Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/703

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683
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLORS.

was equal to it. He buried the missing man in effigy[1] and, according to all the laws of primitive logic, an effigy is every bit as good as its original.[2] Therefore, when a man is buried in effigy with all due formality, that man is dead and buried beyond a doubt, and his ghost is as harmless as it is in the nature of ghosts to be.

But it occasionally happened that this burial by proxy was premature—that, in fact, the man was not really dead, and, if he came home in person and positively declined to consider himself as dead, the question naturally arose, Was he alive, or was he dead? It was a delicate question, and the solution was ingenious. The man was dead, certainly—that was past praying for. But then he might be born again; he might take a new lease of life. And so it was.; he was put out to nurse, he was dressed in long-clothes—in short, he went through all the stages of a second childhood.[3] But, before he was eligible even for this pleasing experience, he had to overcome the initial difficulty of getting into his own house. For the door was as ghost-proof as fire and water could make it, and he was a ghost. As such, he had to do as ghosts do: in fact, not to put too fine a point on it, he had to come down the chimney.[4] And down the chimney he came—and this is an English answer to a Roman question.—The Contemporary Review.


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THE PHYSIOLOGY OF COLORS.[5]

By M. E. MASCART.

ALIGHT is defined by two qualities, brightness and color. The comparison of two lights of the same color can be made without the assistance of our eyes, and by physical means alone, but it is impossible to compare different colors without bringing in the intervention of the physiological impression. It has been known since Newton's experiments that white light, or, to be more precise, the light of the sun, is formed of a large number of different colors, and that the union of all these in equal proportion, acting upon the eye, either

  1. The practice of burial in effigy prevailed in ancient Greece, Mexico, and Samoa, and it prevails to this day in modern Greece, Albania, India, and China. See Chariton, iv, c. 1; Bancroft, "Native Races of the Pacific States," ii, p. 616; Turner, "Samoa," p. 150; C. Wachsmuth, "Das Alte Griechenland im neuem," p. 113; Hahn, "Albanesische Studien," p. 152; Monier Williams, "Religious Thought and Life in India," p. 300; Gray, "China," i, p. 295. Compare Doolittle, "Social Life of the Chinese," p. 164; Apuleius, "Metam.,"i, c. 6; Brent, "The Cyclades," pp. 223, 224; Servius on Virgil, "Æn.," vi, 366.
  2. For evidence see Tylor's "Early History of Mankind," p. 116 sqq.
  3. Plutarch, "Rom. Quæst.," v.
  4. See the passages cited in note ** to p. 678.
  5. An address before the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Translated from the French for "The Popular Science Monthly."