Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/769

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747
SQUAW—SQUIRREL

regard the figures hitherto obtained as final ; moreover, the large wind force in squalls is probably subject to large local variations, the difference between the record of the squall of the 1st of June 1908 at Kew and Shepherd's Bush suggests that it may have been much stronger at Bushey, where the damage was done. The highest velocity in a gust hitherto recorded upon instruments belonging to the office is 106.5 m. per hour at Pendennis Castle on the 14th of March 1905. Gale force is defined for the purposes of the meteorological office as that of a wind which has an average velocity during an hour of 38 m. per hour. According to Simpson's results at Scilly or Holyhead, where the exposure is good, a wind that just got within the reckoning of gales would reach 44 m. per hour in the ordinary gusts, with occasional records of 51 m. per hour. Squalls with velocities reaching 55 m. per hour are not uncommon, and the range of wind velocity which constitutes a squall may be anything between 40 m. an hour and upwards of 100 m. an hour.  (W. N. S.) 


SQUAW, the anglicized word for woman among the North American Indians; the Massachusetts Indian form is squa or schqua, the Narraganset squāwo, the Cree eskwuo, Delaware ochqueu, khqueu, &c. It is also used in composition with names of animals to denote the female.


SQUIB, supposed to be derived from the German word schieben, to push or shove forward with a sliding movement, the name for a projected kind of firework that is flung out of a groove and breaks with a flash and a clatter. Hence, in the literary sense, a squib is a slight satirical composition put forth on an occasion; and it is intended that it should make a noise by its explosion, not by the possession of any permanent importance. Steele says, in the Tatler, that " squibs are those who in the common phrase of the world are call'd libellers, lampooners and pamphleteers," showing that, at the beginning of the 18th century, the man who composed the satire, as well as the satire itself, was called a squib. Swift speaks of the rapidity with which these little literary fireworks flew about from place to place, and he himself was a proficient in the making of noisy squibs. Perhaps the best type of a squib in English literature is Gray's Candidate, which was written and circulated among the electors in 1764, when Lord Sandwich was canvassing for the office of high-steward of the university of Cambridge. The object of this poem was, by ridicule and defamation, to injure Lord Sandwich's prospects of success. When once the election was over the verses served no further purpose, and they have survived simply in consequence of their fluent wit and of the reputation of the great poet who composed them. (See also Lampoon.)


SQUILL, the name under which the bulbous root of Urginea Scilla is used in medicine. It belongs to the natural order Liliaceae. The name of " squill " is also applied by gardeners to the various species of Scilla. The medicinal squill is a native of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, and grows from the sea-level up to an elevation of 3000 ft. The bulbs are globular and of large size, often weighing more than 4 lb. Two varieties are met with, the one having white and the other pink scales. They are collected in August, when they are leafless, the membranous outer scales being removed and the fleshy portion cut transversely into slices and dried in the sun. These are then packed in casks for exportation. They are chiefly imported into the United Kingdom from Malta. When reduced to powder and exposed to the air the drug rapidly absorbs moisture and cakes together into a hard mass.

Squill has been used in medicine from a very early period. The ancient Greek physicians prescribed it with vinegar and honey almost in the same manner as it is used at present. The composition of the drug, first efficiently studied by Merck in 1878, is very complex. The chief constituent is scillitoxin, a bitter and intensely irritant principle. A somewhat similar substance, scillipiain, is also physiologically active. The bitter glucoside scillin, or scillain, is unimportant. The bulb also contains mucilage, and a considerable quantity of an irritant resin. It has been shown that a definite action on the heart is not obtainable unless so large a dose of squill is given that some gastro-intestinal irritation or even inflammation is set up by this resin. The dose of squill is from 1 to 3 grains. Of the numerous pharmacopoeial preparations only three are of any importance: the syrup of squill, composed of one part of squill, eight of dilute acetic acid and four of sugar; the Püula Ipecacuanhae cum Scilla, in which ipecacuanha and opium are the chief constituents; and the tincture of squill, which is still widely used, made by macerating one part of squill with five of alcohol. The action of the drug is that of a cardiac stimulant, with three important further properties all dependent on its irritant constituents. Even in small doses, such as will not affect the heart, it is a gastro-intestinal, a bronchial and a renal irritant. The two latter properties constitute it a powerful expectorant and a fairly active diuretic. The drug must not be given alone, owing to its irritant action. It is very frequently given as a diuretic in cardiac cases in the form ot a pill containing one grain each of mercury, digitalis and squill. Combined with a sedative, such as opium, it may be given in chronic bronchitis. It must not be given in acute bronchitis, which it only aggravates; nor in phthisis, which is invariably accompanied by a hypersensitive state of the alimentary tract. For similar reasons squill should not be given in any form of Bright's disease. The textbook prohibition against its use in acute Bright's disease should certainly be extended to chronic nephritis in all its forms. The use of this irritating drug, while still extensive, is yearly diminishing. It does not accomplish anything that may not otherwise be achieved at less cost to the secreting surfaces of the patient.

An allied species, Urginea indica, is used in India in the same manner as the European species. The true squills are represented in Great Britain by two species, Scilla autumnalis and S. verna. The former has a racemose inflorescence and leaves appearing in autumn after the flowers; the latter has the flowers arranged in a corymbose manner, leaves appearing in spring, and is confined to the sea-coast. Several species are cultivated in gardens, S. bifolia and S. sibirica being remarkable for their beautiful blue flowers, which are produced in early spring; Chinese squill is S. chinensis, a half-hardy species; Roman squill is a popular name for species of Bellevalia, a genus now generally included in Hyacinthus; striped squill is Puschkinia scilloides, a liliaceous plant resembling the squill in habit.


SQUINCH, possibly a corruption of sconce (French equivalents are pendentive, trompe), the term in architecture applied to a corbelling out by means of arched rings in stone thrown across the angles of a square tower, to carry an octagonal spire or a dome. The earliest examples are found in the palaces of Serbittan and Firuzabad constructed by the Sassanian dynasty (A.D. 350–450), and in the mosque at Damascus, where it takes the form of a niche. In early French Romanesque work a small niche with additional rings above is employed; a greater importance is sometimes given by small shafts at the sides, of which there are examples in the Coptic churches of Egypt, and in France in the cathedral at Le Puy and the church of St Martin at Dijon. (See Pendentive.)


SQUINT (possibly connected with Swed. svinka, to flinch; O. Eng. swiccan, avoid), properly an adjective meaning looking different ways, hence oblique, indirect vision, particularly a strabismus, an affection of the eyes consisting in non-coincidence of the optic axes (see Eye, § Diseases; and Vision). In architecture " squint " is used of a slit or opening usually on one or both sides of the chancel arch, giving a view of the altar from the transepts or aisles; it is also styled " hagioscope " (q.v.).


SQUIRE, an abbreviated form of " esquire " (q.v.), originally with the same meaning of an attendant on a knight. In this form, however, the word has developed certain special connotations. Thus in England it is used partly as a courtesy title, partly as a description of the chief landed proprietor, usually the lord of the manor, in a parish the lesser proprietors being " gentlemen " or yeomen. In some parts also it is not uncommon for the title of " squire " to be given to small freeholders of the yeoman class, known in Ireland half contemptuously as " squireens." In the United States the title has also survived as applied to justices of the peace, local judges and other dignitaries in country districts and towns. In another sense " squire " has survived in its sense of " attendant," " to squire " being used so early as Chaucer's day as synonymous with " to wait upon." A " squire of dames " is thus a man very attentive to women and much in their company. Footpads and highwaymen were termed sometimes " squires of the pad " as well as " gentlemen of the road."


SQUIRREL (Fr. écureuil), properly the name of the well-known red, bushy-tailed British arboreal mammal, Scours vulgaris, typifying the genus Sciurus and the family Sciuridae, but in a wider sense embracing all the rodents included in this