Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/312

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

any soil or position, and when once planted should be left to themselves.

SNOW-LEOPARD, or Ounce (Felis uncia) a large member of the cat family, from the high mountain regions of Central Asia. It resembles the leopard in general conformation, but has longer fur, grey in colour, marked with large dark rosettes. The dimensions of the head and body are about 4 ft. 4 in., tail 3 ft., and the height 2 ft. This animal lives among rocks, and preys upon wild sheep and goats, and probably large rodents or birds. It carries off sheep, goats and dogs from villages, and even kills ponies, but, it is said, has never been known to attack man (Blanford). Examples Shown in the Zoological Gardens of London have been fairly tame and playful.

SNOW-LINE. In the higher latitudes, and in the most elevated parts of the surface of the earth, the atmosphere may be normally so cold that precipitation is chiefly in the form of snow, which lies in great part unmelted. The snow-line is the imaginary line, whether in latitude or in altitude, above which these conditions exist. In the extreme polar regions they exist at sea-level, but below lat. 78° the snow-line begins to rise, since at the lower elevations the snow melts in summer. In N. Scandinavia the line is found at about 3000 ft. above the sea, in the Alps at about 8500 ft., and on high mountains in the tropics at about 18,000 to 19,000 ft. These figures, however, can only be approximate, as many considerations render it impossible to employ the term " snow-line " as more than a convenient generalization.

SNOW-SHOES, a form of footgear devised for traveling over snow. Nearly every American Indian tribe has its own particular shape of shoe, the simplest and most primitive being those of the far north. The Eskimos possess two styles, one being triangular in shape and about 18 in. in length, and the other almost circular. Southward the shoe becomes gradually narrower and longer, the largest being the hunting snow-shoe of the Crees, which is nearly 6 ft. long and turned up at the toe. Of snow-shoes worn by people of European race that used by lumbermen is about 3½ ft. long and broad in proportion, while the tracker's shoe is over 5 ft. long and very narrow. This form has been copied by the Canadian snow-shoe clubs, who wear a shoe about 3½ ft. long and 15 to 18 in. broad, slightly turned up at the toe and terminating in a kind of tail behind. This is made very light for racing purposes, but much stouter for touring or hunting.

Snow-shoes are made of a single strip of some tough wood, usually hickory, curved round and fastened together at the ends and supported in the middle by a light cross-bar, the space within the frame thus made being filled with a close webbing of dressed caribou or neat's-hide strips, leaving a small opening just behind the cross-bar for the toe of the moccasined foot. They are fastened to the moccasin by leather thongs, sometimes by buckles. The method of walking is to lift the shoes slightly and slide the overlapping inner edges over each other, thus avoiding the unnatural and fatiguing " straddle-gait " that would otherwise be necessary. Immoderate snow-shoeing leads to serious lameness of the feet and ankles which the Canadian voyageurs call mal de raquette. Snow-shoe racing is very common in the Canadian snow-shoe clubs, and one of the events is a hurdle-race over hurdles 3 ft. 6 in. high. Owing to the thick forests of America the snow-shoe has been found to be more suitable for use than the Norwegian ski, which is, however, much used in the less-wooded districts.

SNUFF (from " to snuff, " i.e. to inhale, to draw in through the nose; cf. Dutch snuf, scent, Ger. Schnupfen, a cold, catarrh, and Eng. " snuffle, " " sniff, " &c.), the name of a powdered preparation of tobacco used for inhalation (for the manufacture see Tobacco). The practice of inhaling snuff became common in England in the 17th century, and throughout the 18th century it was universal. At first each quantity inhaled was fresh grated (Fr. ráper), whence the coarser kinds were later known as " rappee. " This entailed the snuff-taker carrying with him a grater with a small spoon at one end and a box to hold the grated snuff at the other. Early 18th-century graters made of ivory and other material are in existence. Later the box and the grater were separated. The art and craft of the miniature painter, the enameller, jeweller and gold- and silver-smith was bestowed upon the box. The humbler snuff-takers were content with boxes of silver, brass or other metal, horn, tortoise-shell or wood. The mull (q.v.), a silver-mounted ram's head, is a large table snuff-box. Though " snuff-taking " ceased to be fashionable at the beginning of the 19th century, the gold and jewelled snuff-box has continued to be a typical gift of sovereigns to those whom they delight to honour.

This, word " snuff " must be distinguished from that meaning the charred inch of a candle or lamp, which is a variant of " snip " or " snop, " to cut off, trim, cf. Dan. snubbe. Constant trimming or snuffing of candles was a necessity until obviated by the modern methods of candle manufacture, and the snuffers consisted of a pair of scissors with a closed box forming a receptacle for the charred wick cut off; the snuffers usually had three small feet which allowed them to stand on a tray. Made of silver, silver-gilt or other metal, " snuffers " were formerly a decorative article of plate in the equipment of a household. There is a beautiful example of silver snuffers with enamel decorations in the British Museum. These belonged to Cardinal Bainbridge and date from the reign of Henry VIII.

SNYDERS, FRANZ (1579–1657), Flemish painter of animals and still life, was born and died at Antwerp. In 1593 he was studying under Pieter Breughel the younger, and afterwards received instruction from Hendrick van Balen, the first master of Van Dyck. He devoted himself to painting flowers, fruit and subjects of still life, but afterwards turned to animal-painting, and executed with the greatest skill and spirit hunting pieces and combats of wild animals. His composition is rich and varied, his drawing correct and vigorous, his touch bold and thoroughly expressive of the different textures of furs and skins. His excellence in this department excited the admiration of Rubens, who frequently employed him to paint animals, fruit and still life in his own pictures, and he assisted Jordaens in a similar manner. In the lion and boar hunts which bear the name of Snyders the hand of Rubens sometimes appears. He was appointed principal painter to the archduke Albert, governor of the Low Countries, for whom he executed some of his finest works. One of these, a " Stag-Hunt," was presented to Philip III., who commissioned the artist to paint several subjects of the chase, which are still preserved in Spain.

SOANE, SIR JOHN (1753–1837), English architect and art collector, was born near Reading of a humble family whose name of Swan he afterwards altered to Soan or Soane. His talent as a boy attracted the attention of George Dance, junior, the architect, who with other friends helped him on. He won the Royal Academy's silver (1772) and gold (1776) medals, and a travelling studentship, and went to Italy to study (1777–1780). Returning to England he got into practice as an architect, and in 1784 married a rich wife. He became architect to the Bank of England, which he practically rebuilt in its present form, and did other important public work. He became an A.R.A in 1795, and R.A. in 1802, and professor of architecture to the Royal Academy in 1806. In 1831 he was knighted. In his house in Lincoln's Inn Fields he brought together a valuable antiquarian museum (now the Soane Museum) , which in 1835 he presented to the nation with an endowment; and there he died in 1837. (See Museums.)

SOAP, a chemical compound or mixture of chemical compounds resulting from the interaction of fatty oils and fats with alkalis. In a scientific definition the compounds of fatty acids with basic metallic oxides, lime, magnesia, lead oxide, &c., should also be included under soap; but, as these compounds are insoluble in water, while the very essence of a soap in its industrial relations is solubility, it is better to speak of the insoluble compounds as " plasters," limiting the name " soap " as the compounds of fatty acids with soda and potash. Soap both as a medicinal and as a cleansing agent was known to Pliny (H.N. xxviii. 51), who speaks of two kinds—hard and soft—as used by the Germans. He mentions it as originally a Gallic invention for giving a bright hue to the hair (" rutilandis capillis "). There is reason to believe that soap came to the Romans from Germany, and that the detergents in use in earlier times and mentioned as soap