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him leave; his successor, General Clarke,
however, humanely renewed the former
custom. In August, 1807, however, when
Napoleon passed through Verdun on his
return from the battle of Tilsit, the bankers
and usurers of the town presented an
address begging for the restoration of the
power once given them by Berthier, and
Napoleon again granted their request.
The result was that sixteen Englishmen of
family were at once confined at Saarlouis,
and the prisons of Bitche, Metz, and
Saarbruck were also filled. One poor fellow came
to a miserable end in consequence. In 1806,
a Mr. Hearne obtained leave of Talleyrand
to leave Verdun and reside at Nancy. A
year afterwards he got permission to drive
in his curricle to Verdun to see his old
friends. Unluckily, Bonaparte's decree had
just then been issued, so he was seized for
debt and thrown into Verdun jail, where
he fell ill from vexation. His doctor went
round to his creditors and expostulated,
till they agreed to let him out; but at the
last moment a grocer and money-lender
refused to consent. Poor Hearne grew
worse, and died the next day, raving mad.
On examining his papers it was discovered
that the sums owed him by Frenchmen far
exceeded his own debts.


Herr Faber's talking machine, which
has lately come over to have a palaver with
the British public, is a very ingenious affair.
Not that there is much actually new in it;
for in this, as in other matters, there is
nothing new under the sun; but it is honest
in its way; it does the best it can, and it is
what it professes to be.

A distinction between the honest and
the deceptive in such contrivances deserves
to be noted. There have been some
so-called talking and singing machines, in
which the talking and singing really came
from human lips, under such circumstances
as led the audience to believe that
mechanism produced the sounds. We know
very little about Roger Bacon's speaking
head; but there is reason to believe that,
if the machine were ever produced at all,
the sounds emitted came from human lips.
A famous exhibition, called the Invisible
Girl, was a deception in which much
ingenuity was displayed. In this machine
there was a girl or lady concerned, who
did the talking and singing, and who was
invisible to the audience; the deception
consisted in leading the visitors to suppose
that she was in a small globe suspended in
mid-air. There were four upright posts,
united at top by four horizontal rails, like
the framework of a table. Bent wires,
springing up from the posts, converged to
an ornamental centre; and from these
wires were suspended a hollow copper
ball, with four trumpet-mouths on four
sides. This was all the visitors saw.
Any person wishing to propose a question,
spoke it into one of the trumpet-mouths;
and presently afterwards an appropriate
answer came from all the four
mouths. The voice was so soft that it
seemed to come from a very young and
diminutive being indeeda fairy, an
invisible girl. French and Italian were
spoken by the voice as well as English;
witty and lively remarks were made, as well
as questions answered; and songs were
beautifully sung in silvery tones. It was
admitted on all hands to be an attractive
exhibition; and as there were means of
verifying the fact that the globe touched
nothing whatever, except four ribbons by
which it was suspended, the surprise felt
was great. The facts of the case were
these. One of the posts was hollow, as
were two of the rails; and there were
openings in the rails just opposite two of
the trumpet-mouths. In an adjoining
room was a lady seated at a pianoforte; a
very small opening in the partition
between the two rooms enabled her to see
what was going on; while a concealed
tube was carried from a point near the
level of her ear to the hollow part of the
machine, beneath the floor. Sounds, as
we know, travel very easily through
tubes; and thus the questioning,
the answering, the singing, and the pianoforte
playing, were transferred from room
to room. When a spectator asked a question,
speaking at one of the trumpet-mouths,
the sound was reflected from the trumpet
back to the opening in the horizontal rail,
which opening was neither seen nor
suspected by the audience; it went down the
rail, under the floor, and into the adjoining
apartment, where the lady heard it; and
the sounds in the opposite direction were
similarly conveyed. The sound became so
altered in character and intensity by this
process of transmission as really to seem to
come from the ball; and when an answer
was given to a question expressed in a
whisper, the impression was very strong
that the answers really came from the ball.
Far less clever than this Invisible Girl was