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harbouring such uncanny folk. But of the truth of this I cannot say, and let us indulge in the romantic hope that the little people are still enjoying their lives among their fruit and flower and gem gardens.


ACCORDING to some of the novels of the present day, it is only the lovely nymphs of seventeen or eighteen, and the fascinating swains of three or four and twenty, who have any business to think of matrimony. The poor plain ones, or those who have passed the meridian of life, are looked upon as completely shelved; the hymeneal torch is not to be lit for them, and the little god of Love passes them over with contempt. But is this really the fact?

On the contrary, there were never more extraordinary contradictions than we find in the history of marriages; we see women marrying men young enough to be their grandsons; crabbed Age and Youth often live together in perfect harmony; and May and December are constantly united with the happiest results. Almost every marriage is a nine-days' wonder, and creates much astonishment, speculation, and lifting up of hands. Quite recently, a Dorsetshire clergyman of eighty years of age electrified his congregation by publishing his own banns in the parish church. It is always necessary to be prepared for these surprises. The blind, deaf, halt, and maimed, are not exempt from the contagion of matrimony; and so far from youth and loveliness being the only victims of Hymen, we find some of the loveliest women consigned to singleblessedness; while their less favoured sisters are happy wives and mothers. The particulars of many curious marriages are not revealed to the public; but during the last century, less reticence was observed in the matter; the ages of the respective parties were frequently put down without reserve, and the fortunes of the ladies were mentioned with much unction and gusto.

Among these announcements, a few of the more remarkable are worth selecting. Here is one from an old magazine for June 1778 'A few days ago, was married at St Bridget's Church, in Chester, Mr George Harding, aged one hundred and seven, to Mrs Catherine Woodward, aged eighty-three. So singular a union could not fail of exciting the admiration and surprise of a numerous congregation, before whom the ceremony was performed. The bridegroom served in the army thirty-nine years, during the reigns of Queen Anne, George I., and part of George II. He is now particularly hearty, in great spirits, and retains all his faculties to an extraordinary perfection. This is his fifth wife; the last one he married in his one hundred and fifth year; and he is Mrs Woodward's fourth husband. It is also worthy of observation that the above old man's diet has been

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for the last thirty years past chiefly buttermilk boiled with a little flour, and bread and cheese.' As a pendant to this, we come across another announcement a few years later: Mr Thomas Dawson, of Northallerton, aged ninety, to Miss Golightly, a bouncing damsel of sixty-four. The anxious bridegroom had been a widower almost six weeks.'

As instances of youth and age going together, we may give the case of 'Mrs Horn, an agreeable widow with a genteel fortune, aged seventy-nine, who married Mr William Steptoe, aged about thirty.' We are again startled by the following announcement in the month of January 1805: At Tynemouth Church, a young man about twenty-three to a woman aged eighty-six, who had been the mother of seventeen children. Notwithstanding the banns had been but twice published, the experienced lady repaired to the church, where she was soon joined by her lover, and declared she would not leave it without her errand. She waited till the forenoon service was over, during which time she was frequently requested to leave the vestry, but all to no effect. She complained bitterly at her negligence in having forgotten to bring her pocket bottle and tobacco-pipe with her. The bridegroom apologised for not being acquainted with the forms of the church, as he had never been in one since he was christened; and if appearances could be believed, water did not seem to have been upon his face since that period.'

We find another curious marriage, which is announced in the following terms: Lately, at Newcastle, Mr Silvertop to Mrs Pearson. This is the third time that the lady has been before the altar in the character of a bride, and there has been something remarkable in each of her three connubial engagements. Her first husband was a Quaker; her second, a Roman Catholic; and her third is a Protestant of the established church. Each husband was twice her age. At sixteen, she married a gentleman of thirty-two; at thirty, she took one of sixty; and now, at forty-two, she is united to a gentleman of eighty-four.'

A great sensation was created in the year 1778 by the marriage of the then celebrated female historian, Mrs Catherine Macaulay, who was far advanced in years, with a surgeon's mate, under age, of the name of Graham. Mrs Macaulay was quite a literary lioness; and Dr Wilson, an elderly and learned admirer of her talents, had actually built a house for her, called Albert House; this he presented to her with furniture and a valuable library. He even went so far as to have medals struck in her honour. Great, therefore, was the amazement amongst the literary and fashionable world of Bath when Mrs Macaulay, who had always been considered a rock of sense by her friends, made this extraordinary match.

In Mr Cudworth's interesting book, Round about Bradford, he mentions the low status of the

colliers of Wibsey in the year 1851, and says sort might be multiplied; but enough have that the humiliating spectacle of the wedding been given to show how strangely things someof Johnny and Betty' is not yet forgotten, nor times work out in the important matter of the collection of oddities and absurdities that matrimony. passed through the streets of Bradford in that year, on the way to the parish church. On a couple of yards of painted calico, the secret of all this rejoicing was told in the following


At John's and Betty's wedding,
We will merry be,

For Johnny's sixty-five,

And Betty's seventy-three!

Mr Cudworth also relates that the incumbent of Wilsden, Mr Barber, was once called upon to perform a marriage in trust.' There was person living at Haworth parish known by the a name of Moses o' Lukis.' Moses having persuaded a woman to take him for better, for worse,' they appeared at Wilsden Church to be married; but when the knot was tied, the happy couple had no money to pay the fees! Moses promised to pay the reverend gentleman in besoms; and honestly kept his word. This reminds us of a couple who, not having the wherewithal to buy a wedding-ring, the large key of the church door had to be temporarily used for the


Ireland was not behind hand in the oddity of its marriages; we come across whole clusters of them in Walker's Hibernian Magazine. Among them are the following: 'Mr John Hogarty, of Ballymanduff, County Dublin, aged twenty, to Mrs Flood of said place, aged eighty-six.' The Rev. Athanasius Huring, aged eighty-two, to Miss Carr, aged twenty-two, an agreeable young lady, with a fortune of fifteen thousand pounds.' Mr Richards, gardener, to Miss Mary Roper. The bridegroom is in the sixty-second year of his age, and five feet four inches high; the bride aged twenty-one, and only two feet eleven inches in height.'

A match in high life between a certain Dowager Duchess and handsome Irishman, Mr Hussey, created a great deal of heartburning and envy. Hanbury Williams, one of the rejected suitors, composed some very spiteful verses on the occasion.

The problem how to unmarry a couple was attempted by a clergyman in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1805. He found out on inquiry that he had married a young man and woman who were brother and sister by marriage (probably a deceased wife's sister). The clergyman, afraid that he might be punished for uniting this couple, attempted to unmarry them by taking the bride's bonnet from her head and placing the church Bible thereon; but the charm was not successful; and the loving pair firmly resisted this innovation of undoing the hymeneal


AN idea, says a clever writer, that can be best
expressed in one line you may be sure is a
good one. 'An idea well focused will burn a
hole clean through creation,' he adds; 'but most
people can't define a knot-hole without taking
a page to do it in and spoiling a ten-foot plank
besides.' Hoping to spare both the plank and
of a humorous nature.
the page, we venture some gossip on definitions

The word gossip was amusingly illustrated by the child who said: 'It's when nobody don't do nothing, and somebody goes and tells of it.' No marvel that gossip flourishes when we are reminded of the shortness of life-only four letters-three-quarters of it a "lie," and half of it an "if." There are wit, humour, and satire in that description. Wit and humour are said to be the 'seasoning of every-day life;' and satire, according to Swift, who ought to know, is a sort of glass wherein beholders generally discover everybody's face but their own, which is the reason so few are offended with it.' 'True sarcasm is in the point, not in the shaft of the arrow,' says the author who defined a sarcastic wit as a kind of human polecat.' 'A jest has this advantage of sarcasm, that it is something sharp enough to be noticed, and not rude enough to be resented-something that a fool admires, and a wise man laughs at.'

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The glory, jest, and riddle of the world,' says a poet, 'is man.' Mankind is divided by a philosopher into 'those who know but little, those who know less, and those who know nothing at all.' Nothing, by the way, used to be defined as a 'footless stocking without a leg;' but a cooper's little son lately gave his idea of nothing as a 'bunghole without a barrel around it.' A tyrant has been hit off as 'one who never puts a stop to his sentences,' and 'one who kills worms lest they turn.' 'An egotist who loves his fellow-man for himself alone,' is a terse reckoning up of a cannibal. A genius,' we are told, 'can run anybody else's machine, but can't run his own for half what it is worth;' and an antiquary 'is commonly a clever fellow enough, who can see no value in an iron kettle until time has made it worthless by knocking a hole in the bottom of it.' 'A prophet is a good Some very curious changes of names have guesser who gets things wrong four times out taken place in marriage. In Derbyshire, there of five, and whose excuses for his failures are now lives a woman who has been married more ingenious than his prophecies.' 'A prig is three times. Her maiden name was Wildgoose a fellow who is always making you a present -quite a common one in that locality-she changed it first for that of Fox, then for that of his opinions.' 'A successful man is one who of Goodlad, and finally settled down as Mrs succeeds and lets other folks quarrel over the Derbyshire. A Mr Bacon was once married to theory of it.' 'A dandy is a sort of football for a Miss Beans; and a Miss Pane married a men, and a pincushion for women.' Mr Glass. Abundant instances of the same


'Knights of the shiers are Aunt-Sally-men ;'


clothes-observers-tailors.' The definition our own happiness without making it look suspicious.' Curiosity is 'the desire of knowing what is unknown for that reason alone.' Idleness used to it, and dull work to those who are. Medicine, said a medical student, is the art of killing people without necessitating the interference of the police.'

is defined as 'hard work to those who are not

of an angler is well known, but every one is not aware that the 'complete angler is-Euclid.' A lawyer is said to be a man who disproves the proverb that barking dogs do not bite;' and a polite man is 'one who listens with interest to things he knows all about when they are being told by a person who knows nothing about them.' Perseverance 'is the son of faith, the twinOne notion of a bachelor is a man who has brother of pluck, and the grandfather of success' lost the opportunity of making a woman miser-virtue. Luck is the lazy man's logic;' opporPluck is a nice compound of pride, vanity, and able;' while another is-'a sour grape hanging tunity being another name for good-luck. Imby the twig of obstinacy on a wall of great agination is exceedingly disposed to run away expectations.' 'A delicate parcel' is a humorous with Reason, which is a very light rider, easily idea of 'a lovely young lady wrapped up in shaken off.' 'Truth is the only thing that can't herself;', 'silent thunder' a comical one for a be improved upon;' and wisdom, in a child's wordless woman; and 'matchless women' for nimble of foot, but short in the wind, and can opinion, is 'information of the brain.' 'A lie is travel in one day farther than it can get back in two.' 'Impudence is the effect of too little knowledge, and modesty often the effect of too much;' while false dignity is 'the effect of new clothes, no brains, and much victuals.' True happiness consists either in being somebody else, or having what you cannot get; consequently, there is not enough to go round.'

maiden aunts.

Amongst scores of definitions of love, 'the toothache of the heart' is easy to remember. An American writer declares love at first sight to be the greatest labour-saving machine the world ever saw.' 'A factory where honeymoons are made to order,' is a matrimonial agency; and a wedding-ring is 'a domestic circle.' 'A hasty match' has been wittily hit off as 'a loose affair (Lucifer);' while the man who marries happily may be said to be 'transported for life.' As a coloured wife has been called a 'black tie,' a red-haired girl's marriage may be described as a 'Vesuvian match.' In answer to the question, 'What is the meaning of matrimony?' a youngster said: 'I don't know exactly, but mother says she has had enough of it.'

Children, as many find to their cost, are 'running expenses' and 'household troops;' the baby's cry being a call to arms.' The price of a family cradle is 'hush-money;' while 'home-rule,' as many a husband acknowledges, 'is petticoat government.'

'Gas,' according to a boy who was watching a distended balloon, 'is melted wind.' Sleep is an armistice in the battle of life;' but a boy called snoring, 'sleeping out loud.' A little Scotch girl, in answer to 'What is patience?' answered 'Bide a wee and dinna weary.'

While a phonograph speaks for itself,' a telephone may not inaptly be termed 'a sound investment;' and a heliograph, a flash friend.' A lighthouse suggests a 'light-headed friend to be avoided.'

Good nonsense we are reminded is 'good sense in disguise;' and gravity, 'the wisdom of fools.' 'Velocity,' to quote a young pupil, 'is what a man puts a hot plate down with.' 'Congealed light' is an odd description of a crystal; and 'striking oil' not a bad one of harpooning a whale; while the world's drop-scene' would be a scene-painter's idea of Niagara Falls.

A proverb has been defined as a saying without an author. Impossible things are said to be 'those things that have not been discovered yet,' by a writer who also declares that we can't define



Ar a recent meeting of the Anthropological Society, Mrs Bryant, D.Sc., read a paper concerning the Characters of Children, which was remarkable for its originality, and was, moreover, of a most interesting nature. A class of girls whose age averaged thirteen years were directed to describe from memory a certain object, such as a picture or a room. The information which was sought from their answers was their powers of perception, of inference, and of imagination. The most noteworthy result was that due to a faculty which Mrs Bryant calls emotionalism. The emotional girls, who in their description used such adjectives as 'beautiful,' 'lovely,' 'sweet,' &c., showed a deficiency in more valuable traits of character, and it would seem that in these cases emotion superseded thought. These tests would, it is believed, prove valuable in education and in the choice of a profession. We are inclined to think that if it were possible to extend this new system of tests to the higher intellectual faculties, and thus supersede the ordinary competitive examination method of selecting candidates for public appointments, we should have fewer square pegs in round holes.

Diving operations for the recovery of treasure which the sea has swallowed up are always invested with peculiar interest. In February last, the steamship Alphonso XII. sank in twentyfive and a half fathoms of water at Point Gando, Grand Canary, and with her went down into the deep one hundred thousand pounds in gold. Divers from England were sent out in the hope that this treasure might be recovered. After blowing up the upper part of the wreck, the

Dec. 26, 1885.]

bullion-room was reached, and one of the boxes of gold was recovered. A telegram was lately received by the Marine Insurance Company to the effect that the recovery of the remainder of the treasure is certain. It is noteworthy that the diver who was instrumental in recovering this first box of gold from a depth of more than one hundred and fifty feet is the same man who, by aid of the Fleuss diving apparatus, stopped the flooding of the Severn Tunnel a year or so ago. It may be remembered that a certain iron door in the drainage tunnel had inadvertently been left open. It was situated a quarter of a mile from the shaft; and this brave fellow, whose name is Lambert, crept that distance through a narrow passage full of water, and closed that door. This act enabled the pumps to overcome the volume of water which was flooding the pit, and the completion of the tunnel was proceeded with.

Sir Theodore Martin has recently published some particulars of the lead-mining industry in Wales, which show what disastrous results can be brought about by foreign competition. The imports of lead into this country have been for the past three years 99,000, 124,000, and 186,000 tons respectively. This ore came chiefly from Spain, where the mines are not so deep as the Welsh mines, and where the best workmen are paid only fourteenpence a day. As a result, one hundred and sixty-seven lead mines have been closed in this country, and many thousands of miners have been thrown idle.

A remarkable instance of the power of the sea in cutting through the hardest rock is afforded by the disappearance of a huge mass of basalt, which, until lately, formed a landmark for sailors on the coast of Denmark. This rock, or cliff, which was about one hundred feet high, rose out of the water, and had the appearance of a monk, hence its name, Munken. A portion of it fell last year; and now the remainder has been cut off just below the water-line, forming a dangerous reef. Floating ice-blocks have no doubt helped the waves to cut through the mass.

According to La Nature, prizes are being offered by the Bremen Aluminium and Magnesium Manufactory for the two best lamps for burning magnesium. This offer is prompted by the discovery that magnesium can be produced by electrolysis at a price much less than that at which it has hitherto been purchasable. Magnesium as an illuminant has until now been used only for experimental work, where a very bright and actinic light has been required for a short period. The most common form of magnesium lamp is one in which the metal, in the form of ribbon, is delivered by clockwork at a regular speed to the mouth of a tube which forms the point of ignition.

A correspondent of the British Medical Journal writes concerning a remedy for sea-sickness, which in the case of his son seems to have been successful. The traveller started for Calcutta on October 5th, taking with him a solution of hydrochlorate of cucaine; and he subsequently wrote from Port Said as follows: 'Sailing on

Monday, I was ill on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, but quite well between the attacks. Once more, when the weather was very rough and the ship rolling terribly, I felt squeamish, but two teaspoonfuls of the cucaine put me all right.' He always suffered more than any other passenger, adds that previously, in other voyages, he has and that he thinks the cucaine must be credited with the improvement. Perhaps some of our readers may have an opportunity of testing the efficiency of cucaine, and of kindly reporting. The subject is an important one.

The rest comes

It would seem, from a Report furnished to the Academy of Science by the chief of the Paris becoming a rare commodity even in France itself. Municipal Laboratory, that genuine brandy is For the ten years preceding the year 1850, the quantity of alcohol distilled annually in that country averaged twenty-five million gallons, and the major part of this was obtained in the form of brandy from wine. Now, although the total amount of spirit distilled is more than doubled, the juice of the grape does not contribute half a million gallons to the sum. from grain, cider, perry, beetroot, molasses, and properly rectified, and is charged with poisonous potatoes. This inferior kind of spirit is not agents of the most deadly character. The compiler of this Report, M. Girard, attributes the increase of insanity in certain localities wholly to these imitations of French brandy. Our readers may perhaps be ignorant of the fact that thousands of gallons of raw grain spirit are sent to France from this country, to be doctored, and returned as genuine French brandy.

It is becoming difficult to point to any article which cannot be constructed of that useful material which we call paper. The ingenious Japanese have taught us how it can be applied to many of our domestic wants, including even clothing, and other manufactures which were hitherto believed to be inseparable from textile fabrics. But a Breslau manufacturer has turned it to a far more surprising purpose, in the erection of a factory chimney fifty feet in height. The blocks or bricks of which this curious structure is composed are made of compressed paper pulp, joined together with silicious cement.

We extract from Iron a few particulars relating to the Transcaspian Railway. This important line starts from Fort Michailovski, on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, and leads in a southwestern direction into the interior of Central Asia. Part of it-one hundred and forty-three miles-is opened for traffic; and a further length of one hundred and thirty miles, extending to the Persian frontier, is nearly finished. The various cuttings and embankments of the railway are constructed of sand, and in many places screens are erected, or hedges planted, to counteract sand-drifts. The sleepers employed are saturated in naphtha, and the same agent supplies light throughout the route and fuel for the engines. A scarcity of water is at present one of the chief obstacles to working the railway.

The petroleum sent from the United States to this and other countries has hitherto been sent in casks. The new system of exporting it in bulk is now being tried, and the ship Crusader of New York has recently arrived in London with the first cargo of oil sent over in that manner.


vessel is fitted with forty-five cylindrical tanks, with a total capacity of nearly two hundred thousand gallons. The oil was pumped into these receptacles from tank-lighters in New York, and was pumped out again into similar lighters on arrival at London. Here it will be barrelled for market. Should this new system prove to be more profitable than the older method, it will doubtless be extended to the conveyance of other liquid cargoes.

Another advance in photography is indicated by the new method of silver-printing by machinery invented by Mr John Urie of Glasgow, and just brought into notice in London by Messrs Marion. A ribbon of paper is caused to travel by clockwork, panorama fashion, beneath a negative which is let in to the top of a light tight box. Above the negative is a powerful gas-burner, which is turned up and down automatically, as the paper pauses in its passage every few seconds. The strip of paper, which at the end of a few minutes bears perhaps twenty latent images of the negative beneath which it has been travelling, is now developed by a suitable chemical agent to make those images visible. The paper is then cut up into twenty pictures, which are mounted on card in the usual way. A special kind of paper, known as Alpha paper, is used in this process, and the results given are not only beautiful but per


Weather-predicting, which only a few decades back represented a curious mixture of ignorance and superstition, is gradually becoming a more and more important branch of science. Thoughtless people may laugh at it, and point to the storms prophesied from the other side of the Atlantic which do not always visit our shores; but careful attention to statistics will show that a large number of the forecasts given are justified by subsequent events. In America itself, the study of the phenomena of tornadoes has been so successful that fairly reliable forecasts of their coming are now made. Mr Eddy, of the Signal Service Bureau, points out that out of thirty-eight predictions respecting coming tornadoes in April and June of last year, eighteen were verified. But the figures for this year show a far higher degree of accuracy. In June and July, nineteen were predicted, and no fewer than fifteen were verified. Even where actual tornadoes failed to appear, the occurrence of wind and hail storms at the critical periods showed that the observers were not far wrong.

Following the example of Manchester, Chester is now also anxious to bring the sea within its reach for mercantile purposes. It has no need to cut a canal, for the river Dee forms a waterway, but its gradual silting up has caused Chester to lose its old position as an important port. Extensive works have already been undertaken to provide the river with a navigable channel having a depth of about seventeen feet, reaching from the sea to the city. The works not only comprehend extensive dredging operations, but the construction of embanking walls. When these works are completed, large vessels will be able to discharge their cargoes at Chester, instead of sending them by rail from the Mersey.

It is a curious fact that the various species of flat-fish so familiar in British waters are not so well represented in America. The National Fish

Culture Association have lately tried the experiment of transporting a number of these fish, consisting of turbot, soles, and brill, to the American coast. The greatest possible care has been taken to make the experiment successful. The fish were captured on the Essex coast by special trawlers, and were then sent by rail to Liverpool, where they took their passage for New York in the Cunard steamship Gallia. On board this vessel, tanks were fitted up for the reception of the fish, with all the necessary apparatus for oxygenating and changing the water. The result of this experiment will be looked forward to with great interest.

Some interesting details respecting the next great Exhibition in London have been published. This, the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, will form the latest of the series of which the 'Fisheries' formed the first, and the recent Health Exhibition the second. The coming Exhibition will far surpass in grandeur and importance the two wonderful shows which preceded it. It is organised by a Royal Commission, of which the Prince of Wales is executive President; and the whole of the space was actually allotted to intending exhibitors several months ago. Very few of our colonies will be unrepresented. Even the food served to visitors will be Indian and colonial, for it has been determined that such produce shall alone be used. A market, too, will be opened for the sale of this produce under the superintendence of the School of Cookery. The Indian section of the Exhibition will probably form its most interesting feature. An Indian palace and shops, which will be peopled by native artificers, have been under construction by native workmen for some months. The attractive fountains and electric illuminations will remain as in the former Exhibitions.

A correspondent writes to us: When in Vicksburg lately, a cotton-planter there gave me some interesting particulars as to the means adopted for preventing the plague of the army worm. This worm is the larva of an insect which is very destructive to the cotton-plant, and often strips whole acres nearly bare of foliage. At the time when the moth or butterfly, which is the product of it, is on the wing, an electric light is suspended over a large flat vat containing molasses or oil. The moth is attracted by the light, and after fluttering round, settles down, as it supposes, on the ground, but really in the oil or molasses, which drowns it. They tell me that one light is sufficient for twenty thousand acres of land, and that in this way they can now control the army worm.'

Dr Aschrott, the German expert examined by the Parliamentary Committee on National Provident Insurance in July last, has written to Canon Blackley a letter containing the following information with regard to the German law of compulsory insurance: (1) The law of insurance against accident has been declared to be in full force from the 1st of October 1885. (2) It has been found that the number of persons compelled by the law of insurance against sickness to insure is about four millions. Beside this number, most of the local authorities have availed themselves of the power to compel further classes of the popula tion to insure against sickness, so that the total number of persons who are subjected to the law of

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