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rays of the rising sun now rested in golden splendour ; "we must look to what is before us."
A deep sigh was the only answer.
“ The past belongs to no one,” resumed the youth ; "we have the present and the future ; we will make the most of it.”
At that period, journeys were performed much less rapidly than at the present time: the journey from Mayence to Strasbourg occupied three days. Towards the close of the third day, Laurence Coster pointed out to them a small white house, situated on the side of a hill, saying to Melanie, at the same time-" There is your new home, my dear young lady, to which you will be truly welcome."
Melanie thanked the kind old man with a sweet but half-melancholy smile.
Nature had been prodigal of its treasures around Laurence Coster's abode : the road that led to it was through a beautiful wood of acacias, whilst each side was carpeted with a profusion of wild flowers; a garden ornamented the sloping side of the hill, the foot of which was watered by a clear and limpid stream ; which, winding its way along, was eventually lost in the Rhine, whose blue waters and picturesque banks formed a beautiful feature in the distance. The travellers had scarcely alighted ere Melanie perceived there was no domestic of any sort to receive them; and she soon became convinced that their kind host could ill afford the inevitable expense of such a party.
The following morning Melanie imparted her fears to her brother, and at the same time suggested that as Strasbourg was but an hour's walk, he might endeavour to discover some means by which they might relieve their kind friend from the whole burden of providing for them, adding, that as she could write well, she might obtain employment as a copyist—an occupation which, before printing was known, was in great request. At that period few persons knew how to write, and the occupation of copyist was very productive. Many of the manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were written in a beautiful manner, the large letters being drawn and coloured with brilliant colours, heightened with gold, and finished with great taste ; these were called “Illuminated Manuscripts." The large letters in the first printed books were finished by hand, as is the case in “the Mentz Bible," printed by Faust and Guttemberg.”
All was soon arranged in the little household, and each had their allotted work: old Gobert attended to the garden, whilst his wife took charge of all the indoor arrangements. Laurence Coster and his young friend devoted their whole time to study. The ardour of the old man kept pace with that of his pupil, and both gave themselves up to unceasing labour in the pursuit after the discovery of that wonderful art, which commemorates all other inventions, hands down to posterity every important event, and, above all, extends and diffuses the word of God to all mankind.
Some years passed away, during which Melanie's health became visibly affected : little accustomed to constant work, she soon felt the effects of the close application to the wearying and fatiguing employment of a copyist; her bright colour faded, her strength and spirits failed. Laurence Coster was the first to mark the change, and ere long imparted his anxiety to John ; then it was that the young man became fully aware of the many evils which are but too apt to follow in the train of poverty ; but then, too, he remembered the vow he had made to be the protector and support of the sister who had so tenderly watched over his early years—his first and only companion. He at once insisted on her having that rest she so much needed; and, with the same decision of character which had marked his first outset in life, he forbade all further employment for her, whilst for himself he pursued with threefold energy his anxious labours and studies The first printing-press was established at Mayence by Guttemberg and Laurence Coster in 1430.
The first characters used by Guttemberg remained for a considerable period at Strasbourg ; they were cut in wood, and pierced laterally as for a wire, to keep them side by side. For ten years he worked with these types at Strasbourg ; so that that great city may with reason be regarded as the cradle of printing. After the death of Coster, Guttemberg formed a connexion with Faust, a rich goldsmith, who furnished money to establish an improved printing-press, in which the Latin Bible was first printed, and a Psalter, which was eighteen months in printing, so much was the art yet in its infancy.
In 1465 Guttemberg was appointed gentleman-of-honour to the Elector Adolphus of Nassau; his sister, who had declined all offers of marriage, and resolutely refused to leave her brother, died soon after : John Gensfleisch of Sulgeloch, better known by the name of Guttemberg, only survived her three years; he died February 24, 1468, and was buried at Mayence, in the church of the Récollets:
After Guttemberg's death, Faust associated himself with Pierre Schæffer, who had discovered the art of casting types in metal, and then appeared successively the Latin Psalter, the Bible, and other works, printed in a very improved style to those produced by the first efforts of the inventor.
In 1462, when Mayence was given up to the horrors of civil war, the workmen employed by Guttemberg and Faust were dispersed, and the art of printing thus found its way to Germany, England, and Italy. Faust himself went to Paris, taking with him his Latin Bible, which he was declared to have produced by sorcery; the letters in red ink were believed to be traced in blood : he was arrested and thrown into prison ; but Louis XI., who, despot as he was, had at least the merit of not suppressing the inventions and improvements of science, restored him to liberty on condition of his making known his secret.
William Caxton is generally regarded as the first who introduced the art of printing into England. During a long residence abroad, he acquired a practical knowledge of the art, and on his return to England he established a printing-office in a chapel adjoining Westminster Abbey.
All the productions of his press are objects of great interest to book-collectors. He commenced printing in England about the year 1474.
The inauguration of the statue of Guttemberg took place at Strasbourg in June 1840, and in three days upwards of one hundred thousand persons of all ranks and classes flocked into the town, eager to pay tribute to the memory of the man from whose hands the first printed book is believed to have emanated.
THE VAGARIES OF MAN'S APPETITE.
Some one has said, “ bold was the man who first ventured to eat a raw oyster;" but we doubt this, inasmuch as we know that in all countries tenanted by savage or semi-civilized races, the molluscous tribes, or shell-fish, which abound along the low shores, have ever contributed and still contribute to the sustenance of man. In all regions the progress of civilization, as a general rule with some exceptions, tends rather to increase than diminish the number of animal matters which the culinary art renders agreeable. With regard to these exceptions, we may observe that in our own island the porpoise, formerly so highly esteemed, never now figures as a dish upon the dinner-table, although its flesh is regarded a delicacy by the Greenlander. The ancient Romans regarded as luxuries meats from which a modern Roman would perhaps turn with disgust. The young wild ass was once in high request; so were puppy dogs; and land-snails were fed in pens and fattened to enormous dimensions for the table. Even still in Italy and Spain, the land snail (Helix Pomatia) is used as food; but the flesh of horses and asses, if eaten, is sold under some other denomination : even, as at public dinners in our metropolis, the tongues of horses pass among the uninitiated as the tongues of
In Tartary, and in the Pampas of South America, horseflesh is considered excellent; and we know of an instance in which a gentleman of rank in our island ordered for dinner the heart of a young horse, which, having met with an accident, was obliged to be shot.
In our country we are disgusted with the idea of eating the flesh of horses or asses; and as for land-snails, not even the learned gentlemen celebrated by Smollett could bring their stomachs into Roman condition. In all this there is singular contradiction. We eat oysters, mussels, cockles, scallops, whelks, and periwinkles, but not land or fresh-water snails; we eat eels, but not snakes, delicious as the latter are accounted by men of other regions; we eat crabs, lobsters, cray-fish, prawns, and shrimps, but neither scorpions, centipedes, spiders, nor insects generally, save and except the mites and the hoppers in cheese.
Here, confining ourselves to insects which are and have been esteemed dietary luxuries, we may make out a goodly list, proving now much caprice governs our appetite; we may say eaprice, for why should the calipash and calipee of the sea-turtle be in such request among the gourmands of our country, when they would turn with loathing from a dish of serpent-soup? In the West Indies the great iguana (a lizard) is deemed exquisite ; why should not crocodile flesh be at a premium? Captain Sturt declares it to be delicate. However, let us here confine ourselves to insects, as we have already proposed.
Insects, we say, have been and still are, among various nations, favourite articles of diet. From the earliest times the locust has been eaten, and is still used as food. Locusts and wild honey were the food of 'the Baptist in the wilderness ; and at the present day locusts are eaten by the Bedouins, who collect them principally in the beginning of April
. There are several ways of dressing them. One plan is to half-roast them upon an iron plate, dry them in the sun, add salt to them, and store them in sacks for use. Another plan is to throw them alive into boiling water, with a quantity of salt, and in a few minutes remove them, and the heads, feet, and wings being torn away, to dry them and store them, as salted viands, for ordinary consumption. These are eaten often fried in butter, , or are mixed with butter and spread upon unleavened bread. Sometimes they are reduced to powder, of which small cakes, not unlike gingerbread cakes, are made. In the towns of Arabia, generally, there are shops in which preserved locusts are sold by measure. Though not generally eaten in Syria, still some of the poorer fellahs of the Haouran will, when pressed by hunger, feed upon them : in this case they break off the heads and wings, and take out the entrails, before drying them in the sun, which latter process the Bedouins neglect. 6. According to Burckhardt, the Bedouins of Sinai alone abstain from using locusts as an article of food. The ancient Æthiopians and the Parthians ate locusts, as do the Arabs now; the Hottentots eat them whenever they can procure them, and in the Mahratta country (India) the common people salt and eat them. Thus, then, during many ages and in different countries has the locust made some amends for its ravages, by affording a “dainty dish.”
The ancient Greeks ate the larva of the cigalæ or tree-hoppers, and also the perfect insect; and the Romans regarded as a delicate morsel the fat grub of some moth or beetle, which they fed upon flour, until it had acquired the requisite plumpness. The larva of this beetle lives in the decayed trunks of oaks and birches.