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OUR LETTER BOX.
The Editors do not wish to be considered responsible for all the sentiments
of their Correspondents.
To the Editor of the Soham Magazine. DEAR MR. EDITOR,
I do not know whether you are very deeply involved in the issue of the present contest about the different lines of the contemplated Railways through our town; for my part I am only anxious that one, out of the three, should sweep across the swamps that surround us, and that Soham might thus have some chance of occupying a rather more respectable position in the map of England. Had it not been for the numerous fires for which we have lately, acquired so unenviable a notoriety, I am not quite sure whether we should, by this time, have found a place in the Post Office Directory. I hope, therefore, that, after all, the Railway will not prove “a Soham Job ;” and our present prospect of being brought into direct communication with civilized society, turn out to be “NO go.”
Your obedient Servant,
“ HOBSON'S CHOICE: THIS OR NONE.”
However familiar this proverbial saying may be to the inhabitants of Cambridgeshire; there are few, perhaps, who are acquainted with its origin. Hobson was a carrier between Cambridge and London, in 1614. Having realized a fortune, he expended a large sum in the construction of the aqueduct, by means of which the unfailing supply of pure water is conveyed to the Conduit in the market place at Cambridge. It might perchance have been a very good thing for the Inhabitants, if “this or none” had been the only alternative as to the beverage to be consumed in that bibacious place; and perhaps the morals of our own litle Town would be much improved by a somewhat similar restriction. We venture to assert, that if Hobson had not been himself a man of temperate habits, it would never have been in his power to render so great a service to his native place; nor would he ever have left behind him a “good name ” which “ is rather to be chosen than great riches."
But Hobson kept, also, a Livery Stable; and, as “a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,” so was he determined that every horse should have an equal share of labour. With this view he would never let out one out of its turn; and hence the saying :-"Hobson's choice : this or none".
This immense animal, the largest of all the serpent tribe, is frequently from thirty to forty feet in length, and of a proportionate thickness. A gentleman, who had some large concerns in America, informs us, that he one day sent out a soldier, with an Indian, to kill some wild fowl, and in pursuing their game, the Indian, who generally went before, sat down on what he supposed to be the fallen trunk of a tree. But the monster beginning to move, the poor fellow perceived what it was that he had thus approached, and dropped down in an agony of fear. The soldier, who at some
distance saw what had happened, levelled his piece at the serpent's head, and, by a lucky aim, shot it dead; and, on going up to the relief of his companion, found that he was also dead from terror. These monsters have been known to kill and devour a buffalo, crushing its bones and body till it was reduced to one uniform mass, and then swallowing it whole. It is happy for mankind that their rapacity is often their own punishment; for whenever they have gorged themselves in this manner, they become torpid, and may be approached and destroyed with safety.- Bingley.
[In Original Poetry, the Name, real or assumed, of the Author, is printed in small Capitals under the title ; in Selections it is printed in Italics at the end.].
THE SILENT HOUR.
PARAPHRASE OF THE 3RD PSALM
BY R. M. B.
Where the moon-beam sleeps on the
ocean's breast, Where the sparkling sands invite to be
press'd, Where the sea-bird flies to its cavern to
Oh! there let me rove; When Spirits of light look down from
on high, And no voice is heard but the night
O Lord the troubles of my youth are fled, The hosts that girt the mountains now
are dead, Saul and his sons for ever prostrate lie, From them no more thy servant needs
to fly. As once they sang of thousands put to
flight, Of tens of thousands in Philistia's fight, So multitudes increase, who risen are Against their king to bear the ready war Many there be that taunting greive my
soul, And ask what help in God can yet con
trol The Wrathful malice of the tented foes Who round about my royal way oppose. But thou, O Lord, art still a shield to me, My glory, thou shalt lift my head all free Above the billowy waste of hottest war, For still to me is dear thy holy law. In seasons past, I cried to thee, O Lord, And found thee gracious, as thy given
I fly from the crowd and its riotous glee, The brilliant saloon, and its mintrelsy, These are for others—they are not for me,
Oh! no, let me rove, Where lips, from the soul, breathe a mu
sic divine, And eyes that deceive not, are smiling
They are hers that I love. Soham.
OUR FATHER'S GRAVE.
Thou heard'st me then, from out thy
holy hill, And all my feeble cries thou did'st fulfil, I laid me down and slept without a fear, For thy sustaining hand O Lord was
near, Encourag'd thus by my experience past, Why should I fear the thick embattled
blast, That tens of thousands threaten 'gainst
their king, Whilst safe beneath thine all-protecting
wing: About though thick beset, thy guardian Shall save thy servant, from the treach
'rous snare. Arise, O Lord, and save me, O my God, Smitten the cheek, has thy avenging rod, The ravening teeth, are broken with the
stroke, The ungodly fail as swift departing
smoke. Salvation ever resteth with the Lord, His blessing still is for his people stor’d.
Brother-twelve years have passed away
Since our beloved father died; Grief rent my bosom on that day,
Deep as the ocean's restless tide, Which bore you far from home and me,
Its dark tempestuous surge to brave:Sad was the hour I went with thee
To visit our dear Father's grave. Brother,-oh never be forgot
The words he uttered ere he died, “ Remember me." How sad our lot
To lose him in his manhood's pride. I would not bear again that woe,
For all the wealth the earth e'er gave, But brother let us once more go
And visit our dear Father's grave. Liverpool.
MRS. FIELD. Thou’rt silent, Isabel! tho' ling'ring o'er Thy lowly couch I bend, thy voice no
My welcome here will speak; Thine eyes, that watch'd the ev'ning sun
decline, Behold not now its morning beams,
Bright on thy wasted cheek. That cheek, where often, as my feet drew
near, Pleas'd I have seen the sweetest smiles
Now cold and senseless lies; And the wind that's passing o'er thy
golden hair, Thou know'st not, Isabel—is breathing
With friendship’s parting sighs. Fortune's bright sun ne'er cheer'd thy
humble lot Yet thou wer't happy, for thy hopes
Fix'd on earth's fleeting toys; They higher rose--and, tho' I mourn
thee dead, Thoù blessed art,—thy gentle spirit's
How oft the choicest bloom was cull'd by
thee, To deok my home, and yield its sweets
But now,--poor Isabel ! The dewy leaflets, all unseen, I spread, To spend their fragrance on thy silent
With thee, to fade and die: No sable plumes will shade thy lowly
bier, But these fresh blossoms, gemm'd with
Its tribute there shall lie. Farewell lov'd maiden! I can never see Thy form again; yet oft I'll think of
And tho' no sculptur'd tomb Mark thy last home, soft wisp’ring o'er
thy grave, The fairest wild flow'rs in the breeze
And shed a sweet perfume. There will affection, fondly ling'ring,
weep, There faithful mem'ry silent vigils keep,
And many a village maid Stay her light step, whene'er she wan
SPEAK NO ILL.
Čan never leave a sting behind,
Is far beneath a noble mind. Full oft a better seed is sown
By choosing thus a kinder plan : For if but little good be known,
Still let us speak the best we can. Give me the heart that fain would hide,
Would fain another's fault efface; How can it pleasure human pride
To prove humanity but base ?
A nobler estimate of man,
And speak of all the best we can.
To other's feelings as your own : If you're the first a fault to see,
Be not the first to make it known. For life is but a passing day,
No lip may tell how brief its span ; Then, oh, the little time we stay
Let's speak of all the best we can. X
The summer roses that thy casement
twine, Were planted there by these cold hands
OUR CHILDREN'S PAGE.
FACTS WORTH REMEMBERING. The atmosphere presses on every square inch of any surface with
a weight of 15 pounds. England contains 40 Counties.- Wales, 12.-Scotland, 32.
Ireland, 32 in 4 provinces. The coldest hour of the 24, is an hour before sunrise. The warmest is from 2 to 3 in the afternoon. The mean heat is from half-past 8 to half-past 9. The 14th of January, on an average of years, is the coldest day in
Eggs are hatched at 104° of heat.
second. A bell, sounded under water may be heard under water at 1200 feet
distance. Sounds are distinct at twice the distance on water that they are on
MISCELLANY AND EXTRACTS.
THE Kingdom of Bohemia is the bottom of one of the great lakes which once covered Europe. It is an amphitheatre formed by ridges of mountains, with but one outlet evidently formed by the action of a running stream, through which now runs the beautiful river Elbe. The lake of Geneva may, by the same cause, become a valley. Although confined by granite rock, it is continually lowering its outlet, and the surface has fallen considerably within the period of accurate observation, and records. Several towns and villages, which were close upon the lake a century ago, are now separated from the shore by fields and gardens.
In the stillness of night, a steam vessel announces its approach, by the sound of the splashing of its paddles, when fifteen miles from the harbour.
ALMOST every object that attracts our notice has its bright and its dark side. He who habituates himself to look at the displeasing side, will sour his disposition, and consequently impair his happiness: while he who constantly beholds it on the bright side, insensibly meliorates his temper, and in consequence of it, improves his own happiness, and the happiness of all about him.-Harris.