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per word, the rate to New Zealand. In order to minimise that cost as much as possible, the use of codes, whereby one word is made to do duty for lengthy phrase, is much resorted to. Of course, those code messages form a series of words having no apparent relation to each other, but occasionally queer sentences result from the chance grouping of code words. Thus a certain tea firm was once astonished to receive from its agent abroad the startling code message—“Unboiled babies de. tested”!

Suppose we now follow the adventures of a few cablegrams in their travels over the world.

A message to India from London by the cable route requires to be transmitted eight times at the following places :-Porthcurno (Cornwall), Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, Suez, Aden, Bombay.

A message to Australia has thirteen stoppages ; the route taken beyond Bombay being via Madras, Penang, Singapore, Banjoewangie and Port Darwin (North Australia); or from Banjoewangie to Roebuck Bay (Western Australia).

To India by the Indo-European land lines, messages go through Emden, Warsaw, Odessa, Kertch, Tiflis, Teheran, Bushire (Persian Gull), Jask and Kurrachee, but only stop twice between London and Teheran-namely, at Emden and Odessa.

Messages from London to New York are transmitted only twice--at the Irish or Cornwall stations, and at the stations in Canada. Owing to the great competition for the American traffic the service between London, Liverpool, and Glasgow and New York is said to be much superior to that between any two towns in Britain. The cables are extensively used by stockbrokers, and it is a common occurrence for one to send a message and receive a reply within five minutes.

During breakages in cables messages have sometimes to take very circuitous routes. For instance, during the two days, three years ago, that a tremendous storm committed such havoc amongst the telegraph wires around London, cutting off all communication with the lines connected with the Channel cables at Dover, Lowestoft, &c., it was of common occurrence for London merchants to communicate with Paris through New York. The cablegram leaving London going north to Holyhead and Ireland, across the Atlantic to New York and back via St. Pierre to Brest and thence on to Paris, a total distance of about seven thousand miles.

Two years ago, when the great blizzard cut off all communication between New York and Boston, messages were accepted in New York, sent to this country, and thence back to Boston.

Some time ago the cables between Madeira and St. Vincent were out of order, cutting off communication by the direct route to Brazil, and a message to reach Rio Janeiro had to pass through Ireland,

Canada, United States, to Galveston, thence to Vera Cruz, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chili, ; from Valparaiso across the Andes, through the Argentine Republic to Buenos Ayres, and thence by East Coast cables to Rio Janeiro, the message having traversed a distance of about twelve thousand miles and having passed through twentyfour cables and some very long land lines, instead of passing, had it been possible to have sent it byłthe direct route, over one short land line and six cables, in all under six thousand miles.

Perhaps some of our readers may remember having read in the newspapers of the result of last year's Derby having been sent from Epsom to New York in fifteen seconds, and may be interested to know how it was done. A wire was laid from near the winning-post on the racecourse the cable company's office in London, and an operator was at the instrument ready to signal the two or three letters previously arranged upon for each horse immediately the winner had passed the post. When the race begun, the cable company suspended work on all the lines from London to New York and kept operators at the Irish and Nova Scotian Stations ready to transmit the letters representing the winning horse immediately, and without having the message written out in the usual way.

When the race was finished, the operator at Epsom at once sent the letters representing the winner, and before he had finished the third letter, the operator in London had started the first one to Ireland. The clerk in Ireland immediately on hearing the first signal from London passed it on to Nova Scotia, from whence it was again passed on to New York. The result being that the name of the winner was actually known in New York before the horses had pulled up after passing the judge. It seems almost incredible that such information could be transmitted such a great distance in fifteen seconds, but when we get behind the scenes and see exactly how it is accomplished, and see how the labour and time of signalling can be economised, we can easily realise the fact.

The humours of telegraphic mistakes have often been described ; we will conclude by giving only one example. A St. Louis merchant had gone to New York on business, and while there received a telegram from the family doctor, which ran- n_“Your wife has had a child, if we can keep her from having another to-night, all will be well.” As the little stranger had not been expected, further enquiry was made and elicited the fact that his wife had simply had a "chill"! This important difference having been caused simply by the omission of a single dot.

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THE

DUCKING: A LINCOLNSHIRE SKETCH.

preserved in the pond, and “the pipes” kept free

from ice. The birds need open water to rest and By GREGORY O. BENONI.

sport on, and if they cannot find it in the decoy CHE season for wild-fowling has come round would soon fly away to the still unfrozen brooks and

again with the fall of the leaf, and the chilly rivers, or to the seashore. So, when the “ decoy nights and frosty mornings of early winter ; and, if rises” on a frosty evening, and the last bird has the weather should continue favourable, thousands of departed to the feeding grounds, the master ducker birds will be killed or taken by the decoy-men and and an assistant begin the work of clearing the ice long-shore gunners ; to say nothing of those shot by away by moon or lamplight, as the case may be, sportsmen on the brooks and ponds of the midlands. and toil on till the grey of dawn warns them to be So a word about " ducking," or the taking of water- gone ere the relurn of the feathered multitude. fowl by strategy, may not be out of place ; especially Fortified with a substantial breakfast we set off on as it is one of the oldest English sports.

foot for the decoy-farm, whiling away the time as we Why should we not say “ ducking" when speaking went by combating the squire's assertion that the or writing of the pastime we are about to describe, barometer was the true divinity of his family, and as the men engaged in the business do?

We use

that the adoration of the rain-god was as common in “shooting” and “hunting” with confidence, and England as in Africa, with the single difference that ducking is as well-born an English word as either, he is regarded as a beneficent being in the sunny and quite as old apparently. In the Manor-Rolls of south, and as a mischievous marplot in our more Scotter, a village in Lincolnshire-formerly the northern regions. Our way led us along a dirty centre of a district productive of many wild-fowl- footpath, by the side of a muddy road, where ash we find the following entry: “No man of the and chestnut-leaves still lay in sheltered spots, inhabitantes of Scoter or Scawthorpe shall fishe nor bright and fresh as if they had only been shorn by goe a ducking within the Lordes severall watters- the frost of the night before. The moss-grown 1578.”

Scotter was evidently innocent, very trunks of the hedgerow trees glistened with innocent, of a school board in the palmy days of the moisture, and looked uninviting enough, yet their Manor Courts, whatever it may be now. But dank branches formed the happy hunting-ground of leaving the interesting relics of a bygone England numbers of blue-tits, and their long-tailed cousins, to entrust the defence of their quaint spelling to who called merrily to one another as they searched antiquarian pens, we will take a stroll some miles to the branches for insects. Presently we reached a the north-east of the “ severall watters” of Scaw. little hamlet standing on the brow of the slope which thorpe, and “goe a ducking” with any lover of forms the eastern boundary of the Trent valley, and country life who cares to accompany us.

turning off to the right, we tramped across turnip and It was a mild bright January morning, with a stubble fields abounding in birds, which had collected gentle north-west wind and rising barometer, when a on the drier sand and loam during the stormy party of us set out to visit the decoy-where the best- weather, in preference to the heavy clay of the flavoured teal in England are lured to their doom- higher lands. Skirting the side of a plantation of rejoicing on our way over the cessation of the black Scotch fir and spruce, where the sunshine had brought north-easter, which had alternately pelted us with out the squirrels to busy themselves with the firrain and blinded us with snow for a fortnight past. cones, we walked down a straight road, bounded on All told we numbered only four, “the squire,” two each side by a wide ditch, or “dyke,” as the natives naturalists, and a Londoner, who had deserted call it, till we reached our destination on the widecivilised existence in Babylon for a time, for the spreading river flat. purpose of studying the untamed agriculturist in his The decoy-house was formerly the dwelling of the native wilds. The state of the weather of late had family who owned the surrounding farms; but the been most detrimental to all our attempts at field or place came under the hammer when the race died cover sport, but had signally favoured the decoy.man out in the male line, and fell into the hands of a by driving flocks of hungry fowl to take refuge in his land.jobber, who cut down the miniature forest pond. A severe and prolonged frost would not have planted to protect the decoy from disturbance, brought him so lucky a windfall; the birds would leaving only a fringe of trees of old growth to shield have been more hungry and eager if possible, but the pond until a fresh cover of fast-growing young there would have been fewer of them inland, and ones should spring up to surround it. Finally the the work of capturing them would have been in- home-farm passed into the hands of the head gamefinitely more tedious. So long as the cold keeps keeper and master ducker of the late proprietor, now away the decoy man can “sleep like a Christian"; I am sorry to say-for the sake of the duck-lore he but let "Frosty Jack” only nip his sheltered low- possessed-gathered to his fathers at a very ripe old lying waters, and night becomes turned into day at age indeed. On knocking at the door and inquiring once, with more than the day's toil. For at any whether the master was in, we learned that he was cost of money and labour large open spaces must be away from the house ; but, before disappointment

could prey on our hearts, the old man's once buxom dame put her head out of an upper window to survey us, in that peculiar matter-of-fact, what-do-you-wanthere kind of way which defies description; and, catching a sight of our host, set our minds at rest with a "Morning to you, squire. He's in th' 'coy. I'll shout for th’lad, an' he'll ta' ye to him. Mind you're quiet now agoin'!"

A guide having appeared in answer to a fulldunged cry from the mistress of the place—no wonder the ducks needed a copse to dull the clamour of the outer world—we passed through the neglected pleasure-grounds where signs of former care lay on every side, till we were brought to a standstill in an open alley; while the boy who conducted us went in search of his grandfather.

Our halting-place was, a pretty nook from which you could catch a glimpse of the house at one end of the path, and of two or three stately Scotch firs overhanging the decoy at the other. A stone vase, half grown over with ivy, stood in the centre of the glade, and formed a trysting place for the rabbits all the afternoon and evening, for the bunnies knew by some process of inductive reasoning that they were in sanctuary here, as no gun can be fired near the decoy. The lower step of the vase, which rose about an inch above the surrounding turf, bore witness to the frequent visits of the thrushes, for it was covered with broken snail-shells. In the early morning the birds come from near and far with the land-snails they have found, and beat them ruthlessly to death on the stone. It is not everywhere that they can find such a convenient anvil, in this stretch of low-lying country; where the surface-soil is usually warp, peat, or sand free from pebbles ; so the quiet glade is the theatre of many a molluscan tragedy.

(To be continued.)

McCook in this highly readable volume also treats upon the courting and mating of spiders; their maternal skill and devotion ; their means of communion with their environment; their gossamer voyaging through the air and traps in the ground ; their friends and foes ; their mimicries and strange disguises. The volume runs to nearly 500 pages, and is illustrated by about four hundred cuts, in addition to five large and artistically coloured plates.

Eighth Annual Report of the United States Gcological Survey, 2 vols, by J. W. Powell, Director (Washington: Government Printing Office). These everwelcome vols. to English and other geologists are got up and distributed with an artistic taste and liberality our English Survey (thanks to the niggardly Philistinism of our British Government) knows nothing of. The volumes include not only the clear and lengthy, well-digested “Report of the Director," reviewing all the stratigraphical, mineralogical, and palæontological work done by the able and earnest band of geologists who are proud to serve under such a chief, but also the administrative reports of the heads of the divisions of survey. Then follow the individual reports of the geologists and mineralogists entrusted with special work. These are illustrated with almost artistic prodigality, but the latter is intensely utilitarian, for the coloured maps, diagrams, and scenic woodcut illustrations bring vividly before the mind the points which the field workers wish attention to be drawn to.

Monographs of the U. S. Geological Survey, vols. xv. (2 parts) and xvi. (Washington: Government Printing Office). These vols. contain records of special work by special scientific workers. Thus, we have one on “ The Potomac or Younger Mesozoic Flora,” by W. M. Fontaine, with detailed descriptions of the fossil plants found therein (abundantly illustrated). Indeed, no fewer than 180 plates occupy a volume alone, in order to illustrate the first part of vol. xv. Volume the sixteenth is an exhaustive monograph, or special report, by J. G. Newberry, on “The Palæozoic Fishes of North America," and is illustrated by fifty-three splendidly lithographed plates.

Natural History of the Animal Kingdom, by W. F. Kirby (London : S. P. C. K.). This is a gorgeously got-up volume both internally and externally, crowded with too highly coloured natural history objects, of which there are about 850 displayed. The work (a quarto vol.) is divided into three parts-, mammalia, birds, and one (the third part) capaciously including, like Noah's ark, reptiles, amphibia, fishes, insects, worms, molluscs, zoophytes, &c. Mr. Kirby has very ably and accurately written up to these too. Germanly coloured plates, which have evidently been used from Professor Von Schubert's book. It is, however, a capital natural history picture book.

Of the next set of prettily got-up, well-printed, and well-written little volumes, it is hardly possible to

NOTES ON NEW BOOKS.

AMER

MERICAN SPIDERS AND THEIR

SPINNING-WORK, by Dr. Henry C. McCook (Philadelphia : published by the Author), vol. ii. This perfectly delightful, beautifully illus.trated, well-written monograph on the natural history of the orb-weaving spiders of the United States, more especially with regard to their industry and habits, is now complete. It is a work of marvellous and patient single-handed industry, the result of many years' observation. We have already spoken of the first vol. ; it only remains to say the second is as good, if not better, were the latter possible. Indeed, the author declares it is just possible the second vol. will be more interesting both to the scientific and the general public than the first. It takes up the life-history of spiders, and follows thein literally from birth to death. Moreover it deals with fossil spiders and ancestral araneads. Dr.

speak too highly. Each is written by the man best capable of knowing what he is talking about on the subject ; and yet the price of these excellent manuals is remarkably low. The S. P. C. K. is to be congratulated on taking up departments of knowledge which are useful and therefore Christian. We allude to Soap-Bubbles, by Prof. C. V. Boys; Spinning. Tops, by Prof. J. Perry ; and The Birth and Growth of Worlds, by Prof. A. H. Green.

The Autobiography of the Earth, by the Rev. H. W. Hutchinson (London: Edward Stanford), is a delightfully written and thoroughly accurate popular work on geology, well-calculated to engage the interest of readers in the fascinating study of the Stony Science.

Fresh-Water Aquaria, by the Rev. Gregory C. Bateman (London: L. Upcott Gill). A well-written description of these domestic water-gardens and vivaria. Also well-illustrated, although most of the illustrations are very familiar to the editor. The author has made the fullest use of all who have written before on this interesting subject, and has therefore produced a very useful little manual.

Poems, by Nina Layard (London: Longmans). The authoress of this daintily got-up volume is well known to the readers of the SCIENCE-Gossip by her able papers, and replies to the comments thereon, concerning such evolutionary subjects as Vestiges,” &c. Poems, as a rule, lie outside our line of book notices ; but it is a genuine pleasure to recommend this little book for its graceful and thoughtful verses. Many of them have already appeared in the chief magazines of the day. But we think Miss Layard has done right in collecting them together in this pretty form. They are too good to pass away with the monthly ephemeral literature. They are full of thoughtful and philosophical feeling expressed with that delicate nuan

ance which only an educated woman possesses. Every reader of SCIENCE-Gossip should procure or read these poems,

The Philosophy of Clothing, by W. Mattieu Williams (London: Thos. Laurie). There are few writers on economic or general science better known than Mr. Mattieu Williams. His monthly contributions to our own columns convinced us of this. Consequently, whatever he has to write or speak upon is bound to be read and heard. In this well got-up little book Mr. Williams discourses like the practical philosopher he has proved himself to be, and even illustrates his remarks by the peculiar type in which his remarks are set up. He treats upon “Our Natural Clothing' (an admirable chapter to read), “The Natural Relations of Animal Heat,”

.“ The Protecting Power of Different Clothing Materials,” “The Transmission of Heat through Clothing,” " Adhesion of Air to Clothing Materials,” “Clothing as a Sanitary Purifier," “Woollen Clothing" (illustrated by specimens of the same), “The Sebaceous Follicles-Feather Clothing,” “Boots and Shoes,” “Head Gear,”

“Women's Dress and Fashion," &c. From the mere titles of these chapters our readers may guess the large scope and amazing amount of practical information conveyed in this little book.

Are the Effects of Use and Disuse Inherited? By W. Platt Ball (London: Macmillan & Co.). This well got-up little volume is one of the celebrated “Nature Series.” It deals clearly and forcibly with Herbert Spencer's examples and arguments, as well as those of Charles Darwin. The ground travelled over by the author is far-reaching, and the subjects treated upon numerous and varied.

An Illustrated Handbook of British Dragon.flies, by the editor of the “Naturalist's Gazette” (London: E. W. Allen ; Birmingham : The Naturalist Publishing Co.). This capital little handbook is just the work which has long been wanted by students. The author has devoted special attention for years to this class of insects, and he now gives, in a cheap form, the benefits of his knowledge and experience. We cordially recommend the book.

Inorganic Chemistry, by J. Oakley Buttler (London : Relfe Bros.). This is a handy and useful little book on the chemistry of the non-metals. It covers the ground required by the London Matriculation Examination, as well as the Cambridge Local Examining Board, and the Science and Art Department.

Practical Inorganic Chemistry (elementary stage), by E. J. Cox (London: Percival & Co.). Another competitor for the much patronised “student” going in for the Science and Art Department, &c., written by a man who knows his work. It is, however, a cheap, handy, and capital note-book, just small enough to be useful (51 pages), and the limp cloth cover makes it handy for the pocket.

SCIENCE-GOSSIP.

ROYAL INSTITUTION.-The following are the Lecture Arrangements before Easter: Professor Dewar, Six Christmas Lectures to Juveniles, on Frost and Fire; Professor Victor Horsley, Nine Lectures on the Structure and Funetions of the Nervous. System (Part I. the Spinal Cord, and Ganglia); Mr. Hall Caine, Three Lectures on The Little Manx Nation; Professor C. Hubert H. Parry, Three Lectures on the Position of Lulli, Purcell, and . Scarlatti in the History of the Opera ; Professor C. Meymott Tidy, Three Lectures on Modern Chemistry in relation to Sanitation ; Mr. W. Martin Conway, Three Lectures on Pre-Greek Schools of Art; the Right Hon. Lord Rayleigh, Six Lectures on the Forces of Cohesion. The Friday evening meetings will begin on January 23rd, when a discourse will be given by the Right Hon. Lord Rayleigh on Some Applications of Photography ; succeeding Discourses will probably be given by the Right Hon. Lord Justice Sir Edward Fry, Professor J. W. Judd,

17

Professor A. Schuster, Dr. E. E. Klein, Mr. Percy “ELECTRICITY IN DAILY LIFE,” by F. B. Lea, is Fitzgerald, Dr. J. A. Fleming, Dr. Felix Semon, a very cheap (twopence) pamphlet published by Professor W. E. Ayrton, and other gentlemen. E. W. Allen, to which we are pleased to draw

attention, We have received a reprint (Part 3) of a paper by Dr. A. B. Griffiths, on his “Researches on Micro- The sixth and seventh parts of Mr. R. L. Wallace's Organisms.” It is a bit of excellent and original work. work on “British Cage Birds " are well up to the

high standard gained by the preceding numbers. The first part of a most thoughtful and suggestive paper appeared in the “American Naturalist " for BOOK-BUYERS will find Mr. Edward Stanford's October on “The Evolution of Mind," by Professor recently issued “Catalogue of Maps, Atlases, and Cope.

Books” exceedingly useful. The Third Part of M. Tempere's “Le Diatomiste" “THE NATURALIST'S ANNUAL AND DIRECTORY fully keeps up its high character. The photographic FOR 1891” is a happy thought. The present first enlargements are a high work of art.

beginning, however, is capable of considerable We recommend our geological and entomological

extension. readers to study the paper in the December issue of

We have received a reprint of Mr. G. W. Bulman's the “Annals and Magazine of Natural History” on

important paper on “A Coal-Seam in the Bernician “The Fauna of Amber," by Herr Richard Klebs, of

Series of Northumberland, and its Bearing on the Königsberg

Theory of the Formation of Coal.” Mr. Bulman, We are pleased to see that a new edition (the as our readers know, is a thoughtful and original third) of Dr. E. Crookshank's “Manual of Bacteri- writer. ology,” revised throughout, has just been issued.

We gather that a series of pamphlets on “EveryAt length the great Darwinian, Dr. A. R. Wallace, day Science” is being issued from Curtis and has received recognition at the hands of our Royal

Beamish, of Coventry. The first to hand is one on Society. He has obtained the first Darwinian gold The Philosophy of Cycling,” by W. R. Fulleyrove. medal. But why is he not an F.R.S. ?

The Rev J. E. Kelsall's carefully-annotated list of DR. HENRY WOODWARD figures and describes in the birds of Hampshire and Isle of Wight has been the December number of “ The Geological Magazine' reprinted, price one shilling (Southampton : the a new Fossil British Isopod, discovered by Mr. “Independent" office). Thomas Jesson in the great Oolite of Northampton

Dr. G. J. HINDE has kindly forwarded a reprint of shire.

his paper from the “Annals and Magazines of The number of known small planets has now Natural History," on “Radiolaria from the Lower reached three hundred. Of these, thirteen were Palæozoic Rocks of the South of Scotland.” We discovered last year. The first was discovered at the have few more ardent palæontological workers than beginning of the century.

Dr. Hinde. We have received from Mr. John Dennant, F.G.S., One of our well-known correspondents, the Rev. an enthusiastic Victorian Geologist, a reprint of his H. W. Lett, sends us a reprint of his painstaking and valuable paper entitled “ Observations the

lengthy report (about 60 pp.) on “The Mosses, Tertiary and post-Tertiary Geology of South-Western

Hepatics, and Lichens of the Mourne Mountain Victoria.”

District.” It originally appeared in the “Proceedings MR. MONTAGU Brown has published, in the

of the Royal Irish Academy." Transactions of the Leicester Literary and Philo.

MESSRS. GEORGE PHILIP & SON, 32 Fleet Street, sophical Society," an important paper on a “Revision

are exhibiting a very large and complete Tellurium, of a Genus of Fossil Fishes, Dapedius.

constructed for lecture-purposes, which illustrates the We beg to acknowledge the reprint of an important complex motions of the earth and moon. It shows paper by Dr. C. A. Oliver, Ophthalmic-surgeon to the actual position of the earth in space for any given St. Agnes's Hospital, Philadelphia, on “ An Analysis

time of the year. of the Motor Symptoms and Conditions of the Ocular

The “ Transactions of the Wagner Free Institute Apparatus as observed in Imbecility, Epilepsy, and

of Science of Philadelphia” contains a splendidly. the second stage of General Paralysis of the Insane.”

illustrated monograph, by W. H. Dall (Palæontologist MR. C. J. Gilbert's pamphlet on “ The Geology to the U.S. Geological Survey) entitled “Contriof Sutton-Coldfield " is an important addition to the butions to the Tertiary Fauna of Florida, with geology of the Midland Counties. Mr. Gilbert has Especial Reference to the Silex-Beds of Támpa, and studied the locality, and done the work well.

the Pliocene-Beds of the Caloosahahatcie River."

on

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