Harper's Weekly 06/28/1873


HOME AND FOREIGN GOSSIP.

The weary school-boy shouts with gladness as wan-
ing June heralds July's coming. Not because he spe-
cially likes hot weather, except from association.
Around the summer cluster memories of green fields,
running brooks, waving forest trees—of fishing and
hunting, and taking long exhilarating tramps. To
him it brings freedom from the school-room, where,
however, studiously he may be inclined, he has felt
physically cramped. He longs to toss books away, to
run and shout, and make as much noise as he wishes
without shocking any body's proprieties. He longs
to get on his old clothes, wherein rents are of no ac-
count, and on which spots won't show, because they
are already studded with spots of every hue. He longs
for the merry out-door life, where his boy nature may
have free play, where nobody will reprovingly say to
him, “Don't.” Boys have too little sympathy from
grown-up folks. Men forget that they once were
boys, and women find it difficult to comprehend and
make allowance for the restless, noisy activity of the
growing boy. The repressive system bears hardly
upon him, and he frets under the constant cropping
of peculiarities which to the eye of the watchful par-
ent or teacher are but the natural outgrowth of true
and proper development. A judicious amount of gen-
tle guidance and training every boy requires; but to
hedge him about with myriads of rules is to rob his
boyhood of all comfort and joy. Let parents notice
the weary look on their children's faces—both boys
and girls—as these last days of school, accompanied
by the tedious examinations, drag on to a close. Less-
en duties as far as possible, and be lenient toward all
short-comings. Let the approaching summer vacation
be as free and happy as it can be made, that the young
folks may not lose all the joys of childhood while
learning the lessons that are to fit them for maturer
life.


It is an interesting fact that all the paper for gov-
ernment money is manufactured at the Glen Mills,
near West Chester, Pennsylvania. Short pieces of red
silk are mixed with the pulp in the engine, and a
shower of short pieces of fine blue silk thread is
dropped in streaks upon the paper while it is forming.
The upper side, on which the blue silk is dropped, is
the one used for the face of the notes, and, from the
manner in which the threads are applied, must show
them more distinctly than the lower or reverse side,
although they are imbedded deeply enough to remain
fixed.


The Vienna police are vigilant. When the Prince
of Wales and his brother went to the Vienna Exposi-
tion an English detective was detailed to accompany
them, and protect their royal pockets from Austrian
thieves. One day the detective was arrested for press-
ing too closely upon the royal pair, and in spite of all
explanations and protestations was committed to
prison. This was the reward of strict attention to
duty!


At West Springfield, Massachusetts, there is a trout
preserve, where are congregated one hundred thousand
trout in various stages of development. The ponds
are supplied with water from the springs on hills
near by. One pond, containing some six or seven
thousand trout about two years old, is of unusual in-
terest. The fishes seem to know their keeper perfect-
ly, and will follow his steps the whole length of the
pond, jumping eagerly for the food he throws to them.


The new Brooklyn Tabernacle, for the Rev. T. De
Witt Talmage's congregation, will be one of the lar-
gest churches in the country, being 150 feet by 112. It
is believed that the best conditions have been secured
for seeing and hearing, as well as for light and ven-
tilation. Eight staircases are to communicate with
the galleries, so constructed as to be outside and in-
dependent of the main building, and so as not to in-
terfere with exit from the lower floor.


Cats are a maligned race. They are branded as
thievish and treacherous. Their best efforts to be
friendly and social are regarded with suspicion, and
their attempts to serenade their friends receive de-
cided rebuffs. Perhaps there is more good in the cat
than she has had the credit of possessing. In proof
of which supposition may be mentioned a cat of
Springfield, Illinois, whose owner was accustomed to
leave a kerosene lamp burning all night on a bracket
in the hall. One night the lamp got out of order and
the flame blazed up to the ceiling. The wise family
cat saw the danger, jumped upon her master's pillow,
and aroused him in time to save the house from de-
struction.


British sleeping-cars are divided into five separate
compartments, having no communication with each
other, but all accessible by the train attendant, who oc-
cupies one of the compartments with the baggage.
The other four compartments are fitted up with all
conveniences for travelers. The attendant may be sig-
naled by bells in each compartment.


The Shah of Persia, during his visit at St. Peters-
burg, was to occupy the ground-floor of the famous
Winter Palace. All the ministers, except the head of
the War Department, accompanied him, and he de-
sired to be followed by the entire regiment of his guard
and his whole harem. It was finally arranged, how-
ever, that only three of his wives should join the trip.
It may interest our readers to recall some facts respect-
ing the Winter Palace, which was originally built in
1754 by the Empress Elizabeth. Eighty thousand
workmen were employed in its construction. It oc-
cupies an area of four hundred thousand square feet,
and has a front on the river Neva of seven hundred
and twenty-one feet. The state apartments of this
superb edifice are marvelously splendid. The ban-
queting hall, considered the finest apartment in the
world, is one hundred and forty by sixty feet, sur-
rounded by forty fluted marble pillars, supporting a
gallery, along which runs a gilt bronze balustrade of
exquisite design. At one end of the hall stands the
imperial throne, covered with rich velvet embroidered
with gold. About midnight on December 29, 1837,
when the thermometer stood at twenty-two below the
zero point of Fahrenheit, a fire suddenly broke out in
this palace. The Emperor Alexander himself superin-
tended the efforts used to extinguish the flames, but
all was in vain to save the edifice, though many articles
of great value were preserved. By extraordinary ef-
forts, and at great sacrifice of life among the work-
men, this palace rose from its ruins in one year. Most
of the famous apartments were reproduced, among
which is the White Saloon, so called because all its
decorations are in pure white, relieved only by chaste
gilding. This grand palace, the largest in the world,
is the ordinary residence of the Russian court during
the winter months, when it is estimated that from two
to six thousand persons reside within its walls.


If ever you chance, gentle reader, to awake about
four o'clock in the morning, you will hear such a con-
cert as the feathered warblers vouchsafe to mortals at
no other time of day. Every bird is out, pouring his
best and loudest song. The air and earth are still,
and the sweet cadences rise and swell in pleasing har-
mony. Now comes a bit of silence, and then follows
a chirping chatter, as if the whole winged creation
were in full consultation in regard to the programme
for the day just opening. It is worth while to wake
early, if it be only to listen to our sweet songsters.


Headache is the bane of many a person's life, and
it arises from such a variety of causes that remedies
are difficult to find. The following is said to be worth
trying:


“Put a handful of salt into a quart of water, and
one ounce of spirits of hartshorn and half an ounce
of spirits of camphor. Put them quickly into a bot-
tle, and cork tightly to prevent the escape of the spir-
its. Soak a piece of cloth with the mixture, and ap-
ply it to the head; wet the cloth afresh as soon as it
gets heated.”


Many towns in Maine are now attempting to estab-
lish a free high school within their borders. The State
helps those who help themselves, by giving five hun-
dred dollars to every town that will raise the same
sum toward establishing such a school. The object
will be to impart a superior English and scientific edu-
cation. The grade of admission, which is to be de-
termined by the town officers, is designed to be such
as to admit the more advanced pupils of the public
schools.


Local papers give some curious statistics concerning
the graduates of the Girls' High School in Portland,
Maine.


“The oldest member of the class is nineteen years
of age; the youngest is fifteen; the average is seven-
teen. The tallest is 5 feet 7 ? inches; the shortest is
exactly 5 feet; the average height is 5 feet 3 ¾ inches.
There is only one curly-haired girl in the class. Brown
in all shades is the prevailing color of the hair, seven
only having light locks. The greatest length of tresses
is 36 inches; the shortest, 7 inches; the average, 23
inches. The smallest glove worn is 5 ¾ ; the largest is
6 ¾. The smallest boot worn is No. 1; the average is
3 ½. The heaviest weight is 160; the lightest, 96; the
average, 116.


The query arises, How did any body find out all these
very interesting facts?


Some overcurious individual, having written to a
San Francisco journal to inquire where Cain obtained
his wife, is thus severely reproved:


“Upon any subject of a public nature we never re-
fuse to throw the desired light. But this is altogether
a different thing. It is a family matter, with which we
do not care to meddle. Cain died some time before
many of us were born, and such idle curiosity regard-
ing the family affairs of a deceased person we regard
as reprehensible, and calculated to violate the sancti-
ties of domestic life.”


Several of the different governments of South Amer-
ica have applied to the United States to have their sil-
ver and gold coin manufactured at our national mint,
with their own distinctive designs, but of the same
value as our own coin, so as to be interchangeable.
If this coinage is authorized by Congress, it will do
much toward producing an international money sys-
tem.


Several ladies are said to have applied for admission
to the Medical School at New Haven at the beginning
of the current term, but were refused, the medical
faculty unanimously resolving “that ladies would not
be admitted to the Medical School until they were also
admitted to the other departments of the university.”


The latest Western invention is a writing machine,
which will accomplish fifty words a minute. The op-
erator sits before three or four rows of keys, marked
with letters, figures, etc., and upon pressing one of
these the letter is instantly recorded on a sheet of pa-
per. This process must require considerable practice
in order to perform expeditiously.


The English hangman, Calcraft, who has been in
the public administration of justice for the past forty
years, is about to resign his office. Having accumu-
lated an independent fortune, he concludes to aban-
don his profession; and evidently he is not troubled
with any twinges of conscience or sentimental sensi-
tiveness in the remembrance of the lives which have
been brought to a termination through his instrumen-
tality. Some allusion having been made in his pres-
ence to “killing men,” he exclaimed, “Who kills a
man! I never killed any body. They kill themselves;
it is their own weight as does it.”



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