Gleanings from the Past #92

Etymology of Peebles Dr. Dalgleish, minister of Peebles, in giving a statistical account of that parish for Sir John Sinclair’s immense compilation, simply stated, that the place must have derived its name from the pebbles which are found there in great quantity. The more elaborate antiquary George Chalmers, by a tolerable pun for a man […]

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Gleanings from the Past #91

Monotony The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the […]

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Some Weird Index Cross-References

The Monthly Magazine for June 1801 talked about a weird and curious cross-references found in William Hawkins’ Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown (1795, 7th ed.). The magazine observed that “a plain, unlettered man is led to suspect that the writer of the volume and the writer of the index are playing at cross purposes.” Here are some […]

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Decide

In The Devil’s Dictionary (1906), Ambrose Bierce defined “Decide” as “to succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.” What followed is this short verse: A leaf was riven from a tree, “I mean to fall to earth,” said he. The west wind, rising, made him veer. “Eastward,” said he, “I […]

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A Witty Exchange

  George Bernard Shaw (left) and Winston Churchill (right) When playwright George Bernard Shaw started a new play, he invited Winston Churchill to attend the opening night. He thought of a witty message, then wired the following invitation to Churchill: Have reserved two tickets for my first night. Come and bring a friend, if you […]

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The Big Universe

In his book, The Book of Naturalists (1944), naturalist William Beebe related an interesting anecdote about him and his friend Theodore Roosevelt during his visits to Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt’s residence. Roosevelt and Beebe would go out after an evening of talk and dinner and search the night sky until they locate the faint spot of light-mist […]

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“To Blossom”

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree, Why do ye fall so fast? Your date is not so past; But you may stay yet here a while To blush and gently smile, And go at last. What, were ye born to be An hour or half’s delight; And so to bid good-night? ‘Twas pity Nature brought […]

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Wisdom from Around the World #1

Albanian: “For various reasons a good advice or a genuine warning is often disregarded or considered of no importance.” Arab: “Riches disclose bad qualities which poverty conceals.” Cambodian: “The immature rice stock stands erect; the mature stock hangs heavy with seeds.” Chinese: “There are two kinds of perfect people: those who are dead, and those […]

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Quotable #90: Silence

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.” — Attributed to Pythagoras Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a […]

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