“John Faust Cudlington, a German, was requested, in a company of gay people, to perform in their presence some tricks of his trade. He promised to show them a vine loaded with grapes, ripe and ready to gather. They thought, as it was the month of December, he could not execute his promise. He strongly recommended them not to stir from their places, and not to lift up their hands to cut the grapes, unless by his express order. The vine appeared directly, covered with leaves and loaded with grapes, to the astonishment of all present. Every one took up his knife, awaiting the order of Cudlington to cut some grapes; but after having kept them some time in that expectation, he suddenly caused the vine and the grapes to disappear. Then every one found himself armed with his knife, and holding his neighbor’s nose with one hand; so that if they had cut off a bunch without the order of Cudlington, they would have cut off one another’s noses.”
The book is curious and interesting and calculated to do away with much of the superstition which now appears to be gaining ground in almost every part of Christendom.
[Footnote 1: THE PHANTOM WORLD: a Philosophy of Spirits, Apparitions, &c. By AUGUSTINE CALMET. Edited by Rev. Henry Christmas.]
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AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
George Sand, as elsewhere noted, has written her “Confessions,” in the style of Rousseau, and a Paris bookseller has contracted to give her a fortune for them. The three greatest—intellectually greatest—women of modern times have lived in France and it is remarkable that they have been three of the most shamelessly profligate in all history. The worst of these, probably—Madame de Stael—left us no records of her long-continued, disgusting, and almost incredible licentiousness, so remarkable that Chateaubriand deemed her the most abandoned person in France at a period when modesty was publicly derided in the Assembly as a mere “system of refined voluptuousness.” Few who have lately resided in Paris are ignorant of the gross sensualism of the astonishing Rachel, whose genius, though displayed in no permanent forms, is not less than that of the Shakspeare of her sex, the forever-to-be-famous Madame Dudevant, whose immoralities of conduct have perhaps been overdrawn, while those of De Stael and Rachel have rarely been spoken of save where they challenged direct observation. We perceive that Rachel is to be in New York next autumn, with a company of French actors.
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