Page images

bonate of ammonia, or volatile salt, with the addition of perfumes : large quantities are made from the products of the distillation of coal in the gas works.

(60) Testaceous animals are such as have a calcareous

covering or habitation, in which the animal, otherwise naked or fleshy, lives included and protected.

(61) A lint dipped in an infusion of tar in water, and

applied to the sting of a wasp, will greatly alleviate the pain and prevent swelling.

(62) John Nicot, Lord of Villemain, was sent ambassador

to Portugal in 1559, whence he brought the plant, which, from his name, was called Nicotiana, but is now more generally known by the name of tobacco, as it flourishes particularly upon the island of Tobago.

(63) Pure acetic acid is colourless and limpid like water;

it is procured from vinegar by distillation, and also in very large quantities by destructive distillation from wood; this is called pyroligneous acid, and answers (properly diluted) all the purposes of that distilled from vinegar, in pickling and preserving meat, fish, &c. but it is not so pleasant as a condiment. With various bases it forms the salts called acetates. It is useful in the arts and manufactures, also in medicine, and highly concentrated is an ex

cellent remedy for warts. With the addition of camphor it forms the aromatic vinegar.

(64) As soon as the plants begin to flower the busy bee no

longer remains in an inactive state, but quickly proceeds from the hive in search of honey and wax;—the former of which is a sweet limpid juice, found in the nectaries of flowers, and the latter is made by the bees from the dust contained within the anthers of blossoms. The anther, which is supported by the filament or thread of the flower, is a little bag or case, containing the part which is called the pollen. This last is apparently a fine meal; but, when seen through a microscope, every particle appears a little bag, containing a meal yet finer. As the pollen ripens, it swells the anthers, which at last open, and shed it upon the stigma or summit. With the wax the bees form those little hexagonal cells which serve as store houses for the honey. In some parts where bees are kept, it is positively asserted, in case of the death of any of the family, that the bees are put in mourning, by attaching a piece of black cloth to each of the hives, without which the consequence would be fatal to them all. This superstition is followed up to even a greater degree in spme parts, viz. that in the event of the death of any of the family, it is considered necessary to inform the bees of the circumstance, otherwise they will desert the hive, and seek out other quarters.

(65) There are several species of the whale, but the

common Greenland whale is the one with which we are best acquainted. It usually measures from sixty to seventy feet, the head of which makes onethird of its size. The tongue appears fixed in the lower jaw, and resembles a large lump of fat; the eyes are small, and placed very far back in the head. The skin is smootb, and generally black, spotted with yellow and white. The outward skin appears about the consistence of parchment, but the inner one much thicker, and under this covering lies the fat or blubber, which is from eight to twelve inches deep, sometimes more, according to the age. A large fish will produce 20 or 25 tons of oil, the price of which varies from £30 to £45 per ton.

(66) A very pretty experiment may be performed with a

small particle of zinc, showing the great affinity it has to lead. Lead is acted upon by vinegar, and forms acetate or sugar of lead, which, when dissolved in water, leaves a white precipitate. If a piece of zinc be suspended by a thread, and immersed in the fluid, it will be covered almost instantly with the finest Aakes of lead, regenerated in its metallic state, which may be seen approaching it in all directions.


[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »