Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/731

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

go away alone into some solitary part of the country, where they would often remain for three or four months. They might hunt or trap, but must avoid contact with other people and keep away from habitations. Occasionally a young man thus engaged would clear a course in the woods or arrange bars for running or for jumping, and thus endeavor to increase his strength and endurance. They also meditated and dreamed dreams till each discovered his particular guardian spirit. Young women, at the time of reaching maturity, and thereafter at recurrent periods, were accustomed to wander forth alone after dark for considerable distances, breaking small branches from the trees as they went, and scattering them about or suspending them upon the limbs of other trees. Young fir trees, a few feet in height, were thus often split and torn apart for several feet, or the branches or growing tops were tied in knots. This custom still prevails, and the tokens of it may often be observed near Indian camps. No explanation of its meaning can be offered. An Indian who invited another to go hunting with him, gave to his friend the first deer, if several were killed. If but one was killed, it was divided, but the skin belonged to the friend in any case. If a man was hunting beyond the border of the recognized territory of his people, and one of the men holding claims to the region upon which he had thus trespassed heard him shoot, the owner of the locality would head for the place, and on arriving there expect to be feasted on the game obtained by the hunter.

 

Origin of the Jardin des Plantes.—According to M. Germain Bapst, in the Revue des Deux Mondes, the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris, was till the middle of the eighteenth century simply a botanical institution which had been created by Louis XIII in favor of his Doctor Herouard, under the name of Jardin des plantes médicinales et polagères. When Buffon was appointed steward of the garden by Louis XV, he augmented its service, founded a course of lectures and a museum of zoology, and continued the collection of miniatures of the Duke of Orleans. On his death, in 1788, the Museum of Natural History was far less important than it is now; the rapid growth which has made it the most complete and extensive establishment of its kind in the world, began during the Revolution: First, the Royal Menagerie, which had been kept in the garden of the Chateau at Versailles, was sent to the members of the Commune in Paris, in 1792. They, not knowing what to do with their new charges, sent them to the Jardin des Plantes, with orders to the steward to accommodate them there. That was the beginning of the menagerie. The other collections originated in the custom of the princes and great lords of the eighteenth century of interesting themselves in natural history and collecting objects of different kinds. Then, when the confiscation of the estates of absconders was decreed during the Revolution, there were found in them various collections of this kind. These were turned over to the state and were deposited in the public storing-places, especially in the Jardin des Plantes. The French conquests throughout Europe gave them possession of numerous museums which their generals removed to Paris and placed in the national establishments. Thus the collections of the Stadtholder of Holland, and that of the Prince of Conde, kept at Chantilly, came to constitute the physical and mineralogical departments of the museum.

 

Variety of Motions in the Atmosphere.—Espy's convection theory of storms assumes that the latent heat of vapor is the maintaining power, while the original ascent of the moist, warm air is due to conditions of density. Therefore, we could have no cyclonic motion without ascending moisture and clouds. The studies of other investigators have satisfied Prof. Cleveland Abbe that another important cause exists in the slow cooling by radiation and descending of the upper air flowing northward from the equator as a return trade. It eventually reaches the earth here and there in spots which are small areas of clear sky in the tropical regions, but are large areas of cold, dry air and high pressure in northern latitudes. "If the air is cooled by radiation faster than it is warmed up by the compression of its slow descent, then it reaches us as clear, cold, and dry air; and only after reaching the earth's surface does it begin to warm up in the daytime faster than it can cool again at night