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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 731 - December 29, 1877
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 Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 731 - December 29, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 731.      SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



THE ROMANCE OF ACCIDENT.


Many of our most important inventions and discoveries owe their origin
to the most trivial circumstances; from the simplest causes the most
important effects have ensued. The following are a few culled at random
for the amusement of our readers.

The trial of two robbers before the Court of Assizes of the
Basses-Pyrénées accidentally led to a most interesting archæological
discovery. The accused, Rivas a shoemaker, and Bellier a weaver, by
armed attacks on the highways and frequent burglaries, had spread
terror around the neighbourhood of Sisteron. The evidence against
them was clear; but no traces could be obtained of the plunder, until
one of the men gave a clue to the mystery. Rivas in his youth had
been a shepherd-boy near that place, and knew the legend of the Trou
d'Argent, a cavern on one of the mountains with sides so precipitous
as to be almost inaccessible, and which no one was ever known to have
reached. The Commissary of Police of Sisteron, after extraordinary
labour, succeeded in scaling the mountain, and penetrated to the
mysterious grotto, where he discovered an enormous quantity of plunder
of every description. The way having been once found, the vast cavern
was afterwards explored by _savants_; and their researches brought to
light a number of Roman medals of the third century, flint hatchets,
ornamented pottery, and the remains of ruminants of enormous size.
These interesting discoveries, however, obtained no indulgence for the
accused (inadvertent) pioneers of science, who were sentenced to twenty
years' hard labour.

The discovery of gold in Nevada was made by some Mormon immigrants in
1850. Adventurers crossed the Sierras and set up their sluice-boxes in
the cañons; but it was gold they were after, and they never suspected
the existence of silver, nor knew it when they saw it. The bluish stuff
which was so abundant and which was silver ore, interfered with their
operations and gave them the greatest annoyance. Two brothers named
Grosch possessed more intelligence than their fellow-workers, and were
the real discoverers of the Comstock lode; but one of them died from
a pickaxe wound in the foot, and the other was frozen to death in the
mountains. Their secret died with them. When at last, in the early part
of 1859, the surface croppings of the lode were found, they were worked
for the gold they contained, and the silver was thrown out as being
worthless. Yet this lode since 1860 has yielded a large proportion
of all the silver produced throughout the world. The silver mines of
Potosi were discovered through the trivial circumstance of an Indian
accidentally pulling up a shrub, to the roots of which were attached
some particles of the precious metal.

During the Thirty Years' War in Germany, the little village of Coserow
in the island of Usedom, on the Prussian border of the Baltic, was
sacked by the contending armies, the villagers escaping to the hills to
save their lives. Among them was a simple pastor named Schwerdler, and
his pretty daughter Mary. When the danger was over, the villagers found
themselves without houses, food, or money. One day, we are told, Mary
went up the Streckelberg to gather blackberries; but soon afterwards
she ran back joyous and breathless to her father, with two shining
pieces of amber each of very great size. She told her father that near
the shore the wind had blown away the sand from a vein of amber; that
she straightway broke off these pieces with a stick; that there was
an ample store of the precious substance; and that she had covered it
over to conceal her secret. The amber brought money, food, clothing,
and comfort; but those were superstitious times, and a legend goes that
poor Mary was burned for witchcraft. At the village of Stümen, amber
was first accidentally found by a rustic who was fortunate enough to
turn some up with his plough.

Accidents have prevented as well as caused the working of mines. At
the moment that workmen were about to commence operations on a rich
gold mine in the Japanese province of Tskungo, a violent storm of
thunder and lightning burst over them, and the miners were obliged to
seek shelter elsewhere. These superstitious people, imagining that the
tutelar god and protector of the spot, unwilling to have the bowels of
the earth thus rifled, had raised the storm to make them sensible of
his displeasure, desisted from all further attempts to work the mine.

A cooper in Carniola having one evening placed a new tub under a
dropping spring, in order to try if it would hold water, when he came
in the morning found it so heavy that he could hardly move it. At
first, the superstitious notions that are apt to possess the minds
of the ignorant made him suspect that his tub was bewitched; but at
last perceiving a shining fluid at the bottom, he went to Laubach, and
shewed it to an apothecary, who immediately dismissed him with a small
gratuity, and bid him bring some more of the same stuff whenever he
could meet with it. This the poor cooper frequently did, being highly
pleased with his good fortune; till at length the affair being made
public, several persons formed themselves into a society in order to
search farther into the quicksilver deposits, thus so unexpectedly
discovered, and which were destined to become the richest of their kind
in Europe.

Curious discoveries by ploughmen, quarrymen, and others of caves,
coins, urns, and other interesting things, would fill volumes. Many
valuable literary relics have been preserved by curious accidents,
often turning up just in time to save them from crumbling to pieces.
Not only mineral but literary treasures have been brought to light
when excavating mother earth. For instance, in the foundations of
an old house, Luther's _Table Talk_ was discovered 'lying in a
deep obscure hole, wrapped in strong linen cloth, which was waxed
all over with beeswax within and without.' There it had remained
hidden ever since its suppression by Pope Gregory XIII. The poems of
Propertius, a Roman poet, long lurked unsuspected in the darkness of
a wine-cellar, from whence they were at length unearthed by accident,
just in time to preserve them from destruction by rats and mildew.
Not only from beneath our feet but from above our heads may chance
reveal the hiding-places of treasure-trove. The sudden falling in of
a ceiling, for example, of some chambers in Lincoln's Inn revealed
the secret depository of the Thurloe state papers. Other literary
treasures have turned up in an equally curious manner. Milton's essay
on the _Doctrines of Christianity_ was discovered in a bundle of old
despatches: a monk found the only manuscript of Tacitus accidentally
in Westphalia: the letters of Lady Mary Montagu were brought to light
from the recesses of an old trunk: the manuscripts of Dr Dee from the
secret drawer of an old chest: and it is said that one of the cantos
of Dante's great poem was found, after being long mislaid, hidden away
beneath a window-sill.

It is curious to trace how the origin of some famous work has been
suggested apparently by the merest accident. We need but remind the
reader how Lady Austen's suggestion of 'the sofa' as a subject for
blank verse was the beginning of _The Task_, a poem which grew to
formidable proportions under Cowper's facile pen. Another example of

    What great events from trivial causes spring,

is furnished by Lockhart's account of the gradual growth of _The Lay
of the Last Minstrel_. The lovely Countess of Dalkeith hears a wild
legend of Border _diablerie_, and sportively asks Scott to make it the
subject of a ballad. The poet's accidental confinement in the midst of
a yeomanry camp gave him leisure to meditate his theme to the sound
of the bugle; suddenly there flashes on him the idea of extending his
simple outline so as to embrace a vivid panorama of that old Border
life of war and tumult. A friend's suggestion led to the arrangement
and framework of the _Lay_ and the conception of the ancient Harper.
Thus step by step grew the poem that first made its author famous. The
manuscript of _Waverley_ lay hidden away in an old cabinet for years
before the public were aware of its existence. In the words of the
Great Unknown: 'I had written the greater part of the first volume and
sketched other passages, when I mislaid the manuscript; and only found
it by the merest accident, as I was rummaging the drawer of an old
cabinet; and I took the fancy of finishing it.'

Charlotte Brontë's chance discovery of a manuscript volume of verses
in her sister Emily's handwriting led, from a mutual confession of the
_furor poeticus_, to the joint publication of their poems, which though
adding little to their subsequent fame, at least gives us another
instance of how much of what is called chance has often to do with
the carrying out of literary projects. It was the burning of Drury
Lane Theatre that led to the production of _The Rejected Addresses_,
the success of which, says one of the authors, 'decided him to embark
in that literary career, which the favour of the novel-reading world
rendered both pleasant and profitable to him.' Most of us know how
that famous fairy tale _Alice in Wonderland_ came to be written. The
characters in _Oliver Twist_ of Fagin, Sikes, and Nancy were suggested
by some sketches of Cruikshank, who long had a design to shew the
life of a London thief by a series of drawings. Dickens, while paying
Cruikshank a visit, happened to turn over some sketches in a portfolio.
When he came to that one which represents Fagin in the condemned cell,
he studied it for half an hour, and told his friend that he was tempted
to change the whole plot of his story, not to carry Oliver through
adventures in the country, but to take him up into the thieves' den in
London, shew what this life was, and bring Oliver through it without
sin or shame. Cruikshank consented to let Dickens write up to as many
of the drawings as he thought would suit his purpose. So the story as
it now runs resulted in a great measure from that chance inspection of
the artist's portfolio. The remarkable picture of the Jew malefactor
in the condemned cell biting his nails in the torture of remorse, is
associated with a happy accident. The artist had been labouring at the
subject for several days, and thought the task hopeless; when sitting
up in his bed one morning with his hand on his chin and his fingers in
his mouth, the whole attitude expressive of despair, he saw his face in
the cheval glass. 'That's it!' he exclaimed; 'that's the expression I
want.' And he soon finished the picture.

The sudden prosperity of many a famous painter has resulted from some
fortunate accident. Anthony Watteau, when a nameless struggling artist,
timidly offered a painting to a rich picture-dealer for six francs,
and was on the eve of being scornfully rejected, had not a stranger,
who happened to be in the shop, come forward, and seeing some talent
in the work, spoke encouragingly to the youth, and offered him one
hundred and fifty francs for the picture; nor was this all, for he
became Watteau's patron and instructor.--One day a little shepherd-boy
was seated near the road-side on the way from Vespignano to Florence
drawing upon a polished stone, his only pencil another polished stone
which he held in his tiny fingers. A richly dressed stranger, who had
descended from a conveyance that was following him, chanced to pass,
and looking over the boy's shoulder, saw that he had just sketched with
wonderful truth and correctness a sheep and its twin lambs. Surprised
and pleased, he examined the face of the young artist. Certainly it was
not its beauty that attracted him. The child looked up, but with such
a marvellous light in his dark eyes, that the stranger exclaimed: 'My
child, you must come with me; I will be your master and your father: it
is some good angel that has led me here.' The stranger was Cimabue, the
most celebrated painter of that day; and his pupil and protégé became
the famous painter, sculptor, and architect Giotto, the friend and
admiration of Dante and Petrarch.

How the fortunes of painters may hinge upon the most trifling
circumstances, has another example in that of Ribera or Spagnoletto,
which was determined by a very simple incident. He went to reside with
his father-in-law, whose house, it so happened, stood in the vast
square one side of which was occupied by the palace of the Spanish
Viceroy. It was the custom in Italy, as formerly amongst the Greeks,
that whenever an artist had completed any great work, he should expose
it in some street or thoroughfare, for the public to pass judgment on
it. In compliance with this usage, Ribera's father-in-law placed in his
balcony the 'Martyrdom of St Bartholomew' as soon as it was finished.
The people flocked in crowds to see it, and testified their admiration
by deafening shouts of applause. These acclamations reached the ears
of the Viceroy, who imagined that a fresh revolt had broken out, and
rushed in complete armour to the spot. There he beheld in the painting
the cause of so much tumult. The Viceroy desired to see the man who had
distinguished himself by so marvellous a production; and his interest
in the painter was not lessened on discovering that he was, like
himself, a Spaniard. He immediately attached Spagnoletto to his person,
gave him an apartment in his palace, and proved a generous patron ever
afterwards.

Lanfranco, the wealthy and munificent artist, on his way from the
church Il Gesú, happened to observe an oil-painting hanging outside a
picture-broker's shop. Lanfranco stopped his carriage, and desired the
picture to be brought to him. Wiping the thick dust from the canvas,
the delighted broker brought it, with many bows and apologies, to the
great master, who on nearer inspection saw that his first glance had
been correct. The picture was labelled 'Hagar and her Son Ishmael
dying of Thirst,' and the subject was treated in a new and powerful
manner. Lanfranco looked for the name of the painter, and detecting
the word Salvatoriello modestly set in a corner of the picture, he
gave instructions to his pupils to buy up every work of Salvatoriello
they could find in Naples. To this accident Salvator owed the sudden
demand for his pictures, which changed his poverty and depression into
comparative ease and satisfaction.

More than one famous singer might probably never have been heard
of but for some discriminating patron chancing to hear a beautiful
voice, perhaps exercised in the streets for the pence of the
compassionate.--Some happy stage-hits have resulted from or originated
in accidents. The odd hop skip and jump so effective in the delineation
of Dundreary, says an American interviewer of Mr Sothern, was brought
about in this way. In the words of the actor: 'It was a mere accident.
I have naturally an elastic disposition, and during a rehearsal one
cold morning I was hopping at the back of the stage, when Miss Keene
sarcastically inquired if I was going to introduce that into Dundreary.
The actors and actresses standing around laughed; and taking the cue,
I replied: "Yes, Miss Keene; that's my view of the character." Having
said this, I was bound to stick to it; and as I progressed with the
rehearsal, I found that the whole company, including scene-shifters
and property-men, were roaring with laughter at my infernal nonsense.
When I saw that the public accepted the satire, I toned down what was a
broad caricature to what can be seen at the present day by any one who
has a quick sense of the absurd.'

An excellent landscape of Salvator Rosa's exhibited at the British
Institution in 1823 came to be painted in a curious way. The painter
happened one day to be amusing himself by tuning an old harpsichord;
some one observed they were surprised he could take so much trouble
with an instrument that was not worth a crown. 'I bet you I make it
worth a thousand before I have done with it!' cried Rosa. The bet
was taken; and Salvator painted on the harpsichord a landscape that
not only sold for a thousand crowns, but was esteemed a first-rate
painting.--Chemistry and pathology are indebted to what has often
seemed the merest chance for many an important discovery. A French
paper says it has been accidentally discovered that in cases of
epileptic fits, a black silk handkerchief thrown over the afflicted
persons will restore them immediately. Advances in science and art and
sudden success in professions have often more to do with the romance of
accident than most people imagine; but as we may have occasion again to
take up the subject, we quit it for the present.



A DIFFICULT QUESTION.

THE STORY OF TWO CHRISTMAS EVES.

IN TWO CHAPTERS.


CHAPTER II.--ANSWERED.

The mistletoe hung from the chandelier, the holly wreaths were on
the walls, the clear fire shed a warm glow through the dimly lighted
room, upon pictures and gilding, upon a great vase filled with crimson
camellias, upon Ralph Loraine's dark handsome face. Christmas eve
again, his first year in England over. How little certainty there is in
this world; when we think we have smoothed our path, and see our way
straight before us, there rises up some roughness, some unevenness
we have left unnoticed, or thought too small to trouble us. So with
Ralph; he had answered the question he asked himself last Christmas eve
by another; he was very happy, but he was thinking now as he leaned
against the mantel-piece whether he could bear to leave the army and
give up the life he had led for so long; the life, at times one of
bold daring, at others of lazy pleasure, which had suited him so well;
that even now, with the wish of his heart fulfilled, it cost him a
struggle to bid farewell to it, and to settle down into a quiet country
gentleman. He had kept his oath to his dead friend, the oath he had
taken in answer to the faintly spoken words, 'I meant to have made her
so happy.' Louise would remain in her old home as its mistress.

It had been a happy year to Ralph, and had glided away so quickly since
that first night when he had seen her standing in the snowy churchyard,
listening to words which sounded very much like love from another man's
lips. That other had, however, confirmed his opinion. Vere Leveson had
been away with his regiment during all the twelve months; not once had
he met Louise; the field had been clear for Ralph. Yet it was only a
week since he had spoken; he had not dared at first to break through
the barrier of childish affection. She looked upon him as her guardian,
her father's friend, with the same grateful reverence she might have
given to that father had he lived; so he had tried very gently to
awaken deeper feelings, through the sweet early spring-time and the
glowing summer days, till when the leaves were lying in brown showers
upon the sodden earth, she had grown silent, shy, and distant, and
so cold that he thought all hope was gone. He went away in November;
and when he returned, his love unspoken became torture to his upright
nature; he could not bear to live there day by day, to see her so
often, to let her kiss him as a daughter might have done, and all the
while that hidden passion burning in his heart. But after his temporary
absence she had changed again; she was more as she had been, gentle,
playfully loving; and so one day he had spoken. He told her of her
dying father's words; how his great wish had been that she should never
feel the loss he had caused her; how her happiness was his first object
in life; and how that life would be indeed worthless and barren, should
he go back to it alone. Grateful, she answered as he wished, and Ralph
held in his arms as his betrothed wife the child he had promised to
watch over in the silence of the Indian dawn.

'But you must give me time,' she had said timidly. 'I have never
thought of you but as my guardian, Ralph.' She dropped the name of her
childhood then, as a tacit acknowledgment that those days were over,
and that she would learn to love him henceforth, not with a child's
grateful unquestioning love, but with the tenderness of a wife.

She was the only one surprised by the event; all the neighbourhood had
known it long before; so had Mrs Loraine and Emma; so had Katharine,
whose wedding-day was now approaching, and whose bridegroom was Sir
Michael Leyland. The drawing-room door opened, and Louise entered into
the uncertain light, wearing the dress he had chosen for her--white
bridal-looking silk, and holly wreaths like those she had worn last
year. She went up to him composedly, with none of a young fiancée's
usual bashfulness.

'Do you like my dress, Ralph?' she said, looking up with her sweet dark
eyes, as he bent down and touched the rosy lips.

'I do,' he answered. 'You are always lovely, darling; last year I
thought the same, but then things were different. I did not dare to
hope for such happiness as this.'

'Are you happy, Ralph?'

'Happier than I have ever been in my whole life,' he whispered.

Then the others came in, and they started for the annual ball at Leigh
Park. Vere Leveson had returned a week ago; and as he stood among his
father's guests there was a troubled look on his face which deepened
ever as the white silk folds of the holly-wreathed dress brushed past
him, or the dark eyes watching its wearer met hers. At last he went to
her.

'Are you engaged for this, Miss Wrayworth?' he said abruptly.

'No,' she answered.

'Then you will give it to me?'

Once more he held her in his arms, once more her hand rested in his, as
they glided slowly round the room. Vere did not speak till the waltz
was ended, and then he led her to the same window where they had stood
a year ago. The same stars were shining down on the same world, only
that night there was no snow-shroud over the dead flowers, and the
moon was half hidden by a great splash of cloud. The same first faint
Christmas bells were sounding in the distance, mingled with the echoes
of a carol sung by boys' clear voices, telling for the angels the old
story they had told so long ago.

'I wish you a merry Christmas,' Vere said, looking down on her with
a half-scornful smile. 'What mockery there is in that salutation
sometimes. If you were to say it to me, for instance.'

'Indeed I hope you will have one,' she answered timidly.

'I must go a long way to find it then,' he muttered. 'But I beg your
pardon, Miss Wrayworth; I must congratulate you. I met--your sister I
was going to say--Miss Loraine I mean, as I was on my way to call upon
you the other day, and she told me of your engagement.'

'But you did not come,' said Louise.

'No; I thought you would be occupied. I congratulate you,' he repeated.

'Thank you,' she answered very low.

'Major Loraine is completely calculated to make a wife happy, I should
think,' said Vere, in the same cold scornful tone.

She lifted her head quickly. 'Indeed he is; he is the best, noblest,
most generous man that breathes!'

'And you love him?'

'He has been everything to me all my life long, Mr Leveson--father,
brother, friend. Would you not have me do what I can to prove my
gratitude?'

'By making him a still nearer relation? Certainly. But for my part,
there is one thing I should rather choose my wife to feel for me than
gratitude. How everything changes in this world!' he added abruptly.
'Can it possibly be only one year since I stood at this same window
with a girl by my side who promised to _remember_ me and _trust_ me
till next Christmas? Such a short time! only twelve little months. I
suppose it is true that

    Woman's love is writ in water,
    Woman's faith is traced on sand.

But I never believed it.'

'I hope you will not find it so,' said the girl softly, as she played
nervously with the shining holly leaves, breaking them, and crushing
the scarlet berries till they fell spoiled upon the floor. 'I must
congratulate _you_.'

'I beg your pardon! Congratulate me! What upon?'

'Your--your engagement.'

'My engagement! And may I ask to whom?'

'To Miss Leslie.'

'What!' he exclaimed. 'What do you mean? Alice Leslie! Who can have
told you such a falsehood?'

'Katharine heard it when she was in London.'

There was a long, long silence, while each guessed the other's secret.

'Is it not true?' she said at last.

'No; on my soul!' he answered. 'I never said a word to that girl all
the world might not have heard. I engaged to _her_! No! O Louise!' he
cried passionately; 'Louise, my darling! I have loved you so long, and
this is the end of it! Did not you know last year that I loved you and
you only, when I asked you to trust me? I have been silent for a year,
to obey my father, and--I have lost you!'

His voice trembled as he caught her hands, and a great longing
tenderness gleamed in his deep blue eyes. 'Did not you love me, Louise?
Have I been fool enough to delude myself all these months?'

'I was very--very unhappy when Katharine told me.' The answer was
simply, hopelessly spoken, and there was another silence, broken again
by her voice. 'Vere,' she said, 'Vere--I may call you so just this
once--we have made a terrible mistake; but I must keep my word. Say
good-bye to me, and let me go.'

'Oh, my darling! my darling!'

'Hush! Vere, hush!' she said brokenly. 'I owe _him_ a debt nothing can
ever pay; and I know he will keep the promise he made to my father
years ago, to try and make me happy.'

'God helping me, I will!' It was Ralph Loraine's voice that spoke;
Ralph Loraine's dark fearless eyes that rested upon her; Ralph
Loraine's loyal hand which took her cold one, as she started back from
the man she loved.

'Don't look frightened, dear,' he said gently. 'Poor child, how you
must have suffered! Louise! do you think I would let you bear one
moment's pain to save myself from a lifetime of misery? Forgive me,
dear; the dream has been very bright, and the awaking is'--he paused
for a moment and steadied his voice--'a little hard; but I shall soon
be used to it. The vow I made to your dead father, I will still keep,
Louise; I am your guardian, nothing more. Forget what has been between
us, child, as soon as you can.' He turned, and held out his hand to
Vere. 'It is a precious charge I give up to you,' he said solemnly;
'you must help me to keep my vow.' He paused, then added tremulously:
'You must make her happy for me.' Then without another word he passed
out through the open window into the wintry moonlit garden, and left
them alone.

He wandered down the avenue through the open gate among the waiting
carriages on to the silent fields, bearing the sorrow bravely, the
utter wreck of his life's sweetest hopes. 'Which is the harder,' he
thought bitterly as he hurried on, scarcely knowing where he went, 'to
lay down life or love?' In his great unselfishness he never blamed
her who had wrought this trouble; he had vowed to make her happy; he
had done his duty, nothing more, but it was hard to do. It had been a
fearful temptation as he listened, to go away without speaking, and so
keep her his; but he had conquered. Yet it seemed as though he could
not live without her, as though that one happy week had swallowed up
his whole existence, as though he had loved all his life instead of
for one short year; and he looked up piteously to the cloudy heavens,
to the wintry moon, seeking for the comfort that was not to be found,
longing, in his wretchedness, to lie down upon the cold wet grass and
sleep never to wake again.

'Won't you remember the carols?'

A shrill voice broke in upon his thoughts; he started, looking down
suddenly, vacantly, as though he did not comprehend.

Two boys stood there, on their way home across the fields. 'Hush!' said
the elder; 'don't you see it's the Major? Merry Christmas, sir!'

Ah! how mockingly those words sounded now. The greeting stung him as
the taunt of a fiend; he turned and hurried on. He paused breathlessly
at the stile leading into the next field; all his strength seemed to
have left him as he stood there alone with his grief. Then from the
distance was wafted to him the sound of the boys' voices, and the words
they sung were these:

    All glory be to God on high,
    And to the earth be peace;
    Good-will henceforth from heaven to men
    Begin and never cease!

Somehow they comforted him as no human sympathy could have done--the
grand old words, the simple tune, the children's voices. Though he did
not know that by what he had done that night, he had fulfilled as far
as might be the charge given in the angels' song.



A DREAM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.


When I was about twelve years of age I was invited by Mrs Hall, my
god-mother, to pay her a visit before going to a boarding-school, where
I was to remain for a few years. My mother had died when I was very
young; and my father thought it better for me to be at a nice school,
where I would be amongst girls of my own age, than in the house with
only his sister and himself. Mrs Hall was very fond of me; she had no
children of her own; and had my father consented, she and Mr Hall would
have taken me to live with them entirely.

It was a lovely day in June when I arrived at my god-mother's; and
she was delighted to see me. The house was beautifully situated on
high ground, surrounded by grand old trees, and at one side was a
flower-garden.

One morning god-mother said to me: 'Come upstairs with me, Lilian, and
I will shew you some Indian jewels that my uncle left me lately.'
She opened the drawer of an inlaid sandal-wood cabinet and took out a
small case, in which were a pair of ear-rings, a brooch, and necklet
of most beautiful diamonds. I thought I had never seen anything so
beautiful before. 'My dear Lilian,' said she, 'I intend to give you
these on your sixteenth birthday. I see, however, there is a stone
loose in one of the ear-rings, so I will take it into town to-day and
have it repaired.' She folded it up carefully and put it in her purse;
the case with the other diamonds she put in one of the drawers of her
dressing-glass.

After lunch, Mr and Mrs Hall took me with them to the town, which was
about four miles distant. The ear-ring was left at the jeweller's, and
as we were to spend the day at a friend's house, we arranged to call
for it on our way back. But you will say what has all this to do with
your dream? Well, wait a little and you will see.

We spent a pleasant day, called for the ear-ring on our way, and
arrived home about half-past nine o'clock. As I was taking off my
bonnet, god-mother came into the room. 'Lilian,' said she, 'I cannot
find the case of diamonds anywhere. Did I not leave it in the drawer
in my dressing-glass, before I went out? I went to put in the other
ear-ring now, and it was not there. Who can have taken it?'

'You certainly left it in the dressing-glass drawer,' I said. 'Could
any of the servants have taken it, do you think?'

'I am sure they would not,' she answered. 'I have had them with me for
years, and never missed anything before.'

'Are there any strangers about that could have come in through the
window?'

'No, Lilian; there are no strangers about the place except the
gardener, and he seems a most respectable man. I got a very high
character of him from his last place; in fact we were told he was a
most trustworthy person.'

Next day there was a wonderful commotion about the missing jewel-case.
The police were sent for, and every place was searched over and over
again, but to no purpose. One thing, however, puzzled us: on the
window-sill was a footmark, and near the dressing-table a little bit of
earth, as if off a shoe or boot; which led us to think that the thief
must have come in through the window. But how did he get up to it? It
was a good height from the ground, and the creeping plants were not in
the least broken, as would have been the case had any one climbed up by
them. A ladder must have been employed; and it was little to the credit
of the police that this fact had not been properly considered. As the
matter stood, it was a mystery, and seemed likely to remain so, and
only one ear-ring was left of the valuable set.

In a few days I left for school, where I remained for four years. I
spent every vacation between my home and my god-mother's. We often
spoke of the stolen diamonds; but nothing had ever been heard of
them, though a reward of fifty pounds had been offered by Mr Hall for
any information that would lead to the detection of the thief. On my
sixteenth birthday my god-mother gave me a beautiful watch and chain
and the diamond ear-ring, which she had got arranged as a necklet.

'I am so sorry, Lilian,' said she, 'that I have not the rest of those
diamonds to give you; but if ever they are found, they shall be yours,
my dear.'

I must now pass over six years, which went by quietly and happily,
nothing very important taking place until the last year, during which
time I had been married. My husband was a barrister. We lived in the
north of England. My mother-in-law Mrs Benson, and Mary, one of her
daughters, lived some miles away from us near the sea-coast. It was a
very lonely place, a long way from the little fishing-town, or rather
village, of Burnley. I confess I often felt very nervous about Mrs
Benson and her daughter living alone (her husband being dead many
years). Except three women-servants in the house, and the coachman
and his family who lived in the lodge, there was no one nearer than
Burnley, four miles off. Besides, it was known that there was a large
quantity of plate in the house; and the little sea-side village was
often the resort of smugglers and other wild and lawless characters.
One day, while thinking of them, I felt so uneasy that I said to my
husband: 'I hope, Henry, there is nothing wrong with your mother; she
has been in my mind all day.'

'Oh,' said he, 'why should you feel anxious about her to-day? I saw her
last Tuesday; and if she were ill, Mary would be sure to let us know.
It is only one of your "fancies," little wife.'

Still I did not feel easy, for more than once before my so-called
'fancy' had proved to be a 'reality;' so I determined that in a few
days I would go and see Mrs Benson. All that evening I could not get
her out of my thoughts, and it was a long time before I went to sleep.
I think it must have been about three o'clock in the morning that I
woke in a state of terror. I had dreamed that I saw Mrs Benson standing
in the window of her bedroom, beckoning me to come to her, and pointing
to a female figure who was stealing along under the shade of the trees
in the avenue, for the moon was shining brightly.

I started up, thinking I heard her calling me. And here is the most
extraordinary part of it all--though I was now quite awake, I heard,
as I thought, a voice saying to me: 'Go, tell Mrs Benson, Martha is
deceiving her; tell her to send her away at once.'

Three times these words seemed to be repeated in my ear. I can't
describe exactly what the voice was like: it was not loud, but quite
distinct; and I felt as I listened that it was a warning, and that I
_must_ obey it. I woke my husband, and told him my dream and the words
I had heard. He tried to calm my mind, and evidently thought me foolish
to be so frightened by only a stupid dream. I said I would drive over
the first thing after breakfast, and see if anything was wrong with
Mary or her mother. The only thing that puzzled me was that Martha
should be mentioned as deceiving Mrs Benson. She acted as housekeeper
and lady's-maid to her, and was believed to be most trustworthy in
every way. She had been four years with her; and was much respected.
She was a silent reserved kind of person, about thirty-five years of
age. One thing I had often remarked about her was, that when speaking
to any one she never looked straight at them; but I thought it might be
from a kind of shyness more than anything else.

As soon as breakfast was over I set off, telling my husband I would
very likely not return until next day; and if possible, he was to
come for me. He could drive over early and spend the day; and we would
return home together in the evening, if all was well with his mother.

When I arrived I found Mrs Benson and Mary looking as well as ever,
and everything seemingly just as usual. Martha was sitting at work in
her little room, which opened off Mrs Benson's dressing-room. I could
not help looking at her more closely than I would have done at another
time, and I thought I saw a look of displeasure cross her face at
seeing me. Mary and her mother were of course delighted to see me, and
asked why Henry did not come too. So I told them I would stay till the
next day, if they would have me, and Henry would come for me then. They
were quite pleased at that arrangement; for it was not very often my
husband could spend a whole day with them.

As the day passed on and nothing out of the way happened, I began to
think I had frightened myself needlessly, and that my dream or vision
might have been the result of an over-anxious mind. And then Martha,
what about her? Altogether I was perplexed. I did not know what to
think; but I still felt a certain undefined uneasiness. I offered up
a silent prayer to be directed to do right, and determined to wait
patiently and do nothing for a while. I almost hoped I might hear the
voice again, giving me definite instructions how to act. Lunch passed
and dinner also; and the evening being very warm, for it was the middle
of July, we sat at the open window enjoying the cooling breeze that set
in from the sea.

As they were early people, shortly after ten o'clock we said
'good-night,' and went up to our bedrooms. My room looked on the
avenue, some parts of which were in deep shade, while in other parts
the moonlight shone brightly through breaks in the trees. I did not
feel in the least sleepy; and putting out my candle, I sat by the
window, looking at the lovely view; for I could see the coast quite
plainly, and the distant sea glistened like silver in the moonlight.
I did not think how long I had been sitting there, until I heard the
hall clock strike twelve. Just then I heard, as I thought, a footstep
outside my door, which evidently stopped there, and then in a few
seconds passed on. I did not mind, thinking it might be one of the
servants, who had been up later than usual, and was now going quietly
to bed. I began to undress, not lighting the candle again, as I had
light enough from the moon. As I came towards the window to close it, I
saw, exactly as in my dream, a female figure--evidently keeping in the
shade of the trees--going down the avenue. I determined to follow and
see who it was, for I now felt the warning voice was not sent to me for
nothing, and I seemed to get courage, girl though I was, to fathom the
mystery. I hastily dressed, threw a dark shawl over my head, and going
noiselessly down-stairs, opened the glass door in the drawing-room
window, and left it so that I could come in again. I kept in the shade
of the trees as much as possible, and quickly followed the path I had
seen the woman take. Presently I heard voices; one was a man's, the
other a woman's. But who was she? I came close, and got behind a large
group of thick shrubs. I could now see and hear them quite well; they
were standing in the light; I was in deep shade. Just then the woman
turned her head towards me. It was _Martha_! What did she want there at
that hour? And who was this man? I was puzzled. Where had I seen that
face before? for that I _had_ seen it before, I was certain; but where,
and when, I could not remember. He was speaking in a low voice, and I
did not hear very distinctly what he said, but the last few words were:
'And why not to-night? Delays are always dangerous, especially now, as
they are beginning to suspect me.'

'Because Mrs Benson's daughter-in-law is here, and she is sleeping in
the room over the plate-closet, and would be sure to hear the least
noise. Wait until to-morrow night; she will be gone then. But indeed
John, I don't like this business at all. I think we'd better give it
up. No luck will come of it, I am sure.'

'Look here, Martha,' said the man. 'I have a chance of getting safe off
now. I have it all settled, if you will only help me to get this old
woman's plate. With that and a few little trinkets I happened to pick
up a few years ago, you and I may set up in business over in America.
The other fellows will help me. Meet me here to-morrow night, to let me
know that all is safe for us. See here. I have brought you a valuable
present. Keep it until the plate is secure with me; for you must stay
here until all blows over; then make some excuse for leaving, and come
over and join me in New York. If you want money, sell these diamonds in
Liverpool; they are worth no end of money.'

I could see quite well that he took something out of his pocket and
gave it to her. She held it up to look at it; and there, glistening in
bright moonlight, I saw--my god-mother's diamond ear-ring! the one that
had been stolen over nine years ago with the other jewels from her room.

Here then at last was the mystery solved, everything made clear, and
all through my dream! Presently the light fell on the man's face again,
and I instantly recognised my god-mother's very respectable gardener.
A decent man he was believed to be, but a thief all the time, and one
who hid his evil deeds under a cloak of religion. And who was this
woman he seemed to have got such power over? Evidently his wife; for
I gathered that from his conversation with her. I waited where I was
until they were both gone--Martha back to the house, and her husband
to the village; then as quietly as I could I returned to the house and
reached my room. Falling on my knees I gave thanks to God for making
me the means of finding out such a wicked plot, and perhaps saving the
lives of more than one under that roof; for it is more than likely that
had those desperate men been disturbed in their midnight plunder, they
would not have hesitated at any deed which would enable them to carry
out their wicked plans.

I slept little that night, and next morning tried to appear calm and
composed, though I was frightened and really ill. I was longing for my
husband to come, that I might tell him all, and consult what was best
to be done, to prevent robbery and perhaps bloodshed. At last, to my
great relief, I saw him coming. I ran to the gate to meet him, and told
him what I had seen and heard the night before. 'Now,' I said, 'will
you ever laugh at my "fancies" again?'

'No, my dear little wife,' said he; 'I never will.'

We then arranged that we should tell his mother and sister everything;
and he was to go to the nearest police station and arrange with the
chief officer to have a number of men ready in the wood near the
house at twelve o'clock that night; that after dinner we were to say
'good-bye' to Mrs Benson, and drive home; but would return and join the
police in the wood, and wait there until we saw Martha leave the house
to meet her husband. We were then to go in and wait until the thieves
came in, when they were to be surrounded and taken prisoners. My
husband wanted me to remain at our own house; but I would not do so, as
I said I would only be imagining all sorts of dreadful things; besides,
I knew his mother and Mary would like to have me with them.

It all turned out as well as could be. The night was very fine; and
just at twelve o'clock Martha stole down to the place where I had
seen her the night before; then we all, about a dozen policemen and
ourselves, went into the house. The men were stationed out of sight
in different rooms, waiting for the robbers' entrance. Henry came up
to Mrs Benson's room, where all of us women were, including the two
servants. With breathless anxiety we watched and waited. From where I
stood I could see the way they would come.

It was about two o'clock when I saw Martha coming up the walk and
four men with her. 'Look!' I said; 'there they are.' They went round
to the back door, and we heard them stealing along the passage in the
direction of the plate-closet. Then a sudden rush--a scream from the
wretched Martha--imprecations loud and bitter--a shot!--another scream!

'May God grant no lives will be lost!' we prayed.

Poor Mary nearly fainted. At last we heard the officer call Henry to
come down. The four men were well secured and taken to the police
station. Martha was taken there too. She confessed she had let them in
for the purpose of stealing the silver. One of the robbers was slightly
wounded in the arm, but no one else was hurt. Very thankful was I when
I found next day that none was the worse for having gone through such a
terrible scene.

The house where Martha's husband lodged was searched, and the case of
diamonds and many other valuable articles found there. This immensely
respectable gardener had been a disgrace to his family and his
profession. Left very much to himself through the indulgence of his
employer, he had contracted habits of tippling with low associates at
the neighbouring village, and become so completely demoralised, as at
length to assume the degraded character of a burglar. Now came the
retribution which attends on wrong-doing. The thieves were all tried at
the next assizes, and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

It is now many years since all this happened; but I can never forget
what I went through those two dreadful nights; though I remember with
thankfulness, that through my dream and the warning voice I heard, I
was the means of averting a great wrong, and perhaps murder. I do not
impute anything supernatural to my dream. It may have merely been the
result of tension of feelings, supported by some coincidences. At all
events, the results were such as I have described.



ODD NOTES FROM QUEENSLAND.


Queensland, as is pretty generally known, is the latest planted British
colony in Australia, and has already made a surprising degree of
progress. Situated on the coast of the Pacific, to the north of New
South Wales, its more settled parts enjoy a delightful climate, which
is said to resemble that of Madeira. It is usually thought that nowhere
in the world do new and small towns develop so speedily into populous
cities as in the United States; but in this respect Queensland can shew
results nearly as remarkable. In Brisbane, the capital of the colony,
one finds immense enterprise, with all the tokens of civilisation on
the English model. A correspondent favours us with the following notes
suggested by the _Queenslander_, which we presume to be the leading
newspaper in the colony.

A cursory glance down the advertising columns of the _Queenslander_
gives one no mean notion of the colony's capacities. One auctioneer
announces for sale three thousand square miles of land, twenty-one
thousand head of cattle, and a hundred and twenty-four thousand sheep.
A dairy herd of six hundred head is in the market here, and there
a stock-owner announces he has seven hundred pure merino rams to
dispose of. Sugar-plantations, salt-works, gold mines, are on offer;
and--incontrovertible proof of the land's capabilities--nurserymen are
ready to supply all comers with seeds or roots 'of all the favourite
flowers known in England,' of every kind of grass and grain and
vegetable familiar to the British farmer and market-gardener; and
keep in stock thoroughly acclimatised apples, pears, plums, cherries,
peaches, apricots, nectarines, quinces, mulberries, walnuts, chestnuts,
cobnuts, grapes, figs, limes, lemons, oranges, dates, guavas, and
mangoes, in every approved variety.

One correspondent extols the merits of chicory as a profitable thing
to grow; another relates his successful attempts at rice-raising; and
a third waxes eloquent anent the unique garden of Mr Barnes of Mackay,
with its groves and avenues of cocoa-nut trees; its hundreds of fine
date-trees; its grapes, oranges, apples, and fruits of all climes and
seasons, thriving together; its enormous melons and magnificent pines
ripening and rotting around. The owner looks forward to reaping a large
profit from his twelve hundred cocoa-nut trees, many of them now thirty
feet high, although as yet the return for his ten years' labour and
expenditure has been something not worth mentioning.

Then we have an account of 'the acclimated wonders of the vegetable
kingdom blooming in this present February 1877, in the government
Botanic Gardens of Brisbane;' said gardens being then in the height
of their midsummer glory, and a perfect blaze of colour. 'One of the
most strikingly handsome as well as curious trees in the gardens is the
_Kilgeria pinnata_, from India. Its branches bear a kind of drooping
flexible vine-rope or liana stem, each of which terminates in a large
spike of flowers; while at various parts of the said rope pendants,
hang huge seed-pods, like in shape unto the weights of an extra large
cuckoo-clock.' Several varieties of the mango just now are in fine
bearing, and the wine-palm of the West African coast was never more
juicy and strawberry-like in flavour. Ferns and palms are magnificent,
but after all, the Queenslander finds a native plant excite his
admiration most. 'No description can do justice to the exquisite colour
of the so-called blue water-lily of this colony. It is _not_ blue, nor
white, nor mauve, nor lilac, but has a blended dash of all of them, and
is lovelier than any. A Swiss or French dyer who could reproduce it
faithfully would make his fortune. It is a colour suggestive of summer
afternoons, of lawns, of croquet, of classic villas, swell society,
and five o'clock teas in the garden, with greyhounds, spaniels, pretty
girls, and rosy children grouped about miscellaneous like.'

Acclimatisation has succeeded too thoroughly in one instance--the
rabbit, as we have had occasion to shew in a previous paper, having
increased and multiplied until the colonists have reason to wish he had
never been induced to settle in the land. One wheat-grower, wroth at
having to sit up o' nights with his farm hands, dogs, bullock-bells,
and tin cans, in order to scare the little pests back to their
burrows, lest, like his neighbours, he should have nothing left to
reap, declares either the rabbit or the farmer must go down; there is
no longer room for both. Sheep-farmers are in a similar predicament;
but their trouble is of native growth; the kangaroo is their _bête
noire_, and they are busy arming against the pouched depredators.
Kangaroo battues are the rage. At one held at Warroo, upwards of three
thousand five hundred of these animals were disposed of in ten days;
making eight thousand of which the run had been cleared in the space
of a month--equivalent to saving pasturage for a like number of sheep.
Another sheep-owner, after shooting down four thousand kangaroos on a
small portion of his run, finds it necessary to call in outside aid,
and lay in tons of cartridges for the use of those who respond to the
appeal. By reports just to hand (Oct. 1877) we find that the process of
kangaroo extermination is still at work.

There are other nuisances it would be well to see to. A woodman at
Maryborough lately died of a scorpion sting; and we read of a man being
bitten by a black snake while working a short distance from Brisbane.
His mates scarified the wound, bound up the arm, and administered a
large dose of brandy; put the patient into a cart, and made for a
dispensary with all possible speed. Here the wound was scarified again;
and a doctor passing by, being called in, cauterised it, and injected
ammonia. In a few minutes the man's spasmodic struggles ceased, and
he was able to walk to a cab. By the time he reached the hospital all
traces of the venom had disappeared, and he seemed only to suffer
from the effects of the spirits he had imbibed. The ammonia treatment
of snake-bite is not efficacious with the lower animals; at least
in a series of experiments upon dogs, not a single canine sufferer
recovered. Although Queensland is reputed to be a land of rivers
and streams, there are tracts where water is scarce, and those who
recklessly go on the tramp, or 'wallaby,' as this kind of vagabondising
is called, sometimes experience the horrors of thirst, and actually
sink down and die in the wilderness.

To prove the truth of this, and to shew that examples are not wanting
of travellers who have died of thirst, a correspondent of the
_Queenslander_ tells how, following the tracks of some horses that
had strayed from their beat, he came upon a pair of moleskin trousers
hanging upon a tree, as if put there for a signal of distress. Looking
about, he picked up a torn pocket, containing an illegible cheque and a
match-box; and scattered about on the grass saw a blanket, shirt, hat,
and water-bag. Searching further, he found the skull and bones of a
man who had apparently been dead some two or three weeks; some of the
flesh was still on the bones, and the brains were almost intact. Bags
of flour, tea, and sugar lay near; a proof that the poor fellow had not
died of hunger, but of thirst, the nearest water being twelve miles
from the spot where he died his lonely death.

Thomas Stevenson, a lad of seventeen, started one December morning
from his brother's station, some fifty miles from Louth, New South
Wales, for the post-office at that place, which he reached safely,
and left again at daybreak on the Saturday. The following Wednesday
his horse arrived home, bearing his rider's coat, scarf, and spurs.
His brother started for the bush with some black trackers, who found
that the missing lad had been wandering on the Debil-Debil Mountains,
but finding it impossible to get his horse down them, had turned back
to get round the base of the mountains, but mistaking the road and
overtaken by darkness, had camped out and hobbled his horse. After a
three days' search the trackers discovered the body of young Stevenson
lying between two logs in a lonely part of the bush. The weather had
been extremely hot, and it was known he had no water-bag with him; so
there was little doubt that he died of thirst. After losing his way
and losing hope, he must have taken off his coat, scarf, and spurs,
fastened them to a saddle, and turned the horse loose. Then placing
the two logs on a track, he had lain down between them with his head
resting on a cross-piece at one end, and so waited Death's releasing
hand.

If advertising means business, business should be brisk indeed at
Darling Downs, since the editor of the _Darling Downs Gazette_ finds
it necessary to explain the absence of the customary 'leader' in this
wise: 'Owing to a press of advertis---- In fact it is coming to this,
that we shall have to throw up the business if people come hustling
their advertisements in at the rate they are doing. The general
appreciation of the fact that the _Gazette_ is bound to be read by
everybody, is becoming overwhelming. We plead guilty to no leader
this time; but what were we to do? Only just now a bald-headed man
came rushing in---- But stop! let us first explain that we mean no
offence to bald-headed men, and they needn't get up in arms. Goodness
knows, we were bald-headed enough ourselves once upon a time, and
used to be up in arms frequently about that period. Ask our nurse.
However, as we were about to say, a bald-headed man came hustling in
just as we had commenced our leader, and had got as far as, "When the
history of mankind shall have been disinterred from the triturated and
inevaporable sediments of its consummated cosmogony"--and while with
our pen suspended we were working up the continuation in the same gay
and sparkling style, that bald-headed man violently brought us down
from the ethereal heights in which we were soaring, and wanted to know
whether we could spare space for a column or so of advertisements. He
fluttered some dingy papers, each marked five pounds, under our eyes,
and we rather liked it. But we conquered our feelings and remarked:
"Caitiff! our duty to our readers demands a leading article; hang
advertisements! Take your beak from out our heart; take your form
from off our door." The wretch winked, and went to the book-keeper,
and inveigled him into finding space for that advertisement. Since
then, there have been processions of bald and hairy men with insidious
manners and fluttering notes, palming off advertisements on us. In
short--or if the reader objects to that phrase as inappropriate--at
length, we have no leading article, and if the reader could only
witness our tears!'

With certain parliamentary proceedings fresh in remembrance, we
dare not cast stones at our cousins for not eliminating the rowdy
element from their legislatures. That it should be predominant is not
surprising, since we are assured, that in view of a coming dissolution,
candidates swarm on the ground like frogs in a marsh. Every man who
has figured in the insolvent list for the last three years; every
boot-black whose stock of materials has given out; wild wood-carters
whose only horse and hope is dead; country newspaper reporters down on
their luck; country-town bellmen whose vocation has been supplanted;
seedy men who cry penny papers in the streets: in short, all Bohemia
and its dependencies have taken the field with a view to winning
senatorial honours and the three hundred a year going with them.
Prominent among these candidates stand Tom M'Inerney, who bases his
claims upon the fact that he owns fifteen drays and fourteen children,
and is under the impression that S. I. after a man's name denote him
to be a civil engineer; and Patrick Tyrrell, who objects to 'circular'
education, and who proved himself a real Irishman when asked if he
would tax absentees, by replying: 'To be sure I would, if they didn't
live in the country.'

However Australian legislators may indulge in libellous personalities,
it is pleasant to note that such things are not received into favour
by the press; the _Queenslander_ notifying to all concerned, that 'any
statement, comment, or criticism of a personal character calculated to
provoke ill-feeling in the community from which it may be penned, will
not only be rigorously excluded, as hitherto, but any correspondent
who may think fit to forward such matter for publication will be
immediately requested to discontinue his connection with this journal.'
To be perfect, this notification only needs the N.B.--English papers
please copy.



TAKING IT COOLLY.


Some of many instances of extraordinary coolness in the midst of
danger and otherwise that have been recorded, are here offered to our
readers, together with some amusing sayings and doings. When gallant
Ponsonby lay grievously wounded on the field of Waterloo, he forgot
his own desperate plight while watching an encounter between a couple
of French lancers and one of his own men, cut off from his troop. As
the Frenchmen came down upon Murphy, he, using his sword as if it were
a shillelagh, knocked their lances alternately aside again and again.
Then suddenly setting spurs to his horse, he galloped off full speed,
his eager foes following in hot pursuit, but not quite neck and neck.
Wheeling round at exactly the right moment, the Irishman, rushing
at the foremost fellow, parried his lance, and struck him down. The
second, pressing on to avenge his comrade, was cut through diagonally
by Murphy's sword, falling to the earth without a cry or a groan; while
the victor, scarcely glancing at his handiwork, trotted off whistling
_The Grinder_.

Ponsonby's brave cavalry-man knew how to take things coolly, which,
according to Colonel R. P. Anderson, is the special virtue of the
British man-of-war, who, having the utmost reliance in himself and his
commanders, is neither easily over-excited nor readily alarmed. In
support of his assertion, the colonel relates how two tars, strolling
up from the Dil-Kusha Park, where Lord Clyde's army was stationed,
towards the Residency position at Lucknow, directed their steps by
the pickets of horse and foot. Suddenly, a twenty-four-pound shot
struck the road just in front of them. 'I'm blessed, Bill,' said one
of the tars, 'if this here channel is properly buoyed!' and on the
happy-go-lucky pair went towards the Residency, as calmly as if they
had been on Portsmouth Hard. During the same siege, a very young
private of the 102d was on sentry, when an eight-inch shell, fired
from a gun a hundred yards off, burst close to him, making a deal of
noise and throwing up an immense quantity of earth. Colonel Anderson
rushed to the spot. The youthful soldier was standing quietly at his
post, close to where the shell had just exploded. Being asked what had
happened, he replied unconcernedly: 'I think a shell has busted, sir.'

Towards the close of the fight of Inkermann, Lord Raglan, returning
from taking leave of General Strangways, met a sergeant carrying
water for the wounded. The sergeant drew himself up to salute, when
a round-shot came bounding over the hill, and knocked his forage-cap
out of his hand. The man picked it up, dusted it on his knee, placed
it carefully on his head, and made the salute, not a muscle of his
countenance moving the while. 'A neat thing that, my man?' said Lord
Raglan. 'Yes, my lord,' returned the sergeant, with another salute;
'but a miss is as good as a mile.' The commander was probably not
surprised by such an exhibition of _sang-froid_, being himself good
that way. He was badly hurt at Waterloo; and, says the Prince of
Orange, who was in the hospital, 'I was not conscious of the presence
of Lord Fitzroy Somerset until I heard him call out in his ordinary
tone: "Hollo! Don't carry that arm away till I have taken off my ring!"
Neither wound nor operation had extorted a groan from his lips.'

The Indian prides himself upon taking good or ill in the quietest
of ways; and from a tale told in Mr Marshall's _Canadian Dominion_,
his civilised half-brother would seem to be equally unemotional.
Thanks mainly to a certain Métis or half-breed in the service of the
Hudson Bay Company, a Sioux warrior was found guilty of stealing a
horse, and condemned to pay the animal's value by instalments, at one
of the Company's forts. On paying the last instalment, he received
his quittance from the man who had brought him to justice, and left
the office. A few moments later the Sioux returned, advanced on his
noiseless moccasins within a pace of the writing-table, and levelled
his musket full at the half-breed's head. Just as the trigger was
pulled, the Métis raised the hand with which he was writing and touched
lightly the muzzle of the gun; the shot passed over his head, but his
hair was singed off in a broad mass. The smoke clearing away, the
Indian was amazed to see his enemy still lived. The other looked him
full in the eyes for an instant, and quietly resumed his writing. The
Indian silently departed unpursued; those who would have given chase
being stopped by the half-breed with: 'Go back to your dinner, and
leave the affair to me.'

When evening came, a few whites, curious to see how the matter would
end, accompanied the Métis to the Sioux encampment. At a certain
distance he bade them wait, and advanced alone to the Indian tents.
Before one of these sat crouched the baffled savage, singing his own
death-hymn to the tom-tom. He complained that he must now say good-bye
to wife and child, to the sunlight, to his gun and the chase. He told
his friends in the spirit-land to expect him that night, when he would
bring them all the news of their tribe. He swung his body backwards and
forwards as he chanted his strange song, but never once looked up--not
even when his foe spurned him with his foot. He only sang on, and
awaited his fate. Then the half-breed bent his head and spat down on
the crouching Sioux, and turned leisurely away--a crueller revenge than
if he had shot him dead.

It is not given to every one to play the philosopher, and accept
fortune's buffets and favours with equal placidity. Horatios are
scarce. But there are plenty of people capable of behaving like
Spartans where the trouble does not touch their individuality. 'How can
I get out of this?' asked an Englishman, up to his armpits in a Scotch
bog, of a passer-by. 'I dinna think ye _can_ get oot of it,' was the
response of the Highlander as he went on his way.

Mistress of herself was the spouse of the old gentleman, who contrived
to tumble off the ferryboat into the Mississippi, and was encouraged
to struggle for dear life by his better-half shouting: 'There, Samuel;
didn't I tell you so? Now then, work your legs, flap your arms, hold
your breath, and repeat the Lord's Prayer--for its mighty onsartin,
Samuel, whether you land in Vicksburg or eternity!'

Thoroughly oblivious of court manners was the red-cloaked old Kentish
dame who found her way into the tent occupied by Queen Charlotte, at a
Volunteer review held shortly after her coming to England, and after
staring at the royal lady with her arms akimbo, observed: 'Well, she's
not so ugly as they told me she was!'--a compliment the astonished
queen gratefully accepted, saying: 'Well, my good woman, I am very glad
of dat.' Probably Her Majesty forgave her critic's rudeness as the
outcome of rustic ignorance and simplicity.

There is no cooler man than your simple fellow. While General Thomas
was inspecting the fortifications of Chattanooga with General Garfield,
they heard some one shout: 'Hello, mister! You! I want to speak to
you!' General Thomas, turning, found he was the 'mister' so politely
hailed by an East Tennessean soldier.

'Well, my man,' said he, 'what do you want with me?'

'I want to get a furlough, mister, that's what I want,' was the reply.

'Why do you want a furlough, my man?' inquired the general.

'Wall, I want to go home and see my wife.'

'How long is it since you saw her?'

'Ever since I enlisted; nigh on to three months.'

'Three months!' exclaimed the commander. 'Why, my good fellow, I have
not seen my wife for three years!'

The Tennessean looked incredulous, and drawled out: 'Wall, you see, me
and _my_ wife ain't that sort!'

The Postmaster-general of the United States once received an odd
official communication; the Raeborn postmaster, new to his duties,
writing to his superior officer: 'Seeing by the regulations that I am
required to send you a letter of advice, I must plead in excuse that I
have been postmaster but a short time; but I will say, if your office
pays no better than mine, I advise you to give it up.' To this day,
that Postmaster-general has not decided whether his subordinate was an
ignoramus or was quietly poking fun at him.

Spite of the old axiom about self-praise, many are of opinion that
the world is apt to take a man at his own valuation. If that be true,
there is a church dignitary in embryo somewhere in the young deacon,
whose examining bishop felt it requisite to send for the clergyman
recommending him for ordination, in order to tell him to keep that
young man in check; adding by way of explanation: 'I had the greatest
difficulty, sir, to prevent him examining me!' This not to be abashed
candidate for clerical honours promises to be as worthy of the cloth as
the American minister who treated his village congregation to one of Mr
Beecher's sermons, unaware that the popular Brooklyn preacher made one
of his hearers. Accosting him after service, Mr Beecher said: 'That was
a fair discourse; how long did it take you to write it?'

'Oh, I tossed it off one evening,' was the reply.

'Indeed!' said Mr Beecher. 'Well, it took me much longer than that to
think out the framework of that sermon.'

'Are you Henry Ward Beecher?' asked the sermon-stealer.

'I am,' said that gentleman.

'Well, then,' said the other, not in the least disconcerted, 'all I
have to say is, that I ain't ashamed to preach one of your sermons
anywhere.'

We do not know if Colman invented the phrase, 'As cool as a cucumber;'
but he makes the Irishman in _The Heir-at-Law_ say: 'These two must
be a rich man that won't lend, and a borrower; for one is trotting
about in great distress, and t' other stands cool as a cucumber.' Of
the two, the latter was more likely to have been intending a raid on
another man's purse, for the men whose 'very trade is borrowing' are
usually, we might say necessarily, the coolest of the cool; like Bubb
Dodington's impecunious acquaintance, who, rushing across Bond Street,
greeted Dodington with: 'I'm delighted to see you, for I am wonderfully
in want of a guinea.'

Taking out his purse, Bubb shewed that it held but half a guinea.

'A thousand thanks!' cried his tormentor, deftly seizing the coin;
'that will do very well for the present;' and then changed the
conversation. But as he turned to take leave, he inquired: 'By-the-by,
when will you pay me that half-guinea?'

'Pay you? What do you mean?' exclaimed Dodington.

'Mean? Why, I intended to borrow a guinea of you. I have only got half;
but I'm not in a hurry for t' other. Name your own time, only pray keep
it!' saying which, he disappeared round the corner.

'John Phœnix' the American humorist being one night at a theatre,
fancied he saw a friend some three seats in front of him. Turning to
his next neighbour he said: 'Would you be kind enough to touch that
gentleman with your stick?' 'Certainly,' was the reply, and the thing
was done; but when the individual thus assaulted turned round, Phœnix
saw he was not the man he took him for, and became at once absorbed
in the play, leaving his friend with the stick to settle matters with
the gentleman in front, which, as he had no excuse handy, was not done
without considerable trouble. When the hubbub was over, the victim
said: 'Didn't you tell me to tap that man with my stick?' 'Yes.' 'And
what did you want?' 'Oh,' said Phœnix, with imperturbable gravity, 'I
wanted to see whether you _would_ tap him or not!'

'Jack Holmes,' a man-about-town, living no one knew how, was once under
cross-examination by a certain sergeant-at-law, who knew his man too
well. 'Now, sir,' said the learned gentleman, 'tell the jury how you
live?'

'Well,' said Holmes, 'a chop or a steak, and on Sunday perhaps a little
bit of fish; I am a very plain-living man.'

'You know what I mean, sir,' thundered the questioner. 'What do you do
for a living?'

'The same as you, sergeant,' said the witness, tapping his forehead
suggestively; 'and when that fails, I do'--going through the pantomime
of writing across his hand--'a little bit of stuff--the same as you
again.'

'My lud, I shall not ask this obtuse witness any more questions,' said
the angry counsel.

'Brother,' said Baron Martin, 'I think you had better not.'

Here is a hint for our old friend the clown in the pantomime. At the
burning of a provision store, the crowd helped themselves freely. One
man grasped a huge cheese as his share of the salvage; rising up with
it he found himself face to face with a policeman, and with admirable
presence of mind put the plunder into the officer's arms, saying: 'You
had better take care of that, policeman, or some one will be walking
off with it.'

Equally ready to relinquish his loot when there was no help for it was
a Chicago negro, caught by a poultry fancier in the act of carrying off
some of his live stock, and challenged with: 'What are you doing with
my chickens?' 'I wuz gwine fer ter fetch 'em back, boss,' explained he.
'Dere's a nigger roun' here what's bin disputin along er me 'bout dem
chickens. I said dey wuz Coachin Chyniz; an he said dey wuz Alabarmar
pullets; an I wuz jes takin 'em roun' fer ter stablish my nollidge. Dey
don't lay no aigs, does dey, boss? Ef dey does, I'm mighty shamed of
hustlin 'em roun'. Aigs is scase.'

Impudently cool as the darkey was, he must yield the palm for
effrontery to the Erie Railway guard, whose interview with Manager Fisk
is thus related in an American paper.

'You are a conductor on the Erie, I believe?'

'Yes, sir.'

'How long have you been on the road?'

'Fifteen years.'

'Worth some property, I learn?'

'Some.'

'Have a very fine house in Oswego? Cost you some thirty, forty, or
fifty thousand dollars?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Some little money invested in bonds, I am told?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Own a farm near where you reside?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Had nothing when you commenced as conductor on our road?'

'Nothing to speak of.'

'Made the property since?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Been at work for no other parties?'

'No; but I have been saving money, and invested it from time to time to
good advantage.'

'Well, sir, what will you give to settle? Of course you cannot pretend
to say you have acquired this property from what you have saved from
your salary? You will not deny that you have pocketed a great deal
of money belonging to the railway--at least fifty or sixty thousand
dollars? Now, sir, what will you give to settle, and not be disgraced,
as you certainly will be if a trial is brought, and you are compelled
to give up the property you profess to own, but which in reality
belongs to the Company?'

'Well, Mr Manager, I had not thought of the matter. For several years
I have been running my train to the best of my ability. Never looked
at the matter in this light before. Never thought I was doing anything
wrong. I have done nothing more than other conductors; tried to earn
my salary and get it, and think I've succeeded. I don't know that I
owe the Company anything. If you think I do, why, there's a little
difference of opinion, and I don't want any trouble over it. I have a
nice family, nice father and mother; relatives all of good standing;
they would feel bad to have me arrested and charged with dishonesty. It
would kill my wife. She has every confidence in me, and the idea that I
would take a penny that did not belong to me would break her heart. I
don't care anything for the matter myself; but on account of my family
and relatives, if you won't say anything more about it, I'll give you
say--a dollar!'



THE MONTH:

SCIENCE AND ARTS.


Mr Charles Barry, President of the Royal Institute of British
Architects, in his opening address, mentioned that with a view to
facilitate the studies of young men, the library of the Institute is
open from ten in the morning till nine at night, to members of the
Architectural Association, to the architectural classes of the Royal
Academy, of University College, and King's College. A fee of five
shillings a year and a proper recommendation are the conditions on
which this valuable privilege may be obtained; and it is to be hoped
that earnest-minded students--the architects of the future--will hasten
to avail themselves of this generously offered store of knowledge.

The Council of the Institute have given notice of lectures which are
to be delivered at University College, London, during the present
session, comprising Ancient Architecture as a Fine Art; on Construction
and Materials; on Roofing, Masonry, Quarries, Arches, and Groining.
At King's College also there will be lectures on the Mechanics of
Construction; on Constructive Design and Practice, besides classes
for the study of Architectural Drawing, Descriptive Geometry, and
Surveying and Levelling. Young men who wish to study architecture and
allied subjects have in the courses thus provided for, a favourable
opportunity. Among the papers announced for reading at the meetings of
the Institute are: On the Architecture of Norway; On the Prevention of
Corrosion in Iron; and Syria, the Cradle of Gothic Architecture; which
may be expected to present especial points of interest.

The Council of the Royal Agricultural Society have published a
statement of members' privileges which is worth attention. On payment
of a moderate fee the advice of a competent veterinary inspector can be
had in cases of disease among the live-stock; post-mortem examinations
can be made, and the animals may be sent to the Brown Institution,
Wandsworth Road, London, where the Professor-Superintendent undertakes
'to carry out such investigations relating to the nature, treatment,
and prevention of diseases of cattle, sheep, and pigs, as may be
deemed expedient by the Council of the Society.' Reports on the cases
are drawn up quarterly, or specially as may be required. Analyses of
guano and other fertilisers, of soils, of water, of vegetable products,
may be had; also reports on seeds, with determination of the quantity
of weeds mingled among them; on vegetable parasites; on diseases of
farm-crops. And besides all this, any member whose lands are infested
by noxious intruders may have a 'determination of the species of
any insect, worm, or other animal, which, in any stage of its life,
injuriously affects the farm-crops, with a report on its habits, and
suggestions as to its extermination.'

Experiments on the fattening of animals by Messrs Lawes and Gilbert
help to settle the much-debated question as to whether fat is produced
exclusively from nitrogenous food or not. Their conclusion is, that
excess of nitrogen contributes to growth but not to fatness. 'There
is, of course,' they say, 'a point below which the proportion of
nitrogenous substance in the food should not be reduced; but if this
be much exceeded, the proportion of the increase, and especially of
the fat-increase, to the nitrogenous substance consumed, rapidly
decreases; and it may be stated generally, that taking our current
fattening food-stuffs as they are, it is their supply of digestible
non-nitrogenous, rather than of nitrogenous constituents which guides
the amount, both of the food consumed and of the increase produced, by
the fattening animal.'

Since the outbreak of discussion on spontaneous generation and the germ
theory, many readers have become familiar with the term Bacteria, by
which certain minute organisms are described. The question involved
may be studied from different points of view, as appears from a
communication addressed to the Royal Society by Dr Downes and Mr Blunt,
a chemist, on the Effect of Light upon Bacteria and other Organisms.
Properly prepared solutions were inclosed in glass tubes; some of
the tubes were placed in sunlight, others were covered with paper
or some material that excluded light. The dark tubes became turbid;
the light tubes remained clear. The experiments modified in various
ways were continued from April to October; and the conclusions that
the experimentalists came to were that--Light is inimical to the
development of Bacteria and the microscopic fungi associated with
putrefaction and decay, its action on the latter being apparently less
rapid than upon the former--That the preservative quality of light
is most powerful in the direct solar ray, but can be demonstrated
to exist in ordinary diffused daylight--and That this preservative
quality appears to be associated with the actinic rays of the spectrum.
'It appears to us,' say the two gentlemen, 'that the organisms which
have been the subject of our research may be regarded simply as
isolated cells, or minute protoplasmic masses specially fitted by
their transparency and tenuity for the demonstration of physical
influences. May we not expect that laws similar to those which here
manifest themselves may be in operation throughout the vegetable, and
perhaps also the animal kingdom wherever light has direct access to
protoplasm? On the one hand, we have chlorophyll (colouring substance
of leaves, &c.) owing its very existence to light, and whose functions
are deoxidising; on the other, the white protoplasm or germinal matter
oxidising in its relations, and to which, in some of its forms at
least, the solar rays are not only non-essential, but even devitalising
and injurious.

'This suggestion,' continued the gentlemen, 'we advance provisionally
and with diffidence; nor do we wish to imply that the relations of
light to protoplasmic matter are by any means so simple as might be
inferred from the above broad statement.'

A paper by Dr Burdon Sanderson, F.R.S., read before the same Society,
contains, amid much that is controversial about _Bacteria_, germs,
organised particles, development and so forth, a few passages which
all intelligent readers will be able to understand. On the question
of disease-germs, the learned doctor remarks: 'In order that any
particle may be rightly termed a disease-germ, two things must be
proved concerning it: first, that it is a living organism; secondly,
that if it finds its way into the body of a healthy human being or of
an animal, it will produce the disease of which it is the germ. Now
there is only one disease affecting the higher animals in respect of
which anything of this kind has been proved, and that is splenic fever
of cattle. In other words, there is but one case in which the existence
of a disease-germ has been established. Comparing such a germ with the
germinal particles we have been discussing, we see that there is but
little analogy between them, for, first, the latter are not known to be
organised; secondly, they have no power of producing disease, for it
has been found by experiment that ordinary Bacteria may be introduced
into the circulating blood of healthy animals in considerable
quantities without producing any disturbance of health. So long as we
ourselves are healthy, we have no reason to apprehend any danger from
the morbific action of atmospheric dust, except in so far as it can
be shewn to have derived infectiveness from some particular source of
miasma or contagium.'

In a communication to the _American Journal_, Professor Kirkwood
discusses the question--Does the motion of the inner satellite of
Mars disprove the nebular hypothesis? This satellite he remarks is
within three thousand four hundred miles of the planet's surface, and
completes three orbital revolutions in less than a Martial day. How is
this remarkable fact to be reconciled with the cosmogony of Laplace?
The Professor then remarks that there is some similarity between the
movements of the satellites and those of the rings of Saturn. The
rings are composed of clouds of exceedingly minute planetoids, and
while the outer ring revolves in a period somewhat greater than that
of Saturn itself, 'the inner visible edge of the dusky ring completes
a revolution in about eight hours. These rings,' in the words of
Professor Tait, 'like everything cosmical, must be gradually decaying,
because in the course of their motion round the planet there must be
continual impacts among the separate portions of the mass; and of
two which impinge, one may be accelerated, but at the expense of the
other. The other falls out of the race, as it were, and is gradually
drawn in towards the planet. The consequence is that, possibly not so
much on account of the improvement of telescopes of late years, but
perhaps simply in consequence of this gradual closing in of the whole
system, a new ring of Saturn has been observed inside the two old
ones, called from its appearance the crape ring, which was narrow when
first observed, but is gradually becoming broader. That crape ring is
formed of the laggards which have been thrown out of the race, and are
gradually falling in towards Saturn's surface.' It is then suggested
that, by a process similar to that here described, the phenomena of the
Martial system may have been produced, and the argument concludes thus:
'Unless some such explanation as this can be given, the short period of
the inner satellite will doubtless be regarded as a conclusive argument
against the nebular hypothesis.'

In a paper read at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mr
Brett argues against the hypothesis that Mars is in a condition similar
to that of the earth. He grounds his conclusion on the fact that in
all his observations of Mars he has seen no clouds in the atmosphere
thereof. That atmosphere is very dense, of great bulk, and is probably
of a temperature so high that any aqueous vapour contained therein is
prevented from condensation. Mr Brett implies that the glowing red
colour of the middle of the disk is glowing red heat; and he remarks,
in terrestrial experience there is always an intermediate phenomenon
between vapour and snow, namely opaque cloud; and the absence of this
condition seems fatal to the hypothesis that the white polar patch, as
hitherto supposed, consists of snow. According to Mr Brett this patch
is not only not snow; constitutes no part of the solid mass of the
planet; but is nothing more than a patch of cloud, 'the only real cloud
existing in Mars.'

From particulars published in the _Quarterly Journal_ of the Geological
Society, it appears that metallic copper and copper ore have been
discovered along a tract of country in Nova Scotia, that the specimens
when analysed at Swansea yielded satisfactory results, and that 'Nova
Scotia may soon appear on the list of copper-producing countries,
it being confidently expected that during the approaching summer
fresh localities will be proved to contain copper-bearing veins.'
And shifting the scene, we learn from the same _Journal_ that in the
South African Diamond Fields, two claims in Kimberley Mine, comprising
eighteen hundred square feet, have yielded twenty-eight thousand carats
of diamond; that at Lyndenburg, in the Transvaal country, most of the
alluvial gold is supplied by Pilgrim's Rest Creek, the gold being
coarse and nuggety, in well-rounded lumps, some of which, ten pounds in
weight, are worth from seventy-six to eighty shillings an ounce; and
that near the Oliphant River cobalt ore is found, of which a hundred
tons have been sent to England. The same locality yields beryls, and is
believed to be rich in other minerals.

Compressed air on being released from pressure can be cooled down to a
very low temperature by throwing into it a jet of cold water. Advantage
has been taken of this fact in contriving a new refrigerator or
freezing chamber; and we are informed that at a trial which took place
with a view to commercial purposes, 'in half an hour after commencing
to work the machine, the thermometer within the freezing chamber stood
at twenty degrees below zero; the interior of the chamber was covered
with hoar-frost half an inch thick, bottles of water were frozen solid,
and the general temperature of the room in which the freezing chamber
stands was reduced to thirty degrees Fahrenheit.' It is clear that
by this invention a very cheap way of producing ice and maintaining
coolness has become available; and that it should have been adopted by
a Company for use on board ship to keep meat fresh during the voyage
from Canada is what might be expected. Bearing in mind that in April
of the present year the United States sent to England more than eight
million pounds of meat, the importance of the new cooling method will
be appreciated. Moreover, it may be applied to many other purposes
which require a low temperature.

Another step has been taken towards diminishing the risk of railway
travelling. Experience has shewn that the danger most to be dreaded is
collision; and that collision is brought about by defective signals.
The interlocking system of signals is good, and the block-system is
good; but they have failed in critical moments. The manager of the
Railway Signal Works at Kilburn has invented a method which combines
the two systems, and, as we are informed, has thereby 'dislodged the
last atom of human fallibility' from railway signalling. Time will
prove.

The block-system has been adopted, with endeavours to improve it,
on some of the principal lines in France; and the companies point
to statistics which shew that railway travelling is safer in France
than in Belgium or England; there being not more than _one_ death to
forty-five millions of travellers.

Professor Marsh's address to the meeting of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science cannot fail to interest all readers
who desire to learn something of the Introduction and Succession of
Vertebrate Life in America. It is a subject very inviting, and very
difficult to trace the succession from fishes to amphibia, reptiles and
birds, and onwards to mammals; but cannot be properly discussed without
the aid of much dry scientific detail. We shall content ourselves
therefore with a few points in the address which admit of presentation
in a popular form. 'During the Triassic time,' says Professor Marsh,
'the Dinosaurs attained in America an enormous development both in
variety of forms and in size. The Triassic sandstone of the Connecticut
valley has long been famous for its fossil footprints, especially the
so-called bird-tracks, which are generally supposed to have been made
by birds. A careful investigation, however, of nearly all the specimens
yet discovered has convinced me that most of these three-toed tracks
were certainly not made by birds; but by quadrupeds which usually
walked upon their hind-feet alone, and only occasionally put to the
ground their smaller anterior extremities.'

According to present knowledge, the earliest appearance of birds
in America was during the Cretaceous period. Among them was one to
which the name _Hesperornis_ has been given. It was aquatic, nearly
six feet in length, had jaws with teeth set in grooves, rudimentary
wings, and legs similar to those of modern diving-birds. We have it
on the authority of Professor Marsh that this strange creature 'was
essentially a carnivorous swimming ostrich.'

Coming to the Miocene period, we are told of the Brontotherium, an
animal nearly as large as the elephant, but with much shorter limbs.
A countryman looking at the skeleton of one of these monsters in the
museum at Newhaven, was heard to say: 'Adam must have had a bad time
of it when he branded that critter there.' It was succeeded by the
equally huge _Chalicotherium_. And a little later we have the statement
that 'the Marsupials are clearly the remnants of a very ancient fauna
which occupied the American continent millions of years ago, and from
which the other mammals were doubtless all derived, although the direct
evidence of the transformation is wanting.'

It has long been supposed that the New World was peopled by migrations
from the Old World. Professor Marsh holds a directly opposite opinion,
whereby an interesting question is presented for discussion. The
surveys and explorations carried on of late years by the United States
government have brought to light such an amazing number of fossils,
indicative of more, that the museums in America will soon be the
largest and the richest in specimens in the world. On the other hand,
we may point to Central Asia, and suggest that when that vast country
shall be thoroughly explored, fossil relics may be discovered more
diversified and interesting even than those of America.

A remarkable statement occurs in a Report by one of the government
naturalists on the Injurious Insects of the West, namely that in the
United States the loss of agricultural products through the ravages of
insects amounts to 'probably more than two hundred millions of dollars
each year, and that from one-quarter to one-half of this sum might be
saved by preventive measures.'

Another item from beyond the Atlantic is the gigantic cuttle-fish,
which was found after a storm at Catalina, on the coast of
Newfoundland. The measurements of this monster were: circumference of
body seven feet; length of tentacular arms thirty feet; of the ventral
arms eleven feet, and eye-sockets eight inches diameter. This, the
largest specimen ever preserved, is now in the New York Aquarium.
With a grasp of sixty feet when living, it must have realised the
descriptions in old writers of horrid sea-monsters that devoured
divers, and enveloped even ships with their terrible arms. It is not
the first that has been found on the shores of Newfoundland.

Readers who prefer the study of geography when mixed with adventures
will find instruction and entertainment in Mr Alfred Simson's _Notes of
Travel Across South America from Guayaquil to the Napo_, an affluent
of the great river of Brazil, as published in the last number of the
Geographical Society's _Journal_. Among descriptions of perilous
incidents, of laborious exertions, and of narrow escapes, are accounts
of wonderful scenery, of natural products, and of some of the native
tribes, which make us aware that much yet remains to be discovered
in that mountainous interior. In one place a party of the numerous
Jívaros tribe was met with, one of the most independent and warlike in
South America, who withstood alike the attacks of Incas and Spaniards,
and have still a habit of killing white people. A Jesuit padre who
had resided among them three years, told Mr Simson 'that he found it
impossible to make any progress with them.'

On another occasion Mr Simson explored the almost unknown Putumayo,
one of the largest of the Amazonian tributaries, navigable to the
foot of the Andes, eighteen hundred miles from the sea. This voyage,
aided by the Brazilian government, with a view to steam-navigation,
occupied fifty-seven days, beset by hardships, and the plague of the
blood-thirsty Pium flies, all of which Mr Simson appears to have
overcome by indomitable resolution.

In reply to further inquiries made regarding vegetable size, we are
told that 'the best and purest, if not the cheapest, is the _haï-thao_,
which is sold by Messrs Renault aîné et fils, 26 Rue du Roi de
Sicile, Paris. Its price (last year) varied from 5.50 to 7 francs per
kilogramme.' We are further told that this 'gum' was applied to the
sizing of cotton cloths with good results, and that it might prove
equally useful for the sizing of other materials such as paper. To one
gallon of water, four ounces of the size are added and _well_ boiled,
the result of which is a jelly which gets very thick when cool. Besides
the _haï-thao_, there are other kinds of size made from sea-weeds,
such as the _gélase_ of M. Martineau, druggist, St Parchaise, Charente
Inférieure--sold at 3.50 francs per kilogramme; the _thao-français_,
sold by M. Steinbach, Petit Guerilly, near Rouen, from 3.50 to 5
francs; and the _ly-cho_ of M. Fichet, 8 Rue de Chateau, Asnières,
Seine. Of the foregoing we believe the _haï-thao_ size to be the best.



THE ROLL-CALL OF HOME.

'FOR VALOUR.'


    A soldier came from distant lands, to seek his childhood's home:
    A gallant boy he marched away, when first he longed to roam
    With colours flying o'er his head, with music's thrilling strain;
    But now a saddened, dying man, he wandered home again.

    He left his love, the village belle, and cried, in careless glee:
    'When medals shine upon my breast, a hero's bride thou 'lt be.'
    To bring his mother laurels back, his youthful heart had yearned;
    A simple cross, a life of toil, were all that he had earned.

    Beside the old churchyard there sat, upon a rustic stile,
    A pretty little village maid, who gave him smile for smile.
    He asked her news of dear old friends--his dog among the rest--
    And trem'lous then he slowly asked for those he loved the best.

    But when his father's, mother's, name she heard him softly say,
    The merry face grew grave and sad; the bright smile passed away.
    She told, their son was lost or dead, their hearts' delight and pride;
    ''Neath yonder yew-tree,' said the maid, 'they're sleeping, side by side.'

    He asked her of his boyhood's love; a joyous answer came;
    'Thou knowest all my friends,' she cried; 'that _was_ my mother's name.'
    The soldier's face was fraught with grief she could not understand;
    Yet, with a child's quick sympathy, she placed in his her hand.

    'Come home,' she said; but with a kiss, quoth he, 'That may not be;
    I soon shall reach the only home now left, on earth, for me.'
    She was his last remaining friend; and thus, life's journey done,
    He gave her all he had to give--the cross, too dearly won!

    Bethought the maid, he needs repose as he has come from far;
    So prayed that he would tell, some day, the story of the war.
    'We two will rest a little while, for I am tired,' she said;
    'Where daisies grow, beneath the tree, come now and rest thy head.'

    She led him, gently, to the spot; and sleeping, calmly, there,
    The mother found them, hand in hand. How different the pair!
    _He_ was at peace; but in that rest where sorrow ne'er may come.
    Ah! may the soldier then have gained, in Heaven, a better home.

        AUGUSTA A. L. MAGRA.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Volume XIV. of the Fourth Series of CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL is now
completed, price Nine Shillings._

       *       *       *       *       *

_A Title-page and Index, price One Penny, have been prepared, and may
be ordered through any bookseller._

       *       *       *       *       *

_An elegant cloth case for binding the whole of the numbers for 1877 is
also ready._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Back numbers to complete sets may at all times be had._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Next Saturday, January 5, 1878, will be commenced in this JOURNAL, a
NOVEL, entitled_

    HELENA, LADY HARROWGATE.
    By JOHN B. HARWOOD,
    Author of _Lady Flavia_, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

END OF FOURTEENTH VOLUME.

Printed and Published by W. and R. Chambers, 47 Paternoster Row,
London, and 339 High Street, Edinburgh.

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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