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NOT GENERALLY KNOWN,
A BOOKPOR OLD AND YOUNG.
By JOHN TIMBS, F.S.A.
AUTHOR OF CURIOSITIES OF VON DOX, AND EDITOR OF THE YEAR-BOOK OP FACTS.
As the taste of the present day favours out-of-the-way reading, I have ventured into its winding paths to garner a few pages for your special gratification. Although my little book may not be recommended by the quaint fancy of the British Apollo, or the profundity of the Athenian Oracle,—the Notes and Queries* of other days, I have not been unmindful of the value of pith and point upon subjects which you are not asked to take for granted in every instance, but in many cases to weigh and consider.
You may, perhaps, say, “Your volume contains but a small portion of the Things not generally Known.”” Granted; but here are no fewer than FIVE HUNDRED groups of instances, from the Heavens and the Earth ; the Sea and the Air ; Sight and Sound ; Life and Death ; the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms ; the Origins of House and Home; the Festivals of our Calendar ; historical glances at Laws and Customs ; Dignitaries of Church and State ; National Characteristics ; Wonders of our Inventive Age ; and a few Curiosities of Art and Literature of early Times.
As in my previous labours, I have here striven to be brief; for I believe, with old Fuller, “ it is a vanity to perswade the world one hath much learning by getting a great library.”
The main topics of this little book are Popular Science and Antiquarianism, with a sprinkling of such flowers as I could gather in my pathway to knowledge. The result of my labours I now place in your hands. Herein I do not profess to instruct how “ to tell the clock by algebra,” or to “ drink tea by stratagem;" but to contribute to the intellectual chat of the fireside.
To conclude with Montaigne's words of charming simplicity : “I am wise enough to know, by the measure of my own abilities,
soil is incapable of producing any of those rich flowers that are here set and growing; and that all the fruits of my own growth are not worth any one of them."
* This work. commenced by my fellow-antiquary and bibliographer in 1849, is now flourishing in its thirteenth volume; having been not only learned in itself, but the source of much learning in others. To Mr. Thoms, however, as the originator of this "medium of intercommunication," all readers are bound to be grateful.