Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/715

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695
PROFESSOR TYNDALL'S RECENT RESEARCHES.

dy. It belonged to the beef-group, and it was a whole day in advance of all the other tubes. The progress of putrefaction was first registered on the 26th of October, The map then taken may be thus described:

Hay.—Of the thirty specimens exposed, one had become "muddy"—the seventh in the middle row reckoning from the side of the tray nearest the stove. Six tubes remained perfectly clear between this muddy one and the stove, proving that differences of warmth may be overridden by other causes. Every one of the other tubes containing the hay-infusion showed spots of mould upon the clear liquid.

Turnip.—Four of the thirty-five tubes were very muddy, two of them being in the row next the stove, one four rows distant, and the remaining one seven rows away. Besides these, six tubes had become "clouded." There was no mould on any of the tubes.

Beef.—One tube of the thirty-five was quite muddy, in the seventh row from the stove. There were three cloudy tubes, while seven of them bore spots of mould.

As a general rule, organic infusions exposed to the air during the autumn remained for two days or more perfectly clear. Doubtless, from the first, germs fell into them, but they required time to be hatched. This period of clearness may be called the "period of latency," and, indeed, it exactly corresponds with what is understood by this term in medicine. Toward the end of the period of latency, the fall into a state of disease is comparatively sudden; the infusion passing from perfect clearness to cloudiness more or less dense in a few hours.

Thus the tube placed in Mr. Darwin's possession was clear at 8.30 a. m. on the 19th of October, and cloudy at 4.30 p. m. Seven hours, moreover, after the first record of our tray of tubes, a marked change had occurred. It may be thus described: Instead of one, eight of the tubes containing hay-infusion had fallen into uniform muddiness. Twenty of these had produced bacterial slime, which had fallen to the bottom, every tube containing the slime being covered by mould. Three tubes only remained clear, but with mould upon their surfaces. The muddy turnip-tubes had increased from four to ten; seven tubes were clouded, while eighteen of them remained clear, with here and there a speck of mould on the surface. Of the beef, six were cloudy, and one thickly muddy, while spots of mould had formed on the majority of the remaining tubes. Fifteen hours subsequent to this observation—viz., on the morning of the 27th of October—all the tubes containing hay-infusion were smitten, though in different degrees, some of them being much more turbid than others. Of the turnip-tubes, three only remained unsmitten, and two of these had mould upon their surfaces. Only one of the thirty-five beef-infusions remained intact. A change of occupancy, moreover, had occurred in the tube which first gave way. Its muddi-