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vaulted crypt, the deceased monks to the number The enthusiasm of curlers frequently increases

of many hundreds are in a (half)-preserved state ranged in a standing position along the walls, dressed in their black robe, with a rope as girdle. It was a ghastly spectacle.

with age, and sometimes induces them to go to the ice when discretion, or the pleadings of anxious friends, would warn them to remain at home. The wilfulness of an old Scottish curler of humble rank, as set against the solicitude of his 'guidwife,' is in a measure depicted in the following lines, which, with all the compliments of the season, and wishing our curling friends many a hearty game, we respectfully offer to our readers.

But if the uncoffined monks were a weird sight, a thousand times more so were the ranges of the dead fashionables of Palermo, who, laid in glazed coffins tier upon tier till nearly reaching the roof, were, with their gay unseemly dresses, fully exposed to view; and a strange parody on Dress and Death it was to see young girls arrayed in mocking silk and tarlatane of the gayest hues, with gilt or silvered coronets crowning the glossy skull, the bony fingers filled with faded tinsel flowers. A photograph taken in life and health was generally attached to each coffin, giving name and age, and date of death.

It is customary for the friends of the deceased to visit the place on All-Saints' Day, and in some cases even to renew the dress of the skeletons. We were glad, however, to hear that the municipal government had passed a resolution that no further interments should be permitted in this manner, which is alike unseemly and unhealthy, as a sharp diphtheritic attack, supervening next day to one of our party, proved. A loss it will be to the church, who claimed large sums for the privilege of laying the dead in this holy place the numbers amounting to many thousand bodies.

We could not help contrasting this Tomb of Fashion with the beauty and quiet of the exquisitely situated new burying-ground lying at the foot of Monte Pellegrino, close to the shore, where the Mediterranean waves beat a lulling cadence, and where the sleepers are laid, faces eastward, as if waiting, almost watching to catch the first streak of the great Easter dawn.

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THE OLD CURLER AND HIS WIFE.

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may be safely said that no outdoor game possesses greater attraction for its votaries or is more keenly enjoyed than Curling. It may be that this is partly owing to the uncertainty of ice lasting long enough to satiate the eagerness of the players of the Roaring Game ;* or it may be in as great a measure due to the exhilarating nature of a pastime that unites all classes of people in a bond of fraternity for the timebeing.

Played on a sheet of ice with large round stones, which are hurled or slid from one end of the rink to the other, the game demands much skill on the part of those who strive to become proficients; and especially of those who, like our Old Curler,' endeavour to carry off the much-coveted rink medal. In many places the stones are kept in a small house by the side of the pond or loch, so as to be handy when required. Some curling-stones weigh as much as forty pounds and upwards. Each curler is provided with a besom or broom (cowe) for brushing and smo Ching away snow and other obstacles to the progress of the stones. Crampits, or spiked shoes for gripping the ice, are now rarely used.

* Under this title, in No. 942, will be found explanations of many of the terms used in curling, and some hints as to playing the game.

'Twas winter's deepest heart. The invading frost
Had breathed his chillest breath o'er rippling
lakes,

And changed their laughing looks to glassy stare,
Their dimpling faces into mirrors bright
And keen, o'er which did glide, like phantom
forms,

The graceful skaters on their polished steel.

The morning sun low glinting in the lift
Had touched the hills with faint and struggling
beam,

Then mounting with red glare, was chasing swift
The hoary mists from all the hollows deep,
And smiting with his rays each rime-clad spray.
The trees stood clothed in splendour, scarce

surpassed

By summer's green; while every glistening prism,
On drooping grass-blade, shone like pearl of sea,
Or gem of Indian mine.

In cot retired,
Debate was keenly held, of moment great
To those concerned; whereof the tenor runs.

Quoth the guidman to the guidwife:
This is the Medal day;

Tho' cauld's the wind, the ice is keen,
So I'll gang to the play.'

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Must well, and so they issued forth in words
Revealing all the wifely warmth that burned
A sacred flame, to cherish, light, and cheer
The old man's days. All frown had passed away
From off her brows, when thus she smiling spoke :

'Be blessings on your steady hand,

And on your auld gray pow, man; And blessings on the curling stanes,

And on your guid broom-cowe, man. I'm proud you have the Medal won Upon the loch this day, man; Sae far awa', frae 'tween us twa, Let strife for ever stay, man.'

The truce was ratified; with calm content,
Beside the lightsome hearth, they fondly talked.
With kindling face and glowing eye, he played
His games anew, while she her knitting plied.
With joyous heart, to him she listened as
He counted o'er his hard-won victories.
They talked of days of yore; re-lived again
That gladsome hour, when she, with maiden eye,
First watched him play, and her inspiring look
New-nerved his youthful hand and fired his heart
With flame of kindling love. They talked of days
Gone by, when round the hearth the children played
Their mimic games with mimic curling stones;
Or toddling ran, to carry daddy's broom;

But now, all men and maidens grown, their hearts
Went with them, as they fought the sterner strife
Of life's great battles in their varied spheres,
Yet ever and anon came back to cheer

The dear old cot they fondly called their home,
And hear again their father's curling feats.
But as the night grew wilder, with strong gusts
And roar, that told of death and suffering,
A wider sweep their kindly feelings took;
Their hearts of pity turned to those on sea,
Or lonely moor, o'ertaken by the storm;
Then with calm faith commended all to Him
Who cares for all-and slept the sleep of peace.

BOOK GOSSIP.

AMONG the dark things to be associated with the year 1882 is the death of Dr John Brown. Who does not know Rab and his Friends? And who, if the author of Rab was not known to him or her, does not wish to have known him? Gentle, kind, sympathetic, humorous-not with the humour of flippancy, but of good sense and wise insight-beloved of children, and with the inspiration of child-nature deep in his own heart, Dr Brown was one whom it was an education to know, and is almost an act of piety to remember. It is therefore with an interest that has as much of pathos as of pleasure in it, that we now receive another booklet of his papers, hitherto unpublished in this country. It is a slight thing of two dozen pages, entitled Something about a Well, with more of Our Dogs (Edinburgh: David Douglas), but it has within it not a little which shows the genial author at his best.

The opening paper, on the little well among the hills, is marked by the beauties of style which characterised almost everything that came from Dr Brown's pen; and his fine eye for natural effects -the eye of a painter transfused with that of a poet-is here delightfully exemplified. Again, in the papers that follow on 'Our Dogs,' his sketch of Peter, his account of the death of that old favourite Dick, and the life and adventures

of a terrible fellow called Bob, are exquisitely drawn-truthful and, to use a favourite phrase of his own, to the quick.' Here is one of his dog-anecdotes (we cannot think of tampering further with what the reader must read for himself): I have a notion that dogs have humour, and are perceptive of a joke. In the North, a shepherd having sold his sheep at a market, was asked by the buyer to lend him his dog to take them home. "By a' manner o' means tak Birkie, and when ye're dune wi' him just play so"-making a movement with his armand he'll be hame in a jiffy." Birkie was so clever and useful and gay that the borrower coveted him; and on getting to his farm shut him up, intending to keep him. Birkie escaped during the night, and took the entire hirsel (flock) back to his own master!'

One of the most beautiful gift-books of the season is a volume from the pen of Dr Andrew Wilson, entitled Wild Animals and Birds: Their Haunts and Habits (London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin, & Co.). It is written in the free and graceful style which characterises all Dr Wilson's productions, though the subject is dealt with rather from the point of view of the artist, than from that of the naturalist. The anecdotes given of gorillas, lions, tigers, and other of the more formidable mammals, are mingled with stories of the less ferocious ferce nature-foxes, polecats, and the like, down to the comparatively innocent hares and rabbits. Birds are similarly treated, the subjects ranging from the eagle to the woodpigeon.

The book is splendidly embellished, the woodcuts being among the finest which the art of the graver can produce. The various animals introduced into the pictures (drawn by Wolf and others) are represented as if among their natural surroundings, from the jaguar crouching amid the luxuriant tangle and underwood of a tropical forest, to the eagle that nurses its callow brood high up on the dizzy crag, alone with the winds and the stars. Between its pleasing gossip of wild animals and bird-life, and the beauty and suggestiveness of its pictorial illustrations, the book cannot possibly fail of being a success.

Scotland has been from time to time well supplied with gazetteers. The first book of this description was projected more than half a century since by Dr William Chambers, who, assisted by his brother Robert, produced in 1832 The Gazetteer of Scotland, a thick octavo volume of upwards of one thousand pages. The book was full of original matter, most of which had been gleaned by the elder of the two brothers laboriously tramping the country in search of the requisite information. Books of a similar nature had also been published by the two literary brothers previous to this time-The Book of Scotland, by William Chambers, and The Picture of Scotland, by Robert Chambers.

To the works on Scottish topography thus originated, others on the same lines have succeeded; one of the latest in this class being The Gazetteer of Scotland, by the Rev. John M. Wilson (Edinburgh: W. & A. K. Johnston).

Those who have occasion frequently to consult books of reference upon matters of technical or geographical detail, are aware how satisfactory it is to find a book which gives you what you want in few words, and without necessitating your wading through pages of generalities till you discover what you are in search of. Mr Wilson's Gazetteer, though confined within the boards of one conveniently sized octavo volume, is yet extensive enough to embrace every town and village of any importance in Scotland, briefly described, and its topographical position defined. In a book such as this, it is impossible to escape errors of a certain kind; but these are not such in this case as to render the book an unsafe guide. The figures of the population are taken from the recent census returns; and the usual information contained in this class of book, such as that referring to public works, public buildings, The natural features and historical associations churches, schools, is briefly and concisely given. of the several localities also receive passing allu

sion.

A very valuable series of historical handbooks is presently being issued by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, called the Early Britain series. The distinctive qualities of this series apparently are, that the volumes should not be bulky, that each should embrace one aspect of the general subject, and that that aspect should be placed before the reader by a scholar of special and comprehensive knowledge in the particular branch of history under con

sideration. Of this series, two volumes have been issued. The first is entitled Anglo-Saxon Britain, by Grant Allen, B.A., and gives a brief sketch of Britain under the early English conquerors, rather from the social than from the political point of view. The principal object throughout,' says the author, has been to estimate the importance of those elements in modern British life which are chiefly due to purely English or LowDutch influences.' Mr Allen writes in a forcible style, and has a good eye for picturesque effects; hence a matter of dry history which might seem to some readers unattractive, and even repellent, becomes pleasant to peruse and of easy compre

hension.

The other volume that has been issued of this series is Celtic Britain, by Professor Rhys. It has not quite the same charm of style as renders Mr Allen's work attractive; but on the other hand it more than makes this up to the historical student by the amount of fresh and interesting information which the author has been able to offer in connection with the very dark and difficult subject of Celtic origins. One interesting item has reference to the coins in use among the early Britons. It has generally been assumed, on the authority of Julius Cæsar, that no money was current in Britain in his time, but only bronze or pieces of iron of a fixed weight to supply its place. The passage in Cæsar's work in which this is stated is, however, according to Professor Rhys, hopelessly corrupt, and the manuscripts differ greatly, some of them ascribing to the Britons the use of coins of gold, and some of bronze. British coins have, however, been found, and,

according to the greatest authority on the subject, the inhabitants of the south of Britain must have begun to coin gold pieces from a hundred to a hundred and fifty years before the time of Julius Caesar's invasion. This of itself is an interesting point to determine in the progress of civilisation among the early Britons.

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CHRISTMAS ART PRODUCTIONS..

We have received from Messrs S. Hildesheimer & Co., fine art publishers, London, a box of Christmas and New Year Cards in rare and beautiful designs. These designs are the result of a prize competition originated by the above firm of publishers, and in connection with which prizes were awarded to the amount of two thousand pounds. It is interesting to note that the highest prizes ranging from the first (a hundred and fifty pounds) to the fifth (twenty-five pounds) were all won by ladies, showing that the suc cessful cultivation of art for such designs as those referred to is well within the range of useful female accomplishments. The designs have been exquis sitely copied by the chromo-lithograph process, and many of the Cards are deserving of perma nent preservation.

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1 THE MONTH.
SCIENCE AND ART'S.

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THE account which Mr Colquhoun lately read before the Royal Geographical Society of his explorations in the South China Borderlands was full of interest, chiefly because there have been previously only three European expeditions which covered the same ground. We no longer wonder at this, when we hear what an antipathy the natives show towards foreigners. In the provinces of Kwang-tung and Kwang si there were marked signs of this animosity, for the people mobbed the travellers and hooted at them with cries of Fanqui-to (Foreign devil). But the feelings of the people towards strangers can best be estimated from the fact that no missionaries of any sect whatever have yet dared to settle in this part of the country, although some have done so in the provinces to the north.

One most interesting portion of Mr Colquhoun's paper dealt with the Opium question, about which we have heard so much within recent years. He declares that the use of the drug has a most injurious effect upon the Chinese, but that the aborigines drink a rice spirit, and do not touch opium. He does not see how the opium consumption can be stopped; for although the government issue edicts against its cultivation and exportation, the poppy is often to be seen growing under the shadow of official courts, and it is not uncommon to see mandarins lying in their sedan-chairs in a state of stupor from the drug. Mr Colquhoun believes that if the

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his goods and staff, will probably start on his dangerous mission in the early spring. The expedition is purely geographical, and its direc tion is towards the east and north-east of Lake Victoria Nyanza. But it is more than probable that a skilled naturalist will accompany it. Mr Thomson's task is no easy one, a great portion of the country to be traversed being of the most desolate description, where no provisions can be had, and where even water is scarce. Added to these discomforts is the fear of bands of roving Masai, whose lawless doings have scattered peace. ably disposed tribes, and stopped cultivation. The expenses of the expedition are estimated at two thousand pounds, which will be defrayed by the Geographical Society.

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Mr Muybridge's famous photographs of animals in motion seem to have given a great impetus to the contrivance of simple apparatus for exhibiting such pictures in series, so that they can be brought quickly before the sight one after the other, giving the impression of actual movement. The French popular scientific paper La Nature gives a description of one of these little machines, which can be used by the help of an ordinary lamp-light. It has two lenses, the duty of one being to throw the image of a background→ magic-lantern fashion-on to a screen; whilst the other lens is devoted to the photographs of the moving figure. In this way a very natural result can be brought about. The apparatus referred to is by M. Reynaud, and he calls it the Praxinoscope, a name, by-the-by, borrowed from a contrivance of a somewhat similar char acter introduced in this country many years ago. Hiru

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At the recent Photographic Exhibition in London, there was exhibited a new form of lamp for taking portraits at night. Everybody knows what a wonderful light can be obtained by burning a few inches of magnesium wire. In this lamp the same medinm is employed, but instead of being consumed in the ordinary way, it is burnt in an atmosphere of pure oxygen. The light given is sufficiently intense to allow of a picture being taken in a fraction of a second. Mr Fletcher of Warrington-whose gas stoves and other labour-savers have been already noticed in these pages records that the various Electric Light Companies are exceedingly good customers for gas. Most of these Companies have been supplied by him with gas apparatus, and some to a very large extent. The gas Companies have certainly not taken advantage of the more brilliant light dealt in by their rivals. But an exception must be named in the Amsterdam Gas Company, whose various offices, engine-room, &c, are lighted by incandescent electric globes, the motive-power for driving the dynamo-machine for feeding them being furnished by a gas-engine. Whether the Company intends this installation

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bers of houses should not be as distinct by night as by day. We observe that the Town Council of Edinburgh have resolved to make an experiment in this direction with a number of streets within the city, in order to ascertain practically what benefits may be derived after dark by street names and house numbers being rendered luminous.

It may be mentioned also that the fire-resisting properties of asbestos may be communicated to ordinary paint. Paint, mixed with asbestos liquid, is, we understand, largely used in America for several purposes, such as coating wood exposed to heat. Three coats will render wood fire-proof, and it is found especially serviceable in hot climates, where wooden houses are general, to serve as a preventative against fire and as a nonconductor to keep the house cool.

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M. Lacroix, a Paris chemist, has introduced a new form of pencil, which will prove useful to those engaged in painting on glass or china. Resembling the ordinary cedar pencil in outward appearance, the lead is represented by a coloured mixture of a vitrifiable nature. By drawing on roughened glass or upon unglazed porcelain with this crayon, the material can afterwards be exposed to the heat of a muffle or crucible, with the result that the lines of colour are burnt in and rendered permanent.

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The New York Herald correspondent of the party who went in search of the crew of the ill-fated Jeanette has made some interesting notes relative to the inhabitants of Northern Siberia. Among other items, he mentions that they have wonderfully beautiful teeth, even old men of sixty and seventy years possessing natural sets of pearly whiteness. Indeed, they are altogether free from the dental suffering and decay which seem inseparable from high civilisation. He attributes this immunity from a very distressing form of ailment principally to the simple food which these people indulge in, particularly the fermented sour-milk, which is such a powerful anti-scorbutic; and also to the curious practice which prevails among them of chewing after every meal the resin from a species of fir-tree, for the purpose of clearing their teeth from adherent particles of food,

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We hear so much about the transmission of energy by electrical means, that we are apt to lose sight of the fact that other natural forces can be employed in a like manner. The energy of the hydraulic ram we well know can be transmitted by piping made specially to withstand the pressure of the water, but hitherto air has not been so much used as it might be for such a purpose. In Paris, however, a system of transmitting energy by means of air is about to be tried, and as the plan seems to be a promising one, we shall look forward with interest to its development.

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JJ.

Fireproof paper is being made from a mixture of vegetable fibre, asbestos, borax, and alum, in certain definite proportions; while an ink, also indestructible by fire, for writing upon it, is of the usual constituents, with the addition of graphite. Another novelty from the paper-mills is a luminous and waterproof cardboard, presumably intended for night advertising. The luminosity is produced by the same means as that in Balmain's luminous paint; and the cardboard owes its waterproof quality to the employment us some particulars of his experience. in its manufacture of bichromate of potash and day the hay from a field of twelve acres was gelatine. These two agents when combined carried, carted, and stacked, the rain being so become insoluble after exposure to light. With incessant that the men employed were all wet such a self-illuminating substance, there is now through. The temperature of the resulting stack no reason why the names of streets and the num- after a short time rose to one hundred and eighty

With respect to our recent remarks regarding the unsatisfactory official reports on the artificial hay-drying machine trials at Reading, Mr Streeter, of Sackville Place Farm, Buxted, Kent, who has been using Gibb's exhaust-fan, has kindly given

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influence on harvests, vintages, climatic conditions generally, and even upon commercial panics, have had an opportunity of seeing a remarkably large one with their unaided vision. During a recent fog in the Metropolis, this huge spot could be plainly seen on the red disk whose rays tried to pierce the mist, and was so prominent that it could not escape the notice of the most casual observer. Mr F. Brodie, F.R.A.S., describes this spot as seen through a powerful telescope. He says that it is not only unusually large, but is making very rapid transformations of shape, which are of exceeding interest.

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It has been the fond dream of many a musician that if he could only dot down, or get somebody else to dot down for him, the outpourings of his genius as he lays his hands upon the keys and breaks forth into melody, he would be on the road to fame and fortune. The literary man has his scribe, and even the busy solicitor or merchant has his shorthand writer to whom he can dictate letters which only require his signature to make them complete. But hitherto the musician has had no such advantage; his crotchets, quavers, and semiquavers have had to be spelt out upon the stave, with the aggravating feeling of ideas flowing faster than the power to give them permanence. The pianist need now no longer despair. After innumerable attempts in past times to construct an apparatus which would print off characters representing any piece played on its keyboard, one has at last been devised which is successful. Its outward form is that of an ordinary cottage pianoforte, but hidden underneath the keys is a cylinder covered with paper. Upon this paper, certain little nibs attached to the under-side of the keys make their mark, after being supplied by mechanical means with suitable ink. This transcribed harmony can afterwards be readily translated into the ordinary musical notation, a task which is said to be sufficiently simple to be undertaken by a person of ordinary intelligence. Certain telephonic experiments at Havre have proved so promising in their results, that it has been proposed to establish a regular system between that city and the various vessels at anchor in the roads. For this purpose a pontoon structure, which will form the floating terminus of this curious system of maritime communication, will be placed at some distance from the land, and neighbouring vessels will send their messages to it. There are many places on our own coasts where a similar arrangement would be of immense

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