OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895

4:00 P.M.

March 30, 2000

A Review of
A Dictionary of the Arts & Sciences

by Albert Clark

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library

Biography of Albert Clark

·Albert Clark lived in Redlands since 1966 when he was transferred to be the Manager of the Western District of General Electri¢'s Space and Missile programs. He retired in 1981 after more than 25 years with that company's Space Business Operations.

After graduating from Lehigh University in 1942 with a degree in chemistry, he served in U. S. Army Ordnance Research and Development during World War II; then returned to Lehigh to earn a graduate degree in Physics and Chemistry. In 1948 he went to work in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a member of the scientific staff, and was awarded several patents for his work.After another year in the Army during the Korean War in 1951, he worked as a research advisor at the Frankford Arsenal. He joined the General Electric Company in Schenectady in 1955. He has managed engineering operations, high technology programs, and field operations for them. He belonged to the Optical Society of America, the American Chemical Society, the Franklin Institute, the Engineer’s Club of Philadelphia, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Zi, and he taught Nuclear Power Plant Engineering at Drexel University.

His hobbies include photography, philately, oenology and selenography.

A Dictionary of the Arts & Sciences

I happened to run across A DICTIONARY OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES some time ago and I thought a review of some of its contents might be of interest to members of the FORUM CLUB OF REDLANDS.  The first edition was published in three volumes about 1771 before copyright laws were in existence.  The first copyright laws were suggested in the American Constitution in Article I, section 8, (Powers of Congress.)

Over the years the definitions, bits of wisdom and articles included recipes for cooking, advice for treating diseases, one hundred pages to the remedy for a dog bite and other pages that are entertaining.

While some articles were detailed and in-depth, others were rather terse and concise.  For example:

***On California: “a large country of the West Indies…It is uncertain whether it be a peninsula or an island.”

***On marriage: “truly a contract, and so requires the consent of both parties; idiots, therefore and furious persons cannot marry.” 

Over the years the dictionary include recipes for cooking – without being a threat to Julia Childs or Good Housekeeping magazine.  One recipe called for 37 ingredients to make a savory dish called “Olgio” found chiefly on Spanish tables.  The ingredients included one rump of beef, neats tongues boiled and dried, and bologna sausages; boil them together and after two hours, add mutton, pork, venison and bacon, cut in bits.  Also carrots, turnips, onions and cabbage, borage, endive, marigolds, sorrel and spinach; then spices such as saffron, nutmeg, mace, cloves and others.  This done, in another pot put a turkey or goose, with capons, pheasants, pigeons and ducks, partridges, teals and stock-doves, snipes, quails and larks, and boil them in water with salt.  In a third vessel, prepare a sauce of white wine, strong broth, butter, bottoms of artichokes, and chestnuts, with cauliflowers, bread, marrow, yolks of eggs, mace and saffron.  Lastly dish the olgio by first layering out the beef and veal, then the venison, mutton, tongues and sausages, then the roots all over; then the largest fowls, the smallest, and lastly, pour on the sauce.

In a discussion of cheese and how it is made, three properties were described in various details.   I must bore you with some of them:

          ***Shaved thin and properly treated with water, it forms a strong cement with quicklime.

***It is recommended in the Swedish memoirs to be used by anglers as bait.

          ***It is a common opinion that old cheese digests everything, yet is left undigested itself.

encB_3.jpg (24912 bytes)The first edition included an extensive and detailed aricle on midwifery with 19 engraved illustrations to accompany the 40 pages of instructions written by the first doctor to teach and practice obstetrics.  The instructions and illustrations were so explicit that King George III ordered all loyal subjects to rip out and destroy the offending article and plates.  Of three thousand copies of the first edition in existence, only six still have the section on midwifery.

With the publication of the second and third editions of the dictionary, new subjects were added although the articles did no always convey the facts.

          ***Definition of Groin:  …that part of the belly next to the thigh.  It includes the remarkable case, where a peg of wood was extracted from the groin of a young woman, age 21, after it had remained 16 years in the stomach and intestines, having been accidentally swallowed when she was about five years old.

The editors were sometimes carried away by sensational topics.  In 1778 the entry “giant” included the discovery of a field of giants in France where a tomb was opened to display the body of a human ten feet wide at the shoulders and more than twenty five feet long.  It also reported the discovery of giant in 1516 with a thirty foot body and teeth weighing 5 ounces.   There were other reports of a discovery in Bohemia in 758 of a body with 26 foot long legs which are still (in 1778) kept in the castle in Totu.

There were definitions: woman was the subject of a terse statement:  “the female of man.”

There were extensive articles on sex, sleepers, botany, geography, and any number of subjects – some of which are still included in to-day’s edition although with a more cautious approach to the facts. 

In 1771 the definition of earthquake was given a single sentence: “Earthquake, in natural history, a violent agitation or trembling of some considerable part of the earth generally attended with a terrible noise like thunder, and sometimes with an eruption of fire, water and wind.”   The next edition devoted 14 pages to the subject.  To-day’s volumes include 6 pages of intense discussion and numerous articles scattered throughout 90 pages of earth science.

There were articles devoted to problems of the day and solutions. 

Bedbugs: Bedbugs were apparently a serious problem.  The first edition suggested that the best remedy was cleanliness.  Another edition a short time later gave a recipe for a cheap, easy, cleaning mixture for effectively destroying bedbugs.  To-day’s edition describes what they are –but not how to get rid of them.

The printing of the first edition listed the world as being 4 thousand years old.  In 1992 the age of the earth was listed as 4 billion years old.  To-day’s estimate is 14 billion years old.

The contents of the dictionary expanded from the original 3 volumes to ten volumes within 8 years.   In the first edition the editor gave short shrift to history and geography – one paragraph. In 1778 the second edition listed 61 pages of geography and history.

One and one half pages were used to describe the selling and buying of stocks by stockjobbers who made this a way of living.  The article went on to state that the persons who made these contracts are not in general in possession of any real stock; when the time comes that they are to receive or deliver the quantity they have contracted for, they only pay such a sum of money as makes the difference between the price the stock was at when they made the contract and the price it happens to be when the contract is fulfilled; and it is no uncommon thing for persons not worth £100 to make the contracts for the buying and selling of £100,000 of stock.  In the language of the Exchange Alley, the buyer, a speculator   in this case, is called a Bull, and the seller, a pessimist, a Bear.  And so we have a written record of speculators being called Bulls and persons selling because they think the price will go down being called Bears.

The information on rivers remained unchanged in later editions for 60 years.  It was printed along with information on glaciers, snow which was described as meteor because it was a phenomenon in the air (from the Greek – meteoron) consisting of stones and emeralds. The first edition contained a detailed article on how to counterfeit emeralds.

The first edition included 17 pages on money. The following edition increased the number of pages by 50% and had a section on metallic coins and on paper currency. 

Precision in measurement was becoming of some concern as the industrial revolution was in its infancy.  An acre of land is based on a French area of woodland – consisting of four square roods.  The rood is 40 perches, each perch is 24 feet in length, each foot is 12 inches and each inch is 12 lines.  In England an acre contains 40 perches or poles of 161/2 feet each, by law.  The acre may also be divided into 10 square chains of 22 yards each for a total of 4840 square yards.  In Scotland an acre consists of 4 square roods; one square rood is 40 square falls; one square fall is 36 square ells; one square ell is 9 square feet plus 73 square inches.  The Scottish acre is also divided into 10 square chains; the measuring chain should be 24 ells in length, divided in 100 links, each link being 8 inches; and so one square chain will contain 10,000 square links.

The pages of every edition of the dictionary were filled with reports of the newest developments in transportation.  Before automobiles and steam engines, the horse and the balloon were the only methods of transportation.   I recall my introduction to the dictionary as follows:

One evening more than thirty years ago, I was happily relaxed in an easy chair when my high school daughter entered the room and said, “Dad, I need help.

After some discussion I learned that she had to write a report.

“When is it due?” I asked.

“To-morrow.” Came the answer.

“What is the subject?”

“Hot air balloons,” was the reply.

Being employed in the aerospace industry I figured this was a piece of cake and replied,”Go to the encyclopedia.”  We had a relatively recent edition.

“I did and there was not much there.”

Sure enough there was very little on hot air balloons that I could find.  Lots of information on airplanes, automobile race cars, and rockets.

“Well,” I replied.  Let’s look it up in Daddy George’s 10th edition encyclopedia printed at the time of the Chicago World’s Fair.”

Sure enough, in the 1890’s, about the only aeronautical information was on the subject of hot air balloons – 33 pages of general and technical information and several pages of engravings of balloons from the late 19th century.  These same engravings were still used 30 years later in the 1926 edition.

Well!   That aroused my interest in dictionaries and encyclopędias.  I asked myself where anyone could go to do a review of old dictionaries and compare the changes and advances in encyclopędias over the years.  I got to thinking and wondering – about the work of writing and editing.  What to delete and what to add since space was at a premium and the number of volumes should not exceed about thirty two.

Ten years later I discovered that the Encyclopędia Britannica corporation had published a replica set of the three volume first edition and I finally acquired a copy.  It all started in 1768 when two gentlemen, Andrew Bell, an engraver and Colin Macfarquhar, printer engaged William Smellie, an editor, and set in motion a train of events that would profoundly affect the world of learning and information for well over two centuries.

The three first met with and established a society of gentlemen who agreed to buy a series of pamphlets to be published every several weeks.  Eventually the information was organized alphabetically and published in three volumes from 1768-1771.  Their goal was UTILITY AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE  -  “which ought to be the principal intention of every publication.”   The sub title of the first edition was A DICTIONARY OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES.   The first edition contained 2459 pages edited by Smellie and 160 engravings by Bell.  In a letter from the Britannica offices I was informed that “the replica of the 1768-1771 edition required three years of intensive research, exhaustive technology and painstaking labor”.

I have copied the first page of the first volume of the first edition and shall pass it around for your inspection.  The first thing to notice is the title: ENCYCLOPĘDIA BRITANNICA  or THE DICTIONARY OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES. 

The complete set of three volumes contained 2459 pages.  Look at the back of the first page.  It is one of the 160 engravings by Bell in a period of less than three years. Another example of Bell’s work is the engraving of balloons on the next page being passed.   One side shows engravings of 6 balloons which were published in editions as early as the third edition in1788 and which have remained unchanged even in the 13th edition in 1926.  Some articles remained unchanged for fifty years before being rewritten or dropped.

The history of the Dictionary is filled with adventures and misadventures, surprises and the drama of the unceasing quest for knowledge.  As this search continues,  the discovery of former ignorance, myths, and mis-information led to the discovery of how ephemeral   our present knowledge may be to-day!  Over the years facts become myths and myths become facts.   Earlier editions contained vast areas of error and ignorance.  A study of the information in the beginning editions reveals obsolete information and should caution us to look carefully at the contents of the current edition.  Later editions in fifty or one hundred years from now may prove our present knowledge to be equally illusory as well as entertaining to future readers.

During the intervening years the editorial policy has changed remarkably.  The editors of the current editions tend to present all sides of issues in dispute.  For example the naval architecture of Noah’s ark is no longer a subject to be debated.  Nor is 19th century alchemy to change base metals in to gold debatable after the discovery and organization of the chemical elements.   But now, nuclear physicists have demonstrated that new elements can be created and that base metals can be converted into other chemical elements  - a return to the days of alchemy.

Many of the topics in the earlier editions will never change.  Magnificent architectural cathedrals, great paintings, sculptures, literature, and musical scores are among the topics which are timeless.  On occasion the editors might choose to revise some of this well established information, but it will usually be to add new knowledge.  Art and literature transcend the ephemeral information of many sciences – mathematics excepted.  The advent of the computer disk will not change the nature of the information in the encyclopędia – only to allow us to realize how much we don’t know.

In the great ninth edition (1875-1889) the editors take great credit in the articles about Physics marked by the changes of conception and classification. In the midst of all this the dictionary was being published to record the changes.  Little did they know in 1875 that before the end of the century Becquerel will have discovered x-rays, Madame Curie would discover uranium and radioactivity, the electron will be discovered, and the internal combustion engine will have been brought close to perfection for the automobile and the airplane.  All of this will take place around the turn of the century.  All the more reason to look at our knowledge to-day and realize that we can not predict or even guess accurately at where we will be in 100 or 20 or even 10 years from now.  Every ten years about 1/3 of what we make to-day will be replaced by new or much improved products.  Astronomy, chemistry, physics, medicine, and  electronics are being updated on an annual basis.  Only the great paintings, great literature, great architectural structures remain unchanged – only added to.

In addition to medicine and health, religion, technology, the physical world, and biographies, many scientific subjects were treated in various ways in each succeeding edition.  Every edition included an article on barometers based on Evangelista Toricelli’s invention more than one hundred years before the first edition.   Using the barometer Blaise Pascal conducted a number of influential experiments.  During the course of events he ran counter to the beliefs of the Jesuits.  Father Noel, rector of the Jesuit’s college in Paris, keenly attacked Pascal with all the absurd dogmas of the church of Rome.  Father Noel contended that the empty space above the mercury was corporeal because it was visible and admitted light. He said that the atmosphere, like blood, contained a mixture of several of the four elements.  Fire and the finer part of air were detached from the space above the mercury and were violently ejected throughout the porous spaces in the glass to occupy the deserted space.  He hinted at heresy – and this should have deterred most experimenters. 

Pascal, undaunted, arranged for his brother to prepare two identical barometers and to take one to the top of a nearby mountain, leaving the other behind in the lowland.  When he took the first barometer to the mountain top the mercury fell three inches.  When he returned to the other barometer in the lowland, the mercury rose three inches to show that both barometers were comparable. 

The first edition included numerous accounts of experiments for the pleasure of the gentlemen’s society in Edinburgh.  The volumes were filled with  beautiful engravings, The third edition went overboard with engravings of balloons which were not flying at the time of the first edition. 

In the fourth edition in 1815 an extensive article on steam navigation was printed in this British publication without reference to Robert Fulton who had successfully used a steam engine to propel a ship in 1803 and another in 1807

Editor Smellie, in the first edition, did not treat the fields of art and literature too kindly.   He took Shakespeare to task in many pages devoted to criticizing the Bard  for his command over similes and metaphors and studded his article with the words error and useless image.

Many of the articles in early editions were unsigned.  Smellie himself wrote many of the articles and his strong bias is obvious in those written by others.  For 130 years his article on grammar was unchanged!  Benjamin Franklin never authored an article but a letter to Father Beccaria about the harmonica was published in 1788.  In the article he pays tribute to a Mr. Puckeridge, a gentleman from Ireland, who first thought of playing tunes from the different tones of different glasses.

From the beginning the Britannica has treated religion fully, carefully, and seriously.  In the earliest edition a strenuous effort was made to present a synopsis of what was known about every topic including exotic beliefs that were important enough to merit attention.

Theology was covered in 13 pages, midwifery in 40 pages dog bites in 100 pages, and anatomy in 165 pages.  But a large share of the fat three volumes of the first edition was devoted to religion because clergyman were educated far beyond the non-clerical professions.

In the second edition bias and humor are evident in the same article about Pope Joan (reportedly designated Pope John VIII) said to occupied the holy see for two years, five months and four days after the death of Pope Leo IV in 855.  There have been countless controversies, fables, and conjecture about this woman who pretended to be a man, first went to Athens where she made great progress in the sciences.  She had a quick genius and spoke with a good grace, with great learning.   After the death of Pope Leo she was made pope.  While serving as pope, she became pregnant and delivered the child as she was going in a solemn procession from the coliseum to St. Clements church, in a most public place before a large crowd of people and died on the spot.  Succeeding popes were placed in a groping chair behind which a deacon demurely satisfied himself of the pontiff’s sex by feeling.

During more than 2000 years, encyclopędias have existed as summaries of scholarship in forms comprehensible to the readers.  The word encyclopędia, of Greek origin, at first meant a circle or a complete system of learning. Early encyclopędias were sometimes given fancy names, i.e. Garden of Delights.  Some were simply called dictionaries.  They come in all sizes from a single 200 page volume to a set of 100 volumes.

Alphabetical arrangement was opposed in the first 100 years of printing in the west.  Some omitted maps, biographies, atlases, and biographies of living persons.  The Britannica attempts to include all that is known on a subject included in its volumes.  In 2000 years of dictionaries and encyclopędias more than 2000 have been produced in various parts of the world – some of these in many editions.   The fifteen editions of the Britannica would fill 90 feet of shelf space.  It is estimated that if all published encyclopędias were assembled they would fill 2 miles of shelf space.  Consequently libraries and institutions of higher learning must discard older editions as new ones arrive.   The 15th edition published ever since 1974 cost $32 million.  Since then another $24 million has been spent to redesign and update 32 volumes, 32,000 double sided pages with 44 million words and 19,000 illustrations.

The index itself is an outstanding example of the extensive work which goes into the publication of the Britannica.  For example the information in the Text Index is filed on more than 500,000 folders which include information as to where the information is included by the precise quarter of the page in the most recent edition.

In the Text Index the list of entries varies widely.  If one looks up “United States”   alphabetically there will be one major article with reference to as many as 1000 references to information in related articles in other parts of the encyclopędia.   The editors remind  the reader to consult the index to uncover references to a given subject. 

The number of volumes varied from three in the first edition to as many as thirty two in later years.   During some years the edition was published with two volumes bound as one book for a total of 16 books.

Beginning with the fifteenth edition in 1974 the information was organized in two parts –   micropedia in 10 volumes and macromedia in 19 volumes.  Micropedia offers concise explanations for quick information.  Macropedia is a source for in-depth treatment on more complex topics.  In the first ten volumes entries are alphabetized with directions or index references to the page in macromedia (19 volumes) on which a subject or aspect of a subject may be found in later volumes.  The Britannica boasts that it has several thousand more entries than its nearest competitor.

In years gone by the Britannica was sold to potential customers by sales personnel who visited people in their homes.  The total cost was seldom mentioned  and most  early on, contracts were made to purchase the volumes one at a time on a monthly basis.  This has changed to where all volumes in a complete set are delivered at one time and the cost may be paid on the installment plan.  In 1989 the Britannica employed more than 2300 sales persons.  To-day, the sales force numbers less than 350 – including some office personnel.  Several years the cost was more than $2000.  To-day the cost is $1250 and dropping.

With an impeccable reputation, excluding the early days of myth and fables, the Britannica missed a golden opportunity to be in the forefront on the internet.  After resisting all efforts to get involved in computers Britannica, in 1994 began to sell CD-ROM discs for the complete 32 volumes in computer stores.  Unfortunately, Microsoft stole the show by including Encarta free from the Americana Encyclopędia in each computer with its Windows programs while Britannica continued to use door to door sales personnel.  In 1996 Britannica it began to sell its access to the encyclopędia on the internet.  The Britannica charged a fee of $5.00 per month to access the 32 volumes and other information.  It did not prove to be a winner and the Britannica continued to decline.

While other web sites flourished, Britannica lagged behind.  Yet a person could not always rely on the web because the sites lacked credibility and trustworthiness.  Britannica was a powerful name to be trusted.  But they failed to establish their own web site until last fall when it went on line free, hoping to make a profit from the advertising.  It will spend $40 million to advertise its web site to draw viewers. More than 200 employees continue to work at editing and revising the volumes.  The encyclopędia will still be printed for sale to some purchasers. The name Encyclopędia Britannica still means trustworthiness, reliability, completeness, thoroughness and other fine qualities.  It may survive.

Six months ago when Britannica announced a free World Wide Web navigation service that classifies, rates, and reviews more than 130 thousand web sites, this announcement attracted worldwide attention.  This search  and browse directory of sites is selected by Britannica’s editorial team for quality and usefulness.  Included in its features are Bookmarks of the Smart and famous, Site of the Day, and Britannica Quick Search.  However only Encyclopedia Britannica Online Line subscribers paying $5.00 per month may access full Britannica articles , the 32 volume set or its Britannica Quick Search feature. 

Access to the Britannica for a fee of $5.00 per month includes access to numerous sites including a Merriam Webster dictionary, a year book, tens of thousands of related internet links, and multimedia with special features such as the Oscars, the Olympic games, Black history, the Normandy invasion, Shakespeare and the Globe theatre, the Nobel Prizes, and the Titanic – all updated continually.   It includes thousands of additional articles not available in the printed set, natural language searching, and browsable A-Z lists.   It is updated continually to provide the most current information and includes tens of thousands of related internet links.  It is available for a free, thirty-day trial.

Another Britannica product is a compact disk set which includes the information in 32 volumes, comparative time lines, user generated charts, tables, and reports; interactive maps, multimedia spotlights on subjects from dinosaurs to the American civil war to ecosystems; and updated related links to other information.  The cost  for CD-ROM99 is $50 with a $10 discount coupon. 

The most innovative product from the Britannica in its quest for survival may be the one that saves it.  An online shop has been opened on the internet to allow browser to review and purchase a wide selection of products offered for sale by the Britannica.  The browser can select from reference materials including computer software, a set of the Britannica for $1250, yearbooks and Merriam-Webster dictionaries. Another site promotes Britannica apparel such as T-Shirts, sweatshirts, and caps.   Art depicting animals, astronomy, and historical events can be purchased at another site.  Anatomical kits, models, books, software, videos and charts are offered for sale at another site.  Animals and nature are promoted on a site with models, kits, books, toys, games, and videos.  Telescopes, models, kits, books, toys and games are available to budding astronomers.  Chemistry sets for $49.50 from the Smithsonian are sold by Britannica along with other chemical kits, models, toys, games and books.  Biology interests are fulfilled with microscopes,  clothing, books, models and kits.  World globes are among the geography materials.  Physics and Optics supplies include kaleidescopes, gifts, toys and games.  There are shopping pages for natural history, earth sciences, brainteasers and specialty shops.

The standard printed set of 32 volumes includes articles written by experts in their fields, and an extensive list of Nobel Prize-winning authors to make the Britannica one of the most comprehensive and authoritative encyclopedia at a price of $1250.

 One aspect of the encyclopędia is the thrill of ownership.   I am fortunate enough to have the first, tenth, thirteenth and fifteenth editions and it is interesting to compare them.

A number of years ago the Britannica published and distributed a short story by Eugene Field. I will include it here.

The Cyclopeedy

Havin' lived next door to the Hobart place f'r goin' on thirty years, 1 calc'late that I know jest about ez much about the case ez anybody else now on airth, exceptin' perhaps it's ol'Jedge Baker, and he's so plaguy old 'nd so powerful feeble that he don't know nothin'.

It seems that in the spring uv '47—the year that Cy Watson's oldest boy wuz drownded in West River—there come along a book-agent sellin' volyumes 'nd tracks fr the diffusion uv knowledge, 'nd havin' got the recommend of the minister 'nd uv the selectmen, he done an all-fired big business in our part uv the county. His name wuz Lemuel Higgins, 'nd he wuz ez likely a talker ez I ever heerd, barrin' Lawyer Conkey, 'nd everybody allowed that when Conkey wuz round he talked so fast that the town pump 'u'd have to be greased every twenty minutes.

One of the first uv our folks that this Lemuel Higgins struck wuz Leander Hobart. Leander had jest marr'd one uv the Peasley girls, 'nd had moved into the old homestead on the Plainville road,—old Deacon Hobart havin' give up the place to him, the other boys havin' moved out West (like a lot o' darned fools that they wuz!). Leander wuz feelin' his oats jest about this time, 'nd nuthill' wuz too good f'r him.

"Hattie," sez he, "I guess I 'll have to lay in a few books fr readin' in the winter time, 'nd I 've half a notion to subscribe f'r a cyclopeedy. Mr. Higgins here says they're invalerable in a family, and that we orter have 'em, bein' as how we 're likely to have the fam'ly bime by."

"Lor's sakes, Leander, how you talk!" see Hattie, blushin' all over, ez brides alters does to heern tell uv sich things.

Waal, to make a long story short, Leander bargained with Mr. Higgins for a set uv them cylopeedies, 'nd he signed his name to a long printed paper that showed how he agreed to take a cyclopeedy oncet in so often, which wuz to be ez often ez a new one uv the volyumes wuz printed. A cyclopeedy isn't printed all at oncet, because that would make it cost too much; consekently the man that gets it up has it strung along fur apart, so as to hit folks oncet every year or two, and gin'rally about harvest time. So Leander kind uv liked the idee, and he signed the printed paper 'nd made his affidavit to it afore Jedge Warner.

The fust volytlme of the cyclopeedy stood on a shelf in the old seckertary in the settin'-room about four months before they had any use f’r it. One night 'Squire Turner's son come over to visit Leander 'nd Hattie, and they got to talkie' about apples, 'nd the sort uv apples that wuz the best. Leander allowed that the Rhode Island greenin' wuz the best, but Hattie and the Turner boy stuck up f'r the Roxbury russet, until at last a happy idee struck Leander, and sez he: "We'll leave it to the cyclopeedy, b'goshl Whichever one the cyclopeedy sez is the best will settle it."

"But you can't find out nothin' 'trout Roxbury russets nor Rhode Island greenin's in our cyclopeedy," sea Hattie.

"Why not, I 'd like to know?" sez Leander, kind uv indignant like.

'` 'Cause ours hadn't got down to the R yet," sez Hattie. "All ours tells about is things beginnin' with A.,'

"Well, ain't we talkin' about Apples;" sez Leander. "You aggervate me terrible, Hattie, by insistin' on knowin' what you don't know nothin' 'bout. "

Leander went to the seckertary tnd took down the cyclopeedy 'nd hunted all through it fir Apples, but all he could find wuz "Apple—See Pomology.',

"How in thunder kin I see Pomology," sez Leander, "when there ain't no Pomology to see? Gol durn a cyclopeedy, anyhow!''

And he put the volyume back onto the shelf 'nd never sot eyes into it ag'in.

That 's the way the thing run For years 'nd years. Leander would 've gin up the plaguy bargain, but he couldn't; he had signed a printed paper 'nd had swore to it afore a justice of the peace. Higgins would have the law on him if he had thronged up the trade.

The most aggervatin' feature uv it all wuz that a new one uv them cussid cyclopeedies wuz allus sure to show up at the wrong time,—when Leander wuz hard up or had jest been afflicted some way or other. His barn burnt down two nights afore the volyume containin' the letter B arrived, and Leander needed all his chink to pay f'r lumber, but Higgins sot back on that affidavit and defied the life out uv him.

"Never mind, Leander," see his wife, soothin' like, `'it's a good book to have in the house, anyhow, now that we've got a baby."

"That's so," sez Leander, "babies does begin with B. don't it?"

You see their fust baby had been born; they named him Peasley,—Peasley Hobart,—after Hattie's folks. So, seein' as how it wuz payin' fir a book that told about babies, Leander did n't begredge that five dollars so very much after all.

"Leander," sez Hattie one forenoon, "that B cyclopeedy ain't no account. There ain't nothin' in it about babies except 'See Maternity'!"

"Weal, I 'll be gosh burned!" sez Leander. That wuz all he said, and he could n't do nothin' at all, f'r that book-agent, Lemuel Higgins, had the dead wood on him,—the mean, sneakin' critter!

So the years passed on, one of them cyclopeedies showin' up now 'nd then,—sometimes every two years 'nd sometimes every four, but allus at a time when Leander found it pesky hard to give up a liver. It war n't no use cussin' Higgins; Higgins just laffed when Leander allowed that the cydopeedy was no good 'nd that he wuz bein' robbed. Meantime Leander's family wuz increasin' and growin'. Little Sarey had the hoopin' cough dreadful one winter, but the cyclopeedy did n't help out at all, 'cause all it said wuz: "Hoopin' Cough—See Whoopin' Cough"—and uv course there war n't no Whoopin' Cough to see, bein' as how the We had n't come yet'

Oncet when Hiram wanted to dreen the home pasture, he went to the cyclopeedy to find out about it, but all he diskivered woz: "Drain—See Tile." This wuz in 1859, and the cydopeedy had only got down to G.

The cow wuz sick with lung fever one spell, and Leander laid her dyin' to that cussid cyclopeedy, 'cause when he went to readin' 'bout cows it told him to "See Zoology."

But what's the use uv harrowin’ up one's feelin's talkie' 'nd thinkin' about these things? Leander got so after a while that the cyclopeedy did n't worry him at all: he grew to look at it ez one uv the crosses that human critters has to bear without complainin' through this vale uv tears. The only thing that bothered him wuz the fear that mebbe he would n't live to see the last volyume,—to tell the truth, this kind uv got to be his hobby, and I 've heern him talk ‘bout it many a time settin' round the stove at the tavern 'nd squirtin' tobacco juice at the sawdust box. His wife, Hattie, passed away with the yeller janders the winter W come, and all that seemed to reconcile Leander to survivin' her wuz the prospect uv seein' the last volyume of that cyclopeedy. Lemuel Higgins, the book-agent, had gone to his everlastin' punishment; but his son, Hiram, had succeeded to his father’s business 'nd continued to visit the folks his old man had roped in. By this time Leander's children had "rowed up; all on 'em woz marr'd, and there wuz numeris grandchildren to amuse the ol' gentleman. But Leander wuz n't to be satisfied with the common things uv airth; he did n't seem co take no pleasure in his grandchildren like most men do; his mind wuz allers sot on somethin' else,—for hours 'nd hours, yes, all day long, he'd set out on the front stoop lookin' wistfully up the road for that book-agent to come along with a cyclopeedy. He did n't want to die till he 'd got all the cyclopeedies his contract called for; he wanted to have everything straightened out before he passed away.

When—oh, how well I recollect it—when Y come along he wuz so overcome that he fell over in a fit uv paralysis, 'nd the old gentleman never got over it. For the next three years he drooped 'nd pined, and seemed like he could n't hold out much longer. Finally he had to take to his bed,—he was so old 'nd feeble,—but he made 'em move the bed up ag'inst the winder so he could watch for that last volyame of the cyclopeedy.

The end come one balmy day in the spring uv '87. His life wuz a-ebbin' powerful fast; the minister wuz there, 'nd me, 'nd Dock Wilson, 'nd Jedge Baker, 'nd most uv the fam'ly. Lovin' hands smoothed the wrinkled forehead 'nd breshed back the long, scant, white hair, but the eyes of the dyin' man wuz sot upon that piece uv road down which the cyclopeedy man llus come.

All to oncet a bright 'nd joyful look come into them eyes, 'nd al' Leander riz up in bed 'nd see, "It 's come'"

"What is it, Father?" asked his daughter Sarey, sobbin' like.

"Hush," says the minister, solemnly; "he sees the shinin' gates uv the Noo Jerusalum."

"No, no," cried the aged man, "it is the cyclopeedy—the letter Z—it 's comin'!"

And, sure enough! the door opened, and in walked Higgins. He tottered rather than walked, fir he had growed old 'nd feeble in his wicked perfession.

"Here's the Z cyclopeedy, Mr. Hobart," sez Higgins.

--- Leander clutched it; he hugged it to his pantin' bosom; then stealin' one pale hand under the piller he drew out a faded banknote 'nd gave it to Higgins.

`'I thank Thee for this boon," sez Leander, rollin' his eyes up devoutly; then he gave a deep sigh.

`'Hold on," cried Higgins, excitedly, "you 've made a mistake—it is n't the last—"

But Leander did n't hear him—his soul bed fled from its mortal tenement 'nd bed soared rejoicin' to realms uv everlastin' bliss.

"He is no more," sez Dock Wilson, metaphorically.

"Then who are his heirs?" asked that mean critter Higgins.

"We be," sez the family.

"Do you conjointly and severally acknowledge and assume the obligation of deceased to me?" he asked 'em.

"What obligation?" asked Peasley Hobart, stern like.

"Deceased died owin' me f'r a cyclopeedy," sez Higgins.

"That 's a lie!" sea Peasley. "We all seen him pay you for the Zap"

"But there 's another one to come," sez Higgins.

"Another?" they all asked.

"Yes, the index!" sez he.

So there wuz, and I’ll be eternally gol durned if he ain't a-suin' the estate in the probate court now fir the price uv it'

—Eugene Field

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