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Full text of "The World of wonders: a record of things wonderful in nature, science, and art .."

UNIVERSITY Of 
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1. Obelisks in the Nile Delta. 3 FnovsTONE Lighthouse. 5. Stalactite Cavern of Adelsberg. 

2. Volcano in the Sandwich Islands. <, Waterspouts at Sea. 6. Middle Fall of Niagara. 

7. l.f>RD Rosse's Telescope. 8. The Crbmlin Viaduct. 



%\9^l, 



THE 



WORLD OF WONDERS; 



A RECORD OF 



Things Wonderful in Nature, Science, and Art. 



' I WOULD ENTREAT THY COMPANY 

To SEE THE Wonders of the World." 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 



CASSELL, FETTER & GALPIN 

LONDON, PARIS &- NEW YORK. 



INDEX. 






A. 

iEolian Lyre, Natural 

Aerial Combats 
Aged and Curious Trees... 103, 
Air Hammer and Steam Ham- 
mer ... 

Alexandrian Library 

Alps, Wonders of the... 
Animalcules ... ... 311, 

Animal Life, WoiNders of : 
Alligators, A Lake of 
Animal poisoning itself by its 
Town Virus .. 

Ant Life, Wonders of 230, 

Ants, White 

Ass, Singular Taste of an ... 

Beetles, Muscular Power in 

Crab, The Cocoa-Nut 

Crabs Afoulting 

Elephants, Sleep of the 

Elephants, White 

Flying Fox 

Forms of Animal Life 

Gorilla, The... 

Horses, Strange 

Magpie, Amusement of a ... 

Mantis 

Marine Vermin 

Marsupials, Pouch of 

Migrations of Insects 

Monkeys, White 

Natural Clothing of Ani- 
mals 

Pheasant, Maternal Instinct 
of a 

Rabbits, Fecundity of 

Raven, Sagacity of a 

Rhinoceros, Two-Homed ... 

Seals, Sense of Hearing in... 

Serpents Changed into Rods 

Solar Eclipse on Animals, 
Influence of 

Spider Silk 



IS4 

62 

150 



91 
III 

257 
335 

142 

282 
241 
129 
27 
■58 
295 
282 

283 
346 
413 
412 

275 
27 
240 
412 
282 
283 

295 
230 

240 

91 
143 
158 

295 
240 
230 

27 
323 



Spider, Taming a .. 

Spiders in Ceylon .. 

Tortoi.se, Gigantic .. 

Trilobite 

White Elephants .. 

Wolf, Tame 

Worm, Wonderful .. 



pag:i 
... 91 

... 274 
,.. 274 
,.. 275 
... 346 
... 28 
•• 323 



Ani.vial Sagacity, Wonders 
OF : — . 
Camel's Revenge ... ... 200 

Cats, Wonderful 46 

Counterfeiting of Death by 

Insects 182 

Dog, An Intelligent ... 46 

riogs 39 

Elephants 211 

Fox, Cunning of a 182 

Horse, Intelligence in the ... 235 
Martin, Instinct of the ... 200 
Newfoundland Dog, A Saga- 
cious 182 

Pointer's Contempt 200 

War Horses 46 

Animals, Extinct : — 

Deer, Great Irish 225 

Dinomis and Epiornis ... 207 

Dinotherium 177 

Ichthyosaurus and Plesio- 
saurus ... ... ... 25c 

Mammoth ... ... ... 23-! 

Antiquarian Curiosities : — 
Arch, Invention of the ... 174 
Bee-keeping, Antiquity of ... 342 
Blind Man's Buff, Origin of 315 
Cannon, Our Ancestors' ... 84 
Chronometer, The First 
Marine ... ... ... j^o 

Draughts and Chess in An- 
cient Egypt 342 

High Pews, Origin of ... 315 
Horse Shoe, Order of the ... 315 
Inheritance, Curious Custom 
relating to 342 

417 



PAGt 

NurseryRhymes, Antiquity of 143 
Ships, Our Ancestors' ... 252 

Stale Loaf, A very 315 

Sirloin Table, The 315 

Sun Dial, Invention of the... 343 
Superstition, Curious An- 
cient 378 

Tobacco into England, Intro- 
duction of 378 

Antipathy and Sympathy ... 47 
A.STRONOMICAL Wonders :— 
Calculation, Curious ... 103 

Comet, Passage of the Earth 

through the Tail of a ...103 
Comets ... ... ... ,.Q 

Gas in the Heavens, Globe of 384 

Stars, Ball of 272 

Stars from Earth, Distance of 211 
Stars, Eccentric Movement 

of Fixed 290 

Sun, Spots on the 323 

Atmosphere, Wonders of :— 
Air Currents, Power of ... 355 

Air, Spectres of the 371 

Aurora Borealis 262 

Brocken, Spectre of the ... 52 

Cold, Severe 355 

Dragons, Fiery 206 

Frost, Effects of 355 

Mirage, The 52 

Rain, Black 87 

Snow in the Ball-room ... 87 

Snow, Red 87 

Suns, Mock ... ... ... 12 

Ulloa's Circle ... ... 12 

Australian Explorers 147 

Avalanches ... ... ,., 270 

B. 

Bank Notes, Manufacture of... 302 

Barbette, The Moncrieff ... 62 

Bayeux Tapestry 284 

Beggars' Square at Canton ... 191 

Beils go 



iv 



INDEX. 



Birds, Wonderful : — 

Butter Bird I7S 

Dodo 79 

Frigate Bird 221 

Penguin 3^9 

Talking Birds 395 

Tribunals of Rooks 250 

Births, Wonderful 6 

Bible, MSS. of 115 

Black Death 5° 

Blunders in Art 250 

Boiling Broth in the Andes ... 228 
Bones, Human and Animal ... 215 

Bore, The 267 

Box Tunnel 298 

Breathing Fire 347 

Brick Buildings Ancient ... 382 
Bricks, and extraordinary Brick 

Buildings 35^ 

Bricks, Egyptian 81 

Buccaneers 74 

Buildings of the Ancient 
World :-- 

Coliseum 132 

Colossus of Rhodes no 

Mausoleum 261 

Nero's Golden House ... 119 
Pharos of Alexandria ... 226 

Pyramids ... ... ... 17 

Statue of Jupiter Olympius 290 

Stonehenge 156 

Temple of Diana of the 

Ephesians 234 

Trajan's Column iSo 

Uriconium ... ... ... 100 

Burial Alive 40J 

c. 

Calculations, Curious : — 
Air, Consumption of, in 
Activity and Repose ... 326 

Journey to the Sun 103 

Labour, Value of ... ... 326 

Money, Interest on... ... 326 

Canning, Elizabeth, Story of ...114 
Cannon, our Ancestors' 84 

Cave, Fingal's... ... , 141 

Caves ;44 

Character, Curiosities of:^ 
Business, A Man of ... 335 

Methodical Man 335 

Perfection of Politeness ... 335 

ChattertoH, Story of 55 

Chevalier d'Eon, Story of .. 23 
Chinese Women, Small Feet of 259 
Cirknitz, Lake of ... ... 90 

Clothing, Fire-proof ... ... 262 

Coffee, Cunosities of 379 

Cold of Canada 396 



PAGE 1 


I 


AGE 


Colorado 


209 


Eel, Electrical 


196 


Colours, Effect of Climate on 


190 


Electricity, Wonders of :- 


- 


Combats, Aerial 


62 


Induction Coil 


295 


Constantinople, Palace of 




The Electro-Magnet... 2 


> 3' 


Waters at 


158 


Electricity a Motive Power 


248 


Construction, Wonders of 


: — 


Electric Telegraph : — 




Alhambra 


87 


Needle Instrument ... 


71 


Caves of Elephanta 


293 


Recording Signals ... 


47 


Colossal Statue of Bavaria... 


367 


Emotion, Effects of : — 




Eddystone Lighthouse 


166 


Death from Joy 


2S0 


Ehrenbreitstein 


126 


Hair Whitened by Grief ... 


280 


Escurial 


149 


Idiotcy produced by Emotion 


135 


Model of the Earth 


274 


Engineering : — 




Pisa, Leaning Tower of ... 


61 


Atlantic Telegraph 


391 


Porcelain Tower of Nankin 


409 


Atmospheric Railway 


343 


St. Mark's at Venice 


309 


Expanding Model of a Man 


130 


Silver Fountain, Gigantic ... 


247 


Great Eastern 


102 


Strasburg, Great Clock at ... 


15 


Hydraulic Press 


183 


Copper 


275 


Mountain Railways 


■36 


Coral Anim.als 


76 


Pneumatic Despatch 


374 


Coral Formations 


145 


Railways, Progress of 


403 


Coronation Stone at Kingston 


196 


Steam-building 


403 


Courage, Wonders of : — 




Tunnel through Mont Cenis 


116 


Endurance of Physical Pain 


210 


Escape, A Wonderful ... 


342 


Extraordinary Coolness under 


Escapes of MSS. 


237 


Fire 


210 


Esquimaux Life, Curiosities of 


375 


Fortitude, A Father's 


210 


Exhalations, Poisonous 


301 


Hartley's Coolness at Gib 








raltar 


90 


F. 




Winkelried at Sempach 


97 


Fahlun, Miner's Corpse at .. 


75 


Crowns 


306 


Fakirs ... 


161 


Crown, Attempt to Steal the 


260 


Fireballs 


68 


Customs, Curious : — 




Fire of London 


330 


Beating the Bounds 


35 


Fire, Power of Resisting 


127 


The Freedom of Alnwick .. 


223 


I'lre Syringe ... 


204 


The Grace Cup 


223 


Fish, Wonderful:— 




Cyclones 


. 299 


Catfish, Double 


96 






Change of Colour in 


242 


D. 




Curious Fishes 


410 


De.id Sea 


• 349 


Flying-Fish 


168 


Delusion, Optical 


II 


Fishing-Frog 


125 


Devoe, Richard, Story of 


• 67 


MoUusca or Musical Fish .. 


156 


Diamond Mill 


. 307 


Pike, Gratitude in ... 


172 


Diamond-Washing in Brazil .. 


. 1S6 


Pilot-Fish 


242 


Diamonds, Stories of : — 




Sea Porcupines 


397 


Koh-i-noor 


. 26 


Shooting-Fish 


242 


Pitt Diamond 


. 2C8 


Sword-Fish ... 


144 


Sancy Diamond 


. 19S 


Tench, Voice of 


172 


Digestion, Wonders of 


• '3 


Travelling Fish 


377 


Dissection of the Bible 


 27 


Whale, Power of the 


96 


Divining Rod 


. 283 


Fleas, Educated 


• 131 


"Domesday Book" 


• 237 


Floating Islands 


. 363 


Dreamland, Wonders of 


 42 


Flying Machines 

Food and Animal Energy 


. 265 


E. 




Connection between 


• 359 


E.arth Eaters ... 


 155 


Fossil, E.arliest... 


• '31 


Earthquakes 


• (5 


Frost, Effects of 


. So 


Echoes 


 322 


Frost, Preservative Properties c 


f 80 


Eggs, Gigantic 


. 2;o 


Frosts, Remarkable ... 


. 22 



INDEX. 



Geological Wonders: — 

Coal 279 

Chalk 219 

Inside of the World... ... 303 

Sand, a Grahi of ... ■•■179 

Terraces ... 282 

Umbrella Stones ... ... 165 

Geysers ... 44 

Glaciers 108 

Glass Making: — 

Bohemian Glass ... ... 30S 

Curiosities of Glass-making 190 
Glass-blowing Extraordinary 142 
Venetian Glass 202 

Goat, Dexterity of a no 



H. 

Heat, Application of 

Heat, Latent ... 

Heat, Power of Enduring ex- 
treme 

Heidelberg, the Great Tun of 
Highwaymen, Curious Stories 

of 

He.ids, Speaking 

Horizontorium... 

Horology, Wonders of 

Horse, Arabian 

Human Body, Wonders of 30, 

Humanity, Wonders of: — 

Cannibalism 

Clarke, John, the Postu:-e 
Maker 

Daniel Lambert 

Dwarfs 

Force of the Muscles 

Giants 

H.aystack, Lady of the 

Human Spiders 

Man with the Iron Mask ... 

Men with Tails 

Queen of the Gipsies 

Restoration of Animal Life 

Skeleton, the Living 

Spotted Doy 

Water, a Man who lived 
Twenty Days on 

Wild Man in London 

I. 
Ice, Leeches in 
Identity discovered by Flash of 

Gunpowder ... 
Imagination, Wonderful Effects 

of 

Impostors: — 

Joanna Southcott 

Impostors, Wonderful 



195 

214 

166 
73 

60 
137 

57 
258 
207 
348 



82 

30 

387 

30 

33 

134 

402 

41 
206 

99 
82 

19 
.•50 



80 



183 



118 



PAGE 

Inscription, Wonderful ... 100 

I.NSECTS: — 

Butterflies ... 337 

Boring Insects ... ... 369 

Destructive Power of Worms 170 

Gadflies 298 

Garden Spider ... ... 146 

Larvoe, Voracity of ... ... 67 

Locusts ... ... ... 263 

Luminous Insects ... ... 7 

Parasites ... ... 367, 407 

Wasps ... ... ... 356' 

Wonders of Insect Life 287,352 
Introduction ... ... ... i 

Invisible Girl 395 



Jugglers, Indian 



324 



Lake Dwellings 


94 


Lake, Pitch, of Trinidad 


113 


Land Slips and Mountain 




Slips 


123 


Lawsuit, A Wonderful 


402 


Leeches attacking Travellers... 


178 


Life, A Wonder of 


28 


Light, Wonders of, 151, 175, 


191, 


201 




Literary Wonders: — 




Book Fish 


7 


Early MSS. of the Bible ... 


115 


Minute Writing 


7 


Value of in Ancient Times... 


H5 


Locks and Keys 


300 



M. 

Mania, Tulip 

Mascaret, the ... 

Massacre of St. Bartholo- 
mew ... 

Mechanism : — 

Automata 50, 59, 222 

Calculating Machine 
Coach, A Fairy 
Expanding Model of a Man 
Jewellery, Wonderful 
Lace Mechanism 
Magneto-Electric Light 
Measuring Machines, Whit- 
worth's ... ... ... 99 

Minute Workmanship ... 163 
Table-clock ... ... ... 50 

Printing ... ... ... 267 

Speaking Machine ... ... 50 

Steam-Engine ... ... 266 

Stereoscope ... ... ... 267 

Thin Sheets of Iron 98 



123 
132 

394 



266 
99 
■3° 
131 
266 
267 



Medical Wonders : — 

Disorder, A Wondrous ... 375 
Italy, Medicine in, Two 

Hundred Years Ago ... 390 
Lost Voice, Remarkable 
Recovery of ... ... 135 

Poison, Wonders of ... 39S 

St. Vitus's Dance ... ... 170 

Microscope, Wonders of : — • 
Microscope, The Most Per- 
fect 78 

Microscopic Results ... 78 

Mind, Wonders of :— 

Ileinecker's Precocity ... 4 

Memory, Wonderful ... 95 

Mezzofanti, Memory of ... 4 

Monetary Wonders ... ... 71 

Muscular Exertion, Feats of... 5 
Musicians, Precocity of :— 

Crotch, William 51 

Mozart 51 

Wesley, Charles ... ... 5'' 

N. 

Napoleon's March to Moscow 186 
Natural History : — • 

Animal Life at great depth in 

the Sea 318 

Ape's Nest 318 

The Aye- Aye 20 

Cockatoo, A Wonderful ... 383 

Crows, Filial Piety of ... 12 

Elephant 60 

Dodo 79 

Fecundity of Life in the Sea 79 

Floating Snail, A Wonderful 318 
Hunter's Collection of Ani- 

m.als ... ... ... II 

Moles, Voracity of 384 

Musical Mice 100 

Power of the Whale ... 96 
Recognition of Voice be- 
tween Ewe and Lamb ... 100 

Spider's Web 186 

Tarantula Spider 227 

Variety of Birds in West 

Africa 383 

Waterton, Story of 318 

Niagara, Stoppage of the Falls 

of 391 

Nile, Rising of 105 

Numbers, Wonderful... 19, 54, 58 

Numeral Figures, Origin of ... 75 

O. 
Ockan, Wonders of : — 

Barnacles ... ... ... 385 

Deep Sea Sounding ... 58 

Frozen Sea, A ... ... 69 



VI 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Ocean, Wonders oY[conlinued): — 

Gulf Stream 370 

Maelstrom ... ... ... 254 

Nautilus 119 

Pearl Fisheries 193 

Portuguese Man-of- War ... 119 

Saltness of the Sea 355 

Sargasso Sea 35 

Sea Cucumbers 304 

Sea Dust ... ... ... 31 

Sea Nettles 49 

Sponge ... ... ... 215 

Opium Eating ... ... ... 313 

Orrery ... ... ... ... 122 



Palissy, the Potter 278 

Panics 378 

Peruvian Mummies 415 

Peter Botte Mountain 169 

Photography, Wonders of S2, 106 

Pictures in Stones ... ... 354 

Pilgrims Bathing in Jordan ... 212 
Poisoning, Curiosities of:- 

Italian Poisoners ... ... 202 

Poisoning with Thumb-nail 230 

Pompeians, the Disinterred ... 179 

Prejudice, a Wonder of ... 2i8 

Pride, a Wonder of ... ... 254 

Prize Vases from Athens ... 411 

Pyramid, the Second ... ... 287 

R. 

Rainfalls, Heavy, and their 

Causes 285 

Relationship, a Wonder of ... 6 

Relics, Wonderful: — 

Earliest known Fossil ... 131 

Harp of Brian Boru... ... 107 

Mummies 360 

The Oldest Human Relic in 

the World 81 

Prices given for ... ... 107 

Rivers, Wonderful ... 347, 380 

Rotation 305 



Salinas of Iviza 259 

Salt Mines of Cracow... ... 332 

Sahara, The ... ... ... 404 

Savage Life, Curiosities 
OF: — 

Amazons of Dahomey ... 386 
Bee Hunting by Natives of 

New South Wales ... 363 

Ceremony among Savages ... 199 
Esquimaux Daring ... ... 386 

Tahitans, Ingenuity of ... 362 
Science, Wonders of: — 

Burning Lenses and Mirrors 366 



D.anger of Chemical Experi- 
ments ... ... ... 398 

Density of Bodies at Different 

Depths 302 

Dew-fall of a Year 398 

Diffusion of Powerful Odours 278 
Divisibilityof a Grainof Gold 331 
Earth's Centre, The ... 331 

Gun-cotton ... ... ... 302 

Human Electricity ... ... 398 

Life-Preserving Apparatus... 398 

Light of the Sun 331 

Magnesium Light ... ... 34G 

Magnetic Mountain... ... 279 

Motion of Waves ... ... 331 

Nitro-glycerine ... ... 347 

Phosphorus first made in 
England ... ... ... 407 

Plymouth Breakwater ... 346 
Prince Rupert's Drops ... 382 
Reflection of Sound ... 347 

Sensitive Flames ... ... 250 

Spectrum Analysis ... ... 231 

Speed of Sound ... ... 346 

Spontaneous Combustion ... 331 
Telescope, Lord Rosse's ... 415 

Velocity of Light 279 

Vibrations of the Air ... 331 

Wonders Revealed by 
Modern Science ... ... 302 

Shipwrecks: — 

" Birkenhead," Loss of ... 86 

" Kent," Loss of 291 

Showers, Wonderful: — 

Fish, Showers of ... 43, 44 
Toads and Ice, Showers of... 243 
Sky, Wonders of the: — 

Afterglow in Egypt 254 

Extraordinary Light ... 254 

Lunar Phenomenon... ... 254 

Table-cloth at the Cape ... 254 
Sleepers, Extraordinary 122, 220 
Snake Charmers ... ... 195 

Snow, Wonders of ... ... 63 

Somnambulism ... ... 139 

Sounding Stones and Speaking 

Heads 137 

Sounds Audible in the Night... 294 
Sound Forms ... ... ... 273 

Sound, Power of ... ... 359 

Speaking Machines ... 50, 334 
Speaking Trumpet ... ... 235 

Wonderful Echoes ... ... 414 

Statistics, Curious: — 

Arithmetic Hooks, Number of 67 
Climate in Siberia ... ... 67 

London Charities ... ... 67 

Picture-dealing, Curio iities of HI 
Railway Mania in 1845 ... HI 



PAGE 

Size of Atlantic Waves ... 67 
Wealth of Tippoo Sultan... 1 1 1 

Steam Power, Curiosities of: — 
Glass Blowing Extraordinary 142 
Steam and Human Body 
Compared... 142 

Superstition, Wonders of: — 
Elixir of Life ... ... 339 

Flying Dutchman ... ... 26 

Philosopher's Stone... ... 78 

Proofs of Guilt in Super- 
stitious Ages ... ... 70 



Temperature, Wonders of ... 227 
Thames, A Whale Caught in... 22 

Thugs 238 

Thunder 319 

Throne of the Shahs of Persia 289 

Tide, A Wonderful 151 

Torture ... 364 

Trade Winds 163 

Trees, Aged and Curious 103, 150 

V. 

Vase, Portland, Story of ... 171 
Vegetation : — 

Banyan Tree ... ... 399 

Barometz, or Tartarian Lamb 269 

Caoutchouc ... ... ... 271 

Castle Trees of South Africa 178 

Coal Forest 316 

Compass Plant 292 

Deadly Plant ... ... 139 

Dioncea ... ... ... 204 

Dragon Tree ... ... 401 

Eve's Apple Tree ... ... 126 

Floating Island on Derwent- 

water 38 

Food of Plants ... ... 393 

Germination of Seed Long 

Buried 38 

Gigantic Trees of California 271 

Green Rose ... ... ... 38 

Hunger Plant ... ... 140 

Hygrometers, Natural ... 292 

Itch-Wood Tree 388 

Ivory Plant ... 281 

Lattice Plant ... ... 329 

Lemon Grass of Ceylon ... 17S 

lAiminous Vegetation 46, 188 

Minute Plants 249 

Mountain Cabbage Tree ... 162 
Oldest Rose Tree in the 

World 127 

Radlesia 159 

Rice Paper Plant 297 



INDEX. 



Seeds of Mushrooms and 

Toadstools 361 

Snake Nut 163 

Tenacity of Vegetable Life... 102 
The Smallest Flowering 

Plant 345 

Thistles of the Pampas ... 39 
Toadstools, Resistless Force 

of Growing ... ... yzS 

Trees, Falling in Primeval 

Forests ... ... ... 39 

Trees struck by Lightning... 271 

Tropical Vegetation ... 92 

Upas Tree 223 



Vegetables, Wonderful 

Weed, a Wonderful 

Welwitschia ... 

Yeast, a Plant 

Vehmgerichte 

Vendetta 



Volcanoes 



W. 



Watch found in a Shark 

Water: — 

Diversity of Colour in 
Expansive Power of 
The Heaviest 



25 
121 

173 

40 

246 

307 



.188, 217, 242, 321 



375 

366 

339 
320 







PAGE 


Waterfalls 




236 


Waterspouts ... 




229 


Wells and Hot Springs 




353 


Wind, Effects of Violent 


... 


240 


Women, Wonderful:— 






Davis, Christiana ... 




9 


Grace Darling 




153 


Maidservant, Heroism 


of a 


30 


The Female Pirates... 




37 


Wood-carving by New 


Zea- 




landers 




212 



Yard-measure 



310 




ILLUSTRATIONS. 



TACB 

AnacTims alsinastrnm ... 121 

Animalcula; 312 

An Ant-hill 241 

Ants, White, and their Dwell- 
ings 129 

Attesi.an Well 353 

Aurora Borealis 185 

Tlie Aye-Aye 21 

B-inyan Tree 400 

Barnacles ... ... ... 385 

Barometz, The 269 

Bayenx Tapestry ... 28)., 285 

Bell, Great, at Moscow ... 89 

Bicycle Velocipede ... ... 305 

Birds' Nests 276, 277 

Boring Insects, Ravages of ... 369 
British Lemnas ... ... 345 

Cannon, Our Ancestors' 84, 85 

Canons of the Colorado ... 209 

Carved Monument in New 
Zeahand ... ... ... 213 

Catfish, Double 96 

Climbing Perch ... ... 377 

Coal Forest ... ... ... 317 

Coliseum, Ruins of the ... 133 

Comets ... ... 340, 341 

Coral Animals ... ... 76, 77 

Dead Sea ... ... ... 349 

Diatoms in the Microscope ... 249 
Dinotherium, Skull of ... 177 

Bionaea... 205 

Dragon Tree of Orotava ... 401 
Drilling Machine used at Mont 
Cenis... ... ... ... 117 

Earth Pillars of Botzeu ... 165 

Effect of Eruption of Vesuvius 

on the Sea 321 

Elephanta, Entrance to Caves 

of 293 

Efuption of Vesuvius ... ... 217 

Escurial, View of . .. ... 149 

Falls of the Zambesi {to face) 236 

Fata Morgana ... ... ... 372 

Female Pirates, The ... ... 37 

Fingal's Cave 141 



Fishing Frog 125 

Floating Raft on the Mississippi 381 

Flying Fish 168 

Flying Machine 265 

Food of Plants 393 

Forest Scene in South America 93 

Frigate Bird, The 221 

Frozen Sea, Scene on... ... 69 

Fungi, Minute 36 r 

Geysers in Iceland ... 44, 45 

Glaciers 108, 109 

Grace Darling 153 

Gymnotus, or Electric.il Eel ... 197 
Hall of the Abencerr.ages ... 88 
Heidelberg, Great Tun of ... 73 
Horizontorium... ... ... 57 

Indian Fakir ... 161 

Indian Jugglers . ... 325, 326 

Ivory Plant ... 281 

Lagoon Island ... ... ... 145 

Lantern-Fly, The Great ... 8 
Lattice Plant ... ... ... 329 

Leaning Tower of Pisa ... 61 

Lisbon after the Earthquake ... 65 
Locks and Keys ... 300, 301 

Mammoth Cavern in Kentucky 245 
Mammoth, Discovery of the ... 233 
Man with the Iron Mask ... 41 
Mausolus, Tomb of ... ... 261 

Migratory Locust ... ... 264 

Mock Suns ... ... ... 13 

Mummy Case ... ... ... 360 

Nilom-ter 105 

Oldest Human Relic ... ... 81 

Oliver Cromwell's Porter ... 33 
Opium Smokers ... ... 313 

Pearl Diving ... ..» ... 193 

Penguins ... 389 

Pepper's Ghost ... ... 201 

Peter Botte Mountain 169 

Pitch Lake of Trinidad ... 113 

Porcelain Tower of Nankin ... 409 
Portrait of the Chevalier d'Eon 24 

Portrait of Old Parr 29 

Portuguese Man-of-War ... 120 



FAGS 

Pyramid, The Great 17 

Rafflesia Arnoldi ... ... 160 

Rice Paper Plant ... ... 297 

Rotifer, The, or Wheel Insect 336 
St. Mark's at Venice ... ... -;o9 

Salt Mines of Wieliezka ... 333 
Sand Storm in the Sahara ... 405 
Sea Cucumber ... ... ... 304 

Sea Nettles ... ... ... 49 

.Sea Porcupines ... ... 397 

.Sempach, Battle of 97 

" She had to F'ight a Duel with 

a Rival " ... ... ... 9 

Shell of the Pearly Nautilus ... 120 
Ships of War (Ancient) ... 253 

.Skeleton of the Dinornis ... 208 
Skeleton of the Great Irish 

Deer ... 225 

.Skeletons of Plesiosaurus and 

Pterodactyl 256 

Spectral Ships ... ... ... 373 

Spectre of the Brocken ... 53 

Sponge 216 

Statues of Memnon 137 

Stonehenge (re.stored)... ... 157 

Strasburg Great Clock 15, 16 

Swallow-tailed Butterfly ... 337 
Sword-fi.sh ... ... ... 144 

Throne of the Shahs of Persia 289 
Topham's Great Feat .. 5 

Torture, Instruments of 364, 365 
Trajan's Pillar ... ... ... 181 

Tree Wasp, Nest of the ... 357 

Tsetse Fly 288 

UUoa's Circle... 12 

Upas Tree, The ... ... 224 

Uriconium, Excavations in ... 101 
Vegetables, Wonderful ... 25 

Volcano in Java ... ... 189 

Walking Le.af-Insect ... ... 413 

Waterspouts at Sea ... ... 229 

Welwitschia mir,abilis ... ... 173 

Wetterhorn, View of the, from 

Rosenlaui 257 

Yeast Plant, The 40 



DIAGRAMS. 



Action of the Geyser ... ... 46 

Atlantic Cable... ... ... 392 

Atmospheric Railway..: ... 344 

Balls of Stars ... ... ... 272 

Britannia Bridge ... ... 328 

Construction of the Pyra- 
mids ... ... ... ... 17 

Echoes ... ... ... ... 414 

Electricity as a Motive Povirer 248 



Electrical Organs of the Gym- 
notus 197 

Electric Telegraph 47, 48, 71, 72 

Frost, Effects of 80 

Globes of Gas 3^4 

Heat, Power of Resisting ... 128 
Hydraulic Pressure, Wonders 

of 183, 184 

Induction Coil 296 



Light, Velocity of 


192 


Light, Wonders of 


176 


The Magnet ... 


3. 4. 31. 32 


Optical illusion 


II 


Snow Crystals... 


64 


Sound Forms ... 


273 



Spectrum Analysis ... ... 232 

Telescope, Lord Rosse's 415. 416 
Waves of Light 152 




INTRODUCTION. 



WONDER AND OBSERVATION. — SOME FEW WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE. 




HE wise man only wonders once in his 
life, but that is always : the fool never. 
The education of the wise man begins 
with wonder, and ends with devout 
admiration ; but the fool " doth not 
^ consider," and shuts his eyes to things 
around him. Strictly speaking, wonder 
is not a vulgar nor a foolish attribute. 
" All wonder," said a dogmatic writer, " is but the 
effect of novelty upon ignorance." Nay, we answer, 
you cannot Ijc ignorant if you would feel the greatest 
effect of wonder. Thus it is that Coleridge, the 
most cncyclopa;dic of men, declares, " In wonder 
all philosophy began, in wonder it ends, and admi- 
ration fills the interspace ; but if the first wonder is 
the offspring of ignorance, the last is the parent of 
adoration." 

It is to e.xcitc this latter kind of wonder, and to 
teach, while informing, the first, that this work is 
written. While relating, so far as our space will 
permit us, all that is most wonderful in history 
and philosophy and the marvels of science, the 
wonders of animal life revealed by the glass of the 
optician or the labours of the chemist, we shall 
intersperse our narrative with relations of Siege and 
Battle, Perils of Sea and Land, of the Dreams and 



Fancies, the Ambition, the Wisdom and the Folly 
of Man, so as to avoid in every possible way the 
charge of dulness ; for the effect of wonder too 
often repeated in the same circle, is to deaden the 
mental energy instead of wisely and freshly ex- 
citing it. Carefully interspersed with that which is 
scientific, in our pages will be found, it is hoped, 
subjects of vivid interest. And truly our scope is 
so wide that it will be hardly possible to fail. 

Let us consider shortly one of the commonest 
wonders about us — SPACE. Gaze up into the skj' 
from off the page you are reading, and try to pierce 
as far as your eye can reach, and then as far as your 
mind can conceive. Our globe — the speck of dust 
on which we stand— is 8,000 miles in diameter, or 
24,000 in circumference ; but with its sun, planets, 
and satellites, and those "less intelligible orbs called 
comets," it occupies space, which, calculated only by 
the uttermost bound of the orbit of Uranus — and we 
know that beyond Uranus there are worlds — is not 
less than three tlwusand six hundred millions of 
miles in diameter. The mind, it has well been said, 
fails to comprehend so vast an area. " Some faint 
idea of this," says an eloquent writer, " can be ob- 
tained from the fact that, if the swiftest racehorse 
ever known had begun to traverse it at full speed at 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



the time of llie birth of Moses, or nearly four thou- 
sand years ago, he would as yet have accompUshed 
only half his journey !'' 

The sun, which so many have worshipped, and 
which is, humanly speaking, the source of Kfc to- 
us all, is another perpetual wonder. Its circum- 
ference is about 2,770,000 miles. Its distance from 
the earth is so great that a railway train moving at 
32 miles per hour would take three millions of hours, 
or three hundred and forty-two years and three 
months, to travel from London to the sun, supposing 
that it could travel incessantly night and day during 
that time. A cannon-ball, moving fifty times faster 
than such a train, would expend seven years in 
reaching it. To make a globe like the sun, it would 
take 1,400,000 glebes like the earth rolled into 
one ! Or, to make these facts simpler, and yet 
more stupendous, the bulk of the sun is five hun- 
dred times greater than the aggregate bulk of all 
the other bodies of the solar system of which 
night only reveals to us a small part— that which 
appears above our hemisphere, and abo\e our parti- 
cular stand-point. The centre of the sun is a dark 
mass covered with a garment of flame. But in this 
luminous matter there are vast rents. We talk of 
spots in the sun ; spots indeed ! the space occupied 
or laid bare by the principal spot is 928,000,000 
square geographical miles. Arago, by a ph)sical 
test, proved that this garment of flame, this lumi- 
nous matter, must be gaseous ; so that the sun 
floats in an ocean of flame, and this is so power- 
ful that the strongest blast furnace yet ignited by 
man, at its highest power, is seven 'times weaker 
than the sun's heat at its surface. If the heat be 
electric, how great is the wonder ! How is this 
electricity maintained, if, according to a later 
theory, the heat is derived from perpetual combus- 
tion of matter flying into the sun as coal is pro- 
jected on a furnace? What millions of tons must 
every year be consumed ! — the heat being dis- 
 persed over space so great that the earth's surface, 
at a distance of 95,000,000 miles, notwithstanding 
the alternation of night, receives in a year sufficient, 
if uniformly diffused, to liquefy a crust of ice 100 
feet in thickness. 

But if we confine ourselves to the wonders of this 
world, and do not soar to the three thousand worlds 
in the sky visible to the naked eye, nor to the fifty 
thousand stars "that passed," says Sir William Hcr- 
schel, " over a field of view two degrees of breadth 
in a single hour," we shall have enough to do, and 
what we are about to endeavour we have, perhaps, 
sufficiently indicated to the reader. In all cases 
we shall give as far as possible the authorities on 
which our statements are based, though for the 
credibility of the facts related we cannot of course 
undertake to be responsible. The purely scientific 
wonders v/ill be treated of by writers of eminence 
in their respective spheres. 



THE WONDERS OF THE MAGNET. 

How true it is that familiarity with the strange and 
marvellous soon reduces it to the level of the un- 
interesting and commonplace ! Only come in con- 
tact every day with a phenomenon which at first 
excited our attention and aroused our wonder, and 
we soon cease to be astonished ; in time the oft- 
repeated experiment, or oft-observed phenomenon, 
does not even attract our attention, and no longer 
causes us to halt in our path to ask Why ? or even 
to satisfy our unquestioning curiosity. 

We all know what a magnet is ; dozens of the 
little red horseshoes hang side by side in the 
window of every scientific shopman. The eye is 
attracted by their bright colouring, but one sees 
at once they are only magnets ; perhaps we 
notice the price, and may think sixpence cheap 
or dear, but there the thought ends. Is it th.it 
magnets are not worth thinking about ? or is it that 
there is nothing after all so very curious or mysteri- 
ous about them — they are well understood, and we 
have possessed ourselves of their whole history and 
relations ? No! one passes on unattracted, because 
we have seen hundreds of magnets, and long 
familiarity with the phenomenon of magnetism has 
caused us to cease wondering. The writer re- 
members once a j-outh, from the depths of the 
country, coming into his laboratory. A magnet was 
lying on the table, he took it up, and touched the 
armature — the bright piece of iron at the end — which 
nioved backwards and forwards as though it were a 
hinge ; and yet, when he was told to use a little 
force, he could pull the armature completely off. 
His astonishment was unbounded ; again and again 
he returned to the magnet, and the magic influence 
under which the armature seemed to come, upon 
approaching the horse-shoe, had for him a greater 
charm than anything else \\hich was shown to him. 
Familiarity h.ad not rendered him incapable of being 
wonder-struck with what is truly a wonderful phe- 
nomenon. 

All attraction is wonderfuL Why should a stone 
fall to the ground when not supported ? The answer 
that the earth attracts it only expresses the fact, 
it by no means explains it ; and to say that it is the 
nature of things to exercise an attractive influence 
upon each other is no further resolution of the 
difticulty. 

We are able to take one step nearer to the answer — 
Why does a magnet attract a nail?— but th.at step 
only shows us a greater wonder, and leaves us more 
mystified than ever. But to produce wonder is the 
object of this paper. 

If a person, with an ordinary horse-shoe magnet, 
tested all substances within his reach, he would find 
the magnet would attract none save iron. Experi- 
ments more delicately conducted have, however, 
shown that there .are four other elements slightly 



THE WONDERS OF THE MAGNET. 



to 



drawn to the magnet, while there are some which 
are repelled ; but the action with all, save iron, is 
so feeble that we may dismiss them from our con- 
sideration. 

Pursuing our investigations with substances of an 
iron nature, we shall find that only one of the iron 
ores which occurs in the earth's crust in any 
quantity is attracted by the magnet. This is very 
singular, because a piece of kidney iron ore is so 
solid and heavy that the inexpe- 
rienced would at once pronounce it 
to be iron, and yet it has not the 
slightest effect on a magnetised 
needle. The one ore thus influenced 
is the best of the iron ores; from it 
is reduced the celebrated Swedish 
iron. It is the lodcstoiie, every mole- 
cule of whicli is composed of three 
ato'.iis of iron and four atoms of 
oxygen. Magnetism seems first 
have been 
observed in 
lodestone 
which was 
found near 
the town of 
Magnesia, 
in Asia 

Minor, and from the name of the town came the 
name of the property the ore possessed. How the 
ore became possessed of its property we shall in 
our next paper learn. 

The experiments, and who performed them, by 
which it was discovered that the peculiarity of the 
lodestone could be imparted to iron, are lost in the 
miits of distant times. But 
long before even this the Chi- 
nese had a knowledge of mag- 
netism ; it is said they have 
had compass needles for 3,000 
years. We have long since 
given up using the lodestone 
for producing magnets, and now 
we can multiply magnets from 
any single magnet ad libitum. 

The process is simple 
enough. Take a knitting- 
needle and pass it over the ends of a magnet, 
being careful to bring the end of the needle upon 
one leg of the magnet first, then slowly slide it to 
the other, and so pass the whole needle over the 
poles or ends of the magnet, and repeat this eight 
or ten times. Or the needle may be laid upon a 
tible, the magnet placed upon it as in Fig. i. The 
magnet must be placed down upon the centre of 
the needle, and slid backwards and forwards quite 
to the end of the needle each time ; and the magnet 
must be removed when at the place where it first 
touched the needle. If instead of a needle a piece 




of iron wire were used, it would be found that a;; 
soon as the magnet were removed the wire would 
lose its magnetism, because soft iron is incapable 
of permanent magnetisation — of steel alone can per- 
manent magnets be made. Now take the needle 
which you have magnetised, and dip it in some 
iron-filings. If you have '' touched " it properly, you 
will find that the filings gather in clusters near the 
ends, seeming to show that the magnetic power is 
concentrated there ; very probably 
the filings will also be found in 
bundles at several intermediate 
points — these places are termed 
"consecutive poles," and prove that 
the needle has been badly " touched.'' 
But what has the needle acquired ? 
Not weight — it weighs precisely the 
same before and after the touching. 
Xo magnetism has left the horse- 
shoe, for, singular to say, it is a 
stronger 
magnet, 
most pro- 
bably, for 
^ having 

magnetised 
the needle. 
Another 
peculiar fact may be easily ascertained. From the 
accumulation of filings at the extremities of the 
needle, it might be supposed that the magnetism 
had concentrated there ; but if now the needle be 
broken into two or three pieces, and each piece 
dipped in the filings, the filings cluster at the 
ends of each piece, just as they did in the whole 
needle, showing that whatever 
magnetism is it is not a fluid, 
like electricity, which can run 
about and accumulate here or 
there. And while we have the 
filings at hand, take a piece of 
cardboard or stiff paper, and 
placing it upon the poles of 
the horse-shoe ; sift the filings 
over it, and by gently tapping 
the paper they will arrange 
themselves as in Fig. 2 ; and 
if the magnet be moved beneath the paper, the 
filings will rise and fall as if an unseen wave 
passed through them ; and a little observation will 
convince you that there are curved lines of magnetic 
action passing from one pole to the other, and the 
filings really follow these curves. 

The magnetic atmosphere which surrounds the 
poles has more powers than iron filings can make 
apparent. Baron von Reichenbach found that there 
is always amongst fifteen or twenty persons one at 
least who can feel a very singular sensation when a 
strong magnet is moved down the back without 




\ 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



touching the clothes. The feeling resembles a cool 
or tepid current of air, and in some instances it was 
accompanied by a pricking and dragging sensation ; 
and not only this, but other persons could see with 
more or less distinctness flames of light or a lumi- 
nous halo round the extremities of the magnet. 

Suspend the needle you have magnetised, and you 
will find that it places itself north and south. But it 
docs not point, as is generally supposed, to the north 
pole of the earth, but if you followed its leading, you 
would at length arrive at a point upon tlie shore of 
Hudson's Bay, many hundred miles from the north 
pole ; and what is utterly inexplicable is the fact 
that this point to which the needle always turns is 
not stationary, but it is constantly moving in a circle 
about the earth's north pole, which it completely cir- 
cumnavigates once in 600 years ' 

There are two of these points — another on the 
eastern coast of Siberia. So, near the south pole 
there arc also two magnetic poles ; not opposite the 
two northern poles, but on the same hemisphere 
with them ! 

When philosophers first sought for an explana- 
tion why t'ae needle always was attracted to the 
north, it was suggested that a large quantity of 
lodestone was to be found in the arctic regions. 
This supposition was the result of observing that 
when the one pole of a magnet was brought near to 
the suspended needle, that it attracted one end and 
repelled the other. A north pole is found to at- 




tract a south pole (Fig. 3), while it will repel a north 
pole. So we say, " Like poles repel, unlike poles 
attract." The Arctic lodestone was supposed to be 
one pole of a mighty magnet, which was, indeed 
the axis of the earth, and the other end of which 
was somewhere in the Antarctic regions, and these 
two poles attracted all the magnets on the surface 
of the earth, and made them all point in one 
direction. But if this were the case all magnetised 
needles would not only turn towards the north, but 
be attracted thither. Now, if a magnetic needle be 
balanced on a piece of cork, and placed in a basin 
of water, it will be found that the needle will turn 
north and south, but will exhibit no inclination to 
leave the centre of the basin and approach that 
side nearest the north ; thus plainly proving that 
whatever force induces the needle to place itself 
north and south, it has not an attractive but liircc- 
tive force. 



'®onb«vs Df Itiiii^, 

Wonderful Memory oi-- Cardinal Mezzo- 
FANTL — Mezzofanti was the son of a carpenter, and 
was intended to be brought up to the same trade. 
A priest, however, saved him from a position, out 
of which he would inevitably have raised himself, 
and had him educated for the priesthood. He 
acquired, before the completion of his university 
career, the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, 
French, German, and Swedish languages. At the 
age of twenty-two, he was made first professor of 
Arabic, and afterwards of the Oriental languages, 
at the university. In 1841, Guido Gorrcs, the great 
German scholar, wrote of Mezzofanti, that he was 
familiar with (ircck, Latin, Italian, French, Ger- 
man, Spanish, I'ortugucse, l-:nglish, Dutch, Danish, 
Swedish, Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Servian, 
Hungarian, Turkish, Irish, Welsh, Wallachian, 
Albanian, Bulgarian, and Illyrian. He also stated 
him to be master of Sanscrit, Persian, Koordish, 
Georgian, Armenian, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, 
Samaritan, the Chaldee, the Sabaic, Chinese, 
Coptic, Ethiopic, Abyssinian, Amharic, and Ango- 
lese languages. Mezzofanti would detect the parti- 
cular county from which an Englishman came — in 
fact, he was acquainted with all varieties of dialect, 
patois, and provincialisms. Cardinal Wiseman 
asserted that to his certain knowledge Mezzofanti 
was once taken by a Portuguese for a fellow-country- 
man, and again was supposed by an Englishman 
to be a native of England. Before his death, which 
happened on the 15th of March, 1849, Cardinal 
Mezzofanti must have been thoroughly acquainted 
with from seventy to eighty languages. 

A Wonder OF Precocity.— Christian Heinecker 
was born at Lubeck on the 6th of February, 1721. 
When only ten months old he could repeat every 
word that was said to him ; at twelve months 
he knew the principal events in the Penta- 
teuch by heart ; at two years he learned the his- 
torical parts of the Old and New Testaments ; in 
his third year he could reply to most questions on 
universal history and geography, and in the same 
year he learned to speak Latin and French ; in his 
fourth year he employed himself in the study of 
religion and the history of the church, and he was 
able not only to repeat what he had read, but also  
to reason upon it, and express his own judgment. 
The King of Denmark wished to see this wonderful 
child, so he was taken to Copenhagen, there ex- 
amined before the court, and proclaimed to be a 
wonder. On his return home he learned to write, 
but his constitution being w-eak, he shortly after- 
wards fell ill. He died on the 27th of June, 1725. 
There is one account of this child published by M. 
Martini, at Lubeck, in 1730, and another by M. 
de Schoneich, who had been liis tutor, 



FEATS OF MUSCULAR EXERTION. 



FEATS OF MUSCULAR EXERTION. 

Many wonderful stories have been told as to feats 
of bodily strength performed by individuals both in 
ancient and modern days. The legend of Milo, 
the Greek, who felled an ox with his fist, and after- 
wards carried it on his shoulders, has been made 
credible by the execution of similar feats in times 
comparatively re- 
cent; andhisgreat ^^ ;_:,__-,,-, ^-_ 
strength was per- 'f 
haps even sur- |l 
passed by that of 
Francis of Vi- 
vonne, a courtier 
of Francis I., who 
is recorded to have 
caught a charging 
bull by the horns, 
and stopped him. 
More nearly akin, 
however, to the feat 
of Milo was that, 
mentioned by Frois- 
sart, of Ernaulton 
of Spain, in the four- 
teenth century. It 
is related of this 
hero that, one bit- 
terly cold Christ- 
mas-day, he ob- 
served the hall of 
the Count de Foix's 
castle was but in- 
differently warmed, 
and looking down 
into the courtyard, 
he espied some 
asses laden with 
wood which had 
just arrived for the 
service of the house. 
He soon descended 
into the yard, and 
placing one of the 
animals on hisback, 
wood and all, he 
returned up a flight 
of steps with this 




heavy load, and 
donkey and wood upon the fire. 

Of Maurice of Saxony, son of the Elector Au- 
gustus II., it is recorded that his strength of finger 
was so great that he could snap iron horse shoes 
between his fingers like pieces of glass ; and on one 
occasion, finding himself in want of a corkscrew, he 
took a long nail, and with his fingers twisted it 
round into the shape of the implement he required. 

In the last century there lived in England a man 
named Thomas Topham, who was renowned for 



TOniAM's GREAT FEAT. 

threw both 



his muscular power. He could with ease roll up in 
his fingers the pewter platters which were in fashion 
at that time, or strike an iron poker upon his arm 
until he bent it at a right angle. He took a bar of 
iron, and placing it behind his neck, holding the 
two ends in his hands, he brought those ends for- 
ward until they met in front ; then — a feat which 
required still more dexterity— he brought it straight 

again in a similar 
= V -^^ .J " manner. He is 

said to have lifted 
with his teeth, and 
held out for a time, 
a wooden table six 
feet long, and with 
half a hundred- 
weight attached to 
one extremity. 
These perform- 
ances are recorded 
by Dr. Desaguliers, 
a French scientific 
writer, who made it 
his business to in- 
vestigate the sub- 
ject personally, 
while collecting 
materials for one 
of his works. 

Topham's most 
celebrated feat, 
however, was that 
of which we give 
an illustration on 
this page. In 1741, 
being then thirty 
years of age, he 
went to Derby, and 
obtained permis- 
sion of the authori- 
ties to display his 
prowess in pubhc. 
A stage was erected 
for him, and on 
this stage, among 
otherperformances, 
he raised three 
casks filled with 
three being 1,836 



water, the total weight of the 
pounds. The manner in which he accomplished 
this feat is shown in our engraving, and it will be 
observed that in doing it he brought the muscles of 
the neck and shoulders particularly into requisition. 
The muscular strength of his legs had been affect-ed 
by an injury he sustained during an incautious ex- 
periment. He had undertaken to pull against two 
horses from the trunk of a tree, but being unscien- 
tific in his mode of operation, and placing himself 
disadvantagcously, he was defeated, and his knee- 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



pan was fractured. It was the opinion of Desngii- 
liers that, had he gone properly to work, Topham 
might have pulled successfully against four horses 
instead of two. 

The two-horse feat was accomplished in the last 
century by another powerful individual, a German, 
named Van Eckoburg. This man sat down on an 
inclined board, with his feet stretched out against a 
fixed support, and two strong horses were then 
unable to remove him from his position. Standing 
upon a platform, like Topham, he sustained the 
weight of a large cannon round his waist ; and at 
another lime, bending his body in the form of an 
arch, he allowed a large stone of more than a foot 
in thickness to be broken upon his abdomen by the 
blow of a sledge-hammer. 

Such are some of the feats which the human body 
is able to accomplish by muscular exertion. 



WONDERFUI^ BIRTHS. 
We propose to give here a notice of some of the 
most remarkable instances of numerous births 
\\hich from time to time have been chronicled. 
It will appear almost incredible that so many as 
twenty children should have sprung from one 
mother, but among the cases enumerated here 
will be found some very much more remarkable 
in point of number. There is a singular instance 
of numerous births to be found in the English 
Causes Culibrcs, where Colonel James Turner, in 
his defence, speaking of his wife, says, " She sat 
down, being somewhat fat and weary, poor heart ! 
I have had twenty-seven children by her, fifteen 
sons and twelve daughters." Some remarkable 
instances of this have been chronicled at dif- 
ferent times in the Gentleman'' s Magasine. In 
the year 1736 we find a notice of the birth of the 
thirty-fifth child by one husband of a woman in 
Vcrc Street. In 1743 is recorded the death of 
Agnes Milbourne, aged 106, who had been the 
mother of thirty children. In 1738, we are told of 
a " Mr. Thomas Rogers, a change-broker, who had 
by his wife twenty-nine children, born and chris- 
tened." On July 31st, 1781, it is mentioned that 
a man and woman at Kirton-Ie-Moor, in Cum- 
berland, together with their thirty ehildren, the 
youngest of whom was between two and three years 
old, walked to church to the christening of their 
thirty-first child. In the Collectanea Topographica 
is noticed the case of Thomas Grcenhill, surgeon 
to the Duke of Norfolk, 1698, who petitioned the 
Earl Marshal, " that in consideration of your 
petitioner being the seventh son and thirty-ninth 
child of one father and mother, your grace would 
be pleased to signalise it by some particular re- 
mark or augmentation in his coat of arms, to 
transmit to posterity so uncommon a thing." It 
may be observed that the confirmation of the arms 



contains no reference to the fact. A still more 
wonderful instance is gi\en in the same work, of 
a weaver in Scotland, who had by one woman 
sixty-two children, of whom four daughters and 
forty-six sons lived to grow up. This account is 
given on the authority of several credible wit- 
nesses. In each of these cases it wU be observed 
that the children were all born of the same parents. 
Two other cases are recorded slightly different : 
one of a man who had eighty-seven children by 
two wives, of which sixty-nine were by the first, 
eighteen by the second ; another who had seventy- 
two children by two wives, one of whom was the 
mother of thirty-two children. 

Perhaps still more wonderful are the cases on 
record of the number of children which ha\'c 
been born at a single birth. It is stated in the 
Gentleman^ s Magazine for March, 1798, that in the 
commune of Verchoq, department of I'as-de- 
Calais, the wife of Pierre Fran(;ois Duisain had si.x 
children at a birth, three boys and three girls; 
they were all born alive, but died soon after. Dinora 
.Salviati, wife of Bartolomeo Frescobaldi, a member 
of an old Florentine house, gave birth to fifty-two 
children in all, of whom never lcs5 than three were 
born at one time. 

In Aubrey's Natural History of Wiltshire we 
find an account of an inscription at Wishford 
Magna, to Thomas Bonham and Edith his wife, 
who died in the years 1473 and 1469 respectively. 
Mrs. Bonham had two children at one birth the 
first time, and after an interval of seven years she 
had as many as seven children at once. There is 
a tradition, which is recorded in the parish register, 
that all the se\'en children were brought together 
to the font of the church and there baptised. 



A WONDER _OF_JlELATIONSHIP. 

The following remarkable genealogical curiosity 
appeared originally in Hood's Magazine, and is a 
singular Diece of reasoning to prove that a man 
may be his own grandfather. There was a widow 
[Anne] and her daughter [Jane], and a man 
[George] and his son [Henry]. The widow 
married the son, and the daughter married the 
father. The widow was there- 
fore mother [in law] to her 
husband's father, and grand- 
mother to her own husband. 
By this husband she had a 
son [David], to whom she was 
also great-grandmother. Now, 
the son of a great-grandmother must be grand- 
father or grand-uncle to the person to whom his 
motherwas great-grandmother ; but Anne was great- 
grandmother to him [David], therefore David is 
his own grandfather. The accompanying diagram 
will enable the reader to follow this more easily. 



Jane, 




Henry 



LUMINOUS INSECTS. 



%\Uxnx^ Monb^rs. 



The Book-Fish.— On the 23rcl of June, 1626, a 
cod-fish was sold at Cambridge market which, when 
it was opened, was fovmd to contain a book in its 
maw. The book had been covered with sail-cloth, 
but it was much soiled. It was written by John 
Frith, and contained treatises on religious subjects. 
Mr. Mead, of Christ Church, Cambridge, wrote to 
Sir M. .Stutevillc as follows : — " I saw all with mine 
own eyes — the fish, the maw, the piece of sail-cloth, 
the book — and observed all I ha\e written ; only I 
saw not the opening of the fish, which not many did, 
being on the fish-woman's stall in the market, who 
first cut off" his head, to which the maw hanging, 
and seeming much stuffed with somewhat, it was 
searched, and all found as aforesaid. He that 
had had his nose as near as I yester morning, 
would have been persuaded there was no im- 
posture here without witness. The fish came from 
Lynn." This letter is now in the British Museum. 
Frith, the author of the book, wrote it while in 
prison. Curiously enough, he was confined in a 
fish-cellar at Oxford, where many of his fellow- 
prisoners died from the impurities of the fishy 
exhalations. The book was reprinted by the autho- 
rities at Cambridge, under the title "Vox Piscis," 
with a woodcut representing the fish-stall, the book, 
and the knife. 

Remarkai!LY Minute Writing. — Disraeli, in 
his " Curiosities of Literature," records the follow- 
ing, among other instances of wonderfully minute 
writing : — Peter Bales, a celebrated caligrapher in 
the reign of Elizabeth, exhibited the whole Bible in 
an English walnut-shell no bigger than a hen's egg. 
The Harleian MSS., 530, gives the following account 
of it : " The nut holdeth the book ; there arc as 
many leaves in his little book as the great Bible, 
and he hath written as much in one of his little 
leaves as a great leaf of the Bible." This " un- 
readable volume M'as seen by many thorfSands." 
Huet proved that the "Iliad" in a nutshell, which 
Pliny states Cicero to have seen, was by no means 
an impossibility ; in fact, he demonstrated that it 
could be done. A piece of' vellum about ten inches 
in length and eight in width, pliant and firm, can 
be folded up, and enclosed in the shell of a large 
walnut. It can hold in its breadth one line, which 
ean contain thirty verses, and in its length 250 
lines. With a crow-quill the writing can be perfect. 
A page of this piece of vellum will then contain 
7,500 verses, and the reverse as much ; the whole 
15,000 verses of the "Iliad." And this he proved by 
using a piece of paper, and with a common pen. 
The thing is possible to be effected ; and if on any 
occasion p.'iper should be excessively rare, it may 
be useful to know that a \'olume of matter may be 
contained in a single leaf. 



LUMINOUS INSECTS. 

One of the most beautiful features of the savannahs 
in the tropics of the Western World is the fire-fly. 
When the stars shine forth, the broad grassy mea- 
dow becomes illumuiated with a thousand glittering 
lamps, almost as if it reflected the vault of heaven 
from its surface ; and the thicket and the forests are 
often full of their tiny but brilliant lights, flitting 
from flower to flower through the air, or shedding a 
mild refulgence over the surrounding foliage. 

This insect is not a fly, however, as its name 
implies, but a species of beetle, the head of which is 
lengthened out in a remarkable way into something 
not unlike a bladder. It is here that the interesting 
little creature carries its lantern, the light of which 
is so brilliant that the smallest type may be read by 
moving it along the lines ; and it is said that the 
Indians, when they travel at night, attach several 
of them to their hands and feet, instead of carrying 
a lantern, whilst their wives use them for candles in 
the performance of their evening household duties. 
Madame de Merian has related the fright she 
experienced on opening at night a box tenanted 
by a number of fire-flics, which came pouring out 
like a stream of light. 

Many of the Indian tribes regard them with quite 
a childish pleasure, not only using them to adorn 
the hair of the girls, but decorating their holiday 
attire with them, as well as the trappings of their 
horses, for which purposes they often collect large 
numbers on feast days, when they amuse them- 
selves in quite a theatrical fashion, dressing in the 
most fantastic costumes, with masks and skins, to 
represent various animals. In our illustration on 
the next page this particular species of luminous 
insect, the Great Lantern or Fire-fly, is represented. 

There are a great many species of fire-fly known 
— perhaps more than a hundred — most of them indi- 
genous to the New World, and distributed over the 
whole continent, from Virginia to Chili. A vast 
number of non-luminous insects, very closely allied 
to them, are found in the Old World. These are 
called skip-jacks, from their peculiar manner of 
regaining the upright position when they are placed 
or fall upon their backs. The shortness of their 
limbs renders it extremely difficult for them to 
recover their feet ; and they are endowed with a 
special power of doing this not found in any other 
tribe of insects. The joint between their thorax 
—which is, as it were, the chest of the insect— 
and abdomen is provided whh a stiff, elastic spine, 
which acts as a spring when the thorax is bent for- 
ward by muscular power; this presses both the 
thorax and abdomen back, as soon as their muscles 
are suddenly relaxed, so that the head and tail 
strike the ground at the same time and jerk the 
insect into the air, when it usually falls upon its 
feet ; but if not successful it repeats the attempt. 



8 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Neither is the Old World altogether destitute 
of lamp-bearing insects. In England wc have 
the glow-worm, seen so frequently on banks and 
under moist hedges. In China there is found 
a species of lantern-fly not unlike the fire-fly of 
the American savannahs, but differing from it, to 
a certain extent, both in form and colour. 



insects become luminous whicli are not ordinarily 
light-bearers, and that these have sometimes been 
the cause of the very unusual and curious phenome- 
non known as the Will-o'-the-wisp, or Ignis fatnns. 
The Ignis fatims — in plain English, fool-fire — is an 
earth-meteor, resembling a flame, which floats above 
the ground at the distance of a few feet. It is ob- 




TlIE GREAT LANTERN-FLY. 



Luminosity has been ascribed to many other 
insects at different times, especially to the American 
and Chinese lantern-flies, neither of which are 
usually possessed of the property of shining in the 
dark, at least under ordinary circumstances. It 
seems probable that their reputed power of doing 
so must be set down as a mere traveller's tale, told 
simply for the sake of exciting the universal and 
insatiable love for the marvellous. It is possible, 
however, that under some peculiar conditions many 



served at night over marshes and burial-grounds, 
hence it is called the Meath-firc, Corpse-candle, 
or Will-o'-the-wisp, ?>., Will with the torch-light. 
Derham, in 1729, saw "a decayed hurdle give out 
a flame, which receded as he approached." In the 
Philosophical Transactions of 1694 there is an 
account of hay-ricks being burnt by a fire wliich 
came out of the sea. Herr Trcba, in 1794, saw one 
which went back 500 paces as became near, departed, 
and again became visible at the end of half an hour. 



thp: bravery of woman. 




"she had to FrOHT A DUEL WITH A RIVAL"—/. lO. 



THE BRAVERY OF WOMAN. 

CHRISTIANA DAVIS. 

The Gentleman's Magazine for August, 1739, records 
the death of one Christiana Davis, on the 7th July 
of that year, who served with great valour in the 
Inniskilling Dragoons, &c. To this extraordinary 
woman we would call attention. She did not serve 
in the Inniskillings, but in the 2nd Dragoons, now 
the Scots Greys, and her history is indeed a wonder. 
She was born in Dublin, in 1667, the year after the 
great fire of London. When her father, who was a 
maltster and brewer, was in arms for William III, 
the Papists blocked up the church door of Leslip, 



while her mother was at church, with blocks and 
other lumber. " Fearing my mother would recci\e 
some hurt," she adds, in her own account of it, 
" I seized a spit, and sallied forth to force my 
way; but being resisted by a sergeant, I ran my 
spit through the, calf of his leg, and removed the 
things which blocked up the door, and called to 
my mother, bidding her come away, for the dinner 
was ready!" 

This was a good beginning for a brave life. Not 
long afterwards her aunt died, leaving her a tavern, 
to which she removed, marrying one Richard Welsh, 
who proved a tender husband to her. It would 
seem that the first overtures were made througli 



lO 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



a female friend. One day Welsh was persuaded to 
take farewell of a schoolfellow, and having been in- 
duced to share a bowl of punch on board a vessel 
laden with recruits, was made intoxicated, and car- 
ried over to Holland — a very usual trick in those 
days. Here he was made to enlist in Lord Orrery's 
regiment of foot, now the 5th Royals. Then began 
the wife's trials and her heroism ; and truly her life 
forms a very wonderful story. Determined to find 
her husband, she left one child with her mother, 
and one, born after her husband's departure, with 
her nurse. She cut off her hair, dressed herself in 
her husband's clothes, and finding Ensign Lawrence 
beating up for recruits at the " Golden Last," she 
enlisted under the name of Christopher Welsh. She 
was soon after at the battle of Landen, where she 
was wounded above the ancle, and "heard the 
cannon play, and the small-shot rattle about me," 
she wrote, "which put me in a sort of panic." Her 
wound laid her up for two months, and after that she 
was taken prisoner and much urged to enlist in the 
French army, in which, at that time, many Irish were 
serving. She was shortly exchanged, and sent back to 
duty, and in one of the towns occupied by our troops 
won the love of a burgher's fair daughter — which, by 
the way, was not wonderful, as Christiana made a 
very pretty soldier. What follows, however, was more 
remarkable. She had, in accordance with the mis- 
taken ideas of honour then prevalent, to fight a duel 
with a rival, a sergeant in the same regiment, and so 
wounded him that, his wounds being thought mortal, 
she was imprisoned. Even there she was troubled 
by the sweetheart whom she had won ; but hor wit 
was equal to the occasion. With many tears she 
parted from her love, telling her she sacrificed her 
because " she was only too sensible that her father 
would not bestow her hand on a poor foot soldier." 
Proposing, therefore, to work her way upwards by 
bravery to a commission, she cut herself free of her 
too fond sweetheart. 

Her term being out as a foot soldier, she tried the 
cavalry, and served with honour in Lord John Hay's 
Dragoons, now the Scots Greys, being present in 
1695 at the siege of Namur. After the peace of 
Ryswick, Christiana, not having found her husband, 
returned to Ireland, unknown and unrecognised, so 
much was she bronzed and altered by exposure. 
She visited her children, but being too poor to pay 
the expenses she had incurred, was glad to pass un- 
known. War again breaking out, she joined her old 
regiment, was engaged at Nimeguen, at the siege of 
Venloo, and at the second attack at Schellenberg, 
where she received a ball in her hip, which was 
never extracted. Although taken to hospital, her 
sex escaped detection. Convalescent, but still carry- 
ing the ball in her wound, she was, at the glorious 
battle of Klenheim, set to guard the prisoners, and 
there by chance she met with her husband, who, 
having thought her long dead, was consoling him- 



self with the attentions of a Dutch woman. At 
once Christiana's love forgave  all ; she made 
herself known to him, and finding him to be 
in Lord Orkney's regiment, resolved to serve 
with him and pass as his brother ; then she left 
him, giving him a piece of gold as a token of her 
love. 

All through the great war, conducted by the 
greatest captain of that age, or, perhaps, of any 
other, the Duke of Marlborough, this heroic woman 
fought. At Ramillies she went through the thickest 
of the battle unhurt ; but unhappily, when the fight 
was done, a piece of shell from a steeple, exploding, 
struck the back of her head and fractured her skull. 
She was trepanned, and suffered immensely for ten 
weeks ; but this did not trouble her so much as the 
discovery of her sex. The news spread far and near, 
and Lord John Hay, her colonel, said she should 
want for nothing. Brigadier Preston made her a 
present of a new silk dress, her husband was brought 
to her, and she was set free from the service with a 
handsome present. Nor was this all ; the chaplain 
of the regiment declared that there should be a new- 
wedding, all the officers being invited to the cere- 
mony, and with much fun and jollity this took 
place ; the bride's stocking was thrown according 
to old custom, and, on taking leave, all the officers, 
commencing with the colonel, begged permission, 
with the solemn politeness of tire times, to kiss the 
lips of the bride. 

At a battle near Ath she wounded one soldier in the 
hand and killed another. At the same time a shot 
wounded her in the chin, and knocked her down. 
Her husband ran to pick her up, thinking her dead, 
but found her only stunned. At (ihent, the Dutch 
woman before spoken of inveigled her husband into 
a public-house, on which Christiana fought with her, 
and cut her nose off with a case knife, close to her 
face. At the siege of Ghent she followed her hus- 
band in the forlorn hope, and, eluding the vigilance 
of the colonel, who would have stopped her, found 
him and gave him " a bottle of brandy, which was 
a great comfort to him." He was killed at the 
hot battle of Malplaquet, and the fond wife came 
up just as his body was being stripped by a 
marauder, whom she beat off. Throwing her 
husband's body across her mare (she then acted 
as a sutler), she took it to the rear, buried it, and 
would have thrown herself into the grave with it 
had she not been prevented. 

This singular woman was married twice after- 
wards ; she was presented with fifty pounds by 
Queen Anne, and a shilling a day for life, which pen- 
sion Lord Treasurer Oxford reduced to fivepence ; 
but Mr. Secretary Craggs, the friend of Pope, 
replaced it at its original sum. She marched 
with other soldiers — and with streaming eyes and 
a heavy heart — at the funeral of the great Duke 
of Marlborough, under whom she had fought so 



WONDERS OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



II 



long and so well ; and died loyally at last, full of 
the same courage and love she had ever shown. 
Har husband was taken ill, and, though sinking 
herself under old age and wounds, she insisted on 
sitting up to nurse him, by which she caught a cold, 
and then fell into a fever, by which she died, on the 
7th of July, 1739. She was buried in the burial- 
ground of Chelsea Hospital, a detachment firing 
three volleys over her grave as for a brave comrade 
and fellow-soldier. 



Wonderful Performances with the Mouth 
AND Foot. — The following is extracted from the 
"Diary of John Rous" (Camden .Society) p. 84 : — 
".Some years since I saw in Holborn, London, near 
the bridge, an Italian, who with his mouth did lay 
certain sheets of paper together, one upon another, 
lengthwise, between the right hand and the left ; 
and then he took a needle and ])ricked it through 
the one end, and so then the other, so that the 
paper lay sure. Then he took a short text pen, 
and dipped it in a standish or ink-horn of lead, and 
therewith wrote Laus Deo semper, in a very fair 
text hand (not written with his hand, but with his 
mouth) ; then with another pen he flourished daintily 
about these letters in divers forms. He did, 
with his mouth, also take up a needle and thread, 
pricking the needle right down, out of which he 
pulled the thread, and took another by (fitter) and 
put it into the needle. Then, therewith he took 
three stitches in the cloth with a linen wheel (pre- 
pared with a turner's device for the foot). He did 
spin with his mouth. He wrote fair with his left 
foot. He used a pencil and painted with his mouth. 
He took a pretty piece, or gun, with his toes, and 
poured in a paper of powder, pulled out the scouring- 
stick very nimbly, rammed in the powder, put up 
the stick, pulled up the cock with his toes; then 
another short piece, charged (that had a Swedish 
firelock), being put in his mouth by another man, 
he held it forth and discharged it, and forthwith 
with his toes he discharged the other. He gathered 
up four or five small dice with his foot, and threw 
them out featly. His hands were both shrimped 
and lame." 

Curious Proverbs kegardixg January.— 
If the grass grows in Janivecr, 
It grows the worse for 't all the jear. 
A January spring 
Is worth nacthing. 
Under water dearth, 
Under snow bread. 
March in Janiveer, 
January in March I fear. 
If January calends be summerly gay, 
'Twill be winterly weather till the calends of May. 
The blackest month in all the year, 
Is the month of Janivecr. 



WONDERFUL OPTICAL DELUSION. 

The accompanying cut exhibits a somewhat singular 
optical delusion with which it is possible some of our 
readers may be imacquainted, though it is frequently 
made use of by practical builders, in arranging 
their courses of stone for arches and other curves. 

If we take two pieces of cardboard and cut and 
arrange them as Figs, i and 2 are here shown, it will 
appear to any one who looks at them that Fig. 2 is 
considerably larger than Fig. I. If, again, we alter 




the relative position of the two pieces, putting 2 in 
the place of i, we shall find that their relative size 
also appears to be altered, and i appears larger 
than 2. If, however, the one be placed so as to 
cover the other, they will be found exactly the same 
size. The deception arises thus : — We can see that 
the right boundary line of i would, if extended, cut 
through 2 ; hence we fancy 1 is shorter than 2. To 
measure the length of the curves properly, we 
should take a point in the centre of each. We shall 
then find that it is impossible for the same per- 
pendicular to pass through the centres of both, and 
that the reason I does not extend to the right as 
far as 2, is because it is just that distance out of 
centre. 



John Hunter's Collection of Animals.— 
The variety of birds and beasts to be met with 
at Earl's Court (the villa of the celebrated John 
Hunter), is a matter of great entertainment. In 
the same ground you are surprised to find so many 
living animals in one herd, and from the most 
opposite parts of the habitable globe. Buffaloes, 
rams and sheep from Turkey, and a shawl goat 
from the East Indies, are among the most re- 
markable of these that meet the eye ; and as they 
feed together in the greatest harmony, it is natural 
to inquire what means arc taken to make them 
so familiar and well acquainted with each other. 
Mr. Hunter told me that when he has a stranger 
to introduce, he does it by ordering the whole herd 
to be taken to a strange place — either a field, an 
empty stable, or any other large outhouse, to which 
they are all alike unaccustomed. The strangeness 
of the place so totally engages their attention, as 



12 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 




ULLOA S CIRCLE. 



to prevent them from running at and fighting with 
the new-comer, as they most probably would do in 
their own field (in regard to which they entertain 
very high notions of their exclusive right of pro- 
perty). And here they are confined for some hours, 
till they appeared reconciled to the stranger, who 
is then turned out with his new friends, and is 
generally afterwards well-treated. — Middleton's 
'■^Survey of Middlesex^' page 432. 

Filial Piety of Crows. — In Escameron it is 
said that the mildness of the crowe is wonderful ; 
for when the old crowes in age be both naked and 
bare of covering of fethers, then the young crowes 
hide and cover them with their fethers, and gather 
meate and feed them. And sometime when they 
waxc old and feeble, then the young crowes underset 
them, and reare them up with their wings, and 
comfort them to use to fly, to bring the members 
that be diseased into state again. — From a booken 
by Barthclmew Glatitvile, a Franciscan Frier, 
1360. Translated by Stephen Batman, Professour 
in Divinitie. 

ulloa's circle.— mock suns. 
The intensity of the colours of the rainbow has 
been found to depend in a great measure on the 
size of the drops of water from Vifhich it forms itself. 
When a rainbow is seen in a fog, the colours of it 
arc always remarkably faint, owing to the minute- 
ness of the drops of water on which the sun's rays 
fall ; so, on the other hand, when we see a rainbow 



following, as it were, in the wake of a pelting April 
shower, we are always struck with the vividness 
and intensity of its hues. The remarkable appear- 
ance represented in the illustration is a very pecu- 
liar rainbow which was observed by MM. Ulloa 
and Bouguer during their stay in the Pichincha, 
and called by them, from the singular faintness of 
its tints, the white rainbow. It is also known 
as Ulloa's circle, from the name of one of the 
travellers who witnessed it. 

M. Ulloa was with his fellow-travellers, one morn- 
ing at day-break, on the summit of the Pambamarca. 
The whole of the mountain-top was covered with a 
dense fog, which gradually dispersed as the sun 
rose. By degrees the atmosphere became tolerably 
clear, with the exception of a few liglit vaporous 
clouds, so filmy as to be scarcely perceptible. While 
they were noticing these gradually disappear, one 
of the travellers, on turning round suddenly to that 
quarter of the sky which was exactly opposite to 
the rising sun, perceived an image of himself 
reflected in the air as distinctly as in a mirror, and 
standing, apparently, at about the distance of twelve 
feet from him. The figure appeared to stand in the 
centre of three concentric rings, which were shaded 
with different colours, while around the whole was 
a fourtn ring, tinted with one colour alone. The 
outermost edge of each of the three interior rings 
was crimson, the next colour was orange, which 
shaded off through yellow into a pale straw, while 
the innermost tint was green. The figure, with 
the surrounding rings, followed e\-ery movement of 
the observer, the rings always keeping the figure in 



THE WONDERS OF DIGESTION. 



13 




MOCK SUNS. 



their centre. It will be observed in the illustration 
that the spectral figure is imitating the exact atti- 
tude and gesture of the observer. When first seen, 
they were somewhat oval in shape, but they became 
gradually more and more circular, and increased in 
size as the sun rose in the heavens. When they 
had become nearly perfect circles, the colours gra- 
dually grew fainter, the figure more and more 
shadowy and indistinct, till the whole apparition 
faded away altogether. It is a singular thing that 
though each of the travellers saw precisely the same 
appearance, he saw it only as happening to himself, 
and could hardly believe that his companions were 
observing each the reflection of his own figure, 
while he could see nothing but his own. 

Another very singular atmospheric effect is pro- 
duced by the rays of the sun, and sometimes those 
of the moon, striking, not upon drops of water, but 
upon minute crystals of ice. Clouds formed of 
such crystals are stated by aeronauts to exist in the 
higher regions of the atmosphere, where they con- 
stitute those clouds which are known among 
meteorologists by the name of cirrus. 

The most frequent phenomena of this kind seen 
in temperate climes are what are called halos, such 
as we so often see round the moon on a slightly 
misty night. Sometimes, however, they assume 
the peculiar form shown in the illustration ; but 
this is of comparatively rare occurrence, and only 
happens under peculiar conditions of the atmo- 
sphere, and when the sun or moon is near the 
horizon. The circular rings of light are divided 
by a luminous diameter cutting them horizontally. 



On this line, a little outside each circle, brilliant 
patches of light are seen to form, vhich are called 
mock suns or mock moons {parhelia or parascleno'), 
according as the sun or moon happens to be the 
centre of light. Those just outside the inner circle 
are beautifully coloured with the diflcrent hues of 
the prism, while those altogether outside arc nearly 
colourless. Frequently, also, arcs of circles are 
seen touching the principal halos, and these, espe- 
cially at the point of contact, are brilliantly coloured. 
These arc most perfect round the inner circle ; 
when they are seen touching the outside one they 
are usually faint and indistinct. The illustration 
shows this interesting phenomenon in the most 
perfect form in which it is known to have appeared. 



THE WONDERS OF DIGESTION. 

The visitor to that "World of Wonders," the South 
Kensington Museum, can hardly have failed to 
notice a remarkably interesting collection, showing 
the relative quantities of the various substances 
that compose the human body. The case contain- 
ing these specimens forms one of the chief attrac- 
tions of the Food Department, and is generally 
surrounded by numbers of visitors, old and young, 
who marvel to find that their bodies are made 
up of several pails of water, a mass of charcoal 
sufficient to cook a good dinner, a quantity of 
hydrogen that would float a small balloon, a piece 
of iron large enough to make a pocket-knife, and a 
lump of phosphorus that would ser\e for half a 



14 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



dozen boxes of lucifer-niiitches. In addition to 
these substances, the visitor will also find various 
proportions of soda, potash, lime, magnesia, oxygen, 
chlorine, and nitrogen. Every time that he has 
made a step, or even .turned o\er a leaf of his 
catalogue, he has worn out a portion of his body. 
If he has eaten a hearty breakfast, and is in good 
health, this wearing out of the body may go on for 
some time without his perceiving it, owing to there 
being a superabundance of material to \\ ork upon ; 
but as soon as the call for fresh blood is unanswered, 
the sensation of hunger is experienced, and the 
desire to supply new material for consumption 
becomes imperative. If he is pressed for time he 
takes a glass of wine and a biscuit, or possibly a 
jelly, and ^^•aits until he reaches home for a more 
substantial meal. As soon as he has swallowed 
the jelly or other light food, the sensation of hunger 
disappears, and almost before he leaves the refresh- 
ment room he begins to use the fresh material that 
has already passed into his blood. The effect is, 
as it were, magical, he can now walk upright and 
briskly, whereas only a few moments ago he could 
hardly drag one leg after the other. This marvel 
has been performed by the aid of those wonderful 
natural processes, digestion and assimilation. 

In repairing the waste that is constantly going 
on within our bodies we have to consider two 
processes, each of which is entirely distinct from 
the other, one of them is digestion, the other assi- 
viilation. Instead of endeavouring to give precise 
definitions of the exact meaning of these two words, 
it will be much more easy and pleasant to pass 
once more into the South Kensington Grill Room, 
and trace the various steps by which an ordinary 
luncheon is converted into blood, muscle, and bone. 
The process of digestion may be said to begin long 
Ijefore we even see our food, for the sheep-faimer 
has taken good care that the mutton-chop before 
us shall be juicy and tender, and the cook has 
seconded his endeavours by using his utmost skill 
to preserve and increase these good qualities ; and 
this is just precisely what it should do, for we 
should find mastication extremely difficult, nay, 
almost impossible, except our mouths were filled 
with an abundant supply of saliva, which not only 
assists us in chewing our food into a pulp, but also 
in tasting and swallowing it. At one time it was 
supposed that the saliva was a powerful solvent 
of the food we take into our mouths, but numerous 
experiments have proved that in the case, at any 
rate, of animal substances, its action is merely me- 
chanical. It begins the digestion of vegetable food, 
however, in rather a singular manner. If we take 
a piece of stale bread and chew it into a pulp, we 
shall find that it gradually becomes sweeter the 
more it is mixed with the saliva. This peculiar 
action is hardly to be explained without going more 
deeply into the chemistry of the subject, but it may 



be mentioned that bread, potatoes, and, indeed, most 
vegetable foods contain a notable quantity of starch, 
part of which is transformed into sugar by the action 
of the saliva. In sight of this fact there will be no 
difficulty in understanding how an invalid will be 
able to digest a hard piece of dry bread, whereas, 
a basin of thin arrowroot will throw him into an 
agony of indigestion. The drier the bread the 
greater the quantity of starch converted into sugar 
by mastication with the saliva. But to go back 
to our mouthful of chop. Having crushed it into 
a pulp with our teeth, the natural juices of the meat 
escape and pass into the stomach, where they find 
themselves in a large bag, the .whole of whose 
surface is covered with a series of tiny finger-like 
projections, from every part of which a thin fluid 
is pouring out. I'resenth', down comes a mass 
of masticated chop, potato, and bicad, washed 
down with a draught of water or ijcer. The fluid 
secreted by the little finger-like bodies at once 
begins to act on the chewed food, and is assisted 
in its work by the muscular coating of the stomach, 
which, by a series of involuntary contractions, pro- 
duces a rotary movement of the food, somewhat 
analogous to that caused by the tongue during the 
operation of mastication. The fluid acts on it 
chemically, and it becomes more and more liquid 
until, at last, it assumes the consistence of a thin 
pulp, known technically as ch}me. The time taken 
up by this process varies considerably, according to 
circumstances. The gastric fluid contains a large 
proportion of acid, and a peculiar animal principle 
called pepsin. The combined action of the acid 
and the pepsin, which is a kind of ferment, to- 
gether with the churning movement, reduces the 
animal portion of the food to the state of soft pulp 
with great rapidity, provided that the meat has 
been tender and juicy in the first place, and pro- 
perly chewed in the second. 

The food having been reduced to ch)me, let us 
now follow it in its further transformations. The 
pulpy mass that we have already examined passes 
into that portion of the body known to anatomists 
as the small intestines. Shortly after it quits the 
stomach, and while still in the first of the small 
intestines, the duodenum, the liver pours out upon it 
a secretion of a peculiar character, known to all the 
world as the bile. The part played by the bile in 
the digestion of food, is a somewhat difficult one 
to describe, seeing that the highest physiological 
authorities are at variance as to its action. One 
great use of the bile appears to be in its power of 
stimulating muscular fibre, by which it keeps the 
small intestines in a continual state of movement. 

We now come to that portion of the powers of 
digestion when the food is acted upon by the 
secretion formed by the sweet-bread or pancreas, 
which is poured into the small intestines just after it 
has received its modicum of bile. The pancreatic 



THE CLOCK AT STRASBURG. 



IS 



fluid appears greatly to resemble the saliva in its 
properties. It transforms the starch globules that 
have passed through the stomach undigested into 
sugar, and also dissolves the muscular fibres 
which have hitherto only been masticated. Another 
very important function of the pancreatic fluid is 
its po\ver of forming an emulsion with fats and 
oils that is capable of being absorbed by the system. 
The pancreas is greatly assisted in its action by the 
intestinal fluid which is secreted by certain portions 
of the small intestine itself, which appears to have 
a solvent action on those portions of the food that 
have escaped the power of the other fluids ; in fact, 
it may be looked upon as being a universal solvent. 
The milky fluid now formed, is 
termed the chyle, and is absorbed 
into the system by the vessels of 
the intestinal walls by which they 
are conveyed into the blood. 
These vessels are known as the 
absorbents, and form the connect- 
ing links between the digestive 
and sanguinifcrous systems. As 
the chyle is absorbed it changes 
its character. First the presence 
of fibrin begins to manifest itself, 
then it gradually becomes coloured, 
white corpuscles, apparently iden- 
tical with those of blood, being 
formed in great numbers. The 
temptation to follow it farther on its 
course now becomes very strong, 
but we must remember that it is digestion and not 
assimilation that we arc considering. 

We have merely attempted here to describe as 
simply as possible the ordinary every-day action of 
our digestive organs, which in itself is sufficiently 
wonderful ; the eccentricities of digestion would 
alone fill many pages. The ostrich is said to be 
able to digest iron ; but if we consider the 
wonderful process continually going on in our 
own bodies, the difficulty of performing such a 
feat will not appear so remarkable. A piece 
of iron introduced into the stomach would in 
time be dissolved by the acid contained in the 
gastric juice ; in fact a case is on record where a 
conjuror, in performing the trick of swallowing a 
sword-blade, accidentally allowed it to pass too far 
down the gullet, so that it was impossible to 
withdraw it. The unfortunate man was ordered 
acid drinks in abundance. These gradually dis- 
solved the steel, and would no doubt have effected 
their purpose had not a foolish medical man 
ordered the conjuror horse exercise towards the 
end of his treatment. The portion of the sworjl- 
blade remaining undissolved was forced against the 
coats of the stomach by the motion of the horse, 
and the result was what might have been naturally 
expected, a severe internal wound and death. 




?ffiIonb^rs of Consfniftion. 



THE CLOCK AT STRASBURG. 
About the middle of the fourteenth century the 
canon of Strasburg wished mightily for a clock 
which should be worthy of the magnificent cathedral 
wherein he would place it. With this end in view, 
he invited the most learned astronomers and the 
most skilful mechanicians to vie with each other in 
producing a clock which should astonish the world, 
and be no shame to the mighty cathedral. A man 
came forward ; and in 1352 the clock was finished. 
The whole of the Chapter was convoked to behold 
the first movements of this mar- 
vellous machine, which surpassed 
the most sanguine expectations. 
A cock perched at the top of a 
tower flapped his wings a few 
minutes before the striking of 
each hour to warn the faithful 
against the suggestions of that evil 
spirit, which the chief of the 
apostles himself had no power to 
resist. Then Death came and 
struck upon a sounding bell as 
many strokes as the hour required, 
and an equal number of apostles 
passed in a lowly attitude before 
Christ, who placed his hands upon 
them in the attitude of blessing. 
P'inally the chariot of the sun 
showed by its course round the dial the months 
and the seasons ; and the hands pointed out the 
different parts of the day, the days of the week, the 
days of the month, the age of the world, and the 
year of our Lord. 

When the canons saw all this their first feelings 
were of amazement and delight ; then they thought 
within themselves that this man who had been 
clever enough to make a wonderful clock for them 
might make many more, and deprive their dock of 
its celebrity. They immediately determined to 
deprive the unfortunate man of his sight, and bar- 
barously executed their sentence, not informing 
their victim until afterwards of the cause for their 
wicked cruelty. When he learnt it he cried out, 
" Oh ! foolish men, what have you done ? The 
clock is not finished ; one piece is still wanting which 
I alone can supply, and without which it is quite 
useless." The man was instantly led to his work, 
when he seized the main wheel which set the whole 
mechanism in motion, broke it, and thus stopped 
the movements of the clock for ever. This is the 
legend of the first .Strasburg clock. 

But in 1550 a new clock of Strasburg was to be 
made, and the most noted mathematicians of the 
time-were called upon to preside over its manufac- 
ture. The work was interrupted by the death of 



i6 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



some of these. In 1560 it was left solely in the 
hands of one Conrad Rauchfuss. He joined his 
friend David Volkenstein, an astronomer of Ham- 
burg, and entrusted the execution of the different 
parts of the mechanism to the brothers Habrecht, 
of Schaffhausen, and the decoration to Tobias 
Stimmer, of Strasburg. This clock was finished 



a double dial, one showing the hours, and another 
devoted exclusively to the calendar, showing the 
month, the date, the Dominical letter, the saint's 
day, &c. Two winged beings are seated on each 
side of the small dial. At each quarter of an hour 
the right hand one strikes upon a bell. Immediately 
the stroke is repeated on all the dials by automata, 




on the 28th of June, 1574. Rauchfuss' work was 

restored in 1669 by Michael Habrecht, and again in 

1 732 by Jacques Straubhar. It ceased to act in 1 789. 

The present clock, the most interesting portions 



one representing Childhood, one Youth, another 
Manhood, and a fourth Old Age. Death, placed 
upon a pedestal by the side of the Old Man, strikes 
the hours, and ever)- time he fulfils this grave rnis- 




of which our engravings represent, was commenced 
by a clever artist of Strasburg, M. .Schineque, on 
the 24th of June, 1838, and finished on the 2nd of 
October, 1842. 

The central motive-power, which is in itself a 
clock of wonderful precision, serves to indicate upon 
a dial-plate placed on the outside of the church the 
hours and their subdivisions, and the days o£ the 
week, with the signs of the planets corresponding to 
them. These indications are repeated inside upon 



sion the second of the two winged figures of which 
we have spoken reverses an hour-glass. 

At mid-day, at the striking of the hour, a proces- 
sion of apostles passes before Christ, wlio places his 
hands over them in the attitude of blessing ; at the 
same time the cock perched on a tower flaps his 
wings and crows thrice. On the ground in frc-nt of 
the clock stands a celestial globe, demonstrating the 
daily and annual motions of the heavens, stars, and 
planets with great exactness. 



WONDERS OF CONSTRUCTION. 



17 




Fig. I. 



S^onbtrs of €onBinxdion. 



THE GREAT PYRAMID. 

On the Nubian or desert side of the river Nile, and 
within a short distance of the city of Cairo, stands 
one of the wonders of the world, a vast pile of 



stone, by means of which travellers are able to 
mount to the top. Its base is hidden by the sand 
which drifts in from the desert, and it is owing 
to this fact and another circumstance, which will 
be mentioned directly, that so many different 
accounts have been given of its height and dimen- 
sions during the last three thousand years. 




Fig. 2. 



masonry which has been known for many ages 
past — indeed, ever since the age of Herodotus — as 
the "Great Pyramid of Egypt." It is one of a 
remarkable group of pyramids, situated on the verge 
of the desert, overlooking, on the one hand, the 
barren waste of sand, and on the other, the fertile 
valley of the Nile. It is built on the solid rock, 
more than 100 feet above the plains of the sacred 
river, and in its ruined condition appears like a 
pyramid of steps, formed of immense blocks of 

3 



Less than a thousand years ago, the rude lime- 
stone blocks which form the steps of the Great 
Pyramid were concealed from view by a casing of 
polished marble, which must have given an appear- 
ance of dazzling brightness to the vast sides of the 
mysterious pile. Herodotus, who saw the pyramid 
in its glory, explains that it was built in steps, every 
step, as it were, forming the scaffold for the next, 
as seen in Fig. 2, until the builders reached 
the top. Then the finishing process commenced 



i8 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



from the top downwards, by fitting in angular 
blocks of marble, antl polishing the surface to one 
jjcrfect level, as represented by the dotted line a b. 
Once finished, ascent would be impossible, unless, 
for any purpose a narrow space was left uncased, 
like a ladder, in one of the sides, liut that this 
was done is hardly probable. 

So the Great Pyramid stood, " foursquare to 
every wind that blew," in the pure atmosphere of 
Egypt, a sight to astonish every beholder, until the 
caliphs of Egypt began to despoil it of its marble 
casing for the construction of their mosques and 
palaces. This extremely senseless work of destruc- 
tion began about a.d. iooo; but this, unfortunately, 
was not the only outrage it was fated to undergo. 
M. Jomard, of the French expedition, remarks that 
European tourists always seemed to feel an inveterate 
longing, when they stood on the top of the Great 
Pyramid, to detach some of the stones, and send 
them thundering down the sides. In this way the 
height of the Pyramid has been lessened, and the 
area of the top enlarged. As a consequence of this, 
and of the elevation of the ground at the base by 
the accumulation of drifting sand, the various 
measurements of the Pyramid have differed very 
considerably from each other. Still there was 
always a possibility of ascertaining the dimensions 
by a mathematical calculation founded on the base 
line and the angle of inclination of the sides ; and 
this has been done in recent times. The length of 
the line b c (Fig. 2) is now known to be about 
764 English feet, and two of the marble casing- 
stones having been discovered, the angle at which 
the sides incline has been computed at 51° Si'- 
The vertical height of the Pyramid, resulting from 
these data, must have been 486 English feet, or 
nearly 100 feet higher than St. Paul's Cathedral. 
Its square base, covering, nearly thirteen acres, 
may be roughly estimated as equal to the area 
of Lincoln's Inn Fields. The area of one of its 
triangular faces is about five acres. The courses 
of stones vary from two feet two inches to four feet 
ten inches in height, and many of them measure 
thirty feet in length. The total quantity of masonry 
has been estimated at more than 89,000,000 cubic 
feet. " Suppose," says Mr. Sopwith, " a block of 
solid masonry, the length, breadth, and height of 
a moderately-sized sitting-room — say, for example, 
twenty feet by fifteen, and ten feet high — of such 
blocks more than 28,330 would be required to 
make the Pyramid, and if placed lengthwise 
they would extend over more than 107 miles." 
Pliny states, in agreement with Herodotus, that 
the Great Pyramid was twenty years in building, 
and that 366,000 men were employed in its con- 
struction. This, however, is but traditional. 

A more important question is that of the use for 
which it was designed ; this problem has exercised 
the ingenuity of men in all ages, from the time of 



the ancient Greeks to the present hour, when the 
work of Professor Piazzi Smyth— doubtful and even 
fantastical though some of his conclusions may be 
— has thrown so much light on the question. In 
olden times some were of opinion that the external 
surfaces were meant to be covered with hiero- 
glyphics recording the history of Egypt ; but this 
ingenious supposition is open to a hundred objec- 
tions. Others thought it was one of the vast 
granaries built by the Israelites, but this notion, 
hardly worth mentioning, has been utterly dis- 
credited by what we know of the interior structure, 
which is nearly solid. It was a more general 
belief that some astronomical purpose was intended ; 
and there is an Arabian tradition that a certain 
king named Saurid put in it divers celestial spheres 
and stars, and the mysterious records connected 
with them. This theory was superseded by the 
conviction that the Pyramid was nothing more 
than the tomb of one of the great kings of Egypt. 
Finally, Professor Smyth has devoted himself to 
the solution of the problem, and gi\ en to the world 
one of the most remarkable books of modern times 
— "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid" — 
published about four years ago. 

Before we can gi\'e the reader an idea of Professor 
Smyth's remarkable conclusions, it should be stated 
that an entrance into the Great Pyramid was known 
even before |,the Christian era ; and it led into a 
chamber cut in the solid rock, exactly under the 
apex of the pile. The entrance (d. Fig. i) and the 
chamber (a) to which it conducted were re-dis- 
covered in 1820, and there were letters found upon 
the roof which prove that it had been entered by 
the Romans. The passage was not built up, but 
only closed by a sliding block of stone worked by 
simple machinery ; and Professor Smyth has no 
doubt that it served as "a safety-valve to the 
Pyramid curiosity of early times, which was thus 
admitted on rare occasions, and under very impos- 
ing circumstances of form and state, to see the 
interior of the greatest of all the pyramids j and 
then they saw and made acquaintance with — what .'' 
Tlie descending entrance and the subterranean 
chamber, but nothing else." 

In the age of the Caliph Al Mamoun the secret 
of the interior was partially disclosed, though only 
to be lost again for ages, under circumstances 
which make a tale of almost romantic interest. 
The caliph discovered an ascending passage (d) 
leading into a chamber (c) containing a polished 
granite coffin without a lid. It had probably, at 
one time, held the body of an Egyptian king. 
Arabian poets drew on their imaginations for a more 
glorious result of their master's enterprise, and sang 
of " a dead man with a breastplate of gold, an 
emerald vase a foot in diameter, and a carbuncle 
which shone with a light like the light of day, and 
a sword of inestimable v,-ilue." Subsequent caliphs 



WONDERFUL NUMBERS. 



19 



showed their practical appreciation of all this 
romancing, by commencing the work of destruction 
to which we have already alluded, and eight cen- 
turies rolled by before the attention of the learned 
was once more called to Egypt and its archteolo- 
gical treasures by the expedition under Buonaparte 
in 1798. 

If the mystery of the Pyramid is solved, its solu- 
tion confirms one of the most ancient traditions 
concerning it. According to Professor Piazzi Smyth, 
it is a stupendous monument of the wisdom of 
antiquity, and its construction shows an exact 
knowledge of astronomical science, in some parti- 
culars not to be surpassed by the science of the 
nineteenth century. For example, the passage 
leading from the chamber (a b, Fig. i) served as a 
tube which enabled observations to be made of 
the then Pole Star at its lower culmination, about 
the year 2500 B.C. ; and a parallel passage (c) 
leading from the chamber C, is supposed to have 
existed, commanding the star in its upper cul- 
mination. 

It should be stated that there are in Egypt an 
immense numljcr of pyramids about which there 
is little or no mystery at all, as they were obviously 
designed for sepulchral purposes. They are mostly 
built of brick. 



THE LIVING SKELETON. 

In the year 1S25, there was exhibited in Pall Mall, 
one of the most singular freaks of nature the world 
has ever seen. This was Claude Ambroise Scurat, 
commonly known as the living skeleton. He was 
born at Troyes, in France, in the year 1797, of 
respectable but poor parents, neither of whom were 
in any way deformed, or remarkable in their ap- 
pearance. At his birth, Claude Seurat was as other 
babies are, plump and fleshy, but in proportion as 
he grew, his flesh gradually wasted away, until by 
the time he had attained his full stature, he was little 
more than a skeleton clothed only with skin, and a 
few imperfectly developed muscles. The texture of 
the skin was of a dry parchment-like appearance, 
though it was, nevertheless, singularly sensitive, 
and on being touched with the finger, especially 
on the left side of the body, would contract 
and roughen with an involuntary chill. The 
ribs were capable not only of being distinguished, 
but of being clearly separated, and counted one 
by one, and even handled like so many pieces 
of cane. 

A writer in the Times described the trunk as 
" having the appearance, more than anything else, 
^ of a large bellows — a mere bag of hoo)5s covered 
with leather, through which the pulsation of the 
heart was distinctly visible." Sir Astley Cooper, 
who examined him, found that his heart was as 
much as its own length out of its usual position, 



while the action of the lungs appeared to proceed 
from the lower part of the body. He stood 
about five feet seven inches high. His countenance 
is described as by no means displeasing, though 
somewhat pensive in its expression, his complexion 
was swarthy, and on his cheeks there vas sufficient 
flesh to prevent him from looking remarkable, 
when dressed in padded clothes. On the day be- 
fore his first public exhibition, he walked through 
the streets with the gentleman who had brought 
him from France, without in any way exciting 
attention. His mental powers were at least re- 
spectable, better far than those of many a man 
better formed in body. 

The great wonder of Scurat's case appears to 
lie not so much in his extreme emaciation, as in 
the fact that such a degree of decay should be 
compatible with life, and even the enjoyment of 
life in a moderate degree. He always ate and 
drank with an appetite, though sparingly ; those 
dishes which afford most nourishment appearing 
to satisfy him most quickly ; and his digestion and 
general health were good. 

Many efforts were made to have him presented 
to the French king, but these his father always 
evaded, considering, and probably with good reason, 
that his son miglit be consigned to some wretched 
asylum, depwudent only on a miserable pension. 
To use his own words, he was "wandering about 
France making but little by exhibiting himself," 
when he met the gentleman who brought him over 
to England, and of whose kindness he always 
spoke in the very highest terms. 



WONDERFUL NUMBERS. 

Some very curious properties in numbers have 
been noticed, which are well enough known to 
arithmeticians and mathematicians as the necessary 
result of certain laws, but which at first appear 
utterly mysterious. The best known of these is 
the singular property of the number nine, when 
muUiplied by any of the digits, to reproduce itself 
in the product. Twice 9, for example, is 18, and 
these two figures, 8 and i, make 9. If this hap- 
pened to one or two multiples only it would be less 
marvellous, but it happens in all, with one equally 
remarkable exception, thus : — 

9 X 2 = 18 and 3+1=9 

9X 3 = =7 .. 7 + 2 = 9 

9X 4-36 „ 6+3 = 9 

9X 5 = 45 » 5 + 4 — 9 

gx 6=54 ,, 4+5=9 

, 9X7=63,, 3 + 6 = 9 

gX 8 = 72 ,, 2 + 7 — 9 

9 X lo — 90 ,, + 9 = 9 

And here we come to the exception, 9x11 equals 
99, and the product of these figures is 18, but then 
8 + I equals 9, so thus the law holds, but a step is 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



interposed, and that step consists of two nines 
instead of one. To proceed : — 

9 X 12 s» io8 and 8 + 0+1=9 

9Xi3=;ii7 ,, 7+1 + 1=9 

9x14 = 126 ,, 6 + 2+1=9 

9 X 15 = 135 „ 5 + 3+1-9 

9 X i6 = 144 ., 4 + 4+1-9 

9 X 17 = 153 „ 3 + 5 + 1 = 9 

9X18=162 ,, 2 + 6+1=9 

9 X 19-= 171 ,, I + 7 + I - 9 

9X20=180 ., + 8+1=9 

There is in, fact, no hmit to this, and another 
property of the same digit is equally curious. Take 
any number of two figures and change the order 
of the digits. Then subtract the one from the 
other, and the remainder will always be 9. Let the 
number for example be 89 ; transpose the digits 
and it becomes 98 ; then subtract 89 from 98 and 
you have 9 left. In high numbers it will be some 
multiple of 9. Thus, 365 transposed becomes 563, 
and the lesser taken from the greater leaves 198, 
which is 9 times 22 ; or if we add the digits together 
8 + 9 + I, the sum is 18 and 8 + i equals 9. Any 
one who choses to exercise himself in experiments 
of this kind, will hardly fail to hit upon some sur- 
prising results. 

Another number which falls under somemysterious 
law of series is 37. If multiplied by 3, or any 
multiple of 3 up to 27, the product which results is 
expressed by three similar digits. Thus : — 



37 


X 


3 


= III 


37 


X 


6 


= 222 


37 


X 


9 


= 333 


37 


X 


12 


= 444 


37 


X 


IS 


= 555 


37 


X 


18 


= 666 


37 


X 


21 


= 777 


37 


X 


24 


= 888 



37 X 27 = 999 

It will be observed that the products also succeed 
each other in the order of the digits read down- 
wards, I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ; and these again being 
multiplied by three (their number of places), re- 
produce the multiplicand of 37 from which they 
resulted. Thus : — 

I X 3 = 3 

2x3 = 6 

3 X 3=9 
and so on. 

Another, and quite distinct class of coincidences 
is represented by the following table of the periods 
in which five successive presidents of America were 
born and went out of office. 

John Adams, born 1735, retired 1801 

Thomas Jefferson ,, 1743 ,, 1809 
James Madison ,, 1751 ,, 1817 
James Monroe ,, 1759 „ 1825 

J. Quincy Adams ,, 1767 „ 1829 

Each of these distinguished men was born eight 
years after his predecessor, and each went out of 
office eight years after his predecessor. All but 
John Quincy Adams were sixty-six years of age 
when they retired, and three out of the five died 
alike on the Anniversary of Independence. 



WONDERFUL NATURAL CON- 
STRUCTION. 

In the British Museum there is to be seen a fine 
stuffed specimen of the little nocturnal, grub-eating, 
climbing quadruped of the Island of Madagascar, 
called " Aye-aye," most difficult to be obtained 
there, as the accomplished missionary Ellis tells 
us in his "Three Visits to Madagascar." The 
curious name it bears is said to be owing to 
the cry of astonishment which the natives uttered 
on beholding for the first time so strange a little 
creature. 

What a strange ph)siognomy is given to the skull 
of the little rarity by the enormous, curved, chisel- 
shaped pair of teeth at the fore part of the upper and 
under jaws ! What can be the meaning of that 
long, shri\elled middle finger on each of the hands ? 
It looks like a bent probe, only there is a hook at 
the end. In short, the singularities offered by both 
skin and skeleton excite the strongest wish to learn 
more about the little Aye-aye of Madagascar. Dr. 
Sandwith, of Kars celebrity, was made in 1S58 
Colonial Secretary at the Island of Mauritius. In 
the following year the energetic doctor was able to 
write that he had got from Madagascar the co\etcd 
Aye-aye, and desired to know whether it should be 
transmitted to the British Museum dead or alive? 
To this the superintendent replied, knowing that 
he was addressing a medical man who had been 
familiar with anatomical procedures, " It might be 
more advantageous to science if the animal were 
killed by chloroform, and properly preserved." In 
that state the specimen reached the Museum, 
where its stuffed skin, its skeleton, its brain, and 
some other parts in spirits, are evidence of the use 
made of the opportunity. 

But why, some reader may be disposed to ask, 
should not the Aye-aye have been forwarded to 
England alive in a cage instead of a cask ? The 
main cause of the failure of every opportunity of 
supplying Europe with an Aye-aye, was due to the 
attempt to send home the animal alive. Cuvier, 
we may be sure, was as anxious to get a specimen 
as Owen. Twice or thrice his appeals to his 
countrymen in, or trading with, Madagascar, led to 
their getting possession of the coveted animal. In 
each case, before the opportunity of shipping it off 
arrived, the box, no matter how thick or hard the 
wood, was empty, and a large round hole showed 
how successfully the captive had applied its strong, 
chisel-shaped incisors to effect its escape. The very 
same misfortune befel Dr. Sandwith. " I am gra- 
dually," he writes, "lining his cage with tin, as I 
observe he attacks the wood-work every night." 
But not long after the dispatch of the letter in which 
this precaution is mentioned, the Aye-aye had 
gnawed its way out. Most fortunately and unex- 
pectedly, the little animal was re-captured in a 
sugar-plantation, some distance from Port Louis. 



WONDERFUL NATURAL CONSTRUCTION. 




THE AVE-AYE. 



This quadruped is stated to sleep during the 
heat and glare of the tropical day, and to move 
about chiefly at night. The wide openings of the 
eyelids, and the whole construction of the eye, 
are arrangements for admitting to the retina, and 
absorbing, the utmost amount of the light which 
may pervade the forest at sunset, dawn, or moon- 
light. Thus the Aye-aye is able to guide itself 
among the branches in quest of its hidden food. 
To detect this, however, another sense had need 
to be developed in great perfection. The large 
ears are directed to catch and concentrate, and 
the large acoustic nerve, and its ministering 
"flocculus," seemed designed to appreciate any 
feeble vibration that might reach the tympanum 
from the recess in the hard timber through which 
the wood-boring insect on which it feeds may be 
tunnelling its way by repeated scoopings and 
scrapings of its hard little jaws. How safe from 
. bills of birds or jaws of beasts might seem such a 
grub in its oak or ebony-cased burrow ! 

Here, however, is a remarkable animal in which 
the front teeth, by their number, size, shape, implan- 
tation, and provision for perpetual renovation of sub- 
stance, are especially fitted to enable their possessor 
to gnaw down, with gouge-like scoops, to the very 



spot where the ear indicates the grub to be at work. 
The instincts of the insect, however, warn it to 
withdraw from the part of the burrow that may be 
thus exposed. Had the Aye-aye possessed no other 
instrument — were no other part of its frame specially 
modified to meet this exigency — it must have pro- 
ceeded to apply the incisive scoops in order to lay 
bare the whole of the larval tunnel, to the extent, at 
least, which would leave no further room for the 
retracted grub's further retreat. Such labour, how- 
ever, would have been too much for the reproductive 
power of even its strongly-built, wide-based, deep- 
planted, pulp-retaining incisors ; in most instances, 
we may well conceive such labour of complete 
exposure of the burrow to be disproportionate 
to the morsel so obtained. Accordingly another 
part of the frame of the A)e-aye is modified in a 
singular and, as it seems, anomalous way, to meet 
this exigency. We may suppose that the insect 
retracts its head so far from the opening gnawed 
into its burrow as to be out of reach of the lips, 
teeth, or tongue of the Aye-aye. One finger, how- 
ever, on each hand of that animal has been ordained 
to grow in length, but not in thickness, with the 
other digits. It remains slender as a probe, and is 
provided at the end with a small pad and a hook 



22 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



like claw. By the doubtless rapid insertion and 
application of this finger, the grub is felt, seized, 
and drawn out. But for this delicate manoeuvre 
the Aye-aye needs a free command of its upper or 
fore-limlDS ; and to give it that power, one of the 
digits of the hind foot is so modified and directed 
that it can be applied thumbwisc to the other 
toes, and the foot is made almost like a hand. 
Hereby the body is steadied by the firm grasp of 
these hinder hands during all the operations of the 
head, jaws, teeth, and fore-paws, required for the 
discovery and capture of the common and favourite 
food of this nocturnal animal. Thus we ha\'c not 
only obvious, direct, and perfect adaptations of 
particular mechanical instruments to particular 
functions — of feet to grasp, of teeth to erode, of a 
digit to feel and to extract — but we discern a cor- 
relation of these several modifications with each 
other, and with modifications of the nervous system 
and sense-organs — of eyes to catch the least 
glimmer of light, and of ears to detect the feeblest 
grating of sound — the whole determining a com- 
pound mechanism to the perfect performance of a 
particular kind of work. 



WONDERFUL FROSTS. 

It may not be out of place to record a few of the 
most remarkable instances of severe frost which are 
chronicled as having occurred in this country. We 
are informed by a paper on this subject, which ap- 
peared in the Express of January the 1 1 th, 1 86 1 , that 
the Thames was frozen over for fourteen weeks in 
the year 1063, and below bridge to Gravesend, from 
November the 24th to February the loth, in 1434. 
In 151 5, carriages passed over from Lambeth to 
Westminster. In 1607, fires were lighted on the 
river, and all sorts of diversions were carried on. 
In 1684, the frost was so severe that nearly all 
the birds perished ; the Thames was covered 
with ice eleven inches thick ; at a fair held upon 
it, printing-presses were ereitcd which struck off 
verses and inscriptions commemorative of the 
event, several of which memorials are still extant. 
A private letter of the date of February the 9th 
of that year, mentions the appearance of a great 
deal of ice in the Channel, adding, that it was 
reported that the ice between Dover and Calais 
was within about a league of joining. In 1715-16, 
a fair was again held upon the Thames, and oxen 
were roasted. This frost lasted from November the 
24th to February the 9th. After this, the next severe 
frost was that which set in on December the 26th, 
1740. The cold was intense, many who had lived 
for years at Hudson's Ray declaring that they had 
never felt it colder in those parts. The Thames 
floated with rocks and shoals of ice, and when fixed 
they represented a snowy field rising everywhere in 
hillocks and huge rocks of ice and snow. Booths, 



stalls, and printing-presses were erected, and a 
Frost Fair held on it. Several people perished with 
cold in the streets and fields in and about the city. 
All navigation being obstructed, coals rose to ^3 10s. 
per chaldron ; and the damage among the shipping 
between the Medway and London Bridge was com- 
puted at ^100,000. Flocks of ducks, widgeon, and 
coots were found on the ice on the Kent and Essex 
shores, perished with cold or starved to death. 
Vast quantities of fish, especially eels, were found 
frozen to death on the banks of the Severn, near 
Thornbury, in Gloucestershire ; and flocks of crows 
resorted there to feed on them. In Suffolk, wild 
geese and other birds devoured the winter corn 
close to the earth for the space of many acres. In 
Hertfordshire numbers of oaks were riven by the 
frost, which made clefts in the solid timber as deep 
as a case-knife could be thrust. The rivers Severn, 
Lyne, the Avon by Bristol, the rivers Forth, Tay, 
&c., in Scotland, and the Lififey by Dublin, were 
all frozen up like the Thames ; and by all advices 
from Holland, France, Germany, &c., the cold was 
extreme. In Poland and Lithuania the inhabitants, 
besides what they suffered by the frost, were very 
much incommoded by the bears and wolves, which 
ranged about devouring men and cattle. In Podolia, 
whence the Russians in their march had carried off 
all the forage and most of the provisions (though 
they left money for it), the inhabitants were perish- 
ing both with hunger and cold. The streets of 
London were so clogged with snow and ice that 
hackney-coaches went with three or four horses, 
and coal carts were drawn from the wharfs with 
eight horses : and Fleet Street was so long neglected 
and so dangerous, that scores of men were at work 
on Sunday, the 27th, to clear the way. 

In the " History of the City of Glasgow," by James 
Denholm (Glasgow, 1804), we are told that the end 
of 1784 and the beginning of 1785 were remarkable 
for a long-continued frost; it lasted four months -- 
till the 14th of March, when the ice upon the Clyde 
broke. Upon December the 21st the cold was so 
intense that the thermometer showed twenty degrees 
below the freezing point. In London, the con- 
tinuance of the frost was still longer, being no less 
than five months and twenty-four days — in all, one 
hundred and seventy-six days — the longest con- 
tinuance of frost on record. 

From November, 1788, to January, 1789, the 
Thames was frozen ox'cr opposite the Custom 
House sufficiently firm for passing over. The year 
1 8 14 is, we believe, the last occasion on record on 
which this occurred. 



CAPTURE OF A WHALE IN TIHi 

THAAIES. 

A CURIOUS old tract in the British Museum, 

bearing the date of 1658, gives an account of a 

wonderful capture of a whale in the Thames, not 



A WONDER OF INTRIGUE. 



*3 



far from Greenwich, in tire montli of June of that 
year. The sailors in the river were, of course, 
an.xious to secure the huge monster who had been 
so rash as to invade our shores ; but they found 
no slight difficulty in despatching it. All sorts of 
swords, axes, and hatchets, and even guns were 
brought into the service ; but nothing effectual 
could be done till some one's ingenuity suggested 
striking a couple of anchors into the creature's body. 
By these it was held fast, and very soon bled to 
death-. Hundreds of people flocked to see the 
monstrous stranger, and among others went 
Evelyn, author of the " Diary," who has left us a 
curious account of it. It was of no contemptible 
size, being fifty-eight feet long, twelve feet high, 
fourteen feet broad, and measured two feet between 
the eyes. 

A WONDER OF INTRIGUE. 

In the year 1771 an extraordinary case was tried 
in the Court of King's Bench, Guildhall, by Lord 
Chief Justice Mansfield. The question was, whether 
a distinguished person, known as the Chevalier 
d'Eon, at one time ambassador from the Court 
of France to that of England, was a man or a 
woman. The case was brought into court in con- 
sequence of certain heavy bets that had been made 
as to the point at issue. A great deal of evidence 
was given. Lord Mansfield, one of our most acute 
judges, summed up carefully, and the jury, without 
hesitation, found for the plaintiff, thereby solemnly 
recording their belief that D'Eon was a woman. 
Nevertheless, in 18 10, when the chevalier died, at the 
advanced age of eighty-two, it was proved that he 
was a man. At any time between those two dates, 
and for some years previous to the earlier one, 
public opinion was divided on this strange pro- 
blem, though latterly the verdict of the juiy had 
been received as a sufficient settlement of the 
question. How the mystification originated, and 
why it was carried on, will appear from the fol- 
lowing account of D'Eon's career. 

Charles Genevieve Louis Augustc Andro Ti- 
mothee d'Eon do Beaumont was born in 1728, at 
Tonnerre, in the Province of Burgundy. The 
family is enrolled in the genealogical books of 
France as an ancient and illustrious one. His 
father and grandfather were both intendants of 
their municipality, and his mother, Franyoise de 
Charcnton, was the daughter of M. de Charenton, 
commissary of the French armies in France and 
Italy. It may be said, under these circumstances, 
that Charles d'Eon was born to good fortune. He 
was educated in conformity with his prospects, 
and took his degrees as doctor of civil and of canon 
law, became advocate of the Parliament of Paris, 
and was appointed Censor of Belles Lettres and 



History. He was besides an extraordinary adept 
in riding and fencing. 

While engaged in all these employments and 
studies, and also making a name in literature by 
his occasional publications, D'Eon became known 
to the Prince of Conti, and was introduced by 
him to the Court of Louis XV. At that time, 1755, 
the king was anxious to reconcile the Court of St. 
Petersburg to his policy, and secure its alliance in 
the war against Prussia. In order to negotiate with 
success, secrecy and easy access to the sovereign 
of Russia were essential. How it was brought 
about, and what strange circumstances had pre- 
ceded the daring attempt we know not, but D'Eon, 
disguised as a woman, went to St. Petersburg as 
reader of the French language, and secretary to 
the wife of the great Chancellor Woronzoff, who 
had married a Russian princess nearly related to 
the Empress Elizabeth. The intrigue succeeded 
so well that he was sent again the following year 
in his proper character as a man, in conjunction 
with the Chevalier Douglas, and with an avowed 
diplomatic mission. As a consequence of these 
negotiations, Elizabeth joined the armies of France 
and Austria with 80,000 men, who were to have 
taken the field in aid of the King of Prussia. 
D'Eon, returning to Paris, was dispatched to Vienna 
to communicate the plan of operations agreed upon 
by Russia, and the famous battle of Prague was 
fought while he was in that capital. He hastened 
with the news of victory to Paris, and the king 
rewarded him with a commission as lieutenant of 
dragoons. 

In 1759, after a third visit to the Court of Russia, 
D'Eon joined his regiment in Germany, with the 
rank of captain, and with an appointment as aide- 
de-camp to the Count and Marshal de Brogho. 
In the engagement at Ultrop he was twice wounded ; 
and at the siege of Ostervitch, with only fourscore 
dragoons and forty hussars, he completely routed 
a Prussian battalion, and took the commanding 
officer prisoner. In 1762 he was on the point of 
going as ambassador to Russia, when the death of 
Peter III. changed the relations between the two 
courts. So great, however, was the king's con- 
fidence in D'Eon, that he w^as sent to London, 
in September of the same year, as secretary of 
embassy to the Duke de Nivernois. The circum- 
stances which followed proved the wisdom of this 
appointment ; for it is doubtful if the Peace of 
1763 would have been ratified if D'Eon, by his 
address, had not rescued the minister from the 
very serious dilemma in which his dishonourable 
conduct had placed him. On the duke's return to 
Paris, he showed his sense of the value of D'Eon's 
services, by procuring for him the appointment of 
Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Great 
Britain. Somewhat later, the king also granted 
him a handsome pension. 



24 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



About the time of the first election which took 
place after the Peace of 1763, doubts began to 
be circulated about the sex of the Chevalier d'Eon. 
From that period to 1771, when the trial took place 
to which we have alluded, there was much specu- 
lation afloat on this subject, both in the press and 
in society. One day the Chevalier d'Eon was found 
mysteriously wanting, and it had been given out 
by himself that a conspiracy existed against him. 
His name was continually before the public in 
some enigmatical shape. The rage for betting on 
the question, whether he was a man or a woman, 
took possession of the public ; and after six years 
of ridiculous anxiety on this point, Mr. Hayes, a 
surgeon in Leicester Fields, brought an action 
against one Jacques, a broker 
and underwriter, to recover the 
sum of ^700. The plaintiff 
alleged that Mr. Jacques had 
received premiums of fifteen 
guineas per cent., for every one 
of which he stood engaged to 
return one hundred guineas 
whenever it should be proved 
that the Chevalier d'Eon was 
a woman. This proof, Mr. 
Hayes contended, he now pos- 
sessed ; and, after a good deal 
of hard swearing, he gained his 
cause. Other sums, to an im- 
mense amount, depended on 
this suit ; and we now know 
that the witnesses who decided 
it were perjured. 

It cannot fail to strike the 
reader that D'Eon himself had 
it in his power to settle the dis- 
pute at once ; but he remained 
in the background, allowed the 
secondary evidence full power, 
and otherwise acted in an equivocal manner. All 
this is easy to understand on the hypothesis that he 
was interested in the bets and policies ; but this 
he absolutely denied in writing, and owing to his 
denial, the winners of the cause never touched a 
farthing of the money. The reason of this would 
require a legal explanation which it is not necessary 
to enter upon. 

From the period of this extraordinary trial to 
the end of his life, D'Eon was placed in a more 
equivocal position than ever by the action of the 
French Court. Affecting to believe that he was 
really a woman, that Government continued his 
pension on condition of his wearing the apparel 
becoming to his sex. The reader may imagine the 
daily awkwardness of this to a man of the highest 
accomplishments, moving in the best society. The 
curious engraving, of which we here give a copy, 
was meant for a caricature of his double character 




by the wits of Paris ; and all sorts of anecdotes 
were circulated in illustration of his equivocal 
character and position. Some may think he might 
have manfully declared the truth, and released 
himself from his ignoble bonds. But it was com- 
monly reported in Paris that he had only the 
choice of obeying, or of ending his days in the 
Bastile. It is very possible that he had compro- 
mised the honour of many noble families in his 
assumed character, and it was only so long as he 
was willing to pass for a woman, and so put an 
end to the scandals connected with his name, 
that he could be allowed to remain at large. 
Those were the days, be it remembered, of the 
tyrannical lettres-de-cachct, and many, with less 
reason, had been consigned to 
the dungeons of the Bastile. 

Until the French Revolution 
broke out, the Chevalier d'Eon 
lived in obscurity for several 
years with Lord Ferrers at 
Staunton Harold, and allowed 
the world to believe that he was 
a woman. Sometimes he would 
exhibit his skill in fencing, and 
on one memorable occasion he 
engaged in a match with the 
celebrated Chevalier de Saint 
George, before the Prince of 
Wales, at Carlton House. The 
destruction of monarchy in 
P'rance and other occurrences 
had deprived him of his sole 
means of support in old age, and 
the English papers of 1791 and 
subsequent years contain adver- 
tisements of his exhibitions of 
fencing. These entertainments 
seem to have been very attrac- 
tive, as the chevalier retained 
which he had so long been 
accustomed. Sometimes, indeed, he came out in 
character, as at Ranelagh and the King's Theatre, 
when he appeared upon the stage dressed in armour, 
with a casque and feather, representing Minerva, or 
the Maid of Orleans. In spite of his exertions in 
this way, old age and distress overtook him, and he 
died, after having been bedridden for two years, in 
1 810. Then the discovery was made which reversed 
the verdict of 1771, and the public interest of 
forty years before was renewed. Without a doubt 
the career of the Chevalier d'Eon is one of the 
strangest on record. That a man learned, elegant, 
and polite ; a soldier, a statesman, an ambassador ; 
in fine, a man of superior accomplishments, should 
have .passed one half of his life in the character 
proper to him, and lingered away the other half in 
that of an obscure and neglected old woman, is a 
case, perhaps, without a parallel. 



the costume to 



WONDERS OF VEGETATION. 



2? 



WONDERS OF VEGETATION. 

Some striking rGsemblance in vegetation to the I 
human form is by no means an uncommon pheno- j 
menon, and many are the legends to which wonders ; 
of this kind have given rise. There is the story of j 
the mandrake, for example, which is said to shriek i 
when it is pulled out of the ground. Avicenna 
relates that a Jew at Metz had a mandrake pre- 
served in spirits which had a human head, and the 
legs and body of a cock. This may have been, 
for a book might be filled with similar marvels ; but 



effort of imagination, the entwined roots will be 
thought to resemble arms and legs ; and the whole 
bears a very close resemblance to a female figure 
adorned with a head-dress, sitting cross-legged, 
with her arms folded. 

The radish represented in Fig. B grew in a sandy 
soil at Haarlem, and was painted from the life by 
Jacob Penoy, whose friend, Zuckerbecker, pre- 
sented the picture to Glandorp, in 1672. From 
this picture an engraving was made by Kirby, 
from which, again, our copy is taken. Another 
radish, exactly resembling a human hand, was in 




Fig. A. 



what shall we say when the same authority informs 
us that the mandragore of Metz lived five weeks, 
and was fed on grains of lavender and earthworms? 

The accompanying sketch represents three of 
the most remarkable vegetable oddities which have 
been noticed, and it will be seen from our account 
of them that there is no reason to believe that the 
representations, which are copied from old prints, 
are exaggerated. 

The turnip with a human face, represented in 
Fig. A, grew, in 1628, in a garden at the village of 
Weidan, between Bonn and Juliers, in Germany. 
For the original record of the fact, the curious may 
consult the volume entitled "Miscellanea Academiaj 
Naturae," for 1670, page 139. It will be observed 
that the leaves resemble hair standing up, or feathers 
such as ladies wear when attired in court costume. 
On the round part of the root there are marks re- 
sembling eyes, nose, and mouth. By a very slight 
4 



the possession of Mr. Bissct, secretary to the 
museum at Birmingham, in 1802. He declared 
in his letter that the fingers were quite perfect, 
and that a large sum had been offered for it and 
refused. 

Mr. Kirby mentions a large radish, the thickest 
part of which resembled a three-legged stool ; and 
the writer has seen a parsnip to which the same 
description would apply. More remarkable, was 
the root of the parsnip shown in our engraving. 
Fig. c, which represented the back of a hand so 
perfectly that it could not be surpassed by the 
best painter. This root was bought of a market- 
woman in the usual way, and passing from one 
person to another, at 'last fell into the hands of an 
engrav^. Dr. Menzel testified to having seen 
a parsnip which exactly resembled a man, but 
the writer is not aware that any drawing of it was 
ever published. 



26 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. 

As an instance of the wonderful things which 
sailors see, or believe they sec, in their voyages 
over the ocean, it is recorded that a vessel 
homeward bound from Batavia in the winter sea- 
son being distressed, bore up for the Cape of 
Good Hope. It was during the Dutch occupa- 
tion of the Cape, and there was a rule forbidding 
vessels to enter Table Bay in winter time. The 
batteries fired on the offending ship and obliged 
her to put to sea, where she was lost, but where 
she is still beating about and will do so till the 
end of time. Another account has it that a Dutch 
Indiaman being baffled continuously for several 
weeks in its endeavours to get in-to Table Bay, the 
captain swore with a dreadful oath that he would 
get in though he tried till the judgment day ; that 
he was taken at his word, and was condemned 
to beat up incessantly for the bay, which, however, 
he may not enter. The Flying Dutchman is seen 
in the worst weather, when other ships can scarcely 
show a yard of canvas to the wind, car^'ing a press 
of sail ; and in calm weather he is seen, when other 
ships have everything set scudding, under bare poles. 
To see him is deemed unfortunate ; to answer his 
invitation to lie to while he sends a boat on board 
with a letter to be sent home, is considered fatal. 

The following wonderful narration is from the log 
of H.M.S. Lcven, employed with the Barraconta in 
1823 in surveying in the neighbourhood of the Cape. 
The Levcn was off Point Danger between Algoa and 
Simon's Bay, when she saw the Barraconta about 
two miles to leeward of her. Some surprise was 
expressed on board the Levcn, as the Barraconta' s 
orders required her to be far distant from the spot 
at the time. There was no doubt, however, in the 
minds of any as to the vessel, and the Lcven 
tried to close with her but could not. The stranger 
lowered a boat, but night came on and nothing more 
was seen of ship or boat. A week afterwards, when 
the Barraconta rejoined her consort, it was found 
from the log that she was, on the evening in question, 
three hundred miles from the Levcn, and could not 
possibly have been seen. It was further ascertained 
tliat she had not lowered a boat during the whole 
of that day. On another occasion the Levcn 
witnessed a similar phenomenon, the mystery of 
the boat being repeated, and being taken by the 
sailors as an undoubted proof of the stranger being 
the Flying Dutchman himself. Tlie Leveti did 
not wait for the boat, but ho\e away and went on 
her voyage. 

At another time a homeward-bound vessel being 
caught in a gale near the Cape, saw coming down 
towards her under a press of canvas, a large, old- 
fashioned ship, which seemed to be indifferent to 
all the winds that blew. In spite of the weather, 
the stranger made straight for the Indiaman, which 



had been made snug, and steered as though she 
would pass under her quarter. Her decks were 
seen to have men upon them, and she herself flew 
with the rapidity of lightning. The people of the 
Indiaman were preparing to hail, when the stranger 
disappeared as suddenly as she had shown herself, 
and was seen no more. There are many like 
stories, but the above is given on the authority of 
Mr. Montgomery Martin, who had made many 
voyages, and was too much practised in sea sights 
to be taken in by appearances. For myself — 

• I know not how the truth may be, 
I say the tale as 'iwas said to me." 



THE HISTORY OF A WONDERFUL 
DIAMOND. 

THE KOH-I-NOOR. 

The Koh-i-^oor,'or Mountain of Light, is stated 
by the Hindoos to have been discovered in the 
mines of GoJconda, more than three thousand 
years ago, and to have been originally in the pos- 
session of Kama, King of Auga. Another version 
states that it was stolen from one of the kings 
of Golconda by a treacherous general named 
Mininrola, and presented by him to the Great 
Mogul, Shah Jehan, the father of Aurungzebc, 
about the year 1640. It was then rough and 
uncut, and about twice its present size ; but Shah 
Jehan gave it to a diamond-worker, who cut it so 
badly that he wasted half of it, and did not display 
its lustre to good advantage. The Mogul — who 
was in a justifiable rage — instead of paying the 
jeweller for his work, fined him ten thousand 
ducats. About two hundred years ago, Ta\'ernicr, 
the French traveller, saw the Koh-i-noor in India, 
and described the admiration and amazement it 
always excited. From that time until it came into 
the possession of the Khan of Cabul, at the com- 
mencement of the present century, the Koh-i-noor 
changed hands very often. Runjcct Singh obtained 
it from the Khan in a mean and abominable 
I way. He had heard that the Khan of Cabul had 
, the finest and purest diamond ever seen, and 
I he determined to possess it. The Khan was 
invited by the intending thief; he arrived at tlie 
court of his host with — not the diamond, but a 
clever imitation. Once in Runjeet Singh's power, 
that despot immediately demanded the gem. It 
was reluctantly given up, and sent to the court 
jeweller's to be cut. Runjeet Singh soon received 
intelligence that the stone was comparatively worth- 
j less. He was so enraged at this, that he ordered 
the Khan's palace to be ransacked from top to 
bottom, to find the missing treasure. At last a 
slave betrayed his master, and showed the diamond 
lying under a heap of ashes. Runjeet carried it off 
in triumph, and subsequently decked himself, and 
occasionally his horse, with its splendid brilliancy. 



WONDERS OF ANIMAL LIFE. 



27 



When he died, the gem passed into the hands of 

his successors ; and in 1850, when wc conquered 
the Punjaub, the Koh-i-noor was among the spoil. 
It was brought to England in the Medea, and pre- 
sented to Her Majesty the Ouccn by the East 
India Company. 

The Koh-i-noor was pronounced to be badly cut, 
and the court jeweller entrusted it to Messrs. Coster, 
of Amsterdam, to re-cut — a work that occupied 
the labours of thirty-eight days of twelve hours 
each. The late Duke of Wellington became an 
amateur diamond-cutter for this memorable occa- 
sion, and gave the first touch to the work. The 
wonderful stone was exhibited, re-cut, in 1862, and 
a model of it may be seen in the British Museum. 



CURIOUS DISSECTION 
OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. 

SHOWING THH NUMBER OF BOOKS, CHAPTERS, VERSES, WORDS, 
LETTERS, &C. 



In the Old Testament. 

Books 39 

(Chapters ... 929 

Verses 23,214 

Words 592,439 

Letters 2,728,10a 



In the New Testament. Total. 

Books 27 ... 66 

Chapters 260 ... 1,189 

Verses 7,959 ... 31,173 

Words 281,258 ... 773,697 

Letters 838,380 ... 3,566,480 



Apocrypha— chapters, 1 83 ; verses, 6,08 1 ; words, 
152,185. 

The middle chapter and the least in the Bible is 
Psalm c;;vii. 

The middle verse is the 8th of Psalm cxviii. 

The middle line is in i6th verse, 4th chapter, 
2 Chronicles. 

The word and occurs in the Old Testament 
35)543 times ; in the New Testament, 10,684 
times. 

The word Jehovah occurs 6,855 times. 

OLD TESTAMENT. 

The middle book is Proverbs. 

The middle chapter is Job xxix. 

The middle verse would be in the 2nd of Chroni- 
cles, 20th chapter, between the 17th and i8th 
verses. 

The least verse is the 1st of Chronicles, ist 
chapter, and 25tli. verse. 

NEW TESTAMENT. 
The middle book is 2 Thcssalonians. 
The middle chapter is between the 13th and 14th 
of Romans. 

The middle verse is the 17th of Acts xvii. 
The shortest verse is the 35th of John xi. 

The 2 1 St verse of the 7th chapter of Ezra contains 
all the letters of the alphabet. 

The 19th chapter of the 2 Kings, and the 37th 
of Isaiah, are alike. 

It is stated that the above calculation took three 
years to complete. 



Influence of a Solar Eclipse on Animal.s. 
— During the annular eclipse of the sun in 1764, 
the agitation and cries of domestic animals con- 
tinued for a great part of the time, notwithstanding 
its light was not more diminished by it than it 
would have been by the interposition of a dark, 
thick cloud ; the difference of the heat of the atmo- 
sphere was scarcely sensible. What impression, 
then, can animals have of the nature of the body 
which eclipses the sun ? How are they able to 
divine that it is a different circumstance from the 
sun's being veiled by a cloud which intercepts the 
light ? The writer of this paragraph confesses to 
have had very considerable doubt of the veracity of 
this statement up to 1857 or 1858, in one of which 
years a partial eclipse of the sun occurred, and he 
witnessed precisely the same phenomena. He was 
in the public room of an inn in the country, which 
was situated on the border of a common. In front 
of the inn were a horse-trough and railings, and a 
large number of fowls, ducks, and pigeons collected 
about ; on the common beyond, horses, cows, and 
sheep grazing. Several minutes before the eclipse 
took place, and while the light had in no degree 
diminished, all the animals exhibited symptoms of 
languor and bewilderment ; the fowls, ducks, and 
pigeons perched languidly on the railings around ; 
the sheep and cattle in the distance suspended 
their meal and appeared stupefied. In a few 
minutes the eclipse passed away, and the animals 
resumed their ordinary state. — Dolomieu, in the 
" Dissertation on the Earthquake in Calabria." 

A Strange Horse.— There is at present a fine 
horse in the menage of the Earl of Pembroke, at 
Wilton House, which, when worked, sweats ex- 
ceedingly on one side, whilst on the other he is 
perfectly dry and cool ; and this extraordinary 
operation of nature is so exact, that it describes a 
palpably regular line from the top of the nose up 
the middle of the face, between the ears, and along 
the back to the tail. — Oracle, Nov. 1789. 

There is at this present time at Brussels, a 
horse fond of flesh, and particularly of raw mutton. 
A short time ago it got out of its stable, and de- 
voured two breasts of mutton hanging up at a 
butcher's shop. — Times, Sept. i6th, 1836. 

Singular Taste of an Ass. — There is now in 
the possession of Mr. Walton, farmer, of Great 
Lever, near Bolton, a male ass which is known to 
be nearly fifty years of age. He is named " Billy," 
and prefers tobacco to any other luxury ; he is like- 
wise very fond of a pinch of snuff. Our informant 
has within these few days seen Billy masticate 
a large quid of pigtail with as much gusto as any 
Jack tar in Her Majesty's service. When he had 
finished the tobacco, a pinch of strong rappee was 



28 



THP WORLD OF WONDERS. 



administered, which Billy snuffed without the least 
demur, and curling up his olfactory organ, delivered 
one of those charming solos so peculiar to his 
species. Billy is chiefly employed in carrying 
milk from his master's farm to Bolton ; and if Mr. 
Walton has any other business to transact in the 
town, he can leave Billy with security at the door of 
any customer, whence he will not budge an inch 
until he hears his master's voice. Billy is in- 
variably accompanied on his journeys to Bolton by 
a sm;ill cur dog, which is so attached to him, that 
in the absence of Mr. Walton, he takes his station 
close to Billy, and will not suffer any stranger 
to come near him.— A foni/i/y Review, vol. xxii., 
p. 156. 

A Tame Wolf.— M. de Candolle, Lecturer on 
Natural History at Geneva, related this story: — 
"A lady near Geneva had a tame wolf which seemed 
to have as much attachment to its mistress as a 
rpaniel. She had occasion to leave home for some 
weeks. The wolf evinced the greatest distress 
after her departure, and at first refused to take 
food. During the whole time she was absent he 
remained much dejected. On her return, as soon 
as the animal heard her footsteps, he bounded into 
the room in an ecstacy of delight. Springing up, 
he placed one paw on each of her shoulders, but 
the next moment he fell backwards, and instantly 
expired." — O'Brien's '■'■ Rou.id Towers of Ireland" 
fr.ge 468. 

When wolves cross a river, they follow one 
another directly in a line, the second holding the 
tail of the first in its mouth, the third that of the 
second, and so of the rest. This figure was chosen 
by the Greeks to denote the year composed of 
twelve months following one another, which they 
denominated Lycabus, that is, the march of the 
wolves. — Abbe Pliiche. 



THE WONDER OF LIFE. 

To ascertain how long all can live, MM. Buffon, 
Cuvier, Flourens, and the rest of those savans who 
have turned their attention to the all-important 
problem, proceed to reason by analogy. The dura- 
tion of life with the horse and with other animals 
of the higher species, is proportionate to the time 
expended in their growth. " Man, who takes four- 
teen years to grow," says Buffon, " may live six or 
seven times as long." This idea is doubtless correct, 
but Buffon's statement as to the period of growth in 
man is not so. Man grows for more than fourteen 
years. If he lived seven times as long, the ordinary 
hfe would be only ninety-eight, which, always sup- 
posing a state of perfect health, is not, even in this 
sophisticated age, extraordinary. 

M. Flourens has, in our opinion, improved on 
the working out of Buffon's idea. All the larger 
animals, he observes, live Jive times as long as 



the time expended by them in reacliing maturity. 
Thus :— 

Tlie camel grows for 8 years, live=; 40 years. 
„ Horse ,, „ s ,, ,, 25 ,, 
,, Ox ,, ,, 4 ,, ,, 15 or 20 

,, Lion „ „ 4 ,, ,, 20 „ 
,, Dog ,, ,, 2 ,, ,, TO to 12 
,, Man ,, ,, 20 „ ,, 100 or more.* 

By a physical analogy, therefore, the ordinary life 
of a man should be one hundred years at least. 
The term fixed by David, threescore years and 
ten, wants thirty of this ; the average life of men of 
the upper classes, fifty ; of tradesmen, business men, 
and hard-workers, fifty-five ; of the labouring classes, 
sixty-five ; of the factory- workers, seventy. Man in 
a purely unsophisticated state is clearly fitted to 
live to a much greater age than he commonly 
attains ; but nature, ever wise, in shortening his 

j existence does not deduct from any one term, but 

, from the whole, in nearly equal proportions. It 
used to be an old saying amongst brainless wits 
that " a short life and a merry one is the life to 
live." Nothing can be more absolutely untrue. A 
short life in their sense is scarcely a merry one ; the 

! pace kills. If we live fast, if wc exhaust ourselves 
in any one period, that period next succeeding is 
shortened. In short lives, puberty and maturity 
are reached early, then comes old age, and then 

' exhaustion and death. Knowing how fast these 
succeed each other in our manufacturing districts ; 
how girls become women at thirteen, mothers at 
fourteen, and grandmothers at thirty, if they attain 
that age — it is quite refreshing to read and belie\e 
M. Flourens' scale of the development of the periods 
of man's life. 

The various apparently authentic instances of 
age which we have, will also, when combined, form 
an almost unanswerable argument in our favour. 
They are not simply the exceptions which prove the 
rule. They are sufficiently numerous, and accom- 
panied by circumstances so similar each to each, 
that they form a rule themselves. 

Galeria Capi'ola, an actress, whose age at her 
debut is not exactly known, appeared upon the 
stage ninety-nine years after, at the dedication of 
the theatre by Pompey the Great, as a wonder of 
longevity ; and this was not all, for she was shown 
a third time .at the solemnities for the life and 
health of Augustus. William Postel, a Frenchman, 

' lived to nearly 120, and the hair on his upper lip 
showed not the least sign of changing colour, but 
remained coal-black to the last. It is not uncom- 
mon to see the moustache and eyebrows black, 
while the hair is grey. 

In the times of Vespasian, father and son, Pliny 
tells us there were found in the roll at one of the 
taxations fifty-four persons of 100 years of age, 
fifty-seven of no, two of 125, four of 130, as 

* Flourens, '* Sur Longevite Humaine." Paris, 1862. 



THE WONDER OF LIFE. 



29 



many of 135 or 137, and last of all, three men of 140. 
The great physician Galen, who flourished about 
the time of the Emperor Antoninus, is said to 
have lived 140 years. From the time he was 
twenty-eight he was only seized with a sickness 
of a day's duration. The rules he observed were, 
not to eat or drink his fill, not to eat anything 
raw, and always to carry some perfume about 
him. James Sands, of Horborne, in Stafford- 
shire, of whom 
Fuller makes 
mention in his 
"\Vorthies,"lived 
140 years, and 
his wife 120. He 
outlived five 
leases of twenty- 
one years, each 
made to him after 
he was married.* 

Raleigh, in his 
"History of the 
World," says, " I 
myself knew the 
old Countess of 
Desmond of 
Inchequin, in 
Munster, who 
lived in the year 
1589 and many 
years since, who 
was married in 
Edward IX'.'s 
time, and held 
her jointure from 
all the Earls of 
Desmond since 
then ; and that 
this is true all 
the gentlemen 
and noblemen in 
Munster can wit- 
ness. The Lord 
Bacon casts up 
her age to be 
140 at the least, 
adding withal, 
Terpervicesdeti- 
iisse, that she 
recovered her teeth (after the casting of them) three 
several times." 

Thomas Parr, whose portrait we give, son of John 
Parr, born at Alberbury, in the parish of Winning- 
ton, in Shropshire, was born in the reign of King 
Edward IV., a.d. 1483; at eighty years he married 
his first wife Jane, and in the space of thirty-two 
years bad but two children by her, both of them 
short-lived, the one live d but a month, the other but 

* This seems an undoubted proof of age. 




a^e Oi^ci 



r./r^ 









a few years. Being aged 120, he fell in love with 
Katherine Milton, by whom he had his last child. 
He lived to about 152 years. Two months before 
his death he was brought up by Thomas, Earl of 
Arundel, to Westminster ; he slept away most of 
his time. Change of air and diet, neither of 
which apparently agreed with him, added to the 
trouble of many spectators, are supposed to have 
hastened his death, which happened at Westmin- 
ster, No\'ember 
the 15th, 1635, 
and he was in- 
terred in the Ab- 
bey church. The 
portrait with in- 
scription which 
we annex, is 
copied from a 
ver)- old engrav- 
ing. 

There is a cu- 
rious story told 
of one Henry 
Jenkins, of the 
parish of Bolton, 
in Yorkshire, 
being produced 
as a witness 
at the assizes 
there, to prove a 
right of wa)- o\er 
a man's ground. 
He then swore to 
nearly 1 50 years' 
memory ; for 
at that time he 
said he well re- 
membered away 
over that ground. 
And being cau- 
tioned by the 
judge to beware 
what he swore, 
because there 
were two men 
in court, each 
above eighty 
years of age, who 
remembered no 
such way, he replied that, " Those men were boys 
to him." Upon which the judge asked those men 
how old they took Jenkins to be ? They said they 
did not know, but that he was a very old man when 
they were boys. Dr. Tancred Robinson adds con- 
cerning him that he could remember Henry VIII. 
and the fight at Flodden Field, at which time he 
was twelve years old. He died on the 8th of De- 
cember, 1670, at EUerton-upon-Swale, aged 169 
years. 



Of^^m or 7/ioms Par. t/ic 



30 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



an)itx& oi Piimanifw. 



The Spotted Negro Boy.— The spotted boy 
was born in 1808, in the island of St. Vincent. His 
father and mother were Africans, and both perfectly 
black. Not only the child's skin but his hair were 
spotted dark brown and white. Ho was brought to 
Bristol at the age of fiftceen months, when Richard- 
son entered into an engagement to exhibit him. 
The showman became very fond of the child, and 
had him christened George Alexander Grattan. 
He died before he reached his fifth year, and was 
buried at Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire. 

A Mountain of Fat. Lambert's Exhibi- 
tion ^WA..—" Exhibition. Mr. Daniel Lambert, 
of Leicester, the heaviest man that ever lived ; 
who, at the age of thirty-six years, weighs upwards 
of fifty stone (fourteen pounds to the stone), or 
eighty-seven stones four pounds, London weight, 
which is ninety-one pounds more than the great 
Mr. Bright weighed. Mr. Lambert will see com- 
pany at his house. No. 53, Piccadilly, next Albany, 
nearly opposite St. James's Church, from eleven to 
live o'clock. Tickets of admission one shilling 
each." The date of the bill is 1806. Lambert died 
suddenly on July the 21st, 1809; he went to bed 
in perfect health at night, and died early the next 
morning. 

In the year 171 1 there was brought to London a 
tall, black, wild man, who had been taken savage 
in the woods near Bengal in the East Indies ; he 
was stark naked, and he ran very swiftly ; he was 
covered all over the body, arms, and hands, with a 
very thick, long black hair ; could never learn to 
speak, read, nor write. He was sold to a company 
of rope-dancers, and learned of them to dance upon 
the straight rope with a pole in his hands. He 
outdid his masters in capering, and leaped upon a 
rope without a pole ; he walked upon a small rope 
no bigger than a penny cord, and swung on it, 
holding to it by his hands and toes. — Sloane 
MS., 5246. 

St. Jerome states that lic saw Scotchmen in the 
Roman armies in Gaul, who fed on human flesh as 
a delicacy. 

Cannibals who have tried both, assure us that 
white men are finer flavoured than negroes, and 
Englishmen than Frenchmen. — Langsdorff. 

The Human Body.— The muscles of the human 
Jaw exert a force of 534 lbs. The quantity of pure 
water which blood contains in its natural state is 
very great, it amounts to almost seven-eighths. 
Kiel estimates the surface of the lungs at 1 50 square 
feet, or ten times that of the external body. The 
blood is a fifth the weight of the body. A man is 
taller in the morning than at night to the extent of 
half an inch or more, owing to the relaxation of the 
cartilages. There is iron enough in the blood of 



forty-two men to make a ploughshare of twenty- 
four pounds or thereabouts. The human brain is 
the twenty-eighth part of the body, but in the horse 
the brain is not more than the four-hundredth. 



HEROISM OF A MAID-SERVANT. 

The following story of heroism in humble life, 
and in circumstances by no means calculated to 
inspire romantic feelings of devotion, is not sur- 
passed by any occurrence that we can recal to 
mind in the histories of princes and kingdoms. 
Nothing but real greatness of heart, combined 
with the most tender sympathy, can account for 
an act which is almost without a parallel. 

A common sewer, of great depth, had been 
opened at Noyon for purposes of repair, and was 
carelessly left unprotected during the night. Four 
men, passing that way in the dark, fell in, and 
it was near midnight before tho-ir perilous situation 
became known. Among all who crowded to the 
opening, not one was found courageous enough 
to descend to the assistance of the unfortunate 
wretches, who appeared already in a state of suf- 
focation from the poisonous vapour they were com- 
pelled to breathe. The wives and children of the 
men in vain besought the bystanders for aid, until 
Catherine Vasseur, the daughter of a French pea- 
sant, and at that time only seventeen years of age, 
appeared on the scene. Moved by sympathy, and 
careless of the danger to herself, the young girl 
insisted on being lowered into the sewer, and, 
having taken a rope with her for the purpose, 
she succeeded in fastening it round two of the 
men, and, assisted by those above, she had the 
happiness of restoring them to their wives and 
famihes. Again she descended, and now her 
breath began to fail her. She succeeded, how- 
ever, in fastening the rope round the body of a 
third man, and, in a fainting condition, had suf- 
ficient presence of mind to knot up the end with 
her own luxuriant tresses. We may imagine the 
astonishment of the dastardly fellows abofe when 
they drew the man to the surface, and found the 
all but inanimate body of Catherine swinging by 
her hair to the end of the rope. Fresh air and 
stimulants soon restored the brave girl, and the 
third man lived also ; the fourth perished. 

So great was the admiration excited by Catherine 
Vasseur's devotion, when the news spread through 
Noyon, that a solemn Te Deum was ordered by 
the bishop, and the members of the corporation 
marched in procession to the church. Nor was 
this all. The Duke of Orleans, the Bishop of 
Noyon, and the magistrates, tendered her the pubhc 
thanks of the town, and she was presented with a 
civic crown, and an emblematic medal commemo- 
rative of her heroism and self-devotion. 



THE WONBER OF THE ELECTR0-MAGNF:T. 



31 



SEA-DUST. 

People laughed at the man who said that the fish 
he had hooked "kicked up such a dust in the 
■water." Perhaps they will laugh at the heading 
to this article; but there will still be "sea-dust," 
nevertheless. 

We have heard of water-spouts, of showers of 
fish, of salt rain, and many other curiosities which 
present themselves in the atmosphere, but to 
assert that there is such a thing as sea-dust is to 
transcend all reasonable bounds. The evidence, 
however, in favour of its existence is exceedingly 
powerful — indisputable, in fact — and this is the story 
told by eye-witnesses. They say that in certain 
parts of the world, notably about the Cape do Verde 
Islands, there are constantly met at sea, several 
hundreds of miles away from land, thick, yellowish- 
red fogs, not unlike London fogs in November. 
These fogs obscure the atmosphere, and arc very 
injurious to navigation, but they have not the bale- 
ful odour of their London prototypes, nor do they 
affect the breathing in the same way. Whilst 
sailing through them, it is found that the ship, 
sails, and rigging are covered with a fine, impalp- 
able powder, which falls as dry rain, and covers 
the surface on which it falls sometimes to the depth 
of two inches. In colour, it is of a brick-dust hue, 
sometimes of a light yellow, and it feels between 
the teeth like fine grit, such as might be blown into 
the mouth on a windy day in March. No place 
is free from its presence, its fineness giving it 
power to penetrate everywhere. The sea, while 
the dust is falling, looks as though it had been 
peppered, and is discoloured for some distance 
down. Sometimes the dust comes in a shower, 
and passes off again. The fogs arc nothing but 
vast quantities of the dust suspended in the air. 

It is not only in the vicinity of the Cape de 
Verde that this wonderful dust is seen. In the 
Mediterranean, on the northern parts of Africa, in 
the middle of the Atlantic, it has been reported. 
It is invariably the same in kind and appearance, 
and examination under microscopes has proved 
the identity of say Cape de Verde sea-dust with 
Mediterranean sea-dust. All this is very remark- 
able: dust falling in clouds, no land within some 
hundreds of miles, nothing visible which could 
possibly account for the curious phenomenon. 
Sand-spouts there are in sandy deserts, and 
showers of sand taken originally from spots where- 
on the carrier wind has left its mark ; but here 
there is no desert from which the sand can be 
rapt, and the wind, so far from being boisterous, 
or disfK)scd to play whirlwind pranks, is light and 
steady, blowing ships along at a calm five knots 
an hour. 

In connection with these facts, hear what 
Humboldt says of the sight he saw in the dr>' river 



beds and sandy valleys of Central America;— 
"When beneath the vertical rays of the bright 
and cloudless sun of the tropics, the parched sward 
crumbles into dust, then the indurated soil cracks 
and bursts, as if rent asunder by some mighty 
earthquake ; and if at such a time two opposite 
currents of air, by conflict moving in rapid gyra- 
tions, come in contact with the earth, a singu- 
lar spectacle presents itself. Like funnel-shaped 
clouds, their apexes touching the earth, the sands 
rise in vapoury form through the rarefied air in 
the electrically charged centre of the whirling 
current, sweeping on like the rushing water-spouts 
which strike such terror into the hearts of the 
mariner. A dipt and sallow light gleams from the 
lowering sky over the dreary plain. The horizon 
suddenly contracts, and the heart of the traveller 
sinks with dismay as the wide steppe seems to 
close upon him on all sides. The hot and dusty 
earth forms a cloudy veil which shrouds the 
heavens from view, and increases the stifling op- 
pression of the atmosphere." 

It is believed by scientific men that these dust- 
clouds of Central America are, in all probability, 
closely connected with the phenomenon of sea-dust. 



THE WONDERS OF THE MAGNET.— II. 

In the early years of this century the study of 
magnetism received a mighty impulse, from the 
discovery of a Danish philosopher that the closest 
possible connection existed between electricity and 
magnetism. If a bar of soft iron be wrapped 
round with an insulated copper wire — that is, a wire 
covered with silk or cotton thread — and a current - 
of electricity be sent along it, the electric fluid is 
compelled to traverse the whole length of the wire, 
for the thread prevents each coil from touching 
its neighbour ; and as electricity of this species is 
incapable of running along either cotton or silk, 
and as incapable of leaping from one wire to the 
other if there be the least space between thom, 
the current is caused to circulate round the piece 
of iron, and when this is the case, the iron be- 
comes a strong magnet, and the moment the 
current ceases to run, that moment the iron also 




Fig. I. 



ceases to be a niagnet. Fig. r is an electro-magnet of 
the simplest form ; j « is the soft iron core, / and 
71 are the ends of the insulated wire, which is wound 
continuously on the iron bar. These cads W* 



32 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



attached to the first and last plate of a galvanic 
battery, and the instant the current traverses the 
wire, s n becomes a strong magnet. 

The more coils of wire wrapped round the bar, 
and the stronger the current, the stronger will be 
the magnet, up to a certain limit. 

Now there is another peculiarity about this mag- 
net. If it were suspended so that it could move 
freely, it would point north and south, precisely as 
a compass-needle ; and, moreover, a very few ex- 
periments will convince us that which end of the 
bar shall be the north pole entirely depends upon 
the direction in which the current goes round the 
iron core. If you take out your watch, and suppose 
that the pin upon which the hands are fixed is the 
end of the iron core, then if the current be passing 
round it in the direction in which the hands move 
— that is, from left to right — that end of the core 
will be the south pole. 

This may not at first sight appear to be very 
wonderful. But though the fact itself may not 
excite any great wonder, yet at least it is a step 
which will lead us to appreciate a truth which 
cannot but fill us with astonishment. 

Suppose, now, we extract the iron core from the 
electro-magnet, leaving the coil of wire, and suppose 




Fig, 2. 

we suspend it as in this illustration (Fig. 2), so that 
the coil is able to swing round with perfect ease. 

Two little cups, a and b, are supported as you 
see. The two ends of the wire coil are bent back, 
and brought away at the centre of it ; they are 
then carried up, and their extremities bent so as to 
dip into the cups, \vhich are filled with mercury. 
Each cup is connected with a wire, which is carried 
down the upright frame, to a screw in the base of 
the stand, where it meets the wire from the battery 
carrying the current. A glance will show you that 
by this contrivance the coil can have a current sent 
through it, and yet be able to swing round precisely 
as a suspended needle. Now let the current run, 



and what is the result? The coil behaves in all 
respects as if it were a magnet. A permanent 
magnet will attract one end and repel the other, 
and it will place itself north and south, just as a 
compass-needle. 

We need one other fact ere we can explain the 
wonder of magnetism. 

It is not a difficult thing to show that a wire 
which is conducting a current of electricity will 
attract another wire, which is also carrying a cur- 
rent in the same direction, whilst it will repel it if 
the current be going in the opposite direction. 
Thus we may say generally that if two currents of 
electricity are near each other, they will do all they 
can to induce each other to go in the same direc- 
tion. If the wires which carry the opposite cur- 
rents be free to move as they wish, one of them will 
turn completely round, so as to make the current 
which runs along it go in the same direction as 
that which traverses its neighbour. Here, then, is 
the explanation of magnetism : round every particle 
of iron runs an electric current. In a non-magne- 
tised piece of iron these currents are in utter dis- 
order, but the moment an electric current circulates 
all round the bar, this great current induces the 
myriads of tiny currents which are rushing round 
the particles of the iron all to go in the same direc- 
tion, and to look in the same way. 

When this piece of iron is then brought near 
another piece, it has the same effect upon all the 
native currents in this second piece — they all 
arrange themselves in the same direction. But 
since currents which are travelling in the same 
direction attract each other, so these pieces of iron, 
compelled by the currents, are drawn together. 

Now take a nail in your hand. It looks a dead, 
lifeless thing ; but docs it not become a wonderful 
thing when you know that it is quivering with 
electric life .■* Millions of electric currents, in mo- 
tion as swift as thought, are speeding round the 
innumerable particles which compose the nail. 

And herein w-e find a reason why compasses 
point to the north. Round the earth, above us, 
there in those quiet heavens, a current of electricity 
is moving in the same direction as the sun ; or it 
may be that our planet home is sailing in a sea of 
electric fluid, and by her own motion produces the 
current. Yet there is the current, and it influences 
every current which surrounds a magnet-needle, 
and induces it to place itself so that the minute 
current which circulates round the needle may be 
parallel to the mighty current which encircles the 
earth, and hence is it that all compass-needles 
point in the same direction. 

Now the reader will be able to understand why 
the great masses of that particular iron ore which 
is capable of being magnetised become "lodestone." 
The great current of the earth influences the mag- 
netisable mass, and it becomes magnetised. 



GIANTS 



33 




OLIVER CROMWELL'S PORIER. 



GIANTS. 

One of the earliest giants of whom we have any 
individual record is Og, the King of Bashan, so 
familiar to us from the mention of him in the 
Psalms; and he was, it seems, about nine feet high, 
although some Eastern legends have made him 
many miles in height. Ishbi-benob, Goliath, and 
the children of Anak are also mentioned in Scrip- 
ture as being of exceptional height ; Saul also must 
have been an immensely tall man, as the reader will 
find on referring to I. Sam. ix. 2; and even father 
Adam himself is represented by Rabbinical writers 
as of fabulous and extraordinary height. 

In heathen mythology, too. we find in the tales 

5 



of the Titans and the Cyclops a strong belief in 
giants. The Greeks, indeed, were very fond of 
making out all their heroes to be tall men, and 
Orestes was, on their authority, nearly twelve 
feet in height. The Greeks and Romans held also 
the belief, common to almost all nations, that they 
were but pigmies to the gigantic races which had 
preceded them ; and, indeed, if the human race 
had gone on degenerating as much as they sup- 
posed it to have done, we should by this time have 
been a race of the merest dwarfs. 

The earhest stories of giants in these islands tell 
of the bones of very tall men being discovered in 
various parts of the country, and of huge stone 
erections supposed tp be the work of giants, as 



34 



THE AVORLD OF WONDERS. 



■well as of giants' caves. Some instances of such 
things must be within the experience of every one. 
But the stories of gigantic heroes must ahvays bj 
received with caution, inasmuch as many ibssil 
remains have turned out on investigation by scien- 
tific men to be the bones of megatheria, and other 
antediUivian monsters, and not of human beings 
at all. 

Gog and Magog, the renowned giants of the City 
of London, are instances of that curious custom 
of all nations, which almost invariably associated 
giants with City pageants and with civic rule. We 
may mention here, by the way, that the original 
names of the two giants were Gogmagog and 
Corinffius, the first of these names now being 
divided and made to do duty for both figures. 
In this country, as* well as on the Continent, it 
was the custom to carry pasteboard giants in holi- 
day processions, and gigantic figures are placed 
in the halls of justice in many German towns, 
symbolical of the power of the municipality. 

Our modern nursery stories of giants, who are 
very useful in legendary fiction, seem to have been 
handed down to us from the very earliest ages. 
Jack the Giant-killer comes to us from Scandi- 
navia, as well as from Wales, and Jack and the 
Bean-stalk is only a reproduction of one of the 
beautiful myths of the weird mythology of the 
Norland. All these giants in old stories seem 
to have been made to s'ave for the weal of man- 
kind in a good-natured way ; and they were also 
represented as by no means impervious to softer 
feelings, and very ready to fall in love. There is 
a pathetic story of a Cornish giant who was in 
love with St. Agnes, and who was ordered by 
the cruel lady to fill a hole in the clifTs with his 
body. This hole opened into the sea, and the 
poor giant thus fell a victim to his unrequited at- 
tachment. 

No race of giants, in one sense of the word, how- 
ever, can be proved to exist. We know that the 
Egyptian mummies, in cases where the exact height 
can be ascertained, are the remains of people no 
taller than ourselves. The Patagonians are not so 
tall as many travellers have asserted, their average 
height, according to a recent and reliable authority, 
being between six and seven feet. 

We have spoken before of the mental charac- 
teristics of giants, and it is curious to find them 
very often deficient in courage. An amusing in- 
stance of this occurred when an empress of Austria, 
for the gratification of an odd fancy, had all the 
giants and dwarfs in her empire assembled together. 
It was at first thought that it would be necessary 
to protect the dwarfs against the giants, but pre- 
cisely the opposite course turned out to be required. 
The dwarfs bullied and teased the giants to such 
an extent that the big men had to be protected by 
sentinels from their tiny persecutors. 



Oliver Cromwell had a giant porter, whose sur- 
name is not on record, but whose Christian name 
was Daniel. This Daniel was a great student ; 
he especially loved mystical works, and these are 
supjosed to have sent him mad. He was many 
yc.irs in Bedlam, and as there was no chance of a 
cure for him, he was allowed to have his library 
there. He had a Bible given him by Nell Gwynne. 
Daniel used to preach, and, as has been reported, 
with great zeal and fervour. Our illustration shows 
him standing at the gate reading his Bible, un- 
moved by the jeers of the mocking band of Cavaliers 
in front of him. 

A still more curious whim than that of the 
Austrian empress, was the fancy of Frederick 
William of Prussia to make what might fairly be 
called a regiment of giants. None of the soldiers 
in this corps of guards were less than seven feet 
high, and a king of Poland, who was of a fair 
height, could only reach the chin of one of them 
with his outstretched arm. Cornelius Magrath 
was a very famous Irish giant who flourished in 
the middle of the last century, and concerning 
whose origin there is a curious story told. He was 
seven feet eight inches high, and it is said that 
Bishop Berkeley had found him when an orphan 
child, and brought him up on certain dietary prin- 
ciples with a ^•iew of inducing an abnormal height. 
It is probable, however, that the Bishop had only 
benevolent intentions, and no idea of any artificial 
production of a giant. 

Another celebrated Irish giant was Charles 
O'Brien, who measured eight feet four inches. 
The way in which he advertised himself was very 
amusing, heaping laudatory epithets upon himself 
in a thoroughly Hibernian manner. O'Brien was 
in great fear lest the surgeons of the period should 
get hold of his body, and at his death he desired to 
be thrown into the sea. The doctors, however, 
were too wary for him, and it is said that William 
Hunter, the anatomist, gave upwards of five 
hundred pounds for his body— certainly an enormous 
sum. O'Brien was also the assumed name of one 
Patrick Cotter, another gigantic Irishman, who 
used to light his pipe at the street-lamps in North- 
ampton. 

Big Sam was the sobriquet of a gigantic Scotch- 
man who was porter to George IV., and used to 
look over the gates of Carlton House; being, 
according to some accounts, nearly eight feet high. 

Of the giants who have appeared in our own 
day, we must notice Joseph Brice, a Frenchman, 
who was seven feet seven inches high, and after 
exhibiting himself on his own account in 1863, was 
brought out as " Anak," by Professor Anderson, a 
few years afterwards. Chang Woo Gow, the 
Chinese giant, appeared about the same time, and 
at the age of nineteen was seven feet nine inches 
in height. 



WONDERS OF THE OCEAN. 



35 



CURIOUS CUSTOMS. 

BEATING THE BOUNDS. 

The Christian custom of perambulating parishes 
in Rogation Week appears to have been derived 
from a still older pagan observanca " Before the 
Reformation these parochial perambulations were 
conducted with great ceremony," says " The Book 
of Days." " The lord of the manor, with a large 
banner, priests in surplices and with crosses, and 
other persons with banners, hand-bells, and staves, 
followed by most of the parishioners, walked in 
procession round the parish, stopping at crosses, 
forming crosses on the ground, ' saying or singing 
gospels to the corn,' and allowing ' drinkings and 
good cheer,' which was remarkable, as the Rogation 
days were appointed fasts. From the different 
practices observed on the occasion, the custom 
received the various names of processioning, roga- 
tio>i{iig, perambulating, and gauging the bounda- 
ries; and the week in which it was observed was 
called Rogation Week [from the Latin Rogarc, to 
beseech] ; Cross Week, because crosses were borne in 
the processions ; Grass Week, because the Rogation 
days being fasts, vegetables formed the chief por- 
tion of diet." 

At the Reformation a homily was prepared Tor 
the occasion, and the rector, vicar, or curate, and 
the substantial men of the parish, were to walk 
about the parishes, and on their return to the 
church pray together. 

Persons beating bounds were to be justiiied in 
going over the old ground, utterly regardless of 
the wishes of the owners of the property over which 
they walked. If a canal were cut through the 
boundary of a parish, some one must pass through 
it ; or if a house had been built on the line, it 
must be entered and walked through. A house in 
Buckinghamshire still exists with an oven passing 
over the boundary. A boy generally was placed 
inside ; but on one occasion the oven was found 
full of fagots — in fact, in a very advanced state for 
the process of baking. Finally, after frightening 
several boys by asking them to take up the usual 
position, the officers made one of them scramble 
over the top, and the boundary right was con- 
sidered upheld. 

At the beginning of this century, as the bounds 
were being beaten in the parish of St. George's, 
Hanover Square, a nobleman's carriage, empty, was 
standing upon the boundary line. The principal 
churchwarden ordered the coachman to move on a 
little, but he persisted in his right to remain where 
his master had ordered him. The churchwarden 
(who was himself a nobleman) opened the carriage 
door and coolly walked through, followed by the 
whole procession, amongst which were not only 
sweeps, scavengers, shoe-blacks, &c., but roughs of 
the worst description. 



Moniicrs of tlje <i)tm\\. 

THE SARGASSO SEA. 

There is a sea in the middle of the ocean! As- 
tonishing as the statement sounds, it is literally 
true. The limits of the sea are as well defined as 
those of any other known collection of water ; its 
characteristics are so special that no one can mis- 
take them. 

When Columbus, on his first voyage, had got 
some distance to the westward of the Canary 
Islands, he- was amafed one morning to find his 
ships in an undulating meadow. As far as he 
could see, the water was covered with a greenish- 
yellow plant, which appropriated the surface of the 
sea as thoroughly and effectually as water-lilies 
cover a pond. The wind was light but steady ; there 
were not any birds to indicate the proximity of land, 
neither was there any apparent cause for such a 
collection of weed. The sailors, already scared by 
the persistence of the wind from one quarter — they 
had got into the trade-winds — looked upon the weed 
before them, behind them, and on either side of 
them, as infallible proof of their imminent des- 
truction. The Almighty, they said, was angry at 
their impious attempts to pry into his secrets in 
the west, and had given them over to the devil, 
who was causing a wind to blow that would for 
ever prevent their return to Spain, and now had 
brought them into a snare such as sailors most 
dread — shallows extending too far beyond the land 
to allow of ships or men being saved. The com- 
mander could not. explain the sight he saw, and 
might have thought with his men that the weed 
was the cast-off clothing of some dangerous rocks 
which lay a short distance down, ready to tear and 
rend them. The deep sea lead-line was hove, but 
no bottom was found. The ships kept on their 
westerly course, still sounding and still getting no 
bottom, till, in a few days they drew clear of the 
weed and came where the broad ocean was all 
around them again, unencumbered by aught but 
the ships of the explorers. 

Ever since the day Columbus saw the weed, and 
probably for thousands of years before he saw it, 
the Sargasso Sea — such is the name of the weedy 
sea — has existed. Its boundaries may be indicated 
by tracing a triangle, of which the three corners 
are represented by the Azores, the Canaries, and 
Cape de Verde. Within those limits the sea is 
still bottomless, and is clothed on its surface with 
a garment of vegetable material, so thick as Xo 
retard the progress of vessels sailing through it. 
Steamers avoid it when they can do so, because 
of the fouling of their screws and paddles by the 
weed ; but sailing-vessels outward bound to the 
West Indies, South America, the Cape, &c., must 
needs pass through it. Sometimes a great storm, 
proceeding from some point outside the charmed 



3« 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



triangle, causes its effects to be felt within the tri- 
angle, and scatters the weed more or less out of 
bounds. But usually there is a placid condition of 
things in the Sargasso Sea : the wind is light, the 
sky is clear, the water never rages, and, unless 
such a storm as has been mentioned should dis- 
turb the wonted calmness of the sea, the surface, 
over several degrees of latitude and longitude, is 
covered, as in the day when Columbus saw it, with 
the weed Sargassum, which springs from an ap- 
parently inexhaustible source. 



CURIOUS RHYMES. 

Rhymes auout the Cuckoo. — 
In April 

The cuckoo shows his bill : 
In May 

He is singing all day ; 
In June 

He changes his tune ; 
In July 

He prepares to fly ; 
In August 
Fly he must. 



Curious Stanzas on Nail-Cutting. — 
A man had better ne'er been born. 
Than have his nails on a Sunday shorn. 
Cut them on Monday, cut them for health ; 
Cut them on Tuesday, cut them for wealth ; 
Cut them on Wednesday, cut them for news ; 
Cut them on Thursday for a pair of new shoes ; 
Cut them on Friday, cut them for sorrow ; 
Cut them on Saturday, see your sweetheart 
morrow. 



to- 



A Curious Will.— The following last will and 
testament was proved on the 5th of July, 1737 : — 
This fifth day of May, 
Being airy and gay. 
To hip not inclined. 
But of vigorous mind. 
And my body in health, 
I'll dispose of my wealth ; 
And of all I'm to have 
On this side of the grave 
To some one or other, 
I think to my brother. 
But because I foresaw 
That my brothers-in-law. 
If I did not take care. 
Would come in for a share, 
Which I noways intended 
Till their manners were mended — 
And of that there's no sign — 
I do therefore enjoin. 
And strictly command. 
As witness my hand, 



That nought I have got 

Be brought to hotch-pot ; 

And I give and devise 

Much as in me lies 

To the son of my mother, 

My own dear brother. 

To have and to hold 

All my silver and gold. 

As the affectionate pledges 

Of his brother, John Hedges. 



WONDERFUL NATURAL PROVISION. 

In the struggle for life which is going on per- 
petually throughout the whole of the animal crea- 
tion, it is interesting to observe the wonderful 
provisions which Nature makes for the preserva- 
tion of the weaker and more helpless animals. 
In many cases the colour of the creature is adapted 
in a wonderful way to its mode of living and place 
of concealment, and contributes very materially 
to its safety. We know how difficult it is to dis- 
tinguish the grasshopper from the leaf or blade 
where he is resting, till he betrays himself by 
moving. The birds that sing in the hedge-rows 
have feathers on their backs which harmonise w ith 
the colour of the leaves about which they flit, while 
the feathers on their breasts borrow the white hue 
of the clouds above them. The partridge can 
hardly be distinguished from the stubble where it 
makes its nest, while in northern countries, the 
winter dress of the hare and ptarmigan is white, 
like the snow among which they are seen. The 
same is the case with the inhabitants of the water. 
The frogs which live in the pools and muddy 
ditches are known to vary their colour according 
to the nature of the sand or mud among which 
they live. The tree-frog, on the other hand, is 
green, and thus is with difficulty distinguished from 
the trees to which it adheres. Fish, especially those 
which inhabit fresh water, are so like in colour to 
the weeds and stones among which they lie, that it 
is often very difficult to detect their presence. 

One of the most wonderful instances of nature's 
care in providing for the protection of the more de- 
fenceless creatures is found in the apparatus for 
defence with which the cuttle-fish is furnished. 
As soon as its quick eyes catch a glimpse of an 
approaching enemy, knowing the impossibility of 
saving itself by flight, it prepares at once to seek 
safety in concealment. With this object, it sinks 
downwards, and throws out from a vessel with 
which it is provided a black stream of inky fluid. 
This entirely surrounds and conceals it, and as it 
takes a considerable time to disperse, the enemy 
is generally baffled ; if, however, the cuttle-fish is 
still in danger, it pours out another flood of ink, 
and remains quiet until the peril is past. 



WONDERFUL WOMEN, 



37 




THE FEMALE PIRATES. (FROM AN OLD I'RINT.) 



oitberful ^omeit. 



THE FEMALE PIRATES. 

The number of pirates who infested the Spanish 
Main in the early part of last century was so 
large that it can hardly appear wonderful that two 
women should be found among them, of the same 
lawless and daring character. Yet the story of the 
two female pirates — Mary Read, and Anne Bonny, 
is sufficiently remarkable to claim a place in our 
pages, and especially as we are able to give por- 
traits of them, copied from an engraving published 
at the time they lived — viz., about one hundred and 
fifty years ago. 

Mary Read was born in England. Her mother, 
who was married to a sailor, gave birth to a son 
soon after her husband had departed on a voyage, 
from which he never returned. When the child 
was about a year old, his mother left her husband's 
relations, and went to reside for a time with her 
own friends. The boy soon afterwards died, but 
his mother finding herself in need of assistance, 
took a little girl, the heroine of our story, dressed 
her up in boy's clothes, and passed her off on her 
husband's mother as her son. The deception was 
successful, and the widow was assisted with a weekly 
allowance, to ensure the continuance of which it was 
necessary that the girl, whose name was Mary, should 
pass for a boy so long as the old woman lived. 

Mary was thirteen years of age when the old 



woman died, and being accustomed to her attire, 
she was not disposed to change it for the apparel 
proper to her sex. She first took a situation as 
foot-boy to wait on a French lady, then entered 
herself on board a man-of-war ; after quitting 
which, she went to Flanders and carried arms in a 
regiment of foot as a cadet. Failing to get a com- 
mission, she changed to the cavalry, and displayed 
such courage as to win the esteem of her officers. 
Her promising career, however, was now cut short 
by a circumstance which has often changed the 
fate of men and kingdoms — she fell in love with her 
comrade, and having made him acquainted with 
the secret of her life, they pledged troth, and when 
the campaign was over were publicly married. Her 
husband, however, lived only a short time, and on 
his death, finding herself penniless, she resolved to 
resume her old manner of life ; so putting on man's 
apparel, she went to Holland and joined a regi- 
ment of foot. But she was impatient of promotion, 
and finding herself one day near the coast, she 
seized the opportunity of embarking in a ship bound 
for the West Indies. It happened that this ship 
was taken by English pirates, who kept Mary 
amongst them, but soon afterwards took advantage 
of a Royal proclamation to surrender themselves, 
and live quietly ashore. This they did so long as 
money was plentiful ; but after awhile, hearing that 
Captain Woods Rogers, governor of the island of 
Providence, was fitting out privateers to cruise 
against the Spaniards, Mary, with several of her 



38 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



comrades, embarked for that island, resolved to 
make a fortune one way or other. 

We now come to the most extraordhiary part of 
Mary's story. Some of the pri^'ateer crews, who 
had been pardoned for piracy, rose against their 
commanders almost as soon as they had sailed 
from port, and took to their old trade. In this 
number was Mary Read, though she afterwards 
declared that she had always abhorred the life of a 
pirate, and had resolved to quit it whenever the 
opportunity should offer. If she really felt this 
repugnance, it was not for want of courage, as no 
man in the crew with which she sailed was c\'er 
more ready to seize the boarding-pike, or undertake 
any hazardous adventure. 

Anne Bonny was born in the County Cork, where 
her father was an attorney. He deserted his home, 
and emigrated to Carolina, taking Anne with him. 
Here she incurred his displeasure by marrying 
against his will ; and being turned out of doors, 
found her way to the island of Providence, where 
she made the acquaintance of a pirate captain 
named Rackam. On board his ship she fell in with 
Mary Read, who soon found it necessary to reveal 
to her the secret of her life. It was natural, after 
this, that the two women should be often together, 
and this intimacy excited the jealousy of Captain 
Rackam, who was so violent that he would have 
killed Mary if her secret had not been discovered 
to him also. They then continued their cruise in 
harmony, and captured a great number of ships 
belonging to Jamaica, and other parts of the West 
Indies, bound to and from England. 

Between this period and the capture of the pirate 
ship, an incident occurred which shows in a striking 
manner the courage and devotion of which Mary 
Read was capable. Among the captives taken by 
the pirate captain was a gentleman of such attrac- 
tive manners that Mary could not help falling in 
love with him. It happened that he had a quarrel 
with one of the crew, when the ship was lying at 
anchor, and a time was appointed for the two 
men to go ashore and fight it out. Mary would 
not on any account have seen the man she loved 
shrink from danger, yet she could hardly doubt 
that his chance against her shipmate would be very 
slight. She accordingly made an occasion for 
quarrelling with the pirate, some two hours before 
the time appointed for his duel, and fighting him 
with sword and pistol, left him dead. 

When the pirate ship was attacked by one of 
His Majesty's ships, and came to close' quarters, 
only one besides Mary Read and Anno Bonny 
kept the deck. So gallant was Mary, that she called 
down to Rackam and his crew, when they fled to the 
hold, to come up and fight like men ; and finding no 
response, she fired down amongst them, killing 
one and wounding others. On being asked by one 
of Rackam's prisoners what pleasure she could 



have in being concerned in such enterprises, when 
her life was continually in danger by fire or sword, 
and not only so, but she must be sure of dying an 
ignominious death if she should be taken alive, she 
answered that as to hanging, she thought it no 
great hardship ; for were it not for that, every 
cowardly fellow would turn pirate, and so infest 
the seas that men of courage must starve. Anne 
Bonny also showed her courage to the last. The 
pirate captain having been admitted to see her, by 
special favour, on the day he was to be executed, she 
told him contemptuously that "if he had fought like 
a man he need not have been hanged like a dog." 
About their ultimate fate there is great uncer- 
tainty. They were both condemned to be hung, 
but Mary Read died in prison, and Anne Bonn)-, 
having been respited from time to time, also 
escaped execution ; but what punishment she re- 
ceived, and %\hat became of her afterwards, is not 
on record. In taking leave of them, one can but 
wonder and lament that qualities so admirable in 
all, but more particularly in a woman, as courage 
and endurance, should be capable of the perversion 
which this story illustrates. 



—  — 

The Floating Island on Derwentwater. — 
As a result of the long-continued and unprece- 
dented drought in the lake district, that periodical 
phenomenon, the floating island, has again made 
its appearance on Derwentwater, in the neighbour- 
hood of Lodore, its size being considerably larger 
than usual. For a few inches in depth it is com- 
posed of a clayey matter, apparently deposited by 
the water in which the growing plants have fixed 
their roots. The rest is a mass of decayed vege- 
table matter, forming a stratum of loose peat-earth 
about six feet in thickness, which rises from a 
stratum of fine soft clay. A considerable quantity 
of air is contained in the body of the island, and 
may be discharged by probing the earth with a 
pole. It is nearly half an acre in extent, and its 
appearance is indicative of an extraordinarily hot 
season. — From the " Times" July 2^/1, 1868. 

A Green Rose.— A writer, " H. A. B.," in A'oiei 
and Queries some years since, made the following 
statement regarding a wonderful rose; — "When in 
Baltimore, Maryland, y.S., in the year 1852, I saw 
two or three young rose-trees, each bearing green 
roses. This was in a nursery garden. I should 
have procuied a plant had not the gardener (who 
came from Scotland) assured mc he had seen the 
same rose in the old country. As it is, I only 
possess a dried specimen of one of the flowers ; it 
is a moderate-sized root, with a faint smell." 

At Kingston-on-Thames, soil brought up from a 
depth of 360 feet, and then covered with a hand- 
glass, exhibited speedy vegetation. 



WONDERFUL DOGS. 



39 



In the finest weather hardly a quarter of an hour 
passes in an American forest, when, if one listens, 
a tree is not heard to fall. — Head's " Forest Scenes 
in North America." 

Thistles in the Pampas are ten feet high, and 
clover rises four or five feet. Marigolds and camo- 
miles in North Africa grow to four or five feet ; 
the rhododendron grows thirty feet in India. 



WONDERFUL DOGS. 

" Love me, love my dog," says the proverb ; and, 
indeed, there is no animal which succeeds in win- 
ning for himself the affection of man, and thus 
earning, as it were, a sort of claim to his indiA'i- 
duality, so completely as the dog does. We have 
collected together here a few instances of that 
wonderful sagacity which is their most especial 
characteristic ; some of the stories are so remark- 
able that we have been careful to give the sources 
from which they are taken. 

From Bell's Weekly Messenger of the 23rd of 
October, 1803, we extract the following proof of 
the sagacity of the bloodhound :— " The Thrapston 
Association for the Prosecution of Felons in 
Northamptonshire have provided and trained a 
bloodhound for the detection of sheep-stealers. 
To prove the utility of the hound, the 28th ult. 
was appointed for the purpose of exercising it. 
The person he was to hunt started at ten o'clock 
in the forenoon, in the presence of a great concourse 
of people, and at eleven the hound was let loose ; 
when, after a chase of an hour and a half, notwith- 
standing a very indifferent scent, the hound found 
him secreted on a tree at the distance of fifteen 
miles." 

A curious story of a mastiff, the comical ending 
of which reminds us very much of the boy in 
Cowper's poem, is told in the London Magazine 
for July, 1734: — "A bachelor, who lived alone in 
a little house about two miles from a market town, 
had trained up a mastiff to carry a basket to the 
butcher's, and return with the meat he wrote for in 
a piece of paper, which was placed in the basket. 
The dog, in passing through the village, was often 
attacked by the curs belonging to it. For a long 
time he managed to elude his assailants, and car- 
ried his meat triumphantly to his master. At 
length, all the dogs in the neighbourhood com- 
bined to plunder him, and on one luckless day 
the whole posse fell upon him. He defended his 
trust long and bravely, but finding at last that 
he was powerless against so many, he gave over 
fighting, and helped his assailants to demolish the 
spoil. He 'shared in the plunder, but (doubtless) 
pitied the man.' " 

A Mr. Moore, of Windsor, wrote to some friends 
in the north of England, to obtain a well-bred grey- 



hound, to oblige one of the keepers of Windsor 
Great Park, for the purpose of killing fawns in the 
season. The application was successful, and the 
greyhound was sent to London by wagon. It 
arrived safely in Bishopsgate Street, and from thence 
was conveyed to the Belle Sauvagc upon Ludgate 
Hill, where it was delivered to the driver of a 
Windsor caravan, and reached the place of destina- 
tion in safety. The dog was kept in-doors for two 
days, and paid every possible attention by the 
family. At the end of that time it was left free, and 
in less than forty-eight hours was nowhere to be 
found. A few days after, Mr. Moore received a 
letter with intelligence that the dog had reached the 
place of its former residence, in Yorkshire, before 
the return of the wagon by which he was originally 
sent to London. 

Dr. Anderson relates the following remarkable 
instance of sagacity in a shepherd's dog. The 
owner himself, he says, had been hanged for sheep- 
stealing, and the following fact respecting the dog 
came out and was authenticated by evidence upon 
his trial. When the man meant to steal some sheep, 
he did not do it himself, but detached the dog to 
perform the business. With this end in view, under 
pretence of looking at the sheep with intent to 
purchase, he went through the flock with the dog at 
his feet, to whom he secretly gave a signal so as to 
let him know the individuals he wanted, to the 
number of perhaps twenty out of some hundreds ; 
he would then go away, and at the distance of 
several miles send back the dog by himself, in the 
night-time. The dog would single out the sheep 
previously pointed out to him, and drive them home 
before him to his master. 

Our last extract is a remarkable instance of a 
man's gratitude to his dog for faithful services. It 
is from the will of Samuel Trevithuan, of the 
parish of Padstow, in Cornwall, carpenter, dated 
Nov. 26th, 1729. The will is now in the Registry 
of the Consistorial Couit of the Bishop of 
Exeter; — 

" Item. — I do give unto my dear wife or my daugh- 
ter, or to whose hands soever he may come, one shil- 
ling and sixpence weekly, for the well-treating my 
old dog, that has been my companion through thick 
and thin almost these fifteen years. The first time 
that ever he was observed to bark was when that 
great eclipse was seen, April 22nd, 1715. I say, I 
do give one shilling and sixpence a week, during 
his life, for his well-meating, fire in the winter, and 
fresh barley-straw now and then, to be put in his 
old lodging, in the middle cage, in the old kitchen, 
to be paid out of my chattel estate, and forty shil- 
lings a year that I reserved to make me a freeman 
of the county ; desiring and requiring all people 
and persons whomsoever, not to hurt or kill him 
that hath been so good a servant of a dog, for sense 
and tractableness to admiration." 



40 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



YEAST, A PLANT. 

It will surprise many persons to be told that yeast is 
a plant. Without doubt, a very small number of 
those who are constantly using it for purposes of 
fermentation have ever looked at it in that light. 
To the ordinary observer it is nothing more in 
appearance than a thick creamy froth, which makes 
the bread rise and the beer work ; but to the man 
of science, examining it with the aid of a micro- 
scope, it reveals itself as the simplest form of a large 
and very interesting class of plants. The yeast- 
plant is, in fact, a species of fungus. It is the 
simplest form of those growths of which moulds 
and mildews on the one hand, puff-balls, mush- 
rooms, and truffles (these last being simply sub- 
terranean puff-balls) on the other, are the more 



suspected except by the botanist. Gardeners arc 
aware that the productiveness of their mushroom - 
beds is dependent on the healthy development of a 
mass of " spawn," of which mushrooms are the 
fruit ; but most persons are ignorant that the toad- 
stools upon rotten wood are the mere indications ot 
an invisible but widely-spreading spawn carrying 
destruction in the form of dry-rot as it extends itself 
among the fibres of the wood. Again, the appear- 
ance of moulds or mildews upon preserved vegetable 
substances or liquids is an indication that the mis- 
chief is far advanced ; for these are but the fruits 
of the fungus, which it only bears when arrived at 
maturity. 

It seems to be an established law of nature that 
the weakest should go to the wall, and thus «e find 
that mould always attacks plants of a weak and 





Fig. 2. 



Fig- 3-' 



highly organised kinds. Yeast, and the vinegar 
plant or " mother " as it is sometimes called, are 
the forms in which it vegetates under various cir- 
cumstances when well supplied with food. Mildew 
is its fruit, formed on the surfaces exposed to the 
air at certain periods, like the flowers and seeds of 
the higher plants, to enable it to diffuse itself 
throughout nature. The seeds, or spores as they are 
called, from which all these plants are developed, 
are so minute that they are constantly wafted about 
by every current of air, and deposited in every spot 
of earth where they can find a resting-place. 
When once rooted their powers of growth are so 
rapid, that acres of land have been known to be 
covered over by them in a single night. Tliey are 
extremely tenacious of life, and exhibit considerable 
powers of resisting frost as well as extreme heat ; 
the experiment having been tried of subjecting some 
of them to the heat of boiling water without in 
the least impairing their powers of germination. 

It is frequently the case that these plants are 
even \vell developed when their presence is hardly 



unhealthy nature in preference to others, just as 
animals in a sickly state are often attacked by 
parasites, from which when in health they are free. 
In the same way deep-coloured roses are more liable 
to mildew than those of a more subdued tint ; the 
colour in this case being a sign of constitutional 
weakness, indicating as it does a want of power to 
decompose carbonic acid, one of the most indis- 
pensable of vital functions in the vegetable king- 
dom. 

The illustration gives an idea of the beautiful 
appearance and diversity of form assumed by some 
of the most minute kinds of fungus or mould found 
growing on our common articles of food, or vege- 
table substances in general, when viewed through a 
microscope. Fig. i represents the mildew found 
growing on the stem of a plant. Fig. 2 is the 
mould found growing on cheese, bread, &c. Fig. 3 
is the mould usually found on decaying vegetable 
substances. This last is the fungus which produced 
such wide-spread destruction among our potato 
crops some few years ago. 



THE MAN WITH THE IRON MASK. 



41 



THE MAN WITH THE IRON MASK. 



The man with the iron mask ! Yes, there was 
such a man, who endured not for a month or so, 
not for a few years only, but for forty-two years, 
a close imprisonment, during the whole of which 
time he wore, without once removing it, an iron 
mask that effectu- 
ally disguised his 
identity. It was 
never known who 
he was, nor did 
any grave suspi- 
cion rest upon any 
one as being the 
man. Not the 
slightest clue has 
ever been obtained 
as to the history 
cf the mysterious 
stranger. The 

closest scrutiu) 
has been baffled, 
the most diligent 
search foiled, in 
the attempt to fa- 
thom the most 
singular historical 
mystery that has 
ever presented it- 
self 

Cardinal Maza- 
rin, who had fol- 
lowed out Riche- 
lieu's policy, 
though bydififerent 
means, died in 
1 65 1. Several 
months after his 
death there was 
sent to the Isle 
.SainteMarguerite, 
in the Mediterra- 
nean, off the coast 
of Provence, an 
unknown prisoner. 
This prisoner was 

young, in stature above the average height, and of 
a handsome, noble figure. On the journey he wore 
a mask of iron, the lower part of which was fur- 
nished with steel springs that allowed of his eating 
without ever taking off his mask. The orders to 
his guard were to kill him if he made known who 
he was. He remained at the island for twenty- 
nine years, a close prisoner, and was then removed 
secretly to the Bastilc in Paris. 

Though secluded so carefully, and guarded so 
specially, it was clear to all who came in contact 
6 




THE MAN WITH THE IRO.N MASK. 



with him that he was a person of very great im- 
portance. His rooms were handsomely furnished, 
he was served with the greatest respect possible, 
the governor of the castle himself waited upon him 
at meals, and never sat down without permission 
in his presence. His taste for elegant furnishings 
to his table, for fine linen and lace, was gratified 
to the utmost, and every facility was given him to 

make his rigorous 
confinement as 
light as possible. 
He amused him- 
self frequently with 
a guitar. To give 
some idea of the 
importance of the 
prisoner, it may be 
said that the Mar- 
quis of Louvois, 
Louis the Four- 
teenth's prime mi- 
nister, waited upon 
him before his re- 
moval from the 
Isle Sainte Mar- 
guerite, to the 
Bastile, and at all 
the interviews he 
had withhim never 
once sat down. 

Shortly after he 
was brought to the 
isle he scratched 
some words with 
a knife on a silver 
l)latc,andflungthe 
plate out of his 
prison window to 
.a spot where he 
saw a fisherman's 
boat moored to 
the bank near the 
foot of his prison 
tower. The fisher- 
man took up the 
plate and carried 
it to the governor 
of the castle. The 
governor, greatly astonished and much concerned, 
inquired if the man had read the writing, and 
whether any one but himself had seen it. The 
fisherman declared he could not read, and that no 
one else had seen the pl.ate, which he had only just 
found. It was not until the governor had satis- 
fied himself beyond a doubt that these were facts, 
that he let the man go, saying, as he released him, 
" It is well for you that you do not know how to read." 
A doctor who attended the man with the iron 
mask during his incarceration in the Bastilc, said 



42 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



that though he had long waited upon him, he had 
never seen his face, but his tongue and all the 
rest of his body he had seen, and that he was 
admirably formed. Never did this man complain 
of his condition ; never did he let fall a word by 
which it might be known who he was. 

M. de Chamillart, Minister of State, was thelast 
minister who possessed a knowledge of this mystery. 
When he was dying, his son-in-law, the Marechal 
de la Feuilladc, begged him on his knees to tell 
him who " the Man " was. The dying minister re- 
fused, saying it was a state secret, ^v•hich he had 
sworn never to reveal. 

In 1703 "the Man in the iron mask" died, having 
spent forty -two years of his life in prison. He was 
buried at night, still disguised in his mask, and 
there was no one to say who or what he had been. 
At the time of his first imprisonment there was 
not missed from Europe any one of note, such 
as " the Man " would seem to have been, nor has 
any clue been found, either directly or indirectly, to 
the history of this remarkable being. Suggestions 
there have been in plenty, but all wide of the mark. 
The secret of Mazarin's — if Mazarin's it was — has 
hitherto been shrouded in an impenetrable veil, 
which all the ingenuity of historians and bio- 
graphers has been unable to lift. Who shall solve 
the mystery? A century and a half have rolled 
away since the great liberator. Death, freed the 
captive from his prison, and no voice has been 
found to declare either his name or his genera- 
tion. Should time eventually reveal them, it must 
still remain a wonder of the world that ever there 
should have been a prisoner who was a party, as it 
were, to his own captivity ; who never complained 
of the treatment which he received at his gaoler's 
hands ; never was known to murmur at his mys- 
terious lot ; never, except in the case of the plate, 
tried to reveal himself; never attempted to escape ; 
was kind and gentle to all who approached him, 
and whose imprisonment was yet so rigorous as not 
only to seclude him wholly from the outer world, 
but to require as one of the conditions of the 
prisoner's existence, that he should live and die an 
imknovvn man, hidden from the sight of his fellow- 
creatures by the hideous device of an iron mask. 



WONDERS OF DREAMLAND. 

Many are the wonders of dreamland, of which we 
can here only record a few remarkable examples. 
In a large class of dreams it is certain that the 
persons or things seen have been previously well 
known to the dreamer, but, perhaps, not lately 
thought of If, according to the philosophy gene- 
rally received, such appearances are nothing but the 
recollected images of the persons or objects seen, 
they are still wonderful. A beloved and long-lost 



friend suddenly appears in a dream, so like the 
waking reality that it is impossible to distinguish 
between the sensations caused by them respec- 
ti\-el\-. This being so, wc may well speak of such 
things as " wonders," be the explanation of them 
what it may. 

Abercrombie treats of dreams as hallucina- 
tions, and in support of his opinion relates the 
following : — " An eminent medical friend having 
sat up late one evening, under considerable anxiety 
about one of his children who was ill, fell asleep 
in his chair, and had a frightful dream, in which 
the prominent figure was an immense baboon. He 
awoke with the fright, got up instantly, and walked 
to a table which was in the middle of the room. 
He was then quite awake, and quite conscious of 
the articles around him ; but close by the wall, at 
the end of the apartment, he distinctly saw the 
baboon making the same grimaces which he had 
seen in his dream. The spectre continued visible 
for about half a minute." 

If the dreamer, in this instance, had ever seen 
a balaoon making similar grimaces, the spectre 
would justly be called a recollected image ; but it 
is still wonderful that such an image should sud- 
denly start into existence, like the living thing 
itself If he had never seen a baboon under similar 
conditions, but only a picture of one, it is still more 
wonderful that the picture, after having been for- 
gotten perhaps for years, should in an instant 
assume the form and substance of a living creature, 
and in all respects act as if alive. Look at such 
phenomena as we will, they are, to say the least, 
marvellous. To assume that they can easily be 
explained by the association of ideas, is only to 
urge one mystery in explanation of another. 

A second wonder of dreamland is that of the 
transformation or substitution of one set of ideas 
for another ; but in such a way, that the new images 
are the actual product of the old. One night, for 
example, the writer dreamed that he was walking 
by the side of a river, and saw a fair young girl 
taken out of the water and laid upon the bank. 
She was dead, but her beautiful blue eyes were 
wide open, and were fixed upon him, as he thought, 
with a steadfast gaze. The intensity of the feeling . 
thus excited caused him to wake, and after a few 
moments' reflection, he was able to trace this dream 
to its origin. Immediately before going to bed he 
had heard the mouse-trap in the pantry shut down 
with a click, and wishing to set it again, he had 
drowned the mouse in a pail of water, and had 
afterwards shaken it out of the trap. He re- 
membered observing that the mouse's eyes were 
open as it lay dead on the table, and that they 
were blue. He then re-set the trap, and immediately 
went to bed. The dreaming sense had transformed 
the image of the mouse to that of a fair young girl ; 
the pail of water had become a river, to harmonise 



WONDERFUL SHOWERS. 



43 



with the altered conditions of the httlc drama that 
was to be played over again ; and two or three 
strange characters were introduced, in the shape 
of the persons who drew the girl out of the water. 
So far the dream is accounted for ; but is it not 
wonderful when viewed in this light ? It is as if 
a poet with fine dramatic instincts had taken a 
hint from the drowned mouse, and invested the 
incident with the most touching human interest. 
Such a transformation did not occur to the writer 
while he was awake. Why, or rather, by what 
law of intellectuality did it occur to him when 
asleep? 

The time occupied by a dream is another marvel 
of dreamland. We read in " The Philosophy 
of Mystery" that a gentleman dreamed he had 
enlisted as a soldier, that he had joined his regi- 
ment, that he had deserted, was apprehended, and 
carried back to his regiment ; that he was tried by 
court-martial, condemned to be shot, and was led 
out for execution. At the moment of the comple- 
tion of these ceremonies, the guns of the platoon 
were fired, and at the report he awoke. It was clear 
that a loud noise in the adjoining room had both 
produced the dream and awakened the dreamer 
almost at the same moment. 

" There was another gentleman," says Mr. Dendy, 
" who, for some time after sleeping in the damp, 
suffered a sense of suffocation when slumbering 
i-n a recumbent position ; and a dream would then 
come over him as of a skeleton which grasped 
him firmly by the throat. This dream became 
at length so distressing, that sleep was to him 
no blessing, but a state of torture ; and he had 
a servant posted by his couch to awake him at 
the very instant he fell asleep. One night, before 
being awakened, the skeleton made his attack, 
and a long and severe conflict ensued. When 
fully awake, the dreamer remonstrated with the 
watcher for having allowed him to remain so long 
in his dream, and, to his astonishment, learned 
that his dream had been mo)nciitaty. He was 
roused at the instant he began to slumber." 

A very remarkable instance of the kind is related 
by the famous Count Lavalette. It occurred while 
he was confined in a French prison. " One night, 
while I was asleep," he says, "the clock of the 
Palais do Justice struck twelve, and awoke me. 
I heard the gate open to relieve the sentry, but I 
fell asleep almost immediately. In this sleep I 
dreamed that I was standing in the Rue St. 
Honore, at the corner of the Rue de I'Echelle. A 
melancholy darkness spread around me ; all was 
still. Nevertheless, a low and uncertain sound 
soon arose. All of a sudden I perceived at the 
bottom of the street, and advancing towards me, a 
troop of cavalry ; the men and horses, however, all 
flayed. The men held torches in their hands, the 
flames of which illumined faces without skin, and 



with bloody streaks. Their hollow eyes rolled fear- 
fully in their large sockets, their mouths opened from 
ear to ear, and helmets of hanging flesh covered 
their hideous heads. The horses dragged along 
their own skins in the kennels, which overflowed 
with blood on both sides. Pale and dishevelled 
women appeared and disappeared alternately at the 
windows in dismal silence ; low, inarticulate groans 
filled the air, and I remained in the street alone, 
petrified with horror, and deprived of strength suffi- 
cient to seek my safety by flight. This horrible 
troop continued passing in rapid gallop, and cast- 
ing frightful looks on me. Their march, I thought, 
continued /o>- five hours, and they were followed by 
an immense number of artillery wagons, full of 
bleeding corpses, whose limbs still quivered. A 
disgusting smell of blood and bitumen almost 
choked me. At length the iron gate of the prison 
shutting with great force awoke me again. I made 
my repeater strike. It was no more than mid- 
night, so that the horrible phantasmagoria had 
lasted no more than ten miniiics — that is to say, 
the time necessary for relieving the sentry and 
shutting the gate. The cold was severe, and the 
watchword short. The next day the turnkey con- 
firmed my calculations. I, nevertheless, do not 
remember one single event in my life the duration 
of which I have been able more exactly to cal- 
culate than the time apparently occupied in the 
dream." 

These are only some of the wonders of dream- 
land. There is so much to relate of a similar kind, 
or more marvellous still, that we must return to the 
subject at another opportunity. 



Moniicrful Sljotocrs. 

A Shower of Fishes.— In 1833, at Lake Gwy- 
nant, in the county of Caernarvon, a woman was 
engaged washing a pail at the edge of the lake, and 
a number of children were with her. While she 
was thus employed, at eight p.m., a shower of small 
fishes fell partly into the lake, partly upon the land, 
close to where the woman was. The fish resembled 
herrings, but were much smaller. A heavy shower 
of rain had preceded the descent of these fishes, 
and the day following there was much rain and 
thunder. — Caernarvon Herald, 1833. 

A Shower OF Crabs. — Lord Eastnor, of Tytten- 
hanger Park, Kent, writes, in August, 1836:— 
" Soon after a most violent storm of rain and wind, 
in the summer of 1829, three small crabs, weighing 
from \\ to li oz., were found in the area of the 
workhouse at Reigatc ; and a fourth was afterwards 
found at a little distance, I think the following 
morning. One of them appeared to be still living. 
In the morning of the day prc\'ious to the storm 
the area of the workhouse had been thoroughly 



44 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 




Fin 



-THE PLAIN OF LAUGAKVATN — GENEKAI. \ ILW 



swept and cleaned ; consequently they must have 
been scon had they been there then. They were 
found by a boy, who told the governor that he had 
found a comical sort of a frog." 

Fall of Fishes. — Yesterday morning a great 
number of small fish were found swimming in the 
gutters in Jefferson Street. During the night 
previous a heavy rain fell, and the fish of course 
descended with the water. We saw a number of 
them ; they were from two to three inches long, 
and were mostly sun-perch. — Louisville Newspaper^ 
Nov., 1835. 

Shower of Young Herrings. — On the 9th 
March, 1830, the inhabitants of the island of Isla, 
Argyleshire, after a day of heavy rain, were sur- 
prised to find numbers of small herrings strewed 
over their fields, perfectly fresh, and some of them 
exhibiting signs of life. Similar instances of 
showers of small fish are well authenticated. — Note 
by Yarrell in Re id's ^^ Law of Storms!' 

Fall of Fish in Kent. — About Easter, in the 
year i656, in a pasture-field in the parish of Stan- 
«ted, which is a considerable distance from the sea 
or any branch of it, and a place where there are no 
fish-ponds, there were found fish in quantity about 
a bushel, supposed to have been rained down from 
a cloyd. there having been at that time a great 



tempest of thunder, hail, wind, &c. These fish 
were about the size of a man's little finger ; some 
were small whitings, others like sprats, and some 
rather like smelts. Several of these fish were 
shown publicly at Maidstone and Dartford. — 
Hasted' s ''History of Kent:' 



GEYSERS. 



The Geyser, or as we, using the kindred English 
word, should say, " gusher," is a phenomenon 
peculiar to the small island of Iceland — a strange, 
wild plateau of land heaved up from the bottom of 
the Atlantic, on the confines of the Arctic Ocean, as 
if to show what Nature can do when she has a mind 
to it, in the way of making extremes meet. Some 
of its mountains are volcanic, pouring out their lava 
flood into the valleys beneath ; others are crowned 
with eternal snows and glittering with glaciers. 
Cold streams ripple on among the scoria; beds on 
the level lands, while not far away, boiling hot 
springs, or geysers, bubble up from the sub-soil or 
fling their spray to the clouds. 

The most remarkable group of geysers is that on 
the plain of Laugarvatn, represented in Fig. I, 
Over an area of about a square half mile, on the slope 



GEYSERS. 



45 












Fig. 2. — THE I'LAIN OI.' LAUGAKVATN — THE GREAT GEYSER, 




of a slight eminence rising from the valley of the 
White River, arc scattered some scores of boiling 
springs — the basins of two or three of them measur- 
ing several yards across, while the majority range 
from the size of a tea-cup to that of a good sized 
cauldron — all of them bubbling and throwing off 
steam, a few sending a column or jet of hot water 
straight up into the air. Around the mouth of each 
is a small rim or incrustation, formed of the sand, 
which is thrown up by the water during its bub- 
blings. Besides those constantly in the boiling 
state are a few that are spent, and some that are 
only in a state of eruption at intervals. The two 
largest and most interesting of those that are con- 
stantly in the boiling state are the Great Geyser, 
or " gusher," and the Strokr, or " churn." 

The Great Geyser (Fig. 2) lies on the summit of a 
sandy rim, or mound, of its own formation, rising 
about fifteen feet above the level of the plain. The 
pool is circular, and measures something like twenty- 
four feet across. Its depth ranges between four 
and five feet, except in the centre, where a sort of 
shaft, also circular and a little over two yards in 
diameter, dips to a depth of eighty-three feet. It 
is up this shaft that the boiling water rises con- 
tinuously from the bowels of the earth. During 
the greater part of the day the flow is very small, 



and trickles in a tiny stream down into the plain, 
through a channel which it has worn in the mound. 
At intervals of five or six hours, the water boils 
tumultuously, and sends up little jets a few feet 
above the surface ; and once in the twenty-four 
hours this boiling culminates in a grand eruption, 
during which columns of water are repeatedly 
flung to a height of seventy or eighty feet, and give 
off a mass of steam, which obscures the country 
for a mile round. The heat of the water at the 
bottom of the shaft, just before one of these great 
eruptions, has been found to be as much as 261° 
Fahr., which is considerably over the boiling point. 
At the side of the pool on the summit of the 
mound, the temperature of the water is about 190° 
Fahr. In the centre, it is much higher, ranging 
from 220° to 230° Fahr. 

The Strokr is a much smaller geyser, and does 
not " play " unless forced to do so. It is an irregu- 
lar-shaped hole some six or eight feet in diameter. 
The depth of it is unknown, for its course is crooked 
and cannot be measured. The boiling water lies 
some twenty feet down, where it may be seen bub- 
bling and throwing up steam all day long. At the 
bottom of the pool is a narrower aperture ; and if 
enough turf can be thrown in to stop it up, the 
result is of a most magnificent description, First 



46 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



there is a great rumbling noise ; then an explosion 
is heard below, followed by the flinging up of an 
immense body of water, which rises to a height of 
sixty feet, and breaks into showers of spray, \\hich 
seem to fall from clouds of steam. 

It is now the generally received opinion that 
these eruptions are produced by the incredibly rapid 
production of vapour in the bowels of the earth, 
which takes place when the water from which it 
is obtained has been boiled over and over again. 
The manner in which it is supposed to operate 
is shown in the small engraving given below. 
The water, it will be seen, fills A, the cavernous 




Fig- 3- 



reservoir under ground, to a point higher than its 
outlet, B; and when enough steam is generated to 
fill the remaining space, the water is of course 
forced out more rapidly. Periodically the steam 
rises to its highest point, and then we have the mag- 
nificent eruptions which, consisting both of steam 
and water, may be supposed to clear out the cavern 
down to the level of the outlet. The water, it is 
thought, is heated by the same subterranean fires 
which pour from Mount Hecla, which latter is 
situated within a few miles of the Geyser group 
of Laugai"vatn. 

Monbwfitl Sacjacifg of ^nhnals. 

War Horses. — When horses are hit in battle, 
they stop, tremble in every nmscle, and groan 
deeply, while their eyes show wild astonishment. 
During the battle of Waterloo, some of the horses, 
as they lay on the ground, having recovered 
from the first agony of their wounds, fell to eating 
the grass about them ; thus surrounding them- 
selves with a circle of bare ground, the limited 
extent of which showed their weakness. Others 
of these interesting animals were observed quietly 
grazing in the middle of the field, between the 
two hostile lines, their riders having been shot off 
their backs ; while the balls that flew over their 
heads, and the tumult behind, and before, and 



around them, caused no interruption to the usual 
instincts of their nature. It was also observed that 
when a charge of cavalry went past, near to any 
of the stray horses already mentioned, they would 
set off, form themselves in the rear "f their mounted 
companions, and though without riders, gallop 
strenuously along with the rest, not stopping or 
flinching when the fatal shock with the enemy took 
place. At the battle of the Kirk, in 1 745, Major iNIac- 
donald, having unhorsed an English officer, took 
possession of his horse, which was very beauyful, 
and immediately mounted it. When the English 
ca\-alry fled, the horse ran away with its captor, 
notwithstanding all his efforts to restrain him ; nor 
did it stop until it was at the head of the regiment, 
of which, apparently, its master was the commander. 
The melancholy and, at the same time, ludicrous 
figure which Macdonald presented when he thus 
saw himself the victim of his ambition to possess a 
fine horse, which ultimately cost him his life upon 
the scaffold, may be easily conceived. 

An intelligent Dog.— Dr. Williams did show 
me how a dog that he hath do kill all the cats 
that come thither to kill his pigeons, and do after- 
wards bury them ; and do it with so much care that 
they shall be quite covered. That if the tip of the 
tail hangs out, he will take up the cat again, and 
dig the hole deeper, which is very strange ; and he 
tells me that he do believe that he hath killed 
above 100 cats. — Pepys, vol. i., p. 2ig. 

Wonderful Cats. — It is on record that a shoe- 
maker in Edinburgh chanced to leave the door of a 
lark's cage open, of which the bird took advantage 
to fly away. About an hour afterwards, a cat 
belonging to the same person, made its appearance 
with the lark in its mouth, which it held by the 
wings over the back in such a manner that the bird 
had not received the least injury. After dropping 
the bird on the floor, the cat mewed, and looked up 
to her master as if expecting his recognition of her 
cleverness. The writer has himself observed many 
instances of a remarkable instinct in cats, and at 
the present time has one which every day knocks at 
the door — sometimes modestly, sometimes with a 
sharp double knock like a postman, occasionally 
with a series of raps, pianissimo, like a lady or a 
quiet single gentleman. The door is half glass, 
and the knocker low. The cat was not taught, but 
acquired the trick by his own observation. 



LUMINOUS VEGETATION. 

Mr. Gardner, in his "Travels in Brazil," relates 
the following :~" One dark night, about the begin- 
ning of December, while passing along the streets 
of the Villa de Natividade, I observed some boys 
amusing themselves with some luminous object, 
which I at first supposed to be a kind of large 
fire-fly ; but on making inquir)-, 1 found it to be a 



THE WONDER OF THE TELEGRAPH. 



47 



beautiful phosphorescent fungus, and was told that i 
it grew abundantly in the neighbourhood on the 
decaying leaves of a dwarf palm. Next day I ob- 
tained a great many specimens, and found them 
to vary from one to two and a half inches across. 
The whole plant gives out at night a bright phos- 
phorescent light, of a pale greenish hue, similar to 
that emitted by the larger fire-flies. From this cir- 
cumstance, and from growing on a palm, it is called 
by the inhabitants ' Flor do Coco.' The light 
given out by a few of these fungi in a dark room 
was sufficient to read by. I was not aware at the 
time I discovered this fungus that any other species 
of the same genus exhibited a similar pheno- 
menon ; such, however, is the case ; and Mr. 
Drummond, of Swan River Colony, in Australia, 
has given an account of a very large phospho- 
rescent species occasionally found there." This 
property is also possessed by some of the mosses 
in this country. In searching for ferns and other 
botanical specimens, the writer has often found 
moss shining with great brilliancy in the furthest 
recesses of a dark cleft in a rock, though on being 
brought out to the light, it did not present an 
appearance in any way remarkable. 



WONDERS OF SYMPATHY AND 
ANTIPATHY. 
It is well known that certain objects excite an 
instant horror in the minds of persons to whom 
they are antipathetic, and this in a manner quite 
distinct from tlie affectation of fright. There are 
silly girls who are ready to shriek at the sight of a 
spider ; but though, in many cases, this maybe the 
result of what is commonly called nervousness, and 
in rare instances may be the sign of a real antipathy, 
it is more often foolishness and nothing more. 
Some remarl^able instances of real sympathy and 
antipathy are, however, collected by Millingen in his 
book on " Mind and Matter." Amatus Lusitanus 
relates the case of a monk who fainted when he 
beheld a rose, and never quitted his cell while this 
flo\\>er was blooming. Orfila (a less questionable 
authority) gives the account of the painter 
Vincent, who was seized with violent vertigo and 
swooned when there were roses in the room. 
Volpi relates the history of an officer who was 
thrown into convulsions and lost his senses, in con- 
sequence of pinks being shut up with him in his 
chamber. Zimmerman tells of a lady who could 
not endure the feeling of silk and satin, and who 
shuddered when touching the velvety skin of a 
peach. Boyle records the case of a man who felt a 
natural abhorrence of honey ; and that of a young 
man who fainted when the servant swept his room. 
Hippocrates mentions one Nicanor, who swooned 
whenever he heard a flute. Boyle himself, in spite 
of his philosophy, fell into a syncope when he heard 



the splashing of water ; Scaliger turned pale at the 

sight of watercresses ; Erasmus experienced febrile 
symptoms when smelling fish ; the Duke d'Epcrnay 
swooned on seeing a leveret, although a hare did 
not produce the same effect ; Tycho-Brahe fainted 
at the sight of a fox, Henry III. of France if he 
saw a cat, and Marshal d'Albret if a pig faced 
him. Every one in the least acquainted with his- 
tory is aware that King James I. could not endure 
a drawn sword ; and the writer often feels a cold 
shudder thrill through him at tlie bare thought of a 
knife. Effects of this kind are in the majority of 
instances purely physical ; in some cases, however, 
the imagination is first affected. 



THE WONDER OF THE TELEGRAPH. 

I. — RECORDING SIGNALS. 

Any ordinary mechanic is aware that when a 
motive power is once obtained, it can be converted 
by mechanism to almost any use required. In our 
account of Electro Magnetism, it has been shown 
in a very simple manner that the operator has at 
his command a source of mechanical action, which 
he can use at pleasure. We have seen that the 
attractive power of the magnet being made to act 
upon the " armature " or " keeper," produces a 
simple up and down motion, which may be used in 
the simplest manner to strike a bell, as already 
shown, or to liberate the detents of a clock move- 
ment, and set in motion various kinds of complicated 
machinery. With this power at his command, it is 
not difficult to conceive how an ingenious mechanic 
may arrange for any kind of action in the machinery 
that may be required to effect his object. For 
example, A (Fig. l) is a magnet, b the armature or 
keeper, working on a pivot c ; d, the extended arm of 
the keeper, furnished with a point projecting against 
the strip of paper ee. The current of electricity 
having been turned on to the magnet A (Fig. i), 
it attracts the keeper b, and its motion causes the 
point at d to rise and make an indentation in the 




paper e e, from which it is instantly drawn back by 
the springyj in consequence of the electricity being 
turned off, and the magnet ceasing to attract. If 
the paper is made to pass over a drum set in 
motion by the action of clockwork, and thus to 
move in the direction indicated by the arrow, 
while the point at d is rapidly strikirig against it, 
we shall get a row of indentations. If contact be 
made, three times, for example, in quick succession, 
there will be three impressions close together, and 



48 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



a pause in working the current while the clockwork 
continues in motion will be represented by a blank 
on the paper. It may be agreed beforehand that 
three dots thus impressed shall represent the letter 
a, four b, and so on to the end of the alphabet. 

Such a system, however, would entail an enor- 
mous waste of time and power for want of a well con- 
nected system of signs ; besides which the mechanism 
is so rudely conceived as to be open to some 
practical objections. People acquainted with the 
delicacy of voltaic electricity itself, and with that 
of the machinery used in telegraphy, will be 
disposed to smile at this "rule of thumb" work, 
and at the neglect of some important conditions 
which it involves. Nevertheless, there is enough 
here to illustrate the principle, and the reader who 
has hitherto had no conception of the process will 
see that the wonder of the telegraph is in some 
measure revealing itself to him. 

Instead of dots only, as supposed in the above 
illustration. Professor Morse, an American, hit upon 
the ingenious device of impressing dots and dashes 
on the telegraph paper, and thus secured the desired 
simplicity, speed, and certainty in the transmission 
of messages. The explanation of this system of 
telegraphy will bo easy to understand by reference 
to the above figure. As the paper imroUs from the 
drum, and the electro-magnet is put into rapid action, 
we obtain a series of dots as already described ; but 
it is obvious that if the lever be held down— in other 
words, if the magnetic current be allowed to act — 
while the paper unrolls over the point at d, an 
impression of a dash will be made instead of a dot ; 
and this dash will be long or short, in proportion to 
the time the keeper is kept in contact with the 
m.agnet. The action of the operator is precisely 
like that of playing on a piano or an organ and 
holding the note, only that in the case of electricity, 
the action that takes place is not affected by the 
distance of the operator from the place where his 
music is heard — that is to say, where the instrument 
delivers the message. He touches the key a thou- 
sand miles away, and the electric current flashes 
through the wire, the magnet attracts the keeper, 
and the dot is made ; he holds the key down, and 
the dot is converted into a dash. It is only neces- 
sary to make the various combinations of dots and 
dashes stand for letters, and the message can be 
read almost as easily as if it were in the sender's 
handwriting. For example : — 

n if c d e / 






With such a system of signs as this, the printing 
of the message is of course abbreviated. If only 



dots were used, for example, to telegraph " All well," 
one dot being for a, five for e, twelve for each of the 
four /'s, and twenty-three for w, there would be 
seventy-seven indentations, and great care in 
counting them would not prevent serious mistakes ; 
whereas by the above system of dots and dashes 
the message is briefly expressed thus : — 

all '.veil 

Here another wonder of the telegraph has to be men- 
tioned. Some of our readers may have seen these 
characters printed on telegraph ribbon apparently 
with blue ink. This is effected by combining chemical 
action with the marking apparatus, and is the inven- 
tion, we believe, of Mr. liain, who saturates the slip 
of paper in a solution of cyanide of potassium. The 




ribbon so prepared (a a in the diagram. Fig. 2) is 
passed over a brass drum B, upon which it is pressed 
down by the iron point C C, when contact is made 
by the sender of the message. Tlie electric current, 
passing from the point C through the paper satu- 
rated with cyanide of potassium, causes decomposi- 
tion to take place, and thus a small quantity of 
cyanide of potassium is found everywhere the point 
touches the paper. This cyanide of potassium is, in 
reality, Prussian blue, and thus it is the dots and 
dashes t.tke that colour. The electric current passes 
out of the machine by the spring d. 

The above system of telegraphy, whether by 
indentations impressed on the paper, or by colour- 
ing matter, or however the code of signs may be 
varied, is " Morse's system." Some years ago an 
improvement was made by Mr. Bain, which con- 
sisted in preparing the message by means of a 
separate instrument, the action of which is purely 
mechanical. The prepared message appears in the 
form of apertures punched on a strip of paper, and 
this strip of paper, being passed through a trans- 
mitting machine, makes or breaks the voltaic circuit 
by means of a delicate spring, which passes through 
the holes, and touches the periphery of a metal 
wheel. This invention has been further perfected 
by Mr. Allan, whose arrangements for preparing 
the message, including an important improvement 
on Morse's code of signals, seems to approach as 
near perfection as possible with our present know- 
ledge. 

Having endeavoured in this article to make the 
unscientific reader acquainted, as far as possible, 
with the recording system of telegraphy, we propose 
in our next article to describe the needle instrument 
invented by Messrs. Cooke and Wheatstone. 



WONDERS OF THE OCEAN. 



49 



MonUfrs of i^t <Bun\x. 

—  — - 

SEA-NETTLES. 

1 N the neighbourhood of the Azores may be seen, 
a httle to the southward of the group, one of the 
most wonderfally beautiful sights the ocean has to 
show. The water, especially in calm weather, is 
literally crowded with creatures, small in size and 
fantastic in shape, and painted in all the colours of 
the rainbow. These are sea-nettles; hving organisms 



lines of light purple, which pick out the form of 
the creature as decorators mark the lines in archi- 
tecture with threads of colour. A short stem, like 
a handle to this incomparable umbrella, points 
dowrkwards in the water, and from the lower end of 
it hang long white threads, which wave about as it 
in search of food. Then there are mushroom-shaped 
things, about mushroom size, but marked on their 
heads like strawberries. There are acorn-like 
objects of all sizes and colours, and gelatinous 




SEA-NETTLES. 



of a low order, but marvellously ornate and beauti- 
ful. Count them you cannot. Myriads upon myriads 
throng the water, swimming layer upon layer, and, 
according to their specific gravity, high or low in 
their watery domain. Here is a dark brown patch 
of jelly, some six inches in diameter, looking not 
unlike the leather suckers with which boys play at 
air-pump, only it is marked around its centre with 
gorgeous coloured eyes, and has an elaborate fringe 
of colour round its outer circumference. It throbs 
along in the water, jostling a shoal of tiny, half-egg 
shaped transparent things, with pink and blue lines 
upon an azure ground, and having long threads or 
feelers, which twist about continually, pendant from 
the inner central spot. In solitary state goes a 
half transparent bell, five inches in diameter, of a 
very pale blue colour, stamped on its top surface 
with a bright purple cross, between each arm of 
which is a dark, purple-coloured mark, something 
like a horse-shoe. Over the sides of the bell run, 
fiom the ceiitr? tpwar(}s the circiwjfer?nce, delicate 



discs, marked with coloured spots, and devoid of 
hanging threads, which move along with a palpi- 
tating motion, their cups being sometimes turned up 
and sometimes down. Some are transparent jellies, 
not so globular in form as the rest, having an opaque 
white cross let in like a crest upon the top surface, 
with a handsome black spot of exceeding brilliance 
stamped on each of the four angles. The outer 
edge of the circle has a yellow tinge, and from the 
edge itself hang down innumerable threads of a 
pink colour, which stream away in the water as the 
creature is swept onwards. 

It would be endless to describe all the classes of 
this convoy, the members of which no man can 
number. They seem to be an agglomeration of 
nerves, for though they swim so near the surface, and 
are apparently so thoroughly within reach, it will be 
found the most difficult matter to haul them in with 
a bucket. Perseverance, however, will be rewarded, 
the shyness of the coy creatures will be overcome, 
and then the pursuer of knowledge will find, if he 



7 



50 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



puts his hand into the pail, why these delicate crea- 
tures are called sea-nettles. From the threads of 
which mention has been made, will be discharged 
a nervous fluid, which imparts a stinging sensation 
to the skin, and in some cases causes complete 
numbness of the hand. Irritation, however, of the 
creature's nerves by means of a piece of stick will 
discharge all the fluid, and then they may be handled 
with impunity, and their simple beauty may be 
admired in peace. 

These creatures are to be found all over the warm 
regions of the ocean, especially within the tropics ; 
but the place where they abound is at that spot 
near the Azores where the Gulf Stream begins to 
lose its force. There they are massed in vast multi- 
tudes, because of the ever-decreasing temperature of 
the warm water in which alone they can live ; and 
their area is circumscribed by the unfriendly volumes 
of cold water which shut them in on every side. 

And the function of these creatures? — is to 
supply food to the whale, whose small swallow, 
for all that he is himself so large, cannot accommo- 
date anything bigger or less pulpy and soft than 
the beautiful, delicate bodies of the sea-nettles. 



Monbtrful P^Mljanital C0iTtriijantcs. 

An entry in Evelyn's diary of February 24th, 1655, 
gives an account of a curious mechanical contri- 
vance which the writer had lately seen. This 
was a table-clock, whose balance was only a crys- 
tal ball sliding on parallel irons, without being at 
all fixed, but rolling from stage to stage till it was 
thrown up to the utmost channel again, made with 
an imperceptible declivity ; thus, by a continual 
vicissitude of motion, entertaining the eye every half- 
minute, and the next half giving progress to the 
hand that showed the hour, and giving notice by 
a small bell, so that in one hundred and twenty 
half-minutes, or periods of the balls falling on the 
spring, the clock part struck. The clock was richly 
ornamented, and had been presented by a German 
prince to King Charles I. 

About twenty years ago, an Hungarian, M. 
Kempelon, exhibited at the Egyptian Hall a speak- 
ing machine which he had invented, and had ex- 
pended the greater part of a long life in constructing. 
Externally, it presented the effigy of a human face 
and figure, while its internal anatomy consisted of 
a reed or glottis, of air-chest with valves, bellows 
for lungs, a mouth and jaws, and nostrils. It pro- 
nounced most letters perfectly, but d, k, g, and i 
imperfectly. The voice or tone was somewhat 
harsh, but it uttered long words and sentences with 
great facility, and they were perfectly intelligible. 
The inventor, a venerable-looking man of over 
eighty, produced the tones by operating on a key- 
board like that of a pianoforte ; he had, unfor- 



tunately, suffered much from rheumatic gout in the 
joints of the hands, so that his manual power was 
of the feeblest and most bunghng kind, but notwith- 
standing, the effects he produced were most startling. 



THE BLACK DEATH. 

Wonderful in its origin, in its characteristics, in 
its consequences, was the great pestilence known as 
the Black Death, which swept half the people out of 
England in 1348. For two years previously there 
had been gradually spreading over the eastern parts 
of Europe a virulent disease, imported from Asia, 
which had made havoc of the people in some of the 
finest portions of the world. 60 dreadful indeed 
had been its ravages that, according to the most 
respectable monkish writer of the time, many 
Saracens, convinced that the pestilence was a sign 
of God's wrath on account of their unbelief, became 
Christians, till, finding the Christians to be likewise 
afflicted, they returned to their old faith. A series 
of earthquakes, which shook the whole of eastern 
Europe, ushered in the year 1348 ; men's hearts 
quailed for fear, and many were the steps taken — • 
short of draining the towns and providing better 
ventilation — with the view of propitiating the Divine 
wrath. In vain. The plague which had scourged 
Asia and the Greek empire crept slowly but surely 
westward, seemingly uninfluenced by the coldness 
of climate, or by the intervention of sea. Bocfiaccio 
has written in the preface to his " Decameron " an 
account of the plague as it operated in Florence, 
which no one who has ever read it can forget. 
Within a few months of its slaughter of the Floren- 
tines, it had s\vept through Spain, France, and 
Germany, and had crossed the Straits of Dover. 

From June to December, 1348, there had fallen 
in England an almost incessant downpour of rain ; 
the ground was damp, and the streams became 
polluted by the surface-drainage which was washed 
like compost all over the country, in default of a 
proper outlet into a proper receptacle. In August the 
first cases were reported ; by November the capital 
was reached, and from London the plague spread 
all over the kingdom, and, says Stowe, " so wasted 
and spoyled the people, that scarce the tenth person 
of all sorts was left alive." This was not an exaggera- 
tion of what happened in some places ; " there died 
an innumerable sort, for no man but God only knew 
how many." Between the 1st of Januaiy and ist 
of July, 1349, there died in the city of Norwich 
57,104 persons ; Yarmouth buried 7,052 in the year ; 
and other towns in the eastern counties suffered 
nearly as much. In the thirteen acres of Spittle Croft 
(the site of the existing Charterhouse), which was 
given by Sir Walter Manny for the burial of the dead 
because the London churchyards were choke full, 
were buried fifty thousand persons. The plague was 
swift in execution ; those seized by it often dying 



WONDERFUL PRECOCITY OF MUSICIANS. 



51 



within six hours, and none lasting over three days. 
The tics of nature seemed loosened ; parents for- 
sook their children, the dead remained in many 
instances without burial, and were allowed to 
take their revenge on the living by adding fearfully 
to the pestilential character of the atmosphere. 
Cattle became infected with the disease, and their 
bodies lay rotting in the fields untouched by the 
birds of prey. How many of the people died it is 
not possible to say with certainty ; but the most 
reliable accounts state that, taking England all 
through, half of the entire population died. The 
eastern counties never recovered from the ravages 
of the plague ; places which awhile had been the 
scats of manufacture became obscure villages, and 
to this day there may be seen in those counties, 
places in which large churches that once were too 
small for the congregation, have survived only to 
attest what the villages they preside over once were. 

Half the population ! The labours of agriculture 
were neglected ; the courts of justice were not 
opened ; Parliament was prorogued from time to 
time ; the whole business of the country drifted for 
very lack of hands to attend to it, and the curse of the 
plague became so notorious that the Scots swore by 
it, by the " foul deth of the English." For a time 
Scotland escaped, and the Scots, taking advantage 
of the weakened condition of their southern foe, 
collected an army for the purpose of finishing what 
the plague had spared to do. But into their camp 
at Selkirk the "foul deth" came and slew five thou- 
sand men, and put an end to the project of invasion. 

All sorts of reasons were assigned for the visita- 
tion. Some declared it was a sign of God's anger 
at the extravagance and effeminacy of the men; 
others that it was because of his wrath at the gay 
costume of the women, who seemed to have arrayed 
themselves more after the fashion adopted by some 
women now-a-days, than after the fashion cither of 
Solomon or the lily of the field. Some said one 
thing and some another, but we do not hear of any 
one hitting the real blot, and assigning the cause to 
the anger of God against filthy streets, unwholesome 
houses, undraincd towns, and utter want of ventila- 
tion. The Black Death was a wonder in its effects 
rather than in its causes, and was attended by the 
supplementary wonder, that it went away without 
a Great Fire, which, by burning down the plague- 
cherishing towns, might have prevented, as it di I 
later on in London, a recurrence of the visitatio;\ 
At intervals afterwards, the plague returned, though 
never again with such destructive power ; it came, 
and went, and devoured its victims, till people found 
out what it was that God was angry about. Then 
it went away finally, leaving behind it a promise to 
return— a promise which holds good at the present 
hour — whenever men should so tempt their fate as 
to provoke it by dirt and tho.sc other abominations 
upon which it thrives. 



®l0nba"ful f modtiT of llusicians. 

Mozart, like many other musicians, at a very 
early age gave indications of extraordinary musical 
genius. When he was only three years old he was 
observed to take a wonderful interest in the lessons 
on the harpsichord his sister was taking from iheir 
father, and was soon able to play several airs, which 
he learnt with great facility. When he was five years 
old he had already composed some small pieces, 
and at the age of six he wrote a concerto for the 
harpsichord. In 1763, when he was seven years of 
age, he appeared before the French court at Ver- 
sailles, and in the same year he performed in Paris 
at two public concerts. The Baron Grimm, the 
well-known musical critic, speaks thus of his arrival 
in Paris:— "A chapel -master from Salzburg, named 
Mozart, has just arrived here with two charming 
children. His daughter, who is eleven years old, 
performs the most brilliant music on the harpsi- 
chord with surprising precision. Her brother is so 
wonderful a prodigy, that one can hardly believe 
one's eyes and ears. Though his little hands can 
hardly stretch a sixth on the key-board, he will 
execute the most difficult passages with perfect 
facility. But that is nothing. What is almost in- 
credible is the way in which he extemporises by the 
hour, abandoning hiinself to the inspiration of his 
genius, while a crowd of most charming ideas seem 
to succeed each other without anything like con- 
fusion, and in the most perfect taste." In 1764 the 
children were brought over to this country, and had 
the honour of performing before the royal family. 
During his visit, the young Mozart astonished the 
musical world of London by the composition of six 
sonatas, which he dedicated to the Queen. An 
account of his wonderful performances was read 
before the Royal Society, and was afterwards 
printed in the sixtieth volume of the Pliilosophical 
Transactions. 

Charles Wesley, at the age of two years and 
nine months, played a tune in correct time. Not 
long after, he could play any tune by ear, and 
supply an harmonious bass to it. When he was 
asked to play to any of his parent's friends, he 
would ask, " Is he a musicker ?" and if the answer 
was Yes, he would immediately rush to the instru- 
ment and play. 

William Crotch, at a year and a half old, 
would leave his food to listen to music. At two 
years he would strike the two or three opening 
notes of the tune he wished his father to play to 
him. At two years and three months he could 
play great part of " God save the King " with one 
hand. In a day or two he mastered the whole of 
it, and in a few months more he could play "Hope, 
thou nurse of young desire," from " Love in a Vil- 
lage." 



5? 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



MoniJirs of i^c %,ima»^\)tn, 

THE MIRAGE— SPECTRE OF THE BROCKEN. 
The beautiful, deceptive phenomenon known as the 
mirage is of three distinct kinds. First, there is that 
form of it where some distant object, below the line of 
the horizon, and consequently out of the range of 
vision, seems to be lifted up into mid-air, and to hang 
suspended there — sometimes in its natural position, 
sometimes upside down, and sometimes both ways 
at once ; the image in this latter case being doubled, 
like a ship and its reflection in the water. Secondly, 
there is that form of it where some object high up 
in the air, such as a cloud or a village on a hill, 
seems to be brought down and to lie floating in a 
vast lake stretching miles away at the spectator's 
feet. Thirdly, there is that less frequent form of 
it, where the setting sun appears to fling huge 
shadows of terrestrial objects far out into space. 

Of the first kind of inirage there are sorae very 
striking instances on record. While sailing in the 
Polar seas, in 1822, Captain Scoresby saw the 
inverted image of a ship, apparently suspended in 
the air, some miles distant. " It was," he writes, 
"so well defined that I could distinguish by a tele- 
scope every sail, the general rig of the ship, and 
its particular character, insomuch that I pronounced 
it to be my father's ship the Fame, which it after- 
wards proved to be ; though on comparing notes 
with my father when we met, I found that our rela- 
tive position at the time gave our distance from one 
another very nearly thirty miles, being about seven- 
teen miles beyond the horizon, and some leagues 
beyond the limit of direct vision." In May, 1854, 
the captain of H.M.S. Archer, while cruising in the 
Baltic, saw a similar mirage of tlie whole British 
fleet, consisting of nineteen sail. Here, again, the 
distance between the vessels was found to be full 
thirty miles. In both these instances the objects 
seen were inverted. On the 25th of June of this year, 
at Hastings, a more striking example of mirage was 
witnessed. The whole of the coast of France, from 
Calais to Dieppe, though more than fifty miles 
distant, and quite out of the range of ordinary 
vision, seemed to be lifted up into mid-air, and 
was seen there, not inverted, but in its natural 
position, during the space of three hours, by 
hundreds of persons assembled upon the beach. 
The most remarkable instance of all, however, is 
that recorded by Dr. Vince. From Ranlsgate, the 
four turrets of Dover Castle may be seen on a 
fine day over the top of an intervening hill. While 
looking in this direction one evening. Dr. Vince 
saw the whole castle, not lifted up in the air above 
the hill on the other side, but to all appearances 
brought over bodily on this side of it. " So strong 
was the image," says Dr. Vince, " that I could not 
see the hill through it." The double mirage is seen 
oftenest on the shore of the Straits of Messina, 



where the phenomenon is known as the Fata Mor- 
gana. The images of men, horses, houses, and 
ships are projected into the air feet to feet, or keel 
to keel, as the case may be, until the atmosphere 
looks like one huge lake, in which all these miscel- 
laneous objects are seen floating about together. 

The second kind of mirage— that, namely, in 
which the object is brought down instead of being 
elevated — is most frequently seen in the arid de- 
serts of Lower Egypt, where it often proves cruelly 
deceptive to the thirsty traveller. Dotted about 
the waste are elevations, on which the natives 
have built their villages, in order that they may 
be safe from the flood during the periodical in- 
undations of the Nile. In the heat of the day, 
the mirage brings down an image of the sky upon 
the level, some few miles in front of the caravan, 
and produces the effect of a broad expanse of 
water, in which each village, brought down also, 
appears as an islet. Lured on by the refreshing 
prospect, man and beast push hopefully forward, 
often miles out of their track, to find the waters 
and the islands constantly receding from their 
view, until the evening comes, and they vanish 
altogether. So complete is the delusion, that not 
only experienced and scientific travellers, but even 
the Arabs themselves, are often deceived by it. 

The third kind of mirage is seen only from the 
top of the Brocken, the highest summit of the Harz 
Mountain range in Hungary. It is there known as 
the Brockengespcnst, or " .Spectre of the Brocken ;" 
and very spectre-like it looks in the red evening 
sun. You no sooner step out upon the plateau on 
the top of the hill, than jour shadow, grim and 
gigantic, is apparently flung right out against the 
eastern sky, where, with all visible space for a 
play-ground, it flits swiftly from place to place, 
following your every movement. The illustration 
on the opposite page will enable our readers to 
judge foi themselves of this weird-looking pheno- 
menon better than any description in words. It is 
only in the evening just before sunset that the 
phenomenon is visible, so that the shadow is 
doubly exaggerated, first by the distance and level 
of the sun, and then by the distance of the surface 
upon which it is projected. 

Each of these different kinds of mirage has its 
own separate cause, though they all depend for their 
existence upon a special state of the atmosphere. 
Before the phenomenon is possible the air must be 
divided into strata of different degrees of density. 
That done, the mirage follows, sometimes by re- 
fraction, sometimes by reflection, sometimes by the 
projection of shadows. Let us take the mirage by 
refraction first. Place a shilling in an empty bowl, 
and walk backwards until the coin, being hidden by 
the rim of the vessel, is no longer visible to you. 
Now, standing just where you arc, ask a friend to 
fill the bowl with water, and as he does so the coin 



WONDERS OF THE ATMOSPHERE. 



53 




lilt bPECTRE OF THE BROCKEN. 



54 



THE AVORLD OF WONDERS. 



will gradually come back within the range of vision, 
and you will see it as plainly as ever. How is this? 
You have not moved, and the coin has not been 
ma^-'cd. No ; but the straight ray of light which, 
passing from your eye to the basin, enabled you to 
see the coin at first, has been bent in passing 
through the water, and you are now able, as it were, 
to see round a corner. This is precisely what takes 
place in cases of mirage like that seen by Captain 
Scoresby and by the people on the beach at 
Hastings. The rays of light thrown back by the 
ship in the one instance, and by the French coast 
in the other, would, in ordinary states of the atmo- 
sphere, have shot outward and upward high into the 
air, and left the objects from which they were re- 
flected totally invisible to persons at the distances 
of thirty and fifty miles. But in both cases the 
intervening air was ranged in strata of different 
degrees of density ; and just as the ray from the 
coin in the basin is bent by passing through the 
water, so were the rays from the ship and the coast 
bent in passing through a layer or layers of denser 
atmosphere. 

The kind of mirage which, like that seen by the 
traveller in the desert, brings the object down 
instead of elevating it, is accounted for differently. 
In the former case we had refraction, here we 
have reflection. The terrible heat of the sand 
rarefies the air nearest it, and, contrary to what 
is usual in nature, forces the denser atmosphere 
into a stratum above it. The two strata meet 
like two pieces- of glass, one laid on top of the 
other, and where they join a surface is formed, 
which, like a lake, reflects back all objects above 
it. It is in this way that an image of the sky is 
brought down to look like water in the desert, the 
illusion being rendered the more perfect very often 
by the ripples that run over the surface of air. 

The explanation of the Spectre of the Brocken 
is very simple. To the east of the Harz Mountains 
there is always a very dense and hazy atmosphere, 
so dense that it presents a surface capable of 
receiving the impression of a shadow and of re- 
taining it as a wall does. When, therefore, the sun 
gets round to the west, the shadows of all objects 
that are near enough to this surface arc projected 
upon it. It is not the .fact that these shadows are 
flung out, as they appear to be, upon what is called 
the sky, they are all close at hand. And the 
chances are that if it were possible to walk straight 
out towards them from the top of the Brocken, 
the spectator would very soon get behind them. 

To produce the mirage in miniature, let the 
reader take a red-hot poker and look along it 
horizontally towards an object (say some letter of 
the alphabet) stuck upon the wall a few feet away. 
He will soon see the inverted image of the object 
a few inches from the end of the poker, and a few 
inches above it. 



THE MAGICAL SQUARE. 
A REMARKABLE curiosity in numbers is the magical 
square. It consists of numbers so disposed in 
parallel and equal lines, that the sum of each line, 
taken any way of the square, amounts to the same. 
To work this out, it is necessary, first, to form 

A NATURAL SQUARE. 

A G B 



H 


2 


3 


4 


sl 


6 1 


7 


8 


9 


lO I 


II 


12 


13 


14 


15 ; 


i6 1 


'7 


i8 


19 


20 


"i 


22 


23 


24 


23 1 



These numbers are to be transposed as follows to 
form the 

MAGICAL SQUARE. 



11 
4 

lO 


24 
12 

5 
iS 


7 
25 

I 


20! 3| 
8 ; 16 
2. ] 9 

14 22 


23 


6 


19 


.JUL 



First, the rank E F in the natural square to the 
diagonal A D in the magic square. Then the rank 
G H to the diagonal B c. Then i to the space under 
13, and 2 in continuance of the diagonal below to 
the right. Some attention to the following diagram 
will be necessary, to make the remainder of the 
operation intelligible : — 



: i ir 








3 




: '"' 


12 




8 


iC 


; 


\ 


18 


13 

1 


14 
2 


15 




;""l 


• 


; 1=3 


* ; : 


• : : \ A \ a 
: : : : : i 


6 \  \ 

i \ d \ 



In continuance of the diagonal from i downwards, 
3 falls out of the square into the right-hand corner 
of a supposed square placed underneath, at a. For 
this reason the 3 has been placed in the corre- 
sponding corner of the magical square. In the 
same continued line, 4 would fall into a second 
supposed square, at i. It is put in the corres- 
ponding part of the magical square. So, 5 would 
fall in the supposed space c, and it occupies a 
similar space in the magical square. But 6 falls in 



WONDERFUL LITERARY FORGERIES. 



55 



d, the corresponding space to which is occupied by 
I ; we therefore begin a fresh diagonal, and place 
it in the magical square beneath i8. The digit 7 is 
now placed in a diagonal li-ne before 8, and after 8, 
still proceeding diagonally, we place 9. This would 
make 10 fall out of the square into a third sup- 
posititious square, at e. It is therefore placed in the 
corresponding part of the magic square. The 
figures from 11 to 15 are already placed ; 16 would 
fall in the first corner (marked x) of the second 
supposed square ; but the corresponding corner of 
the magic square is occupied by 1 1. We find the 
place it must occupy, by supposing the diagonal 
from 18 to be continued into a fourth supposititious 
square at g; the next number, 17, then comes in 
order before -1 8, and 19 follows in the same line; 
20 falls out of the square at h, which marks its 
position, and 21 would fall at i, but that part of the 
magical square is occupied by 16 ; we begin the next 
diagonal with it, and in the same line place 22. This 
brings 23 to the corner of the third supposed square, 
k, and 24 to /, near to which is the place of 25. 

This being done, it will be found that the sum 
of every row of figures in the magical square, taken 
in a right line, makes 65. Any series of odd num- 
bers in arithmetical progression may be worked in 
the same way. 

Monbtrfiil ^iftrariT Jforgmcs. 

CHATTERTON. 
Thomas Chatterton was born in November, 
1752, the son of a verger and schoolmaster at St. 
Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. At five years of age he 
was sent to the district school, arid in a short 
time was sent back to his mother as a " stupid 
boy." His mother had great difficulty in getting 
him to .read, but when he was six years and a half 
old he was suddenly attracted by an illuminated 
music-book which his father had, belonging to the 
church. Over this treasure the lad pored, and soon 
mastered its contents, as well as those of a lumber- 
room in which several ancient books were kept. 
He went again to the free school, and at eight 
years of age was sent to Colston's charity school. 
There he devoured books, became noticeable on 
account of his studious habits, and for an intellec- 
tual pride, which operated even at that early age to 
prevent his competing with his fellows for the 
school honours. He wrote satires upon the masters 
and the boys, spent all his holidays (saints' days 
were holidays then) and all his play-time in study- 
ing old books, and in reading all the poems, espe- 
cially quaint old poems, he could lay his hands 
on. Stow, Camden, Fuller, Speed, Macpherson's 
Ossian's Poems, and Mason's Poems, he read, and 
his imagination was greatly impressed by the 
" Castle of Otranto," pubhshed about this time. 
When he was fifteen years old, he was taken 



from school and articled to Mr. Lambert, an attor- 
ney of Bristol. The office work had little attraction 
for him, and he neglected it in favour of more con- 
genial studies. During the three years he passed 
at Lambert's, Chatterton contrived to find time not 
only to study, but to write upon what he had studied ; 
and many were the contributions he made at this 
time to the London magazines as well as to the 
Bristol newspapers. Antiquity threw its wondrous 
charm over him, and made him a faithful votary at 
her shrine ; he wrote upon the antique, and was led 
in the fervour of his devotion to copy the antique. 
He knew the old words which have passed by non- 
use out of the language ; he knew the old modes of 
expression ; and he could write the old character as 
well or better than he could write the new. His 
very breath seemed to be drawn from four centuries 
back. Poverty, an intellectual desire to mock 
ignorance, and a cynical contempt for the vanity of 
the wise, tempted him to plan a gigantic literary 
forgery, for the execution of which his studies 
afforded him unusual facilities. When the new 
bridge was opened at Bristol, in 1768, he wrote in 
Felix Farley's Bristol Journal an account of the 
opening of the old one, in which he described with 
much circumstance and minuteness the ancient 
ceremonial — monks passing over the bridge, chant- 
ing hymns, the city authorities in grand array, and 
the citizens of Bristol in civic procession. The 
account, well written, and so full of archmological 
interest, attracted much attention, and Chatterton, 
on being questioned as to his authority for the 
statements, said he had found the account in a 
number of old manuscripts which his father had 
given him, and which had been discovered in a 
muniment chest in the church many years before. 
He was visited by local historians and archajologists, 
who received from him, as a special favour, por- 
tions of the old manuscripts said to h.ive been found 
in the muniment chest. Then he published a scries 
of poems, written, as he alleged, by Rowley, a monk 
of the fourteenth century ; poems which had re- 
mained hidden in the church chest, but which were 
full of beauty of thought and expression, though 
worded in quaint old language. These excited 
universal admiration. Chatterton sent copies of 
some of them to Walpole, and asked his assistance. 
Walpole says he knew them at once for forgeries ; 
he gave no help, though he corresponded with the 
poet, and made some inquiries about him through 
friends in Bristol. The literary world was divided ; 
some thinking the Rowley Poems, which were very 
voluminous, genuine productions, others adopting 
Walpole's belief that they were forgeries. They 
were, in effect, forgeries, but of what kind, and by 
whom ? Herein is the wonder. The poems were 
written on parchments which seem.ed begrimed 
with the dust of ages, and in ink t'nat looked as if 
it were pale with watching through the many years 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



_56 

that must have elapsed since it was first used. 
There was nothing to show that the age-stained 
complexion of the parchments had been obtained 
by means of ochre and floor-dust rubbed indus- 
triously into their surface, or that the ink with 
which the writing had been done had been diluted 
before use, or that the written sheet had been sul> 
jected to further dulling causes that hid effectually 
the modernness of its birth. The caligraphic cha- 
racters of the fourteenth century, admirably imi- 
tated, betrayed no secret. There was nothing in 
the mechanical contrivance of the fraud by which 
its true nature might be known. For the poems 
themselves, they were the beautiful emanations of a 
brain bountifully endowed with " the gift and the 
faculty divine," but which was pleased for some 
reason, it were hard to find what, to clothe its 
thoughts in an ancient dress, and to give the 
honour of the authorship to another. They were 
poems that bore the stamp of genius on every line, 
and that excited the just admiration of an age 
remarkable for the fastidiousness of its taste. They 
were written, not by a man trained in the " accom- 
plishment of verse," educated in the mysteries of 
antiquity, or fitted by long experience in literary 
work ; but by a youth of seventeen and a half, a 
charity school-boy, an attorney's apprentice, who 
was indebted to himself for his education, and to 
Nature for that genius which made him a wonder 
of the world. His brain teemed with productions 
in prose and verse on all sorts of subjects : history, 
poetry, archaeology, mental philosophy, the drama, 
essay writing — all these were within his range, and 
he sent forth unceasingly supplies of literary matter, 
which, alas ! were all he had to depend on for his 
existence. 

Baffkd in his attempts to get recognised by the 
leaders of literature, injured by the recoil upon 
himself of his deceit about Rowley's poems, hungry 
for fame and not satisfied, hungry for bread, and 
not satisfied in that particular either, too proud to 
beg, too weak to fight on alone and unassisted, he 
took poison and died in August, 1770, in the nine- 
teenth year of his age. 

Walpole, on being charged ^^•ith having been an 
accessory to his death, by neglecting him, had the 
heartlessness to write, " He had no more principles 
than if he had been one of all our late administra- 
tions. He was an instance that a complete genius 
and a complete rogue can be formed before a man 
is of age." Surely this language justifies the words 
which Chatterton had used by anticipation of his 
censor : — " Oh, ye who honour the name of Jiian, 
rejoice that this Walpole is called a lord." 

When too late, the world began to recognise the 
extraordinary, though misapplied, talents of the 
neglected boy-poet ; and the visitor to Bristol may 
see in the churchyard of St. Mary Redcliffe a beau- 
tiful monumental effigy of the " marvellous boy," 



®0niJ«rs jof llatural ^istorg. 

—  — 

Wonder of the Spider's Thread.— That any 
creature could be found to fabricate a net, not less 
ingenious than that of the fisherman, for the 
capture of its prey ; that it should fix it in the 
right place, and then patiently await the result, is a 
proceeding so strange, that if we did not see it 
done daily before our eyes by the common house- 
spider and garden-spider, it would seem wonderful. 
But how much is our wonder increased when we 
think of the complex fabric of each single thread, 
and then of the mathematical precision and rapidity 
with which, in certain cases, the net itself is con- 
structed ; and to add to all this, as an example of 
the wonders which the most common things 
exhibit when carefully examined, the net of the 
garden-spider consists of two distinct kinds of silk. 
The threads forming the concentric circles are com- 
posed of a silk much more elastic than that of the 
rays, and are studded over with minute globules of 
a viscid gum, sufficiently adhesive to retain any 
unwary fly which comes in contact with it. A net 
of average dimensions is estimated by Mr. Black- 
wall to contain 87,360 of these globules, and a large 
net of fourteen or sixteen inches in diameter, 
120,000 ; and yet such a net will be completed by 
one species in about forty minutes, on an average, 
if no interruption occurs ! — Introduction to Zoology.. 

A FISH in Java, called the "jaculator," catches 
flies and other insects by squirting from its mouth 
some water, and seldom misses its aim at the dis- 
tance of five or six feet, bringing down a fly with a 
single drop. — Mitchell. 

The elephant throws out sand from his trunk to 
blind man and horse, and then rushes on them. 
— Denham and Clapperton' s " Discoveries in 
Africa!' 

Wild ducks arc estimated to fly ninety miles an 
hour ; swallows fly rather faster, and the swift flies 
above two hundred miles in an hour. 

Leuwenhoek. affirms that he saw hundreds of 
animalculas in the space of a grain of sand, and ten 
thousand organised beings. 

A single female house-fly produces in one 
season 20,080,320. — Haller. 

One pair of pigs will increase in six years to 
119,169, taking the increase at fourteen times per 
annum. A pair of sheep in the same time would 
be but sixty-four. — Allnut. 

The Antipathy of Tlies to the Magnet. 
— A person having an artificial magnet suspended ' 
from the wall of his study, with a piece of iron ad- 
hering to it, remarked for several years that the 
flies in the room, though they frequently placed 
themselves on other iron articles, never settled on 
the artificial magnet, and even that if they ap- 
proached it, they in a moment again removed from 
it to sorne distance, — Voighfs Journal, 



WONDERFUL OPTICAL ILLUSION. 



57 



MoniJirfuI d^ptwal Illusion. 

—  — - 

THE HORIZONTORIUM. 

Many of the parlour pastimes which delighted and 
amused us oldsters when we were youngsters have 
been superseded and forgotten, some deservedly so, 
but others from their inge- 
nuity deserve to be rescued 
from the unmerited oblivion 
into which they have fallen. 
Among these was a curious 
optical illusion called the 
Horizontorium, and as the 
effect is both pleasing and 
astonishing, perhaps a short 
description may not be con- 
sidered out of place if in- 
serted in these pages. 

The original designs were 
published at Liverpool some 
forty years back, and con- 
sisted of a castle or fort, with 
turrets, palisadoes, a maga- 
zine, and a sentry standing 
outside of his box, also the 
roof of a cottage on one 
side. When viewed from 
any other than the one point 
of sight, it is difficult to 
imagine what the design is 
intended to represent, as 
the walls of the castle ap- 
pear to slope outwards, so 
that they are nearly twice 
as wide at the top as at the 
base. The soldier and his 
sentry-box have a most sin- 
gular effect, the former ap- 
pearing a very tall figure in 
height, while his breadth 
scarcely exceeds that of his 
musket. 

To produce a regular pic- 
ture from this almost shape- 
less assemblage, all that is 
necessary is to view it from a certain point, with 
one eye only, which is best done by the help of a 
sight made of pasteboard or card, which accom- 
panies the original. When viewed by these means, 
it is impossible to describe the beautiful effect pro- 
duced. It is not a picture, but a reality. The 
castle walls and palisadoes resume their regular 
proportions. The sentinel is reduced to proper 
dimensions, and the effect of light and shade is 
almost miraculous. The whole has the appearance, 
not of a picture, but of an exact miniature model 
of the things intended to be represented. The 
illustration which accompanies this article will give 





a fair idea of this curious illusion. In order to 
realise all the effect, it is necessary to observe care- 
fully the following directions : — A piece of paper, or, 
what is still better, a slip of cardboard, must be cut 
out of the exact size and shape of the figure a^b, c; 
an aperture for the eye, about the size of a pea, a, 
must be made precisely on the spot shown in the 
sight-piece. The shaded 
part of the sight-piece must 
be folded back at a right 
angle, so as to form a kind 
of foot to stand upon. The 
sight-piece must then be 
placed perpendicularly, 
exactly over the piece, d. 
Then keeping the paperper- 
fectly horizontal, and plac- 
ing the eye close to the 
aperture, a, there will be 
seen a perfect representa- 
tion of a tombstone sur- 
rounded by railings. A 
little experience will enable 
one to see the image very 
exactly; if not, the person 
who makes the trial may 
depend upon it that he has 
not placed the sight-piece 
correctly. 

The light should fall on 
the side of the figure oppo- 
site the shadow. If the 
representation of the figure 
a, b, c, is found to interfere 
with the picture, it may be 
covered by a small piece 
of white paper. .Special 
care must be had that the 
paper be perfectly smooth, 
, as the slightest wrinkle will 

distort the figure materially; 
also remember to shut one 
eye, and place the other as 
close as possible to the 
sight-hole. 

It is possible to multiply 
designs to any extent, as the principle upon 
which the Horizontorium is constructed is very 
simple. Any design may be made of any object, 
if it be drawn in isometrical perspective— that is, 
with the vanishing point below the plane of the 
picture, which point becomes the station for the 
sight piece. If the picture be carefully drawn, the 
effect of reality will be as good as that given by the 
stereoscope. All those who have any notion of 
drawing, may, by the exercise of a little ingenuity, 
and at the expense of a few hours' time, not only 
give themselves employment during the winter 
evenings, but also give pleasure to their friends. 




k8 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Monbtrs of llj^ #«an. 

A WONDERFUL SOUNDING. 
" Thev who go down to the sea in ships" do indeed 
" see the works of the Lord, and liis wonders in 
the deep." Here is the story of a wonder not less 
astounding than the wonder of the high mountain, 
told by one of those who was engaged for many 
years in a professional examination of the wonders 
of the ocean, and whose daily business it was to 
pry into the secrets of the great deep. 

It had long been a question what was at the 
bottom of the sea ; and though this question had 
been answered more or less fully concerning re- 
gions where the depth was not very profound, there 
had always remained the puzzle of the so-called 
"bottomless" seas — that is to say, of seas where 
the volume of water was so out of proportion to 
the measuring power of the surveyor that its di- 
mensions could not be gauged. By the exertions 
and skill of various marine surveyors, waters which 
to the earlier navigators had been bottomless, were 
fathomed, and specimens of the bottom obtained. 
The Americans have done much in this direction, 
and to them we are indebted, not only for a highly 
ingenious sounding apparatus, but for some care- 
fully conducted soundings obtained with it at a 
distance of nearly four miles down in the bosom of 
the Atlantic. The Americans, however, had given 
up as useless any further attempts to sound at 
greater depth ; they reported that in the deeps 
deeper than the deepest there were physical and 
mechanical difficulties which rendered true sounding 
an impossibility — the ships drifted, the sounding- 
line got out of the perpendicular, currents ran off 
with the plummet, something or other came in the 
way to prevent success. 

It seemed desirable to Captain Denham(now Rear- 
Admiral Sir Henry Denham), when in command of 
H.M.S. Herald on surveying service, to ascertain for 
. himself whether he could not find a bottom to the 
bottomless sea. He received a supply of sounding- 
line, fifteen thousand fathoms in length, which had 
been made specially for sounding purposes, and 
which was presented to him by the American Com- 
modore M'lvor, who had himself been engaged in 
trying experiments in the ocean. 

Captain Denham elicited all the information the 
American officer could give as to the sounding 
process the latter had adopted. The Americans 
had hove their lead from the ship. This Captain 
Denham felt convinced was wrong ; he knew by 
experience the difficulties there were in getting 
proper results by this means, and resolved to profit 
by his friend's discomfiture in conducting his own 
experiments. 

He chose a day when sea and air combined to 
produce such a calm as is seldom seen in the midst 



of the Atlantic, where he then was, half-way be- 
tween Buenos Ayres and Tristan d'Acunha.' Two 
boats were lowered, and in one of them the sound- 
ing gear was placed. At a short distance from the 
ship, so as to be out of the influence of her attrac- 
tion, an ordinary deep-sea lead was cast from the 
sounding boat, until the plummet having arrived at 
the dead-water level, where the action of wind and 
surface motion is not felt, brought the boat up, 
holding her as though she were at anchor. The 
crew were ordered to keep the blades of their oars 
just moving, so as to keep the boat to her anchorage, 
while a painter made fast to the boat ahead served 
as an additional check. Upon a great reel, rigged 
winch fashion in the bow of the sounding boat, was 
the very deep sea lead line, one-tenth of an inch in 
diameter, and weighing, when dry, one pound per 
hundred fathoms. The plummet weighed nine 
pounds, was eleven inches and a half long, and one- 
seventh of an inch broad. 

Everything being ready, the plummet was let go 
at 8.30 a.m. The first hundred fathoms of line 
cleared out in a minute and a half ; the second in 
two minutes five seconds ; and the time for every 
succeeding hundred fathoms increased gradually ; 
so that, whereas the first thousand fathoms ran off 
in twenty-seven minutes fifteen seconds, one hour 
forty-nine minutes and fifteen seconds was the time 
required to get out the seventh thousand. After 
7,706 fathoms, or eight and three-quarters English 
miles, had run off, bottom was reached, the opera- 
tion having lasted nine hours twenty-five minutes. 
" That bottom was reached there could not be any 
doubt, the extreme stillness of the water enabling 
the sounders to perceive the same indications of 
touch as would have manifested themselves with 
casts in much shallower water. Again and again 
the line was tried, and stopped always at the same 
mark ; several sets of hands tried the line, and each 
verified the report of their predecessors. The beat 
of the lead on the bottom was as distinctly felt as 
if an electric shock had been passed through the 
line." 



MoitWfitl Humbers. 

Certain wonderful properties of numbers are illus- 
trated by what may be called tricks. For example, to 
mak» any number divisible by 9, you have but to 
place a certain number between two of the figures. 
Thus, given the number 29 to be divided, the pro- 
duct is 3 and 2 over; but place 7 between the 
digits, and there is no remainder, for 

279-^-9=31- 
Again, let the number given be 64324, the product 
divided by 9 will be 7 147 -|- 1 , but interpose 8 between 
any two of the figures, and nothing will remain. The 
curiosity of this lies in the fact that it is of no con- 



WONDERS OF MECHANICAL iNGEt^UITY. 



59 



sequence at what part of the dividend' the figure is 
added. Thus :— 



76036 

9)6432^ 
71476 



9)64^324 
72036 



9) 643*24 
7153S 



9) '64324 
96036 



9) 64324' I 
71472 I 

Or, take a longer number for the dividend, say, 
6038478643269846. This, we shall find, is not 
divisible by g. But if 6 be added between any two 
of the digits it will be found exactly divisible. 

9) 6'o3847864326984 6 
7337608738141094 

We need not ring all the changes, but will try only 
two more. 



9)6038*478643269846 
6709608738141094 



9)6038478643*269846 
67094297 151 41094 



It is not always possible to explain the reason of 
what happens in dealing with numbers, unless 
appeal can be made to an amount of mathematical 
knowledge which is not commonly possessed. As 
a single step towards understanding the above 
curious phenomenon, let us see what the result 
would be of dividing the number we have already 
taken, 64324, by 9, changing the order of the digits, 
but adding nothing to them. 

9)64324 I 9) 63424 I 9)63344 

7147 + 1 I 7047 + 1 I 69274-1 

9)44326 r 

4925 + 1 I 

9)34264 I 

3807+1 I 

So it appears that in whatever order we place the 
digits, the remainder is i. For this reason we added 
8 in the first example. If a number had been chosen, 
which resulted in a remainder of 4 when divided by 
9, the number to add would have been 5 ; because 
5+4, like 8-|-i=g, and 9 is, of course, exactly divi- 
sible by itself as a factor. The only other digit 
that can be used in the same way is 3, because 
3 >< 3=9- 



9)43426 
4823+1 


9)46243 
1 5138+ 1 


91 46432 
5159+1 


9)23446 

2605+1 



WONDERFUL MECHANICAL 
CONTRIVANCES. 
^I.\NY attempts have been made, from very early 
times, to imitate the motions of animals by 
mechanical contrivances, and some have been 
remarkably successful. The story of ancient 
writers, that Archytas of Tarentum, who lived B.C. 
400, constructed a pigeon that could fly, but, when 
once it alighted, could not resume its movement, 
is open to doubt ; but we have better authenticated 
narratives of equally wonderful inventions in a 
later time, and in some cases their truth is abso- 
lutely certain. It is said that a German artist 
named John Miiller, sometimes called Regiomon- 
tanus, constructed an artificial eagle, which, on 
the entry of the Emperor Maximilian into Nurem- 
berg, flew to meet him, and returning, alighted on 
the gate of the city to await his approach. Miiller 



is also said to have made an iron fly which flew 
from his hand, and returned to it after performing 
a considerable round. Some little doubt has been 
cast upon the authenticity of Miiller's reputed 
inventions, but the following are beyond dispute. 

General De Gcnncs, who defended the French 
colony of St. Christopher, in the West India 
Islands, against the English in 1688, was remark- 
able for his great mechanical skill. Among other 
contrivances, he made a peacock that walked about 
as if alive, picked up grains of corn, and not only 
swallowed them, but digested them in its stomach. 

Wonderful as this was, its ingenuity was outdone 
by that of a duck made by a Frenchman named 
Vaucanson, which was exhibited in Paris in 1738. 
It was of the natural size, was clothed with feathers, 
and all the bones of the living object were imitated 
in their exact position by the mechanism of the 
interior. When set in motion, it performed the 
movements of a duck exactly. It moved its wings, 
ate and drank in the manner of the original, and 
all the usual processes of digestion were carried on 
in the stomach, partly by means, it is presumed, of 
a chemical solution. It also quacked like a duck, 
and is said, in drinking, to have muddled the water 
with its bill. 

Beckmann, who travelled in Russia in 1764, 
saw at the palace of Zausko-Selo, near St. Peters- 
burg, a collection of automata which were reputed 
to have been purchased from Vaucanson after he 
had exhibited them through Europe ; and among 
them was the duck above mentioned. It still ate, 
drank, and moved, and as most of the feathers 
which had covered the ribs were then lost, the 
interior construction was exposed to view. The 
observer relates that the motion was communicated 
by means of a cylinder and fine chains, like the 
mechanism of a watch, all proceeding through the 
feet of the duck, which were of the usual size. 

Vaucanson also constructed an automaton flute- 
player, which played twelve tunes, the wind issuing 
from its mouth in the ordinary way into a German 
flute, and the holes being opened and shut with 
its fingers. This also was among the relics of the 
French artist which Professor Beckmann saw, but 
it then emitted only a few faint tones. 

Vaucanson's flute-player has since been imitated 
with complete success. Some years ago we our- 
selves saw, at an exhibition of curious mechanism 
at the Adelaide Gallery in London, two automaton 
flute-players, representing the figures of two ladies, 
seated, and the size of life, which were playing 
ducts in the manner of the living performer, and 
producing considerable variety of tone from the 
instruments. The notes, it is true, had a hollow 
and dreary sound, and the figures were somewhat 
ghastly ; but the mechanism had evidently been 
constructed many years before, and was no doubt 
very much out of order. 



6o 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



—  — 

THE ELEPHANT. 

The proboscis of the elephant is the most remark- 
able feature in his formation, and is capable of being 
put to a great variety of uses. Through it the 
animal breathes, drinks, and smells. It is so pliant 
that it can be made to move in any direction, and 
so strong that it is impossible to take anything 
away from its grasp. It is hollow from end to end, 
and divided throughout with a partition. At the 
very point of it, just above the nostrils, the skin is 
extended into the shape of a finger about five inches 
long. By means of this the animal is able to take 
a pin from the ground, untie the knots of a rope, 
and unlock a door. CElian relates even a more 
wonderful use to which he saw it put. "I have 
seen," he says, "an elephant writing Latin cha- 
racters on a board in a very orderly manner, his 
keeper only showing him the figure of each letter." 

It is not long since the public were astonished 
by the feats of Blondin on the high rope at the 
Crystal Palace. But still more wonderful perform- 
ances are on record. In the time of the Emperor 
Galba, an elephant was made to walk backwards 
and forwards on a rope, across the open space of 
one of the great amphitheatres. The authorities 
for this are quoted by Justus Lipsius in his '' Episto- 
larum Sehdarum Censuria," published at Antwerp 
in 1605. According to Leibnitz, in the year 1237, 
at the wedding of Robert, brother to the king of 
France, a horse was ridden upon a rope. 

About the year 1767 a cutler at Sheffield, in 
sawing through an elephant's tooth, met with a 
resistance which he found very difficult to overcome. 
On examination, he found it was an iron bullet, 
which had lodged in the very body of the tooth 
without any visible external mark of the place 
where it had entered. In 1801, Mr. Combe des- 
cribed to the Royal Society an elephant's tusk with 
the iron head of a spear completely imbedded in it ; 
he judgsd from the position in which it was found 
that it had been driven right through the skull, at 
a point close to the tusk. It then appeared to have 
followed the natural direction of the cavity, and 
thus pointed downwards to the apex of the tusk. 
It is assorted by those who have experience in such 
matters, that other foreign substances are frequently 
found imbedded in the tusk of the elephant. 



WONDERFUL HIGHWAYMEN. 

Macaulav has given a very graphic description of 
the mounted highwaymen that were wont to infest 
the principal roads ; and other writers have dwelt 
upon the deeds of these lawless freebooters, attach- 
ing so great a romance to men whose audacity 
and ferocity often brought them to the gallows, but 



who occasionally displayed acts of good nature, 
nobleness, and generosity. Claude Du Val, who was 
French page to the first Duke of Richmond, has 
been immortalised in the celebrated print, which 
shows him in the act of dancing a coranto on the 
heath with a lady of quality, he having suffered the 
fair owner to ransom three hundred pounds by 
giving him her hand in the measured step. Nor 
was this system of polite plundering confined to 
England, for it is recorded that in August, 1776, a 
lady and her servant, when riding in the Phoenix 
Park, Dublin, were stopped by a man on foot, 
remarkably well dressed, in a suit of white and a 
gold-laced hat. He demanded the lady's money, 
which she gave him, amounting to twenty-six 
guineas, when, having put the cash into one of his 
pockets, he took from the other a small diamond 
hoop ring, which he presented to the lady, desiring 
her to wear it for the sake of one who, though a 
robber, made it a point of honour to take no more 
from a beautiful lady than he could make a return 
for in value. He then politely bowed, and, vaulting 
over the wall, disappeared. 

It often happened that highwaymen paid the 
penalty of their temerity, many having been shot 
when attacking travellers. The story of a noble- 
man saving his own life, and taking that of his 
opponent by an adroit expedient, is well known. 
" Your money or your life ! " said the hero of the 
road, presenting a cocked pistol at the window 
of a carriage on Hounslow Heath. " I would not 
yield to one man," responded the occupant of the 
vehicle, " but as there are two of you I must." The 
robber, taken aback, looked round to see where 
the second man was, and at that moment received 
a bullet through the heart from his intended 
victim. Upon another occasion, in 1775, the Nor- 
wich stage was attacked on Epping Forest by 
seven highwaymen, three of whom were shot dead 
by the guard, but his ammunition failing, he was 
i himself killed, and the coach was robbed by the 
survivors. The chief magistrate of the City of 
London and his suite seem upon a memorable 
occasion to have thought that discretion was the 
better part of valour, for in 1776 the Lord Mayor 
was robbed near Turnham Green in his chaise-and- 
four, in sight of all his retinue, by a single highway- 
man, who swore that he would shoot the first man 
that made resistance or offered violence. Occasion- 
ally these maurauders took to the "silent highway" 
as well as the road, for in June, 1771, three gentle- 
men and two ladies returning from Vauxhall 
Gardens by water, were boarded within two hundred 
yards of Westminster Bridge by six men who had 
their faces covered with black crape. These river 
pirates demanded the money of the party under the 
threat of throwing them overboard, and, after 
robbing them of twenty guineas and two gold 
watches, quietly rowed away up the river. 



WONDERS OF CONSTRUCTION. 



6i 



oniitxB oi Constracliun. 



THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA. 

Pisa is one of those old Italian towns which occu- 
pied a prominent position, and played an important 
part in mediaeval 
history. It is 
saidtohavebeen 
founded about 
600 years B.C., 
and was a town 
of the ancient 
district of Etru- 
ria. In recent 
times it be- 
longed to the 
Grand Duchy of 
Tuscany, now 
incorporated in 
the Kingdom of 
Italy. 

Pisa is chiefly 
celebrated now 
for its wonderful 
Leaning Tower, 
a representation 
of which is given 
in our illustra- 
tion. This was 
erected about the 
year 11 50, by the 
German archi- 
tect Wilhelm of 
Innsbruck. It 
was designed as 
a belfry for the 
cathedral, and 
stands in a 
square close to 
the building to 
which it is at- 
tached. We may 
remark, in pass- 
ing,thatthecrcc- 
tion of belfries 
apart from the 
churches was 
common in the 
early days of 
ecclesiastical ar- 
chitecture ; and many instances of this peculiarity 
are to be found in this country. 

The leaning tower is built wholly of white marble, 
and consists of eight circular stories, each orna- 
mented with rows of columns, and gradually nar- 
rowing in width from the base towards the top. 

The summit is a flat roof, with an open gallery, 
which commands a magnificent view. Its height 




THE I.F.AMNG TOWER OF PISA. 



is 188 feet, or about fourteen feet less than that of 
the monument in London. 

The tower leans so much from the perpendicular, 
that a plummet dropped from the top falls at a 
distance of about fifteen feet from the base. The 
ordinary observer wonders that, with so great a 

deviation, it does 
not come to the 
ground ; but it 
stands ifi obedi- 
ence to the law 
of physics, by 
which any body 
of matter will 
maintain that 
position so long 
as a perpendicu- 
lar line drawn 
from its centre 
of gravity shall 
■fall within its 
base. The "cen- 
tre of gravity " 
may be ex- 
plained, to those 
who are unac- 
quainted with 
scientific terms, 
as the balancing 
point, or point 
at which the en- 
tire weight of a 
body will be 
equally divided, 
and exactly ba- 
lanced on the 
one side and on 
the other. As 
this point is 
found in the 
leaning tower to 
fall within the 
space covered 
by its founda- 
tions, there is 
no reason why it 
should not con- 
tinue to stand, 
as it has done, 
for many centu- 
ries to eome. 
The appearance of the tower has led many to 
suppose that the law above mentioned is actually 
violated ; and, in fact, so nearly is the limit of com- 
pliance with it approached, that scientific observers 
have occasionally formed the same opinion by cal- 
culation, and have been forced to the conclusion 
that the building was held together only by the 
great tenacity of the mortar : but the balance of 



62 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



authority, as well as of probability, is against this 
conclusion. 

As to the cause of the inclination of the tower, 
opinions have also been divided. Some have attri- 
buted it to a subsidence of the foundation, or a 
movement of the adjacent earth. But others have 
contended, with more show of reason in support of 
their argument, that its leaning was the original 
device and purpose of the architect, and that it was 
therefore one of those triumphs of architectural 
skill which in the middle ages would have been 
cordially welcomed and appreciated. Captain Basil 
Hall made a series of careful investigations on the 
subject, and established, as he believed, to demon- 
stration, that the tower was built as it now stands. 
He found that the line of the tower, on the side 
towards which it leans, has not the same curvature 
as the line on the opposite side. If, he remarked, 
the tower had been built upright, and then made to 
incline over, the line of the wall on the side towards 
which the inclination was given would be more or 
less concave ; but he found the contrary to be the 
fact, the line of the wall on the leaning side being 
decidedly more convex than that on the opposite 
side. Captain Hall had, therefore, no doubt what- 
ever that the design of the architect was apparent 
in evory successive layer of the stone. 

These conclusions are partly supported by the 
remarks of another scientific observer, to the effect 
that the name of " the Leaning Tower " does not 
convey a true notion of the form of the building. 
It is, he remarks, in fact, a " twisted" tower, there 
being an irregular curvature in the building. But 
he conjectures that this " twist " was due to the 
subsidence of the foundation during the erection, 
and an attempt on the part of the architect to 
" right " the building as the work proceeded. 

We may add that from the leaning tower of Pisa 
the great astronomer Galileo made, early in the 
seventeenth century, a series of observations from 
which he deduced the principles of the gravitation 
of the earth. 



AERIAL COMBATS. 

In a pamphlet published, as the title-page runs, for 
"■B. B., London, in 1622," we read that in the twelfth 
year of the reign of Richard II. a battle was fought 
between gnats at Shenc, now called Richmond : 
their multitudes were so great, that the air was 
darkened with them. It was computed that two- 
thirds of them were killed, and the remaining third 
suddenly vanished. 

This account is inserted as preliminary to one 
of an cngagemont between the starlings at Cork, 
in Ireland, on the 12th of October, 1621 ; they 
mustered four or five days previously, every day 
increasing in number. .Some came from the east, 
others from the west, and, as it were, encamped 



themselves eastward and westward of the city. 
During the time of their assembling, those who 
came from the east sought their meat eastward, and 
those from the west sought theirs westward ; no one 
flying in the circuits of the other. 

On Saturday, the 12th of October, they fought, 
and on Sunday none were to be seen. Upon this 
same Sunday a similar battle was seen between 
Gravesend and Woolwich, and there was a raven 
flying between the combatants. 

On Monday, the 14th, they reappeared at Cork, 
and fought with as much violence as before, the 
dead and wounded falling on the houses, into the 
streets, and in the river. Besides the starlings, 
kites, ravens, and crows were found dead. 

The work quoted is among the King's Pamphlets 
in the British Museum. 



^lonbei'S of ^^arlilie Intixntiott. 

THE MONCRIEFF BARBETTE. 

Great attention has been paid during the present 
century to inventions for warlike purposes, and the 
art of war has reached such a formidable stnge of 
development, that philanthropists have ventured to 
hope the time must shortly come when war will 
cease to ravage the earth. 

Warlike inventions range themselves in t\\o 
classes — the one for offensive, and the other for 
defensive purposes. In the latter class ranks that 
now known b)- the title placed at the head of- this 
paper. We shall give a brief description of this 
invention, sufficient to afford the reader some idea 
of its general character. 

Most of our readers have seen a fort, and have 
observed that the cannon either look tlirotigh 
openings made in the outer wall, or over the top 
of the parapet. The first plan of fortification is 
known as the embrasure, and the second as the 
barbette system. The barbette is a terrace formed 
inside the parnpet, and the cannon are mounted on 
this terrace, at such an elevation that they may be 
fired in any direction over the top of the wall. This 
system gi\cs freedom of movement in working the 
gun ; but the disadvantage attending it is that the 
men who work it are necessarily greatly exposed to 
the enemy's fire. To remedy this disadvantage to 
some extent, the embrasure system was invented, 
the gun and the artillerymen both being enclosed 
and protected from fire, unless it should penetrate 
the opening made in the wall. This opening is 
usually shaped like a funnel, narrow at tlic outer 
side through which the muzzle protrudes, and widen- 
ing inside so that the direction of aim may be 
altered by a movement of the body of the cannon. 

But the embrasure system has its disad\antages 
also. The openings in the wall weaken the wall 
itself, and besides this, they present marks at which 
the enemy can fire, so that shot or shell glancing 



WONDERS OF THE SNOW. 



63 



through may effect great destruction. The great 
problem in artillery was, effectually to protect the 
men and the cannon they were working, and at the 
same time to preserve the power to use the guns 
freely for defence. 

This problem has now been solved by Captain 
Moncrieff, an officer of the Edinburgh Militia 
Artillery, after many years devoted to the study of 
the subject. But its solution has depended on the 
settling of another question of great difficulty, to 
which we must next allude. 

Every one knows that when a gun or pistol is 
fired, there is a recoil of the weapon, more or less 
severe in proportion to the charge of powder which 
has been used. The force with which a heavy 
cannon recoils is extremely great, and produces a 
severe strain upon its carriage and the works sur- 
rounding it. It is impossible to prevent this recoil, 
but the question had suggested itself to many 
minds whether this immense force could not in 
some way be turned to account. One idea was 
that it might be used to pull up another gun after 
the first had been fired ; but the difficulties attend- 
ing the working out of the suggestion were too 
great, and nothing came of it. Captain Moncrieff 
at length solved this question of utilising the recoil 
force, and with it the problem to which we before 
referred. His mode of doing so is as follows : — 

The gun is placed in a circular pit, and the 
muzzle, when elevated, is on a level with the top, 
over which it can fire in any direction. It rests on 
a small iron carriage, and this lies between two 
rockers, the movement of which is dependent upon 
the motion of the gun. The rockers or elevators, 
as they are termed, are something like those of a 
boy's rocking-horse, to which the whole apparatus 
has been aptly compared. When the gun is fired, 
the force of recoil is imparted to the rockers, and 
the movement of these brings it down again to a 
position in which it is held until it is reloaded, 
both the gun and the men being meanwhile com- 
pletely hidden from the enemy. Attached to the 
rockers is a box containing heavy weights, the 
raising of which checks the downward motion of 
the gun ; and the depression of these weights, 
when the gun is loaded and the catch released, 
brings the cannon up again to the mouth of the 
pit to fire. The weight of the elevating machine, 
or rocking-chair, is about six tons. 

The aim of the gun is directed by means of 
mirrors placed in the pit, and in which the men in 
charge can see all that is going on outside, while 
they themselves remain unobserved. The only 
danger they have to fear is that of shot or shell 
dropping in upon them from above. But the 
mouth of a sunken battery like the Moncrieff 
barbette presents so small and undistinguishable 
a mark, that this danger is in reality small, and it 
is possible, moreover, to protect the pit by an iron 



roof. The system is capable of application in a 
variety of ways, and k is thought it may be applied 
to ships as well as to land fortifications. 

It will be seen from the foregoing account that 
the idea of the principle, like that of many other 
great inventions, is comparatively simple ; but it 
has required long study to bring the details to 
perfection, and some time may yet elapse before all 
its capabilities are developed. 



WONDERS OF THE SNOW. 

The ancient historian Herodotus tells us, in his 
gossiping way, that the Scythians reported of the 
country lying beyond them, and farther to the north, 
" that it could neither be passed, nor yet discerned 
with the eye, on account of i\\Q feathers which were 
continually falling. With these both the earth and 
the air were so filled as effectually to obstruct the 
view." He had himself sufficient acquaintance with 
natural phenomena to conjecture that by " feathers " 
the wild inhabitants of Scythia in reality meant 
snow ; but it is more than probable that when the 
uninformed denizens of warmer latitudes first gazed, 
in their travels, on the spectacle of a snow-storm, 
they verily believed, and reported in all honesty, 
that feathers had been falling to the ground. The 
nursery story of the " old woman picking her geese" 
may thus have had its counterpart, in the infantile 
ages of the Ijfe of the human race. 

Snow is always a wonder to him who sees it for 
the first time, and, familiar as it is to us, we occa- 
sionally meet with people to whom it is utterly 
strange. Youths born in India, for example, on 
visiting England in winter, gaze upon a snow-fall 
with astonishment and admiration. " I do so want 
to see the snow coming down," observed such a 
young friend of ours ; and he was not content until 
a severe winter fully realised his wish. 

But there are wonders in the snow, with which 
many who look upon its coming as quite a matter 
of course may be unacquainted. Such a wonder 
is presented in the phenomena of crystallisa/ioit. 
Snow is produced by the freezing of moist vapours 
suspended in the atmosphere ; and in very low 
temperatures the flakes or particles of snow are 
found to assume the most elegant and regular forms. 
These, from their perfect geometrical proportion, 
are denominated crystals, that name being applied 
to all particles of matter which take a definite geo- 
metrical shape. Snow crystals are of infinite variety 
and beauty. Captain (afterwards Doctor) Scoresby, 
the Arctic traveller, who was the first to observe 
them, gave ninety-six illustrations of their graceful 
forms, in his description of the Arctic Regions, 
published in 1820. From these we select a few, 
which will afford an idea of the character of the 
remainder. 



64 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



It was at first thought that only such extreme 
cold as that of the Arctic regions could produce 
this crystallisation. On investigation, however, it 
was discovered that in our own severe winters the 



figure is like a triangle with the points cut off ; and 
now and then two small figures are connected to- 
gether by a slender bar or link. These exceptional 
figures, as well as others more commonly discovered, 



^ ^f ♦HU 






// ^ 






snow presents an equally wonderful appearance ; 
and the eminent meteorologist. Dr. Glaisher, in 



will be found represented in our smaller illustration. 
As a rule, however, the hexagons consist of thin 



1855, gave to the world a representation of 150 plates shaped like beautiful stars, and sometime? 
figures from the snow, which had come within his ' surrounded by other stars of similar nature. The 
own observation during tlie previous winter. These 1 great variety of these appearances is apparentl>- in- 




wcre quite as beaulifu! and diversified in character 
as those noticed by Dr. Scoresby in the Polar seas. 
One striking feature in the snow crystals is this : 
that though differing so widely in character, they 
are all, or nearly all, hexagonal or six-sided in 
shape. Occasionally three-sided figures are seen, 
but these are very rare. Sometimes three of the 
sides are shorter than the other three, so that the 



exhaustible, for each investigation has resulted in 
the discovery of forms previously unobserved, al- 
though possessing the general characteristics to 
which we have alluded. 
! The angle of sixty degrees is also found to pre- 
' vail in all the various ramifications of these stars 
' amid the snow, in conformity with the law by which 
1 water always crystallises at this angle. 



EARTHQUAKES. 



65 



EARTHQUAKES. 

An earthquake is the most terrible of all the won- 
derful phenomena of nature ; there is nothing which 
is so utterly appalling to the senses of those who 
witness it. The buildings which man has erected 
for his comfort and protection are crashing into 
ruin over his head, the solid earth trembles beneath 
his feet, or, yawning wide, threatens every moment 
to swallow him up ; fire and water combine to add 
their terrors to the scene, and yet he is afraid to 
fly, for he feels that the very spot which he may 



terrible effects, in the Indian Archipelago as far 
north as Japan. In America those countries which 
surround the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, 
as well as those that he between the Andes and 
the Pacific, including also the mountain region 
itself, are the localities where earthquakes most 
frequently occur. The countries of Peru and 
Ecuador, the scene of the late terrible earthquake, 
lie within these latter limits. 

Earthquakes occur much more frequently than 
most people suppose. Humboldt asserted it as his 
belief that if it were possible to obtain daily infor- 




VIEW IN LISBON AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE. FROM AN OLD PRINT. 



choose as his vantage ground of safety, may chance 
to be just exactly over the focus of the earthquake's 
force. 

It is not our intention here to discuss the various 
theories which from time to time have been started 
as to the origin of earthquakes. It is enough to 
say that it is considered most probable that they 
are the result of an imprisoned force, generated 
by the extreme heat which is supposed to keep the 
centre of our globe in a constant state of lique- 
taction ; the same force that occasionally finds a 
vent in volcanoes, which act, so to speak, as safety- 
valves for its destructive powers. 

Some countries are very much more liable to 
shocks of earthquake than others. In the old 
world those countries which lie round the Mediter- 
ranean are most subject to these disasters ; and 
they also occur frequently, and often with very 



mation respecting the state of the whole surface of 
the globe, we should probably convince ourselves 
that this surface is nearly always shaken at some 
point or other, though not, of course, always with 
any great degree of violence. The shocks vary, 
both in their intensity and in their mode of action. 
Sometimes they are so slight as to be scarcely 
perceptible, at other times they cause the most 
wide -spread devastation. Again, they appear 
sometimes as tremulous movements of the earth's 
surface, which do but little material damage, and 
commonly pass away in a moment, though 
they have been known to continue for several 
days together. At other times they are what 
is called undulating, the surface of the ground 
being alternately raised and depressed, not unlike 
the effect produced on the sea by a moderate 
breeze, More terrible in their nature are the 



56 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



upheaving earthquakes, which raise up and burst 
open the solid crust of the earth. The cftects whiclr 
an earthquake of this nature sometimes produces 
are ahnost incredible. 

But the most terrible of all, and happily those 
which occur most seldom, are those which are 
known as rotatory earthquakes. They are sup- 
posed to be the combination of the upheaving 
and undulating movements, and act upon the 
surface of the earth much as violent cross-winds 
do upon the sea. The results of these shocks are 
sometimes most extraordinary. In the earth- 
quake of Catania, in .Sicily (1818), several statues 
were found to have been turned quite round. At 
Concepcion, in Chili, in the year 1835, an 
angular stone pinnacle was found to have been 
turned half round, without being displaced from 
its base. 

In the great earthquake of Calabria, in the year 
1783, some extraordinary changes of position were 
effected. Houses were removed, and carried up 
to places higher than those they had originally 
occupied. In some places large pieces of ground 
exchanged their respective situations, and for 
several years after the earthquake, lawsuits used 
to be brought in the courts of Naples, to decide 
the claims to which this singular confusion had 
given rise. 

One of the most terrible earthquakes on record 
is that which happened at Lisbon on the ist of 
November, 1755. The morning was fine, and there 
was no apparent indication of the coming destruc- 
tion. About nine o'clock a low, subterraneous 
rumbling was heard, which gradually increased, 
and culminated, at last, in a violent shock of earth- 
ciuake, which levelled to the ground many of the 
principal buildings of the place. Three other 
shocks followed in rapid succession, and continued 
the work of destruction. Scarcely had the ill-fated 
inhabitants begun to realise the enormity of the 
disaster which had come upon them, when they 
were surprised by another visitation, of a different 
but not' less destructive character. The sea sud- 
denly began to rush with great violence into the 
Tagus, which rose at once as much as forty feet 
above high water mark. The water swept over a 
gireat part of the city, and many of the inhabitants 
fled from its approach to take refuge on a strong 
marble quay lately erected. They had collected 
there to the number of 3,000, when the quay was 
suddenly hurled bottom upwards, and every soul 
on it perished. There was another shock in the 
evening which split the walls of several houses ; but 
when it passed away, the rents closed up again so 
firmly that no trace of them could be seen. What 
the earthquake and the flood had spared was con- 
siuned by fire. The ist of November, being All 
Saints' Day, was kept as a high festival, and all 
the churches were brilliantly illuminated with 



candles ; these falling, with the shock of the earth- 
quake, against the timbers and curtains, set fire 
to them, and as there were no means of checking 
it, the conflagration rapidly spread. It is stated 
that by the combined effects of these disasters, no 
less than 60,000 persons perished. The destruc- 
tive effects of the earthquake were felt, more or 
less, throughout the whole of Portugal and a great 
portion of Spain. 

At Cadiz the inhabitants were terrified by seeing 
the sea suddenly rise to the height of sixty feet 
above its ordinary level. It came on like a gigantic 
wall of water, advancing against the town, which it 
inundated, causing great destruction and consider- 
able loss of life. It then retreated far out to sea, 
leaving a great part of the bay dry. This alternate 
rising and subsidence of the waters was repeated 
three or four times, each time abating something of 
its violence, until the sea at length resumed its 
usual level. 

The earthquake which lately laid waste Iciuique 
and the neighbouring places on the west coast of 
South America, presented many features strikingly 
similar to those of the Lisbon earthquake. There 
was the same terrible overthrow, without any pre- 
vious warning ; there was the same overvi'helming 
rush of water from the sea. In the official report 
forwarded to the Admiralty it is mentioned that, 
" Immediately after the earthquake it was noticed 
that the sea was unusually high ; suddenly it 
receded with great rapidity, uncovering the bay at 
a depth of four fathoms. \^'hiIe the sea was going 
out, there was seen coming from the south-west, as 
if to meet it, a great wave. It is described as a 
dark blue mass of water, forty feet high, without 
crest or foam, rolling steadily on at the rate of 
about fourteen miles an hour. This, when it 
reached the land, surged over the town and neigh- 
bouring beach. The destruction was complete, 
and as the sea went off to its original bounds, 
everything in the lower part of the town was swept 
away. 

The earthquake of Caraccas, in Venezuela, oc- 
curred on the 26th of March, 181 2. The shocks 
continued at intervals, varying in intensity, till the 
30th of April. In this earthquake 12,000 people 
are said to have perished. The same town was 
visited by another, almost as disastrous, in the year 
1826. 

Very violent earthquakes have been known on the 
table-land of Quito. In one which happened there, 
on the 4th of February, 1797, no less th.an 40,000 
lives were lost. Not without reason did Humboldt 
say that there is no force known to exist, not even 
the murderous inventions of our own race con- 
trived for each other's extirpation, by which, in 
the short period of a few seconds or minutes, such 
a number of persons can be killed, as by an earth- 
quake. 



A WONDERFUL VOYAGE. 



67 



MouLiwful Siatistks. 



Size of the Atlantic Waves. — From Dr. 
Scorcsby's observations, made 1847-8, it appears 
that in a very heavy gale, the waves arc from 24 
to 36 feet high, or from 12 to 18 feet above and 
below the mean level of the sea. During a raging 
storm they have been 45 feet (22i feet above and 
below). From crest to crest in a fresh sea, 100 to 
1 50 feet ; a moderate gale, 300 feet ; a great storm, 
600 feet, moving onward with a velocity exceeding 30 
miles an hour. — Companion to B)-itis!i Almanac 
for 1858, p. 28. 

Charities of London. — The Registrar-General, 
in his Summary for 1856, mentions a startling fact 
• — that, in that year, one person in every five that 
' died closed his days under a roof provided by 
public law or private charity. Total number of 
those who died in 1856 in London, 56,786. Num- 
ber of those who died in the same year in 116 
public institutions — workhouses, hospitals, asylums, 
prisons, &c.— 10,381. — See Registrar - General's 
Returns, Annual Summary, 1856. 

Books on Arithmetic. — Professor de Morgan 
calculates that since the year 1500 there have been 
published 3,000 works on arithmetic, in Latin, 
French, German, Dutch, Italian, and English : an 
average production of one a year to each of these 
languages. — " The Decimal System," by Sir John 
Bowring, p. 35. 

A Pleas.\nt Climate. — The following is the 
calendar of a Lapland or Siberian year: — June 23, 
snow molts ; July I, snow gone ; July 9, fields quite 
green ; July 17, plants at full growth ; July 25, 
plants in full flower ; August 2, fruits ripe ; August 
10, plants shed their seed; August 18, snow, con- 
tinuing until June 23. 

The human brain contains a considerable propor- 
tion of phosphorus, varying from ^'^th to Joth of 
the whole mass. If the average weight of the 
English brain be taken at 471 oz., it will then 
contain an amount of phosphorus amounting to 
i-f'iE oz., or 2j oz. This phosphorus is found to 
be almost entirely wanting in the brains of idiots. 
The intellectual power of the human brain 
depends to some extent upon the depth and 
number of its convolutions. The lower we descend 
in the scale of intelligence, the fewer and sliallowcr 
do these convolutions become. While the brain of 
the fox almost resemljles a miniature human brain 
in its corrugated appearance, that of the pigeon is 
almost smooth. 

The voracity of the larvae of insects is so great, 
that Linna;us has asserted that the progeny of three 
female flesh flies (each gives birth to 20,000 young, 
and a third generation is produced in a few days) 
would eat the carcase of a horse with greater speed 
than a lion. When first hatched, the larva of the 
silkworm weighs xJijth of a grain ; previous to its as- 



suming the pupa state it weighs ninety-five grains, 
an increase of 9,500 times its original weight. The 
full-grown caterpillar of the goat-moth weighs as 
much as 72,000 fresh born ones. If this propor- 
tion existed in the human race, and a fresh born 
baby weighed 10 lb., its mother would weigh 160 
tons, 3 cwt., 2 qr., 27 lb. 



A WONDERFUL VOYAGE, 

KICHARD DEVOE. 

There is a good story told of an American, who was 
rather given to drawing the long-bow, being paid 
back in his own coin by a still sharper American. 
The former was telling a wonderful story of how, on 
one occasion, having crossed the Atlantic, and near- 
ing England, the captain of the vessel saw some- 
thing coming towards them, nearer and nearer. 
There was much excitement on deck to know what 
it might be. 

" And what do you think it was ? " said the first 
American. 

" Can't say," replied the other. 
" It was a man who had come all the way from 
America on a hen-coop." 

Says the other, " / luas that man!' 
The story of Richard Devoe recalls the anecdote 
above related, but it has the merit of being strictly 
true. This young sailor lad was miraculously 
preserved from the wreck of the schooner Mary, 
on her passage from Curacoa to Greenock, in the 
year 1806. 

It appears that on. Saturday, 23rd August, 1806, 
the Mary experienced a tremendous gale, which 
continued all night. On Sunday it was calm for 
about two hours, when they made more sail, but the 
gale coming on they took in all but the foresail, 
under which they lay to, until suddenly the 
schooner upset. After remaining in the water 
in this situation for about a quarter of an hour 
they cut away the lanyards in hope that the 
vessel would right ; but unfortunately she foun- 
dered while the captain was at the helm, and every 
soul but young Devoe and a man named William 
perished. Just before the vessel went down Devoe 
cut away the gripes of the long-boat, but in at- 
tempting to get into her she capsised ; then, as a 
last resort, he swam to the booby-hatch, which he 
caught hold of. The sailor, William, got hold of the 
hatch at the same time, but, the sea upsetting it, he 
was obliged to let go his hold and was lost. Devoe 
continued by the hatch all night, holding on by 
the clamp when the fury of the gale abated. On 
Monday it was calm, and by a great piece of good 
fortune, a crab floated on to the hatch, which, from 
extreme hunger, he ate alive. Fatigued, cold, and 
almost exhausted, in this perilous situation he lay 
down on the hatch and slept. Having awoke, and 
feeling considerably refreshed, he saw two schooners 



68 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



at a short distance, making, as ho supposed, a S.E. 
course. He waved his hat and handkerchief, but 
there was no responsive sign. Early on Tuesday 
morning he saw a ship close by him, which he 
hailed, but those on board did not hear him, the 
current sweeping him away. The wind, however, 
suddenly turned and brought the ship so close 
to him that he was observed. A boat was imme- 
diately lowered, and Devoe was taken on board. 
She proved to be the Rose Gardner of Phila- 
delphia, bound for Cork, but bearing away to 
New York in distress, where she arrived on 30th 
August. 

Whilst Devoe was on the hatch his situation was 
rendered more terrible by observing the sharks 
devour the bodies of his dead comrades. 



FIRE-BALLS, 

On the 7th of October in the year 1868, one 
of the most remarkable fire-balls of which any 
record exists, was seen from three points so far 
distant from each other as Paris, Rouen, and 
London. From ten to fifteen minutes before twelve, 
the moon and the stars shining brightly, the 
atmosphere being frosty and cloudless, and scarcely 
a breath of air stirring, thousands of people be- 
tween and around the points mentioned above, were 
startled by a sudden blaze of light in the heavens. 
The brightness resembled that of the magnesium 
light, and not only did the moon and stars grow 
dim in its lustre, but many of the eye-witnesses 
were so dazzled by the glare, that they could not 
observe the phenomenon with sufficient accuracy 
to give any intelligible account of it. Others, with 
more presence of mind, have recorded their 
observations, and the result, from combining 
the various particulars they have given, is as 
follows. 

A witness at Ramsgate relates that the meteor 
seemed to dart suddenly from the highest point in 
the heavens, and as it could not have been visible 
from places so wide apart as Paris and London, 
unless its elevation was very great, we may accept 
this observation as absolutely correct. As it floated 
slowly across the heavens (slowly when judged by 
the eye) in a direction from north to south, or more 
correctly, perhaps, from a point verging north- 
west to south-east, its appearance changed from 
that of an immense globe of white light to a 
comet-like form, the tail having various colours, 
changing from green through several shades of 
red to blue or purple. It exploded with a sound 
resembling two gunshots, audible at Paris and 
Rouen, but not, so far as we can learn, in any 
part of England. The probability is that it fell at 
La Varenne, St. Hilaire, near the Vincennes rail- 
way, and if so, it has been identified with a meteoric 



stone found in the grounds of M. Launy, and 
measuring about thirty-nine inches in length, by 
seven or eight inches in thickness. 

History abounds in similar records, but it has not 
often been possible to combine the simultaneous 
observations made in distant places ; and it may 
be doubted if the elevation would always admit of 
a fire-ball being observed at points so distant from 
each other as in this instance. It 1768, a cloud 
was seen to explode over the village of Luce on 
the Maine, and the sound was heard ten miles 
distant. In 1798, a large fire-ball was seen near 
Benares, in India, and at several places, extending 
to a distance of fifteen miles. In 1803 a fiery globe 
of extraordinary brilliance was seen in full daylight 
over the town of L'Aiglc, in Normandy, and at such 
an elevation that the inhabitants of two hamlets, a 
league distant from each other, saw it at the same 
time. It burst in a shower of meteoric stones. 

To come to recent times, a great fire-ball was 
observed simultaneously on the 29th of April, 1865, 
at Manchester and Weston-super-Mare. From the 
careful observations made by Messrs. Baxcndalc 
and Wood, Mr. Alexander Herschel was enabled 
to compute that this meteor first appeared exactly 
over the city of Lichfield, at a height of fifty-two 
miles ; that it travelled at the rate of about twenty 
miles per second, and disappeared when at a height 
of thirty-seven miles, over the city of Oxford. Fire- 
balls are most often seen a day or two before, or a 
day or two after, the recognised dates of those won- 
derful displays of asteroids which are now known 
to be a regularly recurring phenomenon at two 
periods of the year. The probability is that all 
these appearances admit of one and the same ex- 
planation, namely, that they are masses of matter 
revolving round the sun, which come into contact 
with the earth, and take fire on entering its atmo- 
sphere. The smaller particles are consumed in 
passing through the atmosphere, and fall to the 
earth unperceivcd, as small dust ; while the larger 
reach the ground in great masses, and often pene- 
trate to a considerable depth. 

The weight of some of these stones is well known. 
One which fell at Ensisheim in Alsace, on the 7th 
of November, 1492, weighed 260 lb., and sank 
itself three feet deep in the earth. Gassendi 
observed one fall on Mont Vasir, near Nice, on the 
27th of November, 1627, which weighed 591b. In 
1672 two stones fell near Verona in Italy, the one 
weighing 300, the other 200 lb. Paul Lucas relates 
that when he was at Larissa, a town of Greece, 
near the Gulf of Salonica, a stone weighing 72 lb. 
fell in the vicinity. A shower of meteoric stones 
fell near Geneva in 1753, of which the largest 
weighed 2olb. In 1795 a stone fell in Yorkshire, 
within a few yards of one of the observers, and it 
was found to weigh 561b. Sometimes a large 
stone explodes into hundreds of small fragments, 



THE FROZEN SEA. 



69 




bCK.N'E O.N THE FROZEN SEA. 



and falls in a shower. It is even recorded that a 
fall of sand continued for fifteen hours over the 
Atlantic on the 6th of April, 1719, but this we 
should be inclined to attribute to the action of wind 
bringing clouds of sand from some desert region of 
the earth. Masses of iron and other materials, 
much larger than any we have mentioned above, 
are known to exist in places where their appearance 
can only be accounted for on the supposition that 
they are meteoric stones. One of these great 
masses, estimated at 70 cubic feet in bulk, is 
known to have fallen in America on the 5th of 
April, 1800. 

When touched immediately after their descent, 
meteoric stones are invariably found to be hot. 
Sometimes they approach to the spherical in form, 
but are as often of irregular shape, as might be 
expected when an explosion has preceded their fall. 
They smell strongly of sulphur, and are generally 
covered with a black crust. They are by no means 
uncommon objects in collections of curiosities, 
and probably most of our readers have frequently 
examined them. A small one, about the size 
of a walnut, which the writer once possessed was 
spherical in shape, but with an irregular surface 
like a little potato ; and it contained so much sul- 
phur in combination with iron, that it gradually fell 
to pieces, and could even be crumbled by the finger. 
This gave an opportunity for observing that it was 
beautifully radiated from the centre, as if composed 
of myriads of fine fibres. 



Manbtrs of iljc ©teitit. 

THE FROZEN SEA. 

Whatever opinions may be entertained as to the 
existence of an open sea around the North Pole, 
it is agreed on all hands that there is a Polar 
Frozen Sea. In both the northern and southern 
high latitudes it has been found that there is a 
certain limit beyond which the progress of ships 
is barred by an impenetrable fence of ice. What 
is beyond it is more or less matter of speculation. 
Concerning the Frozen Sea of the Arctic regions, 
mucfi more is known than has been ascertained 
about the Frozen Sea in the Antarctic circle; 
many more expeditions have been sent out to 
examine the nature of the sea around the North 
Pole than have ventured to the South ; but it 
would appear that the latter is, of the two, the 
more impervious. Ocean surveyors, from the time 
of Cook to the time of Ross and Penny, have 
been unanimous in reporting that there is no indi- 
cation of a break anywhere along the southern 
barrier. Their ships sailed for many degrees along 
the outer face of an icy wall, of which the first 
shelf was as high as their mainyard. Above and 
beyond that shelf, as far as the assisted sight could 
reach, there was nothing but solid ice, save in 
some few places, where what looked like land was 
joined on to and backed the frozen fringe. Mile 
after mile, day after day, the ships sailed on coastwise, 
keeping a pretty straight line of latitude, watching 



7° 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



narrowly for an opening in the hard ice chff. Not 
any opening presented itself, and the results of 
discovery in the Antarctic regions have been to 
show that land, probably in continental proportions, 
does exist beyond the ice in some parts. 

The frozen condition of the Arctic Ocean is a 
fact within the experience of every whaler, though 
the question of the extent to which the sea is frozen 
remains unsettled. At a degree of latitude which 
varies with the season of the year, the progress of 
ships northward is barred by a barrier of frozen 
water. During the summer months, when occa- 
sionally the thermometer will register a heat equal 
to the mean temperature of the tropics, and such 
life as there is in the Arctic circle wakes up 
and renews its lease, the zone of the north is 
loosened, the outer edge of the belt cracks and 
splits into vast mountains of ice which, becoming 
detached, get -tmder way and start for the south. 
From the end of May they are to be met with 
in the North Atlantic, sailing majestically and dan- 
gerously towards those warmer regions of which the 
temperature is reduced and invigorated by their icy 
presence. The question is whether there is any 
general break up of the Frozen Sea, whether in the 
more northerly parts the pack ice ever becomes loose 
ice, and again whether, supposing it does not be- 
come loose, the pack ice drifts bodily southward 
as it has been suggested it docs. Ships that have 
been nipped by the ice and have been surprised by 
winter in the north, report that during their captivity 
they have been carried many degrees to the south- 
ward by the drift of the pack in which they were 
enclosed. Lieutenant De Haven, of the American 
navy, when in command of the United States ex- 
pedition after Sir John Franklin, was frozen up for 
nine months, at the beginning of which time he was 
in mid-channel in Wellington Straits, and at -the 
end he found himself i,ooo miles to the southward. 
H.M.S. Resolute, which was abandoned by Captain 
Kellet in the ice, remained in the cold embrace of 
the ice nip for several years, but in the end was borne 
south till the temperature burst her bonds and she 
was recaptured and sent home unharmed. These 
instances only prove that the particular portion of the 
Frozen Sea in which the ships were bound became 
loose, though there is good reason to think that the 
entire belt of ice about the North Pole does in 
ordinarily warm summers become detached, new ice 
being formed on the extreme northerly limit of the 
sea as soon as winter returns, in order to replace 
what has been during the summer pushed away tp 
the southward. 

If we may credit the great amount of evidence 
which has been adduced, we should adopt the 
general behef of Arctic explorers, that beyond the 
Frozen Sea there is a large open sea, free from ice, 
which extends for several degrees all round the 
Pole, Dr, Kane, in one of his search expeditions, 



crossed a barrier of ice a hundred miles broad, of 
which the northern boundary was reached in the 
eighty-third degree of north latitude. There he 
found an open sea extending in an unbroken sheet 
of water as far as the eye could reach towards the 
Pole, the waves broke upon the shore, and there was 
a tidal variation in the height of the \vatcr, the 
temperature of which was four degrees above 
freezing. Whether this sea was only temporarily 
free from ice or whether it is always open, is a 
question yet to be solved. Explorers who have 
penetrated far to the northward of Dr. Kane's posi- 
tion have reported the whole place ice-bound, with 
apparetitly an unmoving,- fast-anchored ice-pack 
stretching away to the north. 

Our illustration — taken from an original sketch 
made on the spot — gives a remarkably \'ivid reprc- 



PROOFS OF GUILT IN SUPERSTITIOUS 

AGES. 
The origin of the curious custom of making 
persons suspected of murder touch the murdered 
body for the discovery of their guilt or innocence 
is interesting. This [method of finding out mur- 
derers was practised in Dcn]nark by King Chris- 
tian II. The story goes that it arose in the fol- 
lowing way. Certain gentlemen being on an 
evening together in a tavern, fell out among them- 
selves, and from words grew to blows, insomuch 
that one of them was stabbed with a poniard. Now 
the murderer was unknown, by reason of the number, 
although the person stabbed before death accused 
a pursuivant who was one of the company. The 
king, to find out the homicide, caused them all 
to come together, and, standing round the dead 
body, he commanded that they should, one after 
another, lay their right hands on the dead man's 
naked breast, swearing that they had not killed 
him. The gentlemen did so, and no sign ap- 
peared against them. The pursuivant alone ra- 
mained, who, condemned before in his own con- 
science, went first of all and kissed the dead man's 
feet, but as soon as he laid his hand on his breast, 
the blood, we arc told, gushed forth both out of 
his wound and his nostrils, so that, urged by this 
evident accusation, he confessed the murder, and 
was, by the king's own sentence, immediately 
beheaded. 

The elder Disraeli, in his " Curiosities of Litera- 
ture," gives several examples of these " ordeals," 
as they were called, such as walking blindfold 
amidst burning plough-shares ; passing through 
fires ; holding in the hand a red-hot bar ; and 
plunging the arm into boiling water. The popular 
affirmation, " I will go through fire and water for 
my friend," was, in all probability, derived from 
this custom. 



THE WONDER OF THE TELEGRAPH. 



71 



Disraeli says, " Those accused of robbery were 
put to trial by a piece of barley bread on which 
the mass had been said, which if they could not 
swallow, they were declared guilty. This mode of 
trial was improved by adding to the bread a slice 
of cheese, and such was the credulity that they 
were very particular in this holy bread and cheese, 
called the corsncd. The bread was to be of un- 
leavened barley, and the cheese made of ewes' 
milk in the month of May." Du Cange observes 
that the expression, "May this piece of bread choke 
me," comes from this custom. 



P^oitetariT MoiTbfrs. 

Joint-Stock Mania. — In Swift's Memoirs, Sir 
W. Scott states, that in 1720 most chimerical 
schemes were circulated in abundance, introduc- 
ing a breed of asses, sweeping the streets, and 
maintaining foundlings ; and one projector ob- 
tained subscriptions to a very large extent, and 
some advance in ready money on each, for a 
project, the object of which ho declined to explain, 
further than by promising a return of the ad- 
venturers of cent, per cent. Swift wrote several 
papers abusing these projects. — Swift's Memoirs, 
p. 251. 

Mania for Speculation.— In 1720, the time 
of the South Sea Bubble, amongst the many mad 
schemes put forward, was one for " An undertaking 
■which shall in due time be revealed." Each sub- 
scriber was to pay down two guineas, and there 
were actually 1,000 of these subscriptions paid in 
one morning, the promoter of the scheme decamp- 
ing with the money the same afternoon. — Lord 
Mahon's"- Hist. Eng-.," vol. ii., p. 12. 

Monopolies in France, Seventeenth Cen- 
tury. — To such an extent was this practice carried 
that in 1677 the Duke of Bouillon, Grand Chamber- 
lain of France, procured the privilege of selling a 
poison for vermin. Bills notifying the privilege 
were posted on the walls of Paris, and a copy is 
given in Locke's Journal. — See " Life of Locke" by 
Lord King, p. 86, Bohn, 1858. 



THE WONDER OF THE TELEGRAPH. 

11. — the needle instrument. 

We have described the recording instrument for 
transmitting messages, invented by Professor Morse, 
and improved successively by Mr. Bain and Mr. 
Allan. There is, however, a tot.ally different method 
of signalling by means of what is called the needle 
instrument, invented by Messrs. Cooke and Wheat- 
stone. This- instrument flashes the intelligence as 
fast as it can be read off by the eye, following the 
motion of the needle as it points to tl)c characters ; 



but it makes no record of the messages. The clerk 
writes it down letter by letter as it is signalled. 

Every one is familiar with the appearance of the 
dial of this apparatus, seen so frequently in private 
offices and in railway stations. To explain the 
action of the mechanism behind the dial we must 
refer to a phenomenon in electricity which wc have 
not hitherto mentioned. If a magnetic needle (as 
used for the mariner's compass) be freely suspended 
in a direction parallel to the wire through which an 
electric current is directed, the needle will place 
itself at right angles to the wire. The reader must 
be contented with a bare statement of this fact : 
it is sufficient to enable him to draw the inference 
that just as an electric magnet can be made to 
attract its keeper by means of a current of elec- 
tricity, and thus set other parts of the apparatus 
to which it belongs in motion, so a needle can be 
made to move in certain directions at the pleasure 
of the operator. This motion of the magnetic 
needle (which is concealed in the box behind the 
dial) is transferred mechanically to the needle on 
the outside, the quick movements of which look 
almost like intelligence. All the rest is only a 
matter of arrangement and manipulation. If the 
handle,/ (Fig. i), be moved to the right, the current 
of electricity moves the needle to the right, once, 
twice, or thrice as may be required to make the 
signs corresponding to the letters of the alphabet, 
and the same as regards the movement to the left. 




To explain this, a little attention will be required to 
the following diagram (Fig. 2, p. 72). 

The reader must imagine himself to be standing 
so as to face the back of the dial. The boss. A, 
represents the end of the spindle worked by the 
handle in front of the instrument. When at rest, 
the position occupied by the rod, c b, is that of the 
dotted lines, ^ /i, but the handle having been moved 
to the right the cross piece at the end oic b touches 
the spring ndald, while the other extremity touches 
the spring E e ate. Now as the wires F/conncct 
c 6 with the battery B, and as the wires I i arc 
connected with the galvanometer,* c K (in which the 

• A g.ilvanometer is an instrument composed of .1 magnetic needle 
surrounded by a coil of wire, through which the electric curifent is 
passed. The length of wire coiled up increases (within certain liraitsl 
the sensitiveness of the needle. 



*/2 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



magnetic needle itself works), it is evident that by 
moving c b into the position represented, the dis- 
joined parts have been brought into contact, and 
the electric circuit is completed.* The same result 
would have taken place if the handle in front of the 
instrument had been turned to the right, except that 
the current would have been reversed. Its action 
is as follows : — 

The current of electricity derived from chemical 
action in the battery passes into the wire F, and 
thence to the distant station by way of w through the 




earth, where it deflects the needle. From the distant 
station it returns in the course marked by the arrow 
and passes through the wire i into the galvanometer 
coil c, and deflecting the needle, S N, returns to the 
battery through the coil K and the %Yire I. All 
this, though it takes long to describe, is effected 
instantaneously. The direction of the current is 
reversed according as contact is made at d or E, 
and the motion of the needle of course responds 
to it. For example, to telegraph the word CAN the 
movements must be four to the left, two to the 
left, and two to the right, as shown by the signs on 
the dial. If the needle be moved thus in London, 
and the other end of the conducting wire be in 
Edinburgh or elsewhere, the needle at that end 
also moves in the same way. 

In estimating the velocity with which messages 
can be delivered by any of the instruments we have 
described, it must be remembered that there are 
mechanical arrangements to be taken into account. 

* Various other mechanical arrangements are in use, but the prin- 
ciple is the -same in all, i 



From observations made with the Atlantic cable, it 
has been proved that the electric current travels at 
the rate of 6,020 miles a second, and on land lines 
it is known to be considerably greater, the average 
of several experiments giving 16,000 miles per 
second. So far, therefore, as the natural law is 
concerned, " as quick as lightning" would express 
no more than the truth ; but when mechanism has 
to be moved, other laws come into operation which 
seriously affect the result. In his evidence before 
the select committee on the FJectric Telegraphs 
Bill in the House of Commons, last year. Sir Charles 
Whcatstonc affirmed that, ordinarily, from twenty 
to twenty-five words a minute are sent ; he pro- 
duced an instrument, however, which is capable of 
sending from sixty to seventy words a minute, and 
which he affirmed has worked at the rate of one 
hundred and twenty. To send twenty-five words a 
minute by the ordinary Morse apparatus is a feat 
of dexterity, however, not practical work under ordi- 
nary circumstances. An exceptionally intelligent 
and skilful practitioner at each end of the wire must 
be provided, and after all the message may be as 
difficult to read by ordinary telegraph clerks, as bad 
handwriting by ordinary readers of print. The in- 
dentations are indistinct, or the dashes and dots 
blurred together. About fifteen words a minute, we 
believe, can be telegraphed with precision, and this 
rate of speed is equivalent to a hundred lines cf our 
own printed columns per hour. This view of the case 
is supported by the following facts. On Saturday, 
December 21, 1867, a message of forty-eight words 
was sent from London to Washington in nine and a 
half minutes, the time of transmission being divided 
as follows : from London to Heart's Content, four 
and a half minutes ; from Heart's Content to Plaister 
Cove, one and a half minutes ; from Plaister Cove to 
New York, one and a half minutes. A reply of sixty 
words was returned in twenty minutes. On the 
same evening a message of twenty-two words was 
sent from London to Heart's Content, and in ten 
minutes a reply of twenty-four words was delivered 
in London. These being trials of skill, the best 
hands were employed, and extra precautions taken 
to ensure speed. 

We may safely affirm that the telegraph is yet 
only in its infancy. To say nothing here of Mr. 
Allan's plan for a system that shall be as universal 
as the penny post. Sir Charles Wheatstone has de- 
signed what he calls a " Cryptograph," or mode of 
secret telegraphy. This instrument is employed by 
the police, and it was found particularly useful 
during the Fenian excitement. Any person using 
one of these instruments may employ his own 
cipher ; and had it been used for military purposes 
in America during the late war, the artful trick 
of "tapping" the telegraph wires, and misdirecting 
the troops of the enemy, or discovering their move- 
ments, would have been impossible to execute. 



THE GREAT TUN OF HEIDELBERG. 



73 




THE GREAT TUN OF HEIDELBERO. (IKUM AN ol.li I'KINT.) 



THE GREAT TUN OF HEIDELBERG. 



Heidelberg was the capital of the Palatinate of 
the Rhine, from 1362 to 17 19, when the Elector 
removed his residence to Mannheim. The mag- j 
nificent castle, which stands on a commanding 
eminence, embosomed in dark woods, overlooking 
the town, was the palace of the Electors Palatine, 
and was celebrated during a part of this long 
interval, for two curiosities : first, the five stone 
pillars said to have been brought from Ravenna 
by Charlemagne ; and secondly, the " Great Tun." 
In the year 1608, the city was visited by one 
Thomas Coryat ; and Tom, as the traveller loves 
to call himself, being able to make use of the 
name of his friend Sir Henry Wotton, at that 
time ambassador at Venice, was admitted to some 
familiarity with the people of Prince Frederick's 
court, and so found his way into the wine-cellars 
of the castle. There he beheld a " wondrous | 
company " of great wine-barrels, the sight of 
which, and something more, made him " spin," 
and he was at last taken into a room which con- 
tained a wonder not unworthy, in his estimation, 
to be classed with the Colossus of Rhodes, the 
hanging gardens of Semiramis, or the tomb of 
Mausolus. These " decantated miracles," Tom 
says, were no worthier of the immortality they 
have won than this miraculous wine-barrel. 
10 



Recent accounts state that the great tun was 
first constructed in 1343, when it was made to 
contain twenty-one pipes of wine ; that it was suc- 
ceeded by one made in 1664, which held 600 hogs- 
heads ; and that this again having been destroyed 
by the French in 1688, was succeeded by a third 
which held 800 hogsheads, and is now mouldering 
away, being no longer used. Tom Coryat says 
the miraculous tun seen and depicted by him 
was begim in 1589, and finished in 1591, seventeen 
years before his visit : "one Michael Warner, of 
the city of Landavia, being the principal maker 
of the worke." It contained nearly 600 hogsheads 
of Rhenish wine, valued at ^2,000. It must not 
be supposed that the staves of this immense tun 
were like those of common wine-barrels. They 
were really great beams of wood, 27 feet long, and 
1 1 2 in number. The diameter of the tun was from 
16 to 18 feet, and the boards were hooped together 
with 26 iron bands, weighing 11,000 pounds. 
The supports of this huge mass were " marvellous 
great pillars made of timber, and beautified about 
the ends and the top with the images of lions," which 
are the arms of the Electors Palatine : Three lions 
were at each end, "' a fair scutcheon being affixed 
to each image." It is this tun that our illustration 
represents. According to Murray's Handbook, the 
existing tun was made in 1751, and it has not been 
used since 1769. It is capable of containing 800 
hogsheads, or 283,200 bottles. No wonder it is 



74 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



disused, for its predecessor, the tun of 600 hogs- 
heads, was once emptied in eight days by the 
Elector's gallant visitors. 

Heidelberg Castle, bearing on its shattered walls 
the marks of the devastating fury of the sa\agc 
Louvois, is at the present day one of the most 
picturesque ruins in the world. In one of the cellars 
may still be seen the great tun, more marvellous in 
point of size than that which Coryat saw ; but 
the traveller has no longer any need of honest 
Tom's caution, not to bo over-persuaded by the 
social Germans — at least, while he stands on the 
top of tlie barrel — to take too much of the good 
Rhenish which it contains no longer. 



SIR EDWARD MORGAN, THE 
JAMAICA BUCCANEER. 
It is not at" all wonderful that there should be 
pirates by profession ; but it does seem wonderful 
that there should have been professional pirates 
■who not only justified their acts to themselves, but' 
found quiet, steady-going folk to sympathise with 
them, and even to help them in their enterprises. Yet 
so it was. In the Elizabethan days, when the Spanish 
power was dominant and domineering, when might 
was right, and men went upon the good old rule —  

"The simple plan 
That they may get who had the power, 
And they may keep who can,'* 

there was a perpetual succession of men who risked 
their lives, their property, and their honour in ad- 
venturous voyages which had for their object the 
enriching of the voyagers at the expense of the 
regular commerce of the dominant Spanish power. 
It did not suit the public convenience of most of the 
European states to be at open issue with the greatest 
power of the Continent, with which, however, there 
could never be any abiding peace ; so private wars, 
undertaken at private cost and private risk, in- 
volving the country in no responsibility, nor in 
any difficulty in case of the voyagers being captured, 
were winked at, if not directly countenanced ; and 
if the bold adventurers could get rich in the war, 
so much the better for them. Of this class of 
adventurers were Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard 
Grenville, Martin Frobisher, Hawkins, Drake, and 
many more whose names are foremost in the roll of 
glory which belongs to Elizabeth's reign. But there 
was a class of persons who quickly followed the evil 
part of the example of those who did evil that good 
might come — men whose sole delight was in doing 
mischief that they might suck no small advantage out 
of the confusion their own wickedness had caused. 

Among these buccaneers, as they were called, were 
men whose wonderful success has almost raised 
them to the rank of heroes. " No one doubts the 
nobility of conquerors," and conquerors some of 
^ese undoubtedly were. With their hand against 



every man and every man's hand against them, it 
is marvellous that any of them should have sur- 
vived more than a few years of their wild hfe, 
exposed as they were, not only to the vengeance 
of man, but to the manifold perils of a sickly 
climate, and the dangers of a notoriously stormy 
region.. Many sea-robbers went down into Hades, 
sent thither by the sword of successful resistance, 
or strangled by the rope of justice's executioner; 
but some of them survived all the horrors of 
their life, and became decent members of society. 
Edward Morgan was one of these. He was of 
the family of the Morgans of Tredegar, and, being 
obliged to leave home, went to Jamaica, the head- 
quarters of the buccaneers, and qfifered his ser- 
vices. Soon he rose to command a ship, and the 
other pirates, finding him so able a man, preferred 
to be of his company rather than of any other. He 
was brave, skilful, and energetic, fertile in stratagem, 
and with a presence that inspired respect in those 
who placed themselves under his command. He 
had, moreover, that cold, hard nature, which did 
not shrink from deeds of horror, which was dead to 
all considerations of pity, and which was eminently 
suited to the leader of a band of robbers. 

Morgan was in the habit of organising regular 
warlike expeditions, of which the fitting out and the 
dispatch were openly announced at Jamaica, and 
winked at by the governor, probably " for a con- 
sideration." In conjunction with Manf'eldt, the 
prince of pirates, he stormed and plundered Pro- 
vidence Island, thirty-five leagues from Chagres 
River ; and in 1668 went in chief command, with 
nine ships and some five hundred men, against the 
Spanish settlement of Porto Bello. This place he 
approached by night, surprised the sentries, and 
carried the castle ; and, shutting up all his pri- 
soners in a dungeon, fired the magazine, giving as 
his reason for this horrible cruelty that he could not 
spare enough men to guard the captives. The 
commandant of the town retired into the remaining 
fort, and kept up an incessant cannonade upon the 
pirates, who, however, made only the more haste to 
kill, burn, and destroy. They forced the people of 
the place to help them to rear their scaling ladders 
against the fort, and when they got possession they 
slew the garrison partly by way of revenge, partly 
as a terror to others. For fifteen days they 
remained at Porto Bello, indulging in the utmost 
licence and brutality. They then sailed away with 
250,000 pieces of eight (a piece of eight was worth 
about five shillings) and an enormous amount of 
plunder — a quantity so vast that on the sea-shore 
at Jamaica the plate, jewels, and merchandise which 
had been stolen from churches, colleges, and houses 
at Porto Bello were literally piled up under the 
eaves of the houses for want of warehouse room. 
This great prize was soon spent in debauchery and 
riotous living, and in a few weeks Morgan put to 



THE MINER'S CORPSE. 



75 



sea again at the head of a thousand desperadoes. 
Maracaibo and several other places on the Spanish 
main were visited with all the horrors of a bucca- 
neer attack ; and Panama, a strongly fortified place, 
and the depot for much of the wealth of the Spanish 
West Indies, was captured after a fight in which 
quarter seemed to be excluded from the conditions. 
Somehow or other, a fire broke out, which could not 
be extinguished, and kept on burning for several 
days. Molten gold and silver w-as found encrusted 
on the pavements of the streets, and into the cellars 
and wells of the city many millions' worth of valu- 
ables were thrown in hope of hiding them from the 
greedy captors. Notwithstanding the loss of large 
quantities of plundei-, Morgan arrived at Chagres 
with 175 mules laden with gold and jewels. At 
Chagres he divided the spoil, but his men accused 
him of cheating, and nfutinicd, driving him off with 
two or three ships and 400,000 pieces of eight to 
Jamaica. 

On returning from this voyage, Morgan deter- 
mined, like Falstaff, "to live cleanly, as a gentleman 
should." He bought an estate, turned planter, and 
so conducted himself in Jamaica, that Charles II. 
conferred on him the honour of knighthood, and 
made him governor of the island. The accounts 
v^ry as to his end ; some say he lived to a 
good age, and died respected and beloved in his 
adopted country ; others, that he was ordered to 
England to take his trial for some piratical acts 
he had committed after he was made governor, 
and that he died in disgrace and in comparative 
poverty. 

Morgan, or rather Sir Edward Morgan, was a 
fair specimen of the better sort of buccaneer. Of 
the scoundrels who did worse, it were long to write, 
and the account would read like a passage out of 
the annals of hell. It required many years, and the 
exercise of an immense amount of force, to clear 
the West Indian seas of these dreadful scourges ; 
and the execution of the last of the buccaneers is an 
event of quite modern times. In Morgan's time 
the Government winked at what was done. Wit- 
ness a letter from Lord Arlington, Secretary of 
State in 1665, to Sir Thomas Modyford, governor 
of Jamaica, directing him that " privateers be 
handled quietly for the future, and be reclaimed by 
degrees;" and in 1664 it was officially stated that 
the calling in of the privateers was " a remote and 
hazardous experiment." 



CURIOUS ORIGIN OF THE NUMERALS 

V, X, C, L, M, D. 
The writer of this is not aware whether Pasquier's 
ingenious mode of accounting for the origin of the 
above numerals has ever been superseded by a more 
plausible theory. If not, the suggestion is at least 
interesting. 



The earliest method of reckoning is universally 
believed to have been with the fingers. Each 
finger would stand for one, and would be represent- 
able by an upright stroke, so that the number four 
was originally IIII. To continue the account, the 
number five was considered to be formed by the 
first finger and thumb when displayed, which it will 
be seen has something of a V-like figure. The 
representation of five being thus fixed on, that of 
ten would be determined by uniting two fives — that 
is, two V's by their apices. 

The letter C — anciently ' written E, being the 
initial of the Latin word centum, a hundred — was a 
very obvious abbreviation of that number, and being 
divided in two, horizontally, each half was a kind of 
L ; that letter, therefore, was adopted to signify 
fifty. The letter M was the initial of iiiUle, a 
thousand, and being anciently written thus, CD 1 the 
half of it bore a near enough resemblance to a D, 
to suggest the adoption of that letter for 500. 

Instead of the four strokes, we now use IV. for 
four, signifying five less one ; six is VI., signifying 
five plus one ; seven and eight follow the same rule ; 
nine is IX., signifying ten less one ; eleven is XL, 
or ten plus one. The rest are obvious. 



THE MINER'S CORPSE AT FAHLUN. 

I'')-oiH Schiibert^s ^' Nlghi-side q/ Nalural Science," 1818, 

In the Swedish mines of Fahlun, while making 
a cross excavation between the shafts, some work- 
men discovered a coi"pse, so saturated with the 
vitriol, which is found in iron-mines, as to become, 
when brought into the air, as hard as stone, though 
perfectly soft when first touched. For fifty years 
had the body lain three hundred feet below the 
surface of the ground in a pool of vitriol ; and no 
one would have recognised the unaltered features 
of the unfortunate young man, no one would have 
remembered the circumstance of his having been 
lost (traditions of the neighbourhood becoming con- 
fused, ou-ing to the melancholy frequency of such 
accidents), had not the heart of a faithful woman 
identified the once beloved face. For when the 
inhabitants of the neighbourhood, full of eager 
curiosity, were pressing round to gaze on the re- 
covered corpse, an aged grey-haired female, lean- 
ing on crutches, came up, weeping, to the body, 
affirming it to be that of her betrothed husband, 
and blessing God for the day on which the gates 
of the grave had opened, to enable her to look on 
him once more. The bystanders beheld with 
astonishment the re-union of this singular pair, 
of whom one had retained his youthful appearance 
in death and in the bowels of the earth, while in 
the other the warm love of youth had remained 
true and unaltered, amidst the decay of her beauty 
and the inroads of old age upon her wasted exterior. 



16 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



CORAL ANIMALS. • 

Wonderful in themselves, wonderful in their 
operations, are those multitudinous, minute con- 
tractors, who undertake the business of building up 
" continents to be," and causing the dry land to 
appear in the midst of the world's oceans. They 
may be seen by those who seek them, in the waters 



having its own characteristic style of architecture, 
and being celebrated for some special kind of 
building. The work of some is rough and massive, 
that of others polished and elegant ; all their works 
j are beautiful, and they are accomplished with an 
industry that is untiring, and a devotion which is 
even unto death. 

Coral animals are polyps, having an intestinal 




Fig. I. — PORITES AND CORAL. 



of warm climates, incessantly at work a few fathoms, I 
it may be a few feet, below the surface, waving 
about like an under-water fringe that borders the 
garment of some great rock. In the clear blue 
water of the tropics their operations may be watched 
and their habits studied, with a facility altogether 
exceptional. Notwithstanding, it was for many 
years questioned whether they belonged to the vege- 
table or animal kingdom, and it was not till the 
middle of the last century that their true nature was 
ascertained. They are animals having a low form 
of Hfe, and dwell in houses of their own building ; 
they are divided into many families, each family j 



cavity, with distinct mouth surrounded by radiating 
lobes. They secrete salts which are over and above 
the wants of the sea in which they live, and with 
these salts, prepared by them in some \vt)nderful 
way, they construct those blocks of solid masonry 
which are known as coral reefs, coral barriers and 
fringes, and coral islands. These reefs are indeed 
but a collection of corals' houses, so many coralline 
cities. The coral animals, being gregarious, live and 
work together, joining house to house, and street to 
street, till the aggregate comes to be an important 
geographical item. When dead, they leave their 
bodies in the house where they lived, and that be- 



CORAL ANIMALS. 



77 



coming filled up, forms a strong stony foundation, 
on which a new generation can build a fresh super- 
structure. The corals' village, or polypary, as it is 
called, seems itself to be endowed with vitality, and 
to be so intimately connected with the being of the 
polyps who dwell in it, that it is questionable if 
they could exist apart from it. Upon the polypary, 
wherein already several genera- 
tions lie buried, there is seen a ^ » 
swelling, the top of which in 
course of time cracks across, 
and thereout comes the new 
corallium. It is in this way 
that the creatures are per- [=: 
petuated. The new corallium 
inhabits the cell from which he 
was born, and having done his 
work, makes his grave there, 
as his forefathers did before 
him. 

It has been ascertained that 
the coral animals cannot live 
at a greater depth than thirty 
fathoms below the surface. 
From that depth they will build 
gradually up till they come in 
contact with the atmospheric air, ^ . 

or until their path is crossed by 
some fresh- water affluent. In either of these events 
they die, leaving their work to be continued in a 
lateral direction by their surviving kinsmen, and to 
be upheaved into space in the shape of a reef or 
an island ; or to be broken off by the sea waves, 
which pile it up in boulders. The number of coral 
animals required to make a given piece of work 
varies greatly according to the family of the crea- 
tures, and the class of work to be 
done. In a piece of Astraa pol)- 
pary, twelve feet in diameter, it has 
been reckoned that there are 100,000 
coral animals, and that in a polypary 
of the. Poriit's family (Fig. I.), of the 
same diameter, there are five millions 
andahalf Theprogressof the builders 
is slow, a few inches only of masonry 
being added in the year ; but then 
what masonry it is, how superbly 
strong and how firmly bound to- fIj 

gether ! It is all piece-work — none 
of it is scamped ; the lord of creation may examine 
it never so closely, he must ever admit that it is 
very good. 

The madrepore family undertake the largest ocean 
works ; their polypary is the well-known tree coral, 
which, branching out in all directions, the little 
camellia-like blossoms on its branches, looks like 
some beautiful, white sea plant in the garden of 
Neptune. Sometimes the madrepores build fans, 
sometimes vast, shapeless masses of work ; their 





style includes several forms of architecture, and 
they are, super-eminently, the great general con- 
tractors among the travailletirs de la iner. 

Fig. 3 is an illustration of the work of a musical 
coral family, which works in long tubes. The draw- 
ing shows the polypary of the Tubipora miisica, or 
organ coral, so called from the tubes of which the 
polypary is composed being 
.ffV, '* ranged side by side like the 

^^ tubes in the organ. This is not 
a common coral, though it may 
be found in most tropical 
waters, generally in a more 
sheltered position than the ma- 
drepores choose for their opera- 
tions. Then there is the well- 
known blood coral, of which we 
give an illustration in Fig. 2, 
which grows only in the Medi- 
terranean, and especially about 
the island of Sicily, and is 
the work of the family Corti- 
cata, or barked corals. These 
creatures have a stony axis, 
covered with a soft fleshy bark, 
in which are embedded little 
spicules of limestone, and 
polyp cells dotted all over it. 
This polj'pary is fixed on to some hard substance 
on which it slowly grows. Its form and colour 
are well known, for it is from this coral that brace- 
lets, necklaces, and other coral ornaments are 
made. The polypary, as imported, has grooves on 
its surface running fore and aft, these having formed 
channels of communication for the polyps during 
their residence. This coral is of slow growth, and 
never attains to any size, a speci- 
men a foot in length being con- 
sidered good. It is found at a depth 
below the surface, in retired places, 
and the seeking of it affords employ- 
ment to many hundreds of people. 

A very simple mode of obtaining 
it is adopted off the coast of Sicily : 
a large cross of wood heavily weighted 
is let down into the sea, with a net 
at each end, this apparatus being 
3. dragged over the coral beds, breaks 

off large pieces of coral, which get 
entangled in the nets, and are thus secured. 

There are many other families of coral animals, 
but their history would be long to tell. The wonder 
attaching to one attaches to all, and it is rather 
with that than with the natural history of the crea- 
tures that we have now to do. All alike bear 
witness to the wisdom of Him who created them, 
and who in their case, as in the case of babes 
and sucklings, has ordained strength out of weak- 
ness. They with all His works praise Him. 



78 



THE WORLD OF -WONDERS. 



— -♦ — - 

Recent Microscopic Results.— By a micro- 
scopic examination of the retina and optic nerve 
of the brain, M. Bauer has found them to con- 
sist of globules of ^iaggth to 2^3013'^ of '^f '"^h 
diameter, united by a transparent fluid. The 
achromatic microscope shows the hair to be in- 
dented with teeth resembling those of a coarse 
round rasp, but extremely irregular and rugged. 
And these incline all in one direction, from the 
origin of the hair towards its extremity ; so that 
if a hair be drawn between the finger and thumb 
from the end to the root, it will be distinctly felt to 
give a greater resistance and a different sensation 
to that which is experienced when drawn the oppo- 
site way. By the aid of the microscope, shells can 
be measured to the thousandth part of an inch. 
Crystals can be obtained from an imponderable 
quantity of a substance, and those so characteristic 
that poisons can be thus detected when the substance 
for examination is too small to be submitted to tests. 
Sir David Brewster has detected, with a microscope, 
a fine down of quartz the filaments of which could 
not exceed the one-third of a viillionth part of an 
inch. Professor Kelland has shown in Paris, on a 
spot no larger than the head of a small pin, by 
means of powerful microscopes, a specimen of 
distinct and beautiful writing, containing the whole 
of the Lord's Prayer written within this minute 
compass. The microscope detects the invisible 
ingredients which adulterate our food, our drink, 
and our medicines. It tells the murderer that the 
blood which stains him is that of his brother, and 
not of the other life which he pretends to have 
taken ; and, as a witness against the criminal, it, 
on one occasion, appealed to the very sand on 
which he trod at midnight. Hundreds of adulte- 
rations have been discovered, the detection of 
which was beyond the power of chemistry. Three 
distinguished chemists arc known to have asserted 
it was impossiljlc to detect the presence of chicory 
in coffee ; whereas, by the use of the microscope, 
the differences of structure in the two substances 
can be promptly discerned, no matter to what 
extent they may bo pulverised, mixed, or even 
roasted. Professor Sorby's microscope detects the 
most minute stains ; even of the millionth part of 
a grain we can have the most perfect view. And 
by the microscope it has been found that in certain 
Bohemian schists there are fifty-one millions of 
animalcules to the cubic inch, each skeleton 
weighing no more than the two hundred millionth 
part of a grain. 

The Most Perfect Microscope.— In 1864, 
an eminent microscopist expressed his conviction 
that in the production of object-glasses with one- 
twenty-fifth of an inch focus, the microscope, had 



reached its utmost attainable limit of perfection. 
He added that "it appears impossible to separate 
or define lines more numerous than 90,000 in an 
inch, on account either of the (.lecomposition of light, 
or some other cause. It, therefore, seems beyond 
our power ever to discover more of the ultimate 
composition of bodies by means of the microscope." 
Yet, an object-glass, with a one-fiftieth of an inch 
focus, has since been made by Powell and Lea- 
land. This object-glass possesses double the 
power of the above, and defines with wonderful 
distinctness particles which the latter cannot render 
visible at all. It magnifies 3,000 diameters with the 
low eye-piece ; or with a No. 5 eye-piece, 15,000 
diameters — that is to say, in popular parlance, 
1,575,000,000 of times. It must immensely in- 
crease our knowledge of the lower organisms, and 
may even aid our researches into the ultimate 
constitution of matter. 



THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 

In the opinion of the alchemists, or those who prac- 
tised the pretended art of making gold and silver, 
all the metals are compound, the bases of them con- 
taining the same constituents of gold, but mixed with 
various impurities, which, being removed, the com- 
mon metals were thought to assume the properties 
of gold. The change was said to be effected by 
what was called the " Philosopher's Stone," which 
is described as a red powder, with a peculiar 
smell. It was prepared by adding to the mercury 
of the adepts, philosophical gold, which, being left 
in a brooding furnace, becomes a black substance, 
then a white body, and being long and more fiercely 
heated, becomes yellow, and, finally, bright red. 
Now, the .Stone so prepared could hardly have been 
anything but an amalgam of gold, which, if pro- 
jected into melted lead or tin, and then cupcllated 
(purified), would leave all the gold that existed 
previously in the amalgam. It might, therefore, 
have been employed by impostors to persuade the 
ignorant that it was merely the Philosopher's Stone ; 
but the alchemists who prepared the amalgam 
could not be ignorant that it contained gold. Yet, 
although the existence of the Stone was regarded 
for centuries as a fact, no one pretended to pos- 
sess it ; each adept only maintaining that it was 
in the possession of another. Roger Bacon, the 
" Friar Bacon " of the story books, believed in 
the production of the Philosopher's Stone ; and 
Arnold de Villcneuve professed that he could 
increase the Stone at pleasure. In 1455, Henry VI. 
granted patents and commissions to find out the 
Philosopher's Stone, " to enable the king to pay all 
the debts of the crown in re.il gold and silver." 
No gold, of course, was ever made, but the king 
had a forge or smithy built for practice in Pall 



WONDERS OF NATURAL HISTORY. 



79 



Mall, on the site of the first Carlton House. Ripley, 
the alchemist, wrote on " the twelve gates " leading 
to the discovery of the Stone in 1470, but he re- 
pented his wasted life, and begged all men would 
burn his books, which were "false and vain." 
Basil Valentine, the German monk, was of opinion 
that the metals were compounds of salt, sulphur, 
and mercury, and that the Philosopher's Stone was 
composed of the same ingredients. Cornelius 
Agrippa joined the French alchemists in searching 
for the Stone, as did Paracelsus in his youth, but 
he died in poverty when young. Dee and Kelly 
sought for the stones. Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton 
joined in a process for " multiplying gold," for which 
a company was established in London. Leibnitz 
joined a society of Rosicrucians in Nuremburg, in 
the pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone. Bergmann, 
the chemist, relates a number of cases in which 
gold was supposed to be formed by the use of the 
Philosopher's Stone ; though they were the result 
of fraud by secretly introducing into the crucible 
gold, pretended to have been obtained by trans- 
mutation. Sometimes crucibles were made with 
a false bottom, gold or silver being concealed at 
the real bottom ; when, heat being applied, the 
false bottom disappeared and the gold or silver 
was found at the bottom of the crucible. Some- 
times gold or silver were introduced in charcoal — 
the hole stopped with wax — or in the hollow rods 
with which the crucible was stirred, the end being 
closed with wax. A common exhibition was to dip 
nails into a liquid, and take them out half converted 
into gold. These nails were one-half gold and one- 
half iron, the gold being covered with something 
to conceal its colour, which the liquid removed. 
Roger Bacon believed the Stone sufficed to trans- 
mute a million parts — according to Raymond Lulle, 
a thousand billions of parts— of a base metal into 
gold. Basil Valentine states its power at only 
seventy parts ; and Dr. Price, the last alchemist, 
only thirty to sixty parts of the base metal into gold. 
There lived at Wilton, in Aubrey's time, "a great 
chemist," who had spent his fortune in long search 
for the Stone : — " After his death," says Aubrey, 
" they found in his laboratory there two or three 
baskets of egg-shells, which, I remember, Geber 
saith is a principal ingredient of that Stone." 
Ashmole, the antiquary, tells us that, in 1653, 
" Father Backhouse '' told him in syllables the 
true matter of the Philosopher's Stone, which he 
bequeathed to him. 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in a letter dated 
January, 1717, records that " at Vienna there was 
a prodigious number of alchemists. The Philo- 
sopher's Stone is the great object of zeal and science ; 
and those who have more reading and capacity than 
the vulgar, have transported their superstition (shall 
I call it .') or fanaticism from religion to chemistry. 
This pestilential passion has already ruined several 



great houses. There is scarcely a man of opulence 
or fashion that has not an alchemist in his service ; 
and even the emperor is supposed to be no enemy 
to this folly in secret, though he has pretended 
to discourage it in public." Nevertheless, some 
benefits have accrued to mankind from the ancient 
practice of an art which is now considered a low 
delusion and imposture. The books of the alche- 
mists show the effects of experiments ; and though 
they were guided by false views, they made most 
useful researches, and thus laid the foundation of 
experimental science and modern chemistry. Two 
centuries ago, Sir Thomas Browne regarded alche- 
mical studies as the cradle of chemistry. 



— « — 

The Dodo. — The drfdo is one of the curiosities 
of natural historj', on account of the entire extinc- 
tion of the bird, and the paucity of its remains. Till 
a short time ago, nothing but a few fragments of its 
'bones, and those scattered through several museums, 
were known to exist. In November, 1866, however, 
a collection of bones, discovered in the island of 
Mauritius, was received by Professor Owen. These 
comprised no fewer than a hundred bones and 
fragments, which had apparently belonged to four 
or five dodoes, somewhat differing from each other 
in size. The dodo was undoubtedly a pigeon, but 
it was flightless, and its structure was modified in 
conformity with this circumstance. It was some- 
what larger than a turkey-cock, and the above 
discoveries completely authenticates the well-known 
portrait of the dodo, which hangs in the British 
Museum. It was addicted, in some measure, to 
animal food, and it was doubtless this fact that 
made its flesh less palatable to the Dutch settlers' 
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, than 
they found that of the pigeon. Sir Thomas Browne 
speaks of a specimen of the dodo exhibited in a 
show ; he adds, that its keeper used to point out 
a heap of pebbles, some of which were as large as 
nutmegs, and which, he said, the creature ate. 

Fecundity of Life in the Sea. — Schleiden, 
in speaking of the prodigious fecundity of aquarian 
life, says : " We marvel at the hen, which will lay 
200 eggs in the year, but the eggs of a fish must be 
counted by hundreds of thousands. In every 
mouthful, the whale swallows thousands of the 
tiny mollusc, Clio borealis, which forms its chief 
nourishment. Frequently on the coast of Green- 
land, the sea is coloured for ten or fifteen miles in 
breadth, and 1 50 to 200 miles in length, with tiny 
Medusce. A single cubic foot contains 110,592 of 
these animals, and such a streak of colour must 
contain at least 1,600,000,000,000 of them !" Among 
specimens of the animal and vegetable life at the 



So 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, in soundings along 
the telegraph plateau, were found Forayninifera — 
beings which secrete many chambered shells, each 
the habitation of a group of individuals so minute 
as to require the highest powers of the microscope 
to perceive them. 



(Sffetts rrf J'rost. 

When water solidifies, or freezes, it expands, and 
for this reason water-jugs and bottles, as well as 
the leaden supply-pipes, are often broken in severe 
weather by the formation of ice within them. The 
explanation of this is as follows. The water in the 
vessel freezes at the top, a b. No injury is done 
because there is nothing to hinder the expansion 
upwards. But if it freezes again to the depth o{ c 




or d, until the ice becomes so thick that it is more 
capable of resisting the expansive force than the 
glass or earthenware of which the vessel is com- 
posed, the latter will break. As an illustration of 
the greatness of this expansive force, we borrow 
the following facts from Cazin's " Treatise on 
Heat," recently translated from the French b)' 
E. Rich. , 

An artillery officer at Quebec made an experi- 
ment during a hard winter, by filling a bomb-shell, 
about fourteen inches in diameter, with water, and 
then closing the opening with an iron peg, which 
was driven firmly in. This being exposed to the 
severe frost, the stopper was driven out to a 
distance of more than loo yards, and a cylinder 
of ice, eight or nine inches long, came out of the 
opening. In a second experiment of the same ; 
kind, the stopper resisted the expansive force ; but 
the shell itself was rent, and a ring of ice was : 
forced through the crack all round the shell. 

In the same manner houses have been overthrown 
by the expansive force of frost in the earth causing 
the ground to swell up. Stones will break in con- 
sequence of the water they contain freezing, and 
trees have split up with an explosive sound on 
occasions of sudden cold occurring when their 
vessels have been full of sap. 

An interesting experiment on the expansion of 



ice, was made by the Rev. Frederick Gardiner, 
and communicated to the American Journal of 
Science, vol. xl., 1865. The Kennebec River, 
near the town of Gardiner, is about 700 feet wide ; 
the water is very fresh for many miles below, 
and the average ebb and flow of the tide is five 
feet ; the depth of the water varies, according ta 
the locality and state of the tide, from seventeen 
to twenty-five feet. In the course of the winter, 
the ice is always observed to crowd ashore, crump- 
ling up in ridges on the flats, and near the edge 
of the channel. This process was well advanced 
when Mr. Gardiner commenced his experiment 
on the 6th of February. A row of stakes was 
planted in the ice, by boring holes through to the 
water, at distances of about 100 feet apart, avoid- 
ing a very near approach to the shore. The distance 
between the eastern and western stakes was 500 
feet. On March the i8th, it was found that the 
easternmost stake had advanced 12 j inches, and 
the westernmost stake I2i feet, making a total 
expansion of the ice between a distance of 509 
feet, not less than 13 feet 2% inches in forty days. 



Leeches in Ice.— The. common leech is said to 
be capable of resisting the effects of a low tempera- 
ture to a wonderful degree. It is said that once a 
group of these animals left accidentally in a closet 
without a fire, during the severe frost of the year 
i8i5, not only survived, but seemed to have expe- 
rienced no injury, although they had been embedded 
in a solid mass of ice for many days. — Howard oji 
Climate. 

Preservative Properties of Frost. — Dr. 
Scoresby, the celebrated Arctic traveller, states that 
all animal substances, fish excepted, may be pre- 
served in Greenland for any length of time without 
being smoked, dried, or salted. Beef, mutton, pork, 
and fowls, the latter neither plucked nor drawn, 
are constantly taken out from the northern islands 
of Scotland, and preserved in this way. When 
used, the beef is divided by a saw ; it is then thawed 
in cold water, and, if cooked when it is three, four, 
or five months old, will frequently appear as profuse 
of gravy as if it had been recently killed. A further 
antiscptical effect is produced by the cold on animal 
and vegetable substances, so as to preserve them, 
if they remain in the same climate, unchanged for 
many years. Wood has been met with in Spitz- 
bergen which has resisted all injury from the 
weather during the lapse of a century. A French 
writer quoted by Dr. Scoresby relates, also, that 
the bodies of seven Dutch seamen, who perished in 
Spitzbergen in 1635, were found twenty years after- 
wards by some sailors who happened to land about 
the place where they were interred, in a perfect 
state, not having suffered the smallest degree of 
putrefaction. 



WONDERFUL RELICS. 



8l 




THE OLDEST HUMAN RELIC IN THE WORLD. 



Manbn-ful %dus. 



THE OLDEST HUMAN RELIC IX THE WORLD. 

In the Etruscan Vase Room at the British Museum 
is to be seen the skeleton of one Pharaoh Mykc- 
rinus, decently encased in its original burial-clothes, 
and surrounded by fragments of the coffin, where- 
on the name of its occupant can be easily read by 
Egyptologists, affording conclusive evidence that 
it once contained the mummy of a king wlio was 
reigning in Egypt more than a century before the 
time of Abraham. The proof is thus explained 
in the Gentleman's Magazine, April, 1866. About 
two years ago, Herr Diimichen, a German explorer 
of the monuments of Egypt, following up the in- 
dications pointed out by M. Mariette, a distin- 
guished archaeologist, discovered on the buried 
walls of the temple of Osiris, Abydos, a large 
tablet containing the names of the ancient Pharaohs 
from the time of Mizraim — the grandson of Noah, 
and founder of the Egyptian monarchy — to 
that of Pharaoh Seti I., the father of the well- 
known Rameses the Great, including thereby the 
chronology of nine centuries — viz., from B.C. 2300 
to B.C. 1400. This tablet, by far the most im- 
portant yet discovered, has been compared to the 
sculptured figures of the kings of England, at the 
Crystal Palace, from William the Conqueror to 
Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Astronomical evi- 
1 1 



I dence, moreover, enables us to determine the tima 
\ of two important epochs in the history of Egypt, 
I one of which is connected with our present subject. 
-Sir John Herschcl has fixed the age of the Great 
Pyramid of Ghizch to the middle of the twenty- 
second century B.C. The tablet of Abydos shows 
that the Pharaoh whose bones we now possess 
succeeded the builder of the Great Pyramid with 
only two intervening kings. We are, therefore, war- 
ranted in assuming that the remains of Pharaoh 
M\kerinus belong to the age to which we have 
assigned them. 

Egyptian Bricks.— The bricks of Egypt are 
among the most interesting relics of antiqi;ity, 
preserved, as it seems, in an imperishable form. 
j Professor Unger has examined a brick from the 
I pyramid of Dashour, which dates from between 
3400 and 3300 B.C., and has found embedded among 
the Nile mud or slime, chopped straw, and sand of 
which it is composed, remains of animal and 
vegetable forms, and of the manufacturing arts, 
entirely unchanged. So perfectly, indeed, have 
they been preserved in the compact substance of 
the brick, that little or no difficulty is experienced 
in identifying them. By this discovery we are 
made acquainted with wild and cultivated plants, 
which were growing in the pyramid-building days ; 
with fresh water shells, fishes, remains of insects, 
and so forth ; and a swarm of organic bodies, which, 
for the most part, are represented without alterar 



82 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



tion, in Egypt at the present time. Besides two 
sorts of grain — wheat and barley — were found 
the field pea and the common flax, the latter 
having, in all probability, been cultivated as an 
article of food, as well as for spinning. The relics 
of manufacture consist of fragments of burnt tiles, 
of pottery, and a small piece of twine, spun of flax 
and sheep's-wool, significant of the advance which 
civilisation had made more than 5,000 years ago. 
The presence of the chopped straw confirms the 
account of brickmaking as given in Kxodus and 
by Herodotus. 

Montin-s of Pumaniti). 

J0.SEPH Clark., THE Extraordinary Posture- 
Maker. — Joseph Clark, of Pall Mall, was undoubt- 
edly the most extraordinary posture-maker that ever 
existed. Though a well-made man, and rather 
gross than thin, w^e learn from Caulfield's " Memoirs" 
that ho exhibited in a most natural manner almost 
every species of deformity and dislocation. He 
frequently made himself merry with the tailors, 
often sending for one of them to take his measure, 
but so contriving as to have an immoderate rising 
on one of his shoulders. When his clothes were 
brought home and tried upon him, t'ao deformity 
was removed to the other shoulder ; upon which 
the tailor begged pardon for the mistake, and 
mended it as fast as he could. But upon a third 
trial he was found with perfectly straight shoulders 
and a hump on his back. He dislocated the ver- 
tebras of his back and other parts of his body in 
such a manner that Molins, the famous surgeon, 
before whom he appeared as a patient, was shocked 
at the sight, and would not attempt a cure. He 
often passed for a cripple with persons with whom 
he had been in company but a few minutes before. 
Upon these occasions he would not only change 
the position of his limbs, but entirely alter his 
countenance. His facial powers were more extra- 
ordinary than his flexible body. He would assume 
all the uncouth faces he saw at a meeting or place 
of amusement. 

A Man who Lived Twenty Days on Water. 
— About the year 1724, one John Ferguison, of 
Kilmelfoord, in Argyleshire, having over-heated 
himself on the mountains in pursuit of cattle, in that 
condition drank to excess of cold water from a 
rivulet, and then fell asleep on the bank. He awoke 
in about twenty-four hours in a high fever, and from 
that time could retain no kind of aliment, except 
water, and clarified whey, though he had the latter 
but seldom. Archibald Campbell of Ineverliver, to 
whom this man's father was tenant, carried him 
to his own house, locked him up in a chamber for 
twenty days, and supplied him himself with fresh 
water, to no greater quantity a day than an ordinary 



man might use for common drink ; and at the 
same time took particular care that it should not 
be possible for his guest to supply himself with any 
other kind of food without his knowledge ; yet, 
after that time he found no alteration in his vigour 
or visage. — PJiilosopliical Transactions, 1742. 

Restoration of Animal Life. — Dr. Pecklin 
relates, in the Philosophical Transactions, 1676, 
an extraordinary instance of a Swedisli gardener 
who, some years previously, endea\-ouring to help 
another who had fallen into the water under the 
ice, fell into it himself, into the depth of eighteen 
Swedish ells. Here, afterwards, he was found 
upright, with his feet on the ground, and was 
drawn up after he had remained there for the 
space of sixteen hours. He was wrapped closely 
in linen and woollen clothes, to keep the air from 
suddenly rushing upon him ; he was then lain in a 
warm place, rubbed and rolled, and then given 
some spirits to drink. By this means he was at 
length restored to life, and shown to the queen- 
mother of -Sweden, who gave him a >carly pension, 
and showed him as a prodigy to divers persons of 
quality. This narrative was confirmed by the 
famous Dr. Langelot, who himself received the par- 
ticulars in Sweden so well attested, " that nothing," 
says Dr. Pecklin, " can be required more to prove 
a historical truth." 



WONDERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

The photographic art has been brought so com- 
pletely within reach of the public, that any one who 
can spare sixpence may possess a specimen of it. 
This familiarity with its wonderful results, however, 
co-exists with much ignorance of its methods, and 
of what may be called its more curious or recondite 
capabilities. 

As an illustration of the popular ignorance about 
photography, take an instance recorded three or 
four years ago. A thief went ostensibly to have 
his photograph taken, but really to see what he 
could steal. He seized his opportunity when the 
photographer had retired to de\elop the plate, and 
made off with a valuable lens, quite unconscious 
of the fact that the few seconds he had sat facing the 
camera had placed his jmrtrait in the hands of the 
operator. Of course, the means of identifying him 
speedily found its way into the hands of the police. 

An ignorant mis:onception of exactly the op- 
posite character was displayed a few years ago 
in a then popular drama. The culprit is detected 
in consequence of his having accidentally committed 
his crime in front of a camera and lens, which a 
photographer had by chance left in the place. The 
author evidently entertained the strange notion 
that in all places and under all circumstances, a 
camera and lens would take a picture of what 



WONDERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



83 



passed before them without the intervention of any 
sort of human agency.* The reader may regard 
this as a marvel of popular ignorance, just as worthy 
in its way of being recorded as are the marvels of 
human ingenuity. 

In a similar way, the photographic art has 
sometimes been credited with what it is altogether 
beyond its power to accomplish. At various inter- 
\als during the last seven years, there have been 
extraordinary tales afloat of photographs taken 
from the eyes of the dead, which revealed the last 
scene impressed upon the retina. It was believed 
by many that an infallible means of detecting 
crime would thus be furnished, and that the mur- 
derer would leave behind him an exact photographic 
representation of himself and his evil deed in the 
eye of his victim. It is hardly necessary to say 
that this hope has been disappointed, and that 
press writers have for some time ceased to repro- 
duce the wonderful tale. 

The expectation of seeing objects depicted in 
their natural colours by photography has acted 
lihe fascination on many minds, and it would seem 
that the case is not altogether hopeless, though many 
practical men doubt if the hope will ever be realised. 
M. Claudet records that Becquerel and Sir John Her- 
schel have both succeeded in impressing the image 
of the solar spectrum, and even of coloured maps, 
upon a silver plate prepared with chlorine. The 
image, however, was not permanent. M. Niepce 
de St. Victor went a step further. Taking for his 
model a large doll, dressed up in the most brilliant 
colours, he was able to repeat and vary his experi- 
ments without the least fear of tiring out his sitter. 
The result was, after surmounting many difficulties, 
that he obtained a photographic picture of his 
model, showing all the colours distinctly, but yet, 
as ifsee)i through glass of a pale rose colour. To 
look at the photograph was like looking at the doll 
itself through such a medium. Still, the colours 
are only a slight degree more permanent than those 
of the spectra depicted by Becquerel and Sir John 
Herschel. The picture has to be kept in the dark, 
and only looked at now and then in the full light 
of da)-. 

In making the above experiments, M. Niepce 
produced black and white in his pictures, which he 
regards as a curious and interesting fact, since it 
proves that black is not entirely the absence of 
light, but is a colour of itself, producing its own 
effects, as other colours do, by chemical action. It 
is thought by some that this discovery is more 
extraordinary than would be the production of all 
the recognised colours in a photographic picture. 
Dr. Calvert's Canton lectures may be referred to for 
other experiments made with a view to the produc- 
tion of photographs in natural colours. In a word, 

• The Photogmfhic Jmminl, vol. !x., p. 13S. 



the great point yet to be attained is to fix the 
tints. 

Another wonder of photography is the success 
that has been achieved in taking photographs of 
objects in motion. For example, a shot or a shell 
has been depicted at the instant of its leaving the 
cannon's mouth. By an ingenious mechanical 
contrivance, the rate at which the shot travels can 
be ascertained at the same time. 

A paper was read by M. Claudet at the meeting 
of the British Association in 1865, on "moving 
photographic figures," and these have since been 
popularised by the production of a toy called the 
" Wheel of Life." The idea is, in fact, an old one. 
The writer remembers a similar optical toy having 
been in existence in his boyhood, but the superiority 
of the movements of the little figures when produced 
stereoscopically cannot be doubted. Nevertheless, 
the idea of producing an appearance of motion 
by the recurrence of certain images on the retina 
is the same. The principle is simply this : — the 
retma retains for a short time any impression made 
upon it ; if, therefore, a second impression can be 
produced before the first has died out, the two 
combine to form an uninterrupted sense of vision. 
Familiar instances of this law will occur to every 
one. The appearance presented by the spokes of a 
wheel in rapid motion ; the circle of fire produced 
by a spark at the end of a stick, when the stick is 
whirled round, are cases in point. It is only fair 
to state that we are indebted to the ingenuity of an 
American for the enjoyable manner in which the 
Wheel of Life is now presented to the public. One 
marvel, however, suggests another, and there is 
reason to believe that our winter evenings will soon 
be enli\'ened by another adaptation of the same 
idea. A clever designer has prepared diagrams 
which represent persons in the act of swimming 
and skating, a cat springing upon a rat at the 
moment of its disappearance down a hole, a ball 
leaving a cannon's mouth, and fish swimming in a 
stream. The most curious of these is the appear- 
ance of men swimming. They are all alike seen 
horizontally, the diagram being placed at the bottom 
of the Wheel of Life as in a tray. 

Mr. Alfred A. Pollock, in a communication to the 
Photographic Journal a few months ago (No. 188, 
p. 160), suggests a process by which a person in 
motion could be photographed, and afterwards seen 
in motion. His plan is a very simple adaptation of 
the idea worked out in the Wheel of Life. Instead 
of the usual negative, a number of plates, say fifty, 
would be prepared on a disc, and the person whose 
portrait is to be taken, having been focusscd as 
usual, would be made to walk up and down between 
certain threads properly fixed for his guidance. 
The mechanical arrangement would be such as 
to distribute the two steps of the subject over the 
whole of the prepared plates at the same instant. 



§4 



l^HE WORLD OF WOMDERS. 



From the negatives so obtained, prints would be 
taken in the usual way and mounted upon a re- 
volving disc. Looked at through the slit in the same 
manner as the figures of the toy described above, 
the person photographed would be seen walking, 
and the rate at which the disc revolved would regu- 
late the speed of his walk. By this or even by a 
simpler practical method, there can be no doubt 
the public will soon be photographed in motion. 
Already the London Stereoscopic Company have 
succeeded in producing a marvellous little toy 
called the Kinescope. This ingenious toy in out- 
ward appearance resembles a lock, and it can be 
worn suspended from the watch-chain like a charm. 
You look through a small hole, and sec one or 



OUR ANCESTORS' CANNON. 

Well may we wonder when we see the marvellous 
contrivances which our ancestors were pleased to 
call their cannon ; still more may we wonder when 
we read the accounts of what was done with them. 
Here is a description of what must have been truly 
wonderful pieces of artillery, used by Philip Van 
Artevelde at the siege of Oudenarde in 1382. " They 
with much labour placed on the hill of Oudenarde 
a prodigiously great engine, twenty feet wide and 
forty long, which they called a mutton, to cast 
heavy stones and beams of timber into the town, 
and crush everything they should fall on. They 
had also, the more to alarm the garrison, fired a 




ANCIE.Vr IIAND-CUNS. 



more figures, which are set in motion by pressing 
a pin. 

The Magic Photograph recently brought out in 
Paris and London, is contained in two envelopes. 
White albumeniscd papers arc enclosed in one, and 
in the other slips of blotting-paper of a correspond- 
ing size. One of each of the pieces of paper having 
been moistened with water, and the one laid upon 
the other, a beautiful photograph is brought to 
view on the albumenised surface. In fact, the 
photograph has been printed in the usual way, and 
then decolourised by a chemical agent, while the 
blotting-paper has been prepared with another 
agent, which only requires the addition of moisture 
to enable it to restore the photographic image to 
view. Professor Roscoe illustrated this subject at 
the Royal Institution in March, 1868, when he 
developed a latent image on the screen of a magic 
lantern, so that the whole audience could see it. 



bombard of a very great size, which was fifty feet in 
length, and shot stones of an immense size. When 
they fired off this bombard it might be heard five 
leagues off in the daytime, and ten at night. The 
report of it was so loud that it seemed as if all the 
devils in hell had broken loose ! The Ghent men 
made likewise another engine which they pointed 
against the town to cast large bars of hot copper. 
With such machines as cannons, bombards, sows, 
and muttons, did the Ghent army labour to annoy 
the garrison of Oudenarde." In 1383, when the 
warlike Bishop of Norwich was laying siege to 
Ypres, he made " a certain subtle bridge " with ^ 
which to approach the walls, but the besieged, says 
Walsingham, " threw from a certain gun (de quadam 
gunna), a great stone which struck the bridge and 
broke it, and killed some of its occupants." The 
bishop had to raise the siege, and among his 
belongings which could not be burned nor broken, 



OUk ANCESTORS' CANNON. 



SS 



and had to be left behind, were some "great guns 
of immense price and value." 

In another place we read of an earth cannon ; 
which must have been more formidable to its 
owners than to the epemy. Earth was scooped 
out bore-wise to a certain distance in the ground 
which was fortified by clay, heavy boulders and 
other pieces of resistance, the earth barrel was 
strengthened by rods or sheets of metal, and then 
the charge was introduced, being fired by means of 
priming which communicated with the lower end 
of the cannon through a very long touch-hole. As 
may easily be imagined such a weapon speedily 
went into disuse. 

The cannon used at Oudenarde and Ypres, and, 
as some writers say, by the Englislx for the first 



were used, and when they did hit anything it was 
" a very palpable hit," for they weighed a hundred 
and fifty and two hundred pounds, and being thrown 
rather deliberately by the charge, lumped down 
whole, without scattering. It was by a lucky cast 
from one of the bombards above mentioned that the 
Venetians toppled over a wall behind which Peter 
Doria, the Genoese admiral was sheltered ; the wall 
fell, killing the admiral with some twenty more, and 
helped materially to end the state of siege. 

Men were slow to improve their cannon, for the 
gentlemen of the army looked upon them as base 
weapons, unworthy the attention of knighthood, 
and did not, therefore, study the science of artillcrv. 
When engineers, whether knights or otherwise, did 
give their attention to gunnery— and the French 




time at the battle of Crecy, were made of metal, 
iron or brass, hammered ; sometimes of iron and 
copper plates with lead run between them. They 
were not portable in the sense of being mounted on 
carriages, but were literally planted in the ground, 
which had to bear the blow of the recoil and must 
often have been torn up by it. By the same token 
they could not be pointed exxcpt in the direction 
first given to them, so that if they were operating 
against men or horses and these changed their 
position, the cannon were placed hors de combat. 
They could not have been of very material assistance 
to the army using them, for the cannoniers of the 
period were afraid to charge them when heated, and 
they required moreover a long time to clean out and 
reload. The Venetians in the war of Chioggia with 
the Genoese in 1378, had two bombards which 
they loaded over-night, and fired in the morning, 
considering, though greatly pressed by the Genoese, 
that they could not fairly call upon the bombards to 
throw more than one shot per diem. -Stone shot 



began to do so before any other people — they 
learned to cast them, instead of welding them to- 
gether in bars hooped round with strong encircling 
bands ; they reduced the size of them, and they 
fitted them upon carriages which made them at 
once movable, and allowed of their being pointed 
in any direction the gunner in charge might wish. 
They substituted iron balls and bolts for stone shot, 
and made both cannon Aid missile more handy 
instruments than they had been. The large figure 
in our drawing shows the form and make of a 
bombard about the era of improvement. This 
particular bombard was formerly at Bodiham 
Castle, and is now among the collection of ancient 
artillery at Woolwich Arsenal. From the muzzle 
to the touch-hole it measures twenty-two inches, its 
total length being forty-four inches ; the diameter 
is fifteen inches and a quarter, and the weight six 
i hundredweight. As will be seen, the ancient 
1 bombard corresponded somewhat to the mortars of 
; modern warfare, and some of them were constructed 



86 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



on the principle of firing three or even nine shots at 
once ; but the practice of shell firing does not seem 
to have been known. 

Wonderful as it may seem to us who pride our- 
selves on our breech-loading and revolving fire-arms, 
it is nevertheless true that many of the ancient 
cannon and hand guns were breech-loaders, and 
there arc specimens of muskets in the Tower at 
the present moment, supposed to be of the time of 
Henry VII., which are constructed on the principle 
of a revolving chamber to a single barrel. 

Our ancestors were \-ery slow to extend th-e 
principle of fire-arms to manual weapons. The 
English, who are said to have been the first to use 
ordnance, did not have hand-cannons, culverins, or 
hand-guns, as they were called, till a hundred and 
thirty years after the battle of Crccy, and it was not 
till Elizabeth's reign that the musket was substituted 
for the bow and crossbow as the arm of the English 
infantry. On page 84 is a drawing showing what the 
hand-gun was like. Improvements were made in it 
from, time to time, but for a long while the mus- 
quetoon or other piece fired on a rest, and by means 
of a blown match instead of flint or a percussion 
lock, was the regular arm until after the time when 
hacqucbuts, harquebuses, petronels, firelocks, ethoc 
genus oinne, had become the arms of precision. 

In noticing our ancestors' cannon we ought not 
to omit mention of the petard, a favourite implement 
of mediaeval warfare. The petard was a French 
invention, first used in 1579, and was intended to 
blow in the gates of towns which refused to admit 
besiegers. It was a portable iron mortar, only 
instead of being round it was flattened as to its 
sides, being a sort of biffin amongst cannon. There 
were small trunnions upon it with which to secure 
it to walls or gates, and the ordinary size of the 
petard was such that two men might carry it. 
It was loaded with coarse powder well rammed 
down, and there was a touch-hole with a long fuse 
attached, i n the centre of the breech. This instrument 
■was carried by the enemy to the gate or wall which 
barred progress, and there was fastened by means 
of the trunnions, the fuse was then lighted, and when 
it had burnt down the petard exploded, generally 
blowing in the gate to which it was secured. Fancy 
two men going quietly up to a town defended by 
say two Snider rifles, for the purpose of hoisting the 
gates thereof with a petard. Ahus avons change 
tout ccla. 



THE LOSS OF THE BIRKENHE.A.D. 

Of all the wonderful instances of human courage 
on record, there is none more striking than that 
which is contained in the sad history of the loss of 
the Birkenhead troop-ship. The Birkenhead was 
an iron paddle-wheel steamer, one of the finest of 
her class. She sailed from Queenstown, Ireland, 



on the 7th of January, 1852, for the Cape of Good 
Hope, and took out a detachment of the 12th 
Lancers, and detachments of nine regiments of 
the line. She made a fair and prosperous voyage, 
sighted the Cape, and as she ran down the coast 
her passengers looked forward to a speedy release 
from the pleasant confinement of her decks. It was 
a fine afternoon, the 25th of February — 

*' The air was calm, and on the level brine 
Sleek Panope witll all her sisters play*d . " 

the Birkenhead was steaming at full speed towards 
her goal, not dreaming of harm, and unconscious of 
the proximity of danger. There were six hundred and 
thirty-eight persons on board, including the ship's 
company, and the wives and children of the soldiers. 

Suddenly there was a blow that shook every one 
of the ship's timbers, the Birkenhead \.xc\xOc>yQA. from 
stem to stern, stopped, and began to sink. A rock, 
unknown to navigators had found her out ; and, 
having pierced her side, thrust up its pointed head 
into the engine-room. There was alarm, but no 
confusion. Instantly, as though they had been 
waiting for the accident instead of waiting to go 
ashore, the ship's officers and the officers of the 
troops issued their necessary orders. The women 
and children were taken on the upper deck, and 
the soldiers were mustered there, while the sailors, 
in obedience to the captain's commands, lowered 
the ship's boats and made ready to go. 

The boats being manned alongside, the women 
and children were handed into them, with such of 
the crew as were necessary to take them to the 
shore. Few if any of the soldiers who saw their 
beloved ones departing, were able to go in the boats, 
for it was found that the utmost the boats could ac- 
commodate without endangering the safety of their 
occupants, was but 184 out of the total number of 
638 on board. The land was near, only a few miles 
distant; Simon's Bay, to which port ihc Birkenhead 
was bound, was close at hand ; there was a chance 
that the boats might return before the final catas- 
trophe came, or help might come at any moment 
from the port of destination. Some there might 
have been who indulged in this hope, and who were 
sustained by it till it was rudely dashed to pieces ; 
but the majority of the men knew that escape was 
all but impossible ; that before the boats could 
return from their first trip, to say nothing of a 
second, all would certainly be over. The force with 
which the ship struck had been so great as to drive 
the rock bodily into her; she was being pressed 
down by the weight of the water that had rushed in, 
and was showing signs of giving way amidships. 

Not a murmur was heard from the soldiers as 
they stood at their death parade, no hint was 
there of unruliness, of selfishness, or complaint. 
Witll death staring them in the face, the men felt 
comfort in knowing that the women and children 



THE ALHAMBRA. 



»7 



were beyond the reach of harm. Some few solemn 
words of consolation, but none of earthly hope, 
were spoken by the colonel in command of the 
troops, and the brave captain of the Birkenhead 
was not slow to second him in bidding the men 
resign themselves to their inevitable fate. .Soon the 
fatal moment came. The good ship which lay so 
badly wounded on the sharp spear that had pierced 
her, could last no longer, she gave a few convulsi\e 
throbs, there was a cracking and a rending, and 
the Birkenhead parted in the middle, sinking in 
two pieces on either side of the rock. Long ere the 
boats could get back to her from the shore ; long 
before the news of her disaster could be told at 
Simon's Bay, the 454 bra\c men who had been un- 
avoidably left in her had given up the ghost, had been 
drowned in the sea or been devoured by the sharks. 



— • — 

Red .Snow. — This is a phenomenon which is 
frequently observed in the Polar regions, and has 
occasionally been met with in the Alps and in Scot- 
land. Captain Ross discovered, on the shore of 
Baffin's Bay, a range of cliffs extending for eight 
miles, which were covered with red snow of a brilliant 
hue, and sometimes as much as twelve feet in depth. 
The cause of the appearance was a puzzle to men 
of science as well as to the observers, until careful 
examination with the microscope revealed that it 
was due to the presence among the snow of a very 
minute plant, which has been called by Sir William 
Hooker Palniella nivalis. 

Black Rain. — There are on record several in- 
contestable instances of black rain having fallen, 
among which the following may be mentioned : — 
Professor Barker, in April, 1849, l^'d before the 
Royal Dublin Society some observations on a 
shower of black rain which had fallen around 
Carlow and Kilkenny, and extended over an area 
of more than 400 square miles. He presented to 
the society a specimen which had been forwarded 
to him, the person who had collected it mentioning 
that at the time that it fell it was uniformly black, 
and resembled ordinary writing ink. Dr. Barker 
found, however, that after allowing it to stand for 
a short period, the black colouring matter separated 
from the water with which it had been mixed, ren- 
dering the colour of the rain much lighter than at 
first. This shower was preceded by such darkness 
that it was impossible to read except by candle-light. 
After this darkness had continued for some time, 
a hail-storm occurred, attended with vivid light- 
ning, but without thunder, and when this subsided 
the black rain fell. On examinj.tion of the rain 
just after it had fallen, it was found to have an 
extremely fostid smell, and a very disagreeable 
taste ; it left a stain upon some clothes on which 



it had fallen, and cattle refused to drink it. A 
similar shower occurred near Northampton in 
July of the following year, and was thus described 
by the Rev. J. T. Tryon, of Bulwick Rectory. It 
fell about three or four o'clock in the afternoon, 
rendering quite black the people's clothes on the 
hedges, and those spread on the grass to dry ; also 
giving to the water caught in tubs and vessels 
from slated and tiled houses, almost the colour of 
ink. Some rain which had fallen in the morning 
had been perfectly clear, and the black rain appeared 
to fall from one particular cloud. " It caused," 
said Mr. Tryon, '• a black-lead froth at the top of 
my tub, so that I myself collected three or four 
bowls of such froth therefrom. Three da,\-s after, 
two boys loading my wagons with clover were 
rendered as black as chimney sweepers from the 
black sediment the rain had left thereon. .M\' 
shepherd's inexpressibles, up to the knees, were 
rendered of the like colour after shepherding his 
sheep, so that it appears the shower was not con- 
fined to this parish." 

Snow in the Ball-room.— The following 
anecdote is told by Professor Dove, of Berlin, in 
illustration of the production of snow by change of 
temperature. On an extremely cold but starlight 
night, a large company had assembled in a ball- 
room in Sweden, which in the course of the evening 
became so warm that some of the ladies fainted. 
An officer tried to open a window, but found it was 
frozen to the sill. He then broke a pane of glass, 
and the rush of cold air from without produced a 
fall of snow in the room. Its atmosphere was charged 
with vapour, which, becoming suddenly condensed 
and frozen, fell in the form of snow upon the astonished 
dancers. 

THE ALHAMBRA. 

On a hill in the city of Granada, a principal town 
in the Spanish province of Andalusia, stands an 
extensive fortress known as the Alhambra, or " the 
red castle." It is the old citadel of the town, 
and was built by the Moors when they were the 
masters of Spain. Designed for warlike and 
defensive purposes only, it has no pretension to 
architectural grandeur or effect. Its walls, which 
average thirty feet in height and six feet in thick- 
ness, are irregular in form, and composed chiefly of 
loose stones cemented together, and faced with a 
plaster coat. The area enclosed by this fortress is 
very extensive. It is like a town in itself, having 
its streets, its church, and convent ; and is said in 
its palmy days to have afforded accommodation to 
a garrison of 40,000 men. 

Plain and rugged as is this structure in external 
appearance, it is the casket which holds one of the 
richest gems of the architecture of any age or 
time. Within its walls are enclosed the remains of 



88 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



tha Moorish palace to which the name of " the 
Alhambra " is generally applied, although it be- 
longs properly to the fortress itself. This palace 
was built in the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies, and all the beauty and ingenuity of Arabic 
art were lavished upon its construction. Upon 
the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, it oc- 
casionally became the residence of the Christian 
sovereigns, and Charles V. designed to place 
by its side another 
palace, which should 
eclipse the glories 
of the art of the 
infidel Moor. But this 
building, although 
it was commenced, 
and some very fine 
portions of it are 
still in existence, was 
never completed. Its 
fragments were suf- 
fered to decay when 
Granada grew in dis- 
favour as a residence 
with the Spanish 
monarchs, and, when 
compared with the re- 
mains of the Moorish 
palace, they now 
show to great dis- 
advantage ; the con- 
trast between the two 
styles of art and tiie 
nature of the work- 
manship in each is 
greatlyin favourof the 
Moors. " The walls 
of the Christian edi- 
fice," says one writer, 
"are defaced, the 
paintings faded, the 
woodwork is decayed, 
and festoons of cob- 
webs are seen hang- 
ing from the ceiling. 
Ill the works of the 

Arabs, on the contrary, the walls remain unaltered,- 
except by the injuries inflicted by the hand of man. 
The colour of the paintings, in which there is no 
mixture of oil, on removing the particles of dust, 
appear to have preserved their brightness. The 
beams and wood-work of the ceilings present no 
signs of decay ; no spiders, flies, or other insects 
are to be seen there. The art of rendering timber 
and paints durable, and of making porcelain 
mosaics, arabesques, and other ornaments, began 
and ended in Western Europe with the Moorish 
conquerors oi Spam. 

The remains of the palace of the Aljic^mbra con- 




TIIi: HAI.I. (jF the AliKNCKRRACF.S. 



sist of entrance-arches, corridors, and courts, con- 
structed chiefly of marble, and richly adorned with 
arabesques. The Arabs were forbidden by their 
religion to use the representation of living figures 
or animals in their ornamental devices, which there- 
fore took the shape of flowers and geometrical forms, 
sometimes very fanciful in their natm^e. The term 
arabesque was applied to this class of ornament, 
after the race by which it was chiefly used. These 

arabesque ornaments 
were cast in moulds, 
and joined with such 
extreme nicety that 
frequently no trace 
of the point of junc- 
tion can be detected. 
They were coloured 
in blue, red, and 
gold, and the general 
effect in such edifices 
as the Alha'mbra 
is so gorgeous that it 
cannot be realised by 
description. An excel- 
lent idea of it, how- 
ever, was given by the 
Alhambra Court in 
the Crystal Palace at 
Sydenham, which was 
a most artistic imi- 
tation of the original, 
botli in style and 
material, although 
on a smaller scale. 
It is much to be re- 
gretted that this beau- 
tiful and costly repro- 
duction of Moorish 
art was defaced by 
the fire which recently 
occurred, and which 
threatened its total 
destruction ; but we 
hope to see it restored 
in its full beauty at 
no distant day. 
The style of the courts, &c., of the Alhambra, as 
well as their elaborate decoration, are shown in our 
engraving, which represents the saloon known as 
the Hall of the Abencerrages, with its beautiful 
stalactite roof, composed of 5,000 separate pieces, 
fitting into each other with the greatest exactitude. 
The hall takes its name from a Moorish family, the 
last members of which were treacherously murdered 
in this chamber. A mark, said to have been left 
by their blood, is pointed out upon the marble 
floor ; but sceptical people in later times have 
declared that it is nothing but the deposit of water 
impregnated with iron, 



WONDERFUL BELLS. 



R9 



WONDERFUL BELLS. 

The history of bells is one of the most interesting 
in the record of inventions. They were not always 
made in the shape or of the material with which 

we are most fami- 

liar ; but of these 
early forms we 
have nothing to 
sayjustat present. 
Our business is 
with bells in their 
present shape, 
and with them 
only so far as they 
are calculated to 
excite our wonder 
by their size or 
tunefulness. 

The earlier,; 
church Ijells are 
said to have 
been used at 
Nola in Campa- 
nia, and it is to 
this fact that the 
Latin name for 
a bell, campaiii'. 
and our own am: 
■panilt', owe their 
origin. They are 
first heard of 
about the year 
400, before whicli 
date rattles were 
used. In the year 
610 we hear of 
bells in the city of 
Sens ; the arin\ 
of Clothaire. 
king of France, 
having been 
frightened away 
by the ringing 
of them. In 960 
the first peal of 
bells was hung 
in England, at 
Croyland Abbey, 
in Lincolnshire. 

They were six in number. In those early times, 
it was the custom to bless the church bells 
by a sort of baptism ; after which it was be- 
lieved they had power to dri\e away evil 
spirits, avert tempests, and extinguish fire ; and 
on many bells inscriptions are found, generally 
in old Latin rhymes, which accord with this 
belief. The great bell of Ghent, which played so 
prominent a part in \\\f^ civil struggles in the I 




THE CKEAT liELL AT MOSCOW. 



Netherlands, and which bore the name of Roland, 
was famous for an inscription of this nature. 

Many years ago, it was estimated that there were 
at least 2,262 peals of bells, great and small, in 
England, viz : — 12 peals of 12 bells ; 50 of 10 ; 380 

of 8 ; 600 of 6 ; 
500 of 5 ; 720 of 
4, 3, and 2. The 
number now 
must be very 
much greater. 
The single bells 
that have become 
celebrated on 
.account of their 
great size are 
the following : — 
-Moscow, the 
largest bell in 
the world, 432,000 
lb. ; Moscow, 
another, 288,000 
lb. ; Moscow, a 
thud, 127,836 lb.; 
Big Ben, West- 
minster, 56,000 
lb. ; Rouen, the 
George d'Am- 
boise, 36,000 lb. ; 
Oxford, Mighty 
Tom, 17,360 lb. ; 
Florence, Palaz- 
zio Veccio, 17,000 
lb.; Exeter, Great 
Tom, 13,440 lb. ; 
London, Saint 
Paul's, Tojn 
Growler, 11,230 
lb. ; Lincoln, 
GrcatTom, 10,528 
lb. ; Canterbury, 
clock bell, 7,840 
lb. ; Gloucester, 
clock bell, 7,280 
lb. ; Beverley 
Minster, clock 
bell, 5,600 lb. 
The bell at Flo- 
rence, notwith- 
standing its great 
weight, is elevated 275 feet from the ground. Big Ben, 
at Westminster, is raised to the height of nearly 200 
feet. The enormous bell at Moscow, of which we 
give an engraving, was presented to the cathedral 
by the Empress Anne. In 1731, the beam to which 
it was fastened was burnt, and this marvellous bell 
falling, a fragment was broken out of it, leaving an 
opening large enough to admit two persons abreast 
without stooping. Its tone, however, was not affected. 



00 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



It has been thought that the custom of ringing 
tunes upon bells was peculiar to England ; but, in 
fact, the Cathedral of Antwerp, celebrated fbr its 
magnificent spire, has a peal of ninety-nine bells, 
on which the most elaborate music is played every 
half-hour. 

It is an interesting fact that ilio peal of bells in 
the clock-tower of the old Royal Exchange was 
chiming " There is nae luck aboot the house," when 
the building was on fire, and fragments of the tune 
were heard ^s one by one the bells fell from their 
places into the ruins. 

The following table shows the number of changes 
that can be rung. Thus : — 



ON A PRAL 


OF 


CHANGES, 


ON 


A PEAL OF 


CHANGES. 


2 bells 




. . 2 




8 bells . . 


40,820 


3 >. 




. . 6 




9 .. 


362,880 


4 ,» 




. . 24 




ID ,, . . 


3,628,800 


5 » 




. . I02 




II ,, . . 


39,916,800 


„ 




. . 720 




12 ,, . . 


479,001,600 


y >. 




. . 5,040 









The number of changes that can be rung on the 
wonderful chime of ninety-nine bells at Antwerp we 
forbear to estimate, as the breadth of our page would 
far from suffice for the row of figures we should have 
to set down. On these bells overtures are played 
thyongli, and choice parts from operas, and, in a 
word, the most elaborate of compositions. But 
further, to convey an idea of the astonishing num- 
bers we have here to contemplate, it would require 
ninety-one years to ring through all the changes 
on a peal of twelve bells, supposing ten changes, 
that is, 120 sounds, to be struck every minute. 
For the changes of fourteen bells, 16,575 years 
would be required, and for twenty-four bells, be- 
yond which number we refrain from proceeding, 
117,000,000,000,000,000 years. 



THE LAKE OF CIRKNITZ. 

In Krain, among the Julian Alps, lies the celebrated 
Lake of Cirknitz, the wonder and enigma of the 
whole district. On the east of Adelsberg, where 
the mysteries of the lower world lie concealed in 
a hundred caverns among the chalk hills, may be 
seen, like a mirror three square miles in extent, 
the marvellously beautiful Lake of Cirknitz. Five 
islands stud its surface, and on one of them stands 
the village of Ottok. Several streams fall into it. 
It is very rich in fish and water-fowl, and the whole 
district in which it lies is romantically beautiful. 
North of it tower the Slivinitza Mountains, to 
its south and west the great Javornik. Its cir- 
cumference augments when there has been much 
rain, but after a drought its waters disappear into 
the lower world, taking with them the fish and 
the water-fowl. When this wonderful phenomenon 
approaches, the inhabitants of the villages round 
assemble in order to procure as much fish as pos- 
sible while there is time. From hour to hour the 



lake sinks lower, until a number of holes at the 
bottom of the lake swallows up its waters. Sub- 
terraneous openings of immeasurable extent, never 
beheld by human eye, at length receive them, and 
then they entirely disappear, and the bottom of the 
lake looks up to the bright sky. It becomes dr)-, 
and busy man mows grass where at other seasons 
he has fished. He even sows crops, knowing well 
that he will be able to grow buck-wheat and millet 
there ; nay, he takes the gun instead of the fish- 
ing-net, and obtains game. So that it is justly said 
of this wonderful lake, that one can fish, hunt, and 
reap on it. But the weather changes again, and 
violent rains and tempests return. Then again 
the waters rush up from their subterranean caverns. 
The lower world throws up waves, fish, and water- 
fowl, so that, in four-and-twcnty hours the lake is, 
as it were, created anew. This singular phenomenon 
is accounted for by the connection of the lake with 
subterraneous openings, some on a higher, others 
on a lower level than itself 



HARTLEY'S COOLNESS AT GIBRALTAR. 

Summer time in sunny Spain, and the great Rock 
of Gibraltar reflecting the ardent ra)-s ; everything 
barren, arid, scorched, and the heat insufferable, 
in spite of the gentle breezes now and then wafted 
from the blue Mediterranean — wafts of air in- 
valuable, since they bore away the dense clouds of 
smoke that hung about the face of the rock, filling 
the casemates, and blinding the gunners with their 
sulphurous fumes. For one of tlie great sieges to 
which this fortress has been subjected was at its 
height, and the jealous Spaniard eagerly watched 
for an opportunity of dislodging the gallant islanders 
who held that portion of his soil. The business of 
the siege progressed. The rock by the batteries 
sent forth its splinters to deal destruction around 
at every impact of the Spanish shot ; but the return 
fire was of the most telling description, and most 
steadily kept up, our men feeling proud of the 
opportunities given for silencing the guns of the 
Don. 

But removed from the smoke and din, in the 
laboratory of the garrison, surrounded by the 
chemistry of war, sat one man, a humble private 
of artillery. His it was, while his comrades worked 
the guns in the suffocating casemates of the covered 
batteries, to prepare the shells for the use of the 
mortars. A dangerous task ; so dangerous, in fact, 
that even the examination of the deadly missiles is 
considered sufficiently perilous on board ship to 
warrant a stage being slung over the side, to be 
occupied by only one or two men, the others being 
kept at a distance. But familiarity with peril 
robs men of their fear, and Hartley sat busily 
making ready shell after shell, filling them with the 
explosive composition, and afterwards fitting in the 



THE STEAM-HAMMER A\D THE AIR-ttAMMER, 



01 



fuses, driving them home, and ranging the pre- 
pared shells in cases till they should be fetched, to 
be sent in fiery arcs to deal death and destruction 
amongst the enemy. 

The laboratory was at that time full of explosive 
material, every grain of which was of inestimable 
value to the beleaguered garrison ; and it had 
been accordingly placed in a position which ren- 
dered it impossible for the shot or shell of the 
enemy to reach it. But now the danger guarded 
against from without threatened, if possible, more 
terribly from within — threatened to destroy at one 
blow the whole of the explosive compounds stored 
for defence, and this at a time when such a loss 
would have been irreparable. Shell after shell 
had been filled, the grim black spheres, as they 
lay ready, giving but small signs of their deadly 
power — the force that should rend them into in- 
numerable shards of cast-iron, each to maim or slay. 
Suddenly, while calmly proceeding with his work, 
and driving a fuse into a fresh-filled shell, the fuse 
took fire, hissing loudly as it discharged its rain of 
sparks, and burning rapidly away. There seemed 
hardly time for thought, much less for action, and the 
first feelings of Hartley were those of blank dismay. 
He had seen the discharge and flight of shells 
so often, that he knew he could only reckon upon 
its burning for seconds ; and then would come the 
dire explosion that should act upon the part of 
the fortress where he was like an earthquake — the 
bursting of the shell being, as it were, but the flash 
in the pan that should prelude the blowing up of 
the laboratory. But with the calmness of a man 
whose trade was one which brought him daily face 
to face with death. Hartley seized the shell in 
both hands, hurried out into the open air, and 
then with a tremendous effort hurled the deadly 
globe far into space, where, a couple of seconds 
after, it harmlessly burst. It was not until some 
time had elapsed, that the performer of this 
daring act could thoroughly realise the great 
danger that had threatened him with destruction ; 
and though the peril was now past, it was some time 
after, and then only with unstrung nerves, that he 
returned to his perilous task, probably never for a 
moment thinking, in his humility, that his had 
been an act which history would hand down to 
posterity. 

Taming a Spider.— The Abbe d'Olivct, author 
of the Life of Pelisson, inserted in the History of 
the French Academy, relates the following anec- 
dote : — " Confined at the time in a solitary place, 
where the light of the day penetrated only through 
a small slit, having no other servant or companion 
than a stupid and dull clown, a Basque, who was 



continually playing the bagpipes, Pelisson studied 
to secure himself against an enemy which a good 
conscience alone cannot always repel — I mean the 
attacks of unemployed imagination, which, when 
it once exceeds proper limits, becomes the most 
cruel torture of a recluse individual. He adopted 
the following stratagem : — Perceiving a spide" spin- 
ning her web at the aperture before-mentioned, he 
undertook to tame her, and to effect this he placed 
some flies on the edge of the opening, while the 
Basque kept playing on his favourite bagpipe. 
The spider by degrees accustomed herself to 
distinguish the sound of that instrument, and to 
run from her hole and seize her prey ; thus, by 
always calling her out with the same tune, and 
placing the fliss nearer and nearer his own seat, 
after several months' exercise he succeeded in 
taining the creature so well that she would start 
at the first signal to seize a fly at the farthest end 
of the room, and even on the knees of the prisoner." 
Maternal Instinct.— Early in August, 1868, a 
fire occurred in Red Lodge Nursery, a mile and a 
half from Southampton, and burnt about ten rods of 
furze. There was no wind at the time. When the 
fire was extinguished, some labouring men noticed 
that a little plot of heath in the centre of where 
the fire had been was not burnt, and that the 
fire had burnt everything round the heath, and 
had approached close to it. In looking about, 
the men discovered a pheasant's nest contain- 
ing six eggs among the heath. A few hours 
afterwards the pheasant was seen sitting on the 
eggs. Some time after, the nest was visited, and 
the parent bird was absent, but the eggs were nearly 
hatched. When the nest was again visited, the 
pheasant had hatched the eggs, and carried off the 
young birds. It is remarkable that the heath was 
not burnt, as it was perfectly dr)-, and it is belie^-ed 
that the pheasant had, by flapping her wings, kept 
the fire off. — Times, Aug. 6, 1868. 



THE STEAM-HAMMER AND THE 

AIR-HAMMER. 

The Steam-hammer has now become indis- 
pensable in every engineering workshop, and its 
introduction marks a new period in the history 
of mechanical progress. It was invented by 
James Watt and Deverell, and patented nearly 
half a century ago ; next, Mr. Nasmyth designed 
and applied at Patricroft Works the self-acting 
motion, so as to complete the steam-hammer in its 
present compact and manageable form ; and the 
circumstances of the invention and improvement 
are proved by the testimony of Mr. Gaskell and 
D. W. Fairbairn, as stated in the Mining Journal. 
In this extraordinary implement or tool, a heavy 
block of cast iron, sometimes five tons in weight, 
and attached to the lower end of a piston-rod 



92 



THE WORLD OF WOxNDERS. 



working in an inverted cylinder, is lifted by admit- 
ting the steam beneath the piston, and then allowed 
to fall upon the work by its own weight ; by a little 
management it may also be made to slide up and 
down without striking at all. The hca\iest work is 
forged under the blow of this ponderous hammer, 
which acts with an energy that the strength of iron 
cannot withstand ; yet it is kept in such control 
that a nut-shell may be cracked, or an egg-shell 
chipped, as easily as iron beams are welded or 
shaped. By means of this machine a pile can be 
driven into the ground in four minutes that pre- 
viously required for the operation twelve hours. 
The saving of time thus effected is as one to 
r,8oo ; and it is impossible to express more strik- 
ingly the power of this wonderful tool. Several 
steam-hammers of from four to ten hundredweight 
are now working at .Sheffield, with which 500 or 
600 blows per minute can be struck if required. 
Mr. Nasmyth has also produced a steam-engine, 
somewhat pyramidal in form, which is greatly 
used in steam-ships ; he has invented a planing 
machine, known as "Nasmyth's steam-arm ;" he 
has made a circular cutter for toothed wheels ; 
and with a fine telescope of his own making, 
he has made out that the bright surface of the 
sun consists of separate insulated individual 
objects or things, all nearly of one definite size, 
and in shape something like a willow-leaf. Sit 
John Herschel describes this as a most wonderful 
discovery. 

In the Air-hammer, compressed air is employed 
as the moving power in the place of steam, in Mr. 
Nasmyth's implement. The machine consists of a 
force-pump, supplying compressed air to a reservoir, 
and a working cylinder and piston similar to those 
of a steam-hammer, having mechanism for varying 
the action of the liammer as required, and increas- 
ing the rapidity of the blows, ^^•hich may attain a 
maximum of 800 strokes per minute. One of the 
largest air-hammers \et put to work has a cylinder 
eight and a half inches in diameter, with a stroke of 
twenty-eight inches ; and the pressure may be 
adjusted to any amount, from five pounds to 
forty pounds per square inch. Grimshaw's high- 
speed compressed air-hammer is now employed in 
Birmingham for various stamping and_ forging 
purposes ; at Glasgow for coppersmiths' work, and 
at Sheffield for steelwork. 



TROPICAL VEGETATION. 

It is hardly possible for one who has not visited 
the tropics to imagine the wonders of tropical vege- 
tation. The most faithful picture, the most finished 
photograph, give but an idea of what it really is ; 
and the ablest description is but a word-paint- 
ing in which the \ariety of hues, the graduated 



shades of colour, the immensity of size, and the 
grandeur of the reality are more or less wanting. 
There is not anything in this country with which 
to compare the richness of the tropical growth ; 
.md lovely as are the tints in a wide-spread Englisli 
landscape, they arc as nothing in point of splendour 
to those of the tropical scene. Accessories of sun, 
sky, and temperature, which there serve to bring 
the principal into greater prominence, are repre- 
sented here only in an inferior degree. 

Particular reasons, connected with a great rain- 
fall and with the size and number of the rivers, 
render the South American continent luxuriant 
above most other places in the quantity and rich- 
ness of its vegetation. From the shore of the Gulf 
of .Mexico to the frontier of Chili, there is a wanton- 
ness of growth which is truly wonderful. Had not 
man carved out a place for himself, the huge forests 
which now cover league after league of ground 
would have stretched down to the water's edge, 
and filled the whole land with their branches. As 
it is, they oppose a resistance to man's advance, 
surmountable only by the most untiring energy ; 
and wherexer they have an opportunity, they begin 
afresh in any spot which is temporarily left uncul- 
tivated. 

What a scene is presented to one who would 
penetrate the borders of a forest whereon the hand 
of man has not been laid ! Such forests might be 
found in the Old World, but it is in the New that 
they are found in the greatest perfection. The fore- 
ground is taken up by vast families of many kinds 
of shrubs, which the influence of the climate tends 
to make gigantic ; the cactus and prickly pear 
unite with the merciless " Spanish needle " to form 
a hedge through which no tiger could force his 
way : ferns higher than a man's head join with the 
many kinds of grasses to produce an impracticable 
footway, in which lurk the cobra and the rattle- 
snake, ferocious centipedes, the whole family of 
scorpions, and the rest of the creatures which ware 
doomed to wound man's heel. Lilje watch-towers 
in the sea of vegetation, the wild plantain and 
banana, the castor-oil plant, the India-rubber tree, 
the wild grape, and the cotton shrub, stand out 
above the level at which the jungle growth stops 
short ; and creeping up aroimd them, the sweet 
potato and the cassava intertwine their creepers. 
A clump of mangrove bushes marks the spot where 
water cannot soak through the saturated ground, 
and the maize standing stiff in terra firma beyond, 
shows the partial character of the swamj). The 
lesser palms, the trumpet tree, the roseau cane, the 
standard tig, and the cocoa shrub, are represented 
at intervals here and there. 

A path, cut out as through stonework in this 
densest of thickets, leads to the border of the forest 
itself, where the strong glare of the noonday sun 
cannot enter, save in a suL.lucd form through 



TROPICAL VEGETATION. 



93 




SCENE IN A SOUTH AMERICAN FOREST. 



94 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



openings made by the fall of some forest giant, or 
through the apertures occasioned by the freaks of 
nature in the disposition of the trees. The same 
shrubs, and grasses, and ferns, and creepers which 
cover-cd the foreground and made it all but im- 
passable, are here to be seen occupying the fruitful 
ground, so tliat all spaces between the trees are 
closely filled up, while in and out among their stems 
climbers of enormous strength bind them together 
and to the trees, covered with parasitic climbers. 
Among the trees of the forest are almost all the 
trees that grow, save those peculiar to the tem- 
perate zone. The ironwood, the cedar, the locust 
tree, the mastic, the satinwood, mahogany, bully 
tree, and rosewood, with the various kinds of gum 
tree and logwood, form the staple of the commu- 
nity. The great chinchona tree, from the bark of 
which quinine is drawn, heads a division of no 
mean strength, while every variety of palm and 
cocoa-nut rear their graceful and gigantic stems in 
every spot where they can find an opening. So 
thickly are these trees planted, so innumerable are 
their allies, so closely are the interlacing branches 
bound together, that the sky is visible in only a few 
places. The full-page illustration which accom- 
panies this article will convey to the reader as good 
an idea as it is possible for a picture to give of the 
gorgeous and luxuriant growth of these tropical 
forests, with the trees covered with the richest blos- 
soms, and interlaced with festoons of creepers and 
parasitic plants. Among the gorgeous blossoms of 
the hundreds of wild flowers th.-it embrace the trees, 
liaply a scarlet snake or a whip snake may be seen 
hanging from some branch, deceiving the traveller 
by its blossom or tendril-like appearance, ready to 
do him to death in the event of his coming within 
reach. Animal life swarms in these forests with 
amazing abundance. " Parrots of various species 
and brilliant plumage ; birds innumerable, from 
the scarlet flamingo to the tiny humming-bird, 
nestle in every branch ; while the thickets swarm 
with wild animals in such prodigious numbers, that 
it appears hardly conceivable how they can all find 
subsistence. Tigers, jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, wild 
boars, deer, besides smaller quadrupeds, abound in 
every direction ; and by a peculiarity very remark- 
able, and unknown elsewhere, they all begin at the 
same hour of the night to raise their respective 
cries, and fill the forest with a chorus so loud and 
dissonant that sleep is for hours impossible to the 
wearied traveller. So imiversal and well known is 
this custom, that the monks, in their journeys on 
the shores of the Orinoco, before lying down, 
pray ' for a quiet night and rest as other 
mortals.' " 

No words can convey any idea either of the 
height or girth of the great trees. Twelve, eigh- 
teen, twenty, and five-and-twenty feet, do some of 
Jhe monsters measure round the waist, while for 



height they may be compared to those hills where- 
of Othello said that their "heads touch heaven." 
Seventy, and even a hundred feet of clear stem, 
without a branch — such is the measure of many of 
them ; while it would be almost impossible to calcu- 
late the quantity of wood contained in one great 
tree and its branches. This is the aspect of 
forests covering the ground for many hundreds 
of consecutive miles, in parts of South America. 



LAKE DWELLINGS. 

Among the most interesting discoveries of recent 
times are those relating to the subject of " pre- 
historic man " — that is, to man as he lived in various 
countries before our existing historical records were 
compiled. Many remarkable facts in this direction 
have been ascertained, although this branch of re- 
search is as yet quite in its infancy. The " lake 
dwellings" of ancient times form a prominent fea- 
ture in these inquiries, and we shall briefly relate 
the principal discoveries concerning them. 

Strictly speaking, these lake dwellings are not 
" pre-historic." The "father of history," Hero- 
dotus, writing of the invasion of Thrace by Darius, 
the Persian king, mentions an unsuccessful attempt 
of one of his commanders to subdue the in- 
habitants of Lake Prasias, which is found in the 
present day in the Turkish province of Roumelia. 
He says of the Prasians, " They inhabit dwellings 
of the following construction : in the lake, strong 
piles are driven into the ground, over which planks 
are thrown, connected by a narrow bridge with the 
shore. These erections were in former times made 
at the public expense ; but a law afterwards passed, 
obliging a man for every wife whom he should 
marry (and they allow a plurality) to drive three 
of these piles into the ground, taken from a moun- 
tain called Orbelus. On these planks each man 
has his hut, from every one of which a trap-door 
opens to the water. To prevent their infants from 
falling into the lake they fasten a string to their 
legs. Their horses and cattle are fed principally 
on fish, of which there is such abundance, that if 
any one lets down a basket into the water, and steps 
aside, he may presently after draw it up full of 
fish.''* 

This description by Herodotus, of a state of 
things existing about 500 years B.C., had been re- 
ceived, like many other of his narrations, with 
incredulity, until recent investigation brought to 
light the fact that precisely similar colonies had 
existed abundantly in Europe before our history 
commences. The manner in which the discovery 
was first made is remarkable. 

The winter of 1853-54 was an unusually dry 
season, and the waters of the Swiss lakes wore in 



* Herodtnis, Book V., Bcloe's translation. 



WONDERS OF MEMORY. 



93 



consequence very low. The residents on the Lake 
of /Zurich thought they would seize the opportunity 
to reclaim a portion of the land left dry by the sink- 
ing of the waters ; and while the works necessary 
for this object were in progress, a great quantity of 
piles were discovered embedded in the lake. To- 
gather with these piles were found portions of the 
framework of wooden buildings, with a quantity 
of rude implements, and the remains of food which 
the inhabitants had consumed, such as bones, the 
seeds of fruit, nut-shells, &c. Being deeply sunk in 
the soft mud, these vegetable relics were in suf- 
ficient preservation to be easily identified. 

This discovery led to the careful examination of 
the shores of other lakes in Switzerland, and it was 
found that the evidences of these lake colonies 
were so abundant as to lead to the conclusion that 
they had formed the customary habitations of the 
ancient Swiss tribes. The reason for their selecting 
such a mode of life, it has been conjectured, was to 
guard against the predatory attacks of enemies, as 
the narrow strip of causeway leading from the 
dwellings to the shore was capable of easy defence, 
and may have been provided with something in the 
nature of the drawbridges attached to the castles 
and moats of the middle ages. 

Very similar structures were used for defensive 
purposes in Ireland and Scotland in recent times ; 
and the remains of these " crannoges," as they are 
called in the Celtic tongue, are common in the 
lakes of both countries. It does not appear, how- 
ever, that lake dwellings were grouped together 
there, as in Switzerland, in such numbers as to 
accommodate a population of some hundreds, but 
rather that they were used merely as strongholds to 
which the native chiefs could occasionally retreat 
in time of war. 

In some parts of Germany remains similar to 
those of the Swiss lakes have been found, and it 
is believed traces of such dwellings have been ob- 
served in England ; but at present the inquiry is 
not sufficiently advanced for anything definite to 
be known on the subject. 

At the present day, habitations in some respects 
similar to the ancient lake dwellings are found in 
South America, and the islands of Borneo and New 
Guinea. The natives in these places occasionally 
erect their huts on piles driven in shallow streams or 
marshy places, as a protection against inundations. 
It may be worth the while of archaeologists to con- 
sider how far the same reason alone may sometimes 
have operated to cause the erection of the lake 
colonies in Switzerland — a country which was pos- 
sibly far more subject to sudden inundations in 
ancient than in modern times. 

The very rude implements discovered in the 
remains of the lake dwellings show that their in- 
habitants were comparatively ignorant of the arts 
of civilised life. In the earliest of these remains, 



the hatchets and knives which are found in abun- 
dance consist merely of flint stones chipped to the 
shape required ; and the bottoms of the piles fre- 
quently show that they were pointed and fashioned by 
these rude means alone. The use ofsuch weapons has 
given rise to the term " the Stone Age," relating to 
one of the pre-historic periods. This was succeeded 
by " the Bronze Age," when people had learned to 
substitute such savage implements by a mixture of 
copper and tin ; and of this material some relics 
are found in the later deposits in the lakes. After- 
wards came the "Age of Iron," when the lake 
dwellings a^d their inhabitants appear to have been 
swept away. The charred state of the wood found 
on the sites of these dwellings shows that their 
destruction was usually effected by fire — -the readiest 
means by which a more " civilised " race could 
effect the subjugation of these primitive tribes in 
their chosen retreats. 



WONDERS OF MEMORY. 

The uniformity of Nature's laws among the lower 
animals forms a strong contrast to the various 
tones and speeches by which human thought makes 
itself known, and which gi\e best exercise and 
scope to the faculty of memory, especially the 
memory of sounds and words. Morton, an Eng- 
lishman, could repeat from memory a discourse 
delivered in his presence. Claudius Mcnetrier 
could repeat three hundred arbitrarily connected 
words, which had been once uttered in his pre- 
sence, in the same order in which he had heard 
them ; while a pupil of Schenkel (inventor of one of 
the arts of memory), could repeat an equal number 
of words, and as many as two hundred and forty 
sentences, also in the same order in which they 
had been heard. The celebrated Picodella Miran- 
dola retained as many as two thousand names 
from a lecture to which he had listened but once ; 
and the power of memory by which, according to 
Seneca, Cineas, the ambassador of Pyrrhus (and 
another whom he mentions, who could repeat 
verbatim a foreign poem which he had heard 
once), became the marvel of that age, seems to 
have been a similar faculty to fhat which made 
the Florentine Magliabecchi the wonder of his 
contemporaries. The latter could not only retain 
the whole contents of a book once read, but he 
could recollect the number of a page in which 
such and such a passage occurred, and possessed 
also a wonderful memory for places, instantly re- 
calling every detail of a locahty which he had 
seen only once, and that many years before. 
Joseph Scaliger learned by heart all the songs of 
Homer in one-and-twenty days, and the works 
of all the Greek poets in four months ; and many 



96 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



others, enjoying an equal reputation for retentive 
and faithful memory, might be enumerated — as 
Themistocles among the ancients, and Pascal, 
Leibnitz, and Locke among the moderns. Sur- 
prising, indeed, as are these instances of accuracy 
in remembering words, they are surpassed by 
instances on record of memories which could 
retain a prodigious stock of numbers and figures, 
which occasionally border on the incredible. 
As, lor example, when we hear of the man 
who could not only remember the names of 
all the soldiers in a battalion after hearing 
them once, but thirty geometrical figures, in 
which he had all the geometrical operations as 
clearly before him as if they were placed on 
a table beneath his eyes. In this \va\- John 
Wallis excracted the 
square root from two 
hundred and eighty 
figures, which had 
been given him in 
the dark. 



S2lonteful|isks. 




Double Cat- 
fish. — FrofessorSil- 
liman's namejs well 
known in Europe as 
that of an American 
savant who delights 
in making the public 
acquainted with the 
novelties that come 
under his observa- 

tion,and with the dis- double cat-fish 

coveries of science. 

The above engraving represents a double cat-fish 
that was presented to the professor about thirty-five 
years ago. It was taken alive in a shrimp-net at the 
mouth of Cape Fear River, near Fort Johnson, 
North Carolina. The two fishes were joined much 
in the same manner as the Siamese Twins, by a 
piece of skin on the breast, the point of union being 
marked by a dark streak, otherwise the appearance 
of the skin was not found to differ from that of the 
fish's belly. There was no connection between 
the viscera of the fishes, but the integument was 
hollow or double, so that, when an incision was 
made in one of the fishes and the entrails taken out, 
a flexible probe could be passed through into the 
body of the other. The integument was thin and 
very flexible, so that the two fishes could almost swim 
together in the natural position at the same time. 
The difference in the size of the two fishes is worth 
remarking. It is quite evident that the larger one 
must have got the start of the other in the race of 
life, and that it had continued to appropriate the 



lion's share of the good things which fell to tJieir 
joint lot. The little fish, indeed, must have shown 
some dexterity to live at all, and surely deserved 
infinite credit as a "snapper up of unconsidered 
trifles." 

Power oe the Whale.— If the whale knew 
his own power, he would easily dcs'.roy all the 
machinery which the art of man could devise for 
catching him ; it would be only necessary for him 
to swim on the surface in a straight line, in order 
to break the thickest rope, but instead, on being 
struck by the harpoon, he obeys a natural in- 
stinct, which, in this instance, betrays him to his 
death. Sir Humphry Davy, in his " Salmonia," 
observes that the whale, not having an air- 
bladder, can sink to thj lowest depths of the 

ocean, and mistaking 
the harpoon for the 
teeth of a sword-fish 
or a shark, he in- 
stantly descends, this 
being his manner of 
freeing himself from 
these enemies, who 
cannot bear the pres- 
sure of a deep ocean; 
and from ascending 
and descending in 
small space, he thus 
puts himself in the 
power of the whaler. 
If we include the 
pressure of the at- 
mosphere, a body at 
the depth of loo feet 
would sustain that of 
si.xty pounds on the 
square inch ; while 
one at 4,000 feet, a depth by no means consider- 
able, would be exposed to a pressure of 1,830 
pounds. We need not, therefore, feel surprised 
that on the foundering of a ship at sea, though 
its timbers part, not a spar floats to the surface ; 
for if the hull has sunk to a great depth, all that 
is porous is penetrated with water, or is greatly 
compressed. Scoresby states that when by en- 
tangling the line of the harpoon, a boat was carried 
down with the whale, it required after it was re- 
covered, two boats to keep it at the surface. As 
soon as the whale dives after having been wounded, 
it draws out the line or cord of the harpoon, which 
is coiled up in the boat, with very considerable 
velocity. In order, therefore, to prevent any ac- 
cident from the violence of this motion, which 
might set the side of the boat on fire, one man is 
stationed with an axe to cut the rope asunder if it 
should become entangled, while another furnished 
with a mop, is constantly cooling with water the 
channel through which it passes. 



WINKELRIED. 



97 




THE HATTI.E OF SEMPACII, 



WINKELRIED. 

Bravery is a quality with two aspects. There is 
a bravery which springs from a natural inability to 
entertain fear, and a bravery which is the result of 
deliberate acceptance of the post of danger. There 
is also a pseudo-bravery, which springs from igno- 
rance both of the extent and proximity of danger — 
a bravery which is often seen in the hunting-field, 
in the foot-ball match, in the amateur Alp climber, 
in many a field where danger is the excitement and 
the attraction, and where those who join in the sport 
are unable to measure the height of the excitement 
which is their lure. The highest fonn of bravery is 
undoubtedly that in which the danger being known, 
he who is exposed to the danger deliberately and of 
free choice undertakes a post where he will infallibly 
come in for some of that danger's influence. Men 

13 



with a nervous temperament who do this are 
eminently brave, seeing that they have to overcome 
a natural repugnance to overstep the bounds of 
caution, as well as to decide for other reasons upon 
taking the perilous path. There are not wanting 
many examples of all the kinds of bravery. It is 
proposed now to give an example of one of the most 
consummate acts of bravery, involving utter self- 
devotion, which it has been the duty of historians 
to record. 

For many years after the Counts of Hapsburg, 
who were Swiss citizens, had been raised to the 
imperial throne of Germany, they strove by all the 
means in their power to bring the Swiss under 
German dominion. They affected sovereign rights 
over a large portion of the cantons, and did their 
utmost to enforce their claim. Such pretensions 
met with the most strenuous resistance, notwith- 



98 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



standing the great disparity in the opposed forces. 
The Swiss were actuated by all the motives that 
can stir a freedom-loving, free-born people, when 
the question of their independence is vexed by a 
powerful enemy able and anxious to do them harm ; 
and the Germans were actuated by the lust of 
power, and by that hatred which all enslaved peoples 
have for those who are not as themselves. On 
many a hard-fought field had the question been 
raised to the music of clanging blows on helmet and 
cuirass, and to the dirge of many a stalwart warrior. 
On almost every occasion the cause of freedom 
had triumphed, and the chivalry of Austria had 
gone down before the terrific ardour of the Swiss 
peasants ; but perseverance was beginning to tell 
upon the Swiss strength ; for every man they lost, 
the Germans could bring ten fresh men, while the 
gaps in the Swiss ranks were far from easily filled 
up. The spirits of the patriots were beginning to 
be depressed by the continuousness of the war, and 
when they were called to arms in the summer of 
1385, as they had been called for many seasons 
before, they answered quickly, but with feelings 
which were closely akin to despair. The imperial 
army was powerful, contained some of the flower of 
German knighthood, and was led by a general who 
was famed throughout Europe for his skill. Already 
it had penetrated far into Swiss territory, the weak 
of heart had given way before it, and there was 
imminent danger of an advance into the heart of 
the home of freedom. From village and hamlet, 
from town and suburb, the Swiss warriors came 
with something of the sense of a forlorn hope 
mingled with the valour of desperation in their 
breasts. They could die, and they would die, in 
defence of their country, but they were oppressed 
\\ith the belief that even this sacrifice would be 
unavailing to save their children from the disgrace 
of foreign dominion. 

At Scmpach the armies met, and the Swiss, 
according to their custom, attempted by a furious 
onset to take their enemy's position by storm. To 
resist them, the iron-clad soldiers of Austria and 
15ohemia dismounted, and placing their spears in 
position, waited in dense form the attack of the 
Swiss. The impetuous valour of the mountaineers 
was thrown away upon such a defence. They came 
on, swinging their two-handed five-fect-long swords, 
striving to find a weak place wherein they might 
thrust the thin end of their military wedge ; but 
they were rolled back again, unable to break the 
serried mass of steel. It was a critical moment ; 
if the Swiss could not succeed in sustaining their 
atJtack, they must be subjected in their dispirited 
condition to an attack themselves ; defeat would be 
disaster ; even a retreat would lay the country open, 
and necessitate the withdrawal of the patriots to 
their hills. If the German phalanx could only be 
broken the least bit ; if room were made in it for 



but one Switzer to get his sword in, then the issue 
of the fight might safely be left to the strong arms 
and deep-biting swords of the patriots. But the 
opening must be made at once ; the strength of the 
assailants becoming exhausted, their spirits must be 
raised forthwith if anything is to be done. 

At this juncture it occurred to the mind of one of 
the Switzers how an opening might be made in the 
German ranks. If a number of the lance-points 
which presented themselves so forbiddingly could 
be entangled, the assailants might strike in and 
strike down the lance-holders ere they could recover 
from their confusion. What better, what surer way 
of entangling them than by burying them in a human 
body '? Such was the thought of Winkelricd, a 
gentleman of Untcrwald. He was a husband and a 
fathci", but above that he was a Swiss. Switzerland 
was his country, all her sons were his brethren ; he 
might safely, therefore, leave the charge of his dear 
ones to those who were so closely related to him. 
Certain death was the inevitable result of what he 
proposed to do ; but what he proposed to do was 
necessary ; let the result then look after itself. 
Commending his wife and children to his country- 
men's care, Winkelricd rushed forward alone 
towards the row of steel points. He came up to the 
sharp outer edge, and gathering up as many lancc- 
heads as he could in both his arms, suffered him- 
self to be pierced through and through. He attained 
his object, and his dead body won the victory. 
Before the astonished Germans could pluck their 
lances out, the infuriated countrymen of the fallen 
had passed over his corpse, and were among them 
with the terrible two-handed swords. The fury of 
the attack overbore all the valour of the Austrians ; 
they fought well, and many died bravely, but they 
could not prevail ; and in an hour after Winkelricd 
had breathed his last, such of the Germans as sur- 
vived were flying from that bloody field of Sempach, 
with experiences which did not allow them ever 
again to attempt the conquest of Winkelried's 
countrymen. 



Moit'bws of p;c£^HiiicwI (BfngcmiUir. 

Thin Sheets of Iron. — Many years ago, thcr; 
was sent to England from Pittsburgh, in the United 
States, a letter written on a sheet made from iron, 
1,000 sheets of which laid upon each other would 
only make one inch in thickness ; the dimensions 
being 8 in. by 5J in., or a surface of 44 inches, and 
weighing 69 grains. Since then, Wales has surpassed 
America, Staffordshire has surpassed Wales, and 
Wales again surpassed Staffordshire, till at length 
Swansea succeeded in making a sheet of the finest 
appearance, and thinnest that has ever yet been seen 
by mortal eyes, 10 in. by S^in., or 55 inch surface, 
and weighing but 20 grains, and being, indeed, a 



THE REM. QUEEN OF TliE GIPSIES. 



99 



sort of iron " gossamer." This being brought to 
the standard of 8 in. by 5 Jin., or 44 surface inches, 
is but 16 grains, or 30 per cent, less than any pre- 
vious effort, and requiring at least 4,800 sheets to 
make one inch in thickness. By way of compari- 
son we may add that one grain of gold may be ex- 
tended over 56 square inches of surface, and gold 
leaf is only about jocauij of an inch in thickness ; 
some authors say 2 BjAiao o^ "^^ inch. A single 
grain may be drawn out into 500 feet of wire. Tin 
is expanded by rolling or hammering, or by a com- 
bination of the two operations, into leaves or sheets 
barely one-thousandth part of an inch in thickness, 
under the name of tin-foil. 

A Fairy Coach.— The following description of 
a coach made by Camus, a French mechanician, 
for the amusement of Louis XIV., when a child, 
reminds one of the wonderful equipages occasionally 
mentioned in fairy tales. It is given by Sir David 
Brewster in his " Letters on Natural Magic." The 
coach was a small one, drawn by two horses, and 
contained the figure of a lady within, with a foot- 
man and page behind. When this machine was 
placed at the extremity of a table of the proper sizej 
the coachman smacked his whip, and the horses 
instantly set off, moving their legs in a natural 
manner, and drawing the coach after them. When 
the coach reached the opposite edge of the table, 
it turned sharply at a right angle, and proceeded 
along the adjacent edge. As soon as it arrived 
opposite the place where the king sat, it stopped ; 
the page descended and opened the coach door ; 
the lady alighted, and with a curtsey presented a 
petition, which she held in her hand, to the king. 
After waiting some time, she again curtseyed, and 
re-entered the carriage. The page closed the door, 
and, having resumed his place behind, the coach- 
man whipped his horses and drove on. The foot- 
man, who had previously alighted, ran after the 
carriage, and jumped up behind into his former 
place. 

Whitworth's Measuring Machines.— Mr. 
Whitworth, the eminent engineer, whose specialty 
is the perfection of accurate proportions, has built 
up steel guns in which the breech is screwed in, 
being formed of one, two, or three concentric 
cylinders, so exquisitely perfect in manufacture that 
every thread of them fits into its appointed groove 
with the nicest accuracy, never failing to run 
smoothly with the other. Such nicety has only 
been rendered possible since Mr. Whitworth in- 
vented an apparatus for measuring to the tnillionth 
of an inch, and produced absolutely two planes 
which may float on each other, separated by a 
thin film of air ; or if this film be pushed aside 
by sliding the top plate forward, instead of placing 
it at once face to face with the lower one, the 
two will adhere together as if made of one piece. 
Mr. Whitworth has deposited in the South Ken- 



sington Museum, to be there perpetually preserved, 
three original true planes and a measuring machine^ 
an instrument demonstrating the millionth part 
of an inch ; and has provided, by endowment, for 
the delivery of lectures to explain such instru- 
ments. Their importance will be manifest when 
it is considered that the value of every machine, 
when made of the best materials, depends on the 
truth of its surface and the accurate measurement 
of its parts. Mr. Whitworth has shown that the 
fineness of measurement obtained by his machine 
is sufficient to detect the expansion in length of an 
inch bar caused by a momentary touch of the 
finger. In his larger machine for measuring the 
standard yard, with a bar 36 inches long, the same 
amount of expansion is shown by the momentary 
contact of the finger-nail. The finest measurement 
requires the precautions of freedom from dust and 
moisture in the atmosphere, and from any current 
of air interfering with uniformity of temperature ; 
the machine is therefore kept in its glass case 
during the time of use, with an opening only suffi- 
cient for moving the micrometer-wheel and lifting 
the gravity-piece. By sufificient care in these 
respects, the measure of a space corresponding to 
half a division on the wheel, or the ^sciooo of an 
inch, has been rendered distinctly perceptible. 



THE REAL QUEEN OF THE GIPSIES. 

We have all heard of Margaret Finch, the Queen 
of the Gipsies. This extraordinary woman was 
born at Sutton, in Kent, and lived to the great age 
of 108 years. After travelling all over England 
for many years as queen of the gipsy tribe, she 
fixed her place of residence at Norwood, about 
eleven years before her decease. By her constant 
custom of sitting upon the ground with her chin 
resting on her knees, generally, by-the-byc, with a 
pipe in her mouth, attended invariably by a faithful 
dog, her sinews became so contracted that towards 
the close of her life she could not extend herself 
or change her position, so that when she died her 
corpse was forced to be crammed into a box con- 
formable to her usual posture. It was conveyed 
in a hearse followed by two mourning coaches to 
Bcckenham churchyard, where she was buried, 
and a special funeral sermon preached on the 
occasion. This was in the year 1740. The expense 
of the funeral was defrayed by the neighbouring 
publicans, to whom she had been of great service, 
not from what she drank herself, but from the 
quantity of people she attracted to the spot by 
her dexterity in fortune-telling and her wonderful 
appearance. She was at this time an object of 
notoriety all over England. 
An old inn, called the " Gipsy House," had for q 



100 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



sign, until the last few years, a portrait of Margaret 
Finch. 



WONDERS IN NATURAL HISTORY. 

Recognition of Voice between the Ewe 
AND THE Lamb. — James Hogg, "the Ettrick 
Shepherd," observes, " The acuteness of the sheep's 
ear surpasses all things in nature that I know of. A 
ewe will distinguish her own lamb's bleat among a 
thousand all braying at the same time. Besides, 
the distinguishing of voice is perfectly reciprocal 
between the ewe and the lamb, who, amid the 
deafening sound, run to meet one another. There 
are few things that have ever amused me more 
than sheep-shearing ; and then the sport continues 
the whole day. We put the flock into a fold, 
and set out the ewes to them as they are shorn. 
The moment that a lamb hears its dam's voice it 
rushes from the crowd to meet her, but instead of 
finding the rough, well-clad, comfortable mamma, 
which it left an hour or a few hours ago, it meets a 
poor naked starveling — a most deplorable looking 
creature. It wheels about, and, uttering a loud 
tremulous bleat of perfect despair, flies from the 
vision. The mother's voice arrests its flight — it 
returns, flies, and returns again, generally for ten or 
a dozen times before the reconcilement is fairly 
made up." 

Musical Mice. — In Brown's " Anecdotes of 
Quadrupeds " we find the following, given on the 
authority of Dr. Archer, of Norfolk, in the United 
States: — "On a rainy evening in 1817 (says the 
doctor), as I was alone in my chamber, I took up a 
flute and commenced playing. In a few minutes 
my attention was directed to a mouse that I saw 
creeping from a hole, and advancing to thq chair in 
which 1 was sitting. I ceased playing, and it ran 
precipitately back to its hole. I began again shortly 
afterwards, and was much surprised to see it reappear, 
and take its old position. The appearance of the 
little animal was truly delightful ; it couched itself 
on the floor, shut its eyes, and appeared in ecstasy. 
I ceased playing, and it instantly disappeared again. 
This experiment I repeated frequently with the 
same success, observing that it was always differently 
affected, as the music varied from the slow and 
plaintive to the brisk and lively. It finally went off, 
and all my art could not entice it to return." A 
similar and even more remarkable circumstance 
was communicated to the " Philadelphia Medical 
and Physical Journal," by Dr. Cramer, of Jefferson 
County, on the authority of a gentleman of un- 
doubted veracity. He stated that " one evening, as 
a few officers on board a British man-of-war, in the 
harbour of Portsmouth, were seated round the 
fire, one of them began a plaintive air on the violin. 
He had not performed many minutes when a mouse 
made its appearance in the centre of the floor. The 



I strange gestures of the little animal strongly 
' excited the attention of the officers, who, with one 
consent, resolved to suffer it to continue its singular 
action unmolested. Its exertions appeared to be 
greater every moment ; it shook its head, leaped 
about, and exhibited signs of the greatest delight. 
After performing actions which an animal so dimi- 
nutive would, at first sight, seem incapable of, the 
little creature, to the astonishment of the spectators, 
suddenly ceased to move, fell down, and expired 
without evincing any symptoms of pain." Although 
these cases are exceptionally striking, the suscep- 
tibility of mice to the influence of musical sounds 
is a well-known fact, and many " performing mice " 
have been exhibited in public. 



REMARKABLE INSCRIPTION. 

The following singular inscription is to be seen 
carved on a tomb situated at the entrance of the 
church of San Salvador, in the city of Oviedo. 
The explanation is that the tomb was erected by a 
king named Silo, and the inscription is so written 
that it can be read 270 ways by beginning with the 
large S in the centre. The words are Latin, 
" Silo princeps fecit." 



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Besides this singular inscription, the letters H. S. 
E. S. S. T. T. L. are also carved on the tomb, but 
of these no explanation is given. Silo, Prince of 
Oviedo, or King of the Asturias, succeeded Aurelius 
in 774, and died in 785. He was, therefore, a con- 
temporary of Charlemagne. No doubt the above 
inscription was the composition of some ingenious 
and learned Spanish monk. 



Monbtrful llelks. 

—  — 

ROMAN CITY IN SHROPSHIRE. 

Within the last ten years there have been explored 
the ruins of the ancient Uriconium, at Wroxeter, 
a little more than five miles from Shrewsbury ; 
this being the first instance in England of pene- 
trating into a city of more than fourteen centuries 
ago on so large a scale, and with such extensive 
remains of its former condition, where the visitor 
may w^lk over the floors which had been trodden 



WONDERFUL RELICS. 



lOI 



last, before they were thus uncovered, by the 
Roman inhabitants of this island. The city was 
standing here as early as the beginning of the 
second century, when it was called Viroconium, 
a name which appears to have been changed in the 
later Romano-British period to Uriconium. The 
line of the ancient town-wall forms an irregular 
oval more than three miles in circumference, on 
Watling Street Road, which occupies the line of 
one of the principal streets of the old city. The 
only portion of the buildings above ground is 
a solid mass, upwards of twenty feet high, of 
Roman large flat red bricks, in long string-courses. 



and from the end wall of this hypocaust we learn 
that the Roman houses were plastered and painted 
externally as well as internally ; the exterior wall 
was painted red, with stripes of yellow. A sort of 
dust-bin was found filled with coins, hair-pins, 
fibute (brooches), broken pottery and glass, with 
bones of birds and animals which had been eaten. 
In another hypocaust were found human remains of 
three persons who had crept in there for conceal- 
ment ; near one lay a httle heap of 132 Roman 
coins. This, Mr. Thomas Wright, the archaeologist, 
believes, " is the first instance which has occurred in 
this country in which we have had the opportunity of 




VIEW OF EXCAVATIONS I.S URICONIUM. 



The other remains of the Roman city had long 
been buried beneath the soil when, in 1859, their 
excavation was commenced. In one of the plun- 
dering invasions of the Picts and Scots, Uriconium 
is thought to have perished, towards the middle of 
the fifth century, by fire, when such of the inhabi- 
tants as were not massacred were dragged away 
into captivity. 

The old wall already mentioned must have been 
a portion of a public building ; portions of capitals, 
bases, and shafts of columns were found scattered 
about ; and among other objects were found frag- 
ments of a strong iron chain, the head of an axe, 
and pavements of fine mosaic. This building is 
thought to have formed the corner of two principal 
streets of the Roman city. A hypocaust of great 
size was found, with a quantity of unburnt coal : 



ascertaining what particular coins, as being then in 
daily circulation, an inhabitant of a Roman town in 
Britain, at the moment of the Roman dominion in 
Britain, carried about with him." The majority of 
these coins point to the very latest period previous 
to the establishment of the Anglo-Saxons as the 
date at which Uriconium must have been de- 
stroyed. 

Three fine wide streets, the roadway paved with 
small round stones, were found in Uriconium. The 
Roman houses in Britain had no upper storeys, all 
the rooms being on the ground-floor ; no traces of 
a staircase have ever been found. The roofing in 
Uriconium was of slate or flags. Window-glass was 
found one-eighth of an inch thick, though until 
recently it was thought that the Romans, especially 
in this distant province, did not use window-glass. 



102 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Among the domestic articles, two classes of 
Roman pottciy, both evidently made in Shropshire, 
were found — one white ware, and the other Salo- 
pian pottery, among which we find the colander. 
JNIost curious is a medicine stamp f£)r salves or 
Washes for the eyes, inscribed with, probably, the 
name of a physician resident in Uriconium. 

The general result of these discoveries is that 
they show the manner in which this country was 
inhabited and governed during nearly four cen- 
turies ; and we learn from the condition of the ruins 
of Uriconium, and especially from the remains 
of human beings which arc found Scattered over 
its long-deserted floors, the sad fate under which it 
finally sunk into ruins ; and thus v.-e are made 
vividly acquainted with the character and events of 
a period of history, which has hitherto been but 
dimly seen through vague tradition. 

A few stones, with Roman inscriptions, chiefly of a 
sepulchral charactei", ha\'e been dug up at Wroxcter, 
in the course of accidental excavations. Three of 
these were found in 1752. One has an inscription 
intimating that it marked the grave of a soldier of 
the twentieth legion, which was stationed at Chester, 
the Roman Deva. Another commemorated a soldier 
of the fourteenth legion, and is supposed to have 
belonged to a very early period, as that legion was 
withdrawn from Britain before a.d. 68. It was the 
legion which suffered so much in the war against 
Boadicea, and this soldier may, perhaps, have been 
engaged in that war, although his having died in 
Britain docs not necessarily imply that the legion 
to which he had belonged \vas there at the time, or 
indeed that it had ever been there, unless we had 
some other reason for supposing it. The other of 
these inscribed monuments was divided into three 
columns, or tables, in memory of three members of 
the family of a citizen of Uriconium. Another 
sepulchral stone bears an inscription commemo- 
rative of Tiberius Claudius Terentius, a soldier of 
the cohort of Thracian cavalry. Lastly, is a monu- 
ment of stone which, during the Middle Ages, had 
been formed into a holy water stoup, and bears 
characters which formed part of a Roman inscrip- 
tion to one of the Emperors. 



TENACITY OF VEGETABLE LIFE. 

The duration and tenacity of vegetable life, as seen 
in the length of time during which the seeds of cer- 
tain plants will retain their vitality, are truly won- 
derful. We may cite the following as examples. 

Lord Lindsay states that in the course of his 
wanderings amid the pyramids of Egypt he stum- 
bled on a mummy, proved by its hieroglyphics to 
be at least 2,000 years old. In examining the 
mummy after it was unwrapped, he found in one of 
its closed hands a tuberous or bulbous root. He 
was interested in the question how long vegetable 



life could last, and he therefore took that tuberous 
root from the mummy's hand, planted it in a sunny 
soil, allowed the rains and dews of heaven to descend 
upon it, and in the course of a few weeks, to his 
astonishment and joy, the root burst forth and 
bloomed into a beauteous dahlia. 

The roots of many plants retain their vitality 
under intense temperatures. Those of the vitex 
agiius castrus will not be affected though immersed 
in boiling water, and boiling water may be applied 
to many others without their sustaining injury. 
Certain plants, also, may by their roots absorb 
some poisons which would be destructive to others. 

The seeds on which birds have fed will retain 
their powers of germination during a long period. 
Birds that feed on the seed of the castor oil plant 
have been known to bear them in their bodies from 
one country to another, where they have grown and 
multiplied. 



THE "GREAT EASTERN" STEAMSHIP. 

The vastness of our sea-going steamships cul- 
minates in the Leviathan (now the Great Eastern), 
constructed on the wave principle, and lines of 
Mr. Scott Russell, at Millwall, in 1857, with these 
dimensions : Length, 680 feet ; breadth, 83 feet ; 
depth, 58 feet ; tonnage, 23,000 tons ; carries of 
coal and cargo 18,000 tons ; nominal horse-power of 
paddlewheel-engines, 1,000 ; nominal horse-power 
of screw-engines, 1,600; draught of water (light), 
18 feet ; ditto (loaded), 28 feet. The four cylinders 
of the engines are, probably, the largest steam- 
cylinders ever made for marine service, at least in 
England. They are 74 inches in diameter, and have 
a stroke of 14 feet. Each cylinder is a casting in one 
piece, weighing 28 tons. The condenser is a casting 
in one piece, of 36 tons. The upper frames are four 
castings of 13 tons each, .all cast in the works at 
Millwall without a flaw. The paddle-wheel shafts 
have Mr. Scott Russell's self-acting gearing, by 
which engines engage or disengage themselves 
from either paddle-wheel. Each paddle-wheel is 
58 feet in diameter, and in turning one round will 
advance 60 yards. Two revolutions of the wheel 
per minute would cover 600 yards per minute, or 
36,000 yards per hour, which is a speed of 20 miles 
an hour for the circumference of the wheel. 

The story of the Great Eastern is a sad one. 
This vast ship originally belonged to the Eastern 
Steam Navigation Company, which had for its 
chairman the late Mr. Henry Thomas Hope, a 
member of the wealthy family of that name. 
The company was established to carry the India 
and China Mails by the long sea route ; but in 
this they were over-matched by the Peninsular and 
Oriental Company. In 1854 the ship was com- 
menced by Mr. I. K. Brunei, and nearly a million of 
money was expended before she was tried. Pccu- 



AGED AND CURIOUS TREES. 



103 



niary difficulties ensued, and in 1858 a new 
company was formed, with ^330,000 capital. In 
the autumn of 1859 she went to sea ; when off 
Hastings, a destructive accident occurred, and 
thence followed a scries of casualties, but without 
material injury to her hull or machinery. , She 
rode out a gale in Holyrood Harbour ; encountered 
a hurricane in the Atlantic, which disabled her rud- 
der and damaged her paddles, and left her for three 
or four days rolling about in the trough of a heavy 
sea. She ran upon a rock at New York, and broke 
her bottom-plates for a length of 80 feet, which 
were repaired while afloat, and without going into 
dock ; she then came home safely. More costly 
repairs increased her financial difficulties, and 
eventually the ship was sold for ^25,000, scarcely 
one-third of its value as old materials. The unex- 
pected death of Captain Harrison, the first com- 
mander of the Great Eastern, should be recorded 
among the calamities which have befallen this 
ill-fated vessel. 



Slstronomtcal Monbcrs. 



Passage OF the Earth through the Tail 
OF a Comet. — In June, i86r, M. Liais, the 
celebrated astronomer at Rio Janeiro, from observa- 
tions which he had made of the great comet of that 
year, which had not as yet become visible in 
Europe, became convinced there was a great 
likelihood that the earth would come in contact with 
one of the tails of the comet ; and M. Liais proved 
beyond question, that on the 19th of June, 1861, the 
earth really did pass through one of the comet's 
tails, the moment of contact being 12 minutes 
past 6 a.m. ; and the earth must have been wholly 
immersed in the tail for about four hours. Yet 
it had no perceptible influence upon the weather — 
a very remarkable fact, adding reason to suppose 
that comctary matter is some millions of times 
rarer than our atmosphere. This phenomenon had 
never before occurred, according to the dictum 
of Arago the astronomer. Lord Wrotteslcy, in 
i860, remarked that when the comet of Enckc 
returned, its motion was continually accelerated, and 
it was consequently drawn nearer to the sun. " The 
final result," says Lord Wrotteslcy, " will be, that 
after the lapse of ages, this comet will fall into the 
sun ; this body, a mere hazy cloud, continually 
flickering, as it were, like a celestial moth round 
the great luminary, is at some distant period 
destined to be mercilessly consumed. Professor 
William Thomson suggests that the heat and light of 
the sun may be from time to time replenished by 
the falling in and absorption of countless meteors, 
which circulate round him ; and here we have a cause 
which may accelerate or produce such an event. 

Curious Calculation.— The curious in calcu- 
lations, and readers who have a higher aim, will be 



interested in the following passage from a paper on 
" The Physical Constitution of the Sun," by Mr. 
Braylcy. A railway train at the average speed of 
thirty miles an hour, continuously maintained, would 
arrive at the moon in eleven months, but would not 
reach the sun in less than 352 years ; so that, if such 
a train had been started in the year 15 12, the third 
year of the reign of King Henry VIII., it would reach 
the sun in 1864. When arrived, it would be rather 
more than a year and a half in reaching the sun's 
centre ; three years and a quarter in passing through 
the sun, supposing it was tunneled through, and ten ' 
years and one-eighth in going round it. How great 
these dimensions are, may be conceived from the 
statement, that the same train would attain the 
centre of the earth in five days and a half, pass 
through it in eleven days, and go round it in thirty- 
seven days. 



AGED AND CURIOUS TREES. 

The age of trees has ever been a subject of interest- 
ing inquiry among naturalists and the lovers of 
historic illustration. The rings in the trunk, being 
annually deposited, form a natural chronicle of time, 
by which the ago of a tree is determined with as 
much precision as the lapse of human events is 
determined by the contemporaneous registration of 
annalists. Milton speaks of " monumental oak." 

Trees which are known to be of great antiquity 
sometimes give rise to fabulous legends, destitute of 
any foundation in fact. Such, for example, was 
the Plane tree near Caphyae, in Arcadia, seen by 
Pausanias in the second century after Christ ; which 
was reported by the inhabitants to have been 
planted by Menelaus, when he was collecting the 
army for the expedition against Troy. Such, too, 
doubtless, was the oak of Mamre, where the angels 
are said to have appeared to Abraham. A Rose-tree 
growing in the crypt of the cathedral of Hildesheim 
is referred, by a church legend, to a date anterior to 
1081, which would imply an age of more than 800 
years, but the identity is doubtful. Setting aside 
such doubts, the annals of particular trees arc very 
numerous ; and from the best authenticated in- 
stances and sources are the following : — 

The Ash at Carnock, in Stirlingshire, supposed to 
be the largest in Scotland, and still a luxuriant tree, 
was planted about the year 1596, by Sir Thomas 
Nicholson, of Carnock, Lord Advocate of Scotland 
in the reign of James VI. 

■fhe Baobab tree is the most wonderful vegetable 
product of South Africa. Dr. Livingstone describes 
it as " a great baby-looking bulb," which reaches an 
enormous size and an astonishing age. It appears, 
indeed, as if nothing would kill it. The natives 
make a strong cord from the fibres contained in the 
pounded bark. The whole of the trunk as far as 
they can reach- is, consequently, barked, which, with 



104 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



any other tree, would cause its death, but which has 
no other effect on the Baobab but to make it throw 
out a new bark. No external injury, not even fire, 
can destroy this tree from without ; and if an axe be 
driven in with a hard blow, it can with difficulty be 
extracted from the soft, spongy wood which closes 
on it. Nor can any injury be done from within, as 
it is quite common to find the tree hollow ; and Dr. 
Livingstone himself spent a night in one, which was 
big enough to hold twenty men. Even cutting 
down docs not exterminate it, and it continues to 
grow in length after it is lying on the ground. 

The Camphor tree of Sorrogi, in Japan, is hollow, 
and will hold fifteen persons. It is superstitiously 
related that it grew from the staff of the philosopher 
Kobadarsi ; and Siebold thinks the tree may have 
existed since the time of that sage, at the close of 
the eighth century. 

Cypress-trees, on the continent of America, grow 
to immense ages. In counting the concentric rings 
in sawing a trunk across, it appears that i,6oo years 
is a common age. There is a gigantic trunk in the 
province of Oxaca, in Mexico, whose circumference 
at the base is 200 feet ; of this, taking i '6 line as 
the average growth of a year, the age would be 3,5 12 
years (Lyell's "United States " and Prescott's "Peru "). 
The cypress of Soma, in Lombardy, is reputed to 
be the oldest tree of which there is any record in 
the world. It is generally supposed to have been 
planted in the year of the birth of Christ ; but 
the Abbe Belize says there is extant at Milan a 
chronicle which proves that it was a tree in the 
time of Julius Casar, B.C. 42. It is 121 feet high. 
Evelyn, in his " Sylva," mentions a gigantic cypress 
in Persia, but his calculation of its age at 2,500 
years is considered of no value. The cypress of 
Hafiz, near Shiraz, is said to have been planted by 
the poet himself. 

The Dragon, tree, of Orotava, in the island of 
Teneriffe, was considered by Humboldt to be 
1,000 years old. It is stated to have been as large 
and as hollow in 1402 as it was found by Humboldt 
in the last century. In 1819 a storm deprived 
this tree of part of its crown, and it was entirely 
destroyed in the autumn of 1867 by a gale of 
wind. 

A great Elm, growing at Chipstead Place, in 
Kent, in appearance bears out the tradition annexed 
to it, that in the time of Henry V. a fair was held 
annually under its branches — the high road from 
Rye, in Sussex, to London then passing close by it. 
If this tradition be authentic, the elm in question 
must have been a large and well-spreading tree 
in the years 1413 — 22. An elm at Chequers, in 
Buckinghamshire, is reported, by a tradition handed 
down in the families of the successive owners, to 
have been planted in the reign of King Stephen. 

The Eucalyptus or Gum-tree, near the foot of 
Mount Wellington, in Tasmania, is stated to be 



250 feet high ; its diameter is fully thirty feet. 
This is reputed to be the largest, if not the oldest, 
tree in the world. 

A Fir tree, near Mont Blanc, has been ascertained 
by M. Bertholct to be more than 1,200 years old ; 
and near it, in the Forest of Ferre, is a tree called 
the Meleye, whose age cannot be less than 800 
years. A silver fir grew near Barr ; a section of 
its trunk is preserved in the Museum at Strasburg.* 
Its diameter was eight feet close to the ground, 
and the number of rings is said to amount to 
several hundreds. 

The Hethel Thorn was said by the first Sir Thomas 
Beevor to be mentioned in a deed of 1200 and odd 
as a boundary, under the appellation of " the Old 
Thorn. ' It is stated also to be mentioned in some 
chronicle as the thorn round which a meeting of 
insurgent peasantry was held during the reign of 
King John. The involution of its branches, which 
are all hollow tubes, as heavy as iron, is most 
curious. 

A Lime tree at Neustadt, in Wirtemberg, is said 
to be 1,000 years old. A German writer states it 
to have required the support of sixty pillars in the 
year 1392, and attained its present size in 1541 ; it 
now rests on 100 props, and a market can be held 
under its shade. There is another colossal lime in 
the churchyard of the village of Cadiz, near Dres- 
den. The trunk is forty feet in circumference, and 
is completely hollow. There is also at Freyburg, 
in Switzerland, a lime tree which was planted in 
remembrance of the battle of Morat, fought June 
27th, 1476. 

The Olive tree at Pessio, the most ancient in 
Italy, is stated by Masechettini to be 700 years 
old ; but in the environs of Nice is an olive tree 
of much greater age. 

Orange trees.— \n the orangery at Versailles is a 
tree raised from seed sown in 1421. There is 
another in the yard of the convent of St. Sabina, at 
Rome, said to have been planted by St. Dominic, in 
1200. In the neighbourhood of Finale is an orange 
tree which bears nearly 8,000 oranges in a single 
year. There are in Holland many orange trees 
which have been in the same family 200 and 300 
years ; one at Versailles has the inscription, " Seme 
en 1 42 1." 

The Tree of the Thousand Images, seen by 
Father Hue in his journey to Thibet, has its leaves 
and bark covered with well-defined characters of 
the Thibetian alphabet. It appeared to MM. Hue 
and Gabet to be of great age, and is said by the 
inhabitants of the country to be the only one of its 
kind known there. According to the account given 
by these travellers, the letters would appear to be 
formed of the veins of the leaves. The resemblance 
to Thibetian characters induced them to suspect 
fraud ; but, after repeated observations, they came 
to the conclusion that no fraud existed. 



THE RISING OF THE NILE. 



105 



THE RISING OF THE NILE. 

To the annual phenomenon of the rising of the 
Nile, Egypt is entirely indebted for its fertility, and 
even for its existence as an inhabited and populous 
country. Without it the land would always have 
been a desert, incapable of affording the means of 
subsistence to man. E.xcept occasionally near the 
shores of the Mediterranean, no rain falls through- 
out the land, and therefore its parched and sandy 
soil would be entirely unfruitful, were it not that 
regularly, at a certain season of the year, the river 
overflows the whole adjacent country. 

Why it should do so 
was a mystery in ancient 
times, and many absurd 
theories and conjec- 
tures were raised to 
account for it. The 
Egyptians themselves 
believed the river was 
a god, who in his bene- 
ficence spread himself 
annually over the land, 
to supply the wants of 
his people. If the rising 
did not begin to make 
its appearance at the 
expected time — and it 
has hardly varied a 
single day throughout 
the course of ages —  
they hastily prepared 
a sacrifice to this deity, 
usually a beautiful girl, 
who was richly adorned, 
and then thrown into 
the stream. 

Some of the ancient 
philosophers lighted on 
the true reason of the 
rising of the waters, 
when they imagined it 
to be due to heavy rains faUing in the interior 
of Africa, and swelling the sources of the river. 
What those sources were, it had baffled the 
investigation of thousands of years to ascertain, 
until recently our travellers, Speke, Grant, and 
Baker, discovered them in immense lakes situated 
near the equator, more than 3,000 miles, as the 
stream winds, from the mouth of the Nile on the 
Mediterranean coast. To these lakes the names 
of the Victoria Nyanza and the Albert Nyanza 
have been given by the successful explorers. 

In the regions adjacent to these lakes, rain falls 
throughout the greater part of the year, and most 
heavily in March, at the time of the spring equinox. 
The lakes form huge reservoirs for the water which 
descends from the elevations known as the Moun- 

14 



tains of the Moon ; and as they become swollen, 
the size of the streams which emerge from them is 
proportionately increased. Several of these streams 
uniting in their course form the Upper or White 
Nile, and this river, flowing gradually on until it 
meets the Blue or Lower Nile, bears irrigation to 
the thirsty lands below. Not only this, but as 
these rivers come down they bring with them a 
quantity of alluvial soil of the richest kind ; and 
when the Nile at last spreads itself over the flat 
and sandy plains of Egypt, it enriches them year 
by year with this muddy but fertile deposit. The 
consequence is a gradual rising of the land, to the 
extent, it is calculated, 
of from five to six inches 
in a century. Owing 
to this fact, many of the 
remains of the proudest 
cities of ancient Egypt 
are now half buried in 
the soil. 

Although in these 
daj-s we know more 
about natural pheno- 
mena than the philoso- 
phers of old, and can 
satisfactorily explain the 
reason of the rising of 
the waters, there re- 
mains one wonder con- 
nected with it which is 
as great to us as to 
them, and that is its 
uniformity. As we have 
said, throughout the 
course of ages its com- 
mencement has scarcely 
varied by one day, and 
its extent is also com- 
prised, as a rule, with- 
in a narrow limit. So 
equal, in the main, 
must be the quantity of 
water which falls annually at the equator, and so 
regular the commencement and decline of the 
rainy season. 

The rising commences in Lower Egypt about the 
25th of June, and steadily increases during the 
three months following. In this time the valley of 
the Nile becomes covered by its waters, and its 
villages stand out from them like little islands, as 
for the time they are. When the water has attained 
its maximum height, it remains stationary for about 
ten days, and then declines as steadily as it arose. 
On its subsiding, the land has been thoroughly fer- 
tilised, and vegetation becomes luxuriant. 

The height to which the river rises is a matter of 
vital importance. A few feet more or less make 
the difference between starvation and abundance. 




THE NILOMETER. 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



The average height varies according to the distance 
traversed by the river, from about forty feet where 
it enters Egypt, to four feet only near the Mediter- 
ranean. Taking as an intermediate height that 
observed at Cairo, if tlie rise is less than twenty 
feet, there is scarcity, or even famine ; if it is 
three or four feet more, the crops will be short ; 
three or four feet more again, and they will be 
abundant ; but if the water goes still higher, it 
becomes an unhealthy flood. 

Contrivances for measuring the exact rise of the 
Nile were in use in ancient times, and in two in- 
stances the remains of these "Kilometers" still 
exist. One, and the most ancient, supposed to 
have been erected in the time of the Roman domi- 
nion, is found in the island of Elephantine, in 
Upper Egypt ; and on the walls of the building in 
which it is contained are inscriptions recording the 
heights of the inundation in various years. The 
other (represented in our engraving) is situated in 
the island of Rhoda, near Cairo, and is believed to 
have been built in the time of the Arabian caliphs. 
It consists of a square well, into which the water is 
admitted as it rises, while in the centre is a column 
of marble marked at frequent intervals with the 
distance from the lowest level. The Nilometcrs 
are supposed to have been of chief utility in adjusting 
the taxation of the country, as they would give 
indications as to whether the season would be plen- 
tiful or otherwise. 



WONDERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Akin to the "Magic Photographs" mentioned in a 
previous number, are Dr. Taylor's Dioramic Photo- 
graphs, first exhibited about seven years ago, and 
described in a Glasgow newspaper. For example, 
we are looking through the glass at an Indian river 
scene. The glow of a tropical sun is gleaming in 
the sky and in the waters, but as we look the scene 
changes. The clouds which had previously seemed 
to hang in the tropical sky, appear to move and to 
assume a dusky hue, the waters look sombre, the 
landscape begins to wear a deeper green, gradually 
the light dies away, and there remains the cool and 
fjuiet of an evening on the banks of the Ganges or 
the Hooghly. This, again, like the invisible photo- 
graph, is but the application, with the additional 
artistic effects afforded by photography, and other 
improved means, of an old principle. The apparatus 
employed is a revolving cylinder, the edge or rim 
of which is strongly coloured with the required 
hues, which arc reflected upon the photographic 
plates according to the effect required. 

Next to the above in curious interest, is what 
may be called Microscopic Photography, or the 
reduction of large objects into such small dimen- 
sions that the picture is invisible to the naked eye. 



Mr, Shadbolt, in 1854, was the first who executed 
these small photographs by making an achromatic 
object-glass i or ij in. focus the lens of a camera, 
and using a peculiar kind of collodion. His portraits 
varied from J^th to -^^jth of an inch in diameter, 
and would bear to be magnified a hundred times. 
Mr. Dancer, of Manchester, produced a family 
group of seven full-length photographs in a spot the 
size of a pin's head ; and he states that it is only a 
question of trouble to include 10,000 portraits in a 
square inch. Ten years ago it was suggested that 
a diplomatic despatch might be conveyed in a 
spot no bigger than a full stop. Since that time 
the idea has been worked out in a variety of ways, 
a full page of the Times newspaper or an extensive 
landscape, having been photographed in so small a 
space. 

The enlargement of photographs, though less 
wonderful to the common apprehension than their 
reduction to the infinitely small, is, practically, not 
less interesting and curious. These enlarged pictures 
were first exhibited by M. Claudet at the soiree of 
the British Association in 1862. By means of the 
solar camera, photographic cartes were magnified 
to the size of life. The effect, when first seen, 
was pronounced very striking and beautiful. M. 
Claudet, at the same time, also exhibited some 
photographs taken by the Count de Montizon of 
all the most curious animals of the Zoological 
Gardens, and instantaneous views of Paris by 
Fcrrier, showing the boulevards full of carriages 
and people, as they are in the middle of the 
day. 

But the most striking photographs of this topo- 
graphical character are those which have been 
taken in balloons floating some 4,000 feet above the 
earth. The, first experiments of this kind were 
made by Mr. Negrctti in CoxwcU's " Mammoth " 
balloon in the summer of 1863. They were regarded 
with much interest at the time, as several problems 
were involved in success or failure — such, for ex- 
ample, as the difficulty of operating at all in a 
moving tent, and the question whether the actinic 
power of the solar rays would be as effective up 
aloft as on the surface of the earth. It was not 
only the onward motion of the balloon that created 
a difficulty, but its rotating motion, to obviate 
which a good deal of ingenuity in constructing and 
working the apparatus was needful. 

One more of the surprising effects of photography 
remains to be mentioned here — viz., its application 
to illustrate geometrical figures and problems.* 
This followed rapidly upon the discovery of the 
principle of the stereoscope. Every one who has 
gone through the eleventh book of Euclid is aware of 
the great difficulty which is superadded to that of 
the problem itself by the number of lines crossing 
each other on a flat surface. By producing these 
lines on stereoscopic slides, they arc made to appea.' 



WONDERFUL RELICS. 



107 



as if the figure was made of wires stretching from 
point to point in space. Planes are seen to inter- 
sect each other with as much distinctness as if they 
were sheets of cardboard incHned at various angles ; 
and solid angles and pyramids have their edges and 
angular points in such tangible relief that a model 
could not afford a better illustration of the text. 
The letters, too, arc so contrived as to appear to 
belong to the points to which they refer, and to 
stand out at the proper distances from the spectator. 
Before concluding this article we may also notice 
some remarkable instances of grotesque or carica- 
ture photography. When the lamented Abraham 
Lincoln was president of the United States, his 
photographic portrait was exhibited, and to the 
naked eye appeared as if pitted with the small-pox. 
On examining the dots with a microscope, they were 
found to consist of portraits of generals, politicians, 
divines, poets, actresses, and other well-known 
characters suitably placed. Jeff. Davis would be 
found in the president's eye ; McClellan on the 
tip of his nose ; Miss Cushman, or some other 
sweet thing, on his lips, and so on. All these like- 
nesses were said to be very striking, and the whole 
caricature was regarded as a felicitous performance. 
Something of the same comic character was done 
in Rome, when well-known figures, suggestive of a 
satirical application, were published with the heads 
of public characters. Thus the face of Antonclli 
appeared on the shoulders of Fra Diavolo ; and the 
queen of Naples was made to figure as Moll Flagon. 
Even the Pope himself was not spared. The speedy 
result, however, was a Papal edict against the 
enormity, by which the photographic artists were 
subjected to the loss of their places and instruments, 
a fine of one hundred dollars, and a year in the 
galleys ! The models who dared to sit for such 
figures were denounced in the same penalties. 



— — 

Prices Realised ey Relics. — The passion for 
the possession of remarkable relics has led to extra- 
ordinary prices being sometimes given for things of 
little value in themselves, or sometimes perfectly 
worthless. The following instances of extravagant 
sums paid for objects more or less curious have 
been recorded: — A tooth of Sir Isaac Newton's was 
sold in 1 816 for the sumof ;^730. It was purchased 
by a nobleman, who had it set in a ring which he 
wore constantly on his finger. 

The prayer-book used by King Charles I. when 
on the scaffold was sold in London in 1825 for 100 
guineas. 

The hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte, at the 
battle of Eylau, was sold in Paris, in 1835, for 1,920 
francs (about ^80). It was put up for sale at 500 
francs, and there were thirty-two bidders. 



The ivory arm-chair presented to Gustavus Vasa 
by the city of Lubeck was sold, in 1825, to the 
Swedish chamberlain, M. Schmekel, for 58,000 
florins. 

The coat worn by Charles XII. at the battle 
of Pultawa, and preserved by one of his officers 
and attendants, was sold in 1825 for 561,000 
francs. 

The two pens employed in signing the treaty of 
Amiens were sold in 1825 for ^500. 

The pens used in Paris for signing the treaty of 
peace, concluded after the Russian war, were pre- 
sented to the Empress Eugenie, by whom they 
have no doubt been carefully preserved. 

A wig that had belonged to Sterne was sold at a 
public auction in London for 200 guineas. 

An old wig which had belonged to the German 
philosopher, Kant, was sold after his death for 200 
francs. 

Voltaire's cane realised 500 francs at a sale in 
Paris. 

A waistcoat belonging to J. J. Rousseau was 
sold for 950 francs, and his metal watch for 500 
francs. 

At the French village of Pezenas some years ago 
there was an old arm-chair, which was said to have 
been frequently used by Moliere. When he was 
living in this village he was accustomed every 
Saturday afternoon to go to a barber's shop, in a 
corner of which this chair was keptc The shop 
was the resort of all the idlers and gossips of the 
town, and there politics were discussed, and all the 
news of the day repeated. The chair in the corner 
formed a kind of observatory for the dramatist, who 
was in the habit of attentively watching all that 
was going on around him. The old chair was 
brought to Paris to be sold, and realised a con- 
siderable sum. 

The Harp of Brian Boru.— The great Irish 
monarch, Brian Boroihme, or Boru, was killed at 
the battle of Clontarf, A.D. 1014. He left his son, 
Donagh, his harp, but Donagh having murdered 
his brother and been deposed by his nephew, re- 
tired to Rome, and carried with him the crown, 
harp, and regalia of his father. These regalia 
were kept in the Vatican till Pope Clement sent 
the harp to Henry VIII., but kept the crown, which 
was of massive gold. Henry gave the harp to the 
first Earl of Clanricarde, in whose family it re- 
mained until the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, when it passed by marriage into other 
hands. It was deposited in 1782 in the Museum 
of Trinity College, Dublin, where it now is. The 
harp is thirty-two inches high, and of good work- 
manship, the sounding-board is of oak, and the 
extremity of the uppermost arm is capped in part 
with silver, well wrought and chiselled. It contains 
a large crystal set in silver, and under it was another 
stone, now lost. 



io8 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



GLACIERS. 

Glaciers are masses of ice which descend into 
the valleys from the higher regions of snow-moun- 
tains. Above a certain line, called the snow-line, 
varying in height according to the situation of the 
country — in the Alps it is on an average at 7,200 
feet above the sea level — the sun is not sufficiently 
powerful to melt the snow that falls in large quan- 
tities during the winter months. In the recesses and 
higher valleys of the mountains this snow accumu- 
lates, one layer being formed upon another, till the 



M. Agassiz was the first to ascertain by exact 
I measurements the rate of progress of a glacier. 
I By boring holes in the ice, and fixing in them piles 
of wood in the same straight line across the glacier, 
and opposite to certain marked objects on the sides 
of the mountain, he was enabled, by returning to the 
same spot the next year, to determine how far 
downwards the piles had moved. 

Glaciers abound in all the great mountain chains, 

and play an important part in physical geography, 

being the sources of some of the largest rivers in 

I Europe and Asia. The Rhine, the Po, the Rhone, 




•THE RHONE GLACIER. 



lower strata, by the increasing weight above, be- 
come pressed and consolidated together till they 
form ice ; and the whole mass is then forced down 
the valley till it reaches and extends beyond the 
snow-line. If the reservoir above is small, the 
portion that arrives beyond the snow-line melts, 
the supply equalling the demand and no more. But 
in large mountainous districts, where the accumu- 
lations are on a vaster scale, the supply exceeds 
the demand, and the ice is gradually pressed down 
into the lower valleys, and often into the plains. 

" The glacier's cold and restless mass 
Moves onward day by day ; 

but its rate of progress varies very much, being 
naturally quicker in summer and slower in the winter. 
The progress of the Mer de Glace has been as 
much as thirty inches a day in summer, and sixteen 
jrjches in winter. 



the Garonne, the Ganges, and the Indus, all take 
their rise from glacier streams. Some glaciers 
cover an enormous area ; that of Baltoro, in the 
Himalayas, is as much as thirty-six miles long, and 
between two and three miles wide ; that of Biafo is 
sixty-four miles long. The glaciers of the Alps are 
better known, and though small when compared 
to those just quoted, are yet of considerable extent 
and importance. There are as many as sixty in 
the whole Alpine range, which extends from Mont 
Pelvoux, in Dauphine, to the Grosser Glockner, in 
Carinthia. The glacier of Aletsch, the largest in 
Switzerland, is sixteen miles long and one and a 
quarter miles broad, and descends from 12,000 to 
4,000 feet above the sea. The Mer de Glace, which 
descends into the valley of Chamouni, one of the 
best known of all glaciers, is seven and a half miles 
long. 



GLACIERS. 



109 



The glacier of the Rhone, shown in the illustra- 
tion, gives a very good specimen of the general 
features of a glacier, and more especially of what is 
called the fan-shaped glacier. It takes its rise on 
the west side of the Galenstock — the mountain on 
the right of the picture — and after issuing through 
a somewhat narrow portal, extends itself, compara- 
tively unconfined, over the slope of the mountain. 
It expands in a nearly circular shape ; and the 
deep fissures or crevasses, as they are called, 
formed by the onward motion of the ice, appear, 
like the sticks of a fan, to radiate from the centre. 
From the valley, the upper part of the glacier or 
neve is seen piled up in a confused mass, broken and 
cracked by the action of the weather, and assuming 
strange fantastic shapes. 
These blocks are known 
by the name of serass. 
The lower part, as may be 
seen, is comparatively 
flat, and may be traversed 
easily, though the cre- 
vasses are rather wide. 
These crevasses are gene- 
rally filled with water, 
of a dark blue colour, 
within a few feet of the 
surface, and are often of 
great extent, and form 
the real dangers of moun- 
tain travelling. A cre- 
vasse on the Mer de 
Glace was estimated at 
2,000 feet in length. It 
is in this part of the 
glacier that are found 
the internal cascades or 
moitliiis, as they are 
called. They arise from 
the superficial waterocca- 
sioned by rains, and the 
melting of the snow on the surface. The several 
small rivulets formed from these causes unite in 
one considerable stream, which flows on till it 
comes at last to a crevasse, down which it descends 
in great force, keeping open and widening the 
channel, which presents at length an open shaft 
sometimes of immense depth. There is a moulin 
on the Mer de Glace more than 350 feet deep. On 
the right bank of the Rhone glacier, where the 
glacier meets the rock, is a very fine specimen of 
this ice waterfall. Sometimes, when the bed of a 
glacier is high, and breaks off abruptly, the ice is 
forced over the precipice thus formed in huge I 
blocks, and constitutes an ice-fall ; one of the most ' 
singular phenomena of the mountains. There is 
a very fine ice-fall in the lower glacier at Grindel- 
wald, and one in the Mer de Glace. 

The lower end of a glacier is usually steep. 




Sometimes its outline rises unbroken, but more fre- 
quently it is split up, by intersecting cracks, into 
masses, which the continued action of the sun and 
air sharpen into pyramids and grotesque shapes. 
The stream formed by the waste and melting of 
the ice, and fed by the jnon/ins, issues at the foot 
of the glacier, sometimes by a small opening, but 
generally from a cave, as in Fig. 2. In the summer- 
time, after heavy rains, the snow and ice at these 
apertures are loosened, and fall in large quantities, 
widening the entrances of these outlets. The effect 
on these ice-caves, when the sun is shining, is sin- 
gularly beautiful, the dirty masses of the outer crust 
contrasting with the pure white of the inner layers, 
and the glitter of the blue and green ice. 

The heaps of debris de- 
picted in the foreground of 
Fig. I are called moraines. 
They consist of rock 
and pieces of stone and 
earth brought away by the 
glacier in the course of its 
journey down the moun- 
tain. All along the sides 
of a glacier these heaps 
may be seen, and wher- 
ever they are found it is a 
sure signthat a glacier has 
been there some time or 
other. For a glacier re- 
cedes as well as advances, 
and its path, like that of 
a retreating army, may be 
traced by the ravages it 
has committed and the 
ruins it leaves behind. 
There is little doubt that 
the glacier of the Rhone 
once extended to the 
Lake of Geneva. Another 
sure sign of the track of 
a glacier is its action on the bed of rock on which it 
is formed. Stones and pieces of rock find their 
way through the crevasses to the bed of the glacier 
■stream. These, by the immense weight above, are 
ground into a species of powerful emery powder, 
and wear away the surface of the hardest rock, 
rounding off huge blocks as smooth as a slab of 
marble. The stones and rocks in their turn are 
ground into powder, and a glacier stream can 
always be recognised by its white milky colour, 
caused by these ground atoms. The peculiarities 
of form produced by this grinding action of the ice 
are to be traced in most of the Alpine valleys. In 
the Grimsel and Hash valleys, on the slopes of the 
Jura and the Italian sides of the Alps, evidences of 
extinct glaciers are to be found in every direction, 
and they are not confined to high mountainous 
districts only, but are to be seen in the hills of 



GLACIER C.\VKKi\. 



no 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Cumberland, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Round 
Snowdon especially, the rocks are furrowed and 
scratched by glacier action ; and there is reliable 
evidence that the ground now occupied by the Lake 
of Killarney, was once a glacier bed. 



WONDERFUL DEXTERITY OF A GOAT. 

Dr. Cl.\rke relates that when he was travelling 
from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, his party fell in with 
an Arab who had a goat, which he led about the 
country for exhibition. He had taught this animal, 
while he accompanied its movements with a song, to 
mount upon little cylindrical blocks of wood, placed 
successively one above the other, and in shape re- 
sembling the dice-boxes of a backgammon table. 
In this manner the goat stood first upon the top of 
one cylinder, then upon the top of two, and after- 
wards of three, four, five, and six, until it remained 
balanced upon the top of them all, elevated several 
feet from the ground, and with its four feet collected 
on a single point, without throwing down the dis- 
jointed fabric upon which it stood. Dr. Clarke adds, 
that this feat is very ancient. It is also noticed 
by Sandys. Nothing can show more strikingly the 
tenacious footing possessed by this quadruped 
upon the jutting points and crags of rocks ; and the 
circumstance of its ability to remain thus poised 
may render this exhibition less surprising. It is 
seen frequently in mountainous countries, standing 
securely, though with hardly any place for its feet, 
upon the sides and by the brink of the most tre- 
mendous precipices. The diameter of the upper 
cylinder upon which its feet ultimately remained until 
the Arab had ended his ditty was only two inches, 
and the length of each cylinder was six inches. 
The most curious part of the performance occurred 
afterwards ; for the Arab, to convince Dr. Clarke's 
party of the goat's attention to his tune, interrupted 
the da capo. As often as he did this the goat 
tottered, appeared uneasy, and upon his master 
becoming suddenly silent in the middle of the 
song, fell to the ground. 



THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES. 

In the days of its prosperity, the capital of the 
island of Rhodes—" the City of the Sun," as it 
was poetically called— is said to have been adorned 
with 3,000 statues and upwards of 100 colossal 
figures ; of the latter, one was distinguished as 
" the Colossus of Rhodes," which was one of the 
Seven Wonders of the World. It was erected with 
the spoil which Demetrius left behind him when he 
raised the siege which he had so long carried on 
against the city, and the statue was consecrated 
to the Sun, the tutelar deity of Rhodes. It was, 
according to Pliny, the work of Chares of Lindus, 



a pupil of Lysippus. Its height was twenty cubits 
(about 105 feet), the cost of its erection amounted to 
300 talents (about £70,006), and the time consumed 
in its construction was twelve years. Fifty-six 
years after its completion (224 B.C.), this stupen- 
dous statue was thrown down by an earthquake; 
and in Pliny's time, it was still lying on the ground, 
a wonder to behold. Few persons, he says, could 
embrace the thumbs, and the fingers were longer 
than the bodies of most statues ; through the frac- 
tures were seen huge cavities, into which immense 
stones had been placed to balance it while standing. 
It is asserted to have spanned the entrance to the 
harbour of the island, and to have admitted the 
passage of vessels in full sail between its wide- 
stretched legs ; and, although no old representation 
of the statue exists, the historian RoUin, several 
French dictionaries, and even encyclopedists have 
adopted the above description of the wonder. 
Vignere is supposed to have been the first who 
ventured to make an imaginary drawing of the 
Colossus. Chevreau added a lamp to the right 
hand of the statue. Du Choul further adorned 
the Colossus by giving him a sword and lance, and 
by hanging a mirror round his neck, " in which," 
it is added, " ships might be discovered as far off as 
the coast of Egypt." 

The Count Gouffier, about the year 17S0, how- 
ever, declared the Colossus with the outstretched 
legs to be fabulous, as did the Belgian Colonel 
Rottiers, and our geologist HamiUon ; but they 
placed the statue at the entrance to one of the 
smaller harbours of Rhodes scarcely forty feet wide. 
" Rottiers," says Dclepierre, in his " Historical Diffi- 
culties," published in 1868, "goes even further, and 
gives a superb engraving of the Colossus, under the 
form of an Apollo, the bow and quiver upon his 
shoulders, his forehead encircled by rays of light, 
and a beacon-flame above his head." The statue, 
according to Dclepierre, was erected on an open 
space of ground near the great harbour, and close 
to the spot where the pacha's seraglio now stands. 
This explanation is still further supported by the 
fact, that a chapel built on the ground, in the time 
of the Templars, is named Fanitm Saudi Joannis 
Colossensis. 

Strabo, who wrote and travelled during the 
reigns of the first two Roman emperors, is, after 
Polybius, the earliest author who mentions the fall 
of the Colossus. Pliny enters into fuller details. 
Towards the end of the second century after Christ, 
some writers speak of a colossal statue at Rhodes 
as still existing, and Dclepierre thinks it possible 
that "one was again constructed, but of smaller 
dimensions. Indeed, Les AUazzi tells us that the 
Colossus of Rhodes was reconstructed under the 
Emperor Vespasian." And, a long time after the 
fall of the Roman empire, the island of Rhodes 
was conquered by the general-in-chief of the Caliph 



THE ALEXANDRIAN LIBRARY. 



Othman, in the seventh century of the Christian era, 
when, we arc told in Byzantine history, that "the 
general took down the Colossus which stood erect 
on the island, transported the metal into Syria, 
and sold it to a Jew, who loaded 980 camels with 
the materials of his purchase," which statement 
disposes of the story, that after the overthrow of the 
Colossus, Greece and Egypt offered to contribute 
large sums to restore the figure ; but the Rhodians 
declined, alleging that they were forbidden by an 
oracle to do so. We perceive that Delcpierre is in- 
clined to attribute the exaggerated stories of the 
Colossus to the time of the Crusades, when the 
inhabitants of Rhodes made this boast to the new 
comers of their past grandeurs. 



Moiiirerful Statistics. 

— * — - 

Oriental Wealth : Tippoo Sultan.— In 
1786, after Tippoo had concluded an expensive war 
with the English, his treasures were thus estimated : 
— 80,000,000 sterling (jewels and treasures) ; 700 
elephants; 6,000 camels; 11,000 horses; 400,000 
bullocks and cows ; 100,000 buffaloes ; 600,000 
sheep ; besides immense quantities of military 
stores and arms. — Afeinoirs and Correspondence 0/ 
Marquis Wellesley, vol. i., p. 195. 

The Railway Mania in 1845.— In 1845, there 
were before the public projects for railways, 620 in 
number, requiring a capital of ^563,203,000. Parlia- 
ment granted powers to make 2,883 miles of railway, 
at a cost of 44 millions. In 1846 applications were 
made to Parliament for powers to raise 389 mil- 
lions sterling for new lines ; and powers were 
granted for forming 4,790 miles (including 60 miles 
of tunnel), at a cost of 120 millions sterling. — • 
Smiles' "Life of George Stephenson," p. 419. 

Curiosities of Picture Dealing.— The 
Orleans Gallery of the Italian and French 
schools, containing 295 pictures, was sold by its 
owner, Philip Egalitd, in 1792, to Mr. Walkners, a 
banker at Brussels, for 750,000 francs. He in turn 
sold them to M. Laborde de Mereville, for 900,000 
francs (^'36,000). The next owner was Mr. Jeremiah 
Harmann, of London, who gave ^40,000 for them. 
In 1798, the Duke of Bridgevvater, Earl of Gower, 
and Earl of Carlisle bought them for ^41,000, 
selected for themselves pictures of the estimated 
value of .£39,000, and then realised by a private 
sale of others, 31,000 guineas, and by auction of 
the remainder, ^10,000 ; thus obtaining for no- 
thing pictures valued at ^39,000. — Waagen's " Ari 
Treasures in England," vol. i., p. 21. Waagen 
aflso mentions (ibid., vol. i., p. 408) a picture by 
Cuyp, in Sir Robert Peel's collection, on panel 
(i foot by I foot 8 inches) a landscape, originally 
purchased at Hoorn, in Holland, for about one 
shilling English. Sir Robert Peel pTiid 350 guineas 
for it. 



WONDERFUL EFFECT OF 
IMAGINATION. 

During the siege of Breda, in the Netherlands, in 
1625, the garrison was dreadfully afflicted with the 
scurvy. So useless was the medical aid afforded to 
the soldiers, and so desperate were they in con- 
sequence, that they resolved to give up the city to 
the enemy. This resolution came to the ears of 
the Prince of Orange ; he immediately wrote 
addresses to the men, assuring them that he pos- 
sessed remedies that were unknown to physicians, 
and that he would undertake their cure, provided 
they continued in the discharge of their duty. 
Together with these addresses he sent to the 
physicians small vials of coloured water, which the 
patients were assured were of immense price, and 
of unspeakable virtue. Many, who declared that 
all former remedies had only made them worse, 
now recovered in a few days. A long and interest- 
ing account of the wonderful working of this purely 
imaginary antidote was drawn up by M. Van der 
Mye, one of the physicians in the garrison, whose 
office was thus successfully usurped by the Prince 
of Orange. A corroborative proof of the well- 
known power of the imagination in affecting-disease 
is afforded in the following Arabian fable : — One 
day a traveller met the Plague going into Cairo, 
and accosted it thus : " For what purpose are you 
entering Cairo ?" " To kill 3,000 people," rejoined 
the Plague. Some time after, the same traveller 
met the Plague on his return, and said, " But you 
killed 30,000!" "Nay," replied the Plague, "I 
killed but 3,000 ; the rest died of fright." 



THE ALEXANDRIAN LIBRARY. 

This celebrated collection of books was founded 
by the first Ptolemy, king of Egypt, and was main- 
tained by him and his successors ; its foundation 
dates between 285 and 283 B.C., and it was sug- 
gested by Demetrius Phalareus, who had seen and 
profited by public libraries at Athens. Demetrius 
was appointed superintendent of the new library, 
and collected for it the literature of all nations, 
Jewish, Chaldee, Persian, Ethiopian, Egyptian, 
&c., as well as Greek and Latin. This was, prob- 
ably, the largest collection of books which was 
ever brought together before the invention of 
printing, and from this circumstance thus early the 
city of Alexandria derived the title of " Mother of 
Books." 

The number of books in the library has been 
variously stated. -Some authors assert that Deme- 
trius had brought together 200,000 volumes ; but 
Eusebius says, with more probability, that at the 
death of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which occurred 
later, there were but 100,000 volumes in the library. 
Philadelphus purchased the library of Aristotle. 



112 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



His successor, Ptolemy Euergetes, greatly increased 
the library. In the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes, 
Eumenes, king of Pergamos, established a rival 
library. The Egyptian monarch, in a fit of jealousy, 
forbade the exportation of paper {papyrus) from 
his domains ; and the invention of parchment, or, 
perhaps, the improvement of this material, was the 
consequence. Ptolemy (Euergetes II.) was also a 
great book collector, and is said to have commenced 
a second library, probably that which was placed 
in the Serapeion, or temple of Serapis, in a different 
quarter of the city. It is said that during his reign 
all books brought into Egypt were seized and sent 
to the museum, as it was called, where they were 
transcribed, and the copies delivered to the owners, 
while the originals were detained in the library — a 
royal road to the formation of a valuable collection. 
Almost all the Ptolemies were patrons of learning ; 
and at last the Alexandrian Library is said to have 
amounted to 700,000 volumes. It is to be recol- 
lected that the rolls (volninina) spoken of contained 
far less than a printed volume, as, for instance, the 
" Metamorphoses" of Ovid, in fifteen books, would 
make fifteen volumes ; and one Didymus is said 
by Athenaeus to have written 3,500 volumes. This 
consideration will bring the number assigned at 
least within the bounds of crcdibihty. 

The library building was eastward of the sea-port 
of Alexandria, and in its siege by Julius Cassar, 
when he set fire to the fleet, the flames were carried 
by the wind to the neighbouring houses, and thence 
to the library ; and the conflagration is thus vividly 
described in Rowc's translation of the " Pharsalia " 
of Lucan ; — 

" On one proud side the lofty fabric stood, 
Projected bold into the adjoining flood ; 
There, fill'd with arniL-d bands, their barks drew near, 
But find the same defending Cicsar there ; 
To every part the ready warrior flies. 
And with new rage the fainting fight supplies ; 
Headlong he drives them with his deadly blade. 
Nor seems to be invaded, but to invade. 
Against the ships Phalaric darts he aims, 
Each dart with pitch and livid sulphur flames. 
The spreading fire o'erruns their unctuous sides. 
And nimbly moiuiting, on the topmast rides. 
Planks, yards, and cordage feed the dreadful blaze ; 
The drowning vessel hisses in the seas; 
While floating arms and nren promiscuous strew'd, 
Hide the whole surface of the azure flood. 
Nor dwells destruction on their fleet alone. 
But, driven by winds, inv.ades the neighbouring town ; 
On rapid wings the sheety flamei they bear. 
In wavy lengths, along the reddening air ! 
Not much unlike the shooting meteors fly 
^ In gleaming trails athwart the midnight sky. 

Soon as the crowd behold their city burn. 
Thither, all headlong, from the siege they turn ; 
But Caesar, prone to vigilance and haste, 
To snatch the just occasion ere it pass'd, 
Hid in the friendly night's involving shade, 
A safe retreat to Pharos timely made." 

The library of the Serapeion is said also to have 
been burnt in this siege, but this has been disputed. 
If burnt, it was, at least, very soon re-established ; 



and there is reason to presume that the diligence 
of the learned men who frequented and were 
attached to these establishments, would preserve 
some part of their contents, to aid in forming the 
new library, to which Marc Antony presented, 
through Cleopatra, the whole collection of Eumenes, 
king of Pergamos, amounting to 200,000 volumes. 
Gibbon asserts that the whole library was totally 
consumed, and that this gift was the foundation of 
the new one, which continued to increase in size 
and reputation for four centuries, until, at the des- 
truction of the Serapeion by Theophilus, Patriarch 
of Alexandria, it was dispersed, a.d. 390. Orosius, 
who visited the place twenty years afterwards, saw 
the empty book-cases. Still the library was re- 
established ; and Alexandria continued to flourish 
as one of the chief seats of literature until it was 
conquered by the Arabs, A.D. 640. The library 
was then burnt, according to the story generally 
believed, in consequence of the fanatic decision of ' 
the Caliph Omar, "If these writings of the Greeks 
agree with the Book of God (the Koran), they 
are useless, and need not be preserved ; if they 
disagree, they are pernicious, and ought to be 
destroyed." Accordingly, it is said, the books were 
distributed to the various baths in Alexandria, to 
be burnt in the stoves ; and such was the number, 
that six months were barely sufficient for the 
consumption of the precious fuel. Gibbon, and 
other writers, reject this notion. Delepicrre objects 
that John of Alexandria, who figures in the story, 
was dead before the city was taken in 640. Then 
there were 4,000 baths in Alexandria to be heated. 
Greek authors, who were so incensed against the 
Saracens, omit to speak of this conflagration 
authorised by Omar ; and " the caliphs had for- 
bidden, under severe penalties, the destruction of 
all Jewish and Christian volumes ; and we nowhere 
hear of any such work of destruction during the 
first conquests of the Mohammedans," although 
two Orientalists, Langley and Do Sacy, maintain 
that the Mohammedans did demolish libraries and 
destroy books, in spite of the law against any such 
destruction. 

Gibbon thus pathetically describes the empty 
library at Alexandria : " It was pillaged or des- 
troyed ; and near twenty years afterwards the 
appearance of the empty sh&lves excited the regret 
and indignation of every spectator whose mind was 
not totally darkened by religious prejudice. The 
compositions of ancient genius, so many of which 
have irrevocably perished, might surely have been 
excepted from the wreck of idolatry, for the amuse- 
ment and instruction of succeeding ages ; and  
either the zeal or the avarice of the archbishop 
might have been satiated with the richest spoils 
which were the rewards of his victory." The library 
was, at all events, dispersed, if not destroyed : it 
ceased to exist as a public institution. 



THE PITCH LAKE OF TRINIDAD. 



"3 




THE rlTCII I.AKK i)F IRlMbAli. 



THE PITCH LAKE OF TRINIDAD. 

The Pitch Lake of Trinidad is one of those extra- 
ordinary natural wonders of which much has been 
reported on hearsay, but little from personal obser- 
vation. Writers have been content to borrow 
from former accounts, when describing the place, 
so that errors have been perpetuated which ought 
to have been corrected. The island of Trinidad, in 
which the Pitch Lake is situated, lies out of the 
ordinary routes of travellers, and the lake is not 
accessible without the expenditure of some trouble, 
even after the traveller has been landed at Port of 
Spain. These reasons will account for a good deal 
of the obscurity with which the accounts of this 
singular phenomenon are surrounded. 

A morning's sail down the south-western coast 
of the island will bring the traveller from Port of 
Spain to Cape La Brea, in the neighbourhood of 
Naparima. For several miles before reaching the 
cape there will be perceived a strong pitchy smell, 

IS 



and it will be found on landing that the beach and 
shore are perfectly black, being either composed of, 
or overlaid with, the pitch which has at some time 
or other found its way down from the lake. There 
is abundant vegetation springing up in dark earth 
more or less impregnated with pitch, and the bright 
fresh green of the shrubs and trees serves the better 
to set off the vulcan-like colour of the ground. A 
walk inland for a mile over a black road on which 
the finely-divided particles of pitch form a choking 
and a blinding dust which flies with every puff of 
wind hither and thither, brings the traveller to the 
lake. The road has been ascending from the 
shore, and the lake is at a level of eighty feet above 
the level of the sea. At the lake, " as on either 
side of the road for the whole way, the number and 
luxuriant growth of the trees are very remarkable. 
Nearly all the tropical plants are represented, and, 
as if not to allow the animal kingdom to be unfavour- 
ably contrasted with the vegetable, numbers of the 
most beautiful butterflies it is possible to see, and 
of the most gorgeously-dressed humming-birds, 



114 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



flutter and flit about in the sunlight, or fly in and 

out among the branches of the trees." 
, The lake itself is contained in a basin about a 
mile and a half in circumference. In the months 
of July, August, and September the contents are in 
a simmering condition ; fountains of pitch, boiling 
water, and argillaceous matter are thrown up here 
and there to a height of thirty feet, and objects, 
however light, allowed to fall into the lake, sink 
down and arc irrecoverably lost. During the rest 
of the year, however, the pitch at the borders, and 
for a considerable extent away from them, is com- 
paratively hard ; soft and dangerous parts are 
indicated by the bubbling asphalte and by the 
increasing insecurity of the footing. Even at times 
when it is practicable to walk on the lake, it is not 
.safe to stand still; the footsteps leave their imprint 
on the soft substance of the surface, and it is neces- 
sary to keep "moving on" in order to avoid sinking 
as into a quick-sand. At these times the pitch lies 
in large hummocks, between which run small rivulets 
of fresh water, clear as crystal, and with a sulphureo- 
pitchy taste, which act as a system of veins and 
.arteries to the Tartarean lake. Small islets, covered 
with the greenest shrubs and plants, are dotted 
about the surface of the lake, which engulfs them 
immediately tiic liquefying season comes, but re- 
produces them on the arrival of the next cool 
season. It is supposed that the lake has subterra- 
nean communication with the sea, poles marked 
with special characters having been found on the 
coast, which had erewhilc been thrust into the 
asphalte of the lake. That a communication does 
exist is more than likely ; for at some distance from 
Cape La Brca there are submarine pitch volcanoes 
which throw up quantities of pitch and Pitch Lake 
products into the sea ; and it is at all events reason- 
able to suppose that these and the lake are connected. 
Humboldt, Do Verteuil, and other authorities affirm 
that there is a correspondence between all of these 
and similar phenomena on the South American 
continent, with which the island of Trinidad was 
unquestionably once joined. 



TRANSFUSION OF THE BLOOD. 

A.MONG the wonders of surgery, nothing is more 
remarkable than the operation of transfusion, which 
has occasionally been performed with success in 
Very cxtfcmc cases. It consists of conveying a por- 
tion of the blood from the veins of a healthy and 
vigorous person into those of one sinking, and ap- 
parently at the point of death. A case of this kind 
has lately occurred in the Hospital dclla Concezione 
at Palermo. A youth of seventeen, named Giuseppe 
Ginazzo, was received into that establishment in 
September, 1868, with a bad humour in his leg, 
which eventually rendered amputation necessary. 



The patient was very much emaciated, and labour- 
ing under fever, and after the operation he became 
more reduced than ever, the pulse being imper- 
ceptible, the eyes dull, the body cold, and it was 
clearly apparent that he was sinking fast. In this 
emergency, his attendant, Dr. Enrico Albanese, 
had recourse to transfusion of the blood as the only 
remedy that had not yet been tried. Two assistants 
of the hospital offered to have their veins opened 
for the purpose, and thus a quantity of blood on 
two different occasions was introduced into the 
patient's system. He began at once to revive, and 
after the first operation he recovered the faculty of 
speech, stating that before he could neither see nor 
hear, but felt as if he were flying in the air. 

A similar, and even more interesting case, occurred 
a few years back in Staffordshire, the operation 
then being performed on a lady residing in Can- 
nock. The patient seemed to be expiring from loss 
of blood, when her husband, at the suggestion of the 
surgeon, Mr. J. Wheatcroft, consented to the ex- 
periment of transfusion, and two pounds of blood 
were conveyed from his veins into those of his wife. 
In a few minutes after the operation was performed 
the current of blood began to flow, the " ebbing of 
life " was checked, and the circulation being re- 
established, deliverance from death, which had 
seemed so near, was secured. 

The suggestion has been thrown out that, in 
the last stage of low typhus, and the collapse 
attendant on Asiatic cholera, the same remedy 
might possibly prove of service. But we have not 
yet heard of the experiment being tried in such a 
case. 

ELIZABETH CANNING. 
The Daily Advertiser of the 6th of January, 1753, 
contained the following advertisement of a remark- 
able disappearance, the subject of which afterwards 
gave rise to a singular trial, which divided opinion 
in England, and was debated with all the excite- 
ment of a great political question : — 

■\y57HEREAS, Elizubetli Canning went from her friends betwecTi 
Houndsditch and Bishopsgate, on Monday last, the ist instant, 
between 9 and 10 o'clock : whoever can give any account where slie 
is, shall have two guineas reward, to be Jjaid by Mrs. Canning, a 
Hawycr, in Aldernianbury Postern i which w ill be a great satisfaction 
to her mother. 

A description of her appearance and dress is added, 
and the following note is appended : — 

!t is supposed she was forcibly taken away by some evil-disposed 
person, as she w.as heard to shriek out in a hackney coach, in Bishops- 
gate Street. If the coachman remembers anything of the affair, by 
giving an account as above, he shall be handsomely rewarded for 
his trouble. 

Nothing was heard of Elizabeth Canning for 
more than three weeks. At last, on the 29th, she 
returned to her mother's house, in an exhausted 



ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS. 



"5 



and miserable condition. She related that two 
men had seized her near Bethlehem Gate, in 
Moorfields, and when she resisted their attempts 
to drag her along, had tied her hands behind 
her, and with the greatest brutality compelled her 
to accompany them, dragging her through the 
mire, and otherwise ill-treating her. They reached 
a lonely house by the roadside, about three hours 
before daylight, when she was handed' over to an 
old woman, who forced her up an old flight of 
stairs into a back room, like a hayloft. Here 
she was kept a close prisoner, and fed on bread 
and water only, until the afternoon of the day 
on which she returned home. .She then escaped 
by breaking through the window of the room and 
jumping into a narrow lane, from whence she gained 
the main road to London, and, without having 
stopped anywhere on the way, reached her home 
in six hours. 

Other statements made by Elizabeth Canning 
led to the suspicion that the house in which she 
had been detained was a place known as " Mother 
Wells's," at Enfield Wash. The girl was taken to 
make a deposition before the sitting alderman, and 
eventually a number of persons were arrested — viz., 
Mother Wells, the owner of the house ; an old gipsy 
woman named Mary Squire; ; tliis old woman's son 
and daughter, and another wandering gipsy named 
Judith Natus. Elizabeth Canning swore to Mary 
Squires as being the woman who had received her 
into custody at the house and cut off her stays. 
As the investigation went on, however, the most 
extraordinary discrepancies were discovered in her 
story ; among the rest, her description of the room 
was not in agreement with the ascertained facts. 
Nevertheless, both Mary Squires and Wells were 
found guilty of the alleged felony, and, according to 
the law of those times, the poor old gipsy was 
sentenced to death. 

It would be hard to describe the excitement which 
arose out of this case, unless we filled several columns 
with details of the conflicting evidence and of the 
reasons which induced certain public characters to 
espouse the different sides of the question. The 
notorious " Orator " Henley declaimed to excited 
crowds in favour of Elizabeth Canning ; and Justice 
Fielding pronounced on the same side with the 
deliberation which suited better to his dignity. On 
the other side was a popular writer. Dr. John Hill, 
who reasoned with much acumen in favour of the 
condemned gipsy ; and with him was the equally 
acute Lord Mayor of London, Sir Crispe Gascoyne. 
These uniting their efforts, the sentence against 
Mary Sauires was suspended, and in the April 
sessions of 175;! Elizabeth Canning was put on her 
trial at the Old Bailey for perjury. During the eight 
days that this trial lasted, the public were kept in 
a state of intense excitement. At last an extra- 
ordinary verdict was returned — " Guilty of perjury. 



but not wilful or corrupt." Such a verdict could 
not, of course, be received by the court ; and at 
last it took the form of " Guilty, with a recommen- 
dation to mercy." Canning was then sentenced to 
seven years' transportation. 

The cause or motive of this girl's disappearance 
has never been explained ; but it is not imreason- 
able to surmise that she had some good reason to 
secrete herself for awhile, and that she was led on, 
step by step, to invent the story which excited so 
much attention. 



— • — 

Value of Manuscripts in Ancient Times.— 
Before the invention of printing, literature onl\- 
existed in the form of manuscripts, which were 
exceedingly rare and costly. "There have been 
ages," says the elder Disraeli, " when, for the pos- 
session of a manuscript, some would transfer an 
estate, or leave in pawn for its loan hundreds of 
golden crowns, and when even the sale or loan of 
a manuscript was considered of such importance 
as to have been solemnly registered by public acts. 
Absolute as was Louis XI. he could not borrow 
the MS. of Rasis, an Arabian writer, from the 
library of the Faculty of Paris, for copying, without 
pledging a hundred golden crowns; and the president 
of his treasury, charged with this commission, sold 
part of his plate to make the deposit. For the loan 
of a volume of Avicenna a baron offered a pledge 
of ten marks of silver, which was refused, because 
it was not considered equal to the risk incurred of 
losing the volume. These events occurred in 1471. 
One cannot but smile at an anterior period, when 
a Countess of Anjou bought a favoiirite book of 
Homilies for 200 sheep, some skins of martens, and 
bushels of wheat and rye. In these times manu- 
scripts were important articles of commerce. They 
were excessively scarce, and preserved with the 
utmost care. Usurers themselves considered them 
as precious objects for pawn. A student of Pavia, 
who was reduced by his debaucheries, raised a new 
fortune by leaving in pawn a manuscript of a body 
of law ; and a grammarian, who was ruined by a 
fire, rebuilt his house with two small volumes of 
Cicero." What a contrast do such facts as these 
present to the general diffusion of the most precious 
treasures of learning by the art of printing, as 
developed in recent times ! 

An Early Manuscript of the Bible. — The 
Duke of Sussex, uncle of Her present Majesty, pos- 
sessed a very fine manuscript of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, uDon vellum, in two volumes, entitled, " Biblia 
Sacra Hebraica." At the end of the second volume 
was the following curious inscription in Hebrew : — 
" I, Meyer, the son of Rabbi Jacob the .Scribe, 
have finished this book for Rabbi Abraham, the 
year 5052 (a.D. 1292), and he has bequeathed it to 



ii6 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



his children, and his children's children, for ever. 
Amen, Amen, Amen. Be strong and strengthened. 
May the book not be damaged neither this day nor 
for ever, until the ass ascends the ladder." After 
this was drawn the figure of an ass ascending a 
ladder. — - 

WONDERS OF ENGINEERING. 

THE MONT CENIS TUNNEL. 

Of all the projects with which engineers of the 
present day surprise us, the most wonderful as yet 
actually in process of execution is undoubtedly 
the tunnel through the heart of Mont Ccnis, the 
Alpine barrier between France and Italy. Every- 
one knows the story of the passage of the Alps by 
Hannibal in the old Roman times, and again by 
Napoleon in our own, both which events are re- 
garded as marvels ^f daring and persistent en- 
durance. In more recent times the passage over 
Mont Cenis has become the regular highway from 
France into Italy whenever, from the state of the 
weather, it was practicable. But the travelling was 
often interrupted by snow, and at most periods of 
the year was full of discomfort, if not of danger. 
Modern engineering proposed to put an end to all 
this, by going through the mountain instead of 
over it. To pierce through the very heart of Mont 
Cenis, a distance of more than seven and a half 
English miles, under circumstances which might 
well have been supposed to present insuperable 
engineering difficulties, is an achievement before 
which those of Hannibal and Napoleon sink into 
insignificance. 

First, the perforating machinery had to be in- 
vented, and it was required to be powerful enough 
to make its way through rocks harder to work than 
even granite. The mountain mass consists, for 
the most part, of what geologists call a " crystal- 
lised calcareous schist," interrupted occasionally by 
large masses of pure quartz. A thousand years 
might have been spent in vain attempts to bore 
and blast this rock with the ordinary means. But 
the difficulty of the work only seemed to stimulate 
the ingenuity of the engineers, who vied with each 
other in producing the most elaborate machines for 
this purpose. Of these several were tried and put 
into actual use. The cut on the opposite page gives 
a representation of one of the most remarkable of 
them. It is the invention of a French engineer, M. 
Leschot. The remarkable feature about it con- 
sists in substituting for the ordinary iron bars, used 
to bore hard rocks, rotatory tools acting like an 
angular conical head, in which the steel teeth are 
replaced by diamonds. 

The apparatus consists principally of an iron 
tube, at the extremity of which is a steel ring, in 
which black diamonds are set, projecting from 
the surface, some within, some without, and others 
a little in advance of the front edge. A rotary 



motion is given to this tube, with a greater or lesser 
pressure against the rock, which is broken up and 
bored wherever the diamonds touch it ; the motive 
power employed is water, which has been found 
more convenient for the working of this machine 
than steam or compressed air. To further facilitate 
the working of the machine a stream of water is 
introduced either by means of an india-rubber pipe 
or even the iron tube containing the perforator, 
which washes away the fragments of rock which 
would otherwise soon choke the machine and stop 
its working. With this apparatus a hole of 2-loths 
of an inch in diameter, and nearly 3J inches in 
depth can be made in a hard rock in the space of 
an hour. 

But of course this, though wonderful enough in 
itself, only implied a very slow rate of progress. 
In any case, it was certain that many years would 
be occupied in boring a tunnel through the Alps, 
and the lapse of time would alone have made the 
work impracticable, since few people would be so 
mad as to supply large sums of money for a pro- 
ject which they might never see realised. It was 
resolved, therefore, to commence the tunnel from 
both sides of the Alps at once, and this rendered 
it necessary to contrive means for laying out the 
line accurately, so that the two bores might meet. 
Plans and levels to determine the sections, and to 
fix the axis of the tunnel from various points on the 
mountain, had to be taken under enormous diffi- 
culties of all kinds. At length this too was done so 
satisfactorily that, on making a final summary of the 
results, the deviation was found to be less than a 
foot for the whole distance. 

We say nothing here of the extraordinary labour 
and various strange contrivances involved in the 
preparatory works, and how the difficulty of sup- 
plying air to the workmen was overcome ; these 
are points which will be easily imagined by the 
reader. The work of tunnelling was not actually 
commenced till November, i860, three years aftei" 
the project had been sanctioned by the Sardinian 
government. The time allowed for the completion 
of the tunnel was twenty-five years, but such pro- 
gress has been made, that it is reported it will 
be ready for traffic within three or four years 
from the present time. Out of a total length of 
12,220 metres, equal to yj miles, the latest report 
shows that 8,958 metres, or about two-thirds of the 
distance, have been completed, leaving but 3,261 
metres, say two miles in round numbers, to be 
accomplished. The rate of progress from either 
end is about two metres a day. The tunnel will 
be lined in its entire length with stone, which is 
quarried in the immediate vicinity of the two 
entrances, and the placing of which is continued 
by the masons a few hundred yards in the rer.r of 
the men engaged in perforating the rock. The 
tunnel is not driven at one iiniform level. The 



WONDERS OF ENGINEERING. 



117 




DIAMOND DRILLING MACHINE USED IN BORING MONT CENIS. 



entrance on the French side, near the village of 
Fourneau, is 3,946 feet above the sea ; on the 
Italian side, at Bardonoche, it is 4,380 feet above 
the sea-line. This difference of level, 434 feet, 
causes a gradient, or gradual ascent from the 
French side, for a distance of four miles, with an 
average gradient of i in 45J : the Italian gradient 
is I in 2,000. Trains passing from France to 
Italy will take from thirty-eight to forty minute? 



running through, while those from Italy into France 
will accomplish the distance in about thirty minutes. 
It is confidently expected that the difference in level 
of the two ends of the line will accomplish, by 
natural means, the perfect ventilation of the tunnel, 
which otherwise would have been a work of per- 
petual expense, if not of considerable engineering 
difficulty. The expense of the tunnel is to be 
borne in equal proportions by Italy and France, 



iiS 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



A WONDERFUL DELUSION. 

Every lunatic asylum in the kingdom contains 
several patients suffering from religious mania, and 
there arc, alas ! numbers unconfined who are 
labouring under similar delusions ; but this latter 
class is, happily, not so numerous as it was in 
former days. Old newspapers, pamphlets, and 
magazines contain copious accounts of various 
religious pretenders, and the life of each one affords 
matter of interest enough to warrant the telling; 
but it is proposed to speak of only one in this 
present article, more especially as it is certain that 
there are yet to be found people who believe in the 
Divine encouragement of her life and mission. 
Joanna Southcott was born in Devonshire about 
the year 1750, of very humble parentage. .She was 
for many years a domestic servant in, Exeter, and 
when she was between thirty and forty years of age, 
she joined the Methodists in that place, then pre- 
sided over by a man called Sanderson, who pre- 
tended to the gift of prophecy. Joanna seems to 
have caught the infection, and started prophetess 
on her own account, expressing her foreknowledge 
either in a loose, doggrel, .Seven Dials sort of 
rhyme, or, when she wrote in prose, she copied the 
manner, without the mind, of Holy Scripture. 

She declared that she was the woman spoken of 
in the Revelation, in the ist and following verses of 
the 1 2th chapter. 

In consequence of this avowal she had numerous 
followers, to whom she sold seals, said to secure 
the salvation of the purchasers. Her followers 
included rich and poor, learned and ignorant, re-. 
fined and rough folk of both sexes, one of whom, 
perhaps the most notable, was William Sharp the 
engraver. He had beenthc victim of many impos- 
tors, and was cured at last of his passion for religious 
pretenders by Joanna, who swindled him out of his 
hard-gained money under the pretence of purchasing 
for him an estate in the New Jerusalem. But the' 
most glaring deception connected with this poor 
demented housemaid was, that she declared that 
upon the 19th of October in the year 1814, and at 
twelve at noon precisely, the Prince of Peace, the 
Shiloh, would be born of her. She had at that 
time nearly 100,000 followers, who spent much 
money in preparing a suitable outfit in clothes and 
furniture worthy of him who was expected. The 
cradle, which was made by a London upholsterer, 
and cost 100 guineas, is, with a silver ladle also pre- 
pared for the occasion, preserved in the museum at 
Peel Park, Salford, Manchester. 

At the appointed time, the street in which she 
lived was crowded with anxious spectators, who 
dispersed when it was given out that the blessed 
Joanna had fallen into a trance. 

On the 27th of December in the same year she 
ceased to exist, the immediate causjs of death being 



dropsy. On her death-bed, Joanna said, "Ul have 
been misled, it has been by some spirit, good or 
evil." At least, it was fortunate for her that she 
lived in the days of comparative medical ignorance, 
and when many like her were permitted to go at 
large. During the course of her life she had given 
to the world several volumes of so-called prophecies, 
one of them called "The Book of Wonders," which 
were religiously preserved after her death by her 
followers, who still continued to believe implicitly 
in her mission. 

According to the census of 1851, there were four 
congregations in various parts of the kingdom, pro- 
fessing to wait for the reappearance of Joanna with 
the promised Shiloh, they believing that she was 
carried to heaven in that trance in which she 
actually died. These people call themselves 
Christian Israelites, the waiters for the Shiloh. 
They affect a singularity in dress, wearing a 
modification of the Quaker garb. AH these people 
still lay claim to the gift of prophecy, and they 
have from time to time pretended to have been 
endowed with miraculous powers ; but in every 
case in which these powers have been called forth, 
have they failed most completely. 

In Ashton-undcr-Lyne, where there is one branch 
of this remarkable sect still existing, one of these 
people obtained so much influence over the mind of 
a weak but wealthy inhabitant of that place, as to 
make him believe that he had power to walk upon 
the water of the canal, which was close upon his 
house. In the presence of a great crowd he stepped 
out from his house upon the water, and — went to 
the bottom. It is, perhaps, only superfluous to say 
that the " Prophets " attributed his failure to want 
of faith. 

A few years back, one of these congregations 
assembled in Walworth, in the southern part' of 
London ; they met in a cooper's shed, under the 
shadow of St. Peter's Church. 

On a desk were laid copies of some pamphlets 
written by Joanna, and after a little time the 
Shilohitcs — as they called themselves — made their 
appearance in front of the curtain, headed by a 
wild-looking woman, with her hair streaming, and 
a fillet of tinsel round her forehead. The men who 
accompanied her wore long beards and white 
vestments, crossed by bells with texts of Scripture 
inscribed thereon. 

In the days when this took place, the beard 
movement had not begun, so that their appearance 
would have been venerable, for they were mostly' 
old men, had it not been for a certain wild, rest- 
less expression common to all. The proceedings 
commenced by the recitation and singing of some 
doggrel verses, beginning " See the conquering 
Shiloh comes," a parody of that well-known 
chorus in Handel's Judas Maccabeus, accompanied 
by a large drum— hitherto kept concealed— and 



THE NAUtlLUS AND PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR. 



"9 



an accordion. Some extracts were then read from 
the " Book of Wonders," written by Joanna, by 
the wild-looking woman before mentioned, oc- 
casionally interrupted with remarks by the boys 
•forming the congregation, by whose riotous pro- 
ceedings the service was brought to a premature 
conclusion, and the Ijuilding was closed. 



THE GOLDEN HOUSE OF NERO. 

On that part of the ruins of Imperial Rome lying 
between the Palatine and the Esquiline Hills — a 
space which was more than a mile in breadth — Nero 
erected his celebrated " Golden House," as he called 
the new palace in which he fixed his abode. The 
vastness of extent and the varied magnificence of 
this imperial residence and its ornamental grounds, 
almost surpass belief ; and if the details that have 
come down to us respecting it were not too well 
authenticated to admit of doubt, they might be 
regarded as falbulous. Within its enclosure were 
comprised spacious fields, groves, orchards, and 
vineyards ; artificial lakes, hills, and dense woods 
aftsr the manner of a solitude or wilderness. The 
palace itself consisted of magnificent buildings 
raised on the shores of the lake. The various 
wings were united by galleries each a mile in length. 
The House or immediate dwelling of the emperor 
was decorated in a, style of excessive gorgeousness. 
It was roofed entirely with golden tiles, and with 
the same precious metal also the marble sheath- 
ing of the walls was profusely decked, being at the 
same time embellished with ornaments of mother- 
of-pearl — in those times valued even more highly 
than gold — and with a profusion of precious 
stones. The ceilings and woodwork were inlaid with 
ivory and gold, and the roof of the grand banquet- 
ing-hall was constructed to resemble the firma- 
ment. It was contrived to have a rotatory motion, 
so as to imitate the motion of the heavenly bodies. 
The vaulted ceilings of ivory opened and let fall 
on the guests a profusion of flowers, and golden 
pipes sprayed over them the most delicate per- 
fumes. 

The vastness of the plan prevented the Golden 
House of Nero being finished during his lifetime. 
Vespasian drained the principal lake of this fairy 
region, on which he built the Colosseum, and pulled 
down all that Nero had erected beyond the Pala- 
tine, reducing the Imperial palace to the hill that 
once contained Rome. Domitian built up what 
his predecessor had pulled down, and added to 
the palace the Adones, or halls and gardens of 
Adonis, the splendid wonder of that age of mag- 
nificence. Septimius Sevcrus made several addi- 
tions to the south of the Palatine, especially the 
Septizoniuni, the site of which has been much dis- 
puted ; while in later days Pope Sixtus V. carried 



off to St. Peter'sthe three orders of columns of which 
it was composed. Among the modern discoveries of 
the palace, were a room full of Roman coins, and a 
hall hung with cloth of gold, and on another part 
of the Palatine a spacious hall covered with paint- 
ings. The fall of the palace of the Caesars was a 
true picture of plunder. In the fifth century the 
Goths pillaged it of all its gold, silver, ivory, &c. ; 
its bronze fell to Genseric, and the Vandal is sup- 
posed to have freighted a ship with statues from 
the Imperial palace. In the long feudal wars of 
the Roman nobles, it was attacked and fortified, 
taken and retaken ; but the Farnese popes and 
princes gave the finishing stroke to its desolation, 
to enable them to erect their palaces and villas 
with its materials. 



THE NAUTILUS AND PORTUGUESE 

MAN-OF-WAR. 
There are two wonders of the deep which are 
often confounded with each other, the nautilus and 
the little creature which is known to sailors as the 
Portuguese man-of-war. Both are sea-farers, but 
the n.autilus is to its rival as the most fanciful, 
delicate yacht is to the water-bruising frigate. The 
nautilus is a fair-weather sailor, while the other, 
though unable to face storms, is yet a hardy, open- 
sea navigator, spreading its canvas when winds 
are fresh, and anxious to make a good offing 
when the nautilus is only too solicitous to fore- 
gather, even with a lee shore, so it may be unex- 
posed " while the stormy winds do blow." 

Judged according to their respective ranks in the 
scale bf animal life, the nautilus is of far greater 
consequence than the Physalia Atlantica, for such 
is the scientific name for the Portuguese man-of- 
war. The nautilus is a member of a rather highly 
organised family, while the physalia is only one of 
" the upper ten thousand " in a community where 
the vital system is so simple and rudimentary, as 
to be hardly admitted into tlie animal kingdom. 
Both are wonderful in construction and habit. Let 
us see what Xho. physalia is like. Floating on the 
surface Jof the water is an elegant quadrant of 
membrane distended like a sail, and almost trans- 
parent. It is generally of a whitish-blue colour, 
fringed at the edges with a beautiful pink or purple. 
The membrane which has the appearance of a 
shell, and is commonly taken for one, is flattened at 
the sides, which at the level of the water arc usually 
from two to four inches apart. The sail thus 
made is used by the little creature as his only 
means of progression, and in the sides of the 
cavernous sail are ribs or wrinkles, which suggest 
an idea that the proprietor has the power of reef- 
ing his canvas at will, by a sort of self-reefing 
apparatus put in action from the deck, and pre- 
venting the necessity for " hands aloft," or for 



r^o 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 




driving under bare poles. As quaint Richard 
Ligon, writing in 1673, says of him, he " can when 
he pleases enjoy himself with his neighbour fishes 
under water, and 
when he puts on a 
resolution to try his 
fortune in another 
element, then he 
riseth to the top of 
the sea, let the 
billows go never so 
high, and then with- 
out the help of a 
sailor raises up his 
mainmast, spreads 
his sails which he 
makes of his own 
sinews, fits his rud- 
der and ballast, 
and begins his 
voyage ; but to 
what coast he is 
bound or what 
traffic he intends, 
himself and He 
that made him only 

can tell." The creature will out-sail any ship, and 
as the author just quoted says, " can go nearer the 
wind by a point than the most yarc friggot that 
ever was built." It is not accord- 
ing to the present writer's ex- 
perience, however, to confirm the 
statement that the physalia can 
continue his voyage, " let the 
billows go never so high." On 
the contrary, though in stiff 
breezes and with a roughish sea 
the little creature may be seen 
hundreds of miles from any land, 
speeding swiftly along, up one 
wave and down another, in really 
foul weather — or rather on the 
approach of it — he strikes sail, 
folds himself within himself, and 
subsides into the bosom of the 
ocean till the surface be once 
more calm, and the wind tyranny 
be overpast. 

The nautilus is a mariner of 
quite another stamp, with a pedi- 
gree far nobler in point of anti- 
quity than the other, for its form 
and substance are enshrined in 
many of the fossil strata of the 
earth ; and in its family history 
it has, as the Basque peasant 
retorted to the boastful Montmorency, left off 
dating. It is one of twenty-two recognised 
families, whereof some have their habitation in 



SHELL OF THE PEARLY NAUTILUS. 



PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR. 



fresh water and others in salt, and this nautilus 
in particular is called Nautilus umbilicatus, 
because of the ligature which connects the different 

portions of its body 
when exposed over 
the sides of its 
shell, as its manner 
is when bound sea- 
ward. It has a 
imi-valve shell of a 
highly-organised 
description. Each 
shell is divided by 
partitions into a 
number of cham- 
bers which gra- 
dually increase in 
size towards the 
mouth of the shell 
where the nautilus 
animal actually 
lives. As the 
animal grows it in- 
creases the size of 
its shell by addi- 
tions at the mouth, 
and at the same time cuts off a chamber in the 
interior of the shell. These chambers are so many 
air compartments which the nautilus can fill or 
empty at will, and by means of 
which he can adapt himself to 
the specific gravity of the medium 
in which he happens to find him- 
self Those who have most 
closely watched his habits, assert 
that he is naturally disinclined 
to surface-navigation, that he 
only takes to it when absolutely 
compelled by disturbing causes 
underneath, and that his favourite 
occupation consists in creeping 
along the bottom of the sea with 
the mouth of his shell down- 
wards, and in that position fish- 
ing for such food as may come 
to him. When at the surface, he 
is seen to float with his shell the 
reverse way, and with his body 
hanging over the edges, but se- 
cured by the ligature from which 
he derives his class name. 

The nautilus is rarely seen out 
of the Indian seas ; but the Por- 
tuguese man-of-war is to b3 
noticed over a wide range of the 
Atlantic — in the northern hemi- 
sphere from the Azores to the equator. Our illus- 
trations will give the reader an idea of the appear* 
ance of these two wonderful navigators. 




A WONDERFUL WEED. 



121 




ANACIIARIS ALSINASTRUM. 



A WONDERFUL WEED. 

Ill weeds proverbially grow apace, and perhaps 
nothing affords a more striking illustration of this 
familiar saying than the water-weed known as 
the Anacharis alsinastrum, called also by some 
botanists the Elodea Canadensis, and known more 
commonly as the American water-weed, or " water 
thyme." It is found in ponds, rivers, or canals, and 
when once it makes its appearance it spreads in 
such an extraordinary manner as in a short time to 
entirely destroy the beauty of ornamental water, 
and even to obstruct the navigation in canals and 
streams. It floats wholly under water, but at the time 
of flowering makes its appearance on the surface, its 
roots being widely spread in the mud at the bottom. 
It has the peculiar faculty of being capable of 
propagation from the smallest fragment of its stalk, 
and hence it is a matter of great difficulty to get 
rid of it. Another peculiarity of the weed is that it 
sometimes suddenly springs up in places where it 
had never been observed before, but this is doubt- 
less owing to some small portion having been 
brought to such localities by the wind, or occa- 
sionally, it may be, even in the bodies of water-fowl. 
At the present time it is growing to a serious 
extent in some of our principal rivers, such as the 
Trent and the Shannon. In these it impedes navi- 

16 



gation materially, and fishermen complain, also, that 
it kills or drives the fish from the water. 

The anacliaris (from ana, without, and charts, 
beauty,) is believed to be a native of America, 
where it is certainly found in great abundance, but 
nothing is positively known as to the time and 
manner of its introduction into these islands, beyond 
that it has only been observed in recent years. 
One story is that a portion of the weed was brought 
to England from America with a number of other 
botanical specimens, and that a gentleman who 
was taking these specimens with him in a cab 
recognised it, and, instead of keeping it for effectual 
destruction, thoughtlessly threw it out of the window, 
whence it fell on to a spot suitable to its growth. 
There is not, however, sufficient evidence to esta- 
blish the truth of this anecdote, and its probability 
is contradicted by the accounts given of the weed 
by some of our eminent botanists, who assert that 
it made its appearance in several remote parts of 
Britain simultaneously, and that its existence was 
observed farther back than is generally supposed. 
Among those who have written on the subject, are 
the authors of " Contributions towards a Cybele 
Hibernica," in which work the plant is thus 
described : — 

" A native of America recently introduced, but 
now not unfrequent in canals, streams, and ponds 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



in many parts of Ireland. Abundant in the canals 
near Dublin and Belfast, whence it has extended to 
Lough Neagh and the River Shannon, and is still 
spreading, having become in some places a very 
troublesome weed. Professor Murphy describes it 
as being now a great nuisance in the River Lee, 
below Cork, having been introduced in 1851. i\Ir. 
Carroll has seen it growing plentifully in the river 
at Carlow. Dr. Dickie has recorded its having 
been observed in a pond at Waringstown, Down, 
about the year 1836 ; and in his ' Flora of Ulster' 
it is stated to have been known near Lisburn for 
more than twenty years previous to 1 864." 

The very measures taken to check the growth of 
the anacharis often favour its propagation, small 
pieces of the plant becoming dispersed, and taking 
root immediately for themselves, owing to the 
vitality before mentioned. In streams of any size 
it is scarcely possible to deal with the weed effec- 
tually, and every year its spread is accelerated by 
portions being brought down by the currents. In 
ponds, however, and small ornamental water, it has 
fortunately been found that it may be kept entirely 
imder by the introduction of swans or Canadian 
geese, which devour it eagerly. 



THE ORRERY. 

It was believed by Desaguliers that George Graham, 
about the year 1700, first invented a movement for 
exhibiting the motion of the earth about the sun, at 
the same time that the moon revolved round the 
earth. This machine being in the hands of the 
instrument-maker, to be sent with some other in- 
struments to Prince Eugene, he copied it, and 
made the first for the Earl of Orrery, and then 
several others with additions of his own. Sir 
Richard Steele — who knew nothing of Graham's 
machine — in one of his lucubrations, thinking to do 
justice to the first encourager, as well as to the first 
inventor of such a curious instrument, called it after 
the earl, an Orrciy, and gave Mr. J. Rowley the 
praise due to Mr. Graham. We find, however, 
earlier mention of an orrery than the above, in the 
journal of the Dean of Ross, under date 1689. 

"December 14. — In the evening Mr. Milburn 
came and sat with me, and showed me an account 
of an automaton projected and made by Mr. 
Watson of Coventry, whereby all the stars' motions, 
and planets, were exactly represented in clockwork, 
and all the problems and observations in astronomy 
thereby fully answered." 

Orreries have been constructed by several inge- 
nious persons. Mr. John Fulton, a native of Fen- 
wick, was a self-taught artist, and constructed a 
beautiful orrery ; hence the maker was called " Ful- 
ton of the Orrery." He was a working shoemaker 
in his native village, of scanty means and education, 



yet, by dint of application during his leisure hours, 
he executed the above instrument with the greatest 
care and finish. He was afterwards employed by 
Mr. Bate, the well-known mathematical instrument 
maker in the Poultry, where he made theodolites 
for the Pasha of Egypt, and balances for the Royal 
Mint. Fulton also applied himself to the study of 
languages, but his health failed him through exces. 
sive application, and he died at a comparatively 
early age. 



AN EXTRAORDINARY SLEEPER. 

The following account of a labouring man, named 
Samuel Clinton, of Timbury, near Bath, is taken, so 
far as the substantial facts are concerned, from the 
Philosophical Transactions. On the 13th of May, 
1694, Clinton, who was then twenty-five years of 
age, fell into a profound sleep, in which he continued 
for a month. Every effort was made to rouse him, 
but in vain. At the end of that time he awoke of 
himself, and went about his business as usual. 
Nothing more extraordinary occurred until the 9th 
of April, 1696, when ho again fell into a profound 
sleep. Mr. Gibbs, an apothecary of Bath, was sent 
for after a fev/ days, and bled, blistered, cupped, and 
scarified the young man, all to no purpose. Victuals 
were kept before him, of which he occasionally ate 
without waking. Sometimes the act of eating was 
not fully accomplished, and he would be found with 
his mouth full of meat. In this manner he con- 
tinued for seventeen weeks, till the 7th of August. 
He then awoke naturally, put on his clothes, and 
went into the fields to his work. He was surprised to 
find it was harvest time, the period that had elapsed 
since he was at work sowing oats and barley having 
been a blank. From this time, again, he remained 
well until the 17th of August, 1697, when he com- 
plained of a shivering and a coldness in his back, 
vomited once or twice, and once more fell asleep. 
Dr. Oliver, whose account of the matter appeared 
in the Philosophical Transactions, then went to 
see him, and found his pulse regular, and his body 
agreeably warm. He tested the sleeper in the 
most severe manner, and tried by every artifice he 
could devise to surprise him into wakefulness, and 
was at last compelled to admit that the sleep was 
real. About ten days after, an apothecary (Mr. 
Gibbs, wc presume) took fourteen ounces of blood 
from his arm, tied it up again, and left him as he 
found him, without the least movement having been 
made by the sleeper. About the end of September, 
Dr. Oliver saw him again, and a gentleman ran a 
large pin into his arm to the very bone, but Clinton 
gave no sign of being sensible of what was done to 
him. Once, on the 19th of November, he woke up 
and spoke to his mother, but almost instantly went 
to sleep again, and continued so till the end of 
January or beginning of February. He then awoke 



WONDERS OF HUMAN FOLLY. 



123 



perfectly well, and, as on former occasions, had no 
recollection of anything that had occurred. He 
resumed his business, and nothing more is on re- 
cord concerning him. 



LAND AND MOUNTAIN SLIPS. 

On the morning of the 2nd of September, 1806, 
the inhabitants of the village of Goldau, situated at 
the foot of the mountain known as the Rossberg, 
in Switzerland, were surprised to see large fissures 
appearing here and there in the sides and at the 
base of the mountain, and to hear low, hollow 
S3unds occasionally emitted from its depths. Un- 
acquainted with natural phenomena, and ignorant 
of the meaning of these strange portents, they do 
not seem to have concerned themselves much about 
them, but pursued their ordinary avocations as if 
nothing had happened. So things went on through- 
out the day, the sounds still continuing at intervals, 
and the fissures becoming wider, but yet not so 
much so as to create uneasiness or alarm. Night- 
fall came on, and most of the people had retired to 
tlieir homes, when the hour of the threatened 
visitation arrived. In a few minutes, and without 
further warning, the upper portion of the vast 
mountain shook, gave way, and descended upon 
the doomed village of Goldau, with three others 
that lay scattered around its base, burying them 
and all that they contained. More than 450 people 
were killed, with the herds of cattle which it was 
their chief business to tend ; but, strange to say, a 
few persons were extricated some days afterwards 
while still alive. 

This sad calamity would, if scientific men had 
been upon the spot, have been perfectly foreseen 
from the morning's indications. " Land-slips," as 
they are called, or mountain slips, are sufficiently 
familiar to all who are versed in physical science, 
and they have played an important part in the 
formation of the present surface of all countries 
of the earth. Our own land presents abundant 
examples. Not to multiply instances, we may 
mention that of the celebrated Undercliff, the 
most beautiful part of the Isle of Wight, which 
was formed by an immense slip of the land from 
the high cliffs above, the lower strata on which they 
rest having been undermined by the action of the sea. 

In the case of Goldau and its unfortunate neigh- 
bours, the same agency — water — had operated in 
another but equally well-understood manner. To 
explain it we must refer to one of the most interest- 
ing branches of geological inquiry. 

The action of the weather is continually pro- 
ducing a change on the surface of our globe. This 
change, as a rule, progresses slowly, although its 
results in the course of years are very clearly seen. 
Even hard granite rocks become completely pul- 



verised in time by the influence of rain and wind, 
their surfaces being reduced to powder to the depth 
of many feet, and thus hollows are eventually 
scooped out as completely as by the blasting 
operations of the engineer. But the rain also 
operates in a manner other than this, which is 
known as " disintegration." It produces wonders 
by what is known as the " percolation of the soil." 
Here we have the explanation of the calamitous 
phenomenon of the Rossberg. The season of 1806 
having been very rainy, great quantities of water 
had penetrated through the sides and at the foot 
of the mountain, and lodged in the softer strata 
at its base. The upper portion of the Rossberg is 
formed of a conglomerate of flint and rock, com- 
monly known as pudding-stone, which rests upon a 
foundation of sandy soil. By the influence of the 
heavy rains, the sandy foundation of the mountain 
became completely saturated with water, and at last 
it was so far undermined that there was no longer 
the necessary support for its great weight, and the 
upper portion toppled over upon the plains beneath. 
It is not often that geological changes of this 
kind occur on so large a scale, or are so terrible in 
their results, but to a less extent they are among 
the most frequent of natural phenomena. Any 
well-informed traveller who observes the features of 
a country through which he passes may notice that 
in innumerable instances the superficial formation 
is due to a slip of earth from hill or mountain, and 
we occasionally hear that in our own islands some 
striking instance has taken place. The outline of 
our sea-coast is always in process of change, from 
the combined action of the weather and the sea. 
One of the largest of our land-slips in recent times 
occurred in Dorsetshire about thirty years a^o, 
when a mass of chalk about three-quarters of a 
mile long slipped from its bed of clay towards the 



WONDERS OF HUMAN FOLLY. 

THE TULIP MANIA. 

We often hear of " fancy prices " being given for 
articles of rarity, such as new varieties of plants, or 
birds just introduced from foreign parts. Twenty 
guineas for a flower, and one hundred for a fowl, 
may seem wildly extravagant sums, but such have 
been occasionally paid by wealthy people deter- 
mined to possess any novelty, whatever may be 
the cost. This rage for rarity attained extra- 
ordinary proportions in the "Tulip Mania," as it is 
commonly called, of the seventeenth century, when 
the desire for the possession of tulip bulbs — then 
but recently introduced into Europe — gave rise to a 
trade which ended in a vast and ruinous speculation. 
Tulips appear to have been unknown in Western 
Europe until the middle of the sixteenth century, 
when their culture was introduced from the Levant. 



124 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



They were grown at first only in the gardens of a 
few natiiniHsts, but, becoming more widely known, 
they found their way to Holland. Here, the cha- 
racter of the soil and climate being highly favour- 
able, their cultivation was attended to with great 
care, and the plants became more and more in 
request as they increased in variety and beauty. 
Dutch merchants made their purchase and sale a 
part of their regular trade, and supplied other 
nations of Europe with their importations. 

Any tulip of a new and rare kind was sure to 
obtain purchasers at a considerable advance on 
the ordinary value ; for among tulip-growers the 
strongest rivalry existed as to who should have the 
choicest selection. This rivalry formed the basis 
of the tulip mania, for people began to buy up bulbs 
of the rarer kinds, in order that tulip-fanciers might 
be forced to come to them and purchase them at a 
greatly enhanced price. Several individuals making 
a large profit in this way, others entered the field to 
join in the speculation. Thus the demand increased, 
and the price went higher and higher ; the tulips 
being bought, not for their own intrinsic beauty, 
but with regard to what it was thought they might 
eventually bring in the market. The preposterous 
height to which this folly attained will best be 
understood by the following facts, which are given 
by Beckmann in his " History of Inventions :" —  

" The trade was not carried on throughout all 
Europe, but in some of the chief cities of the Nether- 
lands, and rose to the greatest height in the years 
1634-37. Hunting has given, from some of the 
books kept during that trade, a few of the prices 
then paid, of which I shall present the reader with 
the following. For a root of that species called the 
Viceroy, the after-mentioned articles were agreed 
to be delivered : — 2 lasts of wheat, 4 of rye, 4 fat 
oxen, 3 fat swine, 12 fat sheep, 2 hogsheads of 
wine, 4 tuns of beer, 2 tuns of butter, 1,000 lb. of 
cheese, a complete bed, a suit of clothes, and a 
silver beaker ; making a total value of 2,500 florins 
(about ^250). The tulips were afterwards sold 
according to the weight of the roots. Four hundred 
perits (a small weight of less than a grain) of 
Admiral Leifken cost 4,400 florins ; 446 ditto of 
Admiral Von der Eyk, 1,620 florins ; 200 ditto 
Semper Augustus, 5,500 florins, &c. A root of the 
species Semper Augustus has been often sold for 
2,000 florins ; and it once happened that there were 
only two roots of it to be had, the one at Amsterdam 
and the other at Haarlem. For a root of this species 
one agreed to give 4,600 florins, together with a 
new carriage, two grey horses, and a complete set 
of harness. Another agreed to give for a root 
twelve acres of land. Those who had not ready 
money, promised their movable and immovable 
goods, houses and lands, cattle and clothes. One 
man was said to have gained by this trade more 
than 60,000 florins in the course of four months. 



It was followed not only by mercantile people, but 
also by the first noblemen, and by citizens of every 
possible station. 

" At first every one won and no one lost. Some 
of the poorest people gained in a few months houses, 
coaches, and horses, and figured away among the 
wealthiest in the land. In every town some tavern 
was selected, which served as a 'change, where high 
and low traded in flowers, and confirmed their 
bargains with the most sumptuous entertainments. 
They formed laws for themselves, and had their 
notaries and clerks. A speculator often offered and 
paid large sums for a root which he never received 
and never wished to receive. Another sold roots 
which he never possessed or delivered. Oft did a 
nobleman purchase of a chimney-sweep tulips to 
the amount of 2,000 florins, and sell them at the 
same time to a farmer ; and neither the nobleman, 
chimney-sweep, nor farmer had roots in his posses- 
sion, nor wished to possess them. Before the 
tulip season was over, more roots were sold and 
purchased, bespoke and promised to be delivered, 
than in all probability were to be found in the 
gardens of Holland ; and when Semper Augustus 
was not to be had, which happened twice, no 
species, perhaps, was oftener purchased and sold. 

" To understand this gambling traffic (continues 
Beckmann), it may be necessary to make the follow- 
ing supposition. A nobleman bespoke of a mer- 
chant a tulip-root, to be delivered in six months at 
the price of 1,000 florins. During these six months 
the price of that species of tulip must have risen or 
fallen, or remained where it was. We shall suppose 
that at the expiration of that time the price was 
1,500 florins ; in that case the nobleman did not 
wish to have the tulip ; and the merchant paid him 
500 florins, which the latter lost and the former 
won. If the price was fallen when the six months 
were expired, so that a root could be purchased for 
800 florins, the nobleman then paid to the merchant 
200 florins, which he received as so much gain ; 
but if the price continued the same, neither party 
gained or lost. In all these circumstances, however, 
no one ever thought of delivering the roots or of 
receiving them. . . . The whole of this trade 
was a game at hazard, as the Mississippi trade was 
afterwards, and as stock-jobbing is at present." 

At length the trade, like many similar specula- 
tions, collapsed. Many persons who had suffered 
ruinous losses broke their contracts ; faith in the 
ultimate realisation of the money which the tulips 
were supposed to represent then fell suddenly to 
the ground, and ruin was spread far and wide. The 
holders of roots, for which they had paid immense 
sums, found no one to take them off their hands, 
and discovered then that they had parted with 
money and lands for a thing which was of abso- 
lutely no value beyond the fictitious price which 
had been set upon it 



THE FISHING-FROG. 



I2S 




THE FISHING-FROG. 



THE FISHING-FROG. 

Amongst the spiny-finned fishes, the two most 
remarkable are the sea-wolf and the Lophms pisca- 
torius, or fishing-fi-og. The former, which is known 
in British seas, attains a length of six or seven feet, 
and in colder latitudes is even larger. It lives on 
crustaceans and molluscs, which it crushes with its 
formidable teeth and jaws— instruments of which it 
avails itself freely upon any attempt at capture. 
Fishermen, knowing its peculiarities, knock it on 
the head before it has a chance of doing mischief ; 
and in Iceland the people eat its flesh, which is 
said to be excellent. The skin is used for making 
pouches and wallets, and the liver is used as a 
substitute for soap. 
The fishing-frog, of which a, drawing is annexed. 



is a very remarkable creature. It is known as the 
wide-gab, the angler, and the sea-devil (not to be 
confounded with the devil-fish), and is one of the 
ugliest of fishes. The head is very large, depressed, 
and rotundate, forming in many instances quite 
half the body. Its ample mouth is armed with 
numerous pointed teeth of a truly formidable cha- 
racter, which are the terror of all smaller fry. On 
the head are three movable filaments, of which 
the first one is forked, and has a silvery lustre. 
This is the creature's fishing-rod. He moves the 
flag-like top to and fro in the water, and the sheen 
of it attracts small fishes. The angler himself, 
being of a sluggish nature, lies close at the bottom 
of the water, where he disturbs the mud so as 
to hide his ugly presence ; but as soon as an 
unfortunate fish is within reach, he rouses himself 



126 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



from his lair, devours his prey, and resumes his 
fishing. Besides procuring food in this way — at 
one time it was said he used no other way — he 
hunts by netting, and for this purpose he uses the 
sac which is formed behind the gill-cover by the 
elongation of the gill membrane. At the fore part 
of the head, on each side of the first ray, lies tlic 
olfactory apparatus, in the form of a small, stalked 
cup. It is pretty certain that at times when food is 
scarce, and the fishing-frog is hungry — an almost 
perpetual condition of his — the lophiits will abandon 
liis sly mode of angling, and go off on an aggres- 
sive prowl, seeking what he may devour. He 
has been pulled up to the surface in company 
with a cod, from whose toothsome flesh he was 
only compelled to let go by means of a stout blow 
delivered on his head by the fisherman. Mr. 
Yarrell states that on one occasion a fishing-frog 
seized a conger eel that had just been hooked, when 
the eel wriggled through the narrow bran^-hial aper- 
ture of his second enemy, and in this manner the 
two were hauled up together. 

Sometimes the lophius attains a length of five 
feet, but the specimens taken on the British coasts 
rarely exceed three. It is of no value in itself, but 
is sometimes exhibited at sea-side places as a 
natural curiosity. 

Monbjjrs of Coitstnidiotr. 

EHRENBREITSTEIN. 

Ehrenbreitstein is a small town situated on the 
right bank of the Rhine, opposite Coblentz, of no 
particular interest beyond its proximity to the 
Prussian fortress of Ehrenbreitstein (broad sto.ne 
of honour), which stands above it, ana is one of 
the strongest fortified places in Europe. Its origin 
still remains unknown, but we hear of its having 
been inhabited many centuries ago by the Romans, 
and of their watch-tower, called Ciesar's Tower, 
which was subsequently demolished by the French, 
who besieged the fortress in 1688, under Marshal 
Boufflers, without success, although the famous 
Vauban directed the works against it, and 
Louis XIV. went thither himself to witness its 
surrender. It was attacked again in 1798, when 
the French took it after a fourteen months' siege, 
and on their evacuation of it at the peace of 
Luneville, in 1801, they blew up its defences. Up 
to the early part of the thirteenth century, it served 
as a stronghold of the Electors of Treves, who in 
former times had a palace at the foot of the rock, 
which is now used as a flour-store. The fortress 
was entirely reconstructed in 181 5, by some Prus- 
sian officers of the engineers, and the French gave 
fifteen millions of francs towards it, as they had 
agreed to do at the second peace of Paris, for 
having destroyed it ; but more than four times that 
firaount has been expended on its restoration by 



the Prussian government. In 1484, a well nearly 400 
feet deep, and communicating with the Rhine, was 
built by Prince John of Baden. The platform on 
the top of the rock serves as a parade-ground, and 
covers vast cisterns capable of containing a supply 
of water for the garrison for three years, while the 
magazines are said to be extensive enough to hold 
provisions for 8,000 men for ten years. The 
escarped rocks and steep steps on three sides of 
the fortress are defended by many-mouthed bat- 
teries, numbering a total of 400 guns. The north- 
west portion of the fortification is its weakest point, 
and is protected by three lines of defences, con- 
structed one within another, which must be taken 
in succession by the enemy before an entrance in 
this direction can be effected. The road up to the 
fortress from the town of Ehrenbreitstein, is about 
twelve hundred paces long ; it is also fortified, and 
rests almost entirely upon arches built over the 
chasms in the rock of which the height consists. 
The fortress is capable of holding a garrison of 
14,000 men, but in time of peace the number 
quartered there seldom exceeds 500. 

The famous large cannon, which was made in 
1528, was over 17 feet in length, and shot a ball of 
160 pounds weight. 

The view from the summit of Ehrenbreitstein is 
extensive and beautiful. For many years strangers 
were not admitted within the fortress without a 
special order from the government, but the Prus- 
sians are now less strict about these observances. 



CURIOUS TREES. 

Eve's Apple-trees. — The botanical curiosities 
of the island of Ceylon are replete with varied 
interest. The Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Johnston, 
while inquiring into the history of the country, 
had drawings made of a great many of the trees, 
plants, and other vegetable productions, to which 
any religious, political, or moral interest was 
attached by the native Hindoos, Buddhists, 
Mohammedans, or early Christians. One of these 
is " the forbidden fruit, or Eve's apple-tree," the 
Tabermemontana dichotoma of the " Hortus Kew- 
ensis." Its native name is Diivi Kaditrii, Kaduru 
signifying " forbidden," and Diwi " tigers." The 
flower of this extraordinary production is said to 
emit a fine scent. The colour of the fruit, which 
hangs from the branches in a Afcry peculiar and 
striking manner, is very beautiful, being orange 
on the outside, and a deep crimson within ; the 
fruit itself presenting the appearance of having 
had a piece bitten out of it. This circumstance, 
together with the fact of its being a deadly poison, 
led the Mohammedans on their first discovery 
of Ceylon — which they assigned as the site of 
Paradise — to represent it as the forbidden fruit 



THE WONDERFUL POWER OF RESISTING FIRE. 



12*^ 



of the Garden of Eden ; for although the finest 
and most tempting in appearance of any, it had 
been impressed, such was their idea, with the mark 
of Eve's having bitten it, to warn men from med- 
dling with a substance possessing such noxious- 
properties. Its effects are so poisonous, that two 
European soldiers, shortly after the capture of 
Colombo, in 1795, being unaware of the nature of 
the fruit, were tempted by its appearance to taste 
it, and very soon sickened and died. 

The Oldest Rose Tree in the World.— 
Humboldt in his " Aspects of Nature," relates that 
in the crypt of the cathedral of Hildcsheim, grows 
a wild rose tree, said to be one thousand years 
old ; whereas it is the root only, not the stem, which 
is eight centuries old, according to accurate infor- 
mation derived by Humboldt from ancient and 
trustworthy original documents. A legend connects 
this rose tree with a vow made by the founder of the 
cathedral, Ludwig the Pious ; and a document of 
the eleventh century states that when Bishop Hezilo 
rebuilt the cathedral, which had been burnt down, 
he enclosed the roots of the rose tree within a 
vault which still exists, raised upon this vault the 
crypt, which was reconstructed in 1061, and spread 
out the branches of the rose tree upon the walls. 
The stem was, in 1849, 26i feet high, and the 
branches covered about 32 feet of the external 
crypt wall. This is considered to be the oldest 
rose tree in the world. 



THE WONDERFUL POWER OF 

RESISTING FIRE. 
Everybody has heard of the wonderful power 
which some persons have possessed, or pretended 
to possess, of resisting the action of fire. The truth 
is, that it is now quite possible to account in a 
rational manner for genuine cases of this kind. 
Other performances, apparently still more wonder- 
ful, are the results of trickery, and as a juggling 
trick loses all its interest when once the truth is 
told concerning it, we will explain one of these 
marvels, and then pass on to those much greater 
marvels of the same kind which admit of a scien- 
tific elucidation. 

The performer shows his audience an iron spoon, 
empty, and immediately dipping it into a vessel full 
of what appears to be melted lead, shows it again 
filled with the molten metal. He then puts the 
spoon into his mouth, and on withdrawing it from 
between his lips shows the spectators that it is 
empty. In a few moments — during which time 
his lips are compressed as if he were painfully 
holding the metal between his teeth till it cooled — 
he takes from his mouth a solid piece of lead with 
the marks of his teeth moulded in it. To all ap- 
pearance the juggler has taken into his mouth a 
spoonful of racked lead, and licld it between his 



teeth till it became solid. In reality his spoon 
has a hollow handle containing quicksilver, which 
he allows to run out into the bowl, when he pre- 
tends to dip. it into the lead, and which runs into 
the handle again, and leaves the bowl of the spoon 
empty, when he pretends to put it into his mouth. 
The piece of solid lead which the performer ex- 
hibits has, of course, been prepared beforehand, 
and kept ready in his mouth. 

The explanation of this apparent wonder must 
suffice as an example of many similar explanations, 
applicable to juggling tricks with fire. The facts 
we are about to mention are of quite a different 
character. 

Readers of history are well acquainted with the 
general nature of the Ordeal by Fire, a form of 
appeal to Divine judgment in the Middle Ages. 
Either red-hot ploughshares were prepared, on 
which the accused was doomed to walk, or he had 
to carry a piece of red-hot iron in his hand a 
certain distance. All persons except the priest 
and the accused were prohibited from entering 
the church after the fire, in which the iron was 
to be heated, had been kindled ; and when the 
iron was red-hot, it had to be taken in the hand 
and carried over a space nine times the length 
of the accused's foot. If boiling water was chosen 
by preference, the hand had to be plunged in it 
to the depth of the wrist, in the simpler cases, and 
in the severer trials, to the depth of the elbow. 
After either ordeal, the hand was bound up and 
sealed by the priest, and not inspected till the 
end of three days. It is obvious that these regula- 
tions admitted of fraud, but it will be shown be- 
fore we conclude, that it was by no means physically 
impossible for the accused to escape unhurt, even 
when the experiment was fairly tried. 

It would fill many pages were we to record all 
the instances in which fire has been handled with 
impunity. Amongst others there is the story of the 
Augustinian father and the Jesuit. 

After a contest of words, in which the latter was 
worsted, he offered to settle the matter by giving 
miraculous proof of the greater sanctity of his 
order. Then turning to one of the monks, he said, 
" My hands are cold, Brother Mark, fetch me some 
fire from the kitchen to warm them ; and do not 
stay to put the burning coals in a chafing-dish, 
but just bring them, brother, in your hands." 
Mark left the room cheerfully, and presently came 
back with his hands full of burning coals, which he 
held without any signs of pain, until his superior 
had warmed himself, and then quietly carried 
them back. In comparatively recent times the 
same daring has been exhibited by performers. 1 a 
the year 1680, an Englishman named Richardson 
went the round of Europe in the character of a 
fire-king. He chewed and swallowed burning 
coals, ate molten glass, drank a flaming composi- 



128 



THE WOkLD OF WONDERS. 




tion ol pitch and sulphur, and held the red-hot 
heater of a box-iron in his mouth. In the early 
part of the present century a woman performed 
similar feats in the metropolis : it is stated that she 
stood with her naked feet on a plate of red-hot 
iron and washed her hands in boiling oil. 

In some of these cases the power of resisting 
fire was obtained by 
hardening the skin with 
certain chemical prepa- 
rations. The scientific 
explanation of others 
was discovered by M. 
Boutigny, who made a 
special study of what he 
called the spheroidal 
state of bodies, and 
proved experimentally, 
in his own person, that 
it is possible to plunge 
the hand into molten 
lead and yet sustain no 
injury. The first edition 
of M. Boutigny's work 
was published in 1842, 
and in it he demon- 
strated the remarkable 
fact, that there is no 
actual contact between 



I'll- r. 



bodies in the spheroidal 
state and the surfaces on which they appear to rest. 
To make this statement intelligible, let a, Fig. i, be 
a lump of silver or platinum, egg-shaped, and weigh- 
ing about half a pound or less. Having been made 
as hot as possible, it is suspended in water by 
means of the hooked rods, b c. What we afifirm is, 
that the metal, a, will not bo in actual contact with 
the water, but that the 
water will recede from 
it as represented in the 
engraving. Or, again, 
let a b, Fig. 2, be a well- 
polished capsule of iron 
kept at a red heat by 
the lamp beneath it. 
Let fall into this cap- 
sule or tray a few drops Fig. 2. 
of cold water, and they 

will immediately collect together in the form of a 
spheroid, c, which has the appearance of trembling. 
This tremulous motion is caused by the vapour 
which escapes from the bubble, and which is inter- 
posed between it and the red-hot plate, like a spring- 
cushion, though invisible. That there is no con- 
tact can be proved by blackening the water before 
it is dropped : the light of a candle can then be 
distinctly seen through the thin stratum of vapour, 
as represented in the engraving, though of course, 
the distance between the spheroid of water and the 
capsule is exaggerated. 



The theory for our purpose is this : the hand of 
the operator, having been very carefully moistened 
with a very volatile liquid, such as alcohol or ether 
is to be plunged rapidly, and with a certain kind 
of adroitness, into the molten metal. In some cases 
the natural humidity of the skin, especially when 
the operator is influenced by some terrible appre- 
hension, may do as well. 
The moisture, however 
produced, is thrown by 
its sudden contact with 
the heated metal into 
the spheroidal state, and 
as a necessary conse- 
quence there is no actual 
contact of the hand with 
the metal, but a thin 
layer of vapour is inter- 
posed between them. 
In order for the sphe- 
roidal state to be as- 
sumed, a certain limit 
of temperature must be 
exceeded, which differs 
for different bodies : 
that of water must be 
below the boiling point. 
If, after having obtained 
the vessel or capsule be 





the spheroidal globule, 

allowed to cool, the hquid immediately touches it and 
boils. Occasionally explosions take place in steam- 
boilers, which can only be accounted for on the pre- 
sumption that the water had assumed the spheroidal 
state, and that the heating of the boiler had then 
ceased, and an amount of steam been generated 
which the boiler was not strong enough to resist. 

The theoretical ex- 
planation here given 
has been experimen- 
tally verified by Bou- 
tigny, who plunged his 
own hand into molten 
metal ; and other 
savans have done the 
same thing to prove 
their confidence in the 
scientific principle, 
themselves of the same law 



Glass-blowers avail 

when they fashion a mass of incandescent glass 
in water by turning it rapidly round, and blowing 
through the rod from which it is suspended. A 
bubble is thus formed in the midst of the pasty 
mass, and a little water being introduced into it, 
and the opening closed, the vapour of the water 
expands the bubble because it cannot escape, nor 
even enlarge itself otherwise. If the water were 
not in the spheroidal state when this is done, 
and were really in contact with the glass, an 
explosion would take place. 



THE WHITE ANT FAMILY; 



)2C) 




WHITE ANTS AND THEIR DWELLINGS. 



THE WHITE ANT FAMILY. 

The Termites, or white ants, as they arc often called, 
though they have little affinity with the true ants, 
are chiefly confined to the tropics ; some few species, 
however, extend into the temperate regions. Like 
the bees, wasps, and ants, which live in society, the 
termites are composed of three kinds of individuals — 
males, females, and what are termed neuters or 
workers. The larvae nearly resemble the perfect 
insect, excepting that they possess no wings. The 
pupae have rudimentary wings. The neuters differ 
from the males and females in possessing no wings, 
in having the body stouter, the head much longer 

17 



and provided with long jaws crossing at the ex- 
tremity ; they are said to defend their nests, and 
station themselves near the outer s<irfacc ; they 
are the first to make their appearance when their 
habitation is disturbed ; they will attack their 
assailants, and bite with considerable strength. 
The negroes and Hottentots consider these insects 
a great delicacy. They are destroyed with quick- 
lime, or more readily with arsenic, which is thrown 
into their habitations. 

The fullest account we have of these remarkable 

creatures is that related by Smeathman in the 

Philosopliical Transactions, 1781. They destroy 

' all timber in buildings, all furniture, and nothing 



IJO 



THE WORLD OK WOiNDERS. 



escapes them but metal or stone. They construct 
their nests with covered galleries, and far surpass 
our European ants, bees, wasps, or beavers, in 
the art of building, and in sagacity and govern- 
ment. 

There are se\'eral species, and some build on llic 
j;round, others on the branches of trees, often at 
great heights. The largest species ( Tcr/nes bellicosits) 
is best known on the coast of Africa. It erects 
immense buildings of well-attempered clay. In 
.Senegal they resemble the villages of the natives, 
being ten or twelve feet above the level of the 
ground, and like very large haycocks. Comparing 
the size of the animal with that of man, these 
buildings are to the ants what four or five limes the 
height of the Monument would be to us. 

Every building consists of two parts, an exterior 
dome and an interior, divided into an amazing 
number of apartments. The exterior is a protection 
from the weather, and in the interior reside the king 
and (jueen, and the whole community, with maga- 
zines stored with provisions and conveniences. 
They raise these immense structures in separate 
turrets, of the shape and size of sugar-loaves, and 
then till it between till the dome is completed by 
joining the tops of the lofty turrets which they raise 
in the centre. They then take away the bases of 
the central turrets, and apply the clay to the con- 
struction of the interior. 

The royal chamber is in the centre, iir the shape 
of a large oven. The entrances are so small, that 
the king and queen can never leave it. Around it 
are apartments for soldiers and attendants, and 
magazines filled witli gums and hardened juices of 
plants. Among these are the nurseries for the 
eggs and young. lieneath are sewers to carry off 
\\ater, descending to the gra\x"l ; here subterraneous 
passages are carried horizontally to vast distances, 
like passages from old castles, from which they 
emerge on any building or merchandise they intend 
to attack. As they cannot carry up perpendiculars, 
all the ascents and descents are made by spiral 
roads. For a communication inside they construct 
elliptical bridges. 

Their destructiveness is very methodical. They 
destroy all the softer substances first, and arc 
particularly fond of pine boards, eating away the 
entire inside, and le.'iving the surface as thin as 
paper. A stake in a hedge is their sure prey, of 
which they leave only the bark, and if the bark 
fall off the outside of a beam, they cover it 
with their mortar, so that no one suspects the attack 
till the articles are handled or a support gives 
way. Fallen trees they perforate in like manner ; 
and what appears to be a sound piece of timber, 
often proves but a shell which may be crushed by 
the fingers. They seem aware that if their work 
were seen from without, they should be disturbed, 
so that the mischief is never suspected till it is per- 



petrated. Of deserted houses or villages they leave 
not a vestige in a few weeks. 

The ravages of white ants continue to be a-, 
destructive as when Smeathman described them. 
In the island of St. Helena, the white ants were, it 
is supposed, accidentally introduced from the coast 
of Guinea, about twenty years since. Jamesto^ n 
was devastated, the cathedral and the books of 
the public library were destroyed. Everything in 
the town made of wood was more or less injured, 
imperilling the lives of large numbers of the 4,000 
inhabitants. In the government stores it was found 
that the moist traces of the insect on the outside 
of the tin cases caused very speedy corrosion ot 
the metal, and enabled the insects to make their way 
in and devour the contents, doing many thousand 
pounds' damage. The governor of .St. Helena 
applied to the Lords of the Admiralty for the best 
mode of finding the ants' nests, and effectually 
destroying them ; and also as to the description of 
timber which has proved to be the least susceptible 
of injury from the insects ; these inquiries having 
been referred to General Hearsey and the Ento- 
mological Society, it has been decided that the 
nests must be sought in the plains ; that if the anl-> 
once effected a lodgment in the walls of a house, 
the walls themselves must be taken down before 
the insects could be got rid of Steeping tiiriber in 
a solution of quick-lime, will prevent the attacks 
of the insects, and impregnating the timber with 
creosote has been found a preservative. lit Western 
Australia, where white ants abound and destroy all 
buildings and furniture to a great extent, the wood 
of the mahogany tree has been found proof against 
the ants' attacks ; while in the Amazon country, 
where the house walls consist of posts with crossed 
laths filled up with mud, and covered with lime and 
cemsnt, the houses, if washed over with a solution 
of arsenicated soap, will be preserved from the 
insects' attacks. 



Monbers of EUdjaitrciil Ingtiunlir. 

—  — - 

ICXl'ANDING MODEL OF A MAX. 
In the Great lixhibition in Hyde Park, in the yeai 
185 1, was shown a mechanical curiosity— an expand- 
ing model of a man — the construction of which has 
a romantic interest. It was the invention of the 
Polish Count Dunin, who, in early life, became 
involved in the insurrection of his countrymen, and 
was banished. In his' dreary exile he betook him- 
self to mechanical pursuits, that he might expiate 
his ofifence, real or imaginary, against the emperor 
of Russia, by showing that he could be useful if he 
were restored to his country. 

The model represents a man five feet high, in 
the proportions of the Apollo Belviderc. From that 
height and size it can be proportionally increased to 



EDUCATED FLEAS. 



131 



eight feet eight inclies ; and as its use is to measure 
the clothing of an army, it is capable of expansion 
and contraction in all its parts. The internal 
mechanism is completely concealed, tlie figure 
externally being composed of thin slips of steel and 
copper, by the overlapping of which, expansion or 
contraction is exercised, the motion being com- 
municated by thin metal slides within the figure, 
these slides having pins worked in curved grooves 
in circular steel plates, which arc put in revolution 
by a train of wheels or screws. A winding key, 
turned right or left, effects the expansion or con- 
traction noiselessly, and in the direction of the 
fibres of the muscles of the living subject. The 
mechanical combinations are composed of 857 
framing pieces, 48 grooved steel plates, 163 wheels, 
203 slides, 476 metal washers, 488 spiral springs, 
704 sliding plates, 497 nuts, 3,500 fixing and ad- 
justing screws, with numerous steadying pins ; 
so that the number of pieces is upwards of 7,000. 
For this beautiful piece of mechanism a Great 
Exhibition Council Medal was awarded to the 
inventor. Count Dunin. 

Wonderful Jewellery.' — A Parisian jeweller 
makes brooches and other ornaments in which 
mechanical movements are introduced and set in 
action by very small galvanic batteries, which are 
concealed in some part of the wearer's dress. The 
moving object may be a rabbit, which is made to 
strike a bell with drumsticks ; the head of a skele- 
ton with rolling eyes, and a mouth that opens and 
shuts ; a grenadier beating a drum ; a monkey 
playing the fiddle ; or a bird moving its wings as 
if in the act of flying. The batteries are con- 
structed of minute slips of zinc and platinum, or 
zinc and carbon, which act in the same manner as 
llie larger arrangements of the same kind used for 
ordinary purposes. 



Mcmirirfttl Helixs. 

THE EARLIEST KNOWN FO-SSIL. 

TllF, oldest type of organic life yet known to the 
geologist is the Eozoon, lately discovered in Canada, 
and brought to England by Sir William Logan. It 
is more perfect than any previously found, but 
would have been taken for a coral had it not been 
for the evidence of its microscopic structure. It is 
termed a rhizflpod (from two Greek words, root and 
foot), a name proposed by Mr. Dujardin for a new 
class of animals of a lower degree than the radiata, 
possessing the power of locomotion by means of 
minute tentacular filaments. The skeletons of this 
rhizopod seem to have greatly extended themselves 
over the surface of all submarine rocks, their base 
frequently reaching a diameter of twelve inches, 
and their thickness being usually from four to six 
inches. These masses, occurring in homogeneous 



limestone, exhibit, more or less, regular alternation 
of calcareous or siliceous layers. Dr. Carpenter has 
determined by the microscope the minute structure 
of this organism, which, he says, in its living state 
might be likened to an extensive range of buildings, 
made up of successive tiers of chambers, those 
of each tier generally comin'jnicating very freely 
with each other. The walls of these chambers are 
everywhere fonned of a vitreous, pellucid, shelly 
substance, minutely perforated with little parallel 
tubes, which are so penetrated by siliceous infiltra- 
tion, that when the calcareous shell has been re- 
moved by acid, the natural cast of their cavities 
remains in the form of very delicate needles, 
parallel to each other, on the solid mould of the 
cavity of the chamber, over which they form a very 
delicate layer. 

This discovery of the Eozoon is of the highest 
importance, occurring, as it does, in strata that were 
formed at a period inconceivably antecedent to the 
pre-supposcd introduction of life upon the globe, 
and displacing the argument derived from the 
supposition that at the dawn of life a multitude of 
beings of high organisation were simultaneously 
developed in the Cambrian and Silurian strata. 



EDUCATED FLEAS. 

SO-ME years ago a strange little man, with a quaint- 
looking box, used to take his stand in various parts 
of London as soon as it was dusk, during the winter 
months, and silently invite the passing crowd to 
stay and take a peep into this quaint-looking box, 
which was lighted by a candle placed inside of it, 
the light of which shone through various coloured 
papers, and exhibited a transparent description of 
the object for which he hoped to gather halfpence — 
"A flea chained up by the neck, alive." The fee 
for viewing the flea undergoing this strange im- 
prisonment was "one halfpenny," and a convenient 
magnifying-glass was let into the side of the quaint 
box, in order that the object exhibited might be the 
better viewed. The writer of the present article has 
paid more than once to see this unusual sight, until 
he catne to be regarded by the proprietor of the 
imprisoned pulex as a regular customer, and was 
treated to a sight of "sucking'' fleas undergoing 
the process of training. Some were very quick, 
according to his account, and "others he could 
make nothing of." The chains, cars, and locks 
which these little beasties drew were of silver, and, 
as the strange little man said, all constructed by 
himself. He had one flea who had been with him 
twenty-six months, and declared that he knew of 
still older ones, and he was accustomed to feed his 
fleas, twice a day, by allowing them to suck from 
the back of his hand. He declared that he was 
the last man who possessed the secret of educating 
these lively insects. 



132 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



In 1829, on the ruins of the houses taken 
down to make the new approaches to London 
Bridge, on the Southwark side, another man 
exhibited by candle-light two fleas, one drawing a 
kind of car and the other a lock and chain. 
This they appeared to manage with the greatest 
ease. 

In Nottingham also, in the same year, there were 
two fleas shown, who had gold chains about their 
necks. One of them drew a carved cherry-stone, 
and the other a silver cannon. There was also an 
exhibition in London about the year 1845, of some 
" industrious fleas." One flea had a chain made of 
nearly 700 links, the whole of which was little more 
than a span long, but it was sufficient to restrain 
the flea's furious leaps he made in trying to escape. 
This chain also had a padlock and key curiously 
wrouglit, the whole of which only weighed a grain. 

In the same exhibition were two other fleas drawing THE COLISEUM, 

a chariot, three were dragging an omnibus, and two | Among the many stupendous architectural works 
military fleas were fastened to a brass cannon of 



The cause of this phenomenon, which is called 
the Mascaret, is as follows :— The tide flows from 
the estuary, known as the Gironde, towards the two 
rivers Dordogne and Caronne. The former is 
right in the direction of its straight course, while 
the latter is angular and divergent ; and hence the 
Dordogne receives a disproportionate quantity and 
impulse of the water. The impediments which the 
Mascaret meets as it ascends the Dordogne, from 
sand-banks, &c., and the rapidity of the opposin"- 
current, all tend to increase its force and fur)-, 
and its velocity at last becomes so great, that 
not a moment must be lost by him who would 
observe it. 



Monbfrs of CflivshuctioiT. 



proportionate size. 

The street exhibitor, the strange little man with 
the quaint-looking box, was in the habit of visiting 
public-houses with a view to increase his income, 
but one night, yielding to strong temptation and 
strong liquor at the same time, his quaint box got 
broken, his fleas escaped and fled on their own 
account, to " seek fresh fields and pastures new," 
and so the educated fleas were lost to the world, 
and it has never since been our good fortune to 
light upon a similar exhibition, and perhaps they 
are persuading their brethren in a wild state 
that chains about the neck are the ornaments 
and clothing proper to all civilised and educated 
fleas. 



THE MASCARET. 

At the mouth of the River Dordogne, in France, 
there is occasionally observed a natural pheno- 
menon which is witnessed on no other river in 
Europe. When the waters of the Dordogne are 
low, and especially in summer, a hillock of water, 
about the height of an ordinary house, suddenly 
rises at the confluence of the river with the Garonne. 
It spreads and rolls along the bank, ascending the 
sinuous windings of the river with extraordinary 
rapidity and fearful noise. All that comes in its 
way on the bank on which it moves yields to its 
fury. Trees are torn up, barges sunk, and stones 
are often driven to the distance of fifty paces ; all 
fly from it with consternation, and cattle, even, 
with what seems a sudden instinct. It sometimes 
takes the centre of the river, and changes its shape. 
The watermen are usually able, by observation, 
to discover its approach, and thus escape certain 
destruction. 



. of antiquity which surprise us by their extent, their 
beauty, and the wonderful difficuhy of their con- 
struction, the Roman Coliseum stands out pre- 
eminent. Its ruins refuse to perish, and there they 
stand in colossal majesty, the astonishment of all 
beholders. As will be seen by the annexed draw- 
ing, the Coliseum was an amphitheatre, of which 
the external walls consisted of four tiers of arcades, 
adorned with columns of the Doric, Ionian, Corin- 
thian, and Composite orders. The internal circum- 
ference was i,5oo feet, and the accommodation pro- 
vided seats for over 80,000 people. On fair authority 
it is stated that the Emperor Vespasian caused this 
theatre to be built, occupying 30,000 captive Jews 
in the erection of it. It does not seem, however, 
to have been completed in Vespasian's reign. Titus, 
the destroyer of Jerusalem, was he who had the 
gratification of opening it for Roman sports ; and 
it is said that on the opening day he caused over 
5,000 wild beasts to be introduced into the arena, 
and compelled captive Christians to fight with 
them. Vast cells, or rather ranges of cells, were 
constructed under the spectators' galleries, for the 
reception of the wild beasts, panthers, leopards, 
pards, and lions, which were the combatants in these 
cruel pastimes. There were also gigantic reservoirs 
of watercontainingsuchsupplies,that when occasion 
required, the floor of the Coliseum could be flooded 
from them to the depth of several feet ; and on the 
opening day, after the Christians and the beasts 
had afforded pleasure to Rome, the entire floor was 
covered with a sheet of water upon which two 
mimic squadrons performed their evolutions, and 
went through the performance of a sham naval 
engagement. 

For many years the Coliseum was the one great 
public recreation-place in Rome. Successive em- 
perors exerted themselves to maintain it in all its 
original splendour, and enormous were the sums of 



THE COLISEUM. 



T33 




KCINS oi' Tin; C(ji,i,si:i;.M. 



money annually expended upon repairs, and in 
keeping up the performances. When the Goths 
sacked Rome they spared the amphitheatre, and 
until the removal of the seat of imperial govern- 
ment to Constantinople, the Coliseum was pre- 
served in all its integrity. After that event the 
purposes for which the Coliseum was built were no 
longer desirable — Christian bishops ruled where 
pagan emperors had dictated, and the ecclesiastical 
government was averse to all plays, games, and 
spectacles — except where it chose specially to have 
them. The Coliseum's occupation was gone, and 
its great bulk, and the great store of stone con- 
tained in it, proved obnoxious to the desires of 
certain dignitaries, who, being without palaces, 
tliought the Coliseum might worthily be utilised in 
furnishing the materials for building them. .So 
the Coliseum served in lieu of a quarry. Paul II. 
built St. Mark's Palace, Paul III. the Farnese 
Palace, out of materials from the great theatre, and 
other prelates and church princes followed the bad 
example, till something like half of the Coliseum 
was swept away, what remained being spared not 
so much on aesthetic grounds as 'because of the 
hugeness of the blocks, which resisted all the 
efforts of the indolent Italians to move them. On 
the floor where Corcyrian and Corinthian fleets 
had manceuvrcd, great (quantities of debris were 



piled up, so that in course of years the interior 
was choked with rubbish above the lower galle- 
ries on which enthusiastic spectators h.ad sat and 
applauded. 

When Pope Pius VII. was dethroned and taken 
prisoner by Napoleon I., the Coliseum, in common 
with many other Roman buildings, was cleaned 
and cleared. The channels which conducted the 
water for the aquatic exhibitions, the iron gates 
which were opened to admit the wild beasts to the 
arena, and the bronze rings to which the Christian 
martyrs were chained, were brought to light. It is 
not possible to say how far the French emperor 
would have gone on the road of restoration had he 
continued to direct the fortunes of Italy. He dug 
out old Rome during the short time his engineers 
were in the city, and disclosed in all their beauty 
and reality some of the most splendid monuments 
of the past. But as soon as the churchmen got 
back, they undid no small portion of the great 
emperor's work, actually refilling a large part of the 
interior of the Coliseum in order to render certain 
chapels in and about it more accessible. 

The splendid ruins themselves remain as Napo- 
leon left them ; and it is possible they may outlive 
the ecclesiastical dominion which has despoiled 
them, as they have outlived the imperial dominion 
which caused their origin. 



'34 



THK WORLD OI' WONDERS. 



THE LADY OF THE HAYSTACK. 

In the year 1776 a young woman suddenly made 
her appearance at the village of Bourton, near 
ISristol, and attracted universal attention by the 
strangeness of her life. Young and beautiful in 
person, and graceful in her manners, she neverthe- 
less lived a desolate life for four years, without 
knowing the comfort of a bed, or the protection of 
a roof. Her place of refuge was a haystack, to 
which she fled with a kind of wild rapture when 
remonstrated witli, or when any attempt «-as made 
to restrain her actions. The ladies of the neigh- 
bourhood supplied her with the necessaries of life, 
but she would neither wear, nor, indeed, accept of 
any finery or ornaments. When such things were 
forced upon her, she hung them on the bushes, as 
being unworthy of her attention. 

Her exposed manner of life had gradually under- 
mined her health and impaired her beauty, before, 
after repeated trials, she was prevailed upon to 
remain under the care of Mr. Henderson, the 
keeper of a private asylum, where she was sup- 
ported by the benevolent Mrs. Hannah More and 
her sisters. As her health improved, it became 
more and more e\-ident that her intellect was 
impaired. .Slie spoke English \\'ith a German 
accent, but every attempt to inquire into her 
history was baffled cither by her reticence or her 
increasing idiocy. A gentleman spoke to her in 
Crcrman, when her emotion was so great that she 
turned from him and burst into te.ars. 

The circumstances under which she had been 
found, and every slight suggestion that could be 
gathered from repeated conversations with her, 
were published in German and French throughout 
the Continent, but led to no result till the year 1785, 
when a pamphlet appeared in the French language, 
without either name or place which might serve as 
a clue to its authorship, under the title of " The 
Stranger: a true History." From this pamphlet 
the following particulars of a strange story are 
derived, and when we have recited them, the reader 
must judge for himself whether the Lady of the 
Haystack and the young lady described in the 
pamphlet were one and the same person. 

In the year 1768 (the French pamphlet relates) 
a letter was received from a lady at Bordeaux 
by Count Cobenzel, the Austrian minister at 
Brussels, entreating for the writer his advice and 
assistance, and signed, in very indifferent French, 
(.Mademoiselle) La Friilen. Not long afterwards 
the count also received a letter from Prague, signed 
Count J. Weissendorf, in which he was entreated 
to comply with Mademoiselle's request, and even to 
advance her money. The letter concluded thus : — 
" When you shall know, sir, who this stranger is, 
you will be delighted to think you have served lier, 



and grateful to those who have gi\cn >ou an oppor- 
tunity of doing so.-' 

A third letter came to the minister's hand from 
Count Dictrichstein, of A'icnna, urging the same 
request, but at the same time desiring him to advise 
Mademoiselle to be frugal in her expenditure. The 
count replied to the last two letters, but got no 
rejoinder, and in the meantime he continued the 
correspondence with Mademoiselle La Friilen al 
Bordeaux, who finally stated that she could noi 
entrust her secret to writing, but that she intended 
to visit the Austrian Netherlands, and would see 
him personally. She meantime sent him her por- 
trait, in which the count saw nothing more than 
the features of a lovely woman, while Prince Charles 
of Lorraine declared that it bore a strong rcsera- ' 
blance to the late emperor, his brother. 

The pamphleteer continues the account of the 
circumstances which followed, with much detail. 
Despatches from Vienna led to Mademoiselle's 
arrest. It appears that while Joseph II. was on 
his travels in Italy, the king of Spain had received 
a letter, purporting to be written by the emperor, 
and informing him in confidence that his father 
had left a natural daughter, whose history was 
known only to his sister, the Archduchess Marianne, 
himself, and a few intimate friends. The king of 
.Spain thought this letter so extraordinary that he 
sent it to the emperor. Its authorship was denied, 
and, as a consequence. Mademoiselle La Friilen 
was arrested and conveyed to Brussels. 

It is as strange as the other particulars of this 
strange story, that just before she quitted the French 
dominions, a person unknown, in the habit of a 
courier, put a note into her hand at the coach- 
window, and then retired with the utmost precipi- 
tation. The officer by whom she was accompanied 
read the note, which contained only these words : 
" My dear girl, everything has been done to sa\ e 
you ; keep up your spirits, and do not despair." 
She afterwards declared that she neither knew the 
courier nor the handwriting. 

At Brussels, notwithstanding her winning ap- 
pearance and engaging manners, she was subjected 
to the severest tests. She spoke French with a 
German accent. Details of her early history were 
extracted from her, which are all related in the 
-pamphlet. She had understood that Bohemia 
was the name of the country in which she had been 
brought up, in tlie care of two ladies, one of -whom 
she had been accustomed to call "mamma," theother 
Catharine ; she had also received instruction from 
an ecclesiastic who frequently visited the house. .Slie 
described certain visits made at distant intervals 
by a handsome gentleman in a hunting suit, be- 
neath whose riding coat she once noticed some- 
thing red. At one time this visitor was expected, 
but did not come ; and he afterwards accounted for 
his absence by explaining that he had been ill ill 



MEDICAL WONDERS. 



t^S 



consequence of overheating himself in the chase. 
Prince Charles recollected that at the time corres- 
ponding to this statement the emperor was actually 
taken ill on his return from hunting. 

Tlien came the time when she heard of the strange 
gentleman's death, which corresponded ^^■ith that 
of the emperors ; and La Friilen related a long 
story about her rcmo\al from Bohemia, and from 
the companionship of the two ladies, by the eccle- 
siastic. In some particulars of this part of her 
story she was convicted of pre\'arication ; but then, 
again, confirming circumstances occurred. Unex- 
pectedly seeing a portrait of the late emperor, she 
was so affected by it that a long and serious illness 
ensued. The result of her alleged removal from 
Bohemia was her settlement at Bordeaux, where 
she lived luxuriously ; and there she most certainly 
forged letters as a means of recommending herself 
to the Duke de Richelieu. These acts she did not 
conceal from her examiners, but declared, with all 
the appearance of simplicity and frankness, that 
forsaken as she was, and certain as she felt of her 
parentage, she did what she had a right to do for her 
own protection. Before any conclusion was come 
to concerning her, Count Cobenzel died, and from 
what he told a friend, there is reason to believe he 
•was more than half satisfied of the substantial truth 
of her representations. Mademoiselle was then 
liberated from prison, fifty louis d'ors were placed 
in her hands, and she was turned adrift in the 
"wide, wide world."' This was in 1769, and if she 
was the same person afterwards disco\ered at 
Bristol, and known as the " Lady of the Haystack," 
there is an interval of seven years which it is but 
little likely will ever be accounted for in her sad 
history. Considering the condition in which she 
was found, the story would probabi)- be one of 
hopeless wandering from place to place until her 
reason was impaired. 

The Lady of the Haystack had been named 
Louisa by her benefactors, but there are so many 
coincidences in what little she related, and in her 
manners, with the story of La Friilen, that it is 
almost impossible to resist the conclusion that we 
arc reading the history of the same person. Two 
scars which marked her person corresponded with 
the description gi\'en of the stranger by the pam- 
phleteer, and her beautiful features, with a touch 
of " the Austrian lip," further established her iden- 
tity. When sudden remarks were purposely made, 
there were proofs given in her manner that she had 
been accustomed to luxurious living, and to riding 
in a carriage. Besides this but little remains to 
relate of her. After remaining for a considerable 
time under the care of Mr. Henderson, Louisa was 
removed, as incurable, to Cluy's Hospital. As 
years passed on, the contraction of her limbs, from 
exposure to cold in the fields and from her sub- 
sequent inactivity, rendered her an object of the 



strongest compassion. She died rather suddenl)-, 
after a long illness, on the i8th of December, iSoi, 
and on the 23rd her remains were interred in the 
hospital grounds, at the expense of Mrs. More. 



Htfiiical Moui)£i'S. 



Re.markable Recovery ok Lost Voice.— 
In the beginning of December, 1801, Elizabeth 
Sellers, a scholar in the Girls' Charity School at 
.Sheffield, aged thirteen years, lost her \-oice, inso- 
much that she was unable to express herself other- 
wise than by a whisper. She, however, enjoyed 
very good health, and performed several employ- 
ments in the school, such as knitting, sewing, and 
spinning. She was unable to read audibly, and 
her infirmity resisted all attempts at cure. One 
evening, hearing several of her schoolfellows singing 
a hymn, and being desirous to join them in their 
devotion, she whispered to one of her companions, 
requesting her to shout violently down her throat, 
which being complied with, she immediately re- 
covered her voice to its fullest pitch. By her 
account, the sensation was like that of having a 
lump in her throat, which, as she rightly conceived, 
might be broken by the shout. 

An equally remarkable story is told by Charles 
Dickens in his Life of Grimaldi of a sailor who had 
lost the power of speech from some illness, sud- 
denly reco\ering it in the theatre from the excite- 
ment and intense amusement he experienced from 
witnessing the drolleries of the celebrated clown. 
Whether this account is true we cannot undertake 
to say, but it is related by Mr. Dickens as an un- 
doubted fact, aljout which there seemed no question 
at the time of its occurrence. 

ll)10(.:V PRODUCED BY STRONG MENTAL E.\IO- 
'I'lON. — Dr. Abercrombie, in his celebrated i\ork on 
■'The Intellectual Powers," gives some very striking 
exajnples of this kind. He remarks that idiocy "is 
a simple torpor of the faculties, in the higher 
degrees amounting to total insensibility to every 
impression ; and some remarkable facts are con- 
nected with the manner in which it arises without 
bodily disease. A man mentioned by Dr. Pinel was 
so violently affected by some losses in trade, that 
he was deprived almost instantly of all his mental 
faculties. He did not take notice of anything, 
not even expressing a desire for food, but merely 
taking it when it was put into his mouth. A servant 
dressed him in the morning, and conducted him to 
a seat in his parlour, where he remained the whole 
day with his body bent forward and his eyes fixed 
on the floor. In this state he continued nearly five 
years, and then recovered completely and rather 
suddenly. The account which he afterwards ga\-e 
of his condition during this period was, that his 
mind was entirely lost, and that it was only about 
two months before his final recovery that he began 



136 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



to have sensations and thoughts of any kind. These 
at first served only to convey fears and apprehen- 
sions, especially in the night-time. Of mental 
derangement produced in the same way by a moral 
cause, an affecting example is also given by Pinel. 
Two young men, brothers, were carried off by the 
conscription ; and, in the first action in which they 
were engaged, one of them was shot dead by the 
side of the other. The survivor was instantly stru ck 
with perfect idiocy. He was taken home to his 
father's house, where another brother was so 
affected by the sight of him that he was seized 
at once in the same manner, and, in this melan- 
choly state, they were both received into the 
liicctre (a French hospital for lunatics, &c.). For 
the production of such an extraordinary result, it is 
not necessary that the mental impression should be 
of a painful description. Pinel mentions an engi- 
neer who, on receiving a flattering letter from 
Robespierre respecting an improvement he had 
proposed in the construction of cannon, was struck 
motionless on the spot, and soon after conveyed to 
the Bicetre in a state of complete idiocy." 



MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS. 

Many ingenious devices have been employed 
for the purpose of carrying railway traffic over 
the face of mountains, where it has not been 
thought necessary or practicable to tunnel them. 
While the great railway through IMont Ccnis was 
in progress, one of these contrivances, known as 
Fell's Climbing Rail, was adopted to traverse the 
mountain, and by its means the Alpine pass from 
St. Michel to Susa, a distance of forty-nine miles, 
was accomplished in about five hours. The line was 
used both for passenger and for goods traffic. The 
principle on which it was constructed was the 
adoption of a centre rail between the two ordinary 
rails, and a means of making the locomotive grasp 
this rail, and cling closely to it while still pursuing its 
upward path. For this purpose two horizontal 
wheels were adjusted to the locomotive, and these 
fitting into two grooves, one on each side of the 
centre rail, were pressed against this rail by power- 
ful springs, which bound the engine and its car- 
riages closely to the line, while the outer rails 
were traversed by wheels working in the ordinary 
fashion. 

The ascent of the mountain by this railway began 
at an elevation of about 2,500 feet above the sea 
level, and rose to a height of nearly 7,000 feet, by 
a succession of curves and zigzags, resembling a 
winding staircase. During the first twenty-four 
miles of the line the mean gradient or incline was 
I in 60, and the maximum i in 12 ; while in the 
second half of the line the mean gradient was as 
high as I in 17, the maximum being the same. 
The sight of an engine, with a trainful of passen- 



gers, climbing up a steep ascent of this description 
was a most remarkable one. On the line itself, to 
look down from the train when near the summit 
was something like looking from a balloon. Four 
zigzags were visible at the same instant to a depth 
of 2,000 feet. Add to the sublimity of this the 
features of the surrounding scenery, the snow-clad 
peaks and glaciers rising to an elevation of from 
10,000 to 13,000 feet, and some idea maybe formed 
of the sentiment which the passage of Mont Cenis 
by the Fell Railway was likely to inspire — a senti- 
ment widely different to that which now strikes the 
traveller as he is carried by the new line through 
the heart of the mountain. 

The Fell Railway was opened in June, 1867, and 
it ceased working when the tunnel route was com- 
pleted, the permanent way used for it being then 
taken up. Within the last two or three years, 
however, a similar line has been in operation for 
the ascent of the Righi — a well-known mountain 
range in .Switzerland, upon the Lake of Lucerne. 
Here, again, the principle of the centre rail is 
adopted, but this rail is constructed with small 
hollows at equal distances along its surface, into 
which hollows cog-wheels are made to work as 
the locomotive ascends, and thus the tendency 
to recede is prevented. The summit of the 
Righi is 6,000 feet above the sea, and the total 
distance traversed by the railway in its zigzag path 
up the mountain is about five miles. Travellers 
ascend the Righi for the purpose of enjoying the 
magnificent view it affords of Alpine scenery. The 
Righi range stands alone among the mountains, and 
from its position has been compared to a natural 
observatory, from whence on all sides the most 
beautiful views of Switzerland and the Alps may be 
obtained. The lower and middle portions of the 
range are clad with forests, and the upper parts 
consist chiefly of excellent pasture-ground, where 
about 2,000 head of cattle usually graze in summer. 
The highest point is called the Culm, and is a large 
space of ground covered with turf, on part of which 
an inn has been erected for the accommodation of 
travellers, some of whom ascend the mountain 
towards evening, and stay a night at the hotel, foi 
the purpose of obtaining a view of the glorious 
prospect which the break of day here reveals. The 
horizon is said to extend to a circumference of 300 
miles, including the range of mountains of the 
Black Forest in Germany, and that of the Jura 
from Geneva to Basle. 

The ascent was formerly accomplished on foot 
or by means of mules, several good paths being 
available for the purpose ; but few persons now 
prefer either of these tardy and toilsome methods 
to the ready access to the summit which the railway 
affords. The locomotive on the Righi Railway 
takes up one carriage only, accommodating about 
twenty-four persons. 



SOUNDING STONES AND SPEAKING HEADS. 



137 



SOUNDING STONES AND SPEAKING 

HEADS. 

The ancient magicians appear to have been very 
successful in turning to their purposes the properties 
of sound. In the labyrinth of Egypt, which con- 
tained twelve palaces and 1,500 subterranean 
apartments, the gods were made to speak in a 
voice of thunder ; and Pliny, who lived at this time, 
informs us that some of the palaces were so con- 
structed that their doors could not be opened with- 1 
out the peals of thunder being heard in the interior. ' 
Uarius Hystaspes used to impress the divinity of 
his character upon his subjects by the bursts of \ 
thunder and flashes of lightning wliich accompanied : 



The ancients turned to account the acoustic pro- 
perties of certain kinds of stones in a remark- 
able way. Pausanias tells of a marvellous stone 
that was placed as a sentinel at the entrance of a 
treasury, and that robbers were scared away by 
the trumpet tones which it sent forth. Several 
stones have this property of resonance, and it is 
probable that a stone of this description was so 
suspended as to be struck by a projecting piece of 
metal when the external door of the treasury was 
opened. Strong boxes or safes have been known 
to emit sounds to alarm their owners when broken 
into surreptitiously. M. Salverte relates that Louis 
XV. possessed one of these, and that Napoleon I. 
v/as offered one at Vienna in 1809 ; and there ha\e 




VILW UF 1111; SIATUES OF MEMNON. 



their devotions ; a id it is thought that in the sub- 
terraneous and -.iulted apartments of the Egyptian 
labyrinth, the reverberated sounds arising from the 
mere opening and shutting of the doors themselves 
afforded a sufficient imitation of ordinary thunder 
to impose upon the credulous worshippers. Sir 
Uavid Brewster conjectures that the method used 
in our modern theatres was known to the ancients. 
This is to shake a piece of sheet iron horizontally, 
so as to agitate the corner in a direction at right 
angles to the surface of the sheet, by which the 
deep growl of distant thunder, as well as the loud 
and explosive bursts which rattle over our heads, may 
be produced. The same effect may be produced 
by sheets of tin-plate and thin plates of mica, but 
the sound is shorter and more acute. Imitative 
lightning is produced by throwing powered rosin, 
or the seeds of lycopodium, through a flame ; and 
rattling rain is imitated by a shower of peas in a 
sort of drum. 

18 



been made similar boxes which, when opened by a 
false key, throw out a battery of cannon and shoot 
the invader. 

The clink-stone indicates by its very name its 
sonorous qualities. The red granite of the Thebaid, 
in Egypt, possesses similar properties ; and so 
musical are the granite rocks on the banks of the 
Orinoco, that their sounds are ascribed to witch- 
craft by the natives. In Brazil, travellers have 
seen large blocks of basalt which emitted very 
clear sounds when struck ; and the Chinese em- 
ploy this stone in the fabrication of musical instru- 
ments. Several years since, an artisan of Keswick 
exhibited a " Rock Harmonicon," composed of 
slabs of stone placed at certain distances apart, 
and upon which, when struck, were performed 
different pieces of music. 

But the most celebrated of these acoustic wonders 
is the " Jabel Nakous," or " Mountain of the Bell," 
a low sandy Ivll in the peninsula of Mount Sinai, 



138 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



in Arabia Petrsea, which gives out sounds varying 
in power from that of a humming-top to thunder, 
while the sand, either from natural or artificial 
causes, descends its sloping flanks. 

The late Hugh Miller, the geologist, observed 
an analogous phenomenon in our own country. 
When in the island of Eigg, in the Hebrides, he 
observed that a musical sound was produced when 
he walked over the white, dry sand of the beach. 
At each step the sand was driven from his foot- 
prints, and the noise was simultaneous with the 
scattering of the sand ; the cause being either the 
accumulated vibrations of the air when struck 
by the driven sand, or the accumulated sounds 
occasioned by the mutual impact of the particles of 
the sand against each other. If a musket-ball 
passing through the air emits a whistling note, 
each individual particle of sand must do the same, 
however faint be the note which it yields ; and the 
accumulation of these infinitesimal vibrations must 
constitute an audible sound, varying with the 
number and velocity of the moving particles. In 
like manner, if two plates of silex or quartz, which 
are but crystals of sand, give out a musical sound 
when mutually struck, the impact or collision of two 
minute crystals or particles of sand does the same, 
in however inferior a degree ; and the union of all 
these sounds, though singly imperceptible, may 
constitute the musical note of "the Mountain of 
the Bell " in Arabia Petra;a, or the lesser sounds of 
the trodden sea-beach of Eigg. 

Sir A. Smith distinctly heard sounds issuing 
from the celebrated granite statue of Memnon, in 
the morning, which sounds are ascribed by others 
to the same cause as the sound in granite rocks. 
M. Salverte regards them as wholly artificial, and 
the work of Egyptian priestcraft ; and he contrived 
a complicated apparatus of lenses, levers, and 
hammers, by which he supposed that the rays of 
the sun, as the prime mover, produced the mar- 
vellous sounds. 

The cut on the preceding page shows the colossal 
statues of Memnon in the plain on the west bank of 
the Nile, to the northernmost of which this property 
has been attributed. 

The speaking heads of the ancients were con- 
structed for the purpose of representing the gods, or 
of uttering oracular responses. The speaking head 
of Orpheus, at Lesbos, is one of the most famous, 
and had the credit of predicting, in the equivocal 
language of the heathen oracles, the bloody death 
which terminated the expedition of Cyrus the Great 
into Scythia. Odin, who imported into Scandinavia 
the magical arts of the East, possessed a speaking 
head, said to be that of the sage Minos, which 
uttered responses. The celebrated mechanic, Gcr- 
bert, who filled the papal chair as Sylvester II. 
(a.D. iooo) constructed a speaking head of brass. 
Albertus Magnus is said to have executed a head 



in the thirteenth century, which not only moved, 
but spoke. It was made of earthenware ; and 
Thomas Aquinas is said to have been so terrified 
when he saw it, that he broke it in pieces, upon 
which the mechanist exclaimed, " There goes the 
labour of thirty years ! " In these cases it is 
probable that the sound was conveyed by pipes fronr 
a person in another apartment to the mouth of the 
figure. Lucian, indeed, expressly informs us that 
the impostor Alexander made his statue of Escu- 
lapius speak by the transmission of a voice from 
behind, through the gullet of a crane, to the mouth 
of the figure ; and this method was probably general, 
for we read that in the twelfth century, when 
Bishop Theophilus broke to pieces the statues at 
Alexandria, he found some which were hollow, and 
which were so placed against a wall that the priest 
could conceal himself behind them, and address 
the ignorant spectators through their mouths. 

Even in modern times speaking machines have 
been constructed upon this principle, it being a 
mere head placed upon a hollow pedestal, which, 
in order to promote the deception, contained a pair 
of bellows, a sounding board, a cylinder, and pipes, 
supposed to represent the organs of speech. In 
other cases these are dispensed with, and a simple 
wooden head utters its sounds through a speaking 
trumpet. At the court of Charles II., the deception 
was so effectively practised by an Englishman, 
until a popish priest was discovered by one of the 
pages in an adjoining apartment. The question 
had been proposed to the wooden figure by whis- 
pering into its ear, and the answers were correctly 
given by speaking through a pipe in the same 
language in which the questions were proposed. 
Professor Beckmann was allowed, on the promise 
of secrecy, to witness the process of deception. 
He saw the assistant in another room, standing 
before the pipe with a card in his hand, upon 
which the signs agreed upon had been marked ; and 
he had been introduced so privately into the house, 
that even the landlady was ignorant of his being 
there. 

To this class of wonders belongs the famous 
" Ear of Dionysius," which has often been un- 
masked by travellers ; but Mr. Edward Postle- 
thwaite, in his " Letters from Greece," has added 
some curious details. He describes the "ear" as 
a large black opening in a rock, in the form of the 
ear of an ass, and fifty feet in height. It led into a 
cavern sixty or seventy yards long, by five or six wide, 
cut by pure chiselling in the solid rock, the sides 
slanting towards each other as they rose, till at the 
top they terminated in a mere rib or riband, which 
indicated the winding of the den. This was in 
imitation of the meatus auditorius of a donkc)-, 
as the entrance of the ear itself was formed to 
catch sound and carry it to the brain. The cavern 
was, in short, in close proximity to the palace of 



CURIOUS PLANTS. 



t39 



the tyrant Dionysius, of Syracuse, and from his 
palace was a passage to the top of the cavern. 
In this he shut up his suspected or disaffected 
subjects, and when it pleased his fancy he repaired 
through the passage to that part of the cavern, it 
is presumed, where the donkey's brain would be ; 
and there, with his ear to the f round, he listened 
to the conversations, or soliloquies, or ejaculations, 
or even sighs, of his ill-fated prisoners. But how 
could he hear the latter at sixty or eighty feet oft"? 
The donkey will tell you as soon as asked. Mr. 
Postlethwaite's guide went to a certain part of the 
cave, and in a low, civil tone addressed some words 
of reproach to the eavesdropping tyrant overhead ; 
and Mr. Postlethwaite was astonished at hearing 
his speech strike against the roof almost like a ball 
from a racket, louder, indeed, it seemed than when 
it passed his lips. 

Captain Smythe, in his memoir descriptive of 
Sicily, gives this more scientific explanation : " It 
is in the shape of a parabolic curve ending in an 
elliptical arch, with sides parallel to its axis, per- 
fectly smooth and covered with a slight stalactitic 
incrustation, that renders its repercussion exceed- 
ingly sonorous." Although a considerable portion 
of it has been fdled up, which Captain Smythe 
ascertained by excavation, it is still 64 feet high, 
from 17 to 35 in breadth, and 187 deep, and it has 
an awful and gloomy appearance. 

Dionysius could not, however, have listened with 
satisfaction or advantage, for if two or more persons 
are speaking together, it occasions only a contimied 
clamour. 



SOMxNAMBULISM. 

The following, which was quoted some years back 
in Blackwood's Magazine as " the most interesting 
case of somnambulism on record," is given under the 
head of '• somnambulism " in the French " Encyclo- 
paidia," and appears there as a narrative communi- 
cated immediately by an archbishop of Bordeaux. 

At the same seminary with the archbishop was a 
young ecclesiastic, who used to rise every night in 
his sleep, and write out either sermons or pieces of 
music. In order to study his condition, the arch- 
bishop betook himself several nights to the chamber 
of the young man, where he made the following 
observations : — He used to rise, to take paper, and 
to write. Before he wrote music, he would take a 
stick, and rule the lines with it. He wrote the notes, 
together with the words corresponding to them, with 
perfect correctness, or, when he had written the 
words too wide, he altered them. The notes that 
were to be black he filled in after he had completed 
the whole. After finishing a sermon, he read it 
aloud from beginning to end. If any passage 
displeased him, he erased it, and wrote the amended 
passage correctly over the other. On one occasion 



he had to substitute the word adorable into divin, 
but he did not omit to alter the preceding ce into 
cet by adding the letter t with e.xact precision to the 
word first written. To ascertain whether he used 
his eyes, the archbishop interposed a sheet of paste- 
board between the writing and his face. He took 
not the least notice, but went on writing as before. 
The limitation of his perceptions to what he was 
thinking about was very curious. A bit of aniseed 
cake that he had sought for he ate approvingly ; 
but when, on another occasion, a piece of the same 
cake was put into his mouth, he spat it out without 
observation. The following instance of the depen- 
dence of his perceptions upon, or rather their 
subordination to, his preconceived ideas, is truly 
wonderfid. It is observed that he always knew 
when his pen had ink in it. Likewise, if they 
adroitly changed his papers when he was writing, 
he knew if the sheet substituted was of different 
size from the former, and in that case he appeared 
embarrassed ; but if the fresh sheet of paper which 
was substituted for that written on was exactly of 
the same size with the former, he appeared not to 
be aware of the change. And he could continue 
to read off his composition from the blank sheet of 
paper as fluently as when the manuscript itself lay 
before him — nay, more, he would continue his 
corrections, and introduce the amended passages, 
writing upon exactly the place on the blank sheet 
which would have been occupied in the written 
page. 



Curious iplants. 



A Deadly Plant. — A few years ago there was, 
in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a speci- 
men of probably the most poisonous plant ever 
introduced into England. It was the jatropha 
icrens, the properties of which are so noxious that 
its possession is positively dangerous. Mr. Smith, 
the curator of the gardens, was one day reaching 
over it, when its fine bristly stings touched his 
wrist. The first sensation was a numbness and 
swelling of the lips ; the action of the poison was 
on the heart, circulation was stopped, and Mr. 
Smith soon fell unconscious, the last thing he re- 
membered being cries of " Run for the doctor ! " 
Either the doctor was skilful, or the dose of poison 
injected not quite, though nearly, enough ; but 
afterwards the man in whose house the plant was 
placed, got it thrust into a corner, and would not 
come within arm's length of it ; he watered the 
diabolical plant with a pot having an extremely long 
spout. In a short time, however, the plant dis- 
appeared altogether, and another specimen of the 
genus jatroplia, which was afterwards introduced, 
vanished in the like mysterious manner. It was 
presumed that the attendants were secretly deter- 
mined that such plants should not be retained 



140 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



in the houses, to cause the possibility of an accident 
sucli as that whicli had happened to the curator. 

The Hunger-plant. — In Peru a plant named 
the Erythoxyolon Coca has been found to possess 
the remarkable property of quelling the sensations 
of hunger and thirst for several days. M. de Rossi 
reports the fact from experiments on himself. 
A decoction of one hundred grains of the plant 
produced the effect for forty-eight hours, the 
muscular power being preserved. The plant 
appears to narcotise the nerves of the stomach, 
and suspend the digestive functions, without afford- 
ing any nutriment. 



THE FIRST MARINE CHRONOMETER. 

To ascertain longitudeby means of the watch, a navi- 
gator must have a chronometer showing him the 
exact time at Greenwich ; the instant that the sun 
comes to the meridian it is twelve o'clock, and the 
difference between this time and the hour marked 
by the chronometer gives him his longitude. Or, 
when the time is known at which any particular 
star passes the meridian at Greenwich, if the navi- 
gator marks the instant at which the star comes to 
tlie meridian, the difference between this time and 
the time it would appear at Greenwich is the dif- 
ference in longitude. 

This problem had been for a long time but inaccu- 
rately solved for w:ant of good watches. Maritime 
nations had promised rewards to any one who should 
make the discovery. In 1598, Philip III. of .Spain 
offered a prize of 1,000 crowns ; the Dutch followed 
this example ; the Duke of Orleans, Regent of 
France, offered inthe name of the king 100,000 livres ; 
and the French Academy awarded annually a prize 
to those who made the more useful discoveries con- 
nected with the subject. In 17 14, Parliament 
appointed a committee to consider the cjuestion, 
foremost of whom was Sir Isaac Newton, who at 
once suggested the discovery of the longitude by 
the dial of an accurate time-keeper ; and upon their 
recommendation the legislature of Queen Anne 
passed an Act granting _^io,ooo if the method 
found discovered the longitude to a degree, or sixty 
geographical miles, ^15,000 if to forty miles, and 
;^2o,ooo if to thirty miles ; to be determined by a 
voyage from a port in Great Britain to any port 
in America. For nearly a century and a half 
philosophers alike failed, when the great dis- 
covery was made by a self-taught genius, who was 
bred a village carpenter : this was John Harrison, 
born at Faulby, near Pontefract, in 1693. He 
early manifested a taste for mathematical science 
and mechanical pursuits ; and he had before made 
two wooden clocks, without having received any 
instruction in the art. He lived in view of the 
sea, and this led him to attempt to make a marine 
timepiece, and in 1736 he completed the first 



chronometer used at sea, which neither varied from 
change of temperature or the motion of the vessel ; 
and this being placed on board a ship of war going 
to Lisbon, the captain attested that Harrison had 
corrected an error of about a degree and a half upon 
their return to the English Channel. Harrison now 
received from Parliament ^^500, to enable him to 
proceed with his experiments. In 1739 he pro- 
duced a smaller chronometer, which promised the 
longitude with even greater accuracy. In 1741 
he finished another, smaller than either, and 
the society's gold medal was awarded him. Of 
the third chronometer Harrison claimed a trial, 
and in 1761 his son William was sent cut in a 
king's ship to Jamaica. After eighteen days' navi- 
gation the vessel was supposed to be 13° 50' west 
of Portsmouth, while the watch, marking 15" 19', 
was condemned as useless. Harrison, however, 
maintained that if Portland Island were correctly 
marked on the chart, it would be seen on the follow- 
ing day ; and the captain continuing in the same 
course, the island was discovered next day. In like 
manner, Harrison was enabled by his watch to 
announce all the islands in the order in which they 
would fall in with them. On his arrival at Port 
Royal, after 81 days' voyage, the chronometer was 
about five seconds slow, and on his return to Ports- 
mouth after a voyage of five months, it had kept 
time within about one minute five seconds, which 
gives an error of about eighteen miles. This was 
much within the thirty miles prescribed by the Act 
of 17 14, and Harrison claimed the reward. Objection 
was, however, taken to the proof, and Harrison 
made a second voyage, when his chronometer 
determined the position of Barbadoes within tlic 
limit of the Act ; ^20,000 was then awarded to him, 
^10,000 immediately on his explaining the principle 
of construction, and the other half on its being 
ascertained that the chronometer could be made 
by others. The most important of Harrison's im- 
provements are the gridiron pendulum, and the 
expansion balance-wheel, the one serving to equalise 
the movements of a clock, and the other those of a 
watch, under all changes of temperature, and both 
depending on the unequal stretching under change 
of temperature of two different metals, which are 
so employed to form the rod of the pendulum and 
the circumference of the wheel, that the contraction 
of the one exactly counterbalances the expansion 
of the other. The complexity of Harrison's time- 
keeper, and its high price, ^400, left to be invented 
for practical purposes an instrument of greater sim- 
plicity in the time-keeper of John Arnold, for which 
he and his son received the Government reward 
of Z3iO0O- In this machine each part performs 
unchecked the office assigned to it ; and its extreme 
variation in twelve months has been 57 hundredths 
only. Yet, the advance in making chronometers 
since Harrison's time has been very great, 



FINGAL'S CAVE. 




iinc;als cave. 



FINGAL'S CAVE. 

About eight miles distant from the western coast 
of Mull, and belonging to the Hebrides group, is 
the small and uninhabited island of Slaffa. That it 
owes its existence to volcanic agency is evident_from 
its composition, which is almost entirely lava and 
basalt, the columns of the latter substance being 
the principal formation of the island, and from 
which indeed it derives its name, Staffa being 
the Norse term for staves or columns. Numerous 
caverns are to be found in it, but the most celebrated 
of all, and to which the island owes its fame, is 
Fingal's Cave, or as it is sometimes called in j 
Gaelic, Uamh an Binn — the Cave of Music, from a 
supposed hole in the rock, through which the water | 
flows in and out with an harmonious sound. It lies 
on the southern side of the island, and it extends \ 
inwards in a N.N.E. direction for about 230 feet. 
Just before the entrance, on the right or eastern side 1 
especially, the columns are broken and irregular, I 
as if the waves had worn away their shafts and left j 
the bases only ; but the entrance itself is through 
an archway fifty feet wide, and about seventy feet ! 
high, surmounted by an architrave of another thirty 
feet, and which is supported on each side for the 
whole length of the cave by basaltic pillars of a 
greenish-black hue, wonderfully jointed, and of great 
symmetry and regularity. The pillars vary very 
muchin the number of their sides, though the greater 
part of them have five or six. The roof is almost 



unbroken in its surface, and is composed here and 
there of smooth rock, and of the cornices, as it were, 
of columns broken away — sometimes singly, some- 
times in clusters or bunches, from which hang 
stalactites, white, crimson, and yellow. A yellowish- 
white substance resembling lime has gradually 
oozed out of the joints of the pillars, filling up the 
spaces between] and defining sharply their angles, 
the whole forming a species of mosaic work. The 
pillars on the west side are about thirty-six feet 
high, rising up straight from the water — while 
those of the east are, by the raising of their bases 
eighteen feet, reduced to half the height, the eleva- 
tion of the roof being the same on both sides. 
On the eastern side is a ledge— it can hardly be 
called a gallery — by means of which it is possible to 
reach the extremity of the cave, which is there 
twenty feet wide. Though the floor is the sea, and 
the depth of water at the mouth is eighteen feet, 
and at the other end nine feet, it is seldom prudent 
and often impossible for boats to enter. The en- 
trance being so wide, the tide makes its way in in an 
almost unbroken swell. Standing, however, on the 
ledge of rock already mentioned, it is a sight ex- 
quisitely beautiful to watch when the sun is shining, 
the light green waves rolling in with a loud boom, 
made louder by the echoes, scattering the spray to 
the roof, and washing the half-broken pillars on 
both sides, when they reach the wall of rock that 
bars their further progress, and contrasting their 
colour with the dark red or violet rocks that forn* 



142 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



their bed, and the black cohimns of the walls 
varied here and there by the stains of lichens into 
bright green and red, orange, and yellow. 



^unositics of Stciim |Jaluci-. 

THE STEAM-ENGINE AND THE HUMAN BODY 
CO.MPARED. 

We find in Dr. Arnott's practical " Treatise on 
Warmth and Ventilation," the following ingenious 
comparison : — 

James Watt, when devising his first engine, knew 
well that the rapid combination of the oxygen of 
atmospheric air with the combustible fuel in the 
furnace produced the heat and the force of the 
engine ; but he did not know that in the living 
body there is going on, only more slowly, a similar 
combination of the oxygen of the air with the like 
combustible matter in the food, as this circulates 
after digestion in the form of blood through the 
lungs, which combination produces the warmth and 
force of the living animal. The chief resemblances 
of the two objects are exhibited strikingly in the 
following table of comparison, where in two adjoin- 
ing columns are set forth nearly the same things 
and actions, with difference in the names : — 

TAliLE OF COMPARISON. 

Tlie SUam-en^ine in acthn The Anitital Body in Life 

takes : takes : 

1. Fuel— viz., coal and wood, i. Food — viz., recent or fresh 
both being old or dry vege- vegetable matter and llesli, both 
table matter, and both com- being of kindred composition 
bustible. and both combustible. 

2. Water. 2. Drink (essentially waterj. 

3. Air. 3. Breath (conunon air). 

A nd produces : A nd produces : 

4. Steady boiling heat of 212 4. Steady animal heat of 9S de- 
degrees by quick combustion. grees by slow combustion. 

5. Smoke from the chimney, or 5. Foul breath from the wind- 
air loaded with carbonic acid pipe, or air loaded with car- 
and vapour. bonic acid and vapour 

6. Ashes, part of the fuel which G. Animal refuse, part of the 
does not burn. food which does not burn. 

7. Motive force, of simple alter- 7. Motive force, of simple alter- 
nate push and pull in the piston, nate contraction and relaxation 
which, acting through levers, in the muscles, which, acting 
joints, bands, &c., does work through tlie levers, joints, 
of endless variety, tendons, S:c. , of the limbs, 

does work of endless variety. 

8. A deficiency of fuel, water, or 8. A deficiency of food, drink, 
air first disturbs and then stops or breath first disturbs and 
the motion. then stops the motion and the 

life. 

9. Local damage from violence in 9. Local hurt or disease in a 
a machine is repaired by the living body is repaired or cured 
maker. by the action of internal vital 

powers. 

Such are the surprising resemblances between an 
inanimate machine, the device of human ingenuity 
executed by human hands, and the living body 
itself — yea, the bodies of the men whose minds 
contrive and whose fingers make such machines. 
A prodigious difference, however, between the two 
js pointed out by the expression t'/Az/ powers, con- 



tained in the last line of the preceding table. That 
difference, described in a few words, is, that while 
the machine has to be originally constructed, and 
afterwards worked and repaired and supplied with 
every necessary by intelligence and forces alto- 
gether external to it, the animal body performs all 
the offices mentioned, and others yet more sur- 
prising, for itself, by virtue of forces or powers 
originally placed within it by the divine Author of 
Nature. 

Glass-blowing Extraordinary.— The fol- 
lowing curious anecdote is related by the German 
traveller Kohl, in his work on " Russia." The 
Emperor Nicholas wished to illuminate the Alex- 
ander column in a grand style. The size of the 
round lamps to be used for the purpose was indi- 
cated, and the glasses bespoken at the manufactory, 
where the workmen exerted themselves in vain, 
and almost blew the wind out of their bodies in 
the endeavour to obtain the desired magnitude. 
The commission must be executed — that was self- 
evident ; but how ? A great premium was offered 
to whoever should solve this problem. Again the 
human bellows toiled and puffed. Their object 
seemed unattainable ; when at last a long-bearded 
Russian stepped forward, and declared that he 
could do it — he had strong and sound lungs, he 
would only rinse his mouth first with a little water 
to refresh them. He applied his mouth to the 
pipe, and puffed to such purpose that the vitreous 
ball swelled and puffed nearly to the required 
dimensions, up to them, beyond them. " Hold ! 
hold!" cried the lookers-on, "you are doing too 
much ; and how did you do it at all ?" " The matter 
is simple enough," answered the long beard ; " but, 
first, where is my premium ?" And when he had 
clutched the promised bounty, he explained. He 
had retained some of the water in his mouth, which 
had passed thence into the glowing ball, and there 
becoming steam had rendered him this good 
service. 



MoiTiJti's of ^luntal 



m- 



a lake of alligators. 
About eight miles from Kurrachee, in Scinde 
(says the author of " Dry Leaves from Young 
Egypt "), is a place well worth inspecting to .all who 
are fond of the monstrous and grotesque. A mo- 
derate ride through a sandy and sterile tract, varied 
with a few patches of jungle, brings one to a grove 
of tamarind trees, hid in the bosom of which lie the 
grisly brood of monsters. Little would one ignorant 
of the locale suspect that under that green wood, 
in that tiny pool, which an active leaper could half 
spring across, such hideous denizens are concealed. 
" Here is the pool," I said to my guide rather con- 
temptuously, "but where .are the aUigators ?" At 
the s.ame time I was stalking on very boldly, with 



ANTIQUITY OF NURSERY RHYMES. 



143 



head erect, and rather inclined to flout the whole 
affair. A sudden hoarse roar or bark, however, 
under my very feet, made me execute a pirouette in 
the air with extraordinary adroitness. I had almost 
stepped on a young crocodilian imp, about three 
feet long, whose bite, small as he was, would have 
been the reverse of pleasant. Presently the genius 
of the place made his appearance in the shape of a 
wizard-looking old Fakir, who, on my presenting 
him with a couple of rupees, produced his wand— 
in other words, a long pole — and then proceeded to 
"call up his spirits." On his shouting " Ao ! ao !" 
(come, come) two or three times, the water suddenly 
became alive with monsters. At least threescore 
huge alligators, some of fifteen feet in length, made 
their appearance, and came thronging to the shore. 
The whole scene reminded me of fairy tales. The 
solitary wood ; the pool with its strange inmates ; 
the Fakir's lonely hut on the hill side ; the Fakir 
himself, tall, swart, and gaunt ; the robber-looking 
Beloochee by my side, made up a fantastic picture. 
Strange, too, the control our showman displayed 
over his "lions." On his motioning with the pole they 
stopped, and, on his calling out " Baitho " (sit 
down), they lay flat on their stomachs, grinning 
horrible obedience with their open and expectant 
jaws. Some large pieces of flesh were thrown to 
them, toget which they struggled, writhed, and fought, 
and tore the flesh into shreds. I was amused with 
the respect the smaller ones showed to their over- 
grown seniors. One fellow, about ten feet long, was 
walking up to the feeding ground from the water 
when he caught a glimpse of another much larger 
just behind him. It was odd to see the frightened 
look with which he sidled out of the way, evidently 
expecting to lose half a yard of his tail before he 
could effect his retreat. At a short distance, per- 
haps half a mile, from the first pool, I was shown 
another, in which the water was as warm as one 
could bear it for complete immersion, yet even here 
I saw some small alligators. The Fakir told me 
these brutes were very numerous in the river about 
fifteen or twenty miles to the west. The monarch 
of the place, an enormous alligator, to which the 
Fakir had given the name of " Mor Sahib " ("My 
Lord Mor "), never obeyed the call to come out. 
As I walked round the pool I was shown where he 
lay, with his head above water, immovable as a 
log, for which I should have mistaken him but for 
his small savage eyes, which glittered so that they 
seemed to emit sparks. The Fakir said he was 
very fierce and dangerous, and at least twenty feet 
in length; 

FECUNDITY OF RAEEITS. 
The people of Australia are becoming greatly 
embarrassed and distressed by the rapid increase 
in the number of the rabbits, which were in the 
first instance introduced from England. Our 
readers arc no doubt aware that many attempts 



have been made in that colony, as well as in New 
Zealand and Tasmania, to acclimatise some of the 
most useful and pleasing of the fishes, birds, and 
quadrupeds of Europe, and these attempts ha\e 
frequently been attended with great success. But 
the introduction of rabbits, which were among the 
number, has, it appears, been a great deal tov 
successful. The fecundity of these animals is well 
known, and is a source of great annoyance and loss 
to the farmers in our own landj whose crops they 
ravage immensely. It is found in some places 
quite impossible to keep them sufficiently down, 
whether by shooting, by trapping, by smoking them 
out of their holes, or by the use of ferrets. 

In spite of all measures taken against them, they 
increase and multiply fast. At the age of a few 
months they begin to breed, and one female will 
produce several litters in a single year, each litter 
containing from three to a dozen young ones. The 
colonists are beginning now to find out that, 
although rabbits arc very good in pies and stews, 
and although it is also a very amusing sport to shoot 
them, they had, perhaps, much better have been 
without them altogether. We find one paper (the 
Melbourne Argus) lamenting that "it is beginning 
to be feared the colony has lost more than it has 
gained by their introduction. Complaints against 
their depredations are heard from all quarters. In 
the country to the west of Geelong, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Colac, and in the Western District, the 
engrossing topic of conversation is the best means 
for their extermination. Their numbers are so 
great, and to such an extent are they eating down 
the grass, that one large proprietor has entered 
upon a war of extermination, and has employed 
eighty-five men to starve them out by stopping up 
all the rabbit-holes and outlets. It is calculated 
that the cost of this one raid will be at least ^3,000 
or ;£4,ooo. In some places dogs, traps, snares, 
guns, and smothering, have all been tried, and 
many hundreds of thousands destroyed ; notwith- 
standing which, the rabbits apparently hold their 
own ; and it is estimated that this work of extermina- 
tion will take years to accomplish." 



ANTIQUITY OF NURSERY RHYMES. 

Many of these productions have a very curious 
history, if it could only be traced. Some of them 
probably owe their origin to names distinguished 
in our literature ; as Oliver Goldsmith, for instance, 
is believed in his earlier days to have written such 
compositions. Dr. E. F. Rimbault gives us the 
following particulars as to some well-known favou- 
rites : — "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is as old 
as the sixteenth century. "Three Blind Mice" 
is found in a music-book dated 1609. "The Frog 
and the Mouse" was licensed in 1580. "Three 



t44 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Children Sliding on the Ice " dates from 1633. 
" London Bridge is Broken Down " is of un- 
fathonied antiquity. " Girls and Boys come out 
to Play" is certainly as old as the reign of 
Charles II.; as is also "Lucy Locket lost her 
Pocket," to the tune of which the American song 
of "Yankee Doodle" was written. "Pussy Cat, 
Pussy Cat, where have you been ?" is of the age of 
Queen Bess. " Little Jack Horner " is older than 
the seventeenth century. " The Old Woman 
Tossed in a Blanket" is of the reign of James II., 
to which monarch it is supposed to allude. 



THE SWORD-FISH. 
The sword-fish, of which an engraving is annexed, 
is of the large family of the mackerel, and, like the 
rest of his tribe, is extremely greedy and pugnacious. 
'for fighting he is equipped by nature with a re- 



A few years since. Her Majesty's ship Faiuii, being 
worn out, was in the ship-breaker's hands, and it 
was found, on coming to her lower timbers, that a 
s\v"ord-fish had pierced them to a depth of eighteen 
inches. The sword, having snapped off, was left in 
the ship's side. Nothing was known of the wound 
by those who had sailed in the Fawn. The timber, 
with the sword in it, is preserved in the museum of 
the College of Surgeons, whence it was recently 
taken to be exhibited in court upon the trial of an 
action on a policy of marine insurance, in which 
the plaintiff showed that certain damage done to 
his ship, insured by the defendants, had been the 
work of a sword-fish's beak. It appeared at the 
trial that between four and five o'clock on the after- 
noon of the 13th of March, 1S64, the barque Dread- 
nought being on her way from Colombo to England, 
a sword-fish was hooked but got away, carrying 
with it a shark-hook and tackle. Soon afterwards 
the barque began to leak. She returned to Co- 
lombo, and went thence, still leaking, to Cochin. 
There she was hove down and examined, and after 




THE SWOKD-Fiair, 



iharkable prolongation of the upper jaw into a long 
sword-like weapon, from which he derives his title. 
The sword is rapier-shaped, and consists of a sub- 
stance as dense as any known bone, covered with a 
substance still harder, like the enamel of a tooth. 
Armed with this formidable weapon, the sword-fish 
will attack other fishes for the sake of their bodies, 
which he eats with great greediness. He will 
sometimes run full tilt at a ship —whether under the 
idea that it is an edible friend, or whether, as 
Cuvier seems to think, out of irritation caused by 
a parasitic crustacean which buries itself in its flesh 
and causes great torment, it were difficult to say. 
Certain it is that, under the influence of the parasite, 
the sword-fish, maddened by pain, will run itself 
aground, apparently in hope of getting rid of its 
foe. The fish is a large one, attaining a length of 
fifteen, and even twenty feet. It is found in the 
Mediterranean, and in tropical seas ; small spe- 
cimens are also occasionally taken in Britisli 
waters. 

Wonderful stories have been related of its as- 
saults on ships at sea. Some of them are no doubt 
exaggerated, some may be even apocryphal ; but, 
allowing for these, there is abundant testimony to 
prove the wonderful character of this warrior fish. 



■much time had been spent in searching, a hole was 
discovered, about an inch in diameter, through the 
garboard streak on the port side. The hole was 
quite large enough to account for the leakage which 
had taken place, and the shipowner and the crew 
of the Dreadnought believed that it had been made 
by the sword-fish hooked, but not captured, on the 
13th of March. 
' Professor Owen and Mr. Buckland were examined 
with a view to eliciting their opinion whether a 
sword-fish was capable of inflicting the damage 
deposed to. Much curious evidence was given by 
them as to the great power and strength of the fish ; 
and though they said that it was not imusual for 
sword-fishes to attack vessels and to bury their 
blades in the timbers, it was not within scientific 
experience that the blades had ever been withdrawn. 
They had been snapped off, as in the case of the 
Fawn, but had not been recovered by the fish. Still, 
considering that the hole made in the Dreadnought's 
side was only three inches deep, the witnesses 
would not say the assailant might not have tugged 
his sword away, and so caused the leak. The jury 
thought he had, and the under-writers, against whom 
a verdict was given, were left to seek their own 
remedy against the perpetrator of the damage. 



CORAL FORMATIONS. 



145 



CORAL FORMATIONS. 

The coral animals, wonderful in themselves, are 
still more wonderful in their works. Out of the 
mouths of babes and sucklings praise is perfected, j 
and the Almighty Creator of the universe has 
chosen the small creatures of his world to discharge 
some of the most wonderful offices in it. To the 
coral animals has been committed the execution of 
building works, far exceeding in magnitude any- 
thing that man can boast, and there is evidence 
that since the world began, or at all events since 
a very early period of its history, these tiny things, 
low down in the scale of life, have been the archi- 
tects and builders of no small portion of the dry 



being so small as scarcely to be noticed but for 
the surf which breaks and roars upon their rough 
outer walls, others having dimensions as great as 
eighty-eight miles by twenty miles, the dimensions 
of the largest known lagoon in the Maldive Archi- 
pelago. Let the sea be never so rough outside the 
lagoon, inside the water is calm and placid, so that 
where an entrance is practicable, as in almost all the 
larger atolls, these lagoons afford a covert from the 
wind and a hiding-place from the tempest to ships 
in distress. It is uncommon not to find easy and 
safe anchorage inside a lagoon ; though the water 
outside of it be bottomless to the sounding line, 
very often there is bottom on the inside at twenty 
fathoms. On the outer side of the embracing wall 





A LAGOON ISLAND IN THE PACIFIC. 



land which appears. Geology marks them for her 
own, and reveals among her treasures enormous 
masses of the fabric these things made before man 
had any being. Their historical work is done, 
however, and it is by their operations in the living 
present that we are now to judge of the importance 
of their position in the economy of nature. 

Coral-work is of four kinds, which are known as 
atolls or lagoon islands, encircling reefs, barrier 
reefs, and coral fringes. Atolls are rings of coral en- 
closing a portion of the sea, but having generally on 
the leeward side an opening by which communica- 
tion is kept up with the open water. They are not 
always round, some of them being of most irregular 
shape externally, but they are all so many en- 
closures presenting a barrier to the sea, which is 
allowed to come as far as to their sides and no 
farther. These sides are commonly raised from 
three to twelve feet above the water, and have a 
breadth of from a few yards to half a mile. The size 
of the islands varies very much, some of them 



of the harbour of refuge, the coral shelves down 
gradually to say twenty-five fathoms, a depth which 
may be obtained at a distance of two hundred 
yards from the island, but beyond this sounding 
the plummet will go into fathomless depths. At 
only one hundred yards away soundings have been 
taken to a depth of a mile and a half, and no bot- 
tom found ; while inside the lagoon there has been 
bottom at twenty fathoms. To these islands come 
the waifs and strays of wind and sea, drift, weeds, 
plants, and seeds. These last, which are borne 
from very considerable distances by winds and 
currents, take root and bring forth fruit after their 
kind ; wandering birds come, and their refuse and 
the dead leaves of plants form the beginning of a 
soil which is continually being formed by the attri- 
tion of water on the coral, causing a disintegration 
of the sun-dried mass. Thus in a marvellously 
short space of time is the birth of the ocean clothed 
and ornamented with the luxuriant vegetation of 
the tropics. It is a remarkable fact that the atoll- 



146 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



wall is strongest on the side most exposed to the 
weather. The coral animals flourish best on the least 
sheltered side. There they get fresher and larger 
supplies of material, and rough usage seems only 
to act as a tonic, and to spur them on to greater 
exertion. Inside the lagoon they languish, do not 
work so hard, and become delicate as compared 
with their brethren who love to battle with the 
waves, and who draw fresh life out of the means 
of apparent destruction. Atolls are not found in 
the West Indian seas, where other formations of 
coral are abundant ; but they are in countless 
numbers in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, where 
they form a principal difficulty of navigation. 
Their proximity is as often apprehended by the 
sense of sound as of sight, for the roar of the surf 
beating upon their sides may be heard for many 
miles, and will warn the sailor of his danger long 
before the eye can discern it. At one time it was 
said that these circular reefs marked the outline of 
a submarine crater ; but this supposition is com- 
bated not only by the great extent of the diameters 
of the atolls, but also by their shallowness. There 
are few of them, as we have seen, which may not be 
sounded inside, and some of them have even been 
known to get filled up. According to Mr. Darwin, 
the following is the process of formation : — " An 
island mountain, closely encircled by a coral reef, 
subsides, while the fringing reef that had sunk with 
it is constantly recovering its level, owing to the 
tendency of the coral animals to regain the surface 
by renewed perpendicular structures. These con- 
stitute first a reef, encircling the island at a distance, 
and subsequently, when the enclosed island has 
wholly subsided, an atoll." It is now thought that 
atolls mark the configuration of the land as it is 
under water, and that they choose the loftiest heads 
of submarine ranges as those most worthy of being 
ornamented with their beautiful crown. 

Barrier reefs are the work of coral animals which 
begin their operations upon the slope of some 
shelving coast, and build up gradually till they 
reach the surface of the water. At the surface the 
animals die, killed by contact with the air and 
sun. Between the reef and the mainland fresh- 
water streams empty themselves into the sea, 
bringing with them a quantity of land-mud, which 
is fatal — so is fresh water — to the existence of the 
corallium. The consequence is, that the watery 
gulf between the reef and the main never gets built 
upon by the coral contractors, who extend their 
operations, if at all, seawards, adding continually 
to the strength of their work, and increasing its 
area. Should the causes which retard these 
creatures' operations be removed, as by the dry- 
ing up of some noxious river, or its diversion from 
its course, the busy travailleurs de la mer will 
forthwith begin to build between the land and 
their works. Some barrier reefs are of enormous 



extent. There is one on the north-east coast of 
Australia which is a thousand miles long, and is 
continuous for three hundred and fifty miles with- 
out a break or opening. It runs parallel to the 
land, which is, in consequence, most difficult of 
access. 

Encircling reefs are similar in character to lagoon 
islands, but instead of being independent, as lagoons 
are, they attach themselves to some subsiding 
island or continent, round which they throw their 
arms. They will, unless means be taken to keep 
the navigation open, gradually cut off the object 
they embrace from all communication with the 
sea. 

Fringing reefs are strips or bands of coral bound 
round the shore of some steep island. Where the 
sides of the island slope abruptly, the reefs are only 
a few yards wide ; where they slope more gently 
the reefs will stretch' farther — indeed, until the water 
deepens to about thirty fathoms, the greatest depth 
at which coral animals can live, and move, and 
have any being. ^_^ . 

THE GARDEN SPIDER. 

The writer has often tested the intelligence and 
perseverance of the geometrical spider by the 
following, it must be admitted, aggravating experi- 
ment. Taking a piece of paper and rolling it 
between his fingers, he has thrown it into the web, 
taking care that it is not heavier than the weight of 
a fly. The spider runs along with alacrity towards 
his supposed prey, and soon discovering its un- 
palatable nature, carefully disentangles it, and drops 
it clear of the web to the ground by stretching out 
his first pair of legs, just as a human being might 
reach out his arm. He then returns to his place in 
the centre, and in a moment or so a piece of paper 
is thrown into another part of the web. The spider 
acts as before, and will do so, without much vari- 
ation, a few times. The fifth or sixth time he 
rushes at the paper with an appearance of anger, 
or runs an inch or two along the strands as if 
enraged, and then back again ; pauses a moment 
or so, as if to recover his equanimity, and then goes 
briskly to his disappointment, and again carefully 
disentangles the paper. All these movements, from 
the evident feeling and intelligence shown, are full 
of interest to the observer of nature, and they are 
sufficiently varied in individuals to make the experi- 
ment worth trying any number of times. Occa- 
sionally, for example, the spider, after he has been 
deceived a few times, will stretch out all his feet 
upon the strands, without moving from his place, 
and shake his web angrily ; or he will jerk the 
paper out much as one might' fillip it away from 
between the finger and thumb, with a decisive sharp- 
ness, very significant of passion. After awhile the 
spider will give up attacking his supposed prey. 



BURKE AND WILLS. 



M? 



Throw in a dozen, twenty, thirty bits of paper, and 
he will remain passive ; but give up your sport and 
retire for five or ten minutes, and you will again 
find him busily at work, going from piece to piece 
until the entire web is set free. 



BURKE AND WILLS, THE AUSTRALIAN 

EXPLORERS. 
A BRIGHT day in Melbourne. August nearly at an 
end, and the first warm breeze of the season telling 
that the sprrng-time of the antipodes was at hand. 
An excited crowd pressing in one direction, to arrive 
at last in the Royal Park, where a busy scene was 
presented, as of some oriental caravan about to 
start. Horses, drays, pack-saddles, tents, goods 
such as might be suited for a long desert journey, 
and above all, standing swinging their long necks, 
kneeling in process of loading, or already burdened, 
were no less than twenty-seven camels. For this 
was the day of starting of the exploring expedi- 
tion, whose duty was to pierce the thick veil that 
then covered the centre of the great continent of 
Australia, and to try and establish communication 
between Melbourne in the far south, and the land 
directly north upon the shores of the great Gulf of 
Carpentaria. 

The preparations were at length made, the last 
farewell and " God speed you " uttered, and then 
the train started in quiet regular order along the 
beaten tracks, past station after station, where the 
desert had been brightened by the home of the 
settler, and dotted by his flocks and herds. At the 
close of each day a halt was made, and then at early 
dawn on again, till the enclosed districts were left 
behind ; and, with the vast pathless wild before 
them, the magnitude of the undertaking first burst 
in all its reality upon the travellers. Mr. Burke 
was the captain of the expedition, Mr. Landells his 
second in command, and Mr. W. J. Wills, a pro- 
mising young man of twenty-seven, the third ; 
the party being composed of fifteen more, all told, 
well and liberally supplied by the Government 
of Victoria with provisions and instruments for 
observation. 

So far, all had gone on in the most promising 
way, and by easy stages the expedition had ad- 
vanced ever due north, encountering no further 
obstacles than the want of water, or a too great 
abundance in some creek or river, which rendered 
fording necessary. But now the foreman of the 
party, evidently alarmed, made objections, and 
behaved in a way which rendered his discharge 
imperative ; while before much more ground had 
been covered there was again dissension in the 
camp, ending in the resignation of the second in 
command and the doctor. 

This last was, however, evidently a gain, and, 
appointing Mr. Wills now his lieutenant, Mr. Burke 



pushed on to Cooper's Creek, a watering-place about 
halfway between Melbourne and the head of the 
gulf Here they waited for some considerable time 
for the coming up of fresh stores of provisions, but 
at length, growing impatient at the loss of valuable 
time, Burke determined to push on, and after mak- 
ing arrangements for the establishment of a depot 
of provisions, whereupon he could fall back, the 
leader left the bulk of his party with instructions 
to stay at the creek until his return, and then, ia 
company with Wills and two men, taking with 
them six camels, a horse, and a supply of pro- 
visions, started forward to pursue the expedition, 
opening up a route to the gulf, and, in spite of some 
difficulties, achieving the first part of their task, 
having from starting made about one hundred 
and twenty halts at various camps on a journey 
which lasted till February of the following year, 
1861. 

On the 13th of February, having accomplished 
their design, Burke and Wills began the retura 
route, rejoining their two men whom they had left 
with the camels at camp 1 19. And now began the 
serious part of the journey. Frequent thunder- 
storms and heavy rain made the ground boggy, 
distressing their horse and camels ; the food ran 
short, and birds were unaccountably wild and hard 
to approach. The one horse they had soon became 
so toilworn that he was shot, and they were glad to 
eat his flesh. Soon after one and then another 
camel shared the horse's fate, the flesh being 
jerked for future consumption. The long, toilsome 
journey was telling fast upon the travellers, bad 
supply of food and constant exposure adding their 
part to make the once buoyant, gallant men weak 
and low-spirited. But there was now the recollec- 
tion that could they reach the depot at Cooper's 
Creek there would be rest, fresh horses and camels, 
and abundant store of provisions. 

And now came a great trouble upon them — the 
little party of four was reduced to three by the 
death of Gray, one of the men, at a time when, after 
watching his last struggles, the survivors were so 
weak that they could hardly dig a shallow grave in 
which to cover the poor fellow's remains. 

With death staring them in the face, they once 
more pressed on, suffering from hunger and thirst 
by day, and from the piercing cold by night ; hardly 
able to keep together, and with their six camels 
now reduced to two ; here through long flats of 
kangaroo grass, reaching to their shoulders, or rich 
spear grass, making their way more toilsome as 
they waded through it knee-deep ; over creek and 
billibang ; across vast sandy plains ; by gum tree 
and salt bush ; ever on and on for the haven of 
rest that it seemed they would never reach — de- 
spairing sometimes, hoping at others, till on Sunday, 
April 2 1 St, the little wayworn party reached the 
creek, to stand lost, stunned, stupefied with amaze- 



t48 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



ment and the great despair that filled their souls, 
as, after their long and frightful journey— pioneers 
of civilisation that they were — after some 1,500 
toilsome miles of desert, they found themselves 
starving, weak, despairing, and with their clothes 
frilling from them in tatters, alone in the great 
wilderness. 

Utterly prostrated, Burke threw himself upon the 
ground to bury his face in his hands, while, with 
blank despair depicted in their countenances, his 
companions stood amidst the awful stillness to try 
and not believe that the trouble could be true. But 
the great blank truth was before them, and, once 
more collecting the energy that had led him across 
the pathless waste from shore to shore of the vast 
continent, Burke arose, and after a little examina- 
tion of the place, they found that at the foot of a 
tree a tolerably abundant store of provision had 
been left ; but the pleasure was damped by the 
discovery of a letter, telling them that those left in 
charge of the depot had departed with plenty of 
provisions, six camels, and twelve horses, all in 
good condition, that very day — but a few hours 
before the arrival of the hapless wanderers. 

"Can you make an effort to overtake them?" 
was the leader's query to his followers ; and the 
answer was in each case, " No." " I thought it my 
duty to ask you," he says, " but for my part I could 
not have stirred." 

Nor was it likely that the three fearfully weakened 
men could have gone many miles in pursuit of 
those who, they were given to suppose, were fresh 
and well-mounted. The attempt seemed hopeless 
and absurd. Here, then, they determined to rest 
and recruit for awhile, trusting that the change of 
diet they could now enjoy would restore their 
strength, and enable them by a different route to 
reach some of the most advanced settlements of 
South Australia by way of Mount Hopeless. 

Hopeless it proved ; for after many weary attempts, 
checked ever by the want of water, they were glad 
to return once more to the depot camp, hopeful 
that a party might be sent up to their rescue ; but it 
came not. And now appeared new actors upon 
the scene in the shape of a tribe of natives, who, 
during their stay in the neighbourhood, not merely 
supplied them with fish, but with a bread composed 
of the seed known amongst them as " nardoo " — a 
seed obtained from a plant growing after the fashion 
of the clover of our fields. 

The days passed on, with the hopeless travellers 
.daily growing weaker ; the last fragments of camel 
eaten, and an occasional crow forming their suste- 
nance ; for the natives were gone, and the stores left 
exhausted. After a search. King found out where 
the nardoo grew; but now a fresh disaster befel 
them — the gunyah or hut was burned, and with it 
clothes, coverings, and guns and instruments des- 
troyed. But, in spite of all, Mr. Wills kept on 



writing his journal from day to day, in a cheerful 
spirit that breathes of resignation, and hardly 
reveals the weakness of the sufferers, till we read 
that from getting too feeble to go and gather the 
nardoo, first one and then the other grew too 
weak even to pound it into flour ; and after having 
had his journal buried in the depot cach6, Mr. 
Wills, as a last resource, begged of his two com- 
panions to leave him, helpless and alone in the 
wilderness, while they went to try and bring some 
of the natives to his aid. 

A pitiful scene ! the dying man giving his wallet 
and a letter to his companion in the long journey, 
and urgi ng him to go, until, slowly and unwillingly, 
with hanging head and faltering steps, Burke left 
him, followed by King. One day they travelled on 
slowly, Mr. Burke complaining of weakness. On 
the second day, at the end of two miles, he de- 
clared he could go no farther, and, after struggling 
on a little distance, he lay down calmly and re- 
signedly, his great task done, to seek for rest. No 
great horror and dread of death upon him, no wild 
struggle of the strong against the appalling shade ; 
but the weary wanderer putting his little affairs in 
order, calmly giving a few directions to his follower, 
ending by asking him to stay with him till he was 
quite dead, and then hopefully and gently sinking 
without a struggle into his last long sleep. 

King, his humble companion, stayed by him, and 
in his simple homely words — words expressive of 
volumes when taken in connection with his position, 
hundreds of miles from civilised man, says, " I felt 
very lonely." 

Almost ready to lie down by his chief. King 
struggled on a little farther, to find a native hut 
with food therein ; and after a rest, the poor fellow 
toiled back to the gunyah where he had left 
Mr. Wills, to find that he had joined his brave- 
hearted leader, for Wills too was at rest. King says 
but little of his own feelings in his simple narrative, 
but even the savages who clustered round the 
bough hut, where now a few branches and some 
sand covered the brave young man's remains — 
even they could add their little to the covering of 
the cold clay, and weep bitterly at his fate. 

Dead both, when, but for cold neglect and care- 
lessness, the gallant fellows — men whose names 
will ever shine in history — might have been saved, 
for " they perished with help so nigh and yet so 
far from them." Their part of the task was nobly 
done, but those who should have been ready to 
receive them on their return cruelly abandoned 
them to their fate. 

Too late were the failings of the expedition dis- 
covered — its badly chosen officers, and arrange- 
ments too cumbersome for such a duty ; and too 
late was the arrival of those sent to discover the 
gallant men who had won a way through the path- 
less land. 



The palace of the escurial. 



149 




VIEW OF THE ESCURIAL. 



THE palace of THE ESCURL\L. 

The famous palace and monastery of the Escurial 
stands in the kingdom of Toledo, seven leagues 
from Madrid. The term Escurial, or Escorial, 
is considered by some to be Arabic, meaning a 
place full of rocks ; but by others is derived from 
scoria fcrri, iron dross, from there having been 
anciently great iron works near this place. The 
Spaniards call it la octava maravilla, " the eighth 
wonder," and eccentricity of plan and vast extent 
entitle it to this distinction. It owes its existence 
to the bigotry of Philip II., who, in his fight with 
the French at St. Quintin, vowed that if he were 
successful he would build the most magnificent 
convent in the world, in honour of the saint whose 
name should be found that day upon the calendar. 
The battle being won, it was found that San 
Lorenzo, or St. Lawrence, was the lucky patron ; 
and measures were forthwith taken for the fulfil- 
ment of the vow. According to the legend, this 
saint suffered death by being broiled on a gridiron ; 
and the architect, Juan Baptista de Toledo, at once 
took it into his head to build the convent on that 



singular plan. " With this view," says the author 
of " A Year in Spain," " he represented the several 
bars by files of building, the handle by a portion 
of the church, and even the feet by four insignifi- 
cant towers which rise at the corners. Indeed, the 
only poetic licence he was guilty of, was in sup- 
posing his gridiron to be turned upside down." 
This is confessedly the most wonderful edifice in 
Europe, whether in dimensions or riches. It has 
i,85o rooms, 6,200 windows and doors, 80 stair- 
cases, 73 fountains, 48 wine-cellars, 8 organs, and 
51 bells. It contains, also, 1,560 oil-paintings ; 
and the frescoes, if all brought together, would form 
a square of 1,100 feet. Its circumference is 4,800 
feet, nearly a mile. 

The plan is divided so as to form a convent with 
cloisters ; two colleges ; the royal palace ; three 
chapter-houses ; three libraries, with about 30,000 
volumes and some valuable MSS. ; five great halls; 
six dormitories, thirty other halls, nine refectories, 
and five infirmaries, with apartments for artisans 
and mechanics. 

The church is a wonderful structure. "The 
riches of Spain and her ancient colonies," says 



*So 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Inglis, "are exhausted in the materials — marbles, 
porphyries, jaspers of infinite variety, and of the 
most extraordinary beauty, gold, silver, and pre- 
cious stones ; and the splendid effect of the whole 
is not lessened by a nearer inspection : there is no 
deception, no false glitter ; all is real. The whole 
of the altar-piece in the Capella Mayor, upwards of 
ninety feet high and fifty broad, is one mass of 
jasper, porphyry, and marble. The church has 
forty chapels, each with its altar ; and it is crowned 
with a dome 330 feet high from the ground. There 
is a mausoleum, encrusted with marbles ; the design 
is in imitation of the Pantheon at Rome. The 
cost of the Escurial was six millions of piastres. A 
description of the edifice was translated into Eng- 
lish by a servant of the Earl of Sandwich, in his 
embassy to Spain in 1671, from which it appears 
that the Escurial was reported to have been des- 
troyed by fire in that year. There was a similar 
report about sixty-five years ago. 



i-gctr nnis Citrious ^xm. 

— • — 

YEWS AND OAKS. 

Yew trees, of all European trees, are considered 
by De Candolle to attain the greatest age ; and he 
assigns an antiquity of thirty centuries to the Taxiis 
baccata of Braburn, in Kent ; from twenty-five to 
thirty centuries to the Scotch yew of Fortingal ; and 
fourteen and a half and twelve centuries respectively 
to the yews of Crowhurst, in Surrey, and Ripon 
(Fountains Abbey), in Yorkshire, but these ages are 
conjectural on the size. Beneath the three yews at 
Ripon, the founders of Fountains Abbey are stated 
to have held their rural council in a.d. 1132 ; they 
are yet standing, and Norman churches in England 
are found with yews beside them older than the 
church. A yew-tree at Aukerwyke House, near 
Staines, is supposed to be of great antiquity : there 
is a tradition that Henry VIII. occasionally met 
Anne Boleyn under its branches. This yew is 
stated to have been a vigorous tree on the bank 
of the Thames, opposite Runnymede, when Magna 
Charta was signed there in 1215 ; and it still bears 
its green leaf after 650 winters. The yew trees 
at Kingley Bottom, near Chichester, in Sussex, 
date as far back as the landing of the Sea Kings 
on the coast of Sussex. On one of the South Down 
hills, immediately above the yew tree valley, and 
called Bow Hill, are some tumuli, which are always 
called by the natives the graves of the Sea Kings, 
who, with their followers, are supposed to have 
fallen in a battle fought under these very yew trees. 
The celebrated yew in Harlington churchyard, Mid- 
dlesex, was formerly clipped into fantastic shapes, 
but since 1790 has grown in its natural form ; in 
1823 its age was stated at 800 years ; height of 
Stem, 44 feet 6 inches ; circumference of trunk, 14 



feet I inch ; spread of branches, 1 50 feet. Mr. 
Bowman, F.L.S., as the result of his observations 
upon the growth of several yew trees, concludes 
that their diameter increases during the first 120 
years at the rate of one-sixth of an inch per 
annum. In Gresford churchyard, near Wrexham, 
North Wales, eighteen yew trees, recorded to 
have been planted in 1726, averaged twenty inches 
in diameter in 1836. Another yew tree in the 
same churchyard had a trunk twenty-two feet in 
circumference at the base, and twenty-nine feet 
below the first branches. From three sections 
of this tree, Mr. Bowman found the average of 
rings deposited for one inch in depth of its latest 
growth to be thirty-four and two-thirds, comparing 
which with the data of eighteen young trees, the 
probable age of this tree was 1,419 years. Another 
yew tree in Darley churchyard, Derbyshire, is cal- 
culated to be 2,006 years old. Norbury Park, in 
Surrey, has a " Druids' grove " of yews, of girth 
but seldom equalled ; one is upwards of twenty- 
two feet in circumference. 

Owen Glendower's Oak, at Shelton, near Shrews- 
bur)', is named from that chieftain, who from its 
branches is said to have witnessed the great 
battle between Henry IV. and Henry Percy, July 
20th, 1403. It is so hollow on the inside that 
six or eight persons may stand within it. Its 
extreme girth is 40 feet 3 inches, and it is 
healthy and flourishing. Cowthorpe Oak, near 
Wetherby, in Yorkshire, is stated by Professor 
Burnet to be 1,600 years old, and so large is its 
hollow as to have contained within it seventy 
persons at one time. The famous Fairlop Oak, in 
Hainault Forest, was 36 feet in circumference 
about a yard from the ground, and its shade over- 
spread an area of 300 feet in circuit ; it was blown 
down in 1820. The Oak of the Partisans, in the 
forest of Parey, Saint Ouen, in the department 
of the Vosges, extends its branches over 100 feet, 
and its height is 107 feet ; it has lived 650 years, 
and was known at the time when the Cothereaux, the 
Carriers, and Routiers devastated France, in the days 
of Philip Augustus. The Dull Oak, Wcdgenock 
Park, and the Plcstor Oak, Colborne, are believed 
to be as old as the time of disparking lands, after 
the Norman Conquest ; but the VViiifartliing Oak, 
and the Bcntley Oak, are believed to have been 700 
years old at the time of the Conquest. William the 
Conqueror's Oak, in Windsor Great Park, measures 
at four feet from the ground, 38 feet in girth, 
and is probably from 1,000 to 1,200 years old. The 
great Oak ofSaintcs, in the department of Charente 
Inferieure, measures 23 feet in diameter five feet 
from the ground, and is large enough to contain a 
small chamber ; its antiquity is conjectured at 
1,800 or 2,000 years. Dr. Goddard remarks : — 
" It is commonly and very probably asserted that a 
tree gains a new ring every year." In the body of 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 



151 



a great oak in the New Forest, three and four 
hundred rings have been distinguished. The 
Queen's Oak at Huntingfield, in Suffolk, was 
situated in a'*Vark belonging to Lord Hunsdon, 
where he entertained Queen Elizabeth, who is 
reported to have shot a buck with her own hand 
from this oak. Sir Philip Sidneys Oak, near 
Penshurst, is said to have been planted at his 
birth in 1554. It has been celebrated by Ben 
Jonson and Waller. This oak is above 22 feet 
in girth ; it is hollow and stag-headed. The El- 
lerslie Oak, near Paisley, is reported to have 
sheltered among its branches Sir William Wal- 
lace and 300 of his men. If this legend were 
true, it would imply that the tree was in its full 
vigour at the end of the thirteenth century. The 
Swilcar Oak, in Needwood Forest, Staffordshire, is 
stated by Strutt "to be known by historical docu- 
ments to have been, in 1822, 600 years old." This 
noble tree stands on a beautiful lawn surrounded 
with* extensive woods. It measures 13 yards round 
at its base. The Abbot's Oak, near Woburn Abbey, 
is stated to derive its name from the fact that the 
abbot of the monastery was, by order of Henry 
VIII., hung from its branches in 1537. Marshall 
says :— "If we consider the quick growth of the 
chestnut, compared with that of the oak, and at 
the same time the inferior bulk of the Tortworth 
chestnut to the Cowthorpe, the Bentley, and the 
Boddington oaks, may we not venture to infer 
that the existence of these truly venerable trees 
commenced some centuries prior to the era of 
Christianity ?" 

A WONDERFUL TIDE. 

In the collection of tracts forming a portion of the 
library of King George III., in the British Museum, 
is one of four leaves, which contains the following 
account of an extraordinary phenomenon observed 
at London Bridge in the middle of the seventeenth 
century : — 

" Friday, February 4th, 1641, it was high water 
at one of the clock at noon — a time, by reason so 
accommodated for all employments of water or 
land, very fit to afford witness of a strange and 
notorious accident. After it was full high water, 
and that it flowed its full time, as all almanacks set 
down, watermen, the unquestionable prognosti- 
cators in that affair, with confidence maintain it 
stood a quiet, still, dead water a full hour and a 
half, without moving or returning in any way never 
so little ; yea, the watermen flung in sticks to the 
stream as near as they could guess, which lay in 
the water as upon the earth, without moving this 
way or that. Dishes, likewise, and wooden buckets, 
they set a-swimming ; but it proved a stifling, for 
move they would not any way, by force of stream 
or water, so that it seemed the water was indeed 



asleep or dead, or had changed or borrowed the 

stability of the earth. 

" The watermen, not content with this evidence, 
would needs make the utmost of the trial, that 
they might report with the more boldness the truth 
of the matter ; and with more credible confidence 
they took their boats, and launched into the stream 
or very channel ; but the boats that lay hauled up 
on the shore moved as much, except when they 
moved their oars ; nay — a thing worthy the admira- 
tion of all men — they rowed under the very arches, 
took up their oars, and slept there, or, at least, lay 
still an hour very near ; their boats not so much as 
moved through any way, either upward or downward, 
the water seeming as plain, quiet, even, and stable 
as a pavement under the arch, where, if anywhere 
in the Thames, there must be moving, by reason of 
the narrowness of the place. 

"In this posture stood the water a whole hour 
and a half, or rather above, by the testimony of 
above 500 watermen on either side of the Thames, 
whom not to believe in this case were stupidity, not 
discretion. At last, when all men expected its ebb, 
being filled with amazement that it stood so long 
as hath been delivered, behold a greater wonder — a 
new tide comes in ! A new tide with a witness. 
You might easily take notice of him ; so loud he 
roared that the noise was guessed to be about 
Greenwich, when it was heard so, not only clearly 
but fearfully to the bridge ; and up he comes, 
tumbling, roaring, and foaming in that furious 
manner that it was horror unto all that beheld it. 
And as it gave sufficient notice to the ear of its 
coming, so it left sufficient satisfaction to the eye 
that it was now come, having raised the water four 
foot higher than the first tide had done — four foot 
by rule, as by evident measure did appear, and 
presently ebbed in as hasty, confused, unaccustomed 
manner. See here, reader ! a wonder that, all 
things considered, the oldest man never saw or 
heard of the like." 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 

What is light ? The answer is wonderful enough. 
Light is motion — the motion or vibration of an 
imponderable, invisible, all-present something, 
which, for the want of a better word, philosophers 
call ether. This ether permeates all space, and 
is capable of receiving various kinds of motion. 
Sir Isaac Newton, the most profound of natural 
philosophers, left at the end of his great work, the 
" Principia," three assertions — assertions which all 
but deserve the name of prophecies, for he seems 
to have had little reason for making them beyond 
his marvellous sagacity. Two of these have 
already been found true, and the third seems 
daily approaching demonstration. It is, that light, 
heat, magnetism, electricity, and animal life are 



IS2 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 




all the offspring of one great source ; or, in other 
words, that these wonderful powers are all allied to 
each other, and arc probably only the same thing 
in different states of motion. Every year science 
discovers some new connecting link. We know 
that electricity can produce light, heat, and mag- 
netism, and that a dead body can be made to 
exhibit the muscular functions of life under its in- 
fluence ; and that the reverse of all this is true, that 
electricity in its turn can be produced by heat or 
magnetism, or animal life. So that the day may 
yet come when we shall be able to show that these 
powers are only different states of this very ether 
whose motion produces light ! 

The eye is such a delicate organ, that we have a 
better means of investigating the properties of light 
than those of any of the kindred powers. And 
truly are the results of this investigation wonderful ! 
That motion of this ether which is light, is termed 
" wave motion." If a stone be thrown into water, 
rings of waves begin to circle from the place where 
the water was disturbed, widening further and 
further. If there should be a piece of straw or any 
light body floating on the water, the wave does not 
carry this with it, but it merely 
rises and falls as the wave _a a 

passes beneath it ; teaching ( 
us that the water does not '•>._ 
move in the direction of the «^ i i' b 
wave, but each particle of fluid 

rises and falls again into the exact place from which 
it was disturbed. This is wave motion, and is the 
manner in which all disturbances are propagated 
in different media. For example : sound is pro- 
duced by similar waves in the air. The air is not 
put into motion in such a manner as to produce 
wind — we do not feel a breeze, when listening to an 
organ, issuing from the instrument — and yet we 
know that sound is produced by waves of air, as 
we shall presently show. In an earthquake this 
same kind of motion is produced, and as the 
waves ripple the surface of the land, they upset 
buildings, &c. ; but the earth is not cast up in waves 
and ridges, like huge furrows of a ploughed field, 
thrown in confusion over each other. A wave, in 
scientific language, is, therefore, understood to be 
an undulatory movement which passes through 
the medium without permanently disturbing it. 

We may give some idea of the manner of this 
vibration which takes place in a pencil of light, by 
fastening a long cord to a distant point, holding 
the other end in the hand. When the hand is 
shaken, a wave runs along the string ; if the hand 
be turned round as it is shaken, a series of waves 
in different positions would pass along the cord. 
If we imagine this cord to be ether, and, instead of 
one hand, many were at the same time causing the 
oscillations in different positions, we should have a 
pencil of light, 



The size and rapidity of these waves can be mea- 
sured. If the curved line in the figure represent a 
wave of ether, the colour of the liglit will depend 
on the length of the wave — that is, upon the dis- 
tance from a to a. This is longest in red light, 
being ^-jig^th of an inch ; if the light be violet, the 
length is seventh of an inch. 

The brightness or intensity of the light will 
depend on the depth of the wave, or the distance 
from a to b. The colour is also influenced by the 
rapidity of vibration — that is, the number of times 
the point a will descend to a, and back again in a 
second. It is truly a triumph of science to have 
measured this time of oscillation. For red light it 
is 482,000,000,000,000 in a second, while for violet 
light it is no less than 707,000,000,000,000 a second ! 
What greater wonder can be expressed than to say 
that during every second the eye is looking at a 
violet flower or a mauve ribbon, the delicate retina 
is receiving and recognising 707 million millions of 
impulses ! 

Conceive the number ! Suppose that there were 

3,000,000 people in London capable of counting 

100 every minute, that this vast multitude counted 

on twelve hours every day ; 

it would take their united 

effort to count for nearly ten 

years before they told the 

number of the vibrations 

which 

violet colour for oni; second. 

Yellow is caused by a number of oscillations 
midway between these extremes. How little do 
we know how wonderfully we are made ! We do 
not say that the retina of the eye, which is the net- 
work of the optic nerve spread out to catch the 
light which enters through the pupil, absolutely 
vibrates this enormous number of times itself, but 
it is so delicately constructed that it can be affected 
by these vibrations ; and the nerve receives them, 
and transmits them faithfully to the brain. Many 
persons are colour-blind. That is on account or 
some defect either in the construction of the retina, 
or in the means of transmitting its impressions to 
the brain ; the proper number of oscillations is not 
registered, and therefore the right colour is not 
perceived. Just so with the ear. If the tympanum, 
or the fine membrane which is stretched across the 
tube which has its opening in the ear, be thick, it 
is not capable of feeling very rapid vibrations of the 
air, which beat against it; and as the higher the 
note the greater are the number of vibrations — for 
example, the highest note in a piano causes about 
three thousand vibrations in a second ! Many 
people cannot hear so high a note, because their 
tympanum has become thick; and many more 
cannot hear the chirp of a cricket, for the same 
reason. The delicate construction of the eye and 
the car [it truly wonderful. 



cause us to perceive 



GRACE DARLING. 




GRACE DARLING SETTING OUT 



RESCUE THE CREW OF THE " EORFARSHIRE. 



^ratog of eHomaiT. 



GRACE DARLING. 

The story of Grace Darling's rescue of the survi- 
vors of the Forfarshire steamer is wonderful, not 
only on account of the difficulties of the rescue 
itself, but more particularly on account of the 
unhardy nature of her who was solely instrumental 
in effecting it. Grace Darhng was no " strong 
daughter of the plough," or of the oar, to whom it 
would not be so difficult a matter to pull a boat 
through a raging surf. On the contrary, she was of 
delicate constitution, and died young. The following 
is the story of the wonderful rescue she effected : — 
On the evening of the 5th of September, 1838, 
the steamer Forfarshire, of 300 tons burden, left 
Hull for Dundee, with sixty-three persons on 
board, including passengers and crew. There had 
been something wrong with her boilers before she 
left port, and this injury had been so ill remedied 
, that when off Flamborough Head tlae boilers were 

30 



found to leak worse than ever. The Forfarshire's 
progress was retarded, so that what with stopping 
to repair the boilers, and what with the diminished 
action of the engines, it was evening on the 6th of 
September before the " Fairway," or passage be- 
tween the Fame Islands and the mainland, was 
made. The steamer got through the passage into 
Berwick Bay, when the wind began to blow ex- 
ceedingly hard from the northward, and the sea to 
get up. As the night came on the weather became 
rougher, and at ten o'clock there was a whole gale 
of wind. The engineers reported that the leak in 
the boilers had put out the fires, and that the 
engines were unmanageable. The master of the 
Forfarshire, John Humble, put sail on the ship 
and got her round, with the intention of getting 
her before the wind and running out to sea. He 
did not probably think himself so close to dangerous 
rocks as to justify, or rather to necessitate, letting go 
his anchors. The Forfarshire would not answer 
her helm; she fell off, carried away some of her 
gear, and becoming unmanageable, began to drift. 



154 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



The current was setting to the southward, in the 
direction of the Fairway, the dangerous channel 
through which the steamer had so lately passed. 
The shipmen were ignorant of their position until 
suddenly the Fame Islands light flashed upon them, 
and they saw close under their lee the broken water 
which marked the spot where outlying rocks lurked 
in ambush for them. 

Captain Humble did his utmost to run his ship 
into the channel, through which he hoped he might 
get into clear water beyond ; but she was not under 
command, and between three and four o'clock on 
the morning of the 7th September, she struck 
heavily forward upon a sharp rock of one of the 
Fame Islands. Nine of the crew lowered a boat 
and so saved themselves, being picked up next 
day by a passing ship ; but no attempt was made 
to save any more lives. Soon after the first shock 
had taken place, the waves struck the steamer 
some heavy blows on her quarter, and then, uniting 
their strength, lifted her, to fling her down again on 
the edge of the rock. Immediately she broke her 
back, and the after part, containing the captain, his 
wife, and many ef the passengers, was swept away 
and destroyed with its living freight. The fore 
part fell forward on the rock. Upon it, and in the 
make-shift shelter furnished by its wreckage, were 
clustered nine persons, five of the crew and four 
passengers, including a poor woman whose two 
children died in her arms during the night. When 
morning broke the look-out at the lighthouse on the 
Longstone, one of the Fame group, descried the 
position of the sufferers, and saw also the apparent 
impossibility of assisting them. The wind had 
abated a little, but the sea was still tremendously 
high, and around the rocky Fames was surging and 
seething like the water in a mill dam. In the 
Longstone lighthouse were three persons, William 
Darling, his wife, and their daughter Grace, who 
was twenty-three years of age. What assistance 
could they render ? William Darling thought 
none, and, knowing the great danger of the naviga- 
tion at all times, but especially in stormy weather 
— knowing also that unusual strength would be 
necessary to pull a boat through such a sea as was 
running— determined to leave the shipwrecked folk 
to their fate. Men on the mainland refused that 
day to put off, though for substantial reward. 

Grace Darling knew less, perhaps, than her 
father about the perils of a rescue, but she could 
not bear the idea of no attempt being made to save 
those who could be seen by the aid of a glass 
clinging to the wreck on the sea-washed rock about 
a mile away. She begged that the lighthouse boat 
might be launched, and declared her own readiness 
and ability to take an oar. Doubtingly and with 
misgiving, William Darling yielded to his daughter's 
solicitations, and, with the help of wife and 
maiden, got the boat into the water. Then came 



the difficulty, then there was the danger. Bravely, 
manfully, perseveringly the two rowers toiled at 
their work, now raised high on the crest of one 
wave, now buried in the lap of another, now using 
all their skill and co-operation to keep the boat's 
head to the breakers, now giving way with earnest 
will to pull the boat through them. On they went 
spurred to exertion not only by the enthusiasm of 
humanity, but by prudential motives, for they knew 
that unless they could get back from the goal they 
aimed at with the flow of the tide, they would have 
to be prisoners with the shipwrecked till the tide 
served again. After a severe labour which well- 
nigh exhausted the crew, the lighthouse boat was 
brought alongside the rock on which the miserable 
people were. Well might they wonder at the sight 
the boat presented ; welljmight they wonder to see 
in one of their rescuers a fair maiden, young and 
feminine in her looks, who yet seemed able to 
manage her oar with all the skill, strength, and 
dexterity of the most practised boatman. 

All the survivors were taken off, and brought 
back to the Longstone, where they were duly cared 
for and entertained until, the boisterous weather 
having subsided, they could be fetched by succours 
from the mainland. Four years afterwards Grace 
Darling, whose wonderful courage and hardihood 
were thus the means of saving nine lives, fell a 
victim to consumption ; but her name, still lives, 
and must endure until the day when the world 
shall cease to admire and love tlrose who are 
capable of the most exalted and wonderful heroism. 



A NATURAL ^OLIAN LYRE. 

Near Freyberg, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, 
there is a chasm in a mountain, remarkable not 
only for the romantic nature of the scene, but for 
the extraordinary sounds which occasionally issue 
from it. This latter peculiarity was first observed 
at the end of the seventeenth century by some 
soldiers stationed on the adjoining heights, who 
heard melodious tones resounding from the tops of 
some fir-trees which grew beside a waterfall in a 
neighbouring wood. The current of air ascending 
and descending through the chasm, receives a 
counter impulse from an abrupt angle of rock, and 
acting on the tops of the trees and shrubs, forms a 
natural ^Eolian harp, the tones of which are accom- 
panied by the gurgling of the waterfall. The 
religious spirit, which was the prevailing charac- 
teristic of the age, led the soldiers to regard this 
phenomenon as the result of supernatural agency. 
On approaching the spot whence the music issued, 
they found affixed to the tallest of the group of fir- 
trees a wooden image of the Virgin holding the 
infant Jesus in her arms. This image was erected, 
in 1680, by Frederick Schwab, a citizen of Freyberg, 



THE EARTH-EATERS. 



155 



as a memorial of his having been cured of leprosy 
by the water of the mountain spring. The soldiers, 
however, conjectured that the aerial music which 
had attracted them to the spot was the singing of 
the celestial choir. Near the image was placed a 
box for the reception of offerings, which soon 
became sufficiently numerous to defray the expense 
of erecting a chapel on the spot. 



THE EARTH-EATERS. 

To " eat dirt " is naturally, as well as metaphorically, 
a most disagreeable and unwholesome undertak- 
ing ; but to eat dirt in the literal sense, and not 
only to enjoy it, but to thrive on it, is so contrary 
to our ordinary ideas as to seem absolutely im- 
possible. Nevertheless, it is perfectly true that 
earth-eaters are to be found among the tribes of 
the human race ; and we will give our readers an 
account of these people and their usages, on the 
authority of the famous scientific traveller. Baron 
von Humboldt. 

In his " Aspects of Nature," it is related that in 
descending the Orinoco — a river which runs through 
Venezuela, in South America — he passed a day 
with the earth-eating tribe of Indians called the 
Otomacs. The Baron thus describes the peculiar 
diet and habits of this people : —  

" The earth which the Otomacs eat is a soft 
unctuous clay, a true potter's clay, of a yellowish-grey 
colour, due to a little oxide of iron. They seek for it 
in particular spots on the banks of the Orinoco and 
the Meta, and select it with care. They distinguish 
the taste of one kind of earth from that of another, 
and do not consider all clays as equally agreeable to 
eat. They knead the earth into balls of about five 
or six inches diameter, which they burn or roast by a 
weak fire, until the outside assumes a reddish tint. 
The balls are remoistened when about to be eaten. 
It is a proverb among the most distant of the 
nations living on the Orinoco, when speaking of 
anything very unclean, to say that it is ' so dirty 
that the Otomacs eat it.' As long as the waters of 
the Orinoco and the Meta are low, these Indians 
live on fish and river tortoises. During the periodical 
s-tvelling of the rivers the taking of fish ceases, for 
it is as difficult to fish in deep river water as in the 
deep sea. It is in this interval, which is of two or 
three months' duration, that the Otomacs swallow 
great quantities of earth. We have found con- 
siderable stores of it in their huts, the clay-balls 
being piled together in pyramidal heaps. A very 
intelligent monk, who lived twelve years among 
these Indians, assured us that one of them would 
eat from three-quarters of a pound to a poimd and 
a quarter in a day. 

" According to the accounts which the Otomacs 
themselves give, this earth forms their principal 
subsistence during the rainy season, though they eat 



at the same time occasionally, when they can obtain 
it, a lizard, a small fish, or a fern root. They have 
such a predilection for the clay that even in the 
dry season, when they can obtain plenty of fish, 
they eat a little earth after their meals every day 
as a kind of dainty. The Franciscan monk who 
lived among them as a missionary, assured us that 
he perceived no alteration in their health during 
the earth-eating season. 

" The simple facts are therefore as follows : — The 
Indians eat large quantities of earth without injury 
to their health ; and they themselves regard the 
earth so eaten as an alimentary substance, i.e., 
they feel themselves satisfied by eating it, and that 
for a considerable time ; and they attribute this to 
the earth or clay, and not to the other scanty 
articles of subsistence which they now and then 
obtain in addition. If you inquire from an Otomac 
about his winter provision, he points to the heap of 
clay balls stored in his hut." 

Humboldt combats the idea that this clay had 
anything such as maize, meal, and crocodile-fat 
mixed with it, as some writers had asserted ; and 
he then goes on to say ; " In all tropical countries, 
human beings show an almost irresistible desire 
to swallow earth ; and not alkaline earths, which 
they might be supposed to crave in order to 
neutralise acid, but unctuous and strong-smelling 
clays. It is often necessary to confine children to 
prevent them from running out to eat earth imme- 
diately after a fall of rain. I have observed with 
astonishment the Indian women in the village of 
Banco, on the Magdalena river, while engaged in 
shaping earthen vessels on the potter's wheel, put 
great lumps of clay into their mouths. With the 
exception of the Otomacs, individuals of all other 
races who indulge for any length of time the strange 
desire of earth-eating have their health injured 
by it. At the mission of San Borja we saw the 
child of an Indian woman, who, his mother said, 
would hardly eat anything but earth. He was, 
however, wasted nearly to a skeleton. 

" In the Island of Java, Labillardi^re saw small 
square reddish-coloured cakes exposed for sale in 
the villages. On examination and inquiry, he 
found that the cakes consisted of reddish clay, 
and that they were eaten. The edible clay of 
Samarang was sent to Berlin in the year 1847, 
in the shape of rolled tubes like cinnamon, and 
was found to be a fresh-water formation deposited 
on limestone, and consisting of microscopic Poly- 
gastrica, &c." 

Other instances are mentioned, and the Baron 
concludes by saying : " Thus we find the practice of 
eating earth diffused throughout the torrid zone, 
among indolent races inhabiting the finest and 
most fertile parts of the globe. But accounts have 
also come from the North, according to which 
hundreds of cartkiads of earth containing Infusoria 



IS6 



THE. WORLD OF WONDERS. 



are said to be annually consumed by the country 
people, in the most remote parts of Sweden, as 
bread - meal, and even more from fancy than 
necessity ! In Finland this kind of earth is oc- 
casionally mixed with bread. It consists of 
empty shells of animalculae, so small and soft that 
they do not crunch perceptibly between the teeth. 
It fills the stomach, but gives no real nourishment. 
In periods of war, as, for example, during the Thirty 
Years' War in Pomerania, in the Lausitz, and in the 
territory of Dessau, and subsequently in 17 19 and 
1733 at the fortress of Wittenberg, chronicles and 
documents preserved in archives often give inti- 
mation of earths containing Infusoria having been 
eaten, speaking of them under the vague and 
general name of ' mountain meal.' " 



MUSICAL FISH, OR MOLLUSCA. 

When Sir Emerson Tennant visited Batticaloa, in 
the northern forests of Ceylon, about twenty years 
ago, he made inquiries relative to a story which 
had reached him of musical sounds said to be 
heard issuing from the bottom of a lake, at several 
places, both above and below the ferry opposite the 
old Dutch fort. The sounds were said to be heard 
at night, and most distinctly when the moon was at 
the full. They were described to him as resembling 
the faint sweet notes of an ^olian harp. On con- 
versing with the fishermen of the lake, they con- 
firmed these statements, and expressed their belief 
that they proceeded from a shell known by the 
Tamil name of oorie coolooroo cradoo, or the 
" Crying shell." The specimens shown to him 
were identified as those of the Cerithium palustre 
and Littoriiia la;vis. 

One moonlight evening, when not a breath of air 
was stirring, and not a ripple was to be seen on the 
water except that caused by the dip of their oars. 
Sir Emerson Tennant accompanied the fishermen 
to the spot. On arriving at the point mentioned, 
he avers that he distinctly heard the sounds rising 
up from the lake, like the gentle thrills of a musical 
chord, or the faint vibrations of a wine-glass when 
its rim is rubbed by a wet finger. He says: "It 
was not one sustained note, but a multitude of tiny 
sounds, each clear and distinct in itself ; the 
sweetest treble mingling with the lowest bass. On 
applying the ear to the woodwork of the boat, the 
vibration was greatly increased in volume by con- 
duction. The sounds varied considerably at dif- 
ferent points as we moved across the lake, as if the 
number of the animals from which they proceeded 
was greatest in particular spots ; and occasionally 
we rowed out of hearing of them altogether, until, 
on returning to the original locality, the sounds 
were at once renewed." 

Sir Emerson Tennant was induced to conclude 



from all the facts, that the sounds were really pro- 
duced by shell-fish. "They came evidently and 
sensibly from the depth of the lake, and there was 
nothing in the surrounding circumstances to support 
a conjecture that they could be the reverberation of 
noises made by insects on the shore, conveyed 
along the surface of the water, for they were 
loudest and most distinct at those points where the 
nature of the land, and the intervention of the fort 
and its buildings, forbade the possibility of this 
kind of conduction." In fact, similar sounds have 
been heard issuing from the sea in the harbour of 
Bombay, and near the landing-place at Caldera in 
Chili. In the last-mentioned locahty they rise and 
fall as much as four notes. We may add the well- 
known fact that some fishes grunt when disturbed, 
and even oysters have an acoustic apparatus, 
though it does not rise to the dignity of an ear. 

When Sir Emerson Tennant first communicated 
his observations at Batticaloa to the Edinburgh 
Philosophical Society, Dr. Grant experimented with 
some specimens of a mollusc ( Trito>iid) by placing 
them in a glass vessel filled with sea-water. This 
vessel was placed on the central table of the Wer- 
nerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh, 
around which many members were sitting. During 
the whole time of the meeting, a "clink," as of a 
steel wire struck on the side of the jar, was heard 
at intervals, and so distinctly that it extended to 
the distance of twelve feet. 



MonbMuI Eelics. 



STONEHENGE. 

STONEHENGE,onc of the most remarkable of ancient 
monuments in these islands, and destined to puzzle, 
as to its origin and use, geologists and antiquaries 
alike, is situated on Salisbury Plain, about seven 
miles north of Salisbury, and three miles west of 
Amesbury. It lies nearly at the apex of a triangle 
formed by the junction of two roads, one leading 
north to Heytesbury and Warminster, the other south 
toStecple Langford and Wily. On the former road, 
at about 100 yards from the junction, is the Avenue, 
marked on each side by a bank and ditch, and ex- 
tending on the right across the turnpike-road for a 
distance of 594 yards ; and on the left past a large 
stone sixteen feet high, standing by itself by the 
wayside, called the Friar's Heel, in a direct north-east 
direction to the entrance of the temple. That this 
was the only entrance, is rendered probable from the 
fact that round the whole of the work is a ditch 
crowned in the inner circle by a small ridge of earth 
or valltmt, measuring 369 yards in circumference. 

The accompanying cut shows Stonehenge as it 
is supposed to have appeared when perfect. At 
present there are but very few of the uprights left 
standing, and the stones arc scattered about the 



STONEHENGE. 



157 




STONEHENGE RESTORED.' 



ground without much appearance of order. Still, 
it is not difficult for the traveller to imagine what 
its original shape was. 

As is seen by the cut, the temple itself consisted 
of two circles and two ovals. At a distance of loo 
feet from the ditch, and measuring 300 feet in cir- 
cumference, is the outer circle. This consisted of 
thirty huge upright stones, varying in size and form ; 
those of the entrance being thirteen feet high, while 
the average height of all of them was sixteen feet, 
the width six and seven feet, and the circumference 
eighteen feet. Above these were placed horizon- 
tally, as a lintel to a doorpost, oval-shaped blocks 
about twelve feet long and two feet eight inches 
deep. The upright stones taper a little towards 
the top, and show, from the slight grooves made to 
receive the imposts, that the mortices, as they are 
callfid in masonic language, have been scooped out 
by tools. The imposts or tenons were placed touching 
each other, so as to form a complete circle. There 
are now but seventeen of the uprights remaining, 
and but six of the lintels. The space between 
each upright varies somewhat, but averages 
about three and a half feet. That of the entrance 
is wider, being five feet. At exactly eight feet 
three inches from the outer is the inner circle, 
composed of smaller but even ruder stones, origi- 
nally forty in number, but of which only twenty 
remain. On the assumption that the building was 
a temple, it has been conjectured that these stones ^ 



were votive offerings, made after the temple was 
finished. The next enclosure was in the shape of 
a horse-shoe, and was formed of ten upright stones 
placed in pairs at regular intervals, each pair having 
a third stone placed over them as in the outer 
circle, but not, as in the outer circle, touching each 
other. These gigantic trilithons, or combination of 
three stones, are the chief characteristics of the 
place, and when it has been found by measurement 
that one of those now standing cannot weigh less than 
seventy tons, the impost alone weighing eleven tons, 
it is not surprising that the old tradition should 
have been that they were brought there and placed 
in their positions by the supernatural agency of 
Merlin. They were not all of a uniform height, but 
rose gradually from east to west. The two pairs 
nearest the spectator, opposite to each other at a dis- 
tance of about forty feet, are about sixteen feet three 
inches high ; the next pair is seventeen feet two 
inches ; while one of the uprights of the great central 
pair facing the entrance measures twenty-six feet 
six inches. There is only one of the uprights of 
this central trilithon now standing, and that is nine 
inches out of the perpendicular, and is apparently 
supported by one of the smaller stones of the inner 
oval. The fallen impost is fifteen feet six inches 
long. Of the five trilithons, but two are now entire, 
though it might have been thought that, " by their 
own weight made steadfast and immovable," no- 
thing less than the shock of an earthquake could 



158 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



have overturaed them. That next to the great cen- 
tral stone fell on the 3rd January, 1797, backwards, 
the impost in its fall striking a stone of the outer 
circle. One upright of the next pair still remains ; 
the other and the impost have fallen forwards, 
each of them lying broken into three pieces. The 
inner oval is supposed to have consisted of nineteen 
stones, though traces but of eleven can now be 
found. They are about seven and a half feet high, 
and measure twenty-three inches round at the base, 
and twelve inches at the top. These two ovals 
formed the sanctum or cell, and the altar-stone 
stood in the inner enclosure, in front of the great 
trilithon, which has nearly covered it in its fall. It 
measures fifteen feet in length. 

Such is this wonderful monument of the pre- 
historic age, including in the area contained within 
the ditch one acre and a quarter of ground. 

By what means the stones were brought there is 
still a matter of doubt. The greater part of the 
stones themselves, those of the outer circle and the 
large trilithons, are all rough stones, taken from 
the quarry in their rude state, and are a species of 
siliceous or flinty sandstone. Numbers of these are 
to be 'found in Wiltshire, and are known by the name 
of Grey Wethers. Those of the inner circle and 
smaller oval are of a different species, and their 
presence is not so easily accounted for. For 
what purpose the building was erected has been a 
matter of great speculation among antiquaries. It 
has been supposed to have been a monument 
erected to the memory of the dead buried in the 
numerous barrows adjoining it, or that it was an 
astronomical observatory, but it is now generally 
admitted to have been a Druidical temple. What- 
ever it may have been, it is, and as long as it 
remains it always will be, one of th* most interest- 
ing relics of bygone ages. 



Monir^rs xrf %um^\ fife. 

* — 

Muscular Power in Beetles.— Mr. Gosse 
relates the following anecdote of a three-horned 
beetle, the oryctes maimon, which is not larger than 
the ordinary English stag-beetle : — " This insect 
has just astonished me by a proof of its vast 
strength of body. When it was first brought to 
me, having no box immediately at hand, I was at 
a loss where to put it until I could kill it ; but a 
quart bottle full of milk being on the table, I clapped 
the beetle for the present under that, the hollow at 
the bottom allowing him room to stand upright. 
Presently, to my surprise, the bottle began to move 
slowly, and glide along the smooth table, propelled 
by the muscular power of the imprisoned insect, 
and continued for some time to perambulate 
the surface, to the astonishment of all who wit- 
nessed it. The weight of the bottle and its con- 



tents could not have been less than three pounds 
and a half, while that of the beetle was about half 
an ounce ; so that it readily moved a weight 112 
times exceeding its own. A better notion than 
figures can convey will be obtained of this feat by 
supposing a lad of fifteen to be imprisoned under 
the great bell of St. Paul's, which weighs 12,000 
pounds, and to move it to and fro upon a smooth 
pavement by pushing within." 

Sagacity of the Raven. — Mr. R. Ball com- 
municated the following anecdote of this species to 
the author of " Thomson's Irish Birds." When he 
was a boy at school, a tame raven was very atten- 
tive in watching their cribs or bird-traps, and when 
a bird was taken, the raven endeavoured to catch 
it by turning up the crib ; but in so doing the bird 
always escaped, as the raven could not let go the 
crib in time to seize it. After several vain attempts 
of this kind, the raven, seeing another bird caught, 
instead of going at once to the crib, went to another 
tame raven, and induced it to accompany him ; 
when the one lifted up the crib, and the other bore 
the poor captive off in triumph. 



THE PALACE OF WATERS, CON- 
STANTINOPLE. 
Among the wonders of the world, a hall or palace 
of imposing grandeur, the roof of which is sup- 
ported on massive pillars standing in a vast expanse 
of water, and formed of ponderous stone arches, 
the very extent of which is unknown and its origin 
enveloped in mystery, but which was nevertheless 
suddenly discovered by an accident to underlie the 
foundations of the capital city of a great nation, 
may surely claim no insignificant place. Such is 
Yere-Batan Serai, which not more than forty years 
ago was discovered, by the falling in of some of 
its arches, to exist beneath Constantinople. The 
approach to it is through a house, after enter- 
ing which the visitor passes through the entrance- 
hall into a courtyard, and descends a steep slope 
of slippery earth, when he finds himself at the 
opening of the dim and mysterious Palace of 
Waters. 

The roof of this enormous cistern, which is formed 
of massive circular arches, is supported by magnifi- 
cent marble columns about ten feet apart. Their 
capitals are of the Corinthian order, and are in 
many instances elaborately carved, one near the 
entrance being covered with exquisitely sculptured 
ornaments, and each pillar being formed of a single 
block. 

At the time of the visit of the writer to whom we 
are chiefly indebted for information on this subject, 
Constantinople had long been suffering fromdrought, 
so that the stateliness of the effect was augmented 
by the lowness of the water, which gave greater 
height to the stupendous subterranean abode. A 



WONDERS OF VEGETATION. 



ISO 



boat used once to be moored on the water, but the 
Effendi who owned the house through which the 
palace is approached had had it destroyed, to pre- 
vent loss of life in attempts to explore the extent of 
the vast hall. Two Englishmen had previously 
made the attempt, but in both cases without success, 
and in one with a fatal result. The first of these 
travellers, about 1830, not satisfied with gazing on 
the wonders of the palace from its opening, sprang 
into the boat, and with the waterman who used 
frequently to row the family of the owner of the 
dwelling-house above mentioned near the entrance, 
pushed off. Those on the shore earnestly begged 
him to return, and warned him at least not to lose 
sight of the light, but to no purpose. Producing a 
lamp with which^he had provided himself, he rowed 
on regardless of the shouts of his friends, having, as 
is supposed, induced the boatman by the promise 
of a heavy reward to comply with his wish. The 
flame of his lamp appeared fainter and fainter, and 
was finally altogether lost to the sight of those who 
had seen him depart, and who now anxiously awaited 
his return. But they lingered in vain, and had looked 
their last on the unfortunate men who had so rashly 
risked their lives in an adventure which, if success- 
ful, could not have been worth a risk so fearful. It 
can only be presumed either that they perished 
in a current of foul air, or that, bewildered among 
the columns in their attempt to return, they died 
miserably of hunger. 

The other attempt to explore the extent of this 
marvellous hall took place but a few months before 
the visit of the narrator, and was attended with so 
much of success as to show that its extent is but 
inadequately described as vast, while, happily, it 
was followed by no fatal result. Another English- 
man requested permission to use the boat which 
had replaced the one so unhappily lost, for an ex- 
ploring expedition. Objections were raised in vain ; 
the adventurer was bold and persevering, and at 
length, on his repeated promises of caution, the 
Effendi gave his reluctant permission. No one 
ventured to accompany the explorer on " the ter- 
rible track," and he accordingly set out alone, 
having first fixed two lighted torches to the stern of 
his boat, and tied one end of a quantity of strong 
twine to one of the pillars near the entrance, leaving 
it to unravel itself from a reel as he went along. 
The flame of his torch gradually faded from view, and 
thefourth hour from his departure had nearly expired 
when a faint gleam of hght once more appeared in 
the distant darkness, to the inexpressible relief of 
those who were anxiously watching for his return. 
In but a little time afterwards the wanderer sprang 
from the boat chilled and exhausted, and in answer to 
the inqu^|es of his friends, said that he had gone on 
for two hours in a straight line, but had seen nothing 
more than they themselves could see— the vaulted 
Toof overhead, the water beneath him, and long 



avenues of columns stretching around him in all 
directions, and losing themselves in the darkness. 

This second adventure so alarmed the worthy old 
Osmanli to whom the boat belonged that he at once 
had it destroyed, and visitors have since been com- 
pelled to content themselves with such a view of 
Yere-Batan Serai and its marvels as can be com- 
manded from the brink of its unexplored, and, as, it 
hence appears, inexplorable lake. 

The spot which afforded the view fi-om whicli 
this description was written does not appear to be 
the legitimate entrance, but was nevertheless the 
locality in which the first lapse of a portion of the 
fabric gave evidence of its existence, and no en- 
trance is known but such as have been discovered 
in a similar manner. Another such failure in a 
yard near the Sublime Porte revealed its extent in 
that direction ; a third also occurred at another 
time near the mosque of St. Sophia ; and a fourth 
within the walls of the Record office ; which facts, 
joined to the negative discovery of the second and 
more fortunate of the two above-mentioned English 
travellers, prove that it extends over a space of 
many square miles beneath the city. Beyond what 
has been thus stated, the authorities of Constanti- 
nople can throw no light either upon its extent or 
its history. But as the narrator truly says, the very 
mystery which surrounds Yere-Batan Serai serves 
but to add to its interest. 



ontiirs of Bt^dntian, 



THE RAFFLESIA. 

" Come with me, sir ; come ! A flower, very large, 
beautiful, wonderful ! " exclaimed a Malay, who 
drew the attention of Dr. Arnold to a flower re- 
markable alike for its enormous size and its ano- 
malous structure and habit. And the surprise of 
the Malay was nothing compared with that of Dr. 
Arnold and his companions. Sir Stamford and Lady 
Raffles, when, following their native attendant, they 
saw among the bushes of a jungle a flower appa- 
rently springing out of the ground, without stem or 
leaf, and measuring at least a yard in diameter. 
The first news of this remarkable discovery created 
a great amount of curiosity in Europe, and no 
papers ever read at the Linnasan Society can be 
compared, for the interest they excited, with those 
in which the illustrious Robert Brown described 
this wonder of the vegetable world. 

Sir Stamford Raffles having been appointed 
governor of a settlement in Sumatra, and impelled 
by his great love for Nature, resolved to explore 
that little-known island. On his first journey, in 
1 81 8, he took with him Dr. Arnold, an ardent and 
promising naturalist, who died as a new world was 
opening before him. He, however, discovered this 
gigantic flower ; his drawings and descriptions 
were left unfinished, but his patron carefully pre- 



l6o 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 




NATIVE FOKl'.S 



IWER. AND lUIJ. 



served and perfected them, and Robert Brown per- 
petuated the memory of both in connection with 
the plant, by naming it Rajflesia Anioldi, 

The most striking feature in the Rafflesia is its 
enormous size ; indeed, it is the largest and most 
magnificent flower in the world. It is composed of 
five roundish leaves or petals, each a foot across, of 
a brick red colour, but covered with numerous irre- 
gular yellowish white swellings. The petals sur- 
round a large cup nearly a foot wide, the margin of 
which bears the stamens ; and this cup is filled with 
a fleshy disc, the upper surface of which is every- 
where covered with curved projections, like miniature 
cows' horns. The cup, when freed from its con- 
tents, would hold about twelve pints of water. The 
flower weighs fifteen pounds. It is very thick; the 
petals being from one to three-quarters of an inch 
in thickness. 

A flower of such dimensions and weight might be 
expected to be a treasure to the perfumer ; but, 
alas, its odour is exactly that of tainted beef! Dr. 
Arnold supposed that even the flics which swarmed 
over the flower when he discovered it were deceived 
by its smell, and were depositing their eggs in the 
thick disc, taking it for a piece of carrion ! 

Another cause of wonder to the little b^.nd of 
explorers who discovered it, was that they could 
find no leaves connected with it. It sprang from a 
small, leafless creeping stem, about as thick as two 
fingers. Now, a plant without leaves is like an 
animal without a stomach ; for the leaves are to 
the plant what the stomach is to the animal : they 



separate from the air the food needed for the growth 
of the plant. Without them there could be no 
wood, no flowers, no fruit, no seed. Plants, there- 
fore, have leaves — some consist of only a leafy ex- 
pansion, and even the single cell of minute and 
microscopical plants are really leaves reduced to 
their simplest structure. There are, however, 
strange plants which are actually leafless, making 
up for this want by using the leaves of others. 
Such plants are called parasites, because they feed 
on the nutritive juices of others. Thrusting their 
roots into the living tissues of other plants instead 
of into the earth, they appropriate the prepared 
food of these plants, and at once apply it to their 
own purposes for the production of stem, or flower, 
or fruit. The most familiar example of such a 
parasite is, perhaps, the Dodder, one kind of which 
infests cultivated flax, while others are found on 
clover, heath, and whin. The gigantic Rafflesia 
belongs to this class. Without a vestige of foUage,' 
it rises at once from the long slender stems of one 
of the wild vines of Sumatra — immense climbers, 
which are attached like cables to the largest trees 
in the forest. 

The buds push through the bark like little 
buttons, continuing to grow until they have the 
aspect of large closed cabbages, and in about three 
months after their first appearance, the flower 
expands. It remains but a short time in perfec- 
tion, soon beginning to rot, leaving only the central 
disc, which becomes a large, rough fruit, filled with 
multitudes of small, simple seeds. 



THE INDIAN FAKIRS. 



i6i 



THE INDIAN FAKIRS. 



Perhaps the most wonderful of all instances of 
religious fanaticism is that presented by the Fakirs 
of India and other countries of the East. In all 
ages and countries, men have been known to inflict 
upon themselves bodily suffering from mistaken re- 
ligious zeal. The 
natural religious 
instinct univer- 
sally found in 
man leads him 
frequently to in- 
flict upon him- 
self grievous pe- 
nalties for sins 
cither real or 
imaginary ; and 
wherever Chris- 
tianity does not 
exert its be- 
nign influence, 
we find this ten- 
dency occasion- 
ally e-xcrcised in 
ways repulsive 
and abhorrent to 
the general feel- 
ings of huma- 
nity. EvenChris- 
tianity itself, in 
someofthe forms 
by which men 
have debased it, 
has not been free 
from fanaticism 
of the same de- 
scription, many 
of the profess- 
edly religious or- 
ders having,even 
down to the pre- 
sent time, sys- 
tematically prac- 
tised self - pun- 
.ishmcnt in one 
shapeoranother. 
On this portion 

of the subject it is not our province to enlarge. We 
purpose to deal now with religious fanaticism simply 
as exhibited by the Fakirs. 

The Fakirs of the East Indies are a very large 
class, numbering, it is believed, more than three 
millions of people, of whom about three-fifths are 
adherents of the Hindoo, and the remainder of the 
Mohammedan religion. The word fakir is of 
Arabic origin, signifying poor or beggarly, and is 
applied to all those enthusiasts who separate theni- 




AN INDIAN FAKIR. 



selves from the ordinary pursuits of the life around 
them, to give their whole time to religious obser- 
vances, and the practice of self-mortification. The 
Fakirs are of different grades, some bearing a 
respectable character for learning and piety, ac- 
cording to their religion, whether Hindoo or 
Mohammedan ; while others, forming the mass of 
the order, are signalised only by their wretched 

condition, and 
the disgusting 
character of the 
inflictions which 
they impose up- 
on themselves. 
There are among 
them also, it must 
be remarked, a 
large number of 
impostors, who 
make a trade of 
their spurious 
form of self-de- 
nial, and adopt 
it merely as a 
cloak for all 
kinds of crimes. 
The Fakirs 
generally go en- 
tirely naked, and 
live in caves and 
holes, whence 
they occasion- 
ally start out to 
supplicate the 
passer-by for 
charity, some- 
times for them- 
selves, but more 
frequently as an 
offering towards 
the building of 
a temple, or in 
honour of a god. 
Many of them 
present deplor- 
able spectacles, 
with the body 
unclothed and 
filthy, and the 
hair and nails allowed to grow to a frightful length. 
Some bend the body into a painful and unnatural 
position, from which at last they have no power to 
raise it ; others tic round them heavy weights and 
chains, which gall and eat into the flesh ; many 
crawl about continually on their hands and knees, 
or roll over the ground from place to place for hun- 
dreds of miles without attempting to regain the 
erect posture. One writer says, " I have seen a 
man who had made a vow to hold up his arms in r- 



x6a 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



perpendicular manner above his head and never 
to suspend them, until he totally lost the power of 
moving them. He seemed more like a wild beast 
than a man ; his arms, from having been so long 
in one posture, were become withered and dried 
up, while his outstretched fingers, with long nails 
of twenty years' growth, had the appearance of 
extraordinary horns ; his hair, full of dust and never 
combed, hung over him in a savage manner ; and 
except in his erect position, there appeared nothing 
human about him. This man was travelling 
throughout Hindustan, and being unable to help 
himself with food, women of distinction among the 
Hindoos contended for the honour of feeding this 
holy person wherever he appeared. I saw another 
of the devotees who had made a vow to fi.x every 
year a large iron ring into his body, and thereto 
to suspend a heavy chain, many yards long, to 
drag on the ground. I saw this extraordinary 
saint in the seventh year of his penance, when he 
had'just put in the seventh ring, and the wound 
was then so tender and painful, that he was obliged 
to carry the chain upon his shoulder until the 
orifice became more c.illous." Another example of 
self-imposed torture and bodily contortion is depicted 
in our illustration. 

The Fakirs sometimes submit to tortures of 
another description, such as roasting before a slow- 
fire, or hanging suspended by hooks thrust through 
their flesh. An American missionary thus describes 
a spectacle of this kind which he had witnessed : — 
" I was residing upon the sea-shore near the spot 
where the cruel festivity was to occur. At mid-day 
the multitude began to assemble, and before five 
o'clock the crowd could not have been less than 
five thousand persons. A beam about forty feet in 
height had been erected, across the top of which 
was placed a transverse pole of smaller siz'e, to each 
end of which was tied a rope ; the end of one I'ope 
trailed upon the ground, while to the shorter one 
were attached two iron hooks, strong, rounded, 
smooth, and sharp-pointed. The devotees were 
retained in an adjoining temple until the fitting 
hour arrived. One of them was then led out, pre- 
ceded by Brahmins, and musicians, and friends. 
He approached the upright polcj lay upon his face 
while the hooks were thrust under the flesh on 
either side of the vertebrae, just below the shoulder- 
blade, and then, the other ropes being well manned, 
he was hoisted up in mid-air, and swung round 
and round to the number of ten to thirty times, 
according as strength allowed, or the vow made 
necessary. Twenty or more went through this 
ceremony that afternoon, many of whom, by way 
of manifesting their indifference to pain, scattered 
flowers and fruit, beat a tomtom, or smoked a 
cigar. Being sceptical as to the statement that the 
hook went into the flesh, and was supported by it 
alone, unaided by any exterior bandage, I went 



near enough to convince myself that such was the 
fact, and that no deception was practised. The 
muscles are strong, and accidents from falling 
seldom occur." 

The origin of Fakirism is lost in antiquity. There 
is a tradition to the effect that the first Fakir was 
an Indian prince, who made a vow to lead a life of 
penury and self-mortification, and to found an 
order of his countrymen who should habitually 
practise the same mode of life ; but history does 
not tell us of any such person. The early Fakirs 
were known to the Greek and Roman world as 
gymnosophists (from the woxA. gymnos, naked), and 
Alexander the Great, when pursuing his conquests 
in Asia, about 320 B.C., was astonished to meet 
men who lived habitually in bodily pain, and volun- 
tarily submitted themselves to cruel tortures. 



Monbcr.g of ^fgdation, 

THE MOUNTAIN CABBAGE TREE. 

This magnificent palm is described by Pinckard, 
in his " Notes in the West Indies," as unquestionably 
the finest tree that is known. This traveller saw it 
growing in a wood at Barbadoes — of a peculiar 
kind, and different from all others in the island. 
From words or drawings, only an imperfect idea 
of it can be collected ; and, to comprehend its fine 
symmetry, its grandeur, and majestic loftiness, it 
must be seen. Its trunk is very smooth, and 
almost regularly cylindrical, rising into a superb 
and stately pillar, resembling a well-hewn column 
of stone. At the base, its circumference is some- 
what greater than at any other part, yet lessening 
so gradually upwards, as to preserve the most just 
and accurate proportions. Not a single branch, 
not even the slightest twig, interrupts the general 
harmony of the trunk, which often rises in a correct 
perpendicular, to the height of from sixty to one 
hundred feet, and then spreads its palmated foliage 
into a wide and beautifully radiated circle. Branches 
it has none, but the fine expansive leaves shooting 
immediately from the summit of the trunk, extend 
around it, crowning, and, as it were, protecting 
the massy column, in the form of a well-spread 
umbrella. 

" It may perhaps, be thought that our noble Eng- 
Iis*h oak, with all its rude and crooked limbs, must 
be a more picturesque object. So it is, and so is also 
the wide branching silk-cotton ; but the loftiness, the 
stately grandeur the exact proportion, and the deep 
shading foliage of the mountain cabbage are un- 
equalled, and in their happy combination crown 
this tree the king of the forest, the most exalted of 
the vegetable world. 

" When planted in avenues, it forms a grand and 
imposing approach to a dwelling, conveying an air 
of grea-tness to the mansion which it adorns. It 



TRADE WIND^. 



163 



grows free from decay to a very old age, but cannot 
be converted to the useful purposes of timber. It 
is a tree of state, calculated to enrich and augment 
the magnificence of a palace : nor let it detract 
from its majestic qualities, to know that after all it 
is but a cabbage tree ! Its loftiest summit is a 
spiral succulent shoot, the sides ofwhich, by gradually 
and successively unfolding, form the fine wide- 
spreading foliage. Before this opens to expand 
itself around, it is a congeries of young and tender 
leaves, in which state it is often boiled and brought 
to table as a cabbage, of which it is the very best 
kind. It is also used without boiling, by way of 
salad, and is then eaten with oil and vinegar ; and 
so highly is it esteemed for these culinary purposes, 
that too often a very fine tree has been devoted to 
the axe, merely because no other means could be 
found of obtaining from its towering summit this 
most excellent cabbage." 

The Snake Nut. — This is one of the most 
remarkable productions of the vegetable kingdom. 
It is found in British Guiana, and specimens are 
occasionally brought down to the coast for sale as 
curiosities to the passengers by West India 
steamers, but it has so rarely been brought to this 
country that it is comparatively unknown. When 
a few specimens were first brought over by a gentle- 
man from Demerara, about ten or twelve years 
ago, one was forwarded to and courteously accepted 
by Her Majesty. The nuts vary in size from about 
a small walnut to that of an ordinary egg, and the 
kernel closely resembles a small boa constrictor, 
coiled up as if asleep. While the nut is unripe, the 
kernel can be uncoiled, and its resemblance to the 
body, fang, and tail of a reptile is most extraordinary. 



WONDERS OF MINUTE WORKMAN- 
SHIP. 
In the twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth a black- 
smith named Mark Scaliot made a lock consisting 
of eleven pieces of iron, steel, and brass, all which, 
together with a key to it, weighed but one grain of 
gold. He also made a chain of gold, consisting of 
forty-three links, and, having fastened this to the 
before-mentioned lock and key, he put the chain 
about the neck of a flea, which drew them all with 
ease. All these together, lock and key, chain and 
flea, weighed only one grain and a half. 

Oswaldus Norhingerus, who was more famous 
even than Scaliot for his minute contrivances, is 
said to have made 1,600 dishes of turned ivory, all 
perfect and complete in every part, yet so small, 
thin, and slender, that all of them were included at 
once in a cup turned out of a pepper-corn of the 
common size. Johannes Shad, of Mitelbrach, carried 
this wonderful work with him to Rome, and showed 
it to Pope Paul V., who saw and counted them 
aH by the help of a pair of spectacles. They were 
so little as to be almost invisible to the eye. 



Johannes Ferrarius, a Jesuit, had in his posses- 
sion cannons of wood, with their carriages, wheels, 
and all other military furniture, all of which were 
also contained in a peppercorn of the ordinary size. 

An artist, named Claudius Gallus, made for 
Hippolytus d'Este, Cardinal of Ferrara, represen- 
tations of sundry birds sitting on the tops of trees, 
which, by hydraulic art and secret conveyance of 
water through the trunks and branches of the trees, 
were made to sing and clap their wings ; but, at the 
sudden appearance of an owl out of a bush of the 
same artifice, they immediately became all mute and 
silent. 



TRADE WINDS. 

That there should be a wind ever constant from 
the same quarter all the year round, is, apart 
from the causes of it, a wonderful fact. Of almost 
every wind that blows except the trade wind, it 
might be said literally, " The wind bloweth wh'ere 
it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but 
canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it 
goeth." Of the Trade Winds, however, it may be 
said that in the northern hemisphere they blow 
regularly from N.E. by N. to N.E. by E., and in 
the southern hemisphere from S.E. by S. to S.E. 
by E. They can be surely counted on as infallible 
incidents in a voyage. 

Columbus first discovered the full extent of the 
N.E. trade winds, when he made his first voyage to 
America. Previously he had observed in the 
neighbourhood of the Canaries the frequency of the 
winds from the same quarter, but it was not till he 
set out on his first American voyage that he ascer- 
tained the extent over which they regularly prevail. 
The story is well known about the anxiety of 
Columbus's crew, how they noticed, when well to 
the westward of Grand Canary, the perpetual breeze 
from north-east ; how they expressed their fears 
about getting back to Europe, declaring that God 
was angry with them for presuming to pry into his 
secrets in the West, and had given them over to 
the power of the devil, who caused a wind to blow 
which should ever prevent their return to Spain. 
Columbus, while he succeeded in overcoming the 
fears of his sailors, and taught his successors how 
to sail round the wind which he could not sail ' 
against, never seems to have understood the 
cause of the phenomenon. 

So far as the name is concerned, it may be pretty 
safely concluded that it was given because the wind 
was the sure promoter of commerce, a wind upon 
which the merchant might certainly count to carry 
his ships over a known distance of the voyage. As 
regards the direction from which it blows, when the 
sun is south of the equator the wind has a little 
more north in it, and is variable between N.E. and 
N.N.E. When the sun is north of the line the 



i64 



TH]:: WORLD OF WONDERS. 



wind is more easterly, blowing sometimes from 
E.N.E. 

The extent of the trade wind region depends 
entirely upon the sun. When the sun has a 
southern declination the trade wind is often not 
found till the twenty-seventh degree of north lati- 
tude; but with a northern declination of the sun 
the wind gets as far north as thirty-two degrees. 
Its influence is perceived at from two to seven 
degrees north of the equator, so that the district 
over which the wind blows may be estimated at 
about twenty-two degrees of latitude. The force 
of the wind is sufficient to propel a ship regularly 
at the rate of seven to eight miles an hour. 

The causes of these winds were suggested by 
many speculators upon science, even in the olden 
time ; but modern science, which is able to declare 
absolutely things once thought to be beyond man's 
ken — to fix the distances between planet and planet, 
to predict with certainty future scientific events, to 
foreknow the tides, and to describe the journeys 
yet to be performed of whole armies of stars — is, 
among other things, able to speak with assurance 
even about the winds in their circuits. Times 
have changed since the Inquisition made Galileo 
discredit the witness of his senses; since Columbus 
was threatened with violence for persisting in his 
voyage of discovery ; and — last, not least — since 
Charles II. posed the Royal Society with his well- 
known question about the difference in weight 
between a salmon alive and the same salmon 
dead. The times have changed, and we with them. 
Opportunities for scientific investigation arc not 
only ten thousand times more abundant, but the 
people as a whole are more ready, thanks to the 
general spread of knowledge, carefully to use the 
means they have. 

The trade wind theory now accepted may be 
thus explained : — At either pole is a region of calms, 
estimated at from one to one and a half degrees in 
extent. Outside this is a district extending for 
many degrees, over which prevail winds running 
from all directions towards the pole. Beyond 
this are the calms of Cancer and Capricorn, in the 
northern and southern hemispheres respectively ; 
then the north-east and south-east trade winds, and 
between them the belt of equatorial calms and 
rains. Such are the facts. Now the rotatory motion 
of the earth from west to east being kept in mind, 
it will be readily understood that a current of air 
coming from the north pole, where the earth's 
motion is scarcely felt, towards the equator, would, 
the further it travelled south, find itself more and 
more affected by the rotatory motion. The earth 
would be, as it were, slipping from under it, going 
from west to east, so that the current which was 
flying south would find that it did not go in a 
straight line, but would "get sent away westward, 
and would blow, therefore, from the north-east ; in 



the same way, the south wind coming north would 
be converted into a south-east wind. 

Now the prevailing v/inds between the polar 
calms and the calms of Cancer are winds which 
blow towards the pole, so that the current of air 
which blows towards the equator must overrun 
them — as, in fact, it does till it reaches the thirtieth 
parallel of north latitude. There it meets with a 
counter-current of equal strength, and the two 
irresistible bodies meeting, cause a pressure or 
stagnation in the air at the point of contact, the 
stagnation produced being the calms of Cancer, 
which stretch over five or six degrees of latitiKle. 
Either opponent being unable to conqiter, both 
descend — the north wind to j^rsue its southerly 
course to the equator, the south wind to fly onwards 
to the north pole. The wind which the northern 
giant met at parallel thirty was a south-west wind, 
which had Ijlown above and across the extent tra- 
versed by the north-cast trade. Its history does 
not differ materially from that of its rival, except 
that at parallel thirty it has nearly done its travels, 
whereas the north wind is only just beginning. 
One wind has made the circuit of the globe, as the 
wind it meets will have to make the circuit. It 
has started from the south pole along the upper road 
{mutatis mutandis, the phenomena of the southern 
hemisphere are like those of the northern), has en- 
countered the strong north-east wind which overlies 
and overblows the south-east trades, has pushed 
against it so hard as to repeat at Capricorn what 
was done at Cancer, and has swept rcsistlcssly over 
thirty degrees of latitude as the south-east trade 
wind. At so near the equator it has been met by the 
north-east trade wind. The two winds have been 
hurled at one another with a momentum acquired 
in a run over thirty degrees of latitude apiece, and 
have been forced to scale the heavens in order 
to avoid each other. Away they rush northward 
and southward respectively. 

The conflict which takes place between the winds 
at the equator, if not more fierce than that which 
occurs at Cancer and Capricorn, has more visible 
effects. To it must be attributed those strange 
convulsions which often make the equatorial region 
anything but a calm one: those fierce deluges of rain 
which sweep down from the clouds in sheets, that 
lightning and that thunder, which are the con- 
comitants of the mighty battle that is being per- 
petually fought for the supremacy of north and south. 
The trade winds are perceived within the same 
parallels all round the world, the only difference 
observ.ible being in those parts where local winds, 
land breezes, and monsoons affect them, and turn 
them out of their course. 

" The wind goeth towards the south and turncth 
about unto the north ; it whirleth about continually, 
and the wind returneth again according to his 
circuits." 



UMBRELLA STONES. 




THE EARTH PILLARS OF BOTZEN, 



UMBRELLA STONES. 

There is something wonderful in the constant rush 
of muddy water out of rivers into seas and oceans, 
for every drop of it contains a small portion of 
solid matter which was once part of the dry ground. 
The rivers devour, as it were, the crumbling soil of 
the hills adjacent to them, and transmit it to the 
sea. Rivers arise from streams and torrents, and 
these are produced by the rain, the persevering 
destroyer and carrier of the surface of the earth. 
Ever since rain and dry land existed, the wear 
and tear has gone on, and the sea has received the 
sediment. Mountains have been worn down, hills 
have disappeared, valleys have been excavated, and 
plains have been lowered, and all by the action of 
rain and rivers. 

But there are some remarkable instances where 
the effects of rain, without rivers, in eating away 
hundreds of feet of hard soil, can be very readily 
studied. In the Tyrol, near Botzen, hundreds of 
tall columns of hard mud, varying from 20 to 100 
feet in height, and usually capped by a large stone, 
have been separated from the ridges of the valleys ' 
of which they once formed a part. The columns J 
occur on the sides and at the bottom of the valleys, j 
and they are very elegant in shape. The lower 
parts of the columns are usually flat on the sides, 
so that they are tall pyramids, and not simple 
cones. The mud out of which they were formed 
once filled the valkys, and was produced by the 



grinding down of the adjacent hills by an old 
glacier as well as by the effects of rain. The stones 
strewed over the mud were brought down by the 
glacier, and were scratched and poushed by the ice 
as by a tool. The mud, although intensely hard 
from age, began to be worn here and there by rain, 
but not beneath the capping-stones ; and these 
natural umbrellas effectually kept off the drizzle of 
centuries and its results. Year after year the soil 
uncovered by the stones was washed away, and, of 
course, as it diminished, the columns stood up 
more and more. During the lapse of ages, the 
mud of the system of valleys was worn away, 
leaving the gigantic stone-capped columns as proofs 
of its former depth. Rain has cleared out of the 
valleys a dense mud as deep as the highest column, 
and there could have been no river action, for it 
would have washed the slender columns away. 
When one of the columns loses its stone, it be- 
comes sharp arnl spire-shaped, and the whole 
diminishes in height and size. 

Curiously enough, there are some large stones in 
the mud of the columns, and when some of these 
are diminishing in height from the loss of their 
umbrella stone, one of the included stones acts as 
a second cover, and preserves a small relic of the 
former structure. Sir Charles Lyell measured one 
of these umbrella stones, and found it to be ten 
feet across, and the pillar of densely hard mud it 
capped was sixty feet high. If the drainage of the 
valley should remain as it is, and no earthquake 



i66 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



should occur, there is no reason why the columns 
should not remain as they are, and enjoy their pro- 
tection from the rain for centuries. 

There were once some fine mud columns, with 
mnbrella stones upon them, in the valley of the 
Visp, near Zermatt, in Switzerland ; but an earth- 
quake threw down _many of the stones, and even 
some of the columns. One column, which was 
thus destroyed in 1855, had a height of fifty feet, 
and its umbrella stone was fifteen feet in diameter. 
The earthquake, moreover, altered the drainage 
of the valley, and a stream began to destroy the 
lower parts of the columns by its rushing force. 

In order to produce a column of fifty or sixty 
feet, capped by a gigantic stone, it is evident that a 
corresponding wearing away of surrounding soil 
must take place. This wearing away is the result 
of the slow action of rain, and thus the height of 
the stone-capped column is a test of the wear and 
tear by rain which occurred after the original valley 
had been filled with mud. Similar stone-capped 
columns occur, but of a very different material, 
amongst the glaciers of the Alps. The glaciers are 
great seas of ice which fill up the gorges and 
valleys of the highest Alps, and which in a slow 
downward movement wear away the rocks which 
bound them. Great blocks of stone fall on to the 
glaciers, and now and then, when the wasting of 
the ice in its downward movement is very rapid, 
these blocks act as preservers to the ice imme- 
diately beneath. Stone-capped columns of ice 
are thus formed, and the umbrella stone acts also 
as a sun-shade. There is an interesting connec- 
tion between the Tyrolese mud-columns and the 
Alpine icy columns, for the former are remnants of 
a mud which was deposited from an old glacier 
in the Botzen valley, and it is, therefore, quite 
possible that some of the umbrella stones capping 
the mud columns may have been sun-shades to 
the ice columns of the ancient mud-depositing 
glacier. 

POWER OF BEARING EXTREME HEAT. 

The writer remembers a terrible story published 
many years ago, of a fire at a brewery. The nar- 
rator, trying to escape, had no alternative but to 
jump into a copper vat, at the bottom of which was 
a little heap of brick and mortar rubbish, on which 
he stood. The vat became red-hot around him, 
and yet he was rescued without having sustained 
any material injury beyond the fright. Many facts 
similar to this are recorded by Sir David Brewster 
in his " Letters on Natural Magic." The best 
known of these incidents are the experiments made 
by M. Tillet, in France, and by Dr. Fordyce and 
Sir Charles Blagden in England. These gentle- 
men went into a room, the heat of which exceeded 
260", and though Sir Charles Blagden's pulse rose 



to 144 beats, or double its ordinary quickness, no 
harm ensued. In order to prove that there was no 
mistake as to the degree of heat endured, several 
steaks were cooked and eggs roasted in the same 
place. Messrs. Duhamel and Tiller testify by 
their own experience that at Rochefoucault, in 
France, the girls who were accustomed to attend 
to the ovens of a bakehouse were capable of en- 
during for ten minutes a temperature of 270'. It 
will, of course, be remembered by our readers that 
water boils at 212°. 

Sir F. Chantrey, the celebrated sculptor, proved 
in his own person that the human body is capable 
of bearing very much higher temperatures than 
any we have mentioned. The furnace in which 
he dried his moulds was about 14 feet long, 12 feet 
high, and 12 feet broad. When raised to its 
highest temperature, with the door closed, the 
thermometer marked 350" of heat, and the iron 
floor became red-hot. Nevertheless, Chantrey's 
workmen often entered it at a temperature of 
340°, walking over the red-hot iron floor with 
wooden clogs, which became charred on the sur- 
face. On one occasion, as Sir David Brewster 
relates, Chantrey himself, accompanied by five 
or six of his friends, entered the furnace, and after 
remaining two minutes, they brought out a thermo- 
meter which marked 320°. Some of the party ex- 
perienced sharp pains on the tips of their ears, and 
in the septum of the nose, while others felt a pain 
in their eyes. 

Monbtrs of Constructbit. 

THE EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE. 

" Nothing but wood could possibly stand on the 
Eddystone," said the Brethren of the Trinity House, 
when it was proposed to rebuild with stone the 
wooden lighthouse which in December, 1755, was 
destroyed by fire. This was not the opinion 
of John Smeaton, the engineer who was entrusted 
by the concessionary of the Eddystone to repair the 
damage ; and he had abundant reason to warrant 
his belief. There had been already two lighthouses 
of wood upon the rock. The first, commenced in 
1696, by Henry Winstanley, was three years in 
building, and, judged by the event and by the light 
of subsequent experience, was defective both in 
principle and construction. In November, 1703, 
Winstanley, who was very proud of his work, and 
very confident of its durability, was lodging at his 
lighthouse, and expressed a wish that the fiercest 
storm that ever blew might come on while he was 
there. The fiercest storm that had raged within 
then living memory did come on the night of 
November the 26th ; and when, on the morning of 
the 27th, men looked for the Ijghthouse not a vestige 
of it was visible. With the builder and his work- 
men it had been swept away. 



THE EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE. 



167 



The necessity for placing a beacon upon so 
dangerous a set of reefs as the Eddystone rocks was 
thrust forcibly upon the public attention by a number 
of disastrous wrecks that followed the destruction of 
Winstanley's lighthouse ; and the Parliament of the 
day authorised a tax of one penny a ton upon all 
vessels outward and inward, for the benefit of the 
man who should again mark the reef with a light. 
John Rudyerd was the engineer employed by the 
purchaser of the right to build, and he, with extra- 
ordinary ingenuity, with wonderful patience, and 
with great skill, succeeded in once more planting a 
lighthouse on the dreadful spot. Though he 
avoided the glaring defects of his predecessor's con- 
trivance — defects, indeed, which made it wonderful 
that the structure should have outlived four winters' 
storms — he adhered to the notion that the house 
must be of wood, and his lighthouse therefore was 
of that material. In 1706, John Rudyerd's work 
was finished, and for forty-nine years it braved 
triumphantly the attacks of wind and sea. There 
is not any reason for supposing that it might not 
have continued much longer — until its timbers 
should have rotted, in fact — but it had in its very 
nature the principle of destruction. On the night 
of the 2nd of December, 1755, but under what cir- 
cumstances it is not exactly known, the dried and 
sooty rafters of the lantern were found to be on fire, 
and the inmates of the lighthouse could not subdue 
the flames. Driven from floor to floor as the fire 
worked downwards, the men were at last obliged to 
seek shelter under a ledge of the Eddystone rock 
itself, and in this dreadful position, fourteen miles 
from land, to await the succour which came off from 
the shore when the catastrophe of the lighthouse 
was apprehended. The lighthouse was totally 
destroyed, and when, a year afterwards, John 
Smeaton surveyed the site, he had difficulty in 
recognising where the old structure had stood. 

In spite of the opinion strongly entertained at 
the Trinity House, Smeaton, who was entrusted 
with the work of rebuilding the beacon, decided 
upon using stone and not wood. One wooden build- 
ing had been washed away, and another had been 
burned, and he was resolved that if he could help 
it the thing which had been should not be the thing 
that might be in the matter of the Eddystone 
Lighthouse. With infinite care, with untiring 
industry, with an incessant personal applica- 
tion that savoured of devotion, Smeaton set to 
work. In the face of difficulties from foul weather 
— and these were often of a character wholly to 
prevent work for days together — in the face of 
engineering and mechanical difficulties, for which 
the science of the day had not any remedy, and 
which had to be overcome by the suggestions of 
his own genius, Smeaton persevered — often dis- 
couraged but never cast down ; never advancing 
a Step without first being thoroughly persuaded it 



was a wise one, never having cause to regret a 
single step he had taken. 

The work was indeed wonderful, both in design 
and execution. The idea of building a house, not 
merely on a rock, but into a rock, so that it should 
be identified undistinguishably with it, was in 
itself a lofty one, such as no engineer had yet 
conceived. The necessity, perhaps, had not arisen 
with the same force as in the case of the Eddystone, 
but there the necessity was overwhelming. The 
Eddystone rocks are a set of reefs fourteen miles 
from Plymouth, right in the fairway of ships bound 
up or down Channel, and washed, not only by the 
great Atlantic wave, but torn also by the ground 
sea, and subjected to all the violence of the tide. 
Rearing their heads in the path of so many mighty 
forces, they have to endure all their rage in suc- 
cession, and to receive the -blows which they deal 
in the very height of their anger. " Even in sum- 
mer," wrote Winstanley, the builder of the first 
lighthouse, "the weather would at times prove so 
bad that for ten or fourteen days together the sea 
would be so raging about these rocks, caused by 
outwinds and the running of the ground seas coming 
from the main ocean, that although the weather 
should seern and be most calm in other places, yet 
here it would mount and fly more than 200 feet." 
In rough wintry weather the waves rear against and 
strike the stony edifice with a force that makes it 
tremble, and they roar at their own discomfiture. 
Wonderful was the undertaking to attempt work on 
such a place. Wonderful also was the work. 
Carefully, thoroughly, wisely, did Smeaton consider 
every principle that could possibly help him, and 
his own hands commenced the execution of every 
detail, his own eye superintended the entire work. 
By a wonderful adaptation of the principle of dove- 
tailing, he knitted every stone to every other stone, 
and wove the whole foundation into the fabric of 
the rock. To large central stones the whole of 
the outer stones were bound, and so the courses, 
joined as well as cemented together, were piled one 
upon the other till the whole became a mass of 
solid masonry, tied in unbreakable union to each 
other and the rock. Upon such a foundation the 
upper part of the lighthouse was built, and was 
finished on the 9th of October, 1759. Since that time 
till the present, Smeaton's work has stood unmoved 
and immovable, save by a power which should 
rend and tear the Eddystone itself The storms of 
a century have burst upon it, the most terrific 
waves, the most dreadful winds have beaten upon 
it, but it has not fallen. It was founded on a rock. 

As if to justify Sincarton's objection to wood as 
the material of the fabric, a portion of his work 
which was left unfinished and was of wood, caught 
fire in 1770, and was burned. It was replaced with 
stone, of which, when finally finished, the lighthouse 
was wholly built. 



i68 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



FLYING FISH. 



Flying Fish, or " sea-swallows," as they are also 
called, because of their resemblance to swallows in 
flight, are truly wonderful inhabitants of the deep. 
On first seeing them one might reasonably suppose 
them to be birds. There are three or four branches 
of the family, the more gaily decked being found 
only in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, while the 
common flying fish is met with all over the ocean 
within the tropics. Seldom or never docs the little 
creature venture outside the warm water of the 
tropical seas, his delicate organisation rendering 
him unfit to brave the cold temperature either of 
north or south. In size the fish is about equal with 
the herrin"-. It is of a bluish brown colour at the 



be so sometimes, but it is accidental ; the fish fiy 
just where they imagine they may get out of the 
way of bonitas, albacores, and dorados, their sworn 
foes, who seem to spend their whole time in hunting 
these unfortunate little creatures. Often it happens 
that, in their anxiety to get away from submarine 
enemies, they fall into destruction in the air ; for 
soa-birds on the prowl know that the flying fish 
must come out, and wait for them accordingly, with 
all the patience of deer-stalkers. 

The flying fish itself has not any teeth ; its food, 
when time is allowed it to snatch a meal, consists 
of shrimps, infusoria, and the smaller kind of 
medusa. But at best it must eat in haste, for the 
number of its destroyers is only equalled by their 
voracity. Sometimes in their fright they will come 




KI.YINt; HSII. 



top of the b.ack, white on the belly, and yellowish 
red on the tip of the tail and of the fins. Its large 
pectoral fin stretches the length of its body, and is 
of a deep blue colour. The tail is forked, the lower 
bend being longer than the upper. The head is 
scaly, and the whole body is squarish shaped. 
Some of the fish have four wings, others only two. 
The fish clears the water by the aid of its tail, 
keeping its wings close till free of the brine ; it 
then flies with a rapid motion till the wings become 
dry, which generally happens in the course of si.\ty 
yards. A touch of the water enables it to fly on 
about twenty yards further, and then the fish returns 
to the sea, exhausted. It does not rise more than 
six feet above the water, and seldom flies for more 
than a htmdred yards. 

As regards the line of flight, some people profess 
to say that the fish fly against the wind. This may 



on board ship, flapping down on the deck exhausted, 
and unable to rise again. Tlicy have even been 
known to break the glass of the binnacle light, so 
great is the force with which they impel themselves. 
Light seems to form a great attraction for them, 
and they will fly at night in crowds in the direction 
of a glare. Advantage is taken of this known fact 
by the fishermen, who go out at night with nets 
rigged on poles sticking out all round the sides of 
the boat. When the fishing-ground has been 
reached, a fire is made in a brazier that is reared in 
the middle of the boat. Soon the moths of the sea 
are drawn to their destruction. They come, see, 
and are conquered, falling down helplessly entangled 
in the meshes of the net. The supply of them, espe- 
cially in the Caribbean Sea, and around theWcst I ndia 
islands, seems to be inexhaustible, and the demand 
for their bodies is commensurate with the supply. 



THE PETER BOTTE MOUNTAIN. 



169 



THE PETER BOTTE MOUNTAIN. 

The Island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, 
possesses a chain of mountains of volcanic origin, 
some of which are singularly striking and rugged in 
appearance. The most celebrated of these, and 
one that, from 
its peculiar for- 
mation, is one 
of the most won- 
derful mountains 
of the world, 
is known as the 
Pieter or Peter 
Bottc, after the 
name of an 
adventurous 
Dutchman who, 
tradition asserts, 
once scaled its 
summit, but lost 
his life incoming 
down. In form 
it is a rugged 
cone, which runs 
up sharply from 
its base to the 
height of more 
than 2,800 feet ; 
and at the sum- 
mit of this cone 
is a huge mass 
of rock, which 
appears to be 
poised with th' 
greatest nicct' , 
so that a chanj 
in its directic '1 
of a few feet c 1 
eithersidewouM 
bring it to the 
earth. 

The example 
of the unfortu- 
nate Dutchman 
was not suffi- 
cient to deter 
other daring spi- 
rits from making the same attempt, and several times 
in recent years the mountain has been ascended in 
safety. The first instance occurred in 1832, when 
a party of Englishmen accomplished what was then 
deemed a most daring and hazardous task. This 
party consisted of some officers of the Royal Navy 
and engineers, named Captain Lloyd, and Lieu- 
tenants Keppel, Philpotts, and Taylor. By the last 
named the narrative of their adventure was com- 
municated to Sir John Barrow, and by him forwarded 




THE TETER liOTTE MOUNTAIN". 



to the Royal Geographical Society. An idea of the 
difficulty of the undertaking, as well as the general 
character of the mountain, will be gained by the 
following extracts from Lieutenant Taylor's letter:— 
" On rising to the shoulder of the mountain, a 
view burst upon us which quite defies my descrip- 
tive powers. We stood on a narrow ledge or neck 

__ ^ ^ of land about 

twenty yards in 
length. 

"On the side 
which wemount- 
ed, we looked 
back into the 
deep wooded 
gorge we had 
passed up; while 
on the opposite 
side of the neck, 
which was be- 
tween six and 
seven feet broad, 
the precipice 
went sheer down 
1,500 feet to the 
plain. One ex- 
tremity of the 
neck was equally 
precipitous, and 
the other was 
bounded by what 
to me was the 
most magnifi- 
cent sight I ever 
saw. A narrow 
knife-like edge 
of rock, broken 
here and there 
by precipitous 
faces, ran up in 
a conical form to 
about 300 or 
350 feet above 
us ; and on the 
very pinnacle 
old"PcterBotte" 
frowned in all 
his glory. 

"After a short 
rest we proceeded to work. A ladder had been left by 
Lloyd and Dawkins last year. [This was in a 
former and unsuccessful attempt by some of the 
same party.] It was about twelve feet high, and 
reached about halfway up a face of perpendicular 
rock. The foot, which was spiked, rested on a 
ledge, with barely three inches on each side. A 
negro of Lloyd's clambered from the top of the 
ladder, by the cleft in the face of the rock ; he 
carried a small cord round his middle. A single 



170 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



loose stone or false hold must have sent him 
down into the abyss ; however, he fearlessly scram- 
bled away, till at length we heard him halloo from 
under the neck, 'AH right !' The line carried up he 
made fast above, and up it we all four ' shinned ' 
in succession. It was, joking apart, awful work. 
In several places the ridge ran to an edge not a foot 
broad ; and I could, as I held on half sitting, half 
kneeling across the ridge, have kicked my right 
shoe down to the plain on one side, and my left 
into the bottom of the ravine on the other. I held 
on uncommonly hard, and felt very well satisfied 
when I was safe under the neck. 

"A communication being established with the 
shoulder by a double line of ropes, we proceeded to 
get up the necessary material — Lloyd's portable 
ladder, additional coils of rope, crowbars, &c. But 
now the question was how to get the ladder up 
against the rock. Lloyd made a line fast round his 
body, to which we all held on, and going to the 
edge of the precipice on the opposite side, he flung 
a large stone with a lead-line over the least pro- 
jecting part, and it was eagerly seized on the oppo- 
site side. Three lengths of the ladder were put 
together on the ledge ; a large hne was attached to 
the one which was over the head, and carefully 
drawn up ; and, finally, a two-inch rope, to the 
extremity of which we lashed the top of our ladder, 
then lowered it gently over the precipice till it hung 
perpendicularly, and was steadied by two negroes 
on the ridge below. ' All right, now hoist away ! ' 
And up went the ladder till the foot came to the 
edge of our ledge, where it was lashed in firmly to 
the neck. We then hauled away on the. guy to 
steady it, and made it fast ; a line was passed over 
by the lead-line to hold on, and up went Lloyd, 
screeching and hallooing, and we all three scram- 
bled after him. The Union Jack and a boat-hook 
were passed up, and Old England's flag waved 
freely and gallantly on the redoubted Peter 
Botte." 

The successful adventurers stayed all night on 
the summit of the mountain, and all descended 
safely in the morning. 

The mountain was again ascended in 1848, in 
1858, and lastly, so far as we are aware, in 1864, 
each time by a party of Englishmen. The details 
of the last ascent very much resembled those of 
the first, the same apparatus of ladders and ropes 
being employed to assist the adventurers. The 
traces of former ascents were discovered at the 
top, among them a piece of lead on which were 
inscribed the names of the mountaineers of 1848. 
A day or two after, the same party ascended the 
mountain again, and this time Mr. Greene, an 
amateur photographer, took several photographic 
views of the mountain, one of which has afforded 
the subject for our illustration. Before finally 
turning their backs upon Peter Botte they left their 



names in a " visitors' book," which was enclosed 
in a tin box and left on the top of the mountain, 
as a register for future adventurers. 



ST. VITUS'S DANCE. 

This peculiar disorder, now but rarely met with, 
was once widely prevalent in Germany and the 
Low Countries, where its diffusion appears to have 
been greatly encouraged by the fondness of the 
people for hysterical and superstitious excitement. 
The " dancing mania," as it has been called, was 
practised until a kind of general frenzy seemed to 
have seized the people, many of whom entirely lost 
control over their own motions. Jan, of Kdnigs- 
haven, an old German chronicler, thus describes 
the epidemic as it appeared at Strasburg— 

** At Strasburg hundreds of folk began 
To dance and leap, both maid and man 
In open market, lane, or street. 
They skipp'd along, nor cared to eat. 
Until their plague had ceased to fright us— " 
'Twas call'd the dance of Holy Vitus." 

The name appears to have been derived from the 
supposed power of St. Vitus over nervous and hys- 
teric affections. 

The pranks indulged in by persons afflicted with 
this mania were for some time ascribed to demonia- 
cal possession. Even the great Paracelsus, who 
effected many cures by medicinal remedies, in which 
cold water was a prominent agent, for a time en- 
couraged the popular belief, no doubt wishing in 
some cases to operate on his patients through the 
imagination. He therefore prescribed in these special 
instances that "the patient was to make an image of 
himself in wax or resin, and by an effort of thought 
to concentrate all his blasphemies and sins in it, with- 
out the intervention of any other person ; to set his 
whole mind and thoughts concerning these oaths 
in the image ; and when he had succeeded in this, 
he was to burn the image, so that not a particle of 
it should remain." 

St. Vitus's dance, which raged in the countries 
we have mentioned from the fourteenth to the six- 
teenth century, began to decline as the progress of 
enlightenment calmed the minds of men, and freed 
them from their delusions. It is now only known 
as a form of disease which occurs chiefly among 
children, but is generally capable of successful treat- 
ment under proper conditions, while in many cases 
it is outgrown as the child advances in age. 



DESTRUCTIVE POWERS OF WORMS. 

In less than a year after a large jetty built at Val- 
paraiso was finished, those piles which were not 
defended by copper were completely reduced to a 
honeycomb state by a curious little animal called 
the auger-worm ( Teredo navalis), from the resem- 



THE STORY OF THE PORTLAND VASE. 



171 



blance its head bears to a common auger. It is 
small, white, and almost gelatinous, with the excep- 
tion of the head, which is armed with two movable 
plates of shell, by which it is presumed the animal 
perforates the wood. As it advances in the work 
of destruction it lengthens and increases in size by 
natural growth, constantly enlarging the cell in pro- 
portion to the demand for accommodation. The 
cell is lined with a calcareous coating (the secretion 
of the animal), similar to the shells of the molluscous 
tribes. The worm sometimes attains several feet 
in length, and an inch in diameter. From the 
havoc made on the jetty, it may be easily inferred 
what would be the fate of a vessel undefended by 
copper were she to remain long in this port. — 
Three Years in the Pacific. 



THE STORY OF THE PORTLAND VASE. 

" Bid mortality rejoice or mourn. 
O'er the fine form of Portland's mystic urn." — Darwin, 

For the space of five-and-thirty years there was 
deposited in the British Museum the most ancient 
glass vase in existence, an object of rare art, which 
for more than two centuries was the principal trea- 
sure of the Barberini Palace at Rome, and was sub- 
sequently known as " the Portland Vase." We 
remember this gem of art for many years in the 
old Museum. It was placed in the centre of the 
ante-room at the head of the stairs leading from 
the Gallery of Antiquities, upon an octagonal table 
beneath glass. The room was imperfectly lighted, 
and the vase was comparatively but little heeded 
by visitors to the Museum, but it has altogether a 
curious history. It was found about the middle of 
the sixteenth century enclosed in a marble sar- 
cophagus, within a sepulchral chamber under the 
Monte del Grano, two miles and a half from Rome, 
on the road to Frascati. It was deposited in the 
palace of the Barberini family until 1770, when it 
was purchased by Byres, the antiquary, and sold 
by him to Sir William Hamilton, of whom it was 
bought for 1,800 guineas by the Duchess of Port- 
land, who placed it in her museum at Priory Gar- 
dens, Whitehall ; and on the dispersion of this 
museum by auction in 1786, this vase was bought 
in by the Portland family for £i,02g. It is gf 
inches in height, 7J inches diameter, and has two 
handles. It was subsequently deposited in the 
British Museum by the Duke of Portland in 1810. 

On the vase being offered for sale by Sir William 
Hamilton, Wedgwood, " the father of the Potteries," 
considering that many persons, by whom the origi- 
nal was unattainable, might be willing to pay a 
handsome price for a good imitation of it, en- 
deavoured to purchase the vase, and for some time 
continued to advance upon each bidding of the 
Duchess of Portland, until, at length, his motive 
being ascertained, he was offered the loan of the 



vase on condition of withdrawing his opposition. 
Consequently, the Duchess became the purchaser 
at the price of 1,800 guineas. It is stated that a 
limited number of copies were sold at 50 guineas 
each, and that the model cost 500 guineas ; pro- 
bably our greatest English sculptor, Flaxman, was 
the artist who was so liberally rewarded. Si*" 
Joseph Banks and Sir Joshua Reynolds bore testi- 
mohy to the excellent execution of these copies ; 
they were chased by a steel tool, after the bas- 
relief had been wholly or partially fired. The vase 
was engra\ed by Cipriani and Bartolozzi in 1786. 
There is a copy of it in the British and Mediaeval 
room, in the British Museum, and a mould of it 
was made by Pechler, the gem engraver, while it 
was in the possession of the Barberini family, aiid 
from this mould a number of casts were taken by 
Tassie, who afterwards destroyed the mould. 

The vase is ornamented with white opaque 
figures in bas-relief upon a dark blue semi-trans- 
parent ground. The design, and more especially 
the execution, are truly admirable. The whole of 
the blue ground — or at least the part below the 
upper welding of the handle — was originally covered 
with white enamel, out of which the figures have 
been sculptured in the style of a cameo, witji 
astonishing skill and labour. Although there 
cannot exist any doubt as to the materials of which 
this vase is composed, it is extraordinary that, not- 
withstanding four authors have agreed in considering 
it to be stone, all differ- as to the kind of stone. 
Breval regarded it as chalcedony; Count Fetzi, 
amethyst ; Bartoli, sardonyx ; and De la Chausse, 
agate. " That travellers or authors," says Mr. 
Pellatt, " should have been so ignorant as to suppose 
that a natural production could have been hollowed 
out of the size of the Portland Vase, seems sur- 
passing strange ; nor does it appear less perplexing 
that each account should differ in the colour and 
description of stone." 

There are three scenes on the vase ; one on 
either side, and the other at the bottom. The first 
represents three exquisite figures seated under a 
tree near a ruined column. The centre figure, a 
female, is apparently greatly exhausted or dying ; 
in her left hand she holds an inverted torch, while 
her right hand is thrown over her drooping head. 
On her right hand is the figure of a man, and on 
her left that of a woman, both seated, and looking 
towards the reclining figure. The other scene 
represents a male figure passing through a portal 
with great timidity, and descending into a darker 
region, where a beautiful female is waiting with 
outstretched hand to receive him. She is seated 
with her feet towards an aged male person, who is 
resting his chin on his hand, and has one foot raised 
on a column, and the other apparently sunk into 
the earth. Between the knees of the female is a 
large and playful serpent, and above is a Cupid, 



1^2 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



who beckons the male figure to advance ; and he 
is striving to take with him a cloak or garment, 
■^hich adheres to the side of the portal. In this 
scene are two trees, shading the female and the 
aged male. On the bottom of the vase is repre- 
sented another figure, pointing a finger to its mouth, 
and on its head is a Phrygian cap, and a broad- 
leavcd tree above. Aged heads, satyr-like, arc at 
the base of the handles. 

The piece of bas-relief engraved glass forming 
the foot of the vase is distinct, and cemented to 
the bottom of the vessel ; it appears to be of later 
date than the body of the vase, and by a different 
artist. It has likewise been conjectured that, the 
neck of the vase being small, the large opening at 
the bottom gave more room for putting in ashes or 
bones, prior to the foot being finally cemented on. 
At all events, this beautiful work of ancient art 
proves that the manufacture of glass was carried to 
a state of high perfection in early times. 

On February the 7th, 1845, the vase was 
wantonly dashed to pieces with a stone by one 
William Lloyd, a visitor to the Museum. He was 
secured and taken before a police magistrate, 
who fined him ^3 for destroying the glass shade, 
which belonged to the trustees of the Museum : the 
fine was paid by some anonymous person. The 
broken pieces of the vase were gathered up, and 
it has been restored by Mr. Doubleday so beautifully 
that a blemish can scarcely be detected. A drawing 
of the fractured pieces is' preserved. The vase is 
now kept in the model-room at the Museum. 



oitirjrfirl Jfisljes. 



GRATITUDE IN A PIKE. 
When the late Dr. Warwick resided at Durham, 
the seat of the Earl of Stamford and Warrington, 
he was walking one evening in the park, and came 
to a pond where fish intended for the table were 
temporarily kept. He took particular notice of a 
fine pike, of about six pounds weight, which, when 
it observed him, darted hastily away. In so doing 
it struck its head against a tenter-hook in a post 
(of which there were several in the pond, placed 
to prevent poaching), and as it afterwards appeared, 
fractured its skull and turned the optic nerve on 
one side. The anguish evinced by the animal 
appeared most horrible. It rushed to the bottom, 
and boring its head into the mud, whirled itself 
round with such velocity, that it was almost lost 
to sight for a short interval. It then plunged about 
the pond, and at length threw itself completely out 
of the water on to the bank. The doctor went and 
examined it, and found that a very small portion of 
the brain was protruding from the fracture in the 
skull. He carefully replaced this, and with a small 
silver toothpick, raised the indented portion of the 



skull. The fish remained still for a short time, and 
he then put it again into the pond. It appeared at 
first a good deal relieved, but in a few minutes it 
again darted and plunged about until it threw itself 
out of the water a second time. A second time Dr. 
Warwick did what he could to relieve it, and again 
put it into the water. It continued for several times 
to throw itself out of the pond, and with the assis- 
tance of the keeper, the doctor at length made a 
kind of pillow for the fish, which was then left in 
the pond to its fate. Upon making his appearance 
at the pond on the following morning, the pike came 
towards him to the edge of the water and actually 
laid its head upon his foot. The doctor thought 
this most extraordinary ; but he examined the fish's 
skull and found it going on all right. He then 
walked backwards and forwards along the edge of 
the pond for some time, and the fish continued to 
swim up and down, turning whenever he tm-ned ; 
but being blind on the wounded side of its skull, 
it always appeared agitated when it had that side 
towards the bank, as it could not then see its bene- 
factor. On the next day he took some young 
friends down to see the fish, which came to him 
as before, and at length he actually taught the pike 
to come to him at his whistle and feed out of his 
hands. With other persons it continued as shy as 
fish usually are. Dr. Warwick thought this a most 
remarkable instance of gratitude in a fish for a 
benefit received ; and as it always came to his 
whistle, it also proved what he had previously dis- 
believed, that fishes are sensible to sound. 

Voice of the Tench. — Dr. Shirley Palmer re- 
lates the following singular fact : — " In the spring of 
1823 I received from a friend a brace of tench just 
taken from the water. They were deposited in a 
dish and placed upon a high shelf in the larder, 
situated between the dining parlour and cooking 
kitchen. The following midnight, whilst writing in 
the dining-room, my attention was excited by a deep, 
hollow, protracted groan. It was twice or thrice 
repeated, and all my efforts to discover the source 
of the sound were ineffectual. At length my ear 
was startled by a loud splash, succeeded by a groan 
more deep and long-continued than those which I 
had previously heard, and evidently proceeding 
from the larder. Inspection of that room explained 
the mystery. One of the fishes had sprung down 
from the shelf on the stone floor, and there la)-, with 
mouth open, and pectoral and ventral fins exten- 
ded, uttering the sounds by which my midnight 
labours had been interrupted. Next day both 
 fishes were cooked for dinner ; and such is the 
j tenacity of life in the tench, that although thirty 
hours had then elapsed since their removal from 
, their native element, both fishes, after having 
I undergone the process of scaling and evisceration, 
' sprang vigorously from the pot of hot water when 
consigned to it by the cook." 



THE WELWITSCHIA. 



il3 




LANDSCAPE IN TROPICAL AFRICA, WITH SPECIMENS OF WELWITSCHIA MIRABILIS. 



Monb^rs of ^t^diximx, 

THE WELWITSCHIA, THE WONDERFUL TABLE- 
TREE OF WESTERN AFRICA. 

About iooo miles north from the Cape of Good 
Hope, on the western side of Africa, there is an 
extensive district of sterile country extending north- 
wards to the Portuguese settlement of Benguela. 
This region is almost, if not altogether, rainless. 
Heavy dews fall at night, and supply the little 
moisture required by the scanty vegetation, which 
consists of a few plants, specially fitted by their 
organisation to endure the continuous rays of a 
tropical sun poured down from a cloudless sky. 
The exposure of one of our English plants to such 
a sun for even a few minutes would evaporate every 
particle of moisture it contained, and wither it up 
into a dead, dry, friable skeleton. But these strange 
plants, from the great thickness of the skin which 
covers their leaves, and the structure of the 
stomates, are able to resist the action of the most 
powerful rays of the sun, and to retain the little 
moisture they require for the necessities of their 
life. 

Among the few plants scattered o\'er these arid 
sandy plains is one which its dcscriber has properly 
called mirabilis, as it is one of the most wonder- 
ful plants anywhere to be found on the surface of 
the earth. It was discovered in the year i860 
by the eminent scientific traveller, Dr. Welwitsch, 



whose name has been associated with it by Dr. 
Hooker in commemoration of his successful bo- 
tanical explorations in Central Africa. 

The Welwitschia is a tree which lives for many 
years, some specimens being estimated by their 
discoverer as at least a hundred years old, and 
which every year of its life increases in size, yet 
never grows higher. Rising just above the ground, 
this strange plant, looking like a rough roundish 
table, regularly enlarges by adding concentric layers 
to its circumference. The flat upper surface of the 
trunk is very hard and dark, resembling in colour 
and texture the crust of an over-baked loaf In 
shape it is a somewhat compressed disc, with a 
more or less deep groove running through the centre 
of its longest diameter, and dividing it into two 
lobes. It is marked with a number of concentric 
ridges studded with circular pits which have been 
produced by the fallen fruit-stalks. Each new 
ridge or concentric layer supports a large number 
of fruits, in the form of beautifully regular and bright 
scarlet cones, somewhat resembling the fruits of 
the fir-trees of our forests, to which trees the Wel- 
witschia, though so different in aspect, has a very 
close affinity. Sometimes, in old plants, the mar- 
gins of the lobes are very much split. The trunk 
attains a size of from fourteen to eighteen feet in 
circumference, but is never more than a few inches 
above the ground. It gradually tapers downwards, 
forming a large tap-root, which penetrates several 
feet into the ground. 



n4 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



When the young plant springs from the seed it 
sends up two small green leaves corresponding to 
the first seed-leaves of the oak or beech. But in 
our trees, and in all other plants, these first leaves, 
having performed their part in the growth of the 
plant, decay and disappear, and are succeeded by 
numerous others of shapes peculiar to the different 
plants to which they belong. The Welwitschia is a 
singular and remarkable exception to this otherwise 
universal rule. It never loses its two first leaves, 
and it never gets any more. Imagine a frog always 
remaining in its tadpole state, with external gills, a 
long swimming tail, and no legs, yet growing to 
the size of a large frog. Such a creature would be 
in the animal kingdom as great an anomaly as the 
Welwitschia is in the vegetable kingdom. The 
plant is really an infant tree, attaining the age of a 
hundred years, yet never getting rid of its early im- 
perfect condition. The leaves rise from two deep 
grooves in the outer margin of the trunk, one spring- 
ing from each lobe. They increase in size year after 
year with the growth of the plant until, in the larger 
specimens, they attain a length of six feet or even 
more. They are quite flat, long, very leathery, and 
frequently split into numerous straps, that lie curl- 
ing upon the surface of the barren soil. 

A less inviting landscape can scarcely be imagined 
than the sandy desert sparsely covered with short 
dry grass and scattered specimens of this extraor- 
dinary plant, looking more like the remains of some 
ancient forest which had been cleared by the axe 
of the settler, than a collection of complete and 
living plants. For a time, when they are in perfec- 
tion, the short branches of bright scarlet cones 
which cover the crown of the stem relieve the 
dismal monotony. With all its strange peculiari- 
ties — and, indeed, chiefly because of them — the 
Welwitschia is singularly adapted to the physical 
conditions under which it lives. 



INVENTION OF THE ARCH. 

The invention of the true arch, after much contro- 
versy, has been satisfactorily traced to the early 
Egyptians. Mr. Fcrgusson, in his valuable " Hand- 
book of Architecture," observes : " It is generally 
supposed that the early Egyptians were ignorant of 
the true principles of the arch, and only employed 
two stones, meeting one another at a certain angle 
in the centre, when they wished to cover a larger 
space than could conveniently be done by a single 
block. This, however, seems to be a mistake, as 
many of the tombs and chambers around the Pyra- 
mids are roofed by stone arches of a semicircular 
form, and perfect in every respect as far as the 
principles of the arch are concerned." 

Several of these semicircular arches have been 
drawn by Lepsius, but as their date cannot be 



ascertained, Mr. Fergusson considers that the 
curved form of the roofs of the third Pyramid would 
alone be sufficient to render it more than pro- 
bable that during the period of the fourth dynasty 
the Egyptians were familiar with this expedient. 
" At Beni Hassan, during the time of the twelfth 
dynasty, curvilinear forms appear in the roofs, used 
in such a manner as to render it almost certain that 
they are copies from roofs of construction. Behind 
the Rhamassion, at Thobes. there is a series of 
'arches in brick which seem undoubtedly to belong 
to the same age as the building itself ; and Sir 
Gardner Wilkinson mentions a tomb at Thebes 
the roof of which is vaulted with bricks, and still 
bears the name of Amenoph I., of the eighteenth 
dynasty, or 1500 years B.C. 

" In Ethiopia, Mr. Hoskins found stone arches 
vaulting the roofs of the porches of the Pyramids, 
perfect in construction, and — what is still more 
singular — showing both circular and pointed forms. 
These are not earlier than the age of Solomon, nor 
later than that of Cambyses." 

In the age of Psammeticus, about 600 B.C., we 
have several stone arches in the neighbojirhood of 
the Pyramids. One, in a tomb at Sacca, has fre- 
quently been drawn ; but Captain Campbell dis- 
covered an arch of a more primitive form, composed 
of three stones only, and above that another arch 
of regular construction of four courses. Layard 
discovered at Nimroud, vaulted drains and cham- 
bers, circular and pointed, below the north-west 
and south-east edifices, and consequently as old as 
the eighth or ninth century before our era. 

The great discovery of this class, however, is that 
of the city gates at Khursabad, which were spanned 
by arches of semicircular form, so perfect as to 
prove that in the time of Sargon the arch was a 
usual and well-understood building expedient. 

Mr. Fergusson also infers, from discoveries made, 
that the Assyrians used the pointed arch for tunnels, 
aqueducts, and generally for underground work 
where the pressure was great, and the round arch 
above ground. 

In Europe, the oldest work is probably that of 
the Cloaca Maxima, at Rome, constructed under 
the early kings. It is of stone, in three rims, and 
shows as perfect a knowledge of the principle as 
any subsequent example. 

From all this, says Mr. Fergusson, it becomes 
certain that the arch was used as early as the times 
of the Pyramid builders of the fourth dynasty, and 
was copied in the tombs of Beni Hassan, of the 
twelfth ; and although the earliest existing example 
cannot be dated further back than the first kings of 
the eighteenth dynasty fromjthat time, that the 
arch was currently used, not only in Egypt, but also 
in Ethiopia and Assyria. 

The old notion that the pointed arch originated 
in the intersection of two round Norman arches, or 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 



I7S 



in groined vaults, can no longer be held, as both 
were unknown till long after the pointed arch had 
been common in the East. " A whole mosque," 
says Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, " still remains 
at Cairo, built A.D. 879 ; the Cufic inscriptions 
at the Nilometer of Roda, opposite Old Cairo, 
show from their style that its pointed arches are of 
a similarly remote period ; and there is reason to 
believe that this kind of arch was used by the 
Arabs long before. It is also found covering one of 
the chambers before an Ethiopian pyramid at Gebel 
Bferkel, built while the Romans were in Egypt. 
There is one with a keystone over a passage at 
Tusculum, at least as old as the days of the Latin 
Confederation ; another at Pompeii, at Zindem, and 
at Ephesus ; and future discoveries will doubtless 
prove that it was employed in the East before its 
adoption by the Saracens." 

" If not its inventors," continues the same au- 
thority, " the Saracens were the first to make known 
the pointed archio the architects of Europe ; and 
the builders of the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies benefited, like their predecessors, by the hints 
derived from those of other people, which were 
adopted and made their own, without derogating 
from the excellence of the new style, and without 
their builders thinking themselves degraded by 
adopting what was beautiful and suited to their 
wants. This was adaptation, not mere imitation." 



THE BUTTER BIRD. 

Humboldt, in his " Travels in South America," 
records a visit to Caripe, where is the cavern of the 
Guacharo bird ; and our knowledge of this wonder 
is derived from his most interesting narrative. 
Among the natives in the country around, this 
cavern is celebrated for its great size, for the 
mysterious birds which haunt its inmost recesses, 
for the river which flows from it, and for the super- 
stitious belief that in its gloomy depths is the abode 
of the spirits of their departed ancestors. The 
name which it bears signifies " the mine of fat," 
because from the young of the birds which inhabit 
it an immense quantity of fat is annually obtained. 
These birds are about the size of our common 
fowl, with wings which expand to three feet and a 
half. All day long they dwell in the cavern, and, 
like our owls, only come forth at night. They sub- 
sist entirely on fruits, and have very powerful beaks, 
which are necessary to crack the tough nuts and 
reeds which form part of their food. 

The approach to the cavern where they are 
found is along the bed of a river, in a valley cele- 
brated for its beauty and the salubrity of its climate. 
The immediate entrance is surrounded by the most 
gorgeous tropical vegetation. The hill, into the 
depths of which it penetrates for upwards of half a 



mile, is clothed with trees of immense height. The 
mouth is a splendid arch upwards of seventy feet 
high ; the river which flows from it has a fringe 
of vegetation along its banks, which gradually 
diminishes as the gloom increases. 

The cave is so straight that the traveller can 
enter for some distance without being obliged to 
light his torch. As he proceeds over the some- 
what rough ground which forms the bed of the. 
river, he begins to hear from afar the hoarse cries 
of the Guacharo birds ; and when he has arrived 
at the dark parts of the cavern the noise is perfectly 
terrific ; thousands of the birds uttering their pierc- 
ing cries simultaneously. These screams re-echo 
from the surrounding walls, and when it is remem- 
bered that they take place in pitchy darkness, it 
will be easy to understand the superstitious terrors 
which the Indians associate with the spot. At half 
a mile from the entrance the river forms a cascade, 
and beyond this the cavern slightly changes in direc- 
tion. Nothing will persuade the Indians to advance 
further than this spot. 

Midsummer is the harvest time for the fat. The 
Indians enter the cave armed with long poles. The 
nests are attached to holes in the roof about sixty 
feet above their heads. They break these with the 
poles, and the young birds fall down and are 
instantly killed. Underneath their bodies is a 
layer of fat, which is cut off, and is the object sought. 
At the mouth of the cavern huts are erected with 
palm-leaves, and there, in pots of clay, the natives 
melt the fat which has been collected. 

This is known as the butter of the Guacharo ; it is 
so pure that it may be kept for upwards of a year 
without becoming rancid. At the convent of Caripe 
no other oil is ever used in the kitchen of the monks. 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT, 

The mere fact that light is the motion of an ethereal 
fluid is astonishing, but the way in which the theory 
is supported by observation is even still more 
remarkable. 

Let us take an example from what is called 
" Interference." If the reader will throw two stones 
into a pond, and carefully observe the circles of 
waves as they mingle with each other, it will be 
found that when the crest of one wave happens to 
be in the trough of the one coming to meet it, there 
will at that place be a level. 

This will at once be evident by a glance at the 
diagram with which we illustrated our late notice of 
this subject. Remembering how minute these bends 
are — 5o,oooof them only making one inch in length — 
it will be very evident that to all intents and purposes 
the waves will be obliterated. But if, as we have 
asserted, light is nothing but the impulse of these 
waves, surely, if we annihilate the waves, we destroy 
the light. Can this be done ? A moment's thought 



176 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



will at once convince us that if we had two waves 
of light, and were able to allow one to have the 
start of the other by just half the length of a wave, 
we should then place these waves in the very posi- 
tion required, and be able to demonstrate the rather 
startling wonder that two waves of light, under 
these circumstances, produce, not more light, but 
absolutely darkness ! Any of our readers can 
perform the experiment, 
and thus be assured of one 
of the most beautiful con- 
firmations of this most won- 
derful theory. It is only 
requisite to be provided with 
two pieces of glass, one of 
which must be curved — a 
magnifying glass, or spec- 
tacle glass, or even a tum- 
bler will suffice. The curved 

surface is placed on the flat piece of glass, and whilst 
in this position they are so held as to permit light 
from the window or any other source to be reflected 
into the eye from the point at which they touch ; 
and at that point will be found a spot of darkness — 
where there is no light — and on carefully observing, 
this centre spot will be surrounded by dark rings. 
This is explained by referring to Fig. i. The ray 
of light, S B, penetrates the curved glass, arriving 
at its under surface at A; some of it is reflected 
upwards in the di- 
rection A E, some 
of it passes on, and 
arrives at the sur- 
face of the second 
pieceof glass. Here 
it behaves precisely 
in the same way as 
at A ; some passes 
on through the 
glass, the rest is 
thrown upwards or 
reflected in the di- 
rection B F. Now, 
it is very evident 
that the two rays of 

light, when they enter the eye at E F, have not 
travelled an equal distance ; for the light which 
journeyed along the path s B F, had further to go 
than the other, and if it so happened that this 
distance was greater by the length of half a wave — 
that is, if the one path were ^ <, u\,^^th of an inch longer 
than the other — then the two waves would interfere, 
and destroy each other. This phenomenon would 
take place, of course, if the one path were longer 
than the other by any quantity which contained 
half a wave length, li, or 2*, or 3 J, &c., and at these 
distances the rings appear. This phenomenon has 
also an illustration in the case of sound. As we 
said before, the sensation of sound is produced by 





waves of air beating upon a very fine membrane or 
skin, which is stretched across the tube which has 
its opening in the orifice of the ear. Different 
sounds are caused, just as colour in light, by the 
rapidity of the vibration of these waves. For 
instance, whenever the note middle C is struck, it 
causes the tympanum, or the fine membrane in the 
car, to be struck 256 times in a second ; if an 
octave higher, double this 
number, or 512 vibrations 
are produced. This is easily 
proved by causing a cog- 
wheel (Fig. 2) to turn ra- 
pidly, holding a card. A, 
against the teeth ; when 
256 teeth of the wheel hit 
against the card in a second, 
I. the note C is produced. 

A tuning-fork causes the 
air to vibrate, and if it be held a little from the ear, 
and gradually turned round, the. strength of the 
note will vary greatly : now it is scarcely audible, 
now it is loud ; the reason being that as the fork is 
turned, the waves from each prong are brought 
exactly into the same position as those of light in 
the instance cited — they interfere, producing silence. 
This accounts for the beats — the pulses in a sound 
— which are very marked when two adjacent bass 
notes of a harmonium are held down together. 

Returning to light 
for a moment, this 
explained wonder 
gives us the reason 
why a mother-of- 
pearl shell should 
show a play of co- 
lours. 

The waves of co- 
loured light are not 
of the same length ; 
the wave of red light 
is sicsoth of an 
inch, whilst that of 
violet is ooiijoth. 
Now, it is very 
evident that sometimes it may so happen that the 
red rays of two pencils of light may extinguish each 
other ; and if you take away red out of white light, 
you leave the yellow and blue, which make green. 
So the blue might be taken out, and the light would 
then be orange. A mother-of-pearl shell is made of 
very fine layers ; and the light from the edges of 
these layers is reflected. The rays interfering with 
each other annihilate some colours, making the 
white light coloured. If a piece of white wax be 
pressed upon such a shell, the wax takes the impress 
of the layers, and exhibits this wonderful phenome- 
non. The colours of a soap-bubble, and all such 
thin films, are due to this wonder of interference. 



THE DINOTHERIUM. 



177 



THE DINOTHERIUM. 

Some years ago a huge head was dug up by some 
workmen at Epplesheim, in Germany. The bones 
were all that was left, but their wonderful size 
attracted attention at once. As the digging pro- 
ceeded, two immense tusks were found to be 
attached to the lower jaw-bone, close to the chin ; 
they did not simply project like the tusks of an 
elephant, but were curved under the jaw. Their 
position was so peculiar, that it left the notion on 
the mind that if the animal ever opened its mouth 
very wide, or fell on the top of its head, the points 
of the tusks would pierce 
either its neck or chest. 
Some scientific men cleaned 
this great skull and placed 
it in the museum of Darm- 
stadt. Drawings and mo- 
dels were made of it, and for 
many years it was the won- 
der of the place. It became 
an object of great interest to 
all the anatomists of the day, 
who differed greatly in their 
opinions concerning the ha- 
bits of the animal to which it 
once belonged. A model of 
the skull was once in the Bri- 
tish Museum, but now the 
real head has been purchased 
for several hundred pounds, 
and it may be recognised at 
once by the curiously-curved 
tusks of the lower jaw. When 
this skull is compared with 

those of some of the elephants, it will be found very 
much larger than any of them ; and on looking at 
the front, some resemblance will be noticed between 
the faces of the two animals. Like the elephant, the 
former possessor of the great skull had a flexible 
nose in the form of a trunk. The openings for the 
eyes arc large, and for the cars also, and the teeth 
still remaining in the jaws are enormous and very 
heavy, and arc ridged so as to form two gable- 
looking tops to their chewing surface. The head 
resembles that of an elephant without tusks, and 
also that of an animal which lives in America 
called the tapir. The tapir is in appearance some- 
thing between a pony and a pig with a very long 
snout ; but it has not the great curved tusks which 
are placed in the lower jaw of this wonderful skull. 
There could be no doubt that the animal whose skull 
was thus attracting so much attention was a quadru- 
ped ; but at first its huge bulk was thought to be too 
great for that of a land animal ; for, from its head 
being so large, it was supposed to have a corres- 
pondingly large body. Consequently it was placed 

23 




SKULL OF lllli UlNOTHERIliM, 



amongst the whale kind. After the lapse of a few 
years, some pieces of the head-bones and limb- 
bones of the animal were found in the south of 
France, and also on an island in the Arabian Sea. 
These bones were like those of enormous elephants, 
and the idea of the creature being a whale was 
abandoned. It was called Deinotherium, or Dino- 
therium, which means in Greek awful beast : awful 
from its size only, for its teeth were so made that 
they could not tear flesh, and the great tusks were 
so curved that they could ne\'er hurt any other 
animal than that which possessed them. Probably 
the Dinotherium stood as high as the tallest elephant. 
It had rather a long neck ; its forehead and face did 
not look to the front like 
those of an elephant, but up- 
wards, like those of the hip- 
popotamus. The trunk, pro- 
bably, was not long, and the 
lower lips were very large. 

This wonderful beast was 
a feeder upon vegetables and 
not upon animals ; its curved 
tusks enabled it to dig up 
roots, and its trunk plucked 
rushes, large grasses, and 
twigs, all of which the huge 
grinders could pound into a 
pulp, to be swallowed easily 
enough. Some anatomists 
think that the Dinotherium 
was a river beast, and that it 
lived in streams and lakes, 
fixing itself to the banks by 
means of its tusks when it 
wished to cease floating about, 
just as the great walrus an- 
chors itself on the ice. Others consider that it lived 
very much like the elephants do now ; but most 
probably it was a slow-moving creature, with a 
prodigious appetite for sweet canes, soft young twigs 
of growing trees, and wild roots. 

As the bones of the Dinotherium were found in 
the west of Europe and in Asia, it must have lived 
over a great extent of country. The tusks in the 
lower jaw had to be moved up and down with the 
jaw every time the mouth was opened and shut, 
and therefore their great weight must have been 
wearisome to the animal unless the muscles which 
governed this motion were very large and strong. 
That they were so, the space in which they worked 
in the skull proves : there was a muscle on each 
side as thick as the body of a man ! It is wonder- 
ful that this great beast should no longer exist, and 
that there is no animal with tusks like it. The 
Dinotherium died off from the face of the earth 
before man was created, and it is the most wonder- 
ful of the many beasts that inhabited the world 
which was gradually being prepared for us. 



178 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Moitiiers xjf BtQthiwx. 

The Lemon Grass of Ceylon.— One of the 
most remarkable productions of Ceylon, which is 
beheved to be peculiar to that island, is the lemon 
grass, known to botanists as Andropogon scJtcenan- 
thus. This curious herb is celebrated not only 
for its distinguishing properties, but for the con- 
flagrations of which it is frequently the subject. 
It may be seen covering almost all the Kandian 
hills, and while it is young is the best possible 
pasture for cattle. It grows to the height of seven 
feet or more, is very hard to the touch, and has a 
strong but very pleasant acid taste. It derives its 
name from having, when crushed, an odour like 
that of a lemon, so strong that after a time it be- 
comes quite heavy and sickening, although grate- 
ful and refreshing at first. It covers the hills in 
patches wherever they are not overgrown with 
jungle, and is to be found nowhere but in the Kan- 
dian district. It frequently ignites spontaneously, 
and the appearance of the burning grass is de- 
scribed as most magnificent. On the slopes of the 
mountain of Ambulawe, in the wet season, the 
grand spectacle of the conflagration is frequently 
to be seen. Flames burst from spot to spot till 
they unite and become one lurid mass, which con- 
tinues burning rapidly against the wind, the long 
grass being bent by the breeze towards the flames. 
When the conflagration is at its height it throws a 
fierce glare all around, and the growling hollow 
sound made by the roar of the flames is heard at 
a very great distance. When it has by degrees 
subsided, volumes of dense smoke roll upwards, 
sending forth millions of sparks, which, falling on 
whatever grass may be remaining, frequently cause 
a second conflagration to arise. A few days after, 
from the midst of this parched, and blackened, and 
apparently dead ground, lovely young green shoots 
begin to arise^for the roots of the grass have not 
been injured, far less destroyed by the fire— and in 
a very short time the whole brow of the mountain 
is again overspread with tufts of beautiful waving 
green. 

The Castle Trees of South Africa.— About 
the latitude 23 deg. S., the traveller will first meet 
with the gigantic and castle-like Uwana, which is 
decidedly the most striking and wonderful tree 
among the thousands which adorn the South 
African forests. It is chiefly remarkable on ac- 
count of its extraordinary size, actually resembling 
a castle or tower more than a forest-tree. Through- 
out the country of Bamangwato the average circum- 
ference of these trees was from 30 to 40 feet ; but 
on continuing my researches in a north-easterly 
direction throughout the more fertile forests, which 
clothe the boundless tracts through which the fair 
Limpopo winds, I daily met with specimens of this 
extraordinary tree averaging from 60 to 100 feet 



in circumference, and maintaining this thickness 
to a height of from twenty to thirty feet, when they 
diverge into numerous goodly branches, whose 
general character is abrupt and horizontal, and 
which seem to terminate with a peculiar sudden- 
ness. The wood of this tree is soft and utterly 
unserviceable. The shape of the leaf is similar to 
that of the sycamore tree, but its texture partakes 
more of the fig-leaf ; its fruit is a nut, which in size 
and shape resembles the egg of the swan. A re- 
markable fact in connection with these trees is the 
manner in which they are disposed throughout the 
forest. They are found standing singly, or in rows, 
invariably at considerable distances from one 
another, as if planted by the hand of man, and 
from their wondrous size and unusual height (for 
they always tower high above their surrounding 
compeers), they convey the idea of being strangers 
or interlopers on the ground they occupy. — Cuvt- 
min£s " Five Years in the Interior of South 
Africa^ 

LEECHES ATTACKING TRAVELLERS. 

Of all the plagues detested by travellers, the land 
leeches of Ceylon are the worst. They exist in 
thousands, and though not visible when the weather 
is hot and dry, a smart shower brings them out of 
their lurking-places, and they lie in wait for the 
first passer-by with all the cunning of brigands. 
Sir Emerson Tennant describes them as being 
about an inch in length, and as fine as a common 
knitting-needle ; yet they are capable of distension 
till they equal a quill in thickness, and attain a 
length of nearly two inches. They have the power of 
planting one extremity on the earth, as if it were 
held down by a sucker, while the head is raised to 
watch for their victims. On descrying their prey, 
they advance by semicircular strides. Fixing their 
mouths on the ground, they move forward their 
tails, and so proceed mouth and tail alternately 
with the greatest rapidity until they lay hold of the 
traveller's foot, and ascend his dress in search of 
an aperture by which to enter. They are so flexible 
that they can insinuate themselves through the 
meshes of the finest stocking, and when they once 
reach the skin they ascend even to the back and 
throat, and fasten on the tenderest parts of the 
body. In these encounters the individuals in the 
rear of a party of travellers are sure to fare worst, 
as the leeches, once warned of their victims' ap- 
proach, congreg.ate with wonderful celerity. Their 
size is so insignificant, and the wound they make so 
skilfully punctured, that both arc generally im- 
perceptible ; and the first intimation of their on- 
slaught is the trickling of the blood, or the chill 
feeling caused by the leech when it begins to hang 
heavily on the skin from being distended by its repast. 
Horses are driven wild by them, and stamp the 



THE DISINTERRED POMPEIANS. 



179 



ground with fury to shake them from their fetlocks, 
to which they hang in bloody tassels. Sir Emerson 
declares that he has also seen them hang like 
bunches of grapes round the ankles of palanquin 
bearers and coolies, who, however, sutler no other 
inconvenience than the annoyance caused by the 
inflammation and itching of the wounds. The 
best cure is to rub the part with lemon-juice. These 
creatures are not confined to Ceylon, but are known 
also in the lower ranges of the Himalayas, and in 
Batavia, Sumatra, Japan, and Chili. The Ceylon 
species have five pairs of eyes, and their bodies 
are formed of one hundred rings. Their teeth are 
very beautiful, and amount to seventy or eighty in 
each set. 



A GRAIN OF SAND. 

I>f Connemara, in the west of Ireland, there is a 
large bank of sand, bordering a small bay known 
by the name of Dog's Bay. By naturalists all over 
the kingdom specimens of this sand are eagerly 
sought. In appearance it does not differ much 
from ordinary sand, but when examined under 
the microscope a most wonderful and beautiful 
appearance is presented. Amid the grains of 
sand which accompany them, there are count- 
less thousands of most exquisitely beautiful shells. 
These shells are about the size of the head of the 
smallest pin made, and they are not equalled in 
beauty by any of the well-known sea-shells. The 
variety of their forms, and the incredibly great 
number of each kind, at once attract our attention. 
Here we see one shaped like a minute oil-flask, the 
substance of which it is made being of a pearly 
whiteness, and so thin as to be almost transparent. 
Along the outside of the little flask from the mouth 
to the bottom run delicate ribs, and the whole 
surface is dotted over with innumerable small holes. 
Another very common kind resembles a number of 
beads, gradually increasing in size, strung together, 
the outside of these beads having the usual delicate 
ribs and the almost invariable minute holes. 
Another form, perhaps the most common of all, 
closely resembles the nautilus in miniature ; these 
are only samples taken from hundreds of others 
equally beautiful and interesting. What do we 
know about the creatures which tenanted these frail 
habitations ? These shells are all empty, but in 
the sea they live and move. Naturalists have 
collected and examined them, and they find within 
each tiny shell a small bit of jelly. There is no 
distinction between head and heart, between mouth 
and stomach. The animal is simply a bit of jelly 
fitted into a beautiful shell. But how does he live ? 
From the small holes which perforate his house long 
arms of jelly come out. Swaying about in the sea 
they touch some smaller animal — some tiny ani- 
malcula — or they enwrap some minute floating 



plant, and draw it into their substance, and thus 
derive their sustenance. These shells always grow 
in the; sea ; those found on the beach when alive 
have been just thrown up from the sea. At depths 
where no other animal could possibly exist, there 
these little creatures live and flourish. 

Sounding-lines sent down two' or three miles to 
the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, having a little 
grease attached to the weight, bring us samples of 
that which lies there, and among these samples 
there are to be found myriads of the little shells. 
It has been mentioned that the outside of the shell 
is marked with holes ; this the name of the animal 
signifies — Foraininifera. They are called Fora- 
minifera, or bearers oi holes, from the Latin words, 
foramen, a hole, &nd/ero, I carry. 



THE DISINTERRED POMPEIANS. 

For the tourist it is no long and arduous journey 
before he can stand in reality amid the courts of 
Pompeii ; while in imagination he can recall the 
dread scene when, amid the darkness of that awful 
time, the snowy ashes began to fall, mingled with 
masses of pumice-stone of a size sufficient to crush 
through roofs, or, striking together in the air, to 
break in showers of fire, deahng destruction to 
those within their reach. Suffocating heat, deadly 
sulphurous fumes, falling fiery fragments, the rush 
of molten lava, the rumbling of the earthquake, 
and the hideous roar of the mountain in its fearful 
throes, all were there ; and in their mortal dread, 
shrieking with fear, the inhabitants tried to escape 
with their treasures, but if not to fall suffocated 
and beaten down in the streets, to retreat to their 
houses, seeking even in the cellars for safety. 

No legend, this ; for in laying open once more 
to the day the city of Pompeii, the last acts of 
many of its inhabitants were discovered, the liquid 
mud having taken casts of the bodies — casts that 
have hardened, and remain to show us the form, 
features, even the dress, of those people of the 
past. Here, a skeleton is found embedded in the 
ashes of a lower room, with arms raised to defend 
the head from the floor of the chamber above, 
crushed down by the weight of the accumulating 
ashes ; there, forms of men, women, children, 
even infants, have been disinterred, and by the 
light thus afforded the history of their fate and 
struggles can be read. At one villa the spade 
laid bare the skeleton of a man with a key close 
to a gate, and by him a treasure in money that 
he was evidently bearing away; while stretched 
beside him lay another figure, with a number of 
silver vases : possibly the master and slave seeking 
safety, when beaten down or suffocated by the 
fiery fumes. But, as the strong sought safety in 
flight, the weak trusted to the walls for protection, 



i8o 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



and then fled to the vaults beneath the house ; for 
here, after being buried seventeen ages, were dis- 
covered twenty figures — eighteen of them being 
those of full-grown persons — buried in wonderfully 
fine ashes, that had gradually forced their way 
in through chink and cranny, and afterwards to 
form round them, taking the casts of the bodies 
with a wondrous fidelity, and hardening into a 
firm mass before the dead gradually decayed or 
dried up into a frame-work of calcined bones. 

In endless cases the last .acts seem to have been 
to try and save treasure, for by skeletons in- 
numerable were found collected together in room 
or vault, or thrown down in despair on pavements, 
or in street, documents and precious stones, en- 
graved gems, rich vases, bracelets of gold, of great 
Aveight and marvellously beautiful manufacture. 

Room after room — atrium, triclinium, &c. — are 
pointed out where skeletons were discovered ; 
while in one part five were found together in an 
upright position, as if suffocated or buried sub- 
sequently when searching for the hidden treasures 
of the city. But it was not till quite lately that 
an idea occurred to an Italian gentleman, while 
superintending the excavations, of getting a more 
perfect record of the history of the dead citizens. 
He had seen the shovel of the labourer sink into 
some cavity in the consolidated ashes, to find that 
in many cases here had been the body of some 
unfortunate gradually desiccated, but leaving its 
sliape in the surrounding earth. Upon the next 
discovery of such a cavity, he had it carefully 
filled with hquid plaster, left it to solidify, and 
then the hardened ashes were broken away, with 
the result that he had hoped for ; since here, in 
the attitude taken at that awful time, was the cast- 
ing of the dead Pompeian, with feature, form, 
everything exact : in one case, evidently an elderly 
woman who had lain down quietly to die ; in 
another, a fair young girl convulsed with horror, 
her limbs contorted, and her dress or veil held 
round her head to keep out the suffocating ashes — 
rings, ornaments, all plainly to be seen ; and _even 
the embroidered sandals upon the feet of one 
figure, whose coarsely-textured dress and many 
rents seem to indicate that she belonged to the 
poorer classes. The folds of her head-dress can 
be seen sweeping down upon her shoulders, to 
join the gracefully hanging robe ; but her ap- 
pearance is distressing in the extreme. Evidently 
fleeing for her life with what few treasures she 
could collect — ^jewels, silver coins, silver cups, and 
the key that probably had been used to secure 
others — she had fallen at last, overcome by the 
suffocating heat and deadly gases floating around. 
But the next figure displays the peaceful sleep of the 
strong — a tall, stout man this, lying upon his back 
with calmly extended limbs, one who was probably 
overcome at once by the stifling fumes. In this 



case the clothing of a man of his station is plainly 
to be made out, and he was evidently of the humbler 
classes, as shown by his iron ring and heavy, nail- 
studded sandals lightly laced to his ankles. His 
dress was a short tunic, and here it seems that 
the heat of the falling ashes was not so intense, 
for a portion of the man's moustache is to be seen 
upon the casting, while some of the teeth are yet 
entire. 

Many of the bodies seem to have been buried, 
not by the falling ashes, which were so heated as 
in most cases to directly calcine wood, but by the 
finer soft dust, that gradually worked its way 
through to where they had crouched for protection — 
a fact which accounts for the delicacy of the moulds 
formed by time. At the present time the number of 
skeletons discovered is about seven hundred. The 
first disinterment was made in 1748, but of late years 
the excavations have been carried on more exten- 
sively ; and fresh wonders of the by-gone civilisation, 
as well as new horrors of the awful catastrophe, are 
daily brought to light, when the imagination easily 
supplies the little wanting tp complete the scenes of 
this awful drama, giving life to the castings, cloth- 
ing the carbonised skeletons with flesh, and seeing 
again their dread fight for life against falling 
cinders, blinding ashes, and deadly fumes. 

A city of wonders ! but admiration for the beauties 
displayed in the various mansions and public 
buildings soon gives place to a feeling of dread, 
almost of awe, as the visitor gazes upon the remains 
of those disinterred from their ashy bed. 



THE COLUMN OF TRAJAN. 

The column of Trajan, erected by that emperor as 
a decoration to his great Forum, is the finest in the 
world, and is one of the most perfect works of 
ancient art that time has spared, it being, with few 
exceptions, in a high state of preservation. The 
spot which it occupies was originally cut out of a 
spur or offshoot of the Ouirinal Hill, down to the 
level of the rest of the Forum, and the height of the 
column is exactly the same as that portion of the 
hill which was removed, as stated in the Latin 
inscription on the pedestal. IFrom this inscription 
we learn that the monument was erected by the 
Senate and people of Rome, not only to commemo- 
rate the victories of Trajan over the Dacians, but 
also as a memorial of the height of the hill which it 
was necessary to cut away in order to make room 
for the noble structures which adorned the Forum. 
This height is 128 modern feet, exclusive of the 
bronze statue of St. Peter, eleven or twelve feet 
high, on its summit, which was placed there by 
Pope Sixtus v., in the latter part of the sixteenth 
century, instead of the statue of bronze gik which 
had. formerly occupied the top, but which had long 



THE COLUMN OF TRAJAN. 



i8i 



previously disappeared. The entire shaft of the 
column is composed of twenty-three blocks of 
Grecian marble, so curiously cemented as to seem 
but one. The base and the pedestal have nine 
blocks, the capital one, and the basement of the 
statue one, — mak- 
ing thirty-four 
blocks of marble 
in all. The ascent 
is by a winding 
staircase of 185 
solid steps of Pa 
rian marble, light- 
ed by loopholes. 

The column is 
admirable both for 
itsproportions and 
for the design and 
execution of the 
bas-reliefs and or- 
naments, which 
completely cover 
it. The bas-reliefs 
ascend in a spiral 
band, so as not to 
destroy the line of 
the shaft by their 
projection, as in 
the column of 
Marcus Aurclius, 
called the Anto- 
nine Column. The 
whole pillar is en- 
cased with sculp- 
tures, represent- 
ing the exploits of 
Trajan and his 
army, particularly 
his triumph over 
Dacia after fifteen 
years' war. These 
sculptures repre- 
sent pictorially the 
progress of Tra- 
jan's campaign, 
and are full of de- 
tails connected 




THE LOWER TIERS OF TRAJAN'S PILLAR. 



in which the Romans appear to have built their 
stone camps, and the care with which they con- 
structed roads to assist their warlike operations, are 
strikingly shown. The number of human figures, 
exclusive of other objects, such as horses, arms, 

chariots, &c., re- 
presented on the 
shaft, is said to be 
nearly 3,000 ; the 
number 2,500 has, 
.at all events, been 
ascertained by ac- 
tual enumeration. 
ICacli of the figures 
is on an average 
two feet high. The 
pedestal is deco- 
rated with crowns 
of victory, gar- 
lands, and other 
insignia of tri- 
umph. 

"Onthis pillar," 
says Gibbon, " the 
veteran soldier 
contemplated the 
story of his own 
campaigns, and, 
by an easy illu- 
sion of national 
vanity, the peace- 
ful citizen asso- 
ciated himself to 
the honours of the 
triumph." 

The column 
was made by the 
Emperor Hadrian 
a place of sepul- 
ture for the ashes 
of Trajan, which, 
according to a 
tradition immor- 
talised by Byron, 
were supposed to 
have been con- 
tained in the head 



with the mode in which the Romans were wont to [ of a spear, or, according to another version, in a 



carry on war; while the representations of the armour 
and habits of the Romans in the field of battle are 
most valuable to the classical student. The cam- 
paign is depicted from its very opening. The first 
view, at the bottom of the column, shows the 
Roman soldiers shipping their stores; others exhibit 
the army in the work of building camps ; the em- 
peror sacrificing for the favour of Jupiter, and ex- 
horting his cohorts ; the Roman soldiers in conflict 
with the Dacians, with the various means then fol- 
lowed of defence and attack. The thorough maimer 



globe which the statue of Trajan, placed on the 
summit of the column, bore in its hand. The 
general effect of the column, as it stood originally 
in the centre of Trajan's Forum, surrounded by 
colonnades, must have been equally grand and 
picturesque. It was completed A.D. 114, six years 
after its commencement. A very good idea of 
the elaborate ornamentation of this column may 
be obtained from the cast in the South Kensington 
Museum of its four lower tiers. It is from this 
cast that our illustration is taken. 



l82 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



jagacit^r of §,annab. 



Instinctive Counterfeiting of Death by 
Insects. — This is a common device among spiders, 
moths, and various species of beetles, and varies in 
character according to the habits of the species. 
Many of the moths, when they think themselves in 
danger, draw their antenna as well as their wings 
close to their body, and in this state they may be 
tossed about without manifesting the smallest sign 
of life or motion, as many of our readers may have 
observed on catching them. The common " miller 
moth," known to most school-boys, is a remarkable 
adept in this art. The small grey beetle, which 
makes pin-holes in old furniture (called scientifically 
Aiiobiiim pertinax), is another common example of 
this instinct. This little beetle has received from 
naturalists the title of pertinax from its pertinacity 
in counterfeiting death. A celebrated Swedish 
entomologist, De Geer, says that he has found it to 
equal, if not exceed, the heroic firmness of the 
American Indians in bearing torture. You may 
maim them, he asserts, pull them limb from limb, 
and even roast them over a slow fire, without 
making them move a joint, or exhibit the slightest 
symptom of suffering pain. Spiders, also, may be 
similarly tortured and maimed when they counter- 
feit the attitude of death. It is very common, also, 
with the little beetles called byrrhi to draw in their 
feet and antennas so as to give themselves the 
appearance of a pill, from which they take their 
name of pill-beetles. The common wood-louse is 
also well known to roll itself up in a ball when 
apprehensive of danger, so that only the plates 
which form the covering of the back are visible. 
No doubt these plates, insignificant as they may 
seem, are an effectual protection to the insect 
against the attacks of some of its enemies. It is 
remarked in Kirby and Spence's " Introduction 
to Entomology" that the common dung-chafer 
(Scarabcms stercorariiis) — the black, purplish, shin- 
ing beetle which is found on almost every road in 
England — deceives its enemies, the rooks, by set- 
ting its legs as stiffly as if they were made of iron 
wire, and remaining perfectly motionless ; and, as 
the rooks will only eat them when alive, this strata- 
gem is an effectual protectiori. That this simula- 
tion of death is not the consequence of strong con- 
vulsion caused by fear, is proved by the fact that 
the insect makes off with all speed the instant the 
object of alarm is removed ; whereas, if it were a 
convulsive attitude, it could not resume its move- 
ments at pleasure. 

The Cunning of a Fox.— The proverbial 
cunning of a fox is well illustrated in the follow- 
ing anecdote from St. John's " Sutherlandshire : "— 
" I have been assured by a person not given 
at all to exaggerate, nor easily deceived, that he 



once witnessed the following trick. Very early 
one morning he saw a fox eyeing most wistfully 
a number of wild ducks feeding in the rushy end 
of a highland lake. After due consideration, the 
fox, going to windward of the ducks, put afloat 
in the locli se\eral bunches of dead rushes or 
grass, which floated down amongst the ducks with- 
out causing the least alarm. After watching the 
effects of his preliminary fleet for a short time, the 
fox, taking a good-sized mouthful of grass in his 
jaws, launched himself into the water as quietly as 
possible, having nothing but the tips of his ears 
and nose above water. In this way he drifted 
down among the ducks, and made booty of a fine 
mallard. Though this story seems extraordinary, 
it must be remembered that the fox manages to 
capture wild ducks, wood-pigeons, hares, and 
numberless other animals, sufficient to keep him- 
self and family ; and it is self-evident that in doing 
so he must practise many a trick and manoeuvre 
that would seem most improbable if related, and 
quite beyond the instinct of animals." Another 
anecdote, quite as striking as an illustration of the 
fox's wonderful sagacity, appeared, a few years 
back, in a Preston paper. A farmer of that neigh- 
bourhood had discovered that a fox came along a 
beam in tlie night to seize his poultry. He accord- 
ingly sawed the end of the beam nearly through, 
and in the night the fox fell into a place whence he 
could not escape. On going to him in the morning, 
the farmer found him stiff, and, as he thought, 
lifeless. Taking him out of the building, he threw 
him on the dung-hill, but in a short time Reynard 
opened his eyes, and, seeing that all was safe and 
clear, galloped away to the mountains, show- 
ing more cunning than the man who ensnared 
him. 

A Sagacious Newfoundland Dog.— At cer- 
tain seasons of the year the streams in some 
parts of North America, not far from the coast, 
are filled with fish to a surprising extent. A 
real Newfoundland (which, by-the-bye, is much 
slighter in make than we in England generally 
conceive), belonging to a farmer who lived near 
one of those streams, used to keep the house 
well supplied with fish. He thus managed it : 
— He was perfectly black, with the exception of 
a white fore-foot, and for hours together he would 
stand almost immovable on a small rock which 
projected into the stream, keeping his white foot 
hanging over the ledge as a lure to the fish. 
He remained so stationary that it acted as a 
very attractive lure ; and whenever curiosity or 
hunger tempted any unwary fish to approach too 
close, the dog plunged in, seized his victim, and 
carried him off to the foot of a neighbouring tree ; 
and on a successful day he would catch a great 
number. — Lieut -Col. Hutchinson's '■'■Dog-break' 



WATER UNDER PRESSURE AS A MOTIVE POWER. 



183 



DISCOVERY OF IDENTITY FROM THE 

FLASH OF GUNPOWDER. 
Among the singular questions which have been 
started in Medical Jurisprudence — says Dr. 
Taylor, in his work on that subject—the follow- 
ing is not the least perplexing : —Whether a per- 
son who fires a gun or pistol at another, during 
a dark night, can be identified by means of the 
light produced in the discharge? This question 
was first referred to the Class of Physical Sciences 
in France in 1809, and they answered it in the 
negative. A case tending to show that their deci- 
sion was erroneous was subsequently reported. A 
woman positively swore that she saw the face of 
a person, who fired at another during the night, 
surrounded by a kind of glory, and that she was 
thereby enabled to identify the prisoner. This 
statement was confirmed by the deposition of the 
wounded party. Desgranges, of Lyons, performed 
many experiments on this subject, and he concluded 
that on a dark night, and away from every source 
of light, the person who had fired the gun might 
be identified within a moderate distance. If the 
flash was very strong, the smoke very dense, and 
the distance great, the person firing the piece could 
not be identified. 

The question was raised in this country in the 
case of the " Queen v. White," at the Croydon 
Autumn Assizes, 1839. A gentleman was shot at 
while driving home in his gig during a dark night ; 
he was wounded in the elbow. When he observed 
the flash of the gun he saw that the piece was 
levelled towards him, and the light of the flash 
enabled him to recognise at once the features of 
the accused. In cross-examination he said he 
was quite sure he could see the prisoner, and that 
he was not mistaken as to his identity. The 
accused was skilfully defended, and he was ac- 
quitted. Evidence of this kind has, however, been 
received in an English court of law. A similar 
case was tried at the Lewes Lent Assizes, 1862, 
" Reg. v. Stapley." The prisoner shot at the pro- 
secutor, a game-keeper, on a dark evening in 
December, and the latter swore that he distinctly 
saw the prisoner by the flash of the gun, and could 
identify him by the light on his features. This 
evidence was corroborated by three witnesses who 
saw him not far from the spot, and by one who saw 
him in the act of running away, and the prisoner 
was convicted. 



WATER UNDER PRESSURE AS A 
MOTIVE POWER. 
All liquids possess the double property of being 
incompressible and of exerting a pressure in every 
direction against the sides of a containing vessel. 
The result of these two properties combined is that 
If a vessel be entirely filled with water and com- 
pletely closed, any outside pressure exerted against 



the vessel sufficient to force inwards any portion 
of its side, must force outwards some other portion, 
the amount of water displaced being exactly equal 
in both operations. Imagine, now, two tubes (a 
and a'. Fig. i), closed at the bottom, one of twelve 
inches diameter inside, and one of one inch, each 
having a soHd plug or "ram," b and li', fitting 
water-tight into them. Let them be connected by 
a tube, T, and the whole filled with water. If now 
the ram u' be pressed down, the water in a' will 
be forced through the tube, T, into the larger cylin- 
der, and will push up the ram B. Now as the 
diameter of u is twelve times greater than that of 
b', the area of its base will be 144 times as great as 
the area of b', and the consequence is that what- 
e\-er force is applied to b' to press it down, that 
force is multiplied 144 times in its effect upon b. 
This method of gaining power through the medium 
of water is called the hydraulic press. There is no 
simpler method of obtaining an equal force, and it 




- u 



Fig. 1. 



is easy to understand that scarcely any limit exists 
to the power obtainable by this means. 

By means of this press, cotton is compressed so 
tightly that bands of iron are necessary to bind it 
up to prevent it expanding afterwards ; and thus 
very much more cotton can be packed in a ship's 
hold than could otherwise be done. By this 
press the largest ships arc not only (as was the 
case with the Great Eastern) pushed from the 
cradles upon which they were built into the water, 
but actually lifted bodily out of the water, with their 
masts and stores on board, to have their bottoms 
examined and repaired. 

But the most beautiful application of hydraulic 
pressure, not only in the work done by it, but in 
the method of obtaining and utilising the pressure, 
is that invented by .Sir W. Armstrong. 

In nearly all the large docks in the kingdom, and 
in many large warehouses, are to be seen cranes 
worked entirely by water pressure. The whole 
mechanism of them is remarkably ingenious. 

We will first explain the method of obtaining and 
keeping up the required pressure. In a separate 
building is a double-cylinder steam-engine, which 
IS wholly employed in pumping water. Upon 
its shaft is a large fly-wheel, imended to impart 
steadiness of motion to the whole : but notwith- 



164 



tMe world of wonders. 




standing this, the speed is observed to be constantly 
varying, and frequently the engine stops altogether 
for a short period. The cause of this unevenness 
of motion we shall presently see. In a tall, tower- 
shaped building adjoining the engine-house is an 
exceedingly strong, upright iron cylinder, about 
sixteen feet high and five feet in diameter, into 
which the water pumped by the engine is forced. 
In this great cylinder is fitted, water-tight, a great j 
plunger or ram, and across the top of it is fixed a | 
strong piece of iron like the top 
of the letter T, the ends of 
which enter grooves or guides 
of iron fixed to upright timber 
supports, and upon this cross- E 
piece of iron rests an immense 
weight of many tons. When 
the water is forced into the great cylinder it pushes 
up the ram with the weight upon its top. As 
soon as the ram has been pushed up nearly to 
the top of the guides, a simple, self-acting ar- 
rangement begins to shut off the steam from the 
boiler, thus reducing the speed of the engine, and 
when the ram has risen up to its full height the 
same arrangement quite shuts off the steam and 
stops the engine. Directly any water is allowed to 
escape from the cylinder, the descent of the ram 
re-admits the steam, and the engine again begins 
pumping. Hence the reason of the constant varia- 
tion in the speed of the engine. 

The great cy- 
lindcrand its ap- 
purtenances is 
called an "accu- 
mulator," be- 
cause within it 
is stored up or 
accumulated the 
compressed wa- 
ter, bythe agency 
of which the 

cranes arc worked, the pressure being the result of 
the weight resting upon it. From this accumulator 
is led a pipe or scries of pipes placed underground, 
which conveys the compressed water to the cranes, 
whither we will follow it, and observe the ma- 
chinery upon which it acts. 

Each crane requires an independent but similar 
machine which is placed underground, and it is 
so much like a double pulley in principle, only 
applied in reversed order, that it will be necessary 
to explain the one in order to comprehend the 
other. 

A double pulley consists of two single pulleys 
acting together as in Fig. 2. A rope or chain is 
passed backwards and forwards over the several 
wheels, one end being fastened to one of the blocks, 
and the other available for being pulled. 

If the end which is held in the hand be drawn, 



the two pulleys will be brought together with great 
force, although the speed with which they approach 
will be small in comparison with that with which 
the rope is drawn. 

Now, suppose that instead of pulling the rope, we 
push asunder the pulleys, it is evident that although 
we should lose power, we should gain speed in the 
rope — that is, the rope will be drawn back much 
faster than the pulleys move. This, then, is the 
action of the hydraulic crane. Between the two 
pulleys is placed an hydraulic 
ram, to the bottom end of the 
cylinder of which is fixed the 
frame of one pulley, and to the 
end of the ram the frame of the 
2. other pulley. Fig. 3 shows the 

arrangement, a is the cylin- 
der laid horizontally underground, and B the 
ram. To the two cross-heads, E and e', are fixed 
the pulley-frames ; the ropes or chains, after 
passing backwards and forwards over the wheels, 
being led up through the ground and united 
into one, in which state they pass over the crane. 
A branch pipe, r, connected with that communicat- 
ing with the accumulator, is fixed into the cylinder, 
and a valve in this branch pipe, worked by a lever 
brought above ground, admits or shuts off the com- 
pressed water at pleasure ; whilst another lever 
opens or closes a cock attached to the cylinder, to 
allow the enclosed water to escape, when the ram 

has to be pushed 
back. 

Here, then, is 
the whole secret 
of the hydraulic 
crane. When wa- 
ter is admitted 
to the cylinder, 
the ram is forced 
out, thus sepa- 
rating thcblocks, 
and drawing back the chain, raising the weight 
attached to its extremity. When the compressed 
water is shut off, the chain remains stationary, to 
allow the crane to be swung round ; and when 
the water inside the cylinder is allowed to escape, 
the weight at the end of the chain draws the two 
pulleys together, and pushes back the ram. A 
heavy ball of iron is permanently attached to near 
the end of the chain, to perform this latter office, 
when no other weight depends from it. 

The same principle which we have described as 
applied to the cranes, is applied also to opening 
and closing the dock gates. In this case the chain 
is led away to the gate to which it is fastened, 
which, being forcibly pulled Ijy the pushing out of 
the ram, draws the gate open. Another chain upon 
the other side of the gate, by a similar arrangement, 
closes it when required. 




THE AURORA BOREALIS. 



i8s 








THE AURORA BOREALIS. 



Monbjrs of i^t %ima^\ttxt. 



THE AURORA BOREALIS. 

The long nights of the northern regions have their 
darkness reheved by the appearance of the wonder- 
ful Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. Before the 
display of these natural fireworks commences, the 
sky seems to prepare itself. Its hues deepen, until 
a well-defined segment of dark sky is marked off, 
its base resting on the northern horizon ; along the 
line of its arc, and as if from behind the dark seg- 
ment, a flashing luminous light begins to play, so 
that soon the whole curve is one line of light. This 
light seems like a continuous phosphorescent cloud ; 
it is never still, but rises, and falls, and breaks — 
now in one place, now in another — continually 
sending out tongues of flame, which shoot up to 
the zenith. When these luminous palpitating rays 
reach their greatest extent the sight is truly 
wonderful. 
The Aurora dees not rilways assume the shape 
24 



here described. Our illustration shows a magnifi- 
cent display which was seen at Bossekop in 1838. 
It appeared like a beautiful fringed curtain hanging 
in graceful folds from, the arch of the firmament. 
The prevailing colour was red, though it changed 
its hues rapidly. 

These Auroras are by no means local appear- 
ances. In 1796 one was witnessed simultaneously 
in France and Pennsylvania, and, of course, in all 
the intermediate countries. The best observations, 
which, however, are not absolutely certain, find these 
streams of light to be about 100 miles high ; we 
may judge, therefore, over what a wide expanse 
they are visible, when we remember that often they 
occupy the whole horizon. Although they are seen 
more in winter than summer, it is only because the 
nights of winter are longer, and, therefore, there is 
more opportunity for observation. If there be any 
variation in the frequency of their appearance 
throughout the year, they seem to be more numerous 
about the tim<! of the equinoxes. 

The cause of this wonderful phenomenon is not 



-i86 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



known. There can, however, be no doubt that if 
it be not due to electricity itself, it is closely allied 
to it. When the Aurora is being displayed, the 
magnetic needles are agitated, and currents of 
electricity stream along the telegraph lines, causing 
the needles to deflect ; the most remarkable fact 
being that the influence which the Aurora has on 
telegraph lines is totally different to that exercised 
by a thunder-cloud. In 1859, at the end of August, 
the Aurora monopolised for hours and worked on 
its own account several of the lines in the United 
States, chiefly those which had a direction from 
north to south. The European telegraphs were 
similarly affected by the same Aurora. 

Every philosopher knows that electricity plays a 
very prominent part in the affairs of our earth ; 
but as yet we are all but ignorant of its exact 
effects. Yet it would seem that the Aurora indi- 
cates the path of vast currents of electric fluid 
which circulate through and about our world. 
The streams always appear to leave one pole for 
the other. The phenomenon at the southern pole 
is termed the Aurora Austral is. 



DIAMOND-WASHING IN BRAZH.. 

Captain Burton, in his recently published work 
on " The Islands of the Brazil," gives the following 
account of the diamond-washing in the mines of 
that country : — " As the Brazil borrowed her gold 
mining through Portugal from the Romans, so she 
lias taken her system of diamond-washing from 
Ilindostan. The washing here begins with the 
rains about November. The upper parts of the 
troughs are charged with cascalbs (diamond earth), 
and a man, standing before the open end or at the 
side, dashes water upon the contents ; he then stirs 
with the fingers the mass, to relieve it of the worthless 
earth, dust, and clay, till the water runs clear, and 
this washing may be repeated. Thus a pocket 
of diamonds is sometimes, but very rarely, hit 
upon. The fortunate slave no longer claps his 
hands in the old style of signal. He may receive 
his freedom after finding a stone weighing more 
than an oitava and a half ; not by law, however, 
but in order to encourage the other labourers. The 
gravel may be treated a dozen times or more, and 
precious stones, of course very diminutive, will still 
be found in it. A good washer takes from half to 
three quarters of an hour in order to exhaust a 
single pan-full. 

'' Magnify ing-glasscs are not yet in use, yet they 
would save much trouble and prevent loss. The 
present rude system is very severe upon the sight, 
which soon fails. Past twenty-five few eyes can be 
trusted, and children are always the best w-asliers. 
It is during this treatment that robberies are mostly 
effected. Few swallow the diamond, not because it 
is considered poisonous, as by the Hindoo, but on 



account of the difficulty of doing so unobserved. In 
India the miner jerked the stone into his mouth, or 
stuck it in the corner of his eye ; twelve to fifteen 
overseers were required per gang of fifty light- 
fingered men. The civilised thief pretends to be 
short-sighted, and picks up the plunder with his 
tongue-tip. A favourite way is to start as if 
frightened by a snake, and thus to distract the 
attention of the superintendent, who, if clever, is 
wide awake to the trick. Most of the stones 
disappear by being tilted or thrown over the lip of 
the pan during the washing, and are picked up at 
leisure." , 

WONDERFUL SPIDER'S WEB. 

Across the "sunny paths" of Ceylon, where the 
forest meets the open country, and which con- 
stitute the bridle-roads of the island, an enormous 
spider stretches its web at the height of from 
four to eight feet from the ground. The cordage 
of these webs is fastened on either side to pro- 
jecting shoots of trees or shrubs, and is so 
strong as to hurt the traveller's face, and even 
lift off" his hat, if he is so unlucky as not to see 
the line. The nest in the centre is sometimes as 
large as a man's head, and is continually growing 
larger, as it is formed of succcssi\c layers of the 
old webs rolled o\er each other, sheet after sheet, 
into a ball. These successive envelopes contain 
the limbs and wings of insects of all descriptions, 
which have been the prey of the spider and liis 
family, who occupy the den formed in their midst. 
There seems to be no doubt that the spider casts 
the web loose and rolls it round the nucleus in the 
centre when it becomes overcharged with carcases, 
and then proceeds to construct a fresh one, which 
in its turn is destined to be folded up with the rest. 



NAPOLEON AT MOSCOW. 

Five hundred thousand men, drilled and disci- 
plined into as fine an arm)- as ever were under the 
command of general — veterans who had proved 
their prowess on many a hard-fought field, and 
followed Napoleon's eagles to victory. A gallant 
army, rich in all the pomp of war — cavalry, infantr)-, 
and artillery, with a mighty baggage train ; for the 
Russ was now to be humbled, his capital seized, a 
new treaty entered into, and Poland the oppressed 
to be torn off once more and elevated into n 
kingdom. 

The French crossed the Nienien on the 24th of 
June, 1812, when Wilna and Witepsk soon fell ; 
and then, as army after army tried to oppose his 
way. Napoleon routed the Russ till the enemy 
melted away before him, and the conqueror made 
a grand entry into Moscow, where, under the 
impression that the Emperor Alexander would 



NAPOLEON AT MOSCOW. 



187 



send an embassy soliciting peace, the victor stayed 
impatiently for six weeks. But not in ease and 
comfort, for the French had hardly occupied the 
city before there was an alarm of fire ; and again, 
in different parts of the city, the fires took the 
form of a fearful conflagration; for, lest the French 
should make Moscow their winter quarters, the 
Russians had fired their city. The Russian policy 
was now evident : to call in the aid of famine 
and their inclement winter to fight against the 
foe. And then, finding at last that, so far from 
his victorious march achieving any definite object, 
there was nothing left for him but to retreat, 
Napoleon gave the word, and his vast army was 
once more in motion. 

The return was commenced towards the end of 
October, and almost as soon as the army was 
well in motion down came the snow. Napoleon's 
soldiers, indomitable before men, seemed to wither 
and fade before the keen blast of the early winter 
that had now set in. There was no taking advan- 
tage of this town or that village for shelter, for 
everywhere the Russians prepared fire and ruin for 
the retreating troops ; and while men, numbed with 
cold, were falling out from their ranks in the French 
army, the well-clad, fur-caped warriors of Kutusoff 
could harass the rear, and cut up the stragglers 
with impunity. 

But there was discipline ever, and the French 
showed a bold front, for their great idol was with 
them, and Murat, Ney, and Davoust were in com- 
mand of divisions. Onward ever, but through 
weather hourly growing more fearful. The roads 
trampled by the feet of marching thousands soon 
became ploughed by the wheels of gun and tumbril, 
and horses would toil on till they fell and lay 
struggling, adding to the confusion by striking 
their fellows from their feet, till they lay in a tangle 
of muddy and snowy harness, which the numbed 
fingers of the soldiery coald not disentangle. 

Soon the snow deepened, and the frost came, 
turning it into a fine dust that, sweeping before the 
fierce gale, seemed to pierce them to the bone. 
Then a few intervals of thawing, when the trampled 
route would soon grow into a miry slough. From 
all being regularity and discipline,_the rear of the 
grand army now began to grow into a wild crowd of 
tired and strugghng men, using their last efforts to 
keep up with the forced march, and only saved from 
being cut to pieces by the efforts of the rear guard. 
And at night men liuddled together gazing blankly 
at each other, and not daring to tell of the despair 
in their hearts. 

Harassing attacks, and men cut off from the 
main bodies. Pursuit was never dreamed of, 
the sole object of the French generals being to 
make good their retreat. Men struggling through 
the snow, collecting it at times to try and quench 
the famine thirst, but only to make it more keen. 



Food frightfully scarce — foraging vain — and a 
terrible selfishness now animating men's hearts ; 
but forward still, to the same weary death march of 
thair own tramp — a dread funeral march ; for the 
army was melting away with a rapidity incon- 
ceivable, and men began to look with longing eyes 
now at the soft white inviting couch on either side. 
They were wearied and despairing, and must rest. To 
the last the commands of their officers were obeyed ; 
but there was a point when, with freezing feet, they 
could do no more ; it was either to fall in the ranks 
and be trampled by the coming thousands behind, 
or to drop out to accept the sleep that nature offered. 

Night again: the troops, still in a state of dis- 
cipline, halting and going through their few poor ar- 
rangements in a strange mechanical manner, while 
the ever-increasing mob of the disorganised in the 
rear huddled together wherever a fire could be made. 

Smolensk was reached at last, and here supplies 
were expected; but no — from mismanagement there 
was nothing for the wretched army but despair, and 
to press on again in the disastrous retreat. Their 
numbed and frozen hands could retain their weapons 
no longer, as, with ice clinging to their beards, they 
still struggled on, band after band of coming fugi- 
tives, the crowd of a disorganised army, and then 
the rear guard ever battling in their defence. The 
road strewn with accoutrements, bodies of men, 
bodies of horses, guns, wagons, tumbrils, the dis- 
jecta membra of the great army ; then the falling 
snow, and a few hours after the winding-sheet of 
nature covering all. 

Frozen marshes, vast pine-forests, howling winds, 
endless plains, a journey apparently without a ter- 
mination. The regiments that had kept orderly 
now growing confused ; commissariat arrangements, 
in spite of the efforts of the officers, at an end ; and 
to the most hopeful it became evident that saime 
qui peut must soon be the order of the day. 

And now came the crowning horroK ; for the 
River Berezina was reached, and with the river 
in their front, the Russian army in their rear, the - 
French came to a halt — the mighty army of half 
a million men reduced to fourteen thousand still in 
a state of discipline, and a vast, uncounted, dis- 
organised crowd of followers. Two frail bridges 
were constructed, and the wreck of the army 
pressed on to cross ; their foe, at the same time, 
vigorously attacking the rear guard. 

The bridges sway and creak, but men press on, 
for there is the sharp fusillade of musketry behind, 
and an occasional Russian round shot ploughs its 
way through the crowd. All these thousands to 
cross, when there comes a sickening crash : one 
bridge had given way, and a vast crowd of human 
beings was straggling in the ice-laden waters. And 
all this with a dreadful slaughter in progress, the 
Russians charging on, driving the fugitives before 
them, playing upon them from their guns, an4 



i88 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



ending the order that had so far existed, by turning 
the retreat into one vast rout. 

History is silent as to the numbers slain, drowned, 
trampled to death in the passage of the Berezina ; 
but she makes humanity shudder with the account 
of the bodies in the river frozen into one dense 
mass. And all these horrors succeeded by the 
stern silence of winter— the falling snow hurriedly 
hiding all, covering the heaps of slain, giving to the 
wounded struggling in agony a calm lulling sleep, 
against which struggling was vain ; for in the 
midst of a frost-locked and devastated country help 
was not. 

The stern winter hid for months the horrors, but 
as spring once more visited the earth, and its snowy 
garment slowly dissolved away in the swollen 
rivers, the sun began to shine upon the relics of the 
war. Arms, accoutrements, the tawdry trappings of 
the privates and the rich uniforms of the officers, all 
were there ; but, in all the fearful stiffness of death, 
to a man almost either young or in the prime of 
life, there were 300,000 corpses of their enemies for 
the Russians to bury ; and in vast funeral pyres, 
as of sacrifices to the blood-stained god of French 
glory, 160,000 dead horses to burn. 



volatile oil, and states that " if a candle be brought 
near it, this plant is enveloped by a transient flame 
without sustaining any injury from the experiment." 
Baron Hugel was told that the Auk river, in Cash- 
mere, when swollen with rain, brings down from 
Thibet pieces of timber which shine in the dark as 
long as they continue moist. The rootstock of a 
plant from the Ooraghum jungles, supposed to be 
an Orchid or Marica, was exhibited at a meeting 
of the Royal Agricultural Society, and " possessed 
the peculiar property of regaining its phosphores- 
cent appearance when a dried fragment was sub- 
jected to moisture, gleaming in the dark with all 
the vividness of the glow-worm, after having been 
moistened with a wet cloth applied to its surface 
for an hour or two. It does not seem to lose the 
property by use, becoming lustreless when dry, and 
lighting up again whenever moistened." Dr. 
Lindley states that " a small slice of the dried root 
being wrapped in a wet cloth, and allowed to re- 
main about an hour, shines in the dark like a piece 
of phosphorus, or perhaps somewhat paler, more 
like dead fish or rotten wood." 



LUMINOUS PLANTS. 

In a contribution to the "Journal of the Agricul- 
tural and Horticultural Society of India," Major 
Madden gives an account of some luminous plants 
of that country, which in the dark emit a phos- 
phorescent light, while even portions of the root 
possess the same property. He states that one 
of these was discovered by a native, who was com- 
pelled by rain to take shelter at night under a mass 
of rock, where he was astonished to see a blaze of 
phosphoric light over .all the grass in the vicinity. 
Plants of this kind had long been known to the 
Brahmins under the name of Jyotismati. On 
inquiry at Almorah the major found that there was 
a luminous plant well known there by that name, 
and another implying the possession of light or 
fire. It turned out to be Anthistiria anathera, of 
which perhaps one root in a hundred is luminous 
by night during the rainy season. Other grasses 
are reported to possess the same property, and in 
1845 the people of Simlah were open-mouthed 
with a rumour that the mountains near Syree 
were nightly illuminated in this manner. A plant 
known in Europe as Dictamnus fraxitella has the 
same quality, and as this abounds in some parts 
of the Himalayas, the fame, says the major, of 
a bush burning but not consumed, would be spread 
afar by the pilgrims, among a people ever ready to 
deify any peculiar manifestation of fire. 

Professor Henslow explains the inflammable atmo- 
sphere generated on a calm, still evening about 
Dictamnus fraxitella, by the evaporation of 5 



WONDERFUL VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS. 

No one who has ever seen a volcano or burning 
mountain casting forth steam, huge red-hot stones, 
smoke, cinders, and lava, can possibly forget the 
grandeur of the spectacle. At night it is doubly 
terrible, when the darkness shows the red-hot lava 
rolling down the hill-side. Sometimes the mountain 
is quiet, and only a little smoke curls from its 
top, and even this may cease, and the once burning 
summit may be covered over with trees and grass, 
like any other hill. But deep down in the earth 
the gases and pent-up steam arc ever preparing to 
rush up through the mountain, and to carry with 
them dissolved rocks, slag, and the stones which 
block up their passage. Sometimes, whilst all is 
calm and beautiful on the mountains, suddenly deep- 
sounding noises are heard, the ground shakes, and 
a vast torrent tears its way through the bowels of 
the volcano, and is flung hundreds of feet high in 
the air, and falling again to the earth, destroys 
every living thing for miles around. Such a scene 
occurred forty-seven years ago in the Island of Java. 
Java is a mountainous island — one of the East 
Indies. It has a splendid climate, and its fertility 
is very great. A large native population and 
many European settlers are employed in cultivating 
spices, coffee, and woods. The island is rather 
more than 600 miles long, and it is not 150 miles 
broad in any part ; and this narrow shape is pro- 
duced by a chain of volcanoes which runs along 
it. Some of the volcanoes are constantly in erup- 
tion, whilst others are inactive. One of their 
number, Galung Gung, forty-seven years ago, was 
covered from top to bottom with a dense forest j 



WONDERFUL VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS. 



189 



around it were populous villages. The mountain 
was higli ; there was a slight hollow on its top — a 
basin-lilce valley, carpeted with the softest sward ; 
brooks rippled down the hill-side through the 
forests, and, joining their silvery streams, flowed 
on through beautiful valleys into the distant sea. 
In the month of July, 1822, there were signs of an 
approaching disturbance ; this tranquil peacefulness 
was at an end ; one of these rivers became muddy, 
and its waters heated. In October, without any 
warning, a most terrific eruption occurred. Suddenly 
a loud explosion was heard ; the earth shook, and 
immense columns of hot water, boiling mud mixed 



violence from the crater, that while many distant 
villages were utterly destroyed and buried, others 
much nearer the volcano were scarcely injured ; 
and all this was done in five short hours ! 

Four days afterwards a second eruption occurred 
more violent than the first, and hot water and mud 
were cast forth with masses of slag like the rock 
called basalt, some of which fell seven miles off. 
A violent earthquake shook the whole district, and 
the top of the mountain fell in, and so did one of 
its sides, leaving a gaping chasm. Hills appeared 
where there had been level land before, and the 
rivers changed their courses, drowning in one night 




VOLCANO IN JAVA. 



with burning brimstone, ashes, and stones, were 
hurled upwards from the mountain lop like a water- 
spout, and with such wonderful force that large 
quantities fell at a distance of forty miles. Every | 
valley near the mountain became filled with burn- ' 
ing torrents, and the rivers, swollen with hot water | 
and mud, overflowed their banks, and swept away 
the escaping villagers ; and the bodies of cattle, 
wild beasts, and birds were carried down the flooded | 
streams. [ 

A space of twtnty-four miles between the moun- j 
tain and a river forty miles distant was covered | 
to such a depth with blue mud, that people were 
buried in their houses, and not a trace of the 
numerous villages and plantations was visible. The 
l)oiling mud and cinders were cast forth with such 



2,000 people. At some distance from the mountain 
a river runs through a large town, and the first 
intimation the inhabitants had of all this horrible 
destruction was the news that the bodies of men 
and the carcases of stags, rhinoceroses, tigers, and 
other animals, were rushing along to the sea. No 
less than 114 villages were destroyed, and above 
4,000 persons were killed by this terrible catas- 
trophe. 

Many years before this eruption, one of the 
highest burning mountains of Java was constantly 
throwing out steam and smoke, but as no harm 
was done, the natives continued to live on its sides 
amongst the dense forests. Suddenly this enormous 
mountain fell in, and left a gap fifteen miles long and 
six broad. Forty villages were destroyesl, some being 



190 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



carried down and others overwhelmed by mud and 
burning lava. No less than 2,957 people perished, 
with vast numbers of cattle ; moreover, most of the 
coffee plantations in the neighbouring districts were 
destroyed. 

Even more terrible was the eruption of Mount 
Salek, another of the volcanoes of Java. The burn- 
ing of the mourvtain was seen 100 miles away, 
•while the thunders of its convulsions and the 
tremblings of the earth reached the same distance. 
Seven hills, at whoso base ran a river — crowded 
with dead buffaloes, deer, apes, tigers, and croco- 
diles — slipped down and became a level plain. 
River-courses were changed, forests burnt up, and 
the whole face of the country completely altered. 



INFLUENCE OF THE CLIMATE ON 
COLOURS. 
There is a remarkable correspondence between 
the geographical position of a region, and the colours 
of its plants and animals. Within the tropics, where 
" the sun shines for ever unchangeably bright," the 
darkest green prevails over the leaves of plants, the 
flowers and fruits are tinctured with colours of the 
deepest dye, whilst the plumage of the birds is of the 
most variegated description and of the richest hues. 
In the people also of these climes there is manifested 
a desire for the most striking colours, and their 
dresses have all a distinguishing character, not of 
shape merely, but of chromatic arrangement. In 
the temperate climates everything is of more subdued 
variety ; the flowers are less bright of hue ; the 
prevailing tint- of the winged tribes is a russet- 
brown ; and the dresses of the inhabitants of these 
regions are of a sombre character. In the colder 
portions of the earth there is but little colour ; 
the flowers are generally white or yellow, and 
the animals exhibit no other contrast than that 
which white and black afford. A scale of colour 
might be formed, its maximum point being at the 
equator and its minimum at the poles. The in- 
fluence of light on the colours of organised crea- 
tion is well shown in the sea. Near the shores 
we find seaweeds of the most beautiful tinctures, 
particularly on the rocks which are left dry by the 
tides ; and the rich hues of the actiniae, which 
inhabit shallow water, must have been often observed. 
The fishes which swim near the surface arc also 
distinguished by the variety of their colours, whereas 
those which live at greater depths are grey, brown, 
or black. It has been found that after a certain 
depth, where the quantity of light is so reduced that 
a mere twilight prevails, the inhabitants of the 
ocean become nearly colourless. That the sun's 
rays alone give to plants the property of reflecting 
colour, is proved by the process of blanching, or 
the state produced by artificially excluding them 
from li^hi.—I/uni's "Poeity of Science" 



CURIOSITIES OF GLASS-MAKING. 

Of the manufacture of glass it has been said that, 
"although perfectly transparent itself, not one of 
the materials of which it is made partakes of that 
quahty." Its origin is uncertain. Josephus claims 
the discovery for the Israelites ; Pliny assigns it to 
the Phoenicians, and states that the first glass- 
houses were erected in Tyre, where the only staple 
of the manufacture existed for many ages. Hero- 
dotus and Theophrastus likewise confirm the fact 
of the use of glass having been known in the earliest 
periods of civilisation, and of the establishment 
of glass-works in Egypt and Phoenicia, and even 
in India, where rock crj'stal was emplo)-ed in its 
composition. 

The art of making glass is reputed to have been 
discovered by accident. Pliny states, some Phoeni- 
cian mariners who had a cargo of nitrinn (salt, 
or, as some have supposed, soda) on board, hav- 
ing landed on the banks of the Belus, in Pales- 
tine, and finding no stones to rest their pots on, 
placed under them some masses of nitnim, which, 
being fused by the heat with the sand of the shore, 
produced a liquid and transparent stream. Now 
the sand which lay about half a mile round the 
river was peculiarly well adapted for the making 
of glass. The Sidonians, in whose country the 
discovery was made, took it up, and in process of 
time carried the art to such perfection that they are 
even said to have invented glass mirrors. Yet the 
manufacture of glass was, a few years since, un- 
known at Sidon, where it is reputed to have been 
first invented. The above account by Pliny is, in 
substance, corroborated by Strabo and by Josephus ; 
yet it was long asserted that thG ancients were 
unacquainted with glass, properly so called. Nor 
did the denial entirely disappear even when Pompeii 
presented evidence of the skill of the ancients in 
glass-making. 

The process of manufacture detailed by Pliny 
appears to have been very much the same as that 
practised at the present time. And Sir Gardner 
Wilkinson gives the representation of two glass- 
blowers inflating a piece of molten metal, by means 
of hollow tubes, taken from a painting of Beni 
Hassan, executed during the reign of that monarch, 
who lived about 3,500 years ago; and adds that 
glass vases, if we may trust to the Thcban paint- 
ings, are frequently shown to be used for holding 
wine as early as the Exodus, about 1400 years 
before the Christian era. Such was the skill of 
the Egyptians in glass-making, that they suc- 
cessfully counterfeited the amethyst and other 
precious stones worn as ornaments for the person. 
Winckelmann, a high authority, is of opinion that 
glass was employed more frequently in ancient 
than in modern times ; it was used by the Egyptians 
not only for drinking vessels, but for mosaic worl?, 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 



191 



the figures of deities and sacred emblems, in which 
they attained excellent workmanship and surprising 
brilliancy of colour. The remains of Alexander the 
Great are said by Suetonius and Strabo to have been 
delivered to Augustus, when he was in Egypt, in a 
glass-case in which Seleucus had deposited them after 
removing them from a golden urn. Glass was used 
by the Egyptians for coffins, and in 1 84.7 a process 
was patented in England for making coffins of 
glass. It would be reasonable to suppose that the 
Hebrews brought glass, and a knowledge of its 
manufacture, out of Egypt, were not the evidence 
of history so explicit that it was actually discovered 
and wrought at their own doors. 

Archimedes is stated to have constructed an orb 
of glass for scientific purposes ; and optical glass 
has been found at Nineveh, in a microscope glass. 
There is also, in the British Museum, a perfect 
and beautiful goblet, excavated by Layard from 
among the ruins of Nineveh. It has a name — pro- 
bably that of the contemporary sovereign, or of the 
maker — engraved upon it; and from the characters 
employed, and the locality in which it was found, 
it is believed to be of date seven centuries before 
the Christian era, and probably the most ancient 
piece of mantif act iired glass in existence. 

In the reign of Tiberius, glass-works were first 
established near Rome, and various sums were paid 
for vases or goblets. Glass was not only an article 
of luxury or ornament in the palaces, but employed 
to decorate altars and the tombs of the dead. Many 
fragments have been found in the catacombs, show- 
ing it to have been used likewise by the early 
Christians in their places of worship. In the above 
reign a Roman artist had, according to Pliny, his 
house demolished (according to others, he was 
beheaded) for making glass malleable. The Pom- 
peian and Roman architects are known to have 
used glass in their mosaic decorations ; of these, 
remains have been found among the ruins of the 
villa of the Emperor Tiberius, in the island of 
Capri. Several specimens are also yet to be seen 
in Westminster Abbey, cemented into the sides of 
the tomb of Edward the Confessor in flat pieces, 
the under layer reddish and opaque, and the upper 
white and transparent, gold leaf between, and the 
whole fixed into one substance. 

The clear glass resembling crystal was so costly, 
that Nero gave for two cups of no extraordinary 
size, with two handles, 6,000 sestertia, or nearly 
^50,000. Glass vessels are made to imitate pre- 
cious stones, cut by the lathe in the style of cameos 
in relief, by Roman artists. In the British Museum 
are preserved many fragments of vases of white 
opaque enamel glass upon blue and amethyst 
grounds. White crystal glass without lead, cut to 
imitate rock crystal, was then known ; and a few 
pieces of this cut glass, considered Roman, have 
been found in the City of London. 



THE BEGGARS' SQUARE AT CANTON. 

The cruelty of the Chinese to the sick and 
infirm is strikingly illustrated in the following ex- 
tract from Smith's "Cities of China:"— "I walked 
with two friends about a mile and a half in a 
north-easterly direction from the factories into a 
part of the suburbs called the Beggars' Square. 
It consists of an open space of about a hundred 
yards on each side, and has a continued range 
of temples on one side extending into the adjacent 
streets. We proceeded into the centre of the 
square, where numbers of idle \agabonds were 
pursuing their various methods of amusement or of 
vice. A number of emaciated pale forms were also 
to be seen, partly covered with mats. Some were 
gasping for breath and were scarcely able to move, 
others were motionless and seemed destitute of life. 
Numbers of poor mendicants, on the approach of 
sickness, arc brought hither by their relatives and 
left to perish, in neglected and unpitied destitution. 
One poor youth, with a look that pierced my inmost 
soul, had just sufficient strength to stretch his 
hand for temporary relief, which was, alas ! now 
unavailing. I counted four or five close by to all 
appearance dead. Desirous of assuring myself of 
the fact, I stooped, and, rcmo\ ing the scanty mat- 
ting which partly obscured their pallid features, 
gazed on the ghastly spectacle of death. Within 
three or four yards of the corpses a company of 
noisy gamblers were boisterously pursuing their 
nefarious vocations." 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 

Beams of light shoot through the fields of space 
witli the prodigious velocity of 196,000 miles a 
second ; so that a wave of light issuing from 
the fires of the sun speeds on its journey for 
eight minutes before it reaches our world. If in 
the days of great Queen Bess that same engineering 
enterprise which floated the Spanish Armada had 
been able to span the 93,000,000 of miles which 
separate us from the regal centre of our system 
with a railway viaduct ; if a trip to the sun had 
been advertised by the " runners " of the day, and 
a train equipped for the journey — supposing it 
never stopped at any of the planetary stations, but 
rushed on forty miles every hour — it would just 
now be entering the terminus of the Sun; and yet 
this space, which one of our express trains could 
only travel in 270 years, is passed through by 
a beam of light in eight minutes! How can such 
rapid motion be measured? The fir>i»g of the 
velocity of light is no less wonderful than the 
vslocity itself. 

In the year 1676 the Danish astronomer, Olaus 
Roemer, observed certain eclipses of the moons of 



192 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



Jupiter. Now we know all about the four moons 
which circle round the bright and lovely planet 
which so often is a conspicuous object in our 
heavens, and therefore we know when they pass 
behind the planet and so become eclipsed. The 
exact time of these eclipses is calculated, and is one 
means by which sailors can find out where they are 
on the ocean— that is, how far east or west they are 
from Greenwich. It is necessary to do this that they 
should have " Greenwich time," but the very best 
chronometers vary, and therefore tables are pub- 
lished, in which the times of the eclipses of the 
moons of Jupiter are given. Suppose that to-night 
one of the moons passes behind the planet at ten 
o'clock precisely, the captain of a vessel is not sure 
that his chronometer is right, so to him Jupiter and 
his moons become a watch ; he turns his telescope 
upwards, observes the instant the little bright spot 
is lost behind the disc of the planet, and then he 
knows it is just ten o'clock by Greenwich time. 
This was the very thing 
Olaus Roemer was 
about, but he could not 
understand how it was 
that when he made his 
observations when Jupi- 
ter was nearest the 
earth the eclipse always 
happened too soon, and 
if the planet happened 
to be on the other side 
of the sun — the furthest 
possible distance from 

the earth — it took place nearly sixteen minutes too 
late. The explanation of the astronomer's difficulty 
will be readily comprehended from the diagram. 

When the observation was made when the earth 
was at E, Roemer found the eclipse took place 
sixteen minutes sooner than it would have appeared 
to do had the earth been at F, the opposite side of 
her orbit. 

There was only one way of accounting for this — 
namely, that the light took sixteen minutes in 
travelling from e to F, a distance of 186,000,000 
miles, to accomplish which its velocity must be 
192,500 miles a second. But still more wonderful 
is it that this prodigious swiftness can be measured 
with the greatest accuracy by actual experiment ; 
the ingenuity of Fizeau invented the plan by 
which if can be done. He arranged two telescopes 
at a distance of 9,440 yards, looking at each other. 
In the further end of the distant telescope was a 
looking-glass, and a cog-wheel was so arranged 
before the near telescope, that if you looked through 
it you saw the further telescope through the space 
between two of the teeth of the wheel. If the wheel 
was moved round a very little, one of the teeth 
would come before the end of the telescope and shut 
out the view of the distant object. 




When all this was thus adjusted a lamp was 
placed on the same side of the toothed wheel as 
the telescope, and a ray of light caused to pass 
through one of the spaces ; of course this light shot 
away to the other telescope, and was reflected back 
from the looking-glass in it to the first telescope, 
passing through the space between the teeth, and so 
through the instrument to the eye. But suppose 
that, while the light from the lamp was on its way, 
before it could touch the reflector more than five 
miles off, and come back again to the place whence 
it started, and enter the telescope, as we have 
said, the wheel had moved, and, when the beam 
returned to the end of the telescope, instead of 
finding an opening, it was obstructed by a tooth, 
and prevented from entering, so that the person 
looking through the telescope would not see the 
light. Then to measure the velocity all that is 
necessary is to look at the reflection of the light in 
the distant mirror, then set the wheel in motion, 
being careful to know 
how many turns it makes 
in asccond, and increase 
the motion until the 
light can be no longer 
seen. Fizeau found that 
when his wheel, which 
had 720 teeth, revolved 
at the rate of a httle 
more than twelve re- 
volutions in a second, 
the light was eclipsed ; 
from this it was very 
easy to calculate what time the light spent in passing 
through nearly eleven miles— to the further telescope 
and back — and so we learn the fact that light travels 
at the rate of 196,000 miles a second ; and yet some 
of those stars which glimmer in the firmament above 
us are so far away that hundreds of years ago they 
may have been blown into a thousand fragments, 
and the light of the explosion has not reached us 
yet, to tell of the star's destruction. 

Sound travels much slower than light. It passes 
through the air at the rate of 1,130 feet a second. 
This is the reason why we always see the flash of a 
gun before we hear the report, and in a thunder- 
storm, if we count the seconds which elapse between 
the glare of the lightning and the first roll of the 
thunder, we know that for every five seconds we 
count the scene of the electric discharge is a mile 
distant. The waves of sound do not maintain the 
same velocity in all media ; in water they travel 
at the rate of 4,900 feet a second. This fact was 
proved at the lake of Geneva, by striking a bell 
under water at a given signal, and a distant listener, 
by means of an ear-trumpet, whose mouth was 
beneath the surface of the water, registered the 
moment the sound reached him. In some media 
the velocity is much greater. 



pEAkL FISHJERIES. 



193 



PEARL FISHERIES. 

The value of pearls has been in all ages of the 
world commensurate with their beauty. In the East 
especially they have been greatly admired, and 
enormous sums of money have been paid for them. 
It is said that 
Julius Cassar 
gave a pearl to 
the mother of 
Marcus Brutus 
that was valued 
at;{;48,4i7 I OS. 
of our present 
money ; and 
Philip the Se- 
cond of Spain 
had a pearl 
from the West 
India fishery 
which was said 
to be worth 
^30,000. From 
time immemo- 
rial there have 
been fisheries of 
pearl in the Per- 
sian Gulf and 
Red Sea, and 
in the bays of 
Ceylon ; and 
when Colum- 
bus arrived in 
the Gulf of 
Paria, on his 
first voyage to 
America, he 
was delighted 
to find that 
there too pearls 
abounded. His 
men landed, 
"and saw the 
Indian women 
adorned with 
splendid pearls, 
as well round 
their necks as 

round their arms ; yet they were not prized by their 
possessors, who regarded them only as slight femi- 
nine ornaments, so that merely for an earthenware 
plate — a broken one — that a sailor gave to an 
Indian woman, she gave him four rows of her 
pearls." The Spanish king forbade any one to go 
within fifty leagues of the place where such riches 
were found without the royal permission, and took 
possession of the fisheries for himself ; but so c-uelly 
did the Spaniards behave to the natives, mn.king 

25 




DIVING FOR PEARLS. 



them perforce dive for them, and brutally ill-treating 
them when they were unsuccessful in pearl finding, 
that, " one morning at dawn the Indians assailed the 
Spaniards, made a sanguinary slaughter of them, and 
with dancing and leaping ate them, both monks and 
laymen." The islamds of Cubagua and Margarita 
were the principal seats of the pearl fishery, which 

was also carried 
on in the Gulf 
of Paria itself, 
on the coast of 
CumanJi. 

The pearl is 
nothing more 
than a pellet, 
varying in size, 
composed of 
the same shin- 
ing, hard, cal- 
careous matter, 
called nacre 
or mother-of- 
pearl, which 
lines the shells 
of many mol- 
luscs,e3pecially 
those of the 
oyster andmus- 
sel tribes. They 
are found stick- 
ing fast to the 
lining whence 
they spring, or 
distinct in the 
bodies of the 
animals which 
produce them, 
lying loose in 
the substance 
of the animal 
itself, com- 
monly in its 
thickest and 
most fleshy 
part. The cause 
of the produc- 
tion of the pearl 
is in either case 
some irritating 
influence acting upon the oyster itself. A graiii of 
sand has insinuated itself between the soft mantle 
of the oyster and the shell, and to get rid of the 
annoyance the animal throws over it some of the 
calcareous secretion which it has power to exude, 
adding thereto in proportion to the amount of incon- 
venience it continues to feci. The pearls found in 
the body of the oyster or mussel are supposed to be 
abortive eggs which the creature has tried to throw 
out, but which, remaining, have bgen coated with 



194 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



additional nacre in order to render them less un- 
comfortable. The Chinese have several ingenious 
methods for making the pearl yielders produce 
artificial pearls. They introduce into the shell of 
the creature small irritating objects — beads, nuclei of 
mother-of-pearl,metal knobs, any small thing, indeed, 
which the oyster cannot by any means get rid of, 
but finding it there proceeds to coat over with pearl. 
In the course of a year the secretion has been so 
considerable as to sufficiently remunerate those 
whose labour has been expended upon it. 

There are many kinds of shells, not only bivalves, 
but spiral shells also, in which pearls occur; indeed, 
it would seem that all polished nacreous shells are 
capable of producing them, though the oyster family 
excels in the art. The size of the pearl varies ac- 
cording to the time it has been in process of manu- 
facture, and according to the extent of its irritating 
cause. Climate, alsp, has no doubt something to do 
with it, as the largest and finest pearls are from 
warm water districts, while the mussels and oysters 
of colder waters, like those of Great Britain, do not 
seem to be capable of yielding very large, though 
they afford many small pearls. The pearl fishery 
of Scotland, where the people seek the pearl animals 
in the slime of rivers at low water, affords employ- 
ment to many hundreds of persons, and yields a 
profit of several thousands a year. 

The deep water fishery — that is to say, the fishery 
in about twelve fathoms — is conducted now pretty 
much as it was conducted in Columbus' time. I\Ien 
accustomed from their infancy to an amphibious 
sort of life, and trained to be expert divers, are 
engaged at the work, and go down naked into the 
sea in order to pick up the marvellous pearl-breeders 
which lie at the bottom. They may bring up a 
prize or a blank, but down they go time after time, 
spending their lives in the occupation, and finding a 
reward either in wages or in a co-partnership in tlie 
lottery upon which they are engaged. In Ceylon, 
the pearl fishers go out in company in their boats. 
Each boat carries twenty men, of whom ten arc 
rowers and ten divers. The divers take turn and 
turn about at plunging, and remain under water for 
a minute and a half to two minutes. Some of them 
are said to be able to stay down as long as five 
minutes, but this power is exceptional, and only to 
be acquired by long practice. Trained to the work 
from childhood, tlic divers go down, with the greatest 
intrepidity, to a depth of from four to ten fathoms. 
To assist them in their descent, they use a large 
stone of red granite, having the smaller end bored 
so as to admit a rope, which is rove through it. 
When about to dive, the diver seizes this rope with 
the toes of his right foot, and with the left foot 
secures a network bag for his oysters. He then 
takes hold of another rope with his hands and is let 
down from the boat to his diving-ground, the stone 
helping to sink him. When at the bottom, he casts 



himself loose from the stone, picks up his oysters, and 
when ready to return, jerks the rope by which he 
was let down, and he is then hauled up, leaving the 
stone to be recovered by its own rope. The chief 
danger the divers have to encounter, after the pre- 
liminary physical difficulties attendant upon diving 
and working at so great a depth have been got over, 
is from ground-sharks. The divers in the Persian 
Gulf are wont to resort to magic and to religious 
enchantments in the hope of guarding against these 
horrible creatures ; but as an additional and more 
effectual precaution, they are armed with a short 
stick, pointed at either end, which they thrust into 
the shark's mouth, they themselves getting away 
while the monster is engaged in fretting over his 
uncomfortable, indigestible meal. A story is related 
of one diver who, having explored a rock on which 
he expected to find oysters, was about to return 
"where he could see the st.ars again," when, casting 
his eye upward, he saw a huge ground-shark lying 
in wait for him, and cutting off his retreat. Terri- 
fied at the sight, and unable to get out of range, he 
was beginning to give himself up for lost, when a 
happy thought occurred to him. He took his 
sharpened stake, which was too small to stop the 
jaws of the shark, and going to a sandy nook of the 
rock began to stir up the mud, and to make such 
" a dust in the water " as to obscure the enemy's 
vision. Having done this till he was forced to quit 
for lack of breath, he swam off hastily in another 
direction, and arrived at the surface exhausted but 
in safety. At the top he was rescued by the boat 
in attendance, and the shark, befooled at the 
bottom of the water, was left to gnash his teeth 
in vain. 

Some of the divers are armed with a long knife, 
which they use not only as a defence against marine 
assailants, but for the purpose of detaching tenacious 
oysters, many of which, especially they of the strong 
byssHS or moorings, adhere to the rock with a grip 
requiring great strength to overcome it. The diver 
having been pulled into the boat with his net full of 
oysters and mussels, the booty is taken on shore, 
and " as soon as the oysters are taken out of the 
boats, they are carried (in Ceylon) by the different 
people to whom they belong, and placed in holes 
dug in the ground to the depth of about two feet, or 
in small, square, hollow places cleared and fenced 
round for the purpose, each person having his own 
separate division. ... As soon as they have 
passed through a state of putrefaction and have 
become dry, they are easily opened, without any 
danger of injuring the pearls, which might be the 
case if they were opened fresh, as at that time to do 
so requires great force. On the shell being opened 
the oyster is minutely examined for ' the pearls ; it 
is usual even to boil the oyster itself, as the pearl 
is not unfrequently found actually embedded in the 
body of the fish." 



THE SiNfAKE-CHARAIEllS OF 1NDL\. 



195 



WONDERFUL APPLICATION OF HEAT. 

Experiment (remarks Baron Liebig) has shown 
that a quantity of heat, sufficient to raise a pound 
of water one degree of temperature, will, when 
communicated to a bar of iron, enable it to elevate 
a weight of 1,350 lbs. to the height of one foot. An 
interesting application of this fact was long ago 
made in the Conservq.toire des Arts et Metiers, in 
Paris. In this building, which was formerly a 
convent, the nave of the church was converted into 
a museum for industrial products, machines, and 
implements. In its arch, traversing its length, 
appeared a crack, which gradually increased to the 
width of several inches, and permitted the passage 
of rain or snow. The opening could easily have 
been closed by stone and lime, but the yielding of 
the side walls would not have been prevented by 
these means. The whole building was on the point 
of being pulled down, when a natural philosopher 
proposed the following plan, by which the object 
was accomplished :— A number of strong iron rods 
were firmly fixed at one end to a side wall of the 
nave, and after passing through the opposite wall, 
were provided on the outside with large nuts, which 
were screwed up tightly to the wall. By applying 
burning straw to the rods they expanded in length. 
The nuts by this extension being now removed 
several inches from the wall, were again screwed 
tight to it. The rods on cooling contracted with 
enormous force, and made the side walls approach 
each other. By repeating the operation the crack 
entirely disappeared. This building, with its re- 
taining rods, is still in existence. 



THE SNAKE-CHARMERS OF INDIA. 

Snake-charming is a very ancient art, having 
been practised in many Eastern countries from a 
remote antiquity. We find occasional allusions to 
it in the Old Testament, as well as in classic 
writers. But it is in India that the art of snake- 
charming has attained the highest degree of 
success, its secrets being so well handed down that 
it is commonly practised by the Hindoos at the 
present day. 

The Indian snake-charmers wander from village 
to village, and from town to town, with their snakes 
carried in baskets. They exhibit their skill chiefly 
for the amusement of the people, but often turn it 
to useful account in luring dangerous serpents 
from their lurking-places in houses, banks, or 
old walls. The chief agency in the charm is music, 
and this of the most indifferent kind, consisting of 
dismal tunes slowly played on a pipe something 
like a flageolet. The Hindoo conjurer affects also 
to exercise a spell on the reptiles by means of the 
voice alone, but this is believed to have no founda- 
tion in fact. 



The mode of exhibition by the snake-charmer 
is usually the following : — Setting down his basket 
of snakes, which has been covered with cotton 
wool, he produces his pipe, and performs upon it 
a few droning notes. The snakes come out from 
the basket upon the ground, and as the juggler 
continues playing, seem much delighted, erect- 
ing themselves about half their length from the 
ground, and keeping time by graceful undulatory 
motions of the head and neck. At times twenty of 
the serpents may be seen thus dancing together, 
with hundreds of natives looking on. After the 
dancing has continued some time, the juggler, 
seizing one or more of the snakes, will coil them 
round his head and neck, playing with them fear- 
lessly, and apparently having them under his entire 
control. 

The snakes which generally form the subject of 
exhibition, are the kind most dreaded of all — the 
cobra di capello. It has often been supposed that 
before the juggler exhibits his snakes he has 
carefully extracted the poison-fangs, and hence 
that his tricks, daring as they sometimes are, may 
be performed in perfect safety. This, however, is 
not aUvays the case. Cobras from which the fangs 
have been drawn are frequently among the snakes 
which the charmers carry, but it has been proved 
again and again that in many of them the veno- 
mous powers are still unimpaired. The possession 
or the abstraction of these powers does not aflect 
the peculiar sensibility of the snakes to the influence 
of the monotonous music of the Hindoo pipes; - 
and in this undoubted susceptibility consists the 
secret of the power and control of the conjurer over 
the reptiles. 

Many fatal accidents have arisen from persons 
having vainly imagined that the jugglers' snakes 
have been rendered harmless. Forbes, the author of 
" Oriental Memoirs," thus relates his own narrow 
escape: — "Among my drawings is that of a cobra 
di capello, which danced for an hour on the table 
while I painted it. I frequently handled it, to 
observe the beauty of its spots, and especially the 
spectacles on the hood, not doubting that its fangs 
had been previously extracted. But the next 
morning my upper-servant, a devout Mussulman, 
came to me in great haste and desired I would 
instantly retire and praise the Almighty for my good 
fortune. Not understanding his meaning, I told 
him that I had already performed my devotions. 
Mahomet then informed me that, while purchasing 
some fruit in the bazaar, he saw the man who had 
been with me on the preceding evening entertain- 
ing the country people with his dancing-snakes. 
The peasants, according to the usual custom, sat 
on the ground round the charmer, when, cither 
from the music stopping too suddenly, or from 
some other cause of irritation, the vicious reptile, 
which I had so often handled, darted at the throat of 



19^ 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



a young woman, and inflicted a wound of which she 
died in about half an hour." 

The fact that a cobra may frequently be handled 
with impunity, as in the case of Mr. Forbes, is 
well known, and many of our readers will recall to 
ininJ the cas3 of a keeper at the Zoological 
Gardens in the Regent's Park, who was in the 
habit of playing with the snakes, but at last lost 
his life from the bite of one of the reptiles. But, 
as a writer in the " Oriental Annual" observes, it 
is a remarkable peculiarity in the cobra di capello, 
and in most poisonous reptiles of this class, that 
they seem to have a great reluctance to put into ope- 
ration the deadly powers with which they are 
endowed. The cobra scarcely ever bites unless 
excited by actual injury or extreme provocation; 
and even then, before it darts upon its aggressor, 
it always gives him timely notice of his danger 
in a way not to be mistaken. It dilates the crest 
upon "its neck — a large flexible membrane, having 
on the upper surface two black circular spots, like 
a pair of spectacles ; it waves its head to and fro 
with a gentle undulatory motion, the eye sparkling 
with intense lustre, and commences a hiss so loud 
as to be heard at a considerable distance— so that 
the juggler always has warning when it is perilous 
to approach his captive. The snake never bites 
while the hood is closed ; and so long as this is 
not erected, it may be approached and handled 
with impunity. Even when the hood is spread, 
while the creature continues silent there is no 
danger. Its fearful hiss is at once the signal of 
aggression and of peril. 

Though the cobra is so deadly when under 
excitement, it is appeased with astonishing rapidity 
even from the highest state of exasperation, merely 
by the droning music of the juggler's pipe. 



THE CORONATION STONE AT 

KINGSTON. 

Some years back, a visitor to Kingston-on-Thames 
might have seen lying in an ignominious position 
near the Town Hall, a large square block of stone, 
which was generally used for the purpose of a 
stepping-stone to enable the goodwives of the town 
to mount their horses. Tradition asserts, however, 
that some ten centuries back this identical stone 
was the stepping-stone to the throne of England 
itself. No one could have supposed that this 
rude, almost shapeless, and uncared-for mass of 
stone was hallowed by historical associations of 
deep and enduring interest to Enghshmcn, and that 
upon it no less than seven of our Anglo-Saxon 
sovereigns knelt and were anointed to the kingly 
dignity. Yet such, we are assured, was the fact, 
and the names of the monarchs were Edward the 
EJdcr, son of the Great Alfred, Athelstan, Edmund, 



Etheldred, Edred, Edwy, and Edward the Martyr. 
After lying in this position for ages, the people 
of Kingston, in the year 1850, resolved that this 
interesting relic should be rescued from further 
desecration, and preserved as a monument of the 
times when the constitution and the laws of our 
country had their birth. A neat and substantial 
monument, enclosed by handsome iron railings, was 
therefore erected in front of the Court House and 
facing the Town Hall, the stone was elevated to 
the summit', and its inauguration as the " Kingston 
Coronation Stone" was celebrated on the 19th of 
September, 1850, with much rejoicing. 



THE ELECTRICAL EEL. 

The gymnotus, or electrical eel, is rather more 
serpentine in form than the common eel, and fre- 
quently attains a great size. It is found in the 
rivers and marshes of South America, where the 
natives fish for it in a singular manner. M. 
Bonpland describes a scene witnessed by him in 
one of the marshy pools of Venezuela. About 
thirty horses and mules were driven into the water 
by a number of Indians, who, armed with long 
canes and harpoons, prevented them from returning 
to the banks until the object of the battue was at- 
tained. The trampling of the horses and the shouts 
of the Indians soon produced a scene of wild ex- 
citement. Writhing on the surface of the water, 
and gliding under the bellies of the animals, the 
gymnoti discharged through them repeated shocks 
from their electric batteries, while the poor be- 
wildered brutes, convulsed and terrified, their manes 
erect, and their eyes staring with pain and anguish, 
made unavailing efforts to escape. The eels, from 
four to six feet in length, and livid in colour, had 
the appearance of great water serpents, and one in 
particular was observed which discharged the whole 
power of its battery along the belly of a horse. In 
less than a quarter of an hour the electrical energy 
of the eels became exhausted, and though some of 
the horses and mules had been benumbed and 
drowned, the greater number scrambled ashore and 
recovered. The eels in their exhausted state were 
easily captured. 

The extraordinary power of the gymnotus was 
placed beyond doubt a few years ago, when living 
specimens of this fish were exhibited in the Adelaide 
Gallery and the Polytechnic Institution. The illus- 
trious Faraday took the opportunity of experiment- 
ing upon it, and established to his own satisfaction 
the identity of its peculiar power with that of voltaic 
electricity of peculiar intensity. The eel he experi- 
mented with was only forty inches long, yet it pro- 
duced a succession of shocks at short intervals, 
affected the galvanometer, and imparted magnetism 
to iron. 



THE ELECTRICAL EEL. 



197 



The diagram (Fig. i) shows the gymnotus lying 
with its belly turned a little on one side towards 
the eye. The mouth is shown at a, a portion of 
the skin turned back at bb. The ventral fin is 
marked cc, and the fin-muscles lid. The electrical 
organs (for there are two pairs, a larger and a 



presuming too much on its exhaustion, the fisher- 
man handles it fearlessly, its shock is more severe 
than usual — one of the many proofs which might 
be cited that the discharge depends upon the 
animal's will. No muscular movement is observed 
with the shock. 




THE GYMNOTUS, OR ELECTRICAL EEL. 



smaller) range along the whole body, from the head 
to the tail, as shown by the blank spaces. The 
appearance they present to the eye is shown by the 
lines e e and// (Fig. 2). These are to some extent 
parallel with the axis of the body, and represent the 
thin membranes of which the organs are composed. 
They occupy nearly half the thickness of the body, 
and one pair is placed on either side of the spinal 
column. At the end near 
the head the electricity 
is positive, at the other 
end negative. The full 
power of the battery is 
elicited when a connection 
is made between the head 
and the tail, the effect 
being diminished in any 
intermediate part, pre- 
cisely as in a voltaic bat- 
tery. Professor Faraday having put a few small 
live fish into the water with the gymnotus, the 
latter formed itself into a circle, enclosing the fish 
by joining its head to its tail, and sent a shock 
through the water which instantly stunned its prey. 
When the hand was held in the water whilst the 
charge was transmitted, a shock was felt, though 
not so strong as when the eel was touched at its 
two extremities. It may sometimes happen, when 
the gymnotus is seriously wounded by the fishing 
operations which we have described, that it gives a 
very weak shock on being touched, If, however, 




The facts we have recited sufficiently demonstrate 
to our minds that there is an intimate relation be- 
tween nerve-power and electricity, in spite of all that 
may be said as to the purely chemical origin of this 
power in animals. In fact, it is not yet in the 
power of any physiologist to say with certainty 
through what organ the effects of animal electricity 
may not be exhibited under certain conditions 
of mind and body. Dr. 
Golding Bird states, in his 
" Elements of Natural 
Philosophy," that " the 
human body is always in 
an electric state, though 
of the feeblest tension, 
never exceeding that 
evolved by the contact of 
a plate of zinc with a 
plate of copper ;" and that 
"it increases with the irritability of the person, 
appearing to be greater in the evening than in the 
morning, and disappearing altogether in very 
cold weather." The science of animal magnetism 
is but an expression of belief in this natural fact, 
and in the power of the will to control the phe- 
nomena. This is a subject, however, upon which 
it will not be convenient at present to enter, though 
there can be little doubt that it stands in direct 
relationship with the wonders of animal electricity. 
It may be added that the gymnotus is not the only 
inhabitant of the \vater that possesses this property, 



198 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



A STORY OF A DIAMOND. 

Tpie diamond has always enjoyed an undisputed 
pre-eminence among precious stones, not only on 
account of its rarity, but also from its unequalled 
brilliancy. Some of these stones have been sold 
for almost fabulous prices, and many of the most 
celebrated diamonds known to exist have changed 
hands from time to time under strange and romantic 
_ circumstances. 

Among the jewels formerly in the regalia of 
England was a diamond of great beauty and value, 
with which is connected a very remarkable history. 
It was once the property of Charles the BoM, last 
Duke of Eurgundy, wlio v.'ore it in his hat ai the 
battle of Nancy, in which he lost his life. 

The diamond was found on the field after the 
battle by a Swiss, who sold it to a priest for a trifle, 
and it afterwards became the property of a French 
nobleman named De Sancy. The treasure remained 
in the possession of his family for more than a 
century, when one of his descendants, who was 
captain of the Swiss guard under Henry III. of 
France, was commissioned by the king to raise a 
new force from the same nation. Henry at length 
found himself unable to pay his soldiers, and in 
this emergency he borrowed the diamond from the 
Count de Sancy, that he might place it in the 
hands of the Swiss government as a pledge for the 
fulfilment of his engagements. 

The count entrusted the diamond to one of his 
most faithful followers for conveyance to the king ; 
but the messenger and the treasure disappeared, to 
the great consternation both of Henry ^and De 
Sancy. The most diligent search was made, 
but without furnishing any clue to the mystery. 
So strong was De Sancy's confidence in the perfect 
probity of his servant, that he felt convinced some 
misfortune must have happened to him ; and he 
persevered in his inquiries, until he at length dis- 
covered that his follower had been waylaid and 
murdered by a band of robbers, and the body con- 
cealed in a neighbouring forest. 

De Sancy ascertained the locality, and instituted 
a careful search, which resulted in the discovery of 
his messenger's remains. He next gave directions 
to have the body opened; when, to the astonish- 
ment of all but De Sancy himself, the treasure was 
discovered. It was now clear that the poor fellow, 
on finding himself beset beyond the possiblKty of 
escape, had swallowed ttie diamond rather tlian that 
it should fall into the hands of the robbers. The 
story has been commemorated in the appellation 
the diamond has ever since borne of " the Sancy." 

The diamond was purchased for the Crown of 
England; but James II. carried it with him in his 
flight to France in 1688. Louis XV. is said to have 
worn it at his coronation. In 1835 it was purohcieed 
by a Russian nobleman for ^80,000. 



THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH. 

There is nothing difficult, now that the thing is an 
accomplished fact, in grasping the idea that cables 
more than 2,000 miles in length lie underneath 
the Atlantic, joining together, by unbroken cords, 
the Old World and the New. The real wonder 
of the first Atlantic cable consisted in the gigantic 
scale on which it had to be carried out in every 
detail. The thing itself was not a novelty. 

The longest telegraphic conductor that had pi-e- 
viously been submerged was that between \'arna 
and Balaklava, which had been hurriedly put down 
to meet the exigencies of the Crimean War. The 
length of this was 360 miles, of which only twelve 
were really cable, the remainder being simply copper 
v/'re covered with gutta-percha, and the longest 
cable previous to 1858 had been only 123 miles in 
length; while the Atlantic cable was to be twenty 
times this length, was to be laid in water two miles 
deep, and was to cost nearly ^400,000. 

The "conductor" of this cable — that is, the part 
which conveys or conducts the electric currents — 
consisted of seven small copper wires twisted to- 
gether, the object of this being that if one of the 
wires broke, others might yet remain uninjured to 
keep up the continuity. 

To protect this conductor from contact with tire 
water — which, being itself a conductor of electricity, 
would, if it touched the copper, allow the electric 
current sent into the wire to escape and return to 
its source before it had traversed the entire length — 
it was entirely enveloped in gutta-percha. 

The soft gutta-percha had, however, to be care- 
fully protected from external injury, for upon its 
integi-ity depended the success of the undertaking. 
To effect this, it was first well wrapped with jute 
yarn, saturated with a compound of tar, pitch, 
linseed oil, and beeswax, and laid over this was the 
outer covering of iron. This covering consisted of 
eighteen strands twisted spirally round the jute, 
each strand composed of seven small iron wires. 
The weight of the finished cable was a ton a mile, 
and 3,000 miles were stowed on board the two cable- 
ships, the Niagara and Agamemnon, at one time, 
each ship carrying 1,500 tons. 

The vessels sailed from Valentia on the 7th of 
August, 1857 ; and all went well until 385 miles had 
been paid out, the depth of water reached being 
rather over two and a quarter miles ; when a sudden 
rise of the ship's stern, and a want of care in releas- 
ing the " break," caused the cable to snap, and put 
an end to all further attempts for that year. 

An additional length of nearly 900 miles was 
made, to compensate for that already lost, and to 
be in readiness to supply the room of any future 
losses. The risk which would attend making the 
splice between the two halves of the cable in mid- 
ocean — one end, supporting the weight of nearly 



CEREMONY AMONG SAVAGES. 



199 



three miles, hanging over the stern of the ship — 
had also been carefully discussed, and it was 
resolved that both cable-ships should upon this 
next attempt proceed direct to mid-ocean, and 
await the opportunity of favourable weather to 
make the splice. This being made, the two ships 
would steam in opposite directions, and the cable 
be laid in half the time. 

This was the arrangement, then, which was 
carried out in 1858. The vessels met in mid-ocean, 
the cables were united, and the " paying out " com- 
menced ; but before the two ships were fairly " hull 
down," the cable broke on board the Againemnon. 
Another meeting of the ships, another splice, and 
another commencement of the laying followed ; 
but before 100 miles had been laid, a stoppage of 
signals occurred between the two ships. In this 
case, the cable had broken on board neither of the 
ships, nor was any difference of strain indicated 
upon the cable \ the inevitable conclusion, therefore, 
was that the break had occurred in the depths of 
the ocean, but from what cause was never known. 

The vessels again met, and resolved to proceed 
to Cork for further instructions. These instruc- 
tions were to re-coal and to proceed to sea for 
another attempt. The perseverance shown was 
upon this occasion crowned with success. The 
splice was made at one o'clock p.m. on July the 
29th, 1858 ; and early on the morning of the 6th 
of August the Atlantic was bridged by a tele- 
graph, from which time until half-past one o'clock 
p.m. on September the ist, the cable continued 
intermittently in use. Altogether, 400 messages, 
averaging rather over ten words each, were trans- 
mitted by the first Atlantic cable. 

The difficulty of working through the 1858 cable 
was always exceedingly great, and at length all 
attempts to transmit signals through it failed. 
Various efforts to " underrun " or to raise the cable 
were made, hoping the faulty part might be 
reached and rectified, but all to no purpose, and 
the entire cable was at length reluctantly abandoned. 
Several years elapsed before another attempt 
was made to put telegraphic connection between 
the two continents, and the time was employed in 
making experiments upon the best form of cable, 
and the means of submerging it. In 1865 all was 
again ready ; an improved cable 2,300 miles in 
length had been constructed, and the Great 
Eastern, steamship — the only suitable vessel — was 
employed to receive the whole of its vast bulk, in 
three separate coils, weighing together 4,000 tons. 
In July the Great Eastern started from Valentia, and 
she had proceeded about ten days on her journey, 
paying out considerably more than 1,000 miles 
of the cable, when it suddenly snapped from over- 
straining. Attempts were made to recover the 
parted end of the cable by dredging along the 
bottom of the ocean with powerful grapnels, but 



after some days had been spent in this work, and 
all the material available for the purpose had been 
exhausted, the effort was reluctantly abandoned. 
Careful note was taken, however, of the latitude 
and longitude of the spot where the cable had dis- 
appeared, and buoys were placed to mark it. 

The want of success which had hitherto attended 
the operations did not discourage the projectors, 
nor prevent the public from again displaying con- 
fidence in the eventual result, by subscribing the 
necessary capital. By the following year another 
cable had been made, and the Gt'eat Easterti. was 
again chartered for its submersion. On this voyage 
it was attended by three other vessels, the Terrible, 
the Medway, and the Albany, for it was designed not 
only to lay another cable, but to make every effort to 
recover and complete that of 1865. On the 13th 
of July, 1866, this expedition started from Valentia 
as before ; and on the 27th of the same month the 
Great Eastern reached Newfoundland, having this 
time brought its mission to a triumphant end, by 
leaving a continuous cable in its track. Congratu- 
latory measures were immediately exchanged be- 
tween the two shores, and the attendant vessels 
then proceeded in search of the buoys which 
marked the spot where the 1865 cable had vanished. 
One of these buoys was found, although others had 
been carried away by the storms ; and the Great 
Eastern arriving on the spot a few days afterwards, 
the telegraphic flotilla commenced another scries of 
drcdgings to get hold of the cable. It was hooked 
several times, and raised a considerable distance, 
but slipped down again. 

At length, after the search had proceeded in this 
way for nearly three weeks, the end of the cable 
was caught and retained on the ist of September, 
and the long line of more than 1,000 miles proved 
to remain uninjured. A splice was then made with 
the portion of the same cable conveyed by the 
expedition for that purpose, and within a week this 
cable also was completed. 



CEREMONY AMONG SAVAGES. 

Disraeli, in his " Curiosities of Literature," has 
some curious remarks on the customs of different 
nations in their modes of salutation. The Philip- 
pine Islander, he says, in saluting a friend, takes 
hold of his hand or foot and rubs it on his own 
face. The Lapland salutation is even more peculiar ; 
when they meet they rub their noses together. A 
traveller named Houtman tells us that to be polite 
in the islands situated in the Straits of the Sound 
is a matter of considerable difficulty, and then he 
describes his own reception : " They raised my left 
foot, which they passed gently over my right leg, 
and from thence over my face.'' 
An Ethiopian takes the robe of another and ties 



200 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



it about his own waist, so that he leaves his friend 
half naked. " This custom," says Disraeh, " of 
undressing on these occasions takes other forms : 
sometimes men place themselves naked before the 
person whom they salute, to show their humility, 
and that they are unworthy of appearing in his 
presence. This was practised before Sir Joseph 
Banks, when he received the visit of two people 
of Otaheite. The Japanese only take off a slipper, 
the people of Arracan their sandals in the street, 
and their stockings in the house." 

In personal civilities the Chinese surpass all 
nations, dealing in the most extravagant compli- 
ments and loving greetings in the market-place. 
If two people meet after a long separation, they 
both fall on their knees and bend the face to the 
earth, and this ceremony is repeated two or three 
times. Their expressions are as exaggerated as 
their gestures. If a Chinese is asked after his 
health, "Very well, thanks to your abundant felicity." 
If you render him a service, " My thanks shall be 
immortal." If you praise him, " How shall I daYe 
to persuade myself of what you say to me?" The 
strangest part of the system is, that these replies 
are prescribed by a regular academy of compliments. 
There are determined the number of bows, the 
genuflexions, the salutations, and the gestures of 
the whole nation. The lower orders are as punctilious 
as the grandees, and ambassadors pass forty days 
in practice before they are allowed to appear at 
court. _________ 

^iirmal Sagadtij. 
—  — 

Remarkable Instinct of the Martin. — 
For some years the writer occupied a cottage near 
Esher. Under the trcllised porch was a martin's 
nest, which was repaired every season for at least 
three years, and from which a brood of four or five 
young birds took their flight year by year. The 
porch was covered with zinc, and the nest was built 
against the wall, close against the angle formed by 
the slanting sides of the roof. One morning, before 
the brood was hatched, one of the old birds was 
found in the porch dead, owing probably to the un- 
usual heat of the sun shining upon the zinc cover- 
ing, which was only a few inches above the nest. 
Opposite the porch, and separated from it by the width 
of the garden walk, was an arch of wire covered with 
roses and honeysuckles. About eleven o'clock on 
the morning of the day when the bird had been found 
dead, the writer's attention was attracted by an un- 
usual twittering, and looking towards the porch, 
he observed a martin, which he presumed to be the 
male bird, flying in and out of the porch on to the 
arch, and evidently endeavouring to coax another 
bird into his snug quarters. After a while the second 
martin took several short flights, and dived under the 
porch along with her companion, who twittered and 



flew round her in a state of the greatest ex- 
citement. This continued for about half an hour, 
until the stranger took possession of the nest, where 
she finally hatched the brood. 

A Camel's Revenge.— A valuable camel, work- 
ing in an oil mill in Africa, was severely beaten by 
its driver. Perceiving that the camel had treasured 
up the injury, and was only waiting a favourable 
opportunity for revenge, he kept a strict watch upon 
the animal. Time passed away ; the camel, per- 
ceiving that it was watched, was quiet and obedient, 
and the driver began to think that the beating was 
forgotten, when one night, after the lapse of several 
months, the man was sleeping on a raised platform 
in the mill, whilst, as is customary, the camel was 
stabled in a corner. Happening to awake, the 
driver observed by the bright moonlight that, when 
all was quiet, the animal looked cautiously around, 
rose softly, and stealing towards a spot where a 
bundle of clothes and a bernous, thrown carelessly 
on the ground, resembled a sleeping figure, cast 
itself with violence upon them, rolling with all its 
weight, and tearing them most viciously with its 
teeth. Satisfied that its revenge was complete, the 
camel was returning to its corner, when the driver 
sat up and spoke. At the sound of his voice, and 
perceiving the mistake it had made, the animal was 
so mortified at the failure and discovery of its 
scheme, that it dashed its head against the wall 
and died on the spot. 

A Pointer's Contempt. — In proof of the dis- 
like a pointer will show to a bad shot, Mr. Jesse 
adduces the following anecdote, given on reliable 
authority. A gentleman, on his requesting the 
loan of a pointer dog from a friend, was informed 
by him that the dog would behave very well so long 
as he could kill his birds ; but if he frequently 
missed fire, it would run home and leave him. 
The dog was sent, and the following day was fixed 
for trial ; but, unfortunately, his new master was 
a remarkably bad shot. Bird after bird rose and 
was fired at, but still pursued its flight untouched, 
till at last the pointer became careless, and often 
missed his game. As if seemingly willing, how- 
ever, to give one chance more, he made a dead stop 
at a fern-bush, with his nose pointed downward, 
the fore-foot bent, and his tail straight and steady. 
In this position he remained firm till the sportsman 
was close to him with both barrels cocked ; then, 
moving steadily forward for a few paces, he at last 
stood still near a bunch of heather, the tail express- 
ing the anxiety of the mind by moving regularly 
backwards and forwards. At last out sprang a 
fine old blackcock. Bang ! bang ! went both 
barrels, but the bird escaped unhurt. The patience 
of the dog was now quite exhausted, and, instead of 
dropping to charge, he turned boldly round, placed 
his tail between his legs, gave one howl, long and 
loud, and set off as fast as he could to his own home. 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 




pepper's ghost. 



THE WONDERS OF LIGHT. 

Just as an india-rubber ball bounds from any 
surface it strikes against, so light is reflected from 
any object which lies in its path. Perhaps this 
comparison is hardly correct ; for all the light does 
not rebound from the reflecting surface, but only a 
portion of the ray is reflected, the rest either being 
absorbed by the body, or, if the body be transparent, 
passing through it. The quantity of light which is 
thus reflected entirely depends on the state of the 
surface. Silver, for example, which admits of a very 
high polish, when excessively bright reflects almost 
all the rays which fall upon it ; whereas, if its 
surface be dull, only very few are thrown back. 
Any surface which is not highly polished is really 
made up of innumerable small projections, which 
the process of polishing either lays flat or shaves 
off ; and when a beam of light strikes such a 
surface, each of these projections throws back some 
of it, and scatters the light in a thousand ways — or, 
as science expresses it, the light is dispersed. This 

26 



is the reason why you cannot see your face in a 
sheet of paper ; the light which shines from your 
face reaches the paper, but instead of being thrown 
back regularly, as it is by a polished surface, it is 
scattered in every direction. 

If the surface be perfectly smooth, the light which 
comes from any object is reflected from the surface 
unbroken, just as it comes from the object, and, 
therefore, carries an image of the object to the eye. 
This is the case with a looking-glass ; and it wiU 
be noticed that the image is apparently just as far 
behind the glass as the object is really before it. 
This fact has been ingeniously taken advantage of 
to exhibit that popular wonder, Pepper's ghost. 
The appearance of this mysterious spectre is at 
once explained by our sketch. The " original " of 
the ghost is below the stage, highly illuminated by 
the oxy-hydrogcn light. The reflection of this 
figure is thrown upon the audience by the sheet of 
plate glass erected on the front of the stage. This 
glass is invisible on account of the gloom which 
always surrounds the appearance of a ghost. Of 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



course the actor behind the glass does not see the 
spectre, but a warning from an accomplice tells 
him of the " mysterious presence." The illusion is 
really wonderful ; but how often has the reader, 
sitting in the dusk of the early winter evening, 
before the gas was lit, seen the reflection of the 
fire in the window ? and had he been ignorant of 
the existence of the glass, he well might have 
supposed that there was a fire in the garden. 

That other wonder, which has astonished crowded 
audiences — "The Sphynx" — is only another illustra- 
tion of this property of light. The exhibitor prepares 
a three-legged table, and fits two sheets of looking- 
glass from one leg to the other two legs — that side 
of the table which has no looking-glass between its 
legs is away from the audience. The floor of the 
stage is covered with green baize, and the sides and 
back are hung with plain red material. The audience 
see the reflection of the sides from the looking- 
glasses, and fancy they are looking under the table 
to the back of the stage. Of course, the owner of 
the head is kneeling under the table. The conjuror 
carefully abstains from going behind the table, or 
another wonder, not included in his startling pro- 
gramme, would be produced — that of a legless 
wizard ! 



VENETIAN GLASS. 

Venice possessed the art of glass-making almost 
as early as the foundation of the city itself An 
immense trade in beads, imitations of pearl and 
precious stones, was carried on with the coasts of 
Asia and of Africa, and extended to India and to 
China. The revival of art in Italy improved the 
design and colours of Venice glass ; her mirrors, 
her table-glass, of variegated colours and spiral 
stems, her bottles and cups, obtained high reputa- 
tion, and for a time supplied the wants of Europe, 
Africa, and Asia. Judging from curious specimens 
extant, the Venetian glass-blowers must have been 
skilful artists. A glass Venetian knife-handle, with 
a coating of white transparent glass, including dif- 
ferently-coloured glass fused into one variegated 
mass, is very beautiful, and the Venetian ball is a 
similar specimen of ingenuity. But the white glass 
of Venice was far inferior in pellucid refractibility 
to modern English crystal glass. The finest ancient 
Venetian glass is rather celebrated for its lightness 
than crystalline beauty. The Venetians also origi- 
nated the modern style of glass engraving : the 
first specimen was scratched with a diamond, or 
broken steel file, but the engravings produced by 
copper and lead wheels are far superior. The 
Vertetians also revived the curious ancient art of 
forming mosaic glass pictures, and in the present 
day Venice is unrivalled for its cheap and excellent 
glass bugles and beads. The Venetians were cele- 
brated for their filagree spirally twisted white and 



coloured enamel glasses, cased in transparent glass, 
much used in the stems of wine-glasses ; viillefiore 
glass — ends of fancy-coloured tubes, cut sectionally 
at right angles with the filagree cone, to form lozenges 
and tablets, massed together by transparent glass ; 
and vitro di trino — fine lace-work, intersected with 
white enamel or transparent glass, in diamond- 
shaped sections, the centre of each having an air- 
bubble, executed almost with the precision of engine 
lathe-turning. 



THE ITALIAN POISONERS. 

The wonderful lengths to which human nature can 
go in a course of deliberate and atrocious crime 
are nowhere more strongly exemplified than in the 
history of the secret poisoners of Italy and other 
countries. With Italy their diabolical art is more 
particularly identified, but, unhappily, it has not 
been confined to any nation or time. There are 
traces of its practice among the ancient Greeks, and 
allusions to it are frequent with the Roman writers. 
We are told, among other instances, that the 
Empress Agrippina, being determined to compass 
the death of Claudius, her husband, ordered an 
infamous woman named Locusta to procure for her 
a poison which should slowly consume him in mind 
and body, and that this was administered to him in 
a dish of mushrooms. Nero, the son of Agrippina, 
afterwards employed the same woman's agency to 
get rid of his relative and rival Britannicus, and 
not only liberally rewarded her, but gave her pupils 
whom she was to instruct in the processes of her 
fiendish art. Its secrets were but too well trans- 
mitted to after ages, for in Rome and Italy generally 
it appears to have been continually practised, and 
it prevailed enormously in the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries. The Borgias — Pope Alexander 
VI. and his children Ca;sar and Lucrezia — will for 
ever be infamous for this among other crimes, and 
the father at last met his death through poison pre- 
pared for some of the cardinals, but partaken of 
both by himself and his son through the misplacing 
of some vessels at a banquet. 

About the middle of the seventeenth century, the 
practice of secret poisoning reached its height in 
Rome. It became the subject of common remark 
that great numbers of husbands died shortly after 
marriage, and the clergy, who were in the constant 
habit of hearing confessions, made known to the 
government the fearful prevalence of the crime of 
poisoning, although without betraying the names 
of individual criminals. A careful search was made 
to discover the prime movers in the matter, and 
attention was drawn to a society of young married 
women who were in the habit of meeting at the 
house of an old " fortune-teller " named Hicronyma 
Spara. A woman was engaged to visit this house 
in the guise of a lady of rank, and by her means it 



THE ITALIAN POISONERS. 



was discovered that Spara was a preparer and 
seller of poisons, and that large numbers of the 
women of Rome were in her confidence. Spara 
was put to the torture and hanged, with several of 
her accomplices ; many were whipped through the 
streets, and others, of the highest rank, were heavily 
fined and banished. 

Spara had a successor in her diabolical trade in 
a woman named Tophania or Tofana, who prac- 
tised it extensively in the cities of Palermo and 
Naples. According to some writers, Spara herself 
had learnt it from this Tophania, who, at any rate, 
was second to none in the extent to which she 
engaged in it. She is said to have carried it on, 
and eluded the efforts of the police, for nearly half 
a century — from her very girlhood to old age. It 
was her practice, when in danger of arrest, to take 
refuge in the sanctuary of a monastery or convent, 
and from one of these places she was at last forced 
by a band of soldiers under the command of the 
Viceroy of Naples. Both the clergy and the people 
were highly indignant at this violation of what they 
considered the sacred right of refuge in such a holy 
place ; but the Viceroy was firm. He produced a 
revulsion in the popular feeling by ordering a report 
to be spread that Tophania had poisoned the wells, 
and then had her strangled and her body thrown 
back into the building from which she had been 
taken, that the clergy might have the satisfaction 
of giving her burial. Being tortured before her 
death, she confessed to having been instrumental 
in the poisoning of 600 persons. 

The liquid sold by this woman in small phials was 
known as aqua Tophania; a few drops were suffi- 
cient to kill a man, and its strength was so regu- 
lated that death might be produced from its effects 
either instantaneously, or at any interval, from days 
to months. It was colourless and tasteless, and 
gave rise to no suspicion on administration. All 
the phials of the aqua bore the inscription, " Manna 
of St. Nicholas of Bari," with an image of the saint. 
From the tomb of this saint the people believed 
that there exuded at times an oil of miraculous 
power, and the deadly phials were therefore held too 
sacred for examination, even when they passed 
through the hands of the officers of the customs. 

In the time of Tophania, as well as previously, to 
such an awful extent did slow poisoning prevail, 
that it was a very common practice for ladies to 
keep on their toilet-tables, among their scent- 
bottles, &c., a phial of this fatal mixture, the qualities 
and design of which were known only to them- 
selves. 

The arts of the Italian poisoners were trans- 
mitted to France, where also they were so largely 
practised that Madame de Sevigne expressed her 
belief that Frenchmen and poisoners would become 
synonymous terms. The case of the greatest 
notoriety in that country was that of the Marchioness 



BrinviUiers, a young and profligate woman, who was 
taught the art of poisoning by an officer named 
Sainte Croix. He himself had learnt it from an 
Italian while in prison with him in the Bastile, 
where he had been placed by the influence of the 
father of the marchioness. This wicked woman 
set to work in the most deliberate way to make 
herself an adept in the science, experimenting on 
animals, and then on the sick in the hospitals, 
whom she visited under the guise of charity. The 
firstfruits of her diabolical skill were shown in the 
poisoning of her father and her brothers. She then 
extended her practice to any one against whom she 
entertained a dislike, or by whose death she or her 
accomplice might hope to reap advantage. To 
some of their preparations they gave the name of 
" succession powder," meaning a powder to pro- 
mote the succession to an estate. The marchioness 
attempted to poison her husband, but Sainte Croix 
secretly gave him antidotes to preserve him ! Their 
crimes were at last revealed by a singular accident, 
which seemed like a providential retribution. 

Sainte Croix, while preparing his poisons, was in 
the habit of wearing a glass mask, to protect him- 
self against their deadly fumes. One day, having 
been probably less careful in affixing it than usual, 
this guard dropped from his face, and he was found 
suffocated in his laboratory. The Government, 
obtaining information of his death, caused his 
effects to be searched, and there was found among 
them a box addressed to the marchioness, with a 
letter affixed to it, urgently requesting that if it 
could not be delivered to her it should be burnt. 
This was sufficient to excite curiosity ; the box was 
opened, and in it were found prepared poisons of 
every conceivable kind and degree of strength, all 
labelled with their effects as proved by actual 
experiment. 

A servant who came forward to claim his master's 
goods was arrested and put to torture ; he con- 
fessed a full knowledge of the crimes which had 
been so long unsuspected, and was sentenced to be 
broken upon the wheel. The marchioness escaped 
to England, and, after a stay of three years in this 
country, went to a convent in Liege ; but an officer 
pursued her in the disguise of an abbe, obtained 
admittance and an interview with the fugitive, and 
so far gained her confidence as to prevail upon her 
to leave the convent walls on an excursion. When 
clear of the sanctuary, he made himself known and 
arrested her. Among her effects in the convent 
was found a paper containing a complete catalogue 
of her crimes, which included the confession that 
she had set fire to houses, as well as caused the 
death of a large number of persons by poison. But 
I she denied everything when she was placed on her 
\ trial in Paris. She was found guilty upon over- 
I whelming evidence, and was sentenced to bo drawn 
^ through the streets upon a hurdle, with a rope 



204 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



round her neck, to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, 
and afterwards to be beheaded, her body burned, 
and her ashes scattered to the winds. This sen- 
tence was carried into effect ; but some of the 
people sought her ashes, and preserved them as 
those of a saint ! 

Kotwithstanding this terrible example, secret 
poisoning continued to prevail in France, and a 
secret tribunal, known as the Chambre ardcnte, or 
Fiery Chamber, was appointed, in 1679, to search 
out the poison-dealers and their followers. Two 
of the dealers, both women, were discovered and 
burnt alive, and several of their accomplices were 
hanged or otherwise punished, those of the highest 
rank generally escaping after a brief imprisonment. 



THE FIRE SYRINGE. 

All things differ in their capabilities of containing 
heat. Any one may easily satisfy himself of this 
fact by putting two jars of different liquids, say 
water and quicksilver, at the same distance before 
the same fire for the same length of time. If now 
the experimenter dip his finger into the jars, he 
will find that the quicksilver is very much hotter 
than the water. How is this ? for the same quantity 
of heat has entered each liquid. The secret is, 
that the water is more capable of containing heat 
than the quicksilver. Just as if a few drops of 
water fell on a sponge and some on the floor ; in 
the latter case the water would lie on the surface, 
and be easily seen ; in the former the sponge would 
absorb it, and not even appear damp. Thus we 
should say the sponge had a greater "capacity" 
for water than the floor. 

The specific heat of water, as this capacity for 
containing heat is scientifically termed, is gi'eater 
than that of any other substance — a wonderful pro- 
vision ; for, when we consider the vast surface of 
water which is exposed to the rays of the sun, we 
shall see that the ocean acts as a great reservoir of 
heat, and equalises the temperature of the climates 
of countries which bound its waters. 

Where the sea is very distant, as in the centre of 
continents, the extremes of temperature are very 
great. In the centre of Africa the cold in the night 
freezes the pools of water ; while the sun in the day 
absolutely scorches the face of the earth. 

Bodies under altered circumstances have different 
powers of containing heat. This is the case with 
gases especially. When they are compressed they 
cannot contain so much heat as when more rare- 
fied. It is chiefly due to this fact that the tops 
of high mountains are covered with eternal snow. 
The air is very rarefied, and as the rays of the sun 
stream through it, its temperature is raised but very 
little ; hence the cold of those regions. The reader 
may have noticed that, when a bottle of champagne 



or of soda-water is uncorked a white smoke issues 
out of the bottle. The unlearned are accustomed 
to pronounce this to be carbonic acid gas, but 
unfortunately such gas is quite invisible. The true 
explanation of the wonder is that the air and gas 
between the cork and the liquid is in a state of great 
compression. The moment the cork is blown out 
the air expands : when it was compressed it had a 
certain temperature ; and now, when rarefied, 
having acquired a greater capacity for heat, it 
absorbs the heat instead of throwing it out ; or, in 
other words, its temperature falls. Now, having 
been in contact with water, it is full of moisture, 
which this sudden fall of temperature condenses. 
This white smoke, therefore, is a little cloud of mist. 

The fire syringe shows the very opposite effect. 
It is a tube of strong glass, or of brass, stopped at 
one end, in which an air-tight piston moves. The 
end of this piston is hollow, so that a little piece of 
tinder or amadou may be placed in it. When the 
piston is suddenly forced down, the air, being com- 
pressed, has its capacity for heat lessened, and 
therefore is compelled to give out that which it con- 
tained, and so the tinder is ignited. 

Doubtless on this principle may be explained the 
frequent accidents which have happened by the ex* 
ploding of gun-cotton when rammed into a gun. 



THE DIONiEA, OR VENUS' FLY-TRAP. 

Fly-traps are well known in the animal kingdom 
to every one who has eyes, or at least who uses 
them. The delicate web of the spider, and the 
deeply cut and broad mouth of the swallow, at once 
suggest themselves as illustrations from among our 
British animals. The spider, sitting at home at 
ease, waits the entanglement of his prey in his stake- 
nets, while the swallow opens his large sweep-net, 
and, dashing through myriads of May-flies or clouds 
of midges, secures hundreds of them. Both ani- 
mals thus obtain their food ; and other singular fly- 
traps could be enumerated from the animal king- 
dom equally well adapted to supply the necessities of 
their different owners. But that a vegetable should 
have an exquisitely constructed and perfect ap- 
paratus of this kind is very remarkable, when it 
is remembered that plants differ very markedly 
from animals in regard to their food. For, while 
animals live on organised substances — that is, on 
plants or other animals — vegetables live on inorganic 
substances, and a plant or an animal is of use to 
a living vegetable only when by decay it is resolved 
into its inorganic constituents. It is, then, unlikely 
that a fly could supply a plant with food, and yet a 
more perfect fly-trap than the leaves of the diona^a 
cannot be imagined. 

This little plant is a native of the sandy bogs in 
the pine barrens of Carolina, in the United States. 



THE DION^A, OR VENUS' FLY-TRAP. 



205 




THE DION/liA. 



It grows to a height of from six to twelve inches, 
producing a loose head of large whitish flowers, not 
unlike the flower of the Lady's Smock, so common 
in English meadows. The flower-stalk rises from 
a rosette of yellowish-green leaves, spreading on 
the ground. Each leaf is divided by a deep in- 
cision into two portions, the lower being a broadly- 
winged footstalk, and the upper the blade or true 
leaf itself. This upper portion is the fly-trap — the 
most curious part of the plant — and demands a 
careful description. It is roundish, and divided into 
two equal parts by a strong mid-rib. The margins 
are fringed with a row of strong spiny bristles, 
so that it maybe likened to two upper eyelids joined 
at their bases. The leaf is a httle hollow on either 
side of the mid-rib, the upper surface is dotted with 
minute reddish glands, and each hollow is furnished 
with three slender bristles. The sensitiveness of 
the leaf chiefly resides in these bristles. If an insect 
alights on the leaf, and touches one or more of them, 
the sides suddenly close with a force so great as to 
imprison the little creature, notwithstanding all its 
efforts to escape. The fringe of bristles on the op- 
posite sides of the leaf interlace like the fingers of the 
two hands clasped together, or like the teeth of a steel 
trap. The insect is not crushed or suddenly des- 
troyed, but is retained firmly imprisoned until it 
ceases to move, which would generally mean until 
it was dead, and then the leaf slowly expands. 
Curtis, in his interesting account of the plant, says 



he has " often liberated captive flies and spiders, 
which sped away as fast as fear or joy could hasten 
them." 

The first description given in England of this 
curious plant was by Ellis, who formed a some- 
what fanciful notion of the functions of the different 
parts of the leaf. The minute red glands, appear- 
ing, when magnified, like " compressed arbutus 
berries," were the bait scattered over its upper 
surface, which " perhaps discharge sweet liquor, 
and so tempt the unhappy insect to taste them. 
The instant these tender parts are touched by its 
feet the two lobes rise up, grasp it fast, lock the 
rows of spines together, and squeeze it to death ; 
and, further, lest the strong efforts for life in the 
creature thus taken should serve to disengage it, 
three small erect spines are fixed in the middle of 
each lobe, that effectually put an end to all its 
struggles." The illustration which we give of this 
singular plant will serve to show the reader more 
plainly the action of the " fly-trap." 

The two lobes are enfolded at night, but spread 
open in the day. When the bristles are irritated 
by man, the leaf quickly closes, remains closed for 
a short time, then slowly expands ready to close 
again if newly irritated. But if it be caused to 
make repeated efforts at short intervals, its move- 
ments become languid, or the sensibility is alto- 
gether exhausted, and is recovered only by a period 
of repose. 



206 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



FIERY DRAGONS. 

Among the most marvellous physical phenomena 
must be included the Fiery Dragons, or Fiery 
Drakes, which, at very remote periods, have been 
observed in the heavens. They have been so called 
from their fancied resemblance to the supposed 
dragon and serpent. The drake was originally 
called a " brenning " or " dipsas." Reference is 
made to this reptile in Drayton's " Nymphidia :" 

" By the hissing of the snake, 
The rustHng of \^<i.fire-drakt." 

And again in the tragedy of " Caesar and Pompey" 
(a.d. 1607) allusion is made thereto : — 

"So have I seen A/ire-drttke glide along 
Before a dying min, to point his grave. 
And in it stick and hide." 

These fire-drakes, however, must not be con- 
founded with the " ignus fatuus," or " will-o'-the- 
wisp," which manifestation is of common occur- 
rence, nor with that " light o'er graves " to which 
the Irish poet refers in his " Melodies." 

In the year 1532 flying dragons were seen in 
various countries — and possibly for the first time — 
" flying by flocks or companies in the ayre, having 
swines' snowtes ; and sometimes were there scene 
foure hundred flying togithir." So remarks the 
author of the "Contemplation of Mysteries" 
(published during the reign of Queen Elizabeth), 
who, oddly enough, ascribes this wonder to the 
" poUicie of devils and inchantments of the 
wicked." The following is his quaint descrip- 
tion of this remarkable phenomenon : — "The flying 
dragon is when a fume kindled appeereth bended, 
and is in the middle wrythed like the belly of a 
dragon ; but in the fore part, for the narrow- 
nesse, it representeth the figure of the neck, from 
whence the sparkes are breathed or forced forth 
with the same breathing." 

In a singular book printed in London in the year 
1704, entitled, "A Wonderful History of all the 
Storms, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, &c.," there is an 
account of " fiery dragons and fiery drakes appear- 
ing in the air." These strange, and indeed startling 
sights, have appeared under certain peculiar and 
favourable conditions of the atmosphere, and, philo- 
sophically considered, are easily and satisfactorily 
accounted for. When vapours of an inflammable 
kind collected in the air and ascended to a cold 
region, the vehement agitation thereby produced 
induced a flame. The highest part, being more 
subtle, assumed the singular form of what was 
presumed to be the dragon's neck, and then, having 
been made crooked by the repulse it received, 
formed the dragon's belly, while the hind part, 
turned upwards by the force of the same collision, 
represented the monster's tail. Then, with im- 
petuous motion, it fled through the heavens — all 



ablaze, as it were — striking deadly terror into the 
hearts of the ignorant and superstitious. 

Blout thus observes of this astronomical marvel: 
" There is a fire sometimes seen flying in the night 
like a dragon ; it is called a fire-drake. Common 
people think it is a spirit that keeps some treasure 
hid, but philosophers affirm it to be a great unequal 
exhalation inflamed between two clouds — the one 
hot, the other cold (which is the reason why it 
smokes) ; the middle part whereof, according to 
the proportion of the hot cloud, being greater than 
the rest, makes it seem like a belly, and both ends 
like a head and tail." 

In the " Statistical Account of Scotland," pub- 
lished in Edinburgh a.d. 1793, we are informed 
that rare appearances were noticed in the air about 
the end of November and the beginning of Decem- 
ber, 1792. The country people called these very 
uncommon sights by the appellation of "dragons." 
They had " a red fiery colour," we are told ; ap- 
peared first in the north, and then flew rapidly in 
an easterly direction. Many people regarded such 
phenomena with terror, whilst others considered 
that they were the sure harbingers of fierce winds 
and boisterous weather, and their suppositions 
proved correct. 



MEN WITH TAILS. 

Colonel du Corret, a French traveller, in a 
report to the French Academy of Science, gave the 
following account of his inquiries into the existence 
of such a race, which has been often questioned : — 

" 1 inhabited Mecca in 1842, and being often at 
the house of an Emir with whom I was intimate, I 
spoke to him of the Ghilane race, and told him how 
much the Europeans doubted of the existence of 
men with tails — the vertebral column elongated 
externally. In order to convince me of the reality 
of the species, the Emir ordered before me one of 
his slaves, called Belial, who was about thirty years 
old, who had a tail, and who belonged to this tribe. 
On surveying this man, 1 was thoroughly convinced. 
He spoke Arabic well, and appeared rather intelli- 
gent. 

" He told me that in his country, far beyond the 
Sennaar, they spoke a different language ; that of 
his compatriots, whom he estimated at 30,000 or 
40,000, some worshipped the sun, moon, and stars ; 
others the serpent, and the sources of an immense 
river, in which they immolated their victims — 
probably the sources of the Nile ; that they ate 
with delight raw flesh, and that human flesh was 
their favourite food. This Ghilane had become a 
devout Mussulman, and had lived fifteen years in 
the Holy City. 

" Belial was thin, but nervous and strong. His 
skin was black-bronzed, shining, and soft to the 
touch like velvet. His feet were long and flat ; his 



SOME WONDERFUL BIRDS. 



207 



arms and legs appeared feeble, but well supplied 
with muscles ; his ribs could easily be counted. 
His face was repulsively ugly: his mouth was 
enormous ; his lips thick ; his teeth strong, sharp, 
and very white ; his nose broad and flat ; his ears 
long and deformed ; his forehead low and very 
receding ; his hair not very woolly or thick, but 
nevertheless curly. He had no beard, and his body 
was not hairy. He was very active and hardy ; his 
height was about five feet. His tail was more than 
three inches long, and almost as flexible as that of 
a monkey. His disposition, setting aside oddities 
in taste and habits, was good ; and his fidelity to 
his master was beyond all praise." 



; THE ARABIAN HORSE. 

It is only (says Colonel Chesney) in Arabia that 
the horse is found in a state bordering upon perfec- 
tion. Here he is remarkable for a small head with 
pointed ears, peculiarly clean muscular limbs, a 
corresponding delicate slender shape, rather small 
size, and large animated eyes, expressing that 
intelligence which, as in the dog, is the consequence 
of being constantly with the members of his master's 
family — in fact, he generally shares their meals. 
He is frequently allowed to frolic through the camp 
like a dog ; and at other times he is piqueted at 
the entrance of the tent. He is exposed to the 
■weather at all times ; and, compared to the treat- 
ment of his species in Europe, he is scantily fed. 
A meal after sunset, consisting of barley in some 
parts of the country, and camel's milk in others, 
or a paste of dates and water, sometimes mixed 
with dried clover and other herbs, constitute his 
usual sustenance ; but on any extraordinary exertion 
being required, flesh is frequently given, either raw 
or boiled. 

The Bedawins count five noble breeds of horses, 
all, as they say, derived originally from Nedjid (the 
desert region of Arabia). Of these there are many 
■branches ; and there are other breeds which are con- 
sidered secondary ; while every mare of noble blood, 
if particularly swift and handsome, may give rise to 
a new stock. The catalogue of distinct breeds in the 
desert is therefore almost endless, and the pedigrees 
of individuals are verified by certificates which are 
handed down from father to son with infinite care ; 
and not unfrequently they belong to more than one 
family ; for there is often a copartnership in mares, 
and hence arise the difficulties attending the 
purchase of one. It is, however, certain that the 
Arab horses deteriorate when taken elsewhere, 
although both sire and dam may be of first-rate 
breeds. By the latter, and not the former, as with 
us, the Arabs trace the blood. 

The number of horses in Arabia is comparatively 
few ; their places, for almost every purpose in life, 
being supplied by camels. 



SOME WONDERFUL BIRDS. 

Many strange old stories, which are so improbable 
that they are not believed at the present time, 
often have some truth in them, and many have 
been founded on actual facts. Some great animal 
may have excited the wonder of savages by whom 
it was exterminated ; they may have told the 
history of their hunting exploits and their dangers 
to their children, who, in their turn, recounted to 
their descendants the prowess and success of their 
ancestors. No tale loses by repetition, and thus 
a very wonderful legend often results from a very 
simple and ordinary account of facts. The Asiatics 
were particularly fond of illustrating their ancient 
poetry and histories with scenes in which great 
animals, whose forms are now unknown, played 
very prominent parts. One story was of such a 
character as to cover the great traveller Marco 
Polo, who brought it from India, with ridicule. But 
from some recent discoveries there would seem to 
be some truth in it. The old story is that often, 
when huge elephants roamed along the river side, 
savage rhinoceroses, impatient of their presence, 
rushed to attack them. The tall elephant, with 
its long tusks and flexible trunk, was no match 
for the short yet bulky rhinoceros, with a sharp 
horn on its snout and a skin as thick as armour. 
The rhinoceros was gored as it rushed between the 
legs of the tusk-bearing elephant, but it ripped up 
the stomach of its enemy with its horn. The 
elephant, mortally wounded, fell on the beast 
beneath it, and a great bird, the roc, caught both 
of the carcases in its talons and flew away to its 
haunt with them. 

Several years since, some bones of a huge bird 
were found in the islands of Madagascar and New 
Zealand, and they were supposed to belong to 
extinct birds which were very much the same in 
shape ; but lately some of the remains of the 
cpiornis of Madagascar (named from the Greek for 
tall bird), have been studied by an anatomist, who 
asserts that they belonged to a gigantic bird of 
prey, like the condor of the Andes, or the eagle of 
the mountains of Europe. The great bird was at 
least ten feet high, and its eggs, many of which 
were found with the bones, are fourteen inches 
long. A bird of prey, with its leg-bones longer and 
thicker than the corresponding bones of the largest 
man that ever lived, and which had eggs six times 
the size of those of the ostrich, and 148 times the 
size of those of the common fowl, must have been 
at least many times larger than the greatest condor. 
If the condor and the eagle can carry off a goat 
or a lamb, what might not the epiornis have 
pounced upon and removed ? The condor has a 
great length of wing, and swoops down from 8,000 
to 10,000 feet with great velocity, and when it is 
attacked will give much trouble to a single man. 



2o8 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



A condor two feet eight inches high has an expanse 
of wing of about 9 J feet, so that the epiornis, 
with his height of ten feet, would have measured 
thirty-seven feet from the tip of one wing to that 
of the other. If this new idea of the habits of the 
epiornis is correct, the bird may certainly have 
carried off ten times the weight that a condor could 
lift. 

It is very probable, when the nature of the soil in 
which the bones of the epiornis have been found 
is considered with a view to calculate the lapse of 
time since it was depo- 
sited, that there is some 
reason to believe that 
the first men who emi- 
grated to Madagascar 
destroyed the great bird. 
It is therefore probable 
that the great epiornis 
was the roc of Indian 
story, and that as years 
progressed the truth was 
lost sight of in the desire 
for the marvellous. 

There are somedoubts 
whether the epiornis was 
not like a huge bird whose 
remains are often found 
in the caves and bogs 
of the islands of New 
Zealand. This bird was 
something like a gigantic 
ostrich or cassowary. 
It had bones more like 
those of a beast than a 
bird, as regards their 
length and strength ; 
and one kind had what 
is called the drumstick 
bone of the leg at least 
three feet in length, whilst 
another had a foot which 
covered as much space 
as the sole of an ele- 
phant. The bones of 

this great foot were as large as the toe-bones of 
an elephant, and the whole bird must have been 
about ten feet in height. It had no wings, 
but a long neck and a small head. The tail 
was short, and the legs enormously long. The 
feathers were very hair-like, and there was no 
power of flight. The bird could stalk along like 
a fowl, could stride over many yards, and was able 
to run and jump at a great pace. The huge toes 
were admirably suited for scraping and grubbing 
up the tough roots and other vegetable substances 
which were the food of the bird. The Dinornis, 
as the bird was called (from the Greek for awful 
or huge bird), was not a bird of prey, but a shy and 




SKELETON OF THE DINORNIS. 



fleet creature, whose strength of leg was enormous. 
Over-topping the tallest men, and having a long 
erect neck and a proud-looking head, this bird 
must have astonished the earliest native settlers of 
New Zealand, who have left many stories concern- 
ing the gigantic Moa, as they called the dinornis. 
It is probable that the great bird was becoming 
scarce when the savages first discovered and 
colonised New Zealand, and it is certain that it 
became extinct before the period of the last gene- 
ration of the natives called Maories. Whilst this 
greatest of all running- 
birds has gone from off 
the face of the earth, 
a miniature of it has 
lived on, and is one of 
the wonders of New 
Zealand, from its long 
legs and bill, its hairy 
feathers, and its want 
of wings. Birds without 
such wings as will enable 
them to fly up easily, 
are more liable to be 
destroyed by men and 
animals than the others, 
and it is well known 
that such wingless birds 
existed only a short time 
since in the north of 
Europe and America, 
but have now disap- 
peared. Formerly, the 
great auk darkened the 
rocks in the North Sea, 
but now the bird has 
been destroyed, and a 
living one has not been 
seen for years. The 
dinornis was a bird, and 
although so gigantic, still 
it was as much a bird as 
the tiny humming-bird, 
which rarely rests upon 
its feet, whose weight is 
that of a large fly, and whose wings are immense 
for the size of the creature, and gleam with all the 
colours of the rainbow. Nature adapted both of 
these kinds of birds for their peculiar life, and made 
certain parts of the body do the duty of others. 
The honey-sucking humming-bird is as hght as 
the leaf of the flower it feeds upon ; it flies on hour 
after hour, and hardly ever alights, for the honey- 
bearing flower would tilt over. The giant birds of 
old, especially those of New Zealand, had to dig 
up tough roots, and to get over tall ferns and low 
scrub. As their weight rendered flying impossible, 
they had to walk ; hence the wingless birds were 
long-legged, strong toed, and had hairy feathers. 



A WONDERFUL COUNTRY. 



•209 




VIEW OF THE CANONS OF THE COLORADO. 



A WONDERFUL COUNTRY. 

On looking at a map of North America, a large 
river, called the Colorado of the North, will be seen 
to flow from the Rocky Mountains into the Gulf of 
California, on the western side of the continent. 
In one part of its course the river passes through 
one of the most wonderful countries in the world. 
There are vast plains, rising one beyond the other 
like enormous steps, and they extend for great dis- 
tances. Range after range of cliffs, with flat table- 
lands upon them, are seen to stretch away as far as 
the eye can reach. There is hardly a tree to be 
seen, no grass exists, and an occasional cedar and 
prickly pear are the only living things in the land- 
27 



scape. It IS burning hot by day — terribly dry and 
shadeless ; but by night it is bitterly cold, and snow 
often falls. None of the wild animals which abound 
around the region ever come into it, and the rattle- 
snake and scorpion live there as the sole possessors 
of the soil. There is no water on the surface of the 
land, yet the great river and its side streams run 
through the country, and enormous volumes of 
water are constantly passing along. In this consists 
the chief wonder of the country, for the river has 
cut its way through the earth, along deep crack- 
like precipices, and it flows 6,000 feet below the 
plain. In one deep vaHey the river is even a mile 
from the surface. There are no sloping valleys, but 
numberless caSons, as they arc called, which have 



210 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



straight sides, and are generally not more than 200 
feet across. At the bottom of them there is always 
a gloom, and they are now and then worn away 
into extraordinary shapes, so that, as the light 
changes, grand castles, great cathedrals, amphi- 
theatres, pinnacles, and towers seem to appear and 
disappear. All the water which falls on to the 
plains r,bove speedily makes its way down the 
precipices, and there are so many of them that a 
man may soon get lost and be constantly in danger, 
for they are most abrupt. 

Often in the evening, when the sun is blazing 
red on the plains, the canons are as daVk and cold 
as dungeons ; and when everything is dried up and 
arid, and travellers are dying from thirst in the 
bufning desert above, the river is flowing all around 
them deep down the precipices, and is icy cold. 
In some seasons one may almost walk along the 
bed of the river, when suddenly a rush down of 
water occurs, and the stream rises fifty feet in a few 
days, and tears its way along towards the sea. All 
the step-like plains are cut up in the same manner, 
and it is a country where man can never exist for 
any length of time. The precipices are so numerous 
that the country is completely intersected by them, 
and any soil which may collect is either blown 
down them by the wind or washed into them by the 
natural drainage. The illustration which we give 
at the head of this account will enable the reader 
to form for himself some idea of the extraordinary 
character of .the country, showing the plateau cut 
up into shreds by these gigantic chasms. If the 
rivers were not so deeply situated, the country might 
be fertile and populous ; but now it is as bad as the 
deserts of Africa or Arabia, although water is close by. 



—  — 

Endurance of Physical Pain.— Among the 
many extraordinary features in the character of 
Charles XII. of Sweden, not the least prominent 
were the entire contempt of danger he always 
manifested, and his complete indifference to phy- 
sical pain. Of this latter characteristic a very 
remarkable instance is recorded by Voltaire in his 
well-known history of that prince's life. In the 
year 1709 the Swedish army, with Charles at their 
head, had invested the Russian town of Pultowa, 
now well known in history from the famous battle 
which a few weeks later gave so fatal a check to 
their victorious career. In spite of all their prowess, 
hitherto invincible, and Charles's untiring energy, 
they had failed to capture the place ; while, to 
increase the difficulty of their task, it had lately 
been reinforced by the Czar in person, at the head 
of a large force. On the 27th of May, Charles went 
out to reconnoitre, and had a slight skirmish with 
one of the Russian outposts. In returning to the 



camp he was struck by a musket-ball, which ripped 
open his boot and broke his ankle-bone. He did 
not give the slightest sign of feeling the wound, and 
remained in the saddle for six hours after, giving his 
orders as coolly as if. nothing had happened. At 
length, some one noticed that the king's boot was 
covered with blood, and a surgeon was at once sent 
for, to see the wound. I!y the time he came it had 
become so painful that Charles had to be lifted 
from his horse and carried to his tent. At first the 
surgeons were all of opinion that the only possible 
remedy lay in amputating the limb, until one of 
them, a surgeon named Neumann, declared that he 
was confident he could effect a cure by making 
deep incisions into the wound. " Go to work at 
once, then," cried Charles; "cut as deep as you like, 
and don't be afraid." The surgeon proceeded to his 
task, the patient holding the wounded limb in his 
hands, and attentively watching each incision the 
knife made, to all appearance' as utterly indifferent 
to the torture he was enduring, as if the operation 
was being performed on somebody else. 

A Father's Fortitude. — The following" inci- 
dent in the native warfare of India is related by 
the late Sir Herbert Edwardes in his " Year in the 
Punjaub :" — AUadad, a native chief, being baffled 
in the siege of a fortress, and amazed at the failure 
of his well-planned measures, carried the son of 
the Killadar, or warden, who had fallen into his 
hands, before the walls, and surnmoned the garri- 
son to surrender. " Give up the keys," he shouted 
to the warden, " or your son's head shall be cut 
off!" The intrepid warden replied, "If I lose my 
son, I can get another; but honour lost is neither to 
be recovered 'nor replaced." Tliis noble speech is 
related to this day upon the border with enthu- 
siasm and pride, but it found no echo then in the 
inhuman and vindictive heart of AlLadad. " Strikcl " 
he cried to the guards, and the youth's head rolled 
in the dust before his father's eyes. A volley from 
the garrison replied to this atrocious act, but Alladad 
escaped unscathed, and, having plundered and fired 
the town, retired to the hills as rapidly as he had 
come. 

Extraordinary Coolness under Fire. — At 
the assault of Badajos, when the slaughter had 
been terrific, and the British had as yet been unable 
to eflect an entrance into the town, Lieut. Shaw, of 
the Forty-third — afterwards Major-General Shaw 
Kennedy— and Captain Nicholas, of the Engineers, 
collecting a small body of men together, rushed up 
the slope of the ruins of the Sa»Jta Maria fort ; but 
before they reached two-thirds of the ascent, nearly 
the whole of them were destroyed by a concentrated 
fire of musketry and grape. Shaw stood alone, and 
he was seen deliberately to pull out his watch, and, 
repeating the hour aloud, declare that the breach 
could not be carried that mght-^JVapUr's History 
0/ the Pcninsidcir War, 



SAGACITY AND STRENGTH OF THE ELEPHANT. 



211 



SAGACITY AND STRENGTH OF 

THE ELEPHANT. 

The enormous physical strength of the elephant is 
scarcely so wonderful as the extreme sagacity with 
which he often exercises it. At Maliro, on the 
coast of Malabar, M. Toreen relates that he had the 
opportunity of witnessing a remarkable instance of 
this. An elephant had been hired out for a certain 
sum per day, and its employment was to carry 
with its trunk timber for a building, out of a river. 
This it did very dextrously under the command 
of a boy, laying the pieces one upon another in 
such exact order that a man could not have done 
better. 

M. Phillipe saw a ship in course of construc- 
tion at Goa, and at a short distance from it a 
number of heavy logs of wood. The men engaged 
in the work fastened a rope to the end of the beam 
that required moving, and handed the other end of 
the rope to an elephant, who twisted it round his 
trunk and dragged the timber to the ship without 
any conductor. One of the elephants sometimes 
drew beams so large that twenty men could not 
have moved them. What is still more surprising, 
when other pieces of timber lay in his way, the 
elephant had the sense to lift up the end of his own 
beam, and run it over them with the intelligence of 
a human being. 

Some years ago two elephants, a male and female, 
were taken from the menagerie of the Prince of 
Orange, at the Hague, to Paris, to a place suitably 
prepared for their reception. The enclosure, formed 
of strong and thick beams, was in two divisions 
or apartments, separated by a gate. The male 
elephant entered first, and looked suspiciously 
about him. He then proceeded to examine every 
bar with his trunk, as if trying their solidity. They 
were held together by large screw-bolts, the heads 
of which were outside ; these the elephant found 
out, and tried to turn the screws, but was not able. 
When he came to the gate between the two apart- 
ments, he soon discovered that it was only secured 
by an iron bar which rose perpendicularly. He 
raised it with his trunk, pushed up the door, and 
entered into the second apartment, where he found 
a breakfast had been prepared for him, with which 
he made himself quite comfortable. 

From the instances of sagacity and strength 
already related, it may be inferred that the elephant 
can be trained to perform almost any suitable task 
in the absence of his master. M. d'Obsonville re- 
lates that he saw two elephants engaged by them- 
selves in breaking down a wall, in accordance with 
orders previously received, their reward for which 
they well knew was to be a dessert of fruits and 
brandy. Their trunks were protected from injury 
by leather, and they had the sagacity to combine 
their efforts. DoubHng up their trunks, they thrust 



against the strongest part of the wall, carefully ob- 
serving and following with their eyes what effect 
they produced upon its equilibrium. At last, when 
it was sufficiently loosened, they made one violent 
push together, and, on their suddenly drawing back, 
that they might not be hurt, the wall came tumbling 
to the ground. 

The most widely different statements have been 
made concerning the size of the elephant. For 
example, it was said that an elephant, the property 
of a certain Indian prince, was 14 feet high ; while 
Mr. Corse, who relates the circumstance, judged him 
to be 12 feet, but was desirous of making an accurate 
measurement. The driver was certain it would be 
found 1 5 or 1 6 feet in height. When carefully measured 
it was found to be no more than 10 feet. There is, 
however, the skeleton of one at .St. Petersburg, 
which was sent to Peter the Great by the Shah of 
Persia, measuring 16 feet 6 inches in height. 
Major Denham met with some in Africa which he 
judged to be 16 feet high, but one that he saw killed 
and measured was but 12 feet 6 inches, though he 
seemed to the major " an immense fellow." The 
greatest height ever measured by Mr. Corse was 
10 feet 6 inches. The height of Chuny, the famous 
elephant destroyed at Exeter Change in 1824, is 
not given with the other measurements, but these 
are stupendous. The height of the body as it lay 
was 6 feet 3 inches, the girth of it 19 feet 4 inches, 
and the length of the spine 10 feet. The heart was 
nearly 2 feet long and 18 inches broad, and w.is 
found immersed in five or six gallons of blood. 
The length of the forehead, taken in a straight line, 
was 4 feet 6 inches. The food daily consumed by 
Chuny consisted of two trusses of hay, ten or twelve 
bunches of carrots, or an equal quantity of tares, a 
truss of straw (given as a bed, but generally eaten), 
and from thirty to thirty-five gallons of water. 



THE DISTANCE OF A STAR FROM 
THE EARTH. 

For many ages this question puzzled astronomers : 
How far off are the stars ? It was known that their 
distance was great, very great. It was known 
that they were immeasurably failher off than the 
sun, the moon, or any of the planets ; but it is only 
in the present century that the question has been 
even partially answered. 

Of the countless thousands of stars which stud 
the universe, the distance of perhaps about twenty 
has been determined. Others which have been 
tried have defied the powers of the most skilful 
astronomers, aided by the most elaborate instru- 
ments'; their distances are too great to allow of 
measurement, while the rest of the vast host which 
stud our firmament have not yet been examined 
with this object. 

The inquiry is one of the most delicate and 



212 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



subtle which can engage the attention of an as- 
tronomer. It is impossible to explain here the 
manner in which it is conducted ; we must endea- 
vour rather to realise the result which has rewarded 
these successful labours. There is a beautiful star 
in the southern hemisphere, the brightest in the 
constellation Centaur, one of the most brilliant 
stars in the heavens. This was diligently observed 
by the skilful astronomer who managed the obser- 
vatory at the Cape of Good Hope in the years 1832 
and 1833. He found, as the result of his labours, 
that the distance of this star — Alpha Centauri, as it 
is called — is twenty billions of miles. 

It requires a little consideration to estimate what 
the words twenty billions of miles really mean. A 
billion contains one million millions, and we shall 
endeavour to convey an idea of this amount by a 
few simple illustrations. Supposing our great fore- 
father Adam had commenced to count as quickly 
as he could, and that when his life was ended his 
son commenced to count, taking up from the 
number at which Adam left off, and spent his 
whole life, day and night, counting as fast as he 
could, and supposing that at his death he enjoined 
on his heirs an eternity of counting, and that they 
had continued doing so up to the present moment, 
their united efforts would not yet have reached the 
amount of one quarter of a billion ; and yet the 
distance of the star is twenty billions of miles ! 

Another illustration may be given to convey an 
idea of this vast distance. If we were to take a 
sum equal to five times our national debt, and were 
to expend this in postage-stamps, we should get one 
billion of them ; and if we were to draw a line 
round London, including every house in the suburbs, 
and then take an area equal in size to this cleared 
and arranged for the purpose ; if we then com- 
menced to stick them side by side over the entire 
area of London, we should not be able to get them 
all in. After we had covered every inch of the 
surface over completely, there would be countless 
thousands still remaining. 

Such, then, is the distance of the nearest fixed 
star. We cannot grasp it in our imagination, nor 
are we more successful if we try to make a map. 
Suppose we proceed by first laying down the sun, 
and then placing the earth one inch distant from it. 
If we inquire at what distance the nearest star 
should be placed, using the same scale, we find it 
to be eleven miles. A map is therefore impossible. 

Knowing, however, the distance of the nearest 
star, what can we say of the distance of the farthest 
of those that are visible ? Here precise knowledge 
fails us. We can, indeed, grope after the truth, and 
make guesses of greater or less probability. We 
believe that it is, at all events, some hundreds of 
times as great as the astounding magnitude of 
which we have endeavoured to convey an impres- 
sion, 



PILGRIMS BATHING IN THE RIVER 

JORDAN. 
Mr. Lynch gives us the following account of the 
spectacle annually witnessed, when the pilgrims 
flock to bathe in that part of the river which tradi- 
tion declares to have been the immediate scene of 
the labours of St. John the Baptist:— "In all the 
wild haste of a disorderly rout, Copts and Russians, 
Poles, Armenians, Greeks, and Syrians, from all 
parts of Asia, from Europe, from Africa, and from 
far-distant America — on they came, men, women, 
and children, of every age and hue, and in every 
variety of costume, talking, screaming, and shout- 
ing in almost every known language under the sun. 
Mounted as variously as those who had preceded 
them, many of the women and children were sus- 
pended in baskets, or confined in cages ; and, with 
their eyes strained towards the river, heedless of 
all intervening obstacles, they hurried eagerly for- 
ward, dismounted in haste, and, disrobing with 
precipitation, rushed down the bank and threw 
themselves into the stream. They seemed to be 
absorbed in one impulsive feeling, and perfectly 
regardless of the observations of others. Each one 
plunged himself, or was dipped by another, three 
times below the surface, in honour of the Trinity, 
and then filled a bottle or some other utensil from 
the river. The bathing-dress of many of the pil- 
grims was a white gown with a black cross upon 
it. Most of them, when they were dressed, cut 
branches of the Aj^uus casius, or willow, and, dipping 
them in the consecrated stream, bore them away as 
memorials of their visit. In an hour they began 
to disappear, and in less than three hours the trod- 
den surface of the lately crowded bank reflected no 
shadow," 



WONDERS OF WOOD CARVING BY 
THE NEW ZEALANDERS. 
Amongst works of art wrought by savages, the 
extraordinary and elaborate carvings in wood 
executed by the New Zealanders previously to their 
contact with Europeans, are well worthy of notice, 
and may be regarded as wonderful examples of 
ingenuity and skill, especially when we consider the 
rude nature of the tools by which they were wrought. 

Ignorant of the use of iron, the New Zealand 
artist produced his carvings out of hard red pine, 
by the aid of an adze and chisel, formed of green- 
stone or jade, fastened into a wooden handle; whilst 
the edge of a sharp mussel-shell was employed to 
give the finishing touches to the more intricate 
portions of the design. 

The men most skilled in wood carving were 
frequently " tohungas," or heathen priests, and 
were always regarded amongst the people with 
veneration and respect. Some tribes were more 
celebrated than others for the beauty and skill of 



WONDERS OF WOOD CARVING. 



2^3 



their carvings, many of which took years of patient 
labour to accomplish. 

Perhaps the greatest amount of ornamentation 
was bestowed on the wooden monuments erected in 
honour of warriors of note, or chiefs of high rank and 
distinction. Domestic affection would also suggest 
a richly carved tomb to be raised to the memory of 
a deceased wife 
or child. These 
tombs vary in 
form and size, but 
usually consist of 
a box for the 
reception of the 
body, about ten or 
twelve feet high, 
covered by a pro- 
jecting and slant- 
ing roof supported 
by pillars. These 
pillars represent 
human figures, 
one above the 
other, of gro- 
tesque forms, with 
enormous protru- 
ding tongues, and 
eyes inlaid with 
pearl shell. The 
entire front of the 
tomb is covered 
with similar faces 
in bas-relief, the 
space between 
them displaying 
the most elabo- 
rate arabesques 
intertwining with 
each other, min- 
gled with double 
spiral curves, 
which have a very 
rich effect. Each 
of the human 
figures in its turn 
is similarly co- 
vered with the 
arabesque and 
spiral patterns; so 
that the tomb, viewed as 
mass of intricate carving. 

The flat gable-boards of the verandahs of their 
houses, and their " patukas," or raised storehouses 
for food, were carved in a precisely similar way, 
the double spiral pattern, with the grotesque faces, 
forming the same characteristic feature in all. Life- 
size grotesque figures, finely carved all over, fre- 
quently supported the roofs, whilst the door and 
window-frames were still more elaborately adorned. 




CARVED MONUMENT IN NEW ZEALAND. 



a whole, presents one 



The heads and stem-posts of their war-canoe« 
vied, in the richness of their design and the gratse 
of their spiral curves and flowing arabesques, with 
the ornamentation of their tombs and houses ; 
whilst their boxes for holding decorative feathers 
are wonders of New Zealand art. 
Huge wooden images, precisely similar in pattern 

to the figures on 
the houses and 
tombs, were erec- 
ted about their 
"pahs," or forti- 
fied towns, either 
to commemorate 
a victory or to 
honour some war- 
rior chief; and in 
all these images 
theprotruding, de- 
fiant tongue is a 
constant feature. 

So great is the 
love of the New 
Zealander for 
wood carving, 
that he does not 
content himself 
with covering his 
houses, tombs, 
and canoes with 
the most intricate 
designs,but in like 
manner he deco- 
rates his weapons 
of war, his axe- 
handles, and his 
walking sticks ; 
and, not content 
with wood for his 
material, he fur- 
ther displays his 
skill in tattooing 
minute spiral lines 
with tiny chisels 
on the faces of his 
chiefs, and on the 
lips and ankles of 
his women. 

Since the colo- 
nisation of New Zealand by Great Britain, the 
natives have gradually abandoned their ancient 
art ; and at the present time scarcely an example 
remains of these wonderful carvings, excepting such 
smaller objects as are preserved in the museums of 
the curious. In the mild and humid climate of New 
Zealand, the wooden structure soon rots away ; and, 
ere long, not a tomb or a carved house will exist 
amidst the ruin of their deserted "pahs" to bear 
evidence of an art now passed away. 



214 



THE WORLD OF WONDERS. 



LATENT HEAT. 

It 16 a wonder which must have struck the obser- 
vant reader, that the water in a kettle never be- 
comes hotter than that temperature at which it 
boils. If we place on the fire a kettle of cold water, 
we know that heat passes froni the fire into the 
water, and it gradually becomes warmer and warmer 
until at last it tosses and bubbles, and we say it 
boils. If we had placed a thermometer in the 
liquid, we should have found that this temperature 
was 212" Fahrenheit ; but when oace the thermo- 
meter gains this height there it stays, although the 
heat is still passing from the fire into the water. 
What becomes of this heat ? Where is it ? Where 
has it gone to ? It evidently has had no effect upon 
the thermometer, and therefore, since it exists 
somewhere, it is called latent heat, or heat which 
has hid itself. The truth has been discovered ; it 
is this : that all bodies seem capable of existing in 
three states — solid, liquid, gaseous — and the power 
which causes them to change their state is heat. 
Before the water could become steam — that is, 
before it could exist in the gaseous state— it required 
a large quantity of heat ; and this heat was so 
occupied ^\■ith its own particular work that none of 
it came out to affect the thermometer, and there- 
fore it does not in the ordinary way make known its 
presence. 

The quantity of heat which thus is latent in steam 
is enormous. Of course we cannot measure heat 
by yards or pints ; but the nnit of heat, or the 
vieasure of heat, has been agreed upon to be that 
quantity which can raise a pound of water one 
de^ee. Now to turn a pound of water into a 
pound of steam, it requires 967 of these units of 
heat ; that is to say, if we boil a pound of water 
until it all goes away into steam, we shall have used 
in doing so a quantity of heat which would have 
raised 967 pounds of water one degree higher in 
temperature. 

Of course, when steam condenses, it gives off all 
this heat again. This fact is of the utmost import- 
ance in the economy of nature. Water gives off 
steam at all temperatures ; ice and snow even eva- 
porate, and thus give off steam. In this way there 
is a constant absorption of heat. If it were not for 
this, the heat of the sun would make the waters of 
tropical countries so warm that it would be fatal to 
the animals which live in them, and the inhabi- 
tants would have no means of cooling themselves 
in the intolerable heat. When the rays of the sun 
fall upon a surface of water, they cause rapid 
evaporation, and the steam thus produced absorbs 
the heat, which would otherwise ha\-e entered into 
the water. Then again, when that vapour con- 
denses, it gives off its latent heat ; so that the cold 
blades of grass, &c., at night receive warmth when 
the dew settles upon them, and this tends greatly to 



their rapid growth — so wonderfully is the tempera- 
ture balanced. 

The knowledge of the above facts enables us to 
explain many homely truths. Why is it that our 
hand feels cold when we blow upon it ? — blow upon 
it too with warm breath ! The reason is this : the 
skin is that organ which equalises the temperature 
of the body. This it docs by allowing more or less 
perspiration to come to the surface and be evapo- 
rated, as the occasion requires. For example, when 
we run we cause greater activity in all the functions 
of the body. The blood passes through the heart 
more quickly; the action of the lungs is correspond- 
ingly increased ; we breathe more rapidly : but 
this causes a greater generation of heat ; the skin 
becomes aware that the body is getting too hot, so 
it opens its pores, and allows an extra quantity of 
perspiration to come to the surface. This evapo- 
rates, but requires for the change of state a large 
quantity of heat, which it takes from the body, and 
so the temperature is kept down. Wonderful pro- 
vision ! The steam when formed floats in the air ; 
but the air can only contain a certain quantity, and 
when it has its complement it is said to be satu- 
rated, and can take up no more ; so that when such 
an atmosphere rests on a moist surface, no evapora- 
tion can go on at all. The hand is alwaj-s enve- 
loped with a layer of air very full of moisture, and 
consequently little evaporation goes on ; but when 
we blow upon the hand, we drive away this moist 
air, and it is replaced by dry air, and the evapora- 
tion proceeds rapidly, taking its necessary heat 
from the hand, thus causing the sensation of cold. 

Some liquids, such as ether, alcohol, bisulphate 
of carbon, &c., evaporate more rapidly than water ; 
and by causing ether to evaporate very quickly in a 
chamber of metal from which the air is exhausted, 
great cold is produced ; for evaporation goes on 
very rapidly in a vacuum, as might ha\-e been 
expected. 

We said that to transform a solid into a liquid, 
there was also a disappearance of heat. In melting 
a pound of ice, 142 units of heat are consumed, and 
the resulting water is of the same temperature as 
the ice before it melted ; and what may seem more 
wonderful is, that if a piece of ice be placed in a 
vessel on the fire, a thermometer will indicate the 
temperature of 32° Fahrenheit — the freezing point 
— so long as there is a particle of ice not melted ; 
and only when the last piece has disappeared will 
the water begin to warm. 

The quantity of heat required to melt ice may be 
comprehended from a calculation by Faraday, who 
found that to melt a cubic yard of ice, the heat 
given out by the burning of a bushel of coals would 
be required ; and Pouillet, the French Faraday, said 
that if the globe were covered with a layer of ice 
104 feet thick, it would require the heat of the sun's 
rays for a whole year to melt it ! 



SPONGE. 



9IS 



HUMAN AND ANIMAL BONES. 

It is remarkable how frequently the bones of horses, 
cows, dogs, and sheep are mistaken for those of 
human beings. " In an antiquarian collection of 
relics obtained from a neighbouring Roman cas- 
trum, I saw (says Dr. Alfred Taylor) the tibia of a 
dog carefully labelled and religiously preserved as 
the bone of an ancient Roman. The same collec- 
tion contained fragments of bones of various 
animals — carnivorous and herbivorous — all marked 
as human relics. This collection belonged to an 
antiquary who preferred adopting his own view of 
the nature of the relics to taking the opinion of 
any one acquainted with anatomy. Even well- 
informed men may be easily mistaken on such 
subjects. Belzoni, the celebrated traveller, brought 
from Egypt, with his sarcophagi, a number of bones 
taken from the interior of the Pyramids, which he 
pronounced to be the boiies of King Cephrcnes, and 
of some of the Shepherd kings. The late Mr. 
Clift, of the Royal College of Surgeons, by the 
request of a friend, went down to examine them 
after they had been submitted to public exhibition, 
and he found that they were nothing more than the 
bones of oxen. The osseous relics of saints, as 
they are collected and preserved in glass and crystal 
cases in Roman Catholic countries, often present 
anomalies which would surprise an anatomist. 
Supernumerary ribs and vertebras are not un- 
common, and intermixed with them I have seen 
bones which certainly never appertained to a human 
being. 

" These facts show the importance of entrusting 
the examination of bones, in all judicial inquiries, 
to well-educated medical men. The lamentable 
effects of popular ignorance were displayed in a 
case that occurred at Damascus in 1840, which at 
the time excited great public notice. A Roman 
Cathohc priest and a boy suddenly disappeared in 
the early part of that year, and a strong suspicion 
arose that they had been murdered. Certain Jews 
were charged with having murdered them. The 
sewer in the quarter of the town in which they lived 
was examined, and some bones were there found. 
These were pronounced by the persons who dis- 
covered them to be human bones, and the discovery 
was considered sufficient to confirm the suspicion of 
murder which had arisen. Several of the accused 
Jews died under the tortures to which they were 
subjected. Some persons who inspected the 
bones pronounced that they must have been lying 
in the sewer for a great length of time, and that 
they were those of an animal. A proposition was 
then made that the bones should be packed in 
a box and forwarded to the Parisian Academy of 
Medicine for their decision. I believe it was sub- 
sequently clearly proved that they were animal 
remains." 



SPONGE. 

Among the wonders of the sea there is none more 
remarkable than the common sponge. For a long 
while it was disputed whether the creature belonged 
to the animal or vegetable world, and until quite 
lately the opinion pre^•ailed that it v/as a subject 
of the vegetable kingdom. Modern science has 
ascertained that sponge is beyond all question .an 
animal production — not the work of any highly 
organised animal, but still of creatures distinctly 
animal. Sponge, as we commonly see it, is an 
intricate network of filaments of a horny substance, 
and solid, having here and there in their midst 
caverns or cells, into which the passages that honey- 
comb the sponge converge. Imbedded in these 
filaments are numerous tiny, needle-shaped pieces 
of calcareous matter, with a knob at one end and a 
point at the other. These calcareous pins arc, in 
reality, closed tubes ; for, according to Dr. Grant, a 
principal authority upon sponges, " when the spicula 
are examined through a microscope after exposure 
to heat, we distinctly perceive a shut cavity within 
them, extending from the one point to the other ; 
and on the inflated side of each spiculum we 
observe a ragged opening, as if a portion had been 
driven out by the expansion of some contained 
fluid. In those spicula, which had suffered little 
change of form by their incandescence, I have 
never failed to observe the same cavity within, 
extending from one end to the other, and a distinct 
open rent on their side, by which the contained 
matter has escaped before the usual globular dis- 
tension had taken place." 

The filaments and spicula together make up an 
abode in which dwell, not crabs or fish, or anything 
of their respective kinds, but an infinity of small 
gelatinous cells, each one possessing a perfectly 
independent existence, and able, when detached 
from its fellows, to move onwards by the extension 
of its substance. Examine a living sponge in its 
home