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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/737

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

continually rises to the surface of the water and floats upon it over an area of many miles. At the thermal acid springs in the Coso Range, Inyo County, thousands of tons of pure sulphur cover the ground, which were deposited there in former times, when the water must have contained large quantities of sulphureted hydrogen. Owens Lake is a remarkable body of water, which is more than twice as salt as the Atlantic Ocean, Volcanic mineral springs are lugubriously situated in Death Valley, and Saratoga Springs at the south end of Funeral Range, south of Death Valley. Mono Lake, in many of its Jeatures, resembles the Dead Sea. Of Byron Springs, in Contra Costa County, one, called "Surprise," is both cathartic and emetic. Some of the springs are sparkling with carbonic acid; others contain sulphureted and phosphureted hydrogen; and there are hot mud-baths. Lassen County is full of hot (boiling) springs, having a temperature of from 200° to 212°.

 

Alpine Funerals.—A clew to the origin of the Irish wake and other funeral pomposities, which we are sometimes inclined to regard as relics of barbarism, may be found in the funeral customs of some of the Alpine regions. The circle of acquaintance of the more prosperous people of the villages often extends over miles of country; and the friends of a deceased proprietor will make long journeys to attend his funeral. The dictates of hospitality require that their physical wants be provided for; or, if not, they will meet at the inn and naturally have something very like a feast. In some districts, even before death occurs and the patient is in his last agonies, all around are informed of the fact and expected to make a ceremonial last visit. They enter the sick-room, take a long look at the dying man, and go their ways. After death, when the body has been prepared for burial, a table is spread covered with refreshments, and open house is held till the funeral. Whoever comes is invited to eat and drink. Two candles are kept burning by the coffin, and two women are employed to watch and pass their time in prayer. After the funeral a hot meal is given to the guests. In Carinthia, while perfect quiet and decency are preserved, the friends are invited to come in and say a prayer for the soul of their late friend, at stated hours, or during the whole time; and occasionally one of them repeats the prayer aloud, while the others join in. On leaving the room, each of the visitors is offered a piece of bread and a glass of wine or spirits, and is expected to accept. Such customs, perfectly simple and proper in their origin, may easily, when carried to excess or abused by unworthy persons or intruders, degenerate into the repulsive wake.

 

The Girl's Kitchen-Garden.—The Girl's Kitchen-Garden, a practical development of the Kindergarten in adaptation to English or American habits, is an institution for teaching girls from very childhood those things which pertain to good house-work and good housekeeping, by a series of illustrative lessons which are made as attractive as possible. It includes a graduated series of three courses. In the first course the girls are taught methodical daily work, by being taken step by step through the series of duties, to the accompaniment of lively songs, bright object-lessons, and little toy models for table-setting and bed-making. The second course includes washing, ironing, and housecleaning; in the third course, the parts of beef and mutton, pie-making, baby-dressing with dolly, and "waiting on the door." An English journal observes, respecting the possible utility of the institution: "One can not but notice how happy little girls are if allowed to dust mother's chairs or to iron the stockings and handkerchiefs; how deftly they manage the sweeping-broom with a handle about twice as tall as themselves; how delighted to have a small piece of dough and make grimy little editions of mother's tarts. And one can not but be struck, too, by the fact that as these same little girls grow older they lose this taste, and come to look upon domestic work as drudgery, preferring, when they leave school, any occupation but housework. Is not this, in a great measure, due to the fact that this natural womanly taste is neglected, and its cultivation left out of the girl's education, with the result that our girls go out as little maids-of-all-work with such profound ignorance and want of method that they are a torment to the mistress and a misery to themselves?" The kitchen-garden is intended to help remedy this evil.