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On our arrival at Worthing, we dined with our friends the Tomkins family, where we had the scapula of the ovis, or a shoulder of mutton, with a sauce of macerated cepa, two birds of the gallinaceous tribe served with sisymbrium, or water-cresses, and the customary vegetables of brassica, lactuca, and spinacia, through none of which the aqueous fluid had been sufficiently allowed to percolate. There was also soup which retained so considerable a portion of caloric, that it scalded my palatic epidermis, and the piper nigrum, or black pepper, with which it was seasoned occasioned a very unpleasant degree of titillation in the whole of the oral region. In the afternoon, the water in the kettle not having been raised to 212 of Fahrenheit, or that point at which evaporation commences, the thea viridis, or green tea, formed an imperfect decoction, in which state, I believe, its diaphoretic qualities are injurious, Mrs, Tomkins declared she never drank any thing herself but the simple element; but I informed her that if she meant water, it was by no means a simple element, but compounded of oxygen and hydrogen; and I availed myself of this opportunity for instructing her that atmospheric air is also a mixture, containing about seventy-three parts of azotic, and twenty-seven of oxygen gas, at which the ignorant creature only exclaimed, "Well, I have seen myself a good many red gashes across the sky, particularly at sunset." She was dressed in a gown woven from the filaments of the phalana bombyx, or silkworm, dyed in a red tincture of the small insect called coccus ilicis by Linnæus, which is found on the bark of the quercus coccifera. By way of changing the conversation, which was turning upon Miss T's proficiency in music, I asked her, in allusion to the geological controversy, whether she preferred the Vulcanian or the Neptunian systems, when the silly girl replied with a stare that she had not heard either of the tunes!!
But, my dearest Maria Louisa, I may confess to you, that I am daily more and more horrified by the sad blunders of mamma, who has not, like us, received the benefits of scientific instruction, and yet, while she sits at the window knitting, will every now and then catch a word which she fancies she understands, and betray the most pitiable ignorance in her attempts to join the conversation. For instance, while I was this morning explaining to Miss Tomkins the difference between hydrogen and oxygen, she exclaimed, without taking her eyes from her work, Well, it's a liquor I never taste myself, but in my time Booth's was reckoned the best gin." We had been visiting a house in which I complained of an unpleasant empyreuma; "Child!" cried mamma, "I think an empty room a very unpleasant thing certainly, but you may depend upon it, there was not one in the whole house." While I was maintaining that bismuth and cobalt were different ores, she imagined in her imperfect hearing, and still more deficient comprehension, that I was talking of the two London coaches, and added with a nod, "Yes, my dear, they start at different hours, the Sidmouth at six in the morning, and the Cobourg at eight in the evening." After dinner, I took occasion to observe that cheese was obtained from curd by separating the whey by expression, when she told me there was no way of expression, no, not all the talking in the world, that would ever make cheese!! Alluding to a short essay I had written upon the reflection of light, she interrupted me by desiring I would not indulge in light reflections, as I should be only subjecting myself to similar remarks from others; and
when I was describing a resinous matter obtained by precipitation; she shook her head and exclaimed, "Impossible, child, nothing is ever gotten by precipitation: your poor dear father was always telling you not to do things in such a violent hurry."-Upon my explaining to a friend that antimony derived its name from its having been indulged in too freely by some monks, she cried "There, my dear, you must be mistaken, for monks, you know, can have nothing to do with matrimony;" and once when the professor showed me a lump of mineral earth, and I enquired whether it was friable, she ejaculated "Friable, you simpleton! no, nor boilable neither; why, it isn't good to eat." These are but a few specimens of her lamentable ignorance; in point of acute misapprehension she exceeds even Mrs. Malaprop herself, and you cannot conceive the painful humiliation to which I am constantly subjected by these exposures.
As to experiments, I have not yet ventured upon many, for having occasioned a small solution of continuity in the skin of my forefinger by an accidental incision, I have been obliged to apply a styptic secured by a ligature. By placing some butter, however, in a temperature of 96, I succeeded in reducing it to a deliquescent state; and by the usual refrigerating process, I believe I should have reconverted it into a gelatine, but that it refused to coagulate, owing, doubtless, to some defect in the apparatus. You are aware that a phosphorescent light emanates from several species of fish in an incipient state of putrefaction, to which has been attributed the iridescent appearance of the sea at certain seasons. For the illustration of this curious property, I hoarded a mackarel in a closet for several days, and it was already beginning to be most interestingly luminous, when mamma, who had for some time been complaining of a horrid stench in the house, discovered my hidden treasure, and ordered the servant to toss it on a dunghill, observing that she expected sooner or later to be poisoned alive by my nasty nonsense. Mamma has no nose for experimental philosophy; no more have I, you will say, for yesterday as I was walking with a prism before my eyes, comparing the different rays of the spectrum with Newton's theory, I came full bump against an open door, which drove the sharp edge of the glass against the cartilaginous projection of the nose, occasioning much sternutation, and a considerable discharge of blood from the nasal emunctories. The mucus of the nose is certainly the same substance as our tears, but being more exposed to the air becomes more viscid, from the mucilage absorbing oxygen. By means of nitrate of silver, I have also formed some crystals of Diana, and I have been eminently successful in making detonating powder, although the last explosion happening to occur at night, just as our next-door neighbour Alderman Heavisides was reading of the tremendous thunderbolt that fell in the gentleman's garden at Holloway, he took it for granted he had been visited by a similar phenomenon, and in this apprehension shuffled down stairs upon his nether extremity, being prevented from walking by the gout, ejaculating all the way "Lord have mercy upon us! fire! murder!"-Upon discovering the cause of his alarm, he declared that the blue-stocking hussey, (meaning me) ought to be sent to the Tread-mill, and mamma says she fully expects we shall shortly be indicted for a nuisance.
In conchology, I cannot boast of any very important additions to my
collection, having encountered few of what Hatchett calls the porcellaneous class, and none of the multivalves. Among the bivalves, however, I have met some curious specimens of the Ostrea edulis, or common oyster, the cardium, or cockle, as well as several of the wrinkle and periwinkle class. While walking with my cousin George, who, as you well know, laughs at all my studies, and loses no opportunity of making a bad pun, we were accosted by a fisherman who asked us to buy some beautiful specimens of the mytilus, or common muscle, but George would not let me purchase, declaring that he was a staunch Hellenist, and during the present glorious struggle would never give the least encouragement to a Mussulman.
But geology, or to speak more accurately geognosy, my favourite study, ah! my dearest Maria Louisa, could you imagine that I would leave my researches for a moment unprosecuted? No, no, I have pursued them with enthusiasm. Providing myself with a hammer and basket, I mounted a donkey, and, George accompanying me upon his favourite colt, we proceeded to the Downs, where we soon discovered a chalk-pit, exhibiting strata of flint in a horizontal direction, and some describing an angle of forty-five degrees, occasioned apparently by a partial subsidence of the soil. Being obliged to beat my donkey severely to get him forward, George observed that I was giving him a specimen of wacke, and as the colt whinnied, and the ass made a grunting noise, he added that I might now make an addition of whinstone and gruntstein to my collection. A piece of granite in a state of disintegration, displayed an interesting union of quartz, feldspar, and mica; and I stumbled upon a bit of sandstone or grit, divided by fissure into parallelopipeds. While I was admiring it, George came galloping up to inform me he had just discovered two beautiful specimens, one of amygdaloid, or toadstone, and the other of primitive trap, and as I had just been reading of the latter in Mr. Jameson's Sketch of the Wernerian Geognosy, I eagerly hastened to the spot. Guess my disappointment, my dearest Maria Louisa, when I found the former to consist of a large toad squatted upon a great pebble; and the latter to be nothing but a hole dug in the turf, and provided with a springe to catch wheat-ears, which George with a horse-laugh maintained to be an indisputable example of primitive trap. By way of making amends, however, for this unfeeling joke, he declared, with a very serious face, that he had passed a perfect specimen of quartz, and assisting me to dismount, he clambered with me to the top of a steep hill, and pointing to a sheep-pond appealed to my own candid bosom whether it did not contain a great many quarts of dirty water.
Being determined to submit no longer to such egregious foolery; feeling moreover considerable craving in the digestive ventricle; and a stiffness in my knees from want of synovia to lubricate the capsular ligaments, I remounted my donkey, made the best of my way home, and have devoted the afternoon to the present narrative of my scientific achievements.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THEOBALD WOLFE TONE.*
OUR last extracts terminated with the premature fate of Tone's second pamphlet. He consoled himself with the quotation "Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni," and thus resumes the narrative.
"About this time it was that I formed an acquaintance with my invaluable friend Russell, a circumstance which I look upon as one of the most fortunate of my life. He is a man whom I love as a brother. I will not here attempt a panegyric on his merits. It is sufficient to say, that to an excellent understanding he joins the purest principles and the best of hearts. I wish I had ability to delineate his character with justice to his talents and his virtues. He well knows how much I esteem and love him; and I think there is no sacrifice that friendship could exact that we would not with cheerfulness make for each other to the utmost hazard of life or fortune. There cannot be imagined a more perfect harmony, I may say identity of sentiment, than exists between us. I think the better of myself for being the object of the esteem of such a man as Russell. I love him, and I honour him. I frame no system of happiness for my future life in which the enjoyment of his society does not form a most distinguishing feature; and if I am ever inclined to murmur at the difficulties with which I have so long struggled, I think of the inestimable treasure I possess in the affection of my wife and the friendship of Russell, and I acknowledge that all my labours and sufferings are overpaid. I may truly say that even at this hour when I am separated from both of them, and uncertain whether I may ever be so happy as to see them again, there is no action of my life which has not a remote reference to their opinion, which I equally prize. When I think that I have acted well, and that I am likely to succeed in the important business wherein I am engaged, I say often to myself My dearest love, and my friend Russell will be glad of this.'-But to return to my history. My acquaintance with Russell commenced by an argument in the gallery of the House of Commons. He was at that time enamoured of the Whigs. We were struck with each other notwithstanding the difference of our opinion, and we agreed to dine together the next day to discuss the question. We liked each other better the second day than the first, and every day has increased and confirmed our mutual esteem. My wife's health continuing still delicate, she was ordered by her physicians to bathe in the salt water. I hired in consequence a little box of a house at Irish-town on the sea-side, where we spent the summer of 1790. Russell and I were inseparable, and as our discussions were mostly political, and our sentiments agreed exactly, we extended our views, and fortified each other in the opinions, to the propagation and establishment of which we have ever since been devoted. I recall with transport the happy days we spent together during that period-the delicious dinners, in the preparation of which my wife, Russell and myself were all engaged-the afternoon walks-the discussions we have had as we lay stretched on the grass. It was delightful. Sometimes Russell's venerable father, a veteran of nearly seventy, with the courage of a hero, the serenity of a philosopher, and the piety of a saint, used to visit our little mansion, and that day was a fête. My wife doted on the old man, and he loved her like one of his children. I will not attempt, because am unable, to express the veneration and regard I had for him; and I am sure, next to his own sons, and scarcely below them, he loved and esteemed me. Russell's brother John, too, used to visit us-a man of a most warm and affectionate heart, and incontestably of the most companionable talents I ever met. His humour, which was pure and natural, flowed in an inexhaustible stream. He had not the strength of character of my friend Tom, but for the charms of conversation he excelled him, and all the world beside. Sometimes too my brother William used to join us for a week from
*Continued from page 11.
the county of Kildare, where he resided with my brother Matthew, who had lately commenced a cotton-manufacturer at Prosperous in that county. I have already mentioned the convivial talents he possessed. In short, when the two Russells, my brother and I were assembled, it is impossible to conceive a happier society. I know not whether our wit was perfectly classical. If it was not sterling, at least it passed current among ourselves. If i may judge, we were none of us destitute of the humour indigenous in the soil of Ireland. For three of us I can answer. They possessed it in an eminent degree. Add to this, I was the only one of the four who was not a poet, or at least a maker of verses, so that every day produced a ballad, or some poetical squib, which amused us after dinner; and as our conversation turned upon no ribaldry or indecency, my wife or sister never left the table. These were delicious days. The rich and great who sit down every day to the monotony of a splendid entertainment, can form no idea of the happiness of our frugal meal, nor of the infinite pleasure we found in taking each his part in the preparation and attendance. My wife was the centre and the soul of all. I scarcely know which of us loved her most. Her courteous manners, her goodness of heart, her incomparable humour, her never-failing cheerfulness, her affection for me and for my children, rendered her an object of our common admiration and delight. She loved Russell as well as I did. In short, a more interesting society of individuals, connected by purer motives and animated by a more ardent attachment and friendship for each other, cannot be imagined.
During this summer there were strong appearances of a rupture between England and Spain, relative to Nootka Sound. I had mentioned to Russell my project for a military colony in the South Seas, and as we had both nothing better to do, we sat down to look over my papers and memoranda regarding that business. After some time, rather to amuse ourselves than with an expectation of its coming to any thing, we enlarged and corrected my original plan, and having dressed a handsome memorial on the subject, I sent it inclosed in a letter to the Duke of Richmond, then Master of the Ordnance. I thought we should hear no more about it, but we were not a little surprised when a few days after I received an answer from his Grace, in which, after speaking with great civility of the merits of my plan, he informed me that such business was out of his department, but that, if I desired it, he would deliver my memorial and recommend it to the notice of Lord Grenville, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whose business it properly was. I immediately wrote him an answer of acknowledgment, entreating him to support my plan, and by the same post I wrote also to Lord Grenville. In a few days I received answers from them both, informing me that the memorial had been received by Lord Grenville, and should be taken into speedy consideration, when, if any measures were to be adopted in consequence, 1 might depend upon receiving farther information. These letters we looked upon as leaving it barely possible that something might be done in the business, though very unlikely and so indeed it proved-for shortly afterwards a kind of peace, called a Convention, was agreed upon between Spain and England, on which I wrote once more to Lord Grenville, inclosing a second memorial in order to learn his determination, when I received a very civil answer praising my plan, &c. and informing me that existing circumstances had rendered it unnecessary at that time to put it in execution, but that ministers would keep it in recollection. Thus ended for the second time my attempt to colonize in the South Seas, a measure which I still think might be attended with the most beneficial consequences to England. I keep all the papers relating to this business, including the originals of the ministers' letters, and I have likewise copied them in a 4to book, marked -to which I refer for farther information. It was singular enough this correspondence, continued by two of the King of England's cabinet ministers at St. James's on the one part, and Russell and myself from my little box at Irish-town on the other part. If the measure I proposed had