Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page

... LITERARY EXTRACTS.

News
Cite
Share

LITERARY EXTRACTS. THE WRONG TIME.—Deception is a dangerous I'8t source, even when resorted so with what seem to bt innocsnt intentions. JSirW. H. Preece.Jonthe occa- sion of the Chamber of dommerce banqnet at South- ampton in the spring of last year, told an amusing story of how he unwittingly deceived an audience in that town. It was in Southampton, he said, that be made practically his first public appearance. He did not mind confessing that his lecture was a failure. It was delivered in the year 1856, shortly after tha first cables were laid to the Continent; The lecturer was very anxious that his friends in Southampton should observe the accurate working of thesubmarirw able; so a connection was made with London, and in London the secretary of the telegraph company undertook to see that the proper connections were carried through from Southampton to the Conti- nent. Mr. Preece then began talking to his audience about the difference of time in different places, and explained that "it was due to the difference in longitude. Before the lecture was finished he telegraphed to the Hague. to Hanover, Berlin, Dresden, and Vienna. When he got to Vienna, a gentleman in the audience, having, in his mind the information already given about differ- ences of time, said, Perhaps the lecturer will ask what time it is in Vienna ?" That question was the lecturer's undoing. It happened to be just nine o'clock in Southampton. He asked the question, and the answer came back 8.20. That is a lie said the gentleman. The lecturer is an imposted" Sor- rowfully the lecturer was obliged to admit that the answer was not correct. He was very nervous and much vexed. It was clearly a mistake, for, as Vienna is east of Southampton, it would, of coarse, be later at Vienna than Southampton. Mi. Preece asked London what was the matter, and then learned that he was in very truth an innocent imposter, that a that a piece of deception had been practised, with the best of intentions, but not with the best of results. His friend, the secretary, told him that the cable to the Continent, was broken, and that, ratherthan dis- appoint the audience, he had personated the different places. He remembered that the difference between Southampton and Vienna was 40 minutes, but, in- stead of putting the 40 mmutee on, be took them off. Mr. Preece said he had leotwred many times since, but he had never repeated that experience. A CORPS OF INVALIDS.—The41-st (Welsh Regiment) which in modern times has done doughty deeds in various parts of the world, was originally a corps of invalids. Early in the last century it was considered desirable that soldiers disabled by wounds or by old old age for an active campaign should be formed into regiments for garrison duty, and the 41st was com- posed of such veteran*. They garrisoned in turn Portsmouth, Plymouth, Jersey, and Bristol, and were annually inspected. It must have been a rather pathetic function, for many of the old warriors were very infirm, and in 1767, for instance, we find that the major was aged 82, a lieutenant was 80, eight of the ensigns ranged from 60 to 79, and two were re- ported as stone-blind," They were not a very for- midable body, as :was shown when some of a regi- ment of Highlanders^ mutinied at Portsmouth, and the Invalids were ordered to quell the disturbance, for when a Highlander shot one of the oldmeç dead the rest hobbled away, while the officer in charge having a wooden leg, was unable to escape,; and WM, therefore, captured by the mutineers. A little over a century ago, however, the regiment was reorganised on an active footing, and soon had an -opportunity for distinguishing itself in the operations; against the French in Che West Indies. Afterwards came the war with 'the United States, in which it figured prominently, especially at Queenstown Heights, in 1812. The regiment did not return lo Europe till Waterloo had been won, but was im tirne to ^oin i»he foffe-Which garrrsoiled' Pftris afterwards. In 1824 it served in the Burmese War, in which it fought a succession of sharp engagements. Jfext it had some tough work in t;he Afghan campaign of 1842 and in the Crimean War took partin the battle olifhe Alma, and i n most of the subsequentengagements. It was the 41-st which bore the brunt of the disastrous attack on the Redan, in which a large number of lives were sacrificed in attempting the impossible. In later years the regiment has served in India, Egypt, and Africa, and has always had a high reputation. —Morning Post. VVITAT A BATTLE IS LIKE UNDER MODERN CONDI- TIONS.—Any man who has been in a modern fight, where men are being knocked over all around, and isays he likes it, is (writes a war correspondent in the Daily News) a liar. In former days it must have been.different. The enemy could be seen, the,smoke could be-seen, and rifle had to be reloaded after every •shot. A.t 1000 yards you were in comparative safety. The infantry, after receiving one volley, could charge, knowing that until the enemy had loaded again each man was practically safe. Nowadays that is all changed. Nothing is seen, no man, no smoke. The -only thing seen is the dust thrown up by the bullets; Like a irain -storm.-on the-surface.of the lake, the ar- tillery ithrowing shells, and the shells bursting. In contrast to this is the noise, which is infernal; with occasional lulls it eounds as if a million kettle- drums were being played—»a constant tra-ra-ra->ra, with the boom, boom, of the big guns and the harsher sound of the pumping of the Maxims. HoUthkiss, Maxim-Nordenfeldts, and machine gum in general. The discord is appalling, as every gun has a different sound* and each shell going through the air hums or whistles according to its breed. After a time you can tell what is coming, ur, if it is one of your own, what is going. The most terrifying ,of the enemy's guns is a sort of Hotcbkiss, which liresabout five rounds a time and throws a lib. shell which bursts, You are safe nowhere, as a bullet, fired at an .object at 800yd., which misses, hits and kills at 2000 or 5000. It practically means with these rifles tthat a "bullet is never spent until it hits something and remains there. When a bullet strikes you hear nothing; it goes right through a man and probably travels .on another 2000yd. You hear a grunt or a gurgle, Mid the man collapses and doubles up; sometimes if hit in the arm or leg he spins round and falls, and ,probably gets up again, as it is only the shock which knocks ihim down, and he hardly feels it. The worst thing is a bullet wound in stomach below the oavel, which is mortal. The pain is ex- cruciating, and they bowl like a shot hare; it sounds like a child screaming, and is horrible. POLICEMEN IN PETTICOATS.—Among the more pro- gressive nations of the world, there are now few fields of work which have not been entered more or less by women, but is most countries the police force is still made up by men alone, in certain renlpte parts of Russia, however, women have frequently acted as the servaots of criminal law, and theic .suc- cess in the performance of their duties is illustrated by an instance that would seem LDoredlblewere It hot related on the best of authority. The governor of the Russian province of Archangel gives this account •of feminine capacity M be himself witnessed It: One curious little episode greatly amused us, al- though we were careful at the time to maintain a be- coming gravity. A peasant was trndging along the road, and close behind, with a metal badge of office her breast, walked a feeble-looking woman. To. meet anything human in the depths, of these distant forests was in itself a surprise. 'We asked who; whither, and why. It turned out that the old woman, in performance of her duty as village constable, was conducting this greats strong convict' peasant to the at Mezfen. She had to at the nearest police station which was 160 miles away..There she was, plodding fearlessly along with her prisoner over well- nigh impossible tracks of deserted forests and moun- tains. In remote districts of Archangel, where fiila, men are all engaged the summer long in distant avo- cations, it is impossible to confine the-village officiate to their posts, except perhaps the mayor of the parish, who is paid for his services. It has thus, from time immemorial, been the custom for the women of the village to act for their absent husbands or brothers. It is bare justice to add that they perform theurduties conscientiously and fell. Learning that I was the governor, our police constable begged me to release her from the duty of escorting her prisoner farther. As you know,Ue added, "he can just as well I find his way by himself." She had even asked him to take the warrant and report himself to the proper authorities; but he would not consent, saying that a Erisoner was not supposed to go by himself, but must B accompanied by a constable. Finding that the charge against the prisoner was not serious, I gave the warrant to him and bade him continue his march to Mezen alone, and duly deliver himself to the police authorities there, without dawdling on the road. Yes, sir," he replied, I'll hurry on as quick as ever I can. It won't suit me to loiter. I humbly thank you. But how could a man move along at aU with a woman as a conductor?" Subsequently I learned at Mezen that he did indeed tramp the whole distance alone, and at once reported himself at the police station, duly delivering his warrant of arrest. And where's the prisoner ?" he was asked. I myself am he," was the reply; and then he related to the amazed officer how he had met me on the road. MR. DAVITT'S JOKE,—Mr. Michael Davitt, who has recently retired from Parliamentary lfe, is the only man who has sat in any of the Queen's Parliaments after serving 20 years in prison. Mr. Davitt is fond of telling his friends of an incident which occurred many years ago at a meeting of the United Irish League, where he was one of the speakers. He sat down by an old lady, who, not knowing him, asked him to point out Mr. Davitt. Being in a mischiev- ous mood, Yr. Davitt pointed to one of his co). leagues. sayi ng, Th.er#v he i^fcbat ,n»aa yonder; uglier than myself." and the aid lady, wishing to be polite to Mr. Davitt, flkSBrved. Ah, sure, sir. iDQDOssible THE USE OF THE BAYONET IN THE BRITISH ARMY.— The bayonet, which inspires such terror in the ranks of the Boers, was not employed in the British Army until the reign of Charles II., when it was describqd in a Royal Warrant as "a bayonet or great knife." For some time it was not brought into requisition until after all the ammunition had been expended, and then it was screwed into the barrel of the musket, completely ciusing up the muzzle. At the battle of Ramilies, however, some 30 years later, the men of the 25th Regiment of Foot, now the Royal Borderers, noticed that an opposing regiment charged immediately they had delivered their fire, and without halting to screw on their bayonets. After the engagement the French fire-locks which had been captured were examined, and the improve- ment pointed out to the English armourers, who were instructed to fit the muskets of the English army in the same way. =" PRINCESS."—" Princess was a lovable creature, a handsome Persian cat, who was so jealous when her own ladies praised other cats that she jumped off Miss H.'s lap in a huff the moment that lady said: "You have no idea, mother, what a magnificent cat Mrs. Taylor has. It is immensely big, and has one of the most splendid tails I ever saw." But she was not selfish. The time came when Mrs., H. was ill, arid lost her appetite. One thing after another was tried —soup, jelly, game—all of no use. The invalid declared sheoould touch none of them, and poor Miss. H. felt in despair. One morning, as she was sitting by her mother's bedside, and trying to coax her to eat something, the door, which was slightly aiar, was pushed open, and Princess" ran in quite gaily. She jumped on the bed, and, with an important air, laid down on her mistress's coverlet a bird she had caught and brought her.-Andrew Lang's Red Book o f Animal Stories, j GENERAL BULLER'SLITERARY TASTER—Mr. Edmund Gosse, in an article on Sir Redvers Buller in the North American Review, makes reference to the General's literary tastes. He has never, we are told, had the leisure for any very doe or consecutive reading, but has the knack of tearing the heart out of anything that he does read in an amazing shortspace of time. He is certainly a good instinctive judge of literature, and if he has not had opportunity te cultivate his judgment with a very wide selection, where his mind does alight is almost always on the purest and richest writers. For poetry he has, perhaps, no particular aptitude. When he was a boy he must have learned Scott's verse-romances by heart, for he retains pages of them still. But ra prose Sir Redvers's tastes are definite. Two English classics travel about with him in miniature editions; he never starts on a oompaign without Bacon's 'Essays' and the 'Essays of Among modern authors Sir Redvers has three prime favour- lites-Ruskin, ^Matthew Arnold, and George Mere- dith. The only trace of anything like bibliomania to be met with in his library is the care with which he has brought together a large collection of the early editions of Ruskin. Sir Redvers has the re- putation of being a glutton for work in and out of season. But this legend he repels, and to people who reproach him with it he is in the habit of saying, "I do not slave half as much at my work as you do at your play." "With this in- tense concentration on his business, yet he is delight- fully lazy. 'Oh he said only the other day, I can loat on occasion, with the best Of you.' It is some- times noticed that after a spell of exceptionally heavy responsibility Sir Redvers Buller is entirely lazy for a little while sitting gazing into the fire in winter or lying on the grass in summer. But these intervals never last long. He has lately become a fisherman, and after his close work at the War Office a year or two ago, he gave himself up keenly to salmon fishing in Sutherlandshire, and talks of returning to it season by season." The physical endurance of Str Redvers is ,proyerbiaJ, and at 61 he has both in body and mind all the elasticity of youth. Once, at a dmner party, says Mr. Gosse in the North American Review, a discussion arose as to the relative merits of the Biblical military heroes and of modern general.. Someone who touk the antique side, quoted Joshua as an instance of a soldier the like of whom could not be matched in modern history. Mr. Gladstone), in his vehement way, took this up at once. Joshua^! Jcshua he exclaimed. Why, Joshua couldn't hold a candle to Redvers Buller as a leader of men This, Mr. Gosse remarks, was the more valuable a tribute, in that Sir Redvers was never a supporter or much of an admirer of Mr.'Gladstone. But this is the im- pression the General makes with his imperturbable and cheery force. How SINGEKS PRESERVE THEIR VOICES.—Madame Adelina Yatti, who has so generously volunteered to sing at Covent, Garden Theatre, on February 22 for our soldiers, has led a life into which self-denial, for the sake of her voice, has ever insistently entered. She once told me that, as a young girl, she never had any of the pleasures which fell to others. Parties, dancing, and fun of every kind were denied her. Her father, Siguor Patti, and her brother-in-law, Mons. Strakosch, who was also her impresario," were in qonstant fear that she should fatigue her voice. One can imagine how bright and lovely a child Patti was, how eager her delight in innocent pleasure bad to be foregone. As to girlish flirtations,such as our English and American maidens indulge in so happily, until she married the Marquis de Caui: at four-and-twenty the little diva had been kept almost like a nun. at home, and knew absolutely nothing of the world. Although allowed to participate in what. "Max" has called the "Pleasures of the Wardrobe," the Sleaeures of the table were not for her. For months 1 have known her stick to the most severe regimen, partaking only of plainly-cooked meat and toast, so that the slightest indigestion -should not impair the clearness of her voice. On ordinaa-y days, when Pattji has to sing in opera at night, she dines off beef and potatoes and baked apples at about 3.30 p.m., for beef is said to give force, and ;applessmoothness, to the .voice. After dinner, the" prima donna" fasts until she sings., only taking, between the acts of an opera,homoeopathic doses of phosphorusand capsicum, both of which ai\j beneficial to the throat. If very tired* a cup of bouillon is prepared for. her. Patti never speaks a word on the days when she has to sing. Nor does Madame Albani, who otherwise takes- less care of her voice that the" diva," and only fears in- digestible food, salmon, nute.amd such like. Both prima donne" declare they never even look at tea, which hardens the vocal chords. Between the parts of a concert or opera Albani drinks a glass of claret. She feelieves implicitly in the virtues of a cold bath, Melba ie the only singer I know who is a sceptic with regard to nursing the voice. "I can eat any' thing, talk all day, and my voice is never affected," she will say. But then, Melba* voice and her whole physique are singularly strong, and her nerves are of the steadiest. In temperament Miss Clara Butt resembles Patti. She has the same kind, impulsive manner, merry laugh, and sympathy with all and sundry," as our American friends say. But she does not, much as she loves her art, take care of her voice as sedulously as the diva." Jean de Reszke, whose throat is not strong, and who suffers from the changeable English climate, aud complains of the heat of our theatres behind the scenes, is very chary of his fine tenor notes. He scarcely ever goes Into society nowadays, restricts hiuiself as to diet and pins his faith to bicycling. Nothing, he firmly believes, is so beneficial to the vocal chords as to take, a quiet morning spin, jpiano, piano," in fresh country iir, When you have to fulfil an engagement in the Evening. Mr. Sims "ReeVes, throughout -his whole professional career, was sedulous in nursing his voice., Before singing he always sucked a lozenge, in which; he much believed it was home-made "—of glyce- rine, lemon juice, and gum arable. Jenny Lind avoided fatigue of all kinds, andwhehe^er she had to Sing she partook at intervala during the day of a soup, prepared with chicken broth, cream, and barley, which was supposed to be softening to the voice.— M.A.P. IN these days, when the accounts of battles ART scanned throughout this country, while the fallen are still being gathered from the field of battle, when treat every incident as if it were an event, the reading of history—history that gives the proper proportion of parts to the whole—becomes almost a duty. We learn the wiadom of keeping" the end steadily before us, and the folly of fussing about untoward happen- ings that are but steps towards the attainment of the ultimate object .— -Illustrated London News. O'CONNELL'S COURAGE. — Daniel O'Connell, the famous Irish agitator and orator, had a contempt for physical danger. On a certain occasion, as his ocly surviving son has recently narrated in Temple Bar, a meeting had been convened, and a large crowd assembled in a room on the first floor of a building in a small city in Ireland. O'Connell was about to address the people when a gentleman, pale with fear, made his way to the platform, and hoarsely whis- pered Liberator, the floor is giving way The 1 beams that shore it up are cracking, and we shall all ) fall through in a few minutes!" "Keep silent," said O'Connell; then, raising his voice, he addressed the assembly: I find that the room is too small to con- tain the number who desire to come in, so we must leave it and hold the meeting outside the building.' At this a few rose and went out, but the majority re- tained their seats. O'Connell said I will tell you the truth; you are Irishmen, therefore brave men. The floor is giving way and we must leave this room at once. If there is a panic and a rush to the door, we shall all be precipitated into the room below, but! if you obey orders we shall be saved. Let the twelve men nearest the door go quietly out, then the next twelve, and so on till all have gone. I shall be the last to leave." His instructions were obeyed to the letter, and he waited, patient and calm, till all bad gone out in safety. Then he walked quietly across the sundering, cracking ioor,rean the door justl as the shattered beams gave way. And thus, by the, force of his strong will, a terrible accident was averted.

THE WOMAN'S WORLD.

[No title]

ART AND LITERATURE.

Advertising

...------FUN AND FANCY.

-------------------AMERICAN…

Advertising