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shot. It would seem, indeed, as though the
effect of the fluid on the object struck, depended
very much on the ease with which it can pass
out of it. Of this we have an example in
the case of a gentleman who was smitten dead
while riding, without exhibiting the slightest
sign of injury on any part of him, and who was,
to all outward seeming, in a calm and peaceful
sleep, whereas the horse he was riding had deep
cuts ploughed into his head and body. A
haymaker too, who was working in a hayfield
close by, was struck dead without the slightest
outward injury, the only indication of the cause
of death being a small hole burnt in his shirt
where the fluid had passed from his body to his
watch, the case of which was melted.

In the case of persons seemingly killed by
lightning, too much haste should not be
exhibited in burial. Not far from where this is
written, five boys were struck at once, one of
whom received a severe wound on the right
leg. They remained perfectly insensible for a
considerable time, but eventually recovered. A
man named Locker, who was struck on a down
he was crossing on his way to Bath, lay there
completely unable to move for several days,
though he had the use of his mental faculties
much of the time.

Perhaps the most remarkable effect of lightning
is that which it has sometimes produced on
infirm persons. A man named Donaldson, who
had been deaf for twenty years, was struck by
lightning and rendered insensible. When he
recovered his senses it was found that his
hearing was restored. A clergyman, who had
been afflicted by palsy, had given up all hope of
a cure. One night during a thunderstorm the
lightning entered his room, and gave him a severe
electric shock. He thought he felt a sensation
of relief, and next morning he found that this
was not imaginary, but that he was really cured.

The invention of lightning-conductors has, no
doubt, saved a vast number of buildings. We
no longer hear of large numbers of persons
killed in buildings at one stroke, as in Sicily,
where no fewer than eighty-six perished; and
where, we may observe in passing, the
commander of Girgenti, in order to break a thick
cloud which he conceived to be a waterspout,
had some heavy guns drawn out of the
casemates and fired at it; but, instead of having the
effect he desired, fire descended from the cloud,
and for an instant wrapped the pieces in a
sheet of flame, and left several of the gunners
dead. Before Sir Snow Harris applied
conductors to ships, the case of a vessel being
struck was common; and hardly a year passed
without the spire of a church being damaged or
wholly destroyed by lightning.

A blunt-pointed stick, if used to inscribe
characters on a looking-glass, leaves no visible
trace behind; yet if we breathe on it, those
figures stand out as boldly as though written
with pen and ink on paper. A trout taken
from a stream and thrown down by the riverside
to die, has left marks of its spots on
the leaves on which it lingered out its life.

Like effects have been produced by electricity:
a woman wearing a rosary had an image of the
beads imprinted on her right breast and side:
another, wearing a gold chain, had the marks
of the links burnt on her skin: a man standing
beneath or beside a tree on which the electric
fluid descended, had the foliage sketched on his


IF the value of fruits could be estimated by
the metaphorical use we make of their names,
we should probably hit upon the two extremes
by instancing the fig and the plum. When we
say, "A fig for Mr. So-and-so," we mean that
we don't care a straw whether that gentleman
hang or drown. On the other hand, when
we hear that good Mr. Such-and-such has
scraped together the sum of one hundred thousand
pounds, we exclaim with respect and
admiration, "Mr. Such-and-such is worth a

It was not such a golden plum as this that
little Jack Horner, of good-boy memory, pulled
out of his Christmas-pie with his thumb.
Commentators seriously doubt whether it were a
plum at all, suggesting that it might rather be
dried berry of the Vitis vinifera, videlicet, a
raisin, falsely called "plum" by unbotanical
grocersrespecting whose plums we may record
the paradoxical fact, that it is possible to make
plum-pudding without plums; namely, by
putting in one plum only.

The "plum season" gives us an "object
lesson" on the real nature of the agreeable
stone-fruit which our forefathers used to write
"plumb," as if, from its heaviness when indulged
in too copiously, it had some affinity to lead.
There are several parishes called "Plumstead"
in England; whether they are more stone-fruity
than their neighbours, this deponent knoweth
not. "He had rather have a couple of eggs
than one plum," is an old French proverb,
meaning, "He is no fool; he knows what he is
about, and takes care of his own interest."
They also say, "He is not gone there after
plums;" that is, "He is not there for nothing;
he is about some secret business." Moliere
writes, "If I am grieving, it is not about
plums." A dark-complexioned person is ironically
described as being "As fair as a dried
plum after a couple of washings."

When the French, cut off from colonial
communication, were ransacking the vegetable
world for something to sweeten their coffee
with, their chemists contrived to extract from
the plum (from the quetsche especially) a
crystallised sugar which equalled cane-sugar in
every respect except cheapness. Another plum,
which grows wild on the mountains of Dauphiny,
the Briançon plum, or plum of the Alps, yields
a delicate eating-oil, known as "huile de
marmotte," which is more esteemed than olive oil.
It combines, with great softness, a slight
perfume of noyau, which is very agreeable. The