Gleanings From The Past #25


To an Oppidan, a Ruricolist, or a Cosmopolitan, and may be entered upon immediately:

The House in STONE Row, lately possessed by CAPT. SIREE. To avoid Verbosity, the Proprietor with Compendiosity will give a Perfunctory description of the Premises, in the Compagination of which he has Sedulously studied the convenience of the Occupant. It is free from Opacity, Tenebrosity, Fumidity, and Injucundity, and no building can have greater Pellucidity or Translucency — in short, its Diaphaneity even in the Crepuscle makes it like a Pharos, and without laud, for its Agglutination and Amenity, it is a most Delectable Commorance; and whoever lives in it will find that the Neighbors have none of the Truculence, the Immanity, the Torvity, the Spinosity, the Putidness, the Pugnacity, nor the Fugacity observable in other parts of the town, but their Propinquity and Consanguinity occasion Jocundity and Pudicity — from which, and the Redolence of the place (even in the dog-days), they are remarkable for Longevity. For terms and particulars apply to JAMES HUTCHINSON, opposite the MARKET-HOUSE.

— Henry Sampson, A History of Advertising from the Earliest Times, 1875

Even Odds

Suppose that a person take an even number of coins or counters, or any such in one hand, and an odd number in the other, there is a simple method by which to tell in which hand the even number is. Ask the person to multiply the number in the right hand by an odd number, and the number in the left hand by an even number; then tell the person to add the two products together and tell you if the sum total be odd or even. If the sum be even, the even number is in the right hand, and if it be odd the even number is in the left hand.

— Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, January 1892

A Coincidence

We all went over to Mannheim, and dined at the hotel where, seventeen years before, I, being fourteen months old, was given away to my aunt, who was also my godmother, to live with her forever as if I were her own child, and never to see my own parents, as such, any more. […] When we returned to the station in the evening, we had a long time to wait for the train. On the platform was a poor woman, crying very bitterly, with a little child in her arms. Emmie Penrhyn, who was tender-hearted, went up to her, and said she was afraid she was in some great trouble. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it is about my little child. My little child, who is only fourteen months old, is going away from me forever in the train which is coming. It is going away to be adopted by its aunt, who is also its godmother, and I shall never, never have anything to do with it any more.’ It was of an adoption under exactly the same circumstances that we had been to Mannheim to keep the seventeenth anniversary!

— Augustus Hare, The Story of My Life, 1896


About Edmark M. Law

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. I blog at You can find me on Twitter @EdmarkLaw and Facebook. My email is
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15 Responses to Gleanings From The Past #25

  1. Pingback: Best All Around Blog Award Winner – Barely Organized

  2. Ady says:

    Was it really a ‘To let’ ad ! Feels like an essay in ‘who’s a smart realtor,’ competition 😁😁😁
    The memoir in the last was very moving, it must be a difficult feeling to relieve something like this one more time….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Best All Around Blog Award – Barely Organized

  4. If the building ‘To Be Let’ was indeed like a Pharos, I would have thought that rather anachronistic and superannuated!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found the “TO LET” to bring about an act of scrutinicity. Great post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. curioussteph says:

    To Let is a hoot! When I have time, there are a good many words for me to look up. Language does change.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Garfield Hug says:

    I wonder if I used that “To Let” advert will I ever get a tenant🤔….they might as the language is really fun and they might want to meet the cooky landlord 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David says:

    The TO LET author may have avoided Verbosity but he made up for it with an abundance of obfuscation.

    Liked by 1 person

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