Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/556

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

themselves in the position that it is intended by Nature they should occupy.

" . . . . Seeing either sex alone

Is half itself, and in true marriage lies
Nor equal, nor unequal; each fulfills
Defect in each, and always thought in thought,
Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow,
The single pure and perfect animal,
The two-celled heart beating with one full stroke
Life."

Sanitary Record. 

 
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ARTESIAN WELLS AND THE GREAT SAHARA
By LIEUTENANT SEATON SCHROEDER, U. S. N.

OF late years public attention has been somewhat drawn to the great North African Desert. Mainly instrumental in directing thither even the eyes and ears of idle curiosity have been the two plans for flooding portions of that region. Of these plans, the French and the English, the former has assumed the more definite shape, though both are the subject of scientific and practical inquiry.

It may be questioned if there is not another means of improvement, more gradual, perhaps, but more sure and in many ways superior to the creation of an inland sea—superior in point of economy, and more widely diffused as well as more lasting benefits. Although our knowledge of the geological and historical part of the Sahara, and of its constitution, hydrography, and climate, is scarcely extended enough to prophesy confidently as to its future, yet it may be advanced that, if the desert is extending and the population decreasing, it is greatly due to the bigotry, hostility, and laziness of the Saharan tribes. The one requisite is water, whence the projects of supplying that need from the ocean. Perhaps it may be obtained otherwise, in comparatively homœopathic doses it is true, but fresh, and in such manner as to bring about grander results.

That water is not wanting in the Sahara is proved by the wells dotted along the routes of caravans. These are very shallow, and the water they afford is generally brackish and muddy, showing that they only reached parasitic sources and not the main subterranean sheets; but they are only the hurried work of passing caravans, whose sole thought was to supply the needs of the moment and reach the oases where very old wells have been found having a depth of over two hundred and fifty feet. It is a curious fact, too, well attested, that the number of wells has been greatly reduced by the Saharans filling up many of them as a means of defense against dreaded invasion.

These wells date back to the time of the first relations between the