« PoprzedniaDalej »
Kerr saw that if the regimental carts, which were close at hand, should come up, the wasps would set upon the cart-horses, and that a scene of dangerous confusion would set in throughout the whole column, a battery of artillery lying next in the march. He at once shouted out an order for the regimental carts to halt, and at the same instant landed his horse in magnificent style over a fence and into a barley-field, through which he saw the remainder of the column might pass by a flank movement, and so outmanœuvre the wasps. At the farther end of the barley-field was a gate; but as there was no outlet at the end nearest to Maxwell's Brigade, the general ordered the Engineers to make a gap in the fence. The Engineers had the gap made in a minute or two, and the troops began to march in files two deep along a path in the barley-field in order not to injure the crop. This movement had scarcely commenced when the adjutant of the 4th Regiment, with a sergeant and a private, observing that the wasps had "settled down," took up some sods and clapped them upon the wasps' nest, the adjutant himself driving home the sods with a blow of the spade. The incident is not without precedent. When Sir J. Michel was commanding a brigade in the Cape at the time Sir J. Jackson was Commander-in-Chief, he was driven from an outpost by a nest of
2. FIRE AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL.-Canterbury Cathedral has narrowly escaped being destroyed by fire. Indeed, that portion of the roof which covered Trinity Chapel at the extreme east end of the edifice, extending to the canopy over the spot which indicates where once stood the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket, and over the altar and choir, is entirely gone.
The fire was caused by the upsetting of a pot of burning charcoal used by the plumbers employed to solder the leaden covering of the roof. The molten lead poured through to the woodwork below, and the roof in that part was soon on fire. It was then about half-past ten o'clock in the morning. The daily morning service had just concluded, but the choir had stayed behind to rehearse something for the afternoon. When the alarm was given the boys and lay clerks rushed from the building in their surplices, not knowing exactly the extent of the danger. The organ-blower in the meanwhile had the presence of mind to go to the tower and ring the great bell, thus making known to the city and neighbourhood that something was amiss. Smoke and flames were soon seen issuing in volumes from that part of the east
end of the roof near Becket's shrine, and by this time people were streaming into the precincts and viewing the conflagration in helpless dismay. It should be stated that two or three years ago very excellent waterworks were established in Canterbury, which are computed to supply the citizens with about 180,000 gallons per diem, from a reservoir on St. Thomas's-hill, and from which the service is continuous, at a pressure of 70 lb. to the square inch. Unfortunately the Dean and Chapter, or their surveyor, had not yet got the hydrants of the water company fixed around the cathedral; but the hose belonging to the Phoenix and Kent Fire Offices and to the City Volunteer Fire Brigade was of sufficient length to be affixed to the hydrants in the adjoining streets, and thence carried through the Cathedral-yard to the burning building, the city brigade alone using 700 ft. for this purpose. Although the men belonging to the various brigades were on the spot as quickly as possible, it was not until twelve o'clock that any water could be got to touch the flames at all. Meanwhile the fire was gradually destroying the whole of the eastern roof. Indeed, up to this time so serious did matters look that the Vice-Dean, the Rev. Canon Thomas, telegraphed to Captain Shaw, of the London Fire Brigade, to send off by special train one of his steam fireengines an order which, happily, soon after had to be countermanded, as the flames were subdued. A telegram was also despatched to Ashford for a further supply of hose, which was at once sent, with the Ashford Fire Brigade. About half-past eleven forty men belonging to the Cavalry Depôt Brigade, under the command of Quartermaster Woods, and forty of the Royal Horse Artillery, marched into the precincts and rendered excellent service, both in assisting the local police to control the crowd and on the roof of the building. The hose from the Phoenix Office was the first to reach the fire, and immediately afterwards Mr. George Delassaux, of the Canterbury Volunteer Fire Brigade, at considerable personal risk, broke his way through one of the small windows in the clerestory, and, dragging his hose after him, brought a second stream to play upon the flames. Meanwhile the burning timbers, with the vane which stood at the east end, had fallen in upon the groined roof below, and sparks and molten lead were dropping through into the Trinity Chapel and Becket's shrine, at the rear of the altar. An army of volunteers was quickly pressed into service, and everything inflammable was removed from the choir, even the heavy communion-table being taken away, the altar-rails torn up, and the armour and shield of the Black Prince removed from the tomb where they have hung for centuries. By one o'clock it became apparent that the force of water from the hydrants was getting the upper hand of the fire, just as it was in contemplation to cut a vast gap in the roof, and so arrest the flames. The soldiers were working well both with the hose and the axe, cutting away the burning timbers, and at two o'clock a ringing cheer went up from the men on the roof, which was
heartily joined in by the crowd below, in token of the extinguishing of the fire.
The hour of divine service was altered from three to four o'clock, and by that hour, by dint of considerable exertions, the choir was made available for the accommodation of a large congregation. Archdeacon Harrison, who read the prayers, prefaced them by invoking the assembly to offer up thanks to God for His mercy in having saved the beautiful building from destruction. Subsequently a special "Te Deum" was solemnized, and the service throughout was of the most impressive nature.
It was on September 5, 1174, that the last fire took place in Canterbury Cathedral, the history of which is left on record by an eye-witness-the Monk Gervase. So great was the injury then done, that the cathedral was not again opened for publice service till 1180, six years afterwards.
MARRIAGE OF PÈRE HYACINTHE. Charles Jean-Marie (better known as Père Hyacinthe) Loyson was married to Emilie Jane, daughter of Mr. Amory Butterfield, and widow of Mr. Edwin Ruthven Meriman, of the United States of America. In a letter to a friend in France Père Hyacinthe explains the grounds upon which he has taken this step. He commences by remarking that his character of priest, which he cannot and does not wish to renounce, gives to his determination a public and terrible solemnity. He then proceeds to give his reasons for the resolution which he had formed. If, he remarks, he had quitted his convent for the purpose of marrying-which was not the case-he might have defended himself by showing that natural law, with its imprescriptible rights and duties, is superior to human laws, and, above all, to fictitious engagements. That which ought to excite reprobation, and which he had always held in horror, is not marriage but sin. Obstinately faithful to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church, he was not in any manner bound by its abuses, and he was satisfied that perpetual vows ranked among the most wicked of those abuses. No human authority, neither that of Councils nor that of Popes, could impose as an eternal commandment what Jesus Christ wished only to make a simple counsel.
5. SAD SUICIDE.-A young woman threw herself off Waterloo Bridge to-day. She was well dressed. At the inquest it was ascertained that the poor girl was from the United States, and named Alice Blanche Oswald. A letter she left behind her gives the following account of herself:-" 178, High-street, Shadwell, London, Sept. 3, 1872.-The crime that I am about to commit, and what I must suffer hereafter, is nothing compared to my present misery. Alone in London, not a penny or a friend to advise or lend a helping hand, tired and weary with looking for something to do, failing in every way, footsore and heart-weary, I prefer death to the dawning of another wretched morning. I have only been in Britain nine weeks. I came as nursery governess with a lady from America to Wick, in Scotland, where she discharged
me, refusing to pay my passage back, giving me my wages, 37. 10s. After my expenses to London, I found myself in this great city with only 58. What was I to do? I sold my watch. The paltry sum I obtained for that soon went in paying for my board and in looking for a situation. Now I am destitute, every day is a misery to me. No friend, no hope, no money; what is left? Oh, God of Heaven! have mercy on a poor helpless sinner! Thou knowest how I have striven against this; but fate is against me. I cannot tread the path of sin, for my dead mother will be watching me. Fatherless, motherless, home I have none. Oh, for the rarity of Christian hearts! I am not mad; for days I have foreseen that this would be the end. May all who hear of my death forgive me, and may God Almighty do so, before whose bar I must soon appear! Farewell to all, to this beautiful and yet wretched world. -ALICE BLANCHE OSWALD. I am twenty years of age the 14th of this month." The jury returned a verdict of " Suicide while in a state of temporary insanity." The unhappy girl was buried at Woking Cemetery, in the presence of a considerable number of persons, on September 18.
Miss Stride undertook on her own responsibility to pay for a special funeral and a private grave. Several American ladies who were present threw flowers on the coffin. The Dundee Advertiser says that the case has created great excitement in Wick, where the lady is said to have resided with whom Miss Oswald came from America in the capacity of nursery governess. Strict inquiry has been made in Wick, but nothing has been discovered to lead to the identification of the lady, and it is generally supposed there that some mistake must have been made as to the name of the town.
6. FATAL POWDER-MILL EXPLOSION AT HOUNSLOW.-At twentyfive minutes past ten o'clock this morning one of the most terrible explosions which has happened for several years occurred at the gunpowder works of Messrs. Curtis and Harvey, commonly called the Hounslow Mills, resulting, unhappily, in the loss of four lives, viz. a man named Cobb, and three boys, named respectively James Cooper, Alfred Lynch, and Stephen May, whilst a lad named Palmer is so injured that he is not expected to live the day out. It appears that the composition mixing-house first blew up, followed in a few seconds by the press-house, both of which buildings were completely destroyed, and some adjoining sheds were set on fire, and blazed furiously, causing the utmost consternation; but, strange to say, although the press-house had blown-up, none of the powder it contained went off: there was, it is said, from forty to fifty barrels on the floor of the building, and, had it ignited, it is thought the loss of life would have been enormous, as in that case no doubt some of the mills and other stores would have been fired. The damage done to the works is said to be very serious. Fortunately there were few men employed on the parts of the works where the explosion occurred. The cause of the calamity is at present shrouded in mystery. Various rumours are rife, and there
is the usual difficulty in obtaining information from the officials in charge.
7. A ROMANCE OF THE INDIAN MUTINY.-The Indian papers announce that Liakut Ali has been found guilty, and sentenced to transportation for life, by the Sessions Court at Allahabad. The charge against him was that "Liakut Ali, son of Mehir Ali, by caste a sheik, resident of Muhgaon, Pergunnah Chail, aged about forty-five years, being a person owing allegiance to the British Government, was a leader in revolt, and rebelled and waged war against the Queen and the Government of the East India Company, in the month of June or thereabout, in the year 1857, at Allahabad."
One of the witnesses called on his behalf was a woman named Amy Bennett, who said that she was thirty-three years of age, and that she resided in Calcutta with her father, Captain Horne, who commanded a vessel. The Calcutta correspondent of the Times summarizes her story thus:
In May, 1857, the witness, with her mother and stepfather, and five brothers and a sister, removed from Lucknow to Cawnpore for protection, there being rumours of an intended outbreak. They remained in the intrenchment with the other Europeans till the surrender of General Wheeler, and then they all attempted to escape in boats; but witness was seized by a native, and forcibly taken away just before the boats were fired upon-in fact, she was barely saved from the massacre. She was taken before the Moulvie, Liakut Ali, the prisoner, she believed, though he was not then grey, and he gave her the choice of becoming a Mohammedan or dying. She elected to die, and thereupon the Moulvie ordered her to be taken away and fed. She received a little blanket tent for her residence, and remained there till the British arrived, when she was hurried away with the retreating rebels. She was taken from Cawnpore to Bithoor, and she believes the Nana was there at the time, and that he would certainly have put her to death if he had heard of her. Afterwards she was taken farther up country, but the party returned on hearing of the fall of Delhi. At Futteghur she was told that she was to be blown from a gun, and then she made her escape at night with the sowar who had her in charge, but, she felt confident, with the connivance of the Moulvie, whom, however, she never saw again after her first interview with him till she saw him on his trial at the Allahabad court. This is the curious story told by the principal witness on the Moulvie's behalf, fifteen years after those bloody days at Cawnpore. It did not, however, save him from conviction.
9. AN OPEN-AIR GATHERING was held in Trafalgar-square, to "demonstrate" against the high price of meat. The weather was wet, and the numbers who attended were small :
One resolution embodied the opinion of the meeting respecting the restrictions on the importation of foreign cattle. A second declared that the land and game laws were the principal cause of