I -- M A 7
W%-~~ s:rr' ?~C*
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
'T is not enough that Greek and Roman page
At stated hours the sprightly boy'engage;
E'en in his pastimes he requires a friend,
To warn, and teach him safely to unbend;
And levying thus, and with an easy sway,
A tax of profit from his very play,
To impress a value, not to be erased,
On moments, lquander'd else, and running all to waste.
Cowprw 's Tirociaim.
The authenticity of the Vicr's favourite coin Is questioned by
ai per ln.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
SCIENCE IN EARNEST:
BEING AN ATTEMPT TO IMPLANT IN THE YOUNG MIND THE FIRST
PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY BY THE AID OF
THE POPULAR TOYS AND SPORTS OF YOUTH.
REVISED AND CONSIDERABLY ENLARGED, WITH SEVERAL
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
AVWN PKINTR I)V R V. C A'.,I') s jAUI, 'VlMIOR ",T!ZI r
MICHAEL FARADAY, D.C.L. OxoN., F.R.S.,
I'ULLERIAN PROFESSOR IN THE ROYAL INSTITUTION,
T'Is VOLUME Is INSCRIBED, not only in admiration of his great
scientific discoveries, but in grateful acknowledgment of ser-
vices more immediately relating to the design and object of the
present work-that of implanting and cherishing an early love
of Science, by enlisting under its banners the curiosity and
imagination of youth,-a plan which he has greatly promoted by
the delivery of JUVENILE LECTURES," alike remarkable for the
happy selection and arrangement of their subjects, the winning
fmiiliarity of their style, and the striking and beautiful sim-
plicity of their experimental illustrations.
TO THE READER.
TBLL me, gentle Reader, whether thou hast not heard of
the box of Pandora, which was no sooner opened by the
unhappy Epimetheus, than it gave flight to a troop of
malevolent spirits, which have ever since tormented the
human race.-BEHoLD I-I here present you with a magic
casket containing a GENIUS alone capable of counteracting
their direful spells. Perchance thou mayst say that its
aspect but ill accords with the richness of its promised
treasure; so appeared the copper vessel found by the
fisherman, as related in the Arabian tale ; but remember,
that no sooner had he broken its mystic seal, than the
imprisoned genius spread itself over the ocean and raised
its giant limbs above the clouds. But this was an evil
and treacherous spirit; mine is as benevolent as he is
mighty, and seeks communion with our race for no other
object than to render mortals virtuous and happy. To be
plain, my young friends, if you have not already unriddled
my allegory, his name is ParLosoPY.
In your progress through life, be not so vain as to believe
that you will escape the evils with which its path is beset.
Arm yourselves, therefore, with the talisman that can, at
once, deprive adversity of its sting, and prosperity of its
x TO THE READER.
dangers; for such, believe me, is the rare privilege of
I must now take leave of you for a short time, in order
that I may address a few words to your parents and pre-
ceptors; but, as I have no plot to abridge your liberties,
or lengthen your hours of study, you may listen to my
address without alarm, and to my plan without suspicion.
Imagine not, however, that I shall recommend the dis-
missal of the cane, or the whip; on the contrary, I shall
insist upon them as necessary and indispensable implements
for the accomplishment of my design ; but the method of ap-
plying them will be changed; with the one I shall construct
the bow of the kite, with the other I shall spin the top.
The object of the present work is to inculcate that early
love of science which can never be derived from the sterner
productions. Youth is naturally addicted to amusement,
and in this item his expenditure too often exceeds his
allotted income. I have, therefore, taken the liberty to
draw a draft upon Philosophy, with the full assurance
that it will be gratefully repaid, with compound interest,
ten years after date. But to be serious; those who super-
intend the education of youth should be apprised of the
great importance of the first impressions. Rousseau has
said, that the seeds of future vices or virtues are more fre-
quently sown by the mother than by the tutor; thereby
intimating that the characters of men are often determined
by the earliest impressions; and, of so much moment did
Quintilian regard this truth, that he recommends to us the
example of Philip, who did not suffer any other than
Aristotle to teach Alexander to read. In like manner,
TO THE BEADEB. Xi
those who do not commence their study of nature at an early
season, will afterwards have many unnecessary obstacles
to encounter. The difficulty of comprehending the prin-
ciples of Natural Philosophy frequently arises from their
being at variance with those false ideas which early asso-
ciations have impressed upon the mind; the first years of
study, are, therefore, expended in unlearning, and in clear-
ing away the weeds, which would never have taken root in
a properly cultivated soil. "To enter into the kingdom
of knowledge," said Lord Bacon, "we must put on the
spirit of little children."
Writers on practical education have repeatedly advocated
the advantages of the plan I am so anxious to enforce;
but, strange to say, it is only within a few years than any
works have appeared at all calculated to afford the neces-
sary assistance. In short, previous to the labours of Mrs.
Market and Miss Edgeworth, the productions published
for the purpose of juvenile instruction may be justly
charged with the grossest errors; and must have proved
as destructive to the mind of the young reader, as the
book presented by the physician Douban is said to have
been to the Grecian king, who, as the Arabian tale relates,
imbibed fresh poison as he turned over each leaf, until he
fell lifeless in the presence of his courtiers; or, to give
another illustration,-as mischievous as the magic volume
of Michael Scott, which, as Dempster informs us, could
not be opened without the danger of invoking some malig-
nant fiend by the operation.
Henceforth let all young men take heed
How in a conjuror's book they read."*
Southwy's Minor Porus.
xii TO THE READER.
How infinitely superior in execution and purpose are the
juvenile works of the present century !-to borrow a me-
taphor from Coleridge, they may be truly said to resemble
a collection of mirrors set in the same frame, each having
its own focus of knowledge, yet all capable of converging
to one point.
Allow me, friendly Reader, before I conclude my ad-
dress, to say a few words upon the plan and execution of
the work before you. It is not intended to supersede or
clash with any of the elementary treatises to which I have
alluded; indeed its plan is so peculiar, that I apprehend
such a charge cannot be brought against it. The author
originally composed it for the exclusive use of his children,
and would certainly never have consigned it to the press,
but at the earnest solicitations of those friends upon whose
judgment he placed the utmost reliance. Let this be re-
ceived as an answer to those who, believing that they can
recognize the writer, may be induced to exclaim with Me-
nedemus in Terence,-" Tantumne est ab re tua otii tibi
aliena ut cures, eaque nihil quae ad te attinent? Its
French translator t regrets that he is unable to give the
name of the English author; while, by not withholding
his own, he affords me the gratifying opportunity of identi-
fying M. Richard as the person to whom I am obliged for
the ability with which he has executed a difficult under-
taking. Addison, I believe, has said that a Pun can be
S" Have you such leisure from your own affairs
To think of those that don't concern you? "
t La Sciene eseignee par le J.r: imiti do l'Anglais, par
T. Ridcard, Profeseur de Mathdmatique. Paria, & la Librairie En-
qelopedique de Rornt, Re Hautefevill.
-_ "- l- '
TO THE READER. xiii
no more translated than it can be engraved ;" I can there-
fore readily pardon the Professor for having lopped off at
least three-fourths of my kite's tail, to say nothing of
sundry other mutilations; it is true, indeed, that he has
offered compensation by the introduction of many clever
calembourgs and smart jeux-de-mot. My American Edi-
tor had not that difficulty to encounter, and I only regret
that he did not enliven some of its passages with the
humour so characteristic of his country.
In composing a scientific work for elementary instruc-
tion, nothing is more difficult than to conceive a standard
of information so nicely adjusted as shall explain without
being too profound, and instruct without being too super-
ficial. Upon such an occasion its author is pretty much in
the predicament of an usher when taking his younger pupils
on a bathing excursion; who has to avoid the brook as too
shallow for recreation, and the pool as too deep for safety.
It is scarcely necessary to offer any apology for the
conversational plan of instruction; the success of Mrs.
Marcet's dialogues had placed its value beyond dispute.
It may, however, be observed, that this species of compo-
sition may be executed in two different ways,- either as
direct conversation, where none but the speakers appear,
which is the method used by Plato; or as the recital of a
conversation, where the author himself appears, and gives
an account of what passed in discourse, which is the plan
generally adopted by Cicero. The reader is aware that
Mrs. Marcet, in her 'Conversations on Philosophy,' has
adopted the former, while Miss Edgeworth, in her Harry
and Lucy,' has preferred the latter method. In composing
xiv TO THE READER.
the present work I have followed the plan of the last-men-
tioned authoress. Its advantage over the more direct con-
versational style consists in allowing occasional remarks,
which come more aptly from the author than from any of the
characters engaged ; indeed the formalities of the dialogue
are necessarily opposed to any deviations from an appointed
course, and may thereby exclude much useful information
that might otherwise be incidentally introduced.
If scientific dialogues are less popular in our times than
they were in ancient days, it must be attributed to the
frigid and insipid manner in which they have too frequently
been executed: if we except the mere external forms of
conversation, and that one character is made to speak and
the other to answer, they are altogether the same as if the
author himself spoke throughout the whole, instead of
amusing with a varied style of conversation, and with a
display of consistent and well-supported characters. The
introduction of a person of humour, to enliven the discourse,
is sanctioned by the highest authority. Cesar is thus
introduced by Cicero, and Cynthio by Addison. In the
introduction of Mr. Twaddleton and Major Snapwell, I
am well aware of the criticisms to which I am exposed;
I have exercised my fancy with a freedom and latitude
for which, probably, there is not any precedent in a
scientific work. I have even ventured so far to deviate
from the beaten track as to skirmish upon the frontiers of
the Novelist, and to bring off captive some of the artillery
of Romance; but if, by so doing, I have enhanced the
interest of my work, and furthered the accomplishment of
its object, let me entreat that mere novelty may not be
TO THE READER. xv
urged to its disparagement. The antiquarian Vicar, how-
ever, will, I trust, meet with cordial reception from the
classical student.* As to Ned Hopkins, although he may
not bear a comparison with William Summers, the fool of
Henry VIII.-or with Richard Tarleton, who un4ump-
ished Queen Elizabeth at his pleasure"-or with Archi-
bald Armstrong (vulgo Archie), jester to Charles,-yet I
will maintain, in spite of the Vicar's censure, that he is a
right merry fellow, and to the Major, and consequently to
our history, a most important accessary. Should any of
my readers be old enough to remember Jemmy Gordon,"
of Cambridge notoriety, they will not consider the cha-
racter overdrawn. I will only add that, in carrying on a
consistent story, by the aid of fictitious characters, certain
details and levities, otherwise open to the charge of being
unmeaning intrusions, are necessary means for giving to it
such an air of truthful life, as shall sustain the reader
during its progress in a rational belief of its realities.
If it be argued that several of my comic representations
are calculated, like seasoning, to stimulate the palate of
the novel-reader, rather than to nourish the minds of the
younger class, for whom the work was written, I might,
were I so disposed, plead common usage; for does not the
director of a juvenile fete courteously introduce a few
piquant dishes for the entertainment of those elder per-
It is, at least, gratifying to know that Mis Edgeworth, no mean
authority, has expressed her approbation of this character. In a letter
addressed to the author, she says, "As you may wish to know what
pleased me particularly, I will mention the character of the antiquarian
vicar, and Tom Plank, both which are the means of introducing much
amusing and useful information in an appropriate manner."
xvi TO THE READER.
sonages who may attend in the character of chaperone?
You surely could not deny me the benefit of such a pre-
cedent; and so, gentle Reader, in full confidence of your
favour, I bid thee-Farewell!
Tom Seymour's arrival from school.-Description of Overton
Lodge.-The HOROLOGE OF FLORA.-A geological temple.-
A sketch of the person and character of the Reverend Peter
Twaddleton.-His antipathy to puns.-Mr. Seymour en-
gages to furnish his son with any toy, the philosophy of
which he is able to explain.-Mr. Twaddleton's arrival and
reception.-His remonstrance against the diffusion of
science amongst the village mechanics.-A dialogue between
Mr. Seymour and the Vicar, which some will dislike, more
approve of and all laugh at.-The plan of teaching philo-
sophy by the aid of toys developed and discussed.-Play
and work.-Toys and tasks.-Mr. Twaddleton's objections
answered.-He relents, and engages to furnish an antiqua-
rian history of the various toys and sports . .Page 1
On gravitation.-Weight.-The velocity of falling bodies.-At
what altitude a body would lose its gravity.-The Tower of
Babel.-The known velocity of sound affords the means of
calculating distances.-The sound of the woodman's axe.-
An excursion to Overton well.-An experiment to ascertain
its depth.-A visit to the Vicarage.-The Magic Gallery.-
Return to the Lodge .. .. .. . 26
Motion, absolute and relative.-Uniform, accelerated, and
retarded velocity.-The times of ascent and descent are
equal.-Vis inertise.-Friction.-Action and reaction are
equal and in opposite directions.-Momentum defined and
explained.-The three great laws of motion . . 48
A sad accident turned to a good account.-One example worth
a hundred precepts.-Vis inertis.-The BANDILOR.-AI ex-
periment.-The centres of magnitude and gravity.-The
point of suspension.-The line of direction.-The stability
of bodies, and upon what it depends.-Method of finding
the centre of gravity of a body.-The art of the balancer
explained and illustrated. -Walking on stilts. -Various
balancing toys . . . ... Page 65
The CHINESE TUMBLERS, illustrating the joint effects of change
in the centre of gravity of a body, and of momentum.-Mr.
Twaddleton's arrival after a series of adventuree.-The
DANCING BALLs.-The PEA-SHOOTER-A FIGURE THAT DANCES
ON A FouNTAIN.-The FLYING WrrcH.-Elasticity.-Springs.
The game of "Ricochet," or duck and drake.-The REBOUND-
ING BALL.-Animals that leap by means of an elastic appa-
ratus.-The industrious fluas.-A -new species of puffing,
by which the Vicar is made to change countenance. 85
The arrival of Major Snapwell, and the bustle it occasioned.-
The maiden ladies of Overton perplexed, but not subdued.
-The Vicar's interview with the stranger. -The object of
the latter in visiting Overton,-A curious discussion.-A
word or two addressed to fox-hunters.-Verbal corruptions.
-Some geometrical definitions.-An instructive enigma 101
Compound forces.-The composition and resolution of motion.
-Rotatory motion.-The REVOLVING WATCH-GLASS.-The
SLING.-The centrifugal and centripetal forces. Theory
of projectiles.-The trundling of a mop.-The centrifugal
railway.-A geological conversation between Mr. Seymour
and the Vicar, in which the latter displays his powers of
ridicule . . . . . . . .118
The subject of rotatory motion continued.-A ball, by having
a peculiar spinning motion imparted to it, may be made to
stop short, or to retrograde, though it meets not with any
apparent obstacle.-The rectilinear path of a spherical body
influenced by its rotatory motion.--BILBOQUr, or CUP AND
BALL.-The joint forces which enable the balancer to throw
up and catch his balls on the full gallop.-The HooP.-The
centre of percussion.-The WHIP AND PmO TOP.-Historical
notices.-The power by which the top is enabled to sustain
its vertical position during the act of spinning.-The sleep-
ing of the top explained.-The force which enables it to rise
from an oblique into a vertical position.-Its gyration.
TRAP AND BALL.-Gifts from the Vicar.-An antiquarian his-
tory of the ball.-Tennis.-Goff, or bandy-ball-Foot-ball.
-The game of pall-mall.-The SEE-SAW.-The mechanical
powers.-The SwING.-The BANDILOR.-The doctrine of
oecillation.-Galileo's discovery.-The' pendulum.-An in-
teresting letter.-Mr. Seymour and the Vicar visit Major
Snapwell . . . . . . .. .153
MARBLmE.-Antiquity of the game.-Method of manufacturing
them.-Ring-taw.-Mr. Seymour, the Vicar, and Tom, enter
the lists.-The defeat of the two former combatants; the
triumph of the latter.--A philosophical explanation of the
several movements.-A gossiping interlude.-The rudi-
ments of the steam-engine first appeared as a toy.-The
native children of the Orinoco perform an electrical experi-
ment.-The subject of reflected motion illustrated.-The
Vicar's apology, of which many grave personages will ap-
prove . . . . . .. 169
Mr. Seymour and his family visit the Major at Osterley Park.
-A controversy between the Vicar and the Major.-The
SUCKER. Cohesive attraction.-Pressure of the atmos-
phere.-Meaning of the term suction.--Certain animals
attach themselves to rocks by a contrivance analogous to
the sucker.-The limpet.-The walrus.-Locomotive organs
of the house-fly.-A terrible accident.-A scene in the vil-
lage, in which Dr. Doseall figures as a principal performer.
-The Vicar's sensible remonstrance. -The density of the
atmosphere at different altitudes.--The BoTTLE IMPS.-The
PoP-GUN.-The AIR-GUN.-An antiquarian discussion, in
which the Vicar and Major Snapwell greatly distinguish
themselves . . . . .... Page 183
A short chapter brought to a violent and untimely end.-The
doings of Dr. Doseall, unlike his steam, admit of conden-
sation. The Vicar's consternation. An explosion. A
moral ................. 05
The SOAP-BUBBLE-The SQUIRT-The BELLOWS; an explana-
tion of their several parts.-By whom the instrument was
invented.-The sucking and lifting, or common pump.-An
experiment illustrative of atmospheric pressure. The
MAGIC BOTTLE and its wonders . . . 209
The KrIT.-Its construction.-The tail.-An author's medita-
tions among the catacombs of Paternoster-row.-Works in
their winding-sheets. -How Mr. Seymour strung puns
as he strung the kite's tail.-The Vicar's dismay.-Kites
constructed in various shapes.-Origin of the name.-The
kite of Chinese origin.-Kite-flying a national pastime.-
The figure usually adopted to be preferred. .... .225
The weather, with the hopes and fears which it alternately
inspired.-The oracular flowers.-Preparations for the flight
of the kite.-A discourse on the theory of flying.-Ana-
tomical errors of the artist in depicting the wings of angels.
-The structure and action of the wings of the bird.-A
philosophical disquisition upon the forces by which the
ascent of the kite is accomplished.-The tail of the bird
compared with the rudder of a ship.-The tail of the kite.-
The altitude to which a kite can ascend has a defined limit.
-A series of kites on one string.-A KITE-ARRIAGE.-The
MESSENGER.-The practical uses to which the kite has been
applied.-The causes, direction, Land velocity of wind ex-
plained.-The FLYING-TOP . . ... .Page 237
A short discourse.-The SHUTTLcocK.-Its construction.-
The solution of two problems connected with its flight.-
The windmill.-The smokejack.-A toy constructed on the
same principle.-The Bow AND ARRow.- Archery.-The
arrival of Isabella Villers ......... 260
A curious and discursive dialogue between the Vicar and
Miss Villers.-A passionate appeal in favour of flowers.-An
enigma.-The riddles of Samson and Cleobulus.-The myth
of Castor and Pollux.-Sound.-How propagated by aerial
vibration.-Theory of musical sounds ...... 275
A learned discussion, touching the superior powers of ancient,
compared with modern music.-Mr. Seymour combats the
prejudices of the Vicar, and supports the claims of mo-
dern music.-The importance of national airs and ballads.
-Dibdin's songs, and Monk Lewis's ballads.-Poetry the
sister of Music.-The sirens of Homer.-The magic of
music, a game here described for the first time.-The
Vicar's performance.-Adventures by moonlight.-Spirite
of the valley and a spectre at the waterfall.-Good-night
Origin of the crescent as the Turkish ensign.-Apparitions
dispelled, and mysteries solved, by philosophy.-Fairy-
rings.-Musical instruments classed under three divisions.
-Mixed instruments.-Theory of wind instruments.-The
JEW'S-HARP--The statue of Memnon.-An interesting ex-
periment.-The flute.-The WHIZ-GIG, &c.-Echoes.-The
myth of Narcissus. . . . . .. 306
The whispering gallery in the dome of St. Paul's.-The speak-
ing-trumpet.-The invisible girl, and the amusement she
occasioned.-Charades.- Other acoustic amusements. -
Mysterious sounds.-Creaking shoes ...... 326
An interesting communication, from which the reader may
learn that the most important events are not those which
absorb the greatest portion of time in their recital.-Major
Snapwell communicates to Mr. Seymour and the Vicar his
determination to celebrate the marriage of his nephew by a
fete at Osterley Park.-PUNCH and the FANTroCINI.-An
antiquarian discussion of grave importance. Origin of the
bride-cake.-An interview with Ned Hopkins, during which
he displayed much cunning and humour, and is engaged by
the Major as the director of his proposed comic entertain-
ment.. ...... ...... 338
The flower-garden.-Reasons for placing it near your dwell-
ing.-Early passion for flowers endures through life.-Ad-
vantages arising from their cultivation.-Its pleuures en-
hanced by the applications of science.-Contrast, a source
of pleasure.-Illustrations.-The philosophy of colours.-
Complementary, or accidental colours.-Experiments with
coloured wafers. Optical fallacies. -Reflections in the
alcove of the Major's garden.-Practical suggestions and
conclusions . . . . . . Page 39
A new optical toy invented by the author, and termed the
THAUMATROPE.- The Vicar's ludicrous alarm at its an-
nouncement.- Explanation of its principle.-Retentive
power of the retina.-Spectral, or accidental colours.-The
cross of Constantine.-Suggestions for improving the thau-
matrope.-Other toys upon the same optical principle.-
PHAANTASM coP. PsHNAKxurSooPr. Important con-
clusion of the chapter . . . . ... 376
Preparations for the approaching fete.- The arrival of the
guests.-The procession of the bridal party to Osterley
Park.-The Major and his visitors superintend the arrange-
ments in the meadow.-The curious discussions which took
place on that occasion.-The origin of the swing.-Merry-
andrews.-Tragetours, &c.-The dinner at the hall.-The
learned controversy which was maintained with respect to
the game of chess .. . . . . 404
The arrival of the populace at Osterley Park. The com-
mencement of the festivities.-Dancing on the tight and
slack rope.-Balancing.-An egg poised on its broad and
narrow end.-Conjuring.-The Mysterious Lady.-The King
of the Salamanders.-The fire ordeal.-Water frozen in a
red-hot crucible. -Ice set on flre.-Optical illusions.-
Phantasmagoria.-Deceptive sounds.-Invisible girl.-Ven-
triloquism.-Various games.-The Penthalum.-Quoita.-
The banquet.-The game of Quintain.-Grand display of
flreworks.-Coloured fire. -A tableau in the infernal re-
gions. -Conclusion . . . . . 424
CONTENTS OF THE NOTES.
Note. Pag. No. Page.
1. 457. Horologe of Flora. 34. 498. Cause of iridescence.
2. 458. Geological Theories. 35. 499. Vegetable barometers.
3. 459. Gbthe an early "destruc- 36. 500. St. Swithin.
tive." 37. 501. The whale.
4. 459. Gravity and centrifugal 38. 501. Progressive motion in
force. fishes. Boats impelled
5. 460. Velocity of light, by paddling, rowing,
6. 461. Velocity of falling bodies. &c.
7. 462. Hydromancy. 39. 502. Flight of birds.
8. 463. Coins and medals. 40. 502. Flight of insects.
9. 469. Why bodies revolve on 41. 503. Obliquity of the wings of
the shorter axis. birds.
10. 470. Momentum and the me- 42. 503. A mechanical proposition
chanical powers. upon which the sta-
11. 471. Centre of gravity. tionary condition of the
12. 472. The Indian blow-pipe. kite depends.
13. 474. Pendulum and spring. 43. 503. Kite messengers.
14. 475. Elastic chairs and beds. 44. 503. Blowing hot and cold.
15. 476. Duck and drake. 45. 504. Winds and storms.
16. 476. Vegetable elasticity. 46. 507. Ancient archery.
17. 477. A simple orrery. 47. 508. Sound conveyed by solids.
18. 477. Conic sections. 48. 508. Expressive music.
19. 477. Earthquake of Lisbon. 49. 509. Imaginary forms, or
20. 477. Geology applied to agri- chance resemblances.
culture. 50. 511. Fairy rings.
21. 479. The rifle. 51. 512. Resonance.
22. 480. The bommerang. 52. 514. Great performers on the
23. 482. Centre of percussion. Jew's-harp.
24. 482. Spinning of the top. 53. 515. Verbal telegraph.
25. 483. The cycloid. 54. 616. Electrical telegraph.
26. 484. Billiards. 54- 518. Carrier pigeons.
27. 485. Collision of bodies. 55. 519. Obscure origin of popular
28. 487. Druidical remains. ceremonies.
29. 490. Contact necessary to co- 56. 520. Origin of chess.
hesion. 57. 521. The egg poised on its end.
30. 491. Animal suction. 58. 521. The magic wand.
31. 493. Accidental discoveries. 59. 522. An arithmetical trick.
32. 496. Rarefied state of the at- 60. 523. An algebraic problem.
mosphere in the higher 61. 524. The mysterious lady.
regions. 62. 527. Fire ordeal. Spheroidal
33. 497. Weight of the superin- state of liquids.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT.
TOM SEYMOUR'S ARRIVAL FROM SCHOOL. DESCRIPTION OF OVERTON
LODGE. THE HOROLOGE OF FLORA. A GEOLOGICAL TEMPLE. -
A SKETCH OF THE PERSON AND CHARACTER OF THE REVEREND
PETER TWADDLETON. HIS ANTIPATHY TO PUNS.-MR. SEYMOUR
ENGAGES TO FURNISH HIS SON WITH ANY TOY, THE PHILOSOPHY
OF WHICH HE IS ABLE TO EXPLAIN.-MR.TWADDLETON'S ARRIVAL
AND RECEPTION. HIS REMONSTRANCE AGAINST THE DIFFUSION
OF SCIENCE AMONGST THE VILLAGE MECHANICS.- A DIALOGUE
BETWEEN MR. SEYMOUR AND THE VICAR, WHICH SOME WILL
DISLIKE, MORE APPROVE OF, AND ALL LAUGH AT.- THE PLAN
OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY BY THE AID OF TOYS DEVELOPED AND
DISCUSSED.-PLAY AND WORK.-TOYS AND TASKS.-MR. TWADDLE-
TON'S OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.-HE RELENTS, AND ENGAGES TO
FURNISH AN ANTIQUARIAN HISTORY OF THE VARIOUS TOYS AND
THE summer recess of Mr. Pearson's school was not more
anxiously anticipated by the scholars than by the numerous
family of Seymour, who, at the commencement of the year,
had parted from a beloved son and brother for the first
time. As the season of relaxation approached, so did the
inmates of Overton Lodge (for such was the name of Mr.
Seymour's seat) betray increasing impatience for its arrival.
The three elder sisters, Louisa, Fanny, and Roea, had been
engaged for several days in arranging the little study
which their brother Tom had usually occupied. His books
were carefully replaced on their shelves, and bunches of
roses and jasmines, which the affectionate girls had culled
2 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. I.
from the finest trees in the garden, were tastefully dis-
persed through the apartment; the festoons of blue ribands,
with which they were entwined, at once announced them-
selves as the work of graceful hands impelled by light
hearts; and every flower might be said to reflect from its
glowing petals the smiles with which it had been collected
and arranged. At length the happy day arrived ; a carriage
drew up to the gate, and Tom was once again folded in
the arms of his affectionate and delighted parents. The
little group surrounded their beloved brother, and wel-
comed his return with all the warmth and artlessness of
juvenile sincerity. Well," said Mr. Seymour, if the
improvement of your mind corresponds with that of your
looks, I shall indeed have reason to congratulate myself
upon the choice of your school. But have you brought me
any letter from Mr. Pearson? "I have," replied Tom,
who presented his father with a note from his master, in
which he had dwelt, in high terms of commendation, not
only upon the general conduct of his pupil, but upon the
rapid progress he had made in his classical studies.
My dearest boy," exclaimed the delighted father, I
am more than repaid for the many anxious moments which
I have passed on your account. I find that your conduct
has given the highest satisfaction to your master; and that
your good-nature, generosity, and, above all, your strict
adherence to truth, have ensured the love and esteem of
your schoolfellows." This gratifying report brought tears
of joy into the eyes of Mrs. Seymour; Tom's cheek glowed
with the feeling of conscious merit; and the sisters inter-
changed looks of mutual satisfaction. Can there be an
incentive to industry and virtuous conduct more power-
ful than the exhilarating smiles of approbation which the
schoolboy receives from an affectionate parent? Tom
would not have exchanged his feelings for all the world,
and he internally vowed that he would never deviate from
a course that had been productive of so much happiness.
But come," exclaimed Mr. Seymour, let us all retire
into the library. I am sure that our dear fellow will be
glad of some refreshment after his journey."
We shall here leave the family circle to the undisturbed
enjoyment of their domestic banquet, and invite the reader
to accompany us in a stroll about the grounds of this
beautiful and secluded retreat.
We are amongst those who believe that the habits and
character of a family may be as easily discovered from the
rural taste displayed in the grounds which surround their
habitation, as by any examination of the prominences on
their heads, or of the lineaments in their faces. How
vividly is the decline of an ancient race depicted by the
chilling desolation which reigns around the mansion, and
by the rank weed which insolently triumphs over its fading
splendour; and how equally expressive of the peaceful and
contented industry of the thriving cottager, is the well-
cultivated patch which adjoins the humble dwelling, around
whose rustic porch the luxuriant lilac clusters, or the
aspiring woodbine twines its green tendrils and sweetly-
scented blossoms! In like manner did the elegantly dis-
posed grounds of Overton Lodge at once announce the
classic taste and fostering presence of a refined and highly
The house, which was in the Ionic style of architecture,
was situated on the declivity of a hill, so that the verdant
lawn which was spread before its southern front, after
retaining its level for a short distance, gently sloped to the
vale beneath, and was terminated by a luxuriant shrubbery,
over which the eye commanded a range of fair enclosures,
beautified by an irregularly undulating surface, and inter-
spersed with rich masses of wood. The uniformity of the
lawn was broken by occasional clumps of flowering shrubs,
so artfully selected and arranged, as to afford all the varied
charms of contrast; while, here and there, a lofty elm
flung its gigantic arms over the sward beneath, which
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
enabled the inhabitants of the Lodge, like the philosophers
of old, to converse in the shade even during the heat of a
meridian sun. The shrubbery, which occupied a consider-
able portion of the valley, stretched for some distance up
the western part of the hill; and could Shenstone have
wandered through its winding paths and deep recesses, his
own Leasowes might have suffered from a comparison.
Here were mingled shrubs of every varied dye; the elegant
foliage of white and scarlet acacias was blended with the
dark-green-leaved chestnut; and the stately branches of
the oak were relieved by the gracefully pendulous boughs
of the birch. At irregular intervals, the paths expanded
into verdant glades, in each of which the bust of some
favourite poet or philosopher announced the genius to
which they were severally consecrated. From a description
of one or two of these sequestered spots, the reader will
readily conceive the taste displayed in all.
After winding, for some distance, through a path so
closely interwoven with shrubs and trees, that scarcely a
sunbeam could struggle through the foliage, a gleam of
light suddenly burst through the gloom, and displayed a
beautiful marble figure, which had been executed by a
Roman artist, representing Flora in the act of being attired
by Spring. It was placed in the centre of the expanse
formed by the retiring trees, and at its base were flowering,
at measured intervals, a variety of those plants to which
Linnaeus has given the name of Equinoctial Flowers,
since they open and close at certain and exact hours of the
day, and thus by proper arrangement constitute the Hoao-
LOGE or FLORA (1)*, or Nature's time-piece. It had
been constructed, under the direction of her mother, by
Louisa Seymour. The hour of the day at which each
plant opened was represented by an appropriate figure of
nicely trimmed box; and these, being arranged in a circle,
These figures refer to the additional notes at the end of the
Chap. I. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 5
not only fulfilled the duty, but exhibited the appearance of
From this retreat several winding paths threaded their
mazy way through the deep recesses of the wood; and
the wanderer, quitting for a while the blaze of day, was
refreshed by the subdued light which everywhere pervaded
the avenue, except where the hand of taste had, here and
there, turned aside the boughs, and opened a vista to bring
the village spire into view, or to gladden the sight by a
rich prospect of the distant landscape. After having de-
scended for some way, the path, losing its inclined direction,
proceeded on a level, and thus announced to the stranger
his arrival at the bottom of the valley. What a rich
display of woodland scenery was suddenly presented to his
view I A rocky glen, in which large masses of sandstone
were grouped with pictureque boldness, terminated the
path, and formed an area wherein he might gaze on the
mighty sylvan amphitheatre, which gradually rose to a
towering height above him, and seemed to interpose an
insuperable barrier between the solitude of this sequestered
spot and the busy haunts of men; not a sound assailed the
ear, save the murmur of the summer breeze, as it swept
the trembling foliage, or the brawling of a small mountain
stream, which gushed from the rock, and, like an angry
chit, fretted and fumed as it encountered the obstacles that
had been raised by its own impetuosity. This was the
favourite retreat of Mr. Seymour, and he had dedicated it
to the genius of geology; here had he erected a temple to
the memory of Werner, and every pillar and ornament
bore testimony to the refined taste of its architect. It
consisted of a dome, constructed of innumerable shells and
corallines, and surmounted by a marble figure of Atlas,
bearing the globe on his shoulders, upon which the name
of WERNER was inscribed. The dome was supported by
twelve pillars of so singular and beautiful a construction
as to merit a particular description: the Corinthian capital
6 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. I.
of each was of Pentelican marble; the column consisted of
a spiral of about six inches in breadth, which wound round
a central shaft of not more than two inches in diameter;
upon this spiral were placed specimens of various rocks, of
such masses as to fill up the outline, and to present to the
eye the appearance of a substantial and well-proportioned
pillar. These specimens were arranged in an order cor-
responding with their acknowledged geological relations;
thus, the Diluvial productions occupied the higher com-
partments; the Primitive strata, the lower ones; and the
Secondary and Transition series found intermediate places.
The tessellated floor presented the different varieties of
marble, so artfully interspersed as to afford a most harmo-
nious combination; the Unicoloured, variegated, Madre-
poric, the Lumachella, Cipolino, and Breccia marbles,
were each represented by a characteristic and well-defined
specimen. The alcoved ceiling sparkled with Rock Crystal,
interspersed with calcareous Stalactites, and beautiful Chal-
cedonies. A group of figures in basso relievo adorned the
wall which enclosed about a third part of the interior of
the temple, and its subject gave evidence of the Wernerian
devotion of Mr. Seymour; for it represented a contest
between Pluto and Neptune, in which the watery god was
seen in the act of wresting the burning torch from the
hand of his adversary, in order to quench it in the ocean.
Mr. Seymour had studied in the school of Freyburg, under
the auspices of its celebrated professor; and, like all the
pupils of Werner, he pertinaciously maintained the aqueous
origin of our strata (2). But let us return to the happy
party at the Lodge, whom the reader will remember we
left at their repast. This having been concluded, and all
those various subjects discussed, and questions answered,
which the schoolboy, who has ever felt the satisfaction of
returning home for the holidays, will more easily conceive
than we can describe, Tom inquired of his father, whether
his old friend, Mr. Twaddleton, the vicar of Overton, was
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
well, and at the Parsonage. He is quite well," said
Mr. Seymour, and so anxious to see you, that he has
paid several visits, during the morning, to inquire whether
you had arrived. Depend upon it, that many hours will
not elapse before you see him."
In that wish did Tom and the whole juvenile party
heartily concur; for the vicar, notwithstanding his oddi-
ties, was the most affectionate creature in existence, and
never was he more truly happy than when contributing to
the innocent amusement of his little play-mates," as he
used to call Tom and his sisters.
It may be here'necessary to present the reader with a
short sketch of the character of a person, who will be
hereafter found to perform a prominent part in the little
drama of Overton Lodge.
The Rev. Peter Twaddleton, Master of Arts, and Fellow
of the Society of Antiquaries, for we must introduce him
in due form, was about fifty-six years of age, twenty of
which he had spent at Cambridge, as a resident Fellow
of Jesus College. He had not possessed the vicarage of
Overton above eight or nine years; and, although its value
never exceeded a hundred and eighty pounds a year, so
limited were his wants, and so frugal his habits, that he
generally contrived to save a considerable sum out of his
income, in order that he might devote it to purposes of
charity and benevolence: his charity, however, was not
merely of the hand, but of the heart; distress was un-
known in his village; he fed the hungry, instructed the
ignorant, nursed the sick, and cheered the unfortunate;
his long collegiate residence had imparted to his mind
several peculiar traits, and a certain stiffness of address
and quaintness of manner which at once distinguish the
recluse from the man of the world ; in short, as Shakspeare
expresses it, he was not hackney'd in the ways of men."
His face was certainly the very reverse to everything that
could be considered good-looking," and yet, when he
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
smiled, there was an animation that redeemed the otherwise
harsh expression of his angular features; so benevolent
was this smile, it w as impossible not to feel that sentiment
of respect and admiration which the presence of a superior
person is wont to inspire; but his superiority was rather
that of the heart than of the head; not that we would
insinuate any inferiority in intellect, but that his moral
excellences were so transcendent as to throw into the shade
all those mental qualities which he possessed in common
with his class. He entertained a singular aversion to the
mathematics, a prejudice which we are inclined to refer to
his disappointment in the senate-house; for, although he
was known at Cambridge as one of those pale beings
in spectacles and cotton stockings," commonly called
" reading men," yet, after all his exertions, he only suc-
ceeded in obtaining the wooden spoon," an Lonour which
devolves upon the last of the "junior optimes." Whether
his failure arose from an exuberant or a deficient genius,
or, to speak phrenologically, from an excess in his number
of bumps, or a defect in his bump of numbers, we are
really unable to state, never having had an opportunity of
verifying our suspicions by a manual examination of his
cranium; he was, however, well-read in the classics, and
so devoted to the works of Virgil, that he rarely lost an
opportunity of quoting his favourite poet; and, although
these quotations, vented in mangled forms, too generally
pervaded his conversation, they were sometimes apposite,
and now and then even witty. But, notwithstanding the
delight which he experienced in a lusMu verborum in a
learned language, of such contradictory materials was he
composed, that his antipathy to an English pun was so
extravagant as to be ridiculous. This peculiarity has been
attributed, but we speak merely from common report, to a
disgust which he contracted for that species of spurious
wit, during his frequent intercourse with the Johnians, a
race of students who have, from time immemorial, been
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
identified with the most profligate class of punsters;* be
this, however, as it may, we are inclined to believe that a
person who resides much amongst those who are addicted
to this vice, unless he quickly takes the infection, acquires
a sort of constitutional insusceptibility, like nurses, who
pass their lives in infected apartments with perfect safety
and impunity. His favourite, and we might add his only
pursuit, beyond the circle of his profession, was the study
of antiquities; he was, as we have already stated, a Fellow
of the Society of Antiquaries; had collected a very toler-
able series of ancient coins, and possessed sufficient critical
acumen to distinguish between Attic erugo and the spurious
verdure of the modern counterfeit. In short, he was a
keen archeological mouser of the genuine breed, rejoicing
in dusty nooks and damp mysterious cells. Often had he
undertaken an expedition of a hundred miles to inspect the
interior of an ancient barrow, or to examine the mouldering
fragments of some newly-discovered monument; indeed,
like the connoisseur in cheese, blue-mould and decay were
the favourite objects of his taste, and the sure passports to
his favour; for he despised all living testimony, but that
of worms and maggots. A coin with the head of a living
sovereign passed through his hands with as little resistance
as water through a sieve, but he grasped the head of an
Antonine or Otho with insatiable and relentless avarice.
Mr. Twaddleton's figure exceeded the middle stature, and
was so extremely slender as to give him the air and
appearance of a tall man. He was usually dressed in an
It is not easy to imagine the origin of this tradition, nor after
considerable research can we discover the slightest clue to explain
the sobriquet of Hps, in which the members of the same fraternity
have so long rejoiced. If the Johnians, however, are guiltless of the
sin of punning, they have certainly been the cause of that sin in
others; for instance, the bridge erected over the CAM, to connect the
new and old courts, has been termed the" IsAtmw of Su "--and on
the author passing over this bridge with Mr. Coleridge, the latter
observed that were a Johnian to bang himself upon it, the jury might
well bring in a verdict, Ss per c."
old-fashioned suit of black cloth, consisting of a single-
breasted coat, with a standing collar, and deep comprehen-
sive cuffs, and a flapped waistcoat; but so awkwardly did
these vestments conform with the contour of his person,
that we might have supposed them the production of those
Laputan tailors who wrought by mathematical principles,
and held in sovereign contempt the illiterate fashioners
who deemed it necessary to measure the forms of their
customers; although it was whispered by certain censorious
spinsters in the village that the aforesaid mathematical
artists were better acquainted with the angles of the Seven
Dials than with the squares of the west end. They farther
surmised that the vicar's annual journey to London, which
in truth was undertaken with no other objects than those
of attending the anniversary of the Society of Antiquaries,
on St. George's day, and of inspecting the cabinets of the
British Museum, and that of his old crony, the celebrated
medallist of Tavistock-street, was for the laudable purpose
of recruiting his wardrobe. If the aforesaid coat, with
its straggling and disproportioned suburbs, possessed an
amplitude of dimensions which ill-accorded with the slender
wants of his person, this misapplied liberality was more
than compensated by the rigid economy exhibited in the
nether part of his costume (the innominabiles of Southey),
which evidently had not been designed by a contemporary
artisan; not so his shoes, which, for the accommodation of
those unwelcome parasites, vulgarly called corns, were
constructed in the form of a battledore, and displayed such
an unbecoming quantity of leather, that, as Ned Hopkins,
a subaltern wit of the village alehouse, observed, however
economical their parson might appear, he was undoubtedly
supported in extravagance." Nor did the natural associa-
tion between tithes and "corn-bags" escape his observation,
but was repeated with various other allusions of equal
piquancy, to the no small annoyance of the reverend gentle-
man, and, as lie declared, to the disparagement of his cloth.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
After the social repast had been concluded, Tom pro-
posed a ramble through the shrubbery. He was anxious
to revisit the scene of his former sports; and Louisa
readily met his wishes, for she was also desirous of showing
him the botanical clock, which had been planned and
completed during his absence. Mr. and Mrs. Seymour
accompanied their children, and, as they walked across the
lawn, Tom asked his father whether he remembered the
promise he had made him on quitting home for school,
that of furnishing him with some new amusements during
I perfectly remember," said his father, the promise
to which you allude, and I hope that you equally well
recollect the conditions with which it was coupled. When
your mamma gave you a copy of Mrs. Marcet's instructive
Dialogues on Natural Philosophy, I told you that, after you
had studied the principles which that work so admirably
explains, you would have but little difficulty in understand-
ing the philosophy of toys, or the manner in which each
produced its amusing effects; and that, when the mid-
summer holidays commenced, I would successively supply
you with a new amusement, whenever you could satisfac-
torily explain the principles of those you already possessed.
Was not that our contract ?"
It was," exclaimed Tom, with great eagerness; "and
I am sure I shall win the prize, whenever you will try me,
and I hope my mamma and sisters will be present."
Certainly," replied Mr. Seymour, and I trust that
Louisa and Fanny, who are of an age to understand the
subject, will not prove uninterested spectators."
Mrs. Seymour here remarked that Madame Dacier had
acknowledged herself much indebted for her successful
career in literature to her having attended the lessons given
to her brother in early life.
Exactly so," said Mr. Seymour, she alluded to the
lessons given by her father, M. Le Fevre; and I hope that
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
John will, in like manner, profit by our scheme; and since
I shall necessarily require, for illustration, certain toys
which can scarcely afford any amusement to a boy of
Tom's age and acquirements, it is but fair that they should
be transferred into younger hands; our little philosopher,
Matthew, will also, I am sure, enter into the spirit of our
pastimes with equal satisfaction and advantage."
Thank you! thank you! dear papa," was simultane-
ously shouted by several voices, and the happy children
looked forward to the morrow with that mixed sensation
of impatience and delight which always attends juvenile
On the following morning, the vicar was, een approach-
ing, and Tom and his sisters immediatelZ lan forward to
My dear boy," exclaimed the vicar, I am truly
rejoiced to see you;-when did you arrive from school ?-
How goes on Virgil?-Hey, my boy -You must be
delighted with the great Mantuan bard;-now confess,
you little Trojan, can you eat a cheesecake without being
reminded of the Harpy's prophecy, and its fulfilment, as
discovered by young Ascanius:-
Henus etiam mesas consumimus? inquit Iulus.*
But, bless me, how amazingly you, hle grown! and how
healthy you look!" Tom took advantage of this pause in
the vicar's address, which had hitherto flowed in so unin-
terrupted and rapid a stream as to preclude the possibility
of any reply to his questions, to inform him that his father
was on the lawn, and desirous of seeing him.
Mr. Twaddleton," exclaimed Mr. Seymour, you are
just in time to witness the commencement of a series of
amusements, which I have proposed for Tom's instruction
during the holidays."
"Amusement and instruction," replied the vicar, "are
'" See! we devour the plates on which we fed."
AE. vii. 116.
Chap. I. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 13
not synonymous in my vocabulary; unless, indeed, they be
applied to the glorious works of Virgil; but let me hear
"I have long thought," said Mr. Seymour, that all
the first principles of natural philosophy might be easily
taught, and beautifully illustrated, by the common toys
which have been invented for the amusement of youth."
A fig for your philosophy!" was the unceremonious
and chilling reply of the vicar. "What have boys," con-
tinued he, "to do with philosophy? Let them learn
their grammar, scan their hexameters, and construe Virgil;
it is time enough to inflict upon them the torments of
science after their names have been entered on the Uni-
I differ from you entirely, my worthy friend; the
principles of natural philosophy cannot be too early incul-
cated, nor can they be too widely diffused. It is surely a
great object to engage the prepossessions on the side of
truth, and to direct the natural curiosity of youth to useful
"Hoity toity !" exclaimed the reverend gentleman;
" such principles accord not with my creed; heresy, down-
right heresy; that a man of your excellent sense and
intelligence can be so far deceived! But the world has
run mad; and much do I grieve to find, that the seclusion
of Overton Lodge has not secured its inmates from the
infection. I came here, Mr. Seymour, to receive your
sympathy, and to profit by your counsel; but, alas I alas!
I have fallen into the camp of the enemy: Medios de-
lapsus in hostes,' as Virgil has it."
"You astonish me--what can have happened ?" asked
There is Tom Plank, the carpenter," said the vicar,
"soliciting subscriptions for the establishment of a philo-
sophical society-a Mechanics' Institute,' I believe they
call it. I understand that this mania-for by what other,
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
or more charitable term can I express such conduct ?-has
seized this deluded man since his return from London,
where he has been informed that all the hewers of wood
and drawers of water' are about to associate themselves
into societies for the promotion of science. Preposterous
idea! as if a block of wood could not be split without a
knowledge of the doctrine of percussion; a pail of water
drawn from the well without an acquaintance with hydro-
statics; nor a load securely carried without solving a
problem to determine its centre of gravity ; but, as I am a
Christian priest, I solemnly declare that I grieve only for
my flock, and raise my feeble voice for no other purpose
than that of scaring the wolf from the fold: to be angry,
as Pope says, would be to revenge the faults of others upon
ourselves; but I am not angry, Mr. Seymour; I am only
vexed, sorely vexed."
Take it not thus to heart, my dear vicar," replied
his consoling friend; "'Solve metus,' as your poet has it.
Science, I admit, is both the Pallas and Pandora of man-
kind; its abuse may certainly prove mischievous, but its
sober and well-timed application cannot fail to increase the
happiness of every class of mankind, as well as to advance
and improve every branch of the mechanical arts: so
thoroughly am I satisfied upon this point, that I shall sub-
scribe to the proposed society with infinite satisfaction."
Mr. Seymour Mr. Seymour! you know not what you
do. Would you scatter the seeds of insubordination? ma-
nure the weeds of infidelity ? fabricate a battering-ram to
demolish our holy church ? Such, indeed, must be the effect
of your Utopian scheme; for truly may I exclaim with the
.... in nostros fabricata eat machine muros."*
"Come, come, my good friend, all this is declamation
without argument," said Mr. Seymour.
An engine's raised to batter down our walls."--A. li. 46.
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
Without argument! Many are the sad instances which
I could adduce in proof of the evil effects which have
already accrued from this mistaken system. I am not in
the habit, sir, of dealing in empty assertion; already has
the aforesaid Tom Plank ventured to question the classical
knowledge of his spiritual pastor, and, as I understand, has
openly avowed himself, at the sixpenny club, as my rival
in antiquarian pursuits."
And why should he not ? said the mischievous Mr.
Seymour; "I warrant you he already possesses many an
old saw; ay, and of a very great age, too, if we may judge
from the loss of its teeth."
During this remonstrance, Mr. Twaddleton had been
occupied in whirling round his steel watch-chain with con-
vulsive rapidity, and, after a short pause, he burst out into
the following exclamation:-
Worthy sir! if you persist in asserting, that a man
whose occupation is to plane deal boards is prepared to dive
into the sacred mysteries of antiquity, I shall next expect
to hear that "-
That your friend the carpenter knows a good deal,"
cried Mr. Seymour, interrupting the vicar; that he is a
grammarian, for he mends stiles; a wit, since he is a clever
hand at railing; and as to his antiquarian pretensions,
compare them with your own; you rescue saws from the
dust, while he obtains dust from his saws."
"What madness has seized my unfortunate friend?
Infeli I quue tants animum dementia cepit ?*
as Virgil has it;-But let it pass, let it pass, Mr. Sey-
mour; my profession has taught me to bear with humility
and patience the contempt and revilings of my brethren; I
forgive Tom Plank for his presumption, as in that case I
alone am the sufferer; but I say to you, that envy, trouble,
discontent, strife, and poverty, will be the fruits of the
What fury's seized my friend ?"-A-k. v. 465.
16 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. I.
seeds you would scatter. I verily believe, that unless this
'march of intellect,' as it has been termed, is speedily
checked, Overton, in less than twelve months, will become
a deserted village; for there is scarcely a tradesman who
is not already distracted by some visionary scheme of sci-
entific improvement, that leads to the neglect of their
occupations, and the dissipation of the honest earnings
which their more prudent fathers had accumulated; Me-
liora pii docuere parenles,' as the poet has it. What think
you of Sam Corkington, who proposes to erect an appa-
ratus in the crater of Mount Vesuvius, in order to supply
every city on the continent with heat and light; or of Billy
Spooner, who is about to establish a dairy at Spitzbergen,
that he may furnish all Europe with ice-cream from the
milk of whales; or of Tom Pipes, who has actually pre-
pared a prospectus for conveying music into our houses by
resonant tubes issuing from a central orchestra, just as
water and gas are laid on to our dwellings? '0, riveret
"I readily admit," said Mr. Seymour, "that five-and-
twenty years ago I might at once have denounced such
schemes as the phantoms of a disordered brain ;.but in these
days, when science has realized the fairy wonders of ro-
mance, and the productions of the mechanist and electrician
have actually surpassed the wild imaginings of the poet,
when we have engaged the lightning to carry our messages,
and the sun to paint our portraits, we must pause, my dear
vicar, before we reject any proposition, however startling,
as being absurd and impracticable."
The vicar, however, was not to be so appeased, and was
preparing to proceed with an .neid of woes, when the epic
thread was suddenly snapped asunder by the explosion of
a most audacious pun, which, although it turned the di-
rection, did not diminish the violence of the vicar's indig-
"Mr. Seymour," exclaimed the incensed gentleman, "I
Chap. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 17
perceive you are determined to meet my remonstrances
with ridicule; when I had hoped to bring an argument
incapable of refutation, Turn arie illudunt pestes,' as
Virgil has it."
Pray, allow me to ask," said Mr. Seymour, "whether
my puns or your quotations better merit that title ?"
That you should compare the vile practice of punning
with the elegant and refined habit of conveying our ideas
by classic symbols, does indeed surprise and disturb me.
Pope has said that words are the counters by which men
represent their thoughts; the plebeian," continued the
vicar, "selects base metal for their construction, while the
scholar forms them of gold and gems, dug from the richest
mines of antiquity. But to what vile purpose does the
punster prostitute such counters I Not for the interchange
of ideas, but, like the juggler, to deceive and astonish by
acts of legerdemain."
How fortunate is it that you had not lived in the reign
of King James!" remarked Mr. Seymour; for that sin-
gular monarch, as you may, perhaps, remember, made very
few bishops who had not thus signalized themselves."
To poison our ears by quibbles and quirks did well
become him who sought to deceive our senses and blind our
reason-the patron of puns and the believer in witchcraft
were suitably united," replied the vicar.
Well, as this is a subject upon which it is not likely we
should agree, I will pass to another, where I hope to be
more successful; I trust I shall induce you to view with
more complacency my project of teaching philosophy by
the aid of toys and sports."
"Mr. Seymour, the proposal of instructing children in
the principles of natural philosophy is really too visionary
to require calm discussion; and can be equalled only
in absurdity by the method you propose for carrying it
into effect. Verily thou art a schoolmaster in sheep's
Come, come, my dear vicar, pray chain up your pre-
judices, and let your kind spirit loose for half an hour: let
me beg that you will so far indulge me as to listen patiently
to the plan by which it is my intention to turn sport into
science, or, in other words, toys into instruments of philo-
"And is it then possible," said the vicar, in a tone of
supplication, that you can seriously entertain such a wild,
and, I might add, kill-joy scheme? Would you pursue the
luckless urchin from the schoolroom into the very play-
ground, with your unrelenting tyranny ? a sanctuary which
the most rigid pedagogue has hitherto held inviolable. Is 4
the buoyant spirit, so forcibly, though perhaps necessarily,
repressed, during the hours of discipline, to have no in-
terval for its free and uncontrolled expansion? Your
science, methinks, Mr. Seymour, might have taught you a
wiser lesson ; for you must well know that the most elastic
body will lose that property by being constantly kept in a
state of tension."
A fine specimen of sophistry, upon my word, which
would doubtless raise every nursery-governess and doting
grandmother in open rebellion against me; but let me add,
that it ill becomes a man of liberal and enlarged ideas, to
suffer his opinions to be the sport of mere words; for, that
our present difference is an affair of words, and of words
only, I will undertake to prove, to the satisfaction of any
unprejudiced person. Play and work-amusement and
instruction-toys and tasks-are invariably but most un-
justifiably employed as words of contrast and opposition;
an error which has arisen from the indistinct and very in-
definite ideas which we attach to such words. If the
degree of mental exertion be said to constitute the differ-
ence between play and work, I am quite sure that the
definition would be violated in the first illustration; for let
me ask, when do boys exert so much thought as in carrying
into effect their holiday schemes? The distinction might
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
more properly be made to turn upon the irksome feelings
which may be supposed to attend the drudgery of study,
when its promised objects have no direct sympathies in the
imagination of the student; but this can never happen
except from a vicious system of education that excludes
the operations of thought; a school that locks in the body,
while it locks out the mind: depend upon it, Mr. Twad-
dleton, that the human mind, whether in youth or manhood,
is ever gratified by the acquisition of information; every
occupation soon cloys, unless it be seasoned by this stimu-
lant. Is not the child idle and miserable in a nursery full
of playthings? and to what expedient does he instinctively
fly to relieve his ennui ? Why, he breaks his toys to
pieces, as Miss Edgeworth justly observes, not from the
love of mischief, but from the hatred of idleness, or rather
from an innate thirst after knowledge; and he becomes, as
it were, an enterprising adventurer, and opens for himself
a new source of pleasure and amusement, in exploring the
mechanism of their several parts.* Think you then, Mr.
Twaddleton, that any assistance which might be offered the
boy, under such circumstances, would be received by him
as a task? Certainly not. The acquisition of knowledge
then, instead of detracting from, must heighten the amuse-
ment of toys; and if I have succeeded in convincing you
of this truth, my object is accomplished. How greatly,"
continued he, do parents and preceptors err in mistaking
for mischief, or wanton idleness, all the little manoeuvres
of young persons, which are frequently practical inquiries
to confirm or refute doubts which are passing in their
minds! When the aunt of James Watt reproved the boy
for his idleness, and desired him to take a book, or employ
himself usefully, and not be taking off the lid of the kettle,
and putting it on again, and holding now a cup, and now
a silver spoon over the steam, how little was she aware
So exactly does Githe express the same idea, that the passage has
been introduced in a supplementary note (3).
20 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. I.
he was investigating a problem which was to lead to the
greatest of human inventions!"
Thus did Mr. Seymour, like an able general, assail his
adversary on his own ground; he drove him, as it were,
into a corner, and by seizing the only pass through which
he could make his escape, forced him to surrender at dis-
Why, truly," replied the vicar, after a short pause,
"I am ready to admit that there is much good sense in
your observations; and if the scientific instruction upon
these occasions be not carried so far as to puzzle the boy,
I am inclined to withdraw my opposition."
Therein lies the whole secret; I do not offer you the
black and bitter root of the 'Moly,' but its white, sweet,
and agreeable flower.* When an occupation agreeably
interests the understanding, imagination, or passions of
children, it is what is commonly understood by the term
play or sport; whereas that which is not accompanied with
such associations, and yet may be necessary for their future
welfare, is, properly enough, designated as a task."
"I like your distinction," observed the vicar.
"Then may I hope that you will indulge me so far as
to listen to the scheme by which it is my intention to turn
Sport into Science,' or, in other words, Toys into instru-
ments of Philosophical Instruction? "
The vicar smiled and nodded assent.
Thus, while he spoke, the sovereign plant he drew
Where on th' all-bearing earth unmarked it grew
And shed its nature, and its wondrous power;
Black was the root, but milky white the flower,
Moly the name, by mortals hard to find,
But all is easy to th' ethereal mind;
This Hermes gave- Odysu. x.
Hermes here allegorically represents Instruction, and Moly the plant
of Knowledge-whose black and bitter roots symbolism the irksome
commencement of study, or in the words of Plato, the beginning of
Instruction, which is always accompanied with reluctance and pain."
It is scarcely necessary to apprise the young botanist that this said
Moly is to be found only in poetical ground.
Chp. I. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 21
Mr. Seymour proceeded-" In the first place, I would
give the boy somegeneral notions with regard to the pro-
perties of matter, such as its gravitation, vis inertise, elas-
ticity, &c. What apparatus can be required for such a
purpose, beyond some of the more simple toys ? Indeed,
I will undertake to demonstrate the three grand laws of
motion by a game at ball; while the composition and
resolution of forces may be beautifully exemplified during
a game of marbles, especially that of ring-taw;' but in
order that you may more clearly comprehend the capa-
bility of my plan, allow me to enumerate the various
philosophical principles which are involved in the opera-
tion of the several more popular toys and sports. We will
commence with the ball; which will illustrate the nature
and phenomena of elasticity, as it leaps from the ground;-
of rotatory motion, while it runs along its surface;-of
reflected motion, and of the angles of incidence and reflec-
tion, as it rebounds from the wall;-and of projectiles, as
it is whirled through the air; at the same time the cricket-
bat may serve to explain the centre of percussion. A
game at marbles may be made subservient to the same
purposes, and will farther assist us in conveying clear
ideas upon the subject of the collision of elastic and non-
elastic bodies, and of their velocities and direction after
impact. The composition and resolution offorces may be
explained at the same time. The nature of elastic springs
will require no other apparatus for its elucidation than
Jack-in-the-box and the numerous leaping-frogs and cats
with which the play-room abounds. The leather sucker
will exemplify the nature of cohesion, and the effect of
water in filling up those inequalities by which contiguous
surfaces are deprived of their attractive power; it will, at
the same time, demonstrate the nature of a vacuum, and
the influence of atmospheric pressure. The squirt will
afford a farther illustration of the same views, and will
furnish a practical proof of the weight of the atmosphere
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
in raising a column of water. The theory of the pump
will necessarily follow. The greater elasticity of air com-
pared with that of water, I shall be able to show by the
amusing exhibition of the Bottle Imps.'"
"Bottle Imps!-'Acheronta movebis;'" muttered the vicar.
Mr. Seymour continued-" The various balancing toys
will elucidate the nature of the centre of gravity, point of
suspension, and line of direction; the see-saw rocking-
horse, and the operation of walking on stilts, will here
come in aid of our explanations. The combined effects of
momentum and a change in the centre of gravity of a body
may be beautifully exemplified by the action of the Chinese
Tumblers. The sling will demonstrate the existence and
effect of centrifugal force, and humble and finite as the
alliance may seem, it will satisfactorily explain the motions
of those celestial orbs that revolve to all eternity around a
central sun. The top* and tetotum will prove the power
of whirling motion to support the axis of a body in an
unaltered position. The trundling of the hoop will accom-
plish the same and other objects; as will also the whirling
of the quoit, with the additional advantage of not having
its motions impeded by contact with the ground. The
game ofbilboquet, or cup and ball, will show the influence
of rotator motion in steadying the rectilinear path of a
spherical body, whence the theory of the rifle-gun may be
deduced. For conveying some elementary ideas of the
doctrine of oscillation, there is the swing. The flight of
the arrow will not only elucidate the principles of pro-
jectiles, but will explain the force of the air in producing
rotatory motion by its impact on oblique surfaces: the
revolution of the shuttlecock may be shown to depend upon
the same revolution of forces. Then comes the kite, one
of the most instructive and amusing of all the pastimes
The motion of the top is a matter of the greatest importance.
It is applicable to the elucidation of some of the greatest phenomena
in nature."-Airy's Lecture at Ipawich.
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
of youth,-the favourite toy of Newton in his boyish
days:*-its ascent at once developed the theory of the
composition and resolution of forces, and explains various
subordinate principles, which I shall endeavour to describe
when we arrive at the subject. The see-saw will unfold
the general principle upon which the Mechanical Powers
are founded; and the boy may thus be easily led to the
theory of the lever, by being shown how readily he can
balance the heavier weight of a man by riding on the
longer arm of the plank. The theory of colours may be
pointed out to him as he blows his soap-bubbles; an
amusement which will, at the same time, convince him that
the air must exert a pressure equally in all directions. For
explaining the theory of sound, there are the whistle, the
humming-top, the whiz-gig, the pop-gun, the bull-roarer,
and sundry other amusements well-known in the play-
ground; but it is not my intention, at present, to enu-
merate all the toys which may be rendered capable of
affording philosophical instruction; I merely wish to con-
vince you that my plan is not quite so chimerical as you
were at first inclined to believe. I do not profess to place
the head of Laertes on the shoulders of Telemachus, nor,
like Friar Bacon, to teach the science of the age in half-a-
year; but I do engage to teach the young student those
Sir Isaac Newton is said to have been much attached to philoso-
phical sports when a boy; he was the first to introduce paper kites at
Grantham, where he was at school. He took pains to find out their
proper proportions and figure, and the proper place for fixing the
string to them. He made lanterns of paper crimpled, which he used
to go to school by in winter mornings with a candle, and he tied them
to the tail of his kites in a dark night, which at first frightened the
country people exceedingly, who took his candles for comets.-
Thomaom'a Hit. of R. S.
t The colours which glitter on a soap-bubble are the immediate
consequence of a principle the most important from the variety of
phenomena it explains, and the most beautiful from its simplicity and
compendious neatness in the whole science of Optics.-Herahelr' Pre-
liminary Dicourse. In a future part of this work it will be seen that
the soap-bubble enabled Faraday to carry out a most important series
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
rudiments by which, with diligence and a willing mind, he
may ultimately acquire it."
"Upon my word," said the vicar, no squirrel ever
hopped from branch to branch with more agility,-you
are the very counterpart of Cornelius Scriblerus; but I
must confess that your scheme is plausible, very plausible,
and I shall no longer refuse to attend you in the progress
of its execution.
Cedo equidem, nec, nate, tibi comes ire recuso,*
as Virgil has it."
Mr. Seymour, however, saw very plainly, that although
the vicar thus withdrew his opposition, he was nevertheless
very far from embarking in the cause with enthusiasm, and
that, upon the principle already discussed, he would per-
form his part rather as a task than a pastime. Nor was
the line which Mr. Twaddleton had quoted from the
Jneid calculated to efface such an impression. It was
true that, like Anchises, he no longer refused to accom-
pany him in his expedition; but, if the comparison were to
run parallel, it was evident that, like .Eneas, he would
have to carry him as a dead weight on his shoulders. This
difficulty, however, was speedily surmounted by an expe-
dient, with which the reader will become acquainted by
the recital of what followed.
"I rejoice greatly," said Mr. Seymour, that we have
at length succeeded in enlisting you into our service; with-
out your able assistance I fear that my instruction would
be extremely imperfect; for you must know, my dear sir,
that I am ambitious of making Tom an antiquary as well
as a philosopher, and I look to you for a history of the
several toys which I shall have occasion to introduce, as
well as for the allusions made to them in the classics."
This propitiatory sentence had its desired effect.
"Most cheerfully shall I comply with your wishes,"
exclaimed the delighted vicar; and I can assure you, sir,
"I yield, my son, and no longer refuse to become your companion."
AA. ii. 704.
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
that with regard to several of the more popular toys and
pastimes, there is much very curious and interesting lore.'
Mr. Seymour had upon this occasion succeeded in open-
ing the heart of the vicar, just as a skilful mechanic would
pick a patent lock; who, instead of forcing it by direct
violence, seeks to discover the secret spring to which all its
various movements are subservient.
To-morrow, then," cried the vicar, in a voice of great
exultation, we will commence our career, from which I
anticipate the highest satisfaction and advantage; in the
mean time," continued he, "I will refresh my memory
upon certain points touching the antiquities of these said
pastimes, or, as we used to say at college, get up the sub-
ject. I will also press into our service my friend and
neighbour Jeremy Prybabel, whose etymological know-
ledge will greatly assist us in tracing the origin of many of
the words used in our sports, which is frequently not very
Mr. Seymour cast an intelligible glance at his wife, who
was no less surprised at the sudden change in the vicar's
sentiments than she was pleased with the skill and address
by which it had been accomplished.
26 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
ON GRAVITATION.-WEIGHT. -THE VELOCITY OF FALLING BODIES.--
AT WHAT ALTITUDE A BODY WOULD LOSE ITS GRAVITY.-THE
TOWER OF BABEL.-TIE KNOWN VELOCITY OF SOUND AFFORDS
THE MEANS OF CALCULATING DISTANCES.--TTHE SOUND OF THE
WOODMAN'S AXE. AN EXCURSION TO OVERTON WELL. AN
EXPERIMENT TO ASCERTAIN ITS DEPTH. A VISIT TO THE
VICARAGE.- THE MAGIC GALLERY.-RETURN TO THE LODGE.
IT was about two o'clock, when Mr. Twaddleton, in com-
pany with Mr. and Mrs. Seymour, joined the children on
Tom," said the father, "are you prepared to commence
the proposed examination ?"
Quite ready, papa."
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 27
Then you must first inform me," said Mr. Seymour,
taking the ball out of Rosa's hand, why this ball falls to
the ground as soon as I withdraw from it the support of
my hand ?"
Because every heavy body that is not supported, must
of course fall."
And every light one also, my dear; but that is no
answer to my question; you merely assert the fact, without
explaining the reason."
Oh! now I understand you ; it is owing to the force of
gravity; the earth attracts the ball, and the consequence is,
that they both come in contact;-is not that right ?"
Certainly; but if the earth attract the ball, it is
equally true that the ball must attract the earth; for you
have, doubtless, learnt that bodies mutually attract each
other; tell me, therefore, why the earth should not rise to
meet the ball?"
Because the earth is so much larger and heavier than
It is, doubtless, much larger, and since the force of
attraction is in proportion to the mass, or quantity of
matter, you cannot be surprised at not perceiving the earth
rise to meet the ball, the attraction of the latter being so
infinitely small, in comparison with that of the former, as
to render its effect wholly nugatory; but with regard to
the earth being heavier than the ball, what will you say
when I tell you that, in the ordinary acceptation of the
term, it cannot be said to have any weight."
No weight at all?"
Tom begged that his father would explain to him how
it could possibly be that the earth should not possess any
Weight, my dear boy, you will readily understand,
can be nothing more than an effect arising out of the
resisted attraction of a body for the earth: you have just
stated, that all bodies have a tendency to fall, in conse-
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
quence of the attraction of gravitation; but if they be
supported, and prevented from approaching the earth,
either by the hand, or any other appropriate means, this
tendency will be felt, and is called weight."
Tom understood this explanation, and observed, that
" since attraction was always in proportion to the quantity
of matter, so, of course, a larger body must be more
powerfully attracted, or be heavier, than a smaller one."
Magnitude, or size, my dear, has nothing whatever to
do with quantity of matter: will not a small piece of lead
weigh more than a large piece of sponge? In the one
case, the particles of matter may be supposed to be packed
in a smaller compass; in the other, there must exist a
greater number of pores or interstices."
I understand all you have said," observed Louisa,
" and yet I am unable to comprehend why the earth can-
not be said to have any weight."
Cannot you discover," answered Mr. Seymour, that,
since the earth has nothing to attract it, it cannot have any
attraction to resist, and, consequently, according to the
ordinary acceptation of the term, it cannot be correctly said
to possess weight ? although I confess that, when viewed
in relation to the solar system, a question will arise upon
this subject, since it is attracted by the sun."
The children declared themselves satisfied with this ex-
planation, and Mr. Seymour proceeded to put another
question: Since," continued he, you now understand
the nature of that force by which bodies fall to the earth,
can you tell me the degree of velocity with which they
Tom asserted that the weight of the body, or its quantity
of matter, and its distance from the surface of the earth,
must, in every case, determine that circumstance; but
Mr. Seymour excited his surprise by saying, that it would
not be influenced by either of those conditions; he in-
formed them, for instance, that a cannon-ball, and a marble,
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 2
would fall through the same number of feet in a given
time, and that, whether the experiment were tried from
the top of a house, or from the summit of St. Paul's, the
same result would be obtained.
I am quite sure," exclaimed Tom, that in the Con-
ersations on Natural Philosophy, it is positively stated,
that attraction is always in proportion to the quantity of
Yes," observed Louisa, and it is moreover asserted,
that the attraction diminishes as the distances increase."
Mr. Seymour said, that he perceived the error under
which his children laboured, and that he would endeavour
to remove it. You cannot, my dears." continued he,
" divest your minds of that erroneous but natural feeling,
that a body necessarily falls to the ground without the
exertion of any force: whereas, the greater the quantity of
matter, the greater must be the force exerted to bring it
to the earth: for instance, a substance which weighs a
hundred pounds will thus require just ten times more force
than one which only weighs ten pounds; and hence it
must follow, that both will come to the ground at the
same moment; for although, in the one case, there is ten
times more matter, there is, at the same time, ten times
more attraction to overcome its resistance; for you have
already admitted that the force of attraction is always in
proportion to the quantity of matter. Now let us only for
an instant, for the sake merely of argument, suppose that
attraction had been a force acting without any regard to
quantity of matter, is it not evident that, in such a case,
the body containing the largest quantity would be the
slowest in falling to the earth?"
I understand you, papa," cried Tom: if an empty
waggon travelled four miles an hour, and were afterwards
so loaded as to have its weight doubled, it could only
travel at the rate of two miles in the same period, provided
that in both cases the horses exerted the same strength."
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Exactly," said Mr. Seymour; "and to follow up your
illustration, which is not a bad one, it is only necessary to
state, that Nature, like a considerate master, always appor-
tions the number of horses to the burthen that is to be
moved, so that her loads, whatever may be their weight,
always travel at the same rate; or, to express the fact in
philosophical instead of figurative language, gravitation,
or the force of the earth's attraction, always increases as
the quantity of matter, and, consequently, that heavy and
light bodies, when dropped together from the same altitude,
must come to the ground at the same instant of time."
Louisa had listened with great attention to this explana-
tion; and although she thoroughly understood the argu-
ment, yet it appeared to her at variance with so many facts
with which she was acquainted, that she could not give
implicit credence to it.
I think, papa," said the archly-smiling girl, I could
overturn this fine argument by a very simple experiment."
Indeed, Miss Sceptic : then pray proceed; and I think
we shall find that the more strenuously you oppose it the
more powerful it will become: but let us hear your objec-
"I shall only," replied she, "drop a shilling and a
piece of paper from my bed-room window upon the lawn,
and request that you will observe which of them reaches
the ground first; if I am not much mistaken, you will find
that the coin will strike the earth before the paper has
performed half its journey."
Tom appeared perplexed, and cast an inquiring look
at his father.
"Come," said Mr. Seymour, "I will perform this ex-
periment myself, and endeavour to satisfy the doubts of our
young sceptic; but I must first take the opportunity to
observe that I am never better pleased than when you
attempt to raise difficulties in my way, and I hope you
will always express them without reserve."
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
"Here, then, is a penny piece; and here," said Tom,
"is a piece of paper."
Which," continued Mr. Seymour, we will cut into a
corresponding shape and size." This having been accom-
plished, he held the coin in one hand and the paper disc in
the other, and dropped them at the same instant.
"There! there!" cried Louisa, with an air of triumph;
"the coin reached the ground long before the paper."
Mr. Seymour allowed that there was a distinct interval
in favour of the penny-piece; and he proceeded to explain
the cause of it. He stated that the result was not con-
trary to the law of gravitation, since it arose from the
interference of a foreign body, the air, to the resistance of
which it was to be attributed: and he desired them to
consider the particles of a falling body as being under the
influence of two opposing forces,--gravity and the air's
resistance. Louisa argued, that the air could only act on
the surface of a body, and as this was equal in both cases
(the size of the paper being exactly the same as that of the
penny-piece), she could not see why the resistance of the
air should not also be equal in both cases.
"I admit," said Mr. Seymour, that the air can only
act upon the surface of a falling body, and this is the very
reason of the paper meeting with more resistance than the
coin; for the latter, from its greater density, must contain
many more particles than the paper, and upon which the
air cannot possibly exert any action ; whereas almost every
particle of the paper may be said to be exposed to its re-
sistance, the fall of the latter must therefore be more
retarded than that of the former body."
At this explanation Louisa's doubts began to clear off, and
they were ultimately dispelled on Mr. Seymour performing
a modification of the above experiment in the following
manner. He placed the disc of paper in close contact with
the upper part of the coin, and,'in this position, dropped
them from his hand. They both reached the ground at the
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Are you now satisfied, my dear Louisa? asked her
father: you perceive that, by placing the paper in con-
tact with the coin, 1 screened it from the action of the air,
and the result is surely conclusive."
Many thanks to you, dear papa; I am perfectly satis-
fied, and shall feel less confident for the future." Tom
was delighted; for, as he said, he could now understand
why John's paper parachute descended so deliberately to
the ground; he could also explain why feathers, and other
light bodies, floated in the air. Well then," said Mr.
Seymour, having settled this knotty point, let us proceed
to the other question, viz. that a body will fall with the
same velocity, during a given number of feet, from the
ball of St. Paul's as from the top of a house.' You main-
tain, I believe, that, since the attraction of the earth for a
body diminishes as its distance from it increases,* a sub-
stance at a great height ought to fall more slowly than
one which is dropped from a less altitude."
Neither Tom nor Louisa could think otherwise. Mr.
Seymour told them that, in theory, they were perfectly
correct, but that, since attraction acted from the centre,
and not from the surface of the earth, the difference of its
force could not be discovered at the small elevations to
which they could have access: "for what," said he, can
a few hundred feet be in comparison with four thousand
miles, which is the distance from the centre to the surface
of our globe?-You must therefore perceive that, in all
ordinary calculations respecting the velocity of falling
bodies, we may safely exclude such a consideration."
"But suppose," said Tom, it were possible to make
SGravity, or the tendency of a body to approach the earth, is
inversely s the square of the distance; that is, if a body be attracted
by the earth at a certain distance, with a certain force, and be after-
wards removed to twice the distance, it will now be attracted not half
as much, but only cne-fourth as much as it was before; and if it be
removed to three times the first distance, it will be attracted, not
oe-third s much, but ome-inth, as much as before; four being the
square of two, and nine the square of three; and so on.
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 33
the experiment a thousand miles above the earth, would
not the diminished effect of gravity be discovered in that
Undoubtedly; indeed it would be sensible at a much
less distance: for instance, if a lump of lead, weighing a
thousand pounds, were carried up only four miles, it would
be found to have lost two pounds of its weight." (4)
This discussion," observed Mr. Twaddleton, "reminds
me of a problem that was once proposed at Cambridge, to
find the elevation to which the Tower of Babel could have
been raised, before the stones would have entirely lost
"Its solution," said Mr. Seymour, "would require a
consideration which Tom could not possibly understand at
present, viz. the influence of the centrifugalforce."
I am fully aware of it," replied the vicar, "and in
order to appreciate that influence, it would, of course, be
necessary to take into account the latitude of the place;
but, if my memory serves me, I think that under the lati-
tude of 300, which I believe is nearly that of the plains
of Mesopotamia, the height would be somewhere about
twenty-four thousand miles."
Mr. Seymour now desired Tom to inform him, since all
bodies fall with the same velocity, what that velocity
Sixteen feet in a second, papa;-I have just remem-
bered that I had a dispute with a schoolfellow upon that
subject, and in which, thanks to Mrs. Marcet, I came off
victorious, and won twelve marbles."
Then let me tell you, my fine fellow, that unless your
answer exclusively related to the first second of time, you
did not win the marbles fairly; for, since the force of
gravity is continually acting, so is the velocity of a falling
body continually increasing, or it has what is termed an
' accelerating velocity ;' it has accordingly been ascertained
by accurate experiments, that a body descending from a
considerable height falls sixteen feet, as you say, in the
first second of time ; but three times sixteen in the next ;five
times sixteen in the third; and seven times sixteen in the
fourth; and so on, continually increasing according to the
odd numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, &c.: so that you perceive,"
continued Mr. Seymour, "by observing the number of
seconds which a stone requires to descend from any height,
we can discover the altitude, or depth, of the place in
Louisa and Fanny, who had been attentively listening to
their father's explanation, interchanged a smile of satisfac-
tion, and, pulling Tom towards them, whispered something
which was inaudible to the rest of the party.
Come, now," exclaimed Mr. Seymour, I perceive by
your looks that you have something to ask of me: is Louisa
Oh dear no," replied Tom; Louisa merely observed
that we might now be able to find out the depth of the
village well, about which we have all been very curious;
for the gardener has told us that it is the deepest in the
kingdom, and was dug more than a hundred years ago."
Mr. Seymour did not believe that it was the deepest in
the kingdom, although he knew that its depth was consi-
derable; and he said that, if Mr. Twaddleton had no
objection, they should walk to it, and make the proposed
Objection my dear Mr. Seymour, when do I ever
object to afford pleasure to my little playmates, provided
its indulgence be harmless? much less when it is associated
with instruction. The old adage tells us that 'Truth lies at
the bottom of a well,' so let us proceed at once to invade
her retreat, and extort her secrets; and on our return I
hope you will favour me with a visit at the vicarage; I
have some antiquities which I am anxious to exhibit to
yourself and Mrs. Seymour." Tom and Rosa each took
the vicar's hand, and Mr. and Mrs. Seymour followed with
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 35
Louisa and Fanny. The village well was about half a mile
distant; the road to it led through a delightful shady lane,
at the top of which stood the vicarage-house. Mr. and
Mrs. Seymour and her daughters had lingered in their way
to collect botanical specimens; and when they had come
up to Tom and the vicar, they found them seated on the
trunk of a newly-felled oak, in deep discourse.
What interests you, Tom ?" said Mr. Seymour, who
perceived, by the inquiring and animated countenance of
the boy, that his attention had been excited by some occur-
I have been watching the woodman, and have been
surprised that the sound of his hatchet was not heard until
some time after he had struck the tree."
And has not Mr. Twaddleton explained to you the
reason of it ?"
He has," replied Tom, and he tells me that it is
owing to sound travelling so much more slowly than light."
"You are quite right; and as we are upon an expedi-
tion for the purpose of measuring depths, it may not be
amiss to inform you, that this fact furnishes another method
of calculating distances."
The party seated themselves upon the oak, and Mr.
Seymour proceeded :-" The stroke of the axe is seen at
the moment the woodman makes it, on account of the im-
mense velocity with which light travels; (5) but the noise
of the blow will not reach the ear until some time has
elapsed, the period varying, of course, in proportion to the
distance, because sound moves only at the rate of 1142
feet in a second, or about 13 miles in a minute: so that
you perceive, by observing the time that elapses between
the fall of the hatchet and the sound produced by it, we
can ascertain the distance of the object."
Mr. Seymour fixed his eye attentively on the woodman,
and, after a short pause, declared that he was about half a
quarter of a mile distant.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Why, how could you discover that ?" cried Louisa;
"you had not any watch in your hand."
But you might have perceived that I placed my finger
on my wrist, and as my pulse beats about 75 strokes in a
minute,* I was able to form a tolerable estimate of the
interval, although I confess that it is a very rough experi-
ment, but sufficiently accurate for the purpose of illustra-
tion. In the same manner we can readily ascertain the
distance of a thunder-cloud, or that of a vessel at sea firing
a cannon. If we do not hear the thunder till half a minute
after we see the lightning, we are to conclude the cloud to
be at the distance of six miles and a half. But let us pro-
ceed to the well."
After a walk of a few minutes, the party reached the
place of destination. On their arrival Mr. Seymour in-
quired who would count the time.
"Be that office mine," said Mr. Twaddleton, as he ex-
tracted a large silver time-piece from the dark abyss of his
watch-pocket; "and let Tom," continued he," find a pebble."
"Here is one," cried Louisa.
"Very well: now, then, how will you proceed ?" asked
I shall drop the stone," replied Tom, "into the well, and
observe how many seconds it will be before it touches the
water, and I shall then set down the number of feet it will
fall in each second, and add up the numbers."
That," said Mr. Seymour, would certainly accom-
plish your object; but I can give you a neater, as well as
a shorter rule for performing the sum: you shall, how-
ever, first work it in your own way;-but you have not yet
informed me how you propose to ascertain the moment at
which the stone reaches the water."
By the sound, to be sure, and you will find that a very
loud one will be produced."
The pule was the measure of time used by Galileo in his cele-
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 37
If the depth of the well be considerable, such a plan
will not answer the purpose, since, in that case, there must
necessarily be a perceptible interval between the fall of the
stone and the sound produced by it, as you have just
seen exemplified by the woodman, which, unless taken into
account, (6) will vitiate the result."
Tom observed that he had not thought of that diffi-
culty, and did not know how he could get over it. His
father told him, that he must look at the surface of the
water, and mark the moment it was disturbed by the stone.
Now, Mr. Twaddleton," said Mr. Seymour, are you
ready to count the seconds ?"
"Then drop the stone."
There," said Tom, "it touched the water."
"And there, there, cried several voices, what a noise
it made "
Facilis descensus Averni," exclaimed the vicar; the
stone descended in four seconds."
Now, my boy, make your calculation."
Mr. Seymour furnished pencil and paper, and Tom pro-
ceeded ;-" Sixteen feet for the first second,-I put that
Well," said his father, and three times sixteen for the
Forty-eight," cried Tom.-
Put it down."
Five times sixteen for the third ?"
"Down with it."
And seven times sixteen for the fourth ?"
One hundred and twelve."
Now, cast up these numbers," said Mr. Seymour.
Two hundred andfifty-six feet," cried Tom, "is the
depth of the well."
A shout of delight, from the whole juvenile party,
announced the satisfaction which they felt at the success of
their first experiment in NATUBAL PHILOSOPHY.
Louisa observed, that she could not distinguish any in-
terval between the actual contact of the stone with the
water and the sound which it produced.
At so small a distance as two hundred and fifty-six feet,"
said her father, "the interval could not have exceeded in
duration the fourth part of a second, and was, conse-
quently, imperceptible: we might therefore, in the present
instance, have accepted the sound as a signal of the stone's
arrival at the water, without prejudice to the result of the
Mr. Seymour told his son, that the method which he had
pursued was unobjectionable when the experiment did not
extend beyond a few seconds: but that, if a case occurred
in which a greater space of time were consumed, he would
find his plan tedious: "Now I will give you a general
rule that will enable you to obtain the answer in a shorter
time without the details of addition. The spaces described
by a falling body increase as the squares of the times
increase.' I conclude that you already know that the
square of a number is the sum obtained by multiplying the
number into itself."
Certainly," answered Tom; the square of 4 is 16;
that of 3, 9, and so on."
This, then, being the case, you have only to square
the number of seconds, and then multiply that product by
16, being the space described by the falling body in the
first second, and you will have the required answer:
apply this rule to the present case; the stone fell to the
bottom in four seconds; square this number, 4 x 4=16;
multiply this by 16, and we obtain 256."
That," said Tom, "is certainly much more simple than
"And it has the advantage," continued Mr. Seymour,
"of being more portable for the memory."
"Should any of the villagers observe us," said Mrs.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 39
Seymour, "they will take us for a party of fortune-
"Of fortune-tellers! repeated Louisa, with surprise.
"Yes, my dear, there is a foolish superstition attached
to this, and I believe to many other wells in the neighbour-
hood of remote villages, that by dropping pebbles into it,
and observing whether they produce a loud, or only a
slight sound, and by noticing the number of times they
rebound from the sides before they reach the bottom, and
other absurd distinctions, a person can predict whether
good or evil awaits them." (7)
Mrs. Seymour now proposed the party's return to the
Lodge; but Mr. Twaddleton expressed a hope that they
would first favour him with a visit at the vicarage; to
which proposition they readily assented.
His antiquated residence, mantled in ivy, and shaded by
cypress, stood on the confines of the churchyard, from
which his grounds were merely separated by a dwarf hedge
of sweet-brier and roses; so that the vicar might be said to
reside amidst the graves of his departed parishioners, and
the turf-clad heap evinced the influence of his fostering
care by a grateful return of primroses and violets.
Around the house the reverend antiquary had arranged
several precious relics, which were too cumbrous for
admission within its walls; amongst these was an ancient
cross, raised upon a platform on four steps, which from the
worn appearance of the stones had evidently been impressed
with the foot of many a wandering pilgrim. These
mouldering monuments of ancient days cast a shade of
solemnity around the dwelling, and announced its inmate
as a person of no ordinary stamp.
Annette, the vicar's'trusty servant, had watched the
approach of the squire and his family, and, anticipating the
honour of a passing visit, was busily engaged in removing
the chequed covers from the cumbrous oaken chairs, and
the various other bibs and tuckers with which his curiosities
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
were invested, when the party entered the study. Lucky
was it for the vicar's repose, that the notice had been so
short, or the tidy housewife would, without doubt, have
scoured some of the antique commodities, and destroyed a
crop of sacred verdure, which ages could not have re-
plenished. As matters stood, nothing was left for poor
Annette, but to defend her character at the expense of her
master, who she declared treated her as though she was
an old witch, whenever she was seen with a broom.
"Why, papa," exclaimed Tom, as he cast his eyes
around the study, all these curiosities have been put up
since I went to school."
The boy is right," said the vicar; "I have only just
completed their arrangement, and I believe," continued he,
addressing himself to Mr. Seymour, that there are several
rich morsels of antiquity which you have not yet seen : but
I must, in the first place, introduce my young friends to the
wonders of my magic gallery; wherein they may converse
with the spirits of departed emperors, heroes, patriots, sages,
and beauties; contemplate, at their leisure, the counte-
nances of the Alexanders, Caesars, Pompeys, and Trajans ;
-behold a legion of allegorical and airy beings, who have
here, for the first time, assumed appropriate and sub-
stantial forms;-examine the models of ancient temples and
triumphal arches, which, although coeval with the edifices
they represent, are as perfect as at the first moment of their
construction, while the originals have long since crumbled
into dust. They shall also see volumes of history, con-
densed into a space of a few inches, and read the substance
of a hundred pages at a single glance."
"How extraordinary!" said Tom: "why, we never
read anything more wonderful in our Fairy Tales."
"And what renders it more wonderful," observed the
vicar, is its being all true."
So saying, the antiquary took a key of pigmy dimensions
from the pocket of his waistcoat, and proceeded to a cum-
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 41
brous ebony cabinet which stood in a deep recess, and
displayed an antique structure, and curiously carved alle-
gorical devices, in strict unison with that air of mystery
with which the vicar had thought proper to invest its con-
tents. It was supported by gigantic eagles' claws; its
key-hole was surrounded by hissing snakes; while the
head of Cerberus, which constituted the handle, appeared
as if placed to guard the entrance. The children were
upon the tiptoe of expectation and impatience-the vicar
applied the key with the wonder-stirring exclamation of
" oPEN SEAMA I "-the lock yielded, and the doors flew
open. Disappointment and chagrin were visibly depicted
on the countenances of the brothers and sisters.
And so," exclaimed Tom, this fine magic gallery
turns out to be nothing more than a box full of rusty
I am sure," said Louisa, it was quite unnecessary
to have engaged Cerberus as a sentinel over such rubbish !"
Hush cried the vicar; you talk like one not ini-
tiated in the mysteries of enchantment: have you not read,
that under its spells the meanest objects have assumed
forms of splendour and magnificence ?" *
Like the fabled touch of the Phrygian monarch," said
Mrs. Seymour, which we are told transmuted the meanest
materials into gold."
Or the infatuated brain of Don Quixote, which con-
In the legends of Scottish superstition, the magic power of impoe-
ing upon the eye-sight was termed Glamour.
"It had much of glamour might:
Could make a ladye seem a knight;
The cobwebs on a dungeon wall
Seem tapestry in lordly hall;
A nutshell seem a gilded barge,
A wheeling eem a palace large,
And youth seem age, and age seem youth:-
Al was delusion, nought was truth."
Lay of ae Las lJfitrcl.-Canto 8, is.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
verted the barber's basin into Mambrino's golden helmet,"
added her husband.
In like manner, then, may treasures of the greatest
value appear to ordinary eyes as mean and worthless."
This cabinet," continued Mr. Twaddleton, is under
the influence of a potent magician; by the touch of her
wand, it would become irradiated as with magical light,
and these rusty coins would be transformed into all those
various objects of interest and delight which I had promised
to show you."
Tom and Louisa looked at the coins, then at the vicar,
and afterwards at Mr. Seymour, to whom they cast an
Then pray," exclaimed Tom, wave this mighty wand
of your enchantress, and fulfil your promise."
The enchantress," replied the vicar, is not disposed
to grant her favours to those by whom she has not been
And what ceremony does she require?" inquired
The perusal of sundry mystic volumes; and the con-
sumption of a midnight lamp at her altar," replied the
Do you not comprehend the allegory?" said Mr.
Seymour. The enchanted gallery is no other than a
collection of antique medals;-the potent enchantress,
ERUDITION, or that classical learning, without which they
appear of less value than so many rusty halfpence."
You are right," cried Mr. Twaddleton; the poetical
import of a device can be alone felt and appreciated by
those who are acquainted with the classical subjects to
which it alludes; for, as Addison forcibly observes, there
is often as much thought on the reverse of a medal as in
a canto of Spenser; besides, how frequently do you meet
with hints and suggestions in an ancient poet, that give a
complete illustration to the actions, ornaments, and anti-
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 43
quities which are found on coins 1-In short, the person
who examines a collection of medals, without a competent
knowledge of the classics, is like him who would explore a
subterranean cavern without the aid of a torch."
I have already learned one fact," said Louisa, with
which I was certainly unacquainted; that the ancients
possessed a much greater variety of money than modern
Of that, my dear," replied the vicar, there is some
doubt;-the learned are divided upon the question : some
authors maintain that every medal, and even medallion,
had its fixed and regular price in payments, while others,
on the contrary, assert that we are not in the possession of
any real money of the ancients, and that the medals never
had any currency as coins. The truth probably is between
these two extremes."
If these medals were not used as money," observed
Louisa, for what purposes could they lave been
To perpetuate the memory of great actions; and,
faithful to its charge of fame, the medal has transmitted
events, the history of which must, otherwise, have long
since perished. Nay, more," exclaimed the vicar, his
voice rising as he became warmed by his subject, the
lamp of history has been often extinguished, and the
medalist has collected sparks from the ashes of antiquity
which have rekindled its flame. You perceive, therefore,"
continued the reverend antiquary, that such collections
are of the highest importance, and if your papa will allow
you to pass a morning in their examination, I shall easily
bring you to admit, that I have not exaggerated the
wonders of my magic gallery. I will convince you that
it contains a series of original miniature portraits of the
greatest heroes of antiquity; a compendious chart of
history, chronology, and heathen mythology; a system of
classic architecture; and an accurate commentary upon the
more celebrated poems of Greece and Rome. Ay, and I
will show you a faithful resemblance of the very ship that
carried .AEneas to Italy, and of the lofty poop from which
the luckless Palinurus fell into the ocean."
Mr. Twaddleton then favoured Mr. and Mrs. Seymour
with a sight of some of those rarer medals, which he con-
sidered as constituting the gems of his collection.
You do not mean to say," exclaimed Tom, as he seized
a small coin, that this brass piece is of more value than
the large coin of gold that lies next to it ?"
Mercy upon us!" cried the vicar, in a tone of agony,
how the boy handles it!-restore it to its place-gently
-gently-that little brass piece,' as you call it, is gold,
and although it might not have been worth one guinea
fifteen hundred years ago, is now valued at a hundred. It
is a coin of Ptolemy VIII. of Egypt. On the obverse is
the portrait of the king beautifully raised; on the reverse
a cornucopia. I do not believe that the coin was known
to Pinkerton when he wrote his Essay."
There is, certainly," said Mr. Seymour, something
very inexplicable in the tastes and enthusiastic feelings of
you patrons of antiquity."
The antiquary," observed the vicar, "does not regard
a cabinet of medals as a treasure of money, but of know-
ledge; nor does he fancy any charms in gold, but in the
figures that adorn it; it is not the metal, but the erudition,
that stamps it with value."
Mr. Twaddleton now passed on to a different compart-
ment of his cabinet, observing, that he must exhibit a few
of his Roman treasures. Behold," said he, two gems
of unappreciable value; never do I look upon them but
with feelings of the purest delight. Let my young friends
come nearer and inspect them minutely. This is a large
brass coin of Tiberius, and was current when Christ was
upon the earth; next to it lies a silver Denarius of the
same Emperor; its value was about equal to seven-pence
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 45
of our money, and was the coin that tempted Judas to
betray his master."
I think," said Mrs. Seymour, I have heard you
speak of some English coins of rarity and interest."
True, Madam, very true, but they are in another
cabinet: before I close the present one, I will, with your
permission, give you a glimpse at my Sulphurs, Paduans,
Paduans and Beckers!" exclaimed Mr. Seymour,
" and pray what may they be? I never before heard the
"'My poverty but not my will consents.' The anti-
quary who is poor in purse," observed the vicar, must
needs be contented with being rich in counterfeits, or, I
ought rather to have said, in possessing copies instead of
originals. Becker was an artist of Frankfort, who excelled
in imitating ancient coins, but he never used his skill for
the purpose of deception, but honestly sold his productions
as avowed copies, which are admitted into the cabinets of
the curious under the name of Beckers. The Paduans,"
the vicar added, derived their names from two brothers
at Padua, celebrated for the accuracy with which they
imitated large Roman coins."
I suppose we shall soon have Electrotype collections,"
said Mr. Seymour.
Undoubtedly; and as such impressions must of neces-
sity be minutely faithful, they will possess a value of their
own, which can never attach to modelled copies," observed
The antiquary now directed the attention of Mrs. Sey-
mour to his English coins. This," said he, is a
shilling of Henry VII., curious as being the first shilling
ever struck; it was presented to me by a college friend
some years ago, and I have been lately informed that it is
so rare as to fetch twenty-five pounds; but let me beg you
to examine attentively this curious little treasure," said
the vicar, his eyes twinkling with pleasure as he placed
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
the dainty morsel in the hand of Mrs. Seymour; it is,"
continued he, a silver groat of Perkin Warbeck; on one
side are the Royal arms, but without a name; they are
surmounted, you perceive, with an arched crown, and
placed between a fleur-de-lis and a rose."
What is the inscription ?" asked Mrs. Seymour.
Say legend, Madam, if you please; the words are
' Domine, salrumfac regem,' the date 1494. The coin is
supposed to have been struck by the order of the Duchess
of Burgundy for Perkin Warbeck, when he set out to
Pray," said Tom, have you got a Queen Anne's
It is really curious," observed the vicar, that well-
informed persons should still continue to be deceived with
regard to the value of this coin. The absurd notion of its
being worth 1001. arose from an advertisement of an old
lady, who had lost one, stating it to be one of the only
three known in the world, and worth at least 1001. The
truth is, I understand from my much-valued friend of
Tavistock Street, that these farthings generally fetch from
five to twenty shillings each; there are several different
types of them, but the only one intended for currency is
that bearing the date of 1714 ; all the others were struck
as patterns. This is certainly scarce, in consequence of
the death of the Queen taking place before the coinage
was finished. The farthing and sixpence of Oliver Crom-
well are much more scarce and valuable; the one generally
brings 101., the other as much as 251. It appears that,
after Oliver had stamped his head upon them, he was
afraid to issue them as current coins, which accounts for
the few which have been handed down to us."
You remind me," said Mr. Seymour, of a story I
lately heard of a crown-piece of Oliver selling at a public
auction for as much as two hundred guineas-can it be
possible ? "
You labour under a mistake," answered the vicar;
Chap. II. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 47
" the coin you allude to is known amongst collectors by
the name of the Petition crown of Charles the Second, and
it is undoubtedly a most inimitable piece of workmanship.
The story is this: Simon, the artist, had been employed
by Oliver Cromwell, and at the Restoration, in order to
obtain the patronage of Charles, executed the crown-piece
in question. It resembles in its general appearance the
common milled five-shilling piece, but on the edging there
are two lines of letters beautifully executed. The words
are, Thomas Simon most humbly prays your Majesty to
compare this his tryal piece with the Dutch, and if more
truly drawn and embossed, more gracefully ordered, and
more accurately engraven, to relieve him.' "
And what said Charles to it?" inquired Mrs.Seymour.
Charles," said the vicar, took no notice of him, on
account of his having worked for Cromwell, and the poor
artist shortly afterwards died of a broken heart."
Well," exclaimed Mr. Seymour, his manes must be
surely appeased, if his crowns now sell for two hundred
The party, soon after this exhibition, quitted the vicar-
age, highly gratified, and returned to the Lodge, where,
after the usual ceremonies at the toilet, they sat down to
dinner, in the enjoyment of which we will now leave them,
and put an end to the present chapter.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. III.
NOTION-ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE. UNIFORM, ACCELERATED, AND
RETARDED VELOCITY.-THE TIMES OF ASCENT AND DESCENT ARE
EQUAL.-VIS INERTILE. -FRICTION.-ACTION AND REACTION ARE
EQUAL AND IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.-MOMENTUM DEFINED AND
EXPLAINED.-THE THREE GREAT LAWS OF MOTION.
"THE table-cloth is removed," cried Tom, as he cast a sly
glance through the open window of the dining-room.
"It is, my boy," replied Mr. Twaddleton; "Diffugere
nives, as the poet has it."
"Et redeuntjam gramina campis," added Mr. Seymour,
archly, as he pointed to the verdant luxuries spread over
"Et decrescentia flumina pratereunt," continued the
vicar, with a smile, as he passed the nearly exhausted
bottle; "but, psha! enough of wine and quotation. Come,
let us join the children."
Mr. Twaddleton, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Seymour
and Louisa, rose from the table, and proceeded to the lawn.
"The gravitation of Tom's ball," said Mr. Seymour,
"furnished an ample subject for our morning's diversion;
let us try whether its other motions will not suggest further
objects of inquiry."
"I well remember," observed Louisa, "that Mrs. Mar-
cet extols that apple, the fall of which attracted the notice
of Sir Isaac Newton, above all the apples that have ever
been sung by the poets: and she declares that the apple
presented to Venus by Paris; the golden apples through
which Atalanta lost the race; nay, even the apple which
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 49
William Tell shot from the head of his own son, cannot be
brought into comparison with it."
Well said! Mrs. Marcet," exclaimed Mr. Seymour;
"upon my word, had the mother of mankind used but half
such eloquence in praise of an apple, we cannot wonder at
"What honours, then," continued Louisa, "shall we
decree to Tom's ball, if it instructs us in the first principles
of philosophy ?"
"We are trifling," observed Mr. Seymour, and, so saying,
he took the ball from Tom's hand, and rolling it along the
ground, exclaimed," There it goes, performing, as you may
perceive, two different kinds of motion at the same time;
it turns round, or revolves on its axis; and goes straight
forward, or, to speak more philosophically, performs a
Tom said that he did not exactly comprehend what was
meant by the axis. (9) His father, therefore, informed
him that the axis of a revolving body was an imaginary
line, which was itself at rest, but about which all its other
parts turned, or rotated : But," continued he, can you
tell me whether you understand what is meant by the word
motion ? "
If he can," exclaimed the vicar, "he is a cleverer
fellow than the wisest philosopher of antiquity, who, upon
being asked the very same question, is said to have walked
across the room, and to have replied, 'You see it, but what
it is I cannot tell you.'"
Your ancient acquaintances," observed Mr. Seymour,
entertained some very strange notions touching this said
subject of motion. If I remember right, Diodorus denied
its very existence; but we are told that he did not himself
remain unmoved, when he dislocated his shoulder, and the
surgeon kept him in torture while he endeavoured to convince
him, by his own mode of reasoning, that the bone could not
have moved out of its place. We have, however, at present,
nothing to do with the ancients; the philosophers of our
own times agree in defining motion to be 'the act of a
body changing its situation with regard to any other;'
and you will therefore readily perceive that this may
actually happen to a body while it remains absolutely at
Well, that beats all the paradoxes I ever heard,"
cried Tom; "a body then may be in motion, while it is at
"Certainly," replied Mr. Seymour; "it may be rela-
tively in motion, while it is absolutely at rest."
"How can a body change its place," said Louisa, "ex-
cept by moving ?"
Very readily," answered her father; it may have its
relative situation changed with respect to surrounding ob-
jects. There is your ball, and here is a stone; has not each
of them a particular situation with respect to the other;
and by moving one, do I not change the relative situation
"I perceive your meaning," said Tom.
"To prevent confusion, therefore, in our ideas, it became
necessary to distinguish these two kinds of motion from
each other by appropriate terms; and, accordingly, where
there has been an actual change of place, in the common
meaning of the term, the motion which produced it is
termed ABSOLUTE motion; whereas, on the contrary, when
the situation has been only relatively changed, by an
alteration in the position of surrounding bodies, the motion
is said to be RELATIVE."
Surely, papa," said Louisa, no person can ever mis-
take relative for absolute motion; what then is the use of
such frivolous distinctions ? When a body really moves,
we can observe it in the act of changing its place, and no
difficulty can arise about the matter."
Nothing, my dear, is more fallacious than our vision;
the earth appears motionless, and the sun and stars seem as
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 51
if they revolved round it; but it is scarcely necessary for
me to inform you that our globe is constantly moving with
considerable velocity, while the sun remains at rest.-Mr.
Sadler, the famous aeronaut," continued Mr. Seymour,
" informed me that he was never sensible of the motion of
the balloon in any of his excursions, but that, as he ascended
into the air, the earth always appeared as if sinking
beneath him, and as he descended, as if rising to meet
Mr. Twaddleton here observed that he had heard a very
curious anecdote, when he was last in London, which fully
confirmed the truth of Mr. Sadler's statement. An aero-
naut," said he, "whose name I cannot at this moment
recollect, had recently published a map of his voyage, and,
instead of proceeding in any one line of direction, his track
absolutely appeared in the form of circles, connected with
each other like the links of a chain: this occasioned con-
siderable astonishment, and, of course, some speculation,
until it was at length discovered that his apparent journey
was to be attributed to the rotatory motion of the balloon,
which the voyager, not feeling, had never suspected."
And what," asked Tom, could have been the reason
of his not having felt the motion ?"
His father explained to him, that we are only conscious
of being in motion when the conveyance in which we are
placed suffers some impediment in its progress. "If,"
said he, "you were to close your eyes, when sailing on
calm water, with a steady breeze, you would not perceive
that you were moving: for you could not feel the motion,
and you could only see it by observing the change of place
in the different objects on the shore; and then it would be
almost impossible, without the aid of reason and experience,
to believe that the shore itself was not in motion, and that
you were at rest; I shall, however, be able to explain this
subject more clearly by an optical toy which I have in
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Mrs. Seymour here repeated the following passage from
that interesting novel Anastasius," which she observed
was beautifully descriptive of the illusive appearance to
which their papa had just referred:-
The gradually increasing breeze carried us rapidly
out of the Straits of Chio. The different objects on the
shore,-mountains,-valleys, -villages, -and steeples,-
seemed in swift succession, first advancing to meet us, then
halting an instant alongside our vessel, as if to greet us
on our passage, and, lastly, again gliding off with equal
speed; till, launched into the open main, we saw the whole
line of coast gradually dissolve in distant darkness."
That is indeed a beautiful and very apposite illustra-
tion," said Mr. Seymour; and I think Louisa will now
admit, that it is not quite so easy, as she at first imagined,
to distinguish between Absolute and Relative motion."
As the children now understood what was meant by the
term Motion, their father asked them whether they could
tell him what produced it.
I can make a body move by various means," answered
But they may all be reduced to one," said Mr. Sey-
mour;" viz. some exertion which'is called Force; thus the
force of my hand put your ball in motion; while gravitation
was theforce which made it fall to the earth; and I must,
moreover, inform you, that a body always moves in the
direction of the force which impels it, and with a velocity,
or rate of motion, which is proportional to its degree or
strength; and, were there no other forces in action but that
which originally produced the motion, the body would pro-
ceed onwards in a right line, and with a uniform velocity
"For ever I" exclaimed Louisa.
Ay, my dear, for ever: but we will discuss that
question presently; you must first tell me whether you
understand what is meant by uniform velocity."
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. M
I suppose that uniform velocity is that which is regu-
lar, and of an equal rate throughout."
Philosophers," replied her father, call the motion
of a body uniform, when it passes over equal spaces in
equal times.-Now, Tom, it is your turn to answer a
question. Can you describe the meaning of the terms
Accelerated and Retarded motion ?"
I conclude that motion is said to be accelerated when
it moves every moment quicker and quicker; and to be
retarded when it moves slower and slower."
You are perfectly right; and gravity may either act
in occasioning the one or the other; our experiment at
the well this morning afforded you an example of gravity
producing a regularly accelerated motion. I did not fully
explain the fact at the time, because I was desirous of
avoiding too many new ideas at once; we must win our
way slowly and cautiously through the mazes of philo-
sophy: I will, however, now endeavour to give you as
clear an explanation as the subject will allow.-It is, I
think, evident, that if, at the moment you dropped the
stone from your hand, the force of gravity could have been
suspended, it would have descended to the bottom of the
well with an uniform velocity; because there could have
been nothing either to accelerate or retard its motion.
But this was not the case, for the power of gravity was in
constant operation; and, if you keep this fact in mind, you
will readily understand how the velocity became accele-
rated: for suppose the impulse given by gravity to the
stone, during the first instant of its descent, be equal to
one, the next instant we shall find that an additional im-
pulse gives the stone an additional velocity equal to one,
so that the accumulated velocity is now equal to two; the
following instant, again, increases the velocity to three,
and so on till the stone reaches the bottom."
Mr. Twaddleton observed, the fact might be shortly ex-
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
pressed by saying, that the effects of preceding impulses
must be added to subsequent velocities."
Mr. Seymour then remarked that the same explanation
would apply to retarded velocity. If," said he, you
throw a stone perpendicularly upwards, the velocity will be
as much retarded, as it was in the other case accelerated,
by gravity; the consequence of which is, that it will be
exactly the same length of time ascending that it was
I should have thought the very reverse," cried Louisa,
"and that it would have fallen quicker than it rose."
You have forgotten to take into account the force
with which the stone is thrown upwards, and which is
destroyed by gravity before it begins to descend."
Certainly," answered Louisa; but the force given to
a stone in throwing it upwards cannot always be equal
to the force of gravity in bringing it down again; for the
force of gravity is always the same, while the force given
to the stone is entirely optional. I may throw it up gently
or otherwise, as I please."
If you throw it gently," said her father, it will not
rise high, and gravity will soon bring it down again; if
you throw it with violence, it will rise much higher, and
gravity will be longer in bringing it back to the ground.
Suppose, for instance, that you throw it with a force that
will make it rise only sixteen feet; in that case you know,
it will fall in one second of time. Now it is proved by
experiment, that an impulse requisite to project a body six-
teen feet upwards, will make it ascend that height in one
second of time; here, then, the times of ascent and descent
are equal. But, supposing it be required to throw a stone
twice that height, the force must be proportionally greater.
You see, then, that the impulse of projection, in throwing
a body upwards, is always equal to the action of the force
of gravity during its descent; and that it is the greater or
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. bb
less distance to which the body rises that makes these two
forces balance each other."
Thank you, dear papa, for the pains you have taken
in explaining this subject to us."
Nay," replied Mr. Seymour, bestow your thanks
upon those to whom they are more justly due; Mrs. Marcet
is entitled to the merit of this explanation; for I obtained
it from her Conversations.' Before I quit this subject, I
would just observe that, when we come to the considera-
tion of the bow and arrow, you will, by the application of
the law I have endeavoured to expound, be enabled to
ascertain the height to which your arrow may ascend, with
the same facility as you discovered the depth of the well;
for, since the times of ascent and descent are equal, you
have only to determine the number of seconds which inter-
vene between the instant at which the arrow quits the bow
to that at which it falls to the ground, and halving them,
to make the usual calculation.-But let us proceed to
another subject. Roll the ball hither, Tom; roll the ball
hither, I say you stand as if you thought it would advance
to us of its own accord."
I know a little better than that, too," cried Tom;
no body can move without the application of some
Nor stop, either," added Mr. Seymour, when it is
once in motion; for matter is equally indifferent to both
rest and motion."
And yet, papa," cried Louisa, unfortunately for
your assertion, the ball stopped just now, and I am sure
that no force was used to make it do so."
And pray, Miss Pert, why are you so sure that no
force was opposed to its progress? I begin to fear that
my lesson has been thrown away upon you, or you would
not, surely, have concluded so falsely."
The vicar here interposed, observing that, simple as the
question might appear to those who had studied it, the fact
PHIIXSOPHY IN SPORT
was so contrary to everything that passed before us, that
Mr. Seymour ought not to feel any surprise at the scep-
ticism of his daughter; he begged to remind him that the
truth, apparent as it doubtless now was, lay hid for ages
before the sagacity of Galileo brought it to light.
Mr. Seymour admitted the justice of this remark, and
proceeded in his explanation.
I think," said he, you will readily allow that matter
cannot, in itself, possess any power of changing its condi-
tion : it can, therefore, no more destroy, than it can ori-
ginate its own motion; when it is at rest, it must ever remain
so, unless some force be applied that can impart to it
activity; and when once in motion, it must continue to
move until some counteracting force stops it. To believe
otherwise you must suppose that matter possesses in itself a
power to alter its condition, which is perfectly absurd."
"And yet," said Tom, when I see my ball or marble
stop of its own accord, how can you blame me for believing
Your difficulty arises from your ignorance of the ex-
istence of certain forces which act upon the rolling ball or
marble. Its progress, as it rolls along, is impeded and
ultimately stopped by the rubbing, or friction, occasioned
by its passage over the ground; and this will be greater or
less, according to the degree of roughness of the surface;
if it be small, the ball will continue for a longer time in
motion; you must have observed that your marble has
always rolled much further on a smooth pavement than on
a rough gravel walk."
"Certainly," said Tom, "and I well remember, that
when we played at ring-taw last winter on the ice, we were
obliged, for this very reason, to extend the usual bound-
"Exactly so; and your marble, under such circum-
stances, would run along like the enchanted bowl of the
Dervise, in the Arabian Nights. Is it not evident, then,
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 57
that the motion of a body is stopped by some opposing
force; and that, if this could be entirely removed, the body
would continue to move for ever ? "
What a provoking thing this friction is!" said Tom;
"it is always interfering with our experiments."
"Provoking, is it? I fancy," said Mr. Seymour, "that
you would be much more provoked by the loss of it: with-
out it you could jiot walk, nor even hold an object in your
hands; and yet everything around you would be in per-
petual motion, performing one universal and interminable
"I can readily understand, from what you have said,
that, if friction were removed, motion might continue; but
pray how is it that we should be unable to walk, or to hold
anything in our hands? inquired Louisa.
It is the friction of the ground which, at every step we
take, prevents the foot from sliding back, and thus enables
us to push the body forwards. Everybody must have felt
how difficult it is to walk on ice, where the friction is only
diminished, not entirely removed," answered her father;
and as to holding any object," continued he, it is the
friction of the body to which we apply "our hands that
enables us to hold it firmly."
"To be sure," exclaimed the vicar; "why, my boy,
you must surely remember, that in ancient combats it was
the custom to rub the body with oil, that the adversary
might not be able to keep his grasp."
"Well," said Tom, "our houses, I suppose, would
remain firm, and we might sit quietly in our chairs, at all
Not so," replied Mr. Seymour ;" for even granting that
you had houses and chairs, which, without the existence of
friction would never exist, the stability of the structures
could never be secured; the slightest breath would be suf-
ficient to make the stones or bricks slide off from each
other, and to reduce your dwellings into dancing ruins."
Tom and Louisa, after some further discussion, both
admitted the justness of the argument; but, at the same
time, would have been better satisfied if the fact could
have been proved by actual experiment. Mr. Seymour
told them that the perpetual revolution of the earth and
heavenly bodies, where no friction whatever existed, afforded
a proof which ought to satisfy them; and, especially, since
it agreed with those views which were proved to be true
by an examination of what took place on the surface of our
We will, therefore, with the permission of our readers,
consider this point as settled, and proceed with the young
philosophers to the investigation of some other topics con-
nected with the doctrine of motion.
Since a body at rest," said Mr. Seymour, can only be
set in motion, or, when in motion, be brought to rest, by
the impression of some force, it must follow, that it can
only move in the direction in which such a force may act;
and, moreover, that the degree of motion, or the velocity,
must, other things being equal, be in proportion to the de-
gree of force used."
"Why, truly," cried the vicar, "my young friends
must of necessity admit that fact; for the body, not having
any will of its own, as you say, must needs, if it move at
all, go the road it is driven."
Yes," added Mr. Seymour, and it must go with a
velocity in proportion to the force with which it is
Doubtless, doubtless," cried the vicar, "you admit
that also; do you not, my young friends and playmates? "
It is hardly necessary to state, that the children instantly
assented to these propositions. The vicar had placed them
in so clear and popular a point of view, as to be intelligible
to the lowest capacities.
"With these admissions, then, my dear children," said
their father, I shall have but little difficulty in convincing
PHILOn PHY IN SPORT
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
you of the truth of the other laws by which the direction of
moving bodies is governed. At present, however, it is not
my intention to enter upon this subject: you have some
preliminary knowledge to acquire before you can under-
stand what is termed the Composition and Resolution of
I shall not easily forget," said Louisa, that matter
is perfectly passive, and that it can neither put itself in
motion when at rest, nor stop itself when in motion."
This indifference to rest or motion," replied Mr. Sey-
mour, has been termed the Vis Inertia of matter."
A very objectionable term,-a very puzzling expres-
sion," exclaimed the vicar;-" to denote a mere state of
passive indifference by the term Vis, or power, does appear
to me, who have been in the habit of connecting words
with ideas, as excessively absurd."
I allow," said Mr. Seymour, that the simple word
Inertia would have been preferable; but we are bound to
receive an expression which has been long current. I sup-
pose, however, you know that the addition of Vis originated
with Kepler, who, like my boy Tom, could not help think-
ing that the disposition of a body either to maintain or
resist motion, indicated something very like power; but we
will not waste our time upon verbal disquisitions, although
I cannot part with you, my dear vicar, without reminding
you that there is ample classical authority for this appa-
rent contradiction of terms. The connecting two ideas,
which at first sight appear opposed to each other, consti-
tuted a figure of speech much used both by the Greeks
"Unquestionably," said the vicar: "Euripides delighted
in it, and that was a sufficient reason for Aristophanes to
satirise it. Horace too has given us several examples of it,
as Insaniens Sapientia,' Strenua Inertia;' and in our
own times we hear of lawyers talking of long Briefs!"
"It is clear," continued Mr. Seymour, "that matter,
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
at rest, resists being put in motion; the degree of that
resistance is always in proportion to the degree of force
applied to put it in motion; or, to speak more philoso-
phically, that Action and Re-action are equal and in
"You, surely, do not mean to say," exclaimed Tom,
"that if I strike my marble, the marble strikes my hand
with the same force in return? "
Precisely; that is my meaning."
"What I" cried Louisa, "if a man strikes another on
the face with his hand, do you seriously maintain that both
parties suffer the same pain ?"
Oh, no, no," said Tom, papa can never intend to say
that; I am quite sure, if it were the case, Mr. Pearson
would not be so fond of boxing our ears."
Mr. Seymour answered this question, by observing that,
if the hand po-sessed the same degree of feeling as the face,
they would both suffer equally under the conflict. "If,"
continued he, "you strike a glass bottle with an iron ham-
mer, the blow will be received by the hammer and the glass;
and it is quite immaterial whether the hammer be moved
against the bottle at rest, or the bottle be moved against
the hammer at rest, yet the bottle will be broken, though
the hammer be not injured; because the same blow which
is sufficient to shiver the glass is not sufficient to break or
injure the lump of iron. In like manner, the blow that is
sufficient to pain your sensitive face, and make your ears
tingle, will not occasion the least annoyance to the obtuse
hand of your preceptor. The operation of this law," con-
tinued Mr. Seymour, will be exemplified in every step
of our progress. When the marble, as it rolls along,
strikes any obstacles, it receives, in return, a corresponding
blow, which will be found to influence its subsequent direc-
tion. The peg of the top, as it rubs on the ground, is as
much influenced by the friction, as if a force were actually
applied to it when in a state of rest; and when we consider
the forces by which the kite is made to ascend into the air,
you will learn, from the same law, the nature of that ad-
vantage which you derive from running with it."
The vicar observed that the subject of Momentum might
be introduced, and advantageously explained, upon this
Momentum," said Tom; "and pray what is that?"
"It is a power," replied his father, "intimately con-
nected with motion; and, therefore, as your friend, the
vicar, justly remarks, may be very properly introduced
before we quit that subject.-It is the force with which a
body in motion strikes against another body."
"That," observed Tom, "must of course depend upon
the velocity of the body's motion."
"Undoubtedly, my dear; the quicker a body moves,
the greater must be the force with which it would strike
against another body; but we also know that the heavier a
body is, the greater also will be its force; so that momen-
tum, you perceive, must have a relation to both these cir-
cumstances, viz. velocity and weight; or, to speak more
correctly, the momentum of a body is composed of its
quantity of matter multiplied by its quantity of motion:
for example, if the weight of a body be represented by the
number 3, and its velocity also by 3, its momentum will be
represented by 3x3=9; so that, in producing momentum,
increased velocity will always compensate for deficiency of
matter, and a light body may thus be made a more effective
force than a heavy one, provided that its velocity be pro-
portionally increased; thus, a small ball, weighing only
two pounds, and moving at the rate office hundred feet in
a second, will produce as much effect as a cannon-ball of
ten pounds in weight, provided it moved only at the rate
of one hundredfeet in the same time."
Let me see," cried Tom, whether I understand your
statement. We must multiply, as you say, the weight by
the velocity; the weight of the small ball you state at two
MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
pounds, and it travels at the rate of five hundred feet
in a second; then its momentum must be a thousand.
The weight of the great ball is ten pounds, its velocity
only a hundred feet, then its momentum must also be a
thousand; because, in both cases, the sums multiplied into
each other will give the same product."
Exactly: and thus you perceive that the small ball
becomes an exact balance to the larger one; the first
making out in motion what it wanted in matter, while the
latter makes out in matter what it wanted in motion. I
wish you to keep this law of Momentum in your remem-
brance; upon it depends the action of all the mechanical
powers, (10) as they are termed; and which I shall here-
after more fully explain."
I have heard," said Louisa, that a feather might be
made to produce as much havoc as a cannon-shot, if you
could give it sufficient velocity."
Unquestionably: but there is a practical difficulty in
the attempt, from the resistance of the air, which increases,
as you have already seen in the experiment of the paper
and penny-piece (p. 31), as the weight of a body decreases:
and which explains the adage, that Hercules canmt throw
a feather farther than a child.' Were it not for this
resistance of the air, a hailstone falling from the clouds
would acquire such a momentum, from its accelerated
velocity, as to descend like a bullet from a gun, and
destroy everything before it; even those genial showers
which refresh us in the spring and summer months, would,
without such a provision, destroy the herbage they are so
well calculated to cherish. Had the elephant possessed
the mobility of the beetle, it would have overturned
mountains. From this view of the subject of Momentum,"
continued Mr. Seymour, "you will easily understand why
the immense battering-rams, used by the ancients in the
art of war, should have given place to cannon-balls of but
a few pounds in weight. Suppose, for example, that the
Chap. III. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 63
battering-ram of Vespasian weighed 100,000 pounds, and
was moved, we will admit, with such a velocity, by
strength of hands, as to pass through 20 feet in one second
of time, and that this was found sufficient to demolish the
walls of Jerusalem, can you tell me with what velocity a
32-pounder must move to do the same execution ? "
"I will try," said Tom, as he took out his pencil and
pocket-book, to make the calculation.
"Stop, I think you will hardly succeed without my
guidance," said his father; let us therefore work it out
together: now you will readily perceive that we must in
the first place determine the momentum of the battering-
ram, by multiplying its weight by its velocity, or in other
words by the space which it passes over in a second of
That I understand."
Very well," continued Mr. Seymour, its weight
was 100,000 pounds, and its velocity such as to carry it
through 20 feet in a second of time; now make the re-
I have done it-it is 200,000."
You are quite right; now if this momentum, which
must also be that of the cannon-ball, be divided by the
weight of that ball, viz. 32 pounds, we shall obtain the
velocity required, which is 62,500 feet."
Mr. Twaddleton here observed, that he thought his
young friends and playmates must have received, for that
day, as much philosophy a they could conveniently carry
away without fatigue. Mr. Seymour concurred in this
observation; and the more readily, as the path they had to
travel was rugged, and beset with difficulties. I will,
therefore," said he, not impose any further burthen
upon them; but I will assist them in tying, into separate
bundles, the materials which they have collected in their
progress, in order that they may convey them away with
greater ease and security. Know then, my dear children,"
64 PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT Chap. III.
said the affectionate parent, that you have this day been
instructed in the three great Laws of Motion, viz.:-
I. That every body will continue in a state of rest, until
put into motion by some external force applied to it,
and if that force be single, the motion so produced
will be rectilinear, i. e. in the direction of a straight
II. Change of motion is always proportional to the
moving force impressed, and is always made in the
direction of the right line in which the force acts.
III. Action and Re-action are equal in equal quantities
of matter, and act in contrary directions to each
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. fb
A SAD ACCIDENT TURNED TO A GOOD ACCOUNT.-ONE EXAMPLE
WORTH A HUNDRED PRECEPTS.-V18 INERTIA.-THE BANDILOR.-
AN EXPERIMENT.-THE CENTRES OF MAGNITUDE AND GRAVITY.
-THE POINT OF SUSPENSION.-THE LINE OF DIRECTION.-THE
STABILITY OF BODIES, AND UPON WHAT IT DEPENDS.-METHOD
OF FINDING THE CENTRE OF GRAVITY OF A BODY.-THE ART
OF THE BALANCER EXPLAINED AND ILLUSTRATED. WALKING
ON STILTS.-VARIOUS BALANCING TOYS.
JUST as Mr. Seymour was, on the following morning,
stepping upon the lawn, with the intention of joining his
children, Rosa and Fanny both made their appearance
completely drenched with water, and dripping like mer-
Heyday !" exclaimed their father, how has this mis-
fortune happened ?"
Do not be angry, papa," said Tom; indeed, indeed,
it was an accident. Fanny, observing the water-cart in
the garden, had just begun to wheel it forward, when the
water rushed over her like a wave of the sea, and, upon
stopping the cart, it flew over with equal force on the
opposite side, and deluged poor Rosa, who was walking in
front of it."
Well, well, lose no time in changing your clothes,
and meet me again in half an hour."
At the appointed time the children re-assembled on the
And so then," said their father, I perceive that my
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
philosophical lesson of yesterday has been entirely lost
The children were unable to comprehend the meaning
of this rebuke; but Mr. Seymour proceeded:-
I trust, however, that the accident of this morning
will serve to impress it more forcibly upon your memory:
one example is better than a hundred precepts."
Tom was more puzzled than ever.
You have met with an accident; I will endeavour to
convert it into a source of instruction, by showing you
how the principles of natural philosophy may be brought to
bear upon the most trivial concerns of life. You learned
yesterday, that a body at rest offers a resistance to any
force that would put it in motion, and that, when in
motion, it equally opposes a state of rest; now let us
apply this law for the explanation of the accident that has
just befallen you. The butt was full of water; when you
attempted to wheel it forward, the water resisted the
motion thus communicated to the vessel, and from its vis
inertia, or effort to remain at rest, rose up in a direction
contrary to that in which the vessel moved, and conse-
quently poured over; by this time, however, the mass of
fluid had acquired the motion of the cart, when you
suddenly stopped it, and the water, in endeavouring to
continue its state of motion, from the same cause that it
had just before resisted it, rose up on the opposite side,
and thus deluged poor Rosa."
Louisa was quite delighted with this simple and satis-
factory application of philosophy, and observed, that she
should not herself mind a thorough soaking, if it were
afterwards rewarded by a scientific discovery.
"I will give you, then, another illustration of the same
law of motion," said Mr. Seymour, which, instead of
explaining an accident, may, perhaps, have the effect of
preventing one. If, while you are sitting quietly on your
horse, the animal starts forward, you will be in danger of
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. t)
falling off backward; but if, while you are galloping
along it should stop suddenly, you will inevitably be
thrown forward over the head of the animal."
I clearly perceive," said Louisa, "that such would be
my fate under the circumstances you state."
"Now, then, my dear children, since our friend the
vicar cannot attend us at present, suppose we retire to the
library, where I have an interesting experiment to perform,
and a new toy ready for your inspection."
In compliance with their father's wishes, the children
cheerfully returned to the library, when Mr. Seymour
presented Louisa with a BANDILOB. Most of our readers
are, doubtless, acquainted with this elegant toy. It con-
sists of two discs of wood, united to each other by a small
axis, upon which a piece of string is affixed. When this
string is wound round the axis, and the bandilor is suffered
to run down from the hand, the end of the string being
held by a loop on the fore-finger, its momentum winds up
the string again, and thus it will continue for any length
of time to descend from, and ascend to, the hand. It
affords a good example of the operation of vis inertia, or
what may, with equal propriety, be termed the momentum
of rotatory motion. Its action may be compared to that of
a wheel, which, running down a hill, acquires sufficient
momentum to carry it up another. There are several toys
which owe their operation to the same principle, of which
we may particularize the windmill, whose fliers are pulled
round by a string affixed to the axis of the sails. In
playing with the bandilor, a certain address is required to
prevent the sudden check which the toy would otherwise
receive when it arrived at the end of the string, and which
would necessarily so destroy its momentum as to prevent
its winding itself up again. Mr. Seymour now informed
his young pupils that he had an experiment to exhibit,
which would further illustrate, in a very pleasing manner,
the truth of the doctrine of vis inertia. He accordingly
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
inverted a wine-glass, and placed a shilling on its foot;
and, having pushed it suddenly along the table, the coin
flew off towards the operator, or in a direction opposite to
that in which the glass was moving. He then replaced the
shilling, and imparted to the glass a less sudden motion;
and, when it had acquired sufficient velocity, he checked it,
and the coin darted forward, leaving the glass behind it.
Louisa, upon witnessing this experiment, observed that
she felt satisfied of the correctness of her father's state-
ment, when he told her that, if the horse suddenly started
forward, when she was at rest, she would be thrown off
behind, and that if it should suddenly stop on the gallop,
she would be precipitated over its head. The children
arranged themselves around the table, in order to consider
several curious toys which Mr. Seymour had collected for
the purpose of explaining the nature of the Centre of
But, in the first place," said Mr. Seymour, can you
tell me, Tom, what is meant by The Centre of Gravity ?"
Its central point," answered the boy.
Certainly not; the central point is termed its centre
of magnitude, not that of gravity; and it is only when a
body is of uniform density, and regular figure, that these
centres of magnitude and gravity coincide, or fall in the
I now remember that the centre of gravity is that
point, about which all the parts of a body exactly balance
Now you are right; it is, in other words, that point
in which the whole weight, or gravitating influence, of a
body is, as it were, condensed or concentrated, and upon
which, if the body be freely suspended, it will rest with
security; and consequently, as long as this centre is sup-
ported, the body can never fall; while, in every other
position, it will endeavour to descend to the lowest place
at which it can arrive."
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 69
Have all bodies, whatever may be their shape, a centre
of gravity ?" asked Louisa.
"And you say that every body will fall if this point is
Infallibly. And now, Tom," said Mr. Seymour, can
you tell me what is meant by the line of direction ?"
The young philosopher was unable to answer this ques-
tion, and his father, therefore, informed him that, if a
perpendicular line were drawn from the centre of gravity
of a body to the centre of the earth, such a line would be
termed the line of direction; along which every body, not
supported, endeavours to fall; and he was also informed
that, if this said line fell within the base of a body, such a
body was sure to stand; but never otherwise.
Louisa observed that she was not quite sure she under-
stood her papa's meaning, and therefore begged for further
I will exemplify it then," replied Mr. Seymour, by
a drawing. Fig. 10 represents a load of stones in a cart
moving upon the sloping road c D E: this load being low
down in the cart, B will
represent its centre of ig. 11. Fg. 0o.
gravity, and B F its line
of direction, which, you
perceive, falls much within
the supporting or lower K
wheel G; and there can-
not, therefore, be any dan-
ger of such a cart being
overturned; but in fig. 11
the centre of gravity is raised from its former position to
H, and H i is now the line of direction; which, falling
without the base, or wheel x, the load will not be sup-
ported, and must consequently fall. These figures," added
Mr. Seymour, will also explain a fact which you must
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
have frequently observed, that a body is stable or firm in
proportion to the breadth of its base; hence the difficulty
of sustaining a tall body, like a walking-stick, upon its
narrow base; or that of balancing a hoop upon its edge, or
a top upon its point; while, on the contrary, it is almost
impossible to upset the cone or the pyramid, since, in the
latter cases, the line of direction falls within the middle of
the base, the centre of gravity of the body being necessarily
I suppose," observed Louisa, "that this is the reason
why carriages, when too much loaded, are so apt to upset."
"Say, when too much loaded on their tops, and you will
be right. As you now, I trust, understand this part of the
subject, let us proceed a step further: if you take any
body, with a view to suspend it, is it not evident, that if it
be suspended by that point in which the centre of gravity
is situated, it must remain at rest in any position indif-
I thought," said Tom, we had already settled that
"True, my dear boy; but there is another question of
great importance arising out of it, and which you have not
yet considered : tell me, should the body be suspended on
any other point, in what position it can rest ?"
"I do not exactly understand the question."
There are," replied his father, "only two positions in
which it could rest, either where the centre of gravity is
exactly above, or exactly below, the point of suspension;
so that, in short, this point shall be in the line of direction.
Where the point of suspension is below the centre of
gravity, it is extremely difficult to balance or support a
tall body by such a method, because the centre of gravity
is always endeavouring to get under the point of support.
Look at this diagram, and you will readily comprehend my
meaning. x is the centre of gravity of the diamond-shaped
figure, which may be supported, or balanced, on a pin
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 71
passing through it at x, as long as the centre of gravity K
is immediately over the point of suspension M; Fg. i1.
but if that centre is removed in the slightest de- I
gree, either to the right or left of its place K,
the body will no longer retain its erect position
I K M, but it will revolve upon M, and place
itself in the situation indicated by the dotted
lines beneath the point M, and its centre of
gravity will now be removed to N, directly under "
M, and in the line K L, which, as you well know, /
is the line of direction. Have I rendered myself
I understand it perfectly," answered Tom. K
And do you also, my dear Louisa ?"
Louisa's answer was equally satisfactory, and Mr. Sey-
mour went on to state that the information they had now
acquired would enable them to ascertain the situation of
the centre of gravity of any plane surface which was
portable, notwithstanding it might possess the utmost irre-
gularity of shape.
You shall, for example," continued he, find the
centre of gravity in your kite."
I cannot say," observed Tom, how I should set
Well, fetch your kite, and I will explain the method."
Tom soon produced it, and the tail having been removed,
Mr. Seymour proceeded as follows:- Fig. is.
I now," said he, suspend the kite by A
the loop at its bow, and since it is at rest,
we know that the centre of gravity must be
exactly below the point of suspension; if, \
therefore, we draw a perpendicular line from
that point, which may be easily done by a
plumb-line, with a weight attached to it, such
a line will represent the line of direction (as
indicated by A B in fig. 13)."
It is clear enough," said Tom, that the centre of
gravity must lie in the line a b, but how are we to find in
what part of it?"
By suspending the kite in another direction," answered
Mr. Seymour, who then hung it up in the position repre-
sented at fig. 14, and then by
S ig. 1. drawing another perpendicular from
Sthe new point of suspension."
j.. / The centre of gravity," said
1 / Louisa, will in that case be in the
/ line ed, as it was before in that
a of a b."
In both the lines!" exclaimed
d Tom, with some surprise; it can-
not be in two places."
And therefore," added Mr. Seymour, it must be in
that point in which the lines meet and cross each other;"
so saying, he marked the spot g with his pencil, and then
told his little scholars that he would soon convince them of
the accuracy of the principle. He accordingly placed the
head of his stick upon the pencil mark, and the kite was
found to balance itself with great exactness.
True, papa," said Tom, that point must be the
centre of gravity, for all the parts of the kite exactly
balance each other about it."
It is really," observed Louisa, a very simple method
of finding the centre of gravity."
It is," said Mr. Seymour; but you must remember
that it will only apply to a certain description of bodies:
when they are not portable, and will not admit of this
kind of examination, their centres of gravity can only be
ascertained by experiment or calculation, in which the
weight, density, and situation of the respective materials
must be taken into the account. Having proceeded thus
far, you have next to learn that the centre of gravity is
sometimes so situated as not to be within the body, but
actually at some distance from it."
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
Why, papa I" exclaimed Tom, how can that possibly
You shall hear. The centre of gravity, as you have
just said, is that point about which all the parts of a body
balance each other; but it may so happen that there is a
vacant space at this point. Where, for example, is the
centre of gravity of this ring? Must it not be in the
space which the ring encircles?"
I think it must," said Tom; and yet how can it be
ever supported without touching the ring ?"
That point cannot be supported," answered his father,
unless the ring be so held that the line of direction shall
fall within the base of the support, which will be the case
whether you poise the ring on the tip of your finger, or
suspend it by a string, as represented in the figures which I
have copied from the' Conversations on
Natural Philosophy.' I need scarcely
add, that it will be more stably sup-
ported in the latter position, because
the centre of gravity is below the
point of suspension; whereas in the
former the base is extremely narrow,
and it will, consequently, require all the address of the
balancer to prevent the centre of gravity from falling be-
yond it. As you are now in possession of all the leading
principles upon which the operations of the centre of
gravity depend, I shall put a few practical questions to
you, in order that I may be satisfied you understand them.
Tell me, therefore, why a person who is fearful of falling,
as, for instance, when he leans forward, should invariably
put forward one of his feet, as you did the other day, when
you looked into Overton well?"
To increase his base," answered Tom; whenever I
lean greatly forward, I should throw the line of direction
beyond it, did I not at the same instant put out one of my
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
feet, so as to extend my base, and thus to cause the line
to continue within it."
Rightly answered; and, for the same reason, a porter
with a load on his back leans forward to prevent his burthen
from throwing the line of direction out of the base behind.
So the horse, in drawing a heavy weight, instinctively leans
forward, in order to throw the whole of his weight as a
counterbalance; and yet," observed Mr. Seymour, we
are in the habit of ignorantly restraining him by a bearing-
rein, in consequence of which he has to call in the aid of
his muscles, by which a very unnecessary exhaustion of
strength is produced. Thus is it that German and French
horses draw heavy weights with apparently greater ease
to themselves, because the Germans tie a horse's nose
downwards, while the French, more wisely, leave them at
perfect liberty. But to proceed. Did you ever observe
the manner in which a woman carries a pail of water?"
To be sure," said Tom; she always stretches out one
of her arms."
"The weight of the pail," continued Mr. Seymour,
"throws the centre of gravity on one side, and the woman,
therefore, stretches out the opposite arm, in order to bring
it back again into its original situation; did she not do this,
she must, like the English draught horses, exert her muscles
as a counteracting force, which would greatly increase
the fatigue of the operation: but a pail hanging on each
arm is carried without difficulty, because they balance each
other, and the centre of gravity remains supported by the
I see," said Louisa, that all you have said about the
woman and her pail must be true; but how could she have
learned the principle which thus enabled her to keep the
centre of gravity in its proper place ?"
By experience. It is very unlikely that she should
ever have heard of such a principle, any more than those
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST.
people who pack carts and waggons, and yet make up their
loads with such accuracy as always to keep the line of
direction in, or near, the middle of the base. But to pro-
ceed to another example:--have I not frequently cautioned
you against jumping up suddenly in a boat? Can you tell
me upon what principle such an operation must be attended
I suppose," said Tom, for the very same reason that
a waggon is more likely to be overturned when its top is
too heavily laden; it would elevate the centre of gravity,
and thereby render the line of direction liable to be thrown
beyond the base, and so upset the boat."
Mr. Seymour observed, that after this lesson he thought
the balancing which Tom and Louisa had witnessed at
Astley's Theatre last year, would cease to appear so mira-
culous. Louisa declared that she had now discovered the
You have doubtless perceived," said her father, that
the art entirely consists in dexterously altering the centre
of gravity upon every new position of the body, so as
constantly to preserve the line of direction within the base.
Rope-dancers effect this by means of a long pole, the ends
of which are loaded by weights, and which they hold
across the rope. If you had paid sufficient attention to
their movements, you must have perceived how steadily
they fixed their eyes on some object near the rope, so as to
discover the slightest deviation of their centre of gravity
to one or the other of its sides, which they no sooner
detect, than they instantly rectify it by a countervailing
motion of their pole, and are thus enabled to preserve the
line of direction within the narrow base. This very same
expedient is frequently practised by ourselves; if we slip
or stumble with one foot, we naturally extend the opposite
arm, making the same use of it as the rope-dancer does
of his pole. Many birds, also, by means of their flexible
necks, vary the position of their centre of gravity in the
PHILOSOPHY IN SPORT
same manner. When they sleep, they turn it towards
the back, and place it under the wing, in order to lay the
greatest weight on the point above the feet."
What an interesting subject this is," cried Louisa, and
how many curious things it is capable of explaining!"
Indeed is it; and I shall take an opportunity of point-
ing out several specimens of art (11.) which are indebted
for their stability to the scientific application of the prin-
ciple we have been considering;-but I have now a paradox
for you, Tom."
Let us hear it, papa."
How comes it that a stick, loaded with a weight at
the upper extremity, can be kept in equilibrio, on the point
of the finger, with much greater ease than when the weight
is near the lower extremity, or, for instance, that a sword
can be balanced on the finger much better when the hilt is
That is indeed strange. I should have thought," re-
plied Louisa, that the higher the weight was placed
above the point of support, the more readily would the line
of direction have been thrown beyond the base."
In that respect you are perfectly right; but the balan-
cer will be able to restore it more easily in one case than
in the other; since, for reasons which you will presently
discover, the greater the circle which a body describes in
falling, the less will be its tendency to fall. Look at the
sketch which I have prepared for the explanation of this
fact, and I think you will readily comprehend the reason
When the weight is at a considerable distance from the
point of support, its centre of gravity, in deviating either
on one side or the other from a perpendicular direction,
describes a larger circle, as at a, than when the weight is
very near to the centre of rotation or the point of support,
as at b. But, in a large circle, an are of any determinate
extent, such as an inch, for example, describes a curve
Chap. IV. MADE SCIENCE IN EARNEST. 77
which deviates much less from the perpendicular than if
the circle were less; as may be seen by comparing the
positions of the sword at d and e; and the sword at d will
not have so great a tendency to deviate further from the
perpendicular, as that at e; for its tendency to deviate alto-
gether from the perpendicular is greater, according as the
tangent to that point of the arc, where it happens to be,
approaches more to the vertical position. You see then
that it is less difficult to balance a tall, than a shorter pole;
and it is for the same reason that a person can walk with
greater security on high than on low stilts."
That is very clear,' said Louisa, although, before
your explanation, I always associated the idea of difficulty
with their height."
I suppose," added Tom, that the whole art of walk-
ing on stilts may be explained by the principles you have
Undoubtedly it may; for the equilibrium is preserved
by varying the position of the body, and thus keeping the
centre of gravity within the base."
It must be a great exertion," observed Louisa.
Before custom has rendered it familiar; after which,
there is no more fatigue in walking on stilts than in walk-
ing on our feet. There is a district in the south of France,
near Bourdeaux, called the Desert of Landes, which runs
along the sea-coast between the mouths of the Adour and
Gironde, where all the shepherds are mounted on stilts;
on which they move with perfect freedom and astonishing