NOTES AND QUERIES.
_ Calendar. —The calendar is a division of time into years, months, weeks, and days, and also a register of these divisions. Among the old Romans, for want of such a register, it was the custom for the ponttfex maximm on the first day of the month to proclaim (calare) the month, with the festivals occurring in it and the time of the new moon. Hence ealendee and calendar. Chiromancy, or Palmestry, the art of divining by inspection of the lines of the hand. The art was practised in India in the remotest ages. It has occupied the attention of the greatest of the ancient philosophers. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, it was in great repute, but when the persecution of astrologers and sorcerers arose chiromancy took refuge among the proscribed race—the gipsies—who to this day, even in enlightened England, find profit in the exercise of their favorite art.
Chemistry.—This word is of very oncertain derivation, and first appears in the works of the eleventh century, where it is used to designate the art of making gold artificially. The historians of chemistry have claimed for it a very high antiquity, and have attributed its origin to the Egyptians, who undoubtedly displayed great skill in some of the chemical arts; but there is no evidence to show that they either studied or understood the scientific principles of the arts they practised. Ordeal.—lt was formerly believed by almost all nations that when proofs of right and wrong, innocence or guilt, were wanting, the God of truth and justice would himself interpose and make known the truth by a miracle. In accordance with this opinion a person suspected of any crime was made to perform solemnly before the priests certain acts which would in the natural course of things be injurious to him, and if be escaped unhurt he was declared to be innocent. These processes were called ordeals or judgments of God , and were in use particularly among the Germans. They are mentioned also in the sacred writings of the Hindus. As success or failure, except in a few cases, depended on those who made the requisite preparation, a wide field was opened to deceit and malice, especially of the priest. Jackass (the Donkey).—The word has an Eastern origin. Jackhsh, in Arabic, means “one who extends his ears,” When Dr Wolff, the father of the present Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, was a missionary at Bokhara, he was startled by being called, in contempt, “ Wolff Jackhsh,” which he without hesitation put down as the original of the English term for the donkey. Methylated Spirit is a mixture of alcohol, usually called spirits of wine, with 10 per cent, of wood spirit or naphtha. The wood spirit renders it unfit for drinking purposes, and as the mixture only pays a small duty in England, it can be sold for manufacturing purposes—such as making varnishes—at a much lower price than the pure alcohol, whilst it answers the purpose equally well.
Persian Punishments. When the hereditary governor of a great city tells you that his grandfather was boiled to death, and that his own fate may not be different, it strikes you that the grandsire was, and that the grandson is, somehow connected with a sugar refinery. But when that gentleman proceeds to explain that his ancestor was judicially boiled to death, and that the only favor he could obtain was that the water should be hot and not cold when he was plunged into it, a thrill of horror, tempered with incredulity, is apt to freeze the listener; but yet such things are, and will be again, in Persia. The hereditary governor of the town of Shiraz, the capital of Ears, the richest and largest province of modern Persia, was thegentleman who had lost his grandfather in that way. It will be objected, probably, that this punishment occurred some time ago, and that things have changed. Things in Persia never change they only decay. In the last Persian famine, not fifteen years ago, the bakers of the town of Ispahan adulterated the bread, for grain was at famine prices, and they were compelled to sell a certain amount of bread at the ordinary rate. The people complained of the adulteration. The Governor sent for the bakers, and thus addressed them: “If this goes on, my friends, 1 shall bake one of you in bis own oven.” And he meant it. It has often been done in Persia, Did the bread improve ? Not at all. There was simply no bread, for the bakers ran away. Bakers have been baked in Persia.— * Persia as it is,’ by C. J. Willis, M.D., 1887.
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NOTES AND QUERIES., Evening Star, Issue 7976, 3 August 1889, Supplement
NOTES AND QUERIES. Evening Star, Issue 7976, 3 August 1889, Supplement
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