Littell's Living Age/Volume 129/Issue 1661/Miscellany

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Crinoline for Ironclads — Not because the sex attributed to armoured in common with all other ships, but for the same reason for which, according to the learned Knickerbocker, the maidens of Manhattan enveloped their ample figures in manifold plackets, it is proposed (Iron reports) to encircle our ironclads with a network of iron wire, supported by booms at a distance of twenty-two feet, and kept rigid to below the depth of the keel by heavy weights. The danger to be guarded against is the fish torpedo, one species of which can be unerringly propelled under water a distance of a mile, and if it then strikes the ship beneath her water-line she must inevitably sink; for it is understood that all the pumps on board a turret ship, working at their highest pressure, would be incapable of discharging the water which would be admitted through a hole no larger than that made in the "Vanguard" by the prow of the "Iron Duke." An experiment with this netting is about to be made on the "Thunderer"—the most costly of all ironclads—and there is just a chance that, notwithstanding the crinoline, she may be sent to join what has been called our submarine fleet. The Whitehead torpedo appears to be a most effective implement of destruction; indeed, it would seem that there is no end to the "perils that environ" ironclads.

A New Article of Diet. — A report has been made by the acting political superintendent, Akalkoit, to the government of Bombay, stating that there exists in those parts a weed called "mulmunda," the seed of which is used for food by the poorer classes in times of scarcity. The seed is ground into flour, of which bread is made. The bread is said to be sweet in taste, and, although not quite so satisfying as could be desired, does very well to keep body and soul together at a pinch. It is also given to camels for forage. The result of an examination of the plant, which is of a leguminous description, by the acting chemical analyser to the government, shows that the seeds contain nearly as much nitrogenous substances as some of the chief varieties of Indian peas and beans; and hence the nutritive value of the seed should be taken as equivalent to any of the other leguminous grains. The weed is said to grow all over the Deccan and southern Mahratta country.