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o GA N I N G S. BEATING THE RECORD. An official of a leading railway company tells a good story about one of the engine drivers of his line. The engine driver was growing old, and frequent reports were made to the directors that his eyesight was not as good as it should be. This the old man stoutly denied. The test for eyesight on that line was made by a doetor who lived in a house facing Clapham Common. When he wished to test the men's eyes he used to say: "Look over there and say what you can see." This fact had got known to the employes of the railway, and when the old engine driver was going to be examined he arranged with his son that he should take hili bicycle about half a mile across the common and stoop down to oil it. In due time the old man was led to the window, and the doctor said, as usual, What can you see 1" The old man peered out and said Well, I see a young man stooping down beside a bicycle." Do you, replies the doctor I cannot see anything at all." Gammon said the engine driver Can't you see it ? Why, he is oiling it." On this the doctor took up a pair of field glasses on the table, and, looking out behind, quite plainly saw a man stooping down oiling his bicycle. Magnificent sight he said magnifi- cent." And to this day the engine driver is taking his forty shillings a week with striking regularity. CURIOUS MARRIAGE CUSTOMS. The aboriginal Australian adopts a brutally forcible mode of wooing. When he wants a wife he looks about for a likely help-mate, and, find- ing one to his liking, knocks her down with his club and carries her home. In Singapore the bridegroom must secure his bride in a race, and this custom of bride chasing is quite common throughout Southern and eastern Asia. In Singapore a circular course is marked out, half of which is traversed by the maiden-encumbered only with a waistband-ere the word is given for the would-be possessor to go in pursuit in the hope of overtaking her before she has thrice compassed the circle that achieved she has no choice but to take the victor for her lord. The water chase in canoes, another marriage ceremonial of Singapore, is very similar to the foot race, and both are usually of short duration, for the fair quarry is only too willing to be caught. When a Turcoman belle is to be settled in life the whole tribe turns out, and the young lady, being allowed the choice of horses, gallops away from her suitors. She avoids those she dislikes, and seeks to throw herself in the way of the object of her affections. The moment she is caught she becomes the wife of her captor, who, dispensing with further ceremony, takes her to his tent. The bride race is also an established custom among the Kalmucks, and the girls are such excellent horsewomen that, we are told, it would be impossible to catch one against her will. The Kurds have a very curious and somewhat dangerous marriage custom, which one would think would be more honoured in the breach than in the observance. The husband, surrounded by a body guard of twenty or thirty young men, carries his wife home on his back in a scarlet cloth, and is desperately assaulted the whole way by a number of girls. Sticks and stones are hurled at the bridegroom, who, in coming home with the bride, can hardly be considered a very happy man, for the irate Amazons often inflict on him marks which he carries to the grave. It may be that among the lady pursuers are some of the bridegroom's former lfames," who turn the mock into down- right earnest to avenge slighted love. A farce similar to this was customary in Ire- land some couple of hundred years ago, and the modern throwing of the slipper for good luck is nothing more than a survival of some of the very old, very widely-diffused and very foolish customs. SUPERSTITIONS OF BRIDES. One of these is expressed in an old rhyme which is familiar to us all— Change the name and not the letter, You change for the worse and not for the better. Another is that the day must be fine, in accordance with the old-time saw- Happy is the bride the sun shines on. Blessed are the dead that the rain rains on." There is still another superstition poetically rendered that a bride's wardrobe must con- tain- "Something old and something new, Something borrowed, something blue." It is considered very bad fortune for a bride to make her own wedding cake or to have any- thing to do with it and strange as it may seem, it has been observed over and over again in unhappy marriages that the bride has stirred the wedding cake. To lose the wedding ring in the first month of marriage augurs great misfortune. To lose it at any time is supposed to predict a calamity. There is an explanation to this superstition which is of the same theory that time will cure all ills As the wedding ring wears, So wear away life's cares." THE TOAD. We remember some years ago getting up into a mulberry tree, and finding in the fork of the two main branches a large toad almost embedded in the bark of the tree, which had grown over it so much that it was un ible to extricate itself, and would probably in time have been completely covered over with the bark. Indeed, there seemed to be no reason why, as the tree increased seemed to be no reason why, as the tree increased in size, the toad should not in process of time become embedded in it, as was the case with the end of an oak rail that had been inserted into an elm tree, which stood close to a public footpath. This being broken off and grown over, was, upon the tree being felled and sawn in two, found nearly in the centre of it. The two circumstances together may explain the curious fact of toads having been found alive in the middle of trees, by showing that the bark having once covered them, the process of of growth in the tree would annually convey the animal nearer to the centre of it, as happened with the oak rail and also the toads, and pro- bably other amphibia, can exist on the absorp- tion of fluids by the skin alone. This is con firmed by the following fact. A gentleman put a toad into a small flower-pot, and secured it so that no insect could penetrate it, and then buried it in the ground at a sufficient depth to protect it from the influence of frost. At the end of twenty years he took it up, and found the toad increased in size, and apparently healthy. Dr. Townson, in his tracts on the respiration of the amphibia, proves from actual experiment that, while those animals with whose economy we are best acquainted receive their principal supply of liquids by the mouth, the frog and salamander tribes take theirs through the skin alone all the aqueous particles being absorbed by the skin, and all they reject being transpired through it. He found that a frog, when placed on blotting paper well soaked with water, absorbed nearly its own weight of the fluid in the short time of an hour and a half and it is believed that they never discharge it, except when they are dis- turbed or pursued, and then only to lighten their bodies and facilitate their escape. That the moisture thus imbibed is sufficient to enable some of the amphibia to exist without any other food cannot be reasonably doubted and if this is admitted, the circumstance of toads being found alive in the centre of trees is fully accounted for. I STILL UNBURIED. The late King Alfonso uf Spain, who died six years ago, is still unburied and awaiting his final interment, in the tomb that has been prepared for his corpse, clothed only in a thin linen garment. The dead King lies on a slab of rock near a running spring of water in a cavern in the side of a mountain, on the slope of which the Escurial is built. There he will remain until his body has be- come petrified, or attained the peculiar properties uf a mummy, and then it will be placed in its niche in that marvellous jasper vault under the great dome of the Escurial Church, where only the remains of Spanish Kings and the mothers of Kings are allowed to lie. HOW THE CAPTIVES ESCAPED FROM KHARTOUM. Father Ohrwalder and the nuns Catherine Chincariui and Elisa Venturini only succeeded in escaping from Omdurman on the second attempt. Mgr. Sogaro having become acquainted with the Sheikh Ahmed Hassan, struck a bargain with him to attempt a rescue. He agreed to fit out and equip the necessary camels and pay the Sheikh a sum of E100 for each European brought alive into Cairo. Ahmed Hassan disguised him- self as a merchant, and at once set out for Omdurman. At last he succeeded in making his mission known to Father Ohrwalder, and on the 29th November, when the city was convulsed with an attempted revolt, the missionary, accom- panied by the two nuns and a negro servant girl, walked out of Omdurman at eight o'clock in the evening. Mounting the camels they rode a considerable distance, and when they thought they had a sufficient start of any possible pursuers they stopped and rested for the night. The party consisted of seven persons, the Sheikh having enlisted the services of two Arabs belonging to the Abubbeh-Shanatir tribe. Father Ohrwalder rode in front with the black girl behind him, and the two nuns, each accom- panied by an Arab, followed. Ahmed Hassan brought up the rear on the fourth camel. The priest was dressed as a dervish with a large white turban and a white flowing robe, and the nuns as ordinary native women. All three Arabs were armed. After the tirst night's rest the fugitives travelled for three days and nights without stopping. During the whole of this time they had no sleep, and very little food. By day they had to skulk in the less frequented parts of the country by night they travelled on the ordinary roads. On the left bank of the Nile as far as Banga, about two hours' ride from Berber, they lost a day, as they were obliged to hide until, under cover of the night, they could cross the river. When, however, they reached the river the ordinary boatman refused to carry them, and for a moment they made certain that they would be discovered. Fortunately, when the boatman had gone home they prevailed upon two boys to row them across. They then traversed the desert to Abu Hamed. On the way they met a detachment of the Mahdi's soldiery, who took the Arab Sheikh for a slave merchant, and proposed to ransom his slaves. It was not until Ahmed Hassan spoke menacingly and exhibited a Remington that they ceased their importunities. A more serious adventure occurred near Meshera-el-Dehesh, where they were recognised as escaped prisoners by a camel driver. After long negotiations the driver agreed to preserve silence in consideration of a sum of money equal to about £5 sterling. This was their last anxious moment. SUICIDES. The different methods of suicides are always curious. In 1889, according to the Registrar- General, 148 males and 75 females in Scotland ended their own existence, andthisis howtheydid it :-10 males shot themselves, 27 males and 14 females so cut or stabbed themselves that death resulted, 13 males and 9 females took poison, 43 males and 36 females drowned themselves, 42 males and 13 females hanged themselves, and 13 males and 3 females had recourse to some other method than the above. In the suicidal poison- ings, laudanum was taken by 9 males and 3 females, chloroform by 1 male, chloral hydrate by 1 female, carbolic acid by 1 female, arsenic by 1 female, nitric acid by 1 male and 1 female, and oxalic acid by 1 female. SALT EATING. The question whether or no to eat salt is be- coming a vexed one. For many years we have been taught by doctors that we must eat salt or die, or something very much to that effect. It was carefully impressed upon young minds that if they did not eat salt they would be ill, and never grow up strong. Horrible tales of suffer- ings in prison from deprivation of salt were recorded to shuddering listeners, and manifold were the disasters we were told would befal us if we did but spill any of the precious and life- preserving commodity. Now all this is changed. A new race of doctors has arisen, who tells us that salt is bad for us taken in addition to food, and that all the salt necessary to our animal economy is to be found in brown bread, green vegetables, and fruits. We are told that salt over-stimulates the appetite, and induces us to eat too much from over-feeding comes repletion, and from repletion, indigestion and general derangement. It also irritates the stomach and thickens the blood, causing thirst it delays digestion, and fro.n its habitual use many diseases must arise. This is the new verdict on salt eating. THEY HELD THEIR PEACE. Too often the working man looks upon the clergyman as a well-fed, under-worked, over-paid individual. The Dean of Worcestor tells of a curate who, passing through a group of men standing on a street corner, overheard one of them say, There goes a chap with nothing to do and gets hundreds for doing it." The curate stopped and made answer My wages are 23 a week. I have been at work all the morning in my Master's service, in church, in school, in my study, and now I am going to see more sickness and distress in one afternoon than you have seen in all your life." And they held their peace. TWO COMMON SAYINGS. The origin of the saying He's gone to Jericho," originated with Henry VIII. He was in the habit of staying at an estate situate at Blackmore, in Essex. The manor house of Blackmore was called Jericho, so when King Henry VIII. was there the phrase among his courtiers was He was gone to Jericho." Hence the proverb or saying. It is said that the term "to send one to Coventry" is taken from the army, where the custom has been in use for so long a time that there is no record of its beginning. It is the method adopted by soldiers for making a disgraced comrade feel his punishment more severely. One authority gives the derivation of the custom and phrase as follows The citizens of Coventry had at one time so great a dislike to soldiers that a woman seen speaking to one was regarded as outside the pale of respect- able society ever after. No intercourse was ever allowed between the garrison and the town hence, when a man was sent to Coventry he was cut off from all social enjoyments." Another authority finds the origin in the fact that during the Civil Wars the Parliamentary party used Coventry as a stronghold, and that all trouble- some and refractory Royalists were sent there for safe custody. Dr Brewer says that the former of these is the more likely to be correct, as it meets the case better than the other.