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do not remember that their Indian origin has been pointed out by their commentators in any instance. I shall therefore avail myself of another story, translated from the Vrikat Katha. It is the foundation of the famous fabliau of Courtant du Hamel, ou la dame qui attrappa un pretre, un Prevot, et un Forestier.
“Whilst I, Vararuchi the Storyteller, was thus absent, my wife, who performed with pious exactitude her ablutions in the Ganges, attracted the notice and desires of several suitors, especially of the king's domestic priest, the commander of the guard, and the young prince's preceptor, who annoyed her by their importunities, and terrified her by their threats, till at last she determined to expose and punish their depravity. Having fixed upon the plan, she made an appointment for the same evening with her three lovers, each being to come to her house an hour later than the other. Being desirous of propitiating the gods, she sent for our banker to obtain money to distribute in alms; and when he arrived, he expressed the same passion as the rest, on her compliance with which, he promised to make over to her the money that I had placed in his hands; or on her refusal, he would retain it to his own use. Apprehending the loss of our property, therefore, she made a similar assignation with him, and desired him to come to her bouse that evening, at an hour when she calculated on having disposer of the first comers, for whose reception, as well as his, she arranged with her attendants the necessary preparations.
At the expiration of the first watch of the night, the preceptor of the prince arrived. Upakosa affected to receive him with great delight; and, after some conversation, desired him to make a bath, which her bandmaids had prepared for bim, as a preliminary condition to any farther intimacy. The preceptor made not the least objection, on which he was conducted into a retired and dark chamber, where his bath was ready. On undressing, his own clothes and ornaments were removed, and in their place a small wrapper given to him, which was a piece of cloth smeared with a mixture of oil, lamp black, and perfumes. Similar cloths were employed to rub him after bathing, so that he was of a perfectly ebon colour from to toe. The rubbing occupied the time till the second lover (the priest) arrived, on which the women exclaimed, 'Here is our master's particular friendin, in here, or all will be discovered;'—and hurrying their victim away, they thrust him into a long and stout wicker basket, fastened well by a bolt outside, in which they left him to meditate upon his mistress.
• The priest and the commander of the guard were secured, as they arrived, in similar manner; and it only remained to dispose of the banker. When he made his appearance, Upakosa, leading him near the baskets, said aloud, You promise to deliver me my husband's property;' and he replied, “The wealth your husband entrusted to me shall be yours. On which she turned towards the baskets, and said, 'Let the gods hear the promise of Hiranyagupta.' The bath was then proposed to the banker. Before the ceremony was completed, the day began to dawn, on which the servants desired him to make the best of his way home, lest the neighbours should notice his departure; and with this recommendation they forced him, naked as be was, into the street. Having no alternative, the banker hastened to conceal himself in his own house, being chased all the way by the dogs of the town.
“So soon as it was day, Upakosa repaired to the palace of Nanda, and presented a petition to the king against the banker, for seeking to appropriate the property entrusted to him by her husband. The banker was summoned. lle denied bav. ing ever received any money from me. Upakosa then said, When my husband went away, he placed our household gods in three baskets; they have heard this man acknowledge his holding a deposit of my husband's, and let them bear witness for me.' The king, with some feeling of surprise and incredulity, ordered the baskets to be sent for, and they were, accordingly, produced in the open court. Upakosa then addressed them, --- Speak, gods, and declare what you overheard this banker say in our dwelling: you are silent, I will unhouse you in this presence.' Afraid of this menaced exposure, the tenants of the baskets immediately exclaimed, - Verily, in our presence, the banker acknowledged possession of your wealth. On hearing these words, the whole court was filled with surprise, and the banker, terrified out of his senses, acknowledged the debt, and promised restitution. The business being adjusted, the king expressed his curiosity to see the household divinities of Upakosa, and she very readily complied with his wish. The baskets being opened, the culprits were dragged forth by the attendants, like so many lumps of darkness. Being presently recognised, they were overwhelmed with the laughter and derision of all the assembly. As soon as the merriment had subsided, Nanda begged Upakosa to explain what it all meant, and she acquainted him with what had occurred. Nanda was highly incensed, and, as the punishment of their offence, banished the criminals from the kingdom. He was equally pleased with the virtue and ingenuity of my wife, and loaded her with wealth and honour. Her family were likewise highly gratified by her conduct, and she obtained the admiration and esteem of the whole city.”
This tale is also in the Arabian Nights Entertainments-in that portion translated by Dr. Jonathan Scott, under the title of the Lady of Cairo and her Four Gallants, thereby affording a proof of the Sanscrit origin of these far-famed stories. I cannot mention the Arabian Nights Entertainments, without expressing my gratification, that we shall soon have an opportunity of reading a further portion of them. It is well known, that Galland did not translate a fifth of the entire--and though it is universally agreed that he chose the best, and executed his task admirably, yet great light would be thrown on Asiatic manners, and literary history in general, by the translation of the entire: I mean such as are translateable, for some of the escapades of the Asiatic writers are too free for our northern ears. The Rev. Doctor John Wait of Saint John's College, Cambridge, has undertaken to fill part of the hiatus, by translating two or three volumes of them from the Arabian manuscripts of the public library of that university, which contain at least a thousand unpublished stories. The great oriental knowledge of Doctor Wait amply qualify him for such a task.
If there be any story which has quite an English air, it is that of Whittington and his Cat. Are not, as Jack Cade's voucher would say, the very bells of London alive at the present day to testify it? Yet the unrelenting East robs us even of that story. I can trace it no farther than Persia, where it was told by the Persian ambassador to Mr. Morier, from whose journey I copy it.
“In the 700th year of the Hejira, in the town of Siraf, lived an old woman with her three sons, who, turning out profligates, spent their own money and their mother's fortune, abandoned her, and went to live at Kais. A little while after, a Siraf merchant took a trading voyage to India, and freighted a ship. It was the custom of those days, that when a man undertook a voyage to a distant land, each of his friends entrusted to his care some article of their property, and received the produce on their return. The old woman, who was a friend of the merchant complained that her sons had left her so destitute, that, except a cat, she had nothing to send as an adventure, which yet she requested him to take. On arriving in India, he waited upon the King of the country, who, having granted him permission to trade with his subjects, also invited him to dine. "The merchant was surprised to see the beards of the king and his courtiers incased in golden tubes, and the more so, when he observed that every man had a stick in his hand. His surprise still increased, when, upon serving up the dishes, he saw swarms of mice sally out from the walls, and make such an attack upon the victuals as to require the greatest vigilance of the guests in keeping them off with their sticks. This extraordinary scene brought the cat of the old woman of Siraf into the merchant's mind. When he dined a second time with the king, he put the cat under his arm, and no sooner did the mice appear than he let it go, and, to the delight of the king and his courtiers, hundreds of mice were laid dead about the floor. The king, of course, longed to possess so valuable an animal, and the merchant agreed to give it up, provided an adequate compensation were made to its real owner. When the merchant was about his departure, he was shown a ship fively equipped, laden with all sorts of merchandise, and which he was told was to be given to the old woman for her cat."
The dates of the English and Persian story strangely correspond. The 700th year of the Hejira falls in our 14th century, the very era of our Whittington.
It would not be hard to extend the catalogue; but I do not wish to keep my readers from more entertaining matter. I may remark, that among the amusing fairy legends of the south of Ireland lately attested by Mr. Crofton Croker, is one of an Enchanted Lake, with castles and palaces beneath. This is originally Sanscrit, as witness the city of Mabalialipoor, to which I ought to say Mr. Croker refers it.R.F.
SELECTED FOR TAP, MUSEUM.
NEW MODE OF LIGHTING THEATRES.
NOTWITHSTANDING the splendid improvements that have been made, of late years, in the embellishment of our theatres, every thing has not yet been accomplished which a refined taste for the luxuries of theatrical entertainment might conceive and desire: to say nothing of what has been done which might reasonably be wished to be undone again. The mode, for example, of lighting up the audience part of the house, and the front of the stage, is liable to sufficient objections. If the audience, indeed, are to be regarded as the spectacle, and the actors as the spectators, all is as it should be; for, certainly, the prospect from the stage, when the boxes are well filled with beauty and fashion, and the pit tolerably genteel, is splendid in the extreme: a blaze of gaiety and gloryof lamp and lustre ineffable. But all this light-this galaxy of wax and gas, to the vision of a part of the spectators at least, is rather an obstruction than an accommodation: a distraction to all.
“ Dark through excess of bright the stage appears;" and the effect upon the scene is often so preternatural, as to give no small offence to the picturesque eye.
I was led to these observations by meeting with the following account of a new method of illumination, which, it seems, has been adopted at one of the Italian theatres.
“ The interior of the Theatre la Fenice, at Venice, is now lighted up by means of a new process, invented by the mechanician (mechanist) Localilli. "It appears, from the description given of it by [in] an Italian journal, that lamps concealed in the roof, and fitted up with parabolic reflectors, throw all their rays of light upon an opening one foot in diameter, in the centre of the ceiling. This opening is furnished with an ingenious system of lenses, which concentrate the rays and reflect them to every part of the house. This mode of lighting presents several ad. vantages; the light is more vivid and more generally diffused; nothing intervenes between the stage and the spectators occupying an elevated situation in front; the lamps may be approached to be trimmed without the public perceiving it, and VOL. VII. No. 40.-Museum.
there is neither smoke nor smell proceeding from the burning of oil. An idea of this method may be formed by representing to one's self a luminous disc on the sun at its zenith.”
Lighting the whole house from one central point above, if it can be fully effected, must, undoubtedly, be a very great improvement -especially if that light can be thrown on the front of the stage, with such vividness as to remove the necessity of those preternatural abominations, the footlights; which, especially when an actor or actress comes very forward upon the audience (a most indecorous absurdity by the way!) exhibits the features, by means of the inverted shadows, in most ridiculous, and sometimes even frightful caricature. I could mention one actress, in particular, who is very fond of thrusting a not very handsome profile across the orchestra, till her chin overhangs the pit; and who looks, upon such occasions, as if, instead of a nose and eye-brows (to say nothing of the ascending shadows from the cheek-bones), she had three conical patches of court sticking-plaster stuck at triangles upon her face. This is an “effect defective,” which nothing but dispensing with the footlamps can obviate. Nor is the scenery, in some cases, without its share in the incongruous phenomena of up-ascending beams, whence walls and turrets shed their inverted shadows on the sky.
These observations may, perhaps, appear to your utilitarian gravity, Mr. Editor, as of too trivial a nature for your instructive pages. They have reference, however, to the progress of Philosophical Discovery (chemical and mechanical), and may suggest occasions for half a score new patents. And, take my word for it, philosophy is not to your miscellany less important, for being connected with the progress also of the refining luxuries of fashionable amusements and dissipation. With the exception of about 150 or 200 political economists (for I understand that the whole economical population, who make such a noise, or who care about the noise, about profits of labour, profits of stock, and profits of rent, &c. do not exceed that number), I suspect you will find the reading public caring a great deal more about the philosophy of the warblings of a voice or an elastic heel—a bravura, or a pirouettethan about the systems of Smith and Ricardo, or the philosophy of a La Place, a Poisson, or a Sir Humphrey Davy. Take my advice, therefore, and do not turn up your nose at Signor Localilli, or, yours, &c.
AN ENEMY TO Foot-LAMPS.
SELECTED FOR THE MUSEUM.
Distance to which Sand and minutely-divided Matter may be
carried by Wind. The following is part of a letter by Mr. Forbes, of Chapel-street, Tottenham-court-road: “On the morning of the 19th of January last, being on board the Clyde East Indiaman, bound to London, in lat. 10° 40' N., long. 27° 41' W., and consequently about 600 miles from the coast of Africa, at daylight we were surprised to find our sails covered with sand of a brownish colour, the particles of which, when examined by a microscope, appeared extremely minute. At 2 P. M. of the same day, having had occasion to unbend some of our sails, clouds of dust escaped from them on their being struck against the mast by the wind. During the preceding night the wind blew fresh from N.E. b. E., and of course the nearest land to windward was that part of the coast of Africa which lies between the Gambia river and Cape de Verd.”
Mr. Forbes naturally suggests whether many of the seeds of those plants found in remote and new-formed islands of the ocean may not have been conveyed in the same manner.
SELECTED FOR THE MUSEUM.
ON GROUND ICE, OR THE ICE OF RUNNING WATER. This subject has been taken up in a series of remarks by Professor Merian, who has read a paper on it to the Society of Natural History of Basle, from which the following abstract has been made. Ground ice is a name given to those detached and separated masses which running waters carry on their surface during a frost of some continuance. This ice differs from that which forms continuously along the banks of rivers, and particularly in places where the water is tranquil. It never forms on lakes, ponds, or stagnant waters, and motion appears essential to its production. It appears to resemble a floating aggregation of snow penetrated by water rather than common ice, but a more attentive examination shows that it possesses peculiar characters. It is, in fact, formed of an immense assemblage of small round discs of thin ice, similar to each other, and each some lines in diameter; each disc is perfectly transparent, though when conglomerated, the whole presents the appearance of a semi-transparent mass of wet snow.
It is well known, that before this ice will appear on streams and rivers, the temperature of the atmosphere must have been retained for some time several degrees below 32°, and it is generally observed that a cold wind blowing in an opposite direction to the course of the stream singularly favours the formation of this kind of ice, which, for this reason, will, in rivers of the same country, appear first on that flowing against the wind.
Although it may be supposed that in consequence of the superior levity of water at 32° above that which is a little warmer, the particular ice in question is formed at the surface of the water, yet. it is to be remembered, that reasoning which applies correctly to