Page:010 Once a week Volume X Dec 1863 to Jun 64.pdf/662

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654

ONCE A WEEK.

[June 4, 1864.


caused by lightning is borne out by the fact that artificial fulgurites have been made by French and English experimenters by transmitting a powerful electric shock through powdered sand and quartz.

The discovery of these curious effects has been limited to sandy localities, which, from their open position facing the sea, and from their not being protected by vegetation, appear to be peculiarly liable to the electric discharge. They have, however, also been found in the chalk cliffs of Dover and in the Isle of Wight by Dr. Bigsby. In some cases the fulgurite occurs as a solid and not a hollow tube; and Dr. Gibb calls attention to the presence of fossil fulgurites in the heart of London, viz., on a flagstone on the east side of Tottenham Court Road; also on the eastern side of Russell Square, close to Guilford Street. How little do the tens of thousands who daily hurry over the pavement know of the history of the stone on which their feet are treading. Little do they think that even if there are no remains of extinct forms embedded in the flag, it exhibits on its surface the atmospheric effects of rain, sunshine, storm and wind, of myriads of ages past, forming a subtle link between the busy world of to-day and the scarcely revealed world of eras so far back that they defy calculation or even imagination. There is deep matter for reflection even in a London pavement.

G. P. Bevan.




THE LOVE-CHEAT.

I.

She loved me, she said, and she swore it;
She swore it a thousand times:
She treasured my letters like jewels;
She learned and repeated my rhymes.

II.

And numberless tokens she gave me;
Her kisses were many and sweet;
And I thought her an angel from heaven
While she was but a womanly cheat.

III.

She robbed me of rest and of comfort,
And gave me bright hopes in return
And now, by the fireside lonely,
Her letters I smilingly burn.

IV.

For loud are the marriage-bells pealing;
The priest, too, is blessing the bride;
And she leans on the arm of another,
Who once was my love and my pride.

V.

Ah, well! let her live and be married:
Her letters are burnt, and I see
'Tis better be rid of such tokens,
And keep the heart healthy and free.

J. A. Langford.




CH-NG P-NG; OR THE SPHINX OF PEKIN.

Many centuries ago, when all countries and dynasties except China were yet young, there flourished in that wonderful empire a sovereign by race and temper a Tartar, who ruled his people with a rod of iron; his name was Ching Ping. Great and absolute monarch as he was, he was not, however, entirely supreme in his empire, for one, a female, ruled him; a lady, who, even more than her father, inherited all the attributes of the Tartar race, but of such a surpassing and miraculous beauty, that to see even her shadow was to become enamoured. Of course she had many suitors at the time of the opening of my tale, when she had just turned sixteen; but you must know that from her earliest girlhood she had had suitors, and nearly every sovereign in the known world had made proposals of marriage, and laid his own particular net to catch the mighty prize who was being dandled in her nurse's arms. The first proposal made to the Princess in person, whose name was Chang Pang, was at the age of fourteen, by a young emperor of India, an alliance which would have been honourable to both parties. It is said that on this occasion her heart was slightly touched with the blind god's dart, and the young emperor was apparently prospering in his suit, when chance—also, I believe, a blind goddess—threw in her way Confucius's "Treatise on Early Marriages," after perusing which she broke off the match, and the young emperor his neck, by casting himself in despair headlong from the summit of the palace walls. I have never heard whether this incident caused her any uneasiness, for she never lost her health, and she continued, as before, the reigning beauty of the Eastern world. But from that time forth she rejected all suitors, and had, as was believed, taken a vow of celibacy, to the great sorrow of her father the emperor, and the intense disgust of the court-ladies, who were jealous of her charms, and wished to see her married and, so to speak, "done for." Suitors still came in shoals, but she rejected them all, evinced a resolution not to change her maiden station, and, averse to husbands, resolved to husband her affection. Many thought her crazed, but not so her father, who was ever impressing upon her the importance to his own empire of her marriage with some great potentate.

Chang Pang, beautiful as she was, was of a cold and cruel disposition, and cared no more for what her father said than the idle wind; but latterly, at which time she was about