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complaints, which, under the care of garrulous old nurses and others, have been handed down from generation to generation, and frequently employed; but which are neither recognised nor recommended by the faculty. An instance in point is afforded by a means of dressing wounds which has been successfully practised by Dr Neuberg. Two years ago, a labourer presented himself who had sustained, some days previously, a compound fracture of both bones of the forearm. A comrade at the time of the accident had surrounded the limb with a thick paste of peat-mould. Dr Neuberg, on examining the wound, found that it was healing beautifully and without suppuration. The limb was then better fixed, redressed, and the man made a good recovery. The doctor was then led to investigate the properties of this peat-mould, which doubtless had had so much to do with the patient's rapid recovery. He found it to be, as is well known of it in peaty districts, a powerful antiseptic, and to take up nine times its own weight of water. Its soft nature allows it to be placed in bags in required positions on the body, and it has the further advantage of being cheap. This peat-mould, the virtues of which have thus been transmitted to us by a labouring-man, is likely to prove a most useful agent in dressing
At the Paris Academy lately, some curious and interesting notes relative to sulphur-fumes as a preventive of malaria were read by M. d'Abbadie. He stated that some elephant-hunters from plateaux with comparatively cool climate can go into the hottest and most deleterious Ethiopian regions without being attacked by fever, and that they attribute their safety to the daily practice of fumigating their naked bodies with sulphur. He also quoted cases where sulphur-mines were free from disease, whilst the inhabitants of villages near at hand. were constantly attacked by fever. It has always appeared to us that sulphur as a curative agent has been too much neglected in our own country.
The approach of the burglar season has been as usual ushered in by many suggestions for the protection of nervous householders. Among recent contrivances for confounding the schemes of housebreakers, a lamp has been invented which acts as a kind of danger-signal to the police. It is connected with a battery and wires to any doors or windows which need protection, and so long as such apertures are shut, the lamp burns with a white light; but directly an attempt is made to force an entrance, a red-glass disc falls before the lamp, and tells the passing policeman that there is something wrong. Our own opinion is that a good loud-tongued electric bell would be far more serviceable. A burglar who found that by his act of forcing a window he had set up an alarm which would wake the entire household, would most certainly make good his retreat without delay. The old-fashioned plan of fixing a common bell into the shutter-bar is by no means to be despised.
At the Sanitary Exhibition at Newcastle, the Richardson gold medal for an exhibit of preeminent merit' has been awarded to Siemens's regenerative gas-burner. This burner, by complete combustion, is said to save fifty per cent.
of gas, while at the same time it does not vitiate the air of the place in which it is used. At the same Exhibition, some very successful smokeconsuming stoves were shown, which have been adopted in some lead-works at Newcastle, solely for the good of the town; for where manufacturers only pay about three shillings per ton for their fuel, there is little need to employ such contriv ances solely on the score of economy.
It is a curious slur on our boasted civilisation in this nineteenth century, that old and well-worn superstitions should crop up from time to time, and should receive a vast amount of credence from persons whose minds are not supposed to be unhinged. Ghosts, spiritual manifestations of the Brothers Davenport type, second-sight, and even witchcraft, occasionally show a vitality which is extraordinary. The divining-rod is the last exhumation of this character. Legendary lore as to the efficacy of a twig, balanced between the fingers of certain gifted persons, is common to the traditions of every country. The twig, or divining-rod, is supposed to point out by its movements the exact place of buried treasure, the place to bore for water, the occurrence of mineral lodes, and it will also help in pointing out the whereabouts of a murderer or other felon! A certain Madame Caillavah is said to have this gift of working the twig,' as it is vulgarly called; and it is reported that under the auspices of the French government, she is about to try her powers above the pavement of St Denis, in search of buried treasure. If the report be true-and we must assume that it is so from an article in the Times, and the curious correspondence which it has called forth-we can only say that the enterprise is not altogether creditable, and we may probably look for an ending to it which will be quite as disastrous if not so ainusing as that which happened to Dousterswivel in the Antiquary.
The island of Cyprus has the unenviable possession of a description of locust found nowhere else. Its vast numbers raise it to the position of a plague, which, like that of old Egypt, would eat up every green thing in the land, if measures were not taken for its destruction. The government reward of what would be in our currency one halfpenny a pound for locust-eggs, which was trebled as the eggs became scarcer, resulted in the collection of nearly fourteen hundred tons in seven months. The payment of these rewards, together with the expense of constructing traps and screens to intercept the insect army, cost altogether more than one-fifth the total revenue of the island.
Some months ago, we referred to a new method of blasting coal by the heat and expansion caused by wetting cartridges of compressed lime. The system was then merely in its experimental stage; but having now been tried with the greatest success in various collieries all over the country, it may be looked upon as an accepted improvement in coal-working. Its first and most obvious advantage is its absence of flame; but other benefits accrue from its adoption. While the usual mode of blasting with gunpowder or dynamite breaks up the coal into small pieces, the gradual action of the new agent pulls it down in huge blocks. Large coal is, roughly speaking, nearly double the value of small. It is better for the consumer, for the carrier, and particularly for the miner, for
he is paid in many places according to the quan- The poor shag had no avenger, and there the tity of large coal which he gets. Ten thousand matter seemed to terminate. But one night tons of gunpowder and dynamite are consumed shortly after, a thunder-storm came on from the annually in the British collieries. We can now direction of the sea in front of the cliff. The rain look forward to the time when those dangerous was heavy, and the thunder loud; and next agents will be replaced by the mountain lime-morning the corbies' nest with their family stone, which can be had in plenty all over the had been washed away. I saw the bereaved country. parents sitting on the top of the cliff, each a picture of desolation, especially the motherbird.
We have lately seen models of the Hallidic Cable Tramway system, by which hilly streets can be mounted as easily as level roads. Highgate Hill, at the foot of which the existing tramways come to a discreet stop, is the first London road upon which the tramway is to be tried; but it has already won favourable opinions and large dividends in San Francisco and Chicago. A travelling wire-rope one inch in diameter, worked by a stationary engine, moves in a groove beneath the roadway. Projecting below the tramcar is a clutch, which, by turning a handle, grips the moving rope, and the car is tugged up hill by the distant engine. The system is worthy of attention, if only for the sake of the poor horses which are urged to drag up hill, burdens that are almost beyond their strength on level ground.
In a cliff not half a mile from my early northern home, a pair of ravens every summer built their nest. They had been there no one knew how long. The nest was about midway between the top of the cliff and the sea at its base, being placed within a small cave on the face of the precipice, where it was safe from all invaders. The young ones were insatiable; and as their parents liked to see them well fed, it occasionally happened that a hen or duck might be found amissing from the farmyard.
In the same cliff, but nearer the water, and just over the mouth of a cave, a cormorant or shag, as we call the bird-built her nest on an open shelf, so that we could see the eggs from the top of the cliff. The male raven had seen them too, and resolved to transfer the eggs to his nest. But this did not prove to be so easy as it had looked; for the shag, with her long neck and hooked bill, defended her property to the last. The raven did not like to come to close-quarters with her, but sought to gain the eggs by art and perseverance. He would alight on one end of the shelf, and sidle up to the shag as near as he dared, picking at the outside material of her nest, and thus provoking her to make a dive at him, so as to draw her off the eggs. That gained, he would spring to the other side of the nest to seize an egg. But the shag would wheel round and meet him with open mouth, sometimes ruffling a feather out of him. This went on now and then for several days, till one day the shag got a firm hold of him, and both tumbled over plump into the sea. Unfortunately, the shag lost her hold as they fell into the water, or perhaps she had to let go; and the raven getting on her back, was soon on the wing. The shag by-and-by got up also; but ere she could reach her nest, the raven, drenched as he was, had removed the eggs, not to his nest, but to a short distance, from which he could carry them away at his leisure.
After a day or two, we began to hear of sheep being destroyed by some strange agency, and then we were told that it was the work of the 'corbies.' This did not seem credible; but more than one person could testify to having seen the birds at the work. One morning, a choice sheep of mine was found destroyed; and I started at once with a gun to shoot the destroyers. But they knew what the weapon meant; and for eight days, early and late, my efforts were unavailing. At last I killed a raven, though whether one of the destructive birds I could not be certain; but from that day, the sheep were safe, and the birds never again seen.
During nine days, these two ravens killed no fewer than thirty strong full-grown sheep. Their mode of action was discovered to be as follows: The mother-bird would fly on to the sheep's face, fixing her claws below the eyes, and seizing the top of the head with her bill, would flap with her near, would, when the sheep was so fixed, get on wings and scream frightfully. Her mate, ever her back and dig a hole through to the kidneys. The sheep, distracted and blinded, would sometimes run over the cliff, sometimes into a ditch, and sometimes fall down exhausted. In no case were the ravens known to leave their victim until life was extinct, snapping the windpipe to that end, when other means failed; and in no case were they known to feed on the sheep's carcase. The loss of their young ones seemed to have excited them to madness, and the sheep seemed to be the only living thing on which they could vent their rage. Had demoniacal possession been a present-day affliction, I should have regarded these ravens as a case in point.
WE have received, says The Boot and Shoe Trades Journal, so many requests for enlightenment on this class of goods, that we believe the following result of independent investigation into the matter will be welcomed by most of our readers. It may perhaps cause surprise to some to learn that there is not, and never has been, such a thing as a real porpoise lace; that is to say, a lace cut from the animal so well known on our coasts as the porpoise. The skin of this creature has been found to be perfectly useless when tanned and dressed; but notwithstanding this, the name has obtained universal currency into the English market. It is from the skin ever since these goods were first introduced of the Beluga, or white whale, caught in the northern seas, that what are commercially
known as genuine porpoise laces are cut, and,
so far as we know, they cannot, when properly Professor Asaph Hall, of the Washington Obserprepared, be surpassed for wear and strength, vatory, paid special attention to the search for The imitations are, however, so various, and Martian moons. At last, on August 16, 1877, manufactured so closely to resemble the 'real' he detected, close by the planet, a faint point of article, that they may well deceive every one light, which he was unable to examine further but an expert in the trade. The majority of at the time-to see if it behaved as a satellite, these imitations are, we are told, made from or as one of the fixed stars. But on the 18th he calf-skin-both English and French, although saw it again, and determined its nature. He also some, especially the cheaper kinds, are cut from saw another still fainter point of light closer to buffalo hide, kips, &c. the planet; and subsequent observations showed that this object also was a satellite. During the next few weeks, both the moons were observed as closely as possible, in fact, whenever weather permitted; and the result is, that we now know the true nature of their paths. The distance of the outer satellite from Mars' centre is about fourteen thousand three hundred miles; from Mars' surface, about twelve thousand miles. The inner travels at a distance of about five thousand seven hundred and fifty miles from the centre, and about three thousand four hundred and fifty miles from the surface of Mars.'
In order to get a good imitation of the smooth surface of the porpoise, the grain of the calf-skin is carefully removed, or split, during the process of dressing, after which a finish of black with a good surface completes the process, when they are ready to be cut up for 'real' porpoise laces. In order, however, that these deceptions may be detected, our contemporary gives various tests, by observing which the purchaser need not be led astray. The chief of these tests are (1) The genuine article (Beluga laces) is smooth on both sides; while the imitation is rather rough on the flesh side. By taking a lace between the finger and thumb of each hand, about one inch apart, and 'wrinkling' up the grain side, the grain of the calf or other skin will readily be seen, if the lace is an imitation. (2) The substance of a real lace is usually even from end to end; while the imitations are often lumpy or uneven, and one end is nearly always thicker than the other. (3) The real lace is always cut narrow, so as to reduce the cost; while the imitations are generally cut wide, so as to obtain strength. A wide porpoise' lace must always, therefore, be regarded with suspicion. (4) There is usually a difficulty in obtaining the imitation laces in the longest lengths, say fiftyfour or sixty inches, because the parts of a calfskin which may be used for this purpose do not usually run that length. (5) One other infallible test is, that the real lace is much more elastic than the imitation.
On the whole, it is suggested as a safer plan to purchase the laces in the 'russet,' as in that state the chances of deception are reduced to a minimum, very ordinary judgment sufficing to distinguish the real from the imitation before they have had the 'blacking' process applied to them.
THE MOONS OF MARS-A STRIKING COINCIDENCE.
The following likeness between scientific results as stated by a practical astronomer, and a happy guess as thrown out long before by a satirical author, may be regarded as a matter of more than merely literary curiosity. In the work of Mr Proctor, entitled, Flowers of the Sky, there occurs the following passage with respect to the planet Mars and its moons: Astronomers have long examined the neighbourhood of Mars with very powerful telescopes in the hope of discovering Martian moons. But the hope had so thoroughly been abandoned for many years, that the planet had come to be known as "moonless Mars." The construction, however, of a fine telescope which has been mounted at Washington, with an objectglass twenty-six inches in diameter, caused at feast American astronomers to hope that after all a Martian moon or two might be discovered. Taking advantage of the exceptionally favourable opportunity presented during the planet's close approach to our earth in the autumn of 1877,
Now read another extract from a book, namely, Dean Swift's Voyage to Laputa in Gulliver's Travels, published a century and a half before this discovery was made, and the similarity between the number of the satellites and their distance in the satirical and the scientific treatises is certainly very striking. They [the Lilliputians] have likewise,' says Swift, discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the centre of the primary planet exactly three of his diameters, and the outermost five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half; so that the squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the cubes of their distance from the centre of Mars; which evidently shows them to be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.'
THE DIRGE OF THE LEAVES.
DEAD or dying,
Our funeral song the winds are sighing!
The rain-sodden earth is our chilly bed!
And we flutter to earth and rot into mould,
Through paths new and strange,
And ceaselessly gives
The life-breath of being to that which was dead,
J. H. M.
Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, 47 Paternoster Row, LONDON, and 339 High Street, EDINBURGH
All Rights Reserved.
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.
No. 988.-VOL. XIX.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1882.
IN St Martin's, term always ends on a Saturday. A few men may get permission to 'go down' on Friday evening; but it is on Saturday that the college is properly said to go down.' There is no public gathering of the tutors and students. Each student goes privately to his tutors and to the Dean; makes with them arrangements about the 'reading' to be done in the vacation; says good-bye; and goes off when and how he likes, provided he go on that day. Unless he have particular permission, he cannot remain in college or in Oxford even for one night. His name has been taken off the kitchen list; and after that, he can neither have anything from the kitchen or buttery, nor can he dine in 'hall.' He says good-bye to his friends; pays his 'scouts ;' tips the porters, the messenger, and the boot-cleaner; and goes off in a cab with sensations of his own.
Usually about a dozen men, each by special permission given, remain up' in college till Monday. But it is vacation. There are no chapels. The college bells do not ring. In term, there is an early bell at seven o'clock, another at half-past seven, and the chapel bell at eight. These are henceforth silent till term begin again. After Monday, two or three men may still linger in college, each with his own reason for being there; and they disappear one knows not when.
At the end of the October and summer terms there are schools,' that is, university examinations. Men in for schools,' of course remain in residence so long as they need. Sometimes one solitary man is thus left, with the college all to himself. But that is not often the case. At the end of the Lent term, there are none but private college examinations; and these are held in the last week of term.
The great university examinations come in the summer term. Men who are in' for any of these, sometimes think it better to remain in
residence during the whole of the Easter vacation, to read in unbroken quiet; and for this, permission is readily given by the tutors. Such was my own case.
About a dozen men dined in 'hall' on Sunday; on Monday, about half-a-dozen. On Tuesday, we received a message from the cook that dinner would be laid that evening and throughout the vacation at seven o'clock, as usual-in the lower lecture-room in the Fellows' 'quad.' When we came there, we found ourselves to be four only-all staying up to read. I had not made the acquaintance of any one of the other three before this; they were all 'senior' to myself. But thrown together in this way, we had at once a necessary supposed acquaintance. We four undergraduates, we and the college porter at the lodge, had St Martin's all to ourselves. Kaimes of Aberdeen was the most 'senior' man; he lived in the New Buildings. Graves and Cole both lived in the front quadrangle. I lived in the back quadrangle, where the library is, and under the library at the foot of the chapel tower. If any of the 'dons' were in residence that vacation, I know not; I saw no sight of one.
The quiet of the place became profound. All day long no foot broke the silence except at breakfast and lunch times, when the 'scout' came in, and was gone again. In the city, like change had come. During the first few days, an unmistakable cab might be seen taking some loiterer with his luggage away to the railway station. the High was deserted. It was a new sensation. In the morning, no bells rang from chapel towers. The city clocks were like police in the deserted days, and were heard now over half the town. I awoke each morning with feelings such as a schoolboy has when he awakes at home on the first mornings of the holidays. The accustomed sounds were absent. It was not as if you were at home in the country, but as if you were in the solitude of a lonely moated grange in the silent mediæval time.
The weather of that spring-time was very pleasant. The days were bright; or they were
clouded only with an even unmoving fleece of
The sunlight came in through the window with the footworn sill, and lit up with a morning light the breakfast-table, always laid when I chose to come to it. But it came not so welcome there; for in his room at breakfast, the coffee-drinking student cared more for the brightness of firelight and an artificial cheerfulness. I sat down to my coffee always with a relish for it; and in St Martin's kitchen they know, or at least knew at that time how to make good coffee. We were the lotus-eaters of the cloister. We seemed to be giving
Our minds and spirits wholly
At breakfast-time, the college porter came in with the letters, if there were any-though that was not often. He was respectful, monosyllabic. As he came and went on the flags, under the long arched corridors, his steps echoed remotely; and this echoing made the corridors seem longer than they actually were. When he went back, one could not but follow his echoing steps till they died away behind the chapel. When I was breakfasting leisurely, as was usual with me, one sunny morning, I heard steps, and thought it to be the porter's. It proved to be Kaimes, coming through the other corridor at the other end of the library. He came in. He was smoking. With the slight apology that one as briefly waves down, he continued to smoke, and lay down on my sofa. With one leg high in air, and over the knee of the other, he gazed at the ceiling through the little blue smoke-wreath.
'It's a strange place this-in vacation,' he began, after smoking a while in silence.
I assented. 'Do you know,' said he, 'I begin to find it awfully hard to get any reading done.' 'I quite believe you,' was my response. He was gazing dreamily at the ceiling; and after a time, said in soliloquy: Very strange!' So he smoked on, and finished his pipe; and went out and across the quadrangle to his own rooms. Half an hour afterwards I saw him cross my quadrangle in his boating flannels. He called out to me that he was going down the river to Abingdon to-day; he couldn't read.
Each morning I took down my books and read as became me. There was nothing to disturb me.
And so the morning passed away. Robert, my scout, came in at one o'clock with my lunch. I put away my books; the morning was over.
In college, the men always have breakfast and lunch in their own rooms. They all dine together in the evening. After lunch, I obeyed my mood. To obey my mood was oftenest to obey my habit, and go off to the upper river. The upper river' is that part of the Isis above the city. From St Martin's to the barges on the upper river is a walk of two miles. One hires a boat at the barges. From the barges to Godstow is a row of two miles up the river. On the eastern side is the wide level Port Meadow; on the western side, moist fields shaded by elms, and here and there by the water-courses, by pollard willows; and beyond, the wooded hills of Wytham in Berk shire.
The meadows and banks were already green again; and the trees had a powdering of new foliage. The cuckoo had come. The water had lost its harsh winter colour, and had again the light and gleam of the coming summer.
Godstow Inn, the landing-place of all who ply on the Isis, was deserted. I had the place all my own. I loitered about the landing-place; turned into the idle inn, and tasted the ale in melancholy silence. I wandered across the meadows to Wytham Mill; leaned there on the footbridge day after day, or went round by Wytham village. There were nightingales in the woods of Wytham Hall; but I heard none. The cuckoo I heard always. There was no ill omen for me; for I sought no success in love, and could have no failure. And so, breathing the air of that oldworld place, I came back by Godstow Priory, from which the life and glory had departed three centuries gone. I untied my boat, and floated down the river homewards. The west was red; the trees were motionless on the banks; and in the underworld as reflected in the stream the trees also were motionless and the clouds red.
They were indeed halcyon days; not joyousand yet there was joy; not popular, as the days that come after in the golden summer term; heavenly, for they had for me intimations of a world on the borders of which I became more conscious of living. How quietly alone did I walk home over the smooth meadow to the town. On the meadow, the town boys were already, with insufficient last year's bats, playing irregular cricket. To-day was as yesterday; and to-morrow will become as to-day. Those yesterdays and todays are all over long ago.
We dined at seven o'clock, in a lecture-room in the dons' quadrangle. Kaimes being the senior man, had an arm-chair at the head of the table.