Gleanings From The Past #33

A Will for the Cats

A Mr. Jonathan Jackson, of Columbus, Ohio, died some thirty years ago, leaving orders to his executors to erect a cats’ home, the plans and elevation of which he had drawn out with great care and thought. The building was to contain dormitories, a refectory, areas for conversation, grounds for exercise, and gently sloping roofs for climbing, with rat-holes for sport, an ‘auditorium’ within which the inmates were to be assembled daily to listen to an accordion, which was to be played for an hour each day by an attendant, that instrument being the nearest approach to their natural voices. An infirmary, to which were to be attached a surgeon and three or four professed nurses, was to adjoin the establishment.

— Appletons’ Journal, Vol. 9, October 1880

Lawyers and Astrology

I never heard a finer piece of satire against lawyers than that of astrologers, when they pretend, by rules of art, to foretel in what time a suit will end, and whether to the advantage of the plaintiff or defendant : thus making the matter depend entirely upon the influence of the stars, without the least regard to the merits of the cause!

— Jonathan Swift, quoted in Thomas Roscoe’s The Works of Jonathan Swift, 1868


There are some persons that never arrive at any deep, solid, or valuable knowledge in any science, or any business of life, because they are perpetually fluttering over the surface of things, in a curious or wandering search of infinite variety: ever reading, hearing, or asking after something new, but impatient of any labour to lay up and preserve the ideas they have gained. Their souls may be compared to a looking-glass, which, wheresoever you turn it, receives the images of all objects, but retains none.

— Isaac Watts, Logic: Or, the Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth, 1811

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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

14 thoughts on “Gleanings From The Past #33

  1. What an interesting choice of subjects. If you take the third, and apply it to the others: at the depth of a cat is a killing machine that hunts with no need to feed, but merely out of instinct. And often brings live prey home to play with. And lawyers collect, manage, quote, out of a need to control a situation. Domination. And perhaps a sense of joy at winning. Is this also instinct? Or a shield to keep the outside world out? So if you crossed the depths of a cat, with the depths of a lawyer, you would get…Purrr-a-lot Holmes?

    Liked by 1 person

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