Imagens da página


and other plants of quite different tribes “Very true, my lord, very true," obsefrom those which now decorate the earth, quiously murmured Sir Log ; " but I think and of a size which would have pretty you might say we. We are surely more well choked up your kinds, surrounded attractive when combined, than either of

us apart!” But, if this is so, where have you “Well, well," quoth old Carbonius, “I been ever since, my lord ?" asked Sir Log. have no objection-let it be we if you like;

“ Down, down in the depths of the earth, indeed, there is some little connection beat rest,” replied Carbonius. “ How long tween us, though we are of different famiI have lain there I know not; but this lies. But there are other branches of the I know, that there I should have been to Carbon family beside myself who make no this hour but for the being you call man, small noise in the world, both as useful who seems to have power to wrench all and ornamental articles. There are my her long-hidden secrets from nature, and cousins Jet, a worthy family, though a litto apply all her long-hoarded treasures to tle of the melancholy complexion ; but the his own special use and emolument. He, Diamonds! O, they are the most illustriby his skill and wisdom, conquered all the ous by far of our tribe; and they are sterdefenses which have so long shielded me ling, sound - hearted creatures, too, and and my other mineralized friends from most intrinsically valuable, never ashamed disturbance, overcame the many dangers to recognize an old friend ; and never do and difficulties which arose from the they look more bright and attractive than deadly gases and devouring subterranean when their brilliant countenances reflect a waters which guarded our dismal prison- glance of recognition from me, comparahouses, and brought us up once more to tively humble as is the position in life the light of day."

which I now occupy!" “ And here we lie now, both together,” ** You speak like an oracle, my lord," responded Sir Log; "you of an ante-mun- said Sir Log, who had become wonderfuldane, and I of a post-diluvian formation, ly respectful since he found “Old Ebony," fast dwindling away into dust and ashes ; as he had irreverently called his comand so will end my pedigree and yours-panion, was so highly connected; " but it my five hundred years, and your five hun seems to me that both you and I are fast dred thousand."

falling to ashes, and in that state we are “ Not so," replied the old dignitary ; not likely to have 'greatness thrust upon “that is a youthful mistake on your part. I thought myself, when in that grand com “ Young again!" growled out old Carbustion of the elements which ended my bon, rather snappishly; "why, my good then state of existence-when, with many friend, you are quite boyish. I maintain thousands of my congeners, I vanished that there is not a particle of either you or from the face of the earth, and was in me that falls from this grate that will not closed by the masses of matter which in some way or other turn to use. We overwhelmed us—that there was surely must .bide our time.' We have now an end of me. Who would have thought had our day of brightness and honor, and that, after unknown ages, (for none can next will come a time of apparent degranumber them; not the wisest among men, dation; but do not be discouraged; it is with all his learning, can answer the sim- all needful to prepare us for our future ple question, When and how was the coal exaltation; even the fire which is now formation deposited ?")—who, I say, would eating out our vitals is aiding in the work. have thought of my ever again becoming We shall be cast out on the face of the an inhabitant of the upper regions? of my earth; then by degrees will come a going through a new stage of existence change—we shall be decomposed, as it is and of usefulness? of my being so import- called ; that is, all our component parts ant to man, that, without my help, many will be dissolved, separated, and each apof his most noble works could not go for- plied to its own special use in chemically ward ? nay, more, of my becoming one of altering the nature of the earth with which the brightest ornaments of his saloons, we are mixed, fitting it for the growth of the cynosure of neighboring eyes,' the vegetables, which will absorb, and feed on center of attraction to all who enter my our different alkaline salts, &c.,-by this presence ?"

means we shall impart to them their va

[ocr errors]


rious flavors and qualities; these veget- from day to day? I used to think that ables in their turn will nourish man and man could do everything; and, to hear beast, and thus we shall again have our some of them talk, one would suppose that day of honor; after which we shall return they thought so themselves; but as you back to the lower stages of our existence, say that you existed ages before man was again hereafter to ascend; and so goes on formed, he can have had no hand in makthe round of wondrous changes, every ing you, or preparing you for your preparticle of created matter having its mis- sent uses." sion, and fullfilling it in its appointed “Man is very wise,” replied old Carcourse."

bonius. “ He can rend her secrets from “ But stay a minute, great philosopher,” nature, and bend the stubborn materials wheezed the now almost exhausted Wood; which lie around him to his will. He can " as you talk, puff, puff, goes your breath solve the deep problems of science, and up the chimney, and now and then, when speak of things long hidden; but ask him you are especially emphatic, a portion of that question, and see what shifts he will it escapes into the room, and deposits be put to in giving you an answer. He sundry black particles on the furniture will talk to you of the laws of nature,' of and walls; you do not mean to say that chemical and electrical agencies '-of those blacks and that smoke will ever anything or everything—but, alas ! how turn to use.

seldom is he found ready to speak of the · Every particle of it, every particle !" God of nature ; to say, simply and boldly, shouted old Carbonius, vehemently. “Did Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the you never see heaps of soot placed on the power, and the glory, and there is no fields, even within sight of the royal do- end of thy greatness !'” main in which you say you grew? Well, “I am glad,” sighed forth Sir Log, as, this soot, like the ashes, is decomposed, with a dying sparkle, his last embers fell and in the same manner supplies nourish on the hearth, “very glad that some day ment to the vegetable, and through it to we shall be great again!” the animal creation. Those particles of our life-breath which are not deposited in the chimney, float away into the air, or

[For the National Magazine.] unite themselves with it; and they, too, have their mission. It is a wonderful

RAIN-DROPS. thought, but follow it out, and you will

SWEET visitants of earth, find what I say to be true: that not one From dark cloud chambers falling, particle of matter has ever existed which Again the glad earth calling has not had, and continues to have, some

To music and to mirth. part to play in the cosmogony of this wide

Like brightly-sparkling gems, world ; not one which does not avail for

Ye fall on leaves in motion ; some purpose or other; nor one which

And cling in true devotion has ever faded into nothing, or ceased, in As pearls to diadems. some form or other, to exist. Infinite,

Or fall to earth unseen, wonderful are the changes which take

And sink to hidden fountains, place in their modes of existence: that Then gaily from the mountains which at one time forms an integral part

Dance down to valleys green. of a solid body, at another becomes an in

Where is the path ye go, visible, ethereal fluid--one of the subtile

Up to your cloud pavilions, essences which circulate in air, water, or Above the kindred millions, some other portion of the material world ; That gem the seas below? while that which was a mere floating gas

I saw ye yesternight becomes in its turn absorbed into a human

Upon the sunbeams dancing, or other living body, and for a time forms That down the west were glancing a part of its vital existence; but nothing In shafts of silver light, utterly perishes, nothing ever has perished."

But ye are wrecks to-day,

And fall in countless numbers, “ One question more, my lord,” said To soothe my day-dream slumbers, Sir Log. “Tell me who contrived this While showers soft anthems play. wonderful mechanism who carries it on



THE ELEMENTS, AND THEIR TRANS- coverer, Professor Shönbein of Bâle, te FORMATIONS.

whom we owe also gun-cotton. If the

breeze be from the land, and has traveled N

seller's apprentice, attended the lec- will probably fail, as ozone does not then tures of Sir Humphrey Davy in the Royal show itself. This new substance has also Institution. Inspired with scientific ardor been found identical with the peculiar and enthusiasm, and eager to escape from odor called the electric smell, given off the trammels of trade, the future savan by an electrical machine in action. But took the bold and simple step of writing to strange as are some of its manifestations, Sir Humphrey. We need not detail his Professor Shönbein shows it to be no new future career; suffice it to observe, that element at all ; and to be, in fact, only next year he became Davy's assistant at oxygen, the chief of the elements, under a the institution, and subsequently his suc masked aspect. Chemists have found our cessor; having, by a series of splendid and terraqueous globe made up of sixty-three beautiful chemical and electrical discove- so-called simple elements; of these, thirries, taken a first place among the celeb- teen are most widely distributed, and of rities of science. He is now no less noted the latter again, one-oxygen-composes for the lucidity and grace of his expositions about two-thirds of our globe. It is presthan for his deep pryings into natural ent as a gas in our atmosphere; we drink mysteries. In the course of his duties, it liquid as water, and carry it about with Professor Faraday delivered, during the us as part of our nerves, our muscles, and spring and summer of 1852, a course of our clothing; it feeds our blast-furnaces six lectures, &c., on the non-metallic and quenches our fires, while vast stores elements, to the members of the institution. of it are locked up in the solid rock. In These have been published ; and while the varied properties of it and its neighbor commending them to our readers as one elements, we see how, though seemingly of the most delightful and instructive most unmanageable and discordant, they chemical hand-books in our language, we are made to watch like ministering angels would direct attention to a marvelous around us, each performing tranquilly its chemical phenomenon which is now at destined function, moving through all the tracting the attention of philosophers. various phases of decomposition, decay,

However eager for notoriety, no dandy and death ; then springing into new life has yet astonished us by appearing clothed and assuming fresh forms. Allotropism in a dress that can change from sober drab brings out this in a most striking manto brilliant green. The chemical elements, ner. The experiments by which we disnevertheless, have something of this ma- tinguish simple oxygen give with ozonized gical property; for recent discoveries oxygen very different results. Ozone has prove that in nature the same substance a peculiar smell ; oxygen none.

Pour a may be distinguished by distinctly op- blue solution, a solution of sulphate of posite qualities, and may appear in the indigo, into ozonized oxygen, and it is most diverse forms. This phenomenon quickly bleached; in ordinary oxygen it has been called “ allotropism ;" or, as far remains unaltered. In ozonized oxygen, as the Greek words may literally be ren the effluvium of tainted meat is instantly dered, “ another state.” We have been destroyed; and sheets of silver foil, which accustomed to think of the elements as remain unchanged in the ordinary gas, resembling certain gentlemen clothed in soon crumble into dust - the oxide of unchangeable black; now, however, we silver. Our knowledge of this mysterious may find them, according to circumstances, substance has been too short to enable us in all the colors of the rainbow.

to assign it its true place in the grand If an observer, provided with slips of economy of nature. Doubtless it accombibulous paper which has been dipped in a plishes most important purposes. And solution of iodide of potassium and starch, though the speculations as to its connecascend a hill near the sea, while the wind tion with health and disease, and as to its is landward, he will find that the papers relations with certain great epidemics, suddenly change their tint, becoming blue. both in the human family and the vegetable This indicates a new chemical agent in kingdom, are at present very wide and the atmosphere, called ozone by its dis- | imperfect, busy savans are in this field

anxiously toiling for more positive infor- It was speedily dissipated into gas, which, mation.

by means of the limewater test, was Many other bodies, besides oxygen, ex- proved to be carbonic acid. It is even hibit this change of properties in different so; the glistening gem which monarchs phases of condition. Common sulphur, strive after, and the black diamond which when placed in a Florence flask and heat- the miner disembowels far down below the ed to a certain point, fuses, and the liquid surface, are but modifications of one and produced by the fusion is a thin pellucid the same substance; yet how widely dibody; applying more heat, it loses its verse in their practical bearings on hutransparency, and becomes thick and black- manity! In the deep laboratories of naens; at which juncture the Florence flask ture, during long ages, by unknown and may be inverted without the liquid coming mysterious processes, the wood of primeval out. Heated still further, a vapor is forests has been successfully changed into given forth, and the sulphur again becomes coal, anthracite, plumbago, and the dialiquefied. Poured in this state into cold mond. It would seem, too, that by excess water, the liquid is no longer yellow and of heat, we may bring back the gem to brittle, but has become a substance like one of the antecedent stages of its formaIndia rubber or gutta percha, on which tion. Thus Professor Faraday had on the seals and impressions may be and are lecture-table diamonds which had been taken. In this condition it remains for exposed under peculiar conditions to an days, and even longer. Professor Shröet intense heat, and with the singular result ter, of Berlin, lately astonished his friends of converting them into coke. The gems by his temerity in wrapping some sticks seemed to have lost their crystalline asof phosphorus in paper, and walking about pect, and to have opened out, forming a with them in his pocket. Ordinary phos- cauliflower-like excrescence, and assumphorus we keep in water, for fear of spon- ing the aspect of coke. taneous combustion; this, however, was Most interesting is it to mark how, after allotropic phosphorus. This discovery ages of speculation, the human mind rehas been of the utmost importance in con verts back in the train of old thoughts and nection with the arts, particularly as re ideas. It is a long time since men segards lucifer-match making, for the vapors riously professed to produce the nobler of common phosphorus have a most pre- from the baser metals; but now it would judicial effect on persons subjected to their seem as if this wild dreaming was not all influence. They occasion a disease which a dream. It is surely interesting to know, corrodes, ulcerates, and destroys the bones, that men like Faraday think that “the even sometimes producing death. Now, philosopher, once led into this train of by the employment of allotropic phos- speculation, ends involuntarily by asking phorus, this may be prevented; while at himself the questions - in what does the same time it serves all practical pur- chemical identity consist? in what will poses equally well with the ordinary de- these wonderful developments of alloscription. Allotropism is thus no mere tropism end? whether the so-called chemscientific nicety, but a trustful guardian of ical elements may not be, after all, mere that which is of all earthly things most allotropic conditions of fewer universal precious. Our next illustration of this essences ? whether, to renew the speculatransformation of the elements is a pleasing tions of the alchemists, the metals may be as well as pretty one. Let a sheet of only so many mutations of each other, by paper, on which has been printed a St. the power of science mutually convertible ? Andrew's cross with the red iodide of There was a time when this fundamental mercury, be heated, and the redness doctrine of the alchemists was opposed to will be immediately changed into yellow. known analogies; it is now no longer opAnother experiment, and perhaps the most posed to them, but only some stages beyond conclusive, was performed by Professor their present development.Faraday ; but this, we fear, few of our In an age of so much sciolism and prereaders will be inclined from its expense tence, very instructive is it to see the deep to make. A diamond held by a little religious spirit manifested by our proplatinum clamp, and ignited to whiteness foundest inquirers into nature's mysteries. in the oxy-hydrogen fame, was plunged | Our high-priests of science seem now most while incandescent into a jar of oxygen. I willing to proclaim the glory and the

majesty of that King whose tender mercy Huber and others upon bees. Every one is over all his works. Again and again, is aware that the queen-bee is an object in these lectures, are we reminded of the of the greatest solicitude to all the workauthor and preserver of this wondrous ers of the hive; and yet among so many universe ; indeed, we are told that a main thousands, all busily employed in different design of these prelections was “to de- and distant parts of the colony, it would duce further evidence of the beneficence, appear impossible for them to ascertain, power, majesty, and wisdom of the eternal at least before the lapse of a considerable Disposer of all.”

time, whether she was absent from among

them or not. In order to see whether CAN INSECTS TALK ?

bees had any power of conveying news of

this kind, the queen-bee has been stealthTHIS may indeed seem a strange ques- ily and quietly abstracted from the hive;

[ocr errors]



meaning of the word to the capability of to fly apace. For some half-hour or so, expressing ideas by means of articulate the loss seemed not to have been ascersounds; nevertheless, a little reflection tained; but the progressively increasing will convince any one who is conversant buzz of agitation gradually announced the with the habits of these creatures, that, growing alarm, until shortly the whole though they may have no tongues, they can hive was in an uproar, and all its busy express themselves in some way or other occupants were seen pouring forth their " with most miraculous organ." Various legions in search of their lost monarch, or experiments might be quoted in proof of

eager to avenge with their stings the inthis; let us, however, select one or two sult offered to their sovereign. On rewhich seem to leave no room for dispute storing the captured queen to her subjects about the matter. Any one who finds him- with equal secrecy, the tumult speedily self in the vicinity of an ants' nest, may subsided, and the ordinary business of the soon be convinced that these industrious community was resumed, as before the little laborers are by no means destitute of the power of communicating information to each other relative to the affairs of their

[For the National Magazine.] commonwealth. Let him, for example, place a heap of food in the neighborhood

SOLACE IN GOD. of the ant-hill, and watch the proceedings of its inmates. A short time will probably elapse before the discovery of the treasure;

When cares vex thee-woes perplex thee

Wrestle, soul, till thou art free! but at length some wanderer, in his morn

In God's bosom nestle thee, ing's ramble, has the good fortune to stum

Who for his own child elects thee, ble upon it. What does he do? He does Heals thy frame by wounding—makes thee not, like an isolated individual, incapable Great and strong through agony! of asking for assistance, begin at once the

When cares vex thee-woes perplex thee

Wrestle, soul, till thou art free! task of removing the heap, but, on the contrary, off he scampers with the glad Clouds o'er heaven in blackness sweeping, intelligence, and running his head against Are but curtains of the light. that of every ant he meets, manages, in

Onward, then, with steady sight!

Time's dark waves, now madly leaping, some mysterious way, not only to intimate

Will soon be sleeping-soon be sleepingthe fact of the discovery, but also to give Sorrow lasteth but a night. information relative to the locality where Clouds o'er heaven in blackness sweeping, the provisions may be found, for speedily

Are bat curtains of the light! it will be seen, that troops of porters summoned at the call of the first finder, hasten True SAFETY.-Would we be safe from to the spot, and all is activity and bustle, evil, and quiet from the fear of it, let reuntil the store is safely warehoused in ligion always rule us, and the word of the ant-hill. Another still more striking God be our counselor. That is the way instance of the possession of a capability to dwell safely in this world, and to be of spreading intelligence, and that of a quiet from the fear of evil in the other somewhat abstruse character, is furnished world. If we make religion our business, by experiments that have been made by God will make it our blessedness.

« AnteriorContinuar »