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of a painful nature; the interruption of this feeling was therefore a relief, an agreeable sensation. The sudden interruption of the solemnity of the proceeding, by reducing the pomps of office, and proportionably elevating the audience, was also a relief, an agreeable sensation. It appears, therefore, that this laughter was occasioned by the sudden sensations of relief from pain and consciousness of superiority.

Some years ago, when I was on the circuit, the judge in the midst of a trial, to the astonishment of us all, leaped up, and stood upon the bench on which he had been sitting. « Javelin man,” he called out with a loud voice, “ take away this dog, he has bit my leg.” The javelin man instantly arrived. He stooped down to take the dog, who growled tremendously. « Please you, my lord, I dar'n't touch him," said the javelin


A man fell asleep in the gallery of the House of Commons. He awoke suddenly, and, in the midst of a speech, he called out “ Let's have a song !"

Such are instances in courts of justice: and instances, from the same cause, may be observed in places of worship.

Upon the death of the rector of a parish in the country, there was a dispute between two neighbouring clergymen, who should officiate during the vacancy; a dispute which originated in the supposition that the temporary supply of the vacancy might be a recommendation to the patron in the gift of the living. One of the competitors was a very thin man; his opponent was short and fat. The tall thin man, in order that he might secure the performance of the duty, took his seat in the reading desk at six o'clock in the morning, which was an effectual bar to his opponent, as the only mode of ascending the pulpit was through the readingdesk. When the communion service was concluded, the tall priest stripped off his surplice, and ascended solemnly up the pulpit-stairs. The little man instantly arose upon a hassock in the pulpit, and said, “ Let us pray.” He had been there all night.

Lackington, in his life, says, “ That reminds me of a fact which happened a few years since at W— As the good doctor, who was one of the most absent of living beings, and was extremely fond of music, was going one Sunday morning to the cathedral, he heard a woman crying 'Mackerel, all alive, alive 0.!' And on his arrival at the church, he began the service as follows:- When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawiul and right, he shall save his soul alive-alive C! These last words the doctor proclaimed aloud, in the true tone of the fish woman, to the great surprise of the congregation ; but the good man was so studious and absent, that he knew not what he had done.”

I have a small hand-organ, and it is a custom of mine to play a psalm tune every morning after prayers. One of my boys removed the barrel of psalm tunes, and when the prayers were concluded, I unexpectedly struck up “Mony-musk.”




As the sudden feeling of superiority is a cause of laughter, it will follow that this species of laughter may be occasioned either by ignorance imagining itself to be superior, as a child laughs at an adult, which is very common; or by intelligence knowing its real superiority, as an adult laughs at a child, which is relatively rare. “ A fool,” saith the Preacher, “ lifteth up his voice in laughter; but a wise man doth scarce smile a little.” We read that Jesus wept; we do not read that he laughed.


When the king of Siam heard the Dutch ambassador speak of an aristocratical government, he burst into laughter at the idea of such absurdity.

Children laugh at events, which, in a state of greater knowledge, are attended with anxiety and tears. When I was a boy, I saw a short fat man with a large wig riding on a pony. The pony fell, and the old man rolled head over heels, and rose without his wig. I laughed immoderately. A surgeon would not have laughed; his first emotion would have been the possibility of bodily injury; nor would the man's wife have laughed; nor would any one who had immediate foresight of the probable consequences of this accident.

In an action for the infringement of a patent tried in March, 1821, in the Court of Common Pleas, the question was, whether the plaintiff's mode of weaving canvass was or was not new. A witness stated, that “so far from there being any thing new in the plaintiff's manner of doubling the thread, he could state with certainty it had been known and practised upwards of two thousand years.” The court appeared quite amused at his knowledge of the ancient mode of threadmaking; and the chief justice, quoting the verse,

“ When Adam delved and Eve span,"

appeared to expect that the witness could give some information of the method of spinning practised by our general mother. The counsel, by whom the witness was cross-examined, was extremely jocular, and professed himself to be desirous of learning the manner in which he had acquired his very particular knowledge of such high antiquity; he answered, that he had examined the cerement of an Egyptian mummy, and found that the thread of which it was composed, and of which he produced a specimen, had been spun and twisted exactly in the manner described in the plaintiff's patent.

In walking through a street in London, I saw a crowd of men, women, and children; they were hooting and laughing at a woman, who, looking neither to the right hand or to the left, passed through the midst of them in perfect 'silence. Upon approaching her I saw that all this derision was caused by her dress; which, equally unsuited to the weather, and to her apparent rank in life, was from head to foot entirely white. Her bonnet, her shawl, her very shoes were white; and though all that she wore seemed of the coarsest materials, it was perfectly clean. As I walked past her, I looked steadfastly in her face. She was very thin and pale, of a pleasing countenance, and totally unmoved at the clamour around her. I have since learned her story. The young man to whom she was betrothed died on the bridal day, when she and her companions were dressed to go to church. She lost her senses, and has ever since, to use her own words, been “ expecting her bridegroom.” Neither insult nor privation of any kind can induce her to change her dress; she is alike insensible of her bereavement by death, or of the lapse of time; "She is dressed for the bridal, and the bridegroom is at hand.”

An old man of the name of Guyot lived and died in the town of Marseilles; he amassed a large fortune by the most laborious industry, and the severest habits of abstinence and privation. The populace pursued him, whenever he appeared, with hootings and execrations.

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