D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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to the Brahmans, and five per cent, to the
Jains. The Buddhist caves are the oldest
and the most interesting. They are all true
caves, excavated at right angles to the face
of the rock in which they are formed, with
designs appropriate to their situation in it.
The caves of the Brahmans are often copies
of structures whose outlines have no ref-
erence to the position in which they are
placed, or the material out of which they are
carved. The Buddhist caves seem to have
been gradually developed from single plain
cells cut into the rock, the dwelling of a
single anchorite, into groups of eighteen or
twenty cells, arranged around a hall sixty or
seventy feet square, the roof of which was
supported by pillars elaborately carved,
the whole forming a vthara or monastery.
Such caves are usually found grouped to-
gether, five or ten, and even fifty or sixty
in immediate juxtaposition, so as to form
an establishment capable of accommodating
a large number of monks. To each of the
groups was attached one or more chaityns
or " church-caves," as they might be called,
which were analogous in form and use to the
choirs in Christian churches. The finest of
these is that of Carlee, near Poonah.

Lunar " Craters.'' — M. Faye recently de-
livered a lecture at the Porbonne, on the
volcanoes of the moon, the substance of
which was an essay to show that there are




no volcanoes in the moon. Volcanic action
can onlv take place where water is present.
The moon having no water, the idea of such
action there is precluded. M. Faye supposes
that the so-called " craters" of the moon
were formed, not by erruptive action, but
by the action of the fused mass of the in-
terior upon the crust, after it had begun to
solidify. The liquid mass was subject to
tides, which, surging against the crust un-
der the influence of the earth's attraction,
washed holes in it, when the fluid rose
above it, and formed ridges around the
holes, in the same way as the tidal waters
of the sea act upon shore-ice. The ridges
thus left formed the rings or circles of the
" craters." The continuing solidification of
the fused matter finally caused a forma-
tion of a bottom to the crater. Sometimes
the bottom, not yet firm, would yield to the
pressure of the molten mass beneath it,
which, rising through it again, left the cen-
tral hills which are remarked in some of
the circles. M. Faye does not deny that
water may have once existed in the moon,
and have been finally absorbed in the solid
matter, but he asserts that it could never
have existed in the shape of seas, or in such
quantities as to occasion volcanic action.
If it had so existed, evidence of its action
on the land would still be visible ; but no
feature of the moon's surface exhibits an
appearance attributable to any known action
of water. The appearance of the craters is,
moreover, not like that given by terrestrial
volcanic action, but is that which would be
given by the agency M. Faye supposes.

Arrow-Poison of the Sonth-Sea Islands.

— Herr Weisser, of the German war-ship
Ariadne, has obtained from a Christianized
native of the South-Sea Islands a descrip-
tion of the preparation of the poisoned ar-
rows and spears of his people. It is a mat-
ter of intricate processes, and is the pe-
culiar business of a class who possess the
secret. The spear and arrow heads are made
from the arm and leg bones of persons who,
having died of acute diseases, have been
buried for five or six months. The spear-
heads are made of the larger bones of the
leg, to which the shaft, inserted in the hol-
low, ia bound with a string of bark. The
other bones are sawed with an instrument

made from the spines of an echinus into
pieces an inch or two long, and ground down
to a fine point for arrow-heads. The poison
is prepared from several plants, three of
which are almost invariably used. The
most poisonous of them is the toto, a large
tree, bearing handsome white flowers and a
red, almond-like nut, the juice of which,
sprinkled into the eyes, produces blindness,
taken internally, death, and which seems to
be allied to the spurges. Another plant,
called ptdu, is of the family of the dog-
banes; and the third plant, called nasola
and fannamamala, is another spurge, rep-
! resented in Samoa by three species. The
leaves of these trees, stripped of their stems
and points and dried, are pulverized ; a pow-
der of the scrapings of old weapons is add-
ed ; the mass is wrapped up with a sea-worm
(holothuria) in a leaf of colocassia. The
foul liquid which results from the dissolu-
tion is thickened with more of the powder
into a thin paste ; earth gathered from the
neighborhood of a wasps'-nest, and pulver-
ized with a thigh-bone, is put in ; the mixt-
ure, having been dried in the sun, is treated
with the oil of an old cocoanut; a dark,
{ cloudy oil is formed after a month of ma-
j nipulation, and this is put away for a year
I till it becomes of the consistency of fat,
j when the poison is considered ready for use.
I The spear and arrow heads are smoked in
1 a furnace prepared for the purpose with a
I particular wood. The manipulator takes a
small portion of the poison, rubs it care-
; fully upon the arrow-head, and again smokes
! the latter. The prepared heads are wrapped
I in the dried flower-stalk of a tacca-plant,
j and are then put in a quiver made of the
j cylindrical stems of the banana, and hung
j over the fire to dry, for dampness spoils the
preparation. The poison is fatal if taken
internally, but no man ever thinks of re-
venging himself on his enemy by adminis-
tering it to him. Women, however, are said
sometimes to rid themselves of an unloved
husband in this way. The effect of wounds
by the poisoned spears and arrows is ordi-
narily great local pain, followed by general
disturbance of the system, ending in a few
days in convulsions, lockjaw, and death.
Sometimes, if the wound is cut out immedi-
ately, the patient recovers ; at others, the dis-
ease assumes a more gradual form, but ends



quite as malignantly. Lockjaw appears in
every fatal case. Some men pretend to be
acquainted with antidotes, but their first care
ou being called to a patient is to remove
everything that might excite him to convul-
sions. The father of the native who fur-
nishes the description of the poison assured
him that he had been often wounded, and
had averted the evil effects by cutting him-
self in different parts, so as to draw away
the poisoned blood.

The Socnlar Changes of Level in the
Earth's Crnst. — Professor Suesz, author
of a work on the " Origin of the Alps,"
recently delivered an important address
before the Geological Institute at Vienna,
on the fundamental causes of the repeated
changes which have taken place in the dis-
tribution of land and water on the globe,
lie assumed that, as viewed in the light of
more recent observations, the question did
not concern apparent elevations or depres-
sions of land within particular spaces, but
dealt with an increasing prominence of the
whole northern polar cap of the earth, far
down into the temperate zone, effecting a
real change in the form of the planet.
Howorth, who thought he had detected an
elevation of the land toward both poles,
and a depression near the equator, con-
cluded that the solid part of the earth was
steadily suffering a contraction in the equa-
torial regions, and becoming projected tow-
ard the magnetic poles. Robert Chambers,
in England, forty years ago, and Domeyko,
in Chili, inferred from the repeated occur-
rence of terraces, apparently showing that
the land had risen, that a force was at
work changing levels which embraced the
whole planet ; and, in later times, many who
have studied the subject most thoroughly,
as Pettersen, have not repressed their
doubts of the sufficiency of the common
theory of elevations to account for the phe-
nomena which they have observed. Many
have been led, from the force of these facts,
to embrace the theory of Adhemars and his
followers, Croll and Schmick, that accumu-
lations of great masses of water take place
alternately around one and the other pole ;
but the presumption of alternation is con-
tradicted by the fact that terrace-formations
occur along the coasts of South America,

I South Africa, and Southern Australia,
■ which seem to be as remarkable and as
I regular in their distribution as those which
1 have been observed in the northern hemi-
1 sphere. In order to be accurate in expres-
sion. Professor Suesz does not speak of
elevations or depressions either of the land
or the sea, but of displacements of the coast-
lines ; of negative movements when the re-
sult is an apparent elevation, positive move-
ments when it is an apparent depression of
the land. Using these forms of expression,
the height of the upper level of a series of
terraces does not represent a measure of
the rising of the land, but the amount by
which the sum of the negative movements
of the shore-line since the time when it was
at its highest level is greater than the sum
of the positive movements. That repeated
changes from one movement to the other
are the rule is shown by the step-like form
: of the coasts at points where many traces
of them have been left, as at Van Rensse-
laer Harbor, Port Ffoulke, and Cape York,
in the Arctic regions. Sometimes they so
balance each other that the coast-line is
substantially stationary for a long time,
when a steep cleft in the rocks is formed,
as above Montreal and at the Island of
Tromsoe. We know nothing of the laws
that govern these oscillations. Many of the
comparisons of level l\itherto made have
been liable to error, arising from regarding
the partly compensated sum of the several
movements in one place and the latest ob-
i served movements in another place as of
equivalent value. Many examples show
that a positive movement has taken place
on the coast of Europe within historical
times, reaching at Naples to the holes in
I the pillars of the temple of Serapis at Puz-
j zuoli; at a later period, perhaps between
tho fifth and ninth centuries, a negative
movement began, of which we can not defi-
i nitely say whether it still continues or not.
The oscillatory character of the changes
can hardly be comprehended from the
point of view of a movement of the solid
part of the earth's crust ; it might rather
be compared to the breath of a living body.
Some investigators, as Charles Darwin and
Kjerulf, have adopted the theory of inter-
rupted or rhapsodical elevations, instead of
the old one of symmetrical oscillations ; but



the extent of the terraced shores shows
that this view is erroneous. Such shores
have been found everywhere in high north-
em latitudes, so far as their wastes have
been penetrated. They are also extensively
found, but generally diminishing in height,
down in the temperate latitudes. In other
words, around the north pole, and far down
toward the south, the sura of the negative
movements of the coast-lines is greater
than the sum of the positive movements,
but the sums become more nearly equal as
we come south. The opposite is the case
in the tropical waters, in the regions of the
coral reefs, where the sum of the positive
movements is in excess. Farther to the
south, beyond the twenty-fifth to the thirty-
fifth parallels of latitude, there begin again
to appear, in South America, in South
Africa, Southern Australia, and New Zea-
land, terraced lands like those of the north,
the same excess of negative movements, the
same signs of oscillation, as in the north.
The gradual tendency to a higher exposure
of the land toward both poles has been
noticed in single large tracts by many ob-
servers in North America, in England, Scot-
land, Scandinavia, China, Australia, and
South America. When we consider as a
whole the character and extent of these
movements, as recent observations have
defined them, and regard the compensatory
results of the excess of positive movements
toward the equatorial regions, and of the
negative movements toward the neighbor-
hood of the poles, we shall be convinced
that we should no longer speak of an inex-
plicable oscillation of the lithosphere. We
have, in fact, to do with continuous changes
in the figure of the fluid covering of the
earth. Since the epoch of the maximum
of cold, which Ilochstetter believes came
upon both hemispheres at once, an excess of
positive results has taken place in the direc-
tion of the poles, causing an accumulation
of water around them, and this has been
followed by an accumulation in opposite
directions, or toward the quator, causing a
change of form which is still going on.

Persian Opinm. — The production of opi-
um has greatly increased in Persia within
the last two years, and the quality of the
drug has been correspondingly improved.

Previous to 1876 the average annual produc-
tion was about 2,000 cases, and the largest
return in one year did not exceed 2,600
cases. The amount for 1878-79 was 6,700
cases, and the estimate for 1879-'80 is for
7,100 cases. Great care is now taken to
prevent adulteration, but this does not ap-
pear to be always essential. Five sixths
of the product is sent to China. For this
market the drug must be fine and prepared
in oil, but need not be rich in morphia.
It can be largely swelled up with foreign
substances, with but little danger of detec-
tion by the testing processes in use there.
It is said that pure and superior opium,
though not so finely manipulated, has been
rejected in China, while the fine opium, con-
taining admixtures, has found favor and a
fair market. The preparations intended for
England are made especially pure, and yield
an average of about twelve per cent, of
morphia, while those intended for China
jield from nine to ten per cent.

Mortality in Different Pursuits.— The

reports of the British Registrars-General
show that the annual death-rate in the Unit-
ed Kingdom is about one in forty-five of the
entire population. The larger, but not the
largest, towns lead in the rate of mortality,
and the rural mainland districts occupy an
intermediate place between them and the
insular districts, the extremes varying by
about fifty per cent. As between the three
great classes into which the population may
be divided — the laboring, the trading and
professional classes, and the gentry and
titled — the chances of life are very nearly
equal, although a slight advantage appears
to be shown in favor of the first class. The
trades most unfavorable to long life are,
as a rule, those which tend to expose the
operative to an atmosphere loaded with dust,
or compel him to deal in one way or another
with poisons. Dry grinding, as practiced on
needles and forks at Sheffield, is the worst ;
working in coal-mines is next in deadliness.
Gilders and silverers of glass are exposed
to vapors of mercury ; workers in brass are
liable to diseases produced by exposure to
volatilized oxide of lead ; all who work in
paints are subject to great risks; soldiers
and sailors have their lives shortened by the
exposure they have to undergo, or by diseases




brought on by their habits of living. Bak-
ers, tailors, and milliners are liable to con-
sumption ; compositors peculiarly so. Press-
men fare better than compositors, probably
because their work is more active. In the
country, farming appears to be the most
healthy of occupations, while that of the
innkeeper is the most fatal. Butchers die
comparatively early, as also do brewers,
draymen, and generally those who have
much to do with establishments for eating
and drinking. The over-exertion of those
who follow athletic pursuits appears to con-
duce quite as much to short life as does the
sedentary strain of the student. It seems
to make but little difference in the " expec-
tation of life" of in-door workers whether
their labor is hard or not ; but those who
are employed out-of-doors have a chance of
living six years longei-, if their work keeps
them busy and active, than if it is a mere
matter of routine and standing around ; and
a " comparison of the tables leads us to the
conclusion that the life of the out-door work-
er with little exercise is worse than that of
the sedentary in-door worker, whether with
little or with great exercise." The most
curious fact brought out is that the scav-
engers, dustmen, and cleaners of sewers in
London are reckoned among the healthiest
of the population.

Conditions of Color in Flowers. — The

physiological processes of the coloring of
flowers and the relations of different agen-
cies, as light, temperature, the nature of the
soil, and natural selection, arc examined by
F. Hildebrand in a work on the present
variations and former development of the
colors of flowers. The variations in the
colors of flowers seem to be without limit,
yet they are controlled by laws both in
nature and in cultivation. Each kind has
certain directions in which variations are
more likely to take place, which are limited
in extent, and are denoted by the colors
which its congeners prefer. The character
of the variations which any one species will
take corresponds with the variation direc-
tion of other species of the genus, and can
not be essentially changed by cultivation.
All colors may be made to turn to white.
Blue-blooming species may be made to vary
to violet and red, but not, with the single

exception of the blue hyacinth, to yellow.
The variations of red-blooming species in-
cline toward the colors of the nearest re-
lated species ; if both yellow and blTie kinds
occur among the latter, the inclination is
rather to the yellow tints, but a pure blue is
never reached. Efforts have been made
without success to produce blue pinks, zin-
nias, roses, hollyhocks, ranunculuses, prim-
roses, and balsams. A yellow-blooming
species will not vary to clear blue, even
when there is a blue species in the same
genus. Generally, the yellow-varying spe-
cies belong to such genera as move in
the red and yellow circle of colors, and the
variations occur inside of this circle. The
membrane of the plant-cells is nearly color-
less. Colors arise either from the chloro-
phyl, the coloring-matter connected with
the solid bodies within the cells, or through
the coloring of the cell-juices, or by changes
taking place in both the chlorophyl and the
cell-juices. The red and orange colors ai-e
generally derived from the chlorophyl, as
is exemplified by the fact that the red and
orange masses in many flowers arc fre-
quently developed out of mas:es that were
before green. The chorophyl is seldom
replaced by a red or blue grainy matter.
White is readily produced, for all that it
requires is the absence of chlorophyl or its
presence in only a limited quantity. Other
colors are produced by the coloring of the
cell-juices with other matter than chloro-
phyl. So originate the rose-red flowers,
some of the fiery red, most of the violet and
blue. If no coloring takes place, the flower
is white ; hence the abundance of white
flowers, and their occurrence whenever a
species is made to vary. If a change takes
place in both parts, if the chlorophyl is
modified and the cell-juice is colored too,
mixed colors, both bright and dark or dusky
ones, are produced. A bright red often be-
comes prominent in this way, which, when
combined with yellow arising from the chloro-
phyl, gives such colors as we find in the
canna and nasturtium. Dnrk colors are
produced by the association of green or
yellow grains of chlorophyl with a violet
juice, as in the nightshade. We look for
the origin of diversities of color to condi-
tions of light, temperature, and soil, and
to the operation of natural selection. Dif-



ferent plants require different degrees of
light and heat for the formation of their
colors. Ferns and conifers need but little.
Different colors require different degrees for
their development ; yellow is an exception,
for it seems to be found equally well under
the most varied circumstances. Some red
flowers, as the tulips, color well in the dark,
and the blues and violets seem partly inde-
pendent partly dependent on the light. The
crocus takes on its deep-blue violet in the
dark, wliile the Prunella grandijlora remains
white. A steady supply of nutriment is
essential. Askenasy tried some cut branches
of foxglove and other plants in a glass ex-
posed to a strong light. The first flowers
that came out were bright, but the others
grew paler, and the last were nearly white.
The failure of nourishment neutralized the
stimulating effect of a strong light. Tiie
effect of these external agencies is depend-
ent on the disposition of the flower to par-
ticular colors. They may aid the tendency,
but do not perceptibly modify it. The sup-
position that particular seasons are favor-
able to the development of particular colors
is not fully established ; and the real amount
and extent of the influence of changes of
season on color is not ascertained. The in-
vestigation of the effect of the soil is at-
tended with great difficulties. When we
change the soil, we change other relations,
as those of light and temperature, without
being able to measure the part that each
may have in producing the result we see.
By introducing changes in all the conditions
we cause an abrupt modification in the life
of the plant, by which it becomes more
docile to our treatment. Hence most of
the variations take place under cultivation.
Variation once started, further changes arc
comparatively easy. Natural selection oper-
ates to perpetuate variations. Those colors
which stand out most distinct from the sur-
rounding green attract the insects which act
as fertilizing agents, and become predomi-
nant and permanent.

A Fortress of the Polished-Stone Age
in Spain. — M. A. F. Nogues, mining en-
gineer, gives in "La Nature" an account
of a fortified camp of the polished-stone
age, situated on the plateau of Maestrazgo,
Spain, which was discovered by the Abb6

Ambrosio Sans, and which he has recently
visited. The work is situated on the eleva-
tion called the Muela de Chert, which con-
stitutes the highest groups of hills of the
plateau, rising 2,880 feet above the sea.
The end of the plateau shows a steep lime-
stone ledge inaccessible at almost every
point. At a considerable distance from this
point, the lines of the fort are marked by
an irregularly disposed mass of weather-
browned stones running across the ridge
which is the continuation of the Muela, and
separating the higher parts of the eminence
from the lower levels of the plateau. A
real fortified inclosure is thus formed, de-
fended on one side by the natural precipi-
tous escarpment, and by the wall along the
rest of the circuit. The curved part of the
wall, for a length of about eight hundred
feet, is built of stones without mortar, ar-
ranged from the level, not of the surface of
the ground, but of excavations made in the
mountain by the prehistoric builders. On
the south, the wall ends at a short distance
before reaching the precipice ; and here are
found traces of an opening or the gate to
the inclosure, which is about eight feet
wide at the bottom. In the interior of the
fortification are a smaller wall, still intact,
and piles of stones, the remains of former
habitations, the greater part of which have,
however, disappeared. Those which have
been traced were of an oval form, about
twenty feet long by six and a half feet wide,
sometimes grouped, sometimes isolated, but
arranged apparently so as to conform to
some politic regulation. When the ruins
were first discovered, the bones of many
animals which are now extinct in Spain, as
well as those of some still living in the coun-
try, were found at the bottom of the wall.
Without the inclosure were found stone im-
plements, polished hatchets of a white, red-
dish-veined quartz, lance-points of blackish
dioritc, and other objects of the polished-
stone age. Such a work could only have
been constructed by a settled population,
who had already attained considerable num-
bers. No traditions of the historic period
mention such fortifications ; and on this
fact, as well as on the occurrence of the re-
mains of animals that have not lived in
Spain for time immemorial, is based the
presumption that the structure dates from



an extreme antiquity. This is one of the

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 90 of 110)