Page images
[graphic][merged small]

Before us lies a list of names by which the pine-, known anywhere on the habitable globe, wherever apple is known in about forty languages or dialects, the temperature is sufficient for its production. and the root of the majority of them is the original When Oliver Cromwell ruled in these realms, a South American Nanas; from which the Tamul present of pine-apples was one of the things which Anasa, and the Arabic Anannas, as well as the fell to his lot, and this was probably the first introgeneric Latin name, by which the plant is known to duction of the fruit into England, although it was botanists, is derived. There is but little doubt that known on the Continent four years previously. Four America was the original home of the pine-apple, years afterwards and Evelyn writes of its appearwhence it became introduced into eastern and southern ance on the royal table. Asia. How it got into Africa we do not pretend to But the fruit, however much it may have been explain, nor would we like to assert that it is not extolled, is not the only good product of this plant.

your pole behind you, and your body bent backward and leaning upon it, jump on boldly among

From the leaves thereof is procured a fibrous material known and appreciated by the barbarous hordes of Africa and the semi-civilized Malays. The celebrated pine-apple cloth of the Philippines, resembling the finest muslin, is woven with the delicate fibres of the uncultivated pine-apple plant. This muslin is embroidered by the nuns of the convents of Manilla with excellent skill and taste, so that the “Pina” muslin of the Philippines has become a celebrated article of manufacture. Mr. Bennett has observed in his “Wanderings,” that one of the coarser fibres may be subdivided into filaments of such fineness as to be barely perceptible, and yet sufficiently strong for textile purposes.

The Malays use the fibre of the pine-apple to manufacture their fishing nets, and so plentiful is the plant in many parts of India and the East, that it forms immense thickets; and Dr. Helfer says that the fruit is so abundant in the Tenasserim provinces that it is sold in Amherst Town during June and July at the rate of two shillings for a boat load. What an inducement for the rapturous devourers of pine-apples ! Should a Tenasserim Pine-apple Emigration Company (Limited) become one of the projects for 1867, we shall not permit the fact to be forgotten, that its suggestion originated with ourselves and the New Year.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][graphic]


R. CHARLES BONER has recently pub

lished a very portable and useful little guide to tourists and mountain-climbers; and, although this is not exactly the season when people sling the “Rücksack” over their shoulders, and grasp the alpen-stock, with a determination to brave the dangers of the Wetterhorn, or "do" the Capel Curig ascent of Snowdon, we are, nevertheless, induced to make our readers acquainted with the mysteries of the alpen-stock as revealed by the said Charles Boner, in anticipation of next season.

“Your pole should be of your own height-six feet, we will say; light, tough, unbending, and ironshod.” One who has done a little climbing every autumn adds that it should be of good, tough, old, well-seasoned ash.

“Let your whole body be as quiet as possible, slightly bending forward, and your pole before you. Such pole properly used is a great help in going up a mountain : a great assistance and support. But if you plant it behind or beside, instead of before you, thus pushing yourself on, its use will fatigue rather than otherwise. The staff being in front, you lean the whole weight of your forward-bending body upon it-thus quite resting on it-as you step.

* In coming down a 'Geröll' (sloping bed of stones), you will soon get to the bottom. With

Fig. 5.

body will carry the mass on which you alight several feet forwards. The 'Geröll’ will slide on like a miniature landslip, and you slide with it. To go

down thus, leaping along, is pleasant enough, and “Do not look out into space, but keep your eyes very speedy; only be careful to come down on your fixed on the path, however narrow, before you ; for heels, which, sinking somewhat in the rubbish, push the grand thing is that the eye have something to it forward. You might sprain your ankle other- rest on, to seize, and, as it were, to hold by. You wise. You cannot fall; for your pole behind, which have grown giddy because the range of your vision bears your whole weight, keeps you up.

had no boundary: it was lost in the indefinite. Let it be bounded by the small but defined form which that spot then affording you a footing presents, and your eye grows at once quieter, for it has again what its and your nature are accustomed to and require. In daily life your vision rests at every second on distinct outlines of things, and you move


Fig. 6.

“Always descend with your face turned thither where you are going. Never go backwards like one descending a ladder. Should you do so you could make no use of your pole, and that is certainly of greater assistance to you than your hands afford by

Fig. 7. thus holding the rocks; for you only thus go backwards in order not to relinquish your hold of them; among them safely, your eye helping you to avoid besides, your pole would be in your way if you were them; but they also, by your sight finding something to descend in this manner. As was said above, keep to rest on-to lean upon, as it were-in their turn your pole behind you in coming down, never before give a support and lead you along progressingly. you. Neglect of this rule will make your task of “On moving over certain ground you cannot help descending doubly difficult.

loosening larger or smaller stones. In such places "Inclimbing convince yourself that the chief thing do not follow directly behind him who precedes you, to be considered is whether the spot your foot rests but a little to the side, so that when a stone comes on be firm. You do not want much space to obtain leaping down it may fly by and not against your a firm footing, for you may stand well on anything head or shins. Should you loosen a stone, call at not larger than the palm of your hand, but it must once to those behind to look out, so that they may be sure. If your head be steady, you may in reality jump aside as it comes bounding towards them. walk along a ledge not broader than the soles of Stones thus sent rolling fly down with terrible force your shoes, but then you must have the conviction and inflict serious injury." that the ground beneath your feet is as firm as the In this manner Mr. Boner gives plain and easy mountain. Should you have to walk along such instructions to bill-climbers, in familiar language, place lean your body inwards.

and without affectation. Every paragraph contains

some good practical advice, or friendly caution; he is a “harbour-constable.” Arrived at the street, and for the inexperienced, who for the first time and the number, the name on the door-plate proved emulates to climb a mountain, his little volume is as to be some other than the one which Mr. Gray was

seeking; he resolved, therefore, on returning to his hotel without further inquiry. The officious conductor steps up to his side, learns the name of the person sought, and again offers his services, this time more pressingly, and urges that it is all on the way to the hotel. Pulling up at a doorway, they enter, two or three policemen are standing about, the conductor inquires for the sergeant, and Mr. Gray for Mr. Greer for whom he was seeking. Light then broke in upon him as his "seedy” friend announced, in not very choice language, “You are my prisoner ; I arrest you on suspicion; I charge you with coming down Pump Street and knocking at every house you passed.” Protestations were vain, the prisoner was taken into the kitchen of the police-barrack ; he explained who and what he was, gave his card, announced his business, and produced the following letter :

19, Pump Street, Londonderry, March 2, 1866. "DEAR SIR, I would take it as a particular favour if you would let me have a small quantity of the Diatomaceous earth you refer to in SCIENCE GOSSIP. I enclose two stamps, and remain yours, &c.

The fact was made clear that he was a naturalist and had exchanged letters with this gentleman through the medium of a publication called SCIENCE Gossip, but had never seen his correspondent, and had been in search of him. By dint of perseverance he was permitted to go again, under the protection of two police, in search of bis unknown correspondent. This time the search was successful, one of the police soon presented himself with Mr. Greer. The latter apologized that since his note was written the number on the door had been altered. The rain poured in torrents as the five individuals marched

to see the mayor. This functionary was entertainFig. 8.

ing a large dinner party, but did attend to his unindispensable as the "Rücksack," or the "alpen

bidden visitors. The "seedy harbour-constable” stock,” and those who have trodden the rugged path made the charge, the prisoner denied, and ultiwill doubtless do it better the next time after taking mately it was understood that the mayor was satisa little of his advice.

fied that the prisoner need not be detained, but

should be taken to the head-constable and have his PERILS OF A NATURALIST.

papers examined, and if he was satisfied Mr. Gray

might be released. The head-constable was not at FROM ROM a letter by Mr. William Gray (District home. For an hour or more he was waited for. In

Inspector of Public Works in Ireland), pub- the interval Mr. Gray and Mr. Greer had time to lished in the Belfast Northern Whig of December talk over their favourite pursuits. This did not 15th last, we glean the following singular narrative. improve matters with the “harbour-constable,” who, Being in Londonderry on the Wednesday previous, of course, took care to hear all. “For,” says Mr. he resolved to find a correspondent, whom he had G.,“ when we talked of the thousands of Diatomacea not seen. Not knowing where to find the street he to be had in my district, the beauty of the Polycyslins, inquired of a man on the footpath for Pump Street. the movements of Naticulæ, and the best way of This individual not only pointed the way, but offered mounting Algæ and Polyzoa, the poor constable to go with Mr. Gray and show him. During the seemed utterly bewildered, and expressed his feelwalk the conductor in "seedy uniform” says that ings by saying, 'It was —d quare that fellows that never knew each other should have so many scopically in the autumn the globose or elliptical acquaintances; and, look here,' he says to one of spores of the rust (fig. d) will be found in all stages the police, 'there's something quare about this; intermediate between the simple form and the elon. just read that word.' 'Well,' says the policeman, gated septate spores of the “mildew” (fig. c). The 'I am not a great reader, read it yourself.' And mature mildew occurs on the yellow straw, and he began to spell—di-i-a-t-0-&c.' Observing his fading leaves at harvest time, in elongated darkperplexity, I told him that the word was ‘Diatoma. brown, almost black sori, or compact tufts, bursting ceous earth,' and if he required to know further, he through the cuticle (fig. a); and if a portion is must refer to ‘Pritchard's Infusoria' or 'Smith's removed with the point of a penknife and placed Diatomaceæ.' He professed to know all that, but with a drop of water on a slide the tufts will be still he was certain there was something about it seen to be composed (fig. 6) of a mass of stalked that required to be explained !"" Suffice it to say spores, each divided transversely by a medial wall or that on the return of the head-constable, his ex- partition, dividing each spore into two nearly equal anination of the papers, &c., after some altercation, parts, of which the upper is more deeply coloured to the great annoyance and chagrin of the “harbour- than the lower, and blunt or obtuse at the apex. constable,” Mr. Gray obtained his liberty again It was long believed in agricultural districts that between 10 and 11 o'clock at night. We regret wheat grown in the neighbourhood of Berberry that our space would not allow us to reprint Mr. bushes was sure to be mildewed, and that there was Gray's letter in full. It is a most amusing episode, some mysterious connection between the Berberry as good as a farce to any but our unfortunate corre- and the mildew. In consequence of this belief the spondent.


Berberry was carefully extirpated from the neighbourhood of cornfields. Scarcely more than twelve

months ago Dr. De Bary announced that as the WHEAT MILDEW (Puccinia graminis).

result of careful experiments he had come to the THE wheat mildew is but too well known in conclusion that the parasite (Acidium) of the Ber

external appearances to all who are interested berry was only another condition of the mildew of in agriculture, to need much description, and even

the wheat. Although his observations require conamongst townsmen there are but few who have not firmation before they are accepted as incontrovertible heard of it, many that on account of its reputation fact, there is every reason to believe that there is a have made acquaintance with its uninviting exterior.

mysterious link which unites the two parasites. For many years mycologists have strenuously opposed the popular belief as a vulgar error, and in 1843 an eminent authority in the pages of the “Gardener's Chronicle” (p. 694) observed, "we should as soon soon believe that a hen's egg would be hatched into toads as that the seed of an Æcidium would produce Uredo or Puccinia." Twenty-one years after this and there is every probability of its becoming an admitted fact that Uredo (or Trichobasis) and Æcidium are the same plants as Puccinia in different conditions of a kind of “alternation of generations."

M. C. C.


SPIDER POISON.-I have read with some interest

the discussion which has appeared from time to Fig. 9.

time in the pages of SCIENCE GOSSIP regarding the Of its internal and microscopical character very few poisonous property of the spider. The little article of those who know it as a pest have any experience, in a recent number has, I should presume, settled and it is with a view to its better acquaintance that the fact that the insect is endowed with a poison we have selected it for illustration. Early in the apparatus. I have been curious to observe if any year and whilst the plant is still green the leaves of of your readers' experience on this point has been wheat and grass become more or less covered with similar to my own, and as no one has as yet quoted a bright rust-coloured or orange powder, which personal experience, I now venture to state mine. bursts through the cuticle and disperses itself over One summer morning, feeling a smart degree of the surface of the plant. This is what has been irritation about the middle of the forearm, instead called the "rust,” and is undoubtedly a stage or of rubbing the part as one instinctively does, I condition of the mildew, and if examined micro- | cautiously turned up my shirt-sleeve a little, when,

« EelmineJätka »