Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/677

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659
ON RAINBOWS.

Fig. 19 is a specimen of the best sort of shoe made for children, but, worn too short and too tight, it will become a means of harm to the tender foot of the child.

It is hard to understand how men and women can endure to wear the present style of pointed-toed shoes and boots. The "corn-crop" is one that never fails, and the prevalent fashion will certainly assure a yield of unusual abundance. The devotee who wore peas in his shoes for penance could make ample atonement for all his sins by simply dressing his feet according to the mode.

The whole subject is worthy of the profound study of the physician, the shoemaker, and the shoe-wearer, all of whom seem to have wickedly neglected it. If men and women, in this period of the revival of the antique, will study the natural and beautiful feet of that era, when the appreciation of physical beauty was most perfectly developed, we may hope for some not far-distant time when our demand will be for a normal healthy foot in a natural and comfortable covering, and not for a crippled and distorted, withered, ugly "club," bound in an instrument of torment.

 
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ON RAINBOWS.[1]
By JOHN TYNDALL, F. R. S.

THE oldest historic reference to the rainbow is known to all: "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. . . . And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I shall look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." To the sublime conceptions of the theologian succeeded the desire for exact knowledge characteristic of the man of science. Whatever its ultimate cause might have been, the proximate cause of the rainbow was physical, and the aim of science was to account for the bow on physical principles. Progress toward this consummation was very slow. Slowly the ancients mastered the principles of reflection. Still more slowly were the laws of refraction dug from the quarries in which Nature had imbedded them. I use this language because the laws were incorporate in Nature before they were discovered by man. Until the time of Alhazan, an Arabian mathematician, who lived at the beginning of the twelfth century, the views entertained regarding refraction were utterly vague and incorrect. After Alhazan came Roger Bacon and Vitellio,[2] who made and re-

  1. From author's advance sheets.
  2. Whewell ("History of the Inductive Sciences," vol. i, p. 345) describes Vitellio as a Pole. His mother was a Pole; but Poggendorff ("Handworterbuch d. Exacten Wissenschaften") claims Vitellio himself as a German, born in Thüringen. "Vitellio" is described as a corruption of Witelo.