Page images
PDF
EPUB

A VOICE FROM PARIS.

[graphic]

DOWN the Champs of Milan, has produced or invented a novel optical

Elysées flows the instrument, called a Photobioscope, which depends tide of fashion for its effect upon the property possessed by the able Paris, and a retina of the eye of retaining for a brief space the pair of solitary image of any object after the withdrawal of the rooks have built latter from the visual range. But its great efficacy

their nest on the is said to result from the alliance of microscopic top of a plane-tree at the photography, which, by reproducing the delicate corner of Rue de Morny, to | gradations of any given movement, produces marcontemplate at their leisure | vellous effects. The Photobioscope is a stereoscope the ever-flowing human stream which in addition to the appearance of solidity between the Tuileries and the imparts that of life and motion to the object seen Arc de l'Etoile. I wonder what through it. “Ships are seen gliding on the surface these rooks think of Paris, of the deep, the waves twinkle in the merry sun. and how they came to establish light, the cataract descends in glittering spray and themselves in such a spot. | foam from the brow of the jutting rock, cattle roam That may be a problem, but in search of pasture on the mountain skirts, the

there is a greater problem yet leaves are trembling in the breeze. Hands and unsolved in the Champs de Mars. It is the Great arms are never still, mouths open and shut, the Exposition of 1867. Let the stranger cross the very eyelids wink.” Such marvellous results are Pont de l'Alma, and obtain his first glance at the attributed to the Photobioscope, but as many of the extraordinary mausoleum in which lie entombed so treasures of Art and Science from Italy still slumber many of the fondest hopes and the rarest achieve. in their packages, it is impossible to verify the ments of Science and Art which the Great Fair of glowing account from actual observation, or even 1867 has collected together from all parts of the to affirm whether such a thing as a Photobioscope is civilized globe, and he may well ask himself if that exhibited in the Italian department of the Exposi. is indeed the temple which the most artistic of tion of 1867. civilized nations has dedicated to universal genius. Amongst the things that are really worth seeing It might have been designed for a big gasometer, or may be mentioned one of the great attractions of the an elliptical railway station, but, spoilt for both Rue des Indes—that is, the avenue of the building these purposes, it has become the Great Exposition. in wbich the contributions from British India are

What is it possible to say, even yet, of the exhibited. This is a most masterly and lifelike contents of such a chaos as the interior exhibits ? group of stuffed animals, consisting of the body of And yet there are a few objects of interest which a deer, over which a lion and tiger are engaged in have already emerged from the packing-cases, to deadly conflict. The grouping is happy in conwhich an allusion may be acceptable. Everybody ception, and in execution leaves nothing to be knows that, although the “show” is opened to the desired. All day long a crowd blocks up the public, it is not half complete; and what is passage in front of this group, the work of Mr. unknown and hidden always acquires a mysterious Edwin Ward, of Wigmore Street, London; and it importance; hence it becomes a feasible excuse to promises to be literally one of the “lions” of the plead that the most wonderful things are not yet Exhibition. Nearly opposite are Messrs. Smith and exhibited. It is reported that the Chevalier Bonelli, Beck's and Mr. Ross's microscopes, almost the

No. 29.

only first-class microscopes I have yet seen in the best and most expensive that are made in Paris. Exhibition. But more of this anon. Microscopy is | The stands are low, and by no means elaborate in not one of the social institutions of France.

construction; the stage is devoid of any movement, As a naturalist I was disappointed, after hearing for it is observed that both French and Germans the glowing descriptions at the “Silver Swan,” | prefer moving the slide containing the object with which is located not very far from the above-named their fingers, and at the same time declare that they group. I was perhaps wrong in expecting too do so with greater precision than with any memuch of nature from art. Back again to the Indian chanical motion. The microscopes are all small, Court I am accustomed to wend my way to take say about nine or ten inches in the entire height, another look at the stuffed fishes which Captain when ready for work, and look as if they had been Mitchell has sent for exhibition from the Madras constructed somewhere about twenty years ago. Museum. They are certainly the most praiseworthy | Certainly there are two binoculars which from efforts at reproducing the natural appearance of peculiarity of construction have a most singular these most difficult objects in Natural History appearance. Moreover, microscopes are exhibited which I remember to have seen, and are by no with two or three divergent tubes which all unite means the satires upon fish-life which most of at the lower end in a nozzle containing the object. the attempts at preserving fish, even in our best glass, and two or three observers are supposed museums, have hitherto been. There is, however, to be able to see the same object at the same one drawback, in that the glass eyes which have time, by looking down the respective tubes. been employed are very convex, instead of being | How much light can be thrown upon the object nearly plane.

under such circumstances never appears to have Several allusions have been made in these pages entered into the consideration of the designer. to the gigantic extinct birds of New Zealand, and it Under any circumstances they deserve a place may be of interest to allude in passing to the re. | amongst the curiosities of microscopy. The Ger. mains of one of these birds which Major Michael, of | mans are said to prefer an instrument which is perMadras, will exhibit in the New Zealand Court, as manently erect, and the facility of inclining the body soon as that court is ready for their reception. They | at any angle is regarded as an innovation, and not as are portions of a bird which must have attained a an improvement. This reminds me that a friend height of not less than fourteen feet.

has informed me that an enterprising manufacturer No one who has seen and experienced the kind at Hamburg constructed a large instrument on the of life in which the entire Parisian population in English pattern two or three years ago, and has dulge, can be surprised that they do not pursue never been able to dispose of it, so that it remains more closely the study of minute life through the in his window as a monument of disappointed hopes. medium of the microscope. The habit of dining in Surely the continental microscopists cannot be the evening at the café or restaurant, and spending addicted to bending their heads and stretching the close of the day out of doors,—the absence of their necks over a microscope hour after hour as anything approaching the domestic life of England Englishmen sometimes do, or they never would be

-solitude, retirement, study, or even intellectual so infatuated with their erect bodies. Every one recreation,—whilst it surprises an Englishman, has his tastes, but mine does not include either forces on him the conviction that it is not here he French or German microscopes, as far as I have must look for improvements in that instrument hitherto become acquainted with them. which, of all others, is becoming so widely the Another evidence of the want of universality in source of amusement and instruction, and attaining microscopic pursuits on the Continent appears to be the position of a national institution in his own the entire absence of all the little contrivances for

mounting and observation which are so common in After carefully searching through Class XII. in the all the opticians' shops in London. One sees none Exposition, I have found small microscopes ex of the “knicknacks” which accompany the hibited by E. Gundlach, of Berlin, in the Prussian microscope at home, and my own travelling microDepartment, and in the court devoted to mathe scope is looked upon here, by all who bave seen it, as matical instruments on the French side are Nachet's, a kind of curiosity. Microscopical societies are Hartnach's, and Chevalier's small microscopes. The almost unknown. The Microscopical Society of best of any of these, as they stand in their show Paris is confined only to a few members, and is not cases, only remind me of the instruments furnished even known by name, save in a limited circle. by good English makers at from five to ten guineas In the Belgian Court a large series of photocach. What they may be in operation is still a micrographs are exhibited under the name of mystery, but the impression is anything but favour A. L. Neyt, of Gand; they are of a large size, but able. No one would suppose that the instruments deficient in clearness, and are by no means equal to shown under the name of Nachet are those which those which we are accustomed to see. The same Frenchmen are in the habit of speaking of as the photographs are exbibited also by agents in other

[ocr errors]

portions of the building. The objects selected are diatoms, acari, &c., many of them identical in

SOMETHING TO DO. subject with those produced by Dr. Maddox. At present I have been unable to find any exhibits of

“ He would pore by the hour

O'er a weed or a flower, this kind in the American Court; but only a Or the Slugs that come crawling out after a shower; portion of the objects here are yet exposed, and Blackbeetles and Bumble-Bees, Bluebottle Flies, photo-micrographs may repose still with other

And Moths were of no small account in his eyes;

An Industrious Flea' he'd by no means despise, mysteries in the packing-cases.

While an Old Daddy Long-legs,' whose 'long legs' and Microscopic objects are exhibited in the British thighs section by Mr. Topping and Mr. Norman, of Pass'd the common in shape, or in colour, or size,

He was wont to consider an absolute prize; London, Mr. Cole, of Liverpool, and Mr. Webb,

Nay, a Hornet or Wasp he could scarce keep his paws off' of Birmingham; and in the French department by Messrs. Burgogne and Aliot. These require a more

Gave up, in short,

Both business and sport, careful survey than I have yet been able to make,

And abandon'd himself, tout entier, to Philosophy." before any special objects can be indicated.

INGOLDSBY. Messrs. Burgogne's injections attracted much attention in 1862, but the display here is far inferior QIR THOMAS THE GOOD, made famous by in number, though probably fully equal in quality, Ingoldsby, must indeed have been a model

The Exhibition catalogue contains, amongst Naturalist. His tastes, as described in the above other things which are scarcely possible to find, an passage, were very comprehensive; and his observaintimation that microscopes are exhibited by N. E. tions must have embodied the fruits of long and Evrard, A. N. Lebrun, J. N. Wentzel, and A. careful study. It is quite clear that he could not Miraud, of Paris ; by J. J. Van Zelst Zaalberg, of have been a mere collector. None but a true NatuAmsterdam ; F. A. Nobert, of Barth ; S. Merz, of ralist, and a patient one withal, would "pore by the Munich ; J. Cavalleri, of Milan; as well as micro hour o'er a weed or a flower;” and we shall find scopical preparations by J. Nacovich, of Padua, much in his example that we shall do well to P. Marchi, of Florence, and E. Oehl, of Pavia. imitate, although we may hope that his sad fate Time will, perhaps, reveal all.

will not befall us. Messrs. H. and W. Crouch and M. Pillischer Nature is now beginning to awake from her have microscopes exhibited in the British section, winter sleep. The Botanist hails with delight the but these are too well known to our readers to need Violet and the Primrose, the Pilewort and the description.

Marsh Marigold, bright forerunners of the floral It does not enter into my province to discuss the train which another month will unfold to our view; system of classification which the Imperial Com the Entomologist, when he sees the gay Brimstone mission has established, or to indicate how here | Butterfly on the wing, instinctively gets his net in a country and there a country has a classification of order, and prepares for “the pleasures of the its own,-how vainly some have struggled to follow chase;" and the followers of every branch of out the indicated arrangement, and how others

Natural History feel that it is indeed time to be have apparently despised it, and consequently how | "up and doing.” It is delightful to a Naturalist to exceedingly difficult it is to find anything which learn that every year witnesses an increase in the may be required, especially in some groups, though number of Nature's votaries, that each returning it was prophesied that it would be so easy to find spring gives a fresh impetus to the desire of beeverything, that all former exhibitions would, on coming better acquainted with the wonders of this point, be left far behind. Alas! that all the creation. And surely he must indeed be apathetic prophets should have prophesied so falsely; for who can wander on a genuine spring day through some of the juries cannot determine, in many lane, field, or wood without really feeling, as well as cases, whether certain goods belong to their class seeing, the general awakening of all around, without or to anybody else's, and the same natural products feeling that simply to live, is in itself a wondrous in one or two instances are referred to three pleasure. different classes.

As in a former paper we attempted to show what There is certainly much to amuse, and there are | might be done in the way of “ Winter Work,” so many sources of instruction in the Exhibition of | will we now hint at a few of the ways in which 1867; and when everything is in its place, it will novices in Natural History may learn to appreciate undoubtedly, as a whole, prove a superior exhibition the wonders contained in the fast-unfolding pages of what is excellent in Science and Art to any of of the great book of Nature spread over the its predecessors; and it may be added withal that it world. deserves the honour of being the ugliest and best | One very common error into which such people abused of all the great collective fairs of the present are liable to fall is to be found in the idea that they century. M. C. C. can begin in the middle, as it were, and thus make

or themselves a “royal road to learning," forget-, it does no good, will not, at any rate, destroy Lifeting that he who would read must first master the that mysterious principle so easy to remove, so alphabet; and many, when they find that Nature, impossible to restore. For this reason, it is by no too, has an alphabet which all must learn, give up means advisable that every incipient Naturalist the whole affair in disgust. They won't begin to should be a collector; at least, he should restrict study Botany, for instance, in the early spring, when himself to common objects, so that, should he feel the Groundsel and Dead Nettle claim their atten disinclined to pursue the study, he may not have tion. No: these are not sufficiently “interesting " deprived others, more persevering than himself, of for them; they will wait until the spring flowers their reward. Natural History is not a thing of appear, and then they will set to work. They forget books, or of preserved specimens; a mere museum, the parable which tells us that he who was made or hortus siccus : no, it is a living study, having its "ruler over many things” was first “faithful in a “sermons in stones,” its "books in the running few things;” but when every day brings with it a brooks." fresh flower, they begin to find this out-they have And now for a word or two to those who are much more to do than they expected, and so the already professed Naturalists. Have we not a year is wasted. It is here that we would offer our tendency to wander too far abroad in search of first hint: the sooner in the year you begin, the objects for our contemplation? Do we not often better. Gather yourself a January posy-Shepherd's find that we are better acquainted with the Botany Purse, Groundsel, and Red Dead Nettle; study of a place, two or three miles distant, than we are well each of these; find out the names of their with that of a mile round our own residence? Again, various parts; and “when found,” as Captain have we not too great a desire to obtain rare species? Cuttle says, “make a (mental) note of.” If this are not the common ones often neglected ? because seems a dry way of commencing, remember that “we can get them at any time”-and is not any nothing worth knowing was ever learnt without time too often no time? Are we always as careful little trouble. You will have made a good begin as we should be, not to take more specimens than ning, and you will therefore stand a chance of perse. we really require of any plant or animal ?-especially vering - not to the end, that is never attained, the latter-for we may well remember that many, but to a more perfect degree of the knowledge both naturalists and divines, affirm that animals of the wondrous, though neglected, works of will be sharers with us “in the Land of the God.

Hereafter.” Novices in Natural History frequently suppose To those who are not already acquainted with that, in order to become well acquainted with the them, let us introduce the advantages of keeping a branch which they have taken up, they must “col. Kalendar, after the fashion of good old Gilbert lect;" that bundles of dried plants are necessary to White, in which should be recorded the dates of the the study of Botany; a drawer of insects to that of appearance of birds and butterflies, or the leafing Entomology; and so on. This, too, is a great mistake. and flowering of plants. We ourselves have kept We are quite aware that a really good collection of such a Kalendar for the last eight or nine years, dried plants, brought together by one's self, is both and very interesting we find it. At first, our valuable and interesting, particularly when each Kalendar was not only useful, but ornamentalspecimen brings back to one's mind the circum- an elaborate (not to say troublesome) arrangement stances under which it was gathered. But few, showed, not only the Latin name of the plant, but comparatively, have sufficient time at their disposal its English equivalent, the date of its appearance, to form a good collection; and some, thinking that the locality in which it was gathered, with other this is essential, give up the study simply on this particulars; while the pages were embellished with account.

divers and sundry striking (not to say illegible) Now, a mere collector is, in a Naturalist's eyes, headings, in astonishing letters of red, blue, and a creature of a very low order indeed : he it is black ink! But after a year or two, we gave up who greedily seizes on every rare bird, plant, or this style of thing; first, because the embellishinsect, simply that each may be placed in his own ments, etc., took up more time than we could “collection;" and then remains content in the conveniently spare; next, because we found it knowledge that they are his. Nothing comes amiss impossible always to remember on our arrival at to such an one: he is Geologist, Botanist, Entomolo home all that we had seen during our walk; gist, Ornithologist, all in one. The consequence is, I and a book 8 in. long by 6% broad is of an incon. that, being “Jack of all trades,” he is "master of venient size for the pocket. The plan which then none;" he names his objects, certainly, but look suggested itself to us, and which we still follow, over any one of his collections, and you will scarcely was this : a lined MS. book, 8 in. long by 31 broad, fail to find glaring errors. Such an one had much has each page divided into five columns : the first better turn his attention to Postage Stamps, or Trade of these is about 1} in. broad, and allows ample Marks, of wbich he may form a collection which, if / space for the Latin name of the species, while the

remainder is divided into the four other columns, the placing of specimen No. 2 interfered very each being devoted to one year: thus

materially with the comfort of specimen No.l.

In conclusion, we may inform those who are as 1865. 1866. 1867. | 1868.

yet ignorant of the fact, that dried plants may be

sent by book-post, according to the Post-office reguLeontodon Taraxacum Jan. 4. Jan. 2. Jan. 24.

lations. This was first ascertained a few years since

by a friend, and we have frequently availed ourThis book slips easily into a side-pocket. The selves of the privilege. The name and, if wished, list of plants should be first made out at home, and the description of the plant may be written on the should include all that are found, or may possibly sheet to which the specimen is affixed : though, of be found, in the district. Only one side of the course, anything in the shape of a letter must be page should be used for the list; as the opposite excluded. We would, however, advise our friends one may be handy for brief notes, or local names, to see to the posting of packets of plants in this for each species. The saving of time effected in way, themselves ; for district postmasters are not this manner is very great: besides which, each plant all aware of this privilege ; and, although open to can be noted down with a pencil as soon as conviction, will occasionally, as we can testify, observed, so that the risk of forgetting it is done demur. away with. The list is also a very useful companion | Let us, 'during the coming season, endeavour when we are spending a day in a new district, and to become better acquainted with the inhabitants want to learn as much of its Botany as possible; of our woods and fields : let us try to make our as a pencil mark affixed to the name of the plant | own district, as it were, a Selborne; and increase will be sufficient to indicate that it has been ob our knowledge, as well as that of others, of the served. Of course a table of birds or insects can wonders which it contains, remembering the words be added at will: so that one's pocket-book of the poet :may be made a useful vade-mecum.

“ He prayeth best who loveth best On a botanical excursion, we must, of course,

All things both great and small; carry a good-sized vasculum, alias sandwich-case;

For the great God who loveth us, but on a short stroll, we need not thus encumber our

He made, and loveth all.” selves. Some of Huntley and Palmer's biscuits are sent out in little flat tin boxes, about 41 in. long, by 33 broad: one or two of these will travel

THE SWALLOWS. very comfortably in our pockets, and the lids may be secured with a stout elastic band. Those who RY way of an appendix to the elaborate and know Fry's Chocolate Paste, will find the neat D learned essay by Lieut. Col. Austen which little round tins, in which it is enclosed, very handy appeared recently in SCIENCE-Gossip, perhaps I companions : if their shape is less convenient than may be allowed to say a few words in defence of the that of the former, the tin is less flexible; and, if antiquated and now generally abandoned idea accidentally sat upon, does not sustain the same that a certain portion of the hirundines winter in amount of injury which, sad experience convinces the countries which they inhabit during the summer us, is suffered by the former; besides which, the months. I have long taken an interest in this lids fit closer. These boxes are suitable receptacles subject, because it is one upon which theory and for beetles, snails, and many other objects; and are experience seem to differ very widely. The most none the less useful because of their homely origin. eminent naturalists deny the possibility of the The field Botanist will also find a small book of any hybernation of swallows; eye-witnesses innumerable description, which has a tightfitting clasp, very have at different times declared that they have found convenient for blossoms, such as those of Speed them in the winter months in a torpid state. It is wells or Poppies, which are better pressed as soon scarcely probable that science can lead naturalists as gathered; and specimens dried under such far astray, now that our knowledge of and interest circumstances frequently retain their colour better in nature have so much increased ; but, on the other than those with which more trouble has been hand, it is incredible that all these witnesses can have taken. As a general rule, however, we do not been deceived. Only one course remains open, viz., think it advisable to dry plants while "on the to acknowledge both theories to be partially correct, march;” it occupies a great deal of time, with and to attempt to discover the reasons for the scarcely any compensating advantages. One of our / migration of one portion of the hirundines, and for botanical brethren (used to sally forth, with an the hybernation of the other; by doing this we elaborate arrangement of paper, boards, and straps, shall be rendering a far greater service to the cause at his back; but we remember that the wind, on of truth, than by hastily adopting one or the other several occasions, violently resisted his attempts | theory, and branding the supporters of the opposite to spread out his specimens satisfactorily; while | idea as ignorant and credulous. .

« EelmineJätka »