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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/442

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

but, if not helped, he would glance at the dishes around him with an impatient murmur, and try to attract the attention of the waiters with a cough or by touching them. If he drank out of a vessel which he could not lift, he would bend down to it without touching it with his hands or disturbing it. He was particularly neat, seemed annoyed if anything fell upon him or stuck to him, and would pick it off carefully, or would hold up his hands and let some person pick it off; he was free from odors, and was very fond of playing and splashing around in the water. His most prominent individual peculiarities were good humor and cunning. If punished, he never resented it, but would lock his feet together and look up with an expression that disarmed all ill feeling. When he wanted anything, he could make his wish known as expressively and persuasively as any child. If it was not granted he would not give it up, but would wait for his chance with every evidence that he had a plan in his head. Thus, if he wanted to go out, and was refused, he would seem to submit and lie down in assumed indifference not far from the door, raising his head occasionally to see if his opportunity had come, and would gradually draw nearer to the door, keeping careful watch all the time, and at last would go out so quickly that no one could stop him. Whenever he intended to steal sugar or fruit from the cupboard, he would keep looking in the opposite direction till he was not observed, and then would go directly to the cupboard, open the door, and, having shut it behind him, would take out carefully whatever he wanted and eat it as quickly as possible. If detected, he would run away, and his whole demeanor would indicate that he knew he was doing what was forbidden. He took great pleasure in drumming on hollow things, and seldom let an opportunity pass of doing so. Unaccustomed noises were annoying to him. Thunder, the pattering of the rain on the awnings of the ship, the sound of the trumpet and the pipe, gave him so much pain that it was an act of mercy to get him out of hearing of them as quickly as possible. Mpungu declined after he was taken to Europe, and died in a little more than two years after he was caught.

 

The Stone-Grains in Fruit.—Henry Polonié considers, in "Kosmos," the nature of the gritty particles in pears and other fruits of the apple family. Each of these bodies consists of several cells which may be called stone-cells, and which have walls of considerable strength, traversed by canals. The stone-cells are widely distributed through the vegetable kingdom, and form an essential part of the framework of many plants. In these cases they perform mechanical functions, as they do also in grapes or stone fruits, where they form strong walls protecting the seed. The mechanical office does not, however, appear in the pear, for the stone-grains are scattered irregularly in the pulp of the fruit. M. Polonié suggests that they may be the rudimentary remains of a stone casing to the seeds of some ancestor of our present cultivated and wild pears. It is in favor of this theory that the stony pear-grains are not evenly distributed through the whole fruit, but are thickest in a zone surrounding the seeds, and where we should expect to find the shell of the stone if the pear was a proper stone-fruit. By bringing together the different varieties of cultivated and wild or wood pears, we might arrange a series of fruits in regular gradation, from a luscious pear with hardly any stony grains down to a tough wood-pear, in which these grains would be so close as ta touch each other all around. If the latter pear is dried, the stony surrounding becomes so hard that it is difficult to cut through it. M. Polonié has found this to be the case with certain wild pears which he has observed. This theory is also supported by the analogy of certain genera related to the pear whose fruits inclose stones, as the medlar, which has fine stony seeds; certain species of thorn, in which the seeds are merged into one kernel surrounded by a stony envelope, and some exotic genera, as the East Indian stranæsia, in which all the seeds are surrounded by a common stony envelope. The quince has also gritty particles, which are distributed similarly with those of the pear; and a quince from the shores of the Caspian Sea, which is preserved in the herbarium at Berlin, has its stone-grains thickly grouped in a hard mass surrounding the seeds, like the wood-pears mentioned by M. Polonié.