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explosion would ensuc, which would blow us all into the air." The company had scarcely time to reflect on this comfortable piece of intelligence before he did forget to stir, and his prediction was accomplished. The explosion took place with a horrible crash; all the windows of the laboratory were smashed to pieces, and two hundred auditors whirled away into the garden. Fortunately, no one received any serious injury, the greatest violence of the explosion having been in the direction of the chimney. The demonstrator escaped without farther harm than the loss of his wig.
XXXIX. A CLEAR-SIGHTED BLIND MAN.
A BLIND man having saved a considerable sum of money, buried it in a little garden behind his house, where he used to visit it from time to time to assure himself of its safety, and to add his little savings. A neighbor having discovered the deposit, appropriated it to himself. The blind man perceiving that his treasure had been stolen, and suspecting his neighbor to be the thief, determined to ascertain it, and, if possible, to outwit him. He went therefore to his house, and told him that he had come to ask his advice on an important subject. "Well," said the other, "what is it?" "Why," answered the blind man, "I have a sum of money which I have hidden in a safe place-but it brings me nothing now, having lately received a legacy, I am in doubt, whether I had better bury it with the other, or place the whole in the public funds, where it would produce me some interest." His neighbor advised him not to risk his money in the funds, which were fluctuating and uncertain; but to deposit it as he had done the other, in a secure place. As soon as the blind man left him, the thief carefully replaced the money he had taken, thinking by that means to obtain both sums. The other, expecting that such would be the result, took his money; and, shortly afterwards paying a visit to his neighbor, told him that, having suddenly changed his mind, he had now found a place for his money, which he thought would be more safe still, and asked him if he did not think that blind people were sometimes the most clear-sighted after all?
XL-AN OVERWHELMING PROOF.
A SPANIARD, while traversing a desert part of Mexico on a lean and jaded horse, met with an Indian, extremely well mounted on a young and vigorous steed. The Spaniard asked the Indian to change horses with him, but this being refused, he proceeded to violence and forcibly seized the animal. Being remarkably swift on foot, the Indian kept close at his oppressor's heels, till they arrived at the next village, where he complained to the alcalde of the injustice that had been done him. The Spaniard, however, had the impudence to claim the beast as his own, and there being no proof of the contrary but the Indian's bare word, which would go for little against a Spaniard's, the magistrate was on the point of dismissing him, when all at once, appearing to recollect himself, he slipped off his cloak, and exclaimed, "The horse is mine, and I will prove it." At the same instant, muffling up the animal's head, he turned to the Spaniard, and said: "Since you maintain the horse to be yours, tell the magistrate, whether he be blind of the right or the left eye ?" "Of the right," said the Spaniard. "It is false !" replied the Indian, "he is blind of neither;" and immediately pulling off his cloak, convinced the magistrate of his being the real owner.
XLI.-A SILENT PARTNER.
AN Italian marquis having invited the gentry of his neighborhood to a grand entertainment, all the delicacies of the season were accordingly provided. Some of the company had already arrived, in order to pay their early respects to his excellency, when the major-domo, in a hurry, entered the roomMy lord," said he, "here is a most wonderful fisherman below, who has brought one of the finest fish, I believe, in Italy; but then he demands such a price for it!"
"Regard not his price," cried the marquis, "pay it down directly."
"So I would, please your Highness, but he refuses to take money."
"Why, what would the fellow have ?"
"A hundred strokes of the strappado on his bare shoulders, my lord, he says he will not bate a single blow."
Here they all ran down to have a view of this rarity of a fisherman.
"A fine fish!” cried the marquis.
"What is your demand, my friend ?-you shall be paid on the instant."
"Not a penny, my lord; I will not take money. If you would have my fish, you must order me a hundred lashes of the strappado upon my naked back; if not, I shall go and apply elsewhere."
"Rather than lose our fish," said his Highness, "let the fellow have his humor. Here," cried he to one of his grooms; "discharge this honest man's demand; but be gentle with thy stripes."
The fisherman then stripped, and the groom prepared to put his lord's orders in execution.
"Now, my friend," cried the fisherman, "keep good account, I beseech you, for I am not covetous of a single stroke beyond my due."
They all stood suspended with amazement while this operation was carrying on. At length, on the instant that the executioner had given the fiftieth lash, "Hold," cried the fisherman, "I have already received my full share of the price."
"Your share!" questioned the marquis, "what can you mean by that?"
Why, my lord, you must know I have a partner in this business. My honor is engaged to let him have half of whatever I should get; and I fancy your Highness will acknowledge by and by, that it would be a thousand pities to defraud him of a single stroke."
"And pray, my friend, who is this same partner of yours?" "It is the porter, my lord, who guards the outer gate of your Highness's palace. He refused to admit me, but on the condition of promising him the half of what I should get for my fish."
"O, ho!" exclaimed the marquis, breaking out into a laugh, "by the blessing of heaven, he shall have his demand doubled to him in full tale."
Here the porter was sent for, and stripped to the skin, when two grooms laid on him, until they rendered him fit to be sainted for a second Bartholomew. The marquis then ordered his major-domo to pay the fisherman twenty pounds, and desired him to call yearly for the like sum, in recompense of the friendly office he had rendered him.
XLII.-A WITNESS IN COURT.
THERE is a point beyond which human forbearance cannot go, and the most even tempers will become ruffled at times. At the assizes held one season at Lincoln, (England), both judge and counsel had had much trouble to make the timid witnesses upon a trial speak sufficiently loud to be heard by the jury, and it is possible that the temper of the counsel may thereby have been turned aside from the even tenor of its way. After this gentleman had gone through the various stages of pleadings, and had coaxed, threatened, and even bullied the witnesses, a young hostler was called into the box, who appeared to be simplicity personified. "Now, sir," said the counsel in a tone that would at any other time be denounced as vulgarly loud, "I hope we shall have no difficulty in making you speak up?" "I hope not, sir," was shouted or rather bellowed out by the witness, in tones which almost shook the building. "How dare you speak in that way, sir?" said the counsel. "Please, sir, I can't speak louder," said the astonished witness, attempting to speak louder than before, evidently thinking the fault to be in his speaking too softly. "Have you been drinking this morning?" shouted the counsel, who had now lost the last remnant of his temper. zur," was the reply. "And what have you been drinking?" Coffee, zur." "And what did you have in your coffee, sir?" shouted the exasperated counsel. "A spune, zur!" innocently shouted the witness in his highest key, amidst the roars of the whole court, excepting only the now thoroughly wild counsel, who flung down his brief and rushed out of court.
XLIII.-HOW TO USE THE ALMANAC.
ABOUT one hundred years since there lived in England a celebrated almanac-maker, named Partridge. One day, while travelling on horseback, he stopped for his dinner at a country inn, and afterwards called for his horse, that he might reach the next town, where he intended to sleep.
66 If you will take my advice, sir," said the hostler, as he was about to mount his horse, "you will stay where you are for the night, as you will surely be overtaken by a pelting rain."
"Nonsense, nonsense," exclaimed the almanac-maker; "there is sixpence for you, my honest fellow, and good afternoon to you."
He proceeded on his journey, and, sure enough, he was well drenched in a heavy shower. Partridge was struck by the man's prediction, and being always intent on the interest of his almanac, he rode back on the instant, and was received by the hostler with a broad grin.
"Well, sir, you see I was right after all."
"Yes, my lad, you have been so, and here is a crown for you; but I give it to you on condition that you tell me how you knew of this rain."
"To be sure, sir," replied the man; "why, the truth is, we have an almanac at our house, called ' Partridge's Almanac,' and the fellow is such a notorious liar, that whenever he promises us a fine day, we always know that it will be just the contrary. Now, your honor, this day, the 21st of June, is put down in our almanac as 'settled fine weather, no rain.' I looked at that before I brought your honor's horse out, and so was enabled to put you on your guard."
XLIV.—A FOREIGNER'S MISTAKE.
It was a custom with Frederick the Great, whenever, in his reviews, he noticed a soldier of fine appearance, whom he had not yet seen, to ask him these three questions:"How old are you?" "How long have you been in my service?" "Do you receive regularly your pay and clothing?" A young Frenchman having applied for admission into the guards, was accepted on account of his remarkably handsome figure, though he did not understand a word of German. A year elapsed, during which he proved a noble fellow in every respect; but as to the language, he could never learn it. At that time a general review having been ordered, his captain, well knowing that he would be questioned by the king, advised him to learn at least by heart the three answers which he was to make. The day came, and, as was expected, Frederick stopped directly in front of our Frenchman, and, after looking at him for a while, approached; but happening to begin by the second question-" How long have you been in my service? "Twenty-one years," replied the soldier. The king, not supposing that he could have carried a musket so long, asked, with an air of surprise, "How old are you, then?" "One year, your majesty." Frederick, still more astonished, exclaimed, " One of us has lost his senses." The soldier, who took the remark for the third question, said with the