« PreviousContinue »
placed and by that vast body of water, | ever, content ourselves with the examples called the Pacific Ocean, extending over given and let the "dear moon" sail silentmore than one quarter of the globe. Other ly through the cloudy sky, without imputcauses co-operate, which to explain would ing to her things whereof the harmless lead me beyond my design. An explanation friend of night is perfectly innocent. of the whole may be found in any good physical geography.
But I must once more return to the weather. There is a widely-spread belief, To confirm the belief in a lunar influence according to which the weather takes parupon the weather, it has been asserted that ticular delight in changing on Friday. Yes, the moon must act on the ocean of air-there is even an old rhyme to that effect: the atmosphere in the same manner that "An ugly or a fair Sunday it acts on the ocean of water, producing a kind of ebb and flow. Theoretically this had long been assumed; but it required the nicest observations of years upon the most delicately constructed barometers before philosophers succeeded in proving certain very minute fluctuations due to the action of the moon. Yet what are these fluctuations against those of the barometer in our latitudes, often amounting to several lines at a time and whose mediate cause is the differences in heat, to be referred, consequently, to the sun? Hence we find no reason here, either, to ascribe to the moon any influence upon the weather.
Is shown by Friday's noon alway." Nothing bearing the least resemblance to a sensible reason can be assigned for this, wherefore people are wont to say that although the reason of the phenomenon is unknown, still the fact is established. This fact is not only not established, but, on the contrary, it is flatly contradicted by experience; and here we again see how defectively observations are generally made. Somebody, having happened to notice that the weather changed on two or three successive Fridays, considers himself justified in saying that, according to his experience, Friday exercises an influence on the weather. By the meteorological tables, already mentioned as kept for forty years, we see that 279 out of two thousand changes in the weather occurred on Sunday, 258 on Monday, 292 on Tuesday, 279 on Wednesday, 289 on Thursday, 283 on Friday, and 293 on Saturday. Facts, or rather figures, speak!
The second way in which the moon might possibly influence our earth is by means of the light we receive on dark nights. Valuable as this light is to the nightly wanderer and to the city exchequers (whose expenses for street-lighting it materially lessens), yet the physical influence exerted by the moon's light on the earth is exceedingly slight. The light diffused by the full moon amounts, according to reliable computations, to less Applying the touch-stone of physics than the one two hundred thousandth part careful observation — everywhere, and esof that received from the sun. In speak-pecially where something seems to clash ing, therefore, of the influence of light on animal and vegetable growth the sun must not be forgotten, and an influence must be attributed to it two hundred thousand times as great as the moon's. From this also appears the folly of ascribing special influences to the moon's phases. And besides, these phases do not make their appearance all at once, but come very gradually by increase or diminution, and in the same gradual proportion as the full moon diminishes to new moon must the influence of its light diminish from that small fraction to zero.
with the regular course of nature-applying, I say, this touch-stone, I invite my readers to a brief examination of what, in the most extended sense of the term, is denominated Clairvoyance or Somnambulism.
It cannot be denied that there are states of the system when the nerves are morbidly excited and their action heightened. In neuralgia, er nervous toothache, for instance, we not seldom observe the olfactory nerves to be unusually acute. Certain morbid conditions, such as worm disease, defective formation of blood, &c., acting upon the brain, frequently cause an abnormally deep or very restless sleep, attended with dreams, more than ordinarily vivid, and connected, and loud speaking. Some such cases, especially those of sensitive and chlorotic young girls, are certainly very interesting to observe. The confusedness and incoherency characterizing dreams in general gives place to a regular and connected dream-life, There are many other kinds of supersti- which is manifested to the observer by tion regarding the moon. We shall, how-speech equally coherent. But in dreams no
And as regards the moon's heat the case is still worse. Only after laborious observations and with the aid of extremely fine instrnments did Melloni prove that the moon emitted heat; but the warmth of the rays is so trifling that a burning candle, at a distance of fifteen feet, radiates three times as much heat as the moon.
one ever receives intelligence either con- | myself of the truth of magnetic phenomena,” cerning himself, or other persons and things, not already received in the usual way, since dreaming is never more than a remembering, a reproducing, in which, it is true, full scope is given to the dreamer's fancy for the oddest and most varied combinations. The same is the case with that exalted dream-life which is called clairvoyance or somnambulism. To the psychologist it will ever be of great interest to observe these manifestations of dream-life. But as soon as we hear the sleeping female for the sleeper is almost invariably a young or an old lady-saying things of which she seems to obtain knowledge in her dream; when she begins to prophecy; when she reveals where things are hidden, whereof, to all appearance, she could have had no previous knowledge; and particularly, when the object is found at the place designated by the somnambulist, to the general astonishment,- then let us strengthen our mental eyes with glasses of the greatest doubt, and not suffer the Creator's noblest gift, our sound judgment, to be obscured by the mists of a sickly imagination. Should any one have occasion to be present at a somnambulistic performance, however, where a magnetizer stands beside the sleeper's bed, the latter sneezing the moment he takes a pinch of snuff, or where the somnambulist reads a letter placed upon her abdomen, I recommend to him the pointed words of an eminent German physician: Pray let me have my
said the well-known Dr. Himly to the author of the "Studies,"" had been unavailing; my presence had either prevented the appearance of the ecstacies, or I had lit upon such palpable deceptions as were deserving no further notice. So I finally determined to travel to Halle, where, under the supervision of an eminent professor and savant, a somnambulist, said to be a clairvoyant beyond all doubt, was astonishing the scientific world. I was received in the kindest manner by the gentleman, witnessed all the phenomena, and even upon the most hypercritical examination was unable to detect a trace of imposture. One morning, while the clairvoyant was sleeping, having just said that, as had really happened on several occasions, she would distinctly remember every occurrence that might take place during her slumber, a note from a female friend was brought. I took it from the bearer, and, with the physician's consent, read it aloud (in the presence of the sleeper.) It contained a request for some embroidery. The note was laid upon the pit of the somnambulist's stomach, and was read by her, word for word, without any difficulty. With great interest we awaited the end of her sleep, which occurred in an hour's time. After some questions from me as to how she felt, the lady inquired whether a note had not come for her. We were astonished and requested to know its contents, which she immediately communicated verbatim et literatim. I thereupon unfolded the paper remaining in my hand; it contained but one word, written by myself: Attrapée (caught)! Of course I set off instantly, perfectly enlightened. The somnambulist, nevertheless, continued for a long time thereafter to play her part under the direction of this distinguished man, whom, since then, I have come to consider not an impostor, but a silly dupe." This we have from Himly, and," adds Schleiden, "similar success, without one exception, has attended all experiments made with equal sagacity."
Innumerable times this feat of reading sealed letters, placed upon the abdomen, has been performed, and hence it is most astonishing that the prize of ten thousand francs, offered more than forty years ago by the French Academy of Sciences, should not have been won to this day. This sum has been promised to the clairvoyant who shall read, before a commission of the Academy, a sealed writing to be brought by them and placed upon the pit of the clairvoyant's stomach. As already stated, this prize is still to be awarded, and, if I am Although it is often asserted by those rightly informed, not a single somnambulist, taking an interest in a somnambulist, that notwithstanding the public announcements, the patient has no conceivable reason for has appeared in all that time to undergo the feigning such a state, I have not the least trial. I think somnambulists know best that hesitation in reducing all cases of this certain preparations are necessary to read sleeping-art to two classes: in the first, the sealed letters with their stomachs, and, love of gain is the ruling motive, and it above all, that they must previously know must be owned, that the trade of somnambutheir contents. Nevertheless, of the skill lism is, unfortunately, very lucrative; the with which this reading is sometimes car-second class includes those cases wherein ried on we find an excellent instance in the individual is desirous of exciting interSchleiden's "Studies," which I may be per- est and attention. And surely it will be mitted to give here. conceded that coming all at once into notice must have a peculiar and great charm for a
All my most earnest efforts to convince
sickly young girl, whose lot it was hitherto | tance. Fancy is beautiful, but Truth is so to be unnoticed, unknown. It was this beautiful that, when meeting each other in motive which induced a young girl in the the Olympian hall, Goethe's favorite goddess hospital at Copenhagen to force pieces of glass, needles, broken blades of knives, &c.. into her flesh, which she did almost daily for years, notwithstanding the excruciating pain and the inflammation and boils thus produced. She thought it would be incomprehensible how these things ever got under her skin, and hoped to make herself an object of interest to the physicians and public, as she herself admitted on being finally caught in the act.
Much might yet be said upon this subject and others related to it, such as Psychography (Planchette), Sympathy, Spiritualism, &c., but it is time for me to remember the old rule that, if there is nothing else to praise in a composition, people will always duly acknowledge when it ends at the right time.
I would not be considered an enemy of the imagination. It is only there I would combat it successfully where it has no business to be; where phenomena are to be observed and explained it misleads the judg-|| ment, and is, therefore, to be kept at a dis
bows low before Truth and places the fairest chaplet upon her radiant brow. And though the unfathomable deeps of the human heart were not swayed by Fancy, though the realms of color and sound were not open to her, she would still find abundant matter in an aesthetic contemplation of nature; for I would not have her excluded from nature, but from the province of observation and research. The whole universe, as well as any of its parts, the mighty orb of light, our sun, as well as the forget-me-not blooming on the banks of the rivulet, the countless worlds forming the nocturnal sky and greeting us from an immeasurable distance, as well as the insignificant shell on the lone sea-shore-all, all are such great wonders that, verily, Fancy never will lack food in contemplating nature; she will ever be like the variegated butterfly, hovering over a thousand odorous, enticing blossoms, and not knowing, in its gaiety and delight, upon which of them all to alight first.
From Harper's Magazine.
THE sun, that in this Orient clime
A marvel yields they could not claim :
To wake its living tints for me.
Though prone in dust her ancient walls,
From the vast blue empyrean there;
Whose lucent domes Parnassus crown,
That o'er the Dorian meadows frown.
Against the calm transparent skies;
Its curves with hoary shafts inlaid,
Cluster the dim gray olive-trees.
And crimsoned by the sunset dyes
Like guardian relics of the land;
Through the deep azure, like a dream
Fresh with the symmetry of youth;
Endeared by Time, by man profaned,
Behold Art's paradise regained!
How matchless was their pristine guise;
As when its pure transcendent lines
Beneath an arch by Venice reared;
Where, like an alien's festal dream,
The lingering frescoes brave decay.
The Goth's rude tower rises near,
The Briton's ruthless grasp has left.
Stand at its base, inhale the breeze,
No sad vicissitude can mar;
That mirrored Plato's lofty thought,
Sharply uplifts its thorn-edged spear,
Perchance Aspasia hither bore,
No Western verdure cheers the sight,
As if the genius of the race
Whose relics Art's true laws bequeath, To language gave unfading grace,
And made the senseless marble breathe-
From sea and sky, whose glory here,
Within the new-born city's pale
Untouched by time rise dwellings fair,
Beneath the noontide's fervid glare.
The panting engine whirls the train.
Yet well do pilgrims to the East,
Pause at her welcome threshold here,
Glory's spoiled sons they proudly stand,
Or temple-porch by sages trod,
The prince and peasant kneel to God.
Of Mary with the Holy Child.
At eve through boulevard and square,
Moves slowly to the narrow bed,
The chant of priests around the dead.
And where the moon's unclouded light
Wins fealty to the regal bride.
With Freedom's sacrifice sublime!
H. T. TUCKERMAN.
A NEW PROCESS IN LITHOGRAPHY. - Messrs. | required, and thus the expense of multiplying a Maclure, Macdonald, & Macgregor, of this city, portrait or sketch of any kind is reduced to the writes the Manchester Guardian, have recently cost of the paper and of working off the copies. perfected a simple process whereby every artist We have seen architectural drawings, groups of can become his own lithographer. It consists in figures, portraits, ornamental designs, and landa particular preparation of the surface of the scapes that have been lithographed in this way, paper and the provision of prepared chalk. and all were good. Indeed the print is necesWith a solid sketching pad of this paper an ar- sarily a fac-simile of the original drawing. tist may draw what he pleases, and the sketch The paper is made of various degrees of fineness is itself transferred to the stone, whence any and the prints are correspondingly of broad or number can be struck off. In this way the fine stipple. By the aid of the india-rubber many inconveniences of the old transfer paper pentagraph, these lithographs may be reduced are avoided. No intermediate draughtsman is in size almost indefinitely.
WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY AT VIENNA. | Washington were reproduced in Lincoln, THE 22nd of February was celebrated by whose death for the moment made the a dinner at the American Legation. Among whole world kin by a common sorrow. the guests were the Chancellor of the Em- "Of his successor, who, by the choice of pire Count de Beust, and His Excellency the American people, now sits in the seat Count Festetics of the Hungarian ministry, of Washington it is not for me to speak. the Duke de Gramont, Ambassador of His work as a soldier the world beholds in France and the Duchess de Gramont, Mr. the Republic one and indivisible. His and Mrs. Lytton of the British Embassy, work as President each day is unfolding. Baron Schweinitz, the successor of Baron But I may say with propriety on this occaWerther as the envoy from the North Ger- sion, and in this distinguished presence, man Confederation, His Excellency Cipri that the International policy of General ano del Mazo, minister from Spain, Mr. Grant and Mr. Fish will be based upon that Vassiltchikoff of the Russian Embassy, the inaugurated and maintained by Washington, Marquise de Pepoli, wife of the Italian min- and which has been approved by the most ister, Count Wydenbruch, the late Austrian enlightened publicists of Europe, as illusminister at Washington, Baron Orczy, Mr. trating the highest principles of the law of von Hoffmann, Gen. Post, Mr. Delaplaine, nations. and Mr. Tiffany. After the dessert the American Minister, Mr. John Jay said:
In rising to offer the first toast of the evening, I beg leave, on my own behalf and on that of my countrymen to return my thanks to our distinguished guests, who have come to assist us in celebrating this birthday of Washington.
"I have the honour to give you
"The President of the United States!" The toast having been received with all honour, the American minister said:
"In proposing the second toast, I cannot but allude to the interest, with which the American people, while free from all entanglement with European politics, are watch"That the Chancellor of this ancient Em-ing from afar the solution of the problems, pire and the ambassadors and envoys of the that are presenting themselves in this, great powers of Europe accredited to this which some regard as a transition period in Imperial and Royal Court, should thus cor- European history. dially assemble in honour of the founder of the American Republic, may seem to the student of history to be adding at least a spice of variety to the diplomatic memories of Vienna.
"But there was that in the character and career of Washington which has long commanded the admiration of Europe.
"A doubt yet lingered and perhaps with reason of the thoroughness, permanency and solidity of the work performed by that group of American statesmen, of whom Washington was the central figure. The last decade has solved that doubt and today, whatever names illustrious in the past, may pale in the sunlight of the 19th century, that of Washington stands with dimmed brightness, reverenced alike by sovereigns, diplomats and people.
"That interest, as I observe from the American press, is fixed especially on this Empire, where, as it has seemed to them, the government itself has wisely assumed the initiative, in inaugurating the Constitutional changes, demanded by the spirit of the age and the condition of the Empire, with the patriotic intent so carefully to protect the rights and interests of the people, that the people should feel that loyalty to the constitution, was loyalty to themselves.
"My countrymen look upon this widely extended and polyglot Empire, so rich in national resources, connecting Europe with Asia, and the Cross with the Crescent, and constituting, as has been said Europe in un-miniature,' as destined to extend in all directions the influence of civilization, Christianity and culture.
"It is the hope of my countrymen, that however extended may be the boundaries of the Republic, which he founded, and which has been recently purified and reconstructed, it will still be in every part imbued with his spirit. That universal freedom will be ennobled by universal education; that local corruption where it exists, will disappear before the higher morality of the nation; and that his farewell counsel of good faith and justice to all nations, will never be forgotten.
You all know, how far the traits of
"In their efforts to accomplish this grand work, the Sovereign and his Chancellor, the Parliament and the people, will have the warmest wishes of the American Republic. "I have the honour to give you "His I. R. Majesty the Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary!"
The health of His Majesty having been cordially drunk, His Excellency the Count de Beust responded and said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen!
"A very loyal and cordial toast to the health of my Imperial master having been