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MISCELLANEOUS.

Dumas on Machinery.— l have little sympathy for machinery ; the action of machines of great power always terrifits me by its impassibility^ There are some above all employed for beating out metals, and which do 1 so to ao alarming extent. Whatever these may happen to seize between their iron teeth, ones seized, the thing must pass through a hole more or less great, towards which ' all frabricable substances are conducted. Of whatever size the thing may be wh»n it goes in, let it be a beam of the greatest thickness, it will come streched into a knitting neadle of the greatest fineness. As to the machine, it merely turns — that is its business and its duty, and it matters not to it what the substance be which it has to crush and draw ont. Yon offer it an iron bar — the monster draws it to itself, and devours it. You don't take your band back quickly enough, the machine pinches the end of your finger and all is over. You may cry out, but there is no workman present with a hatchet to cut your wrist off, after the finger comes the hand, after the hand comes the arm, after the arm the bead, after the head the body. Shrieks, oaths, prayers, nothing will avail you ; the shortest plan for your friends, or family is to look ont on the other side of the machine. You went in a man — you come out a wire ; in five minutes you have grown 200 feet. It is curious, but not agreeable. New Steam Docks in the Bristol Channel. — Somersetshire is divided upon a nautical question. It is proposed to make new docks for the ocean steamers which are now multiplying so rapidly. Already an Australian Company has obtained a survey of the coast of the Bristol Channel. The people of the place are on the alert, and Bristol suddenly awakes to the fact that, if it do not bestir itself in emulation of Liverpool, Glasgow, and Southampton,. it may " be obliterated from the list of important seaports." Steam-ships of immense size, twice the length of the Great Britain, are in process of construction ; and opinion inclines to anticipate a continuance in the practice of making ships much larger than they have been. Ports of corresponding size are needed ; and in a trade so suddenly and rapidly increasing, there is room for the Severn to take its share, without defrauding the ' Thames, the Clyde, the Mersey, or the Solent. One plan is, to convert Bay into a large harbour, by erecting piers ; and to connect the new port with the Great Western Railway. It is calculated that " the whole cost of the line and piers, including law-charges," will not exceed £120,000 sterling. The other plan starts from the suggestion of Lieutenant Denham, who made the Admiralty survey of the Bristol Channel in 1835. Mr. Denham pointed to one place as the natural site of a port for Ireland, f or America, Australia, and, indeed, for the world. That place is Sand Bay, an indentation of the coast nearer to the sea than Portishead. One essential of a great dock should be its neady accessibility ; and, \ in this respect, Sand Bay is somewhat better off than Portishead, since it iies but a little way off the main trunk of the Great Western, and between two of its branches, those to Clevedon and to Weston-super-Mare. The Sand bay plan has the advantage of larger space within the natural port, space enough for a navy : the bottom is a firm, soft mud harmless to ships, easy to build upon; and at low- water-mark there is a sudden depth capable of floating the largest ship in the world at all tides. These are great, positive advantages ; but the scheme, also, claims some scarcely less , impottant negative advantages. Some of the dangers darkly illustrious in the traditions of the Bristol Channel commence exactly at Sand Point, the upper natural pier of Sand Bay, and extend, invidiously enough, to Portishead; the shoal called " the English and Welsh Grounds" occupies that portion of the channel on the southern coast. Sand Bay is clear of that peril ; it has exactly the " westing" which is prized in the navigation of the channel, and it is obstructed by no difficulties to the voyage, outward or inward. — Spectator. Destitution in France. — The Independent de la Moselle contains (be following, the authenticity of which, it says, is guaranteed :—"ln: — "In a little town of our department there lived last year a poor family of workpeople. The father died. A martyr to labour, be overtasked his strength ; fatigue killed him at the age of 32 ! For all persons sickness is a frightful thing, but for the workman it is the worst visitation that can befall him ; for, having only his labour to live by, his resources are stopped. To feed his wife and children he sells in a few months the proceeds of 10 or 20 years' labour, and when death arrives he leaves them without an asylum and without bread. Such was the fate of the poor family of which we speak. When the father died the chamber was cold and void. Except the wooden crucifix suspended to the wall nearly all the furniture had disappeared. The mother, however, did not lose courage, and to find food for her children worked day and night. Alas for the noble hearted woman ! she was not more fortunate than her husband. At the end of a few weeks she fell dangerously ill. One morning in the month of March last a female neighbour went to her house to render b*er some little services required by her position. She found her dead. Day was just beginning to break, and she saw two children slumbering in their cradle. Poor children! they knew not the misfortune that had befallen them. The humble woman, kneeling by the side of the corpse, quietly closed the eyes and covered the face. Meantime the children awoke, but she, tenderly kissing them, told them to sleep again. After a little reflection she said to herself, ' I will take charge of the poor things, and God will do the rest.' This woman was a mother and as poor as the widow. Her husband, a laborious and intelligent man, was able to earn a small sum during the fine season, but in winter he had only petty and uncertain wages to maintain his family. At the hour of dinner he went home. His wife was plunged in reflection: she was wondering how he would receive the two children of the widow, and if the idea of allowing them to partake of the sacred bread of his own children would not terrify him. ' Wife,' said he, embracing her 'why are you sad? Hai anything happened?' ' No, nothing disturbs my happiness or yours ; what affects me is the misfortune of another.' 1 And what is that misfortune ? Explain.' 'Well,

oar neighbour died in the night.' Id so saving she felt her fears increased, and looked towards tb* bed in which the children were, bidden by the curtain. 'Dead! 1 said the man. 'Ah! I o*o ' not complain ; it mmt be a lucky thing for her. But her children ! Without doubt they will not die either of cold or hunger ; the hospital is there to receive them. Nevertheless for them to begin life without any one to love them is a sad thing. We must love them as their mother did. Ah ! » .thought ! Hitherto I have been abla to give bread to all, to our three children, and to yon. Well t let us hope that 1 shall b» happy enough to be" able to give bread to six ! Let us adopt these children, and let us be so affectionate to them as to cause them to forget the death of their mother. What say you ? Speak — yotrr silence disquiets me. Do you not consent ? Ah ! yes, you consent, for you kiss me. Well, go and seek them I' ' There tbeyare 1* cried the woman drawing the curtain. Poor people ! humble Christians V We will not reveal your name. Your modesty would be alarmed at the publicity given to thi» heroic act, which teems so natural to you. Your recompense, beside*, is not in this world. God, who inspires so much charity, can alone recompense it properly." How they Punish Treason in Persia. — We mentioned a few days since the attempt tg unit the Shah of Persia. We now learn that Hajee j Suleiman Khan, accused as the instigator of the crime, was seized, bis body carefully drilled with a knife in parts which would not at the moment cause death : pieces of lighted candle were then introduced into the|holes, and, thus illuminated, carried in procession through the bazaar, and finally conveyed to the town gates, and there cleft in twain like a fat ram. The Kurret il Am, better known as Bab's Lieutenant, or the Fair Prophetess of Kozoeen, who since the late religious outbreak bad been kept a close prisoner at the capital, has been executed with some dozen others. His Majesty received three slug wounda fn the shoulders, but all of a very slight natnre. The Flyino Dutchman. — Sir, — Permit me to communicate to you the following account of • very singular phenomenon which was observed a t Green Point on Tuesday last, and which wonld seem to impart some degree of credibility to the popular legend oi the "Flying Dutchman." — About 2 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, as I was standing, together with four other persons, on the beach at Green Point, near the residence of Mr. Searight, our attention was attracted by the appearance of a large ship, of an ancient shape, with tall massive masts, and snow-whitt sails, looming through a faint mist, about half-a-mile from the shore. Her decks were crowded with people, and so distinct and vivid was the appearance, that one of us, observing her through a telescope, imagined he could recognise among those on board several familiar forms and faces. She appeared to be tossing about much, without making any great progress though the water, and as with a strange mixture of curiosity and dread, we stood looking at the aingular apparition, she and lenly vanished, and was seen no more. Upon subsequent inquiry, we ascertained that three other persons besides ourselves witnessed the strange spectacle, and were similarly struck with its singular appearance and unaccountable evanescence. In the hope of eliciting some explanation of this mysterious phenomenon, which I imagine — not being myself of a superstitious temperament — owes its origin to some property of light hitherto unexplained, although commonly referred to the effect of mirage, I have been induced to communicate to you the above particulars, and trust you will not hesitate to give them publicity. — Observes.— Cape Town Mail.

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Bibliographic details

MISCELLANEOUS., New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume IX, Issue 796, 23 March 1853

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1,810

MISCELLANEOUS. New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume IX, Issue 796, 23 March 1853

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