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imitating, in some measure, the tremulous sound of a great organ pipe. As soon as the lever drops on the electrified rod, the hammer stops: thus each touch answering to a lever, and each lever to its bell, any tune may be played as on a harpsichord or organ.
This kind of harpsichord has an advantage in common with the organ, which the common ones have not, of preserving the sound of a note in its full even force as long as the key is kept down. We have heard of an ocular harpsichord : this is so in some sort, as well as an acoustic one; for when played on in the dark, the eye is agreeably entertained as well as the ear, by the brilliant sparks which flash out like stars at every touch.
XXXI. Rustic Philosophy.
Matre Dea monstrante viam
MR. URBAN, THE countryman, let him live at never so great a distance, has his ways of philosophising for the common uses of life, as well as you speculative gentlemen in town. It is true, his methods of proceeding are but rude and unpolished, such as mother nature suggests, but nevertheless, they are such as he is well satisfied with, and what in many cases prove very useful to him; however, they serve greatly to pleasure and amuse him in all. Thus he estimates the quantity of rain that has fallen in the night by the height of his pond in the yard, his server, as it is called in some places; a word either abbreviated from the Fr. reservoir, or denominated so from its use in serving the family. His compass is the smoke of his chimney; but his barometer, besides certain natural inferences that he makes from the sporting of his sheep, or the flying of the martins and swallows, is more artificial, for he has either a black line graduated on the wall of his house, with a long string stretched across it, or a Florence flask with the mouth downward in a pbial of water. The chronometer is an hour glass, which he regulates once in two or three days by a line which the shadow of his door-post never fails to touch, at such an hour, when the sun shines.
He has a method also of
making a guess at the lengthening or shortening of the days, concerning which he has a saying, that I believe is Very general all over England,
At new year's tide,
They are lengthen'd a cock's stride. Every body knows the meaning of this saying, to wit, that it intends to express the lengthening of the days in a small, but perceptible degree ; but very few, I imagine, are aware of the ground and occasion of it; which is the less to be wondered at, since there is something uncommon, and seemingly improper, in applying long measure, inches and feet, to time. But the countryman knows what he says, and, as I take it, borrows his idea from hence: at the winter solstice, he observes where the shadow of the upper lintel of his door falls at 12 o'clock, and makes a mark. At new year's day, the sun being higher, when at the meridian, he finds the shadow is come nearer the door by four or five inches, which for rhime's sake he calls a cock's stride, and so by that he expressess the sensible increase of the day. Whereupon, sir, you will please to observe, that before the style was altered, which was long after this saying came into use, the distance of time was greater by eleven days between the solstice and new year's day, than it is now; and consequently, the difference, as to the sun's altitude, or the length of the days at those two times, would be more perceptible than it is now.
XXXII. Anecdote of two Officers who fell before Quebec.
MR. URBAN, THE following story, which may be depended on as authentic, seems worthy to be transmitted to posterity in your useful Magazine.
In the first unsuccessful attack on the enemy's intrenchments near Quebec, July 31, Capt. Ochterlony, and Ensign Peyton, both of the Royal Americans, were left wounded at a little distance from each other, on the field of battle; the captain mortally, but the ensign having only his knee-pan shattered. Soon after, an Indian came running down, in order to scalp the former, which the latter perceiving, made shift to crawl to a musket, which lay near him, and which not having been discharged, he took aim with it, and shot the savage. The like danger then threatened him by the approach of another Indian ; him he wounded with the bayonet, but, as he still persisted, he was forced in a manner to pin him to the ground. At last a grenadier came back to the captain, in order to carry him off the field; which, however, he refused in these words: Thou art a brave fellow; but your kindness will be lost on me. I am mortally wounded, and the bayonet or the scalping knife would be now a mercy: but go yonder to Ensign Peyton and carry him off, he may live. The soldier obeyed, took up the ensign and brought him off through a severe fire, by which they were both slightly wounded.
I shall make no reflections on this story, but leave your readers to compare it with the following remarkable one, in Cæsar's Commentaries.
“In one of the legions were two brave centurions, F, Pulfio, and L. Varenus, who were perpetually disputing the superiority, and jealously solicitous which should have the preference. Now when the intrenchments were rigorously attacked, Pulfio cries out, Why do you hesitate Varenus or what better opportunity can you wish to try your courage ? This, this is the day that shall end our dispute. Saying this, he rushed out of the camp, and attacked that body of the enemy which seemed to be the strongest. Nor did Varenus stay behind, but knowing that his character was now at stake, followed at a little distance. Pulfio launched his javelin at the enemy, and killed one that was rushing upon him from the front rank. His body they protected with their shields, and immediately threw all their darts, nor gave him any opportunity to retreat. Pulfio's shield was pierced, and a dart was lodged in bis belt. This accident turned his scabbard, and delayed him in his attempt to draw his sword. Being thus embarrassed, the enemy closed upon him, but his antagonist Varenus now came to his relief, and succoured him in his distress. Immediately they all turn upon him, concluding that Pultio was pierced by the dart. Varenús defended himself dexterously with his sword, fighting hand to hand; and having killed one, the other gave way: but as he eagerly pursued, the ground being shelving he fell down; here again Pulfip in return assisted him, and both of them having made great slaughter, came back in safety, and with high renown, to the fortification. Thus, in their
dispute, fortune was so impartial, that each of these antagonists protected and saved the other, nor could any one tell which of them deserved to have the preference." Cesar de Bell. Gall. V. 43.
XXXIII. Remarkable Anecdote from Plot's History of Oxfordshire.
SOON after the murder of King Charles I. a commission was appointed to survey the King's house at Woodstock, with the manor, park, woods, and other demesnes to that manor belonging; and one Collins, under a feigned name, hired himself as secretary to the commissioners, who, upon the 13th of October 1649, met, and took up their residence in the king's own rooms. His majesty's bed-chamber they made their kitchen, the council-hall their pantry, and the presence-chamber was the place where they sat for the dispatch of business. His Majesty's dining-room they made their wood-yard, and stored it with the wood of the famous royal oak from the High Park, which, that nothing might be left with the name of king about it, they had dug up by the roots, and split and bundled up into fágots for their firing. Things being thus prepared, they sat on the 16th of the same month for the dispatch of business, and in the midst of their first debate, there entered a large black dog (as they thought) which made a dreadful howling, overturned two or three of their chairs, and then crept under a bed and vanished; this gave them the greater surprise as the doors were kept constantly locked, so that no real dog could get in or out. The next day their surprise was increased, when sitting at dinner in a lower room, they heard plainly the noise of persons walking over their heads, though they well-knew the doors were all locked, and there could be nobody there; presently after they heard also all the wood of the king's oak brought by parcels from the dining-room, and thrown with great violence into the presence chamber; as also all the chairs, stools, tables, and other furniture, forcibly hurled about the room; their own papers of the minutes of their transactions torn, and the ink-glass broken. When all this noise had some time ceased, Giles Sharp, their secretary, proposed to enter first into these rooms, and in presence of the commissioners, of whom he received the key, he opened the doors, and found the wood spread about the room, the chairs
tossed about and broken, the papers torn, the ink-glass broken (as has been said) but not the least track of any human creature, nor the least reason to suspect one, as the doors were all fast, and the keys in the custody of the como missioners. It was therefore unanimously agreed, that the power who did this mischief, must have entered the room at the key hole. The night following, Sharp, the secretary, with two of the commissioners' servants, as they were in bed in the same room, which room was contiguous to that where the commissioners lay, had their bed's feet lifted up so much higher than their heads, that they expected to have their necks broken, and then they were let fall at once with so much violence as shook the whole house, and more than erer terrified the commissioners. On the night of the 19th, as all were in bed in the same room for greater safety, and lights burning by them, the candles in an instant went out with a sulphureous smell, and that moment many trenchers of wood were hurried about the room, which next morning were found to be the same their honours had eaten on the day before, which were all removed from the pantry, though not a lock was found opened in the whole house. The next night they still fared worse, the candles went out as before, the curtains of their honours' beds were rattled to and fro with great violence, their honours received many cruel blows and bruises by eight great pewter dishes and a number of wooden trenchers being thrown on their beds, which being heaved off, were heard rolling about the room, though in the morning none of these were to be seen. This night likewise they were alarmed with the tumbling down of oaken billets about their beds, and other frightful noises, but all was clear in the morning, as if no such thing had happened. The next night the keeper of the king's house and his dog lay in the commissioners' room, and then they had no disturbance. But on the night of the 22d, though the dog lay in the room as before, yet the candles went out, a number of brick-bats fell from the chimney into the room, the dog howled piteously, their bed-clothes were all stripped off, and their terror increased. On the 24th they thought all the wood of the king's oak was violently thrown down by their bed-sides, they counted 64 billets that fell, and some hit and shook the beds in which they lay; but in the morning none were found there, nor had the door been opened where the billet-wood was kept. The next night the candles were put out, the curtains rattled, and a dreadful crack like thunder was heard, and one of the servants running to see if his master were not killed, found three dozen trenchers