Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/538

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many of his brethren—owns that "the mysteries of vital chemistry are unknown to man."

The whitening of the hair wrought by mental disturbance is sometimes only of a partial nature. Vexation of spirit gave Henry of Navarre a party-colored mustache. An old writer tells of an Irish captain going to deliver himself up to Lord Broghill, the commander of the English forces, who, being met on his way by a party of English soldiers, was made prisoner, and was so apprehensive of being put to death before Lord Broghill could interfere in his behalf, that the anxiety of his mind turned some of his locks quite white, while the others remained of their original reddish hue. Perhaps the curious change was less annoying to its victim than that which befell an American girl, whose first intimation of her lover's falsity was the reading an account of his marriage in a newspaper. After a night's brooding over the traitor's perfidy, her looking-glass showed her that one side of her head was still adorned with tresses of golden brown; but the other, alas! was decked with locks more befitting a grandam than a maiden still in her teens; though even this was not so bad as was the case of a French girl, who, frightened by the floor of her room giving way beneath her, shed her hair so quickly that in three days' time she was—to use the expressive comparison of a chronicler of the event—"as bald as a bell-handle."—Chambers's Journal.


THE destruction and decomposition of organic substances, both animal and vegetable, are promoted by the lower fungoids, particularly by yeast-plants and molds, which we may for brevity call rots. During life, that is, as long as a lively circulation is kept up, plants are protected against the attack of these ever-present organisms, but during the periods of rest, when the life-activity of the plant is reduced to a minimum, defense by the vegetative process is suspended. The older parts of plants, also, in which the normal circulation has become very limited, are poorly fitted to resist decay. It is, therefore, a question how it happens that perennial plants are so rarely attacked by the lower fungoids during their periods of rest.

The best protection is afforded by a firm epidermis, especially if it is fortified against the persistence of moisture upon it by a coating of wax. The importance of epidermal protection is exemplified in the North American opuntias, which bear the Central European winters quite well. If any part of the stalk has suffered an injury which has