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Umbrellas and their History by William Sangster

Umbrellas and their History by William Sangster



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Published by: gutenbergproject on Aug 14, 2007
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Project Gutenberg's Umbrellas and their History, by William SangsterCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check thecopyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributingthis or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this ProjectGutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit theheader without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about theeBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights and restrictions inhow the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make adonation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Umbrellas and their HistoryAuthor: William SangsterRelease Date: October, 2004 [EBook #6674][Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on January 12, 2003]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII, with some ISO-8859-1 characters*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK UMBRELLAS AND THEIR HISTORY ***Avinash Kothare, Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team.This file was produced from images generously made available by the CWRUPreservation Department Digital LibraryUMBRELLAS AND THEIR HISTORYBYWILLIAM SANGSTER.
"Munimen ad imbres."CONTENTS.CHAPTER I.INTRODUCTORYCHAPTER II.THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE UMBRELLACHAPTER III.THE UMBRELLA IN ENGLANDCHAPTER IV.THE STORY OF THE PARACHUTECHAPTER V.UMBRELLA STORIESCHAPTER VI.THE REGENERATION OF THE UMBRELLACHAPTER I.INTRODUCTORY.Can it be possibly believed, by the present eminently practicalgeneration, that a busy people like the English, whose diversifiedoccupations so continually expose them to the chances and changes ofa proverbially fickle sky, had ever been ignorant of the blessingsbestowed on them by that dearest and truest friend in need and indeed, the UMBRELLA? Can you, gentle reader, for instance, realise toyourself the idea of a man not possessing such a convenience forrainy weather?Why so much unmerited ridicule should be poured upon the head (or
handle) of the devoted Umbrella, it is hard to say. What is therecomic in an Umbrella? Plain, useful, and unpretending, if any ofman's inventions ever deserved sincere regard, the Umbrella is, wemaintain, that invention. Only a few years back those who carriedUmbrellas were held to be legitimate butts. They were old fogies,careful of their health, and so on; but now-a-days we are wiser.Everybody has his Umbrella. It is both cheaper and better made thanof old; who, then, so poor he cannot afford one? To see a man goingout in the rain umbrella-less excites as much mirth as ever did thesight of those who first--wiser than their generation--availedthemselves of this now universal shelter. Yet still a touch of theamusing clings to the "Gamp," as it is sarcastically called. 'Whatsays Douglas Jerrold on the subject? "There are three things that noman but a fool lends, or, having lent, is not in the most helplessstate of mental crassitude if he ever hopes to get back again. Thesethree things, my son, are--BOOKS, UMBRELLAS, and MONEY! I believe acertain fiction of the law assumes a remedy to the borrower; but Iknow of no case in which any man, being sufficiently dastard togibbet his reputation as plaintiff in such a suit, ever fairlysucceeded against the wholesome prejudices of society. Umbrellas maybe 'hedged about' by cobweb statutes; I will not swear it is not so;there may exist laws that make such things property; but sure I amthat the hissing contempt, the loud-mouthed indignation of allcivilised society, 'would sibilate and roar at the bloodless poltroonwho should engage law on his side to obtain for him the restitutionof a--lent Umbrella!"Strange to say, it is a fact, melancholy enough, but for all thattoo true, that our forefathers, scarce seventy years agone, meeklyendured the pelting of the pitiless storm without that protectionvouchsafed to their descendants by a kind fate and talentedinventors. The fact is, the Umbrella forms one of the numerousconveniences of life which seem indispensable to the presentgeneration, because just so long a time has passed since theirintroduction, that the contrivances which, in some certain degree,previously supplied their place, have passed into oblivion.We feel the convenience we possess, without being always aware ofthe gradations which intervened between it and the completeinconvenience of being continually unsheltered from the rain, withoutany kind friend from whom to seek the protection so ardently desired.Fortunately a very simple process will enable the reader to realisethe fact in its full extent; he need only walk about in a peltingshower for some hours without an Umbrella, or when the weight of acloak would be insupportable, and at the same time remember thatseventy years ago a luxury he can now purchase in almost every street,was within the reach of but very few, while omnibuses and cabs wereunknown.But, apart from considerations of comfort, we may safely claim verymuch higher qualities as appertaining to the Umbrella. We may evenreckon it among the causes that have contributed to lengthen theaverage of human life, and hold it a most effective agent in thegreat increase which took place in the population of England betweenthe years 1750 and 1850 as compared with the previous century. TheRegistrar-General, in his census-report, forgot to mention this fact,but there appears to us not the slightest doubt that the introduction

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