Page images
PDF
EPUB

have not enumerated half the articles ; well, to work he went, and though I did not understand the object of his maneuvres, yet I could sufficiently discover that he did not succeed in any one operation. I was glad of that, I confess, and with good reason too: for, after he had fatigued himself with mischief, like a monkey in a china-shop, and had called the servants to clear every thing away, I took a view of the scene my parlour exhibited. I shall not even attempt a minute description ; suffice it to say, that he had overset his ink-stand, and stained my best mahogany table with ink; he had spilt a quantity of vitriol, and burnt a large hole in my carpet: my marble hearth was all over spotted with melted rosin; besides this, he had broken three china cups, four wine glasses, two tumblers, and one of my handsomest decanters. And, after all, as I said before, I perceived that he had not succeeded in any one operation. By the bye, tell your friend, the whitewash scribbler, that this is one means by which our closets become furnished with "halves of China bowls, cracked tumblers, broken wine-glasses, tops of tea-pots, and stoppers of departed decanters." I say, I took a view of the dirt and devastation my philosophic husband had occasioned ; and there I sat, like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief: but it worked inwardly. I would almost as soon the melted rosin and vitriol had been in his throat, as on my dear marble hearth and my beautiful carpet. It is not true that women have no power over their own feelings ; for, notwithstanding this provocation, I said nothing, or next to nothing: for I only observed, very pleasantly, what a lady of my acquaintance had told me, that the reason why philosophers are called literary men, is because they make a great litter : not a word more; however, the servant cleared away, and down sat the philosopher. A friend dropt in soon after—Your servant, Sir, how do you do ?" "O Lord! I am almost fatigued to death ; I have been all the morning making philosophical experiments.” I was now more hardly put to it to smother a laugh, than I had been just before to contain my rage: my precious went out soon after, and I, as you may suppose, mustered all my forces ; brushes, buckets, soap, sand, limeskins, and cocoa-nut shells, with all the powers of housewifery, were immediately employed. I was certainly the best philosopher of the two; for my experiments succeeded, and his did not. All was well again, except my poor carpet-my vitriolized carpet, which still continued a mournful memento of philosophic fury, or rather philosophic folly. The operation was scarce over, when in came my experimental philosopher, and told me, with all the indifference in the world, that he had invited six gentle. men to dine with him at three o'clock. It was then past one. I complained of the short notice. « Poh! poh !" said he, “ you can get a leg of mutton, and a loin of veal, and a few potatoes, which will do well enough.” Heaven! what a chaos must the head of a philosopher be! a leg of mutton, a loin of veal, and potatoes! I was at a loss whether I should laugh or be angry; but there was no time for de. termining : I had but an hour and a half to do a world of business in. My carpet, which had suffered in the cause of experimental philosophy in the morning, was destined to be most shamefully dishonoured in the afternoon by a deluge of nasty tobacco juice. Gentlemen smokers love segars better than carpets. Think, Sir, what a woman must endure under such circumstances : and then, after all, to be reproached with cleanliness, and to have her white-washings, her scourings, and scrubbings, made the subject of ridicule : it is more than patience can put up with. What I have now exhibited is but a small specimen of the injuries we sustain from the boasted superiority of men. But we will not be laughed out of our cleanliness. A woman would rather be called any thing than a slut, as a man would rather be thought a knave than a fool. I had a great deal more to say, but am called away; we are just preparing to white-wash, and of course I have a deal of business on my hands. The whitewash buckets are paraded, the brushes are ready, my husband is gone off-so much the better; when we are upon a thorough cleaning, the first dirty thing to be removed is one's husband. I am called for again. Adieu.

Vol. 1.

OF LIGHTNING, AND THE BEST METHOD OF GUARD

ING AGAINST ITS MISCHIEVOUS EFFECTS.

EXPERIMENT3 made in electricity first gave philosophers a suspicion, that the matter of lightning was the same with electric matter. Experiments afterwards made on lightning, obtained from the clouds by pointed rods, received into bottles, and subjected to every trial, have since proved this suspicion to be perfectly well founded ; and that whatever properiies we find in electricity, are also the properties of lightning.

This matter of lightning, or of electricity, is an extreme subtle fluid, penetrating other bodies, and subsisting in them, equally diffused.

When, by an operation of art or nature, there happens to be a greater proportion of this Auid in one body than in another, the body which has most will communicate to that which has least, till the proportion becomes equal, provided the distance between them be not too great; or, if it is too great, till there be proper conductors to convey it from one to the other.

If the communication be through the air, without any conductor, a bright light is seen between the bodies, and a sound is heard. In our small experiments, we call this light and sound the electric spark and snap; but in the great operations of nature, the light is what we call lightning, and the sound (produced at the same time, though generally arriving later at our ears than the light does to our eyes) is, with its echoes, called thunder. * If the communication of this fluid is by a conductor, it may be without either light or sound, the subtle fluid passing in the substance of the conductor.

If the conductor be good and of sufficient bigness, the fluid passes through it without hurting it. If otherwise, it is damaged or destroyed.

All metals, and water, are good conductors. Other bodies may become conductors by having some quantity of water in them, as wood, and other materials used in building, but not having much water in them, they are not good conductors, and therefore are often damaged in the operation.

Glass, wax, silk, wool, hair, feathers, and even wood perfectly dry, are non-conductors : that is, they resist instead of facilitating the passage of this subtle fluid

When this fluid has an opportunity of passing through two conductors, one good, and sufficient, as of metal, the other not so good, it passes in the best, and will follow it in any direction.

The distance at which a body charged with this fluid will discharge itself suddenly, striking through the air into another body that is not charged, or not so highly charged, is different according to the quantity of the fluid, the dimensions and form of the bodies themselves, and the state of the air between them. This distance, whatever it happens to be between any two bodies, is called their striking dis

« PreviousContinue »