Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/489

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was the prevalence and the power of the belief in animal magnetism. This delusion may well he regarded as the witchcraft of the nineteenth century; its hand is everywhere—on the press and the pulpit, on all our literature, on science itself, even on physiology, to which its phenomena rightly belong, and by which they can be and are fully explained. It is a tyrant that rules over the whole realm of the seemingly mysterious; the success of the orator on the platform, and of the physician at the bedside, is attributed to its aid, as of old superior learning and skill were attributed to the occult forces of magic. It may be doubted whether any other false belief of our time has had a more serious influence in retarding the progress of right reasoning than this, since it blocks the doors of investigation and prejudges the case when investigations are made, stimulates the too common habit of making the emotions do the work of the intellect, and becomes a sort of foster-mother to other and allied delusions.

It was the universality of this belief in animal magnetism that made mind-reading popular, since it furnished a basis as broad as the wildest theorizer could wish, on which could be erected a limitless variety of hypotheses; and many who rejected intuitively the claim of direct supernatural aid were made happy by the equally false and untenable claim of literal conveyance of thought from subject to operator through the agency of a supposed magnetic fluid.



THE boring of a tunnel of any importance presents difficulties of various kinds, among which may be mentioned the clearing away of the rubbish arising from the excavation of the gallery, whenever that reaches any considerable length, and the work is carried on with activity. Such were the conditions under which the boring of the Mont Cenis Tunnel was carried on, and M. Fabre, the able contractor, has met with similar difficulties in the boring of the St. Gothard Tunnel, now being carried out.

The work was begun from two points, Airolo and Gœschenen, the two extremities of the future tunnel. The advance of the gallery, which is pushed on with activity, produces about 400 cubic metres of rubbish a day at each of the two faces of attack. To carry away this mass of rubbish, which is thrown regularly into trucks running on rails, it is impossible to employ locomotives, as the cul-de-sac nature

  1. Translated from La Nature.