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TO MOTHERS.

THB sTHANGE CLAIMANT; OR,…

MINIE; THE MISEK'S DAUGHTER.

[No title]

I LADIES' COLUMN.

USEFUL HINTS.

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FOSSIL SHBLLS.—The shells belong to the class of molluscs that love to dwell in the mud at the mouths 01 large rivers, where the water is brackish. The clay, too, is exactly such as would be formed from the fine sediment brought down by some large river to the sea, and there deposited on the bottom. Hence we infer that this bed of clay is nothing more than the dried and pressed-down mud of some ancient estuary, whose turbid waters Bowed over this spot in bygone ages. Before passing on, however, we must pause a minute to notice a ridge that juts out about the middle of this deposit, and is continued along its entire length. A tap of the hammer soon reveals its nature. Packed as closely as possible, and dove- tailing, so to speak, into each other so as to form a hard band, are countless shells of oysters, often with both valves united just as thty grew on the spot. As they prefer salter water than the ether shells, they point to a slight change in the physical conditions at this stage, whereby the sea was enabled to gain slightly over the river, driving the estuarine shells back, and allowing the oysters to settle here, till a return of the previous conditions re-established the former occupants in their old quarters.—Science for ÂU. HIGHWAYMEN AT BLACKHEATH.—Leaving Charlton House behind us, and pursuing a south- western course, we make our way to the southern side of the Great Dover-road after it crosses Black- heath. Here we pass, at a short distance on our left, the steep ascent of Shooter's Hill, which, as Philipott writes, was so called for the thievery there prac- tised, where travellers in early times were so much infested with depredations and bloody mischief, that order was taken in the sixth year of Richard II. for the enlarging the highway, according to the statute made in the time of King Edward I., so that they venture still to rob here by prescrip- tion." The road continued a steep and narrow thoroughfare, closed in by thick WO.Ois-a con- venient harbour for highwaymen—down till about the year 1733, when, as Hasted informs us, "a road of easier ascent and of great width was laid out at some distance from the old one;" but still the high- waymen lingered about the neighbourhood, and con- sequently the hill maintained its reputation long after the new road was made. Byron has rendered the spot familiar to his readers by his description of the pros- pect from the summit of the hill looking towards London: A mighty mass of brick, and smoke, and shipping, Dirty and dusky, but as wide as eye Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping, In sight, then lost amidst the forestry Of masts a wilderness of steeples peeping On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy A huge dim cupola, like a foolscap crown On a fool's head—and there is London town." Here, too, probably, was the scene of Don Juan's musings on the morality, or immorality, of the great city"—Here are pure wives, safe lives;" a reverie which was destined to be broken off rather abruptly— if there be any truth in the*poet's words which follow —by the sudden attack of a highwayman. For the dis- couragement of these knights of the road the usual methods were adopted here; and in former times Shooter's Hill was seldom without the ornament of a gibbet. Pcpys tells us in his Diary," | under date of April 11, 1661, how that of all the journeys he ever made, this [from Dartford to London] was the merriest. Amongst other things," he adds, I got my lady to let her maid, Mrs. Anne, ride all the way on horseback. Mrs. Anne and I rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter's Hill, and a filthy sight it was to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones." With the improved condition of the times in which we live, however, an end came some years ( ago to the practice of the highwaymen but a some- what ludicrous attempt at its revival was made in the year 1877, and in this very neighbourhood, with some little success; but the young ruffians having been brought to iustice, it is to be hoped that henceforth the midnight wayfarer may proceed on his way over Blackheath or Shooter's Hill in security,—Old and New London.

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