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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 430 - Volume 17, New Series, March 27, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 430 - Volume 17, New Series, March 27, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  NO. 430. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._


Do you not find, in almost every company, one who pronounces
decisively upon every matter which comes in question? His voice is
loud and firm, his eye bold and confident, and his whole manner
oracular. No cold hesitations as to points of fact ever tease him.
Little time does he require to make up his mind on any speculative
subject. He is all _yes_ or all _no_ at once and without appeal.
Opposite opinions he treats with, at the best, a sublime pity, meant
to be graceful, but, in reality, galling. He is often a goose; but, be
he what he may, it is ten to one that he carries off the majority of
the company in the mere sweep of his gown. They are led by him for the
time, fascinated by the energy of his pronunciations. They may all
recover from him afterwards--some after one day, some after two, and
particularly weak men after, perhaps, a week. At the moment, however,
the pronouncer has vast influence, and, if immediate action can be
determined on, it is very likely that he drags his victims into some
committal of themselves, from which subsequent escape may not be very

While pronouncing is thus the prominent quality of a few, it is more
or less the vice of nearly all. Men feel that they have an inherent
right to their opinion, and to the promulgation of it, and are not
very apt to reflect that there is another question--as to whether
their opinion be worth delivering; whether it has been formed upon a
good basis of knowledge or experience, or upon any basis at all;
whether it is the emanation of ripe judgment and reflection, or of
some mere passing gust of ideas springing from the whim of the minute.
Hence, when any question arises, it is seldom found that any one is
quite unprepared to give some sort of decision. Even the giddy girl of
seventeen will have something to say upon it, albeit she may never
have heard of the matter before. It is thought foolish-looking not to
be able to pronounce, as if one imperiled the right of private
judgment itself by not being prepared in every case to act upon it. In
consequence, what absurd opinions do we hear in all kinds of companies
upon all kinds of topics! How the angels, who know better, must weep!

A conversational party even of tolerably well-educated persons, often
presents itself in a ludicrous light. Some question has arisen amongst
them. No one has any clear or definite information upon it. They have
had disputes about the simplest matters of fact involved in it. Yet no
person there, down to the youngest, but would take scorn to be held as
incapable of pronouncing upon it. There are as many opinions as there
are persons present, and not one less confident than another. What is
very natural in such circumstances, no one has the least respect for
the opinions of any of the rest. Each, in fact, does justice upon his
neighbour for the absurdity of pronouncing without grounds, while
incapable of seeing the absurdity in himself. And thus an hour will be
passed in a most unprofitable manner, and perhaps the social spirit of
the company be not a little marred. How much better to say: 'Well,
that is a subject I know nothing about: I will not undertake to
judge.' Supposing all who are present to be in the same predicament,
they might dismiss the barren subject, and start another on which some
one could throw real light, and from which, accordingly, all might
derive some benefit.

Is not this habit of pronouncing without preparation in inquiry and
reflection just one of the causes of that remarkable diversity of
opinion which is so often deplored for its unpleasant consequences? In
ignorance--fancy, whim, and prejudice usurp the directing power. If we
take no time for consideration, we shall be apt to plunge into an
error, and afterwards persevere in it for the sake of consistency, or
because it has become a thing which we regard as our own. In such
circumstances, no wonder there are as many 'minds' as 'men.' But when
any one can speak on the ground of well-ascertained facts, and after
some deliberation on the bearings of the question, he must carry
others with him, not by fascination, but by real conviction, and thus
greatly reduce the proportion of opinions to men. Very likely, some
other man has got hold of a somewhat different range of facts, and
come to different conclusions: he, too, will have his party of
followers. But there being two or three discrepant views on the
subject, is a much less evil than there being as many as there are

The right of pronouncing upon public affairs is one that would be
particularly clung to if there were any danger of its being lost, and
it certainly is not in England that any writer would be found ready to
challenge so valued a privilege. At the same time, no one will
seriously deny, that if this right were used more generally with the
advantage of a tolerable knowledge of the subject, it would be an
improvement. Public men may be acting, as, indeed, they must generally
do, upon certain data carefully brought out by inquiry: they may judge
and act amiss after all, for human judgment is fallible. But when we
contrast their means of forming a judgment with those of many persons
who hesitate not to pronounce upon their measures, it cannot be denied
that they stand in a strong position. When we hear a bold condemnation
of their acts from men who, so far from having gone through the same
process of inquiry, have not even perused the documents in which the
grounds of the administrative policy were explained, can we do
otherwise than smile at the pretensions of the _pseudo_-judges? Is not
the frequency of this unfounded judging much more apt to harden an
unlucky statesman than to make him amenable to counsel? On the other
hand, when a public man finds himself and his actions criticised by
men who have knowledge, he must be a hardy one indeed who can entirely
disregard the judgment.

If we attentively study the progress of any man who has acquired
influence over his fellow-creatures--apart from certain matters in
which the feelings are mainly concerned--we shall find that he has
distinguished himself by a habit of not pronouncing where he has no
means of forming a judgment. Such a man has had the good sense to see
and confess that he could not be expected to know many things
sufficiently well to entitle him to pronounce authoritatively upon
them. He has probably given some considerable share of attention to
certain subjects that are of some importance to his fellow-creatures,
and thus fitted himself, with regard to them, to speak with more or
less decision. Never found guilty of giving a vague, crudely-formed
judgment on things a hundred miles out of his way, but, on the
contrary, obtaining credit occasionally for the manner in which he
treats those with which he is conversant, he irresistibly acquires
character and influence. Young hasty minds laugh at his taking such
care not to commit himself: he is perhaps taxed with getting credit
for merely looking grave and holding his tongue. But this very holding
of the tongue when there is nothing to say, is, in reality, one of the
greatest, though often one of the last-learned virtues. Were his
merits purely negative, they would be great; tending as they do to
save truth from that obscuration which a multitude of ill-formed
opinions necessarily throw upon it. But we shall usually discover in
such men a positive merit also in their power to illustrate and give a
guiding opinion upon certain subjects of importance to public or
private interests.

There is not one sentence in this little essay which may not be justly
set down as mere commonplace. We acknowledge the fault; but defend it
on the ground that sound and useful commonplaces require a continual
refreshing and re-presentment, so many persons being, after all,
unaware or forgetful of them.

On a similar ground of defence, we would take leave to remind mankind
of the good old maxim, 'Hear the other party.' Familiar to most
people, observed by some, there are multitudes who uniformly act as if
they had never heard of it. To be quite candid, we often catch
ourselves neglecting it; and always, at the best, it takes a struggle
to make it a reality in our conduct. Experience, however, impresses us
more and more with a sense of its being absolutely essential to the
ascertainment of truth in any disputable case. There is so much bias
from self-love, so much recklessness about truth in general, and so
much of even a sincere faithlessness of narration, that no partial
account of anything is to be trusted. It is but a small concession to
the cause of truth, to wait till we hear the statement of the opposite
party, or not to pronounce without it. If anything were required to
prove how little this is reflected on, it would be the readiness of
nearly all persons to tell their own story, without intimating the
slightest doubt that it is to be implicitly received on their own
shewing. One cannot walk along a street, but some friend will come up
and inflict a narration, limited entirely to his own view of a case in
which he is interested or aggrieved, practically ignoring that there
can and must be another way of stating it. And so great is the
complaisance of mankind, that no one thinks of intimating any
necessity for consulting another authority before giving judgment.
Here the vicious habit of thoughtless pronouncing is doubly bad, as it
involves also a kind of flattery.

There are some novel doctrines and theories, which seem doomed to meet
with prejudice and opposition, but which yet must have some vitality
about them, seeing that they survive so much ill-treatment. It is
curious to observe how little regard to the rules of reasoning is
usually felt to be necessary in opposing these theories--how mere
pronouncing comes to stand in their case in the stead of evidence and
argument. Although they may have been brought forward as mere forms of
possible truth--ideal points round which to rally the scattered forces
of investigation--and only advanced as far as facts would go, and no
further--you will find them denounced as visions, tending to the
breach of the philosophic peace; while, on the other hand, those who
oppose them, albeit on no sort of ground but a mere pronunciation of
contrary opinion, obtain all the credit due to the genuine
philosopher. Abstractly, it would be generally admitted that any
doctrine for which a certain amount of evidence is shewn, can only be
overthrown by a superior force of evidence on the other side. But
practically this is of no avail. Doubt and denial are so important to
philosophy, and confer such an air of superior wisdom, that merely to
doubt and deny will be pretty sure to carry both the educated and the
uneducated vulgar. To get a high character in that position is of
course very easy. Little more than pronouncing is required. As to the
respective positions of the affirmer and denier in some future time,
when truth has attained the power of asserting her reign against
prejudice, that is another thing.

To return to the general question--If any one be impressed by our
remarks with a sense of the absurdity of pronouncing without knowledge
and reflection, let him endeavour to avoid it, and he will confer a
sensible benefit on society. When next he is in company, and a subject
occurs to tempt him into an expression of opinion, let him pause a
moment, and say to himself: 'Now, do I know anything about it--or if I
know something, do I know enough--to enable me to speak without fear
of being contradicted? Have I ever given it any serious reflection? Am
I sure that I have an opinion about it at all? Am I sure that I
entertain no prejudice on the point?' Were every one of us children of
British freedom to take these precautions, there would be more power
amongst us to pronounce wisely. There would be a more vigorous and
healthful public opinion, and the amenity, as well as instructiveness
of private society would be much increased.


In our last number, allusion was made to a process for cooling the air
of apartments in hot climates, with a view to health and comfort. The
intolerable heat of the climate in India, during certain hours of the
day, is well known to be the cause of much bad health among European
settlers. By way of rendering the air at all endurable, the plan of
agitating it with punkahs, hung to the roofs of apartments, the
punkahs being moved by servants in attendance for the purpose, is
adopted. Another plan of communicating a sensation of coolness, is to
hang wet mats in the open windows. But by neither of these expedients
is the end in view satisfactorily gained. Both are nothing else than

The new process of cooling now to be described, is founded on a
scientific principle, certain and satisfactory in its operation,
provided it be reduced to practice in a simple manner. The discoverer
is Professor Piazzi Smyth, who has presented a minute account of it in
a paper in the _Practical Mechanic's Journal_ for October 1850, and
also separately in a pamphlet. We invite public attention to this
curious but simple invention, of which we shall proceed to present a
few principles from the pamphlet just referred to.

Mr Smyth first speaks of the uselessness of the punkah, and the danger
of the wet mats. 'The wet mats in the windows for the wind to blow
through, cannot be employed but when the air is dry as well as hot,
and even then are most unhealthy, for although the air may feel dry to
the skin, there is generally far more moisture in it than in our own
climate; but the height of the temperature increasing the capacity of
the air for moisture, makes that air at 80 degrees feel very dry,
which at 40 degrees would be very damp. Now, one of the reasons of the
lassitude felt in warm climates is, that the air expanding with the
heat, while the lungs remain of the same capacity, they must take in a
smaller quantity by _weight_, though the same by _measure_, of oxygen,
the supporter of life; but if, in addition to the air being rarefied,
it be also still further distended by the vapour of water being mixed
with it, it is evident that a certain number of cubic inches by
measure, or the lungs full, will contain a less weight of oxygen than
ever; so little, indeed, that life can barely be supported; and we
need not wonder at persons lying down almost powerless in the hot and
damp atmosphere, and gasping for breath. Hence we see that any method
of cooling the air for Indians, instead of adding moisture, should
rather take it out of the air, so as to make oxygen predominate as
much as possible in the combined draught of oxygen, azote, and a
certain quantity of the vapour of water, which will always be present;
and hardly any plan could be more pernicious than the favourite though
dreaded one by those who have watched its results--of the wet mats.
Cold air--that is, air in which the thermometer actually stands at a
low reading--by reason of its density, gives us oxygen, the food of
the lungs, in a compressed and concentrated form; and men can
accordingly do much work upon it. But air which is merely cold to the
feelings--air in which the thermometer stands high, but which merely
gives us one of the external sensations of coolness--on being made by
a punkah, or any other mere blowing machine, to move rapidly over our
skin--or on being charged with watery vapour, or on being contrasted
with previous excessive heat--such air must, nevertheless, be rarefied
to the full extent indicated by the mercurial thermometer, and give
us, therefore, our supply of vital oxygen in a very diluted form, and
of a meagre, unsupporting, and unsatisfying consistence.... The _sine
quâ non_, therefore, for healthy and robust life in tropical
countries, is air cold and dry--cold to the thermometer and dry to the
hygrometer; or, in other words, dense, and containing little else than
the necessary oxygen and azote, and this supplied to a room, fresh and
fresh, in a continual current.'

He next goes on to describe the principle of his new plan of
cooling:--'The method by which I propose to accomplish this
consummation, so devoutly to be desired, is chiefly by taking
advantage of the well-known property of air to rise in temperature on
compression, and to fall on expansion. If air of any temperature, high
or low, be compressed with a certain force, the temperature will rise
above what it was before, in a degree proportioned to the compression.
If the air be allowed immediately to escape from under the pressure,
it will recover its original temperature, because the fall in heat, on
air expanding from a certain pressure, is equal to the rise on its
being compressed to the same; but if, _while the air is in its
compressed state, it be robbed of its acquired heat of compression_,
and then be allowed to escape, it will issue at a temperature as much
below the original one, as it rose above it on compression. Thus the
air, being at 90 degrees, will rise, if compressed to a certain
quantity, to 120 degrees; if it be kept in this compressed and
confined state until all the extra 30 degrees of heat have been
conveyed away by radiation and conduction, and the air be then allowed
to escape, it will be found, on issuing, to be of 60 degrees of
temperature. If a cooler be formed by a pipe under water, and air be
forced in under a given compression at one end, and be made to pass
along to the other, it may thereby, if the cooler be sufficiently
extensive, be robbed of all its heat of compression; and if the
apparatus is so arranged, as it easily may be, that at every stroke of
the pump forcing in air at one end of the pipe, an equivalent quantity
of the cooled compressed air escape from under a loaded valve at the
other, there will be an intermittent stream of cooled air produced
thereby, of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, in an atmosphere of 90 degrees,
which may be led away in a pipe to the room desired to be cooled.'

The only difficulty to be encountered consists in the erection and
working of machinery. There can be little fear on this score. We have
no doubt that any London engine-maker would hit off the whole scheme
of an air-cooling machine in half an hour. What is wanted is a
forcing-pump wrought by a one horse or two bullock-power. This being
erected and wrought outside of a dwelling, the air will be forced into
a convolution of pipe passing through a tank of water, like the worm
of a still, and will issue by a check-valve at every stroke of the
piston into the apartments to be cooled. Properly arranged, and with a
suitable supply of water trickling through the tank, air at 90 degrees
will be reduced to 60 degrees or thereabouts, which is the temperature
of ordinary sitting-rooms in England. What, it may be asked, will be
the expense of such an apparatus for cooling the air of a
dwelling-house? We are informed that it will not be greater than that
usually paid for heating with fires in this country; and if so, the
expense cannot be considered a serious obstacle to the use of the
apparatus. In the case of barracks for soldiers, hospitals, and other
public establishments, the process will prove of such important
service, that the cost, even if greater than it is likely to be,
should present no obstacle to its application.


One beautiful evening, in the year 1815, the parish priest of San
Pietro, a village a few miles distant from Sevilla, returned much
fatigued to his little cottage, where he found his aged housekeeper,
the Señora Margarita, watching for him. Notwithstanding that one is
well accustomed to the sight of poverty in Spain, it was impossible to
help being struck by the utter destitution which appeared in the house
of the good priest; the more so, as every imaginable contrivance had
been resorted to, to hide the nakedness of the walls, and the
shabbiness of the furniture. Margarita had prepared for her master's
supper a rather small dish of _olla-podriga_, which consisted, to say
the truth, of the remains of the dinner, seasoned and disguised with
great skill, and with the addition of some sauce, and a _name_. As she
placed the savoury dish upon the table, the priest said: 'We should
thank God for this good supper, Margarita; this olla-podriga makes
one's mouth water. My friend, you ought to be grateful for finding so
good a supper at the house of your host!' At the word host, Margarita
raised her eyes, and saw a stranger, who had followed her master. Her
countenance changed, and she looked annoyed. She glanced indignantly
first at the unknown, and then at the priest, who, looking down, said
in a low voice, and with the timidity of a child: 'What is enough for
two, is always enough for three; and surely you would not wish that I
should allow a Christian to die of hunger? He has not tasted food for
two days.'

'A Christian! He is more like a brigand!' and Margarita left the room
murmuring loudly enough to be heard.

Meanwhile, the unwelcome guest had remained standing at the door. He
was a man of great height, half-dressed in rags, and covered with mud;
while his black hair, piercing eyes, and carbine, gave him an
appearance which, though hardly prepossessing, was certainly
interesting. 'Must I go?' said he.

The priest replied with an emphatic gesture: 'Those whom I bring under
my roof are never driven forth, and are never unwelcome. Put down your
carbine. Let us say grace, and go to table.'

'I never leave my carbine, for, as the Castilian proverb says, "Two
friends are one." My carbine is my best friend; and I always keep it
beside me. Although you allow me to come into your house, and do not
oblige me to leave it until I wish to do so, there are others who
would think nothing of hauling me out, and, perhaps, with my feet
foremost. Come--to your good health, mine host, and let us to supper.'

The priest possessed an extremely good appetite, but the voracity of
the stranger soon obliged him to give up, for, not contented with
eating, or rather devouring, nearly the whole of the olla-podriga, the
guest finished a large loaf of bread, without leaving a crumb. While
he ate, he kept continually looking round with an expression of
inquietude: he started at the slightest sound; and once, when a
violent gust of wind made the door bang, he sprang to his feet, and
seized his carbine, with an air which shewed that, if necessary, he
would sell his life dearly. Discovering the cause of the alarm, he
reseated himself at table, and finished his repast.

'Now,' said he, 'I have one thing more to ask. I have been wounded,
and for eight days my wound has not been dressed. Give me a few old
rags, and you shall be no longer burdened with my presence.'

'I am in no haste for you to go,' replied the priest, whose guest,
notwithstanding his constant watchfulness, had conversed very
entertainingly. 'I know something of surgery, and will dress your

So saying, he took from a cupboard a case containing everything
necessary, and proceeded to do as he had said. The stranger had bled
profusely, a ball having passed through his thigh; and to have
travelled in this condition, and while suffering, too, from want of
food, shewed a strength which seemed hardly human.

'You cannot possibly continue your journey to-day,' said the host.
'You must pass the night here. A little rest will get up your
strength, diminish the inflammation of your wound, and'----

'I must go to-day, and immediately,' interrupted the stranger. 'There
are some who wait for me,' he added with a sigh--'and there are some,
too, who follow me.' And the momentary look of softness passed from
his features between the clauses of the sentence, and gave place to an
expression almost of ferocity. 'Now, is it finished? That is well.
See, I can walk as firmly as though I had never been wounded. Give me
some bread; pay yourself for your hospitality with this piece of gold,
and adieu.'

The priest put back the gold with displeasure. 'I am not an
innkeeper,' said he; 'and I do not sell my hospitality.'

'As you will, but pardon me; and now, farewell, my kind host.'

So saying, he took the bread, which Margarita, at her master's
command, very unwillingly gave him, and soon his tall figure
disappeared among the thick foliage of a wood which surrounded the
house, or rather the cabin. An hour had scarcely passed, when
musket-shots were heard close by, and the unknown reappeared, deadly
pale, and bleeding from a deep wound near the heart.

'Take these,' said he, giving some pieces of gold to his late host;
'they are for my children--near the stream--in the valley.'

He fell, and the next moment several police-officers rushed into the
house. They hastily secured the unfortunate man, who attempted no
resistance. The priest entreated to be allowed to dress his wound,
which they permitted; but when this was done, they insisted on
carrying him away immediately. They would not even procure a carriage;
and when they were told of the danger of removing a man so severely
wounded, they merely said: 'What does it matter? If he recovers, it
will only be to receive sentence of death. He is the famous brigand,

José thanked the intercessor with a look. He then asked for a little
water, and when the priest brought it to him, he said in a faint
voice: 'Remember!' The reply was merely a sign of intelligence. When
they were gone, notwithstanding all Margarita could say as to the
danger of going out at night, the priest crossed the wood, descended
into the valley, and soon found, beside the body of a woman, who had
doubtless been killed by a stray ball of the police, an infant, and a
little boy of about four years old, who was trying in vain to awaken
his mother. Imagine Margarita's amazement when the priest returned
with two children in his arms.

'May all good saints defend us! What have you done, señor? We have
barely enough to live upon, and you bring two children! I suppose I
must beg from door to door, for you and for them. And, for mercy's
sake, who are these children? The sons of that brigand, gipsy, thief,
murderer, perhaps! I am sure they have never been baptised!' At this
moment the infant began to cry. 'And pray, Señor Clérigo, how do you
mean to feed that child? You know very well that we have no means of
paying a nurse. We must spoon-feed it, and nice nights that will give
me! It cannot be more than six months old, poor little creature,' she
added, as her master placed it in her arms. 'Fortunately, I have a
little milk here;' and forgetting her anger, she busied herself in
putting some milk on the fire, and then sat down beside it to warm the
infant, who seemed half-frozen. Her master watched her in silence, and
when at last he saw her kiss its little cheek, he turned away with a
quiet smile.

When at length the little one had been hushed into a gentle slumber,
and when Margarita, with the assistance of her master's cloak, and
some of her own clothes, had made a bed for the elder boy, and placed
him in it, the good man told her how the children had been committed
to his care, and the promise he had made, though not in words, to
protect them.

'That is very right and good, no doubt,' said Margarita; 'I only want
to know how we are all to live?' The priest opened his Bible, and read

'Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of
cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he
shall in no wise lose his reward.'

'Amen!' said Margarita.

Twelve years passed by. The parish priest of San Pietro, who was now
more than seventy years old, was sitting in the sunshine at his door.
Near him, a boy of about twelve years old was reading aloud from the
Bible, looking occasionally towards a tall, fine-looking young man,
who was hard at work in a garden close by. Margarita, who was now
become blind, sat and listened. Suddenly, the sound of wheels was
heard, and the boy exclaimed: 'Oh! the beautiful carriage!' A splendid
carriage approached rapidly, and stopped before the door. A
richly-dressed servant approached, and asked for a cup of water for
his master.

'Carlos,' said the priest to the younger boy, 'go, bring water to the
gentleman; and add some wine, if he will accept it. Go quickly!' At
this moment, the carriage-door opened, and a gentleman, apparently
about fifty years old, alighted.

'Are these your nephews?' said he to the priest.

'They are more than that, señor; they are my children--the children of
my adoption.'

'How is that?'

'I will tell you, señor; for I am old and poor, and know but little of
the world, and am in much need of advice; for I know not what to do
with these two children.' He related the story we have just told. 'And
now, señor, what do you advise me to do?'

'Apply to one of the nobles of the court, who must assign you a
pension of four thousand ducats.'

'I asked you for advice, señor, and not for jest.'

'And then, your church must be rebuilt. We will call it the Church of
the Cup of Cold Water. Here is the plan. See, this is to be the
vicarage; and here, divided by this paling'----

'What does this mean? What would you say? And, surely, I remember that
voice, that face'----

'I am Don José della Ribeira; and twelve years ago, I was the brigand
José. I escaped from prison; and--for the revolution made great
changes--am now powerful. My children'----

He clasped them in his arms. And when at length he had embraced them a
hundred times, with tears, and smiles, and broken sentences; and when
all had in some degree recovered their composure, he took the hand of
the priest and said: 'Well, father, will you not accept the Church of
the Cup of Cold Water?' The old man, deeply affected, turned to
Margarita, and repeated:

'Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of
cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he
shall in no wise lose his reward.'

'Amen!' replied the aged woman, her voice tremulous from emotion.

A short time afterwards, Don José della Ribeira and his
two sons were present at the consecration of the church of
San-Pietro-del-Vaso-di-Aqua-Fria, one of the prettiest churches in the
neighbourhood of Sevilla.


Perhaps the pleasantest of all the out-door accessories of a London
life are the strains of fugitive music which one hears in the quiet
by-streets or suburban highways--strains born of the skill of some of
our wandering artists, who, with flute, violin, harp, or brazen tube
of various shape and designation, make the brick-walls of the busy
city responsive with the echoes of harmony. Many a time and oft have
we lingered entranced by the witchery of some street Orpheus,
forgetful, not merely of all the troubles of existence, but of
existence itself, until the strain had ceased, and silence aroused us
to the matter-of-fact world of business. One blind fiddler, we know
him well, with face upturned towards the sky, has stood a public
benefactor any day these twenty years, and we know not how much
longer, to receive the substantial homage of the music-loving million.
But that he is scarcely old enough, he might have been the identical
Oxford-Street Orpheus of Wordsworth:--

    'His station is there; and he works on the crowd,
     He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
     He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim--
     Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?'

Decidedly not--there is nothing to match it; and so thinks 'the
one-pennied boy' who spares him his one penny, and deems it well
bestowed. Then there are the harpers, with their smooth
French-horn-breathing and piccola-piping comrades, who at the soothing
hour of twilight affect the tranquil and retired paved courts or snug
enclosures far from the roar and rumble of chariot-wheels, where,
clustered round with lads and lasses released from the toils of the
day, they dispense romance and sentiment, and harmonious cadences, in
exchange for copper compliments and the well-merited applause of fit
audiences, though few. Again, there are the valorous brass-bands of
the young Germans, who blow such spirit-stirring appeals from their
travel-worn and battered tubes--to say nothing of the thousand
performers of solos and duets, who, wherever there is the chance of a
moment's hearing, are ready to attempt their seductions upon our ears
to the prejudice of our pockets. All these we must pass over with this
brief mention upon the present occasion; our business being with their
numerous antitheses and would-be rivals--the incarnate nuisances who
fill the air with discordant and fragmentary mutilations and
distortions of heaven-born melody, to the distraction of educated ears
and the perversion of the popular taste.

'Music by handle,' as it has been facetiously termed, forms our
present subject. This kind of harmony, which is not too often
deserving of the name, still constitutes, notwithstanding the large
amount of indisputable talent which derives its support from the
gratuitous contributions of the public, by far the larger portion of
the peripatetic minstrelsy of the metropolis. It would appear that
these grinders of music, with some few exceptions which we shall
notice as we proceed, are distinguished from their praiseworthy
exemplars, the musicians, by one remarkable, and to them perhaps very
comfortable characteristic. Like the exquisite Charles Lamb--if his
curious confession was not a literary myth--they have ears, but no
ear, though they would hardly be brought to acknowledge the fact so
candidly as he did. They may be divided, so far as our observation
goes, into the following classes:--1. Hand-organists; 2.
Monkey-organists; 3. Handbarrow-organists; 4. Handcart-organists; 5.
Horse-and-cart-organists; 6. Blindbird-organists; 7. Piano-grinders;
8. Flageolet-organists and pianists; 9. Hurdy-gurdy players.

1. The hand-organist is most frequently a Frenchman of the
departments, nearly always a foreigner. If his instrument be good for
anything, and he have a talent for forming a connection, he will be
found to have his regular rounds, and may be met with any hour in the
week at the same spot he occupied at that hour on the week previous.
But a man so circumstanced is at the head of the vagabond profession,
the major part of whom wander at their own sweet will wherever chance
may guide. The hand-organ which they lug about varies in value from
L.10 to L.150--at least, this last-named sum was the cost of a
first-rate instrument thirty years ago, such as were borne about by
the street-organists of Bath, Cheltenham, and the fashionable
watering-places, and the grinders of the West End of London at that
period, when musical talent was much less common than it is now. We
have seen a contract for repairs to one of these instruments,
including a new stop and new barrels, amounting to the liberal sum of
L.75: it belonged to a man who had grown so impudent in prosperity, as
to incur the penalty of seven years' banishment from the town in which
he turned his handle, for the offence of thrashing a young nobleman,
who stood between him and his auditors too near for his sense of
dignity. Since the invention of the metal reed, however, which, under
various modifications and combinations, supplies the sole utterance of
the harmonicon, celestina, seraphina, colophon, accordian, concertina,
&c. &c. and which does away with the necessity for pipes, the street
hand-organ has assumed a different and infinitely worse character.
Some of them yet remain what the old Puritans called 'boxes of
whistles'--that is, they are all pipes; but many of them might with
equal propriety be called 'boxes of Jews-harps,' being all reeds, or
rather vibrating metal tongues--and more still are of a mixed
character, having pipes for the upper notes, and metal reeds for the
bass. The effect is a succession of sudden hoarse brays as an
accompaniment to a soft melody, suggesting the idea of a duet between
Titania and Bottom. But this is far from the worst of it. The
profession of hand-organist having of late years miserably declined,
being in fact at present the next grade above mendicancy, the element
of cheapness has, per force, been studied in the manufacture of the
instrument. The barrels of some are so villainously pricked that the
time is altogether broken, the ear is assailed with a minim in the
place of a quaver, and _vice versâ_--and occasionally, as a matter of
convenience, a bar is left out, or even one is repeated, in utter
disregard of suffering humanity. But what is worse still, these metal
reeds, which are the most untunable things in the whole range of
sound-producing material, are constantly, from contact with fog and
moisture, getting out of order; and howl dolorously as they will in
token of their ailments, their half-starved guardian, who will grind
half an hour for a penny, cannot afford to medicate their pains, even
if he is aware of them, which, judging from his placid composure
during the most infamous combination of discords, is very much to be

2. The monkey-organist is generally a native of Switzerland or the
Tyrol. He carries a worn-out, doctored, and flannel-swathed
instrument, under the weight of which, being but a youth, or very
rarely an adult, he staggers slowly along, with outstretched back and
bended knees. On the top of his old organ sits a monkey, or sometimes
a marmoset, to whose queer face and queerer tricks, he trusts for
compensating the defective quality of his music. He dresses his
shivering brute in a red jacket and a cloth cap; and, when he can, he
teaches him to grind the organ, to the music of which he will himself
dance wearily. He wears an everlasting smile upon his countenance,
indicative of humour, natural and not assumed for the occasion: and
though he invariably unites the profession of a beggar with that of
monkey-master and musician, he has evidently no faith in a melancholy
face, and does not think it absolutely necessary to make you
thoroughly miserable in order to excite your charity. He will leave
his monkey grinding away on a door-step, and follow you with a
grinning face for a hundred yards or more, singing in a kind of
recitative: 'Date qualche cosa, signer! per amor di Dio, eccellenza,
date qualche cosa!' If you comply with his request, his voluble thanks
are too rapid for your comprehension; and if you refuse, he laughs
merrily in your face as he turns away to rejoin his friend and
coadjutor. He is a favourite subject with the young artists about
town, especially if he is very good-looking, or, better still,
excessively ugly; and he picks up many a shilling for sitting,
standing, or sprawling on the ground, as a model in the studio. It
sometimes happens that he has no organ--his monkey being his only
stock in trade. When the monkey dies--and one sees by their melancholy
comicalities, and cautious and painful grimaces, that the poor brutes
are destined to a short time of it--he takes up with white mice, or,
lacking these, constructs a dancing-doll, which, with the aid of a
short plank with an upright at one end, to which is attached a cord
passing through the body of the doll, and fastened to his right leg,
he keeps constantly on the jig, to the music of a tuneless
tin-whistle, bought for a penny, and a very primitive parchment tabor,
manufactured by himself. These shifts he resorts to in the hope of
retaining his independence and personal freedom--failing to succeed in
which, he is driven, as a last resource, to the comfortless drudgery
of piano-grinding, which we shall have to notice in its turn.

3. The handbarrow-organist is not uncommonly some lazy Irishman, if he
be not a sickly Savoyard, who has mounted his organ upon a handbarrow
of light and somewhat peculiar construction, for the sake of
facilitating the task of locomotion. From the nature of his equipage,
he is not given to grinding so perpetually as his heavily-burdened
brethren. He cannot of course grind, as they occasionally do, as he
travels along, so he pursues a different system of tactics. He walks
leisurely along the quiet ways, turning his eyes constantly to the
right and left, on the look-out for a promising opening. The sight of
a group of children at a parlour-window brings him into your front
garden, where he establishes his instrument with all the deliberation
of a proprietor of the premises. He is pretty sure to begin his
performance in the middle of a tune, with a hiccoughing kind of sound,
as though the pipes were gasping for breath. He puts a sudden period
to his questionable harmony the very instant he gets his penny, having
a notion, which is tolerably correct, that you pay him for his silence
and not for his sounds. In spite of his discordant gurglings and
squealings, he is welcomed by the nursery-maids and their infant
tribes of little sturdy rogues in petticoats, who flock eagerly round
him, and purchase the luxury of a half-penny grind, which they perform
_con amore_, seated on the top of his machine. If, when your front
garden is thus invaded, you insist upon his decamping without a fee,
he shews his estimate of the peace and quietness you desiderate by his
unwillingness to retire, which, however, he at length consents to do,
though not without a muttered remonstrance, delivered with the air of
an injured man. He generally contrives to house himself as night draws
on in some dingy taproom, appertaining to the lowest class of
Tom-and-Jerry shops, where, for a few coppers and 'a few beer,' he
will ring all the changes on his instrument twenty times over, until
he and his admiring auditors are ejected at midnight by the
police-fearing landlord.

4. The handcart-organists are a race of a very different and more
enterprising character, and of much more lofty and varied pretensions.
They generally travel in firms of two, three, or even four partners,
drawing the cart by turns. Their equipage consists of an organ of very
complicated construction, containing, besides a deal of very
marvellous machinery within its entrails, a collection of bells,
drums, triangles, gongs, and cymbals, in addition to the usual
quantity of pipes and metal-reeds that go to make up the travelling
organ. The music they play is of a species which it is not very easy
to describe, as it is not once in a hundred times that a stranger can
detect the melody through the clash and clangor of the gross amount of
brass, steel, and bell-metal put in vibration by the machinery. This,
however, is of very little consequence, as it is not the music in
particular which forms the principal attraction: if it serve to call a
crowd together, that is sufficient for their purpose; and it is for
this reason, we imagine, that the effect of the whole is contrived to
resemble, as it very closely does, the hum and jangle of Greenwich
Fair when heard of an Easter Monday from the summit of the Observatory
Hill. No, the main attraction is essentially dramatic. In front of the
great chest of heterogeneous sounds there is a stage about five or six
feet in width, four in height, and perhaps eighteen inches or two feet
in depth. Upon this are a variety of figures, about fourteen inches
long, gorgeously arrayed in crimson, purple, emerald-green, blue, and
orange draperies, and loaded with gold and tinsel, and sparkling
stones and spangles, all doubled in splendour by the reflection of a
mirror in the background. The figures, set in motion by the same
machinery which grinds the incomprehensible overture, perform a drama
equally incomprehensible. At the left-hand corner is Daniel in the
lion's den, the lion opening his mouth in six-eight time, and an angel
with outspread wings, but securely transfixed through the loins by a
revolving brass pivot, shutting it again to the same lively movement.
To the right of Daniel is the Grand Turk, seated in his divan, and
brandishing a dagger over a prostrate slave, who only ventures to rise
when the dagger is withdrawn. Next to him is Nebuchadnezzar on all
fours, eating painted grass, with a huge gold crown on his head, which
he bobs for a bite every other bar. In the right-hand corner is a sort
of cavern, the abode of some supernatural and mysterious being of the
fiend or vampire school, who gives an occasional fitful start, and
turns an ominous-looking green glass-eye out upon the spectators. All
these are in the background. In the front of the stage stands
Napoleon, wearing a long sword and cocked hat, and the conventional
gray smalls--his hand of course stuck in his breast. At his right are
Tippoo Saib and his sons, and at his left, Queen Victoria and Prince
Albert. After a score or so of bars, the measure of the music suddenly
alters--Daniel's guardian angel flies off--the prophet and the lion
lie down to sleep together--the Grand Turk sinks into the arms of the
death-doomed slave. Nebuchadnezzar falls prostrate on the ground, and
the fiend in the gloomy cavern whips suddenly round and glares with
his green eye, as if watching for a spring upon the front row of
actors, who have now taken up their cue and commenced their
performance. Napoleon, Tippoo Saib, and Queen Victoria, dance a
three-handed reel, to the admiration of Prince Albert and a group of
lords and ladies in waiting, who nod their heads approvingly--when
br'r'r! crack! bang! at a tremendous crash of gongs and grumbling of
bass-notes, the fiend in the corner rushes forth from his lair with a
portentous howl. Away, neck or nothing, flies Napoleon, and Tippoo
scampers after him, followed by the terrified attendants; but lo! at
the precise nick of time, Queen Victoria draws a long sword from
beneath her stays, while up jumps the devouring beast from the den of
the prophet, and like a true British lion--as he doubtless was all the
while--flies at the throat of the fiend, straight as an arrow to its
mark. Then follows a roar of applause from the discriminating
spectators, amidst which the curtain falls, and, with an extra
flourish of music, the collection of copper coin commences. This is
always a favourite spectacle with the multitude, who never bother
themselves about such trifles as anachronisms and unities; and the
only difficulty the managers have to overcome in order to insure a
remunerative exhibition, is that of finding a quiet locality, which
shall yet be sufficiently frequented to insure them an audience. There
are equipages of this description of very various pretensions and
perfection, but they all combine the allurements of music and the
drama in a greater or less degree.

5. The horse-and-cart-organists are a race of enterprising
speculators, who, relying upon the popular penchant for music, have
undertaken to supply the demand by wholesale. It is impossible by mere
description to impart an adequate idea of the truly appalling and
tremendous character of their performances. Their machines are some of
them vast structures, which, mounted upon stout wheels, and drawn by a
couple of serviceable horses, might be mistaken for wild-beast vans.
They are crammed choke-full with every known mechanical contrivance
for the production of ear-stunning noises. Wherever they burst forth
into utterance, the whole parish is instantly admonished of their
whereabouts, and, with the natural instinct of John Bull for a row--no
matter how it originates--forth rushes the crowd to enjoy the
dissonance. The piercing notes of a score of shrill fifes, the squall
of as many clarions, the hoarse bray of a legion of tin trumpets, the
angry and fitful snort of a brigade of rugged bassoons, the
unintermitting rattle of a dozen or more deafening drums, the clang of
bells firing in peals, the boom of gongs, with the sepulchral roar of
some unknown contrivance for bass, so deep that you might almost count
the vibrations of each note--these are a few of the components of the
horse-and-cart-organ, the sum-total of which it is impossible to add
up. Compared to the vicinity of a first-rater in full blow, the inside
of a menagerie at feeding-time would be a paradise of tranquillity and
repose. The rattle and rumble of carts and carriages, which drive the
professors and possessors of milder music to the side-streets and
suburbs, sink into insignificance when these cataracts of uproar begin
to peal forth; and their owners would have no occasion to seek an
appropriate spot for their volcanic eruptions, were it not that the
police, watchful against accident, have warned them from the principal
thoroughfares, where serious consequences have already ensued through
the panic occasioned to horses from the continuous explosion of such
unwonted sounds. In fact, an honourable member of the Commons' House
of Parliament made a motion in the House, towards the close of the
last session, for the immediate prohibition of these monster
nuisances, and quoted several cases of alarm and danger to life of
which they had been the originating cause. These formidable erections
are for the most part the property and handiwork of the men who travel
with them, and who must levy a pretty heavy contribution on the public
to defray their expenses. They perform entire overtures and long
concerted pieces, being furnished with spiral barrels, and might
probably produce a tolerable effect at the distance of a mile or
so--at least we never heard one yet without incontinently wishing it a
mile off. By a piece of particular ill-fortune, we came one day upon
one undergoing the ceremony of tuning, on a piece of waste-ground at
the back of Coldbath Prison. The deplorable wail of those tortured
pipes and reeds, and the short savage grunt of the bass mystery,
haunted us, a perpetual day-and-night-mare, for a month. We could not
help noticing, however, that the jauntily-dressed fellow, whose
fingers were covered with showy rings, and ears hung with long drops,
who performed the operation, managed it with consummate skill, and
with an ear for that sort of music most marvellously discriminating.

6. Blind bird-organists. Though most blind persons either naturally
possess or soon acquire an ear for music, there are yet numbers who,
from the want of it or from some other cause, never make any
proficiency as performers on an instrument. Blindness, too, is often
accompanied with some other disability, which disqualifies its victims
for learning such trades as they might otherwise be taught. Hence
many, rather than remain in the workhouse, take to grinding music in
the streets. Here we are struck with one remarkable fact: the
Irishman, the Frenchman, the Italian, or the Savoyard, at least so
soon as he is a man, and able to lug it about, is provided with an
instrument with which he can make a noise in the world, and prefer his
clamorous claim for a recompense; while the poor blind Englishman has
nothing but a diminutive box of dilapidated whistles, which you may
pass fifty times without hearing it, let him grind as hard as he will.
It is generally nothing more than an old worn-out bird-organ, in all
likelihood charitably bestowed by some compassionate Poll
Sweedlepipes, who has already used it up in the education of his
bull-finches. The reason, we opine, must be that the major part, if
not the whole, of the peripatetic instruments of the metropolis are
the property of speculators, who let them out on hire, and that the
blind man, not being considered an eligible customer, is precluded
from the advantage of their use. However this may be, the poor blind
grinder is almost invariably found furnished as we have described him,
jammed up in some cranny or corner in a third-rate locality, where,
having opened or taken off the top of his box, that the curious
spectator may behold the mystery of his too quiet music--the revolving
barrel, the sobbing bellows, and the twelve leaden and ten wooden
pipes--he turns his monotonous handle throughout the live-long day, in
the all but vain appeal for the commiseration of his fellows. This is
really a melancholy spectacle, and one which we would gladly miss
altogether in our casual rounds.

7. The piano-grinders are by far the most numerous of the
handle-turning fraternity. The instrument they carry about with them
is familiar to the dwellers in most of the towns in England. It is a
miniature cabinet-piano, without the keys or finger-board, and is
played by similar mechanical means to that which gives utterance to
the hand-organ; but of course it requires no bellows. There is one
thing to be said in favour of these instruments--they do not make much
noise, and consequently are no very great nuisance individually. The
worst thing against them is the fact, that they are never in tune, and
therefore never worth the hearing. After grinding for twelve or
fourteen hours a day for four or five years, they become perfect
abominations; and luckless is the fate of the poor little stranger
condemned to perpetual companionship with a villainous machine, whose
every tone is the cause of offence to those whose charity he must
awaken into exercise, or go without a meal. These instruments are
known to be the property of certain extensive proprietors in the city,
some of whom have hundreds of them grinding daily in every quarter of
the town. Some few are let out on hire--the best at a shilling a day;
the old and worn-out ones as low as two or three pence; but the great
majority of them are ground by young Italians shipped to this country
for the especial purpose by the owners of the instruments. These
descendants of the ancient Romans figure in Britain in a very
different plight from that of their renowned ancestors. They may be
encountered in troops sallying forth from the filthy purlieus of
Leather Lane, at about nine or ten in the morning, each with his
awkward burden strapped to his back, and supporting his steps with a
stout staff, which also serves to support the instrument when playing.
Each one has his appointed beat, and he is bound to bring home a
certain prescribed sum to entitle him to a share in the hot supper
prepared for the evening meal. We have more than once, when startled
by the sound of the everlasting piano within an hour of midnight,
questioned the belated grinder, and invariably received for answer,
that he had not yet been able to collect the sum required of him.
Still there can be no doubt that some of them contrive to save money;
inasmuch as we occasionally see an active fellow set up on his own
account, and furnished with an instrument immensely superior to those
of his less prosperous compatriots. So great is the number of these
wandering Italian pianists, that their condition has attracted the
attention of their more wealthy countrymen, who, in conjunction with a
party of benevolent English gentlemen, have set on foot an association
for the express purpose of imparting instruction to poor Italians of
all grades, of whom the vagabond musicians form the largest section.

It is easy to recognise the rule adopted in the distribution of the
instruments among the grinders: the stoutest fellow, or he who can
take the best care of it, gets the best piano; while the shattered and
rickety machine goes to the urchin of ten or twelve, who can scarcely
drag it a hundred yards without resting. It is to be supposed that the
instruments are all rated according to their quality. There is at this
moment wandering about the streets of London a singular and pitiable
object, whose wretched lot must be known to hundreds of thousands, and
who affords in his own person good evidence of the strictness of the
rule above alluded to, as well as of the rigour with which the trade
is carried on. We refer to a ragged, shirtless, and harmlessly insane
Italian lad, who, under the guardianship of one of the piano-mongers,
is driven forth daily into the streets, carrying a blackened and
gutted, old piano-case, in which two strings only of the original
scale remain unbroken. The poor unwashed innocent transports himself
as quickly as possible to the genteelest neighbourhood he can find,
and with all the enthusiasm of a Jullien, commences his monotonous
grind. Three turns of the handle, and the all but defunct instrument
ejaculates 'tink;' six more inaudible turns, and then the responding
string answers 'tank.' 'Tink--tank' is the sum-total of his
performance, to any defects in which he is as insensible as a blind
man is to colour. As a matter of course, he gets ill-treated, mobbed,
pushed about, and upset by the blackguard scamps about town; and were
it not for the police, who have rescued him times without number from
the hands of his persecutors, he would long ere now have been reduced
to as complete a ruin as his instrument. In one respect, he is indeed
already worse off than the dilapidated piano: he is dumb as well as
silly, and can only utter one sound--a cry of alarm of singular
intensity; this cry forms the climax of pleasure to the wretches who
dog his steps, and this, unmoved by his silent tears and woful looks,
they goad him to shriek forth for their express gratification. We have
stumbled upon him at near eleven at night, grinding away with all his
might in a storm of wind and rain, perfectly unconscious of either,
and evidently delighted at his unusual freedom from interruption.

8. Flageolet-organists and pianists. It is a pleasure to award praise
where praise is due, and it may be accorded to this class of grinders,
who are, to our minds, the elite of the profession. We stated above
that some of the piano-grinders contrive, notwithstanding their
difficult position, to save money and set up for themselves. It is
inevitable that the faculty of music must be innate with some of these
wandering pianists, and it is but natural that these should succeed
the best, and be the first to improve their condition. The instrument
which combines a flageolet-stop with a piano is generally found in the
possession of young fellows who, by dint of a persevering and savage
economy, have saved sufficient funds to procure it. Indeed, in common
hands, it would be of less use than the commonest instrument, because
it requires frequent--more than daily--tuning, and would therefore be
of no advantage to a man with no ear. Unless the strings were in
strict unison with the pipes, the discordance would be unbearable, and
as this in the open air can hardly be the case for many hours
together, they have to be rectified many times in the course of a
week. As might be reasonably supposed, these instruments are
comparatively few. When set to slow melodies, the flageolet taking the
air, and the piano a well-arranged accompaniment, the effect is really
charming, and, there is little reason to doubt, is found as profitable
to the producer as it is pleasing to the hearer. They are to be met
with chiefly at the west end of the town, and on summer evenings
beneath the lawyers' windows in the neighbourhood of some of the Inns
of Court.

9. The hurdy-gurdy player. We have placed this genius last, because,
though essentially a most horrid grinder, he, too, is in some sort a
performer. In London, there may be said to be two classes of
them--little hopping, skipping, jumping, reeling Savoyard or Swiss
urchins, who dance and sing, and grind and play, doing, like Cæsar,
four things at once, and whom you expect every moment to see rolling
on the pavement, but who continue, like so many kittens, to pitch on
their feet at last, notwithstanding all their antics--and men with
sallow complexions, large dark eyes, and silver ear-rings, who stand
erect and tranquil, and confer a dignity, not to say a grace, even
upon the performance of the hurdy-gurdy. The boys for the most part do
not play any regular tune, having but few keys to their instruments,
often not even a complete octave. The better instruments of the adult
performers have a scale of an octave and a half, and sometimes two
octaves, and they perform melodies and even harmonies with something
like precision, and with an effect which, to give it its due praise,
supplies a very tolerable caricature of the Scotch bagpipes. These
gentry are not much in favour either with the genuine lovers of music
or the lovers of quiet, and they know the fact perfectly well. They
hang about the crowded haunts of the common people, and find their
harvest in a vulgar jollification, or an extempore 'hop' at the door
of a suburban public-house on a summer night. There are a few
old-women performers on this hybrid machine, one of whom is familiar
to the public through the dissemination of her _vera effigies_ in a
contemporary print.

The above are all the grinders which observation has enabled us to
identify as capable of classification. The reader may, if he likes,
suppose them to be the metropolitan representatives of the nine
Muses--and that, in fact, in some sort they are, seeing that they are
the embodiments to a certain extent of the musical tastes of a section
at least of the inhabitants of London; though, if we are asked which
is Melpomene? which is Thalia? &c. &c. we must adopt the reply of the
showman to the child who asked which was the lion and which was the
dog, and received for answer: 'Whichever you like, my little dear.'

With respect to all these grinders, one thing is remarkable: they are
all, with the exception of a small savour of Irishmen, foreigners.
Scarcely one Englishman, not one Scot, will be found among the whole
tribe; and this fact is as welcome to us as it is singular, because it
speaks volumes in favour of the national propensity, of which we have
reason to be proud, to be ever doing something, producing something,
applying labour to its legitimate purpose, and not turning another
man's handle to grind the wind. Yet there is, alas! a scattered and
characteristic tribe of vagabond English music-grinders, and to these
we must turn a moment's attention ere we finally close the list.
We must call them, for we know no more appropriate name,
cripple-grinders. It is impossible to carry one's explorations very
far through the various districts of London without coming upon one or
more samples of this unfortunate tribe. Commerce maims and mutilates
her victims as effectually as war, though not in equal numbers; and
men and lads without arms, or without legs, or without either, and men
doubled up and distorted, and blasted blind and hideous with
gunpowder, who have yet had the misfortune to escape death, are left
without limbs or eyesight, often with shattered intellects, to fight
the battle of life, at fearful odds. Had they been reduced to a like
miserable condition while engaged in killing their fellow-creatures on
the field of battle or on the deck of carnage, a grateful country
would have housed them in a palace, and abundantly supplied their
every want; but they were merely employed in procuring the necessaries
of life for their fellows in the mine or the factory, and as nobody
owes them any gratitude for that, they must do what they can. And
behold what they do: they descend, being fit for nothing else, to the
level of the foreign music-grinder, and, mounted on a kind of
bed-carriage, are drawn about the streets of London by their wives or
children; being furnished with a blatant hand-organ of last century's
manufacture, whose ear-torturing growl draws the attention of the
public to their woful plight, they extort that charity which would
else fail to find them out. If there be something gratifying in the
fact, that this is the only class of Britons who follow such an
inglorious profession, there is nothing very flattering in the
consideration, that even these are compelled to it by inexorable


[1] Among some of the continental nations, Justice, though blind, is
not supposed to be deaf; she has, on the contrary, a musical ear, and
compels the various grinders of harmony to keep their instruments in
tune, under the penalty of a heavy fine. In some of the German cities,
the police have summary jurisdiction in offences musical, and are
empowered to demand a certificate, with which every grinder is bound
to be furnished, shewing the date of the last tuning of his
instrument. If he perpetrate false harmony, and his certificate be run
out, he is mulcted in the fine. Such a by-law would be a real bonus in


The voices that have come from the diggings in California and
Australia have hitherto been so loud and so many, that they have
served only to confuse. We have the image before our fancy of a vast
crowd of human beings hastening over seas and deserts towards certain
geographical points, where they meet, struggle, fix. We see them
picking up lumps of gold from the surface, or digging them out of the
earth, or collecting the glittering dust by sifting and washing; and
then we hear of vast torrents of the precious metal finding their way
into Europe, threatening to swamp us all with absolute wealth, and
confound and travesty the whole monetary transactions of the world.
What we don't see, is the gold itself. We should like, if it were only
out of curiosity, to feel a handful of it in our pocket: but we grope
in vain. A sovereign costs twenty shillings, as before; and twenty
shillings are as hard to come at as ever. Nevertheless, we believe in
the unseen presence of that slave-genius, who lends himself, with a
sickly smile, to the service of mankind, and buys when we think he is
sold! We have faith in bills of lading, and accept without question
any amount that is reported to lie dormant in the reservoir of the
Bank of England: only we wonder in private whether the importations of
the precious metal are likely to increase permanently in greater
proportion than the population in this quarter of the globe, and the
spread of taste, comfort, and luxury, calling every day new arts into
existence, perfecting old ones, and distributing wealth throughout the
constantly widening circle of talent and industry.

But our present business is with the diggings and the diggers. We have
often wished we could interrogate one of those unquiet spirits in the
manner of Macbeth--'What is't ye do?' How do you manage? By what signs
do you know a locality that is likely to repay your pains? What are
your instruments, your machinery? What do you conceive to be the
prospects of your singular trade? And, in fact, our curiosity is at
this moment to a certain extent gratified: a Voice has been wafted
across the ocean to our private ear, and, undisturbed by the thousand
other tongues of the diggings, we can listen to an account, distinct
so far as it goes, of the whole process of gold-hunting. The voice
emanates from Mr S. Rutter, of Sydney, whose experience has lain both
in the Californian and Australian mines, and we propose putting
together, in as intelligible a way as we can, the rough hints with
which we have been favoured.

Mr Rutter, on the 24th of May last, left Sydney for the Ophir
diggings, with a party, including himself, of four individuals. A
sleeping partner remained behind, whose duty it was to furnish the
means of conveyance for the first trip; but the four travellers
entered with each other into a more precise agreement, the chief
articles of which we give, as being common in such adventures:--

I. We solemnly agree to stand by each other in all circumstances.

II. Each man is to come provided with firearms.

III. The capital is to be contributed equally, or credit given, as may
be agreed to by the majority.

IV. The profit or loss to be equally divided.

V. In the event of death or disablement occurring to any of the party,
his share of the stock and profits is to be immediately handed over to
his friends.

On this paction being signed, the party set forth, provided with
L.100 worth of goods, a cart and a team of horses, and reached
Paramatta, a distance of eighteen miles, the first night, although
they were obliged to send back one of the horses, which had proved to
be useless. Here Mr Rutter slept in a bed for the last time during
four months; and the next day, having purchased another horse, and
sold some of their goods to lighten the wagon, they set forth again
towards evening. The road was nothing more than a dray-track, to which
the horses were unequal; and after proceeding a few miles, they were
detained at the village of Prospect for a week, till one of the
partners had returned to Sydney, and brought back a pair of
bush-horses and a new cart. As they proceeded the next day, they found
the track over which they travelled become more and more populous;
till, on crossing the Macquarrie, they encamped in the midst of
thirteen teams of cattle and their thirteen companies, all bound upon
the same errand as themselves.

On the 12th of June, in the dusk of the evening, they reached the
summit of a hill overlooking their destination. The Summerhill Creek
lay before them, with the camp-fires of fifty or sixty huts; and as
they descended into the midst, the inhabitants of this village of the
desert were returning from work with laughter and rude merriment.
After pitching their camp, and taking some refreshment, they proceeded
anxiously to inquire the news; and that night they turned in with no
very bright anticipations, after learning that the creek was high and
goods low, the weather alternating between rain and frost, the mines
overcrowded, and superfluous hands deserting them fast. They struggled
for awhile against these evil auguries; they even contrived, with
great labour, to pick up an ounce or two of gold; but at length,
losing heart, the party broke up on the 23d, and all went home but our

His geological and mechanical knowledge enabled him to obtain a
partnership with another band of gold-hunters then at work; and after
spending some days in _prospecting_ on account of the new concern, he
found 'a chink he liked the look of,' which appeared to have been
partially worked. Licences were accordingly taken out, the
commissioner being on the spot, and forty-five feet of frontage to the
creek were marked off. As soon as the river became a little lower,
they began in earnest to dig a race for turning the course of the
water. Their pump was made and fixed ready to drain; a dam was
emptied; six ounces of gold were obtained as an earnest of what they
might expect; and then it began to rain, and the creek to roar, and
the whole of their machinery was swept away.

Here was a new mishap: but these things will happen in the diggings;
and so our adventurers, agreeing to pay the commissioner a monthly
licence for their ground, intending to return in the dry weather to
work it, removed bag and baggage to another part of the river. Here
they dug away, but it appears with no tempting success; and they took
care to return to the commissioner in time, as they thought, to
implement their monthly bargain. On tendering the money for their
licence, however, they discovered that they were just half an hour too
late, and that the functionary had disposed of their forty-five feet
to another bidder. What to do now? They fell in with a man, an old
friend of Mr Rutter, just setting off on a journey of sixty-two miles
to the north, where he told them a piece of gold had been found
weighing 106 lbs. This invaluable man they instantly took into
partnership, and purchasing fresh horses, they struck their camp, and
followed their new companion across the country, in search of a place
called the Devil's Hole, near the World's End. It is no wonder they
lost their way. As there was no such thing as a road, they were
obliged to transport their goods on the horses' backs; and the
interesting nature of their journey may be guessed at from the fact,
that they had to cross a creek with steep banks sixteen times in the
course of five miles.

They at length reached the Louisa Diggings, near those quartz-ridges
where, in fact, a 106 lb. lump of gold had been found. They encamped
in the dark; and getting up betimes the next morning, looked eagerly
out on this land of promise. It was a dull, dreary morning, and a
heavy continuous rain plashed upon the earth. About 200 persons were
taking the air in this watery atmosphere, their dress and movements
corresponding well with the aspect of the hour. Some were covered with
an old sack, some with a blanket, some with a dripping cloak, but all
glided slowly about in the rain, with a stick in their hands, and
their eyes fixed upon the ground. These phantoms were gold-hunters;
and the silent company was immediately joined by our adventurers, who
glided and poked like the rest. The ground was new, and during two
days gold was obtained in this way, from a particle the size of a
pin's head to a lump of nearly an ounce. When the surface was
exhausted, digging commenced; but the soil was too tough for the
common cradle, and although rich in gold, it would not repay the
trouble of washing. Upon this, the company broke up, each pursuing his
own way; and our adventurer and another agreed to go down the country
together to Maitland, prospecting on the way.

The place where the large mass of gold was found is an intersection
between two quartz-ridges, rising from a high table-land in the midst
of a congeries of mountains, offshoots from the range that extends
from Wilson's Point, on the south, to Cape York, on the north. The
clay soil covers many acres below and around the ridges, and wherever
it was prospected by our adventurer, gold was found. On the 12th of
September, he reached Maitland; and here he found a letter awaiting
him, which determined him to choose a new hunting-ground. Some years
before, it seems, a man he knew, who was at that time a shepherd in
the Wellington District, while crossing the country on his master's
business, lost his way in the gullies, and did not find it again for
two days. While sitting down, in his dilemma, on a quartz-rock, he
observed something glittering beside him, and breaking off with his
tomahawk a piece of the stone, he carried it home with him as a
curiosity. At home it lay for years, till the reported discoveries of
gold induced him to offer it for sale to a goldsmith in Sydney. The
result was, that he connected himself with a party of adventurers, and
they all set forth for the place where he had rested among the
gullies. His companions proved treacherous; and when they had come
sufficiently near to be able, as they thought, to find the spot
without his assistance, they turned him adrift. They sought the golden
rock for three days--but in vain; and he went back to Sydney, to
invite Mr Rutter to accompany him. Here ends our narrative for the
present; and a most instructive one it is. The search for gold, our
informant tells us plainly, is a mere lottery, its results depending
almost wholly upon chance. Plenty as the metal is, it frequently costs
twenty shillings the sovereign's worth; and, in short, we are at that
point of transition when the mania is dying away, and the science has
not begun. When capital and skill are brought to bear upon the process
of mining in Australia, it will become a regular, though by no means a
miraculously profitable business; and even at present, steady
labouring-men may spread themselves over thousands of miles of the
auriferous creeks, if they will be satisfied with a profit of seven or
eight shillings a day.

According to his experience, the place to look for gold is in the
neighbourhood of distinct traces of volcanic action, or in small
streams coming direct from hills of volcanic formation, or rivers fed
by these streams. An abundance of quartz (commonly called spar) is
universally reckoned an indication of the presence of gold; and if
trap-rock is found cropping up amid this quartz, and perforated with
streaks of it, so much the better. Sometimes the solid quartz itself
is pounded, and gold extracted by the aid of quicksilver. When the
gold is found in rivers, or on their banks, prediction is vain:
nothing will do but the actual trial by the wash-pan. But where there
is a bar or sand-bank, the richest deposit will always be on the side
of the bank presented to the descending stream. The metal in such
digging is almost invariably found in small spangles, that appear to
have been granular particles crushed or rolled flat by some enormous
pressure. In California, these spangles were the beginning of the
gold-finding. When the streams and their banks were well searched, the
crowds of adventurers tried, in desperation, what they could do by
digging deep holes in the plains; and there the metal was found in
such different forms as to indicate quite a different process of
deposition. Some of these holes were productive--although it was
severe labour to dig fifteen or eighteen feet through a hard soil
merely as an experiment; and in the course of time the plains were
covered with tents. The influx of adventurers continued; and the old
diggers, dissatisfied with gains that seemed to the new prodigious,
retired further and further back, and began to grope in the terraces
on the sides of volcanic hills, and among the detritus of extinct
craters. Here the harvest was rich, and as the crowning effort of the
gold-passion, unassisted by machinery, they actually in some cases cut
away the sides of the hills! 'My own impression is,' concludes our
informant on this subject, 'that, both in California and Australia,
the chances of individual enterprise, and even of small companies, are
decreasing rapidly; but that when the mines so wrought have ceased to
pay, capital and machinery, directed by science, will receive
profitable employment for ages to come.'

The wash-pan we have mentioned may be of tin, if not required to be
used with quicksilver, otherwise of copper or wood; but of whatever
material made, it should be some 15 inches in diameter at the top, 10
or 11 at the bottom, and 5, or 5-1/2 inches deep. The manner of using
this is learned only by practice and observation, and consists in a
peculiar motion, by which the heavier substances sink to the bottom
and remain there, while the soluble and lighter parts are washed out.
The principal use of the wash-pan is in rewashing the partially washed
'stuff' taken from the rocker, and in prospecting to ascertain by
trial the value of a new place.

This rocker, or cradle, may be made of half-inch softwood, and
consists of a trough 10 inches deep, 18 inches broad, and 4 feet long,
closed at the broad end, and open at the other; with a transverse bar
at the upper part, two feet from the broad end, to receive the tray.
This machine is placed on rockers, like a cradle, and deposited so
near the water that, when at work, the man who rocks with his left
hand may be able to reach the water with a small tin baler, provided
with a wooden handle two feet long. A bucketful of the earth to be
washed is thrown into the tray, and the person who is to rock the
cradle taking a balerful of water, throws it uniformly on the mass in
the tray, and keeps rocking and washing till the gold becomes obvious.
These are the simpler implements of gold-hunting; and provided with
them, the little company of adventurers pitch their tent and continue
to dig, till they come to earth they think will pay for washing. The
next morning, they get up perhaps at daylight, for the sake of the
coolness of the hour, and pass through the sieve ten or fifteen
buckets before breakfast. After breakfast, all hands resume work till
about twelve o'clock, when they dine, then rest through the heat of
the day till three o'clock, and go on again till dark. They usually
divide the work as follows: one in the hole digs, fills the bucket
with earth, and, if necessary, bales the water out of the hole;
another takes the bucket and empties it into the tray of the machine;
while a third rocks, supplies the machine with water, and empties the
tray of the large stones. This, it will be seen, is no child's play:
your gold-hunter is no idle wanderer, but a hard-working man,
subjected to a thousand discomforts unknown in civilised life.

The quicksilver cradle is a more complicated and expensive machine,
requiring six men instead of three to work it. It is understood,
however, to save at least 20 per cent. of the metal, and indeed to be
indispensable in some places in California, where the gold is in too
fine particles to be detected by the common rocker. Quicksilver has so
strong an affinity for gold, that the minutest particle of the latter
having once touched, it is deprived of the possibility of escape; and
when the process of washing has been completely gone through, the
whole mass of gold particles will be found bound together by the
quicksilver into a compact lump, in size and shape often resembling an
egg. The gold is thus obtained in the form of an amalgam; but the
quicksilver is easily evaporated, if its loss be of no consequence, or
separated without loss by a more scientific process.

We have more than once used the word _prospecting_, which, we believe,
is peculiar to this kind of mining. The deposits of gold are so
capricious, that the adventurers, in order to lose as little time as
possible in removing from place to place, detach one of their number
on the hunt for a mine--and this is called prospecting. He sets out
with a few provisions, a rifle, a pick and shovel, at all events, with
a pan and large knife; and on reaching some hopeful-looking locality,
he makes experiments on the soil by washing. The considerations that
determine his calling the company to the spot are of course influenced
by the circumstance of their having a common or a quicksilver cradle.
He calculates the average value of the gold he finds in several
panfuls of the soil at different depths; and he takes into account the
distance it has to be carried for washing, the means of transit there
exist, and how far off is the nearest store. The prospector,
therefore, is a very important member of the concern, and in many
cases the success of the adventure depends upon his experience and


In the latter part of the fourteenth century, an incident occurred in
the family of the Earl of Suffolk, which affords a curious
illustration of old manners in England. We shall follow the account of
the circumstance, given in a manuscript in the British Museum.

Sir Michel Poole, second Earl of Suffolk, had several sons and
daughters. First was Mighell, son and heir; then William, second son;
and afterwards ten additional olive branches, of diverse names and
both sexes--all of whom, however, died, and went down unmarried to the
cold tomb. Some fell off like nipped blossoms in their infancy;
convents and wars absorbed the rest, till only the eldest two were
left of all that numerous family to perpetuate the name of Poole, and
raise the fortunes of the race. In due course of time, Sir Mighell
married Elizabeth, daughter of the right noble knight, Thomas Duke of
Norfolk; and these together had two children, Jane and Katharine, but,
alas! no son. Years passed on, and the hope of an heir was at an end;
but before that hope was quite laid aside, the tragedy of the house

Jane, as yet heiress and darling, a round, bright, wilful cherub,
beautiful and loving, but mighty in her passionate force, and
indomitable in her infant will, beyond all power of control--the one
most cared for, and on whom was anchored such a rich argosy of hopes
and first fond love--was one day given into the safe keeping of Maud,
a young serving-girl, a rough, untutored peasant-girl, who was one of
the underwomen to the bower-maidens. The king was coming to the castle
that night, and every female finger that could work was employed on
the last stitches of a dainty tapestry-bed, which was to receive His
Majesty as became his lordly dignity. Even the mother's care must give
way to the housewife's duty; even love must yield to loyalty.

Left alone in an upper apartment with her young charge, Maud became
weary of confinement, and resolved at all hazards to descend to the
great hall, and have her share of the general amusement. Down,
accordingly, she went. Jane, of course, accompanied her, and, contrary
to orders, was allowed to romp about at pleasure. The day was cold,
and the fire burned brightly in the open hearth. Nearer and nearer the
little one crept to the blazing logs, watching the sparks fly up in a
golden shower when the crackling masses fell to the ground, or when
some rough soldier struck them with his mailed hand. No one looked to
her while she played by the open hearth, and tried to seize the vivid
sparks; once only, a trooper caught her roughly back; but again she
stole towards the great blazing logs, and this time she was less
fortunate. Suddenly, a cry was heard. Jane's clothes were in flames.
Maud extinguished them as she best could. She crushed the burning with
her hands in such haste as she might make; but, alas! to what a wreck
had the fire reduced the child! Her long fair hair was withered to its
roots; her pretty eyes were closed, and the curling lashes scorched to
the skin; her pure neck was blackened and blistered; and, a mass of
pain and sore, she lay like a dead thing, but for the wailing moans
which shewed her sad title yet to a ruined existence. Alas for her
that she did not die! Wo, that life was so strong in her now, when,
blemished and disfigured for ever, she might not hold its honours or
taste its joys!--now, when she must endure a worse thing than death
for the sake of her family name! 'Therefore,' says the chronicle, 'she
was in a manner loathed of her parents, and kept forth secretly from
the common knowledge of the people.'

'The house of Poole must have no charred mummy for its heiress,' said
old Dame Katharine; and Sir Mighell and his lady bowed their heads and

It was agreed, then, that she should be sent to a house of 'close
nuns,' to be made a woman of religion, and so kept out of the sight of
all men's eyes. With this view, she was brought up; taught nothing
else; suffered to hope for nothing else; suffered to speak of nothing
else. But they could not bind her thoughts; and by a strange
perversity of will, these went always to the open fields and the
unfettered limb, to the vague picturing of freedom, and the dreamy
forecast of love. Yet she kept her peace; not daring to tell her mind
to any, and nourishing all the more strongly, because in silence, the
characteristics which destroyed the charm of a conventual life. When
she came to the years of discretion, she was to be professed; but, in
accordance with an old custom, before her profession she required to
enter the world for a season, that her 'vocation' might be judged of,
whether it were true or not, or simply the effect of education on the
one hand, and of ignorance on the other; and thus, when she was
fifteen years of age, she was dismissed to her father's house for the
space of six months' nominal trial, after which time she must return
to the convent for ever.

Now, Dame Katharine a Poole, Jane's paternal grandmother, was a
fierce, proud old woman, whose heart was set on the creation of her
son's house, and whose very virtue was her family pride. When she
heard of Jane's return to the outer world of men, she hastily rode
over to see this ugly, despised thing, and to take her from her
father's castle to the grim quiet of her own dungeon-like home, if so
be that she was as unlovely as report had spoken her. They met; and
for a moment the proud old dame was struck as by death. The seamed and
scarred face, the closed eyes--one perfectly sightless, the other
well-nigh so--the burnt and withered hair growing in long, ragged
patches only, the awkward gait and downcast look; all were like
daggers in Dame Katharine's heart; and 'she rebuked her greatly,
seeing that she was too loathly for any gentleman who was equal to her
in birth.'

Poor Jane bore all these coarse reproaches with much outward meekness;
but the spirit which they woke up in her was little interpreted by the
drooping head and tearful eyes. A fiery demon, breathing rage and
vowing revenge, took such meek-seeming as this, and blinded the old
grandam to the mischief she was working, until it was too late to
repair it. Dame Katharine took the girl home; Sir Mighell and his wife
consenting in gratitude to be so well delivered from such a heavy
burden. Dame Elizabeth, the girl's mother, truly shed a few tears,
quickly dried; and so young Jane parted for ever from her father's

Like a dead thing, revived by the fresh winds of heaven, Jane's
comparative freedom aroused in her the most passionate abhorrence of
the life to which she was destined, and the most passionate desire for
liberty and affection. With each breath she drew by the open casement,
with each glance cast into the depths of the dark woods beyond, rose
up the strong instincts of her age, and turned her for ever from the
convent gate. In vain the dame insisted; Jane stood firm; and declared
that she would still refuse, at the very altar, to take the vow. Yet
was she timid in all things but those of love and liberty; and Dame
Katharine, by violence and threats, so worked on her fears, that she
at last consented, amid grievous tears and bitter reproaches, to be
deprived of her name and state, and given forth to the castle people
as a poor gentlewoman, godchild to the dame.

'Anything for freedom!' sighed Jane, as she took the oath of secrecy.
'Any deprivation rather than that living tomb of the nun!'

It was now the dame's chief care to be rid of her charge. She cast
about for suitors, but even the lowest squire shook his head at the
offer. At last, she married her grandchild to the son of an honest
yeoman of Suffolk, and so sent her forth to take her place in the
world as the wife of a common peasant, and the mother of a family of
peasants. Such was the fate allotted to Jane a Poole, daughter of the
proud Earl of Suffolk!

Of her issue, we need say but little. Suffice it to know, that Jane
and her ploughman William had four children, three sons and one
daughter; of whom William, the second son, married an honest man's
daughter, whose name was Alice Gryse, and whose children were living
in 1490, when this chronicle was written.

Return we now to the puissant lord, Sir Mighell, Earl of Suffolk. He
was not long suffered to enjoy his home; indeed, so ardent a soul as
his would have eaten its way through his castle walls, as a chrysalis
through its silken tomb, if he had been long inactive. If war had not
been his duty, he must have made it his crime; if foreign foes had not
called upon his valour, too surely would domestic friends have
suffered from his disloyalty. Born for the fight, he would have
fulfilled his destiny by force if he might not by right. At the battle
of Agincourt (1415), he perished along with many other of England's

Sir Mighell having died without a son, his titles and estates went to
his brother, Sir William. Dame Elizabeth, widow of Sir Mighell, and
her daughter Katharine, shortly afterwards, as was usual in these
times, went to reside in the Abbey of Brasenode; and there they
ultimately died.

Meanwhile, and for years afterwards, no one knew anything of Jane,
who, though exiled from her rank and family, perhaps enjoyed more real
happiness than those who had been guilty of her maltreatment. At
length, her husband died, which was a source of grief. Honest William
had thought her queer in manners; but he loved her for all that, and
was proud of her, as the daughter of a poor gentleman. He blessed her
on his death-bed; and she remained a widow for his sake. Many yeomen
wished to marry her, but she refused them all. This went on for many
years--long after Sir William a Poole had become fourth Earl of
Suffolk, and had had children born to him; long after Alice Gryse had
become Jane's daughter-in-law, and made her more than once a
grandmother too; and then the whole of this strange story became
known. Jane had kept her vow of secrecy with perfect fidelity; never
had she breathed a syllable to her husband or children as to the
family to which she belonged. It was only, late in life, through
confession she made to a priest, that who and what she had been was
revealed. Shocked with the depravity of her unnatural parents, this
pious and learned doctor, says the chronicle, 'commanded her to
publish this account to her children and their issues, that they might
know of what race they came, if so be, by the great mercy of
Providence, they might claim their own again. And not only to them,
but also to make it known to all men, as far as was consistent with
her own safety; for he said, that the great power of Almighty God
should be published to all the world. For this reason was the
chronicle written--that all men might take warning; for no deed of
wickedness is done in the dark, which shall not be dragged forth to
the light; and no oppression on the innocent shall prosper before the
right hand of Eternal Justice.'


              _March 1852._

The lecture experiment at the Museum of Practical Geology, in Jermyn
Street, has proved eminently successful. There were a thousand more
applications for tickets than could be supplied, in consequence of
which the executive very wisely determined, that the course should be
repeated until the demand was satisfied. This fact of numbers speaks
highly in favour of the working-men of London--none others are
admitted to the course here referred to; and once having got the
knowledge, it is to be hoped they will be able to turn it to good
account. One of the lecturers told me, that the hall is always
crowded, and that a better-behaved auditory has seldom been seen in
any quarter, which we may consider to be an encouraging sign of the
times. The other courses are also going on for those who are able to
pay high fees, and attend during the day. The titles of a few of the
lectures will give you an idea of the nature of the instruction
offered; namely--The Relations of Natural History to Geology and the
Arts; On the Value of an Extended Knowledge of Mineralogy and the
Processes of Mining; On the Science of Geology and its Applications;
On the Importance of Special Scientific Knowledge to the Practical
Metallurgist; and On the Importance of Cultivating Habits of
Observation. You must remember, that the institution is a government
school of mines as well as a museum of geology.

In connection with this, it may be mentioned that the Society of Arts
are discussing a project for the 'affiliation' of all the literary,
philosophical, scientific, and mechanics' institutions throughout the
kingdom, with a view to render them less languid and more beneficial
than too many of them now are. Unity of purpose effected wonders with
the Great Exhibition; and it is thought that the same cause should
produce a similar result in the educational and recreative
establishments alluded to. There is a talk, also, of an assembling of
most of the learned societies of our great city under one roof--a sort
of Palace of Science, which has long been wanting in London, but which
has long existed in Paris. Should this scheme be carried out, the
philosophers might then adopt Brother Jonathan's motto--_E pluribus
unum_. And, next, the Suburban Artisan School of Drawing and
Modelling, established last year at Camden-Town, has succeeded so well
that the committee, with Prince Albert as patron, have determined to
establish four additional schools in our other suburban districts.
These schools are to be open every evening for instruction, at a
charge per month of 2s. No working-man in the metropolis after this
need be ignorant of drawing. Then, again, a 'Department of Practical
Art' is organised in connection with the Board of Trade, which, by
means of travelling and stationary superintendents, and other
officers, is to assist in the development of artistic talent, and its
application to useful purposes, wherever it may be found.

Co-operation of some sort or other is the order of the day; and now a
good deal of attention is excited by the announcement of an 'Athenæum
Institute for Authors and Artists,' something different from the Guild
of Literature and Art set afoot last winter, the object being to
endeavour to form an incorporated association of the two classes
mentioned--of course for their common benefit. The aid of the
possessors of rank and wealth is to be asked at starting, because, as
the promoters say, 'we think literature has a right to ask the
assistance of these other two great powers of society, because it so
materially assists them; and because, in many of its branches, it has
no other mode of being paid by society. The severely scientific, the
highly imaginative, the profoundly legislative authors, do not produce
promptly marketable, though they produce priceless, works. La Place,
Wordsworth, Bentham, could not have existed had they depended on the
first product of their works; they would have perished before an
acknowledging world could have given them bread.' They say, further,
that 'the humblest literary man works for something more than hire,
and produces something more effective than a mere piece of
merchandise. His book is not only sold to the profit of the
bookseller, but to the benefit of the public. The publisher pays for
its mercantile value, but the public should reward the author for its
moral and social effect, as they take upon themselves to punish, if it
have an evil tendency.'

Whether the promoters are right or wrong in their views, will be best
proved by the result; meantime, they put forth some good names as
provisional president, vice-president, and managers, and propose that
the Institute shall comprise four branches--namely, a Protective
Society, a Philanthropic and Provident Fund, an Educational
Association, and a Life-Assurance Department. The subscribers are to
consist of two classes: those who give contributions for the benefit
of the Institute, and those who seek to benefit themselves. The former
are to be asked to insure their lives, for different rates of premium,
the amounts to fall into the corporation at the decease of the
subscribers; and thus a fund would be raised out of which, on certain
conditions, participating subscribers would be able to secure a
provision for old age, or premature decay of mental power, the means
of educating their children, and leaving a _solatium_ to their widows.
If all this can be carried out, and if literary men, as a class, are
capable of all that the prospectus of the new scheme implies, how much
of distress and heart-breaking misery will be saved to society!

There are several subjects which, having recently been brought before
our Horticultural Society, have somewhat interested gardening folk. At
one of the meetings, there was exhibited 'a very fine specimen of
common mignonette,' which 'was stated to have been a single plant
pricked out into a pot in January 1851, and shifted on until it had
attained a large size. It was mentioned, that mignonette is not an
annual, as many imagine it to be; but that it will become a woody
shrub, and last for years, provided it is well managed, and kept free
from frost and damp.' So runs the report in the society's journal.

There was, likewise, an exhibition of black Hamburg grapes by Mr Fry,
a Kentish gardener, who made thereupon some observations, which appear
to be deserving of wider circulation. The grapes were grown in a
building seldom heated artificially, and were much attacked by mildew
during the last two seasons, on which prompt measures were taken to
diffuse perfectly dry 'sulphur vivum' throughout the house by means of
a sulphurator, until fruit and foliage were completely but lightly
coated. 'Fires were lighted, and the temperature kept up to from 80 to
90 degrees, ventilation being considerably diminished, and water in
any form discontinued. After being subject to this treatment for about
four or five days, the vines received a thorough syringing, which
cleansed them from every particle of sulphur. With respect to the use
of sulphur in killing mildew, many ladies and gentlemen,' adds Mr Fry,
'with whom I have conversed, consider it highly objectionable: they
say, that they do not like the idea of eating sulphur with grapes;
neither would any one, and I can prove to them that this need never be
done; and, moreover, that the use of sulphur, when timely and
judiciously applied, does not in any way deteriorate the fruit. I much
question if the most practised eye could detect sulphur on the grapes
exhibited, although they have been twice covered with it; and as to
the mildew itself among vines, I fear it no more than I do green-fly
among cucumbers, which is so soon deprived of existence by the fumes
of tobacco.'

What is called 'a French sulphurator,' whose great merit appears to be
'simplicity and cheapness,' was also exhibited. It is described as 'a
tin box for holding the sulphur, placed on the upper side of the pipe
of a pair of common bellows. The sulphur gets into the pipe through
small holes made for the purpose in the bottom of the box, and, in
order that no stoppage may take place, a small hammer-head attached at
the end of a slight steel-spring, is fixed on the under side of the
bellows, a gentle tap from which, now and then, keeps up a continuous
fall of sulphur into the pipe.' It is said, that 'these appliances,
which may be attached to a pair of bellows for little more than
sixpence, answer every purpose for which they are intended, equally as
well as a more expensive machine.'

At the same time with this contrivance, some bunches of black Prince
Grapes were shewn to the assembled horticulturists, which could only
be preserved from mildew by frequent applications of sulphur. The
bunches are to be afterwards cleaned by dipping in water, or what is
considered preferable, 'syringing on all sides with a fine syringe,'
which process, it is well to remember, disturbs the _bloom_ on the
fruit least when directed 'downwards, or obliquely, as rain would

As the season for gardening operations is coming on, Mr Rivers'
account may be mentioned of his mode of growing strawberries in pots;
it will be found to involve certain combinations opposed to ordinary
practice. 'About the second week in July,' he says, he filled a number
of six-inch pots 'with a compost of two-thirds loam, and one-third
rotten dung, as follows: three stout pieces of broken pots were placed
in the bottom, and a full handful of the compost put in; a stout
wooden pestle was then used with all the force of a man's arm to pound
it, then another handful and a pounding, and another, till the pot was
brimful, and the compressed mould as hard as a barn-floor. The pots
were then taken to the strawberry-bed, and a runner placed in the
centre of each, with a small stone to keep it steady. They were
watered in dry weather, and have had no other care or culture. For two
or three years, I have had the very finest crops from plants after
this method, and those under notice promise well. If the pots are
lifted, it will be apparent that a large quantity of food is in a
small space. I may add, that from some recent experiments with
compressed earth to potted fruit-trees, I have a high opinion of its
effect, and I fully believe that we have yet much to learn on the

There is a committee sitting at the Admiralty, to devise a method for
the uniform lighting of ships and steamers at night, the object being
to diminish the chances of accident or error to vessels at sea. And
apropos of this, Mr Babbage has published a plan which will
effectually prevent one lighthouse being mistaken for another: it is,
that every lighthouse, wherever situated, shall have a number--the
numbers not to run consecutively--and no two adjoining lights to have
the same numeral digits in the same place of figures. There would then
be no need for revolving or flashing lights, as the only thing to be
done would be to make each lighthouse repeat its own number all night
long, or whenever it was illuminated. This is to be 'accomplished by
enclosing the upper part of the glass cylinders of the argand burner
by a thin tube of tin or brass, which, when made to descend slowly
before the flame, and then allowed suddenly to start back, will cause
an occultation and reappearance of the light.' The number of
occultations denotes the number of the lighthouse. For instance,
suppose the Eddystone to be 243, the two is denoted by two hidings of
the light in quick succession; a short pause, and four hidings;
another short pause, and three hidings, followed by a longer pause;
after which the same process is repeated. It would not be easy to make
a mistake, for the numbers of the lighthouses nearest to the Eddystone
would be very different; and supposing that the boy sent aloft to
watch for the light were to report 253 instead of 243, without waiting
to correct his view, the captain, by turning to his book, would
perhaps find that No. 253 was in the Straits of Sunda, or some equally
remote situation, and would easily recognise the error. When we take
into account the number of vessels lost by mistaking one lighthouse
for another, the value of this proposal becomes apparent. Mr Babbage
shews, that bell-strokes might be employed to announce the number of a
beacon in foggy weather; and he believes that the time is not far
distant when buoys will also be indicated by a light. Now that
lighthouse dues are to be reduced one-half, we may hope to see
improvement in more ways than one.

This is but a small part of what promises more and more to become a
great question--that of navigation. It is felt that, in these go-ahead
days, we must be paying not less attention to our maritime than to our
inland arm of commerce; and this has brought the question of wood
_versus_ iron ships again into prominent notice. The advocates of iron
shew that the dry-rot, so destructive to wood, cannot enter metal;
that lightness and speed, those prime essentials, are insured by the
use of iron; that iron ships are safer, more easily repaired, and
cheaper than vessels built of wood; and that they are more lasting.
The chief objection hitherto has been the liability of iron to become
foul in tropical climates; but this now appears to be in a measure
overcome. According to Mr Lindsay: 'An admixture has been applied,
termed "Anti-Sargassian Paint," which has been found to answer the
purpose better than any yet discovered. From the experience of its
properties, we cannot say that in itself it is yet sufficient; but it
appears a fair substitute till some other preparation is discovered. A
gentleman at Glasgow,' he adds, 'has already discovered a compound,
which, being mixed in a fluid state with the iron, is expected to
answer the desired purpose. There is another disadvantage which will
soon be overcome--the greater liability to error in the compasses of
iron ships; an error which, however, also occurs, though perhaps to a
less extent, in every wooden ship. By a most ingenious invention,
which will shortly be made public, such errors in any ships, under any
circumstances, can at all times be at once detected.'

An important patented process for producing tapered iron, has been
explained before the Franklin Institute at Philadelphia--one by which
every variety of taper may be produced, or combinations of taper, with
flat or other forms; and seeing how much tapered iron is used on
railways, in many kinds of machinery, in ships and steamers, the
subject may be considered worthy of more than a mere passing notice.
Tapered iron is a form to which machinery has been thought
inapplicable, and only to be produced by hand-labour. The new method,
however, which has been successfully carried into practice at the
Phoenixville Ironworks, is thus described: 'The principle on which it
acts is that of hydrostatic pressure, or, more properly, _hydrostatic
resistance_. A small chamber, similar to that of the common
hydrostatic press, is set on the top of each housing; the closed end
of the press being uppermost, and a plunger entering from below; but
instead of water being forced _into_ the press, the chamber is at
first filled with water, and the pressure of the iron in passing
between the rollers, tends to lift the top one, which is held down by
the plunger. An escape-pipe, provided with a valve, is inserted into
the top of the chamber. When any upward pressure acts on the top
roller, it is communicated by the plunger to the water, which escapes
through the valve, and the roller rises.

'When the valve is partially closed, the water escapes more slowly;
and the rise of the roller, and consequently the taper of the iron,
are more gradual.

'Any rate of taper may thus be had by regulating the rise of the
opening of the escape-valve. If the water is all driven out before the
bar is entirely through the rollers, the top roller ceases to rise,
and the iron becomes parallel from that point. Then, if the ends of
the bar be reversed, and it be again passed between the rollers, the
parallel portion will become tapered; thus we can get a bar.'

At the same time, a 'Thermometrical Ventilator' was exhibited, which
is described as circular in form, with a well-balanced movable plate.
'Upon the side of the valve is an inverted syphon, with a bulb at one
end, the other being open; the lower part of the tube contains
mercury; the bulb, atmospheric air. An increase of temperature expands
the air in the bulb, drives the mercury down one side and up the
other, thereby destroying the balance, and causing the valve to open
by turning on its axis. A diminution of temperature contracts the air
in the bulb, causes the mercury to rise in the side of the tube, and
closes the valve.' Besides this, there was 'an improved
magneto-electric machine, for medical use, with a new arrangement, by
which the shock is graduated by means of a glass tube, in which a wire
is made to communicate with water, so as to produce at first a slight
shock; by gradually pressing down the wire attached to a spiral
spring, the shock is received in its full force.'

It now appears that Mr Robertson of Brighton claims priority of
discovery touching the boring power of _Pholades_. His statements are
founded on daily observation of the creatures at work for three
months. 'The _Pholas dactylus_' he says, 'makes its hole by grating
the chalk with its rasp-like valves, licking it up, when pulverised,
with its foot, forcing it up through its principal or bronchial
syphon, and squirting it out in oblong nodules. The crypt protects the
_Pholas_ from confervæ, which, when they get at it, grow not merely
outside, but even within the lips of the valves, preventing the action
of the syphons. In the foot there is a gelatinous spring or style,
which, even when taken out, has great elasticity, and which seems the
mainspring of the motions of the _Pholas dactylus_.'

At last, steam communication with Australia seems about to become a
reality, for the first vessel is announced to start in May for Sydney,
to touch at the Cape and other colonies on her way out; and
accommodation is promised for two hundred passengers of different
classes. There is also a project on foot for a line of steamers from
Panama to Australia, and to Valparaiso, which, if brought into
operation, will make a voyage round the world little more than a
bagman's journey. Apropos of Australia, Mr Clarke, who first predicted
that gold would be found in that country, says, 'that just 90 degrees
west of the auriferous range in Australia, we find an auriferous band
in the Urals; and just 90 degrees west of the Urals, occur the
auriferous mountains of California.' A speculation for cosmogonists.
In our own country, we are finding metalliferous deposits: vast
accumulations of lead-ore have come to light in Wales, which are said
to contain six ounces of silver, and fifteen hundredweight of lead to
the ton; and in Northamptonshire, an abundant and timely supply of
iron-ore has just been met with. We might perhaps turn our metallic
treasures to still better account, if some one would only set to work
and win the prize offered by Louis Napoleon; namely, 'a reward of
50,000 francs to such person as shall render the voltaic pile
applicable, with economy, to manufactures, as a source of heat, or to
lighting, or chemistry, or mechanics, or practical medicine.' The
offer is to be kept open for five years, to allow full time for
experiment, and people of all nations have leave to compete. One of
the electric telegraph companies intends to ask parliament to abolish
the present monopoly as regards the despatch of messages; in another
quarter, an under-sea telegraph to Ostend is talked about, with a view
to communicate with Belgium independently of France; and there is no
reason why it should not be laid down, for the Dover and Calais line
is paying satisfactorily. And, finally, another ship-load of 'marbles'
and sculptures has just arrived from Nineveh; and the appointment of
Mr Layard as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs (though now but
temporary) is regarded as a praiseworthy recognition of his merits and
services; and now that we have a government which combines a few
_littérateurs_ among its members, it is thought that literature will
be relieved of some of its trammels.


I can endure a melancholy man, but not a melancholy child; the former,
in whatever slough he may sink, can raise his eyes either to the
kingdom of reason or of hope; but the little child is entirely
absorbed and weighed down by one black poison-drop of the present.
Think of a child led to the scaffold, think of Cupid in a Dutch
coffin; or watch a butterfly, after its four wings have been torn off,
creeping like a worm, and you will feel what I mean. But wherefore?
The first has been already given; the child, like the beast, only
knows purest, though shortest sorrow; one which has no past and no
future; one such as the sick man receives from without, the dreamer
from himself into his asthenic brain; finally, one with the
consciousness not of guilt, but of innocence. Certainly, all the
sorrows of children are but shortest nights, as their joys are but
hottest days; and indeed both so much so, that in the latter, often
clouded and starless time of life, the matured man only longingly
remembers his old childhood's pleasures, while he seems altogether to
have forgotten his childhood's grief. This weak remembrance is
strangely contrasted with the opposing one in dreams and fevers in
this respect, that in the two last it is always the cruel sorrows of
childhood which return; the dream this mock-sun of childhood--and the
fever, its distorting glass--both draw forth from dark corners the
fears of defenceless childhood, which press and cut with iron fangs
into the prostrate soul. The fair scenes of dreams mostly play on an
after-stage, whereas the frightful ones choose for theirs the cradle
and the nursery. Moreover, in fever, the ice-hands of the fear of
ghosts, the striking one of the teachers and parents, and every claw
with which fate has pressed the young heart, stretch themselves out to
catch the wandering man. Parents, consider then, that every
childhood's Rupert--the name given in Germany to the fictitious being
employed to frighten children into obedience--even though it has lain
chained for tens of years, yet breaks loose and gains mastery over the
man so soon as it finds him on a sick-bed. The first fright is more
dangerous the sooner it happens: as the man grows older, he is less
and less easily frightened; the little cradle or bed-canopy of the
child is more easily quite darkened than the starry heaven of the
man.--_Jean Paul Richter._


      You 'never loved me,' Ada!--Those slow words
      Dropped softly from your gentle woman's tongue,
      Out of your true and tender woman's heart,
      Dropped--piercing into mine like very swords,
      The sharper for their brightness! Yet no wrong
      Lies to your charge; nor cruelty, nor art;
    Even while you spoke, I saw the ready tear-drop start.

      You 'never loved me?'--No, you never knew--
      You, with youth's dews yet glittering on your soul--
      What 'tis _to love_. Slow, drop by drop, to pour
      Our life's whole essence, perfumed through and through
      With all the best we have, or can control,
      For the libation; cast it down before
    Your feet--then lift the goblet, dry for evermore!

      I shall not die, as foolish lovers do:
      A man's heart beats beneath this breast of mine;
      The breast where--Curse on that fiend's whispering,
      '_It might have been!_'--Ada, I will be true
      Unto myself--the self that worshipped thine.
      May all life's pain, like those few tears that spring
    For me--glance off as rain-drops from my white dove's wing!

      May you live long, some good man's bosom-flower,
      And gather children round your matron knees!
      Then, when all this is past, and you and I
      Remember each our youth but as an hour
      Of joy--or torture; one, serene, at ease,
      May meet the other's grave yet steadfast eye,
    Thinking, 'He loved me well!'--clasp hands, and so pass by.


Glancing round this anatomical workshop (the oyster), we find, amongst
other things, some preparations shewing the nature of pearls. Examine
them, and we find that there are dark and dingy pearls, just as there
are handsome and ugly men; the dark pearl being found on the dark
shell of the fish, the white brilliant one upon the smooth inside
shell. Going further in the search, we find that the smooth,
glittering lining, upon which the fish moves, is known as the _nacre_,
and that it is produced by a portion of the animal called the
_mantle_; and, for explanation's sake, we may add that gourmands
practically know the mantle as the beard of the oyster. When living in
its glossy house, should any foreign substance find its way through
the shell to disturb the smoothness so essential to its ease, the fish
coats the offending substance with nacre, and a pearl is thus formed.
The pearl is, in fact, a little globe of the smooth, glossy substance
yielded by the oyster's beard; yielded ordinarily to smooth the narrow
home to which his nature binds him, but yielded in round drops, real
pearly tears, if he is hurt. When a beauty glides among a throng of
her admirers, her hair clustering with pearls, she little thinks that
her ornaments are products of pain and diseased action, endured by the
most unpoetical of shell-fish.--_Leisure Hours._


In our recent notice of Robespierre, it was mentioned that, at the
period of his capture in the Hôtel de Ville, he was shot in the jaw by
a pistol fired by one of the gendarmes. Various correspondents point
to the discrepancy between this account and that given by Thiers, and
some other authorities, who represent that Robespierre fired the
pistol himself, in the attempt to commit self-destruction. In our
account of the affair, we have preferred holding to Larmartine
(_History of the Girondists_), not only in consequence of his being
the latest and most graphic authority on the subject, but because his
statement seems to be verified by the appearance of the half-signed
document which it was our fortune to see in Paris in 1849.

The following is Lamartine's statement:--'The door soon yielded to the
blows given by the soldiers with the but-end of their muskets, amid
the cries of "Down with the tyrant!" "Which is he?" inquired the
soldiers; but Léonard Bourdon durst not meet the look of his fallen
enemy. Standing a little behind the men, and hidden by the body of a
gendarme, named Méda; with his right hand he seized the arm of the
gendarme who held a pistol, and pointing with his left hand to the
person to be aimed at, he directed the muzzle of the weapon towards
Robespierre, exclaiming: "That is the man." The man fired, and the
head of Robespierre dropped on the table, deluging with blood the
proclamation he had not finished signing.' Next morning, adds this
authority, Léonard Bourdon 'presented the gendarme who had fired at
Robespierre to the notice of the Convention.' Further: on Robespierre
being searched while he lay on the table, a brace of loaded pistols
were found in his pocket. 'These pistols, shut up in their cases still
loaded, abundantly testify that Robespierre did not shoot himself.'
Accepting these as the true particulars of the incident, Robespierre
cannot properly be charged with an attempt at suicide.

In the article referred to, the name Barras was accidentally
substituted for Henriot, in connection with the insurrectionary
movement for rescuing Robespierre. Barras led the troops of the

A correspondent asks us to state what was the actual number of persons
slaughtered by the guillotine, and otherwise, during the progress of
the Revolution. The question cannot be satisfactorily answered. Alison
(vol. iv. p. 289) presents a list, which shews the number to have been
1,027,106; but this enumeration does not comprehend the massacres at
Versailles, the prisons of Paris, and some other places. A million and
a half would probably be a safe calculation. One thing is certain,
that from the 2d of September 1792, to the 25th of October 1795, a
space of little more than three years, 18,613 persons perished by the
guillotine. Strangely enough, the chief destruction of life was among
the humbler classes of society, those who mainly promoted the
revolution; and still more strange, the greater number of victims were
murdered by the verdicts of juries--a striking example of that general
subserviency which has since become the most significant defect in the
French character.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Just Published, Price 6d. Paper Cover,_



To be continued in Monthly Volumes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W. S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D. N. CHAMBERS, 55 West
Nile Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAM, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent to
MAXWELL & Co., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom all
applications respecting their insertion must be made.

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