Skimming the Gutenberg Project for the strange
and unusual.

The little suspicions both he and Joe had entertained
of their companion seemed to have vanished. Certainly
he neither did nor said anything that could be construed
as dangerous. He was a polished gentleman, and seemed
to regard the boys as his great friends. He often
referred to the runaway accident.

As for the odd, ticking box, it seemed to have been
put carefully away, for neither Blake nor Joe saw it,
nor had they heard the click of it when they went near
Mr. Alcando's possessions.

— Victor Appleton, The Moving Picture Boys in Panama

[No, no reason to be suspicious of Mr. Alcando and the
odd ticking box. None at all.]

This form of expression, when analyzed, is found not to
express what it is intended to express, and would be used
only by such as are either ignorant of its import or are
careless and loose in their use of language. To make this
manifest, let it be considered, first, that there is no
progressive form of the verb to be, and no need of it;
hence, there is no such expression in English as is being.
Of course the expression 'is being built,' for example,
is not a compound of is being and built, but of is and
being built; that is, of the verb to be and the present
participle passive. Now, let it be observed that the only
verbs in which the present participle passive expresses
a continued action are those mentioned above as the first
class, in which the regular passive form expresses a
continuance of the action; as, is loved, is desired, etc.,
and in which, of course, the form in question (is being
built) is not required. Nobody would think of saying,
'He is being loved'; 'This result is being desired.'

— Alfred Ayers, A Manual Devoted to Brief Discussions
of the Right and the Wrong Use of Words and to Some Other
Matters of Interest to Those Who Would Speak and Write
With Propriety.


[Good point. Totally boring, but good.]

See that wretched outcast! Poor and miserable,
shunned by all but depraved associates, he drags
out the worthless remnant of his days.

— John Mather Austin, Golden Steps to Respectability,
Usefulness, and Happiness.


[If that book hadn't been written 150 years ago, I would sue
him for defamation of character.]

As in the case of other mammals, this nitrogenous waste
matter is mainly present in the urine of cattle in the
form of urea, but also, to some extent, as hippuric acid,
a derivative of vegetable food which, in the herbivora,
replaces the uric acid found in the urine of man and
carnivora. Uric acid is, however, found in the urine of
sucking calves which have practically an animal diet,
and it may also appear in the adult in case of absolute,
prolonged starvation, and in diseases attended with
complete loss of appetite and rapid wasting of the body.
In such cases the animal lives on its own substance,
and the product is that of the wasting flesh.

— James Law, et al., Special Report On the Diseases
of Cattle.


[I'm assuming this book did not make the best seller list.]

The most striking feature was when the two planets were
fading from the advent of daylight. At the approach of
day Saturn assumed a pale, ashy hue, with a slight tinge
of yellow, while Mars retained its lustre in a surprising
manner, being of a strong orange yellow in color; its
north polar cap stood out strikingly towards the close
of the observations, a dark marking being also visible
near the middle of the disc. Saturn ceased to be visible
in the telescope at 18h. 6m., the last glimpse being had
a few seconds earlier. At this time Mars was easily
conspicuous, the sun being 5 or 6 high and the sky pretty
thick. At 18h. 10m. Mars began to grow pale. At 18h. 25m.
it was still visible but very pale and easily lost in the
field, though it could have been followed for some time
longer. By the time the planets were high enough to observe
with the large telescope they had separated too far to be
brought into the field of view of the largest eye-piece.

Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Vol 1.


[Good news — Mars and Saturn are still there. I'm
serious, go look outdoors!]

Dare I say it? Dare I say that I, a plain, prosaic
lieutenant in the republican service have done the
incredible things here set out for the love of a woman
—for a chimera in female shape; for a pale, vapid ghost
of woman-loveliness? At times I tell myself I dare not:
that you will laugh, and cast me aside as a fabricator;
and then again I pick up my pen and collect the scattered
pages, for I MUST write it—the pallid splendour of that
thing I loved, and won, and lost is ever before me, and
will not be forgotten. The tumult of the struggle into
which that vision led me still throbs in my mind, the
soft, lisping voices of the planet I ransacked for its
sake and the roar of the destruction which followed me
back from the quest drowns all other sounds in my ears!

— Edwin Arnold, Gulliver of Mars.

[Wow, sounds pretty intense. I sure hope any of that
didn't ruin his pension.]

Christmas! What worldly care could ever lessen the joy
of that eventful day? At your first waking in the morning,
when you lie gazing in drowsy listlessness at the brass
ornament on your bed-tester, when the ring of the milkman
is like a dream, and the cries of the bread-man and
newspaper-boy sound far off in the distance, it peals at
you in the laughter and gay greetings of the servants in
the yard. Your senses are aroused by a promiscuous
discharging of pistols, and you are filled with a vague
thought that the whole city has been formed into a line
of skirmishers. You are startled by a noise on the front
pavement, which sounds like an energetic drummer beating
the long roll on a barrel-head; and you have an indistinct
idea that some improvident urchin (up since the dawn) has
just expended his last fire-cracker.

— H. S. Armstrong, Trifles for the Christmas Holidays.

[What a splendid Christmas — reminds me of the Civil War.]

Someone has said that if any man would faithfully write
his autobiography, giving truly his own history and
experiences, the ills and joys, the haps and mishaps
that had fallen to his lot, he could not fail to make
an interesting story; and Disraeli makes Sidonia say
that there is romance in every life. How much romance,
as well as sad reality, there is in the life of a man
who, among other experiences, has married seven wives,
and has been seven times in prison—solely on account
of the seven wives, may be learned from the pages that

— L.A. Abbot, Seven Wives and Seven Prisons.

[Sort of a secular, 19th century version of Dante's
Inferno, that poor bastard.]

Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth
And our journeying time theirs;
As words of air, life makes of starry earth
Sweet soul-delighted faces;

As voices are we in the worldly wind;
The great wind of the world's fate
Is turned, as air to a shapen sound, to mind
And marvellous desires.

But not in the world as voices storm-shatter'd,
Not borne down by the wind's weight;
The rushing time rings with our splendid word
Like darkness filled with fires.

For Love doth use us for a sound of song,
And Love's meaning our life wields,
Making our souls like syllables to throng
His tunes of exultation.

— Lascelles Abercrombie, Emblems of Love.

[That's pretty good, actually.]

But of all possible nefarious traffic and deception,
practised by mercenary dealers, that of adulterating
the articles intended for human food with ingredients
deleterious to health, is the most criminal, and, in
the mind of every honest man, must excite feelings of
regret and disgust. Numerous facts are on record, of
human food, contaminated with poisonous ingredients,
having been vended to the public; and the annals of
medicine record tragical events ensuing from the use
of such food.

— Fredrick Accum, A Treatise on Adulterations of
Food, and Culinary Poisons, Exhibiting the Fraudulent
Sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spiritous Liquors,
Tea, Coffee, Cream, Confectionary, Vinegar, Mustard,
Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles, and Other Articles
Employed in Domestic Economy, and Methods of
Detecting Them.


[Well I don't know whether my food is poisoned or not,
but I think I just about starved to death in the length
of time it took me to read the damn title.]