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From Quizzism and Its Key. Quirks and Quibbles from Queer Quarters. A Mélange of Questions in Literature, Science, History, Biography, Mythology, Philology, Geography, etc. etc. With Their Answers, by Albert P. Southwick, A. M.; New England Publishing Company, Boston; 1886; pp. 64-90.



Part IV

200. What “Tea Parties” are celebrated in our history?

The Boston Tea Party, when a band of citizens, disguised as Indians, on the night of December 18, 1773, seized the vessels, emptied the tea into the harbor, and then quietly dispersed without harming the ships. A writer in the Boston Journal says that a small graveyard, near North Haverhill, New Hampshire, contains an unmarked grave, in which, for seventy years, have reposed the remains of one whom Boston should honor — brave McIntosh, the leader of the Boston Tea Party. McIntosh died in the year 1810 or 1811, at the house of a Mr. Hurlburt, who resided at 65 what is now known as the poor-farm, and to whose care McIntosh had been bid off as a public pauper at public auction as the lowest bidder, according to “ye ancient custom,” and as recorded upon the town records. In 1772, a British vessel was in Narragansett Bay to enforce the collection of taxes. Her commander irritated the people, and on a stormy night in June, about sixty men, led by Captain Whipple, went in a boat and burned the vessel. Three years afterward, Sir James Wallace, in command of a British man-of-war in the same waters, wrote a note to the hero of that night’s adventure, saying: “You, Abraham Whipple, on the seventeenth of June, 1772, burned His Majesty’s vessel, the Gaspé, and I will hang you to the yard-arm.” Whipple instantly replied: “Sir: — Always catch a man before you hang him.”

As the petitions of the people of Maryland were disregarded by the British Ministry, in 1769, they formed “non-importation associations,” the members of which pledged themselves neither to import, buy, nor sell any articles of British production, except such as were absolutely necessary, until the obnoxious law should be repealed. In July, 1770, the British barque Good Intent, with merchandise on board, arrived at Annapolis, and was compelled by the people to return without landing her cargo.

In August, 1774, a vessel arrived in the St. Mary’s river with several packages of tea on board, consigned to merchants in Georgetown and Bladensburg. Committees had been formed in the various counties to see that no tea was imported; and those of Charles and Frederick counties ordered this consignment to be sent back to London.

On October, 14, 1774, the brig Peggy Stewart, having on board, with other goods, over two thousand pounds of tea consigned to a mercantile house, arrived at Annapolis. The 66 citizens at once assembled in public meeting; resolved that the tea should not be landed, and that they would meet again on the nineteenth to determine what should be done with it. When they met on that day, they learned, to their great indignation, that Mr. Anthony Stewart, one of the owners of the brig, had paid the duty on the tea since their previous meeting. This action they justly considered as not only an insult, but treason, to his fellow-citizens. Alarmed at the public feeling, Mr. Stewart and his consignees signed a most humble apology for their conduct, and offered to land the tea and publicly burn it. This, however, was not considered a sufficient punishment for so grave an offence; and Charles Carroll, of Carrolton, advised the unfortunate ship-owner to fire his vessel with his own hands. The Peggy Stewart was accordingly run aground near Windmill (now Jeffrey’s) Point, with all her sails set and colors flying, and Mr. Stewart with his own hands applied the torch; the assembled multitude cheering while she burned to the water’s edge. In this public and manly way did the patriotic Marylanders punish an attempt to betray their dearest rights; for they justly felt that the liberties of all depended upon a firm maintenance of the resolve not to be taxed without their consent. The centennial anniversary (an exact duplication) of this thrilling event was one of the interesting features of the year 1874. Similar actions took place prior to the Revolution, in the ports of New York, Charleston, and Savannah.

201. What was the fate of Osceola?

He was confined in a frame or log prison along the Battery at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1837. While in jail he presented a most abject and humiliated look, and when visitors were present would raise his head only to ask for 67 “baccy.” Very unlike the heroic chieftain of sentimental verse who would not “ask for quarter” or “bend the knee.” His death is supposed to have been occasioned by poison secretly administered to him. He was buried in the prison, and a plank slab now marks the spot.

202. What is ostracism?

It derives its name from the word ostreon; Greek for shell. By the custom of Ostracism citizens of Athens could cast one shell each, with any obnoxious name (to them) written on it, into an enclosure. The magistrates counted the shells, and if six thousand shells were cast against any one person he was banished for ten years. A plebeian who did not know Aristides requested him to write the name Aristides on a shell; thereupon the Grecian statesman wrote his own name, but asked why the man wished to banish him. “Because,” replied the ignorant voter and envious countryman, “I am vexed at hearing him everywhere and continually called THE JUST.

This method of getting rid of an undesirable citizen (though a very unjust one, for by it Greece lost many of her noblest and best men), was introduced by Cleisthenes, after the expulsion of Hippias, 510 B. C.

203. Who was the “Old Man Eloquent”?

Milton, in his sonnet to Lady Margaret Lay, uses this expression in allusion to Isocrates (436-338 B. C.). The name has been very generally applied in America to John Quincy Adams, and by some to Henry Clay.

204. Who first circumnavigated the globe?

Though Magellan is said to have been the first to circumnavigate the globe, in 1518-21, he did not complete his 68 voyage, as he was killed by the natives of the Philippine Islands, and the ships completed the “tour of the world” under command of his lieutenant, Cano.

205. Who was the rider of the Black Horse at Saratoga?

Benedict Arnold. A very graphic account is given of this intrepid hero (for he was one, despite his treachery) riding hatless along the ranks, in and out among the British soldiers, cheering his men, dashing alone against the enemy’s lines, and by emulation causing his men to gain the victory. October 7, 1777.

206. Who had their ears licked by serpents while asleep?

It is said that Cassandra and Helenus were gifted with the power of prophecy, because serpents licked their ears while they were sleeping in the Temple of Apollo.

207. What maid was changed into a spider?

Arachne was changed into a spider by Athenæ (Minerva).

208. Whom did Jupiter change into a nightingale?


209. What was the location of the celebrated garden of the Hesperides?

The garden of the Hesperides was supposed to be at the foot of Mount Atlas, Greece. The Scilly Islands, ten miles from the Land’s End of England, were known to the ancients as the Hesperides.


210. What pious couple was changed into an oak and a lime?

Philemon and Baucis were changed into trees by Zeus (Jupiter).

211. Who obtained divine rank by a leap into the sea?


212. What is the “tin-cry”?

The “cry of tin” is a crackling sound when a piece of block-tin or of solder containing tin is bent. If held near the ear it is very distinct. The sound is attributed to its crystalline structure, and the molecular motion caused by bending. Cast zinc, which breaks before it will bend, emits sound when pinched with pliers or between the teeth. An article on the “cry of tin” may be found in the Scientific American for June 11, 1881, p. 373.

213. What is Cleopatra’s Needle?

The name of an Egyptian obelisk, and an absurd misnomer, as it was erected in the “twelfth dynasty,” a thousand years before Joseph. It is a block of syenite, weighing about two hundred tons; was erected at Heliopolis, brought to Alexandria by Cleopatra, and placed in front of the palace of the Cæsars. It now stands in Central Park, New York City.

214. What is the toad-stone?

Toad-stone is a variety of trap-rock of a brownish color, found in Derbyshire, England. It is not named from a toad, but has been derived from the German words todt and stein, 70 meaning “dead-stone,” as it never contains metallic ores. The jewel or precious stone once popularly supposed to be in the head of the toad, has been called a toad-stone. Shakespeare called it a “precious jewel.” The name toad-stone or bufonite has been given to the fossil tooth of the fossil fish Pycnodus, supposed to have wonderful medical and magical properties.

215. What is Prince Rupert’s Drop?

Drops of molten glass, consolidated by falling into water. Their form is that of a tadpole. The thick end may be hammered pretty smartly without breaking it, but if the smallest portion of their end is nipped off, the whole flies into fine dust, with explosive violence. These toys, if not invented by Prince Rupert, were introduced by him into England.

216. What place was regarded as the entrance of hell?

Acherusia, a cavern on the borders of Pontus, in Asia Minor, was fabled to lead to hell, or the infernal regions. Through this cavern Hercules was believed to have dragged the three-headed watch-dog of hell, Cerberus, to the earth.

In the volcanic districts of Tuscany an abundance of boron is found. Throughout an area of nearly thirty miles is a wild, mountainous region of terrible violence and confusion. The surface is rugged and blasted. Everywhere there issue from the ground jets of steam, filling the air with offensive odors. The earth itself shakes beneath the feet, and frequently yields to the tread, engulfing man and beast. “The waters below are heard boiling with strange noises, and are seen breaking out upon the surface. Of old it was regarded as the entrance to hell. The peasants pass 71 by in terror, counting their beads and imploring the protection of the Virgin.”

Lake Avernus, in Campania in Italy, was also called by Virgil the entrance to the infernal region, to which the descent was easy. (There are a hundred thousand licensed and unlicensed entrances in the United States.)

217. Why do not stones burn as well as wood?

Because they are already oxidized or burnt. They are forms of ashes, or products of combustion. Some unoxidized stones, as mineral coal, will burn as well as wood.

218. What is the story of Prince San Severo?

A certain Prince San Severo, at Naples, exposed some human skulls to the action of several reagents, and then to the heat of a furnace. From the product he obtained a substance which burned for months without apparent loss of weight. The prince refused to divulge the process, as he wished his family-vault to be the only once to possess a “perpetual lamp,” the secret of which he considered himself to have discovered.

219. What is “fox-fire”?

A kind of rotten wood, which at night resembles a mass of glow-worms, and owes its light to the decaying micelium of a fungus.

220. What produces “green stars”?

For fireworks, green stars are made by burning a composition of baryta nitrate and charcoal, sometimes with potassium chlorate and arsenic sulphide. It is packed in a small box, like a pill-box, and ignited as required, usually 72 in the air by a rocket. Green Stars, in Astronomy, are usually associated with red, as binary stars. Nobody knows “what causes them.”

221. Where is there an “Inverted Volcano”?

The Sculptured Rocks of Lake Superior furnish an example. The strata of the Pillared Rocks form a wall fifty to one hundred feet high, and line the shore for a distance of five miles. Their marked hues and fantastic shapes excite the imagination of every beholder. Here is “Miner’s Castle,” with its turrets and bastions; there “Sail Rock,” a ship with sails fullspread; and yonder “The Amphitheatre,” with its symmetrical curves. A closer inspection only reveals more curious details and resemblances.

222. When did the reign of the gigantic reptiles terminate?

With the Cretaceous geological period. How long ago this was in years, no one knows, but it was before the tertiary system, which covers the eastern coast of the United States from New Jersey to Texas.

223. What frog-like quadruped often attained the size of an ox?

The frog-like animal that in the triassic portion of the Mesozoic period was as large as an ox, was the Labyrinthodon.

224. What fish stick their heads in the mud?

The mud-fish or Lepidosiren of tropical rivers, really a link between true fishes and reptiles, buries itself in the mud. Also a fresh-water fish, of the genus Cobitis, is called 73 the mud-fish from its mud-seeking habits. A species of Catfish — Pimelodus — resembling the Bullhead or Horned Pout is called the Mudpout because it plows into the mud at the bottom of rivers and creeks.

225. What are “California diamonds”?

They are crystals of quartz, the most abundant of all minerals. They are sometimes cut and set by jewelers and sold as “white topaz,” but often as “California diamonds.”

226. What are mesas?

High plains or table-lands; from the Spanish mesa, table; Latin mensa. In Pacific Railroad Report, vol. i. p. 84, B. the “mesa or table-land character” of certain areas is noticed. There is a diminutive form Mesilla used where they occur on a smaller scale. Maury in Physical Geography, p. 31, note, states: “A mesa is a gentle knoll swelling gradually.”

227. When was the Icthyosaurus discovered?

It was first described to the scientific world in the Philosophical Transactions for 1814, by Sir Everard Home, of London, England. He called it a “reptile with the muzzle of a dolphin, the teeth of a crocodile, the head of a lizard, the paddles of a whale, and the vertebræ of a fish.” The year 1814 may be taken as the date of the discovery to men of science, though parts of the strange fossil had been found by workmen before.

228. What causes the white streaks on a plastered wall?

The simple explanation is that the “white streaks” indicate the location of the joists in large buildings, and that 74 while the air has filtered through the wall, depositing its dust, the portion of the ceiling touching the beams is protected from this process of filtration, and retains its natural or original color — white.

Or, in the words of Professor N. B. Webster, A. M., of Norfolk, Virginia: “The white streaks on plastered ceilings, often noticed in churches and halls, are always just under beams or joists, the intermediate spaces being darkened by deposits of dust in the air that have filtered upward through the porous plaster on laths; but the beams made an obstruction to the passage of the air, so, as it did not pass through the plaster under them, the plaster there was not colored. The plastered ceiling is a strainer for the air constantly passing through it when the air on opposite sides is not of the same temperature.”

229. What causes the sweating of a pitcher?

The pitcher being colder than the surrounding atmosphere condenses the moisture.

230. How did the character £ come into use to denote pounds, and what does it signify?

It is from the old English black-letter L, the abbreviation for Libra — a pound weight; because anciently the pound money was by law a pound weight of silver.

231. Is it historically true that the dollar sign $ is a contraction of U. S.?

Writers are not agreed as to the derivation of this sign to represent dollars. Some say that it comes from the letters U. S., which, after the adoption of the Federal Constitution, were prefixed to the Federal currency, and were afterwards, 75 in the hurry of writing, run into one another, the U being made first and the S over it. On the reverse of the Spanish dollar is a representation of the Pillars of Hercules, and round each pillar is a scroll, with the inscription plus ultra. The device, in the course of time, has degenerated into the sign which stands at present for American as well as Spanish dollar — $ “The scroll round the pillars,” states one writer, “I take it, represents the two serpents sent by Juno to destroy Hercules in his cradle.” Similarly, another author writes: “The combination of the Pillars of Hercules, supposed to have been planted at the mouth of the Mediterranean, and the serpent, form the original source of our dollar-mark. Probably in imitation of the ancient coins of Tyre.” Others state that it is derived from the contraction of the Spanish word pesos, dollars; that it is from the Spanish fuertes, hard — to distinguish silver from paper money. The more plausible explanation is that it is a modification of the figure 8, and denotes a piece of eight reals, or, as the dollar was formerly called, a piece of eight. It was then designated by the figures 8/8.

232. Where were the “Seven Cities of Cibola”?

Much interest has been taken by antiquarians to find the site of the “Seven Cities,” and the wonderful expedition of Coronado to find these Aztec, or ante-Aztec, wonders, which were, in all probability, nothing more than a number of huts or small villages separated into seven divisions, was discussed in the publications of the Smithsonian Institution, several years ago. One supposition is that the name is a corruption of Cipango (China), as the Spaniards then thought they were in the West India. From an account of M. De La Salle’s Expedition, by Cavalier Touti (translated in English), we clip the following: “We saw . . . . four-footed creatures 76 of all sorts, especially one large sort of oxen which they call Cibolas; these are raised like a camel from the chin to the middle of the back; they feed among the canes, and go together sometimes no less in number than fifteen hundred.” This evidently refers to the bison, usually called buffalo.

The account of Coronado’s march in search of the “Seven Cities of Cibola,” by General J. H. Simpson, United States Army, published in Report of Smithsonian Institution for 1869, occupies about 33 pages. From this account we learn that “in the year 1530, Nuño de Guzman, president of New Spain, was informed by his slave, an Indian from the province of Tejos, situated somewhere north from Mexico, that in his travels he had seen cities so large that they might compare with the city of Mexico; that these cities were seven in number, and had streets which were exclusively occupied by workers in gold and silver, and that to reach them, a journey of forty days through a desert was required.”

These were the “Seven Cities of Cibola” which Gallatin, Squier, Whipple, and others have contended were near Zuñi. On the contrary Emory and Abert of the United States Army have conjectured that Cibolletta, Moquino, Pojnati, Covero, Acoma, Laguna, and Poblacon, a group of villages some ninety miles east of Zuñi, furnish the site of the seven cities. Mr. Morgan in North American Review, April, 1869, suggests the ruins of Chaco, a hundred miles northeast of Zuñi, as the site. The account it too long to copy at length, but will repay perusal by such as can have access to the authorities indicated.

233. In what country are cats minus tails?

Manx or Cornish cats are tailless, but they are not now confined to one country.


234. Who said: “I am for my country, right or wrong”?

Commodore Stephen Decatur, United States Navy, at a public dinner given in Norfolk, Virginia, about the year 1817, gave this toast: “Our country, right or wrong.” These were the words, and this was the occasion.

235. How do grasshoppers breathe?

They respire neither by means of lungs nor gills, but the air which enters by the breathing-pores is conveyed by tubes to all parts of the body.

236. When and how did the horse-shoe come to be an omen of Good Luck?

Horse-shoes were at one time nailed up over doors as a protection against witches. It is lucky to pick up a horse-shoe. Why? This was from the notion that a horse-shoe was a protection against witches. For the same reason our superstitious forefathers loved to nail a horse-shoe on their house-door. Lord Nelson had one nailed to the mast of his ship Victory. In the Tower of London is a highly curious suit of armor worn by King Henry VIII. (1490-1547), which was a present from the Emperor Maximilian I. of Germany (1459-1519) to the English king, on his marriage in 1509 with Katharine of Arragon. Upon it is the congratulatory word “Gluck,” a word from the Gothic languages signifying prosperity. As armors went “out of fashion,” the term was transferred to ordinary metal — and why not to the horse-shoe! and the term above indicated lengthened, by misapprehension or otherwise, into the expression Good Luck. This is our hypothesis.


237. Where is the “Home of the Gold”?

Somewhere in southwestern New Mexico, in the Sierra Madre, it is said, there is a wonderful valley. Small, inclosed in high, rocky walls, and accessible only through a secret passage, which is known to but few, is this extraordinary place. It is about ten acres in extent, and, running across it, is a ledge of pure gold about thirty feet wide, which glistens in the sunlight like a great golden belt. The vivid imagination of the Mexican has built upon it tales of men who have found this wonderful place. One is that a certain José Alvarrez, while wandering through the mountains in search of game, saw the valley from the top of one of the walls. Finding that he could not hope to enter it by climbing down, he took up his abode with the Indians who guard the cañon leading into it. The daughter of the chief fell in love with him, and betrayed the secret to him. Having been shown the entrance, José went in, and possibly would have managed to escape with some of the gold had he not weighed himself to such an extent that he could not get up the declivity at the lower end of the passage. He was discovered, and the Indians sacrificed him on the golden ledge with all the terrible ceremonies of the old Aztec religion. The girl, in despair at losing him, threw herself from the high walls into the valley below. Hundreds of prospectors have spent months of toil trying to find the Madre d’Oro, but, it is scarcely necessary to state, with no result.

238. What general has two graves?

General Wayne’s remains (“Mad Anthony” of the Revolution, whom the Indians called the “Town-Destroyer” and the “Sleepless Chief”), which were exhumed at Eric, in the old fort, and brought over the mountains in a box, 79 seventy-six years ago, are in the old church at Radnor. There has been a story current that all his bones were not collected at the exhumation, and this has given origin to the statement of a man having two graves.

239. How much did England pay per head for the Hessians?

For twenty-two thousand Hessians, King George paid 21,276,778 thalers, or about $700 a head.

240. When did cats, dogs, sheep, and other animals cause the capture of a city?

In the year 525 B. C., when Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, placed these animals (sacred to the Egyptians) before his army, defeated Psammenitus in a pitched battle, took Memphis, and conquered Egypt. Diodorus tells us that whoever killed a cat, even by accident, was by the Egyptians punished by death.

241. To whom were a bird, a mouse, a frog, and five arrows, sent as a present?

When Darius Hystapes invaded Scythia about 510 B. C., the Scythian ruler sent him a bird, a frog, a mouse, and five arrows. As interpreted by Gobryas, one of the lords that had deposed the Magian impostor, it reads thus: “Know,” says he to the Persians, “that unless you can fly in the air like birds, or hide yourselves in the earth like mice [moles], or dive under the water like frogs, you shall in no wise be able to avoid the arrows of the Scythians.

Darius accepted this view of the matter and retired to his own country.


242. Who betrayed the secret path at the Pass of Thermopylæ to Xerxes?

Epialtes, the traitor, a Trachinian.

243. Who puzzled Solomon?

Abdemon, a Tyrian, is said to have puzzled him with his subtle questions.

244. How many Athenians fell at Marathon?

One hundred and ninety-two. With the marble, that the Persians had brought to erect a pillar commemorative of their supposed victory, the Greeks made a monument, and on it were inserted the names of these immortal dead.

245. Who was the first Indian to become a Christian?

Manteo was the first Indian to embrace Christianity. He was baptized on the thirteenth day of August, 1587. He was invested with the power of Baron or Lord of Roanoke. This was done by the members of the “Lost Colony.”

246. Who was Madame Chanoyes?

The French woman who dragged Captain John Smith from the hungry waves of the Mediterranean, when he was about drowned, — he had been thrown overboard from a ship, — nursed him back to life and health, and “loved him for the dangers he had passed.”

247. What are the “Summer Isles” to which reference is made in Captain John Smith’s Generall Historie?

The Bermudas. The wreck of the Sea Adventure, carrying the three commissioners, Gates, Somers, and Newport, to 81 the Virginia colony in 1609, upon these islands, is supposed to be a part of the plot upon which Shakespeare based his drama of The Tempest.

248. Who were the Budians?

A Scythian tribe were so called who were famous for their blue eyes and red hair.

249. What was the cause of “the slaughter of the Magi”?

The enraged Persians, when they learned of the deception practised upon them by the false Smerdis, the Magian, who had seized the throne, passing himself off as Smerdis, the son of Cyrus the Great (whose death, by order of Cambyses, was known to him, but not to the people), fell upon these priests and massacred them. 521 B. C..

250. What were the Sicilian Vespers?

The massacre of eight thousand French by the people of Sicily on Easter Monday, in 1282 (March 30). It began at Palermo, as the bell was tolling for evening service, and hence it has taken this quaint title.

251. When was gunpowder invented?

It is said to have been first used in Europe on March 28, 1380, by the Venetians against the Genoese. The discovery of the power of powder is attributed to Berthold Schwartz, a monk of Mayence, about 1300, though it is said to have been known in India very early, and obtained from that country by the Arabians, who employed it in a battle near Mecca in 690. The use of gunpowder at the battles of Cressy and Poictiers in 1346 is questioned. Rabelais says 82 that the art of printing was invented about the same time by divine inspiration, as a match for the devil’s suggestion of artillery.

252. Who is the “father of Russian poetry”?

Michael Lomonozof, who died April 4, 1764. He rose from the humble occupation of a fishmonger to be a philosopher of no mean pretensions; published a history of the Russian sovereigns, and an ancient history of Russia, from the origin of the nation. His odes are greatly admired for originality of invention, sublimity of sentiment, and energy of language.

253. Who was Laura de Noves?

The love of Petrarch. She was descended from a Provençal family which became extinct in the sixteenth century, inherited a large fortune by the death of her father, and married Hugh de Sade, of Avignon. She was considered the most beautiful woman of the city. Petrarch says it was six o’clock in the morning of the sixth of April, 1327, that he first saw her in the church of the nuns of Saint Clara; and it was the same hour of the same day, 1348, that she died of the plague. Nearly two centuries after, some antiquarians having obtained permission to open her grave, found a parchment enclosed in a leaden box, containing a sonnet* bearing Petrarch’s signature.

*  [Elf.Ed. See The Sonnet placed in Laura's Tomb by Petrarch.]

254. Who was Joice Heath?

A blind negress who had been carried about the country as a show, under the pretence that she was one hundred and sixty-two years of age, and had been the nurse of General Washington, dying in New York on February 22, 1836. A post-mortem examination proved that she could not have been more than eighty years old.


255. When was the mutiny of the crew of the Bounty?

It occurred on the twenty-eighth of April, 1789, while the ship was returning from Otaheite with a cargo of fruit trees to stock the West India Islands. The vessel had on board ten hundred and fifteen plants of the bread-fruit tree. Lieutenant Bligh and nineteen of the crew were compelled to go into an open boat; “they reached the Island of Timor in June, after a perilous voyage of twelve hundred leagues.”

256. Who set fire to the Temple of Diana?

Eratostratus, an Ephesian youth who fondly panted for an infamous reputation, on the night of June 6, 356 B. C. (On this day was born Alexander the Great.)

257. What is the Index Expurgatorius?

A catalogue of the books prohibited by the Church of Rome, first made by the Inquisitors, and approved by the Council of Trent, 1559. The Index of heretical books, by which the reading of the Scriptures was forbidden (with certain exceptions) to the laity, was confirmed by a bull of Pope Clement VIII. in 1595. Most of the celebrated works of France, Spain, Germany, and England are prohibited. On June 25, 1864, Hugo’s Les Miserables and many other books were added to the number. Several books were inserted in it in January, 1866.

258. When was the Battle of Great Bridge fought?

December 9, 1775. This was but a short time before the destruction of Norfolk, January 1, 1776. There was not a building left undestroyed in the city but a shed and St. Paul’s Church. The latter still stands, an historic monument, 84 with a cannon-ball, fired from the British vessel Liverpool, wedged in between the granite blocks.

The patriots in Virginia had been very successful from the beginning of the Revolution. After Governor Dunmore had been driven to the shelter of the British war-ships, he collected a motley force of royalists, and began to desolate southeastern Virginia. The “minute-men” gathered in large numbers to oppose him, and at the Great Bridge near the Dismal Swamp was fought this severe battle. Dunmore, defeated and humiliated, returned to his ships at Norfolk, and burnt the city in revenge.

259. When was Ket’s Rebellion?

In July, 1549, William Ket, a tanner, of Norfolk, England, demanded the abolition of inclosures and the dismissal of evil counsellors. The insurgents amounted to twenty thousand men, but were quickly defeated by the Earl of Warwick. More than two thousand fell. Ket was tried, and hanged August 27, 1549.

260. Who was the “Man with the Iron Mask”?

There have been many conjectures as to his identity. The two best are, that he was a son of Anne of Austria, queen of Louis XIII., his father being the Cardinal Mazarin (to whom that dowager-queen was privately married) or the Duke of Buckingham; or that he was the twin-brother of Louis XIV., whose birth was concealed to prevent civil dissensions in France, which it might one day have caused. This last conjecture was received by Voltaire and many others. It has been more recently supposed that Fouquet, an eminent statesman in the time of Louis XIV., was the Marquis de Fer; and a Count Matthioli, Secretary of State to Charles III., Duke of Mantua, is thought by M. Delort 85 in a later publication, to have been the victim. The Right Honorable Apgar Ellis (afterward Lord Dover), in an interesting narrative, endeavors to prove Matthioli to have been the person. The mask, it seems, was not made of iron, but of black velvet, strengthened with whalebone, and fastened behind the head with a padlock.

*  [Elf.Ed. For a long discussion of this mysterious masked man, see onsite The Man in the Iron Mask, by Reuben Parsons, in Some Lies and Errors of History and the link there to another theory, also on Elfinspell.]

261. Who aided Napoleon to escape from Elba?

Count Lavalette, and for this he was condemned to death, but escaped from prison in the clothes of his wife, during a last interview, December 20, 1815. Sir Robert Wilson, Michael Bruce, Esq., and Captain J. H. Hutchinson, were convicted of aiding the escape, and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment in the French capital, April 24, 1816. Lavalette was permitted to return to France in 1820, and died in retirement, in 1830.

262. What were the Lemures?

The ancients supposed that the soul, after death, wandered over the world, and disturbed the peace of the living. The happy spirits were called Lares familiares, and the unhappy, Lemures. The Roman festival called Lemuralia, kept on May 9, 11, 13, was instituted by Romulus about 747 B. C., probably to propitiate the spirit of the slaughtered Remus.

263. What was the origin of Lynch Law?

A punishment inflicted by private individuals, independently of the legal authorities, is said to derive its name from John Lynch, a farmer, who exercised it upon the fugitive slaves and criminals dwelling in the “Dismal Swamp,” North Carolina, when they committed outrages upon persons and property which the colonial law could not promptly 86 repress. This mode of administering justice began about the end of the seventeenth century, and is still practised occasionally in some parts of our country.

264. What were the Nemean Games?

The games celebrated at Nemea, in Achaia, which were originally instituted by the Argives in honor of Archemorus, who died by the bite of a serpent; Hercules some time afterward renewed them, 1226 B. C. The conqueror was rewarded with a crown of olives, afterward of green parsley, in memory of the adventure of Archemorus, whom his nurse laid down on a sprig of that plant. They were celebrated every third year, or, according to some authorities, on the first and third year of every Olympiad, 1226 B. C.. They were revived by the Emperor Julian, A. D. 362, but ceased in 396.

265. When was the massacre at Paoli?

On the night of the twentieth of September, 1777, a corps of fifteen hundred Americans, under General Wayne, were attacked in their camp, near the Paoli tavern, in Pennsylvania, by a party of British and Hessians under General Greig, and about three hundred of them were killed or mortally wounded in the gloom. Fifty-three of them were found upon the ground the next morning, and were buried in one grave. A marble monument stands over that sepulchre.

266. When was the first feat of pedestrianism?

Euchidas, a citizen of Platæa, went from thence to Delphi to bring the sacred fire. This he obtained, and returned with it the same day before sunset, having travelled one 87 hundred and twenty-five miles. No sooner had he saluted his fellow-citizens and delivered the fire, than he fell dead at their feet. The courier Phidippides ran from Athens to Sparta to ask for aid, before the battle of Marathon. He ran one hundred and fifty miles in forty-eight hours.

267. Who was Peter the Wild Boy?

A savage creature found in the forest of Hertswold, electorate of Hanover, when George I. and his friends were hunting. He was found walking on his hands and feet, climbing trees like a squirrel, and feeding on grass and moss, November, 1725. At this time he was supposed to be thirteen years old. The king caused him to taste of all the dishes at the royal table; but he preferred wild plants, leaves, and the bark of trees, upon which he had lived from his infancy. No efforts of the many philosophic persons about court could entirely vary his savage habits, or cause him to utter one distinct syllable. He died February, 1785, at the age of seventy-two. Lord Monboddo represented him to be a proof of the hypothesis that “man in a state of nature is a mere animal.”

268. For what is Norfolk Island noted?

As the residence of the descendants of the ten mutineers from the ship Bounty who were discovered accidentally living on Pitcairn’s Island in 1814. The mutineers had married some black women from a neighboring island, and had become a singularly well-conducted community under the fostering care of Adams, the principal mutineer. Obtaining the favor of the English government, through their priest, the Rev. Mr. Nobbs, they were removed, with all their property, in the ship Morayshire, on May 3, and landed, after a boisterous passage, on Norfolk Island with 88 two thousand sheep, four hundred and fifty head of cattle, and twenty horses, and stores given to them to last twelve months; their numbers were ninety-six males and one hundred and two females.

269. Where is Pompey’s Pillar?

It stands about three quarters of a mile from Alexandria, between the city and Lake Mareotis. The shaft is fluted, and the capital ornamented with palm-leaves; the whole, which is highly polished, composed of three pieces, and of the Corinthian order. The column measures, according to some, ninety-four feet; and others, one hundred and forty-one, and even one hundred and sixty feet; but of its origin, name, use, and age, nothing is certain. It is, however, generally believed that the column has no reference to Pompey, to whom a mark of honor was nevertheless set up somewhere in that part of the world.

270. Who was Pope Joan?

It is asserted that in the ninth century, a female named Joan conceived a violent passion for a young monk named Felda, and in order to be admitted into his monastery, assumed the male habit. On the death of her lover she entered upon the duties of professor, and, being very learned, was elected pope, when Leo IV. died, in 855. Other scandalous particulars follow; and Gibbon writes: “Yet until the Reformation, the tale was repeated and believed without offense”; and “A most palpable forgery is the passage of Pope Joan, which has been foisted into some MSS. and editions of the Roman Anastasius. The two years of Joan’s imaginary reign are forcibly inserted between Leo IV. and Benedict III. But the contemporary Anastasius indissolubly links the death of Leo and the 89 elevation of Benedict, and the accurate chronology of Pagi, Muratori, and Leibnitz fixes both events in the year 857.” There are many notes and opinions on this much-discussed subject antagonistic to Gibbon’s idea. Morny du Plesis writes in his commentaries of Damascus, Pandulfe, and Pisa, that he had seen the woman’s name inserted in the margin between Leo IV. and Benedict III. Petrarch affirmed the existence of a female pope as a certain fact, calling her Johannem Anglicum (from the theory that she was the daughter of an English couple), and adds that she was not entered in the catalogue of popes because she was a woman. Boccaccio also names her among the list of famous or illustrious women.

271. Where was Rosamond’s Bower?

Rosamond was daughter of Lord Clifford, and mistress of Henry II. about 1154. A conspiracy was formed by the queen, Prince Henry, and his other sons, against the king, on account of his attachment to her. Henry kept her in a labyrinth at Woodstock, where his queen, Eleanor, it is said, discovered her apartments by the clew of a silk thread, and poisoned her. She was buried at Godstow church, from whence Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, had her ashes removed, 1191.

272. What was the immediate cause of the “Sicilian Vespers”?

On Easter Monday, the chief conspirators had assembled at Palermo (in furtherance of their design against Charles of Anjou, as the French had become hateful to the Sicilians), and, while the French were engaged in festivities, a Sicilian bride happened to pass by with her train. She was observed by one Drochet, a Frenchman, who began to use her rudely, 90 under pretense of searching for arms. A young Sicilian, exasperated at this affront, stabbed him with his own sword; and a tumult ensuing, two hundred French were instantly murdered. The enraged populace now ran through the city, crying out: “Let the French die!” and, without distinction of rank, age, or sex, slaughtered all of that nation they could find.

273. What three joyous messages did Philip of Macedon receive in one day?

At the falling of Potidea a courier brought him the news of the birth of his son, Alexander the Great, and two other messengers reached his camp announcing that his racehorse had gained the prize at the games, and that Parmenio, his captain, had defeated the Illyrians.

Part V

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