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Tidbits from The Illustrated London News

I forbindelse med doktorgraden min har jeg tilbragt en del timer på NLS (National Library of Scotland), hvor jeg har gått gjennom årgang etter årgang av gamle aviser. En av de aktivitetene som kan holde en sinnsfrisk i slike sammenhenger, er å lese notiser som ikke har noe å gjøre med det man egentlig leter etter. Jeg har tatt meg den frihet å notere ned noen av dem.

December 31, 1864:
A new minor planet (the eightieth in the series) of the remarkable group between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, was discovered by Mr. Norman Pogson, the Government astronomer of Madras, on the 3rd of May last, in the constellation Scorpio. In brightness it was equal to a star of the 10 1/2 magnitude. Mr. Pogson states that it was very near the place where he discovered Isis, in 1856, and he thinks that very probably the new planet is identical with the one which he found on June 6, 1853, and afterwards missed and never recovered.
(p. 75, Vol XLV)
Det var i de dager da menn var ekte menn (og small furry creatures &c.), og astronomer kunne oppdage og miste nye planeter i hytt og pine. Akk, den eneste vi har mistet i det siste er Pluto. Vi prøver ikke hardt nok.

A real live challenge to fight a duel has been sent this week by a retired Major in the Indian army to a lawyer in Size-lane, Bucklersbury. The lawyer wouldn't fight, but he caused his would-be antagonist to be arrested and brought up before the Lord Mayor. The arrest took place, appropriately, on Boxing Day. Retired Majors ought to be made to understand that to send challenges or to fight duels is entirely contrary to the modern spirit of English Society, and that the law will have no mercy upon those who defy one another to mortal combat
(p. 670, Vol XLV)

June 15, 1895:
It is curious how among a people so distinctly humorous as the Americans that there should be a tendency to run a joke to death, when it is a poor joke to begin with this is still more deplorable. Another book has recently been published in corroboration of the jest that Bacon wrote Shakespere[sic].
(p. 730, Vol CVI)

August 15, 1896:
A poor old fellow was "murdered for his money" the other day, as it now turns out, under a total misapprehension. Because he lived in a parsimonious manner, it was supposed he was a miser, a view which might be taken of anybody of small means and an economical disposition. The whole affair seems a premium upon extravagance and a discouragement of thrift. Even misers ought not to be murdered (only bled), and when the crime took place it was regretted by everybody except the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His mouth watered, no doubt, over the expectation of the victim's contribution to the death duties. He must be a disappointed man, for it is discovered that the whole estate of the deceased amounts to five pounds sterling (left between a relative in Cornwall and a still more distant one in New South Wales). It is a pity that the murderer was not informed of this fact before the gallows got its due, for there is nothing a ruffian of that kind so much regrets as having laboured in vain. It is one of the few advantages of the literary profession that none of its members is in danger from this sort of error in judgement; everybody knows that they are not worth murdering for their money. I wish I could add that they themselves had never given way to this weakness as regards their fellow-creatures. Mr. Eugene Aram (who wrote, however, only scholastic works) and Mr. Wainright (an indifferent contributor to the lighter periodicals of the day ) both gave way to the temptation, but it is fair to add that they both had the intelligence to select persons of means.
(p. 194, Vol CIX)

October 17, 1896:
An admirer of Ibsen has, I remark, been extolling his idol after the modern fashion, by deprecating Shakespeare. I cannot help thinking that the persons who indulge in this form of criticism would be found, if examined medically, to be suffering from some form of dementia which needs to be classified. One can understand, if with some difficulty, a man -- hardly a woman -- admiring Ibsen, and even not admiring Shakespeare; but why should he make the matter public?
(p. 492 Vol CIX)

January 16, 1897:
In the interesting Autobiography of Philip Gilbert Hamerton there is a curious account of Scott's appetite, or, rather, his 'drinkitite', given by Leslie, the painter, who knew him:
"At Dinner he would eat heartily of many dishes and drink a variety of wines. At dessert he drank port, and last of all a servant brought him a small wooden bowl full of whisky, which he drank off. He then either wrote or talked until midnight, and refreshed himself with a few glasses of porter before going to bed."
Leslie does not mean to imply that Scott was intemperate, but only what he calls a "high liver".

(p. 74 Vol CX)

February 20, 1897:
Folks who despise tobacco should be the last to acknowledge it to be a luxury, yet I doubt whether they will be pleased with the recent decision in the American courts. It has been decreed by the law that henceforth the weed so essential to the comport of mankind, but especially of the poor and suffering, shall no more be considered a luxury but a necessity.
(p. 238 Vol CX)

Jeg lar dem for det meste stå ukommenterte fordi de står så godt slik. Jeg håper jeg ikke bare syntes det var morsomt fordi jeg hadde inhalert for store mengder bokstøv.

Comments

Tor,  20.01.09 15:55

Jeg liker generelt slike ting, og disse var jo morsomme. Var det ikke Scott de snakket om på Literary Pub Tour når han mannen ropte «He drank like a fish!»?

Morgenbladets faste spalte på baksiden, «Morgenbladet for 70 år siden», er jo også spennende lesing. Det var noe morsomt nå sist, uten at jeg husker akkurat hva det var, og for et år eller to siden kunne man fortsatt lese nøytrale analyser av Hitlers siste påfunn.

Det er som et vindu til historien, eller noe tilsvarende vidløftig.

Camilla,  20.01.09 17:08

Jeg tror det var Robert Burns. Eller kanskje de sa det om alle sammen.

Tor,  20.01.09 17:29

Det var nok den godeste Rabbi Burns, når jeg tenker meg om. Tror jeg i alle fall.
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