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house, with its low-roofed rooms, its narrow winding-staircase, its bescribbled walls, its visitors' book, and its general air of show-dom, you shall not be impressed one whit: but go to the church, make acquaintance if you can with the pleasant, genial, warm-hearted vicar (in default, content yourself with the clerk, the best informed and least obtrusive of his class); survey the beautiful building, so elaborate in its simplicity, from all points; and finally, standing in the chancel, roll back the matting from the stones, read the simple and touching inscription writ (who questions it?) by the master-band, and do fitting reverence to the memory of the sweetest-minded and most God-gifted mortal that ever drew the breath of life. No, not finally; for if there be a moon, and you be a man with as yet spotless lungs, you shall sally forth again at midnight, and, finding the churchyard-gates unlocked, shall proceed up that glorious avenue, where the interlacing trees above hide the sky from you, and so round to the back of the churchyard, where, the fine old pile standing in deep shadow before you, and the silver Avon glancing in the moonlight at your back, you shall feel all the glamour of the association, and deliver yourself up to such thick-coming fancies as shall for the time blot out all worldly connections from your mind, and send you back to your home in a humble, contented, and holy frame of mind.

Here are the slips of paper which I had allotted for my task nearly at an end, and I have not yet entered upon one half of the subjects which I had apportioned to my prosings on Summer Days. Even now come crowding thick and fast upon me memories of pleasant holidays, which must be massed together, not dilated upon in detail. Summer Days at races on breezy downs or sunburnt heaths,-at Epsom or at Ascot, where one cared little enough for the names, the weights, or the colours of the riders; the “odds,” and bets, and handicaps, and general knavery; but, oh, how much for the pleasant smell of the trodden turf, the fresh air, the brilliant sunshine! Summer Days in broad-bottomed punts, with a pretence of fishing ill-sustained ; a decided leaning to thorough indolence, and an unremitting attention to the cold fowl and salt in the paper packet, and the iced something in the narrow-mouthed stone-jar. Summer Days on the beach, passed in alternate dips into the old, well-thumbed, green Tennyson, and vacant stares at the blue vault of sky and the blue expanse of sea. Summer Days on the river, with the boat pulled under the over-hanging trees, while we lay lazily in the stern, now looking at a jumping fish, now listening to the rustic sounds borne upon the balmy air from the shore; lay

“With indolent fingers fretting the tide,

And an indolent arm round a darling waist," as one of our sweetest Temple-Bar songsters has expressed it. Summer Days on blinding Swiss mountains, in verdant-bordered English lakes, on Mediterranean steamers, where one lies under the wetted awning in that happy state of kief and forgetfulness so grateful to the slave of the pen; under the shadow of the Pyramids, among nestling Rbine villages, amid

ruined abbeys ;-on all these I had intended to descant, and all must be now dismissed with only a bare mention of their charms.

Yet a few words before I close my subject. My gossip has as yet been principally upon happy Summer Days; but there must be few among us who cannot count some very dreary ones in his catalogue. Summer Days in a hot, close office, where the sky is only visible between rows of high white walls, which reflect the sun's glare, but not its cheerfulness; where the only sound heard beyond the echo from the pavement is the ticking of the Dutch clock, and the scratching of the quills on the paper : there you sit on the hard stool, waiting for the interview with the lawyer, boiling over with rage against the other client who is keeping him so long, and with a full consciousness that the sniggering clerks penned up in a glazed enclosure are perfectly cognisant of your business,—know how Tomkins is sueing you on your note of hand, or how your wife is getting on with her action for divorce against you, or how little chance you stand of succeeding in your great will-case. Summer Days in a photographer's glass house, with the sun blazing down upon your wretched head,—which head is placed at quarter-of-an-hour intervals in an iron instrument of torture, - with your eyes weakened and blinking, from constantly staring at one indicated spot, with your nose itching madly from the titillating smell of the chemicals, and with loathing in your soul of the art of photography in general and the operator in particular. Summer Days in a sick room ; how many of us have experience of these! Who that has ever watched a loved one stretched on the bed of sickness, soon to be the bed of death, but recollects the minutest details of that chamber and that time? The green fields and waving trees seen through the half-opened window, gazing at which yourself, you feel with a sharp pang that they never will again be looked upon by those dear eyes now closed in fitful slumber;—the white window-curtains arranged for the partial exclusion of the light, the little table by the bedside, with the cooling drink, the fruit and the flowers, sent by affectionate friends. Who can forget the eagerness with which, about the hour of the doctor's visit, you waited for the sound of his carriage-wheels, and how, though you knew the Almighty fiat had gone forth, yet you would gaze into his face, and hope against hope for one cheering word of respite?

Shut the book, friend ; lay down the pen, scribe; these are matters for private reflection, not for public parade. Our gossip on Summer Days is at an end.

E. Y.

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Fires..

As regards the cause of conflagrations, division of the subject is simple: fire may either break out because of the application of fire, or as the result of spontaneous combustion; and when once originated, the devastation and spread of fire will be merely determinable by the circumstances,-viz. the nature of materials ignited, and the construction of the premises as to draught. Taking an ordinary dwelling-house as supplying the first and simplest case for illustration, let us look around at the materials of which it is composed, and speculate on the functions of each. Here be it noted, that the reader who has not given study to the process of combustion will have to modify several of his most fixed ideas, if indeed he be not called upon to give credit to statements absolutely opposed to his common belief. A modern dwelling-house :—let us take stock of the materials which compose it; separating the combustible from the incombustible if we can, at any rate discriminating between varying degrees of combustibility. Wood, iron, bricks, stone, plaster, -'these are the chief materials of which houses are built ; to the above list lead may usually be added, and perhaps zinc. The question now being proposed, " Which material is the most combustible of the lot ?”? _“ Wood,” almost every body unhesitatingly replies. That depends on circumstances, however; and here, par parenthèse, may the fact be noted, that water (the grand antagonist to combustion, as it is popularly considered) not only fails to check conflagration under certain circumstances, but performs itself the function of a combustible. Unquestionably if, without limiting conditions, a chemist were asked whether iron and lead on the one part, and wood on the other part, were the more prone to burn, he would award the palm to iron and lead; seeing that either of these metals, if reduced to impalpable powder by chemical means, will take fire spontaneously; whereas no possible degree of attenuation can bring woody matter into the same category. The conditions under which iron and lead become spontaneously combustible are never fulfilled in the ordinary routine of building; but the intrinsic fact is advantageously borne in mind, nevertheless, seeing that the remembrance of it will dissipate a very common fallacy. No one substance in nature is absolutely incombustible. To the function of combustion, either as a combustible or supporter of combustion, every particle of nature's matter is bound to minister, by the very tenure of existence.

The mind is prone to associate the idea of combustibility alone with the materials commonly employed by us for fuel and illumination. Thus, according to the logic of common sense, a candle is combustible by the very evidence of its burning; whereas the candlestick is non-combustible by the very evidence of its not burning when the candle material is consumed and the candle-flame reaches the socket. The argument must

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