Free Online Classic Books


Prev | Next | Contents

Notes to This Volume

Notes --- Scherezade

{*1} The coralites.

{*2} "One of the most remarkable natural curiosities in Texas is a petrified forest, near the head of Pasigno river. It consists of several hundred trees, in an erect position, all turned to stone. Some trees, now growing, are partly petrified. This is a startling fact for natural philosophers, and must cause them to modify the existing theory of petrification. -- Kennedy.

This account, at first discredited, has since been corroborated by the discovery of a completely petrified forest, near the head waters of the Cheyenne, or Chienne river, which has its source in the Black Hills of the rocky chain.

There is scarcely, perhaps, a spectacle on the surface of the globe more remarkable, either in a geological or picturesque point of view than that presented by the petrified forest, near Cairo. The traveller, having passed the tombs of the caliphs, just beyond the gates of the city, proceeds to the southward, nearly at right angles to the road across the desert to Suez, and after having travelled some ten miles up a low barren valley, covered with sand, gravel, and sea shells, fresh as if the tide had retired but yesterday, crosses a low range of sandhills, which has for some distance run parallel to his path. The scene now presented to him is beyond conception singular and desolate. A mass of fragments of trees, all converted into stone, and when struck by his horse's hoof ringing like cast iron, is seen to extend itself for miles and miles around him, in the form of a decayed and prostrate forest. The wood is of a dark brown hue, but retains its form in perfection, the pieces being from one to fifteen feet in length, and from half a foot to three feet in thickness, strewed so closely together, as far as the eye can reach, that an Egyptian donkey can scarcely thread its way through amongst them, and so natural that, were it in Scotland or Ireland, it might pass without remark for some enormous drained bog, on which the exhumed trees lay rotting in the sun. The roots and rudiments of the branches are, in many cases, nearly perfect, and in some the worm-holes eaten under the bark are readily recognizable. The most delicate of the sap vessels, and all the finer portions of the centre of the wood, are perfectly entire, and bear to be examined with the strongest magnifiers. The whole are so thoroughly silicified as to scratch glass and are capable of receiving the highest polish.-- Asiatic Magazine.

{*3} The Mammoth Cave of Kentucky.

{*4} In Iceland, 1783.

{*5} "During the eruption of Hecla, in 1766, clouds of this kind produced such a degree of darkness that, at Glaumba, which is more than fifty leagues from the mountain, people could only find their way by groping. During the eruption of Vesuvius, in 1794, at Caserta, four leagues distant, people could only walk by the light of torches. On the first of May, 1812, a cloud of volcanic ashes and sand, coming from a volcano in the island of St. Vincent, covered the whole of Barbadoes, spreading over it so intense a darkness that, at mid-day, in the open air, one could not perceive the trees or other objects near him, or even a white handkerchief placed at the distance of six inches from the eye._" -- Murray, p. 215, Phil. edit._

{*6} In the year 1790, in the Caraccas during an earthquake a portion of the granite soil sank and left a lake eight hundred yards in diameter, and from eighty to a hundred feet deep. It was a part of the forest of Aripao which sank, and the trees remained green for several months under the water." -- Murray, p. 221

{*7} The hardest steel ever manufactured may, under the action of a blowpipe, be reduced to an impalpable powder, which will float readily in the atmospheric air.

{*8} The region of the Niger. See Simmona's Colonial Magazine .

{*9} The Myrmeleon-lion-ant. The term "monster" is equally applicable to small abnormal things and to great, while such epithets as "vast" are merely comparative. The cavern of the myrmeleon is vast in comparison with the hole of the common red ant. A grain of silex is also a "rock."

{*10} The Epidendron, Flos Aeris, of the family of the Orchideae, grows with merely the surface of its roots attached to a tree or other object, from which it derives no nutriment -- subsisting altogether upon air.

{*11} The Parasites, such as the wonderful Rafflesia Arnaldii.

{*12} Schouw advocates a class of plants that grow upon living animals -- the Plantae Epizoae. Of this class are the Fuci and Algae.

Mr. J. B. Williams, of Salem, Mass., presented the "National Institute" with an insect from New Zealand, with the following description: " '_The Hotte_,a decided caterpillar, or worm, is found gnawing at the root of the Rota tree, with a plant growing out of its head. This most peculiar and extraordinary insect travels up both the Rota and Ferriri trees, and entering into the top, eats its way, perforating the trunkof the trees until it reaches the root, and dies, or remains dormant, and the plant propagates out of its head; the body remains perfect and entire, of a harder substance than when alive. From this insect the natives make a coloring for tattooing.

{*13} In mines and natural caves we find a species of cryptogamous fungus that emits an intense phosphorescence.

{*14} The orchis, scabius and valisneria.

{*15} The corolla of this flower (Aristolochia Clematitis), which is tubular, but terminating upwards in a ligulate limb, is inflated into a globular figure at the base. The tubular part is internally beset with stiff hairs, pointing downwards. The globular part contains the pistil, which consists merely of a germen and stigma, together with the surrounding stamens. But the stamens, being shorter than the germen, cannot discharge the pollen so as to throw it upon the stigma, as the flower stands always upright till after impregnation. And hence, without some additional and peculiar aid, the pollen must necessarily fan down to the bottom of the flower. Now, the aid that nature has furnished in this case, is that of the Tiputa Pennicornis, a small insect, which entering the tube of the corrolla in quest of honey, descends to the bottom, and rummages about till it becomes quite covered with pollen; but not being able to force its way out again, owing to the downward position of the hairs, which converge to a point like the wires of a mouse-trap, and being somewhat impatient of its confinement it brushes backwards and forwards, trying every corner, till, after repeatedly traversing the stigma, it covers it with pollen sufficient for its impregnation, in consequence of which the flower soon begins to droop, and the hairs to shrink to the sides of the tube, effecting an easy passage for the escape of the insect." --_Rev. P. Keith-System of Physiological Botany_.

{*16} The bees -- ever since bees were -- have been constructing their cells with just such sides, in just such number, and at just such inclinations, as it has been demonstrated (in a problem involving the profoundest mathematical principles) are the very sides, in the very number, and at the very angles, which will afford the creatures the most room that is compatible with the greatest stability of structure.

During the latter part of the last century, the question arose among mathematicians--"to determine the best form that can be given to the sails of a windmill, according to their varying distances from the revolving vanes , and likewise from the centres of the revoloution." This is an excessively complex problem, for it is, in other words, to find the best possible position at an infinity of varied distances and at an infinity of points on the arm.There were a thousand futile attempts to answer the queryon the part of the most illustrious mathematicians, and when at length, an undeniable soloution was discovered, men found that the wings of a bird had given it with absoloute precisionrvrt since the first bird had traversed the air.

{*17} He observed a flock of pigeons passing betwixt Frankfort and the Indian territory, one mile at least in breadth; it took up four hours in passing, which, at the rate of one mile per minute, gives a length of 240 miles; and, supposing three pigeons to each square yard, gives 2,230,272,000 Pigeons. -- "_Travels in Canada and the United States," by Lieut. F. Hall._

{*18} The earth is upheld by a cow of a blue color, having horns four hundred in number." -- Sale's Koran.

{*19} "The Entozoa, or intestinal worms, have repeatedly been observed in the muscles, and in the cerebral substance of men." -- See Wyatt's Physiology, p. 143.

{*20} On the Great Western Railway, between London and Exeter, a speed of 71 miles per hour has been attained. A train weighing 90 tons was whirled from Paddington to Didcot (53 miles) in 51 minutes.

{*21} The Eccalobeion

{*22} Maelzel's Automaton Chess-player.

{*23} Babbage's Calculating Machine.

{*24} Chabert, and since him, a hundred others.

{*25} The Electrotype.

{*26} Wollaston made of platinum for the field of views in a telescope a wire one eighteen-thousandth part of an inch in thickness. It could be seen only by means of the microscope.

{*27} Newton demonstrated that the retina beneath the influence of the violet ray of the spectrum, vibrated 900,000,000 of times in a second.

{*28} Voltaic pile.

{*29} The Electro Telegraph Printing Apparatus.

{*30} The Electro telegraph transmits intelligence instantaneously- at least at so far as regards any distance upon the earth.

{*31} Common experiments in Natural Philosophy. If two red rays from two luminous points be admitted into a dark chamber so as to fall on a white surface, and differ in their length by 0.0000258 of an inch, their intensity is doubled. So also if the difference in length be any whole-number multiple of that fraction. A multiple by 2 1/4, 3 1/4, &c., gives an intensity equal to one ray only; but a multiple by 2 1/2, 3 1/2, &c., gives the result of total darkness. In violet rays similar effects arise when the difference in length is 0.000157 of an inch; and with all other rays the results are the same -- the difference varying with a uniform increase from the violet to the red.

{*32} Place a platina crucible over a spirit lamp, and keep it a red heat; pour in some sulphuric acid, which, though the most volatile of bodies at a common temperature, will be found to become completely fixed in a hot crucible, and not a drop evaporates -- being surrounded by an atmosphere of its own, it does not, in fact, touch the sides. A few drops of water are now introduced, when the acid, immediately coming in contact with the heated sides of the crucible, flies off in sulphurous acid vapor, and so rapid is its progress, that the caloric of the water passes off with it, which falls a lump of ice to the bottom; by taking advantage of the moment before it is allowed to remelt, it may be turned out a lump of ice from a red-hot vessel.

{*33} The Daguerreotype.

{*34) Although light travels 167,000 miles in a second, the distance of 61 Cygni (the only star whose distance is ascertained) is so inconceivably great, that its rays would require more than ten years to reach the earth. For stars beyond this, 20 -- or even 1000 years -- would be a moderate estimate. Thus, if they had been annihilated 20, or 1000 years ago, we might still see them to-day by the light which started from their surfaces 20 or 1000 years in the past time. That many which we see daily are really extinct, is not impossible -- not even improbable.

Notes--Maelstrom

{*1} See Archimedes, "_De Incidentibus in Fluido_." - lib. 2.

Notes--Island of the Fay

{*1} Moraux is here derived from moeurs, and its meaning is "fashionable" or more strictly "of manners."

{*2} Speaking of the tides, Pomponius Mela, in his treatise "De Situ Orbis," says "either the world is a great animal, or" etc

{*3} Balzac--in substance--I do not remember the words

{*4} Florem putares nare per liquidum aethera. -- P. Commire.

Notes-- Domain of Arnheim

{*1} An incident, similar in outline to the one here imagined, occurred, not very long ago, in England. The name of the fortunate heir was Thelluson. I first saw an account of this matter in the "Tour" of Prince Puckler Muskau, who makes the sum inherited ninety millions of pounds, and justly observes that "in the contemplation of so vast a sum, and of the services to which it might be applied, there is something even of the sublime." To suit the views of this article I have followed the Prince's statement, although a grossly exaggerated one. The germ, and in fact, the commencement of the present paper was published many years ago -- previous to the issue of the first number of Sue's admirable Juif Errant, which may possibly have been suggested to him by Muskau's account.

Notes--Berenice

{*1} For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of warmth, men have called this element and temperate time the nurse of the beautiful Halcyon -- Simonides

End of Notes to Volume Two

Prev | Next | Contents



Home

Free Online Books

Free eBooks

 Bible eBooks


Learn about using eBooks on ...
Sony Reader - iPhone or iPod Touch - iPad - Nook - Kobo eReader - Android

Recommended Sites
eBookMall - Literature Project - Topic Sites - Text Library - eBooks Enthusiast

eBook Links
EPUBDownload E-Books - eBook Reader Comparisons - Top 5 iPad eBook Apps - Top 5 Android eBook Apps - How to Choose an eBook Reader

Copyright 2000-2012 Learn Library

Privacy Policy