Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/438

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and, lastly, by the supporting sound-bar and sound-post and back." The secret of the ancient varnish, on which some of the qualities of the instrument probably depended, is still only partly revealed. Mr. Haweis believes, with Charles Reade, that it was an heterogeneous varnish, first of oil with gum in solution, then of color evaporated in spirit. Dod, as late as 1830, had the recipe for something very like the Cremona varnish; and, lately, Mr. Perkins has analyzed the varnish of Joseph Guarnerius and found amber in it, and has himself produced varnish of an extraordinary quality. The supreme interest of the violin lies in its simplicity, beauty, strength, subtilty, and indestructibility, and, above all, in its perfection as a musical instrument. It combines accent with modification of sustained tone. The organ has sustained tone without accent, the piano accent without sustained tone, the violin accent and sustained tone modified at will. Within its limits it is scientifically perfect; it has all the sensibility, and more than the compass, execution, and variety, of the human voice. It is not an invention, it is a growth; it has come together, it is the "survival of the fittest." Its rough elements were selected from a variety of instruments which preceded it. Before the end of the fourteenth century viols were made in great profusion of every style and shape, but the rise of the true violin tribe begins with the rise of modern music. When the true octave and the perfect cadena had been discovered, and the human voice was found to fall naturally into soprano, contralto, tenor, and bass, viol instruments, adapted to these four divisions, were gradually separated from the confusion of instruments and brought to a perfection of adaptability.

 

A New Anæsthetic.—Bromide of ethyl is recommended by Dr. R. J. Levis, of the Pennsylvania and Jefferson College Hospitals, Philadelphia, as an anæsthetic preferable, in most respects, to ether and chloroform. It acts rapidly, and the patient recovers quickly from its effects. As far as observed by Dr. Levis, after several months of experience in using it, it does not influence the circulation except sometimes to produce a slight increase in the rapidity of the heart's action, and in arterial pressure. Respiration is but little affected by it beyond its producing the ordinary characteristics of all anæsthetic sleep; in this respect, its action seems more to resemble that of ether than that of chloroform. Nausea and vomiting occur less frequently with it than with ether or chloroform. It vaporizes readily, and seems to be entirely eliminated through the lungs, having, in this respect, a decided advantage over chloroform, which is not entirely removed from the system. Its vapor produces no irritation in the respiratory passages. General excitement and the tendency to struggle occur far less frequently when it is used than in the early stages of the anaesthesia of ether, and, apparently, even than in that of chloroform. Complete anaesthesia is accomplished, it is estimated, in about one third less time than is the case with chloroform, and recovery from the effect is even comparatively more rapid, the time required for recovery generally not exceeding two minutes after the inhalation has ceased. The recovery is so complete that the patient is often able to stand and to walk immediately after awakening. Insensibility is usually produced in from two to three minutes. The longest period that has been required in Dr. Levis's practice was four minutes, the shortest one minute. The completion of the effect is clearly shown by the dilatation of the pupils of the eyes, which resume their normal condition when the sentient state returns. The vapor of this substance is not inflammable, so that it is free from the danger which attends the use of ether at night when lights are around. The ordinary essentials of the proper and safe production of anæsthesia must not, however, be dispensed with in the use of the new agent, for its safety is only comparative, and is not yet proved to be absolute. Dr. Levis, who acknowledges his indebtedness to Dr. Lawrence Turnbull, of Philadelphia, for the suggestion of this agent, now uses the bromide of ethyl, to the exclusion of other anæsthetics.

 

Slave-making Ants.—It may be edifying to such persons as take pride in physical prowess to know that on the battle-field ants distinguish themselves quite as signally as