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THE FIRST LONDON THEATRES.—James Bur- bage and his companions were driven to look for a place outside the Lord Mayor's jurisdiction where they might still be within reach of the considerable audiences to be drawn from London. Such a place they found among the houses built upon the ground that had once belonged to the great monastery of the Domi- nicans or Black Friars. The monastery had been built in the time of Edward I., and had a handsome church with privileges, including right of sanctuary. Its large precinct included many shops, and had been entered by four gates. Its inhabitants, exempt from City law, were subject only to the King, to the superior of the monastery, and to their own justices. Several Parliaments had been held in the geat church of the Black Friars, and there in 1529 Wolsey and Campeggio had heard the question of divorce between Henry VIII. and Katharine of Arragon. At the dissolution of the monasteries, iKd £ ^"ara was surrendered to the King in 1538. In lo47 the Prior's lodgings and the hall were sold to Sir Francis Bryan, and afterwards Edward VI. granted the rest to Sir Thomas Cawarden. The site monastery and its precincts—not included within liberties of the City till the reign of James I. -became, in Elizabeth's day, a fashionable quarter and when James Burbage and his fellow players, to escape control of the Corporation, took a house in Blackfriars, and converted it into a theatre of their own, they could not do so without combating much opposition from the polite neighbours, who were averse to noise and crowd. But thev achieved their object, and opened, in 1576, the Blackfriara Theatre, the first place set apart in England for performances or plays. About the same time, two other buildings were erected for the distinct purpose of presenting plays in them. These were outside the citv bounds, in the pleasant fields at Shoreditch, a quarter then preferred for the houses and gardens of rich foreign merchants trading in London. These houses were called The Theatre and "The Curtain," built on the south-western side of the site of the suppressed Priory of St. John the Baptist, called Holywell. One recommendation of the place chosen for them was that outside Bishopsgate a well-kept street (now Bishops- gate-street Without) extended for soma way into the | open country, and thus gave easy and safe way of approach to the play-goers. Cassell's Library of English Literature A PECULIAR MARRIAGE LAW.—A numerous progeny, in a poor and sterile country, is doubtless a distinct evil, and it is one which naturally suggests the imposition of a check even to those who have never beard of Malthus or his doctrines. This we may sup- pose to have been the position of the Tibetans when they cast about for some plan by which they might f increase of the population. The plan they adopted for this purpose is almost unique, and is called polyandry, which may be explained as being the exact reverse of polygamy for as in most Eastern countries it is lawftit for a man to have a plurality of wives, in libet it is the custom for a woman to have a plurality of husbands. The usual practice is for two, three, or four brothers in a household to marry one wife. They all reside in one house, and the children are considered to be the joint offspring of all. It is inconceivable to us that such a system should exist for aD hour bit in Tibet, far from giving rise to the evils which might be expected to flow from it, it works easily and well; and the pictures which travellers give us of Tibetan households display a degree of domestic happiness and affection which certainly equals that enjoyed in more favoured lands. This is a description Mr. Bogle gives of a family at whose house he spent the night: "The house belongs to two brothers, who are married to a very handsome wife, and have three of the prettiest children I ever saw. They all came to drink tea and eat sugar-candy. After night came on, the whole family assembled in a room to dance to their own singing, and spent two hours in this manner with abundance of mirth and glee. But if such a system renders marriage an im- possibility to many women, it makes some amends by elevating te position of those who succeed in entering the bonds of wedlock. The natural rivalry which exists between the husbands tends to encour age them in a chivalrous regard for the comfort and well-being of their common wife. The ornaments which adorn the garments and head-dresses of the women bear testimony to a very general desire to please On the part of their husbands, while the effect of the attention thus bestowed on the weaker vessels is to render them more delicate and joyous than any of their polygamy-bound neighbours. To a certain ex- tent, also, it has on the men that refining effect which must always result from the habit of considering the wishes of others but in other respects it leaves them, as it found them. hard and uncultivated—Cornhill Magazine. WHY COAL BURNB.-If you take a lump of coal out of the coal-scuttle you find yourself in posses- sion of an irregular lump of black stone, which usually soils the hand that holds it, to a greater or less extent, and which generally presents but one obvious feature— namely, that it clearly consists of thin parallel layers, some of which are usually shiny and glistening, while others are more dull and earthy in appearance. In consequence of this structure, as every one knows who has ever stirred a fire, it is comparatively 08BY to break up a piece of coal in one direction (the direction cor- responding with that of the oomponent layers), but repeated blows from the poker may be vainly used if the refractory lump be attacked in the opposite direc- tion (the direction at right angles to the layers). Now, as before remarked, there is nothing whatever about a piece of coal which would in any Way indicate its inflammable nature, and perhaps the first question that we should feel disposed to ask is, Why does coal burn ? To answer this question we must call in the help of our chemical friends; but we can get an intelligible reply without dipping very deeply into the theory of combustion. The chemist tells us, then, that coal is composed principally of the elementary substance which is termed carbon, and which is seen in its purest form in lamp-black, charcoal, and the wonderfully dissimilar blacklead and diamond. He further tells us that carbon, when raised to a certain temperature, has the strongest desire te unite itself with the gas called oxygen, which is present in a large amount in our atmosphere, this union being attended with the production of light and heat, and resulting in the formation of the invisible and poisonous gas which is technically called carbonic-acid gas. When, therefore, we burn a piece of coal in the fire-place, what happens, roughly stated, is (1) that the carbon of the coal enters into direct union with the oxygen of the air, emitting heat and light in so doing, the carbonic-acid gas thus produced escaping up the chimney in an invisible form; and (2) that the earthy and incombustible matter present in greater or less amount in all coals is left in the grate unburned, in the form of ashes and cinders.— Science for All BEAUTY gains little, and homeliness and de- formity lose much, by gaudy attire. Lysander knew this was in part true, and refused the rich garments that the tyrant Dionysius proffered to hIs daughter, saying that they were fit only to make ugly faces more remarkable.



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