When the May mail left England Professor Pepper was fulfilling a farewell engagement at the London Polytechnic, prior to his departure for a twelve months' tour in Australia. We may therefore expect to see the Professor here before many months have elapsed. The nature of the entertainments which the Professor gives is pretty well known, but he has recently added some now illusions, which are thus described in the Sporting and Dramatic News :-When " the ghost effect " was first produced at the Royal Polytechnic Institution all sightseers were agog to behold the marvellous effects the newspapers recorded, and those of an ingenious turn of mind went again and again to try and solve the pro- blem - including even such physicists as the late Professor Faraday-who at last had to ask for an explanation. Those conversant with the mani- pulative details of the ghost effects will readily see their way to the production of new marvels, but the public at large will be sadly puzzled to know how Professor Pepper can step out of blank space and quietly walk towards his audience. A large room, isolated from the floor with phosphorescent green walls, occupies the centre of the stage of the large theatre; from this descends a flight of carpeted stairs. An apology being made for the Professor not having arrived, Professor Pepper's well-known voice is immediately heard repudiating the idea that he ever kept an audience waiting, and with the announcement, "I am here!" he is visible in the very centre of the room, and immediately walks bodily forward, down the steps towards the foot- lights. This would be impossible according to the arrangement of the old ghost effect - his image could appear and disappear, but his sub- stance could not walk forth. As the reverse of this effect, Banquo's ghost appears seated in the chair at the back of the room, rises, walks for- ward, steps backward, and instantly disappears in the very centre of the chamber; evaporating into space is the only correct expression that could be employed for describing this illusion. First, a basket, suspended by a cord from the ceiling of the mysterious chamber, is filled with oranges, and instantaneously these are converted into pots of Moir's marmalade. When those are removed, a puppy appears as the occupant of the basket. Every care is taken to prove tho sub- stantial character of these objects. Many other startling illusions are promised as the outcrop of this patented apparatus, which is the joint inven- tion of Mr. J. J. Walker, the well-known organ builder, and Professor Pepper. It was well remarked that this new arrangement is admirably adapted for dramatic requirements on the stage. That ingenious mechanician, Mr. Pichler, intro- duces an arrangement by which portraits of well-known public men are traced upon the large screen. This is called the " Portrait Limner." Another illusion, which well deserves attention from the clever manner in which it is carried out, and the accompanying songs are rendered, is " The Zoocephalic Troupe," in which living heads appear attached to miniature marionette bodies with ludicrous effect. Mr, A. Douglas is the inventor and worker of this ingenious arrangement.
The Melbourne Daily Telegraph writes: - For nearly a third of a century the name of Professor Pepper has been associated with popular science, chiefly in connection with the Polytechnic Institution of London, but frequently in the list of new inventors, and not seldom as the champion of valuable practical improvements, such as Bessemer steel, the electric light, modernised means of locomotion, etc. Who amongst us, whose school-days were passed in England anywhere between the years 1845 and 1870, does not remember the Polytechnic, and its wondrous variety of attractions, chief amongst
which stood the facile lecturer and his brilliant experiments? We all remember Douglas Jerrold's joke when he attended the institution at one of the first exhibitions of the musical tele- phone, some thirty years ago. " Well, Pepper," said Jerrold;" your friends, are all mustered," a pun, the precursor of many scores of similar pleasantries dealing with the Professor's name, as he daily grew more and more popular. The dissolving views, now so well understood, but then quite a puzzle to the majority, drew large audiences together for many successive years. So, too, did the lectures on a vast variety of scientific subjects, all couched in straightforward terms, and attended with much to please the eye
as well as the ear. Then came the celebrated Ghost Illusion, which alone netted £12,000 in one year, at the Polytechnic, and has since been utilised in a multitude of forms, all productive of much pecuniary benefit to their exhibitors. But it was not only as a caterer for public amuse- ment that Professor Pepper earned his popu- larity. The amount of solid good effected by his lectures to working-men, his classes for teaching chemistry, physics, French, German, and mathematics, at the lowest possible fees, availed of by thousands of Londoners, is not easily estimated. They gained him the friend- ship and support of the Prince Consort, and added the names of the entire Royal Family to the list of frequenters at the institution. But it was emphatically as the friend of the people - throwing open the doors of the fairy land of science for a shilling per visitor - that Professor Pepper earned his place in the minds of the British public, and achieved for the Polytechnic a world-wide reputation. It was during this period that he published his principal works, including " Cyclopoedic Science" -a feast for the veriest glutton at the well-served table over which the Professor presides. In 1872 Professor Pepper visited America, where he was cordially welcomed by the leading scientific men of that country, and met with a reception little short of an ovation at the hands of the American public. On his return to England he entered upon a fresh series of lectures in London and the pro- vincial cities, all eminently successful, and in February last he accepted an offer to visit Aus- tralia. He is expected to arrive in Melbourne by the Lusitania about the 5th July.