Harper's Weekly 05/16/1868


HOME AND FOREIGN GOSSIP.

The new method of embalming dead bodies seems
to be a complete success. Recently a subject who
died early in February, and was treated by the proc-
ess of Professor Seely a few days after death, was ex-
amined at Bellevue Hospital. It presented a thorough-
ly natural appearance, and was perfectly preserved.
Thus, by the application of a simple wash, and with-
out any mutilation, the bodies of deceased friends
may be preserved unchanged for an indefinite period.
It is claimed that they will last a century. Also this
invention places in the hands of scientific men the
means of preserving the subjects of their necessary
studies without the special difficulties which have
hitherto been unavoidable.


A very peculiar “slander case” is said to be about
to appear in our city courts. A lady brings an action
for slander against a gentleman, on the ground that
he “on divers occasions has said, she is my wife, and
I can prove it.” The defendant affirms that while the
lady was a teacher in a public school and he a member
of a State volunteer regiment they became engaged;
and when it was probable that he should be “ordered
to the front,” they agreed to be married, and went
privately to a clergyman's house, where the ceremony
was performed in presence of witnesses. He states
that after the close of the war he engaged in mercan-
tile business, and went to the house of the lady's rela-
tives to board; and although they resided under the
same roof the marriage was still kept secret. But
after a while the lady took a dislike to the gentle-
man; various troubles followed, and finally a suit has
been commenced against him for slander in affirming
that she is his wife. The lady positively denies all
the gentleman affirms; says that she never was mar-
ried to this or any other gentleman, and that she
never was at the clergyman's house on any occasion.
It is certainly a novel case.


An ingenious writer, from careful investigations in
regard to the milk used in London, has arrived at the
conclusion that the number of cows supplying the
metropolis is not more than sufficient to provide each
person with about a table-spoonful per day. What
is sold under the name of “milk” often contains use-
less and-injurious adulterating ingredients. Water,
of course, is largely used, not in London alone, but
extensively in this country, especially in large cities.
The pale little children are thus daily robbed of the
nutrition their food should contain. They fade away
without any startling disease, and die of infant ma-
rasmus. And it is regarded as a sad and inscrutable
providence. But adulteration with water is not the
only one to which milk is subjected. Large quan-
tities of water make the milk look too blue; so it is
needful to add various substances to give it a richer
color; molasses or sirup to sweeten, and salt to flavor
it. Analysis has also shown the presence of starch,
chalk, soda, gum-tragacanth, and other articles far
less pleasant to think about. We once knew a good
lady, living not a thousand miles distant, who had a
fancy for always straining her milk after she received
it from the milkman. One morning this straining
process disclosed what the country boys call a “polli-
wog,” as lively and brisk as if in its native element.
She had never heard that a bona fide cow gave “polli-
wog,” and the evidence was to her conclusive that
the services of the “cow with the iron tail” had been
called into requisition. But no such simple process
as straining will detect all of the articles which we
consume in the form of milk. Therefore the best we
can do is to purchase of reliable dealers, and to test
the purity of milk by such ordinary means as we can
command.


It is said of a fashionable lady, who went to a party
not long since, that she arrived there about the first
of the evening, but the last of her dress did not arrive
until after twelve o'clock.


A terrific hurricane and hail-storm lately occurred
in Prairie Country, Arkansas, by which houses, fences,
and trees were prostrated, and many persons serious-
ly injured. The whirlwind seems to have chosen
an erratic course, and to have picked out special lo-
calities in which to wreak its fury. During the prog-
ress of this hail-storm pieces of ice of irregular shape,
from the size of a walnut to that of an ordinary glass
tumbler, were projected upon the ground with fear-
ful effect.


“How things `got into the papers,'” remarks the
author of “Five Hundred Pounds Reward,” in de-
scribing Mrs. Maldon, the landlady of St. Mark's Bay
Hotel, “had always been rather a mystery to her; but
she accepted the fact of editorial omniscience just in
the same blind way that all women believe in ma-
chinery. Tell them a thing is done by machinery and
difficulties vanish at once. There's nothing left to
think about. A machine is a machine, just as a con-
juror is a conjuror; and to push the matter farther
would be simply to blunder into a world of things
which nobody understands.”


Whether all women have a blind “belief in ma-
chinery”—except in that which constitutes the sewing-
machine—may be questionable. But certainly neither
men nor women need place implicit confidence in
many of the “things” that “get into the papers”
nowadays. Such strange reports, such extraordinary
stories appear in sundry newspapers under the guise
of truth, but in reality made up, as the saying is, “out
of whole cloth” to produce a sensation, that one really
knows not what to believe. Nevertheless we must
have our newspaper which tells of so many wondrous
things:


“It makes us weep at tales of woe—it fills our hearts
with mirth;
It tells us of the price of stock—how much produce
is worth;
And when, and where, and how, and why, strange
things occur on earth.
Has war's loud clarion called to arms? has light-
ning struck a trce?
Has Jenkins broke his leg? or has there been a
storm at sea?
Has the sea-serpent shown his head? a comet's head
been seen?
Or has some heiress with her groom run off to
Gretna Green?
All this, and many wonders more, from daily sheets
you glean.”

A well-known literary gentleman, who has been a
smoker for thirty years, has completely abandoned
the habit, and is all the better for it. He says: “I
have less headache, I enjoy exercise more, and step
out much more vigorously. My room is cleaner. I
think I am rather better tempered, as well as more
cheerful and satisfied. I endure the inevitable ills of
life with more fortitude, and look forward more hope-
fully to the coming years. It did not pay to smoke;
but most decidedly it pays to stop smoking.”


From San Francisco we learn that a new material
is now being used for mattresses. It is made from the
soap root, which grows in unlimited quantities near
the mountains of the Sierra range. It is a bulbous
root, enveloped in a very tough and supple fibre, re-
sembling somewhat the husk of a cocoa-nut in color
and appearance, but nearly as tough as whalebone.
The manufactured article is fully equal to curled hair,
and makes comfortable, useful, and healthful beds. A
factory has been built on Little Bear River, about a
mile from Dutch Flat, which is now employing a
large number of men.


The Phrenological Journal thus discourses: “If you
would have a loving wife be as gentle after as before
marriage; treat her as tenderly when a matron as
when a miss; don't make her maid-of-all-work, and
ask why she looks less tidy and neat than when `you
first knew her;' don't buy cheap beef, and scold be-
cause it does not come on the table `porter-house;'
don't grumble about squalling babies if you can not
keep up a `nursery,' and remember that `baby may
take after its papa' in disposition; don't smoke and
chew tobacco, and thus shatter your nerves, spon your
temper, make your breath a nuisance, and then com-
plain that your wife declines to kiss you; go home
joyous and cheerful, and tell your wife the good news
and not silently put on your hat and go out to the
`club,' and let her afterward learn that you spent the
evening at the opera with Mrs. Dash.”


Nothing gives the interior of a house a more cleanly
and cheerful aspect than frequent whitewashing or
whitening. The most common and inexpensive kind
of lime whitewash is a great purifler. A fine brilliant
wash is obtained by mixing “Paris-white” with glue,
in the proportion of sixteen pounds to half a pound
of glue. The glue should be the white, transparent
kind. It should be covered with cold water at night,
and in the morning carefully heated until dissolved.
The Paris-white should be stirred into hot water until
it is of the proper milky consistency for applying to
the walls, and the dissolved glue added and thorough-
ly mixed. This recipe is considered one of the best,
and has the merit of being inexpensive.


A Frenchman who died in penury had preserved, as
interesting mementoes, the corks of the bottles with
which he had in better days sumptuously entertained
his friends. These corks bore melancholy inscriptions,
testifying the depravity of human nature. For exam-
ple:


“Champagne cork; bottle emptied 12th of May,
1843, with Mr. B—, who wished to interest me in a
business by which I was to make 10,000,000 francs.
This affair cost me 50,000 francs. Mr. B. escaped to
Belgium. A eaution to amateurs.”


“Cork of Cyprus wine, of a bottle emptied on the
4th of December, 1850, with a dozen fast friends. Of
these I have not found a single one to help me on the
day of my ruin. The names of the twelve are annexed
below.”


We find two methods for catching rats, each highly
recommended. The first is complicated but inexpens-
ive. Cover a common barrel with stiff, stout paper,
tying the edge around the barrel; place a board so
that the rats may have easy access to the top; sprinkle
cheese parings or other “feed” for the rats on the paper
for several days, until they begin to believe they have
a right to their daily rations from this source. Then
place in the bottom of the barrel a piece of rock about
six or seven inches high, filling with water until only
enough of it projects above the water for one rat to
lodge upon. Now replace the paper, first cutting a
cross in the middle, and the first rat that comes on the
barrel-top goes through into the water and climbs on
the rock. The paper comes back to place, and the sec-
ond rat follows the first. Then begins a fight for the
possession of the dry place on the stone, the noise of
which attracts the rest, who share the same fate. The
second method is recommended by a servant who was
“experienced.” She took a small quantity of old
Bourbon whisky, made it sweet with sugar, crumbled
in bread enough for the crowd, and set the dish in the
cellar. A few hours after she went down, and found
several rats gloriously fuddled, engaged throwing po-
tato-parings, and hauling one another up to drink.
These were easily disposed of; and those not killed
left the premises immediately, suffering from a severe
headache.


Those who do not believe in omens will enjoy a
laugh over the following story; and those who do bet-
ter pass it by, if they fear to have their faith disturb-
ed: An old gentleman whose style was Germanized
was asked what he thought of signs and omens.


“Vell, I don't dinks mooch of dem dings, und I
don't pelieve averydings; but I dells you somedimes
dere is some dings in sooch dings ash dose dings.
Now de oder night I sits und reads mine newspaper,
und mine frau she shpeak und say:


“`Fritz, de dog ish howling!'

“Vell, I don' dinks mooch of dem dings, und I goes
on und reads mine paper, und mine frau she say:


“`Fritz, der is somedings pad is happen—de dog ish
howling.'


“Und den I gets oop mit mineself und looks out
troo de wines on de porch, und de moon was shinin,
und mine leetle dog he shoomp right up and down like
averydings, und he park at de moon, dat vas shine so
bright ash never vas. Und ash I hauled mine het in
de winder de old voman she says:”


“`Mind, Fritz, I dells you dere ish some pad ish hap-
pen. De dog ish howlin.'


“Vell, I goes to pet und I shleeps, und all night long
ven I vakes up dere vas dat dog howlin outside, und
ven I dream I hear dat howlin vorser ash never. Und
in de morning I kits oop and kits mine breakfast, und
mine frau she looks at me und say werry solemn:


“`Fritz, dere ish somedings pad ish happen. De
dog vas howl all night.'


“Und shoost den de newspaper come in, und I
opens him—and by shings, vot you dinks! dere vas a
man died in Philadelphia!”



WRECK OF THE AMERICAN SHIP “GENERAL GRANT” ON AUCKLAND ISLANDS, May 14, 1866.—[See Page 318.]




STREET AUCTION SCENE IN NEW YORK CITY.—Sketched by Stanley Fox.—[See Page 318.]




EXPLOSION OF THE PROPELLER “GOVERNOR CUSHMAN,” AT BUFFALO, N. Y., May 1.
[Sketched by L. C. Mix.]





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