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finish, used to conclude this trick by making a long palaver about the mysterious properties of lead in extracting vital essences from the body; then firing the bullet himself at a whitewashed wall, and producing thereon a splash of red, the ball having been exchanged this time for a hollow shell of black wax filled with a blood-coloured liquid.

bullet-identified by a secret cut or mark-from his mouth-a feat well calculated to produce an astonishing effect and bring down the house.' M. Robert-Houdin, I believe, was the inventor, though he performed it in a different manner from that usually adopted by his successors. His pistol, powder and cap, were all destitute of guile; but the leaden bullet chosen was dexterously exchanged for one made of graphite or plum- Robert-Houdin no doubt raised prestidigitation bago-ordinary pencil black-lead and this was to the science in which it stands at the present smashed to powder by the ramrod in pressing day, when the Royal Society does not disdain to it home. Though he employed this illusion most listen to speculations as to the real nature of some successfully in his diplomatic mission to Algeria, of its recent manifestations; and chemistry, elecin which he was employed by the French govern- tricity, optics, pneumatics, and most of the ologies ment to undermine, if possible, the supremacy are pressed into its service. He was the first to which the marabouts by their pretended miracles discard the flowing robe and other traditional had acquired over the minds of the superstitious paraphernalia and reduce the accoutrement of the Arabs, such a method is now considered open modern sorcerer to ordinary evening dress with to two great objections. The first a very tan- a skeleton table, holding that true skill lay in gible one-was demonstrated to the originator concealing not only how it is done,' but 'how himself before the close of his career by a severe it might be done.' But as an actual performer, wound which he received, owing to the fragments it is questionable if he was the equal of Herrmann of the brittle ball not having been sufficiently and several of the more modern professors. The stamped to powder. The other lies in the fact paternal mantle has fallen upon the shoulders that, although a real bullet is selected by the of M. Robert-Houdin fils, who, as a little boy, spectator, it must be placed in the conjurer's hand used to assist his father in many illusions which for introduction into the firearm, in order to admit he created; but the son devotes his talent chiefly of the substitution; for the nature of the black- to the construction of exquisite automata, which lead missile would be immediately obvious by he exhibits, in conjunction with sleight-of-hand, reason of its light weight. ⠀ at his pretty little boudoir theatre in Paris. His countrymen seem to be born conjurers. Only a short time ago, I saw one of them execute a very pretty little trick, solely, I might say, by virtue of his being a Frenchman; a trick, at anyrate, which would not have been so characteristic of an Englishman. Coming forward on the stage as the curtain rose, he made an amusing introductory speech with much characteristic gesticulation, hands extended and shoulders shrugged up to his ears; then he breathed on his gloves, and presto! they vanished. The gloves I got it' from him afterwards had no backs to them, and were secured only by the tips of the fingers, which barely covered the nails; a piece of strong elastic ran in a hem round the margin of each and kept them in position, the end passing up the sleeve, to be attached to the back of the waistcoat. A slight flexure of the fingers, therefore, freed them and caused them to fly away with lightning rapidity; but everything depended on the palms being alone exposed, Frenchman-like, all the time. Address is much more than half the battle which the magician has to fight singlehanded with the army of watchful eyes which encompass him.

Mechanical pistols, not permitting examination, in which the projectile drops into a secret chamber by the action of springs on the pulling of the trigger, will be beneath the consideration of the true artist, as well as being dangerous in the highest degree. The mode of performing this surprising trick at the present day is as follows: one member of the audience places in the pistol or rifle an ordinary one-a charge of real powder; a second is asked to choose and privately mark a real bullet from a box of such, which he himself drops into the barrel, and a third rams the whole tightly down with the ramrod, either retaining possession of the weapon from that moment, or passing it to some one else. But in the act of moving from No. 1 to No. 2-that is to say, between the introduction of the powder and the ball-the performer, while calling general attention to, and laying great stress upon the circumstance that three or four people take part in the loading and not one only, who might be a confederate, slips into the barrel a little tube about an inch in length, which slides down to the charge, and afterwards receives the bullet. This tube, closed at one end, is of just such a size, shape, and colour as to fit on the end of the ramrod, and be brought away with it without being noticeable. It is disengaged by the wizard, and the ball secured as he walks back to the stage, and is put inside the lips in readiness in the very act of showing that the mouth is empty. The great difficulty which occurs the execution of this feat is to induce the casual spectator to take deliberate aim at one's face; so impressed is he, as a rule, that the weapon he holds is genuinely loaded, that he hesitates to let fly at the performer, and will rather fire in the air. This of course spoils the effect altogether, unless the conjurer has presence of mind enough



A good story was going the round of the papers some months ago to the effect that Herrmann while in the River Plate was giving a private representation before the Patagonian chiefs, and, though exerting his wonderful abilities to the utmost, was somewhat annoyed at the stolidity and apparent lack of surprise with which they received the marvels displayed. Showers of gold and packs of cards were made to fall from their ears and noses, dozens of eggs from their pockets, and live canaries from their hair, and still they sat on undismayed. At last, after the entertainment was over, it was discovered that one of them had abstracted a valu

from the savage breast; and that the untutored mind of another had led him to improve the occasion by annexing a handkerchief and pencilcase. A very good yarn, but-like many other good yarns-absolutely untrue, and even without colourable foundation. I was there at the time.

Every one knows the dodge of thrusting a finger through a hat. A wax finger-to be bought in any toy-shop for a shilling-amputated, as it were, about the second joint, at which point it is armed with a needle, is concealed in the palm of the hand. Under cover of the hat itself, the needle is made to pierce the crown from the outside, and is then manipulated from within, giving at a little distance a very natural appearance of the forefinger thrust through and shaken derisively. Such things do not constitute tricks in themselves, but are employed by performers as interludes to keep up that general atmosphere of magic and 'nothing impossible' which should pervade their entertainments, or to divert attention for a moment from some important step. Acting on this idea, I had made as novelties, but precisely on the same principle-namely, the needle-a wand, a half-crown, a cigar, and a candle, for piercing a borrowed hat; with all of which an amateur friend was so delighted, that he borrowed them for a public performance. The finger he had before; and on the eventful night used all five with great success. "There is no deception, you observe, ladies and gentlemen,' he insisted. 'See; it is just as easy for me to thrust this wand through, as my finger. Here is a halfcrown which will penetrate with equal readiness -I will leave it half through, so that you may all see it. This cigar, as you witness, pierces it like a gimlet (a very soft felt this, sir!); we will leave it there too. Why, I shouldn't wonder if this candle-yes, actually! a common tallow candle transfixes it like a poniard! Well, I will light the candle and leave the hat in that position, while I ask some lady to be good enough to lend me;' &c. Unfortunately, he left not only the wand, cigar, half-crown, and candle sticking half through, but his finger also, when he placed the hat on his table and once more descended from the platform!

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lead pencil-was indelibly impressed on every-
thing. I have given entertainments in countries
where the spectators brought in eggs and dead
cats with them, in readiness for anything that
might not happen to please them, and where
the sentiment
of popular or personal disfavour
finds expression through the revolver more
quickly than by speech. But perhaps the
most embarrassing episode that ever happened
within my individual ken occurred in the
south of England, where I once supplemented
a bazaar in aid of some church matter or
parochial charity-I forget what-with an even-
ing performance, and the rector, who took
the chair, opened the proceedings with a short



IT was in or about the year 1727 when the war-ship Revenge, carrying a heavy armament of guns, and commanded by Captain Gow, sailed into the harbour of Stromness. The arrival of such a formidable-looking vessel caused quite little anxiety as to the intentions of the rakisha commotion in the little seaport town, and not a looking craft, with her motley crew of English and foreigners, who resembled pirates much more than honest Jack-tars. But the fears of the townsfolk were for the time being quieted when the Captain of the Revenge landed, and announced himself to be a fellow-townsman-one John Gow, who had run away to sea some twenty years before. Fortune had smiled on him, he said, and he now held the position of Commander of His Britannic Majesty's ship Revenge. This and a great deal more was told by Captain Gow to the simple townsfolk, who fêted and feasted the gallant sailor, believing implicitly what he chose to tell them, and never suspecting for a moment that the man they so hospitably entertained sailed under the Black Flag, and was one of the most noted buccaneers on the high seas.

Time passed away, but still the Revenge lay at her moorings, and her commander-his popularity undiminished-exchanged hospitalities with the townsfolk, spending most of his time ashore, drinking, dancing, and making love; for the bold pirate was an adept at all three; and if the gentlemen declared he was the prince of good fellows at the social board, the ladies pronounced him a preux chevalier in the ballroom.

As an amateur conjurer myself, I have met with a share of ludicrous and, for the time, disagreeable incidents. Queer are the vicissitudes which befall one in out-of-the-way localities. I have performed before audiences-fairly large ones too-which could not boast of a tall hat or a white handkerchief amongst them. On one occasion, I drove fifteen miles to a country town with two big boxes of paraphernalia, only to find

that a mistake had been made in the announcement, and that the already assembled audienceof a somewhat serious cast-would stand nothing more frivolous than a Lecture on Snakes-a favourite subject of mine. On another, when I was destined to occupy the second part of the evening, the first being filled by an amateur orchestral concert, I was horror-stricken when I arrived to see the local orchestra in possession of the stage where I had already set my table; the big drum and double-bass banging change in their manner told its own tale, and he against it, and music-books up-setting all my quickly guessed his plausible story was no longer precious gear; while the raw mechanic's dirty believed. Meantime, having spent his gold freely thumb-the nail of which marks like a black-and being rather hard up in consequence-he

The townsfolk dared not hint their lately acquired knowledge to the Captain; but the

Days became weeks, and weeks months; rumours arose, vague at first, then more definite, and at last the fact became known, that the gallant Captain' did not hold His Majesty's commission, but, on the contrary, was known far and wide as 'Gow the Pirate.'


began sending parties of sailors to the neighbour- than detracted from her dignity, had sharpened ing parishes, to drive off cattle and sheep, for the once comely features, and thickened the the consumption of himself and his crew. In shading on her upper lip. some instances, the farmers stoutly resisted the marauders; but they only got knocked on the head for their pains; and in a short time the utmost terror prevailed when it was known Gow or his lieutenants were going on a foraging expedition. Though the pirate punished the countrypeople, he spared the townsfolk, perhaps from some feeling of compunction after having shared their hospitality; perhaps because it didn't suit his plans to have all the country combining against him. Be that as it may, the burgesses dwelt in safety, though they trembled in their shoes, and prayed earnestly that they might soon see the last of the Revenge and her roystering


Matters were in this state, when one afternoon Captain Gow swaggered into the principal inn of Stromness, called for a glass of brandy, and sat down. Presently in walked Mr Halcro, the Laird of Coubister, an estate some miles distant. Gow greeted him cordially, called for more brandy, remarking that a man's own company was the worst in the world, and he always drank more comfortably when he had a friend to keep him in countenance. Mr Halcro, who had previously found the dashing sailor the most jovial of boon-companions, was nothing loath to pledge him in the potent liquor, which soon dispelled all remaining doubts regarding his honesty so much so, that Laird Halcro became more confidential than was prudent about his private affairs, boasted the number of his cattle, sheep, and horses, and lauded not a little the housewifely qualities of the Lady of Coubister. Her butter and cheese, he declared, were famed throughout the country-side, and she could serve up a dinner that the king himself might be proud to eat.

To this, and a great deal more, did the pirate listen, with laughter twinkling in his eyes; and when the Laird paused for lack of breath, he slapped him on the shoulder, exclaiming: She must be a likely dame that of yours, and worthy to be Lady of Coubister. But hark ye, friend; your Dame and you can't possibly eat all those beeves you were telling me of. So, by 'r leave, I and my sea-cocks will e'en come round to-morrow and relieve you of a few; yes, and tell your lady to have a dozen cheeses and a couple of kegs of butter ready for us besides.' After this unexpected speech, he rose, nodded carelessly to Mr Halcro, cocked his hat knowingly, and strode out of the tavern.

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One may fancy the reflections of the Laird of Coubister when left alone. For the moment he felt stunned at the thought of the threatened raid on his house and property; but recovering himself with an effort, he paid his reckoning, called for his horse, and was soon galloping home to tell his wife how ill he had fared in his dealings with Captain Gow.

Great was the astonishment of the Lady at seeing the Laird-she had not expected him till the morrow; but without giving her time to express it, he hurried her into the dining-room, and shutting the door, very quickly informed her what they had to expect from the pirate Captain, winding up his tale by asking what they should do.

Dame Halcro, seated in the great arm-chair in the ingle neuk, scarcely seemed to have heard him, for she answered never a word, but stared into the fire, while the Laird strode up and down the room, banging the furniture, and muttering to himself. It's not that I'm afraid o' the rascal or his cut-throat crew,' he declared; 'but the house winna fortify; and what can I do wi' a handful o' raw country lads who can neither load a matchlock nor handle a sword? What is a man to do when he can neither fight nor flee?'


Presently this monologue was interrupted by Dame Halcro, who remarked in a soothing tone: Ca' canny, Laird, and dinna break the chairs. It's clear to me your friend the Captain will come to the house; but it's not so clear he'll carry more awa' wi' him than a good dinner and plenty o' punch to wash it down.'

At this confident speech, the Laird halted before his wife's chair, and in an incredulous tone, asked her what she meant.

'Well,' returned she, if ye'll no glower at me that way, I'll tell ye what I mean. Folks say Captain Gow is no ruffian, but quite a gentleman. Now, my plan is this. We'll give him a warm welcome, and a good dinner wi' plenty o' reeking punch; and after a' that, he winna hae the heart to rob us. Hey, Laird, what think ye o' that plan?'

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After the consultation, the Dame went to the larder and thence to the kitchen, where such culinary preparations began as were seldom seen there, except it might be at Yule-tide and Hallowmas. The Laird too was busy overhauling the cellar and giving orders about the wines and spirits required on the morrow.

Next morning all were early astir at Coubister, and such preparations for good cheer were made in the dining-room as would have gladdened the heart of a bon-vivant. The table glittered with a goodly array of silver flagons, tankards, and trenchers, all emblazoned with the Halcro crest, And while the wines of Portugal and France sparkled in tall decanters, the native brew of ale and whisky was not forgotten..


Arrived at Coubister, he hastened to the kitchen, where he found his wife engaged in bakingmautie foals-malt cakes-a dainty peculiar to Orkney. Tall and stately was Dame Halero, who in her youth had been a beauty

The morning had been foggy; but towards noon the mist rolled off the hills and the sun. shone out gloriously. About two o'clock, Mr. Halcro espied a boat pulling in the direction of Houton Bay, which he soon made out to be that of Captain Gow. Hastily informing his wife and a toast. But time, though it added rather of their guest's approach, he hurried to the

Think! ejaculated her husband; 'why, I think ye 're an angel, goodwife.'

The Laird and his Lady talked long and earnestly over the ways and means of furnishing out such a feast as would soften the pirate's heart, and make him forego his purpose of driving off the Coubister cattle.

beach just in time to greet the pirate as he leaped ashore. Gow stared hard at the Laird, who, affecting not to perceive his astonishment, shook him heartily by the hand and welcomed him to Coubister with the greatest cordiality. Then desiring the sailors to follow, he walked with their Captain to the house, chatting all the way of the pleasure it afforded him to entertain such a capital fellow as his respected friend beside him. His wife, he declared, was even more delighted than himself, and was exerting all her culinary skill to offer such a dinner as would leave a pleasing remembrance of his visit.

The pirate captain listened with rather a grim smile to Mr Halcro's polite remarks; but beyond a few words expressive of his thanks for the intended kindness of the Lady of Coubister, he preserved a stolid silence till the Laird ushered him ceremoniously into the dining-room, and begged him to rest in the great arm-chair before a blazing peat-fire. Then he laughed loud and long, and as his eyes rested on the well-spread table, exclaimed: Ha, Laird, so your dame is going to treat me to just such a dinner as you boasted of last night; and as I'm rather sharpset, after pulling against the wind for the last two hours, the feast has a fair chance of having justice done to it.'

At this moment the soup was placed on the table, and the Laird, apologising for the absence of his spouse, as her presence was required in the kitchen and the servants' hall, where the sailors were by this time dining, invited his guest to place himself at the table; and then the feast began.

Both the Laird and the Captain were gallant trencher-men, and great were the gastronomic feats they that day accomplished. Small wonder was it they so earnestly devoted themselves to the pleasures of the table, for the fare was of the best, and very curious were some of the dishesdainties peculiar to Orkney, and as such, greatly appreciated by Gow. Many a bumper did he drain to the health of his host and hostess, and often did he swear it was the best dinner he had ever eaten. Then, when the cloth was drawn, and the Laird proceeded to brew the punch for which he was famous, and which his guest declared to be the primest stuff he ever tasted-when the bottom of the punch-bowl became visible, and twilight began to deepen into darkness, the pirate Captain started to his feet, and declared his resolution, because of the hospitality he had received, not to touch anything belonging to such worthy people. But one thing he must have, before he turned his back on Coubister, and that was 'a kiss from the goodwife.'

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them, and bowed low to the lady, who acknowledged his politeness with a stately courtesy. He then led her forward till she stood in the full glare of the firelight. Again bowing over the hand he held, the pirate said: 'I esteem it an honour, Madam, that a high-born lady like you should so condescend to a poor sailor, who deserves nothing at your hands. Fame has not lied when it proclaimed you the stateliest of Orkney's matrons. And now, by 'r leave, Madam, just one kiss, as a remembrance of this most pleasant visit.' And gallantly encircling her waist with his arm, he gave her a hearty salute. Then taking his glass of punch from the mantel-shelf, he tossed it off, crying: 'To your health, Dame Halcro; may your life be long and happy! Farewell; but fear not for the bonnie beeves of Coubister; they will remain scathless ; John Gow pledges his honour for their safety.Farewell to thee too, most hospitable Laird; and when in future thou'rt in thy cups, keep a closer tongue in thy head than thou didst yesterday.'

Saying these words, the pirate Captain assumed his cloak and rapier, and placing his cocked-hat under his arm, turned again to his host and hostess, adding: 'In the years to come, if rumour deals harshly with the name of Gow, mayhap ye may speak a kind word for the roving buccaneer. Farewell, good people.'


He was gone the next moment; and immediately shrill whistle was heard, which brought the sailors on the lawn in front of the house. Then waving his hand to the Laird and his lady-who had followed him to the door-the pirate and his men quickly disappeared in the gathering darkness.

It is needless to add, the property of the Laird of Coubister was held sacred by Gow during his sojourn in Orkney. And when he fell into the hands of justice and expiated his crimes on the scaffold, Dame Halcro dropped a tear to his memory, declaring "twere pity such a gallant gentleman had fallen on such evil days. And the Laird declared it was a sin and a shame to hang so pretty a fellow, who, had he been pardoned, might have fought His Majesty's battles either on land or sea, and proved himself a loyal subject.'


THE heroism of men and women is often chronicled and rewarded; but there are instances of courage and presence of mind displayed by the little heroes of the world which are equally deserving of recognition. The medal of the Royal Humane Society might, for instance, be less worthily bestowed than on the child of four years of age, who deserved it for performing a courageous act at Dunham-Massey. One day, he and some other children were playing on the banks of the canal near the Bay Malton, when a girl aged seven fell into the water. When she came to the surface, the little fellow threw himself at full length and seized her by the hair. The cries of the children attracted the attention of a passing bicyclist, who came to their assistance, and pulled the girl out of the canal. Had it not

An act of courage and devotedness on the part of another boy merits a record amongst deeds of bravery. Two children, of the ages of five and seven years, fell into the Lake of Geneva from the end of a pier. A third child, named Bataillard, thirteen years of age, who happened to be near the spot, immediately threw off his clothes, plunged into the lake, and diving, had the happiness of bringing both the drowning children safely to land.


There are many examples of youthful heroism in perils of land as in perils of water. Paris was attacked by the allied armies, it was the pupils of the Polytechnic School who served the artillery on the heights of Montmartre, and by their well-directed fire filled the approaches Devonshire has the honour of producing the to the positions with dead bodies of the enemy. youthful heroine, Miss Esther Bowden, who cour- Many a drummer-boy, as is well known, has ageously saved the life of her governess, and acquitted himself as creditably in the hour of received the Royal Humane Society's medal and danger as any old campaigner. Louis Pajot, a a handsome testimonial recording the circum- drummer in a French battalion, was in some of stance. So far as we can recollect the particulars, the hottest affairs between the French armies and it seems that while taking a country walk, the the allies. In the engagement before Valenciennes, governess, in attempting to reach some flowers, out of twenty drummers who beat the charge, fell into a deep pond. Our little heroine, of only nineteen were killed. Pajot alone survived, but eight years of age, caught her by the hair, and severely wounded. In spite of this, he continued though dragged out of her depth herself, cour-beating the charge till the enemy were routed, ageously continued her hold, and seizing some which was not till about four hours after receiving overhanging roots, called for help, until both were his wound. rescued by some one opportunely arriving on the

been for the presence of mind of this courageous little fellow, the girl would in all probability have been drowned.

From Dover comes an account of a similar plucky rescue by another boy. It appears that a little girl, aged about four years, was playing in the surf on the sea-shore, when she was knocked down by a wave before she had time to get out of the way. The little fellow, named Friend, who is only about seven or eight years old, was also playing on the beach; and seeing the danger in which the little girl was placed, with great presence of mind, although not without risk, ran in and pulled her out. A coastguard came up immediately afterwards, and the girl was removed home very much exhausted.


At a pond in East Dulwich, an accident occurred, which, but for the gallantry of a boy aged eleven, named Otto Helstern, would have had fatal results. Some children were playing about the margin of the pond, when one of their number, only seven years of age, was seen to slip from the embankment into the water where it was some six feet deep. An alarm was raised by the terrified children, when our youthful hero, who had been bathing, and was proceeding home, returned to find the poor little fellow sinking for the second time, head downwards. Without waiting to divest himself of any clothing, the brave lad plunged in, and with some difficulty, owing to the mud, brought the drowning boy to land, where by this time several persons had arrived to render aid. The rescued boy remained insensible for some time, but by judicious treatment was gradually restored to consciousness, and enabled to proceed


Two brothers were skating in Cincinnati, and broke through the ice. While they were clinging desperately to the edge of the ice, and efforts were being made to reach them, the elder one cried out: Be sure and take Willie out first.' But both Willie and his generous brother were drowned.


A gallant rescue in the river Severn was effected by a lad of twelve. His companion, a boy somewhat older than himself, bathing in that river, was floating on his back, when the current carried him out into mid-stream. On finding he was out of his depth, he lost nerve, and sank in twelve feet of water. His young friend, on seeing him sink, at once swam to the spot, dived into the deep water, and succeeded not only in fetching him up, though in an unconscious state, but in swimming with him to the shore, where, assistance being at hand, the lad was brought back to consciousness.

This little hero was if anything surpassed by a boy aged thirteen, the sole child of a widow. Equipped as a drummer, he marched at the head of a Republican regiment. He was cut off and surrounded by two hundred royalists. To give the alarm, he continued beating his drum. Cry Vive le Roi!' said the royalists. He preserved silence. The soldiers' guns were levelled at him. Cry Vive le Roi!' was again demanded. He beat rapidly the drum, and placing the sticks above his head, shouted: 'Vive la République !' In a second he was a corpse.



THE HEDGEHOG-DOMESTICATED. THIS curious-looking animal serves a distinct pose in creation by destroying slugs, caterpillars, and numerous smaller vermin, which, though they are to a certain extent useful, are nevertheless destructive to vegetation in general. Beetles and cockroaches seem to belong to that class of insects the uses of which we find it so difficult to discover, and therefore devise every means to expel from our dwellings. The writer's house being overrun by these pests, and other efforts at extermination being useless, he applied to a farmer friend to supply him with a hedgehog; which he obtained, and has now had in his house-in a large townabout four years.

During the first year, Tommy-as the cook christened him-retired for about two months to a bed of withered grass underneath the rain-tub in the yard, according to the custom of his kind in winter. Prior to this, however, he had a plentiful supply of beetles, which might serve him to ruminate upon for many a day. He lived in a closet underneath the stairs, from which he sallied forth into his hunting-ground, the kitchen. Like other beasts of prey, this occurred during the dead hours of the night.

When beetles became scarce, however, his operations were watched by the dim gaslight, and

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