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Items of Interest.
Well diggers in Dakota hunt for ant bills. The wise insects always locate over a vein of water. There are in North America only three species of poisonous snakes—the rattlesnake, the copperhead or moccasin and the coral. The cabmen of Louden drove their empty vehicles in the fuuar >1 procession of a popular comrade tw< > abreast to the extent of a mile and a half. On the island of Marago, at the month of the Amazon, there is a four-footed bird. In its growth one pair of legs change into wings by a process similar to that of the tadpole into the frog. The betrothed bride of a Springfield man objects to marrying while in mourn ing for the death of a relative, niul ho has waited thirty-live years for an inter val in her grief, so close together have been the bereavements. An Alabama merchant, with many debtors among the planters, white nnd black, proclaims that ho keeps an agent riding through the State to discover idlers, whom he will promptly discredit. “Only by industry can you and I thrive together,” he explains. The Practical Photographer suggests that in these days of convenient photograph ing appliances, those who visit in any official capacity scenes of murder, wreck or riot should apply the camera before anything is disturbed, as the evidence thus gained, being incontrovertible, might possess incalculable value. A cheese dealer states that much of the so-cal ed English cheese is made in this country and shipped to Eng land, whence it is returned, enhanced in value by the sea voyage. Sometimes cheeses are shipped backward and for ward, two or three times, each voyage adding to the richness of their flavor. The embalming of Lincoln’s and Gar field’s remains failed. Some of the most succesfnl embalmcTS maintain that it is impossible to preserve a body for any length of time unless the method adopted by the Egyptians is followed, which requires primarily the removal of the entire internal organism. After a severe illness an Englishman shaved off his whiskers and otherwise disguised himself. He then went to his doctor and said he was a brother of the Biek man, who, he asserted, was now dead. He thus obtained a certificate of his own death, had his own decease registered, drew the burial money from his lodge, and decamped. Barnum says that those who think the world is going to ruin through rum would see their error if they could look back fifty years at the drinking habits of New England. He drunk freely until 1847, and was then converted to total abstinence by a speech of Chapin's; and in 1880 Willard Parker scared him so nbou; tobacco that lie has never smoked since. Speaking of the triumphs of German surgery, a writer points out a number of men now walking around in the empire with only a fractional part of their digestive organs. Some are referred to as being without a spleen, or having but a single kidney, others lack a gall blad d> t and several metres of intestiues, while the climax is reached by “ the man without a stomach.” Emitter was very fond of tame ani mals, vh di he constantly had about him. Sometimes a mouse, then a great ■white cross spider, which he kept in a paper box with a glass top. There was a little door beneath by which he could feed his prisoner with dead flies In the autumn he collected his winter food for his lutle tree-frog and his tame spider. “How I wish,” he wrote once to his friend Otto, “that you could have met mein lhe street or in ti.e Harmony. Then you would have seen my little squirrel upon my shoulder, who bites no longer.” The Bible contains 8,583,389 letters, £I9,GC7 words, 81,173 versos, 1,181 olmp teis and sixty-six hooka The word “nrnl ' oecurrs 46,227 times, “Lord” 1,955 times, “reverend ” only once, and that hi the eleventh ps ilm. The twenty seventh chapter of Ezra contains the alphabet. The nineteenth chapter of the second book of Kings and the twenty-seventh chapter of Isaiah are alike. The first man recorded ns being buried in a coffin was Joseph- fiftieth chapter of Genesis, twenty-sixth verse. Nowhere but in the first chapter of Second Timothy is the word “grand mother” mentioned. Wear your learning, like a watch, iu a private pocket; do not pull it out, aud Strike it merely to show that you have it Scientific. An orchard of coconuut t rees on the ocean front of Southern Florida has cosi Ezra A. Osborn, n, rich Jerseyman, , not less than SIOO,OOO. Tlio orchard stretches for sixty miles along the soa. and there are in it two hundred thousand ! thriving trees. These trees were brought in vessels from South America, nnd landed by means of surf boats built to! the purpose. A process of engraving on marble ha* been devised in England. Instead of the costly process of engraving with bails a design reproduced from a car toon, bv this new process the artist draws with liis own hand directly oil ilie marble with acid, which eats away the surface, leaving the furrows, which are afterward filled with dark composition or color, to bring out the design. The effect in the samples exhibited is said to be good, and tlr* artistic advantages of drawing directly upon the the marble, without the interposition of a work man's tool between the hand of the artist aud the final result, is in itself an important advantage over and above the saving ill time and labor. Liquid oxygen is one of the best of refrigerants. M. Olszewsky has found that when it was allowed to vaporize under the pressure of one atmosphere a temperature as low ns —lßl-4° centi grade was prodneed. The temperature fell still further when the pressure on the liquid oxygen was reduced to nine millimeters of mercury. Though the pressure was reduced still further to four millimeters of mercury, yet tlio oxygen remained liquid. Liquified nitrogen when allowed to evaporate under a pressure of sixty millimeters <>t mercury gave a temperature of —2ll° ceutrigrade, only the surface became opaque from incipient solidification. Under lower pressures the nitrogen sol idified, anil temperatures as low as 225° centigrade were recorded by tho hydrogen thermometer. At a recent meeting of the Sooiete do Therapentique Dr. Dujai din Benumetz recalled the fact that in treating turpen tine with an alkaline carbonate, a sub stance is obtained to which the name “ terpine ” has been given. This ter pine has been experimented with by Dr. Lep ne, of Lyons, who lias ascertained that it is endowed with very marked diuretic properties and that it modifies the bronchial secretion in old catarrhal affections. Dr. Dujardin Benumetz has since experimented with “terpinol, ”a derivative of terpiue when subjected to the action of su-phuric acid. Terpinol is an oily substance, having the odor of jasmine, and soluable in water to a very slight degree. It exercises its action principally on the bronchial secretions, which it rapidly Audi ties. The coal fields ot' Russia are, Mr. W. Mather says, still practically undevel oped. The Donetz coal field is too remote for the manufacturing districts, and the railroad communications are too uncertain to admit of its being largely used. The lignite found within a radius of 200 miles of Moscow does not offer fuel of a sufficiently good quality. It is a remarkable fact that during the past two years English coal has been found j to be the most profi able fuel that man ufacturers could use immediately round Moscow at a price laid down of about $3 a ton. Twenty years ngo the price of wood fuel was so low as to be equivalent to coal at $2 a ton. but now coal at $8 a ton is cheaper fuel. This is apparently tho consequence of tho reckless destruc tion of forests in Russia without any counteract ion in the shape af systematic tree plamiug. An account of the operations con nected with the object of finding water iu tho desert tracts of Southern Tunis bus been given by M. Ferdinand de Lesscps at a meeting of tho French Geographical Society. Two years ago he visited tho region of the Tunisian Stiot'rs, and while there he observed on the hunks of tho Wady Melali a lake in which the lev. 1 of water never sinks. The water of this lake was excellent and he inferred that the source of the supply was a deep underlying store of water. He therefore r quo-te 1 the engiueers to make borings or to sink a well at that spot. Success rewarded the effort At a depth of ninety-one meters the sus pected sheet of water was tapped. The flood rushed from the ground with such velocity that it raised with it stones weighing twelve kilograms, and threw them to a great height into the air. This well yields 8,000 cubic meters of water per minute. TBS MKBLASB JBBMAL. Faeetia. , Lady (in an angry and shrill voice): “Conductor, why don’t you stop the car when I tell you?’ Irascible bach elor: “Conductor, the huly wants to I know why the d—v—l you don’t stop the car?” Lady (more ansrry still): “I ■ didn’t say so, sir.” Irascible bachelor: “ No, madam, but that’s what you t meant,” “1 don’t enjoy poetry as a general thing, ’ sa d an old Indy who dropped in on ns recently “but when L s'ep our to feed the hogs and histe myself on the fence, and throw niv soul it to a few lines of ‘Captain Jeuks.’ it, don't seem as if this airth was made to live on, after all.” “ Persecution," remarked the parson, “is e0.i.l for us ;it develops our best traits aiul makes us better.” “ That is rue," replied the sexton: “just see how much better and more usetul barley is if ter it has been malt-treated.’’ But the parson couldu t understand the figure at all. Lady in registry office : “ I am afraid that lit.; 1 1 girl won tdo for a nurse ; she is too small. I should liesistate to trust her with the baby.” Clerk : “ Her size, madam, Me look upon ns her greatest recommendation. You should remem ber that when she drops a baby it doesn’t have very far to fail.” A minister forgot to take his sermon with him to church, and his wife, dis covering tin* mis ake, sent it to him in charge of a little, boy, who was to receive ten cents for the job. Presently he returned for the money. “You deliv ered the sermon, did you ?” she asked, "tjes’guv it to him, mum; lie’s deliv eriu of it him elf.” Eulalia: “Emlora, dear, is fringe coming into fashion again ?” “ Euilora : “I don't know. I nm going to wear mine, anyhow.” “It is certainly becom ing.” “ Oh, that’s not the reason. Yon itnow I’m engaged to the new minister?" “ Yes, dear; but what has that got to do with it?’” “Why, lie’s so modest; it’s the only way I can prevent him from kissing my forehead instead of my lips.” Mooney and his wife were on their way to church and the lady was putting on her gloves. “My dear,” he said, pettishly, “yon should complete yonr toilet at home. I’d just as soon see a woman putting on her stockings on the <treet as putting on her gloves. “Most men would,” she said, promptly, and the abashed Colonel didn’t say another word. A country clergyman was one day catechizing liis flock in the church.- The sexton being somewhat bad Iv posted, lion; lit it best to keep a modest place near the door, in the hope of escaping rhe inquisition. But the clergyman observed him, and, divining his object, called him forward. “John,” said he, “ what is baptism ?’’ “ On, sir, ” answered Mm, scratching bis head, “yc ken, it’s ust saxjH'tice to me and tiltecnpeuoe to ne preeeutor.” lIOW TO CHE( K LITIGATION. Some years ago an Englishman was anxious to see how justice was adminis tered in Hungary, a- I an obliging pro vincial magistrate who happened to have a prisoner awaiting trial accommodated him. The wretched creature was brought in with the prosecutor and a witness, and the following dialogue ensued : Magistrate to prosecutor: " Well, sir, what have you to say '(” Prosecutor: “Please, yonr high mightiness, the prisoner stole my goi >se.” Magistrate to witness: “What have you to soy about the matter ?” Witness : “ Please your high mighti ness, I saw the prisoner steal the goose. ” j Magistrate to prisoner: “And what have you to say ?” Prisoner : “Please, your high mighti ness, I did not steal the goose. ” Magistrate to prisoner : “A fortnight’s imprisoumen’ for stealing the goose.” To prosecutor : “A fortnight’s impris onment for not looking after your goose. ” To witness : “A fortnight's imprison ment for not minding your own busi ness.” NEW KIND OF ST. VITUS’ DANCE, A man walked into a store on Broad way in New York, and stood before the soda fountain. “•Gimme a solid lemon snoozer, well dashed,” h said to the clerk, winking his left eye rapidly. The clerk began to tarn on lemon juice and watch his customer, who con tinued to wink. “I can cure that,” said the clerk. “We have an einbrooatiou flint will instantly relieve the St. Vitus dance." “ Who liar the St. Vitus dance? : tes tily a-ked the man. “Why, your eyelids are affected,” was the response. “ You don’t catch on to ray meaning, 1 fear. I urn from Maine.” “Oh, we keep it here in a bottle. It would take a half do/, n saloons to euro your eye of St. Vitus’ dance.” “Krecti you are,” concluded the: horny-handed prohibitionist from Main'.- i us he swallowed a glass of bogus soda. 1 FACTS CONCERNING OPALS. The mineralogists and geologists liav offered many clever theories to account for the splendor of the opal, but no one has completely satisfied everybody, and perhaps never will. It is conjectured that it is due either to the presence of water in its composition or to the disin tegration of the laminae or layers of the stone, but even this is not certainly known. The Turks believe that the gem is of celestial origin, and thus escape all difficulties at onoo. The ancient opal mmes have never been discovered, but there were no doubt deposits of the pre cious stones in Arabia, Syria and per haps other parts of Asia, from which the ancients obtained their gems. Central America and Mexico abound in opal bearing districts, which are much more abundant than might be supposed ; but perhups the finest opals of the pres ent day are obt ined in Hungary. Tho fire opul is found m the greatest perfec tion in the porphyrite rocks near Zima pun, in Mexico; but while this variety is the most beautiful of all'opals, it is also the most sensitive, and is frequently mined beyond hope of repair by damp or exposure, or even by a sudden change in the weather. There is probably no gem, however, which is more subject to injury than the opal. Exposure to the light injures it very materially, though there is not one thing strange about this, the fact being true also of amethyst, the garnet, and almost ull other precious Colored stones. As stated, the finest opals are now found in Hungarian mines When first extracted from their native matrix, the gems are soft, friable, tender and easily broken. The first thing to be done is to expose them to the air and light for a few days, until they have become hard, and then their colors liegiu to appear. At the same time tho change takes place in the gem, it becomes also reduced in size from the evaporation of the quarry water contained in its veins Greut care must be exercised in drying the stoue, or it will split ami crack in a thousand directions, and become utterly worth less. It is also liable to another calam ity, if exposed to a high temperature— that is, of losing iridescence, and, when this once happens, the stone is abso 'utely worthless ■ <m • ■ i HOW FISH AKE SPREAD. In looking over the most recent faunal lists of this portion of the country, writes Dr. C. C. Abbott in his forthcom ing “Rambles About Home,” I find that much of our zoological literature is somewhat amusing. By a preconceived notion of what should be the geogra phical distribution of the fishes, and other an mals as well, these “system a ic” writers gravely assert that in such a river a fish is found, but that it never wanders either to the eastward or west, •vard. I’erliaps originally this was true of our rivers, ns the river itself deter mined the range of specific variation that lias ultimately come about; but no river could retain ail the species that originated in it. -There are too many possible ways by which fish can be lately transported long distances for us to assert that none of them have oper ited in stocking a neighboring stream with species not native and to the man ner born. There is undoubted evidence oil record of whirlwinds gathering up immense nural.ers of minute fisii and lauding them miles away. These how irs of fishes, frogs, and even sulumim iers, are not unk own, even if they are uncommon ; and strange would it be i! >ll such wind transported species should t ill upon dry ground, anil never into tut water. Fertilized eggs, too, can l.kc wise lie blown a long dbtunc-e even over ow ranges of bids which t-oniofc men sop irate river valleys, anil so give rise ton race oi fiiiies that previously were unknown in tin- -local.ty. Eggs, too, might icadily adhere to the mud that dteii clings so the feet of wailing birds, and would Jms lx gently replaced in a distant liver, miles away from that in winch they were deposited by the parent fish. The present extensive system of canals also has tenued to mingle the 1 mhthyic faunas of our various river systems. And when all those pon-ible, probable and actual conditions are con- ! ■adored it noon excite no wonder if in 1 auv one of our livers or iis tributaries ’ we now find, occasional individuals of . unsuspected species. :1 The language of reason, unaccom- 1 j tallied by kindness, will often fail of ' making an impression ; it has no effect : on the understanding, beoause it touches * not tho heart, i• i I ~~~ | . THE OISKAII MAX. Obeah, in the West Indies, is ft two fold art —the art of poisoning combined with the art of imposing upon the cred ulity of ignorant people by a pretense of witchcraft. The Obeah man or woman is one of a great guild or frater nity of crime. Hardly a criminal trial occurs in the different colonies in which he is not implicated in one way or another. His influence is unbounded, the credulous peasantry holding him as prophet, priest and king of the district over which lie holds sway. If a negro maiden wants a charm to make her lover “good to her,” if a man wishes to avenge a wrong, or to know the secrets of the future, the Obeah man is at hand to supply the means and to proffer his nssislsuoe and advic*. “Under the title of “bush dociior ” lie wanders from plaee to place at the cost of his dupes; supplied with food by one, with money by another, denied nothing. His pretensions are high; but he has means at hand to enforce them. Ho declares himself powerful to cure all diseases, lit? can protect a man from the consequences of a crime ; lie can even reanimate the dead. Hi-v knowledge of poison is immens\ Every bush and tree lnrnish weapons for his armory. Unfortunate y, in <o many instances, more effective agonm are uot wanting to his hand. How many planters have had poison administered to them in tlieir coffee, how many book keepers have come to an untimely end by the mixture of ground glass in tlieir food may be seen in the records of tue slave courts of the different colonies— Carbadoes and Jamaica especially. Next to cholera and yellow fever, Olieali was the greatest danger which every white man connected with the administration of a sugar estate had to encounter. There is something indescribably sinister in the appearance of the Obeah man, which is readily observed by persons who have mixed much with the negroes. Sometimes, as an outward and visible sign of his trade or calling, he carries aboui with him a staff or wand, with serpents wreathed about it or the rude likeness of a human face roughly delineated on the handle. Lizards’bones, cats’claws, ducks’ skulls, grave dirt —that is, earth taken from the grave of a freshly buried corpse— liaug in a bag at his side. He lias his cabalistic book (albeit he can seldom lead), full of strange characters, crude figur< s and roughly-traced diagrams and devices, which he pretends to consult in tiie exercise of his calling. On one occasion I happened to lie in a court-house during the trial of a notorious thief, wlmu I noticed one of these gentlemen enter the room; a very dir'y handkerchief was bound tightly round his head, and from under his shaggy brows I could see a pair of snvdl, cunning eyes which never took tlieir gaz from tin face of the judge. Tiie p’ris nev was undefended and was finally Convicted, but I was afterwards told that instead of employing a lawyer lie bad returned for liis defense this Obeah man, and had actually paid him the sum of three guineas for his services. The w zird had undertaken to “fix the eye” of the indue, and had pessuaded tlia miserable dupe that this won Id infalli bly insure Ins acquittal. WEAK AND TEAK OF GOT.D. The annual loss of gold, by attrition, hip wreck, fires, etc., is very small, not unite two tons, or £280,000. According o Joyous, gold c >iu loses two percent, ti 100 years that s £147,000 per annum in tiie actual amount, £To, 000.000. Tho a s by shipwreck cannot possibly luv higher than one-sixth of the ratio of loss in sea-borne merchandise—say £2 for cvoiv £I,OOO shipped ; and ns tile quan tity of sea-borne gold in 1871-80 aver i o 1 C0'.),400.00-> per annum, the loss by siiipwreck would be £IOI,OOO. If w* ali-*\v '£52,000 for loss by fires, we inako up a total wear and tear of .£2BO 000, or two tons, the existing stoex being under 11,080 tons. .VleCadoch used to reckon !••: jewelers, oss, wear and tear, etc., al>mt on ‘-fourth per cant., which would be nearly £ t,000.00.) a year of our pres ent stock. The “ consumption ”by jewelry is probably even more now, bufr ibis nowise affects the question of a pos sible cold famine, since tho jewelers* consumption goes to swell the uncoined reserve. It would appear that eighty years ago tho uncoined reserve wivi !let ter understood than to-day, fori find ii* the Edinburgh fia irw of ISOo tho foilow ing passage: "The precious metal* have a twofold uso for manufacture* and coin. If there is a dofloienov <>P coin tho plate will lie melted and oqinmL f K there is a superabundant!*! of coin will bo moiled and manufactured.'* - • !■■ - . j i ' -J 3