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They had been floated from far away the frontier of Austria. But her days near the upper Oder, and were going of greatness are past. to Hamburg, in order to be there loaded Before the skipper's wife had made on steamers bound for England, for ready my soup, I had passed barges this wood is used in the mines. Next enough to fill a page of statistics ; but year these cargoes will be made up in figures are notoriously fallacious, as Stettin, and not Hamburg. All north every statistician knows.
The good Germany needs coal to a vast extent skipper kept pointing out barge after for the factories that have grown up barge from points in Germany whose along her inland waterways. Ham- geographical situation made it clear burg has been the chief depot for this that soon these waters would see them commodity not merely in supplying no more. The cholera gave Hanıburg the towns along the Elbe, but Berlin, a sharp blow, but the sharper one is Breslau, and beyond. Henceforward that involved in declaring open the sea-going colliers will bring their loads waterway between the North Sea and to ports on the Baltic, such as Memel, the Baltic. Yesterday Hamburg was Königsberg, Elbing, Dantzig, Stettin, facile princeps the commercial harbor Rostock, Lübeck.
of Germany ; to-morrow she begins a In other words, Hamburg to-day decline, slow but distinct. She will ceases to be the nearest port to the soon be known for the ruins of her great centres of German consumption. picturesque warehouses, the excelShe will remain the first seaport of leuce of her eating-houses, the VeneGermany by reason of the excellence tian-like beauty of her thoroughfares, of her harbor, and the fact that she is the Venetian-like character of her hisat the mouth of a river which carries tory. On her epitaph we shall read : harges from the North Sea to beyond “ Killed by the Baltic Canal.”
A MOTH-CATCHING PLANT.— This plant, for its sweet juices is placed at its base. (Araugia albens), which is a native of Attracted by the powerful scent and the southern Africa, was introduced to New prospect of honey, the moth dives down Zealand quite accidentally about seven the calyx, and protrudes its proboscis to years ago, and since then it has been ex- reach the tempting food. But before it tensively propagated there, on account of can do so the proboscis is nipped between its effective service as a killer of destruc- two strong, hard, black pincers, which tive moths. Wherever the climate is mild, guard the passage, and once nipped there the plant is an exceedingly free grower ; it is no escape for the moth, which is held as twines and climbs with great luxuriance, in a vice, by the extreme end of the proand produces immense numbers of white boscis, and dies miserably. The rationale or pinkish flowers, which have a very of the process is not yet explained. А agreeable scent. These flowers attract in- plant of araugia, covering a space of ten numerable moths. On a summer evening yards in length, will destroy as many a hedge of araugias will be covered by a hundred moths every night, and, conseperfect cloud of moths, and in the morning quently, prevent the ravages of fifty times there will not be a single flower that does as many larvæ. It is, however, a singular not imprison one or two, and sometimes as fact that in New Zealand, where the plant many as four insects of various sizes and has often been cultivated for the express genera. The action of the araugia is purpose of destroying the detested codlin purely mechanical. The calyx of the moth (Carpocapsa pomenalla), that wily flower is rather deep, and the receptacle insect declines to enter the trap.
Detroit Free Press.
No. 2665.- August 3, 1895.
Blackwood's Magazine, .
"WHAT IS THE WORLD TRYING TO 258
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TO KNOW! On steep hillside where sleeps untrodden “Of making many books there is no end." snow,
“Now we know in part." Where frozen blasts through Alpine forests blow
To know! Yes! to know ! In wild waste places blooms the poison- We do but piece together still flower ;
Such fragments of the Eternal Will Fair poison-flower ! within whose venom
As He may deign to show. breath
We work by feeble wavering light,
Never to rest, never to rest ;
Were all in full expressed
Through the pale screen that dims it so. Wafted afar, the purple glories fall
To know! To know ! By lowly cottage path and crumbling wall,
II. Hiding in hooded depths the means to
To know! Yes! to know ! Secrets to bid the fluttering heart be still,
But thick black clouds above us swell,
These faint few beams below.
We breathe its humors how we may ;
The fitful lights which strike our sense The quivering lip, the hot brow's fever We seize, and call them day. pain,
We alter as they come and go. The maddening ache of racking limbs and
To know ! To know ! brain, Owe to the deadly draught a magic To know! Yes! to know ! peace.
But when at last through purer air By science ruled, broad earth's mysterious We see the world's great frame laid bare, harms
And life by order grow Yield up their spells - life's knowledge When our unstrained eyes shall find death disarms,
That clear, bright truth reveals the And Nature's self can bid her terrors
And scarce believe they once were blind,
Or earth could dull the seeing soul ;
FROM THE GERMAN OF GEIBEL.
() THOU, at whose command divine
What is the world trying to say?
these things mean,
and tell the secret of May.
Of a leaf tho' never so delicate green ?
C. M. A.
these things mean,
H. C. BEECHING,
From The Nineteenth century. Is it an element which, like hydroRECENT SCIENCE.
gen or oxygen, cannot be decomposed BY PRINCE KROPOTKIN.
into still simpler bodies - a “chemical I. individuality," as
Mendeléeff says, No substance in nature seemed to be which maintains its individual characbetter known to chemists than atmo- ter even when it combines with other spheric air. The composition of air individualities ? Or is argon a mixture taken from the most different localities of several new elements ? Or is it a and altitudes had so often been an- compound of well-known elements alyzed by the best chemists and physi- which were never met before in that cists that up to the last few years it special combination ? These questions seemed almost inadmissible that any press themselves upon every one's gas existing in the atmosphere should mind. However, up to the present date have escaped detection, However, they have not been answered, and most modern chemistry disposes of such per- probably the answer will not be given fect methods of analysis, and our for some time to come, not only bemodern laboratories are supplied with cause the discovery of argon was immesuch wonderfully precise instruments diately followed by the discovery of - it is sufficient to say that in a modern several other gases, but also because weighing the incertitude is inferior to argon is so peculiar in its behavior as one fifty-thousandth part of one ounce to raise a host of questions of para
- that when the study of air and other mount importance for chemistry. The gases was again taken in hand with general reader, accustomed to get from the aid of the new instruments and science ready results, may therefore methods, a vague suspicion began to feel disappointed when, after having grow up. ** After all,” it was said perused the following pages, he only in scientific circles, atmospheric air finds a number of new unsolved probis not so very well known,” and it lems cast upon science. But, to follow possibly may contain small quantities step by step the inquiry which is now of some unknown gases mixed with its going on, to share the hopes and the principal components — nitrogen and doubts of the explorers, and thus to be oxygen, carbonic acid, and vapor of initiated into the mysteries of scientific water. 1 These suspicions are now research itself, and into the methods fully confirmed. When the researches of discovery of scientific laws, is perof Lord Rayleigh and Professor Ramsay haps even more interesting, and cerwere published in full, it became evi- tainly much more suggestive, than to dent that atmospheric air contains over | learn some time later the bare reone-half per cent. of some gas (or sults. maybe gases) formerly unknown, and For the last seven years Lord Raythat this gas — named argon by its leigh has been engaged in remeasuring discoverers — is possessed of chemical the densities of the commonest gases, properties which offer many a puzzle to with all the precision obtainable from the chemist. The distrust which the modern appliances, and his work was announcement of the discovery was soon recognized to be a standard work. met with in August last has been dissi. However, even in the earlier stages of pated since, and the question, What his researches, while he dealt with argon is ? stands now foremost.
oxygen and air, there appeared certain 1 Mendeléeff, in his “ Principles of Chemistry” discrepancies between his otherwise (English Edition, vol. i., p. 226, note 12), already most accurate results, which, precisely expressed the opinion that, under the electrical because the measurements discharge, the nitrogen of the air may be partially dissociated, giving origin to monatomic molecules perfect, could not well be explained by (N). Helmholtz, having received the news of the unavoidable errors, and created a cerdiscovery of a new constituent of the atmosphere, lain uneasiness as to the permanence said that he always thought "that there was some of the constitution of air. But when thing more in the atmosphere” (Lord Rayleigh's lecture on argon at the Royal Institution). be came later on to deal with nitrogen,
things took a more serious aspect. physicist and the chemist, working first Nitrogen is an element; and, whether separately, made the necessary arrangeit be obtained from the air or fromments for isolating the new heavier one of the nitrogen compounds, such as by two differeut methods. They as ammonia, it must always be the obtained it, nearly pure, and on account same gas, endowed with the same of its unwillingness to enter into any physical and chemical properties. And chemical combination they proposed yet this was not the case. Nitrogen for it the name of argou. The discovobtained from the atmosphere by any ery was announced at Oxford, at the one of the usual methods was regularly last meeting of the British Associaby about one-half per cent. heavier than lion. nitrogen obtained in the chemical way This anuouncement, as already menfrom some compound. In each of the lioned, was met with a great deal of two sets of determinations the meas- distrust, which only grew stronger as urements beautifully agreed together; lime went on, and nothing was heard but the two sets totally disagreed, al- during the next five months in support though all possible precautions had of so important a statement. It was evidently been taken to prevent con- only after all the details of the relamination by other gases, and a strong searches were made public at the end of control was exercised to detect con- January last 3 that all doubts as to the tamination if it had taken place. The real existence of a new constituent of disaccord had to be explained." the atmosphere were removed, and the
The nearest explanation was, of whole inquiry was recognized by comcourse, to find fault with the chemically peteut judges as an exemplary chemprepared nitrogen ; notwithstanding all ical research. precautions it might still contain some The first step to be made in an inlighter gas — hydrogen, for instance ; quiry of this sort is evidently to obtain but test experiments were installed and the new body in sufficiently large quan. compelled the rejection of this expla- tities for chemical analyses. This vation, so that there remained but one proved, however, to be a hard task. If other alternative — namely, that the argon easily combined with other atmospheric nitrogen, supposed to be bodies, any amount of it could be obthe purest of the two, was not pure at tained, because the nitrogen of air, of all ; that it contained some heavier gas which there is an unlimited supply, which enters into the composition of contains as much as one per cent. of the atmosphere to no small amount, argon. But the new gas refuses to enbut in some way or another had hith- ter into chemical combinations, and it erto escaped notice. Lord Rayleigh is necessary to absorb all the oxygen, paturally hesitated to draw a conclu-nitrogen, carbonic acid, and so on, from sion so much opposed to all current a giveu considerable volume of air, and opinion, and in his perplexity le ap- lo obtain argon as a residue. Yet ni. plied through the medium of Nature to trogen in its turn is also a very inert chemists, asking them to aid him with body, which it is by no means easy to their suggestions. The suggestions force into a chemical combination; so came, and in a great number ; but none that, after oxygen and the rest have of them explained the difficulty. Some been eliminated, there is still the diffitime later, Professor Ramsay asked and culty of removing nitrogen from the obtained permission to investigate the mixture. It must, for instance, be matter, and the two explorers, the passed for hours again and again over
1 The average weight of one litre of nitrogen Proceedings of the Royal Society, January 31, was 1.2572 grammes when it was derived from the 1895 ; Nature, February 7, 1895, vol. li., pp. 347atmosphere, and 1.2505 grammes for chemically 356. obtained nitrogen.
* Mendeléeff, Proceedings of the Russian Chem· September 29, 1892, vol. xlvi., p. 512. See also ical and Physical Society, March 2 (14), 1895; and liis two subsequent communications to the Royal in Nature, vol. li., p. 543; Berthelot in Comptes Society.
Rendus, February 4, 1895, tome cxx., p. 235 sq.