Gleanings From The Past #18


Little Henry

At length, the moon arose in great splendour, and little Henry saw at a distance an old abbey, all covered with ivy, and looking so dark and dismal, it would frighten any one from going in. But Henry’s little heart, occupied by the idea of his mamma, and with grief that he could not find her, felt no fear; but walking in, he saw a cell in the corner that looked like a baby-house, and, with Fidelle by his side, he bent his little steps towards it, and seating himself on a stone, he leaned his pretty head against the old wall, and fell fast asleep.

— The Extraordinary Adventures of Poor Little Bewildered Henry, Who was Shut up in an Old Abbey for Three Weeks, A Story Founded on Fact, 1850


A newsmonger is a retailer of rumour that takes up upon trust and sells as cheap as he buys. He deals in a perishable commodity that will not keep; for if it be not fresh it lies upon his hands and will yield nothing. True or false is all one to him; for novelty being the grace of both, a truth grows stale as soon as a lie; and as a slight suit will last as well as a better while the fashion holds, a lie serves as well as truth till new ones come up. He is little concerned whether it be good or bad, for that does not make it more or less news; and, if there be any difference, he loves the bad best, because it is said to come soonest; for he would willingly bear his share in any public calamity to have the pleasure of hearing and telling it. […] He tells news, as men do money, with his fingers; for he assures them it comes from very good hands. The whole business of his life is, like that of a spaniel, to fetch and carry news, and when he does it well he is clapped on the back and fed for it; for he does not take to it altogether, like a gentleman, for his pleasure, but when he lights on a considerable parcel of news, he knows where to put it off for a dinner, and quarter himself upon it until he has eaten it out; and by this means he drives a trade, by retrieving the first news to truck it for the first meat in season, and, like the old Roman luxury, ransacks all seas and lands to please his palate.

— Samuel Butler, quoted in Henry Morley’s Character Writings in the Seventeenth Century, 1891


“Dynamite” is a contraction for “die any minute”.

The Shamrock,  Vol. 13, February 12, 1876

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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