« PreviousContinue »
occasionally full and new. The evenings on which it appears between these last stages are beautifully illumined by its clear, mellow light.
The Moon revolves in an elliptical orbit about the Earth in twenty-nine days twelve hours forty-four minutes and three seconds, the time which elapses between one new Moon and another. It was supposed by the ancient philosophers that the Moon was made of green cheese, an opinion still entertained by the credulous and ignorant. Kepler and Tyco Brahe, however, held to the opinion that it was composed of Charlotte Russe, the dark portions of its surface being sponge cake, the light blanc mange. Modern advances in science and the use of Lord Rosse's famous telescope have demonstrated the absurdity of all these speculations by proving conclusively that the Moon is mainly composed of the Ferro—sesqui-cyanuret, of the cyanide of potassium! Up to the latest dates from the Atlantic States, no one has succeeded in reaching the Moon. Should anyone do so hereafter, it will probably be a woman, as the sex will never cease making an exertion for that purpose as long as there is a man in it.
Upon the whole, we may consider the Moon an excellent institution, among the many we enjoy under a free, republican form of government, and it is a blessed thing to reflect that the President of the United States cannot veto it, no matter how strong an inclination he may feel, from principle or habit, to
It has been ascertained beyond a doubt that the Moon has no air. Consequently, the common expressions, “the Moon was gazing down with an air of benevolence,” or with “an air of complacency,” or with “an air of calm superiority,” are incorrect and objectionable, the fact being that the Moon has no air at all.
The existence of the celebrated “ Man in the Moon” has been frequently questioned by modern philosophers. The whole subject is involved in doubt and obscurity. The only authority we have for believing that such an individual exists, and has been seen and spoken with, is a fragment of an old poem composed by an ancient Astronomer of the name of Goose, which has been handed down to us as follows:
“ The man in the Moon came down too soon
To inquire the way to Norwich;
Eating cold, hot porridge."
The evidence conveyed in this distich is, however, rejected by the sceptical, among modern Astronomers, who consider the passage an allegory. “The man in the South,” being supposed typical of the late John C. Calhoun, and the “cold, hot porridge,” alluded to the project of nullification.
END OF LECTURE FIRST
NOTE BY THE AUTHOR. - Itinerant Lecturers are cau tioned against making use of the above production, with out obtaining the necessary authority froin the proprietors of the Pioneer Magazine. To those who may obtain such authority, it may be well to state that at the close of the Lecture it was the intention of the author to exhibit and explain to the audience an orrery, accompanying and interspersing his remarks by a choice selection of popular airs on the hand-organ.
An economical orrery may be constructed by attaching eighteen wires of graduated lengths to the shaft of a candlestick, apples of different sizes being placed at their extremities to represent the Planets, and a central orange resting on the candlestick, representing the Sun.
An orrery of this description is, however, liable to the objection that if handed around among the audience for examination, it is seldom returned uninjured. The author has known an instance in which a child four years of age, on an occasion of this kind, devoured in succession the planets Jupiter and Herschel, and bit a large spot out of the Sun before he could be arrested.
San Diego, Cal., Sept. 1, 1854. I copy the following paragraph from the Spirit of the Times for July 15th:
“ PISTOL SHOOTING-A CHALLENGE
“Owing to the frequent and urgent solicitations of many of my friends, I am induced to make the following propositions :
“1. I will fit a dollar to the end of a twig two inches long, and while a second person will hold the other end in his mouth, so as to bring the coin within an inch and a half of his face, I engage to strike the dollar, three times out of five, at the distance of ten paces, or thirty feet. I will add in explanation, that there are several persons willing and ready to hold the twig or stick described above, when required.
“2. I will hit a dollar, tossed in the air, or any other object of the same size, three times out of five on a wheel and fire.
“3. At the word, I will split three balls out of five, on a knife blade, placed at the distance of thirty feet.
“4. I will hit three birds out of five, sprung from the trap, standing thirty feet from the trap when shooting.
“5. I will break, at the word, five common clay pipe stems out of seven, at the distance of thirty feet.
“6. I engage to prove, by fair trial, that no pistol-shot can be produced who will shoot an apple off a man's head, at the distance of thirty feet, oftener than I can. Moreover I will produce two persons willing and ready to hold the apple on their heads for me, when required to do so.
“7. I will wager, lastly, that no person in the United States can be produced who will hit a quarter of a dollar at the distance of thirty feet, oftener than I can, on a wheel and fire.
“I am willing to bet $5,000 on any of the above propositions, one fourth of that amount forfeit. So soon as any • bet will be closed, the money shall be deposited in the Bank of the State of Missouri, until paid over by the judges, or withdrawn, less forfeit. I will give the best and most satisfactory references that my share will be forthcoining when any of my propositions are taken up. Anyone desiring to take up any of my propositions must address me by letter, through the St. Louis Post Office, as the advertisements or notices of newspapers might not meet my eye. Propositions will be received until the first of September next.
“EDMUND W. PAUL, “140 Sixth Street, between Franklin Avenue and
“Morgan Street, St. Louis, Missouri."
I am unable to see anything very extraordinary in the above propositions, by Mr. Edmund W. Paul. Any person, acquainted with the merest rudiments of the pistol, could certainly execute any or all of the proposed feats without the slightest difficulty.
Owing” to my entertaining these opinions,