The Roman tessellated pavement in Jewry Wall Street, Leicester, discovered in the year 1832, is well known to archaeologists; it has also been known as difficult of access, and hardly to be seen in a dark cellar, and, in fact, it has not been seen or visited, except by very few persons. Some time ago the Town Council resolved to purchase the house and premises, with the object of preserving the pavement in situ, and of giving additional light and better access to it, and, this purchase having been completed in the beginning of the present year, the work of improvement began. It was now seen that the pavement was continuous under the premises of the adjoining house, and under the public street, and arrangements were at once made to uncover and annex these adjoining parts, so as to permit the whole to be seen at one view. The pavement thus uncovered forms a floor which, if complete, would measure 23 feet square; it lacks a part on the west side, and also the entire south border is missing. It is a marvel of constructive skill, of variety and beauty in form and color, and not the least part of the marvel arises from the almost beggarly elements out of which the designer has produced his truly harmonious effects.
No squared, artificially colored, or glazed tesserae, such as we see in a modern floor, are used, but little pieces, irregularly but purposely formed of brick and stone. There are three shades of brick - a bright red, a dull or Indian red, and a shade between the two; slate from a neighboring quarry gives a dark bluish gray; an oolite supplies the warmer buff; and a fine white composition resembling limestone is used for the center points and borders. In addition, the outside border is formed with tesserae of rather larger size of a sage green limestone. Speaking generally, the design is formed by nine octagon figures, three by three, surrounded and divided by a guilloche cable band; the interspaces of the octagons are filled by four smaller square patterns, and the outer octagon spaces by 12 triangles. Outside these is a border formed by a cable band, by a second band of alternate heart-shaped, pear-shaped, and bell-shaped flowers, and by alternate white and gray bands; and outside all is the limestone border already described. This border is constructed with tesserae about five-eighths of an inch square. The remaining tesserae vary from one half to one-quarter inch of irregular rhomboidal form. The construction of the pavement is remarkable.
There is a foundation of strong concrete below; over it is a bed of pounded brick and lime three to four inches thick, and upon this a layer of fine white cement, in which the tesserae are laid with their roughest side downward. Liquid cement appears to have been poured over the floor, filling up the interstices, after which the surface would be rubbed down and polished.
As to the probable date and occupation of the floor, it may be observed that the site of this pavement was near the center of the western Roman town. It is near the Jewry Wall, that is, near the military station and fortress. It was obviously the principal house in the place, and as clearly, therefore, the residence of the Praefectus, the local representative of the imperial power of Rome. The Roman occupation of the district began with the propraetorship of Ostorius Scapula, A.D. 50. He was succeeded in 59 by Suetonius Paulinus, who passed through Leicester from the Isle of Anglesea when the insurrection under Boadicea broke out. In the service of Suetonius was Julius Agricola, who was elected consul and governor of Britain about the year 70. He is commonly described as a wise and good governor, who introduced the arts of civilized life, taught the natives to build, and encouraged education. He left Britain about the year 85, and from that time to the decline of the Roman power is but about 300 years.
We shall not be far from the truth, therefore, if we assign this work to the time or even to the personal influence of Agricola, 1,800 years ago. - London Times.
Some time ago we published the fact that the Empress of Germany had offered a prize of $1,000 and the decoration of the Order of the Red Cross to the successful inventor of the best portable field hospital. Wm. M. Ducker, of No. 42 Fulton St., Brooklyn, sent in a design for competition. A few days ago Mr. Ducker received notice that his invention had won the prize. Another instance of the recognition of American genius abroad.