Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

" the painter, author, soldier, and diplomatist,” known as Sir “ An actor of great powers, a good face, a commanding Robert Ker Porter, the brother of the accomplished zovelists figure. His action is vigorous and dignified, but partaking Jane and Anna Maria Porter.

too much of the strut and pomposity of tragedy in all cha'In 1792 died Sir Joshua, “Sergeant-Painter to the King "racters. His changes of voice and manner are various and since the death of Allan Ramsay. Mr. Lawrence now suc- impressive ; and, on the whole, making allowance for the ceeded to that distinction. In the presidentship of the French style of acting, which, like everything else in the Academy, Reynolds was followed by Benjamin West, the nation is a kind of bravura, I am not surprised at Talma's favourite painter of the king, whose utter ignorance of art high reputation." must stand excuse for his patronage of so mediocre an artist. In 1803-4, came an invasion panic. Shee was anxious to In the first exhibition after these appointments were seen form a volunteer corps from the ranks of the Royal Academy, portraits by Shee of Lewis, the comedian, in the character of in which academicians, associates, and students were alike to the Marquis, in the play of the Midnight Hour ; of Mr. be enrolled. But the scheme failed.* So Mr Shee joined Williams, who, under the pseudonym of Anthony Pasquin, was as a private a corps formed in Bloomsbury, which, from its the jester of the day; and of a Mr. Grant. These were highly consisting mainly of members of the legal profession, lauded. Stothart declared them to be equal to Reynolds, - obtained the soubriquet of “the Devil's own." A name Abbot, the painter, pronounced them the best pictures in the which a recurrence of events has revived. exhibition. But the hanging committee did them injustice, The panie passed away. Mr. Shee, precluded from the --they often do injustice. In spite of the admiration excited battle of arms, contented himself with the battle of letters. by his works, the artist's actual receipts from the practice of In 1805, he published his Rhymes on Art; or, the Remonhis profession were, at this time, barely sufficient to afford strance of a Painter,-a satire upon other things besides him sustenance. He was nearly regretting the days of his painters and painting. Of the French Republican school, for Dublin prosperity. Indeed, we are told that “for one whole instance, he penned :winter, during the time when he occupied apartments in

"Their heads with straws from Rousseau's stubble ground, Craven-street, he rarely, if ever, dined, except when enjoying

Our metaphysic madmen rave around; the hospitality of his friends. His daily practice was to walk, With kings and priests they wage eternal war, after his labours in the painting - room were over, from And laws, as life's strait waistcoats, they abhor!” Craven-street to St. Paul's Churchyard, and back again, and so on. Now and then there are in this satire terse and this expedition occupying about the time which a man might vigorous lines enough, but most of its references are to things be reasonably supposed to devote to the business of a solitary gone by, and censures of dead abuses form very dull readdinner, at a tavern or eating-house within some moderate ing. Still, the work is evidence of the talent and cultivation distance of his lodgings. Of course, on his retum he lost of its author, and is indeed in its time supposed to have no time in calling for tea, and it is highly probable that the stirred up the connoisseurs to the foundation of the British ibordinate consumption of bread and butter with which he Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts, a society accompanied his liberal potations of that cheering and sooth- which has perhaps done its best, but in respect of whose ing beverago betrayed the secret of his abstemiousness, present vitality very little can be said. which his daily pilgrimage to St. Paul's was expressly devised to conceal from the notice of his landlady and her of Reynolds, and made attempts at poetic art in bis Lavinin,

Mr. Shec ventured again into verse in the Commemorating household.

from Thomson's Seasons, and in Belisarius, his diploma pic. In 1793, Shee entered his náme as a candidate for an asso

tnre. About this time he exhibited also his Prospero and ciateship, not, as he announced, that there was any probability Miranda during the Storm. In the same room was displayed of his being chosen, but that he might not be winting to himself in any fair and honourable exertion, and lest his a large picture by Lawrence from Milton, Satan calling up

his Legions. The success of these two works was not remark. withholding his name should be construed into union with the able. The joke of the day was, that the “Calling of the opposite party. Beechey and Hoppner," he writes," not- Legions” should decorate the lecture-room of the Incorwithstanding all their violence, intend doing the same.'

In 1796, Mr. Shee married Mary, daughter of James porated Law Society, and that the “Raising the Wind” (as Gower, of Youghal, Cork. He had been occupying apart- walls of the Stock Exchange. Mr. Shee assisted in the

the Tempest subject was christened) should be hung on the ments in Jermyn-street

. He now moved to Golden-square; foundation of the Alfred Club, which, though at first successtwo years afterwards to move again to Cavendish-square, to the house which had been for many years the residence of Ramsay, ful, soon declined altogether. It was supplanted as a litethe eminent rival of Reynolds. His success had come slowly rary institution by the Athenæum, and was in the end merged

in the Oriental. buit certainly. In 1798 he was made associate, having exhibited a successful portráît of a cavalry officer with his horse. In

In 1830, died Sir Thomas Lawrence, who had suceeeded to 1799 he was elected an academician. He had exhibited a the presidential chair on the death of West, in 1820. The portrait of Colonel Vicars, of the Life Guards, on horseback. choice of the Academy as to their new president rested "In both instances," as he remarked, “I rode into the between Shee and Wilkie. As to which was the greater Academy.” There were two vacancies in the ranks of the painter there was very little question. But the Scotchman Academy, one from death, one from the expulsion of Mr.

was not very courtly, and had rather crabbed, rugged, unBarry. Shee and Flaxman supplied the gaps.

conciliatory ways; while the Irishman's manners were irreThe Peace of Amiens sent Mr. Shee, as it sent many

proachable ! What mattered his art? And then, too, he

“Shee's their only man now," the king others, to Paris. He travelled with Rogers, the poet, whom wore hair-powder. be foutud an expensive companion. “A painter shonld never

was heard to exclaim; and Shee was elected accordingly, travel with a banker," he writes. He stood for more than an

by a large majority. The Academy has more often toa died hour face to face with Bonaparte in the Presence Chamber. than opposed royalty. By William IV. Shee was knighted, “Ho is scarcely taller than I aṁ, and much thinner. His and became in due course on official trustee of the British figure is not very good. His face is, in my eyes, handsome, Museum, a trustee of the National Gallery, a fellow of the sedate, steady, and determined. The prints do him no sort Royal Society, a member of the Athenwum, of the Society of of justice. When you see him you are satisfied that such a

Dilettanti, etc. man may be Bonaparte the conqueror of Italy, the, grand Mr. She had been

again testing his literary powers. But prior to the accumulation of these honours upon hin,

In monarch of France, and the pacificator of Europe.” David, the painter, he writes :-"He has no feeling of the 1829 he published Ow Court, a novel in three volumes,-a higher kind of art, no eye for colour, and no powers of exe- novel not of plot, but of discussion, disquisition, and obser. cution. Ile draws irell, however, and has, I think, a good vation, and, as a necessary consequence, an utter failure. It knowledge of compostion. His merit as an artist is, I think, was published anonymously, and attracted no attention what. always over-rated or under-rated. I find him neither so good nor so bad a painter at I have heard him described. As a

Amongst the metropolitan volunteers of our own day there is an "Artist's

Corps," but it has not, we fear, received much aid or countenance from the portrait painter he is almost contemptible." Of Talma :- Academy.

[ocr errors]

ever. The novel reader insists upon narrative and interest, which it derived its existence, and repudiated all direct and, asking for such bread, and receiving in lieu such a stone responsibility to the House of Commons. as a political argument, or a speculative reflection, soon As an artist, Sir Martin must be regarded as the last flings down the book. Mr. Shee wrote no second novel. and least of the great professors of portrait painting. He

For another literary attempt Mr. Sheo succeeded in ob flourished during the decline of that branch of art; it is left taining more attention. It was some years before the produc. to the present generation to lament its absolute fall. He tion of Old Court. He submitted to the management of Covent painted without much force or variety of expression, but his Garden Theatre a tragedy, Alasco. Mr. Charles Kemble colouring is agreeable, if occasionally redundant, and he had accepted the play, cast himself for the chief character, and at the art to invest his sitters with an air of refinement and ease, once commenced rehearsals. The play was founded on a not perceptible on modern canvasses. Failing portrait purely fictitious story of an insurrection in Poland, and the painters with mind, the present age must be content with sympathies of the public were of course to be enlisted on the the grim, dusky, hard realism of photographic likėnesses, side of the oppressed people of the play. A new licenser or

"untouched." examiner of plays under the chamberlain, the Duke of The story of Sir Martin's life is told in the volumes before Montrose, had just been appointed. He was no other than us by his son,-a painstaking and affectionate biographer, Mr. George Colman, the younger, himself the author of many but somewhat wordy withal. plays, and of Broad Grins-broad enough, in all conscience. Alasco, it seems, was the first play that fell to his perusal. He

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. professed to be horrified at what he chose to regard as its Is there or is there not anything new under the sun? That revolutionary character. He was new in office, and liked to question M. Fournier, in two little volumos, entitled The air his zeal. So he returned the manuscript to the manager, Olden-New; or, the Ancient History of Modern Inventions its pages scored, in red ink, with obliterations and suggested and Discoveries, seems to aim at answering in the negative. modifications. It says something for the opinions of the We, however, for reasons exclusive and particular, would times that peril was deemed to lurk in very mild expressions. venture on a gentle affirmative, and would bashfully maintain Such lines as,

that, even if all“ facts and occurrences” whatsoever are old "With most unworthy patience have I seen

as the hills, their REGISTRATION, as the sun himself travels into My country shackled and her sons oppressed.”

each of his twelve zodiacal chambers, shall once a month be and,

effected in novel fashion. “Tyrants, proud lord, are never safe, nor should be.” and,

But a truce to playfulness. Ever since the earth has been "Some district despot prompt to play the Tarquin,

the earth, and the sun the sun, there has probably been no Our country's wrongs unite us."

new thing, speaking physically and materially, in either. were mercilessly expunged. Production of the play with The forces and elements of our globe, and of all its brother alterations thđt took away its meaning altogether was im- and sister planets,—này, of the old sun himself, for that possible. Shee appealed to the Duke of Montrose, but could matter, -are the same now as at their first creation. Life itself,

considered as the sum of certain organic processes, may, as obtain no redress. The chamberlain thought Mr. Colman a sufficient judge of his duty. But the discussion that had some think, be but the result of newer and higher workings

of the old elemental substances and forces. With the first arisen about the play enabled the author to sell the copy appearance of man upon the earth, however, there was tho right of it for £500. The publisher unwisely delayed pub-advent of a new, because a spiritual nature. Yes, man was, lication until the nine days of wonder had nearly elapsed, indeed, a new thing under the sun ; and, with the exception and on the whole lost money by the book. But still much interest was excited, and Blackwood's Magazine, a powerful roll back the clouds of sin and death which hover over our

of that Divine Presence, whose beams now and ever shall organ at that time, chose to see in Alasco a decided league planet, the first and last new thing introduced into the physical with Moore's Coptain Rock, just then published, against the world was man. Since his entrance, nothing material has been tranquillity and Protestantism of Ireland! Perhaps the dis-added or taken away. All nature's essences and potentialities cussion that arose about Alasco has given it the only vitality remain unchanged ; and although man's moral impulsos, and it now owns as a literary work, though its merits are by no therefore his moral conduct, have been, in the main, but means contemptible.

repetitions of his earliest ways, still his wants and desires Sir Martin's tenure of office only ended with his life. I have continually enlarged, and hence he has ever been 1845, from advanced age and protracted illness, he was led to impelled to discover and invent, that is, to lay bare and find tender to the council and members of the Academy the resig- out, more and more of the virtues and uses of whatsoever lay nation of his presidential dignities, but, in a feeling address around him. from his colleagues, he was entreated to reconsider the step, and

There are men who believe in the exhaustive wisdom of to delay his retirement, and he could not but comply with the the extinct lore of the Egyptians, and who imagine that if desire thus unanimously expressed. In the same year a pen that bibliothecal bugbear, the Alexandrian library, had been sion of €200 a year was granted to Lady Shee, as a testimony preserved, we should have found the strictest parallelism of the favour with which Sir Martin's services were regarded between ancient and modern literature, science, and art. Wo by the crown'. In 1846, he presided for the last time at the have conversed with those who believe, or say they believe, dinner of the members of the Academy prior to the opening that in the darkness of that remoter than Cimmerian time, not of its annual exhibition. After four years of complete retire only pins and needles, printing and gunpowder, but also ment from the world, and much suffering, he died at Brighton, gigantic bridges and tunnels, crystal palaces and railways, on the 19th of August, 1856. “Do not wish for long life; | locomotives and marine engines, and most certainly electric you see the state to which I am reduced,” were his last or magnetic telegraphs, were as common as with us now, words. He was buried in the cemetery at Brighton, by his But admitting that the germs of the ideas which have led own desire,-the wish of the Academy having been that he in more recent times to the perfection of these giant helps to should be interred in St. Paul's Cathedral by the side of the modern civilization were extant in far earlier epochs, still no former presidents.

reasonable mind can doubt that whilst nature herself is The high estimation in which Sir Martin was held by his unchanged, and man's reasoning and imaginative faculties are colleagues is perfectly intelligible. He did little enough for the same, there are ever being evolved by human agency new the cause of art, but he accomplished much for the Academy. combinations and unfoldings of her activities and instruments, Ready, fluent, sagacious, active, and a courtier, he fought its for his enjoyment and improvement. In the area of domestic, battles for years, resisting the attacks of the House of Com- social, and national exertion, the movement of humanity may, mons, led on by Mr. Hume, and the vigorous onslaught of be more or less in circles, and from time to time, from tema, Haydon, Martin, Clint, and others. He strengthened its porary arrest or retrogression, the wheels of the chariot of monopolist armour ; he succeeded in asserting the principle progress may follow in the olden tracks; but the tendency is: that the Academy is directly governed by the Crown, from inevitably to wider and wider sweeps, bursting beyond proo' vious bounds, but still bearing evidence of a continuous into a physical disquisition; first, on the nature of the glutinous relation to that centre from which all human effort took its body which intercepts and keeps the rays ; secondly, on start.

the difficulties of preparing and employing it; thirdly, on In this view we may regard, not with the jealousy of having the mutual action of the light and the glutinous body, been anticipated, but with the satisfaction of having inherited "Three problems,” adds Tiphaigne, on waking from his and improved upon a worthy patrimony, such coincidences or trance, which I propose to the philosophers of our days, correspondences as may be detected between our own doings and which I leave to their sagacity.” Thus, if for the and those of our forefathers.

"viscous cloth" of the dreams of Tiphaigne we substituto We will not tire the patience of the reader by going once iodized plates, paper, or collodion, we have the realities of more over the long story of the origin of the steam engine Daguerre, Niápèe, and Fox Talbot ;-nay more, for the genii in the Æolipyle of Hero of Alexandria, nor once more trace fixed the colours, as well as the fornis, of the objects pictured. the commencement of railroads in the wooden tramways of What will our Claudets, Fentons, Mayalls, and Herbert the Newcastle mines. We will neither encourage nor annoy

Watkinses

say to this ! M. Lesseps by telling him that his project of a canal across

And now a word to Messrs. Ersted, Cooke, Wheatstone, the Isthmus of Suez has once already been partly carried and Brett, and to all the practical telegraphists throughout out, but that the canal has since been filled up by nature. the kingdom. The very fluid to which they owe their great

It is said that the Etruscans used very thin plates of copper, ness, their occupation, and their usefulness to mankind, cut into various shapes, to aid them in tracing the figures on receives its title from a substance named by the Greeks, after their vases, that the Emperor Justin used to make his sig. its peculiar property of attracting light substances when nature by following with his pen some letters which were cut rubbed. The particles which, in ancient Athens, flew to the in relief on wood, and that the Romans employed moveable frictionized amber, or “electron,” were attracted by the same letters to mark their pottery and endorse their books, but old agent as that which makes the needles of the modern who would care to surrender to them the credit of having telegraph vibrate with the news of distant revolutions or first invented stencilling? or who, out of consideration to bloody victories ; with intelligence which raises, agitates, or those old bookbinders and potters, would disturb the shade prostrates the hopes of the moneyed capitalists throughout of Faust, or take down the vigorous statue of Gottenberg modern Europe ; with those hurried and scant messages, the which adorns his native city? We may inform our printing thought of which blanches the cheek of the murderer as he readers, however, that the art of stereotyping was practised glances at the silent wires, conveying past him with unerring as early as 1701 at Leyden, and then fell into disuse again. and un-arrestable swiftness and fidelity the fatal information It was first applied to the printing of Bibles. About 1730, of his cruel and ghastly crime. More than this,-as far back Ged, of Edinburgh, attempted the same thing, but his com. as 1636, one Schwenter conceived the idea of communi. positors thinking,--the old error,-that it would injure their cating by means of magnetic needles. Le Monnier, at Paris, vocation, made so many mistakes on purpose, which of in 1746,-an unknown Scotchman, bearing the initials C. M., course was fatal as regards a copy of the scriptures,--that in 1763,-4 M. Lesage, at Geneva, in 1765,--and a M. the undertaking failed for the time. By the secret aid of his Lomond, in 1787,-were all on the track of transmitting mes. son James, however, he did produce in stereotype an edition sages by electric or magnetic alphabets. Lesage's telegraph of Sallust in 1736. In 1742, stereotyping was practised at consisted of as many wires as there were letters ; each wire Newcastle, but it was not till 1780 that it took root at communicated with an electrometer formed of a little ball of Glasgow, in the hands of Tulloch. In France it was revived the pith of elder suspended on a thread; and on the passage by Heron and the celebrated Didot, at the beginning of this of the current these little balls struck their proper letters. century. We may notice, too, in connexion with printing, Amongst others, Frederic the Great was informed of Lesage's that women were very early employed as compositors, the invention; but even that sagacious monarch took no notice nuns of a neighbouring convent having been so set to work of it. Nor was M. Lomond more fortunate ; for even a pracby a Dominican friar at Pistoja, early in the sixteenth century. tical Englishman, a Mr. Young, says M. Fournier, only writes,

But let us turn to another subject. According to a M. after having seen the working of M. Lomond's " alphabet of Sobard, who writes in 1857, there has been recently disco movement” by electricity :-“Whatever its use may be, it is, vered in Russia a translation from the German, 300 years old, at least, an admirable discovery !” Even the idea of insu. which gives a very clear explanation of the principles of pho lating the conducting wires, now effected by the aid of that tography. The ancient alchemists understood well one of most valuable substance, "gutta-percha," was anticipated by the properties of what we call chloride of silver; they knew a M. Linguot, who, in 1782, proposed to establish "underthat if images were produced by a lens on a coating this ground electric conductors of gilt wire enclosed in tubes chemical substance, the light parts became fixed in black, and covered with resin.” It would seem, too, that even in Spain the half tints in gray, while those parts which were not struck experiments were made, in 1796, before the court, on some by the light were left white. Fabricius verified this curious sort of electric telegraph, the invention of a Signor Salva. application of chloride of silver in 1566, in his De Rebus But if the diligent searcher after the old things under the Metallicis. Later still, in 1760, just a century ago, Tiphaigne sun can trace the successivo birth, suffocation, and resuscitade la Roche, in the singular book to which he gave for a title tion of inventions of such delightful application and of such his own namo anagrammatized into Giphantie à Babylone, vast utility and importanco as Photography and Telegraphy,-supposed himself transported to the palace of the genii of to which amongst the more serious topics treated of by the elements, the chief of whom thus addressed him :-“You M. Fournier we must here confine our attention,-how much know that the rays of light, reflecting various bodies, paint more shall we expect to find endless anticipations of the them on the retina of the eye, on the surface of water, and doings of poor existing humanity, in the dress, conveniences on mirrors. The spirits or genii of the elements have and comforts, laws and pastimes, physic, follies, and supersought to fix these passing images ; they have composed a stitions, of our forefathers ? very subtle adhesive material, which hardens very quickly, by The subject of dress, proverbially the sport of fashion and means of which a picture is made in the twinkling of an eye. of change, we could not exhaust in many pages. It may be Thoy spread this substance on a piece of cloth, and expose it interesting to note, however, that Paris boots and shoes were to the objects they wish to depict. The first effect of this already famous in the sixteenth century; that embroidered, prepared cloth is that of a mirror, near and distant objects be-pearled, and be-scented gloves were fashionable in the - being shown upon it. But that which a glass cannot effect, time of Louis XIV., and that Spain led the way in the this cloth with its viscous covering does, namely, it retains manufacture of the softest and thinnest kinds. The modern the image faithfully,--a process which is the work of the first crinoline was forestalled by the ladies of the sixteenth con. instant this is received on the cloth. It is taken away directly tury,—whose dresses were amplified, not with hoops, but to a dark place, and an hour afterwards the glazing is dry, with contrivances made of horse-hair or wadding. Boots and you have a picture far more precious, truthful, and last without seams were made in 1663. Umbrellas and parasols ing, than any that art can produce." The spirit then entered came to us from the east, where they have been in use from

the earliest ages. Our name “umbrella” is, however, as touching a button concealed under cover of a calyx, a rose we need hardly say, a misnomer, really signifying something would disappear, and a beautiful portrait of the person to which affords shade from the sun, and having no reference whom it was presented would take its place. to the use to which it is put in our rainy climate. When the Here is another olla-podrida of anticipations in manners, sun first saw umbrellas we will not pretend to say; but it customs, and progress. Industrial exhibitions were held at will, perhaps, be new to our readers that, before these arti. Venice in the thirteenth century. The adoption of a decimal cles became common in Europe, there were offices at each system was strongly urged by a Dutchman, named Steven, end of the Pont Neuf, in Paris, at which umbrellas could be in 1609: Solitary confinement in cells is the revival of a very hired with which to cross the bridge,-in fair weather, to keop ancient form of punishment. That deadly instrument of the off the sun ; in foul, to protect against the rain. In London, law, named after its re-inventor, Dr. Guillotin, who was him. too, for a time, they were lent on bire from the coffee-houses. self beheaded by it, was really used three centuries before Can this custom be charged with the existence of the yet him in Genoa. Fire-arms, capable of being discharged even too commonly entertained idea that the ownership of twenty times without re-loading, are by no means novelties ; umbrellas has a sort of ambulatory character, and passes whilst, in 1587, a poor Normand was broken on the wheel for easily, and without fraud, from person to person? We may having attempted to revenge a family disgrace, by means of note, too, as an early illustration of the prejudices of the a complex infernal machine. As a counterpoise to these London Jarvies, that, in 1778, a Sir John Macdonald, who had horrors, we may add that swimming belts, made of skin, in brought an umbrella from Spain, dared not use it in the the form of a long cushion, to be fastened round the waist streets of London, for fear those prototypes of our modern like a belt, were exhibited in Paris in 1677. cabbies should injure it, under the idea that it was likely And now a few items for our fair readers. When pavements to spoil their trade.

were laid down in Rome, in the year 579 B.C., a decree of And this brings us to carriages. Hansom cabs may be the senate ordered that women were to have the preference new,-though, with some traces of what Mr. Darwin would in walking on them. Plato wished that there were concall“ modification in descent,” acted on by "natural selec- cocters of marriages, whose business it should be to find out tion,” they may have sprung from the British war-cars of the qualities of persons desiring wedlock, and then to match the time of Boadicea, —but, at all events, Omnibuses are not. them according to their suitability to one another. In 1732, These were invented by the great Pascal, in 1662, and soon a regular establishment was opened at Hamburg for such a afterwards ran every day between one quarter of Paris and purpose, the proprietor of which drew up amusing accounts another. Every carriage at first conveyed six persons, but of wants and qualifications on both sides. In our own days, afterwards they were enlarged to carry eight persons each. the columns of newspapers furnish a more ready resource for They were decorated and gilded, and carried lanterns, and bachelors or widowers in the pursuit of marriage under diffithe coachmen had a livery with the arms of the king and culties, -and one which, we know, does not always fail. of the city. At each end of the journey was an office A word or two on theatres will show how, at least in its where places were taken and complaints received. The amusements, human nature repents itself. We learn that in name of “carosse à cinq sous,”-in the vernacular, "a tup. Athens marionettes moved by steam, and automata set in penny-ba'penny 'bus," --shows the tariff at which they ran. action by quicksilver, were occasionally employed. Sellers That they were becoming very useful is shown by the cause of refreshments, the analogues of our cake-women and of their downfall, which was a parliamentary decree, pro shouters of “Ginger-beer, or soda-water, sir ?” plied their hibiting soldiers, pages, lacqueys, and livery servants from trade between the acts,-the more successfully, their own riding in them. When made by law the sole luxury of the writers humourously tell us, when the pieces being performed rich, they soon ceased to exist. As the convenience of the were bad. In the Roman theatres, people were admitted by people, they will flourish, till more commodious vehicles,- ivory or metal tickets, some of which were gratuitous, and on running, perhaps on "underground railroads, perhaps on which was often stamped or marked, besides a number coriron tramways, in the light of day,--destroy them in a Dar. responding with the wedge and row of seats, the name of winian "struggle for existence!”

the piece, or of the chief actor. Persons were employed to We have only space to catalogue the facts that glass was seat the audience in their proper position, and others outside, used even in Roman times, not merely for small utensils, but on great occasions, arranged them so as to prevent confusion, for purposes of construction,-in floors, on walls, on the and the modern English " opera crush.” The salaries of the ceilings, and in large and massive columns; that asphalt was celebrated actors were enormous : Roscius, according to employed by the Babylonians in buildings, if not in pave- Cicero, made 500,000 sesterces per annum, equal in our prements; that had Reaumur, who suggested, and a certain sent money to £4,100; and another actor, named Esopus, Captain Fresneau, who witnessed in Parana, the manifold left his son 20,000,000 of sesterces, that is, £164,000. Huge uses of india-rubber, met or heard of each other's thoughts painted scenes from the plays, with the name of the chief and experiences, Mackintosh would have been a century too actor in gigantic, often coloured, letters, took the place of our late; that the boiled leather coracles of our forefathers, men- playbills, and adorned the walls. The system of “claqueurs” tioned by Froissart, and the wared-cloth boats used on the was at its extreme of perfect organization. They made three Danube in 1698, foreshadowed that huge construction of kinds, or degrees, of noises : the "bombus," produced by caoutchouc which the United States exhibited so proudly in striking the hollowed hands together; the “testae," a noise the Great Exhibition of 1851 ; that the Greco-Roman archi. like that of a broken pitcher, which indicated a greater tects attempted to make wood inflammable, by steeping it in degree of enthusiasm ; and lastly, and the most rapturous, solutions of alum; that the silver reeds of the patriarchs of the " imbrices,” which sounded like showers of hail. SomeConstantinople prefigured the brass and iron pens used in the times thousands of these claquours, most elegantly dressed, fourteenth century, as well as the modern "magnum-bonums," were hired to applaud, whilst the real audience might hiss. “office-pens," and "boudoir pens" of Gillott and others, To come down to the middle ages, they had their “tableaux whether made of iron, brass, bronze, or gold; and that for vivans," their pieces constructed entirely for the sake of the French quill-drivers of 1666, the Academy of that day the decorations ; scenes painted on pentagons, so that they had already approved a new knife which would mend their could be quickly changed by being rotated; revolving pens at a single stroke. To go back to still more ancient audience-seats, and stage-machinery of all kinds,-flyingdiscoveries,-in truth, to pre-Adamite originators.-- let us dragons, air-chariots, ships and rocks, waves and storms, add that the water-spider invented the diving-bell, the larvæ lightning produced by igniting resin, and thunder emaof the sylphids the diving helmet and tube, and the garden. nating from an Olympus in the shape of a big drum, beaten spider the suspension-bridge!

by a stalwart soldier of the guard, or from a Jovian carPerfumed and decorated note-papers are not new; neither penter rattling a toothed wheel upon some planke. Under are coloured inks, which, in olden times, were perfumed also. Louis XIII., flowers personified, as in our metropolitan Artificial flowers and bouquets then appealed to both the pantomimes of Christmas last, were put upon the stage ; sight and the smell of their fair wearers ; and sometimes, on and in Imperial Rome, in the reign of Tiberius, an enter. prising manager,-the E. T. Smith of his day,--one Asellius property, when the place of concealment is demanded. This Sabinus,--put on the stage, in grand costume, a mushroom, is their mode of enchantment. A person carries his coma bird called a fig-pecker, an oyster, and a thrush, all of which plaint to the Lama, praying him to discover the object which spoke and argued in character. For this grand hit, Tiberius has been stolen from him: it is seldom that the Lama at gave the successful manager 200,000 sesterces,or £1,640! This, once aquiesces. He dismisses him for a few days under the for the encouragement of good caterers for royal and popular pretext of preparing his act of divination. When the day amusement ; now something for their consolation. Ludicrous and hour indicated arrive, he seats himself on the ground mistakes and contretemps have happened on the stage before before a little square tablo, places his hand on it, and begins now. In 1558, a M. Jodelle wrote, in four days, the poetry reading in a low voice from a Thibetan work. Half an hour and music, and prepared the “ machinery," of a piece called after, the priest rises, takes his hand from the table, and raises the Vessel of the Argonauts, to be performed in honour of his arm, but otherwise preserves the same position in referthe Duc de Guise, who had just taken Calais from our ence to the table as before; the table then rises too, following expelled countrymen. On the stage, near Jodelle, who played the direction of his hand. The Lama then stands upright, Jason, stood Orpheus, singing such music as was to make lifts his hand above his head, and the table ascends level with not only living but inanimate nature pursue his steps, or his eyes. The enchanter makes a movement forward, the melody. At the proper moment certain rocks, "rochers," table does the same; he runs, and the table precedes him with duly in waiting behind the side scenes, were to move on to such rapidity that the Lama can scarcely follow it. After view, fascinated by the sweet harmony, and Jason (alias having moved in various directions, it oscillates a little in the Jodelle), anxious for the success of this culminating scene, air, and finishes by falling. Of the several directions which it summoned them in a low voice, when lo! a lot of bell-towers, has taken there is one the most marked; it is on this side that "clochers,” coyly came in sight. We can imagine the roar the stolen objects will be found. The day,” adds the from the "half-prices in the gallery." And now a word of Russian, “ that I was present, the table fell towards a place warning. In the olden days an actress at Marseilles was where, however, the stolen property was not discovered; but obliged to quit the town, in consequence of a riot,

, we shall the same day a peasant living in the direction indicated comcall it an O.P. row,which was caused by her raising the mitted suicide. This suicide awakened suspicion, and in his prices to what was deemed an exorbitant height.

dwelling all the stolen articles were found. Not daring to To our friends the doctors we must briefly refer for con- trust blindly in what I had seen, I accused the Lama of lifting firmation of the statement that nearly all our active reme. the table by means of an invisible thread; but, after most dies, such as opium, colchicum, henbane, hellebore, aconite, minute examination, I could find no trace whatever of imposi. and belladonna, -were known to Hippocrates, or the Egyp. tion. The table was made of pine wood, and weighed a pound tians, whilst the principal mineral remedies now in vse sprang and a half.” into note in the time of Paracelsus. We can only find room If the reader desires any further illustrations of how little to add that the use of anæsthetics, for the production of there is really new in the greater number of our modern insensibility on the occasion of surgical operations, is not so novelties, he will find them in plenty in the volumes of M. modern as some may suppose. In 1681, one Papin, whilst Fournier. * teaching at Marburg, wrote a Traité des Opérations sans Douleur, the manuscript of which is now preserved in the

THE ADVENTURES OF DR. WOLFF.+ library of the Elector of Hesse. Even in the middle ages At sixty-five years of age, Dr. Wolff, “late missionary to the Mandragora wine was known to produce temporary insensi- Jews and Mohammedans in Persia, Bokhara, Cashmeer, bility, without any subsequent ill effects. All the writers etc.," sits down to narrate the events and trials of a very of that time speak of this property of the mysterious plant, remarkable career, dictating the narrative aloud, as he says, either the bark or the powdered root of which, given in a glass of wine to a suffering person, will soon allay his pain, plain, nervous language, with quite a Defoe's force in its pre

“in a family circle where willing scribes are to be found." In and will cause him to sleep so soundly that his arms and ciseness of detail and straightforward truthtelling, he recites legs might be cut off without his feeling it. Still more remotely, the Chinese made use of anæsthetics. the story of his life, with, by way of preface, this motto from

Xavier“Who would not travel over sea and land to be At a time corresponding with the year 220 of our era, we instrumental in the saving of one soul?"-and a dedication to find a Chinese doctor having recourse to this great expedient Mr. Gladstone, whose high sympathies with science, literaevery time he had a serious operation to perform. His name was Hao-Tho, and his mode of stupefaction is described in ture, and religion are not his least claims upon the admiration the Kou-kiu-i-tong, a collection of ancient and modern medi. and regard of his countrymen. Only the first volume of the

work has yet been published. This brings the great missioncine. He gave the invalid a preparation of Indian hemp, mayo, and in a few instants the patient became as insensible ary to the gate of Bokhara, the goal of his enterprise, the as if he was dead drunk, or really deprived of life.

“ Be cautious," says

stronghold of the Mohammedan faith. We have only left ourselves space to treat of one other one word against our religion will make the people forget

the governor of Karrakool to Wolff; "be cautious in Bokhara. subject. In these table-moving, table-lifting, and tablebreaking times, it may be interesting to our readers to know that you are a guest, and they will put you to death." what Oriental nations think about the magnetic power con

Wolff was born in 1795, of Jewish parents, at a little viltained in the fingers, especially in the ring and little fingers. Bamberg, then a portion of the Germanic Empire. A fierce

lage called Weilersbach, near Forcheim, in the district of Among the Turks there is an old superstition that " these fingers are unlucky, for the devil uses them to eat his rice persecution, led by the students of Prague, and generally folwith.” All good Mussulmen, therefore, eat it with the three great bodies of Jews to Germany. Hardly had they raised

lowed throughout Bohemia, had compelled the emigration of other fingers. The inhabitants of Macasser, on the contrary, I to themselves new homesteads in Bavaria, when the invasion believe

that the soul is in the fingers, and that when we die of the French struck them with a new panic. David Wolff, it escapes out by them. When, therefore, a person is in the the father of the subject of this memoir, Aled to Kissengen, agonies of death, the priest who is called to aid him in dying, and was made rabbi of a Jewish congregation there. The whilst muttering his prayers, rubs gently the middle finger to future missionary was only fifteen days old at the date of his prepare the way for the soul to escape. A Russian traveller, apropos of the table-turning mania, parents'

fight to this watering place. He is said to have been took the opportunity, a short time since, of communicating whole court of Weimar, and other visitors at the Spa of Kis

beautiful as an infant "that the Duchess of Weimar and the what he had seen in Thibet to the Russian journal, the Abeille du Nord. He begins by speaking of the different singen, would frequently take him from the arms of his kinds of legerdemain to which the Lamas, or king-priests, of nurse, carry him about, and show him to each other as a

prodigy." Thibet have recourse, in order to maintain their influence over the people. Then he adds: “ Among the number of means • Le Vieux-Neuf: Histoire Ancienne des Inventions et Déconterta Modernes. Par employed, there is one more curious than the rest. A little

+ Travels and Adventures of the Rev. Joseph Wolf, D.D., LL.D. Vol. L moving table is their divining rod; it serves to discover stolen London: Saunders, Otley, and co. 1800.

[ocr errors]

EDOUARD FOURNIER. Paris : 1800.

« НазадПродовжити »