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dinary feast* by three cups of tea each, we took our leave, and reached Reikevig about teu o'clock; but did not for some time recover the effects of this most involuntary intemperance.t
Mercurious, nearest to the central sun,
Astronomers have divided the planets into two classes : the first class they call primitive planets, or principals. They are seven in number, viv.: Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Herschell, or Georgium Sidus. [At a distance from the sun, nearly as the numbers 4, 7, 10, 15, 52, 95, 191.] Those of the second class, they call secondary planets, or, otherwise, satellites, or moons. Those planets which move in orbits within that of the earth, are called inferior, perhaps, more properly, interior planets : those whose orbits enclose the earth's are called superior, or, more properly, exterior planets. The superior planets are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Herschell, or Georgium Sidus. The inferior planets are Mercury and Venus.
First, Mercury, amidst full tides of light,
Mercury, is the smallest of the inferior planets, and the nearest to the sun, about which he is carried with a rapid motion. Hence it was, that this planet was considered, mythologically, as
On afterwards relating the anecdote of the Stiftsamptman's dinner to Count Tramp, he assured me that he had partaken of a similar one himself, when he first went over to the island, at which time soup was served upon the table made from the boiling down of a whole bullock.
+ Indeed we were something in the same predicament as the guest of the Kamtschatdale, of whom Kracheninnikow further relates, “Il vomit pendant son repas jusqu'a dix fois ; aussi apres un festin de cette nature, loin de pouvoir manger pendant deux ou trois jours, il ne sauroit meme regarder aucun aliment, sans que le cæur ne lui souleve,'
the messenger of the gods.* Though small, he has a bright appearance, with a light tinct of blue. The distance of Mercury from the sun is never greater than about 1 hour 50 minutes in time, or nearly 27 degrees, consequently, he can never be seen by night, but in the crepusculum, or twilight, that is, a little before the sun rises, or a little after he is set, according as he is eastward or westward of the sun; or, in a total eclipse, when the sun is quite darkened by the interposition of the moon; or, finally, when he makes a transit over the sun's disc. His direct motion is from west to east, when he is beyond the sun but retrograde, or from east to west, when he is between the earth and the sun; and stationary, or seemingly standing still, when he is about changing these motions one into the other.
The mean distance of Mercury from the sun, is to that of the earth from the sun, ás 387 to 1000 : hence his distance is (in round numbers), about thirty-seven millions of miles. The apparent diameter of this planet, when at its mean distance from the earth is 11'', nearly one-third of the diameter of the earth, or about three thousand miles; hence the surface of Mercury is nearly one-ninth, and his magnitude or bulk, one-twenty-seventh of that of the earth ; the quantity of matter (in proportion with the other planets) 1654.
In his course round the sun, Mercury moves at the amazing rate of 100,000 miles an hour, performing his periodical revolution round the sun in 87 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, the length of his year. The greatest elongation of Mercury is 28 degrees, 20 minutes : distance from the sun, 40,000,000 miles; the eccentricity of his orbit is estimated at one-fifth of his mean distance from the sun, which is far greater than that of any of the other planets. This orbit is inclined 7 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic; and that node from which he ascends, northward, above the ecliptic, is in the 16 degree of Taurus; and the opposite node is in the 16 degree of Scorpio. The earth is in these points on the 5th of November, and the 7th of May; and when Mercury comes to either of these nodes at his inferior conjunction (when he is between the earth and the sun in the nearest part of his orbit), about these times, he will appear to pass over the disc or face of the sun, like a dark round spot. But in all other parts of his orbit his conjunctions are invisible, because he either goes above or below the sun.
* Mercury was a celebrated god of antiquity, called Hermes by the Greeks. He was the messenger of the gods, and of Jupiter in particular: he was the patron of travellers; he presided over eloquence and commerce ; and was also the god of thieves, pick-pockets, and all dishonest persons. Mercury is represented with a winged cap, winged sandals, and a caduceus, or wand, with two serpents twisted round it: he had also a short sword, cimeter, or falchion. With these he was enabled to go into whatever part of the universe he pleased with the greatest celerity. It appears from numberless passages in the heathen writers, that they supposed their gods often descended among them in the likeness of men. A well-known fable represents Jupiter and Mercury as having descended from heaven in human shape, and to have been entertained by Lycaon, from whom the Lycaonians received their name. Accordingly when Paul cured the lame man at Lystra, the multitude, seeing what the apostle had done, exclaimed, “ The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men ; and they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius," i. e. Jupiter's attendant, messenger, and interpreter of his will. Acts xiv. 8, &c.
Hermes obeys ; with golden pinions binds
DRYDEN'S VIRGIL. Mercury is the chemists' name for quicksilver ; a very ponderous volatile fluid mineral, hard to be fixed : hence styled by Milton, “ volatile es," which is another word for Mercury.
There was an invisible transit of Mercury over the sun's disc, on Tuesday the 5th instant, beginning, 16 minutes after one in the morning ;-middle, 39 minutes after two; end, 2 minutes after four : other transits are expected in the years 1832, 1835, 1843, and 1848.-" If to the time of a transit of Mercury, which happened at either its ascending or descending node, thirteen years, thirty-three, or forty-six, be continually added, the times when other transits, at the ascending or descending node, may be expected, will be nearly known ; and if for such of these times the shortest geocentric distance of Mercury from the sun's centre, at the time of conjunction, be computed, we may be assured there will be a transit, if that distance is less than the sun's apparent diameter.”—0. Gregory's Astronomy, page 375.
The sun's diameter will appear at Mercury, nearly three times as large as at the earth; and hence, the sun's light and heat received there is about seven times greater than that of our torrid zone ; a degree of heat sufficient to make water boil. Such a degree of heat, therefore, must render Mercury not habitable to creatures of our constitution : and if bodies on its surface be not inflamed, and set on fire, it must be because their degree of density is proportionably greater than that of such bodies is with us. The great heat on this planet is no argument against its being inhabited ; since the Almighty could as easily suit the bodies and constitutions of its inhabitants to the heat of their dwelling, as "he has done ours to the temperature of our earth. It is very probable, that tbe people there have such an opinion of us, as we have of the inhabitants of Jupiter and Saturn, namely, that we must be intolerably cold, and have very little light at so great a distance from the sun.
Mercury changes his phases in a manner similar to the moon, according as he is differently stationed with regard to the earth and sun : though we may observe that he never appears quite full, because his bright side is only turned directly towards us, , when he is so near the sun as to be lost from our sight in his beams. These different phases of his, make it obvious that he does not shine by any light of his own; for, if he did, he would always appear round.
M. Vidal, the great observer of Mercury, states the time of rotation of this planet to be sixteen hours; and M. Schroeter makes it 20 hours 5 minutes.
Venus and the Earth, when in opposition to the sun, shine with full orbs, and afford a noble light to Mercury. November 20, 1822.
SARAH, DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH.
Amongst the torrent of abuse poured out on your grace," said Lady Sunderland to her one day, “your worst enemies have never called you a faithless wife.” “ It was no great merit,” said old Sarah, first duchess of Malborough, as she was turning over the papers
afterwards sent to Mallet for her husband's history: “It was no great merit ; for I had the handsomest, the most accomplished, and bravest man in Europe for my husband.” “Yet you don't pretend to say he was without faults," replied Lady Sunderland. -" By no means; I knew them better than he did himself, or even than I do my own! He came back one day, from my poor misled mistress, Qeen Anne, I believe when he resigned his commission, and said he had told her, that he thanked God, with all his faults, neither avarice nor ambition could be laid to his charge.” Such was the sensible answer of old Sarah ; to which she added, “I was not in a laughing humour ; but, at my Lords's words, I almost bit through my tongue, to prevent my smiling in his face."
GRATITUDE.—There is a species of grateful remorse, which sometimes has been known to operate forcibly on the minds of the most hardened in impudence. Early in this century, a comedian, named Griffin, celebrated for mimicry, was to have been employed by a comic author, to take off the person, the manner, and the singularly awkard delivery of the famous Dr. Woodward ; who was intended to be introduced on the stage in the laughable character of Dr. Fossile, in “Three Hours after Marriage.” The mimic dressed himself as a countryman, and waited on the Doctor, with a long catalogue of ailments, which he said his wife was afflicted with. The physician heard, with amazement, diseases and pains of the most opposite nature, repeated and redoubled on the wretched patient. The actor's intention was to keep Dr. Woodward in his company as long as possible, that he might have the better opportunity of observing his' gestures and singularities : To effect this purpose, was his aim in exhibiting such a catalogue of complaints. At length, thinking himself completely master of his errand, he drew from his
purse a guinea, and, with a scrape, made an uncouth offer of it. Put up thy money, poor fellow," cried the Doctor, put up thy money—thou hast need of all thy cash, and all thy patience too, with such a bundle of diseases tied to thy back. The actor returned to his employer, aud recounted the whole conversation, with such true feeling of the physician's character, that the author burst into raptures of approbation : But these raptures were soon checked, when the mimic told him, with the emphasis of sensibility, that he would sooner die, than prostitute his talents to render such genuine humanity a public laughing-stock.
A Gentleleman, who a few years ago resided some time at Grand Cairo, has described the punishment of bakers, whose bread was deficent in weight, as extremely severe. For the first offence, the overseer of the bakers (who is the examiner and only person who tries them) immediately orders the delinquent to be bastinadoed. For the second offence, he is more severely punished in the same manner; and, for the third, without any other process