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seventh, eighth, ninth, and part of the tenth chapters of St. John, or six thou. sand two hundred and one words in all, on a space of equal size.
Last and greatest came Walter S. McPhail, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, “who claims to have transferred to the back of a postal card ten thousand two hundred and eighty-three words. These comprise the ninth to the twentieth chapters of St. John, inclusive, and are written with a pen so as to be per. fectly legible-through a magnifying-glass.”
Addison, in the “ Spectator,” No. 59, refers to that famous picture of King Charles the First which has the whole book of Psalms written in the lines of the face and the hair of the head. “When I was last at Oxford," he says, “I perused one of the whiskers; and was reading the other, but could not go so far in it as I would have done, by reason of the impatience of my friends and fellow-travellers, who all of them pressed to see such a piece of curiosity. I have since heard that there is now an eminent writing-master in town who has transcribed all the Old Testament in a full-bottomed periwig; and if the fashion should introduce the thick kind of wigs which were in vogue some few years ago, he promises to add two or three supernumerary locks that shall contain all the Apocrypha. He designed this wig originally for King William, having disposed of the two books of Kings in the two forks of the foretop; but that glorious monarch dying before the wig was finished, there is a space ieft in it for the face of any one that has a mind to purchase it."
This is not a mere piece of humor on Addison's part. The picture of Charles I. is still carefully preserved in the library of St. John's College, Oxford, though now so faded as to be scarcely legible. Besides the Psalms it is said to contain the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Tradition says that King Charles II. was so anxious to get hold of it that when all his offers of purchase were refused, he told the college they might ask him for anything as a reward if they would but give him the picture. The Fellows complied. Then for a reward they asked to have the picture given back to them.
But a newspaper story credits one Gustave Dahlberg, a student in the Swedish University, with a wonder far exceeding this. He has made a portrait of King Oscar, the whole in microscopic letters, forming short and long extracts from the Bible. The right eye of this wonderful portrait is made up of even verses from the Psalms of David; the left, of verses from the Proverbs of Solomon, the book of Chronicles, and the Song of Solomon, containing in all three hundred and seventeen words and seventeen hundred and nine letters. The king's uniform is composed of the whole of the first fifty Psalms. The exact number of words and letters in the whole portrait is not stated, but, judging from the fact that it took seventeen hundred and nine letters to make one eye, the whole number of letters in this triumph of the penman's art cannot fall much short of fifty thousand. In making the name of the king alone Dahlberg used all of the one-hundred-and-twenty-sixth and one-hundred-and twenty-seventh Psalms. The portrait, which is said to look life-like and natural, is on tinted paper of the kind known as “ Haynes's Standard," and is so small that a United States half-dollar laid upon it comparatively hides it from view.
But all these feats with the pen have been overshadowed by the achieve. ments of William Webb, of London, England.
In 1886, Mr. Webb invented a machine composed of exquisitely graduated wheels and running a tiny diamond point at the end of an almost equally tiny arm, whereby he was able to write upon glass the whole of the Lord's Prayer within a space measuring the two-hundred-and-ninety-fourth of an inch' in length by the four-hundred-and-fortieth of an inch in breadth, or about the size of a dot over the letter i in common print.
With that machine Mr. Webb, or any one else who understood operating it, could write the whole three million five hundred and sixty-six thousand four hundred and eighty letters of the Old and New Testaments eight times over in the space of one inch square. When this wonderful microscopic writing was enlarged by photography, every letter and point was perfect, and it could be read with ease.
The British Museum, among its many curiosities, has probably the most unique collection of miniature books in the world.
Here is a rather dilapidated book of songs, bound in brown leather, little more than an inch square, called “The Maid's Delight,” dated London, 1670. Next is a little brown Bible, known, from its diminutive size, as the Thumb Bible, dated London, 1693. Its gilt edges are excellently preserved. Here is a very small summary of the Bible, in perfect condition, made curious from the fact that it has the tiniest of illustrations. By its side rests a complete copy of Dante, with an engraving of the author. It is only one and a half inches wide, yet it contains four hundred and ninety-nine pages, on which are printed one hundred cantos.
Short-hand writers, too, have a miniature volume containing the New Tes. tament and Psalms, bound in a green cover,-once velvet or plush,-with silver clasps and bands. It is a wonderful little book, written in short-hand, by Jeremiah Rich, as far back as two hundred and thirty-one years ago. On the fly-leaf are these words : "The pen's dexterity by these incomparable contractions, by which a sentence is as soon written as a word, allowed by authority and passed the two Universities with great approbation and applause, invented and taught by Jeremiah Rich, 1659. John Lilburne offered to give the author a certificate, under his own hand, that he took down his trial at the Old Bailey with the greatest exactness. The Book of Psalms in Rich's characters is in print. His short-hand was taught in Dr. Doddinge's Academy, at Northampton."
The Chinese and Japanese excel in the art of manufacturing miniatures. Their fingers must indeed be deft if they could carve correct and striking portraits of William III. and George I. on the half of a walnut-shell,-a feat which has been accomplished. Some time ago a British needle-manufacturer sent out to China a number of exceedingly fine needles, saying that he thought nobody in the Celestial Empire could be found to drill a hole as small as that necessary for the eye. He received them back with holes drilled through the very points,-truly a wonderful piece of workmanship.
But even this pales before the work now being done by a naturalist.
His hobby consists in collecting the fine dust with which the wings of moths and butterflies are covered, and forming them into the most artistic and picturesque designs. He mounts each single grain of dust separately, so as to make bouquets of flowers, fern-leaves, and butterflies hovering round. This he does in a space occupied by the eighth of an inch. In another design he has a vase of passion-flowers made of upward of five hundred grains of dust; and again he has represented a pot of fuchsias, with butterflies and birds, in three-sixteenths of a square inch. This marvellous mounting in miniature will be more readily understood when it is mentioned that there are so many single grains of dust on a butterfly's wing that no man has ever succeeded in counting them.
This same naturalist mounted a couple of hundred of the tiniest eggs of the smallest insects, so as to make a perfect geometrical design, yet the whole did not cover a space a quarter of an inch in diameter; while another ardent naturalist selected and arranged three thousand six hundred young oysters within a circle a little less than three-eighths of an inch in diameter.
Tiny shells arrive in this country from Barbadoes, a hundred of which could be placed on a space covering the eighth of a square inch. An ingenious individual has made a perfect shot-gun capable of firing a consider.
able distance, yet only measuring two inches in length, and now detectives have managed to find a photographic camera so small as to be contained within the limits of a breast-pin. An enterprising photographer succeeded in taking the portraits of one hundred and five eminent personages on a piece of glass no bigger than a pin's head.
Miniature portraits and pictures necessarily call for some comment. They are painted on ivory. First of all, you make your sketch in pencil, then it is transferred to the ivory. The tiniest take a number of days to work up. In the old days the subjects would give eight to a dozen sittings of from one to two hours, but now photography is often called in in order to obviate the number of sittings. Van Blarenberghe was so clever at painting miniature pictures in water-colors that he could represent a battle-scene, with battalions inarching, horses galloping to and fro, colors flying, and fair follow-the-drums,
-hundreds of figures, every uniform correct and every face a study,--all on the lid of a snuff-box. Watteau excelled as a painter of the sweetest of little Cupids upon lockets.
Ilk. Of that ilk, an expression of frequent occurrence in newspapers in the sense "of the same sort or stamp.” The phrase is Scotch, and is, in Scotland, exclusively applied to a gentleman whose family name is the same as that of his estate. Menzies of Menzies is an example; as is Anstruther of Anstruther. The number of families to whom the title is applicable is ex. tremely limited, and it is regarded as more honorable than those of the new. made nobles. Several of the oldest and highest of the Scotch nobility were earlier of that ilk, as the Dukes of Hamilton, Gordon, etc. The Chisholm,
The O'Connor Don, is an analogous and not less distinguished title, indicating that its bearer is chief of the name.
Ill-gotten goods never prosper, a proverb common to all modern languages, and in classic literature found in the “Ill-gotten goods are productive of evil” of Sophocles and the “ Ill gotten is ill spent" of Plautus. A common proverb tells us, “ Happy is the rich man's son whose father went to hell,” meaning that as the father has suffered the retribution which follows avarice and dishonesty, the son may be able to put the money he has hoarded to successful use.
Didst thou never hear
Henry VI., Part II., Act ii., Sc. 2. Ills we have, And makes us rather bear those. Hamlet's famous soliloquy beginning “ To be or not to be" contains the following among many pregnant passages :
Who would fardels bear,
Act ii., Sc. 1. Livy has a thought similar to the lines we have italicized in the story ne tells of Pacuvius Calavius. He was a man of great influence in Capua.
His fellow.citizens rose in mutiny against their magistrates. Haranguing them in the market-place, he counselled them that they should mention the name of every senator they wished deposed and suggest in his stead a worthy and acceptable person. Then he began the roll-call. The first name mentioned was received with a cry of execration. Out it went. But when it came to the question of a successor a great turmoil arose. One name after another was hooted down. “In the end, growing weary of this bustle, they began, some one way and some another, to steal out of the assembly; every one carrying back this resolution in his mind, that the oldest and best-known evil was ever more supportable than one that was new and untried.”
To the same effect was a saying of Socrates, thus recorded by Plutarch :
Socrates thought that is all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence every one must take an equal portion, most persons would be contented to take their own and depart.--Consolation to Apollonius.
Addison enlarges upon this thought in No. 558 of the “Spectator,” in an apologue where the human race are invited by Jupiter to a large plain, there to cast off their miseries and exchange them for what they consider the lighter burdens of their neighbors. But when the change is made the man is far unhappier than ever, the new evils seem far greater to unaccustomed shoulders than the old, and there is general joy when Jupiter, having taught a salutary lesson, allows every one to resumé his former condition. From this tale Addison draws the moral never to repine at one's own misfortunes, nor to envy the happiness of another, since it is impossible for any man to form a right judgment of his neighbor's sufferings.
As the motto of his paper Addison makes a long quotation from the opening lines of Horace's first satire, “which implies," says Addison, “that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under are more easy to us than those of any other person would be in case we could change conditions with him."
Illuminated Doctor, a title bestowed upon Raymond Lulle or Lully, a distinguished scholastic (1235-1315), and author of the system called “Ars Lulliana," which was taught throughout Europe during several centuries, and whose purpose was to prove that the mysteries of faith are not contrary to reason.
The same appellation is sometimes given to John Tauler, a celebrated German mystic (1294-1361), who professed to have seen visions and heard spiritual voices.
Impending Crisis. “The Impending Crisis of the South” was the title of a book by H. R. Helper, of North Carolina, published in 1858. As events proved, the political forecasts of the volume were prophetic. It had a pow. erful influence in precipitating the conflict, and its title became a watchword with orators on both sides.
Imperium et Libertas. Lord Beaconsfield, in a speech at Guildhall, November 9, 1879, said, “ One of the greatest of Romans, when asked what was his politics, replied, “Imperium et libertas,' That would not make a bad programme for a British minister.” Was the reference to Nerva, of whom Tacitus (Agricola, ch. iii.) said, “Ile joined two things hitherto incompatible, principatem ac libertatem"?
Impossible is not a French word, a famous phrase attributed to Napo. leon 1. by Colin d'Harlay. Other authorities quote it in the form “Impossible is a word I never use," or "Impossible, a word found only in the dictionary of fools." But before Napoleon something of the same sort had been said by Mirabeau. “Monsieur le Comte," said his secretary, “the thing you require is impossible.” “Impossible !" cried Mirabeau, starting from his chair ; “ never mention that stupid word again !” (“Ne me dites jamais ce bête de mot !") And, before Mirabeau, Lord Chatham, in a fit of the gout, received one of the admirals in his sick-room, only to be told that to get the required expedition afloat was “impossible.” “It must sail, sir, this day week,” was the eagle-eyed man's fire-Aashing reply. As he rose from his chair, the beaded perspiration burst from his forehead with the agony caused him as he firmly planted the gouty foot upon the Aoor, and, suiting the action to the word, added, “ I trample on impossibilities !" He fell back fainting, but he conveyed his lesson, and the feet sailed. Wellington once exclaimed, “Impossible! Is anything impossible? Read the newspapers.” And here are other analogous expressions :
To him that wills, nothing is impossible.- Kossuth.
Nothing is impossible ; there are ways which lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means.-LA ROCHEFOUCAULD. Maxim 255. * Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. ---JOHNSON: Rasselas, ch. xii.
It is our will
SHELLEY: Julia, and Maddolo. A most extraordinary illustration of Shelley's words might be found in the career of Benjamin Disraeli. Once when Premier of England he addressed the boys at Rugby in these words : “ Boys, you can be anything you determine to be.' Thirty years ago, when I was a boy, I determined to be Premier of England."
But to return. Napoleon's accredited phrase, “Impossible, a word found only in the dictionary of fools," is the obvious origin of Bulwer-Lytton's famous lines in “Richelieu" (Act ii., Sc. 2):
In the lexicon of youth which fate reserves
As fail. The superior judgment of the multitude has once more been evidenced in the persistent misquotation, “In the bright lexicon of youth tnere is no such word as fail,” which is good prose substituted for bad verse.
After all, what are all the above quotations but more or less splendid para. phrases of the old saw, “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart”? This may be found in Heywood.
Impromptus. Litera scripta manet, but bons mots are creatures of an hour, soon sinking into oblivion, to be born again, by a species of metempsy. chosis, under a different form and another parentage. Readiness, originality, are the rarest gifts of the gods. “The impromptu is precisely the touchstone of all wit,” said Molière, truly enough. “There is nothing so unready as the readiness of wit," repeats that “ Frenchman par excellence," as Voltaire called him, Comte de Rivarol. The man whose happy thoughts all come on the stairs is a proverbial figure. If ready wit is so exceedingly rare, the ability to improvise songs, to extemporize in verse, is as rare, if not still rarer. The very small number of genuine instances that have been preserved testify to this. A very few pages would suffice to print all the well-authenticated examples in the language. It will not do to judge most of them by any very high literary