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Now, it happened that while the last of
M. Villette's mirrors was in his house at
Liège, the autumn set in very rainy, and
there was great difficulty about getting in
the harvest, so that breadthe supply of
which, in the good old improvident times,
always became scanty as the season for a
new harvest drew nearbread became very
dear. The populace was soon convinced that
M. Villette's mirror caused the rain which
spoilt the harvest. It was said in M.Villette's
family that certain Jesuits suggested this
idea. At any rate, there soon were riots on
the subject, and M. Villette's house was
surrounded by an angry mob, determined upon
cheap bread and no optics. They proposed
lowering the price of corn by breaking up
the handiwork of the optician. A sensible
prelate governed Liège, who put down the
rioters by force of arms, and afterwards, as
neither the rain, nor the superstition as to
the cause of it, showed signs of abatement,
issued this proclamation:—

"Joseph Clement, by the grace of God Archbishop
of Cologne, Prince-Elector of the holy Roman Empire,
Arch-Chancellor for Italy and Legate of the Holy
Apostolic Chair, Bishop and Prince of Liège, of Ratisbon,
and of Hildesheim, Administrator of Bergtesgade;
Duke of the two Bavarias, of the Upper Palatinate,
Westphalia, Enguien and Bouillon, Count Palatine of
the Rhine, Landgrave of Leuchtenberg, Marquis of
Fanchimont, Count of Looz, Horne, &c.

"To all who see these presents, greeting.

"A most humble remonstrance having been made to
us whereupon we learn that a rumour has spread over
our town of Liège and its environs, to the effect that
Nicholas François Villette, resident for the last fifteen
or eighteen years in our said town, has attracted by his
burning mirror the rains with which not only these
lands, but the lands of our surrounding neighbours, are
chastised for their iniquities, we consider ourselves
obliged by the care we should have of our flock to
declare, as hereby we declare, that this is an error sown
by ignorant or evil-disposed people, or even by the spirit
of evil, which by diverting in this wise our people from
the idea and the assurance that it is for its sins that
it is chastened, causes it to attribute to a mirror that
which comes from God.

"We declare, therefore, that this mirror produces,
and can produce, only effects purely natural and very
curious, and that to believe that it can attract or beget
the rains, and so to attribute to it the power of opening
or shutting heaven, which can belong only to God,
would be a very blameable superstition. And we
command the curates and the preachers in all parts of
our diocese into which such an error may have crept,
that they use what power lies in them for its removal.

"Given in our consistory of Liège, under the signature
of the administrator of our Vicariat-General in
spiritualibus, and under our accustomed seal, this
twenty-second of August, seventeen hundred and

"L. F.,
"Bishop of Thermopylæ, Administrator of
the Vicariat-General of Liège.
J. F. CHORISTE, pro P. Rollin."

Ignorant as we are, we surely have
improved a little on the good old times! Yet
we have no great reason for boasting. Foolish
thought as it was to take a mirror for the
source of some of nature's grandest
operations, it is a good deal more foolish to take
nature for a mirror, and some are to be found
even in these days who

Do yet prize
This soul, and the transcendent universe
No more than as a mirror that reflects
To proud self-love her own intelligence.

Let us go back to Monsieur Robertson.
One of the first results of his youthful taste
for experiments in science was the setting
up of an electrical machine. With this he
produced well-known effects, that soon
procured for him a little notoriety in his town;
for even the first magistratestwo
burgomasters in their robescondescended to come
and be witnesses of his performance. The
young man, who also bred insects, and among
others silkworms, in his chamber, kept an
exact record of their metamorphose; and
ignorant of scientific names or any other
facts than those he noticed, called his
animals by names of his ownthe carrot
butterfly, the potato butterfly, the poplar
beetle, &c. He had decided talent as a
painter, and made drawings of his insects in
each stage of life. When, shortly afterwards, he
went to Paris he took with him these drawings,
for, in his ignorance, he believed that they
recorded observations which would probably
be new to naturalists in the capital. Of
course he was soon aroused out of this

It was by painting that M. Robertson
proposed to get a living. His father's fortune
had been compromised by a too onerous coal-
mining speculation; he himself had received
from the school of painting in his native town
a gold medal for the best picture of Apollo
killing the Python. This had been delivered
to him in the presence of his fellow-townsmen
by the Prince of Welbruck. His ambition,
therefore, was to flourish as a painter.
His parents had other views. Among their
family possessions was the presentation to a
benefice; and they held that for the security
of his future it was most convenient that he
should become a priest. The youth abided
by his own opinions. There was a famous
teacher of physics in the College of France,
named Monsieur Brisson, and a certain
Monsieur Charles was at that time illustrious
among Parisians for his lectures upon natural
science, embellished by experiments of the
most striking kind. M. Villette the younger
therefore advised M. Robertson to go to
Paris, where he could maintain himself by
painting while he amused himself by
prosecuting scientific studies. Robertson adopted
the idea and set out, provided by his friend
with a letter of introduction to Monsieur
Pascal-Tasquin, harpsichord maker to the

Diseases of the lungs were at that time
very common in Liège, and there was a