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109 Predisposition to Bleedings, 115
45 Press, Favourite Phrases of the, 237
5 Protection of Land from Storms,
162 Masson on Affghanistan,
316 Provision against the Evil Day, 21
119 Prussian Regularity,
410 Medical Profession, the,
Queer Case for the Law,
45 Merse, Old House in the,
76 | Mesmeric Sleep, Amputation in the, 415 Railway Directors, a Word to, 300
167 Recent Experiments in Manchester, 38
92 Missouri, Life in,
86 Redding's “ Cornwall,”
301 Ripple-Marks on Rock-Surfaces, 387
258 Museum, British,
204 Sabretash, Captain Orlando, Jot-
36 tings from,
134 Sanatory Condition of the Labour-
295 ing Population, 257, 266, 285, 293
112 India, Overland Routes to, 413 Natural History, Sketches in, 210, 220, Sanatory Reports, Jottings from
234, 275, 338, 378, 394 the,
375 School for Reclaiming Boys, 407
142 Scottish Tutor's First Situation, 237
106 Ships Lost by Burning,
364 Northern Collieries, 194, 202, 222, 250 Should Boys Learn Latin ? 239
414 Notes of a Half-Pay,
234, 275, 338, 378, 394
54 Omnibus Adventure,
15 Spa, Leamington,
53 Spanish Slaver,
411 Spenser, T. Hall,
Jury Room, Tales of,
170 " Other People,”
175 Overland Routes to India,
62 Steam Navigation of Great Britain, 80
328 Steam, Wonders of,
300 Sturge on the United States, 116
133 Pauper Lunatic Asylum, 151 Subscription for Burns's Sister, 328
375 Swiss Watchmakers,
117 Tales of the Jury Room,
292 Teachers, Screwing Down,
20 Pictures and Painters,
336 Temperance Coffee-Houses, 351
195 Thomson on America,
414 | Thun,
Trait of American Character, 51
119 Turnbull on the Eye,
358 | Two Worlds, Review of the, 383
398 Typography, Improvements in, 213
306 Popular Information on French Unterseen,
381 Literature :
Vaccination, Progress of,
91 | Ventriloquism,
42 Vigne on Upper India,
Voice from the Past,
“ Voice of Jacob,”
106 Vulgar Hallucinations,
Influence of Colour on Heat
Wages, Time for Paying,
131 Wakes of Lancashire,
Animals on Rock-Surfaces, 387 Water, Action of, on Lead, • 402
288 Pleasing Improvement,
352 Popular Delusions,
88 | Industry,
216 Quadrupeds, Effects of Food on,
232 Quick Postage!
360 Job for Younger Sons,
288 Labour a Blessing,
160 Ladies, Advice to,
56 Laundresses, Dutch,
232 Ruthven's Plan for Propelling
192 Sailors, English,
96 Samaritans, Present State of the, 280
248 Schools in Athens,
16 Society, English,
24 | Statistics of Muscular Power, 120
128 Steam as a Blacksmith,
96 Moors, the,
264 Suavity, Affectation of,
320 Superstition in Nineteenth Century, 16
360 Superstitious Observances in Russia, 88
136 Time, Variations of,
64 Other Irons in the Fire,
56 Ultimate Success of Good Schemes, 32
32 Paper, Bad, Qualities of,
152 Vessels of the United Kingdom, 208
128 People of Colour at Belize,
16 What is a Gentleman?
336 / Women of Forty and Fifty, 296
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CIIAMBERS, EDITORS OF “ CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,”
" CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,” &c.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 1842.
COMICALITIES OF NATURE.
expressions, under the instruction of human masters curious, if not ludicrous, resemblances to other objects.
and mistresses. By timing their jokes, they often The natural order Orchidaceæ are remarkable for this THERE are some objects in animated creation which show that they enjoy them. This tribe, as well as property. The flower of the Oncidium papilio preirresistibly provoke a smile. It is different with in the monkeys and mocking-birds, are unquestionably sents an extraordinary resemblance to a tortoise-shell animate nature, which is variously beautiful, sublime, possessed of that same power of imitation which men butterfly, as that of the Phalænopsis amabilis does to tame, desolate, wild, or whatever else, but always re- employ to the excitement of mirth in mimicry and a white one. Peristeria pendula looks like a dove spectable. There is nothing frisky in the characters comic theatricals. The mocking-bird is the very crouching in its nest, and Coryanthes micrantha reof mountains or precipices, plains, lakes, rivers, or Monsieur Alexandre of American ornithology. It sembles a skeleton's head, with the vertebræ of tho seas--unless, indeed, we are to make an exception for can simulate the cry of almost all birds, and the name neck, finished off with a pair of bat’s wings !* The some little burns in our own northern land, which the we give it expresses the purposes for which it employs flower of the bee orchis is like a piece of honeycomb, imagination may very readily suppose to be of a tricksy, the gift. One of its favourite waggeries, as is well and, strange to say, the bees delight in it. Then there gambolsome humour, seeing with what deft antics known, is to gather other birds near it by imitating is the snap-dragon, the corolla of which is cleft and they tumble and trip along their pebbly way, as if to their cries, and then to disperse them, like a set of turned back so as to look like a rabbit's mouth, esamuse the gowans that ogle them as they pass, from schoolboys at the approach of the master, by uttering pecially if pinched on the sides, when the animal the fairy-bеfooted sward. But, upon the whole, inor the cry of the bird of which they stand most in fear. appears as if nibbling. If, in like manner, the two ganic creation is not at all funny. Animated nature, There are many whimsical things in the vegetable petals or nectaries of another well-known plant are on the contrary, presents to us an immense deal that world, though the British Flora is perhaps a more pinched, they peep from under the coloured calyx, we cannot help feeling to be so.
serious goddess than some of her foreign sisters. If like two great eyes looking out under the cowl of a To begin with the next creatures below ourselves we go abroad, we shall find many quaint things in monk-hence its name of monk’s-hood. The flower of there are the monkeys, whose whole appearance and this department of nature. The broussonetia papy, the cock’s-comb and seed-pod of the Mostynia proboscilea movements are grotesque. Who could ever look in rifera of Japan and India, from which the article called bear equally curious resemblances to the objects which the face of one of these animals without that same India paper is made, has leaves all different in form, have suggested their names. Some kinds of Medicago stirring of the risible faculties which we experience in and each of which seems as if it had had a piece rent have also curious seed-pods, some being like bee-hives, perusing a caricature or parody, or witnessing a pan- out of it, and as if it had been afterwards sewed up some like caterpillars, and some like hedgehogs the tomime? The wretch never laughs itself, but its again to repair the damage. Here there is as com- last being itself an essentially ludicrous natural object. every gesture is provocative of mirth in us. See it plete an appearance of a familiar human action being A certain grotesqueness of forın belongs to the whole taking care of one of its young, or allaying some tem- imitated in nature, as there is in the junction of the order of Cactacece. The Cactus senilis would arrest the porary irritability in one of its sides, or inspecting duck's bill to the water-rat’s body in the ornithorhyn- most unobservant eye in an exhibition of plants, by any suspicious-looking morsel which may have been There is exactly that disarrangement of the the ludicrous peculiarity from which it derives its given to it, and the perfect whimsicality of the crea
fibres of the leaf, and that appearance of puckering at name. Being simply a kind of stump, covered with ture must be acknowledged. So thoroughly is this the seam, which would be seen in a piece of checkered long white streaming hair, it exactly resembles the the case, that no one could ever speak of a monkey cloth, worn by a mendicant, which, having had a head of an old man ! In its native country, this cactus gravely : the name is never mentioned without a narrow section taken out of it, had been hastily based puts on considerably different, but not less ludicrous, smile or a laugh. The appearance of the sloth is together without any regard to the joining of the appearances. It there grows to the height of ten or ludicrous, but in a different way. “There,” remarks chequers or to smoothness of surface. The well-twelve, sometimes even to twenty or thirty, feet, and Cuvier, “nature seems to have amused herself with known fly-trap strikes the mind with all the effect of when it approaches a flowering state, a circlet of short producing something imperfect and grotesque.” The a joke. The leaf stands temptingly open ; a poor fly brown fur appears round the summit, which gradually mirth excited by this animal is of the derisive kind. pops in for shelter or food ; no sooner has it set its increases till it takes the very form and appearance of We smile to see a miserable-looking creature crawling foot on the bottom, than some sensitive fibres are a lady's fur muff! Mr Lambert, the President of the so abjectly, unable to use its fore-legs for support, and affected, and the cilia at the top close in upon the Linnæan Society, has preserved in glass-cases, in his only able to move when it can get something to lay | intruder, empounding him as effectually as if a boy drawing-room, two specimens taken from full plants ; hold of, whereby to pull itself along. The sloth may had taken him and closed him up in a box. The and a person who has seen them reports to us, that be, as later naturalists allege, fully accomplished for doings of a human economy are also curiously coin- one in particular, about eighteen inches high, precisely all the ends of its being ; yet it is not less true that, cident with those of the pitcher-plant of the east. looks like an old sable muff. The flowers of the cacconstituted as we are, we cannot help smiling at an To the footstalk of each leaf of this plant, near tus senilis are crimson, and are produced in a ring. object which strikes our minds as so uncouth. the base, is attached a kind of bag, shaped like a The reader may therefore judge what a curious figure
So, also, the peculiar feature of the marsupial tribes pitcher, of the same consistence and colour as the leaf our old gentleman plant cuts in his native woods, with is no doubt appropriate to the circumstances in which in the early state of its growth, but changing with his body all covered with long white hair, surmounted they live. Yet is it in the power of any human being age to a reddish purple. It is girt round with an by a black muff, and above all a wreath of crimson to think of that feature with the same feelings as oblique band or hoop, and covered with a lid neatly flowers. those with which, for instance, he would regard the fitted, and moveable on a kind of hinge or strong Our minds naturally recognise the tall straight stems gracile limb of the antelope, or the shaggy mane of fibre, which, passing over the handle, connects the of the beech and elm as elegant objects. The trunk the lion ? To think of a creature having a pouch in vessel with the leaf. By the shrinking or contracting of of the oak is thick, but it conveys the idea of manly which to carry her young family, and from which this fibre, the lid is drawn open whenever the weather robustness and vigour. Most flowering plants in this they may occasionally be seen peeping like so many is showery, or dews fall, which would appear to be country have elegant stalks, to which the flower parts juvenile bipeds from a huckster's panniers, is surely a just the contrary of what usually happens in nature, are in general neatly and fittingly joined. We never most whimsical idea. Think of what a monstrous though the contraction is probably occasioned by the think of smiling mirthfully at any of these objects, crime pocket-picking must appear to a female kan- hot and dry atmosphere, and the expansion does not but, on the contrary, are disposed to regard them with garoo with a charge of children. Australia presents take place till the moisture has fallen and saturated a musing and serious admiration. How different are another good living joke in her celebrated ornithor- the pitcher. When this is the case, the cover falls these cactuses, with their incomprehensible lumpy anhyncus, where we see a creature like a rat, but a down, and it closes so firmly as to prevent any evapo-gular stems, masses of green vegetable matter, decogood deal larger, furnished with a duck's bill and web- ration taking place. The water having gradually rated quaintly along the edges with prickles, while feetman association exactly of the same character absorbed through the handle in the footstalk of the here and there a flower sticks out, looking as oddly with those which human conceit has occasionally leaf, gives vigour to the leaf itself, and sustenance to placed as would a man's head if it projected from formed for emblematical devices, or in the way of the plant. As soon as the pitchers are exhausted, his side or stuck upon his knee. It is the Cactus buffoonery.
the lids again open, to admit whatever moisture may speciosissimus which is so particularly liable to this Amongst the feathered tribes there are also nume- fall; and when the plant has produced its seed, and description. To the dark crimson flowers which rous traces of comicality. The choler of the turkey- the dry season fairly sets in, it withers with all the ornament its stem, succeeds the fruit, a thing which cock never fails to excite mirth. Domesticated ravens covers of the pitchers standing open.*
one would at first suppose to be an egg, till tasting it come to enter into the humours of the families they There are some plants, the flowers of which bear he would imagine it a gooseberry! In their native live with, and sometimes prove amazingly funny. The whole race of parrots is amusing. Not altogether
* There is a figure of this flower in the Botanical Register, mechanical is that power they have of repeating droll
* This description of the pitcher-plant is from Barrow's Cochin vol. xxii., but it gives no idea of the horrible grotesque of the VOL. XI No I.
ELEVENTII ARTICLE. SULLY.
country, they rise thirty or forty feet high, without a whimsical in their forms, since long before there was increased to upwards of three thousand, which obliged single branch or a single leaf, and it is generally upon such a thing as the human mind to regard them either the French to fly for an asylum into the house of the the tops of mountains that they grow. Pæping, a
in one light or another. We see jocularities and ambassador. I at last imagined something extraor
merriments in animals which existed long before man, dinary had happened, and having questioned Terrail German botanical traveller in Brazil, says that, in and to which no moral error can be imputed. Finally, and Gadancourt, they informed me of the particulars. that country, a hill top bristling with the cactus
we see man himself organised so thoroughly for mirth, The honour of my nation, my own in particular, speciosissimus, resembles nothing so much as a hog's that his very health is liable to be improved by it.* and the interest of my negotiation, were the first obback!
Well, indeed, might Grecian imagination include jects that presented themselves to my mind. I was Then we have the creeping cereus (cereus flugellifor- | Thalia amongst the children of Jove.
also most sensibly grieved that my entry into London mis), which looks like a number of cats' tails tied to
should be marked at the beginning by so fatal an acci
dent; and at that moment, I am persuaded, my coungether, and hung over a flower-pot, with a few crimson POPULAR INFORMATION ON FRENCH
tenance plainly expressed the sentiments with which flowers stuck into them irregularly. The spines with
I was agitated. Guided by my first impulse, I arose, which these hanging stems are completely covered are
took a flambeau, and ordering all that were in the what give them the cats' tail appearance : they have Having described the early warlike portion of Sully's selves round the walls, hoped by this means to dis
house (amounting to about a hundred) to range themno leaves, but the tails are sometimes forked. The
career, we now take him up as a grave and calculating cover the murderer, which I did without any difficulty leaf cactus (Epiphyllum phyllanthoides) is of totally dif- minister of state. The section of his Memoirs devoted by his agitation and fear. He was for denying it at ferent but equally quaint form, the stems appearing to this part of his history presents a picture of politi- first, but I soon obliged him to confess the truth. He to consist of a series of leaves stuck into each other, cal sagacity remarkable for that age, leaving us scarcely was a young man, and the son of the Sieur de Com, and having notches in the sides from which spring the senior, was often checked, when about to do a foolish room to wonder that his royal master, though his baut, principal examiner in Chancery, very rich, and
a kinsman likewise of Beaumont, who entering at flowers. The porcupine cactus (echinocactus) has a thing, by the consideration, “What will Sully say to that moment, desired me to give young Combaut into round ball-like stem, often with projecting angles like all this?" He commenced his career as a minister in his hands, that he might endeavour to save him. 'I a lady's reticule, covered with hard sharp spines. The 1594, in the capacity of secretary of state. Four years do not wonder,' replied I to Beaumont, with an air of flowers of this genus appear thrown carelessly on the after, he was appointed superintendant of finances, authority and indignation, that the English and you stem, and not to belong to it. We might expatiate having displayed as much ability in that department are at variance, if you are capable of preferring the
as he had previously shown military fire and skill in interest of yourself and your relations to that of the upon the eccentricities of this order of plants for half the time of war. Many important negotiations were king and the public ; but the service of the king my a day, but shall content ourselves with adverting to conducted by him. One is very remarkable, as show- master, and the safety of so many gentlemen of good that crowning conceit manifested by one of the family, ing the liberties which Sully took with the king, and the families, shall not suffer for such an imprudent stripof blowing in the middle of the night-emblem apt state
of feeling existing between the two. The king, ling as this. I told Beaumont, in plain terms, that and true of a certain class of whimsical mortals.
his master, had given a rash and unworthy promise Combaut should be beheaded in a few minutes. How,
of marriage in one of his tits of passion. Sully was sir,' cried Beaumont, 'behead a kinsman of mine, posEvery one has heard of lusus naturce-sports of na
in confidence consulted by Henry. On reading the sessed of two hundred thousand crowns, an only son ! ture-things which she was supposed to produce in document, he slowly and gravely tore it in pieces. -it is but an ill recompense for the trouble he has the way of freak, and as exceptions from her ordinary “ Are you mad ?" cried the infuriated monarch. given himself, and the expense he has been at to aclaws. Fossil shells, for example, were considered as
“ Yes,” answered Sully, “ I am mad, sire, and I wish company you. I again replied, in as positive a tone, lusus naturæ, no one being able to understand how, if I were the only madman in France !" Sully's firm- I had no occasion for such company; and, to be
ness had the result of making Henry enter into a short, I desired Beaumont to quit my apartment, for they had been originally real shells of marine molluscs, marriage with the person whose alliance in those times I thought it would be improper to have him present they could ever have got into those deep-seated rocks was best suited to the exigencies of the state. As in the council, which I intended to hold immediately, where they were found embedded. It is now believed regards mutual liking and individual feelings, these in order to pronounce sentence of death upon Comthat there are no such things as lusus naturæ, every are seldom held of consequence in such affairs.
baut. one of her organic creations being formed after a dis
The many important negotiations in which Sully In this council I made choice only of the oldest and
was engaged at home, exclusively of mere financial the wisest of my retinue ; and the affair being pretinct type, and designed for a particular purpose in affairs, had reference chiefly to the maintenance of sently determined, I sent Arnaud to inform the mayor creation, just as there is no character used in a printed the Protestant interests, and to the suppression of of London of it, and to desire him to have his officers book but what there is a type for in the compositor's the petty feudal sovereigns yet existing in France, ready the next day, to conduct the culprit to the placo case, and is liable to appear accordingly in other printed and possessing sufficient power to brave and embarrass of execution, and to have the executioner there ready books of the same language. The true sports of na
their liege lord. It was through the able management to receive him.”
of matters in Henry's days, that this anomalous and The mayor, however, to whose justice Sully finally ture are to be seen in the many grotesque forms of perilous state of things was brought to an end, and delivered the culprit, let him escape at the instance of her legitimate and recognised children, animals and the real authority lodged in the hands of a single the relative, and, satisfied with Sully, the people seem plants, and in the whimsical powers and properties monarch. Besides aiding his master powerfully in to have done nothing further in the matter. "Justice, which she has assigned to many of at least the former such domestic concerns, Sully was employed in many it would seem, had not then come to the state in class. With regard to grotesque forms in plants and foreign missions and negotiations. As ambassador which Oliver Cromwell placed it, when Don Pontoanimals, it may be said that these things are perhaps from Henry, he had a confidential interview with leon Sa, the very brother of the Portuguese ambassanot absolutely grotesque, and that it is only in conse
Queen Elizabeth at Dover in 1601; and two years dor, was sent to the scaffold by the stern Protector, quence of some law of our minds that we think them afterwards, he went to London on a mission to her in spite of all entreaties, individual and national? so. This, we conceive, may be the case without in successor, James I. Of the account given of the latter Sully is induced by what passed on this occasion to
visit, we shall present some incidental snatches. give the following picture of our nation-not a very the least detracting from the force of what has been
Sully, whose instructions chiefly related to the con- Hattering one, but tinged to some extent with truth. said ; for how can we judge of any thing but by virtue junction of France and England against the Spanish It is certain that the English hate us, and this of and in accordance with the habits of our minds ? interests, found at Calais the vice-admirals of France, hatred is so general and inveterate, that one would Undoubtedly, if the cheek of the fair young maiden Holland, and England, all of them anxious for the almost be tempted to number it among their natural affects us with the sense of beauty, as truly does the honour of conveying him across the channel. By way dispositions : it is undoubtedly an effect of their arrofigure of the Barbary ape affect us with the sense of of a compliment, he accepted the seemingly courteous gance and pride, for no nation in Europe is more comicality. So, also, of the powers and properties of offer of the English, and his going on board led to re- haughty and insolent, nor more conceited of its supemany animals. The chatter of the parrot, the strut sults which prove that the English sailors of that day rior excellence. Were they to be believed, underand crow of the cock, the wretched bray of the ass, the were just the English sailors of the present. The standing and common sense are to be found only capers of the young goat, and the pranks of the kitten, French admiral, “ De Vic, who only sought an oppor- among them : they are obstinately wedded to all their all affect us with the same risibility as the humour of a tunity of showing the English his resentment of the own opinions, and despise those of every other nation; Mathews or the wit of a Sheridan. To come finally violences committed by their pirates, advancing, bear- and to hear others, or suspect themselves, is what to man, he has been endowed with both the power ing the French flag on his maintop-gallant mast, 1 never enters into their thoughts. Their self-love renof creating mirth and the power of enjoying it. found these complaisant English were enraged at an ders them slaves to all their capricious humours. What He has a faculty of the ludicrous in his mental offence which, according to them, was equally injuri- they at one time believe to have wisely performed, or organisation, and muscles in the face whereby to ex ous to the King of England, and the King of France, firmly resolved, is at another time destroyed without press the sensation in its well-known form of laughter. whom I represented ; and I had reason to think them their knowing, or being able to give a reason : they are Some are born with such a predominance of the still more rude and impolite, when, without deigning accordingly so undetermined in themselves, that freludicrous in their nature, and such wonderful powers to consult mo, fifty shot were immediately fired into quently one would not take them for the same perof awakening risibility in their fellow-creatures, as to De Vic's ship." Sully thought it wise to explain that sons, and from hence they themselves sometimes seem to have been mainly designed, as far as the the flag was raised in honour of Henry's ambassador; appear surprised on perceiving their own continued worldly utility of their existence is concerned, for this and he also deemed it prudent to make a signal for its irresolution. If we examine what are called their purpose. This is a class of men particularly apt at being lowered, which was done just in time, as appears maxims of state, we shall discover in them only the perceiving the comicalities of the lower animal and from another broadside having been prepared by the laws of pride itself, adopted by arrogance or indovegetable worlds. While others see only what is English, which they fired at “ random.” Sully and his lence." Admitting the correctness of the charge of painful and melancholy in the scene around them, extensive suite, notwithstanding this untoward open national vanity, we must observe that Sully's national they are conscious only of what is merry and ridi- ing incident, were received with great honours at prejudice has prevented him from seeing that it is culous, and spend the part of their lives that is devoted Dover, whence they went by land to Gravesend, and, probably in a great measure to this belief in our supeto common sensation in a constant flow of self-gene- entering a rich royal barge, sailed up the Thames. riority that we owe our actual greatness in arms and rated humour.
The Tower gave him a salute of three thousand guns, We would fain, from all that has been said, esta- the finest thing of the kind (he says) that he had ever Sully's account of accidental particulars connected blish the importance of the comical in the mundane heard. He had scarcely reached London, and taken with his embassy, is much more interesting than his economy. It seems to us that it cannot be neces- up a temporary residence in a house there, when an description of his interviews with James I., of whose sarily à reprehensible frivolity-to however absurd other untoward business occurred, of which he gives personal demeanour he says little. Their first meetpurposes it may be occasionally perverted—when we an account.
ing, however, must have been striking. Sully, atsee traces of it springing directly from the common His people went out to houses of entertainment, tended by one hundred and twenty selected gentleOrigin of all things. l'ime and place may be necessary and“ at the same place they met with some English, men of his large suite, and a party of the royal guards, for its proper development amongst assembled human with whom they quarrelled, fought, and one of the went to see the king at Greenwich. “His majesty beings, but this is no more than what may be said of all English was killed. The populace, who were before having sent to desire my appearance in his presence, I things. There is a time to laugh and a time to weep. prejudiced against us, being excited by the family of was above a quarter of an hour before I could get to Man, it is true, in his blind zeal for what his higher the deceased, who was a substantial citizen, assembled, the foot of his throne, occasioned both by the great sentiments dictate, has sometimes acted as if to smile and began loudly to threaten revenge upon all the numbers that were already there, and because I made were a sin. He has, strange to say, thought that an French, even in their lodgings. The affair soon be all my retinue walk before me. The prince no sooner invariable gloom and sadness was the proper habit of gan to appear of great consequence, for the number perceived me than he descended two steps, and would mind in which to live, as being more agreeable to the of people assembled upon the occasion was presently have descended them all, so very desirous he appeared Deity. But when we look into the book of nature,
to receive and embrace me, had not one of his miniswe see these ideas completely contradicted. We there find types of being which must have been grotesque and merriment is good for digestion.
* Dr Hufeland of Berlin has expressed his opinion that light ters, who stood next him, whispered softly in his ear
that he ought to go no farther. If,' said he aloud, 'I