Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
A couple of horses attached to a cart were driven against a trolley wire of the West End Company's electric system, at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth Streets, yesterday forenoon at about eleven o'clock, and were thrown to the ground. The wire, it is said, had been torn from its fastenings on the overhead cross-wire by a pile-driver loaded on a team, and had sagged down to within a few feet of the ground. The driver of the cart drove on without noticing the wire, with the result above stated. The horses were on the ground several minutes, but were finally unharnessed and pulled out, apparently not much injured, but trembling in every limb. On February 15, 1890, I was told by a man employed at the stable that the horses had been sick and good-for-nothing ever since; being stupid, weak, and unfit for any work.
1890 lightning photograph courtesy of George Eastman House.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Such a representation, for instance, as was given of King Bobeche, by Mr. Stoyle, is as pitiable as it can possibly be rendered. Mr. Stoyle, who deserves the unenviable reputation of being the most offensive actor on the lyric stage, fills his part with interpolations of the most objectionable kind. As a curiosity in theatrical records, the fact may be chronicled that a man who is allowed to sing at our best theatres inserted in the dialogue of the most sparkling writers of the day such "gag" as "Pickles at a shilling a bottle!" and other like vulgarisms, and escaped without a sound of disapproval from the more fashionable parts of the house, and with a roar of applause from the gallery. Wherever in the original a joke is suggested or implied, by vulgar word or gesture, Mr. Stoyle thrusts it upon the audience, and at the close of one of the acts he throws himself upon the ground in his kingly robes, and entertains the spectators with a mimicry of the actions of Punch in the raree-show. We should not dignify with so much attention this pitiable exhibition did it not exemplify, somewhat over- strongly perhaps, a radical weakness in English acting. The actor in England, uneducated himself, and slow of comprehension, will not believe that the hint he can scarcely take tells fully with people of quicker apprehension. He accompanies it, accordingly, with a gloss of speech or gesture which is entirely fatal to the delicacy and beauty of the humour. This vice is seldom carried to so deplorable an excess as has now been exemplified, but its presence is constantly manifested.
Image of a riot at the Astor Place Opera House, 1849, incited by William Macready's toffee-nosed performance in Macbeth, from this site.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This might also be a good place to give a plug for our infinitely talented and patient developer, Shannon Mosley, of Mosley Graphics.
Image of the construction of the Crystal Palace, a task just marginally more demanding, via VictorianWeb.
Friday, April 17, 2009
When brought to close conflict, they fight with determination; but when their inferiority of force is obvious, they seek refuge in flight to retreats only accessible to them. Little groups so surrounded by sunken patches of coral reef as to be almost unapproachable, serve them as places of security. From the midst of these they emerge and attack, not only native boats but European traders, profiting by calms, contrary winds, or the weakness of those whom they assail. When no prospect appears of gaining by the sale of their prisoners, or there is a chance of detection, they kill without mercy, not only the men, but the women and children who fall into their hands — or sometimes this is done to revenge an obstinate resistance. Occasionally, one of the captives is released to procure a ransom for the rest; and the pirates boldly await his return at some appointed rendezvous — perhaps in the vicinage of a commercial settlement.
Image of a pirate's capture in a Tonkinese village in 1886 courtesy of Wikipedia
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
ANGELIQUE COTTON, THE ELECTRICAL GIRL. Wonders multiply upon us so fast in this age of mesmerism, &c., that we know not what next to anticipate. That "Burnam's wood should come to Dunsinane," would not be more amazing than some of the things of which we now daily read. A recent number of Galignani gives a strange account of a young female called the Electric Girl. It seems Angelique Cotton is thirteen, a native of the department of the Finisere, where she was employed in a thread-glove manufactory as a winder. One day, whilst at work with her companions, the reel on which she was winding thread was suddenly projected from her. The circumstances excited surprise, the reel was replaced, when the same effect was renewed. It was then evident that Angelique herself was the cause. The affair made a noise in the village, and the cure was called in. It was supposed by them that she was possessed, and an exorcism was had recourse to, but no devil came out. After the priest, the doctor was applied to, but he was as unable to effect a cure as the cure had been. Another doctor then visited her, and witnessed the same effect as the other had seen, but being a sensible man, he made no attempt to cure an affection which he did not understand. This gentleman induced the mother of Angelique to send her to Paris, and accompanied her. A few days ago, she was taken to the Observatory, where Messrs. Arago, Mathieu, Laugier, and Goujon, witnessed the following experiments ; — A piece of paper, placed upon the edge of a table, was immediately attracted by the left hand of the girl. She then, holding her apron in her hand, approached a gueridon, which was pushed back, although the apron scarcely touched it. The next experiment was to place her in a chair with her feet on the ground. The chair was projected with violence against the wall, while the girl was thrown the other way. This experiment was repeated several times, and with the same results. M. Arago laid his hand upon the chair to prevent its moving, but the force was too great for his resistance, and M. Goujon, having seated himself on a part of the chair, was thrown off as soon as Angt'liqu1' had also taken her seat. Such, said M. Arago, were the facts witnessed, and he had seen nothing to justify an opinion that any deception had been practised. Sincethen, other experiments have been performed by Dr. Tauchon. This gentleman had the chair in which Angelique was seated held by two powerful men. In this instance it was not driven away, but broke in their hands. A table, a gueridon and a heavy sofa were projected by the mere contact of the girl's clothes. Dr. Tauchon ascertained that the chair in which she sits is first attracted, anb next repulsed. When Angelique is isolated from the ground by a glass stool, oiled silk, or any other nonconductorof electricity, the projections do not take place. A loadstone being placed near the left hand, which alone is magnetic, she experienced different sensations, according as the north and south poles were applied, and could tell with which pole she was in contact. She is repulsed by the north pole. She experiences violent commotions, when the electric discharges take place, and suffers greatly from them. It is in the evening, between seven and nine, about an hour after she has dined, that her electrical power is most strongly developed. Her pulse then beats from 105 to 120 per minute.
Image of Tesla's laboratory from this site.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"Why did you do it?" I asked him.
"Well, I'll tell you," he said. "I simply couldn't help it. I'm no kleptomaniac. It isn't the stealing I like, but the fun of doing a hard job prettily. This is the second turn I've made. The first was like this: I saw a rich, fat man in a crowd, and I noticed that his watch was hung in a new way, hard to break. My fingers itched, not for the watch, but to break it off. I moved up, lifted the watch, walked away with it, and then went back and hung the thing on the chain again. This second time was something like that. I saw a delicate job, tried it, got the watch, and just then the fellow happened to look for the time. He hollered, and a detective nearby pinched me. I think I'm what you'd call a natural thief, but I like to work with my fingers and I like the excitement of stealing."
Image via the remarkable Victorian London
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I Have, indeed, heard of some people foolish enough to maintain, that there "will come a time in which the ingenuity of man will invent machines to carry him through the air, with the fame ease as we now pass the seas;" which, they cry, seemed doubtless as impracticable at first as this does at present.
Could the regions of air, indeed, afford any shelter from that all-devouring fire which, we are told, shall consume the earth, there might be some little shadow of a hope, that the race of man might be preferred a second time by means no less surprizing than the first: But of what advantage would it be for us to fly, even tho' we had the wings of an eagle, or could soar with the king of birds, at a time when the heavens themselves, at least what we call so, shall be shrivelled up like a parchment; when the sun, and moon, and stars shall be dissolved, and all become one general conflagration.
And just in case you thought a spaceship could be your ticket to freedom:
But granting even all their wild imaginations can suggest: —supposing that some carriage could really be found out to bear us through the air from kingdom to kingdom, or to whatever place we pleased of the globe, we still should be able to discover as little of any other world as we do now standing upon the earth.
Every orb has its own impenetrable atmosphere; —a boundary, which nothing that is mortal can over-leap or pass through; and whether, even when we have thrown off this clog of flesh, the soul will receive any gratification of its enquiring nature in this point, lies only in the power of Him who gave it to determine.Image courtesy of Paleo-Future
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
He is insolently salacious, affects to show himself in this situation, and seems to gratify his desires, per manum suam, before the whole world. This detestable action recalls the idea of vice, and renders disgustful the aspect of an animal, which Nature seems to have particularly devoted to such an uncommon species of impudence; for, in all other animals, and even in man, she has covered these parts with a veil. In the baboon, on the contrary, they are perpetually naked, and the more conspicuous, because the rest of the body is covered with long hair. The buttocks are likewise naked, and of a blood red colour; the testicles are pendulous; the anus is uncovered, and the tail always elevated. He seems to be proud of all those nudities; for he presents his hind parts more frequently than his front, especially when he sees women, before whom he displays an effrontery so matchless, that it can originate from nothing but the most inordinate desire. The magot, and some others, have the same inclinations; but, as they are smaller and not so petulant, they are taught modesty by the whip. The baboon, however, is perfectly incorrigible, and nothing can tame him.
Image taken from the text.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009