, and he was overwhelmed
with expressions of congratulation and praise. But he, directing the
attention of the crowd to the box where the poet sat, exclaimed, “There
is the man who wrote the poem!”

243. Which is the longest word in the English language?

Disproportionableness is the longest classified word in our language.

244. What gems are the emblems of the Twelve Apostles?

ANDREW, the bright blue _sapphire_, emblematic of his heavenly faith.

BARTHOLOMEW, the red _carnelian_, emblematic of his martyrdom.

JAMES, the white _chalcedony_, emblematic of his purity.

JAMES THE LESS, the _topaz_, emblematic of delicacy.

JOHN, the _emerald_, emblematic of his youth and gentleness.

MATTHEW, the _amethyst_, emblematic of sobriety. Matthew was once a
“publican,” but was “sobered” by the leaven of Christianity.

MATTHIAS, the _chrysolite_, pure as sunshine.

PETER, the _jasper_, hard and solid as the rock of the church.

PHILIP, the friendly _sardonyx_.

SIMEON OF CANA, the pink _hyacinth_, emblematic of a sweet temper.

THADDEUS, the _chrysoprase_, emblematic of security and trustfulness.

THOMAS, the _beryl_, indefinite in lustre, emblematic of his doubting

245. What is the origin of “bogus”?

According to the Boston _Daily Courier_ of June 12, 1857,
this word originated as follows: “The word ‘bogus,’ we believe, is
a corruption of the name of one _Borghese_, a very corrupt
individual, who, twenty years ago or more, did a tremendous business
in the way of supplying the great West, and portions of the Southwest,
with a vast amount of counterfeit bills, and bills on fictitious
banks, which never had any existence out of the ‘forgetive brain’ of
him, the said ‘Borghese.’ The Western people, who are rather rapid in
their talk, when excited, soon fell into the habit of shortening the
Norman name of Borghese to the more handy one of Bogus; and his bills,
and all other bills of like character, were universally styled ‘bogus

246. Why is buckwheat so called?

The word “buckwheat” is a corruption of beechwheat. It is so called
from the similarity of the shape of its grains to the mast or nuts of
the beech-tree.

247. Who originated tarring and feathering?

Richard Cœur de Lion seems to have originated tarring and feathering.
Hoveden, quoted by Dr. Hook in his “Lives of the Archbishops of
Canterbury,” says that Richard, when he sailed for the Holy Land, made
sundry laws for the regulation of his fleet, one of which enacted that
“a robber who shall be convicted of theft shall have his head cropped
after the manner of a champion, and boiling pitch shall be poured
thereon, and then the feathers of a cushion shall be shaken out upon
him, so that he may be known, and at the first land at which the ship
shall touch he shall be set on shore.”

248. What is the meaning of the phrase “By Jingo”?

Jingo is a corruption of Jainko, the name of the Basque Supreme Being.
“By Jingo!” or “By the living Jingo!” is an appeal to deity. Edward I.
had Basque mountaineers conveyed to England to take part in his Welsh
wars, and the Plantagenets held the Basque provinces in possession.
This Basque oath is a landmark of these facts.

249. Who is “Old Nick”?

This vulgar and ancient name for the devil is derived from that of the
_Neck_, or _Nikke_, a river or ocean god of the Scandinavian
popular mythology. “The British sailor,” says Scott, “who fears nothing
else, confesses his terrors for this terrible being, and believes him
the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious
life of a seaman is so continually exposed.” Butler, the author of
“Hudibras,” erroneously derives the term from the name of _Nicolo_

250. Who was “Rare Ben”?

This famous appellation was conferred upon Ben Jonson (1574–1637), the
dramatic poet. It is said that soon after his death, a subscription was
commenced for the purpose of erecting a monument to his memory; but the
undertaking having advanced slowly, an eccentric Oxfordshire squire
took the opportunity, on passing one day through Westminster Abbey,
to secure at least an epitaph for the poet by giving a mason eighteen
pence to cut, on the stone which covered the grave, the words, “O, rare
Ben Johnson.”

251. What was the origin of Thanksgiving Day?

In 1621, the year after Plymouth Colony was founded, Gov. Bradford
set apart a day for thanksgiving for the yield of the harvests. Two
years after that, there was a great drought, and the people were
devoting a day to fasting and prayer, when their sorrows were turned
into praise and thanksgiving by a generous fall of rain. From that
time it gradually became an established custom to have a day of praise
and thanksgiving after harvests. When the Colonies became the New
England States, the custom was kept up, the day being proclaimed by
the governors of the several States. A day of prayer was recommended
by Congress during the Revolution, and by Washington after the
adoption of the Constitution. This was continued by some of the later
Presidents. In 1863, Lincoln proclaimed that a _National Thanksgiving
Day_ should be observed in remembrance of the recent victories
and the general manifestation of God’s goodness and mercy. This has
been annually issued since, and now custom has fixed it as the fourth
Thursday in November.

252. Whose wife was Adam?

Adam’s. “Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called
_their_ name Adam, in the day when they were created.” Genesis v.

253. Whose daughter was Noah?

Zelophehad’s. “Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of
Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of
the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names
of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah and Tirzah.”
Numbers xxvii. 1.

254. Who are the “Hairy Men”?

The Ainos, who are supposed to be the aborigines of Japan. They
are distinguished by an exuberance of hair on the head and body, a
circumstance which has given rise to their name of “Hairy Kuriles.”
They are different in race and character from the ordinary Japanese.
Legend says that the Japanese were originally Ainos, but became a
separate race by intermarriage with the Chinese. They are now found
chiefly in the island of Yesso.

255. Where was the Declaration of Independence written?

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in the second story,
front room, of house No. 230 High Street, now 700 Market Street,

256. What is the Golden Number of a year, and how determined?

The Golden Number for any year is the number of that year in the
Metonic cycle, and as this cycle embraces nineteen years, the golden
number ranges from one to nineteen. The cycle of Meton came into
general use soon after its discovery, and the number of each year in
the Metonic cycle was ordered to be engraved in letters of gold on
pillars of marble--hence the origin of the name. Since the introduction
of the Gregorian calendar, the point from which the golden numbers
are numbered is 1 B. C., as in that year the new moon fell on the 1st
of January; and as by Meton’s law, it falls on the same day (Jan. 1)
every nineteenth year from that time, we obtain the following rule for
obtaining the golden number of any particular year: “Add one to the
number of years and divide by nineteen; the quotient gives the number
of cycles, and the remainder gives the golden number for that year;
and if there be no remainder, then nineteen is the golden number, and
that year is the last of the cycle.” The golden number is used for
determining the Epact and the time of holding Easter.

257. What were the causes of the American Revolution?

The most general cause of the American Revolution was the _right of
arbitrary government_, claimed by Great Britain and denied by the
Colonies. There were subordinate causes. First of these was _the
influence of France_, which was constantly exerted so as to incite a
spirit of resistance in the Colonies. Another cause was found in _the
natural disposition and inherited character of the colonists_.
_The growth of public opinion in the Colonies_ tended to
independence. Another cause was found in _the personal character of
the king_. The more immediate cause was the passage by Parliament of
_a number of acts destructive of colonial liberty_.

258. How was the first colonial Congress constituted?

At Boston, James Otis successfully agitated the question of an American
Congress. It was proposed that each Colony, acting without leave of the
king, should appoint delegates, who should meet in the following autumn
and discuss the affairs of the nation. The proposition was favorably
received, nine of the Colonies appointed delegates, and on the 7th of
October, 1765, the first Colonial Congress assembled at New York. There
were twenty-eight representatives. Timothy Ruggles, of Massachusetts,
was chosen president. After much discussion, a Declaration of Rights
was adopted, setting forth in unmistakable terms that the American
colonists, as Englishmen, could not and would not consent to be taxed
but by their own representatives. Memorials were also prepared and
addressed to the two Houses of Parliament. A manly petition, professing
loyalty and praying for a more just and humane policy toward his
American subjects, was directed to the king.

259. What were the terms of the Treaty of 1783?

The terms of the Treaty of 1783 were briefly these: A full and complete
recognition of the independence of the United States; the recession by
Great Britain of Florida to Spain; the surrender of all the remaining
territory east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes to the
United States; the free navigation of the Mississippi and the Lakes by
American vessels; the concession of mutual rights in the Newfoundland
fisheries; and the retention by Great Britain of Canada and Nova
Scotia, with the exclusive control of the St. Lawrence River.

260. What were the leading defects of the Confederation?

1. There was an utter want of all coercive authority in the Continental
Congress to carry into effect any of their constitutional measures. 2.
There was no power in the Continental Congress to punish individuals
for any breach of their enactments. Their laws must be wholly without
penal sanction. 3. They had no power to lay taxes, or to collect
revenue for the public service. The power over taxes was expressly and
exclusively reserved to the States. 4. They had no power to regulate
commerce, either with foreign nations or among the several States.
It was left, with respect to both, exclusively to the management of
each particular State, thus being at the mercy of private interests
or local prejudices. 5. As might be expected, “the most opposite
regulations existed in different States, and there was a constant
resort to retaliatory legislation from their jealousies and rivalries
in commerce, in agriculture, or in manufactures. Foreign nations did
not fail to avail themselves of all the advantages accruing from
this suicidal policy tending to the common ruin.” 6. For want of
some singleness of power,--a power to act with uniformity and one to
which all interests could be reconciled,--foreign commerce was sadly
crippled, and nearly destroyed. The country was deeply in debt, without
a dollar to pay, or the means even to draw a dollar into the public
treasury, and what money there was in the country was rapidly making
its way abroad. 7. Great as these embarrassments were, the States,
full of jealousy, were tenaciously opposed to making the necessary
concessions to remedy the great and growing evil. All became impressed
with the fear, that, unless a much stronger national government could
be instituted, all that had been gained by the Revolutionary struggle
would soon be lost.

261. What were the Alien and Sedition Laws?

Two laws passed by Congress in 1798. The Alien Law empowered the
President to send out of the country, at short notice, any foreigners
whose presence might be deemed injurious or prejudicial to the
interests of the United States, and lengthened the time requisite for
becoming naturalized citizens of the United States to fourteen years.
The Sedition Law limited the freedom of speech, and of the press when
directed abusively against the government. Under this act it was a
crime punishable with heavy fine and long imprisonment “to write,
print, utter, or publish any false, scandalous, or malicious statement
against either President or Congress.” These laws did much to defeat
Adams’s re-election in 1800.

262. What were the principal causes of the late Civil War?

The _principal_ causes of the Civil War were five in number: 1.
The different construction put upon the national Constitution by the
people of the North and the South. 2. The different system of labor
in the North and in the South. 3. The want of intercourse between the
people of the North and the South. 4. The publication of sectional
books. 5. The evil influence of demagogues.

263. What is the title of the Czar of Russia?

Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, of Kieff, of
Vladimir, of Novgorod; Czar of Kazan, of Astrakhan, of Poland, of
Siberia, of Kherson-Taurida, of Grousi; Gosondar of Pskoff; Grand Duke
of Smolensk, of Lithuania, of Volhynia, of Podolia, and of Finland;
Prince of Esthonia, of Livonia, of Courland, of Semigalia, of the
Samoyedes, of Bielostok, of Corelia, of Foer, of Ingor, of Perm,
of Viatka, of Bulgaria, and of other countries; Master and Grand
Duke of the lower countries in Novgorod, of Tchernigoff, of Riazan,
of Polotsk, of Rostoff, of Jaroslaff, of Bielosersk, of Ondork, of
Obdorsk, of Kondisk, of Vitelsk, of Mstilaff, and of all the countries
of the North; Master Absolute of Iversk, of Kastalnisk, of Kalardinsk,
and of the territory of Armenia; Sovereign of Mountain Princes of
Tcherkask, Master of Turkestan, Heir-presumptive of Norway, and Duke of
Sleswick-Holstein, of Stormarne, of Duthmarse, and of Oldenburg.

264. What was the origin of the phrase “To speak for Buncombe”?

This phrase, which means to speak for mere show, or for purposes of
political intrigue, originated in the Sixteenth Congress, near the
close of the debate on the famous “Missouri Question.” Felix Walker, a
_naïve_ old mountaineer, who resided at Waynesville, in Haywood,
the most western county of North Carolina, near the border of the
adjacent county of Buncombe, arose to speak, while the house was
impatiently calling for the “_Question_.” Several members gathered
round him and insisted on his silence, but he continued to speak,
declaring that the people of his district expected it, and that he was
bound to “make a speech for Buncombe.” Hence the phrases, “To speak for
Buncombe,” “All for Buncombe,” etc.

265. What President was buried at the expense of his friends?

James Monroe, although he had received $350,000 for his public
services, yet, on account of the free-handed hospitality so
characteristic of his native State (Virginia) in her palmy days,
together with his life-long occupation in public affairs to the neglect
of his own estate, was so involved in debt, at the time of his death,
that his funeral expenses were met by his friends.

266. What President married the same lady twice?

In the summer of 1791, Andrew Jackson married Mrs. Rachel Robards,
a daughter of Col. John Donelson, of Virginia, one of the founders
of Tennessee. Her first husband was Mr. Lewis Robards, of Kentucky.
Robards and his wife were boarding with Mrs. Donelson, then a widow,
when Jackson arrived at Nashville, and took up his residence in the
same family. In 1790–1791, Robards applied to the Legislature of
Virginia for an act preliminary to a divorce, stating that his wife
was living in adultery with Andrew Jackson. The act was passed, under
it a jury was summoned late in 1793, and the court of Mercer County,
Ky., declared the marriage between Lewis Robards and Rachael Robards
dissolved. Jackson and Mrs. Robards believed the act passed by the
Legislature was itself a divorce, and they were married at Natchez
two years before the action of the court. At the suggestion of their
friend Judge Overton, who also was surprised to learn that the act of
the Legislature had not divorced Robards, they procured a license in
January, 1794, and had the ceremony performed again. When Gen. Jackson
had become the chief of a great party, the circumstances of this
marriage led to very serious misrepresentations. Robards was prone to
jealousy without cause, and Jackson was not the first man of whom he
was jealous. His statement to the Legislature of Virginia is believed
to have been wholly unfounded. His relatives all sided with his wife,
and never supposed her to be guilty of even an act of impropriety.

267. Why is Alaska so called?

In the dialect of the natives first encountered by the Russian
explorers, the land was called _Al-ay-es-ka_, “the great land.”
From this the present name has become changed through _Aliaska_
and _Alaksa_ to its present form.

268. Who was the nearest common ancestor of nearly all the reigning
monarchs of Europe?

John of Gaunt (1339–1399), fourth son of Edward III. of England,
although he himself was never a king, nor were any of his brothers or
sisters even sovereigns, was the common ancestor of nearly all the
crowned heads of Christendom. The monarchs descended from him are
Victoria, Queen of England, who is of the sixteenth generation; Louis
I., King of Portugal, of the fifteenth generation; Alphonzo XII., the
late King of Spain, of the sixteenth generation; Francis Joseph I.,
Emperor of Austria, of the fifteenth generation; Leopold II., King of
Belgium, of the seventeenth generation; Christian IX., King of Denmark,
of the sixteenth generation; Humbert, King of Italy, of the sixteenth
generation; George I., King of Greece, of the seventeenth generation;
Alexander III., Emperor of Russia, of the eighteenth generation;
William I., Emperor of Germany, of the sixteenth generation; Dom Pedro
II., Emperor of Brazil, is of the fourteenth generation, the nearest of
kin to the English progenitor; the late Chambord (Henry V.), claimant
of the French throne, was of the sixteenth generation; and Louis
Philippe Albert, Prince d’Orleans, the Orleanist claimant of the French
throne, is of the seventeenth generation.

269. Who was the “Red Prince”?

Prince Frederick Charles Nicholas, of Germany (1828–1885), a nephew
of Emperor William I., was so called from his favorite attire,--the
scarlet uniform of his Brandenburg Hussars, which he loved far more
than the full glitter of his highest honors.

270. Why is New Jersey called a foreign country?

In the early days of railways the New Jersey Legislature chartered
the Camden and Amboy Railroad, but neglected to impose a tax upon
its earnings or plant. A few years later, when it became a valuable
property, the State, unable to modify the charter, levied a State tax
upon each passenger carried. This tax fell upon travellers who lived
outside the State as well as Jerseymen, and the former, because they
were taxed to pass through it, facetiously termed New Jersey a foreign

271. Why is Canada so called?

Charlevoix says that this name is from an Iroquois word _Kannata_,
a collection of huts. There is, however, a Spanish tradition that
some Spanish explorers visiting the country in search of gold, and
finding no mines, or other appearance of riches, said, _Aca Nada_,
“Here is nothing,” which, being repeated by the natives to subsequent
visitors from Europe, was supposed to be the name of the country.

272. Which is the “Railroad City”?

Indianapolis, the largest city in the United States situated on
non-navigable waters. The first railway entered the city in 1847.
Now, twelve main lines converge in the Union Depot. About a hundred
passenger trains, connected with every part of the country, enter and
depart daily. The numerous tracks being on a level with the surface
of the streets, the obstruction and danger at the numerous crossings
became very great on account of the increase of railway traffic, so
that in 1877 a loop line, called the “Belt,” had to be made, passing
round the city, to connect the various railways. By means of it the
“through freight-cars” are conveyed past the city without blocking the

273. Which is the “Sage Brush State”?

The flora of Nevada is so scanty and so characterized by sage-brush, or
Artemisia, that this State is often nicknamed the “Sage Brush State.”
Artemisia is a low, irregular shrub, with thick crooked stems, growing
in dry alkaline soils, which without irrigation will produce nothing

274. What ancient city brought about its own destruction by an
ill-timed jest?

Antioch, the ancient capital of the Greek kings of Syria, was one of
the most magnificent cities of the ancient world. The Antiochenes
themselves brought about the destruction of their beautiful city. They
were famous above all other people in ancient times for their biting
and scurrilous wit, and for their ingenuity in devising nicknames;
and when the Persians under Chosroes invaded Syria, in 538 A. D., the
Antiochenes could not refrain from jesting at them. The Persians took
ample revenge by the total destruction of the city, which, however, was
rebuilt by Justinian. It was in this city that the followers of Christ
were first called Christians.

275. Who was Washington’s wife?

Her maiden name was Martha Dandridge. She was born at Kent, Va., May
17, 1732. At the age of seventeen, she was married to Col. John Parke
Custis, by whom she had three children. Within a few years she lost her
eldest son and her husband. She was a charming widow of twenty-six when
Washington first met her at the house of a Mr. Chamberlayne. After a
short acquaintance, they were married Jan. 6, 1759. She died May 22,

276. What was the height of Goliath?

According to Samuel, he was “six cubits and a span.” Mr. Greaves gives
the length of the cubit as twenty-one inches, and the span nine inches.
This would make Goliath’s height about eleven feet three inches.

277. What is the balm of Gilead?

The balm of Gilead, also called balsam of Mecca and Opobalsam,
is obtained from a low tree or shrub, the _balsamodendron
Gileadense_, which grows in several parts of Arabia and Abyssinia.
To obtain the juice, the bark of the tree is cut at the time when the
sap is in its strongest period of circulation. As the juices ooze
through the wound they are received into small earthen bottles, every
day’s produce being poured into large bottles and corked. When fresh,
the smell of the balsam is exquisitely fragrant, but if left exposed to
the atmosphere it loses this quality. The quantity of balsam yielded
by one tree is said never to exceed sixty drops in a day. It is,
therefore, very scarce, and can with difficulty be procured in a pure
and unadulterated state, even at Constantinople.

278. What was the origin of the barber’s pole?

In former times barbers served the public in the capacity of surgeons,
and performed the act of bleeding, that being a favorite remedy with
our ancestors. The pole represented the staff held by the person being
bled, and the spiral stripes painted around it were typical of the two
bandages used for twisting around the arm previous to the bleeding and
after the operation had been performed. The blue stripes and stars
sometimes seen were probably introduced by some barber endowed with
more patriotism than love of ancient customs.

279. Which is the “youngest Territory”?

Wyoming. It was organized by the act of Congress approved July 25,
1868, from portions of Dakota, Idaho, and Utah. The first settlements
within its limits were made in 1867, during the progress of the Union
Pacific Railroad, although there had been a garrison at Port Laramie
since 1834.

280. Why was the shamrock adopted as the emblem of Ireland?

The shamrock is said to have been first assumed as the badge of Ireland
from the circumstance that St. Patrick made use of it to illustrate
the doctrine of the Trinity. The story as told by Lover is as follows:
“When St. Patrick first preached the Christian faith in Ireland, before
a powerful chief and his people, when he spoke of one God and of the
Trinity, the chief asked how one could be in three. St. Patrick,
instead of attempting a theological definition of the faith, thought
a simple image would best serve to enlighten a simple people, and,
stooping to the earth, he plucked from the green sod a _shamrock_,
and holding up the trefoil before them, he bid them there behold one
in three. The chief, struck by the illustration, asked at once to be
baptized, and all his sept followed his example.”

281. What was the origin of “April Fool”?

How the custom of making fools on the first of April arose is not
certainly known, but there are several accounts of its origin, viz.:--

1. It is, perhaps, a travesty of the sending hither and thither of
the Saviour from Annas to Caiaphas, and from Pilate to Herod, because
during the Middle Ages this scene in Christ’s life was made the subject
of a miracle play at Easter, which occurs in the month of April.

2. As March 25 used to be New-Year’s Day, April 1 was its octave, when
its festivities culminated and ended.

3. There is a tradition among the Jews that it arose from the fact
that Noah sent out the dove on the first of the month corresponding
to our April, before the water had abated. To perpetuate the memory
of the great deliverance of Noah and his family, it was customary on
this anniversary to punish persons who had forgotten the remarkable
circumstance connected with the date, by sending them on some bootless
errand, similar to that on which the patriarch sent the luckless bird
from the window of the ark.

4. The custom refers to the uncertainty of the weather at this period.

5. It is a relic of some old heathen festival; and it is curious that
the Hindoos practise similar tricks on the 31st of March, when they
hold what is called the Huli Festival.

The custom, whatever is its origin, appears to be universal throughout
Europe. In France the person imposed upon is called _un poisson
d’Avril_ (an April fish). In England and the United States such a
person is called an April fool; in Scotland, a gowk.

282. What was the origin of the phrase “getting into a scrape”?

“The deer are addicted, at certain seasons, to dig up the land with
their fore-feet, in holes, to the depth of a foot, or even half a yard.
These are called ‘scrapes.’ To tumble into one of these is sometimes
done at the cost of a broken leg; hence a man who finds himself in an
unpleasant position, from which extrication is difficult, is said to
have ‘got into a scrape.’”

283. To what does the phrase “fitting to a T” refer?

This phrase refers to the T or Tee Square, an instrument used in
drawing and mechanics; so called from its resemblance to a capital T.

284. What well-known hymn was composed in a few minutes?

The celebrated hymn, “From Greeland’s icy mountains,” etc., was
composed at Wrexham in 1819. On Whitsunday in that year Dr. Shipley,
Dean of St. Asaph and Vicar of Wrexham, preached a sermon in his church
on behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Heber
was son-in-law to Dr. Shipley and was on a visit. The doctor on the
previous Saturday asked Heber to “write something for them to sing in
the morning,” and in a few minutes, without leaving the room, Heber
produced the hymn now so well known all over the world. He was then in
his thirty-sixth year, and was rector of Hodnet.

285. Why was the magnet so called?

The word “magnet” is derived from the name of the city of Magnesia, in
Asia Minor, where the properties of the loadstone are said to have been
discovered. So far one authority. Another derives it from the name of
Magnes, a shepherd, who is said to have discovered the magnetic power
through being detained on Mount Ida by the magnetism of the mountain
attracting the nails in his shoes, so that he was unable to move from
the spot.

286. What was the “Vinegar Bible”?

This was a name given to an edition of the Bible, published in 1717
at the Clarendon Press, Oxford. By a ludicrous misprint, the title
of the twentieth chapter of Luke was made to read “Parable of the
_Vinegar_” instead of “Parable of the _Vineyard_”; hence the

287. What were the “Breeches Bibles”?

This name was given to editions of the so-called Genevan Bible (first
printed at Geneva, by Rowland Hall, 1560, in 4to), from the peculiar
rendering of Gen. iii. 7.

288. Who is “Johnny Crapaud”?

“This is a sportive designation of a Frenchman, or of the French nation
collectively considered. The following account has been given of the
origin of this name: ‘When the French took the city of Aras from the
Spaniards, under Louis XIV., after a long and most desperate siege, it
was remembered that Nostradamus had said,--

    ‘Les anciens _crapauds_ prendront Sara.’

    (The ancient toads shall Sara take.)

This line was then applied to this event in a very roundabout manner.
_Sara_ is Aras backward. _By the ancient toads_ were meant
the French; as that nation formerly had for its armorial bearings three
of those odious reptiles, instead of the three flowers-de-luce which it
now bears.”

289. Who is “Cousin Michael”?

This is a sportive and disparaging designation of the German people,
intended to indicate the weaknesses and follies of the national
character, and especially the proverbial national slowness, heaviness,
and credulity. The name _Michel_ is often used as a contemptuous
designation of any simple, coarse rustic, and has probably acquired
this signification through a mingling of the Hebrew with the old German
_michel_, gross.

290. Who is “Taffy”?

This is a sobriquet for a Welshman, or for the Welsh collectively. The
word is a corruption of _David_, one of the most common of Welsh

291. Who is “Ivan Ivanovitch”?

He is an imaginary personage, who is the embodiment of the
peculiarities of the Russian people, in the same way as _John
Bull_ represents the English, and _Johnny Crapaud_ the French
character. He is described as a lazy, good-natured person.

292. Who is “John Bull”?

This is a well-known collective name of the English nation, first used
in Arbuthnot’s satire, “The History of John Bull,” usually published
in Swift’s works. In this satire, the French are designated as Lewis
Baboon, the Dutch as Nicholas Frog, etc. The “History of John Bull” was
designed to ridicule the Duke of Marlborough.

293. Who is “Peeping Tom of Coventry”?

This epithet is given to a person of ungovernable inquisitiveness.
The term is said to have arisen thus: “The Countess Godiva, bearing
an extraordinary affection to this place (Coventry), often and
earnestly besought her husband (Leofric, Earl of Murcia), that, for
the love of God and the blessed Virgin, he would free it from that
grievous servitude whereunto it was subject; but he, rebuking her for
importuning him in a matter so inconsistent with his profit, commanded
that she should thenceforth forbear to move therein; yet she, out of
her womanish pertinacity, continued to solicit him; insomuch that he
told her if she would ride on horseback, naked, from one end of the
town to the other, in the sight of all the people, he would grant her
request. Whereunto she answered, ‘But will you give me leave so to do?’
And he replying ‘yes’ the noble lady, upon an appointed day, got on
horseback, naked, with her hair loose, so that it covered all her body
but her legs, and thus performing the journey, returned with joy to her
husband, who therefore granted to the inhabitants a charter of freedom,
which immunity I rather conceive to have been a kind of manumission
from some such servile tenure, whereby they then held what they had
under this great earl, than only a freedom from all manner of toll,
except horses, as Knighton affirms.” It is said by Rapin, that the
countess, previous to her riding, commanded all persons to keep within
doors and from their windows on pain of death; but, notwithstanding
this severe penalty, there was one person who could not forbear giving
a look, out of curiosity; but it cost him his life.

294. What was the “Battle of Spurs”?

This name is given to the battle of Courtrai (1302), the first great
engagement between the nobles and the burghers, which, with the
subsequent battles of Bannockburn, Crecy, and Poictiers, decided
the fate of feudalism. In this encounter the knights and gentlemen
of France were entirely overthrown by the citizens of a Flemish
manufacturing town. The French nobility rushed forward with loose
bridles, and fell headlong, one after another, into an enormous
ditch which lay between them and their enemies. The whole army was
annihilated; and when the spoils were gathered, there were found 4,000
golden spurs to mark the extent of the knightly slaughter, and give a
name to the engagement.

This name is also given to the affair at Guinegate, near Calais (1513),
in which the English troops under Henry VIII. defeated the French
forces. The allusion is said to be to the unusual energy of the beaten
party in _spurring_ off the field.

295. What city is called “Auld Reekie”?

This designation is given to Edinburgh on account of its _smoky_
appearance, as seen from a distance; or, according to others, on
account of the uncleanliness of its public streets.

296. Which is the “City of Magnificent Distances”?

This popular designation is given to the city of Washington, the
capital of the United States, which is laid out on a very large scale,
being intended to cover a space four miles and a half long and two
miles and a half broad, or eleven square miles. The entire site is
traversed by two sets of streets from seventy to one hundred feet wide,
at right angles to one another, the whole again intersected obliquely
by fifteen avenues from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and sixty
feet wide.

297. Which is the heaviest metal?

Platinum was long considered the heaviest metal, but it is now an
established fact that both osmium and iridium are heavier than
platinum. The most recent authorities differ as to which of the two is
the heavier, but there is only a very slight difference. Both metals
are used for pointing gold pens. Osmium does not fuse at 2870 degrees
Fahrenheit, the greatest heat yet produced, and is as yet infusible. In
some of its combinations it is said to be the most poisonous substance

298. Which is the lightest metal?

Lithium. Its specific gravity is only 0.5936, but little more than half
that of water. It is a soft, ductile, white metal, susceptible of being
welded and drawn into wire, but has less tenacity than lead. It burns
brilliantly, and floats upon water and naphtha. It was supposed to be
a very rare substance, but Bunsen and Kirchhoff have shown by spectrum
analysis that, though sparingly, it is widely distributed.

299. What was the origin of “Old Scratch”?

It has been suggested that the origin of this term must be sought for
in the _Scrat_, _Schrat_, _Schretel_, or _Schretlein_, a house or wood
demon of the ancient North.

300. Which is the “Prairie State”?

Illinois is so called in allusion to the wide-spread and beautiful
prairies, which form a striking feature of the scenery of the State.

301. What is the “Via Dolorosa”?

The Via Dolorosa (the way of pain) is a name given, since the
Christian era, to the road at Jerusalem leading from the Mount of
Olives to Golgotha, which Jesus passed over on his way to the place
of crucifixion. Upon this road are situated many of the objects
consecrated by Christian traditions,--the house where the Virgin Mary
was born, the church erected upon the spot where she fell, when she
beheld Jesus sink under the weight of the cross, the house of St.
Veronica, upon whose veil, employed to wipe away his blood and sweat,
the image of his face was miraculously impressed. The road, which is
about a mile in length, terminates at the Gate of Judgment.

302. Which is the “Turpentine State”?

North Carolina, which produces and exports immense quantities of

303. Who is “Black Jack”?

Gen. John Alexander Logan has been so called from his long, black hair
and dark complexion.

304. What was the “Black Hole of Calcutta”?

This name is commonly given to a certain small and close dungeon in
Fort William, Calcutta, the scene of one of the most tragic events
in the history of British India. On the capture of Calcutta, by
Surajah Dowlah, June 20, 1756, the British garrison, consisting of
one hundred and forty-six men, being made prisoners, were locked
up at night in this room, only eighteen feet square, and poorly
ventilated, never having been intended to hold more than two or three
prisoners at a time. In the morning, of the one hundred and forty-six
who were imprisoned, only twenty-three were found alive. In the
“Annual Register” for 1758 is a narrative of the sufferings of those
imprisoned, written by Mr. Holwell, one of the number. The “Black Hole”
is now used as a warehouse.

305. How did _Stonewall_ Jackson receive his sobriquet?

This famous appellation of Thomas Jonathan Jackson (1824–1863) had its
origin in an expression used by the Confederate Gen. Bee, on trying
to rally his men at the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861,--There is
Jackson standing like a _stone wall_. From that day he was known
as _Stonewall_ Jackson, and his command as the _Stonewall_

306. Which was the “Battle of the Herrings”?

This name is given by historians to an engagement which took place Feb.
12, 1429, in which Sir John Fastolfe, an English general, at the head
of 1,500 men, gained a victory over 6,000 Frenchmen near Orleans, and
brought a convoy of stores in safety to the English camp before that
place. The stores comprised a large quantity of herrings.

307. Which is the “Land of the Incas”?

Peru. The Incas were the ancient sovereigns of the country. Manco
Capac, the first Inca, appeared according to the traditions, with
his sister, Mama Oello, on Titicaca Island, a spot ever after held
holy. These two, claiming to be children of the sun, were regarded
as deities, Manco Capac proceeded northward, and, founding Cuzco at
the spot where his golden staff sank into the ground, introduced
civilization and art. A powerful kingdom arose and gradually absorbed
the neighboring tribes.

308. What Presidential administration has been compared to a

“The administration of Van Buren,” said a bitter satirist, “is like
a parenthesis: it may be read in a low tone of voice or altogether
omitted _without injuring the sense_”!

309. Which was the first Bible printed in America?

The first Bible printed in this country was John Eliot’s Indian Bible,
whose title was this: “Mamusse Wunneetupanatumwe Up-Biblum God naneswe
Nukkone Testament kah wonk Wusku Testament. Ne quoshkinnumuk nashpe
Wuttineumoh Christ noh osc∞wesit John Eliot.” This was printed in 1663.
The Indian language in which it was made is extinct, and it is said
that only one man now living--namely, J. Hammond Trumbull, LL. D., of
Hartford, Conn.--can read it. The next Bible printed here was Saur’s,
in German, in 1743; the first English Bible printed here was at Boston,
in small quarto, in 1752.

310. What names are given by the Hebrews to the books of the Bible?

The Jews, or Hebrews, take the names of the sacred books from the first
word with which each begins; but the Greeks, whom our translators
generally follow, take the names from the subject-matter of them.
Thus, the first book is called by the Hebrews, _Bereshith_,
which signifies “In the beginning,” these being the first words; but
the Greeks called it Genesis, which signifies “production,” because
the creation of the world is the first thing of which it gives an
account. Exodus, which signifies in the Greek “The going out,” was so
called from the account which it gives of the Israelites going out of
Egypt; but the Hebrews call it _Velle Shemoth_, that is, “These
are the names,” which are the words with which it begins. Leviticus
they call _Vayicre_, that is, “And he called”; Numbers they call
_Vayedavber_, that is, “And he spake”; Deuteronomy they call
_Elle-haddebar_, that is, “These are the words”; etc., etc.

311. What is the national emblematic flower of China and Japan?

The Chrysanthemum. It receives the most reverential care and attention,
surpassing by far in devotion that accorded to the fleur-de-lis,
lilies, roses, and thistles, the emblems of other countries. Each
recurring year in November, in all the large cities in Japan, and in
nearly every street, thousands of plants are sold, trained generally to
one stem, with a solitary large flower of immense size, often ten to
twelve inches across. A very ordinary flower of some six inches is sold
for five cents, the very largest specimens being sold for twenty-five
cents, pot included.

312. When and by whom was the first steamboat invented?

The first practical success in steam navigation was made by John
Fitch, a native of Windsor, Conn., who had settled in New Jersey
as a silversmith. The happy thought of propelling vessels by steam
originated with him in 1784. He rapidly matured his plans, and in
August, 1785, he petitioned Congress for aid in constructing his boat.
The records of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia show
that “a model, accompanied by a drawing and description of a machine
for working a boat against a stream by means of a steam-engine, was
laid before the society by John Fitch on Sept. 27, 1785.” With the
pecuniary assistance of several gentlemen, he immediately undertook
to build a steamboat. In the _Columbia Magazine_ for December,
1786, he gave a description of this vessel and its machinery. A steam
cylinder over three feet long and one foot in diameter was placed
horizontally in the bottom of the boat; the steam was let in at each
end of the cylinder alternately, and after moving a reciprocating
piston was discharged into a condenser, which formed a vacuum in
the cylinder behind the moving piston. The force of the piston was
transmitted to cranks on each side of the boat; which by means of
connecting bars, moved twelve paddles, three on each side being in
the water and three out at the same time. On May 1, 1781, Fitch’s
steamboat, “The Perseverance,” was put in motion on the Delaware
River, and made three miles an hour. This speed did not satisfy Fitch,
and various improvements were soon added. The boat, with its greatly
increased power, was successfully tested in the fall of 1788. The late
Dr. Thornton, long at the head of the United States Patent Office, and
many other eminent men, certified that the steamer moved in dead water
at the rate of eight miles an hour, or one mile in seven and a half
minutes. With thirty passengers the boat left Philadelphia, and, moving
against the current of the Delaware, reached Burlington, a distance
of twenty miles, in three hours and ten minutes. Dr. Thornton stated
that “The Perseverance” afterwards made eighty miles in one day. This
speed will excite wonder when the difficulty of keeping the piston
tight against the comparatively rough interior surface of the cylinder
is taken into consideration. The steamboat was run for some time as a
packet to Burlington, but after several mishaps it was burned in 1792.
But more money was needed to introduce the invention, and the numerous
stockholders could not be brought to respond to further assessments.
Fitch himself was cramped for the necessaries of life. He repeatedly
asserted that the passenger traffic of the great Western rivers would
one day be carried on exclusively by steam, that ships of war and
packet ships would navigate the Atlantic by steam, and that some one
who came after him would reap fame and fortune from his invention.
Fitch’s claim of invention was contested by James Rumsey, of Maryland,
who, in 1786, drove a boat on the Potomac, near Sheppardstown, at the
rate of four miles an hour by means of a water-jet forced out at the
stern. But a careful examination of the evidence proves that the honor
of bringing the invention to a successful completion belongs to Fitch.
It may also be mentioned that a boat was propelled by steam on the
Conestoga River in 1763 by William Henry, of Chester County, Penn., but
this was only an experiment, although attended with flattering results,
and had no permanent effect. It was from Fitch’s labors that Fulton
first conceived the idea of steam navigation, which has made his name

313. In what American city are burials made entirely above the ground?

One of the noted features of New Orleans is its cemeteries. Owing to
the undrained condition of the subsoil, burials are made entirely above
ground, in tombs of stuccoed brick and of granite and marble. Some of
these are very elegant and costly, and many of the burial grounds, with
their long alleys of these tombs of diverse designs deeply shaded by
avenues of cedars and the _Magnolia grandiflora_, possess a severe
but emphatic beauty.

314. Who were the “Three Kings of Cologne”?

This name is given to the three Magi who came from the East to
offer gifts to the infant Jesus. Their names are commonly said to
be Malchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar. Gaspar means “the white one”;
Malchior, “king of light”; Balthazar, “lord of treasures.” The first
offered gold, symbolic of kingship; the second, frankincense, symbolic
of divinity; the third, myrrh, symbolic of death, myrrh being used
in embalming the dead. Their bodies are said to have been brought by
the Empress Helena from the East to Constantinople, whence they were
transferred to Milan. Afterward, in 1164, on Milan being taken by the
Emperor Frederick, they were presented by him to the Archbishop of
Cologne, who placed them in the principal church of the city, where,
says Cressy, “they are to this day celebrated with great veneration.”
Another tradition gives their names as Apellius, Amerus, and Damascus;
another as Magalath, Galgalath, and Sarasin; and still another as Ator,
Sator, and Peratoras.

315. Which is the highest spot inhabited by human beings?

It is said to be the Buddhist cloister of Hanie, Thibet, where
twenty-one priests live at an altitude of sixteen thousand feet.

316. When was the “Dark Day”?

May 19, 1780, was so called on account of a remarkable darkness on that
day extending over all New England. In some places persons could not
see to read common print in the open air for several hours together.
Birds sang their evening song, disappeared, and became silent; fowls
went to roost; cattle sought the barnyard; and candles were lighted in
the houses. The obscuration began about ten o’clock in the morning,
and continued till the middle of the next night, but with differences
of degree and duration in different places. For several days previous
the wind had been variable, but chiefly from the southwest and the
northeast. The true cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not known.

317. When was the “Day of Barricades”?

May 12, 1588. On this day the Duke of Guise entered Paris, when Henry
III., at his instigation, consented to take severe measures against the
Huguenots, on the promise that the duke would assist him in purging
Paris of strangers and obnoxious persons. No sooner, however, was an
attempt made to carry out this plan, than the populace arose, erected
barricades, and attacked the king’s troops with irresistible fury.
Henry III., having requested the Duke of Guise to put a stop to the
conflict, fled from Paris, and the moment the duke showed himself to
the people, they pulled down the barricades.

This name is also given to Aug. 26, 1648; so called on account of a
riot, instigated by the leaders of the Fronde, which took place in
Paris on that day.

318. Why are the oceans so named?

When, on the 27th of November, 1520, Ferdinand-Magellan swept into the
calm waters of that new sea on which he was the first to sail, he named
it the _Mar Pacifico_, on account of its peacefully rolling waters
and its freedom from violent storms.

The Atlantic is so called from the Atlas Mountains near its eastern
shores, or from the fabled island of Atlantis, which was situated in
its bosom.

The Indian Ocean is so called because it lies about India and the

The Arctic Ocean lies directly under the constellation of the Bear.
Greek Αρκτος, a bear.

The Antarctic Ocean lies opposite to the Arctic. Greek ’αντί, against.

319. What was the “El Dorado”?

El Dorado, or the golden land, was a name given by the Spaniards
to an imaginary country, supposed, in the sixteenth century, to
be situated in the interior of South America, between the rivers
Orinoco and Amazon, and abounding in gold and all manner of precious
stones. Expeditions were fitted out for the purpose of discovering
this fabulous region; and, though all such attempts proved abortive,
the rumors of its existence continued to be believed down to the
beginning of the eighteenth century. It is said that the name was at
first applied, not to a country, but to a man, “el rey dorado.” Sir
Walter Raleigh, in his “Discovery of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful
Empire of Guiana,” gives a description of the rising of this gilded
king, whose chamberlains, every morning after having rubbed his naked
body with aromatic oils, blew powdered gold over it through long
_sarbacans_. After the name came to be used as the designation of
a country, it seems to have been variously applied, and the expeditions
in search of the golden land had different destinations. Francisco
Orellana, a companion of Pizarro, was the first to spread the account
of this fabulous region in Europe.

320. What people formed the first temperance society?

The Rechabites. “But they said, We will drink no wine; for Jonadab the
son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine,
neither ye nor your sons forever.”--JEREMIAH xxxv. 6.

321. Where is the “Bridge of Sighs”?

The “Bridge of Sighs” is a name popularly given to the covered
passageway which connects the Doge’s palace in Venice with the state
prisons, from the circumstance that the condemned prisoners were
transported over the bridge from the hall of judgment to the place of
execution. This bridge was built in 1589 by Da Ponte. Hood has used the
name as the title of one of his poems.

322. In what country does grass grow upon trees?

The grass-tree is a native of Australia. It belongs to the order
_Liliaceæ_. These trees are especially distinguished by their
crowns of long, pendulous, grass-like leaves, from the centre of which
arises a long stalk bearing at its summit a dense flower spike looking
somewhat like a large cat-tail. Some species have very short stems,
while others have trunks six to eighteen feet high, which, with their
singular tufts of leaves, form a striking feature in the Australian
landscape. The grassy leaves are gathered as food for cattle, and their
tender base is often relished by man.

323. What is the origin of the phrase “To row up Salt River”?

This phrase has its origin in the fact that there is a small stream
of that name in Kentucky, the passage of which is made difficult
and laborious as well by its tortuous course as by the abundance of
shallows and bars. The real application of the phrase is to the unhappy
wight who has the task of propelling the boat up the stream; but in
political or slang usage it was to those who are _rowed up_.

324. Who was the “American Pathfinder”?

This title is popularly given to Major-General John Charles Fremont,
who conducted four exploring expeditions across the Rocky Mountains. On
one instance, when he was intercepted by a range of mountains covered
with snows, which the Indians declared no man could cross, and over
which no reward could induce them to attempt to guide him, Fremont
undertook the passage without a guide, and accomplished it in forty
days, reaching Sutter’s Fort on the Sacramento with his men reduced
almost to skeletons, and with only thirty-three out of sixty-seven
horses and mules remaining. He is also called the “Pathfinder of the
Rocky Mountains.”

325. Which is the largest locomotive in the world?

The largest locomotive in the world is called El Gobernador, built at
the Central Pacific Railroad shops in Sacramento, Cal., in 1883. The
engine and tender are sixty-five feet five inches long; there are five
pairs of drivers, each four feet nine inches in diameter; the cylinders
are twenty-one inches in diameter, thirty-six inch stroke; there are
twenty-six wheels, and the weight of the engine is seventy-three tons.

326. Whence does the cravat obtain its name?

The cravat is so called from a French regiment of light horse called
“_the royal Cravate_,” because they were attired in the fashion
of the Cravates or Croats, as they are now called, inhabitants of an
Austrian province, who largely composed the Austrian army. In 1636
the French regiment was uniformed in imitation, as the Zouaves were
at a later day; and when the neckties worn by these troops became
fashionable in civil as well as military ranks, the name of the
regiment was given to the tie.

327. Who wrote the first English book?

Sir John Mandeville in 1356. In it he shows a correct idea of the form
of the earth, and of position in latitude ascertained by observation
of the Pole Star; he knows that there are antipodes, and that if ships
were sent on voyages of discovery they might sail round the world. And
he tells a curious story which he heard in his youth, how a worthy man
did travel ever eastward until he came to his own country again. But,
on the other hand, he repeatedly asserts the old belief that Jerusalem
was in the centre of the world, whilst he maintains in proof of this
that at the equinox a spear planted erect in Jerusalem casts no shadow
at noon; which, if true, would only show that the city was on the

328. Who was the first child born of English parents in America?

Virginia Dare, who was born at Roanoke, on the 18th of August, 1587.
Her mother, Eleanor Dare, was the daughter of John White, the governor
of the colony.

329. What are the “Horse Latitudes”?

Seamen give this name to a bank or region of calms in the Atlantic
Ocean, about the parallels of 30–35 degrees north. The name is said
to be derived from the circumstance that vessels formerly bound from
New England to the West Indies, with a deck-load of horses, were often
delayed in this calm belt of Cancer, and, for want of water, were
obliged to throw the animals overboard.

330. What city is called “Porkopolis”?

Cincinnati, one of the greatest American pork markets, is popularly so

331. Who was the “Iron Duke”?

Arthur Wellesley, K. G., Duke of Wellington. According to the Rev. G.
R. Gleig, this sobriquet arose from the building of an iron steamboat,
which plied between Liverpool and Dublin, and which its owners called
the “Duke of Wellington.” The term “Iron Duke” was first applied to
the vessel; and by and by, rather in jest than in earnest, it was
transferred to the duke himself. It had no reference whatever, at
the outset, to any peculiarities or assumed peculiarities in his
disposition; though, from the popular belief that he never entertained
a single generous feeling toward the masses, it is sometimes understood
as a figurative allusion to his supposed hostility to the interests of
the lower orders.

332. Where is the “Island of St. Brandan”?

This marvellous flying island, the subject of many traditions, is
represented as about ninety leagues in length, lying beyond the
Canaries. This island appears on most of the maps of the time of
Columbus, and is laid down in a French geographical chart of as late
a date as 1755, in which it is placed five degrees west of the island
of Ferro, in latitude twenty-nine degrees north. The name _St.
Brandan_, or _Borandan_, given to this imaginary island, is
said to be derived from an Irish abbot who flourished in the sixth
century, and concerning whose voyage in search of the Islands of
Paradise many legends are related. Many expeditions were sent forth in
quest of this mysterious island, the last being from Spain in 1721; but
it always eluded the search. The Spaniards believe this lost island
to be the retreat of their King Rodrigo; the Portuguese assign it to
their Don Sebastian. “Its reality,” says Irving, “was for a long time a
matter of firm belief. The public, after trying all kinds of sophistry,
took refuge in the supernatural to defend their favorite chimera. They
maintained that it was rendered inaccessible to mortals by Divine
Providence, or by diabolical magic. Poetry, it is said, has owed to
this popular belief one of its beautiful fictions, and the garden of
Armida, where Rinaldo was detained enchanted, and which Tasso places
in one of the Canary Isles, has been identified with the imaginary San
Borandan.” The origin of this illusion has been ascribed to certain
atmospherical deceptions, like that of the _Fata Morgana_.

333. Where is the “Island of the Seven Cities”?

This imaginary island is the subject of one of the popular traditions
concerning the ocean, which were current in the time of Columbus.
It is represented as abounding in gold, with magnificent houses and
temples, and high towers that shone at a distance. The legend relates
that at the time of the conquest of Spain and Portugal by the Moors,
when the inhabitants fled in every direction to escape from slavery,
seven bishops, followed by a great number of people, took shipping and
abandoned themselves to their fate upon the high seas. After tossing
about for a time, they landed upon an unknown island in the midst of
the ocean. Here the bishops burned the ships to prevent the desertion
of their followers, and founded seven cities. This mysterious island
is said to have been visited at different times by navigators, who,
however, were never permitted to return.

334. Why has March 25 been adopted as “Moving Day” in many parts of our

Until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, in 1752, the English
legal year began on the 25th of March. Consequently on that day all
leases, etc., expired, lands changed hands, etc. This custom still
survives in many parts of our own country, and March 25 is our “Moving
Day.” Under the name of Lady Day, the 25th of March is still one of the
regular quarter-days in England and Ireland for the payment of rent.

335. Who was Lalla Rookh?

This heroine of a poem of the same name by Moore is the daughter of
the great Aurungzebe. She is betrothed to the young king of Bucharia,
and sets forth, with a splendid train of attendants, to meet him in
the delightful valley of Cashmere. To amuse the languor, or divert
the impatience of the royal bride, in the noontide and night halts
of her luxurious progress, a young Cashmerian poet had been sent by
the gallantry of the bridegroom, and recites, on these occasions, the
several tales that make up the bulk of the poem. With him she falls
desperately in love, and by the time she enters the lovely vale of
Cashmere, and sees the glittering palaces and towers prepared for her
reception, she feels that she would joyfully forego all this pomp and
splendor, and fly to the desert with the youthful bard whom she adores.
He, however, has now disappeared from her side, and she is supported,
with fainting heart and downcast eye, into the presence of her tyrant;
when a well-known voice bids her be of good cheer, and, looking up,
she sees her beloved poet in the prince himself, who had assumed this
gallant disguise, and won her affections without any aid from his rank
or her engagement.

336. Which is the “Land of Steady Habits”?

Connecticut is sometimes so designated, in allusion to the moral
character of its inhabitants.

337. Which is the “Lumber State”?

Maine. The inhabitants of this State are largely engaged in the
business of cutting and rafting lumber, or of converting it into
boards, shingles, scantlings, and the like.

338. What was the “Bible of the Greeks”?

This name is sometimes applied to the works of Homer and Hesiod, as
they put into writing the beliefs concerning the gods.

339. Who was the “Prince of Destruction”?

This name was conferred upon Tamerlane, or Timour (1335–1405), one
of the most celebrated of Oriental conquerors, who overran Persia,
Tartary, and Hindostan, his conquests extending from the Volga to the
Persian Gulf, and from the Ganges to the Archipelago. He was prevented
only by the want of shipping from crossing into Europe. He died just as
he was making vast preparations for the invasion of China. No conquests
were ever attended with greater cruelty, devastation, and waste of life.

340. What was the “Luz”?

This name was given by the old Jewish rabbins to an imaginary little
bone which they believed to exist at the base of the spinal column, and
to be incapable of destruction. To its ever-living power, fermented by
a kind of dew from heaven, they ascribed the resurrection of the dead.

“Hadrian (whose bones may they be ground, and his name blotted out!)
asked R. Joshua, Ben Hananiah, ‘How doth a man revive again in the
world to come?’ He answered and said, ‘From _luz_, in the
backbone.’ Saith he to him, ‘Demonstrate this to me.’ Then he took
_luz_, a little bone out of the backbone, and put it in water, and
it was not steeped; he put it in the fire, and it was not burned; he
brought it to the mill, and that could not grind it; he laid it on the
anvil, and knocked it with a hammer, but the anvil was cleft, and the
hammer broken.” _Lightfoot._

341. Who was the “Queen of Hearts”?

Elizabeth, the daughter of James I., and the unfortunate queen of
Bohemia, was so engaging in her behavior, that she was so called in the
Low Countries. When her fortunes were at the lowest ebb, she never
departed from her dignity; and poverty and distress seemed to have no
other effect upon her but to render her more an object of admiration
than before.

342. Why is New Jersey sometimes called “Spain”?

New Jersey receives this sobriquet from the fact that Joseph Bonaparte,
the eldest brother of Napoleon, and ex-king of Spain, once occupied
the extensive grounds and mansion called Point Breeze, at Bordentown,
in that State. Here he lived for some years under the title of Comte
de Survilliers, endeared to the inhabitants by his liberality and
gracious manners, and he was elected to many philanthropical and
learned associations. An act was passed in 1817 by the Legislature of
New Jersey to enable him, as an alien, to hold real estate.

343. Who were the “Roundheads”?

In English history this nickname was given, in the reign of Charles
I., to the Puritans or parliamentary party, who were accustomed to
wear their hair cut close to the head. The term was soon extended in
its application so as to include all the adherents of the Parliament,
whether Puritans or not. The origin of the term is not certainly
known. Some attribute it to the circumstance that staid and serious
persons at the time of the civil wars were used to wear black skullcaps
reaching down to the ears. Others say it was because the Puritans
wore their hair short, while the opposite party, the Cavaliers, wore
theirs in long ringlets. According to Haydn, the Puritans were in the
habit of putting a round bowl or wooden dish upon their heads, and
cutting their hair by the edge or brim. Still another account is,
that Queen Henrietta Maria, at Stratford’s trial, asked “who that
_round-headed_ man was,” meaning Mr. Pym, her attention having
been directed to him “because he spake so strongly.”

344. What was the origin of the expression “Simon Pure”?

This expression, which means “the real man,” had its origin in the
name of a Pennsylvania Quaker in Mrs. Centlivre’s comedy, “A Bold
Stroke for a Wife.” Being about to visit London to attend the quarterly
meeting of his sect, his friend, Aminadab Holdfast, sends a letter of
recommendation and introduction to another Quaker, Obadiah Prim, a
rigid and stern man, who is guardian of Anne Lovely, a young lady worth
£30,000. Colonel Feignwell, another character in the same play, who is
enamoured of Miss Lovely and her handsome fortune, availing himself
of an accidental discovery of Holdfast’s letter and of its contents,
succeeds in passing himself off on Prim as his expected visitor. The
real Simon Pure, calling at Prim’s house, is treated as an impostor,
and is obliged to depart in order to hunt up witnesses who can testify
to his identity. Meantime Feignwell succeeds in getting from Prim a
written and unconditional consent to his marriage with Anne. No sooner
has he obtained possession of the document, than Simon Pure reappears
with his witnesses, and Prim discovers the trick that has been put upon

345. What was the origin of the phrase “To catch a Tartar”?

An Irish soldier, in a battle against the Turks, shouted to his
commanding officer that he had caught a Tartar. “Bring him along,
then,” said the general. “But he won’t come.” “Then come along
yourself.” “Arrah! an’ so I would, but he won’t let me,” answered
Paddy. Hence arose the saying “To catch a Tartar,” meaning to be

346. Which is the oldest street in New England?

Leyden Street, in Plymouth, Mass. It is so called in memory of the
Dutch city where the Pilgrim Fathers had stopped for a season.

347. What was the origin of the phrase “To haul over the coals”?

One method of extorting money from the Jews, by the kings or barons,
was at one time to haul them over the coals of a slow fire, until they
yielded to their demands; hence this phrase, meaning to scold, to take
to task.

348. Which is the “Maiden Town”?

Edinburgh is so styled from a monkish fable or tradition that it was
once the residence of the daughters of Pictish kings, who were sent to
this stronghold for protection in times of war and trouble.

349. What was the “War of the Roses”?

This name is given to the civil war which raged in England from the
reign of Henry VI. to that of Henry VII. (1452–1486), on account of the
badges or emblems of the parties to the strife,--that of the house of
York being a white rose, and that of the house of Lancaster a red rose.

350. Which was the first American bird taken to England?

The turkey. When John Cabot returned from his discovery of the American
continent, he took two of these birds and three savages as his booty.

351. What was the origin of “$”?

There are several theories for the origin of the sign of the American

1. That it is a combination of U. S., the initials of the United States.

2. That it is a modification of the figure 8, the dollar being formerly
called a “_piece of eight_,” and designated by the symbol 8/8.

3. That it is derived from a representation of the “Pillars of
Hercules,” consisting of two pillars connected with a scroll. The old
Spanish coins containing this were called “_pillar dollars_.”

4. That it is a combination of H. S., the mark of the Roman money unit.

5. That it is a combination of P. and S. from the Spanish _peso duro_,
signifying _hard dollar_. In Spanish accounts _peso_ is contracted by
writing the S over the P, and placing it after the sum.

352. By whom was the Northeast Passage discovered?

By Prof. Adolph Eric Nordenskjold, a Swedish explorer, who left
Gothenburg, Sweden, July 4, 1878, in command of the _Vega_, and
arrived in Japan in July, 1879, after lying locked up in the ice about
nine months. There were peculiarly favorable conditions which enabled
him to do what others have so often failed to do, but it is something
of a triumph to have in any case achieved a work so hazardous and
remarkable, and Prof. Nordenskjold can enjoy a distinction which he has
fairly and honorably won.

353. What kind of goblets were formerly considered as preservatives
against poison?

Goblets made of rhinoceros horns were formerly held in high estimation
as preservatives against poison. The kings of India were accustomed to
have their wine served up in these goblets, as they imagined that if
any poison were introduced into the cup, the liquid would boil over and
betray its presence.

354. What was the origin of the phrase “To have a bone to pick with

A Sicilian father, at the marriage of his daughter, after the feast
gave the bridegroom a bone, saying, “Pick this bone, for you have
undertaken a much harder task.” Hence arose, it is said, the above
phrase, meaning to have an unpleasant affair to settle.

355. What was the origin of the phrase “To throw dust in one’s eyes”?

“To throw dust in one’s eyes” is to mislead. The phrase arose from
a Mohammedan practice of casting dust into the air for the sake of
“confounding” the enemies of the faith.

356. What is the meaning of the phrase “By hook or by crook”?

It probably means “foully like a thief or holily like a bishop,” the
_hook_ being used by footpads, and the _crook_ being the
bishop’s crosier.

357. Who was the “Scourge of God”?

This title is often given to Attila, or Etzel, the famous king of the
Huns, and one of the most formidable invaders of the Roman Empire. His
father, Mundzuk, was succeeded by his brothers Octar and Rhuas; and
on the death of Rhuas, in 434, Attila and his brother Bleda together
ascended the throne. Their dominions are said to have extended from the
Rhine to the frontiers of China. Attila was superstitiously reverenced
by his countrymen; he was said to possess the miraculous iron sword of
the Scythian god of war, and he proclaimed himself to be the man-child
born at Engaddi, who was destined to rule over the whole world. At the
head of an army of 700,000 men he gradually concentrated on himself the
awe and fear of the whole ancient world, which ultimately expressed
itself by affixing to his name the well-known epithet of the “Scourge
of God.” This name was first given him, it is said, by a hermit in
Gaul. In the year 453, on the night of his marriage to a beautiful
Gothic maiden, called Ildiko, or Hilda, he burst a blood-vessel, and
expired, to the unspeakable relief of both Europe and Asia. His body
was put in a coffin of iron, over which was one of silver and a third
of gold. He was buried secretly at night together with a mass of
treasure and arms, and the captives who dug his grave were slaughtered
by the Huns in order to conceal his tomb.

358. Who bought the first United States postage stamps ever sold?

The first postage stamps in this country were issued in accordance with
an act of Congress, approved March 3, 1847. They were of five and ten
cent denominations, and the date of issue was appointed as July 1, but
there was a delay in the work and the time ran over a month. On the 5th
of August, the Hon. Henry Shaw, of Lanesborough, Mass., the father of
the late well-known Henry Shaw, Jr. (“Josh Billings”), called to see
Postmaster-General Johnson on business. While there the printer came
in with several sheets of the stamps. Mr. Johnson handed them to his
visitor to inspect, and Mr. Shaw bought two of the stamps,--the first
two ever issued. The five-cent stamp he kept as a curiosity, and the
ten-cent stamp he presented to Gov. Briggs, of Massachusetts.

359. Who have been the acting Vice-Presidents of the United States
during the several vacancies in that office?

William Harris Crawford, of Georgia, became Vice-President on the
death of George Clinton, April 20, 1812; and after the death of
Elbridge Gerry, Nov. 23, 1814, John Gaillard, of South Carolina,
served as Vice-President until March 4, 1817. After the resignation
of John C. Calhoun from that office on Dec. 28, 1832, it was held by
Hugh Lawson White, of Tennessee, until the 4th of March, 1833. Samuel
Lewis Southard, of New Jersey, and Willie Person Mangum, of North
Carolina, served as Vice-Presidents during the administration of Tyler;
and William Rufus King, of Alabama, served in like capacity during
Fillmore’s term. During the administration of Franklin Pierce, David
R. Atchison, of Missouri, and Jesse D. Bright, of Indiana, were acting
Vice-Presidents. During President Johnson’s term, Lafayette Sabine
Foster, of Connecticut, and Benjamin Franklin Wade, of Ohio, held the
Vice-Presidency. The successor of Henry Wilson, upon his death, Nov.
22, 1875, was Thomas W. Ferry, of Michigan. When Vice-President Arthur
became President, his successor was David Davis, of Illinois, who was
succeeded, in turn, by George F. Edmunds, of Vermont. After the death
of Vice-President Hendricks, the Senate chose John Sherman, of Ohio, as
his successor.

360. Why are the “Hoosiers” so called?

The term “Hoosiers,” as applied to the citizens of Indiana, is derived
either from _husher_, a term synonymous throughout the West with
bully or rough, as many of the early settlers were bullies and men of
great physical strength, or from the rough exclamation of these people
when one knocked at a door, “Who’s yere?”

361. Why is the passion flower so called?

It was named by the early Spanish settlers, who fancied it to be a
representation of our Lord’s passion.

The _leaf_ is symbolic of the spear that pierced his side.

The five _anthers_, the marks of the wounds.

The _tendrils_, the cords or whips.

The column of the _ovary_, the upright of the cross.

The _stamens_, the hammers.

The three _styles_, the nails.

The _filamentous processes_, the crown of thorns.

The _calyx_, the glory or halo.

The _white_ tint, purity.

The _blue_ tint, heaven.

It remains open for three days and typifies his three years’ ministry.

362. Which is the “Petrified City”?

Ishmonie, in Upper Egypt, is so called on account of a great number of
statues of men, women, children, and animals, which are said to be seen
there at this day, and which, according to a popular superstition, were
once animated beings, but were miraculously changed into stone in all
the various postures and attitudes which were assumed by them at the
instant of their supposed transubstantiation.

363. What was the origin of the phrase “That’s a feather in your cap”?

“A feather in your cap” is a mark of distinction. It originates with
the wild tribes of Asia and America, who add a new feather to their
head-dress for every enemy slain. A Caufir of Cabul adorns himself with
new feathers for every Mussulman killed by him. The custom was a common
one among the Lycians and other nations of antiquity, and, in fact, in
one form or another seems to be almost universal at the present time.

364. Why is the Baldwin apple so called?

The famous Baldwin apple was discovered by Col. Loammi Baldwin
(1745–1807), a distinguished citizen of Woburn, Mass. While surveying
land in Wilmington (in the same State), he observed a tree on the land
of James Butters, much frequented by woodpeckers. Curiosity led him to
examine the tree, and he found thereon apples of excellent flavor. The
next spring he took from it scions to engraft into stocks of his own.
Others in his neighborhood did the same till the apple was extensively
cultivated. Some named the apple Butters’ apple, from the locality of
the original tree; others called it Woodpecker’s apple, from the birds
which caused the discovery; but one day, at an entertainment of friends
at the house of Col. Baldwin, it was suggested that the name “Baldwin
apple,” in honor of the discoverer, was the most appropriate, and it
has since been known by his name. The original tree was destroyed by
the famous September gale in 1815.

365. Why was the White House so called?

The home of the Presidents was named in honor of the White House,
the Virginia home of Martha Washington, in New Kent County, in which
her wedding occurred. Washington had many pleasant memories of that
residence, and it was he who suggested the building of a “White House”
for the Presidents. The house is constructed of Virginia freestone,
which is excessively porous, and consequently would be very damp in the
interior, were it not for a thick coat of white lead, which is applied
about once in ten years at a great expense.

366. Who was the first woman hung in the United States?

Mary Dyer, a Quakeress. On the 27th of October, 1659, a gallows stood
on Boston Common, and three condemned Quakers, William Robinson,
Marmaduke Stevenson, and Mary Dyer, were led out to execution. They
were accompanied by the trainband, and drums were beat to drown their
testimony. The town was put under guard of thirty-six soldiers against
apprehended trouble. The woman walked between her two companions,
holding each of them by a hand. The marshal asked her, “If she was not
ashamed to walk, hand in hand, between two young men?” She replied, “It
is an hour of the greatest joy I can enjoy in this world. No eye can
see, no ear can hear, no tongue can speak, no heart can understand,
the sweet incomes and refreshings of the Spirit of the Lord which I
now enjoy.” The two men were hung and buried beneath the gallows; but
Mary Dyer, after having the noose put round her neck, was pardoned and
sent to Rhode Island. The next spring she returned. On the gallows
the second time, June 1, 1660, she was offered her life if she would
promise to keep out of Massachusetts. Her reply was, “In obedience to
the will of the Lord I came; and in his will I abide faithful to the
death.” She did so.

367. Who are the “Blue-Noses”?

This name is popularly given to the inhabitants of Nova Scotia or New
Brunswick. It is supposed to have been originally applied from the
effect upon the more prominent parts of the face of the raw easterly
winds and long-continued fogs which prevail in these provinces.
Others say that it was first applied to a particular kind of potatoes
which were extensively produced by the inhabitants, and that it was
afterwards transferred to the inhabitants themselves. Others trace its
origin to the custom among certain tribes of the aborigines of painting
the nose blue as a punishment for a crime against chastity.

368. Who was the “Handsome Englishman”?

This name was given by Turenne to the celebrated John Churchill, Duke
of Marlborough (1650–1722), who was no less distinguished for the
singular graces of his person, than for his brilliant courage, and his
consummate ability both as a soldier and a statesman.

369. What great general was fired at fifteen times and yet escaped

In the battle of Monongahela, July 9, 1755, an Indian chief with his
braves especially singled Washington out. Four balls passed through
his clothes and two horses were shot under him, yet he was not harmed.
Fifteen years later, Washington made an expedition to the Western
country with Dr. Craik, an intimate friend, and a party of woodsmen,
for the purpose of exploring wild lands. While near the junction of
the Great Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, the old Indian chief came a “long
way” to see the man at whom he had fired a rifle fifteen times without
hitting him, adding that “he was then persuaded that the youthful hero
was under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, and immediately
ceased to fire at him.” He was now come “to pay homage to the man,
who was the particular favorite of Heaven, and who could never die in

370. What was the origin of “bigot”?

This word is of uncertain and disputed etymology. There are several
theories of its origin.

1. That it was first applied to the Normans from the oath uttered by
Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy, who was obliged to kiss the foot of
his father-in-law, Charles the Foolish, in return for the province of
Neustria. When told by his companions what he must do, he exclaimed,
“_Ne se, Bigot_” (Not so, by God): the king and the court
mockingly called him _Bigoth_, whence the Normans were called

2. That it is from bigot, an old Norman word, signifying as much as
_De par dieu_, or our _for God’s sake_, and signifying a
hypocrite, or one that seemeth much more holy than he is.

3. That it is a corruption of Visigotha, in which the fierce and
intolerant Arianism of the Visigoth conqueror of Spain is handed down
to infamy. The word _bigos_ occurs in an old French romance, cited
by Roquefort, in the sense of a barbarous people.

4. That it is from the Low Latin _Begutta_, one of the appellations of
the nuns called _Beguines_, who, without having taken monastic vows,
were united for purposes of devotion and charity, and lived together in
houses called _beguinages_.

5. That it is derived from the Italian _bigotto_, or _bighiotto_, a
devotee, a hypocrite.

6. That it is from the Spanish _bigote_, a whisker, _hombre de
bigote_ being a man of spirit.

371. Who was the “Beautiful Rope-maker”?

This sobriquet was given to Louise Labè (1526–1566), a French poetess,
who married Ennemond Perrin, a rope manufacturer. She wrote in three
different languages. She was distinguished for her extraordinary
courage at the siege of Perpignan.

372. What was the origin of the expression “A Sardonic smile”?

Some derive it from the Greek σαιρειν, to grin like a dog; but the
second and more probable derivation is that it is from a herb growing
in the island of Sardinia (Greek Σαρδω). This herb, the _Ranunculus
sceleratus_, has, when eaten, a contractile power on the muscles of
the body, and particularly those of the face, so that those affected by
it seem to laugh. It was an old belief that those who eat it would die
laughing, hence Homer first, and others after him, call laughter which
conceals some noxious design Sardonican. This same plant has a caustic
power, so that if the fresh-pulled leaves are laid on the skin, they
produce pustules, as if caused by fire.

373. Who was the first circumnavigator of the globe?

Ferdinand Magellan, though he did not survive to return home with
his ship, well deserves the title of the “first circumnavigator.”
He discovered the strait, which now bears his name, Oct. 20, 1520,
the day dedicated in the Catholic calendar to St. Ursula and her
eleven thousand virgins, hence he called it “The Strait of the Eleven
Thousand Virgins.” The strait was passed Nov. 28; and though he had
not quite reached the Spice Islands when he fell in conflict with the
people of the isle of Mactan, April 27, 1521, his task was virtually
accomplished, as he had before been as far east as the Spice Islands.
The expedition, reduced from five ships and two hundred and thirty-six
men to one vessel and eighteen men, reached San Lucar, Spain, Sept. 6,
1522, after an absence of three years lacking fourteen days, under the
guidance of Juan Sebastian del Cano. This vessel, the _Vitoria_,
was the first to make the circuit of the globe. As a reward Cano was
ennobled with the globe on his coat-of-arms, and the motto, “_Primus
circumdedisti me_.”

374. Which is the “City of Oaks”?

This name has been given to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina,
which possesses many fine streets shaded with native oaks. These oaks
were wisely spared during the first settlement, and have since attained
a giant growth.

375. Why was Gen. Grant sometimes called “Unconditional Surrender”

The origin of this sobriquet is to be found in the following note:--

            CAMP NEAR DONELSON, Feb. 16, 1862.

    Gen S. B. BUCKNER,
            _Confederate Army_.

 _Sir_,--Yours of this date proposing armistice, and
 appointment of commissioners, to settle terms of capitulation,
 is just received. No terms except an unconditional and immediate
 surrender can be accepted.

 I propose to move immediately upon your works.

               I am, sir, very respectfully,
                           Your obedient servant,
                                        U. S. GRANT,
                                               _Brig. Gen._

Gen. Buckner surrendered Fort Donelson and fifteen thousand men
the same day, and after that U. S. Grant was often said to signify
“Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

376. When, where, and by whom was the first watch made?

Watches were first made at Nuremberg, Germany, in 1477, by Peter Hele,
a clock-maker, and were accounted “a wonder of the world.” It required
nearly a year’s labor to produce the first watch. It varied nearly an
hour a day from the true time, and required winding twice a day. The
price set upon it and its fellows by the inventor was equal to $1,500
in gold at the present day. It was egg-shaped and about the size of a
goose egg, hence it was sometimes called the “Nuremberg animated egg.”
The statement made by some, that Robert, king of Scotland, had a watch
about the year 1310, is doubtless erroneous. The invention of spring
watches has been ascribed to Dr. Hooke, and by some to Huygens, about
1658; the anchor escapement was invented by Clement, in 1680; the
horizontal watch by Graham, in 1724; the repeating watch by Barlowe, in
1676; and Harrison produced his first timepiece in 1735.

377. What famous men of antiquity were killed by lice?

Lice appear to have been a great plague among the ancients, and
many persons suffered from the disease now known as _Morbus
pediculosus_, or _Phthiriasis_. Among the most famous persons
who died of this “creeping sickness” were Acastas, the son of
Pelias, Alcman the poet, Pherecydes the theologian, Callisthenes the
Olynthian, Mucius the lawyer, Eunus the fugitive, who stirred up the
slaves of Sicily to rebel against their masters, and Lucius Cornelius
Sulla, dictator of Rome, although the immediate cause of the latter’s
death was the bursting of a blood-vessel. Plutarch thus describes,
in substance, the case of Sulla. In consequence of his excesses, his
corrupted flesh at length broke out into lice. Many were employed day
and night in destroying them, but the work so multiplied under their
hands, that not only his clothes, baths, basins, but his very flesh was
polluted with that flux and contagion, they came swarming out in such
numbers. He went frequently by day into the bath to scour and cleanse
his body, but all in vain; the evil generated too rapidly and too
abundantly for any ablutions to overcome it.

378. Who was the “American Fabius”?

This sobriquet is often given to George Washington, whose military
policy resembled that of the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus
Verrucosus, who conducted operations against Hannibal by declining
to risk a battle in the open field, harassing him by marches,
counter-marches, and ambuscades.

379. Who were the “Seven against Thebes”?

They were the seven leaders of an expedition designed to place
Polynices on the throne of Thebes, from which he had been driven by
his brother Eteocles. Their names were Adrastus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus,
Hippomedon (Argives), Parthenopæus (an Arcadian), Polynices (a Theban),
and Tydeus (an Æolian). The expedition was a failure, as the chiefs
were arrogant and boastful, and despised signs sent by the gods.
Adrastus, who escaped by the swiftness of his horse Areion, the gift
of Hercules, was the only one saved. Ten years afterward, a second
expedition, conducted by their more pious sons, the _Epigoni_, who
acted in obedience to the will of heaven, was crowned with success.

380. Who was the “Sage of Monticello”?

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), third President of the United States, was
often so called from the name of his country seat in Virginia, and in
allusion to his wise statesmanship and great political sagacity.

381. What was the origin of the term “Johnnies,” as applied to the
Confederate soldiers during the late Rebellion?

This term Johnnies, or Johnny Rebs, is said to have originated in
a taunting remark addressed to a rebel picket, to the effect that
the Southern States relied on “John Bull” to help them gain their
independence, and that the picket himself was no better than a “John
Bull”; an accusation which he indignantly denied, saying that he would
“as soon be called a ‘nigger’ as a ‘Johnny Bull.’”

382. What was the “Day of Corn-sacks”?

The 3d of January, 1591, is so called, in French history, from an
attempt made by Henry IV. to surprise Paris on that day. Some of his
officers, disguised as corn dealers, with sacks on their shoulders,
endeavored to get possession of the gate St. Honore; but they were
recognized, and obliged to make a hasty retreat.

383. Who were the “Copperheads”?

This popular nickname originated in the time of the late Rebellion,
and was applied to a faction in the North, which was very generally
considered to be in secret sympathy with the Rebellion, and to give it
aid and comfort by attempting to thwart the measures of the government.
The name is derived from a poisonous serpent, called the copperhead
(_Trigonocephalus contortrix_), whose bite is considered as
deadly as that of the rattlesnake and whose geographical range extends
from forty-five degrees north to Florida. The copperhead, unlike the
rattlesnake, gives no warning of its attack, and is, therefore, the
type of a concealed foe.

384. What was “Symnes’ Hole”?

An enormous opening imagined by Capt. John Cleve Symnes (1780–1829),
a visionary American theorizer, to exist in the crust of the earth at
eighty-two degrees north. Through this opening, he thought a descent
might be made into the interior of the globe, which he supposed to
be peopled with plants and animals, and to be lighted by two small
subterranean planets, named Pluto and Proserpine, which diffused a mild

385. Who is the “Quaker Poet”?

This name is often given to John Greenleaf Whittier, a noted American
poet, who was born of Quaker parentage and is a member of the Society
of Friends.

The name was also given to Bernard Barton (1784–1849), an English poet
of some note, and a member of the Society of Friends. His poems fill
eight or nine volumes, the “Household Verses” being among his best

386. Who was the “Newton of Antiquity”?

This title has been given to Hipparchus, who flourished in the second
century B. C. He was the most celebrated of the Greek astronomers. He
calculated the length of the year to within six minutes, discovered the
precession of the equinoxes, and made the first catalogue of the stars,
1081 in number.

387. What are the eight motions of the earth?

1. Diurnal rotation on its axis.

2. Annual revolution in its orbit.

3. Precession of the equinoxes, which requires 25,816 years for the
equinoctial points to make a complete revolution of the ecliptic.

4. Change of perihelion. In the year 4089 B. C. the earth was in
perihelion at the autumnal equinox. It is now in perihelion on the 1st
of January. In the year 17267 A. D., the long cycle of 21,356 years
will be completed, and for the first time since the creation of man the
autumnal equinox will coincide with the earth’s perihelion.

5. Change in the obliquity of the ecliptic. The orbit of the earth
vibrates backward and forward, each oscillation requiring a period of
about 10,000 years.

6. Nutation caused by the moon. This movement requires eighteen and
three fourths years for completing a revolution.

7. Planetary perturbations.

8. Translation through space, the greatest of all.

388. Which is the floral emblem of the United States?

The violet is the national emblematic flower of our country. Perhaps it
is symbolic of the native modesty of Americans.

389. Who was the first white child born in America?

The first of which we have any record was SNORRE THORFINNSON,
who was born at Straumfjord (Buzzard’s Bay), in the present State
of Massachusetts, in the year 1008. He was the son of Thorfinn
Karlsefne and his wife Gudrid. From him the famous sculptor, Albert
Thorwaldsen, is lineally descended, besides a long train of learned and
distinguished men, who have flourished during the last eight centuries
in Iceland and Denmark.

390. What king wrote an essay against tobacco?

King James I., of England, issued in 1616 a _Counterblaste to
Tobacco_, in which he describes its use as “a custom loathsome to
the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the
lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the
horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”

391. What metals are valued at over $1,000 a pound?

Vanadium,--a white metal discovered in 1830, is valued at $10,000 an
avoirdupois pound.

Rubidium,--an alkaline metal, so called from exhibiting dark red lines
in the spectrum analysis, $9,070.

Zirconium,--a metal obtained from the mineral zircon and hyacinth, in
the form of a black powder, $7,200.

Lithium,--an alkaline metal, the lightest metal known, $7,000.

Glucinum,--a metal in the form of a grayish-black powder, $5,400.

Calcium,--The metallic base of lime, $4,500.

Strontium,--a malleable metal of a yellowish color, $4,200.

Terbium,--obtained from the mineral gadolinte, found in Sweden, $4,080.

Yttrium,--discovered in 1828, is of a grayish-black color, and its
lustre perfectly metallic, $4,080.

Erbium,--a metal found associated with yttrium, $3,400.

Cerium,--a metal of high specific gravity, a grayish-white color, and a
lamellar texture, $3,400.

Didymium,--a metal found associated with cerium, $3,200.

Ruthenium,--of a gray color, very hard and brittle; extracted from the
ores of platinum, $2,400.

Niobium,--previously named columbium, first discovered in an ore found
at New London, Conn., $2,300.

Rhodium,--of a white color and metallic lustre, and extremely hard and
brittle. It requires the strongest heat that can be produced by a wind
furnace for its fusion, $2,200.

Barium,--the metallic base of baryta, $1,800.

Palladium,--a metal discovered in 1803, and found in very small grains,
of a steel-gray color and fibrous structure, $1,400.

Osmium,--a brittle, gray-colored metal, found with platinum, the most
infusible of known metals, $1,300.

Iridium,--found native as an alloy, with osmium, in lead-gray scales,

392. Which is the “Granite City”?

Aberdeen, Scotland, is so called, because the material employed in its
buildings consists chiefly of light gray native granite. This granite
has been quarried near this city for over three hundred years.

393. Where is the “Gate of Tears”?

Bab-el-Mandeb (_i. e._, the “Gate of Tears”) is the strait which
connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. It derives its name from
the dangers attending its navigation, or according to an Arabic legend,
from the numbers who were drowned by the earthquake which separated
Asia and Africa.

394. What philosopher thought the sun was a huge fiery stone?

Anaxagoras (500–428 B. C.) taught that the heavens consisted of a solid
vault of stones, elevated above the earth by the surrounding ether, and
that the sun was a huge fiery stone about the size of the Morea, the
southern part of Greece. For this theory he suffered banishment, as the
Greeks thought it impious thus to rob the sun, which they believed to
be Apollo, of his divinity.

395. Who was Zopyrus?

This distinguished Persian, noted for his remarkable stratagem,
was the general of Darius Hystaspis. After his master had besieged
Babylon, which had revolted from him for twenty months in vain, Zopyrus
resolved to gain the place by the most extraordinary self-sacrifice.
Accordingly, one day he appeared before Darius, with his body mutilated
in the most horrible manner; both his ears and his nose were cut off,
and his person otherwise disfigured. After explaining to Darius his
intentions, he fled to Babylon as a victim of the cruelty of the
Persian king. The Babylonians gave him their confidence, and placed him
at the head of their troops. He soon found means to betray the city to
Darius, who severely punished the inhabitants for their revolt, and
appointed Zopyrus satrap of Babylon for life, with the enjoyment of its
entire revenues.

396. How did the swallow obtain its name?

According to Scandinavian tradition, this bird hovered over the cross
of our Lord, crying “_Svala! svala!_” (“console! console!”) whence
it was called _svalow_, the bird of consolation.

There is a curious story that this bird brings home from the sea-shore
a stone that gives sight to her fledglings.

    “Seeking with eager eyes that wondrous stone which the swallow
    Brings from the shore of the sea to restore the sight of its
                                           LONGFELLOW’S EVANGELINE.

397. Who was the “Sailor King”?

William IV. of England was so called, because he entered the navy in
1779, at fourteen years of age, and continued in the service till 1827.
He passed from the rank of a midshipman to that of a captain by regular
promotion. In 1801 he was made admiral of the fleet, and in 1827, lord
high admiral.

398. What became of the chains of Columbus?

Columbus was carried home in chains from his third voyage. Alonzo de
Villejo, captain of the caravel in which the illustrious prisoner
sailed, would have removed the fetters; but Columbus would not consent
to this. He would wear them, he said, until their Royal Highnesses, by
whose orders they had been affixed, should order their removal; and
he would keep them ever afterward “as relics and as memorials of the
reward of his services.” According to his son Fernando, he always kept
them hanging in his cabinet, and he requested that when he died they
might be buried with him.

399. Which is the Samian letter?

The letter Y. It was so called because its Greek original was used
by Pythagoras, the philosopher of Samosas an emblem of the straight,
narrow path of virtue, which is one, but if once deviated from, the
farther the lines are extended the wider becomes the breach.

    “When reason, doubtful, like the Samian letter,
    Points him two ways, the narrower, the better.”
                                          POPE’S DUNCLAD.

The same letter was also used to represent the sacred triad, formed
by the duad proceeding from the monad. It is sometimes called the
_Pythagorean letter_.

400. What was the origin of the term “Mugwump”?

This was a word borrowed from the Indians by the New England pioneers.
It meant “chief,” “head of all,” in the Indian tongue; and was used
by the pioneers humorously, much as a person does “Big Injun” when he
intends to be jocose.


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Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious printers’, punctuation and spelling errors have been corrected

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