Littell's Living Age/Volume 127/Issue 1635/Miscellany

A correspondent writes: — "Those interested in ancient historical relics will be sorry to learn that the Parthenon at Athens is being shockingly wrecked and ruined. Tourists every season visit it, knock off limbs of statues, pull down portions of the frieze which Lord Elgin left, and, clambering up with hammer or stone, break off bits of the Doric capitals. These capitals, it will be remembered, are painted with rows of leaves, which are supposed to be bent double under the weight of the architrave, and relic-hunters seem to be especially fond of chipping this portion of the masonry. Not a fortnight ago a tourist knocked off the finger of one of the finest statues, as he wished to add to his private collection of curiosities at New York. The Greeks have determined to protect the building as much as possible, and to store up in a safe place the most interesting and valuable of the fragments of sculpture which lie all over the place, exposed to rude winds, 'and men more savage still than they.' They have almost completed a museum at the back of the Acropolis, but the work has come to a standstill for lack of money. This fact has only to become known amongst artists and art-lovers in this country, and doubtless immediate steps will be taken to preserve that noblest remnant of Greece in her glory — the Parthenon."


Growth under Trees. — How to clothe the ground under trees is sometimes a trouble-some problem to the gardener. But, after all, a very little attention will enable him to do it successfully. The most valuable plants for the purpose among evergreen shrubs are the holly, yew, privet, and butcher's broom, and among frailer subjects we may name the ivy and the periwinkle, both of which endure shading and starving with remarkable good-nature. There are many useful plants suitable for the foreground that are seldom thought of. Should the shade not be very thick, and the soil be a good loam, violets and lilies of the valley will thrive. For very bad cases, we may fall back upon three serviceable plants, all of them British weeds. First of all is the dwarf elder, Sambucus ebulus, which in early spring presents a rich carpet of emerald-green. The next is the sweet woodruff, Asperula odorata, spreading like a green cushion, and covered in May with snow-white flowers. The last is the enchanter's nightshade, Circœa lutetiana, an elegant little herb. These three will stand both shade and drip, and will make pleasant-looking verdure where other plants, that have constitutional objections to shade, would die of sheer starvation.

Cassell's Magazine.

Sweet Perfumes. — Few people are aware of the commercial importance of perfumes, and of the extent to which their manufacture is now carried on. The flower-harvest of the district of the Var, in the south-east of France, includes no less than 1,475,000 lbs. of orange-blossoms, 530,000 lbs. of roses, 100,000 lbs. of jasmine, 75,000 lbs. of violets, 45,000 lbs. of acacia, 30,000 lbs. of geranium, 24,000 lbs. of tuberose, and 5,000 lbs. of jonquil. A well-known perfume-manufacturer at Cannes uses annually 140,000 lbs. of rose-leaves alone, and other perfume-laden flowers in proportion.

It is remarkable that the perfumes obtained from the flowers named above are the types of nearly all flower-odours. Thus, if we blend jasmine and orange-flowers, the result is a scent like sweet-pea; and when jasmine and tuberose are mixed, the perfume is that of the hyacinth. Violet and tuberose resemble lily of the valley. By blending primary odours we also obtain all the various bouquets and nosegays, such as "frangipanni," "white rose," and "sweet daphne."

Cassell's Magazine.