Something to Do
N M S
Miscellaneous; Short Fiction
Amusement, Education, Astronomy, Natural History, Aeronautics, Instruments, Reading, Microscopy, Steamships, Gender, Physics, Extra-Terrestrial Life, Christianity
Richard L Lander
Reflects that children home from school for the holidays often have time on their hands. Suggests a game in which a few friends gather around the fire and ask each other questions, starting with the youngest, those who answer the question posed to them well having 'the privilege of proposing the next question'. The questions are to be 'sensible', concerning 'the productions of different countries, [...] the phenomena of the heavens, [...] natural history, the arts, the reasons of things, the events of history, and such like'. (16) A fictionalised example is given. During a discussion of the means of travelling to France, Marianne gives an account of a balloon, before asking her question: 'What is the difference between a telescope and a microscope?' This is answered 'by a little fellow who made it his practice to read useful books, and to read them so attentively that he retained in his memory the facts and arguments they contained' (17). To his question 'Will iron swim?' the general answer is in the negative; 'Charlotte said she had heard her papa talking about it not many weeks since, but as she was engaged in trimming her bonnet she did not hear much that was said, and confessed that she remembered still less, but thought that it was something about steam-boats and the Ganges' (18). The querist gives the answer himself, and asks Miss Charlotte for an account of the camel. The game ends with a discussion of whether the earth is the only world in which there has been a Fall. A footnote records that there have been editorial additions to the article.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]