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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Culture and Life

A Compilation of short articles

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Transcripts from original newspaper articles: -

Page Contents

A Charitable Man

A Contented Mind

A Gem

A Receipt For Happiness

A Simile

An Affair Of Importance

Belle Brittan

Come till America

Control The Passions


Fanny Horton, A Celebrated English Actress

Friendship Self-Love In Disguise

Gems Of Thought

He Who Troubles Himself More Than He Needs

How To Get On

Ike Heard From

Improve Your Moments

Individual Vs. Joint Action

Leigh Hunt

Live For A Purpose

Look Here , Jim

Near Home

Pen Drops

Pride And Vanity

Relationship, Or Blood

Small Talk


The Body Avenged

The Common Fluency Of Speech

The Deity Of Infancy

The Greater The Difficulty

The Heart Of Women Is Her Destiny

To Pass A Pleasant Hour In Winter Evenings

We Are Apt To Mistake Our Vocation

Words Are Little Things, But They Strike Hard


Man................. A Bubble on the ocean’s rolling wave;
Life.................. A gleam of light extinguish’d by the grave;
Fame............... A meteor dazzling with its distant glare;
Wealth............. A source of trouble and consuming care;
Pleasure........... A gleam of sunshine passing soon away;
Love................ A morning stream whose memory gilds the day;
Faith................ An anchor dropp’d beyond the vale of death;
Hope............... A lone star beaming o’er the barren heath;
Charity............ A stream meandering from the fount of love;
Bible............... A guide to the realms of endless joy above;
Religion........... A key which opens wide the gates of heaven;
Death.............. A knife by which the ties of earth are riven;
Earth............... A desert through which pilgrims wend their way;
Grave.............. A home of rest when ends life’s weary day;
Resurrection.... A sudden waking from a quiet dream;
Heaven............ A land of joy, of light, and love supreme.

L. F. I.


“I am a charitable man, and think every one is entitled to his opinion – and never cherish nothing against my foes, not even against Mr. Mulberry who has indirectly called me a sinner; but, still, if the Lord has a thunderbolt to spare, I think it would be very well bestowed upon dear Brother Mulberry’s head.”

…. Tears do not always flow from a broken and grief-stricken heart, even when they have the appearance of doing so; for instance, read what Tom Hood says on the matter: -

“After such years of dissension and strife,
Some wonder that Pete should weep for his wife.
But his tears on her grave gave are nothing surprising.
He’s laying her dust for fear of it rising.”

– There is much sound philosophy in the following brief extract from an editorial in the New York Tribune:

“Life is short; and that portion of it which one human being devotes to injuring, punishing and destroying another, we are inclined to think will pay but a poor dividend on the final settlement of difficulties.”

– When you rise in the morning form a resolution to make the day a happy one to a fellow creature. It is easily done; trifles in themselves light as air will do it, at least for the twenty-four hours. By the most simple arithmetical sum, look at the result; you send one person, only one, happily through the day; that it three hundred and sixty-five in the course of the year; and, supposing you live forty years only after you commence that course of medicine, you have made 14,600 human being beings happy, at all events for a time. Now, worthy reader, is this not simple? It is too short for a sermon, too homely for ethics, and too easily accomplished for you to say, “I would if I could.” – Sydney.

To pass a pleasant hour in winter evenings, nothing is so enjoyable as a game of bagatelle. The boards can be had any size, at a moderate price, from U, Alsop, House Furnisher, Broadmead.

An Advert in a Bristol Newspaper.

BELLE BRITTAN,” of the Mirror, writes that there was a superb-looking lady from New Orleans, at a late Newport “hop,” “ who wore a bouquet of diamonds, pearls, and precious stones, which was said to have cost twenty thousand dollars!”

Belle Brittan’s visit to Newport September 4, 1858

DISCRETION has large and extended views, and, like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon.

“COME till America, Pat!” writes a son of the Emerald Isle, to his friend in Ireland. “’Tis a fine county to get a living in. All ye have to do is to get a three-cornered box, and fill it wid bricks, and carry it till the top of a four-storey building, and the man at the top does all the work.”

…. CONTROL THE PASSIONS. – Study to make peace. If a person is offended with a course you have pursued, or some act of yours, do not widen the breach between you by being offish in his presence – or uttering only monosy liable when he addresses you. If you have reason to believe that hard feelings exist, be more mild, pleasant and pliable. Meet the offended more than half way – the whole way, if necessary to secure peace and good feelings. Do not wait for him to come and make confession, but be willing to go to him and secure the desirable object. There is no good reason why men should not live in peace.

…. Fanny Horton, a celebrated English actress, being hissed in her youth, had the boldness to come before the audience and ask, “Which do you dislike, my playing or my person?” “The playing! The playing!” was the cry from all sides. “Well, that consoles me,” was the answer; “my playing may be bettered, but my person I cannot alter.” She soon became the favourite of the public.

. - The most generous and disinterested friendship must be resolved at last into the love or ourselves; he therefore whose reputation or dignity inclines us to consider his esteem as a testimonial of desert, will always find our hearts open to his endearments.



EDUCATION begins the gentleman; but reading, good company, and observation must finish him.
The certain way to be cheated is to fancy oneself more cunning than others.
He who can conceal his joys is greater than he who can hide his griefs.
He is the best accountant who can cast up correctly a sum of his own errors.
Old age has deformities enough of its own; do not add to it the deformity of vice.
Every base occupation makes one sharp in its practice, and dull in every other.
Fire and sword are but slow engines of destruction in comparison with the babbler.
The Bible is a window in this prison of hope, through which we look into eternity.
Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquisition it that of good books.


Get, if you can, into one or other of the main grooves of human affairs. It is all the difference of going by railway, and walking over a ploughed field, whether you adopt common courses, or set up one for yourself. You will see, if your times are anything like ours, most inferior person persons placed highly in the army, in the church, in office, at the bar. They have somehow got upon the line, and have moved on well with very little original motive power of their own. Do not let this make you walk as if merit were utterly neglected in these or any profession; only that getting well into the groove will frequently do instead of any great excellence.

– Mrs. Partington discourseth concerning Ike: - “Betsy Jane writ to you about poor Isaac bein’ grafted into our noble army; it was during the late prevailing restriction. I’ve been so dreadful uneasy, laws a me! But, Dan’ I, at last we’ve heard of him by a neighbour who is home on a furrow. He – poor innocent! at on’st took his place, so neighbour Tibbins says, as first corpulent, and soon proved so deficient that he was promoted to be an ordinary surgeon – poor child! But what the blessed dear knows about taking up arterials and computation of lims, and the like, surpasses me. Howsumever, if he can be the humble implement in the hands of the Lord of saving the lives of the gallus fellows, whose heads have been disseminated by the bursting open of pontoons and thing, why, we must sacrifice him freely, and may the Lord have mercy on his solar system.”

A rough translation into modern English: -
IKE HEARD FROM. – Mrs. Partington discourse concerning Ike: - “Betsy Jane wrote to you about poor Isaac being drafted into our noble army; it was during the late prevailing conscription. I’ve been so dreadful uneasy, I have! But, Darn it, at last we’ve heard of him by a neighbour who is home on a furrow (farm). He – poor lad! At once took his place, so neighbour Tibbins says, as first a Corporal, and soon proved so deficient that he was promoted to be an ordinary surgeon – poor child! But what does the blessed dear know about taking out arteries and amputation of limbs, and the like, surpasses me. Howsoever, if he can be the humble implement in the hands of the Lord of saving the lives of the gallant fellows, whose heads have been disfigured etc., why, we must sacrifice him freely, and may the Lord have mercy on his soul.”


Many people are in the habit of mourning over their ignorance and complaining because they have no opportunities for study. If they would spend the time which is consumed in making these complaints, in studying useful books, they might become comparatively well educated. One of the best informed men we ever knew was a mechanic, who had devoted only twenty minutes a day to study, and had reflected over his reading, as he best could, while working at his trade. Any person who really wants to become well informed, will gain his wished, no matter what difficulties may beset his path; while those who only desire to clutch the honors which learning gives, but care nothing for knowledge itself, will remain in ignorance, though surrounded with abundant helps to education.

– We seldom in life find ourselves more unpleasantly situated than when, as is often the case, our fate and happiness are staked upon an enterprise in which many other persons are joined, whose errors or negligences counteract all our best endeavors, and whose conduct, however much we may disapprove it, we cannot command.

View Original newspaper article

LEIGH HUNT. – The following anecdote is told is his literary veteran: he had brought some gold earrings to Carlyle, which so delighted Mrs. Carlyle who was in the room, that she sprang up from her chair and kissed the “newsman.” Leigh sent her a present next morning, with these verses: -

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Springing from the chair she sat in;
Tune, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your book, put that in!
Say I’m ugly – say I’m sad –
Say that health and wealth have missed me –
Say I’m growing old – but add,
Jenny kissed me!

– The secret of all success in life, of all greatness, nay, of happiness is to live for a purpose. There are many persons always busy, who have yet no object in view. They are like butterflies, flitting from spot to spot, never gaining wealth; while the ant, who keeps a certain circuit around her hole, lays up stores for winter comfort. Such persons are doomed to be dissatisfied in the end, if they are not sooner, for they find in the race of life they have been passed by all who have had a purpose. It is not only the drones, therefore, but the busy idlers that make a blunder of life for want of a purpose.

LOOK HERE , JIM,” said a young fellow the other evening to an old soaker who had evidently taken too deep an interest in spiritual matter, and was still, with the peculiar obstinacy of those in his condition, vociferating for another “smile.” “Look-a-here, old fellow, you’ll spoil your constitution by this style of thing – better hold up.” “Constitution be blowed!” said the old fellow, “I broke that long ago! Been living on the bylaws these six months!”

…. We are apt to mistake our vocation in looking out of the way for occasions to exercise great and rare virtues, and stopping over the ordinary ones which lie directly in the road before us. When we read we fancy we could be martyrs; when we come to act, we find we cannot bear a provoking word.

. - One should go to sleep at night as homesick passenger do, saying, “Perhaps in the morning we shall see the shore.” To us who are Christians, it is not a solemn, but a delightful though, that perhaps nothing but the opaque bodily eye prevents us from not holding the gate which is open just before us, and nothing but the dull ear prevents us from hearing the ringing of those bells of joy which welcome us to the heavenly land. That we are so near death, is too good to be believed: - Henry Ward Beecher.

. - The virtues are economists, but some of the vices are also. Thus, next to humility, I have noticed that pride is a pretty good husband. Price is handsome, economical; pride eradicates so many vices, letting none subsist but itself, that it seems as if it were a great gain to exchange vanity for pride. Pride can go without domestics, without fine clothes, can live in a house with two rooms, can eat potatoes, purselane, beans, lyed corn, can work on the soil, can travel afoot, can talk with poor men, or sit silent well contented in fine saloons. But vanity costs money, labour, horses, men, women, health, and peace, and it still nothing at last, a long way leading nowhere. Only one drawback; proud people are intolerably selfish, and the vain are gentle and giving. – Emerson’s Conduct of Life.

. - The closest of all blood relationships is that of the mother and child, and it constitutes the very best example that we can select to examine the security which blood provides as a basis of relationship. The spiritual feelings originating in this relationship are very powerful. Nothing can exceed the love of a mother; it will make greater sacrifices than any other passion; it will sacrifice truth itself and justice – anything. The advocacy of a mother defies all opposition and all arguments.

. – Nobody abuses small talk unless he be a stranger to its convenience. Small talk is the small change of life: there is no getting on without it. There are times when “’tis folly to be wise,” when a little nonsense is very palatable, and when gravity and sedateness ought to be kicked downstairs. A philosopher cuts a poor figure in a ball-room, unless he save his wisdom at home. metaphysics is as intrusive in the midst of agreeable prattle, as a death’s head on a festal board. We have met with men who were too Lofty for small talk; who would never swear at their servants or – the weather. They would never condescend to play with a ribbon or flirt a fan. They were above such trifling: in other words, they were above making themselves agreeable, above pleasing, and above being pleased. They were all wisdom, all gravity, and all dignity, and all tediousness, which they bestowed upon company with more the Dogberry’s generosity. A man who cannot talk has no more business in society than a stature. The world is made up of trifles, and he who can trifle elegantly and gracefully is a valuable acquisition to mankind. He is a Corinthian column in the fabric of society.

View Original newspaper for the two articles below, The Body Avenged and An Affair of Importance.

THE BODY AVENGED. – By too much sitting still the body becomes unhealthy, and soon the mind. This is Nature’s law. She will never see her children wronged. If the mind, which rules the body, ever forgets itself so far as to trample upon its slave, the slave is never generous enough to forgive this injury; but will rise and smite its oppressor. Thus has many a monarch mind been dethroned. – Longfellow.

. –
Harriet: “Oh! I’m so glad you are come, Blanche! I have been so perplexed I could hardly sleep all night.”
Blanche: “Well! What is it, dear?”
Harriet: “Why, I don’t know whether to have my new merino frock violet or dark blue!” - Punch.

The common fluency of speech in many men and most women, is owing to a scarcity of matter, and a scarcity of words, for whoever is master of language and has a mind full of ideas, will be apt in speaking to hesitate upon the choice of both; whereas common speakers have only one set of ideas, and one set of words to clothe them in; and these are always ready at the mouth; so people come faster our of a church when it is almost empty, then when a crowd is at the door.


As the infant begins to discriminate between the objects around, it soon discovers one countenance that ever smiles upon it with peculiar benignity. When it wakes from its sleep, there is one watchful form ever bent over its cradle. If startled by some unhappy dream, a guardian angel seems ever ready to soothe its fears. If cold, that ministering spirit brings it warmth; if hungry, she feeds it; if in pain, she relieves it; if happy, she caresses it. In joy or sorrow, in wed or woe, she is the first object of its thoughts. Her presence is its heaven. The mother is the deity of infancy.

The greater the difficulty, the more glory is there surrounding it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

He who troubles himself more than he needs, grieves also more than is necessary, for the same weakness which makes him anticipate his misery, makes him enlarge it too.

Words are little things, but they strike hard. We wield them so easily that we are apt to forget their hidden power. Fitly spoken, they fall like the sunshine, the dew, and drizzling rain – but when unfitly, like the frost, the hail, and the desolate tempest.

A SIMILE may be bright while the heart is sad: the rainbow is beautiful in the air while beneath is the moaning of the sea.

The heart of women is her destiny, for it is rarely that it is not her guide; but it is a guide that should be enlightened by reason.

It must be the change of the mind, not of the climate or place, that will remove the heaviness of the heart. Our vices go with us, and the cause of our disquiet is in ourselves; changing of countries in this case is not travelling, but wandering. He that cannot live happily anywhere will live happily nowhere. What are you the better for travelling, as if your cares could not find you. Wherever you go? There is no retiring from the fear of death, or those difficulties which beset a man, wherever he is.