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Xb£-ComgL-lTiaLls_Coming and What May Be Expected if It Hits Us A. recent telegraphic announcement from one of tbe astronomical observatories situ ated in the Southern Hemisphere tells of the appearance of a large comet. Ordinarily there is nothing startling in such announcements. It is a matter of every lay occurrence under the present advanced state of astronomical science for tbe observers to find a comet within the field of view of their telescopes, and only those of probable importance find mention in the newspapers. Tbe one alluded to in the dispatch mentioned is by some thought to be the return of the great comet of 1880, whose giant tail measured at the time of its last appearance over 150,000,000 miles in length. Because the ordinary observer fails to perceive with the naked eye these wander* ers of space, it must not be supposed that their number is limited. The best astron omers are agreed that the number of comets is very great. Arago estimated that there are at least 17.500.000 within the orbit of Neptune. Lambert points out where he thinks Arago neglected to in vestigate, and places the number at over 500,000.000. Kepler says: "Comets are scattered through the heavens with as much profusion as the fishes in tbe sea." From tbe beginning of tha Christian era to the close of the present century there is trustworthy record of about 1000, of which we are fairly satisfied that prob ably hal/ a dozen have returned. Proba bly at least five have been seen to each one recorded, so we may conclude that at least 5000 have appeared during that time. What has become of the immense number which apparently visited our system but once? The theories put forward to account for ti.e formation of comets are many. They are all ingenious, but unproven. Cole, a noted English observer, thinks it possible that there are other emanations from the sun and from the stars (which are other sun=), besides that of light. If this be the case the comets in their passage from one system to the other may attract and col lect the particles scattered in the immense regions of space. This would account for the very dense and extensive atmospheres ooserved to surround most comets. Professor Young of Dartmouth College thinks that comets consist of matter ejected from our sun and from other suns. The North Pole and the Magnetic Pole Parted Company 1 2,000 Years A2O It is a weil-known scientific fact that the magnetic pole of the earth is not coinci dent with the pole of revolution, but is located about 70 degrees north latitude, near King Will am- Land. The magnetic poie is not a fixed point, but varies con tinually, though slowly, pursuing a path a^out the true pole, its shifting periods estimated at 640 years. One would naturally suppose that if the axis of the earth since the beginning had held a constant po-ition on inclination, the two poles, that is— the magnetic and the revolutionary poles — would be coincident, especially so when we remember that, as the magnetic pole is constantly moving at an appreciable ra:e, it should by this time certainly have found its center of influence. If it is assumed, as it is by eminent philosophers if not by geologists, that at one time the magnetic pole nas coincident with tbe revolutionary pole (about 12,000 years ago), then the solution is apparent, and since the change of axis of the magnetic pole is moving in a spiral, its center will again eventually coincide with tbe present revolutionary pole. Astronomy has pointed out that tbe axis of the earth is still -wobbling." In fact, it is a very suspicious wobble — a wobble within a wobble, if you please — tbe greater wobble having a period of 428 day*. It is surmised, too, that the greater wobbling motion is but an epicycle of a still greater wobble, which will account for the poor orientation of the pyramid of Ghizen, as well as the fact t at the sun, when in Cancer, at Athens, doe* not come so far north by a degree as it did 2000 years ago. Xh.s .cads to the statement asserted witb confidence and defended with assiduity, that the revolutionary axis of tbe earth is shifted periodically. And if this be true it is of hf utmost importance to scien tist-, explaining many events which have been too much in the dark. Colonel Fred G. Piummer, formerly State Geologist of Washington, has recently publ shed an excellent treatis-e upon tbis tuuject, en titled "The Last Chance of the Earth's Axis." Mr. Plummer is ueserving of The Queen Lily and the Wheat Belong to One Tribe QF THE many who admire the queen lily now blooming in the park conserva tory, few perhaps remember that it- mag nificence is the outcome of a process of change prolonged through countless anej, during which environments favorable to size and beauty were predominant, and that each portion of its structure is trace able to some corresponding portion, foundation or possibility in the struciure oi the unpretentious ancestor of the lily family. To tbe mind of the botanist who can discern kindred traits in the most seem ingly diverse species, and can trace th? family tie between the giant ot the forest and the scant h rbage of the mountain peak, the lily tribe unfolds a marvelous retrospect of evolutionary adjustment to conditions. According to a noted au thority the first flower boanical'y en titled to be called a lily, though now ex tinct, is fairly represented by the simple marsh lily, the gagea depicted in the illustration. Many of the tribe blond with these triple formations developments of their own in the direction of growth, of beauty, or ootb, while others lose some of the lily traits, but, retaining the foundation, di verge into a less ornamental form, just as a modern storehouse may be constructed from the ruined walls of a c»stle. Ol the first class the Victoria lily is the climax though it also numbers in its ranks such exquisite developments as the asphodel, the tulip an t the orchid. Conspicuous in the second class is the grass tribe in its thousand varieties, includiug the familiar stalk of cultivated wheat. The gap between the latter and the night- blooming lily, resting its large blossoms and leaves on the deep water and sensitively c anqing its color witb the hours of day, seems a wide one, but it has been bridged over by several plants that probably represent the chief stages of transi ion. The large species of white water lily, the Egyptian lotos and the prickly leaved eurgale of East India suggest the route of On September 7, 1871, Professor Young witnessed an extraordinary explosion on tbe sun. Tbe expelled matter was seen oy nim to ascend to a height of 200,000 miles above the sun's surface, traveling with a velocity of 166,000 miles per second, l'bis would give an initial velocity of over JOO.OOO miles a second, and if there wus iot any resisting medium in space would je sufficient to carry the ejected matter aeyond the sun's attraction. It is believed ;hat there is a resisting medium in space. The use of the spectroscope has enabled is to learn something of the material of which comets are composed. Observa tions with it, and the fact that meteoric Six-Tailed Comet, J764. showers are intimately associated with cometary routes, lead to tne opinion that comets are composed of a blazing nucleus and a mass of separated matter, such as metalliferous stones, clay dust and gas. The nucleus gives out intense heat and masses of burning gas which is luminous. It is probable that comets shine with both inherent and reflected light. That the comet is constantly undergoing great physical action is apparent to every care ful observer. The appearance of the tail is constantly changing. Apparent vibra tions or coruscation begin at the head and traverse tbe enormous length of the much credit, for not only coilectine ana collating the valuable information, but for the fearless and original way in which he presents the matter. it is by the kindness of Mr. Plummer, whose little book is protected by copy right, that permission has been granted The Call to introduce ib.6 facts and theories advanced. It is claimed that the shifting of the axis, 'hat is, the revolutionary axis, will explain tbe reason of the flood, the sinking of continents, more especially Atlantis, the presence of drift deposits, the bir;n of j Niagara, the position of the magnetic pole, t c frozen mammoth in Alaska, the reinder in Europe and many of the myths and traditions of all ancient nations. It has been stated as a fact by some philosophers that upon several occasions vast areas upon the eartu have been sud denly changed, even in a single night, from tropical and semi-tropical countries into the bleak and bowling wildernesses of a frigid zone. And this effect may readily be accounted for by a shifting of the axis, which movement controls the different climates experienced with the earth to a large extent. In his book Mr. Plummer says: The fact that the flora and fauna of the earth are found in zone*, and that the fossils, or former evidences of life, are not found In zones coincident wltn our present lines of lati tude, are enough to force tbe conclusion upon any thinker that tne past has seen vast changes of climate upon the earth. How, in deed, may changes of climate occur so that points of equal latitude will be affected equally excepting by a chan«?e of the earth's axis? As long as the earth revolves iv Climates will be in z-^nes, and no theory can explain how Ice sheets existed in Oh. o when Siberia was not glaciated, or uhtf the reindeer made his hou:e in Europe while t\ie mammoth led upon the tropical vegetation at Alaska, ex cepting on the theory that ihe zones, and con s. quently the axis, were foimerly different. Many other and even more famous au thorities might be cited to the same effect, and some selections from them are pre sented, as follows: We must imagine that the hills and valleys divergence from the ancstral iily or simo.e gagea to ihe exuberance acqu red in the waters of the Snutli American tropics. The trail of divergence from the gagea to the ear of wheat has been more definitely trace!. .tMrstcorae* thecommon rush famiiy.whose smai. di;iny blossoms in a trroup are sen when magi.itied to be the true lily tye, though botanic-ally classed as merely of the lily tribe. Another link ia a marsh plant known as the wood rush. As shown in the illustration, its The Yellow Gagea. small blossoms are in a loose cluster like wild garlic, which, in spite of its insi nifi cant flower and its strong individuality among the floral host, is botantcally classed as a true lily. Moreover, the wood rush combines small brown-tinted flowers like the common rush witb flat tuperinjr leaves like the urass tribe. Tne glutinous seed vessel a so gives an idea of the begin n ngs of grain formation. Finally, botani cal researches detect in the enocaulon, a rather rare but interesting bosc plant, with lancelike leaves and blossoms in a Close tuft, a strong suggestion of the stalk oi THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1896. tail in a few seconds. Perhaps some form of electrical energy is present creating the constant state of intense excitement. The questions of greatest interest to the majority of people are: Do comets exer cise any influence upon tbe ear. h? Is here any danger of a comet colliding with the earth; and if so, what would be tbe result? A few comets have had their motions sufficiently well observed and computed to enaDle us to predict the length of time equired by them to complete the tour of their orbits. One of these, known as Encke's, is a small affair of short period. Another, known as Haliey's, is a large Haliey's Comet, 1835, one completing its orbital revolution in about seventy-five years. Its first re corded appearance occurred in A. 1). 1005, and that year was marked by a great fam ine in Europe. Its next appearance was in 1080 when a terrible earthquake took place. Its subsequent appearances, to gether with the attendant abnormal earth conditions, are as follows: 1155, cxc ssive cold and great crop failures; 1230, inunda tion of Germany; 1304, intense cold and drought; 1380, awful pestilence; 1456, in undation and earthquake; 1531, great floods; 1607, intense cold and drought; 1682, floods and big earthquake; 1759, about the present site of New York were cov ered with noble trees and wltn a dense under growth of species for the most part different from those now living there, xnd that these were the homes and feeding ground fof many kinds of quadrupeds and birds which have long since become extinct. The broad Diane wnicn gently sloped seaward irom the high lands must have been covered with a sub tropical forest of giant trees end tangled vines teeming with animal life. This state of things doubtless continued through many thou sands of years, but ulti mately a change came over the fair face of nature more complete and terrible than we have language to de scribe. — Popu.ar Science Monthly. We see that the the ory of a catastrophe accompanying or caus ing this change of cli mate is advocated. This delightful Climate was not confined to the present temperate or tropical regions. It ex tended to the very shores of the Arctic Sea. In Norm Greenland, at Atam-Kordiuk, in lati tude 79 degrees north, at an elevation of more than 1000 feet above the sea, were found the remains of beeches, oaks, pines, pop ars, maples, walnuts, mag nolias, limes and vines. T..e remains of similar plants were found in Spitzbergen, in latitude 78 degrees 56 minutes. —American Antiquarian. It is not ;o be pre sumed the flora was Outline Map of the Northern or Land Hemisphere Before the Change of the Earth's Axis Took Place, Showing Portions of Lemuria and Atlantis, as Drawn by Colonel Fred Plummer, Geologist. carried into tne polar regions. It must have be. n overwhelmed by the "great winter." Wl.at caused the great winter? If astron omy is to be telieved ihe sun has not coo:e<i mater. al'.y since oak-, pines and pop lars came to grace the earth. The fact that the wheat, the sj Ike form being a final ste:> in diver ence. It must be understood ih.-t ■acn small division of the ear of wheat Is the transformed representative of what, under different envi'Otituents, wou.d have been one complete hly. The process of change which endured for cctintl- «s airea ran scarcely be called a retroeres«ion, con si ierini the utility at tained in the fi a: stave. But that su h a type of flon.i b auty as the Lily, and surh a type f.f ••tfibl- vegetation as the grain o whea\ should he cradled on the s:mif ancestral s'alk s evidence of the hidden resources provided by nature for the emergencies caused by environment Rose O'Halloban. JV'RING the past days a dark streak ex tending in an east and west direction miebt have been isceriied on the di<k ■ f the sun i yen without the aid of magnify ing power. It was h large ?roup fsmali Minspots, and the peculiarities of the dis turbance have especial interest now w. thin two years of the period of comp;«ra;iv so I :ir quietude, when the di«k will be un si otted lor weeks and months in succes sion. The number and >ize> o these phe nomena have been decreasing since 1894, and the solar cycle, which includes a max imum and a minimum of disturbance five and a naif ytnrs apart, will not be completed until about the fourth year of the next century, when the spots may be expected to ap pear again in gr.-at numberas in 1892-93. As tbe cause of this eleven-year cycle is still unknown and that oi the spots also some what unsettled, an accumulation of de tails as to the position, form and dura tion of solar disturbance is always of value in the study of solar physics. On September 9, when three sni;ill groups were distributed over the d sk, this group appeared on the cast limb, thus showing a stream of successive disturbances across trora east to west. As it advanced it was seen to be co posed of about ten small black spots in a straight line cu r-ously entwined with a curving line of six or seven small spots, all connected witb an encircling nenum bral area, which in tbe foreshortened vie*v seemed to be a gr>up of unusual length. As it approached the central portion of the disk, where dimensions are best seen, it proved to b» more than 100,000 miles in ieiiL'tli mid from twenty to thiriv in Width, while the size of the spots was I floods and earthquake; 1835, remarkably variable weather and great earthquake in E'j-vpt. We have vet to learn the story of 1910. In ihe years 526, 1721, 1783, 1822, 1831 and 1834 jjreat remarkable dry fogs ex tended oyer a large porion ot the earth and these years were marked by the ap pearance of large comets. The second question may be answered by the statement that already the eaith has passed through the gaseous portion of more than one comet, and it is believed by good authority that she has passed through the body of at least one comet within re cent years. A certain short period comet, known as Biela's, failed to appear at the appointed time in 1872. Instead, there was visible a very rich shower of meteors, through which the earth passed Novem ber 27 and 30. 1872. So certain were the astronomers at this side of tbe globe that the meteoric stream was Biela's comet dis integrated that they telegraphed to tbe observatory at Cape Town, in Africa, to watch the skies for Biela's comet, and sure enough the African ob servers saw the fragments of the comet receding from the earth. Did the collision affect the earth? Let us see. In October, 1871, the earth passed through the gaseous envelope of Biela's comet, and t enceforth the comet has not been seen as a comet. It was broken up by its con tact with the earth. But in October, 1871, there occurred awful conflagrations in the Northwestern States, devastating thou sands of square miles of territory. The testimony of the survivors of Minnesota and elsewhere states that the flames would su Idenly burst forth in the timber, ap parently coming from the sky. The Chi c a o fire occurred at that time also, where solid granite buildings took fire and burned as if of wood. Spectroscopic analy sis tells us that the gaseous envelope of a comet contains carburetted hydrogen. It is a si tuple solution of the terrible confla grations if it be recognized that a portion of tbe gaseous envelope of Biela's cornel became mixed with the earth's atmos phere in October, 1871. The mixture forms the most inflammable substance known. Humboldt, whose reputation as a con servative and able physicist stands pre eminently hieh, emphatically states that the earth passed through the tails ol remains of the mammoth, a tropical animal, are found so perfectly preserved has forced upon th? scientific world the belief that a catas trophe occurred at the time of their death. "It is remarkable that nownere in the great plains of Siberia do any traces of glacial action appear to have been observed. Consequently we find the great river deposits with their mammalian remains, which tell of a mildei climate than now obtains in those high lati tudes, still ying undisturbed at the surface."— Th Great Ice Age. Ii they had not been frozen as soon as killed THOSE SPOTS ON THE SUN from five to fifteen miles in diameter. Tne entwined aspect it had at first was m (iificd, as probably the spots farthest from the s lar equator failed ;o Veep pace vviih those nearest to that lifts. Its nveniee position is 8 deg. north solar latitude, and on account of its length it will probably remain visible until he 221 of this month unless the disturbance dies out before then. Beitiß The Woodrush, so largely oin posed of a penumbral area, it is less conspicuous ihan some smaller group in which the umbra was large, but it may be still seen with colored or smoked glass by those who are possessed of keen sight. On account of the inten sity of sunligtu, noon is uot the best time to take such an observation, the morninir or afternoon hours beinj more favo-:>bL for distinctness. Rose O'Halloran. comets in 1819 nnd 1823. The face of the globe exhibits many very peculiar pne nomena, extremely puzzling to the ortho dox geologist, who is unable to satisfac torily account for the conditions by any theory known to him. Tbe 'drift" is one of ;hese. On the supposition that the earth was struck by a comet of some size and mass the phenomena is rationally explainable. The elements, i. c., the speed, direction and shape ot orbit, of quite a number of comets have been studied and vartinl suc cess attained in computing the times of their return. Yet, it has always been found that something i.as interfered to Donates Comet, JBSB. negative the result. The one of 1532 was said to have a period of 129 years. It did return in 1661, but was absent in 1790. The velocity of movement of a comet varies, and we do not know exactly just when and where tbe variation comes in. Th* comet of 1472 had speed of over 3.000,000 miles in twenty-four hours. We are apt to think that our fast express trains, mov ing sixty miles an hour, are swift fliers, yet nere was an enormous mass speedin? through space at the velocity of over 2083 miles per minute. As to the part played by comets In the complex machinery of the universe we ■:■ ■ . X i putrefaction would have decomposed them, and on the other hand this eternal frost could not have previously prevailed in the place where they died, for they could not have lived la such a temperature. It was, therefore, at the same instant when these animals perished that the country they inhabited was rendered glacial. These events j must have been sud den, instantaneous and without gradation.— Ccvier. " The . most violent convulsions of the solid and liquid elements (of tne earth) appear them selves oniy the effect due to a cause more powerful than the mere expansion." It is admitted, then, j by these authorities that it was a catastro phe which caused tbe sudden change of cli mate, and possibly it was a change of the axis ot rotation. Much more in the same vein might be given, but the above seems sufficient. li, then, te axis of the earth has under gone a change there must have oeen a former < quator, and if so where was it and what evidence have we that it existed? We know that to day tiie mot persist ently active volca noes are in the trop ics, where associate phenomena of earth quakes are most fre quent. We know that this ! should be the case upon a revolving sphere lite the earth, where the tendency of a fl.iid interior to force an exit would be greatest, and where the greatest strains upon tbe crust wou d be produced. ]y[UCH inter, is manifesto Iby the pub lic in recant to the statement of Dr. Stephen H. Emmons that he has discov ered a m pans of turning silver into gold. It is quite poss ; ble thai he has done so, thon h 1 1 ere is some question whether he will pr d ;ce go.d in such quantities as to cause any fluctuation ia the value of the precious metal. Alchemy is something more than the dream of the visionary.and weak-minded. If one will Iree h s mind from prejudice mid make a review of authentic records Lie will find that the transmutation of metals is an uci'onv 1 shed fact. All 1 minerals are but differentiations from a common i ase, and if one could find the s'eps of differentiation — they have b -on discovered— then the problem would 1 resolve itself merely into a : question of mechanical skill. . V nous vniiers pive the steps necessary in the transmutation of base me tal into goid,* excepting that one of the substances us«*d is so wrapped about with mysterious veils that it "may require a lifetime forcrie to di cover the n«idle unless he is so fortu nate as to meet some one already in pos session of it. This mysterious substance is a red power, mystically termed the "red dragon," and it is indispensable in the operations of t c alchemists. , 'Among the authentic' account! of the transmutation of metal-? are some experi ments made, in 1782 in the laboratory of James PMce." M.D., F.R.8., England, in the presence of twelve or fourteen specta tors. V. . :•: A number of experiments were made. Half an ounce of "mercury was placed in a small crucible, tog her with a small quan tity of powdered charcoal and niter. Then half a grain of j powder of a dark red color wa« added by Mr Price, and the crucible was placed on a fire o) moderate red heat. In about a quarter of an hour the com pany noticed that the mercury, though in a "red-hot crucible, showed ,no ; signs of evaporation "or even boiling. The fire was gradually 7 raised to a white heat, when a small dip wa« taken on the point of a clean iron rod. When the scoria cooled it was found full of small globules of a whitish" colored metal, which Mr. Price explained wa-< an intermediate metal !, between : . mer cury and a more per ect metal. :i: i : 1 A small quantity of borax was then added and the heat again increase I. At the. end of an other quarter of ran hour the crucible was taken out ana gradually'" cooled. ' On know nothing. One bold utterer has voiced his opinions thus: "Science seems to point to tbe finite duration of our system in its present form and to carry us back to the time when neither sun nor planet existed, save as a mass of glowing gas. How far back that was it cannot tell us with cer tainty, it can only say that the period is counted by millions of years, but probably not by hundreds of millions. It also points 10 the time when the sun and stars shall fade away, and nature shall be en shrouded in darkness and death." So spake Professor Ne«comb. Science is made to bear very many burdens; this is one. No law of nature doih disclose tbe science of Head of Donates Comet, JBSB. the known to be the science of tbe un known. Throughout all the vast universe exists a something — call it force, if you choose — that comprehends all other forces, and that passeth from meas urable energy to intangibility, only to manifest itself as energy when tbe conditions for such metamorphosis attain. Some forces of nature lie dormant until they are brought into contact with other forces, and then when the combina tion occurs the resultant energy is of changed form. Let me illustrate this by calling attention to the phenomenon of crystallization. Dissolve some alum in It will be admitted by any student in physics that tbe cracking o the earth's crust, permitting the pouring out of molten material, would probably occur along the equatorial Delt, if at all. On the earth volcanoes are distributed in groups, or along extensive lines, as if connected with a fissure of the earth's crust. The most remarkable linear series of volcanoes in the world is that which belts the Pacific Coast, as Professor Le Conte of Berkeley has pointed out. Com mencing with the Fuegian volcanoes, it runs along tbe whole extent of tne Andes, then along the Cordilleras of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, then along the Aleutian chain of islands, Kamtchatka, the Kurile Islands, Japan Islands, Philippines, Su matra, St. Paul, Kerguli-n to the Antarctic volcanoes, Mount Erebus and Terror, thence back by Deception Island to Fuega aeam, thus completely encircling the gloße. As mizht be expected, along such a line of fissures tbe volcanic activity is on a general scale, and it is likely to be mani fested in several localities at the same time. This was observed as early as 1835 by the great naturalist Darwin. Within 100 miles of Tacoma are not less than 200 volcanic peaks, the largest of which — Mount Tacoma — is 15.000 feet high. Alaskan volcanoes are frequently active, and the eastern coast of Asia has an established reputation for seismic dis turbances. "In the physical formation of North and South America there is a re markable resernolance, which would nat urally result from the fact that they were formerly on the same latitudes and gov erned by similar conditions of climate," says the Encyclopaedia. When the earth's axis was perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic, tbe north pole was somewhere in the vicinity of the Mediterranean and possessed a delightful and perpetual sprin- climate. This fact calls to mind tbe biblical Garden of Eden, Plato's AUant s and the Garden of the Hesperides, and concerning these interest ing times we rind the history and tradi tions of the older nations replete. Only One Secret Necessary to Turn Silver Into Gold breaking it a globule of yellow metal was found in the bottom, and in 'he scoiia were smaller ones, all together weighing ten prams. Thorough tests were made with the yellow metal and it was proven to be pure gold. Similar experiments were then made, except that a white powder was added, in stead of th" red, the result beiue a large bead of white metal. The gold and silver thus obtained were submitted to an as sayer and refiner, both of whom at once The Eriocaulon, or Pipework affirmed the impossibility of success of such a process, and denied the purity of the metals. But tbe assay instantly dissi pated their doubts, and they acknowl edged, with amazement, that the metals were entirely pure, and gave official cer tifi ate ß to that effect. Detailed accounts similar to the above might be multiplied by the score, if one detired to ao so. Iv pure water. The solution will remain c.'cur for an indefinite period if the solu tion be undisturbed, but attach a micro scopic octahedrai crystal of the salt to the finest filament and lower it into the solu tion. Instantly crystallization commences at the surface of ihe fluid and progresses with great rapidity until every atom of alum in the solu'uon is visible. Now, the comet is simi>ly a microscopic crystal crystallizing, i. c., changing the forms of radiant light and heat into other modes of motion, wb.ch, in the fullness of their functions, eventually return back to the originals. Ever since comets have been observed a great deal of speculation has been in dulged in as to what constituted the tail of the comet, and some very ingenious theories have been elaborated to account for the fact that the tail, whi c observed at a considerable angle with a line <;rawn to the sun, and even at right angles to it, constantly inclines toward the region from which the comet is moving — always away from the sun. It is difficult to con ceive how the tail of the comet of 1880, 150,000,000 miles in length, could in the spuce of time occupied by the comet-head in sweeping around the sun— a period of a few minutes of time— describe so tremen dous an arc in space in so short a time. If the tall did actually sweep around the particles at its extremity must have trav elea with a velocity utterly inconceivable to tbe human mind. No known law of nature can explain tho sudden shift of position. Generally the tail is curved, resembling a scimitar, but many have been observed of extremely fantastic appearance. One is recorded as having been seen at the time of Constantine tbe Great, shaped like a cross, and the imaginative superstition of that age discerned beneath it the legend: "In hoc signes vinces." In this case the comet did some good. Perhaps we may be able in coming years, when ihese mat ters are better understood, to use these wanderers as messengers to bear our com munications to other spheres. Of one thing we may be morally certain — that if a i reat comet should appear before the close of this year, the disappointed politi cal party will, beyond all doubt, charge their defeat to the comet. F. M. Close, D.Be. Concerning the tradition of the Hindus, Bir Charles Lyell states that "we can by 'no means look upon them as a pure effort of the unassisted imagination, or believe them to have Deen composed without re gard to opinions or theories founded on the observation of nature." Lenormant says: In all the legends of India the origin of man kind is placed on Mount Me.ru, the residenceof the gods, which unites the sky to the earth. • • • Meru then is at once tbe highest part of the terrestrial world, and tbe central point of tne visible heavens. • • • It ii also at one and the same time the north pole and the center of the habitable globe. The "Secret Doctrine says: The Egyptian priests taught the fact to Plato, wno expounds tbe theory or fact aa a sudden catastrophe. Dr. Croll combats the axis theory, saying that such attraction— and change of climate — can be accounted for by the mutation and precession of the equi noxes, "but there are other men of science, such as Sir H. James and Sir John Lubbock, who leel more inclined to accept the idea that they are due to a change ia the axis of rota tion." There is one point of importance that should be noticed. Of course, if the poles have changed there has resulted a corre sponding change in the cardinal points. Do we find any evidence of such a change, and if we do is it not worthy of special note? Terrien de Lacouperle writes: The names of the four cardinal points, and what is very remarkable, the hieroglyphic signs by which they are expressed, are" in a certain measure ihe same in the Akkadian and Chinese cultures. • • • The south, which was so termed in the cuneiform tablets, corresponds In Chinese to the east, the north to the wet, the east to the south, making thus a displacement of a quarter of a circle. It would be interesting If on examination of the Akkadian and Assyrian names we could find that they In their turn denoted an early dis placement of which only traces remain to us." — Early History of Chinese Civiliza* tion. Frederick Klee pronounces It remarkable that the Scandinavian mytuology informs us that before the establishment of the present order of the world the sun, which now rises in the east, "rose in the south." Vienna there is a historical medallion, containing poi traits of twelve noblemen arouud the edges. It was originally of pure silver, but to-day the upper portion is gold and the lower part silver, a resu.t of having p.iss d through the hands of an alchemist and magician. It is, because of its present constitution, one of the rarest curios in the world, and should, of itself, even if there were no other evidence, be amnle proof of the alchemist's art. An int resting story ol alchemy comes from one of the middle States of Germany. The tale dates from the middle ages. A traveler sought shelter at the castle of a Baron one stormy winter right. The lord oi the manor was away, but tbe Baroness su'plieu him with food and lodging. Be fore the stranger departed the next morn insr he sought the lady of the castle and expressed ins thanks for ncr hospitality. He s<iid he had no money, but perhaps he could repay her m another way. She re plied that she desired nothing in return, but he a^k'-d her if she aid not have some siiver iv the house she would like to have turned into gold. Acorditigly all the silver plate was brought forth and transmuted. When the . Baron returned home and saw the gold he immediately, laid claim to it .under a law winch i>ave the owner of land all treasure found upon it. His .wife res;sted the demand, and he noble couple resorted to the courts for a settlement of the owner-hip. The Judge rendered a decision (which may be found in the Ger man archives) to the effect • that the gold was the sole property of the Baroness, for the reason tha the treasure had not been '•found"- on the Baron's lands, but had been "manufactured" tor the Baroness at her request and as a personal gift to her. The .Baron 'might have formerly had some claim on the silver plate belonging to the castle, but comparatively small value of that was overshadowed by. the great value o the gold, and he was entitled to recover nothing from the Baroness beyond the value of the silver that had di appeared. Ban Singh.