Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/151

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139
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

miles. They contained no vitreous grains, but simply the minerals that constitute the andesites of which the mass of the mountain is composed, and in the same state as in them. The andesite of the prehistoric eruptions of the region when reduced to powder and traversed by the vapor of water gave the same products as the ashes cast out in 1893 by the volcano. These ashes, therefore, appear to have been derived from the trituration and pulverization of the old lavas of the region without their having been remelted. The author remarks that the eruption of Calbuco has given out such considerable quantities of watery vapor that the usual atmospheric conditions have been materially modified by it. Rains are abnormally abundant even in central and northern Chili, with snows on the mountain chains and the sky covered with clouds—conditions very different from those which normally prevail in the country.

 

Children's Letters.—The characteristics of children's letters ai-e pertinently described in the London Spectator, which says that the writers "come straight to the point, and get down with it, with a unanimous contempt for self-advertisement, which shows that the dislike to be 'drawn' on matters nearly affecting themselves, which is common to the oldest and wisest of mankind, is fully shown by their youngers and betters. The child is, in this, the father of the wise man. Not that they refuse information. The bare facts are always at the service of the public. They fall into 'common form,' and in a score of letters written by very young children it is difficult to find one in which the decorous reticence as to self is exceeded. Their age, very accurately stated; the number of their brothers and sisters, among whom the last baby naturally takes a leading place; and, possibly, a description of their home, limited, as far as possible, to the information given in their postal address, is evidently considered to be sufficient data from which to form an idea of themselves and their surroundings. Then, in nearly every case, follows a list of the household pets. Judged by the evidence of children, the dog is in every case the most important personage, next to the baby, in the estimation of the nursery. His size, accomplishments, and benevolence, his good or bad temper, and in every case his name, are given with a conscientious and personal interest which is accorded to no other animal. Apparently, there is no limit to the number of pets which the fathers and mothers of our race, whether English, American, or Anglo-Indian, set to the fancies of their children. . . . Looking through a pile of letters from children, mostly girls of all ages fi'om four to thirteen, the writer finds nearly three quarters devoted to careful accounts of dogs, tame mice, a donkey, 'Joey,' a 'ginipig,' 'rabits,' chickens, goats, and innumerable pigeons. There is hardly a word about themselves or their feelings in the whole collection, though the health, wants, and probable sentiments of the animals are treated at great length and with every diversity of spelling. Lists of 'what the pigeons have got'—such as 'the fantail,' two babies and one egg; the 'Jocobin, two eggs,' etc.—are followed by other lists of 'ones that have got nobody.' Chickens are counted before they are hatched and after; and terrible descriptions of the results of a cock-tight, which has made one of the combatants 'all bloddy,' are given at great length, with accounts of the illness, treatment, and burial of other creatures. Events, such as games, parties, or expeditions, are, as a rule, only mentioned, without comment."

 

Photography of Colors.—The process of photography of colors, discovered a few years ago by M. Lippmann, has been considerably improved, and has now been brought to such a degree of perfection that with it the composite colors of natural objects, such as flags, flowers, and fruits, a multicolored parrot, and a window with four colors, are photographically reproduced. Li the hands of M. M. Lumière it has been applied successfully to chromolithographs, natural landscapes, and portraits. The time of exposure required has been reduced from thirty minutes a few months ago to from three to five minutes. While so much has been accomplished in this art, many requirements remain to be fulfilled: the time of exposure to be further reduced; accurate isochromatic plates to be obtained, and a way found of taking proofs on paper. The colored proofs have the property of the old-fashioned daguerreotypes, of not being