Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/193

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horizontally, he observed to be ragged, composed of fragments one below the other, sometimes reaching near the earth. These he regarded as so many stepping-stones which assist in conducting the stroke of the cloud. To represent these by experiment, he took two or three locks of fine loose cotton, tied them in a row, and hung them from his prime conductor. When this was excited, the locks stretched downward toward the earth; but, by presenting a sharp point erect under the lowest bunch of cotton, it shrunk upward to that above it, nor did the shrinking cease till all the locks had retreated to the prime conductor itself. "May not," says Franklin, "the small electrified clouds, whose equilibrium with the earth is so soon restored by the point, rise up to the main body, and by that means occasion so large a vacancy that the grand cloud cannot strike in that place?"



WHEN a woman thinks of making deliberate choice of the profession of a sick-nurse, she can, of course, take into careful consideration if her character and temperament are or are not suited for so arduous and trying an avocation. If she is a person of excitable nature, and possessed of but little self-control, she can be wisely counseled to give up the idea of a life for which she is so thoroughly unfit; but no peculiarities of character or temperament can exempt a woman from being called upon by the plain voice of duty, at one time or other of her life, to take her stand by the bedside of one dear to her, and soothe as best she may many a weary hour of restlessness and pain.

Very few, indeed, are the women who escape this rule—most have to take upon themselves the burden of attendance in a sick-room—and perhaps there are few subjects upon which the generality of women are so well-intentioned, and yet so ignorant. With the very best and kindest meaning in the world, attention bestowed upon a suffering person may be productive of more discomfort than comfort to the patient, and endless annoyance to the physician, just because the zealous, but alas! untrained and undisciplined volunteer does everything the wrong way.

Again, from a mistaken and unreal idea of true delicacy and refinement, many women shrink from ever seeing or learning anything about suffering or sorrow; and so, when the inevitable fate brings the sights and sounds of pain, the dreadful realities of death, cruelly home to them, they are paralyzed by terror, and useless, nay, worse than useless to those most dear to them. Even as I write, sad instances rise before my mind of a lack of moral courage, an utter im-