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GERALDINE ENDSOR JEWSBURY (1812-188o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 411 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GERALDINE ENDSOR JEWSBURY (1812-188o), English writer, daughter of Thomas Jewsbury, a Manchester merchant, was born in 1812 at Measham, Derbyshire. Her first novel, Zoe: the History of Two Lives, was published in 1845, and was followed by The Half Sisters (1848), Marian Withers (1851), Constance Herbert (1855), The Sorrows of Gentility (1856), Right or Wrong (18J9). In 185o she was invited by Charles. Dickens to write for Household Words; for many years she was a frequent contributor to the Athenaeum and other journals and magazines. It is, however, mainly on account of her friendship with Thomas Carlyle and his wife that her name is remembered. Carlyle described her, after their first meeting in 1841, as " one of the most interesting young women I have seen for years; clear delicate sense and courage looking out of her small sylph-like figure." From this time till Mrs Carlyle's death in 1866, Geraldine Jews-bury was the most intimate of her friends. The selections from Geraldine Jewsbury's letters to Jane Welsh Carlyle (1892, ed. Mrs Alexander Ireland) prove how confidential were the relations between the two women for a quarter of a century. In 1854 Miss Jewsbury removed from Manchester to London to be near her friend. To her Carlyle turned for sympathy when his wife died; and at his request she wrote down some " biographical anecdotes " of Mrs Carlyle's childhood and early married life. Carlyle's comment was that " few or none of these narratives are correct in details, but there is a certain mythical truth in all or most of them;" and he added, " the Geraldine accounts of her (Mrs Carlyle's) childhood are substantially correct." He accepted them as the groundwork for his own essay on " Jane Welsh Carlyle," with which they were therefore incorporated by Froude when editing Carlyle's Reminiscences. Miss Jewsbury was consulted by Fronde when he was preparing Carlyle's biography, and her recollection of her friend's confidences con-firmed the suspicion that Carlyle had on one occasion used physical violence towards his wife. Miss Jewsbury further informed Froude that the secret of the domestic troubles of the Carlyles lay in the fact that Carlyle had been " one of those persons who ought never to have married," and that Mrs Carlyle had at one time contemplated having her marriage legally an-nulled (see My Relations with Carlyle, by James Anthony Froude, 1903). The endeavour has been made to discredit Miss Jews-bury in relation to this matter, but there seems to be no sufficient ground for doubting that she accurately repeated what she had learnt from Mrs Carlyle's own lips. Miss Jewsbury died in London on the 23rd of September 1880. JEW'S EARS, the popular name of a fungus, known botanically as Hirneola auricula judae, so called from its shape, which somewhat resembles a human ear. It is very thin, flexible, flesh-coloured to dark brown, and one to three inches broad. It is common on branches of elder, which it often kills, and is also found on elm, willow, oak and other trees. It was formerly prescribed as a remedy for dropsy. JEW'S HARP, or JEw's Thump (Fr. guimbarde, O. Fr. trompe, gronde; Ger. Mundharmonica, Maultrommel, Brummeisen; Ital. scaccia-pensieri or spassa-pensiero), a small musical instrument of percussion, known for centuries all over Europe. " Jew's trump " is the older name, and " trump " is still used in parts of Great Britain. Attempts have been made to derive " Jew's " from " jaws " or Fr. jeu, but, though there is no apparent reason for associating the instrument with the Jews, it is certain that " Jew's " is the original form (see the New English Dictionary and C. B. Mount in Notes and Queries (Oct. 23, 1897, p. 322). The instrument consists of a slender tongue of steel riveted at one end to the base of a pear-shaped steel loop;the other end of the tongue, left free and passing out between the two branches of the frame, terminates in a sharp bend at right angles, to enable the player to depress it by an elastic blow and thus set it vibrating while firmly pressing the branches of the frame against his teeth. The vibrations of the steel tongue produce a compound sound composed of a fundamental and its harmonics. By using the cavity of the mouth as a resonator, each harmonic in succession can be isolated and reinforced, giving the instrument the compass shown. The lower harmonics of the series cannot be 4 _i 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 obtained, owing to the limited capacity of the resonating cavity. The black notes on the stave show the scale which may be produced by using two harps, one tuned a fourth above the other. The player on the Jew's harp, in order to isolate the harmonics, frames his mouth as though intending to pronounce the various vowels. At the beginning of the 19th century, when much energy and ingenuity were being expended in all countries upon the invention of new musical instruments, the Maultrofnnlel, re-christened Mundharmonica (the most rational of all its names), attracted attention in Germany. Heinrich Scheibler devised an ingenious holder with a handle, to contain five Jew's harps, all tuned to different notes; by holding one in each hand, a large compass, with duplicate notes, became avail-able; he called this complex Jew's harp Aura' and with it played themes with variations, marches, Scotch reels, &c. Other virtuosi, such as Eulenstein, a native of Wurtemberg, achieved the same result by placing the variously tuned Jew's harps upon the table in front of him, taking them up and setting them down as required. Eulenstein created a sensation in London in 1827 by playing on no fewer than sixteen Jew's harps. In 1828 Sir Charles Wheatstone published an essay on the technique of the instrument in the Quarterly Journal of Science. (K. S.)
End of Article: GERALDINE ENDSOR JEWSBURY (1812-188o)
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