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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/536

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tating himself on the pavement below, or clinging the cold night through to the slender spire, with but ten inches of foothold. He chose possible life to certain death; but, when rescue came with the morning, his eyes were sunken and dim, his cheeks yellow and wrinkled, his curly locks as white as snow. Gabriel Petersheim had won his bride at a fearful cost.

Believing a fortune might be easily won in the oil-country, a young Bostonian went there to enrich himself. One stormy night a glare in the sky told him that an oil-tank was on fire a few miles off; and knowing that, after a time, the oil would boil up and flow over the side of the tank, he made for a hill to witness the spectacle. "She's coming!" a man shouted. There was a rumbling sound, and then the burning oil shot up from the tank, boiled over its sides, and floated down the creek, destroying everything in its way, and setting fire to a second tank. Curiosity getting the better of discretion, he ran to the ground in the rear of the tanks, to get a better view, and, in trying to avoid a pool of burning oil, fell into a mud-hole, and stuck fast therein. Struggling till he could struggle no longer, he lay back exhausted, watching the billows of smoke surging upward and floating away into space. Suddenly his ears were startled by the sound of cannon-firing; a column of flame and smoke shot up from one of the tanks, and he was stricken almost senseless with the knowledge that the "pipe-line men" were cannonading the first tank, to draw off the oil, and so prevent another overflow. He tried to shout, but the words would not come. A little stream of burning oil ran slowly but surely toward him. He watched it creeping on until it was almost upon him; then in a moment all was dark. When he came back to consciousness he found himself in his own room, surrounded by "the boys," who had seen him just in time to save him. It was a weary while before he was himself again, and then he was inclined to doubt if he was himself, for his once dark hair was perfectly white.

Instances have not been wanting of the hair being deprived of its color in a few minutes. The home-coming of the King of Naples after the Congress of Laybach was celebrated with much public rejoicing. To do the occasion honor, the manager of the San Carlo Theatre produced a grand mythological pageant, in which an afterward well-known opera-singer made his d├ębut in the character of Jupiter. The stage-thunder rolled, the stage-lightning flashed, as the Olympian monarch descended on his cloud-supported throne. Suddenly screams of horror rang through the house; the queen fainted, and all was uproar and consternation, until the voice of the king was heard above the din, crying, "If any one shouts or screams again, I'll have that person shot!" Something had gone wrong with the machinery before the clouds had descended ten feet, and Jupiter had fallen through. Fortunately, a strong iron wire or rope caught his cloak, and, uncoiling with his weight, let him down by degrees. But