Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 133.djvu/582

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576
THE CELTS.

and their bare appearance, when irritated, struck the beholder with terror and dismay. The "loud and sonorous voice" of the ancient Celts was inherited by the Caledonians, and was esteemed a qualification of some importance. When Fingal raised his voice, "Cromla answered around, the sons of the desert stood still, and the fishes of the troubled sea moved to the depths." Columba, when performing service in his church of Iona, is said to have been heard at the distance of a mile and a half. The Celtic nations spoke very little, and their language was dark and figurative: their manner of talking was solemn and mysterious, the ordinary words of most of them, as well when they were at peace as when they were irritated, being dreadful and full of menace. They were hyperbolical in their own praise, and spoke contemptuously of all others. "My pointed spear, my sharp sword, my glittering shield," said an old Celtic hero, "are my wealth and riches; with them I plough, with them I sow, and with them I make my wine: whoever dare not resist my pointed spear, my sharp sword, and my glittering shield, prostrates himself before, and adores me as his lord and his king."




A New Metal. — M. Prat, of Bordeaux, has communicated to the Société des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles de Bordeaux, a research on the characters and chemical properties of a metal to which he has given the name of Lavcesium, in memory of Lavoisier. This metal is silver-white, malleable, and fusible; it forms crystallizable and colorless salts, and gives the following reactions: — Potassa: a hydrated white precipitate, insoluble in an excess of the precipitant. Ammonia: the same precipitate, very soluble in an excess. Alkaline carbonates: a white precipitate of hydrated oxide, followed by the disengagement of carbonic acid. Ferrocyanide of potassium: a dirty yellow precipitate. Hydrosulphuric acid: a brown color at first, then a tawny yellow precipitate. Alkaline sulphurets: a tawny yellow precipitate. Tannin: a dark greenish yellow precipitate. Iron and zinc: a metallic black precipitate, ash grey, or under the form of extremely thin leaflets, having a metallic aspect, and spontaneously detaching itself from the zinc. This metal colors flame of a slightly purple blue. In the spectroscope it gives a spectrum: 1, in the indigo blue, two groups of characteristic bands; 2, in the pure green, two other more simple groups of bands, equally characteristic; 3, finally, some blue, violet, and green bands; in all, twenty-three bands. The characteristic bands correspond with those of copper, which might indicate, M. Prat thinks, that copper perhaps contains this metal. The spectrum, the white silvery aspect, the solubility of its oxide in ammonia, the color of the ferrocyanide and its hydrated sulphuret, constitute a group of properties which distinguish it from all the known metals. According to M. Prat, this body is much more common than might be thought, for he has met with it in many minerals, and notably in iron pyrites. Its therapeutic action (says the London Medical Record) yet remains for study.




Portable Electric Light. — An ingenious little electric-light apparatus (says the Mining Journal) has been invented by Mr. Facio, of Paris, and is applicable to watches, walking-sticks, and such like. The watch, for instance, to which it is applied, is united by a chain to a link-bar, which may be placed in a button-hole, another chain communicates with a pile which may be carried in the waist-coat pocket; to the link-bar another chain is attached in communication with a receptacle or box containing wick, and a "Geissler" tube, which will transmit the spark produced by the electricity. Thus the time can be easily seen in the dark. The apparatus is composed of other conducting chains coming from the pile, and of a receiver which may be perfectly independent, the receiver being provided with a wick or bobbin, and the receiver may be made like a locket or other article, if desired; communication between pile and locket or other article may be produced by means of a button or other suitable appliance placed in any convenient position. The chains may be formed or composed of two wires and surrounded by insulating material, which latter may be covered with some precious metal or other material, as fancy or taste may dictate. The lighting material may be carried by the watch itself, or the light-generating apparatus may be provided with a case to hold the watch, or other object to be lighted up, in such manner that the glass which covers the aforesaid case will receive the action of the lighting tube containing the "Geissler" tube, and the case itself will be independent of the object to be lighted.