Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Literary Blunders by Henry B. Wheatley

Part 3 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since . . .''

Not many years ago a critic, asking
himself the question when the waters
wasted these countries, began to suspect
a misprint, and on consulting the
manuscript, it was found that he was right.
The blunder, which had escaped Byron's
own eyes, was corrected, and the third
line was printed as originally written:--

``Thy waters wash'd them power while they were free.

The carelessness of printers seems to
hare culminated in their production of
the Scriptures. The old editions of the
Bible swarm with blunders, and some of
them were supposed to have been made
intentionally. It was said that the printer

Field received

1500 from the
Independents as a bribe to corrupt a text which
might sanction their practice of lay-
ordination, and in Acts vi. 3 the word _ye_ is
substituted for _we_ in several of his editions
of the Bible. The verse reads: ``Wherefore,
brethren, look ye out among ye seven
men of honesr report, full of the Holy
Ghost and wisdom, whom _ye_ may appoint
over this business.'' To such forgeries
Butler refers in the lines:--

``Religion spawn'd a various rout
Of petulant capricious sects,
The maggots of corrupted texts.''
_Hudibras_, Part III., Canto 2.

Dr. Grey, in his notes on this passage,
brings forward the charge against Field,
and quotes Wotton's Visitation Sermon
(1706) in support of it. He also quotes
from Cowley's _Puritan and Papist_ as to
the practice of corrupting texts:--

``They a bold pow'r o'er sacred Scriptures take,
Blot out some clauses and some new ones make.''

Pope Sixtus the Fifth's Vulgate so
swarmed with errors that paper had to

be pasted over some of the erroneous
passages, and the public naturally laughed
at the bull prefixed to the first volume
which excommunicated any printer who
altered the text. This was all the more
annoying to the Pope, as he had intended
the edition to be specially free from errors,
and to attain that end had seen all the
proofs himself. Some years ago a copy
of this book was sold in France for 1210
francs.

The King's Printers, Robert Barker and
Martin Lucas, in the reign of Charles I.
were not excommunicated, but, what perhaps
they liked less, were fined 300
by the Court of High Commission for
leaving the _not_ out of the seventh
commandment in an edition of the Bible
printed in 1631. Although this story has
been frequently quoted it has been
disbelieved, and the great bibliographer of
Bibles, the late Mr. George Offer, asserted
that he and his father searched diligently
for it, and could not find it. Now, six
copies are known to exist. The late Mr.
Henry Stevens gives a most interesting
account of the first discovery of the book

in his _Recollections of Mr. James Lennox_.
He writes:--

``Mr. Lennox was so strict an observer
of the Sabbath that I never knew of his
writing a business letter on Sunday but
once. In 1855, while he was staying at
Hotel Meurice in Paris, there occurred to
me the opportunity one Saturday afternoon,
June 16th, of identifying the long lost
octavo Bible of 1631 with the negative
omitted in the seventh commandment,
and purchasing it for fifty guineas. No
other copy was then known, and the
possessor required an immediate answer.
However, I raised some points of inquiry,
and obtained permission to hold the little
sinner and give the answer on Monday.
By that evening's post I wrote to Mr.
Lennox, and pressed for an immediate
reply, suggesting that this prodigal though
he returned on Sunday should be
bound. Monday brought a letter `to
buy it,' very short, but tender as a fatted
calf. On June 21st I exhibited it at a
full meeting of the Society of Antiquaries
of London, at the same time nicknaming
it _The Wicked Bible_, a name that stuck to

it ever since, though six copies are now
known. . . . Lord Macaulay was present
at the meeting, but did not at first credit
the genuineness of the typographical
error. Lord Stanhope, however, on
borrowing the volume, convinced him
that it was the true wicked error.''

Curiously enough, when Mr. Stevens
took the Bible home on Saturday night
he overhauled his pile of octavo Bibles,
and found an imperfect duplicate of the
supposed unique ``wicked'' Bible. When
the owner came for his book on Monday
morning he was shown the duplicate, and
agreed, as his copy was not unique, to
take 25 for it. The imperfect copy
was sold to the British Museum for
eighteen guineas, and Mr. Winter Jones
was actually so fortunate as to obtain
subsequently the missing twenty-three
leaves. A third copy came into the
hands of Mr. Francis Fry, of Bristol,
who sold it to Dr. Bandinel for the
Bodleian Library. A fourth copy is in
the Euing Library, at Glasgow; a fifth
fell into the hands of Mr. Henry J.
Atkinson, of Gunnersbury,in 1883; and

a sixth copy was picked up in Ireland
by a gentleman of Coventry In 1884.

In a Bible of 1634 the first verse of
the 14th Psalm is printed as ``The fool
hath said in his heart there is God''; and
in another Bible of 1653 _worldly_ takes
the place of _godly_, and reads, ``In order
that all the world should esteem the
means of arriving at worldly riches.''

If Field was not a knave, as hinted
above, he was singularly unfortunate in
his blunders; for in another of his Bibles
he also omitted the negative in an important
passage, and printed I Corinthians
vi. 9 as, ``Know ye not that the unrighteous
shall inherit the kingdom of God?''

It is recorded that a printer's widow
in Germany once tampered with the
purity of the text of a Bible printed in
her house, for which crime she was burned
to death. She arose in the night, when
all the workmen were in bed, and going
to the ``forme'' entirely changed the
meaning of a text which particularly
offended her. The text was Gen. iii. 16
(``Thy desire shall be to thy husband,
and he shall rule over thee'').

This story does not rest on a very firm
foundation, and as the recorder does not
mention the date of the occurrence, it
must be taken by the reader for what it is
worth. The following incident, vouched
for by a well-known author, is, however,
very similar. James Silk Buckingham
relates the following curious anecdote in
his _Autobiography_:--

``While working at the Clarendon
Printing Office a story was current among
the men, and generally believed to be
authentic, to the following effect. Some
of the gay young students of the University,
who loved a practical joke, had made
themselves sufficiently familiar with the
manner in which the types are fixed in
certain formes and laid on the press, and
with the mode of opening such formes for
correction when required; and when the
sheet containing the Marriage Service was
about to be worked off, as finally
corrected, they unlocked the forme, took out
a single letter _v_, and substituted in its
place the letter _k_, thus converting the
word _live_ into _like_. The result was that,
when the sheets were printed, that part

of the service which rendered the bond
irrevocable, was so changed as to make it
easily dissolved--as the altered passage
now read as follows:--The minister asking
the bridegroom, `Wilt thou have this
woman to be thy wedded wife, to live
together after God's ordinance in the holy
state of matrimony? Wilt thou love her,
comfort her, honour, and keep her in
sickness and in health; and forsaking all
other, keep thee only unto her, so long as
ye both shall _like_?' To which the man
shall answer, `I will.' The same change
was made in the question put to the
bride.''

If the culprits who left out a word
deserved to be heavily mulcted in damages,
it is difficult to calculate the liability of
those who left out whole verses. When
Archbishop Ussher was hastening to
preach at Paul's Cross, he went into a
shop to purchase a Bible, and on turning
over the pages for his text found it was
omitted.

Andrew Anderson, a careless, faulty
printer in Edinburgh, obtained a monopoly
as king's printer, which was exercised on

his death in 1679 by his widow. The
productions of her press became worse and
worse, and her Bibles were a standing
disgrace to the country. Robert
Chambers, in his _Domestic Annals of
Scotland_, quotes the following specimen
from an edition of 1705: ``Whyshouldit-
bethougtathingincredi ble w you, y
God should raise the dead?'' Even this
miserable blundering could not have been
much worse than the Pearl Bible with
six thousand errata mentioned by Isaac
Disraeli.

The first edition of the English Scriptures
printed in Ireland was published at
Belfast in 1716, and is notorious for an
error in Isaiah. _Sin no more_ is printed
_Sin on more_. In the following year was
published at Oxford the well-known
Vinegar Bible, which takes its name from
a blunder in the running title of the
twentieth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel,
where it reads ``The parable of the
vinegar,'' instead of ``The parable of the
vineyard.'' In a Cambridge Prayer Book
of 1778 the thirtieth verse of Psalm cv. is
travestied as follows: ``Their land brought

forth frogs, yea seven in their king's
chambers.'' An Oxford Bible of 1792
names St. Philip instead of St. Peter as
the disciple who should deny Christ
(Luke xxii. 34); and in an Oxford New
Testament of 1864 we read, ``Rejoice,
and be exceeding _clad_'' (Matt. v. 12).
To be impartial, however, it is necessary to
mention a Cambridge Bible of 1831,
where Psalm cxix. 93 appears as ``I will
never _forgive_ thy precepts.'' A Bible
printed at Edinburgh in 1823 contains
a curious misprint caused by a likeness in
pronunciation of two words, Esther being
printed for Easter, ``Intending after
Esther to bring him forth to the people''
(Acts xii. 4). A misprint of the old
hundredth Psalm (_do well_ for _do dwell_) in
the Prayer Book might perhaps be
considered as an improvement,--

``All people who on earth do well.''

Errors are specially frequent in figures,
often caused by the way in which the
characters are cut. The aim of the
founder seems to be to make them as
much alike as possible, so that it
fre

quently requires a keen eye to discover
the difference between a 3 and a 5. In
one of Chernac's _Mathematical Tables_
a line fell out before going to press, and
instead of being replaced at the bottom
of the page it was put in at the top, thus
causing twenty-six errors. Besides these,
however, only ten errors have been found
in the whole work of 1020 pages, all full
of figures. Vieta's _Canon Mathematicus_
(1579) is of great rarity, from the author
being discontented with the misprints
that had escaped his notice, and on that
account withdrawing or repurchasing all
the copies he could meet with. Some
mathematicians, to ensure accuracy, have
made their calculations with the types in
their own hands. In the _Imperial
Dictionary of Universal Biography_ there is a
misprint in a date which confuses a whole
article. William Ayrton, musical critic,
is said to have been born in London
about 1781, but curiously enough his
father is reported to have been born three
years afterwards (1784); and still more
odd, that father was appointed gentleman
of the Chapel Royal in 1764, twenty

years before he is stated to have been
born.

In connection with figures may be
mentioned the terrible confusion which
is caused by the simple dropping out
of a decimal point. Thus a passage
in which 6.36 is referred to naturally
becomes utter nonsense when 636 is
printed instead. Such a misprint is as
bad as the blunder of the French compositor,
who, having to set up a passage
referring to Captain Cook, turned _de Cook_
into _de 600 kilos_. An amusing blunder
was quoted a few years ago from a German
paper where the writer, referring to Prince
Bismarck's endeavours to keep on good
terms with all the Powers, was made
to say, ``Prince Bismarck is trying to
keep up honest and straightforward relations
_with all the girls_.'' This blunder was
caused by the substitution of the word
Mdchen (girls) for Mchten (powers).

The French have always been interested
in misprints, and they have registered a
considerable number. One of the happiest
is that one which was caused by Malherbe's
bad writing, and induced him to

adopt the misprint in his verse in place
of that which he had originally written.
The lines, written on a daughter of Du
Perrier named Rosette, now stand thus:--

``Mais elle tait du monde o les plus belles choses
Ont le pire destin,
Et rose, elle a vcu ce que vivent les roses
L'espace d'un matin.''

Malherbe had written,--

``Et Rosette a vcu ce que vivent les roses;''

but forgetting ``to cross his tees'' the
compositor made the fortunate blunder
of printing _rose elle_, which so pleased the
author that he let it stand, and modified
the following lines in accordance with the
printer's improvement.

Rabelais nearly got into trouble by
a blunder of his printer, who in several
places set up _asne_ for _me_. A council
met at the Sorbonne to consider the
case against him, and the doctors formally
denounced Rabelais to Francis I.,
and requested permission to prosecute
him for heresy; but the king after
consideration refused to give the permission.

Rabelais then laughed at his accusers for
founding a charge of heresy against him
on a printer's blunder, but there were
strong suspicions that the misprints were
intentional.

These misprints are styled by the
French _coquilles_, a word whose derivation
M. Boutney, author of _Dictionnaire
de l'Argot des Typographes_, is unable
to explain after twenty years' search. A
number of _Longman's Magazine_ contains
an article on these _coquilles_, in which
very many amusing blunders are quoted.
One of these gave rise to a pun which is
so excellent that it is impossible to resist
the temptation of transferring the anecdote
from those pages to these:--

``In the Rue Richelieu there is a statue
of Corneille holding a roll in his hand,
on which are inscribed the titles of his
principal works. The task of incising
these names it appears had been given
to an illiterate young apprentice, who
thought proper to spell _avare_ with two
r's. A wit, observing this, remarked
pleasantly, _Tiens, voil an avare qui a un
air misanthrope_ (un r mis en trop).''

In a newspaper account of Mr. Gladstone's
religious views the word _Anglican_
is travestied as _Afghan_, with the following
curious result: ``There is no form of faith
in existence more effectually tenacious
than the _Afghan_ form, which asserts the
full catholicity of that branch church
whose charter is the English Church
Prayer Book.''

In the diary of John Hunter, of
Craigcrook, it is recorded that at one of the
meetings between the diarist, Leigh Hunt,
and Carlyle, ``Hunt gave us some capital
specimens of absurd errors of the press
committed by printers from his copy.
One very good one occurs in a paper,
where he had said, `he had a liking for
coffee because it always reminded him of
the _Arabian Nights_,' though not mentioned
there, adding, `as smoking does
for the same reason.' This was converted
into the following oracular words: `As
sucking does for the snow season'! He
could not find it in his heart to correct
this, and thus it stands as a theme for
the profound speculations of the commentators.''

A very slight misprint will make a
great difference; sometimes an unintelliglble
word is produced, but sometimes
the mere transposition of a letter will
make a word exactly opposite in its
meaning to the original, as _unite_ for
_untie_. In Jeremy Taylor's _XXV. Sermons
preached at Golden Grove: Being for the
Winter half-year_ (London, 1653), p. 247,
we read, ``It may help to unite the
charm,'' whereas the author wished to
say ``untie.''

The title of Cobbett's _Horse-hoeing
Husbandry_ was easily turned into _Horse-shoeing
Husbandry_, that of the _Holy Grail_ into
_Holy Gruel_, and Layamon's _Brut_ into
Layamon's _Brat_.

A local paper, reporting the proceedings
at the Bath meeting of the British Asso{sic}
ciation, affirmed that an eminent chemist
had ``not been able to find any _fluidity_
in the Bath waters.'' _Fluorine_ was meant.
It was also stated that a geologist asserted
that ``the bones found in the submerged
forests of Devonshire were closely
representative of the British _farmer_.'' The last
word should have been _fauna_.

The strife of _tongs_ is suggestive of a
more serious battle than that of talk only;
and the compositor who set up Portia's
speech--

``. . . young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy''
(_Merchant of Venice_, act iii., sc. 2),

and turned the last words into _howling
Tory_, must have been a rabid politician.

The transposition of ``He kissed her
under the silent stars'' into ``He kicked
her under the cellar stairs'' looks rather
too good to be true, and it cannot be
vouched for; but the title ``Microscopic
Character of the Virtuous Rocks of Montana''
is a genuine misprint for _vitreous_,
as is also ``Buddha's perfect _uselessness_''
for ``Buddha's perfect sinlessness.'' It is
rather startling to find a quotation from
the _Essay on Man_ introduced by the
words ``as the Pope says,'' or to find the
famous painter Old Crome styled an ``old
Crone.''

A most amusing instance of a
misreading may be mentioned here, although
it is not a literary blunder. A certain

black cat was named Mephistopheles
a name which greatly puzzled the little
girl who played with the cat, so she
very sensibly set to work to reduce
the name to a form which she could
understand, and she arrived at ``Miss
Pack-of-fleas.''

Sometimes a ludicrous blunder may be
made by the mere closing up of two
words; thus the orator who spoke of our
``grand Mother Church'' had his remark
turned into a joke when it was printed
as ``grandmother Church.'' A still worse
blunder was made in an obituary notice
of a well-known congressman in an
American paper, where the reference to
his ``gentle, manly spirit'' was turned
into ``gentlemanly spirit.''

Misprints are very irritating to most
authors, but some can afford to make fun
of the trouble; thus Hood's amusing
lines are probably founded upon some
blunder that actually occurred:--

``But it is frightful to think
What nonsense sometimes
They make of one's sense,
And what's worse, of one's rhymes.


``It was only last week,
In my ode upon Spring,
Which I meant to have made
A most beautiful thing,

``When I talked of the dew-drops
From freshly-blown roses,
The nasty things made it
From freshly-blown noses.

``And again, when, to please
An old aunt, I had tried
To commemorate some saint
Of her clique who had died,

``I said he had taken up
In heaven his position,
And they put it--he'd taken
Up to heaven his _physician_.''

Henry Stephens (Estienne), the learned
printer, made a joke over a misprint. The
word _febris_ was printed with the diphthong
<_oe_>, so Stephens excused himself by saying
in the errata that ``le chalcographe a fait
une fivre longue (fbrem) quoique une
fivre courte (febrem) soit moins dangereux.''

Allusion has already been made in the
first chapter to Professor Skeat's ghost

words. Most of these have arisen from
misreadings or misprints, and two
extraordinary instances may be noted here.
The purely modern phrase ``look sharp''
was supposed to have been used in the time
of Chaucer, because ``loke schappe'' (see
that you form, etc.) of the manuscript was
printed ``loke scharpe.'' In the other
instance the scribe wrote _yn_ for _m_, and
thus he turned ``chek matyde'' into
``chek yn a tyde.''[12]

[12] _Philol. Soc. Trans_. 1885-7, pp. 368-9.

In the _Academy_ for Feb. 25th, 1888,
Dr. Skeat explained another discovery
of his of the same kind, by which he is
able to correct a time-honoured blunder
in English literature:--

``CAMBRIDGE: _Feb_. 14, 1888.

``When I explained, in the _Academy_ for
January 7 (p. 9), that the word `Herenus '
is simply a mistake for `Herines,' _i.e_., the
furies (such being the Middle-English form
of Erinnyes), I did not expect that I should
so soon light upon another singular
perversion of the same word.

``In Chaucer's Works, ed. 1561, fol.
322, back, there is a miserable poem, of
much later date than that of Chaucer's
death, entitled `The Remedie of Love.'
The twelfth stanza begins thus:

`Come hither, thou Hermes, and ye furies all
Which fer been under us, nigh the nether pole,
Where Pluto reigneth,' etc.

It is clear that `Hermes' is a scribal error
for `Herines,' and that the scribe has
added `thou' out of his own head, to
keep `Hermes' company. The context
bears this out; for the author utterly
rejects the inspiration of the Muses in the
preceding stanza, and proceeds to invoke
furies, harpies, and, to use his own
expression, `all this lothsome sort.' Many
of the lines almost defy scansion, so that
no help is to be got from observing the
run of the lines. Nevertheless, this fresh
instance of the occurrence of `Herines'
much assists my argument; all the more
so, as it appears in a disguised shape.
``WALTER W. SKEAT.''

Sometimes a misprint is intentional, as

in the following instance. At the
beginning of the century the _Courrier des Pays
Bas_ was bought by some young men, who
changed its politics, but kept on the editor.
The motto of the paper was from Horace:

``Est modus in rebus,''

and the editor, wishing to let his friends
at a distance know that things were not
going on quite well between him and his
proprietors, printed this motto as,--

``Est nodus in rebus.''

This was continued for three weeks before
it was discovered and corrected by the
persons concerned.

Another kind of misprint which we see
occasionally is the misplacement of some
lines of type. This may easily occur when
the formes are being locked, and the result
is naturally nonsense that much confuses
the reader. Probably the finest instance of
this misplacement occurred some years ago
in an edition of _Men of the Time_ (1856),
where the entry relating to Samuel
Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, got mixed up
with that of Robert Owen, the Socialist,

with the result that the bishop was stated
to be ``a confirmed sceptic as regards
revealed religion, but a believer in
Spiritualism.'' It was this kind of blunder
which suggested the formation of cross-
readings, that were once very popular.

CHAPTER VIL

SCHOOLBOYS' BLUNDERS.

THE blunders of the examined
form a fruitful source of
amusement for us all, and many
comical instances have been published.
The mistakes which are constantly
occurring must naturally be innumerable, but
only a few of them rise to the dignity of
a blunder. If it be difficult to define a
blunder, probably the best illustration of
what it is will be found in the answers of
the boys under examination. All classes
of blunders may be found among these.
There are those which show confusion of
knowledge, and those which exhibit an
insight into the heart of the matter while
blundering in the form. Two very good
examples occur to one's mind, but it is to
be feared that they owe their origin to
some keen spirit of mature years. ``What

is Faith?--The quality by which we are
enabled to believe that which we know is
untrue.'' Surely this must have
emanated from a wit! Again, the whole
Homeric question is condensed into the
following answer: ``Some people say that
the Homeric poems were not written by
Homer, but by another man of the same
name.'' If this is a blunder, who would
not wish to blunder so?

A large class of schoolboys' blunders
consist in a confusion of words somewhat
alike in sound, a confusion that is apt to
follow some of us through life. ``Matins''
has been mixed up with ``pattens,'' and
described as something to wear on the
feet. Nonconformists are said to be
persons who cannot form anything, and
a tartan is assumed to be an inhabitant
of Tartary. The gods are believed by
one boy to live on nectarines, and by
another to imbibe ammonia. The same
desire to make an unintelligible word
express a meaning which has caused the
recognised but absurd spelling of _sovereign_
(more wisely spelt _sovran_ by Milton)
shows itself in the form ``Tea-trarck''

explained as the title of Herod given to
him because he invented or was fond of
tea.[13] A still finer confusion of ideas is to
be found in an answer reported by Miss
Graham in the _University Correspondent_:
``Esau was a man who wrote fables, and
who sold the copyright to a publisher for
a bottle of potash.''

[13] _Cornhill Magazine_, June 1888, pp. 619-28.

The following etymological guesses are
not so good, but they are worthy of
registration. One boy described a blackguard
as ``one who has been a shoeblack,'' while
another thought he was ``a man dressed
in black.'' ``Polite'' is said to be derived
from ``Pole,'' owing to the affability of the
Polish race. ``Heathen'' means ``covered
with heath''; but this explanation is
commonplace when compared with the
brilliant guess--``Heathen, from Latin
`hthum,' faith, and `en,' not.''

The boy who explained the meaning of
the words _fort_ and _fortress_ must have had
rather vague ideas as to masculine and
feminine nouns. He wrote: ``A fort is
a place to put men in, and a fortress a
place to put women in.''

The little book entitled _English as she
is Taught_, which contains a considerable
number of genuine answers to examination
questions given in American schools, with
a Commentary by Mark Twain, is full of
amusing matter. A large proportion of
these answers are of a similar character
to those just enumerated, blunders which
have arisen from a confusion caused by
similarity of sound in the various words,
thus, ``In Austria the principal occupation
is gathering Austrich feathers.'' The
boy who propounded this evidently had
much of the stock in trade required
for the popular etymologist. ``Ireland is
called the Emigrant Isle because it is
so beautiful and green.'' ``Gorilla warfare
was where men rode on gorillas.'' ``The
Puritans found an insane asylum in the
wilds of America.''

Some of the answers are so funny that
it is almost impossible to guess at the
train of thought which elicited them, as,
``Climate lasts all the time, and weather
only a few days.'' ``Sanscrit is not used
so much as it used to be, as it went out
of use 1500 B.C.'' The boy who affirmed

that ``The imports of a country are the
things that are paid for; the exports are
the things that are not,'' did not put the
Theory of Exchange in very clear form.

The knowledge of physiology and of
medical subjects exhibited by some of the
examined is very amusing. One boy
discovered a new organ of the body called
a chrone: ``He had a chronic disease--
something the matter with the chrone.''
Another had a strange notion of how to
spell _craniology_, for he wrote ``Chonology
is the science of the brane.'' But best
of all is the knowledge of the origin of
Bright's disease, shown by the boy who
affirms that ``John Bright is noted for an
incurable disease.''

Much of the blundering of the
examined must be traced to the absurd
questions of the examiners--questions
which, as Mark Twain says, ``would
oversize nearly anybody's knowledge.''
And the wish which every examinee
has to bring in some subject which he
supposes himself to know is perceptible
in many answers. The date 1492 seems
to be impressed upon every American

child's memory, and he cannot rest until
he has associated it with some fact, so
we learn that George Washington was
born in 1492, that St. Bartholomew
was massacred in that year, that ``the
Brittains were the Saxons who entered
England in 1492 under Julius Csar,''
and, to cap all, that the earth is 1492
miles in circumference.

Many of the best-known examination
jokes are associated with Scriptural
characters. One of the best of these, if also
one of the best known, is that of the man
who, paraphrasing the parable of the Good
Samaritan, and quoting his words to the
innkeeper, ``When I come again I will
repay you,'' added, ``This he said knowing
that he should see his face again no more.''

A School Board boy, competing for one
of the Peek prizes, carried this confusion
of widely different events even farther.
He had to write a short biography of
Jonah, and he produced the following:
``He was the father of Lot, and had two
wives. One was called Ishmale and the
other Hagher; he kept one at home, and
he turned the other into the dessert, when

she became a pillow of salt in the daytime
and a pillow of fire at night.'' The sketch
of Moses is equally unhistoric: ``Mosses
was an Egyptian. He lived in an ark
made of bullrushes, and he kept a golden
calf and worshipped braizen snakes, and
et nothing but kwales and manna for forty
years. He was caught by the hair of his
head, while riding under the bough of a
tree, and he was killed by his son Absalom
as he was hanging from the bough.'' But
the ignorance of the schoolboy was quite
equalled by the undergraduate who was
asked ``Who was the first king of Israel?''
and was so fortunate as to stumble on
the name of Saul. Finding by the face
of the examiner that he had hit upon
the right answer, he added confidentially,
``Saul, also called Paul.''

The American child, however, managed
to cover a larger space of time in his
confusion when he said, ``Elijah was a good
man, who went up to heaven without
dying, and threw his cloak down for
Queen Elizabeth to step over.''

A boy was asked in an examination,
``What did Moses do with the tabernacle?''

and he promptly answered, ``He chucked
it out of the camp.'' The scandalised
examiner asked the boy what he meant,
and was told that it was so stated in the
Bible. On being challenged for the verse,
the boy at once repeated ``And Moses
took the tabernacle and _pitched_ it without
the camp'' (Exod. xxxiii. 7).

The book might be filled with
extraordinary instances of school translation,
but room must be found for one beautiful
specimen quoted by Moore in his
_Diary_. A boy having to translate
``they ascended by ladders'' into Latin,
turned out this, ``ascendebant per
adolescentiores'' (the comparative degree of
lad, _i.e_., ladder).

The late Mr. Barrett, Musical Examiner
to the Society of Arts, gave some curious
instances of blundering in his report on
the Examinations of 1887, which is printed
in the _Programme of the Society's
Examinations for_ 1888:--

``There were occasional indications that
the terms were misunderstood. `Presto'
signifies `turn over,' `Lento' `with style.'
`Staccato' was said to mean `stick on

the notes,' or `notes struck and at once
raised.'

``The names of composers in order of
time were generally correctly done, but
the particulars concerning the musicians
were rather startling. Thus Purcell was
said to have written, among other things,
an opera called _Ebdon and Eneas_; one
stated that he was born 1543 and died
1595, probably confusing him with Tallis,
that he wrote masses and reformed the
church music; another that he was the
organist of King's College Chapel, and
wrote madrigals. One stated that he was
born 1568 and died 1695; another, not
knowing that he had so long passed the
allotted period of man's existence, gave
his dates 1693, 1685, thus giving him no
limit of existence at all. One said he
was a German, born somewhere in the
nineteenth century, which statement
another confirmed by giving his dates as
1817-1846; and, further, credited him
with the composition of _The Woman of
Samaria_, and as having transposed plain-
song from tenor to bass. Bach is said to
have been the founder of the `Thames

School Lipsic,' the composer of the
_Seasons_, the celebrated writer of opera
comique, born 16--, and having gone
through an operation for one of his fingers,
turned his attention to composition, wrote
operas, and, lastly, that he was born in
1756, and died 1880, and that his fame
rests on his passions.

``The facts about Handel are pretty
correct; but we find that Weber wrote
_Parsifal, The Flying Dutchman, Der Ring
der Nibulengon_. His dates are 1813-1883.
Mendelssohn was born 1770, died 1827
(Beethoven's dates), studied under Hadyn
(_sic_), and that he composed many operas.
Gounod is said to be `a rather modern
musician'; he wrote _Othello, Three Holy
Children_, besides _Faust_ and other works.
Among the names given as the composer
of _Nozze di Figaro_ are Donizetti, William
Sterndale Bennett, Gunod, and Sir Mickall
Costa. The particulars concerning the
real composer are equally interesting.
(1) His name is spelt Mozzart, Mosarde,
etc. (2) He was a well-known Italian, wrote
_Medea_, and others. (3) His first opera
was _Idumea, or Idomeo_. (4) He composed

_Lieder ohne worte, Don Pasquale, Don
Govianna_, the _Zauberfloat, Feuges_, and
his _Requiem_ is the crowning glory of his
`marvellious carere.' (5) He was a
German, `born 1756, at a very early age.'
If the dates given by another writer be
true (born 1795, died 1659), it is certain
that he must have died before he was
born.''

Mr. Barrett again reported in 1889
some of the strange opinions of those
who came to him to be examined:--

``The answers to the question `Who was
Rossini? What influence did he exercise
over the art of music in his time?' brought
to light much curious and interesting
intelligence. His nationality was various.
He was `a German by birth, but was born
at Pesaro in Italy'; `he was born in
1670 and died 1826'; he was a `Frenchman,'
`a noted writer of the French,'
the place of nativity was `Pizzarro in
Genoa'; he was `an Italian, and made
people feel drunk with the sparke and
richness of his melody'; he composed
_Oberon, Don Giovanni; Der Frischutz_,
and _Stabet Matar_. He was `an accom

plished
writer of violin music and produced
some of the prettiest melodies';
it is `to him we owe the extension of
chords struck together in ar peggio'; he
was `the founder of some institution or
another'; `the great aim of his life was
to make the music he wrote an interpretation
of the words it was set to'; he
`broke many of the laws of music'; he
`considerable altered the stage'; he
`was noted for using many instruments
not invented before'; in his `composition
he used the chromatic scale very
much, and goes very deep in harmony';
he `was the first taking up the style, and
therefore to make a great change in
music'; he was `the cause of much censure
and bickering through his writings';
he `promoted a less strict mode of writing
and other beneficial things'; and, finally,
`Giachono Rossini was born at Pezarro
in 1792. In the year 1774 there was war
raging in Paris between the Gluckists and
Piccinists. Gluck wanted to do away with
the old restraint of the Italian aria, and
improve opera from a dramatic point of
view. Piccini remained true to the old

Italian style, and Rossini helped him to
carry it on still further by his operas,
_Tancredi, William Tell_, and _Dorma del
Lago_.' ''

The child who gave the following brilliant
answer to the question, ``What was
the character of Queen Mary?'' must
have suffered herself from the troubles
supposed to be connected with the
possession of a stepmother: ``She was wilful
as a girl and cruel as a woman, but'' (adds
the pupil) ``what can you expect from any
one who had had five stepmothers?''

The greatest confusion among the
examined is usually to be found in the
answers to historical and geographical
questions. All that one boy knew about
Nelson was that he ``was buried in
St. Paul's Cathedral amid the groans of
a dying nation.'' The student who mixed
up Oliver Cromwell with Thomas Cromwell's
master Wolsey produced this strange
answer: ``Oliver Cromwell is said to have
exclaimed, as he lay a-dying, If I had
served my God as I served my king, He
would not have left me to mine enemies.''
Miss Graham relates in the _University

Correspondent_ an answer which contains
the same confusion with a further one
added: ``Wolsey was a famous general
who fought in the Crimean War, and who,
after being decapitated several times, said
to Cromwell, Ah! if I had only served
you as you have served me, I would
not have been deserted in my old age.''
``The Spanish Armada,'' wrote a young
man of seventeen, ``took place in the
reign of Queen Anne; she married Philip
of Spain, who was a very cruel man.
The Spanish and the English fought very
bravely against each other. The English
wanted to conquer Spain. Several battles
were fought, in which hundreds of the
English and Spanish were defeated. They
lost some very large ships, and were at a
great loss on both sides.''

The following description of the Nile
by a schoolboy is very fine: ``The Nile is
the only remarkable river in the world.
It was discovered by Dr. Livingstone, and
it rises in Mungo Park.'' Constantinople
is described thus: ``It is on the Golden
Horn; a strong fortress; has a University,
and is the residence of Peter the Great.

Its chief building is the Sublime Port.''
Amongst the additions to our geographical
knowledge may be mentioned that Gibraltar
is ``an island built on a rock,'' and
that Portugal can only be reached through
the St. Bernard's Pass ``by means of
sledges drawn by reindeer and dogs.''
``Turin is the capital of China,'' and
``Cuba is a town in Africa very difficult
of access.''

One of the finest answers ever given in
an examination was that of the boy who
was asked to repeat all he knew of Sir
Walter Raleigh. This was it: ``He introduced
tobacco into England, and while
he was smoking he exclaimed, `Master
Ridley, we have this day lighted such a
fire in England as shall never be put
out.' '' Can that, with any sort of justice,
be styled a blunder?

The rule that ``the King can do no
wrong'' was carried to an extreme length
when a schoolboy blunder of Louis XIV.
was allowed to change the gender of
a French noun. The King said ``un
carosse,'' and that is what it is now.
In Cotgrave's _Dictionary carosse_ appears

as feminine, but Mnage notes it as
having been changed from feminine to
masculine.

It has already been pointed out that
some of the blunders of the examined
are due to the absurdity of the questions
of the examiner. The following excellent
anecdote from the late Archdeacon Sinclair's
_Sketches of Old Times and Distant
Places_ (1875) shows that even when the
question is sound a difficulty may arise
by the manner of presenting it:--

``I was one day conversing with Dr.
Williams about schools and school
examinations. He said: `Let me give you
a curious example of an examination at
which I was present in Aberdeen. An
English clergyman and a Lowland Scotsman
visited one of the best parish schools
in that city. They were strangers, but the
master received them civilly, and inquired:
``Would you prefer that I should _speer_
these boys, or that you should _speer_ them
yourselves?'' The English clergyman
having ascertained that to _speer_ meant to
question, desired the master to proceed.
He did so with great success, and the

boys answered numerous interrogatories
as to the Exodus from Egypt. The
clergyman then said he would be glad
in his turn to _speer_ the boys, and began:
``How did Pharaoh die?'' There was
a dead silence. In this dilemma the
Lowland gentleman interposed. ``I think,
sir, the boys are not accustomed to your
English accent,'' and inquired in broad
Scotch, ``Hoo did Phawraoh dee?'' Again
there was a dead silence, till the master
said: ``I think, gentlemen, you can't _speer_
these boys; I'll show you how.'' And he
proceeded: ``Fat cam to Phawraoh at his
hinder end?'' _i.e_., in his latter days. The
boys with one voice answered, ``He was
drooned''; and a smart little fellow added,
``Ony lassie could hae told you that.''
The master then explained that in the
Aberdeen dialect ``to dee'' means to die
a natural death, or to die in bed: hence
the perplexity of the boys, who knew that
Pharaoh's end was very different.' ''

The author is able to add to this chapter
a thoroughly original series of answers to
certain questions relating to acoustics,
light and heat, which Professor Oliver

Lodge, F.R.S., has been so kind as to
communicate for this work, and which
cannot fail to be appreciated by his readers.
It must be understood that all these answers
are genuine, although they are not
given _verbatim et literatim_, and in some
instances one answer is made to contain
several blunders. Professor Lodge
expresses the opinion that the questions
might in some instances have been worded
better, so as to exclude several of the
misapprehensions, and therefore that the
answers may be of some service to future
setters of questions. He adds that of late
the South Kensington papers have become
more drearily correct and monotonous,
because the style of instruction now
available affords less play to exuberant
fancy untrammelled by any information
regarding the subject in hand.

1880.--ACOUSTICS, LIGHT AND HEAT
PAPER.

_Science and Art Department_.

The following are specimens of answers
given by candidates at recent examinations
in Acoustics, Light and Heat, held in

connection with the Science and Art
Department, South Kensington. The
answers have not of course all been
selected from the same paper, neither
have they all been chosen for the same
reason.

_Question_ I.--State the relations existing
between the pressure, temperature, and
density of a given gas. How is it proved
that when a gas expands its temperature
is diminished?

_Answer_.--Now the answer to the first
part of this question is, that the square
root of the pressure increases, the square
root of the density decreases, and the
absolute temperature remains about the
same; but as to the last part of the
question about a gas expanding when its
temperature is diminished, I expect I am
intended to say I don't believe a word
of it, for a bladder in front of a fire
expands, but its temperature is not at all
diminished.

_Question_ 2.--If you walk on a dry path
between two walls a few feet apart, you
hear a musical note or ``ring'' at each
footstep. Whence comes this?

_Answer_.--This is similar to
phosphorescent paint. Once any sound gets
between two parallel reflectors or walls,
it bounds from one to the other and
never stops for a long time. Hence it is
persistent, and when you walk between
the walls you hear the sounds made by
those who walked there before you. By
following a muffin man down the passage
within a short time you can hear most
distinctly a musical note, or, as it is more
properly termed in the question, a ``ring''
at every (other) step.

_Question_ 3.--What is the reason that
the hammers which strike the strings of
a pianoforte are made not to strike the
middle of the strings? Why are the bass
strings loaded with coils of wire?

_Answer_.--Because the tint of the clang
would be bad. Because to jockey them
heavily.

_Question_ 4.--Explain how to determine
the time of vibration of a given tuning-
fork, and state what apparatus you would
require for the purpose.

_Answer_.--For this determination I
should require an accurate watch beating

seconds, and a sensitive ear. I mount the
fork on a suitable stand, and then, as
the second hand of my watch passes the
figure 60 on the dial, I draw the bow
neatly across one of its prongs. I wait.
I listen intently. The throbbing air
particles are receiving the pulsations; the
beating prongs are giving up their original
force; and slowly yet surely the sound
dies away. Still I can hear it, but faintly
and with close attention; and now only
by pressing the bones of my head against
its prongs. Finally the last trace
disappears. I look at the time and leave
the room, having determined the time of
vibration of the common ``pitch'' fork.
This process deteriorates the fork
considerably, hence a different operation must
be performed on a fork which is only _lent_.

_Question_ 6.--What is the difference
between a ``real'' and a ``virtual'' image?
Give a drawing showing the formation of
one of each kind.

_Answer_.--You see a real image every
morning when you shave. You do not
see virtual images at all. The only people
who see virtual images are those people

who are not quite right, like Mrs. A.
Virtual images are things which don't
exist. I can't give you a reliable drawing
of a virtual image, because I never saw
one.

_Question_ 8.--How would you disprove,
experimentally, the assertion that white
light passing through a piece of coloured
glass acquires colour from the glass? What
is it that really happens?

_Answer_.--To disprove the assertion (so
repeatedly made) that ``white light passing
through a piece of coloured glass acquires
colour from the glass,'' I would ask the
gentleman to observe that the glass has
just as much colour after the light has
gone through it as it had before. That is
what would really happen.

_Question_ 11.--Explain why, in order to
cook food by boiling, at the top of a high
mountain, you must employ a different
method from that used at the sea level.

_Answer_.--It is easy to cook food at the
sea level by boiling it, but once you get
above the sea level the only plan is to fry
it in its own fat. It is, in fact, impossible
to boil water above the sea level by any

amount of heat. A different method,
therefore, would have to be employed to
boil food at the top of a high mountain,
but what that method is has not yet been
discovered. The future may reveal it to
a daring experimentalist.

_Question_ 12.--State what are the
conditions favourable for the formation of dew.
Describe an instrument for determining the
dew point, and the method of using it.

_Answer_.--This is easily proved from
question 1. A body of gas as it ascends
expands, cools, and deposits moisture; so
if you walk up a hill the body of gas inside
you expands, gives its heat to you, and
deposits its moisture in the form of dew
or common sweat. Hence these are the
favourable conditions; and moreover it
explains why you get warm by ascending
a hill, in opposition to the well-known
law of the Conservation of Energy.

_Question_ 13.--On freezing water in a
glass tube, the tube sometimes breaks.
Why is this? An iceberg floats with
1,000,000 tons of ice above the water
line. About how many tons are below
the water line?

_Answer_.--The water breaks the tube
because of capallarity. The iceberg
floats on the top because it is lighter,
hence no tons are below the water line.
Another reason is that an iceberg cannot
exceed 1,000,000 tons in weight: hence
if this much is above water, none is
below. Ice is exceptional to all other
bodies except bismuth. All other bodies
have 1090 feet below the surface and
2 feet extra for every degree centigrade.
If it were not for this, all fish would die,
and the earth be held in an iron grip.

P.S.--When I say 1090 feet, I mean
1090 feet per second.

_Question_ 14.--If you were to pour a
pound of molten lead and a pound of
molten iron, each at the temperature of
its melting point, upon two blocks of ice,
which would melt the most ice, and why?

_Answer_.--This question relates to
diathermancy. Iron is said to be a
diathermanous body (from _dia_, through, and
_thermo_, I heat), meaning that it gets heated
through and through, and accordingly
contains a large quantity of real heat.
Lead is said to be an athermanous body

(from _a_, privative, and _thermo_, I heat),
meaning that it gets heated secretly or in
a latent manner. Hence the answer to
this question depends on which will get
the best of it, the real heat of the iron or
the latent heat of the lead. Probably the
iron will smite furthest into the ice, as
molten iron is white and glowing, while
melted lead is dull.

_Question_ 21.--A hollow indiarubber ball
full of air is suspended on one arm of a
balance and weighed in air. The whole
is then covered by the receiver of an air
pump. Explain what will happen as the
air in the receiver is exhausted.

_Answer_.--The ball would expand and
entirely fill the vessell, driving out all before
it. The balance being of greater density
than the rest would be the last to go, but
in the end its inertia would be overcome
and all would be expelled, and there would
be a perfect vacuum. The ball would
then burst, but you would not be aware of
the fact on account of the loudness of a
sound varying with the density of the place
in which it is generated, and not on that
in which it is heard.

_Question_ 27.--Account for the delicate
shades of colour sometimes seen on the
inside of an oyster shell. State and
explain the appearance presented when a
beam of light falls upon a sheet of glass
on which very fine equi-distant parallel
lines have been scratched very close to
one another.

_Answer_.--The delicate shades are due
to putrefaction; the colours always show
best when the oyster has been a bad one.
Hence they are considered a defect and
are called chromatic aberration.

The scratches on the glass will arrange
themselves in rings round the light, as any
one may see at night in a tram car.

_Question_ 29.--Show how the hypothenuse
face of a right-angled prism may be
used as a reflector. What connection is
there between the refractive index of a
medium and the angle at which an emergent
ray is totally reflected?

_Answer_.--Any face of any prism may
be used as a reflector. The connexion
between the refractive index of
a medium and the angle at which an
emergent ray does not emerge but is

totally reflected is remarkable and not
generally known.

_Question_ 32.--Why do the inhabitants
of cold climates eat fat? How would you
find experimentally the relative quantities
of heat given off when equal weights of
sulphur, phosphorus, and carbon are
thoroughly burned?

_Answer_.--An inhabitant of cold climates
(called Frigid Zoans) eats fat principally
because he can't get no lean, also because
he wants to rise is temperature. But if
equal weights of sulphur phosphorus and
carbon are burned in his neighbourhood
he will give off eating quite so much. The
relative quantities of eat given off will
depend upon how much sulphur etc. is
burnt and how near it is burned to him.
If I knew these facts it would be an easy
sum to find the answer.

1881.

_Question_ 1.--Sound is said to travel
about four times as fast in water as in air.
How has this been proved? State your
reasons for thinking whether sound travels
faster or slower in oil than in water.

_Answer_(_a_).--Mr. Colladon, a gentleman
who happened to have a boat, wrote to a
friend called Mr. Sturm to borrow another
boat and row out on the other side of the
lake, first providing himself with a large
ear-trumpet. Mr. Colladon took a large
bell weighing some tons which he put
under water and hit furiously. Every time
he hit the bell he lit a fusee, and Mr.
Sturm looked at his watch. In this way
it was found out as in the question.

It was also done by Mr. Byott who sang
at one end of the water pipes of Paris,
and a friend at the other end (on whom he
could rely) heard the song as if it were a
chorus, part coming through the water and
part through the air.

(_b_) This is done by one person going into
a hall (? a well) and making a noise, and
another person stays outside and listens
where the sound comes from. When Miss
Beckwith saves life from drowning, her
brother makes a noise under water, and
she hearing the sound some time after can
calculate where he is and dives for him;
and what Miss Beckwith can do under
water, of course a mathematician can do

on dry land. Hence this is how it is
done.

If oil is poured on the water it checks
the sound-waves and puts you out.

_Question_ 2.--What would happen if
two sound-waves exactly alike were to
meet one another in the open air, moving
in opposite directions?

_Answer_.--If the sound-waves which
meet in the open air had not come from
the same source they would not recognise
each others existence, but if they had they
would embrace and mutually hold fast, in
other words, interfere with and destroy
each other.

_Question_ 9.--Describe any way in
which the velocity of light has been
measured.

_Answer_ (_a_).--A distinguished but
Heathen philosopher, Homer, was the first
to discover this. He was standing one day
at one side of the earth looking at Jupiter
when he conjectured that he would take
16 minutes to get to the other side.
This conjecture he then verified by careful
experiment. Now the whole way across
the earth is 3,072,000 miles, and dividing

this by 16 we get the velocity 192,000
miles a second. This is so great that it
would take an express train 40 years to
do it, and the bullet from a canon over
5000 years.

P.S.--I think the gentlemans name was
Romer not Homer, but anyway he was
20% wrong and Mr. Fahrenheit and Mr.
Celsius afterwards made more careful
determinations.

(_b_) An Atheistic Scientist (falsely so
called) tried experiments on the Satellites
of Jupiter. He found that he could
delay the eclipse 16 minutes by going to
the other side of the earths orbit; in fact
he found he could make the eclipse
happen when he liked by simply shifting
his position. Finding that credit was
given him for determining the velocity
of light by this means he repeated it
so often that the calendar began to
get seriously wrong and there were
riots, and Pope Gregory had to set things
right.

_Question_ 10.--Explain why water pipes
burst in cold weather.

_Answer_.--People who have not studied

Acoustics think that Thor bursts the pipes,
but we know that it is nothing of the kind
for Professor Tyndall has burst the
mythologies and has taught us that it is the
natural behaviour of water (and bismuth)
without which all fish would die and the
earth be held in an iron grip,

CHAPTER VIII.

FOREIGNERS' ENGLISH.

IT is not surprising that foreigners
should make mistakes when
writing in English, and Englishmen,
who know their own deficiencies in
this respect, are not likely to be
censorious when foreigners fall into these
blunders. But when information is printed
for the use of Englishmen, one would
think that the only wise plan was to have
the composition revised by one who is
thoroughly acquainted with the language.
That this natural precaution is not always
taken we have ample evidence. Thus, at
Havre, a polyglot announcement of certain
local regulations was posted in the harbour,
and the notice stood as follows in French:
``Un arrangement peut se faire avec le
pilote pour de promenades rames.'' The
following very strange translation into

English appeared below the French:
``One arrangement can make himself
with the pilot for the walking with roars.''

The papers distributed at international
exhibitions are often very oddly worded.
Thus, an agent in the French court of
one of these, who described himself as
an ``Ancient Commercial Dealer,'' stated
on a handbill that ``being appointed by
Tenants of the Exhibition to sell Show
Cases, Frames, &c., which this Court
incloses, I have the honour to inform
Museum Collectors, Librarians, Builders,
Shopkeepers, and business persons in
general, that the fixed prices will hardly be
the real value of the Glasses which adorn
them.''

In 1864 was published in Paris a
pretentious work, consisting of notices of
the various literary and scientific societies
of the world, which positively swarms with
blunders in the portion devoted to England.
The new forms into which well-known
names are transmogrified must be seen to
be believed. Wadham College is printed
_Washam_, Warwick as _Worwick_; and one
of our metropolitan parks is said to be

dedicated to a saint whose name does
not occur in any calendar, viz., _St. Jam's
Park_. There is the old confusion respecting
English titles which foreigners
find so difficult to understand; and
monsieur and esquire usually appear
respectively before and after the names of
the same persons. The Christian names
of knights and baronets are omitted, so
that we obtain such impossible forms as
``Sir Brown.''

The book is arranged geographically,
and in all cases the English word ``shire''
is omitted, with the result that we come
upon such an extremely curious monster
as ``le Comt de Shrop.''

On the very first page is made the
extraordinary blunder of turning the Cambrian
Archological Association into a _Cambridge_
Society; while the Parker Society,
whose publications were printed at the
University Press, is entered under
_Canterbury_. It is possible that the Latin name
_Cantabrigia_ has originated this mistake.
The Roxburgh Society, although its
foundation after the sale of the magnificent
library of the Duke of Roxburgh is cor

rectly
described, is here placed under the
county of Roxburgh. The most amusing
blunder, however, in the whole book is
contained in the following charmingly
nave piece of etymology _ propos_ of the
Geological and Polytechnic Society of the
West Riding of Yorkshire: ``On sait qu'en
Anglais le mot _Ride_ se traduit par
voyage cheval ou en voiture; on pourrait
peut-tre penser, ds le dbut, qu'il s'agit
d'une Socit hippique. II n'en est rien;
l'exemple de l'Association Britannique,
dont elle,'' etc. This pairs off well with
the translation of _Walker, London_, given
on a previous page.

The Germans find the same difficulty
with English titles that the French do,
and confuse the Sir at the commencement
of our letters with Herr or Monsieur.
Thus, they frequently address Englishmen
as _Sir_, instead of mister or esquire. We
have an instance of this in a publication
of no less a learned body than the Royal
Academy of Sciences of Munich, who
issued in 1860 a ``Rede auf Sir Thomas
Babington Macaulay.''

An hotel-keeper at Bale translated

``limonade gazeuse'' as ``gauze lemonads";
and the following delightful entry
is from the Travellers' Book of the Drei
Mohren Hotel at Augsburg, under date
Jan. 28th, 1815: ``His Grace Arthur
Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, &c., &c.,
&c. Great honour arrived at the beginning
of this year to the three Moors. This
illustrious warrior, whose glorious
atchievements which cradled in Asia have filled
Europe with his renown, descended in it.''
It may be thought that, as this is not
printed, but only written, it is scarcely fair
to preserve it here; but it really is too
good to leave out.

The keepers of hotels are great sinners
in respect to the manner in which they
murder the English language. The following
are a few samples of this form of
literature, and most readers will recall
others that they have come across in their
travels.

The first is from Salzburg:--

``George Nelbck begs leave to recommand
his hotel to the Three Allied, situated
_vis--vis_ of the birth house of Mozart, which
offers all comforts to the meanest charges.

The next notice comes from Rastadt:--

``ADVICE OF AN HOTEL.

``The underwritten has the honour of
informing the publick that he has made
the acquisition of the hotel to the Savage,
well situated in the middle of this city.
He shall endeavour to do all duties which
gentlemen travellers can justly expect;
and invites them to please to convince
themselves of it by their kind lodgings at
his house.

``BASIL
``JA. SINGESEM.

``Before the tenant of the Hotel to
the Stork in this city.''

Whatever may be the ambition of mine
host at Pompeii, it can scarcely be the
fame of an English scholar:--

``Restorative Hotel Fine Hok,
Kept by Frank Prosperi,
Facing the military quarter
at Pompei.

That hotel open since a very few days is
renowned for the cheapness of the Apart

ments
and linen, for the exactness of the
service, and for the excellence of the true
French cookery. Being situated at proximity
of that regeneration, it will be propitious
to receive families, whatever, which
will desire to reside alternatively into that
town to visit the monuments now found
and to breathe thither the salubrity of the
air. That establishment will avoid to all
travellers, visitors of that sepult city and
to the artists (willing draw the antiquities)
a great disorder occasioned by tardy and
expensive contour of the iron whay people
will find equally thither a complete sortment
of stranger wines and of the kingdom,
hot and cold baths, stables, coach houses,
the whole at very moderated prices. Now
all the applications and endeavours of the
Hoste will tend always to correspond to
the tastes and desires of their customers
which will require without doubt to him
into that town the reputation whome, he
is ambitious.''

On the occasion of the Universal
Exhibition of Barcelona in 1888 the _Moniteur
de l'Exposition_ printed a description of
Barcelona in French, German, Spanish,

and English. The latter is so good that
it is worthy of being printed in full:--

``Then there will be in the same Barcelona
the first universal Exposition of
Spain. It was not possible to choose a
more favorable place, for the capital-
town of Catalonia is a first-rate city open
to civilization.

``It is quite out of possibility to deny it
to be the industrial and commercial capital
of the peninsula and a universal Exposition
could not possibly meet in any other
place a more lively splendour than in this
magnificent town.

``Indeed what may want Barcelona to
deserve to be called great and handsome?
Are here not to be found archeological
and architectural riches, whose specimens
are inexhaustible?

``What are then those churches whose
style it is impossible to find elsewhere,
containing altars embellished with truly
spanish magnificence, and so large and
imposing cloisters, that there feels any
man himself exceedingly small and little?
What those shaded promenades, where
the sun cannot almost get through with

the golden tinge of its rays? what this
Rambla where every good citizen of
Barcelona must take his walk at least
once every day, in order to accomplish the
civic pilgrimage of a true Catalanian?

``And that Paseo Colon, so picturesque
with its palmtrees and electric light,
which makes it like, in the evening, a
theatrical decoration, and whose ornament
has been very happily just finished?

``And that statue of Christopher
Colomb, whose installation will be
accomplished in a very short time, whose price
may be 500,000 francs?

``Are not there still a number of proud
buildings, richly ornamented, and splendid
theaters? one of them, perhaps the
most beautiful, surely the largest (it
contains 5000 places) the Liceo, is truly
a master-pice, where the spectators are
lost in admiration of the riches, the
ornaments, the pictures and feel a true
regret to turn their eyes from them to
look at the stage.

``You will see coffee houses, where have
been spent hundreds of thousands to
change their large rooms in enchanted

halls with which it would be difficult to
contest even for the palaces of east.

``And still in those little streets, now
very few, so narrow that the inhabitants
of their opposite houses can shake hands
together, do you not know that doors
may be found which open to yards and
staircases worthy of palaces?

``Do you not know there are plenty of
sculptures, every one of them masterpieces,
and that, especially the town
and deputation house contain some halls
which would make meditate all our great
masters?

``If we walk through the Catalonia-
square to reach the Ensanche, our
astonishment becomes still greater.

``In this Ensanche, a newly-born, but
already a great town, there are no streets:
there are but promenades with trees on
both sides, which not only moderate the
rays of the sun through their follage, but
purify the surrounding atmosphere and
seem to say to those who are walking
beneath their shade: You are breathing
here the purest air!

``There display the houses plenty of

the rarest sorts of marble. Out and
indoors rules marble, the ceilings of the
halls, the staircases, the yards command
and force admiration to the spectator,
who thought to see only houses and finds
monumental buildings.

``Join to that a Paseo de Gracia with
immense perspective; the promenade of
Cortes, 10 kil. long; some free squares
by day- and night-time, in which the rarest
plants and the sweetest flowers enchant
the passengers eyes and enbalm his
smell.

``Join lastly the neighbourhoods, but a
short way from the town and put on all
sides in communication with it by means
of tramways-lines and steam-tramways
too; those places show a very charming
scenery for every one who likes natural
beauties mingled with those which are
created by the genius of man.

``After that all there is Monjuich, whose
proud fortress seems to say: I protect
Barcelona: half-way the slope of the
mountain, there are Miramar, Vista
Alegre, which afford one of the grandest
panorama in the world: on the left side,

the horizon skirting, some hills which
form a girdle, whose indented tops detach
them selves from an ever-blue sky; at
the foot of those mountains, the suburbs
we have already mentioned, created for
the rest and enjoyment of man after his
accomplished duty and finished work;
on the lowest skirt Barcelona in a flame
with its great buildings, steeples, towers,
houses ornamented with flat terraces, and
more than all that, its haven, which had
been, to say so, conquered over the
Mediterranean and harbors daily in itself
a large number of ships.

``All this ideal Whole is concentrated
beneath an enchanting sky, almost as
beautiful as the sky of Italy. The climate
of Barcelona is very much like Nice, the
pretty.

``Winter is here unknown; in its place
there rules a spring, which allows every
plant to bud, every most delicate flower
to blossom, orangetrees and roses, throughout
the whole year.

``In one word, Barcelona is a magnificent
town, which is about to offer to the
world a splendid, universal Exposition,

whose success is quite out of doubt
determined.''

At the Paris Exhibition of 1889 a
_Practical Guide_ was produced for the
benefit of the English visitor, which is
written throughout in the most astonishing
jargon, as may be seen from the
opening sentences of the ``Note of the
Editor,'' which run as follows: ``The
Universal Exhibition, for whom who comes
there for the first time, is a true chaos
in which it is impossible to direct and
recognize one's self without a guide.
What wants the stranger, the visitor who
comes to the Exhibition, it is a means
which permits him to see all without
losing uselessly his time in the most part
vain researches.''

This is the account of the first
conception of the Exhibition: ``Who was
giving the idea of the Exhibition? The
first idea of an Exhibition of the
Centenary belongs in reality not to anybody.
It was in the air since several years, when
divers newspapers, in 1883, bethought
them to consecrate several articles to it,
and so it became a serious matter. The

period of incubation (brooding) lasted
since 1883 till the month of March 1884;
when they considered the question they
preoccupied them but about a National
Exhibition. Afterwards the ambition
increased. The ministery, then presided
by Mr. Jules Ferry, thought that if they
would give to this commercial and industrial
manifestation an international character
they would impose the peace not
only to France, but to the whole world.''

The Eiffel Tower gives occasion for
some particularly fine writing: ``In order
to attire the stranger, to create a great
attraction which assured the success of
the Exhibition, it wanted something
exceptional, unrivalled, extraordinary. An
engineer presented him, Mr. Eiffel, already
known by his considerable and keen
works. He proposed to M. Locroy to
erect a tower in iron which, reaching the
height of three hundred metres, would
represent, at the industrial sight, the
resultant of the modern progresses. M.
Locroy reflected and accepted. Hardly
twenty years ago, this project would have
appeared fantastic and impossible. The

state of the science of the iron
constructions was not advanced enough, the
security given by the calculations was not
yet assured; to-day, they know where
they are going, they are able to count the
force of the wind. The resistance which
the iron opposes to it. Mr. Eiffel came
at the proper time, and nevertheless how
many people have prophetized that the
tower would never been constructed.
How many critics have fallen upon this
audacious project! It was erected,
however, and one perceives it from all Paris;
it astonishes and lets in extasy the
strangers who come to contemplate it.''

The figures attached to the fountain
under the tower are comically described
as follows:--

``Europe under the lines of a woman,
leaned upon a printing press to print and
a book, seems deeped in reflections.

``America is young woman, energetic and
virginal however, characterising the youth

Book of the day: