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seeds within, like a little pomegranate with an orange-peel husk. The beautiful Tasmanian Sassafras tree is also a dweller in some parts of our fern-tree valley, but not in those we explored on the present occasion. The flowers are white and fragrant, the leaves large and bright green, and the bark has a most aromatic scent, besides being, in a decoction, an excellent tonic medicine. The wood is hard and white, with scarcely any visible grain, but is marked or shaded with light brown in irregular occasional streaks. Thinking that it must partake of the pleasant fragrance of its bark, I procured some to make boxes of, but found it quite devoid of scent after the bark was removed. A block of it furnished Mr. Meredith with an excellent material for a beautiful toy sailing-boat, which he carved out of it for George; and the fine, close, velvety texture of the wood, seems admirably adapted for carving of any kind. The saw yers and other bushmen familiar with the tree, call it indiscriminately saucifax' 'sar serfrax,' and 'satisfaction.""
A CAMEL JOURNEY ACROSS THE DESERT.
MR. BELDAM, in his "Recollections of the East," gives this interesting account of his journey:
"I have already spoken of the savoir faire of Khalifa (an Egyptian servant, who acted as cook to the party). The entertainments commonly furnished us were worthy of the Palais Royal. Here is his usual bill of fare :— Breakfast-tea, coffee, hot rolls, and English butter, cold fowls or other meat, eggs, and milk. Lunch, en route-cold meat, bread, English cheese, and fruit. Dinner-soup a la Julienne, roast or boiled mutton, fowls, vegetables, rice, maccaroni, pancakes of the most delicious kind, a variety of condiments, and a dessert. Tea and coffee at bed-time; liqueur and stout for those who liked them; abundance of Nile water, preserved in glass bottles, of which we partook plentifully at meals; and Latakia of the finest quality.
"Throughout the journey we suffered little from thirst, and seldom drank during the day -a circumstance which I attribute mainly to abstinence from all fermented liquors. I certainly began to think, for the first time in my life, that I should become a gourmand. As a counterpart to this European diet, it may be worth while to know something of the cookery go jocosely recommended by the noble author whom I have already quoted (Lord Nugent). My companion and I walked out this evening, and witnessed the following scene:-An old Arab sat on the ground, and a lad stood beside him, preparing their supper. The old Arab had a large earthen pan, into which he emptied
a quantity of coarse meal. The boy, with a pitcher of water, fetched no doubt from the neighboring pool, was ready to pour it on the meal as the old man wanted it.
"Filthy enough were the old man, the lad, the platter, and the meal; but the climax was yet to come. There was a smouldering fire burning in a sand hole, just by, the fuel of which was principally made up of camels' dung. When the dough was sufficiently kneaded, the old man spread it out with his begrimed hands, into a large flat cake; then opening the fire, he laid the cake upon it, covered it with the hot reeking ashes, and in a little time the savory food was baked to the owner's satisfaction. This was the ordinary diet of the Arabs of the caravan. On festive occasions, such as I shall hereafter describe, a sheep or a goat is cooked in an equally primitive way, and washed down by a due proportion of puddle-water. It will be easily imagined, that among people who fare in this way, a handful of tobacco or a pot of coffee is enough to make their hearts leap for joy."
THE VOICE OF NATURE. BY ELIZA COOK.
God hath a voice that ever is heard
God hath a presence, and that ye may see
THE AQUATIC VIVARIUM, REGENT'S PARK.
THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY appear to be ever on the qui vive for novelty. Animals, with alarmingly-ugly names, have been introduced from time to time with great success. They have, however, had their day; and now there requires " something new." The last novelty is called a "Vivarium,' and it is indeed a curiosity in its way.
It is a light airy building, sixty by twenty feet in area, containing around its transparent walls fourteen six-feet tanks of plate glass. Eight tanks will, in the first instance, be devoted to living marine animals, and of these six are ready for exhibition. They enclose masses of rock, sand, gravel, corallines, sea-weed, and sea-water; and are abundantly stocked with crustacea, star-fish, sea-eggs, actinias, ascidians, shelled and shell-less molluscs, and fish of the genera gasterosteus, labrus, crenilabrus, blennius, gibius, and cottus. Thus have we the contents of a whole river under a glass shade.
What a lady does with gold fish in her drawing-room, the Society have been doing with the entire inhabitants of a pond. You see a tiny lake poured-fish, stones, pebbles, moss, and all-into a glass box no bigger than a child's cradle. You look into the box-in shape not unlike an orange box, only somewhat higher-and there you see the fishes swimming about, dancing the most intricate quadrilles in the water, as easily as by looking into a glass bee-hive you see the bees hard at work making honey. More than this-the Society have dredged part of the ocean, they have dived to the bottom of the sea, and brought up the most curious collection of sea-weeds and seaplants-most of them alive and kicking. In a short time, the deep will no longer have any secrets hidden from us. The Atlantic, we expect, will soon be made visible to the naked eye of man. We shall be able to see all its treasures-to take the census even, if necessary, of its marine population to record their births, deaths, and marriages to be the historians of their daily habits, movements, changes, jealousies, and pitched battles!
Of course everybody will pay a visit here, if
only to see flourishing, in their native element, specimens of a great number of the fish they have eaten, and a greater number besides they would never think of eating. There's the fifteen-spined stickle-back. What would they think of a dish of these for dinner? There's the spider-crab also -which would hardly tempt, we think, the greatest lover of shell-fish to take him for supper just before retiring to bed. There's the "craw-fish,' likewise, who does not look so tempting as when he appears at table in his bright military costume; but is of a dirty drab color, hardly distinguishable from the mud and stones in the midst of which he is lying. It is curious to watch him scratching his shelly head, and cleaning himself with his long claws with an action of rubbing them over his face somewhat similar to a cat's.
The animals seem quite puzzled how to meet the gaze of so many curious eyes. Fish, usually bold and daring, are here timid and retiring. The great delight of a large fish seems to be to creep under a big piece of rock, as if the sun was too much for him, and he wanted to lie in the shade and quietly philosophise all by himself. There he will remain, absorbed in reflection for hours. The only fish that appears in the least anxious to enter into communication with his fellow-creatures, is the ugly-looking pike, with his long beak of a mouth that comes to a point, not unlike a pair of grape-scissors, and opens and shuts exactly like one. But the other fishes, judging from the rapidity with which they get out of the way, do not seem to relish the spirit of his communications. The young fish are the most restless. They dart about with a kind of kittenish playfulness, as if they enjoyed the sport, and never would be tired of swimming.
Of the wonderful forms of the different animals some so fairy-like, some so twisted and deformed it is impossible to give a notion. Their colors, and blending of colors, in endless variety, would puzzle the skill of an artist to describe. Some glitter in a complete suit of armor, every scale of which is of gold. Others are of a light blueish transparency, reminding you of the reflection of an amethyst with the sun playing upon it. Some look like little mother-of-pearl fishes, such as are used for counters at a round game; whilst others remind us of those peculiar purses that ladies sometimes carry, and which are made up of dif ferent streaks of color-not two of them being alike. Fancy all these flashing and glittering together, as if they were being continually shaken up in the cage before you. They are not, however, all beautiful. For instance, there is one little green, spotty, apoplectic monster, with goggle eyes, and a stomach that bulges out worse than any officer's breast. This overgrown fellow hobbles along as if he were too fat to get on without the aid of a stick. Nor are the crabs pretty, with their spiky claws, that keep opening and shutting as if they wanted to shear off some poor little fish's head. Still they are amusing.
Perhaps the most curious part of the exhibition are the zoophytes and the sea-plants. They have been compared in harmony of color to the arrangement of a skilfully-dressed flower-garden. Some have gone so far even, as to declare that in the beauty of their many hues, they equal
No.10. BEES.-If stolen, bees will not thrive, they pine away and die! They must not be bought, it is better to give a sack of wheat for a hive! If there are bees kept at the house where a marriage feast is celebrated, care is taken to dress up their hives in red or scarlet cloth. The foolish people actually believe that the bees would forsake their dwellings if they are not made to participate in the rejoicings of the owners. When a death occurs in the family, they cover the hive with a black cloth! If they swarm on rotten wood, a death must take place in the family! They are also said not to thrive in a quarrelsome household! The common humble bee also
comes in for its share; for if one happens to enter a house, it is a sure sign of death!
If they swarm in May,
They're worth a pound next day;
Again, in some counties, we have it thus:
A flight in May is worth a load of hay, A flight in June is worth a silver spoon, A flight in July is not worth a fly. No. 11. WASPS.-The first one seen in the season should always be killed. By so doing, you free yourself for the year from all your enemies!
No. 12. A CERTAIN CURE FOR SCARLET FEVER.-In certain parts of Ireland, when a person is attacked with this malady, you are drily requested to cut some of the sick man's hair off, and put it down the throat of an ass! Donkeys indeed must such people be !
No. 13. WEASELS.-It is considered un
lucky for a weasel to cross one's path. Illsuccess is sure to follow. It is also very illluck for a hare to cross one on the highway.
Nor did we meet with nimble feet,
No. 14. BIRDS.-It is said that, if a bird should fly into a room and out again, by an open window, it surely indicates the decease of some of the inmates!
No. 15. SNAKES.-It is a common belief in Dorset, Cornwall, and Devon, that it is immany parts of England, particularly Somerset, possible to kill a snake till sun-down (i.e. the setting of the sun), when it immediately dies!
No. 16. SAILORS.-Sailors sometimes make a considerable pecuniary sacrifice for the acquisition of a child's caul (fœtus envelope of the head), the retaining of which, is to infallibly preserve them from drowning.
No 17. A LAMB IN THE SPRING.-It is considered very lucky to see one of these with its head towards you; and still more so, if it happen to be a black one!
No. 18. MOLES.-In Devonshire, it is believed that moles begin to work with the flow of, and leave off with the ebb of, the tide. The same is related of the beaver!
No. 19. SPIDERS.-We are informed that, in the south of Ireland, spiders are enveloped in treacle, or preserved alive, in order to be swallowed as a certain cure for ague!
No 20. CROWs.-To see a crow flying alone, is a sure sign of bad luck, and an odd one perched in the path of the observer is a sign of death!
No. 21. THE OWL.-This innocent, and most useful bird in the destruction of rats, mice, &c., is still heard with alarm, and remains with us as in Chaucer's days :
The oule, eke that of deth the bode bringeth.
If it should happen to change the darkness of its ivy bush for the rays of the sun at noon-day, its presence is a sure sign of illluck to the unfortunate beholder! The discordant screech of the owl has probably been the cause of such superstitious dread as foreboding evil, &c., and from the circumstance of its being heard only in the dark or twilight:
The obscure bird, Clamor'd the livelong night. Macbeth. So well known and established was the character of the owl, as a bird of omen, that Shakspeare uses the term metaphorically, applying it to inauspicious persons :Thou ominous and fearful owl of death, Our nation's terror,-and their bloody scourge! Henry VI-Part 1. We would advise all who are ignorant enough still to hold these birds in abhorrence, to read the humane defence against their destruction by that celebrated naturalist, Charles Waterton, Esq., who threatened to strangle his keeper if ever he molested them. Taunton, June 15.
(To be Continued.)
THE PROGRESS OF INVENTION.
Th' invention all admir'd; and each, how HE
EOPLE ARE NOW BECOMING ASHAMED OF THE IGNORANCE which has so long veiled their minds; and it is a subject for rejoicing that they will listen to what is brought before them for their improvement. This is a good sign, which nobody can hail more heartily than we do. Gutta Percha is one of the wonders of the age we live in. Most people are aware of what it is inasmuch as they see it in daily Whether in articles of use or ornament, it meets our eye wherever we go. But, as everybody may not be aware of the particulars relative to its application, and mode of preparation, we propose to enlighten them by taking them over the Company's works, which are situate in Wharf Road, on the banks of the Regent's Canal, City Road. The subjoined details are carefully abridged from an article in "Hogg's Instructor," -a publication we have before had occasion to speak of in high terms of praise :
Brook says, "The tree is called niato by the Sarawak people, but they are not acquainted with the properties of its sap. It attains a considerable size, even six feet diameter, and, most probably, it is plentiful all over Borneo.'
A more natural apprehension of its failure, arose from a wanton 'kill the goose to get the egg' devastation of trees by the natives. The sap circulates in little, black, capillary vessels between the bark and the body of the tree. To collect it, the native would fell a magnificent specimen of a century's growth, the produce of which would be of little more than four shillings' value. There is no property in the forest trees of Malacca and parts in the vicinity, so that any other method than 'felling' would not be so immediately productive. European skill will prevent the extermination system continuing long, and multiply the growth of trees by regular culture; and also acclimatise them in countries where they are not indigenous.
The Gutta Percha Company has endeavored to promote the method of tapping the trees. This is done by making regular incisions in the trunk, from which the juice flows in the same manner as the maple sugar of America, or the gum of our own plum-tree. The sap flows freely. Although a great supply is not so readily gained by this means, yet the development of the tree is scarcely hindered, and is ready be tapped again in three or four years. Before the fluid solidifies, which it does very quickly, women work it up into the masses to which our attention was drawn. The Portuguese, Dutch, and English nations have, the one or the other, been in the neighborhood of the gutta percha tree for nearly 350 years, and yet it never became known to them. Its vast utility has been attested by the extreme rapidity of the growth of the trade. In 1843, was imported, 20,600 lbs.; five years afterwards, the amount was more than 3,000,000 lbs.; and each succeeding year has increased the amount in a degree proportionate.
The works of the Company' cannot be mistaken. The tall chimney towering almost as high as the Monument, would be conspicuous any where. Should the visit be at any time more than imaginative, the utility of thick gutta percha 'soles' will be made manifest. The locality cannot well be invaded nor left without its seal, in the material of mud, being attached to the visitor's habiliments. Inside the yards are stacks of gutta percha, in the state in which it leaves its native country; light, honeycomb masses, containing about half a cubic foot, and of the shape of a corpulent lapstone-an appurtenance of the 'stall' which seems in a likely way of being superseded.
Percha (ch sounded as in the English word perch) is the general name of the trees that produce the gutta,' or gum that exudes from them. Both are Malayan words. Like the caoutchouc, the gutta percha belongs to the natural order Spotacea, or plants that give a milky juice. It is, however, not indigenous to so great an area as the India-rubber plant. While the latter flourishes in every part of the torrid zone, the former is confined to a large space indeed, but only a portion of the East Indies, and generally tuban, as it is more properly called. The doctor amongst the islands. Fears were once entertained was recalled to the Bengal presidency, and had that limited bounds would limit the supply. Pre- no opportunity of prosecuting his inquiries for mature fears; for with vastly increased and in- twenty years. In 1843, he drew public attention creasing demands, they have been almost forgotten. to it. Previous to its introduction then, it was Singapore is the depot of the trade, but new dis- quite unknown to Europeans, but it was known tricts are constantly being ad led to those from to a very few of the inhabitants of certain Malaywhich supplies have come. Each year, instead an forests. From the trifling uses to which it was of an augury of the last consignment, gives proof applied, it was likely enough to have remained
Dr. Montgomery has the merit of first pointing out its valuable properties, and received the gold medal of the Society of Arts for this very valuable acquisition to modern discoveries. He very modestly says, 'I may not arrogate to myself the actual discovery of gutta percha.' As far back as 1822, he knew of the existence of the tree. While making inquiries at Singapore about caoutchouc, several fine specimens were brought to him; one, in particular, named 'gutta girek,' of a softer nature than gutta percha, or gutta
of more exhaustless abundance. Sir James unknown, being used only occasionally for handles
Chemically, the substance is a carburet of hydrogen. Its analysis is almost identical with that of caoutchouc by Dr. Faraday, and it presents the anomalous phenomenon of contracting in boiling water, directly opposed to all the laws of heat.
to parangs (wood-choppers) instead of wood or horn.
We shall find, at the works in the City Road, that the workmen consider it advantageous for somewhat similar duties. Their knives, barrows, and baskets, have the handles encased in gutta percha. It possesses a slight but sensible elasticity, which makes it more pleasing to the touch than wood or any other material.
There is no substance which ever became applied to so many useful purposes in so short a time as gutta percha. Novel appliances multiply every day. Most of these are the design of the workmen here. Amongst the 200 engaged, are a good many clever fellows.' So says the gentleman who acts as our cicerone; and visitors will not doubt it who see their dexterous manipulations. Uses increase with such rapidity, that the question promises to be, not, 'To what can it be applied?' but, To what purposes can it not be applied?'
The works of the Gutta Percha Company comprise an extensive series of workrooms, varied in their operations as in their appearance. We shall enter amongst the steam-boilers and engines. If not quite distracted with the noise, with the novelty and the multifariousness of the operations, our attention will first be claimed by what is called the cutting machine. A modern chaff-cutter with a circular wheel bears some resemblance to it; only this is vastly more massive, and the trough is made to incline. Blades corresponding to those in the chaff-cutter are fixed into the heavy disc or wheel, and made to extend a little towards the trough. Into the trough are put the blocks;' and, as the wheel revolves at the rate of 200 turns a minute, they are sliced up, thick or thin, according as the cutting instruments are disposed. Injury to the machine and annoyance to the workmen not unfrequently occur, owing to tricks of dishonesty which the Malays have very quickly learnt. Purchases are made by weight, and, to increase this, earthy matter is continually mixed with the gutta percha, and sometimes even a large stone is put in the centre of a block. Unless the stone be very large, it is not possible to detect it at the time of purchase. Injury to the apparatus cannot easily be guarded against.
Purification is indispensable, and fortunately, the impurities are removed without great difficulty. Each slice presents a face full of sinuous markings, which gives it a pretty and variegated aspect, but one it does not keep. Hurled into a tank of boiling water, the whole forms into a soft mass, and a good many of the impurities sink to the bottom. Two steam-engines of 50 horse power propel the cutting machine, besides setting in motion most of the other machinery.
fact that the gutta percha does not blend with these foreign matters so as to produce a compound substance, but only mixes mechanically with them. Though softened, it does not become adhesive; and sometimes it is cleansed by the simple operation of rolling it out to a thin sheet, and then picking and brushing the surface. The shreds fall into a tank of cold water, upon which they float, and from which they are removed to be subjected to a second boiling. When again softened, it is ready for kneading, a process similar in principle to that of the same name of a more domestic character. Machinery is brought into requisition here, and strong machinery too. A great roller, with a surface like the grinding cylinder of a coffee-mill, only infinitely larger, moves horizontally upon its axis in a metal compartment in the floor. A man throws in a bushel at a time, of what, at little risk, might be pronounced warm chocolate-paste. While we gaze, it gradually disappears. The apparatus-or masticator, as it is called-monster-like, seems to have an inordinate penchant for the delicacy, and disposes of an unlimited amount down its capacious throat. A thorough mastication' ensues inside. Every hard particle is broken up, and a homogeneous mass is formed by the rolling, and squeezing, and grinding it receives. It is now quite pure, and in a condition for any of the subsequent manipulations in which it may be called upon to take a part. In this stage of its manufacture it is best fitted to mix with other substances. Already very many compounds of gutta percha have been formed. If greater elasticity be required, it gains it by the mixture of caoutchouc; if hardness, combination with sulphur, or the metallic sulphurets, will give it. Metallo-thianised by this latter (a patent) process, it becomes hard as ebony, and can be applied to most purposes for which wood and ivory are generally used.
Those who have had the advantage of inspecting a paper-mill, will recognise several processes which gutta percha undergoes. When softened, it is submitted to the action of a machine like the engine for rending the linen rags, and technically called the teazer. It consists of a large cylinder enclosed in a box. The cylinder is set with jagged spikes, which work against corresponding teeth in the box. Going at the rate of 600 or 800 revolutions a-minute, the mass is torn into shreds, and all extraneous matter is released. The process of cleansing is simplified very much, from the
The bulk of the gutta percha is formed into 'sheeting,' which is accomplished by placing it, while soft, upon bands of felt, and passing it between two steel rollers-a process, in fact, much like to that of rolling lead. The felt bands afterwards take the sheet a long journey, over and under, up and down, for the purpose of cooling it. To aid in doing so, when the material is thick or the weather warm, the surface is fanned and blown upon in its course. The thickness of the sheet is regulated by the distance the rollers are set apart; and to such nicety can this be done that an integument is manufactured to supersede oiled silk for bathing and hydropathic prescriptions. At the end of the journey, it is wound off, cold and hard, upon a drum, to a length unlimited.
But the form of sheeting is only one of its useful phases. Nearly the earliest use to which gutta percha was put, was that of 'driving bands.' The French use it for little else yet. Its suitability for the duty has been much controverted. Any visitor to the company's works would think it fully established. There they are to be seen in every part of the building, applied in a variety of ways, and, amongst others, that of driving the machine which serves to cut them out. Making bands is a simple operation. Let us pass on the sheet, just now rolled upon the drum, and it will reach a framework, in the top bar of which are fixed and suspended a number of knives cutting