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from heaven sometimes descends upon us,
as it did as it did even now. But we are not
unduly cast down in calamities such as these,
and endeavour even on the worst occasions
to keep up a brave spirit, and help
ourselves as well as we can. Anyhow,
imperfect as we may be, we have no superiors
or even equals!"

Vain little creature! yet not altogether
without a justification for its vanity. When
man talks in the same strain, is not he also
a vain little creature?


YE flowers of the woodland so wild,
   That grow without culture or plan,
Ye're fair to the eyes of the child,
   Ye're dear to the heart of the man;
Like smiles on Earth's beautiful face,
   Or gems on the garment of Spring,
A pleasure, a charm, and a grace,
   Oh! sweet are the joys that ye bring.

If Nature, less kind to the year,
   Would only, when centuries rolled,
  Permit your fresh buds to appear
   Arrayed in your azure or gold,
Whole nations, with grateful surprise,
   Would swarm to the fields and the bowers,
And, gazing with reverent eyes,
   Would sing "the return of the flowers."

Yet, blooms of the woodland so fair,
   Our hearts shall not prize you the less,
Because you are free as the air
   To all whom your presence can bless.
The night and the morning shall vie
   In scattering their glories around,
The Night with the stars in her sky,
   The Day with her flowers on the ground.


SCARCELY any important invention starts
at once into being; usually, it has had
a long period of preparation, by men
who reaped no profit from their labours.
The world considers the inventor to be
the person who gives the capital touch
which imparts practical value to an
original idea, whether or not he himself
reap any portion of that value, and whether
or not he be really more clever than the
preliminary inventors who cleared the path for
him. Dr. Johnson, looking out of his window
in Bolt-court, one evening, saw a lamp-
lighter much troubled to light a lamp; he
did not succeed until there was a good deal
of black vapour over the wick: whereupon
the great lexicographer said, "Ah! One of
these days we shall see the streets of London
lighted by smoke." Was not the real
idea of gas-lighting in Johnson's mind at
that moment? And yet we do not call
him an inventor. Long before Johnson's
time, Dr. Clayton, about 1660, distilled
coal in a retort, producing what he called
"phlegm, black oil, and spirit;" this spirit
was gas, which he confined in a bladder
because he could not condense it into a
liquid. He was wont to amuse his friends
with burning this gas as it issued from the
bladder through holes pricked with a pin.
This was a century and a half before streets
were lighted by gas.

The Marquis of Worcester's Century of
Inventions is a well-known repertory of new
and strange curiosities. He wrote this
book in the time of Charles the Second,
and adopted the name "century" because
there are a hundred projects described. Or
rather, the projects are asserted, for none
of them are so clearly detailed as to enable
an artisan to work from them. The range
of subjects is something amazing. Ships
to resist any explosive projectiles, and boats
to work against wind and tide, might be
taken to prefigure our iron-clads and
steam-boats. Large cannon to be shot six
times in a minute, and a pistol to
discharge a dozen times with once loading,
certainly seem very much indeed like
revolvers. A brass-mould to cast candles, is
a verbally exact description of the means
now used in making mould-candles, with
the simple substitution of pewter for
brass. A machine for dredging harbours,
and a machine for raising ships for repair,
are assuredly among the ways and means
of modern hydraulic engineering. An
apparatus for lighting its own lamp or candle
at any predetermined hour of the day or
night, was recently displayed in the
metropolis, at one of the Working Men's
Exhibitions; whether the ingenious fellow who
made it, had read the Marquis of Worcester,
we do not know. A calculating machine
for performing addition and subtraction
was made a hundred and fifty years after
the Marquis talked about it in his book. A
key that will fasten all the drawers in a
cabinet with one locking, exactly expresses
what Mr. Sopwith achieves with his Monocleid
cabinet. New chemical inks for secret
writing; new apparatus for semaphores or
signalling; explosive projectiles to sink
ships; an instrument for teaching perspective;
a method of fixing shifting sands on
the sea-shore; a cross-bow to shoot off two
arrows at once; flying machines; an
endless watch, to go without winding up; these
are among the various novelties mentioned.
It is difficult to decide how far the
Marquis had really worked out any of these
contrivances, either in his own mind or on
paper; that he did not always advance so