Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/120

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ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

later on: "Nothing kills the queen, however. It is really a great misfortune to be kept panting for breath so, and screaming with pain by medical skill: were she a subject, I suppose they would have released her long ago; but diseases and distresses of the human frame must lead to death at length," which was the case with the poor old queen, who died nine months after the date of the satire (in November, 1818).

The announcement of the marriages of four of her children this year, viz.: of the Princess Elizabeth to Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse Homburg; of Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, to Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg (and mother of Queen Victoria), on the 29th of May; of Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, to Augusta, daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse, on the 1st of May; and of William Henry, Duke of Clarence (afterwards William the Fourth), to Adelaide, daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, on the 11th of July, gave rise to a coarse though admirably executed caricature entitled, The Homburg Waltz, with Characteristic Sketches of Family Dancing, in which all these royal personages, with the Regent at their head, are seen prominently figuring amongst the dancers.

Invention of the Kaleidescope.A forgotten but ingenious instrument, the kaleidoscope, was invented by Sir David Brewster in 1818. The leading principles of the toy appear to have been accidentally discovered in the course of a series of experiments on the polarization of light by successive reflections between plates of glass. The invention of this now despised toy made a tremendous sensation at the time, and the inventor was induced to take out a patent for its protection; but he had, it appears, divulged the secret of its construction before he had secured the invention to himself, and the consequence was that, although "it made a hundred shopmen rich," it brought the inventor himself but little substantial benefit. This is explained by the fact that it was so simple in construction, that even when made without scientific accuracy, it served to delight as well as to amuse. So largely was it pirated, that it was calculated; that no fewer than two hundred thousand were sold in three months in London and Paris