Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/396

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fully, that when I find myself defending the Turk against the Russian and all his other enemies, my conscience sometimes inquires whether those lumps of delight prepared for the Sultana by his Highness the Grand Confectioner, and presented to me by him as a sample of his masterpiece, may, or may not, have ever after influenced my politics. It was gelatine glorified, once tasted never to be forgotten.

It would seem that gelatine alone, although containing the elements required for nutrition, requires something more to render it digestible. We shall probably be not far from the truth if we picture it to the mind as something too smooth, too neutral, too inert, to set the digestive organs at work, and that it therefore requires the addition of a decidedly sapid something that shall make these organs act. I believe that the proper function of the palate is to determine our selection of such materials; that its activity is in direct sympathy with that of all the digestive organs; and that, if we carefully avoid the vitiation of our natural appetites, we have in our mouths, and the nervous apparatus connected therewith, a laboratory that is capable of supplying us with information concerning some of the chemical relations of food which is beyond the grasp of the analytical machinery of the ablest of our scientific chemists.

There is another element of flesh so intimately connected with gelatine and so much like it, that I must describe its properties before going further into the subject of practical cookery of animal food. I refer to fibrine, which will form the subject of my next paper.—Knowledge.


IT was, I think, during the summer of 1876 that Mr. Darwin's most interesting work on "Insectivorous Plants" fell into my hands, and was read with the delight which the "fairy-tales of science" that came from his hand must ever inspire. As a matter of course, I procured, at once, some plants of the Drosera rotundifolia, and began a series of amateur experiments, which were to me so interesting that I began to wish all plants might have been created with the same marvelous properties.

While my mind was thus employed, I began to notice that the plants of the common garden Petunia (P. grandiflora) were almost always quite freely powdered with the dead or apparently dying bodies of small insects, which seemed to be held fast, either by the hairs with which every part of this plant is covered, or by the gummy, sweetish exudations therefrom. I made pilgrimages to other gardens than our own, invariably finding the petunia-plants covered with the small captives.