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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/877

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

intervals; "the people are a fine-looking race of gentlemen savages, who dress indifferently in nothing, or roll themselves into a winding-sheet of twelve yards of cotton." They treated their visitors courteously, "and always took indirect means of telling us anything unpleasant." Another plateau, from six to nine thousand feet high, extends around the north and east sides of Lake Nyassa, half-way to Lake Tanganyika and around Lake Hikwa, or Leopold, and is inhabited by three tribes in the lowest physical and mental condition, with whom it was almost impossible to communicate, as they seemed to be devoid of abstract ideas, and shut out from all knowledge and communication with the outside world. A short distance beyond the northwest corner of the beautiful Lake Nyassa, the expedition came to Makula's country, where the life and manners appeared of charming Arcadian simplicity. "The clean and ornamental villages would have adorned the neighborhood of any nobleman's park, and the richness of the soil was quite unrivaled"; and Mr. Thomson left, as he left no other place, with regret, a country which he had entered with apprehension. Thence the expedition passed through the country of the bold, rude, exceedingly inhospitable Wanyika; through Itawa, where Mr. Thomson was taken prisoner, and escaped by laughing at the excited warriors and being thought uncanny; and through other not very remarkable districts, to the "noble river Lukuga" and Lake Tanganyika. The Lukuga winds through a charming valley, with beautiful wooded hills rising on each side from its borders, adorned with forest clumps and open glades, where antelopes and buffaloes grazed in abundance. The river moved along in an exceedingly rapid current, full of cataracts, along which it roared and surged, making any attempt at navigation a matter of impossibility. Mr. Thomson would have followed it, but his men refused to go farther, and he turned back. He passed three weeks with the Warua, a very fine-looking race of men, living in the plain between the Lukuga and the Lualaba. They "are possessed of well made figures, which the women adorn most artistically with tattooing. They wear a kilt made of the fibers of the Mwale palm, and dress their hair in the most elaborate fashion, the operation requiring two days' hard work. They are exceedingly ingenious in their carvings, and in every respect they are neat in their appearance and cleanly in their habits, but there all praise ends." They are arrant scoundrels and thieves, and one is not sure of his life among them for a moment. The feature of the return journey to Zanzibar most worthy of remark was the sight—the first to Europeans—from the highlands of Fipa, of the curious Lake Rukwa, Likwa, or Ilikwa, to which Mr. Thomson took the liberty of giving a fourth name, Leopold. It is situated about four thousand feet above the sea, is surrounded by precipitous mountains about as much higher, and has no visible outlet. The people of the country are agriculturists, who do not join either in war or the chase; their chief is a king with absolute power, who lives on native beer, and is prevented by custom from wearing anything but a simple loin-cloth. Mr. Thomson reached Zanzibar in the spring of 1880. During his journey of a year in this most difficult country, he lost only one of the one hundred and fifty men with whom he started; and though often placed in critical positions, he never once had to fire a gun for either offensive or defensive purposes.

 

Artificial Production of Minerals.—M. Friedel gave an extended account, in a recent lecture at the Faculty of Medicine, Paris, of what has been accomplished in the artificial formation of minerals. The condition necessary to be fulfilled in this manufacture is that of obtaining crystalline products as nearly as possible identical in composition and appearance with the minerals to be reproduced. Generally experimenters have had to be satisfied with microscopic crystals; accepting these as sufficient, numbers of them have succeeded. Some have tried to imitate the processes of nature; others have reached their end by independent processes. M. de Senarmont, considering that the minerals in veins had been deposited from water charged with their constituents and flowing through the fissures of the rocks, with carbonic acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, and the alkaline sulphurets as solvents, and under suitable