We shall open this evening’s reading with a poem on Snuff, which perhaps does not require explanation to be admired, but as we remember to have heard in our younger days a legend connected with it, we shall abridge it for the amusement of our audience. Tradition says, that in days of yore, there lived in some corner of this island, a new married pair, whose conjugal harmony for nearly the first three months of their union, inspired them with a hope of claiming at the expiration of the year the celebrated Dunmow Flitch. But alas! earthly happiness is a fading flower, and the Demon of Discord, envious of their felicity, appeared in the pocket of the constant swain, in the form of a richly ornamented gold box filled with the most odoriferous aphalic snuff. This malignant dust, ever prone to cause irritation and disturb tranquillity, had much strange fascination for the astonished youth, that he was never easy except when pressing it between his finger and thumb, conveying it to his nostrils, or tapping the lid of his beautiful box. But in proportion as his affection for it increased, the anger and aversion of his fair partner augmented, till in the end a quarrel arose as loud and long as the well-known contest between Sir Charles and Lady Rackett about the Diamond and the Club. Fortunately, however, their guardian angel suggested the propriety of referring this most weighty matter to their aunt, a famous Sybil, who delivered her reply in the verses now about to be read.
Our only communication from Positive House is a letter from Sir Pertinax Townly. Having been let into the secret by Mr Scriblerus’s letter, we of course cannot pretend to share the alarm experienced by its inhabitants on account of the phantoms with which it appears to be haunted, nor can we approve Sir Pertinax’s conduct in opening Philemon’s letter, but on the whole, we are much amused by his vagaries, and wish that some of our correspondents would favour us with a vignette of Courtship among the Cheeses. We are sorry that our good friend Electromagus has been so long silent, but hope to receive from him an account of the approaching visit of Lord Aircastle and the destination of the prize.
We have read with peculiar pleasure the second number of L’Acerbo, on the probably origin of the popular and poetic notion that a perpetual spring has at some time prevailed on the face of the Earth, both for the spirit and fancy, and the arguments with which the ingenious author supports his opinion. We look upon it as the prospectus of much erudite and philosophical speculation. We should be much gratified if Mr Beauclerc would inform us, on what authority he asserts that the oscillations of the sun and planets were at the time of the Creation in equilibrio, and whether the lowest point of the obliquity of the ecliptic has been, or by any mode of calculation can be, ascertained. We also desire to be informed at what degree of inclination anything like a perpetual spring could be produced. Besides the pleasure that these discussions will afford, we think they may excite others in our intelligent circle equally amusing and curious; namely, whether, as the inclination of the ecliptic has attained its maximum and is receding, it may not recede till it coincides with the equator, and if it were possible for it to reverse its inclination till it ascends on the southern side, what would be the probable consequences. Would not such a change account for many of the phenomena which have puzzled the geologist?
We are not the less pleased with the conjectures relative to the existence of the long-lost Atlantis, and the peopling and worship of America which we think equally ingenious and not improbable, especially in the notion of the Atlantis having formed a connection between the Old World and the New, as the chain of islands between Africa and America appears like the fragments of some continent destroyed by a tremendous convulsion. It is evident that volcanic causes are still in operation there, from the recent rise and fall of the island of Sabrina, which carried with it the flag of Great Britain to assert her rights of discovery and dominion in the regions below.
We are much pleased with the Persian Tale tho’ it perhaps is rather too much extended. The features of “the Jew” certainly bear a very strong resemblance to those of “the Swede”, but we are not the less pleased with them on that account, tho’ sorry to find the Tales of the Four Nations already brought to a close. The lines with an Italian Motto are elegant, and the ballad entitled Emma not uninteresting.