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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, October 09, 1898, Image 23

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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5. 1898.— A
druggist in this city has on ex
hibition in a wire cage in his
show windows a Gila monster
brought from the alkali deserts
of Southern Arizona, and there has
been nothing in the line of natural his
tory shewn her" in a long time thnt has
attracted so much attention as this
There is a great mass of fiction about
the fatal effects of the breath of a Gila
monster, and any amount of senseless
traditions among- the Indians and old
soldiers of the Southwest concerning
the blighting effects left by the crawl
ing of the reptile over any living plant
or animal. The reptile gets its name
from the Gila River region in Arizona,
where the soldiers stationed at old
Fort Yuraa found hundreds of them
years ago before the war. The Pima,
Apache, Maricopah and Yuma Indians
of the Southwest, who have little fear
of the bite of ._ Mexican centipede or a
rattlesnake, will hunt a Cilia monster
cautiously to its death and will even
go many miles to - i* I the country of one
of these reptiles, which they regard as
the most to be dreaded of anything
that crawls. Among the Cocopahs of
Southern California the tribal belief Is
that the most fearful vengeance that
may come to the spirit bodies of bad
Indians after this iife is to be bitten
by a red Gl-La minister that roams, un
seeji.by mortal eyes, over the adobe
plains waiting to snap at the red
sKinned savages inimical to the great
spirit chief.
• is a ridiculous mls
ptile is a combination
of ih- of India and Java and
the common lattlesnake of this coun
try. It has a counterpart in a reptile
f..und in the lava, b^ds of the Hawaiian
Is, but la the much deadlier of the
Many settlers in Arizona call the
ij-tl'jes "rattlesnake lizards," but it has
re hideous and startling appear
than a rattlesnake, and for that
: ably gave it the
:.ame of monster. The Gila monster is
about eighteen inches in length and in
girth about the size of a boy's arm.
its tai; is one-third i>f the body, and It
has a mottled or striped skin in red
dish yellow and dark brown. Its mouth
liar in shape to that of an alli
gator, and its little black eyes have the
appearance of those of the alli
farnily. It weighs from three to
four pounds. A true saurian, it ha^i r'nur
stubby legs, Bhaped and placed like
those of a lizard, but it has none of the
rapidity of motion of a lizard. It is
never found in damp, cool spots, tut in
the hottest sand or on the uryest sun
baked soil. Rattlesnakes do not stay in
the heat that the <.;i!u monster enjoys,
and it is doubtful if f-veu a
could stand a dally temperature
degrees for hours, whl^h the (lila mon
ster grow? fat on during midsummer
•weeks. It lives with rattlesnakes and
subsists like the snakes.
The head of the Glla monster Is much
like that of a small boaconstriotor and
the teeth are in double rows, thick and
very sharp. When the reptile bites —
It never sprlnps or strikes at its victim,
hut just simply bites — it means busi
for the grasp of the Jaws is some
thing marvelous. Anything once caught
between those two double rows of teeth
is held a* if In a vise-like steel trap.
The Indian? have a saying that a genu
ine Gila monster will not release a piece
Of flesh between Its Jays until the big
spirit in th mountains causes a thun
der, even If It takes all summer. It is
known by both whites and savages on
the df-.«orts of the Territory that it is
"worse than useless to attempt to forct
the Gila monster to release its hold
upon any person or animal, for that
only Increases the wound and the rep
tile in a rage manufactures fresh venom
In Its poison Backs in the roof of the
mouth and injects it into the cut and
torn flesh.
The Gila monster Is always killed
firm when it has bitten a human being
and then the Jaws are cut and pulled
away from the wound. The Maricopah
Indians do not attempt to release &.
member of their tribe who has been
t>i;t>-n by a Gila monster from th»k
dreadful little jaws, and it is generally
believed that they end th^ suffering*
of any hapless victim amonß them
selves by a deadly blow on the bead.
Th»y say the know no cure for the
poison of the reptiles.
When attacked the Gila monster re
treats about half his length and
crouches close to the ground, but rear
ing his head and neck in a fierce man
ner, whil>- a black, forked tongue over
an inch In length darts swiftly out of a
mouth abnormally wide and cavernous.
At the same time it <-mit.s a hiss, joir"'v
with a creaking noise, wh'ch ; s nsade
by scraping either its claw.-;, which ap
pointed an " sharp, or the rough scales
of its body v. Ti the stones or gravel
beneath it. if this demonstration fails
to repulse the aprgrops-.r th* Gila mon
ster will not hesitate, when thoroughly
angered, to make a map at the foe, be
it man or beast. Tt bites precisely as a
rattlesnnk.'. bul has none (•: the agility
of a serpent. But It will never attack
anything that it does not require for
food unless firft Interfered with. If es
cape be near in the shape of a burrow
in the ground or a hole In the rocks
large enough for its accommodation
th? monster will discreetly retire from
view and remain hidden until the ene
... ■ .. ' ■ . . • .-
my has retired.
One of the few authentic cases of re
covery from the bite of a Gila monster
is that of Walter H. Vail of Phoenix,
Ariz., who is one of the best-known
and wealthiest cattlemen in the Ter
ritory. While Mr. Vail was engaged in
a round-up of his cattle in the Gila
River region o' Arizona in IS9O he took
luncheon one day in a chaparral. He
went to resaddle his horse after the
meal and while picking up a saddle
cloth from the hot earth his hand was
bitten by a Gila monster that had
crawled there a moment before. Of
course Mr. Vail knew instantly that he
was probably a doomed man. His
ranchmen came to his aid at once. The
reptile was killed and the jaws were cut
away from Mr. Vall's hand.
Quicker than it takes to pen these
wolds the man's arm was bound tight
at the elbow to check the flow of blood,
the wound \vas cut open and strong
ammonia was poured in. while very co
pious draughts of whisky were poured
down Mr. Vails throat. He was put
■in a horse and accompanied by his
cowboys roile like mad for fifteen miles
to the home of a pnyslcian in Tucson.
Several brief stops were ma* t > force
more liquor down Mr. Vails throat and
to pour ummonia on the wound in the
hand. For three weeks Mr. Vail lay
almost between life and death at the
home of a physician in Tucson. Phy
sicians were summoned for consulta
tion from PZioenix and even from Los
Angeles, everything that money could
buy or science suggest was done for
the patient. He had a strong, vigorous
tution, and in the course of a few
months he was as well as ever. He is
still in the cattle business in the Ter
ritory. Every one in the Southwest has
heard of the wonderful recovery of
Walter Vail fror the bite of a Gila
Among the Yuma Indians is a squaw
who was bitten by one of the reptiles
over thirty years ago. What decoction
was given to the woman to save her
life or what the army physician at the
United States garrison there did for the
poor savage is now now known, but she
is pointed out by whites and Indians in
the town of Yuma as the only person
in that locality that ever survived the
; in of the Gila monster. The wo
man's leg which was bitten has shriv
eled away to half the size of the other
leg, and the squaw has been a semi
idiot ever since her accident. For sev
eral years she claimed to be deaf from
the effects of the reptile's venom.
The- period of suffering after a bite by
a Gila monster and before death comes
to a victim's relief is from twenty
minutes to two hours. A surgeon at
Fort Apache says he knows of the case
of a big, strapping Irish private in the
army service who was bitten by a Gila
monster while out hunting one day and
died in five minutes. A teamster who
hauled merchandise to Tombstone in
■as picking up mesquite boughs for
a campflre and unconsciously picked up
a Gila monster with the wood. He was
bitten in the upper arm and died before
his companions could saw the reptile's
h'-ad off and cut the teeth and jaws
from the wound. Where the afflicted
person survives an hour or two after
the bite the agony is described as awful
to witnr-ss.
The venom of the rattlesnake is
somewhat numbing in its first effect,
and after the first half hour is not so
very painful, but the poison of the Gila
Ncvel Club Formed to Prepare for the Great Paris Exposition.
Parl^z voui Franraip?
Sprechen pie Deutsch?
No? Then buy a graphophone. That
is what a club of nearly COO students in
this city are doing, all in dead earn
est, too. During work, at the breakfast
table, in their bedrooms, they will only
have try "press the button" and cun
ning little machines will speak out a
volume of French, German or Spanish
with all the fluency of the mother
tongue. The mazes of the inextricable
"irregular verb" will vanish.
The charter members of this novel
organization met last week In Dr.
Simpson's office at the Y. M. C. A.
building, and formed what will be
known as the "1900 Club."
The prime object of the club is to
master one or all of these languages
before the Paris exposition in 1900,
which many of the members will at
tend. The graphophone method will be
used to this end, and the system prom
ises to work wonders in the study of
al! foreign tongues.
Charles Freeman Johnson, official
nfr-noKrapher to the Midwinter Exposi
tion, first conceived the idea of organiz
ing such a flub, after ten years' expe
rience in using graphophones. He Is
now organizing "1900 Clubs" in Los An
geles Chicago. Detroit, Toledo and
cities of the East. Nearly 300 young
men and women in this city have en
listed for the work.
The objects of the 1900 Club are:
Fi rs t_-The study of the French. Ger
man and Spanish languages, conversa
tion, reading and writing, with compe
tent teachers and through a novel plan
of home study, using the graphophone
in the club and at home.
Second— To collect all necessary in
formation for those desiring to visit the
Paris Exposition in 1900, to procure
special rates and advance accommoda
Like a Bull Dog
The Poisosrn Acts
monster goes through the human sys
tem with lightning rapidity and causes
unspeakable pain and exerueialing
agony from head to foot. The victim
seems to be paralyzed, and yet every
muscle, bone, sinew and particle of
gray matter is keenly alive to intense
pain. The sufferer's head seems as if It
would split open. Very few persons
j bitten by a Gila monster can speak
I after the first fifteen minutes, but un
| consciousness seldom comes until a few
minutes before death. Physicians say
that the poison sets up a tremendous
' action of the heart, and the victim
1 really dies of heart failure. The person
who has been drinking to excess a few
! days or a few hours before he is in
jured by a Gila monster is almost sure
of death in half an hour after the bite.
Many physicians in the Territory say
that" alcoholic stimulants are worse
I than useless for a person hurt by the
reptile, but Walter H. Vail says he
owes his recovery to a prompt use of
whisky and the application of am
Dr. E. G. Harper, who has been
among the Hualipi Indians in Mexico
for several years in the Interest of
science, says ih° savages there cer
tainly have' a decoction that is a cure,
if administered immediately, for the
bite of the Gila monster found in that
"I have tri"<l to learn from the
Mexican Hualipifl this anti-venom
I decotum," said Dr. Harper re
! cently, "but it was useless. Pres
ident Diaz snys, however. that
it can be had. rvnd he will interest him
self to get it for the benefit of the per>
' pie of the T'nited States, wh^re a death
; from Gila monster bite happens once in
a while.
"The most wonderful feat I ever saw
accomplished anywhere," continued Dr.
Harper, "was down on the edge of the
desert wastes in Southern Sonora sev
eral years ago. It was a test of the
power of the anti-venom preparation of
the Hualipis. The chief medicine man
claimed that he was n. wizard, too, and
1 that the great spirit Moz-no-ha, who
I dwelt on the peak of Orizaba, came
down and helned him d-fy death from
' the most deadly poisons known among
i the Indians. At the time of the test I
j witnessed, the medicine man sum!
! moned a dozen of his assistants around
a caldron, which was steaming and
Roiling with roots, leaves, horned toads,
rattlesnake heads and a score of other
kinds of articles. I was told that this
i was the anti-poison medicine. In an
i hour the stuff was cooled and ready for
use. , ...
"The chief medicine man drunk lib
erally of the ctrange tea and then his
body was liberally washed with some
liquid that made it impervious to
poison. The body, bare to the waist,
was then painted in red and white
| stripes. A fox hung from the waist.
i The medicine man bounded into the
i arena with a 'ho-ho, 1 brandishing over
i his head two Gila monsters. Then he
i varied the pror -amme by twirling them
i around his body and permitting them
to crawl all over him. He teased the
reptiles poked his thumb into their
mouths, and even put them up to his
face I am sure the man was bitten
several times. We looked upon this
daring feat with horror, while the In
dians viewed it with superstitious
frenzy and showered upon the medi
cine man all the presents they could
"The most awful paroxysms of pain I
tions for members on railroads, steam
ships and at hotels.
A trifling monthly fee will be
charged, for which members will have
the advantage of a permanent club
room fully equipped with foreign books
and periodicals printed with English
translations for students, competent
teachers In both beginners' and ad
vanced classes, graphophones and cyl
inders containing the language lessons,
with opportunities for conversation
practice, together with all the informa
tion and special advantages the club
may obtain concerning Paris and the
exposition of 1900.
The charter members of the 1900 Club
are: Mrs. H. C. French, Mrs. E. P.
Jordan, Mrs. Nellie Holbrook Bllnn,
Mrs. E. C. Colnon, Mrs. John Gillson,
Mrs! M. J. Donovan. Mrs. De Lyons,
Dr J M. Simpson. Mrs. G. W. Cloud,
Mr. H. J. Dorian. Mr. W. E. Little Mr.
F. Flawlth and Charles Freeman John
Mr. Johnson has a graphophone in
his bedroom, and every night and
morning It is, "Au revoir!" "Bon jour.
Monsieur" from the metallic little
teacher at his bedside.
"If I have only a minute," said Mr.
Johnson, "I set the graphophono to
talking; while I am washing, dressing
or undressing, the machine always has
the last word.
"We intend to make our club a
Chautauqua of languages. In our club
rooms we will have graphophones for
the uxe of the members who will hear
from little cylinders nothing but the
best of French, German and Spaninh.
We will have competent teachers to
dictate to the machines, which the
members of the club can then hear as
long as they like. Graphophonee are
cheap, and we will all have them in our
rooms ready for use any hour in the
day. Close to 300 students are now In
terested here."
ever saw," said T. W. Brooks, a well
known miner and prospector in Arizona,
while he was In Yuma recently, "was
that suffered by a Mexican scout ton
years ago. We were camping along tHe
Gila River one night In summer and at
about daybreak one of the mules we
had tethered near by raised a commo
tion. The Mexican, who had taken off
his boots because of the excessively
warm weather, Jumped up and ran to
see what was the matter, while I lazily
rolled over for another nap. In a mo
ment I hoard piercing shrieks and was
on my feet before T knew it. I snatched
up the camp lantern and ran to the
Mexican. He was dancing about on one
foot and pointing speechless to some
thing dangling from the other. I looked
and saw a Gila monster.-
"In a trice I had my hunting knife
out and plunged it again and again into
Contest Between England and prance for the Rich Table-land of the Interior and What the
European Governments Purpose Doing With the Territories They Have Seized.
LONDON, Sept. 24.— 1t seems only
yesterday that public attention
was centered in Cuba. Then it
shifted to China. Now it Is
fixed on Africa. General £it
chener has swept all before him
at Omdurman. Gordon is avenged.
With the masterly hand of a genius
Kitchener has moved persistently for
ward. After Omdurman, he advances
without delay and challenges the
French claims in the lower Soudan. He
orders Marchand and Llotard to evacu
ate Fashoda, bringing the Anglo-
French dispute to a crisis. In the south,
Cecil Rhodes makes the wonderful
claim that he will build a railroad
from Cairo to Cape Town. For the
next fifty years nation building prom
ises to center In "Darkest Africa."
Will the French give way? How will
the European? divide up the continent?
What will the effect be on America?
Can Cecil Rhodes carry out his gigan
tic plan? All these questions suggest
interesting possibilities.
The story of Africa as she is to-day
The fight for territory is between England and France. In actual area, France holds the most. Her
flag flies over three million square miles, while England's control covers only aoout two millions. But Eng
land makes up in quality her lack of quantity. Roughly speaking, the continent of Africa is divided into
three parts. A great low area In the north; an immense table land extending from the Sahara desert
southward through the continent; the mountainous region along the coast, the passageway to this table land.
The first, the desert of Sahara, is for France; the second, the meat of the continent, is for England; the
third— a sort of rind— belongs for the most part to Portugal and Germany.
is the oft-repeated story of British i
brains and British pluck; the story of
that greatest element in the Anglo-
Saxon character, its colonizing faculty.
The fight for territory here is between
England and France— and England
wins as she always has won. Look
at the map of Africa. In actual area,
France holds the most. Her flag flies
over three million square miles, while
England's control covers only about
two millions. But England makes up
in quality her lack of quantity. Rough
ly speaking, the continent of Africa is
divided into three parts. A great low
area in the north; an immense table
land extending from the Sahara desert
southward through the continent; th*
mountainous region along the coast,
the passageway to this table land. The
first, the desert of Sahara, is for
France; the second, the meat of the
continent, is for England: the third —
a sort of rind — belongs for the most
part to Portugal and Germany.
The principal rivers, lakes and har
bors belong mostly to England. The
only first-class harbor not under Eng
lish control is Delagoa Bay, under Por
tuguese rule, and on this the British
lion has fixed a craze which means that
he will not be denied. France has the
Upper Niger. Leopold of Belgium holds
a part of the Congo River. England
holds the rest of the navigable water
ways. English gunboats patrol the
lakes. The Congo Free State and Qer
the reptile's sides and back. It hung
on like an English bulldog, and when
I saw that it was dead Iby mai force
pulled the monster away from the foot,
now dripping with blood. By that time
the Mexican had become calmer. He
knew whr.t it meant, and he simply
said between the pains that darted from
the wound through his system, 'It will
all be over in an hour.' He know we
had there no antidote for the poison,
and he told me to give his pay to his
wife in Phoenix and to go and tell her
how he had died. In ten /minutes his
pain had increased so much that he was
unable to open his mouth to even gulp
down whisky that I pressed to his pur
ple lips. I" • said no one could imagine
ihe excruciating agony he was in. Per
spiration rolled from Hs body ;..s if he
were in a Turkish bath, and he rolled
hack and forth on the ground. His
many jointly holds Lake Tanganyika,
but Lake Nyassa, the lakes of Zam
besi, the lakes of the Upper Nile and
Lake Tchad are controlled by the Gov
ernment at London.
But England has the fertile valley of
the Nile, which, after frightful mis
management by the Egyptians and
years of recuperation by the English,
is now holding its own. She has the
rich country of the Uganda and th^
surrounding provinces of British East
Africa. She has Cape Colony, with it?
farming lands and its ranches. And,
lastly, she has the richest part of that
Golconda of the world, the diamond
and gold fields of South Africa.
There is one more fact about Eng
land's territory and an important one
because it bears directly on the rail
road of Cecil Rhodes' imagination.
The sweeping victory of Kitchener will
not warrant tn calling the Soudan
Egyptian — and therefore British terri
tory. A glance at the map will show
a straight line of England's territory
from Cairo- to Cape Town with but one
break. The waving of the Union Jack
through all those 5000 miles of terri
tory is prevented only by a narrow
strip of 540 miles. That land was
eyes were staring wide open and his
hands were clenched.
"In half a., hour h was insane with
pain. His legs and then his whole body
swelled. It seemed as if the wounded
foot and leg would burst open. He tried
to talk in his delirium, but his tongue
was so swollen that he could only utter
whistling sounds. In an hour and a
half he was dead. I have sometimes
dreamed J saw all that scene over
again. The Mexicans in Phoenix said
that the fact that it was in the middle
of a long summer when the man was
bitten was what made the poison so
Captain B. E. Lewis, recently retired
frnm the United States army, has lived
I seventeen years in Arizona and New
Mexico. "It is an absolute truth," says
he, "that the hiss of a Gila monster is
deadly to some creatures. I would not
taken by an Englishman, but most un
fortunately, acting under the Belgian
flag. Had England stood back of
.Stanley, had she listened to his plead
ings and not driven him to Leopold of
.''elgium, there would have been an un
broken line of English territory to-day
through the center of Africa, from the
Mediterranean to the Cape of Good
Hope. The Congo Free State makes
the single break. Stanley found it.
Belgium has established a protectorate.
Still the obstacle can be overcome.
Leopold is working in entire accord
with England's plans. He has es
tablished England's policy of "the open
door" in all trade matters. He will
place no obstruction to any plans that
will lead to development and civiliza
•The value of Egypt commercially lies
in the Nile River. The rising of the i
river and the consequent fertilization of j
the land renders two and sometimes
three crops a year nossible. This I
gives an immense agricultural output. '
The Soudan Is immensely fertile and
when once under control will play an !
important part in the world's wheat
South Africa will probably be devel-
want to risk my life by trying the ex
periment. I was once sitting on the
porch of my headquarters in the
Apache war and I saw my little black
and-tan dog nosing with something in
the sage brush a few yards away. I
looked and saw a Gila monster" dart
forth and hiss in the face of the dog,
which sprang back at the same mo
ment. I ran and killed the reptile ana
the dog went off to sleep near by. It
was dead in two hours. Several per
sons and I examined the dog's carcass
carefully and we could find no evidence
of a bite on the beast. I am sure it
was something in the hiss or breath of
the Gila monster that killed the dog.
"A Mexican ranchman near Fort
Bowie told me that he once saw a
sheep attacked in the same way by a
Gila monster and the sheep went ,into
a stupor and was dead in a few hours.
oped faster than other portions of the
Dark Continent, because it already has
such a splendid start. The district in
cludes Cape Colony, Natal, Bechuana
land, Matabele, Mashonaland and
other smaller provinces. Cape Colony
has been known for centuries. Orig
inally settled by the Dutch and after
ward occupied by the English, there
exists in the colony a strong element
of political friction which sometimes
takes the form of an outbreak. The
temporary setback to Cecil Rhodes in
the elections of last month is but an
other example of tbe pertinacity of the
Dutch. Farther north, the English are
pushing into the vast territory of Rho
Almost surrounded by the land of
the English and with nearly a half of
their populations composed of that na
tionality are two independent countries,
the Transvaal and the Orange Free
State. That they will hold aloof from
England's control for a number of
years is unquestioned, but that they
will be absorbed finally under a protec
torate seems inevitable.
This then is the condition of the Brit
ish star of empire in South Africa. Sit
uated almost entirely in the temper
ate zone, rich in farming and grazing
lands, containing almost fabulous min
eral wealth waiting to be developed, it
stands to-day England's greatest Afri
can colony.
What progress has Cecil Rhodes made
with his railroads, and does that prog
ress warrant his claim of a railroad,
from Cairo to Cape Town? In EevDt
the railroad has followed the British,
advance. In 1896 It reached Wady Hal
fa, a distance of 800 miles from Cairo.
In 1897 it was pushed forward to Ber
ber, 300 miles more. The capture of
umdurman means the immediate con
tinuation of the railroad to that point.
The necessi ies of a big army, the im
mediate need of occupying in force the
whole of the district, calls for rapid,
construction. The present railroad in
Egypt has been built almost entirely
for military pumoses, and its chief
characteristic is military utility. After
the war has closed, the branches of
commercial value will be advanced on
the foundation already laid down by
the army.
In British East Africa a line has
been planned to run from Mombasa,
on the coast, to Lake Victoria. Already
the first hundred miles have been nnrn
ed and trains are running. The who c
distance to be built is 856 miles, and it
is estimated that less than five years
will be necessary for finishing the
work. Some of the details in the run
ning of the trains are interesting. They
start and return on alternate days. The
journey inland is up grade, and tbe
speed is twelve miles an hour. The
prices are in three classes, the first
being 38 rupees, the second 19. and the
third 3 rupees '5 annas. A feature that
may appeal to Americans is the names
of the stations Chaugamwe. Samburu.
Maji Chumoi. What possibilities for
the intelligent brakeman.
The telegraph is the scout of the
railroad system in Africa — its advance
agent. Along with the iron rail from
Cairo to Capetown runs Rhodes' plan of
a wire line and it will be finished in a
few years.
The end of 1597 marked the first real
step in Cecil Rhodes' plan, when the
railroad was extended northward as far
as Buluwayo. The financial success of
this enterprise has so encouraged
Rhodes that he has petitioned the En
glish Government to guarantee the in
terest on the next section, the line
from Buluwayo to Lake Tanganyika.
This line will proceed northeasterly to
Zumbo, passing through the Sanga
coal fields. Crossing the Zambesi on a
ferry it will pass through Northern
Rhodesia, opening up a new territory
peculiarly fitted by its altitude for
white colonization. Finally, it will
strike the lower end of Lake Tangan
yika. This new portion will cover a
distance of 800 miles and the expense
of building it will be £2,500.000. The
guarantee of the Government would
enable the company to obtain the loan
at 3 per cent instead of 5 per cent. As
the line to Buluwayo was a paying one
from the start, there are good rea
sons to believe that the Government
will not lose money by such a guaran
One *other great factor will shortly
contribute to the development of
Africa. This is long-distance trans
mission of electric power. Already the
waterfalls of the Nile at Assuan have
ben harnessed and power Is being trans
mitted overland to vark.-u. points.
Alexandria is being lighted by trana
mltted electric power-

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