Gleanings From the Past #43



The deepest knowledge will not always command respect, without some attention to personal appearance. Hermannus Buschius, a celebrated teacher of languages in the sixteenth century, was bitterly irritated at finding that the very persons who had neglected to salute him when shabbily apparelled, paid him every possible respect when he had good clothes on. “Go,” said he, tearing his garments from his back, “wretched rags! Must I owe to you, and not to my learning and character, the civilities which I receive?”

The Atheneum, Vol. 6, November 1, 1819


There is something attractive in the contemplation of a river; it is not indeed so vast, so sublime, as that which we experience, when gazing on the boundless expanse of the world of waters — the mighty ocean; but it is more analogous to the mind of man in its mortal state — the one is the image of life, the other of eternity.

— Charlotte Campbell Bury, Self-indulgence: A Tale of the Nineteenth Century, 1812

Early Warning

There is likewise a provision there [at Holyhead] for the safety of the packets, which attracted my attention from never having known anything of the kind in my life. The Stag rock, on which the lighthouse is built, is connected with the main land by a chain-bridge. I was surprised at the number of sea-fowl upon the rock, and asked why they congregated in such numbers, and were regularly fed every day. The harbour-master told me that they were objects of his care and anxiety, for that when the packets in foggy weather could not make out any land, and finding by their lead they were close to the shore, they were in the habit of firing a gun, and at the report, the sea fowl flew up screaming, and thus indicated the position of the packet instantly. I tried that experiment when I was there, and found it answer inimitably.

— Evidence of Captain George Evans before the Parliamentary Committee on Post Office Communication with Ireland — Session April 25, 1842, cited in Reports from Committees: Post Office Communication with Ireland, Vol. 9, 1842

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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

8 thoughts on “Gleanings From the Past #43

      1. Possessing the beauty defined by societal standards has had its advantages at any time, at any place. Since the beginning of time, both men and women have sought to achieve the contemporary “ideal.” Take, for example, the rib-crushing corsets European women wore to the perfect hourglass shape, or foot-binding in China that deformed girls’ feet to emulate the three-inch golden lotuses of female royalty.
        Recent studies have confirmed what we already know about that unfortunate fact. Various studies have found that appearance has greater bearing on a woman’s perception of a man’s potentiality as a romantic partner than personality, even when the woman surveyed before that she cared more about personality.


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