Popular Science Monthly/Volume 20/March 1882/Popular Miscellany

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Fifty Years' Study of the Distribution of Plants.—Sir J. D. Hooker devoted his address, as President of the Geographical Section of the British Association, to a review of the progress that had been made during the last fifty years in the study of the geographical distribution of living (particularly of vegetable) forms. The germ of this study is to be found in an idea attributed by Humboldt and Forbes to Tournefort, that in ascending mountains the vegetation gradually approaches that of the higher latitudes. Humboldt began his botanical studies early in life, and in his "Prolegomena," published in 1815, endeavored to determine the proportions which the species of certain large families, or groups of families, bear to the whole number of species comprising the floras in advancing from the equator to the poles, and in ascending high mountains. He observed that some kinds of plants increase relatively to others in going from the equator to the poles, others diminish, while some are strongest in the temperate zones, decreasing in both directions. No material advance was made, however, toward improving the laws of geographical distribution so long as it was believed that the continents and oceans had experienced no great changes of surface or climate since the introduction of the existing assemblages of animals and plants. This belief was dispelled by Lyell, who showed, from the examples of Sicily and some of the mountain-regions of Italy, that a fauna may be older than the land it inhabits. Darwin conceived the same idea from comparisons of the living quadrupeds of Asia and America; and it was confirmed by the discovery of Arctic plants on the mountains of the temperate zone. The first attempt to press the result of geological and climatal changes into the service of botanical and zoölogical geography was made by the late Edward Forbes, who communicated to the British Association a study of the distribution of endemic plants, particularly those of the British Islands, considered under this aspect. This paper shows that Forbes was profoundly impressed with the belief that the conditions of geological connection and climate were the all-powerful controllers of the migrations of animals and plants, and induces Professor Hooker to pronounce its author "the reformer of the science of geographical distribution." Before the doctrine of the origin of species by variation and natural selection was published, all reasoning as to the distribution of species was subordinated to the idea that they were permanent and special creations. The modes of dispersion had been traced, but the origin of representative species, genera, and families, remained an enigma. The existence of the same kinds in different places could be accounted for only on the supposition that these different places presented conditions so similar that they favored the creation of similar organisms; and this failed to account for identities occurring where there was no discoverable similarity of physical conditions, and their failing to occur where the conditions were similar. Under the theory of modification of species after migration and isolation, the representation of similar species in distant localities is only a question of time and changed physical conditions. New data for the study of the past and present physical geography of the globe were afforded by the discovery in the Arctic regions of fossil plants of types corresponding with those which are now found only in warm temperate zones, which dates from 1848. These fossils proved not only to belong to genera of trees common to the forests of all the three northern continents, but to include also what are now extremely rare and even local genera. These results opened up a new channel for investigating the problem of distribution, and it was first entered by Dr. Asa Gray, who pursued it with brilliant results. Professor Blytt, of Christiania, in his essay on "The Immigration of the Norwegian Flora during Alternately Rainy and Dry Periods," invoked the glacial period to account for the dispersion of Arctic plants, dealt with a rising land, and assumed that immigration took place overland, as Mr. Forbes had done in the case of British vegetation; but he also found another powerful controlling agent, in alternating periods of greater moisture and comparative drought, of which the Norwegian bogs afford ample proof. The phenomena of distribution in the southern hemisphere are more difficult of explanation. The so called Antarctic flora is now confined to the mountains and southern islands of the temperate zone, nowhere crosses the parallel of 62°, and is uniform around the globe. The temperate flora is fourfold, presenting more differences as between the three continents and New Zealand than do the floras of the northern continents. These plants have their representative species and genera on the mountains of the tropics, each in its own meridian only, and there meet immigrants from all latitudes of the northern hemisphere. No direct proof has been discovered that the southern plants originated in the south, but reasons exist for supposing that the southern flora came from the north temperate zone. Mr. Thistleton Dyer has maintained that the floras of all the countries of the globe may be traced back at some time of their history to the northern hemisphere, and that their present peculiarities in affinity and specialization are the natural results of the conditions to which they have been subjected during recent geological times, and supports his view with plausible arguments. A very similar view has been held and published by Count Saporta in his essay "L'ancienne Végétation polaire." Mr. Wallace independently advocates the view of the northern origin of the floras and faunas of the world in his "Island Life." The later works on geographical distribution include Mr. Wallace's "Geographical Distribution of Animals," Professor A. de Candolle's "Géographie Botanique," Dr. Grisebach's "Die Végétation der Erde," and Mr. G. Bentham's addresses before the Linnæan Society in 1869, 1870, and 1872.


Indian Burial-Caves.—Dr. Edward Palmer, who has been working under the direction of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has explored several caverns in Southwestern Coahuila, Mexico, that were long ago used as burial-places by the Indians. These caves have been mentioned by a few writers, and stories have been told by people who visited them or heard of them, nearly half a century ago, of the immense number of mummified human bodies that they contained. Since then the caves have been worked for niter, and thousands of the mummies have been burned. Dr. Palmer has found a considerable number of the bundles undisturbed, and has brought them to Cambridge. Each bundle contains the bones of one or more human skeletons and ornaments, implements, small baskets, articles of clothing, and other objects. The resemblance of the mummies with those found in the caves of Kentucky and Tennessee is of particular interest. Among numerous objects of art from the collection which Dr. Palmer exhibited at one of the meetings of the Boston Society of Natural History were parts of a fringed skirt, on the edge of which feathers had been fastened; a feather headdress, braided sandals, and pieces of finely and evenly woven cloth in different-colored patterns. Many of the things are not like those used by the Indians of the present day; and not a thing derived from Europeans has been found, so far as can be learned, in any of the caves. Dr. Palmer therefore thinks that the bodies were placed where they were found long before the Spanish conquest of the country.


Hope for Sufferers by Heart-Disease.—According to Dr. J. Milner Fothergill, the views of the medical profession as to the prospects for the future of cases of valvular disease of the heart are undergoing very considerable changes, in a direction opposite to the hopelessness with which they have been regarded in the past. Not every murmur which may be heard over the heart is a sign that the patient is destined to a sudden death from the action of the cause that produces the sound, nor is it always evidence of organic cardiac disease. It is a grave symptom, but its importance may be and often is exaggerated. It is only probably produced by deformity in the cardiac valves; but anaemic, aortic, and, still more, pulmonary murmurs, are now generally recognized. The late Dr. Latham carefully discriminated between grave and comparatively trivial injuries to the mitral valve curtains by endocarditis, and held that there were three divisions of cases of permanent unsoundness of the heart remaining after endocarditis: 1. Cases in which, besides the permanent endocardial murmur, there is no other symptom referable to the heart; 2. Cases in which, besides the murmur, there is occasional palpitation; and, 3. Cases in which, besides the murmur, there is constant palpitation. The typical cases of the text-books, where there is a series of morbid sequelæ gradually descending more or less swiftly, all belong to the third division. Dr. Fothergill has cases in his own practice of mitral murmurs which have existed for sixteen, fourteen, twenty-seven, and thirty-eight years, without developing any very alarming symptoms, and reports the death, between the writing and publication of his article, of a case of aortal regurgitation—a rapidly fatal form of disease—which had not perceptibly advanced during twenty-five years of excessive activity. He also notices cases of aortic obstruction of fourteen, sixteen, and eleven years, of which the first only has as yet died. In conclusion, he observes that under proper treatment, by which the prospects are profoundly affected, and with care, a life of activity is practicable in many cases, provided bodily exertion be avoided, or exercised moderately.


Recent German Archæological Discoveries.—Dr. Mehlis read a paper before the recent Congress of German Archæologists upon the human skeleton that has been found at Kirchheim, on the Eck. The skeleton lay in a north-and-south direction, with a polished stone hatchet on its breast, and around it were quite handsomely adorned potteries and broken bones of the musk-ox, aurochs, cow, dog, wild-boar, and sheep. The bones indicated a man of middling vigor, the skull approached in build the Engis and Niederingelheim skulls, and was strongly dolichocephalous, prognathous, and furnished with powerful jaw-bones. Dr. Vater described an interesting collection of objects which had been found early in August in digging for the foundations of a military building at Spandau. While digging in the moor at the entrance of the Havel into the Spree, the workmen came upon a pile-dwelling in which were bones of animals with a small, roundish skull of a high type, and bronzes in good condition: three swords, six celts, a knife, five lance-points, a ball of sandstone, several bits of horn, a grinding-stone, and a canoe ten feet long dug out from an oak-log. The metallic objects are much rusted, and of a northern type in form. The swords are distinguished by their typically short hilts. Dr. Gross exhibited a number of articles that he had dug from the mud of the Bieler Lake at Corcelette, among which were bronzes which had evidently been made on the spot, armlets, finger-rings, buttons, celts, molds for casting, a rude copper axe, horn lance-points, and a veritable lump of tin. Some of the earthen vessels represent pleasing types recalling Grecian patterns; others, dishes, have been painted in yellow, red, and white designs, and others bear a wave-ornament that appears to have been laid on with tin, in the same way that many of the lower Italian vials are adorned with stripes of gold. The latest excavations of Gross show that wood, horn, clay, iron, copper, tin, bronze, and amber, were used as materials, while gold and silver were still wanting. The marks of the use of the wheel in making the potteries indicate that a tolerably high state of civilization had been reached at this period, which, by all the evidence, must be fixed at a time before the Romans.


Prevention of Damp in Buildings.—M. G. Phillippe, civil engineer of Rouen, France, has considered the subject of damp in buildings, in papers that are reviewed in "Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine." Damp is caused in buildings by the presence of water in the atmosphere and the soil, combined with the porosity of building materials, which absorb it. Its effects are to cause disintegration of masonry, the decay of timber, the development of saltpeter on walls, and injury to the health of the inhabitants of the buildings, with damage to the decorations of the walls and to furniture. Remedies to prevent and cure it may be applied to both the causes by: 1. Employing suitable materials for cellars and other parts of buildings below or on the level of the soil; 2. Inserting damp-courses to stop the upward progress of damp; 3. Applying preparations to protect the face of the exposed wall from the weather, or to prevent damp in the wall from affecting an apartment; and, 4. Adopting precautions against infiltration. Concrete, covering the whole ground-area of the future building with a layer four inches thick, forms the most thoroughly sanitary foundation. Well-puddled clay is also good and inexpensive, but is not effective in old buildings. The porosity of materials has been obviated by injecting them with gas-refuse, by immersing or washing them in solutions of soap and alum successively, by plunging them into a solution of silicate of potash, and by painting them with gas-tar. Mortars are made impervious by mixing them with cement. Parquets may be preserved by laying them upon bitumen. Ventilating bricks, which are made in France twice as large as common bricks, admit air to the interior of walls, and thus keep them dry. Under the Joumet patent, ventilable and perfectly dry floors and areas are made by laying the cement around pipes, which, being drawn out, leave the foundation penetrated by tubes. Conduits are made with the glycometallic liquid, or with gutta-percha. The stone settings of windows should be made moisture-proof, and leaden gutters on the inside, to catch the moisture that drips from the glass, will be of service. Slates should be hung on the Fourgeau or Chevreau hooks, with which the damp-admitting holes required when nails are used can be dispensed with. Finally, drains from closets should be furnished with ventilating pipes.


Are Marriage and the Family in Danger?—Certain magazinists, croaking preachers, and foreigners who look at American society through telescopes leveled at Utah and Chicago, have sounded a cry of alarm that the marriage institution and the purity of the family are decaying in the United States. Their assertions are founded on the frequency with which divorces are sought in some places where the process is made particularly easy. Granting that divorces are too freely given, and that the appetency for divorce indicates that something is wrong in the morals of the parties: have the alarmists ever stopped to inquire what are the moral characters of the parties aside from the fact of the divorce suit, or whether their morals would probably be any better if there were no possibility of divorce? And have they ever reflected upon the preponderating numbers of American married people who never think of applying for divorce, but are striving with all their might to build up and maintain a pure and healthful family life, and would continue to do so even if it were as easy to get a divorce as to buy a pair of boots? The very facts the alarmists cite show that there is no relation whatever between facility of divorce and moral laxity. In Maine, divorce is of the easiest the court grants it at its discretion yet no man in his senses will say that society in Maine is a whit less pure than in New York, where divorce is of the hardest to get. South Carolina allows no divorces, while North Carolina has a divorce law that is singularly lax, yet no difference can be perceived in the morality of the two States. Boston, where divorces are quite numerous, is quite as moral, to say the least, as Paris, where no divorce is allowed. An increase in the number of divorces is not observed in the United States only, but is receiving attention in countries where laxity can not be predicated of the laws. It is the case "enormously," according to the confession of the "Pall Mall Gazette," in England. In France, legal separations have gone up from 1 to 370 marriages in 1840-'50, to 1 in 152 in 1860-'70. In Belgium the ratio of divorces has risen from 1 in 576 couples in 1840, to 1 in 200 in 1874.


Biology in Public Schools.—Mr. George W. Peckham, of the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) High School, has told how he has succeeded in teaching biology to his classes of boys and girls. Two years' experience convinced him that imparting the power "of repeating classifications of animals with all the appropriate definitions" had nothing to do with communicating genuine knowledge. He prepared a series of laboratory notes sufficient for the dissection of a few plants and animals, and used Huxley and Martin's text-book, after it was published, as a laboratory guide. The school board provided eight Beck's students' microscopes, and, he says, "we begin with the study of the torula; we then take in succession the following organisms: protococcus, amœba, bacteria, mold, stone-work, ferns, flowering plants, infusorian fresh-water polyp, clam, lobster, and frog. We devote to laboratory one hour daily for seven months. At the end of the course come morphological and physiological generalizations. Our classes number about eighty, and are divided into working sections of sixteen each. The average age of the students is sixteen years, rather more than half of them being girls. I have found the students eager and enthusiastic, and the large majority of them regret the untimely end of their study of biology," which is limited by the procrustean regulations of the school-course.


Nature of Diphtheria-Poison.—Drs. H. C. Wood and Henry Formad, co-operating with the National Board of Health, have been studying the nature of the diphtheritic contagium. They began with inoculating rabbits, under the skin or in muscles, with diphtheritic membranes taken from the throats of patients in Philadelphia. Not diphtheria but tuberculosis followed as an indirect and not a direct result of the inoculation, the relations between the two diseases seeming to be only apparent. When the false membrane was inserted into the tracheas of the rabbits, severe trachitis was produced, with an abundant formation of false membrane, identical with that of diphtheria. It was shown by further experiments that the production of false membrane involves nothing specific, but that any trachitis of sufficient severity is accompanied by it. The product differs from that of true diphtheria only in its containing fewer micrococci. Diphtheritic poison was next obtained from Ludington, Michigan, where a severe epidemic was raging. Inoculations with this matter, whether made under the skin, in the muscles, or in the trachea, were all followed by similar results, namely, a quick affection, a rapid spread of the local symptoms, and death; and the blood, examined during life or after death, was found to contain micrococci precisely similar to those found in the Ludington cases; and in a few instances the plants were found in the internal organs and the bone-marrow. The urine of patients suffering from malignant diphtheria is full of micrococci, and is even more deadly in its effects than the membrane. When cultivated, micrococci from Ludington grew rapidly up to the tenth generation, and those from Philadelphia ceased their growth in the fourth or fifth generation, while those taken from a furred tongue, which showed similar shapes, never got beyond the third transplantation. The conclusion was drawn that the micrococci found in ordinary sore-throat and those of diphtheria differ only in their reproductive activity. When rabbits were inoculated with cultivated micrococci, diphtheria was produced with the second generation, but never with any later product. Diphtheria may be self-generated whenever conditions arise within the body or act upon it from without competent to stimulate the inert micrococci in the mouth into active ones.


Scientific and Popular Experiments in Pathology.—Mr. John Simon, D. C. L., LL. D., in his address before a section of the International Medical Association, on "State Medicine," has forcibly presented the duty of the state to facilitate and encourage scientific researches into the causes of disease. All that we know or can know on this subject, he maintains, is and must be learned by experiment. The experiments that give us the teaching we seek are of two kinds: scientific experiments, carefully prearranged and comparatively few, performed in pathological laboratories, and for the most part on other animals than man; and "the experiments which accident does for us, and, above all, the incalculably large amount of crude experiment which is popularly done by man on man under our present ordinary conditions of social life." Thus, in regard to Asiatic cholera, we have the scientific infection experiments of Professor Thiersch and others, performed on a few mice; and, on the other hand, the popular experiments which were performed on a half-million of human beings in London during the cholera epidemics of 1848-'49 and 1853-'54 by the water companies. M. Villemin has gained information of incalculable value concerning the causes and nature of tubercle from his laboratory experiments on other animals than man, and has been followed by others who have developed and extended his discoveries. Professor Gerlach, of Hanover, has in a similar manner studied the transmissibility of tubercle from animals to man by eating their flesh and drinking their milk. The popular experiments, performed by milk-dealers serving their customers, which lead us to suspect that tuberculosis might be transmissible through milk, are performed daily upon thousands of human beings. "The scientific experiments which have made us certain of the fact were conclusive when they amounted to half a dozen. Thus, without making any account of the relative value of human beings and animals, the scientific experiments are vastly more economical than the popular. They have the further advantage of being precise and exact, while the popular experiments very often have in them sources of ambiguity which lessen their usefulness for teaching." The principal problems to be solved in preventive medicine are how, by cross-breeding or otherwise, to convert a short-lived or constitutionally enfeebled stock into a long-lived or vigorous one, which has hardly yet become a practical question; and how to avoid or resist the extensive interferences which shorten life, on which much has been learned by vivisection, and more remains to be learned. Of the investigations in the latter line which have led to results of momentous value are cited the diversified researches of Pasteur and others on germs, and their specific applications to the diseases of domestic animals and man; Drs. Klebs and Tommasi Crudelli's examinations into the intimate cause of marsh-malaria; Dr. Grawitz's studies of the conversion of ordinarily harmless microphytes into agents of deadly infectiveness; Dr. Lister's application of Pasteur's discoveries to the antiseptic treatment of wounds; Professor Semmer and Dr. Krajewski's discovery of inoculation against septæcemia; and Dr. Schüller's contributions to the treatment of tubercular and scrofulous affections, on the basis of their microphytic origin. No work has been performed of more promise to the world than these various contributions to the knowledge of disease, its cure and prevention; and they are contributions which from the nature of the case have come, and could only have come, from the performance of experiments on living animals.


A Dangerous Tendency in Science.—Mr. W. Spottiswoode, in his president's address before the Royal Society, has sounded the note of alarm against an evil that has begun to affect science, and may result in harm if it grows. Research, he suggests, is being drawn into the hurry that characterizes other departments of life in our generation, and the glamour of sensational fame is too apt to blind the eye to the light of the solid honor which is the real and best reward of science. "Apart from other reasons, the difficulty, already great and always rapidly increasing, of ascertaining what is actually new in natural science; the liability at any moment of being anticipated by others, constantly present to the minds of those to whom priority is of serious importance; the desire to achieve something striking, either in principle or in mere illustration—all tend to disturb the even flow of scientific research. And it is, perhaps, not too much to say that an eagerness to outstrip others rather than to advance knowledge, and a struggle for relative rather than absolute progress, are among the most dangerous tendencies peculiar to the period in which we live." Happily, this tendency has not yet become general in science, and Mr. Spottiswoode's calling attention to it may go far toward providing a cure for it.


The Supposed Volcanoes in Central Asia.—The existence of volcanoes in Central Asia was formerly generally recognized on the authority of Humboldt. As the vast regions included in that country have become more accessible to Europeans, many of the supposed volcanoes have been proved to have no real existence, and the investigations of Russian explorers have resulted in showing that what in many instances were regarded as volcanoes were merely extensive fires of stone-coal, Muschketoff maintained, in 1876, that there was no recent volcano in the country except, perhaps, Mount Baishan. Two years later General Kolpakoffsky endeavored to solve the question relative to that mountain, but his expedition failed to reach it. Last year he had better success, and a dispatch was read from him at the meeting of the Russian Geographical Society, on October 29th, stating that he had found the apparent volcanic phenomena there also to be caused by a stone-coal fire, that had been burning so long a time that no one could tell when it had begun. Opposite to Baishan is Mount Kiuntag, where the fire has ceased. The slopes of Baishan are marked with holes from which smoke and sulphurous gases stream out, and the fire in the interior is attended with a great noise. The question of the existence of volcanoes in Central Asia appears to be decided in the negative by this report, which also strengthens the theory that the action of volcanoes is chiefly due to water; for the supposed volcanoes in the interior of Asia, now known not to exist, afforded the only exceptions to the rule that all volcanoes arc situated near large masses of water.


Reversion of Domesticated Animals to the Wild State.—The Hon. J. D. Caton has been taking some notes, during a sojourn in the Sandwich Islands, on the tendency of domesticated animals, when left to go wild, to revert to the habits, forms, and colors of their wild ancestors. With the exception of the goose and the duck, nearly all the animals which have been introduced into the islands, as well as those which were then held in domestication, have reverted to the wild state. Among them are the ox, the horse, the goat, the sheep, the hog, the dog, the cat, the turkey, the peacock, and the barn-yard fowl. The greatest physical degeneracy was observed in the wild horse and the wild sheep. The latter arc small, gaunt, and long-legged, with a scant and coarse pelage. The ox, in about seventy-five years, while it has not changed much in color and form, has become wild and wary, and very fleet in running over the lava in the mountainous regions which it selects as its home. The wild goats are very numerous, cautious, and difficult to approach, and are mostly white, but some are party-colored. The hog in a single generation "changes in form, color, and habit, from the staid and quiet porker to the fleet and fierce wild boar"; and one imported boar is told of that changed immediately after escaping from a ranch, and became as wild and fleet almost as a deer, with a thin body and arched back, and legs that appeared to be much longer, while he more slowly assumed the dark, sandy color of the wild boar. Turkeys also began quickly to take on the color and shape of the wild turkey. Wild barn-yard fowls fifty years after escaping, occupying an extensive elevated or mountainous wooded country, are the most wild and wary animals in the district, have a faculty of disappearing without noise at daylight, after having made the forest vocal with the crowing of the cocks, and have diminished in size, and become of a uniform buff-color. Judge Caton announces his conclusion in the "American Naturalist," in which his notes are published, that the tendency common to most animals to return to the wild habit, the form, and the coloring of the original species, is possibly strongest in those cases where the animal has been most recently reclaimed from the wild state, or where the change produced by domestication has been most rapid.


Safety on Suburban Railroads.—Two recent railway accidents have forcibly directed attention to the necessity of providing more efficient means of protecting passengers who have to travel on lines whose trains run with excessive frequency, as on the suburban railways of large cities. A train on one of the London railways and a train on the Hudson River Railroad were stopped casually—the first in a tunnel, the other at the end of a curved cut. The signals failed to be given to following trains, which came along in less than five minutes. In both cases hind cars were destroyed, and several persons were killed, and others—sixty in the London accident—hurt. The blame in both cases is attached to the signals or the signal-men. No system of signals can be devised that will be infallible, but those we have can be made better and the method of using them may be vastly improved. The frequency of trains can not be diminished, but will have to be increased as the number of suburbans who do business in the cities increases. The only certain means of obtaining greater security seems to lie in increasing the number of ways out of the city; and, as there is a limit to the number of new railroads that can be built in such places, the way out may at last have to be sought in introducing steam tramways and steam-carriages on common roads. The London "Spectator" says that the present prohibition of these two forms of locomotion is "so absolute and so unreasoning as to operate as a direct check upon invention."


Spontaneous Combustion of Coal.—Seventy cases of spontaneous combustion of coal are recorded as having taken place among 31,116 ships in 1874. The combustion may go on so slowly that the rise of temperature will amount to only a few degrees, and probably always occurs where coal is heaped up in large quantities. Mr. W. Mattieu Williams has been led to the conclusion, by experiments in distilling inflammable hydrocarbon from cannel-slack, that it takes place in some degree in all cases where coal is exposed to the atmosphere. The yield of gas, which was at first good, continuously diminished, and at last became ruinously small, the slack at the bottom of the heaps being little better than coke. Soon after this, the railway to the colliery siding took fire under the rails from the oxidation and heating of the slack with which it was ballasted. The loss from this oxidation is greater in fine coal than when the mineral is in large lumps, because a greater proportion of surface is exposed. The liability to slow combustion varies with the quality of the coal, and is greatest in "brassy" coal, or coal that contains pyrites.


Egyptian Marriage and Animal-Worship.—M. Revillout has been struck, in examining some ancient Egyptian marriage settlements, with the predominance which was given to the wife in the family. In a deed of the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the groom, describing himself as the son of Pehelkons, "whose mother is Tahret," saith unto the woman Tarreteus, daughter of Relon, whose mother is Tarreteus, "I have accepted thee as my wife," and afterward) "I will establish thee as my wife." The preliminary "acceptance" mentioned here was a marriage for a year of probation, like the "hand-fasting" for a year, with power at the end of the year to break the contract, that used to prevail among the Highlanders of Scotland, and analogies to which may be found among some other people. An important point to be noted in the deed is the naming of the mothers of both contracting parties as a fact which, in itself, demonstrates the importance of the woman in the family, and as a survival of the time when family names were derived, not from the father, but from the mother. After accepting and establishing the woman as his wife, the man, among other things, promised to pay certain damages if he should take another wife, and gave the woman a kind of mortgage on all his property. Thus, in another deed, one Petoupra assigned to his wife, Neshorpehrat, "not only his house and all his landed property, present and future, but likewise his silver and copper money, his title-deeds and documents concerning his property. . . . He leaves himself absolutely nothing"; and the only clause in his favor was, that his wife should provide for him while he lived, and pay for his funeral liturgies, and for embalming his body when he died. This is not a singular instance. The Egyptian bridegroom, moreover, took his wife's name, and the sons, instead of being called after their fathers, were designated by the names of their mothers. A writer in the "Saturday Review" regards this custom, in connection with animal-worship, as originating in the same principle. The worship of animals, while nearly universal as a whole, was local as to each sacred animal. An animal that was worshiped in one place was hunted down in another, all over the country. These animals were probably originally selected and made peculiar to distinguish the families and stocks of the people, like the totems of our Indians, and the corresponding customs among the Australians and some African races. "There is scarcely a quarter of the globe where the tribes of contemporary savages are not divided into stocks, each of which, like the Egyptians, reveres a sacred animal or plant, from which, like the Egyptian towns, it is named, and (as the Egyptians did) it refuses to eat that animal or plant. Further—and this is the essential point of our explanation—among the tribes which act thus, the mother is the permanent element in the family, and the children (as the Egyptians did) derive their names, not from the father, but from the mother's family." Among most of the purest races the various stocks which worship the different animals arc scattered through all the local tribes. But in China, the worshipers of each animal, or at least the people who derive their name from him, are gathered together, as in Egypt, into local aggregates. Thus, the Egyptian marriage customs and the Egyptian animal worship both seem susceptible of explanation as relics of savagery preserved into the midst of civilization by the extraordinary tenacity of Egyptian conservatism.


A Glossary of Microbes.—Mr. W. Hamlet gives the following classification of the microbes (microscopic organisms of fermentation and disease): 1. Microbes which appear as points are called monads, monera, or micrococci. They are motionless, and may be regarded as the spores of other microbes. 2. Motionless linear microbes—the Bacteridians and the bacilli. To them belongs Bacillus anthracis. 3. Cylindrical mobile microbes, having rounded ends or contracted in the middle so as to form an 8 are the bacteria proper. Among them is Bacterium termo of putrefaction, the commonest of all. 4. Flexuous mobile microbes. They look and act like eels, and differ but little from the equally active bacteria. They are the vibrios. 5. Spiral microbes, resembling a cork-screw, and mobile; Spirilla spirochetæ. Their presence in human blood appears to be connected with intermittent fever. 6. Microbes with heads, very active, having globules larger and more refractive than the rest of the body at one or both ends. These globules arc apparently spores ready to be detached from a bacterium—Bacterium capitatum. Besides these six principal states, the microbes form agglomerations or colonies that often notably change the aspect of the elementary cells, and which have received various names. Agglomerations in microscopic masses, surrounded by a jelly that sticks them together and deprives them of motion, are called zoöglæa. A non-gelatinous membrane formed of motionless bacteria is a mycoderma. Bacteria attached end to end in a string form filaments of leptothrix. A number of spherical micrococci joined one after another form the string of round grains called a torula. A considerable number of species may be included in each of these divisions; and there does not appear at present any way to distinguish by sight a disease-producing bacterium from a harmless one.


Circulation of Blood in the Brain.—Signor Mosso, who has been engaged on the subject for six years, has published some new observations on the different conditions of the circulation of the blood in the brain. He has had the privilege of observing three patients who had holes in their skulls, permitting the examination of the encephalic movements and circulation. No part of the body exhibits a pulsation as varied in its form as the brain. The pulsation may be described as tricuspid; that is, it consists of a strong beat, preceded and followed by lesser beats. It gathers strength when the brain is at work, corresponding with the more rapid flow of blood to the organ. The increase in the volume of the brain does not depend upon any change in the respiratory rhythm; for, if we take the pulse of the fore-arm simultaneously with that of the brain, we can not perceive that the cerebral labor exercises any influence upon the forearm, although the pulsation in the brain may be considerably modified. The emotions have a similar effect upon the circulation of the brain to that of cerebral labor. Signor Mosso has also observed and registered graphically the variations of the cerebral pulse during sleep. Generally the pulses of the wrist and the brain vary oppositely. At the moment of waking, the pulse of the wrist diminishes, while that of the brain increases. The cerebral pulsations diminish as the sleep grows deeper, and at last become very weak. Outward excitations determine the same modifications during sleep as in the waking state, without waking the sleeper. A deep inspiration always produces a diminution in the volume of the brain, in consequence, probably, of the increased flow of blood into the veins of the thoracic cavity; the increase of volume in the brain, when it takes place, is, on the contrary, due to a more abundant flow of arterial blood to the encephalus.