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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/879

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

these games not subordinated to such exclusively polite practice that the dress of the players is even one of the chief requisites to the successful conduct of the game. The amusement is captured by the dressmakers and dudes, so that even this means of exercise without flannel suits and rubber soled shoes is not regarded as permissible. As in dancing, the accessories become so elaborate and costly, and beset with so many formalities, that physical recreation is not expected from it. The game merely answers as a scheme to bring people together who are hankering for some opportunity to be near each other, and exchange the sentimental platitudes of unsatisfied and instinctive social emotions. If Gustave and Regina, at fifteen years of age, are to be improved by scurrying about in the manner and time of the modern waltz, then 'twere well that the latter were dressed so as to give her freedom of limbs and lungs, and the recreation given in the afternoon, so that regular sleep at proper time may allow that recuperation of energy and nourishment of wasted tissue consequent upon exertion. As Wesley remarked in apology for the liveliness of Methodist singing, 'It is not right for the devil to have all the best tunes,' so it may be said of dancing, that recreative means should not be monopolized by the social usages and occasions where circumstances exclude the greatest benefit from the exercise, and sometimes induce positively injurious consequences."

 

What is a Glacier?—The Philosophical Society of Washington, some months ago, had a symposium on the question "What is a Glacier?" Mr. I. C. Russell, taking both the Alpine and continental types into consideration, would define a glacier as an ice body, originating from the consolidation of snow in regions where the secular accumulation exceeds the loss by melting and evaporation, or above the snow-line, and flowing to regions where loss exceeds supply, or below the snow-line. Mr. S. F. Emmons described a glacier as a river of ice, possessed, like the aqueous river, of movement and plasticity. The nevé field is the reservoir from which it derives not only its supply of ice, but the impulse which gives it its first movement. Mr. W. J. McGee held that the phenomena of glacier ice and nevé ice appear to belong to a graduating series; and in consequence the two phases can only be arbitrarily discriminated. Mr. W. H. Dall defined a glacier as a mass of ice with definite lateral limits, with motion in a definite direction, and originating from the compacting of snow by pressure. Mr. T. C. Chamberlin, disclaiming attempts to give a rigorous definition, thought the better distinction between nevé and glacier was genetic. There is an area of growth and an area of waste in every glacier. Superficially the area of growth coincides with the nevé; the area of waste with the glacier proper. Mr. C. E. Button said there was little difficulty in recognizing a glacier when all those features that characterize it are present, and where the conditions are of the ordinary nature; but exceptional cases arise to make an exact definition impracticable.

 

The Beauty of Old Wrought-Iron Work.—Mr. J. Starkie Gardner has observed, in a Society of Arts lecture on "Wrought-Iron," that old iron-work possesses interest and attractions which few examples of modern work can equal. This is partly because, estimating by the eye and working his scrolls by hand, the workman "produced an irregularity and play in even the most monotonous design which is artistically charming to us, but was perhaps even a source of chagrin to him." The modern smith works in a different way, and turns out uniform rods and scrolls, while he considers any irregularity a sign of bad smithing. The scarcity of straight bars among the oldest examples was probably due to the fact that it was extremely hard to handle a long bar and beat it out perfectly true with mathematically exact and sharp angles. Another element of artistic superiority in the older work lay in the fact that it was intrusted only to persons who had a special aptitude; and, if such a person were not forthcoming, the work was either not executed, or was made in the simplest form; while, if he were at hand, the details of the design were left to his fancy, and were, therefore, well within his own powers. It was the existence of the skilled smith that created the demand, rather than the demand that created the smith; and it seems a reasonable inference