Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/263

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251
DUST.

to stand on the pay-rolls for the one quarter of wages they might have earned themselves. It was formerly supposed a wise saying that "the hand of the diligent maketh rich" but the proverb has been strangely modified in these days.

We are now told that the proverb was only three quarters true, and instead we must say, the man who works all of working time makes his neighbors poor, and will spend his last days in the work-house of the parish or on the highway as a tramp. Time lost is money lost to the one to whom the time belonged, whether he be rich or poor. The rich can lose some without feeling it, but the poor, alas! have none to spare. When this truth is fully appreciated by the destitute, a long stride will have been made toward the extinction of poverty.

 

DUST.
By J. G. McPHERSON.

SOME of the most enchanting phenomena in nature are dependent for their very existence upon singularly unimportant things; and some phenomena that in one form or another daily attract our attention are produced by startlingly overlooked material. What is the agent that magically transforms the leaden heavens into the gorgeous afterglow of autumn, when the varied and evanescent colors chase each other in fantastic brilliancy? What is the source of the beautiful, brilliant, and varied coloring of the waters of the Mediterranean, or of the most extraordinary brilliant blue of the crystal waters of the tarns in the Cordilleras? What produces the awe-inspiring deep blue of the zenith in a clear summer evening, when the eye tries to reach the absolute? Whence come the gentle refreshing rain, the biting sleet, the stupefying fog, the chilling mist, the virgin snow, the glimmering haze, or the pelting hail? What raises water to the state of ebullition in the process of heat application for boiling? What is the source of much of the wound putrefaction, and the generation and spread of sickness and disease? What, in fact, is one of the most marvelous agents in producing beauty for the eye's gratification, refreshment to the arid soil, sickness and death to the frame of man and beast? That agent is dust.

And yet no significance is given to dust unless it appears in large and troublesome quantities. It requires the persistent annoyance of dust-clouds to excite any attention. Dust, however, demands to be noticed, even when not in that collected, irritating motion known in Scotland as stour. The dust-particles floating in the atmosphere or suspended in the water have a most impor-