Gleanings From The Past #32


An Excellent Dog

One of the carriers of a New York paper, called the Advocate, having become indisposed, his son took his place; but not knowing the subscribers he was to supply, he took for his guide a dog which had usually attended his father. The animal trotted on ahead of the boy, and stopped at every door where the paper was in use to be left, without making a single omission or mistake.

— Edward Jesse, Anecdotes of Dogs, 1858

Pulling a Fast One

Place a glass of wine upon a table, put a hat over it, and offer to lay a wager with any of the company that you will empty the glass without lifting the hat. When your proposition is accepted, desire the company not to touch the hat; and then get under the table, and commence making a sucking noise, smacking your lips at intervals, as though you were swallowing the wine with infinite satisfaction to yourself. After a minute or two, come from under the table, and address the person who took your wager with, ‘Now, sir.’ His curiosity being, of course, excited, he will lift up the hat, in order to see whether you have really performed what you promised; and the instant he does so, take up the glass, and after having swallowed its contents, say, ‘You have lost, sir, for you see I have drunk the wine without raising up the hat.’

Samuel Williams,The Boy’s Treasury of Sports, Pastimes, and Recreations, 1847


Dr. Cotton Mather, who was a man of uncommon dispatch and activity in the management of his numerous affairs, and improved every minute of his time, that he might not suffer by silly, impertinent, and tedious visiters, wrote over his study-door, in large letters, “Be short.”

Ursinus, a professor in the University of Heidelburgh, and a diligent scholar, to prevent gossips and idlers from interrupting him in his hours of study, wrote over the door of his library the following lines–“Friend, whoever thou art that comest hither, dispatch thy business or begone.”

The learned Scaliger placed the following sentence over the doors of his study–“Tempus meum est ager meus,” “My time is my field or estate.” And it is frequently the only valuable field which the labourer, in body or mind, possesses.

Ever hold time too precious to be spent
With babblers.–_Shakspeare._

“Friends,” says Lord Bacon, “are robbers of our time.”

— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 17, January 15, 1831

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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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