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with the Great Western in regard to the Bishop's
road station, the former company would continue
"to function along the whole line." This may,
for aught we know, be good railway directors'
language, but we submit that it is not English.
Many of these corruptions proceed from the
commercial love of brevityan instinct common
to both hemispheres, though, like everything
else, exaggerated to inordinate proportions in the
Western. The Americans almost invariably omit
the definite article before such titles as "Honourable"
and "Reverend;" and we have recently
taken to the same form of abbreviation. You
need but glance at a daily paper to see, in the
report of some meeting, a statement that "we
observed on the platform Rev. Zachariah Jones
and Hon. Adolphus Verisopht." The saving of
time thus effected is not sufficient compensation
for this inelegant clipping of our English; and
even though parallel cases may be quoted, which
have now received the sanction of time, it is
always a desperate argument to defend one bad
thing by another.

The almost universal knowledge of French,
the constant translation of diplomatic documents
from that language in our newspapers, and the
frequent discussion of continental politics in
parliament and the press, have also done a
disservice to English by the introduction of a great
many Gallic idioms. The danger, however, is
less from this than from the American source of
corruption. Our language has always had a
tendency to throw out any French modes of
expression which may have been temporarily
adopted; whereas transatlantic interpolations
are not only readily received, but generally
retained. It is in this direction, therefore, that
we ought to be especially on our guard.

Of course, no one would object to the
introduction of new words and phrases where they
are clearly required. Language has many of
the characteristics of a vital organism; and it
would be the merest pedantry, as ineffectual as
pedantic, to say that the English tonguea
tongue spoken by the most vigorous and expanding
race in the worldis not to throw
forth fresh shoots when a legitimate demand
arises. The railway system has introduced into
general parlance, if it has not created, many new
terms which are worthy additions to the vocabulary.
"Stoke," "shunt," "siding," &c., are
all perfectly legitimate words. So is "telegram,"
though, when it was first used, some over-particular
scholars objected to its construction, as
being questionable Greek. However that may
beand the point is doubtfulthe word is now
very good English, and we could not get on
without it. All we quarrel with is purposeless
innovation, made in the spirit of coxcombry and
ignorance. A hundred and fifty years ago, Swift,
lamenting the corruptions which were even then
creeping into the language, proposed to Harley,
Earl of Oxford, the then prime minister, to
establish " a society or academy for settling and
ascertaining the purity of our tongue; to set a
mark on the improprieties which custom has
made familiar; to throw out vicious phrases and
words, to correct others, and perhaps retrieve
some others now grown obsolete; and to
adjust the orthography, pointing, &c." Such a
standard might be useful; but whether it would
do much to check our national weakness for
slang, is more than doubtful.


AMONG the many supernatural annoyances
which disturb the comfort of the Eibo-folk
that is to say, the population of Swedish origin
that inhabits the northern coast and the islands
of the Gulf of Rigamay be mentioned a formidable
legion of semi-substantial ghosts, whose
visits are anything but "few and far between."
Like the ghosts of other nations, they are the
spectres of deceased persons, and they have the
generic quality of vanishing at cock-crow. But
they are distinguished from the ghosts of the
ordinary nurse's tale by certain powers and
privileges peculiar to themselves. They can put
on various shapes; they are not without a
certain degree of acquisitiveness, and they can
produce palpable effects, as though they were not
altogether incorporeal.

Whatever be the vices of the ghosts who
figure in our own village records, they are
habitually honest. Nay, honesty is their
characteristic quality, for even if they represent
some defunct old sinner, who has hid his neighbour's
gold under a hearthstone, the very object
of their visit is to disclose the hidden treasure,
that it may be restored to the lawful owner. So
is it not with the ghosts of the Eibo-folk. In
the island of Nuckowhich, by the way, is a
peninsula at low watera respectable old
gentleman once saw a tall white figure come out of
a churchyard, and make a dash at some horses
that were grazing hard by. Fortunately the
horses were too quick for the ghost, and
consequently were not to be caught. The same
island furnishes us with an instance of a ghost
that perfectly knew how to stand up for its
rights. A certain woman was negligently buried
without a cap, and as this was a sort of thing
not to be tolerated, her ghost soon appeared in
the house she had once inhabited, and by shouting
"Bare-head! Bare-head!" conveyed a very
intelligible hint. A council of friends was held,
and it was decided that the grave of the
deceased should not be opened, but that the next
corpse buried in the same churchyard should be
provided with an extra cap, to be handed over
to its neglected neighbour. This decision was
carried into effect, and there is every reason to
believe that the newly-interred body honourably
and promptly executed its trust, for the noisy
ghost was never heard after the burial. Ghosts
were not always so considerately treated. At a
place called Kattbeck, on the continent, an old
fellow whose duty it was to burn charcoal,
unluckily reduced all his stock of wood to ashes,
and fearing the beating that was the ordinary
consequence of such mishaps, hanged himself.
The house was taken by another man of similar