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The other morning, the frogs of the Aa
performed their part in a scene not to be easily
forgotten. I had overheard a good-looking,
smart young farmeress, chattering away in
the middle of an inn-yard about something or
other which she had brought in her petticoat.
As that was not any concern of mine,
I passed on, and paid no further attention.
But while finishing my breakfast in the salle
a manger, the hostess, knowing the inquisitive
instincts of the English, stepped in and told
me that a large party of country-folks had
just arrived to spend the (F├ęte) day, and that
one of the females was then preparing a mess
of frogs for dinner. Would I like to see the
process? Following her guidance, I entered
a sort of scullery where madame was hard at
work with her sleeves turned back, a knife in
one hand, and a frog in the other. She was
standing before a small kitchen table, usually
devoted to scraping carrots and peeling
potatoes, but now loaded with a sack of
considerable size, made, sure enough, by stitching
up the bottom of a common every day petticoat,
and full of living frogs. She gave them
no time to cry for quarter, as she whipped them
one by one out of their woollen limbo. How
she cut each frog in two, flayed him alive,
and chopped his feet off, is too dreadful to be
told. "But," said I, in disgust and astonishment,
"these are not the right sort of frogs
to eat! These are only the common brown
ditch-frog. They ought to have a bright
green raie all down the middle of their
back."—"Bah! bah!" she answered, with
a horrid laugh; "They are bon, bon, bon!
We'll look out for the others by and bye."
She was so pretty, and so fierce, that she put
me in mind of the female Ghoule in the
Arabian Nights; and I dared not offer any
further remonstrance, lest she should turn
her slaughtering propensities upon myself.
Meanwhile, the work proceeded briskly.

I retreated with a shudder, and went my
way, wishing the frog-eaters of the Aa a
better appetite than mine.


TWENTY-SIX gallons of wine, or thirty-four
gallons of ale, or forty-two gallons of salmon,
or two hundred and fifty-six pounds of soap:
make one barrel. So we learn from the table
of weights and measures in the very respectable
old Tutor's Assistant. But it does not divulge
how much music makes one barrel. Dry
Measure, Corn Measure, Long Measure, and
other measures, are duly tabulated. But
there is not a single numeral indicative of
Music Measure; yet Bellini, the original
"Bones," the Polka-makers, Will you, or
May you, or Can you love me now as then
all are witnesses to the union of music
measure and barrels. A thousand black-eyed
Italians impress the fact on our unwilling
ears every day. In fact music is the only
beverage which we can quaff by the barrel
without paying for it, or without feeling the
worse for the draught.

One does not generally give a penny to
Giacomo Alessandro for permission to analyse
his grinding-organ or his organ-piano; yet
there may be a penny worse laid out. Unless
one be too unmusical to know Qui s'degno
from Pop goes the Weasel, there is
something attractive in all that concerns the
production of musical sounds; and although
there may possibly be no music in the soul of
the man or boy, who grinds music out of a
box by turning a handle, there must be much
musical knowledge in him who conceived
and put into shape the mechanism itself.

A musical snuff-box, possessing a
transparent cover, is a good subject on which to
commence an examination. Musical box, let
us rather call it; for he deserves to sneeze
until further notice, who would choke music
with snuff. Each of these tiny boxes, contains
a horizontal brass barrel; and, into the
surface of this barrel are stuck some hundreds
of small pins. Within reach of these pins are
numerous delicate little springs, all ranged
side by side in one plane, and all susceptible
of slight vibration or oscillation when touched.
In this arrangement, the springs set the music
going, the pins set the springs going, the
barrel sets the pins going, the watch-spring
sets the barrel going, and the key sets the
watch-spring going for our purpose. As "the
end justifies the means," we must begin at
the end, and describe the music springs first.
Any little slip of metal if firmly fixed at
one end and left free everywhere else, will
emit a musical sound if struck or bent and
then suddenly relaxed. The more rapidly
it vibrates, the higher is the pitch of the
note which it yields; and, as a thick slip
or a short slip vibrates more rapidly than,
one which is thinner or longer, the springs
to produce the upper notes of the musical
scale must be either thicker or shorter (or
both) than those for the lower notes. Let no
one attempt to count the number of these
vibrations by the aid of his sharp eyes: he
will be baffled; for that medium note which
musicians call middle C or tenor C, is the
result of two hundred and fifty-six double
vibrations in a second, and the highest musical
note is due to some thousands of these
vibrations in a second. The springs in a musical
box are numerous enough to give all the
notes and half notes for several octaves; and
by judicious filing in one spot and loading in
another, they are attuned to great nicety.

To make these springs discourse sweet
music, they must be touched in the proper
order and after proper intervals; and to do
this, is the work of the pins stuck in the
barrel. If they are arranged in a ring,
directly round the barrel at one particular part
of its length, they will strike the same spring
repeatedly during the rotation of the barrels ;
but if arranged in a row from end to end of the
barrel, parallel to the axis, they will strike

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