« PreviousContinue »
mum which may be easily procured even now: in fact, a man is prosecuted for the want of average attainments,, or average attention."
Yet was the Act, perhaps, a useful one, though it rested on the horns of a very foolish dilemma.
The province of Gascony, in France, is now divided into the four departments of the Landes, Gers, Arriege, and the Upper Pyrenees, and contains about a million of inhabitants. They have long been celebrated for their lively sallies, called Gasconades, (in French, Gasconnades, with two n's,) the point of which consists in an immoderate boasting of wit, wealth, or valour. The Dictionary of the French Academy, to illustrate the meaning of Gasconnade, gives, as an example:—" II dit qu'il sc battroit contre dix hommes; c'est une Gasconnade:" «. e. He says he would fight ten men; 'tis a Gasconade.
Of course, however, the fame of Gasconades does not depend on mere flat boasting like this, but on the intermixture of wit and piquancy with the most prodigious self-exaltation. The following are some of the best examples we have met with. We found them in one of the volumes of Constable's Miscellany.
A Gascon preacher stopped short in the pulpit: it was in vain that he scratched his head; nothing would come out. "My friends," said he, as he walked quietly down the pulpit stairs; "my friends, I pity you; for you have lost a fine discourse."
A young Gascon arrived at Paris for the first time-: it was in summer, and he went to see the Tuileries immediately on his arrival. When he saw the gallery of the Louvre; "Upon my honour," said he, "I like it vastly: methinks I see the back of my father's stables."
A Gascon officer hearing some one celebrating the exploits of a prince who, in two assaults upon a town, had killed six men with his own hand: "Bah !" said he,. " I would have you to know, that the very mattresses I sleep upon are stuffed with nothing else but the whiskers of those whom I have sent to slumber in the other world!"
A Gascon, in proof of his nobility, asserted, that in his father's castle, they used no other firewood but the batons of the different mareschals of France of his family.
IX. A FRAGMENT OF ZOILUS.
"The name of Zoilus," says M. Noel, in his edition of the " Gradus ad Parnassum," the "Nouveau Dictionnaire Poetique Latin-Fran9ais," "has become the common appellation of all ignorant, envious, passionate, and dishonest critics." And so it is. From Ovid to Buchanan, every one has hitched his name into an epigram as the very incarnation of spitefulness.*
Now, -without maintaining that Zoilus was a wellmeaning or good-humoured person—a more untenable paradox even than the comeliness of Richard III.—we may be permitted to doubt whether he was dishonest, of
* "Frustra ego te laudo, frastra me, Zo'ile, Isedis:
Nemo mihi credit, Zo'ile; nemo tibi."—Buchanan,
even ignorant in one meaning of the word. He seems to have been utterly deficient in a feeling of the sublime, though versed in the ordinary topics of criticism, and cursed with a morbidly quick sense of the ridiculous. In short, he was a literary Thersites, shrewd, witty, and hateful. The silly earnings of a fool would have been soon forgotten; those of Zo'ilus raised him to the bad eminence of being called the Homeromastix, or Scourge of Homer.
The fragment of Zo'ilus, the only one that we have hitherto stumbled upon, and which we hope, therefore, will be valued in proportion to its rarity rather than its excellence, consists of only two words. Every one recollects the transformation of the companions of Ulysses into swine by Circe, in the tenth book of the Odyssey. They had the head, and voice, and body, and bristles of swine, but retained human consciousness, and cried as they went along to their sties. This is one of the passages of the Odyssey censured as childish by Longinus, who tells us that Zo'ilus called these transformed companions
X. EXAMINATION OF RECRUITS.
A Man who wishes to enter the army often endeavours to conceal diseases or deformities which would disqualify him for active service; while recruits, who have changed their mind before their final admission, or soldiers tired of their situation, often do exactly the reverse, and either feign diseases from which they are free, or sometimes even excite them. The duty of the military surgeon, of course, is to detect both simulated and dissimulated maladies; a task which often requires the highest ability, both medical and moral. Many of the instances in point given by Mr. Marshall, in his valuable " Hints to Young Medical Officers," &c, are very curious specimens of human frailty and human ingenuity. Some recruits, even when measured without shoes or stockings, have succeeded in increasing their height by glueing pieces of buff to the soles of the feet; on the other hand, some persons possess the art of sinking an inch or two. A lad, named Martin, enlisted into the Eighteenth Dragoons in the summer of 1809, and was then five feet three inches in height; but, on joining the head-quarters of the regiment at Brighton, he was found to be only five feet one inch. A doubt first arose as to his identity; but when this was cleared up, Martin was directed to be discharged, and the levy-money was ordered to be paid by Colonel Lindsay, "owing to whose neglect a recruit so totally unfit was received into the service." The Colonel, however, persisted in asserting that the lad was of the orthodox height, and he was accordingly sent to Dublin to be re-measured. Here he attempted to reduce his height, but was instantly detected; and being found to be full five feet three inches, was sent back to his corps, and "a very particular letter" was addressed to the Brighton Colonel on the occasion.
Fractures of the skull and ringworm are sometimes concealed by wigs, and a recruit once presented himself with an artificial palate. Mr. Marshall has known an attempt to conceal the loss of nearly all the teeth of the lower jaw, by the aid of a dentist.
In the year 1825, there were 4,839 recruits approved, and 1,390 rejected, at the recruiting depot in Dublin. Of the town recruits, however, 32.8 per cent, were rejected, and only 10.3 per cent, of the country ones.
The following were some of the causes of rejection
among the 1,390 in question:-—
Pulmonic diseases . , . 2
Epilepsy .... 3 Weakness of intellect .... 7 Unsound health, emaciation, sottish intemperance, worn-out, &c. . . . .158
Traces of scrofula 68
i Chronic affections of the skin « . 5 Tinea capitis, (ringworm,) or traces of this
affection 15 ,
Muscular tenuity . . . . .30
(a) Cataract 7
(a) Closed pupil . . .... 7
(a) Amaurosis ... . . . 2
Varicose veins of both legs . . . 35 Varicose veins of the left leg . . . 71 — — of the right leg ... 64
Flatness of the soles of the feet ... 34 (A) Punished . . . . . .36
(a) Cataract signifies opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye; amaurosis, want of sight from disease of the optic nerve; and closure of the pupil (which is the aperture in the iris) necessarily prevents the rays of light