Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/993

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967
STOOL—STOPPANI

Ontario, and Western railways. Other villages in the township are Grassy Point, where, as in Stony Point, brick-making is the principal industry; Tomkins Cove, where there are stone crushing works; and Jones Point, which has a trade in gravel, building sand and crushed stone. The surface of the township is rough — Dunderberg (1090 ft.) and Bear Mountain (1350 ft.) are the principal eminences, and there is good farming land only at the margin of the river. The township was named from a rocky promontory which juts into the river in the north-east part of the township and rises precipitously on all sides to a height of about 140 ft. above the river. A small part of the promontory is under the jurisdiction of the United States Government which has erected a lighthouse here, and the remaining portion was bought by the state in 1897 for a state battlefield reservation, and has been laid out as a public park. At the entrance to the park is a Memorial Arch (1909), designed by H. K. Bush-Brown and presented to the state by the Daughters of the American Revolution. On Iona Island in the north part of the township is a United States naval magazine. The promontory guards the lower passage to the Highlands of the Hudson, and during the War of Inde- pendence, when the King's Ferry between it and Verplanck' s Point on the opposite bank was part of an important line of communication between the New England and the Middle States, it was of considerable strategic importance. The Americans occupied it in November 1776, and about two years later erected a blockhouse upon it. The garrison, however, was very small, and on the 31st of May 1779, it was taken by the British, who immediately erected much stronger fortifications. On the night of the i5th/i6th of July it was recovered by General Anthony Wayne, in command of about 1350 picked American troops, the garrison (under Lieut.-Colonel Henry Johnson) losing 63 in killed, 70 in wounded, and 543 in captured. The American loss- was only 15 killed and 83 wounded. The Americans, however, had no thought from the first of holding the place and evacuated it on the 18th of July. The British immediately reoccupied it, and erected stronger fortifications, but late in October they, too, abandoned it. In the " old Treason House " in the township General Benedict Arnold and Major John Andre met before daylight on the 22nd of September 1780, to settle upon plans for the surrender of West Point by Arnold to the British.

See H. P. Johnston, The Storming of Stony Point (New York, 1900) ; H. B. Dawson, The Assault on Stony Point (Morrisania, N. Y., 1863); E. H. Hall and F. W. Halsey, Stony Point Batile-Field (New York, 1902); and D. Cole and E. Gay, History of Rockland County (ibid. 1884).


STOOL, a low seat without back or arms. The stool is an ancient piece of furniture which came into use when the need began to be felt for a seat more easily portable than heavy settles and benches — the chair was an appanage of rank and dignity to which no ordinary person dreamed of aspiring. Since it could also be used as a small table, it quickly became common. In the First Book of The Task William Cowper gives a sketch of the evolution of the stool which, for all its vapidity, is reasonably exact:—

"Joint stools were then created, on three legs
Upborn they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.

******

At length a generation more refined
Improved the simple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd,
Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tap'stry richly wrought,
And woven close, or needle-work sublime."

"Joint" or "joyned-stool" simply meant that the parts were joined or framed together with mortise and tenon. The wooden four-legged, square or oblong variety is often called a " coffin-stool." It may be perfectly true that it was used for supporting coffins, but that was merely one — and a very occasional one — of many uses, and the name is an entire misnomer. The round three-legged stool was a primitive construction, destitute of .ornament and rudely, as well as heavily, made. By the middle of the 16th century stools had acquired four legs, braced together by stretchers, and the frame was often well carved. As the Renaissance impulse waned, forms relapsed into cumbrous and unadorned, and, so far as the oak stool of the yeoman and the farmer was concerned, little ornamentation was attempted after the middle of the 17th century. These seats continued to be made until about the end of that period — until, indeed, the increasing cheapness of the chair and the growth of habits of comfort caused it to fall into disuse. Towards the end of the Stuart period the up- holstered stool reached England from France. It was not entirely unknown at an earlier date, but what had been an occa- sional luxury then became a common plenishing of the houses of the rich. The legs and stretchers took the " twisted form vermicular " of which the poet speaks — so far as their under- framing was concerned these stools were, to all intents and purposes, chairs. Thenceforward, indeed, they followed very closely the fashions in seats with backs, acquiring the cabriole leg, the claw and ball or pad feet, the carved knees and other characteristics of chairs. The footstool is probably more ancient than the stool itself. The ducking-stool was a contri- vance whereby scolding or drunken women could be ducked in a pond without danger. The stool of repentance was reserved, chiefly in Scotland, for the public penance of persons who had offended against morality. The " cutty-stool," which Jenny Geddes threw — or, according to Dr Hill Burton, did not throw — at the beginning of the riotous protests against Laud's Liturgy in St Giles's Church, Edinburgh, in 1637, was of the fald-stool variety. " Cutty " simply means short. A fald-stool was originally a folding stool used chiefly for ecclesiastical purposes. Eventually, while retaining the old name, it became rigid, and the designation has now been extended to a litany-desk. The camp-stool is immediately derived from the original form of the fald-stool. In France under the ancien regime, the stool, or tabouret, acquired a social and courtly significance of the first importance. The wives of princes, dukes, and a few of the highest dignitaries of the realm alone had the right to occupy a tabouret in the presence of the king, and ladies who became widows used every expedient of intrigue to retain a privilege which they regarded as the summit of earthly felicity. The prise du tabouret, when a lady first took possession of her seat, was an occasion of considerable ceremony.


STOOL-BALL, a game formerly very popular in England, and commonly considered as the ancestor of cricket. Joseph Strutt, writing in 1801, says of it: "I have been informed that a pastime called stool-ball is practised to this day in the northern parts of England, which consists simply in setting a stool upon the ground, and one of the players takes his place before it, while his antagonist, standing at a distance, tosses a ball with the intention of striking the stool, and this it is the business of the former to prevent by beating it away with the hand, reckoning one to the game for every stroke of the ball; if, on the contrary, it should be missed by the hand and touch the stool, the players change places; the conqueror at this game is he who strikes the ball most times before it touches the stool. I believe the same also happens if the person who threw the ball can catch and retain it when driven back, before it touches the ground." Some variety of the game, with modifications due to the develop- ment of cricket, has probably been played even since these days.


STOPPANI, ANTONIO (1824-1891), Italian geologist and palaeontologist, was born at Lecco on the 24th of August 1824, He became professor of geology in the Royal Technical Institute of Milan, and was distinguished for his researches on the Triassic and Liassic formations of northern Italy. Among his works were Paleontologie Lombarde (1858-1881); Les petrifactions d'£sino (1858-1860); Gtologie et palSontologie des conches A Avicula Contorta en Lombardie (1860-1865); Corso di geologia, (3 vols., 1871-1873); and L'Era Neozoica (1881). In this last work the author discussed the glaciation of the Italian Alps and the history of Italy during the Pleistocene age. He died at Milan on the 1st of January, 1891.