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feelers) of a palpable nuisance somewhere in the neighbourhood; and like a trusty servant of the public, turned out of his bed instantly, and went in search; till he discovered, hanging among what he judged to be the stems of tangle (Laminaria), three or four large pieces of stale thornback, of most evil savour, and highly prejudicial to the purity of the sea, and the health of the neighbouring herrings. Happy Squinado! He needed not to discover the limits of his authority, to consult any lengthy Nuisances Removal Act, with its clauses, and counterclauses, and exceptions, and explanations of interpretations, and interpretations of explanations.
Nature, who can afford to be arbitrary, because she is perfect, and to give her servants irresponsible powers, because she has trained them to their work, had bestowed on him and on his forefathers, as general health inspectors, those very summary powers of entrance and removal in the watery realms, for which common sense, public opinion, and private philanthropy, are still entreating vainly in the terrestrial realms; so finding a hole, in he went, and began to remove the nuisance, without “waiting twentyfour hours," "laying an information," "serving a notice," or any other delay. The evil was there, and there it should not stay; so having neither cart nor barrow, he just began putting it into his stomach, and in the meanwhile, set his assistants to work likewise. For suppose not, gentle reader, that Squinado went alone; in his train were more than a hundred thousand as good as he, each in his office, and as cheaply paid; who needed no cumbrous baggage-train of force-pumps, hose, chloride of lime packets, whitewash, pails, and brushes, but were every man his own instrument; and, to save expense of transit, just grew on Squinado's back. Do you doubt the assertion? Then lift him up hither, and putting him gently into that shallow jar of salt water, look at him through the hand-magnifier, and see how nature is maxima in minimis.
There he sits, twiddling his feelers (a substitute, it seems, with crustacea for biting their nails when they are puzzled), and by no means lovely to look on in vulgar eyes; about the bigness of a man's fist; a round-bodied, spindle-shanked, crusty, prickly, dirty fellow, with a villanous squint, too, in those little bony eyes, which never look for a moment both the same way. Never mind : many a man of genius is ungainly enough; and nature, if you will observe, as is to make up to him for his uncomeliness, has arrayed him as Solomon in all his glory never was arrayed, and so fulfilled one of the few rational proposals of old Fourier, that scavengers, chimneysweeps, and other workers in disgusting employments, should be rewarded for their self-sacrifice in behalf of the public weal by some peculiar badge of honour, or laurel
Not that his crown, like those of the old Greek games, is a mere useless badge; on the contrary, his robe of state is composed of his fellow-servants. His whole back is covered with a little grey forest of branching hairs, fine as the spider's web, each branchlet carrying its little pearly-ringed club, each club its rose-erowned polype, like (to quote Mr Gosse's comparison), the unexpanded buds of the acacia.
On that leg grows, amid another copse of the grey polypes, a delicate straw-coloured Sertularia, branch on
branch of tiny double combs, each tooth of the comb being a tube containing a living flower; on another leg another Sertularia, coarser, but still beautiful; and round it again has trained itself, parasitic on the parasite, plant upon plant of glass ivy, bearing crystal bells, each of which, too, protrudes its living flower; on another leg is a fresh species, like a little heather bush of whitest ivory; and every needle leaf a polype cell. Let us stop before the imagination grows dizzy with the contemplation of those myriads of beautiful atomies. And what is their use? Each living flower, each polype mouth is feeding fast, sweeping into itself, by the perpetual currents caused by the delicate fringes upon its rays (so minute these last, that their motion only betrays their presence), each tiniest atom of decaying matter in the surrounding water, to convert it, by some wondrous alchemy, into fresh cells and buds, and either build up a fresh branch in their thousand-tenanted tree, or form an egg-cell, from whence when ripe may issue, not a fixed zoophyte, but a free swimming animal. -Kingsley.
BESSEMER'S NEW PROCESS IN METALLURGY.
It is supposed that iron constitutes about two per cent. of the whole mineral crust of the globe. Next to tin it is the lightest metal, next to gold, the most tenacious, and in hardness and usefulness it is second to none. Our land is rich in minerals, and specially rich in this, as the six hundred circular and quadrangular blast-furnaces which every night shed their throbbing glare over our sky testify. And these towers are far from being merely ornamental, seeing they produce more than three millions of tons of crude iron per annum, worth about ten millions sterling, and supply nearly half the world with that metal. And yet, strange to say, the finest qualities of iron have always been imported from Sweden and Russia, and sold in this country at from £30 to £40
ton. The great object in the manufacture of iron is, that it be pure and homogeneous; but for seventy years past, that is, since Henry Cort invented what is called the “puddling process,” there has not been much progress towards this object. The crude molten metal still flows from the cold or hot-blast furnace along the main gutter, or, as the men call it, “ the sow," and then into the branch gutters, called “pigs,” when it cools and hardens. This pig-iron, when again melted, is stirred by a company of bare-breasted, fire-proof men, with iron rods, until it attain some consistency, when it is separated into masses, and hammered and squeezed like dough, to force out the slag or cinder. It is again and again subjected to this process, until it can be called “bar iron,” or “best bar iron," or “ best best.” But even all this overpowering labour, and great expenditure in fuel and wages, are not often effective in rendering the metal quite pure. Scales and cinders often adhere, and prevent union in the mass; and even at best, the texture is one of three kinds,either lamellar, that is, having a tendency to split into sheets; or fibrous, into strings; or granular, to break into grains or crystals. It is thus unfit for the manufac
SEEDS AND SUNSHINE.
close the window-shutters, make a small hole in one of them, so as to permit the entrance of a ray of light, and look at it as it falls upon the opposite wall, you will see only a streak of white light. But if you interpose between the hole of the shutter and the wall a triangular piece of glass—the prism-you will find that the supposed simple ray is broken
of different colours, giving an illuminated surface on the wall at least five times larger than it appeared in its simple form. The colours are so distinct that you may count them. They are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. This representation on the wall is called the Solar Spectrum. Inquiries into the constitution of this have resulted in breaking it up into three parts, namely, light, heat, and actinism.* Each beam of light, it is held, may be resolved into these three parts. The force indicated under the name of actinism is believed to be that which specially conduces to and supports the growth of seeds, when they are covered with the soil. By a series of interesting experiments, Professor Hunt thought he had decided this. Having found simple means by which any one force in the beam of light could be separated from it, he applied his discovery to experiments on the growth of seeds.
It has long been known that darkness is most conducive to the germination of all kinds of seeds. Thus annuals and other seeds germinate most quickly when
* See Note, p. 105.