Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/112

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cisely similar, except as to the local topography, is related in Chambers's Journal, of a cat in a military chaplain's family at Madras. This animal also, having found its old friends on the other side of the city, several miles from their former home, went back and brought her kitten. Some of the incidents bearing upon this feature have an aspect of eccentricity. The young cat of a neighbor of the writer's disappeared from the house and was not found or heard of for six months. At the end of that time it returned and made itself at home at once, but grown and so changed that, though its familiarity was remarked upon as singular, it was not recognized till its identity was accidentally established by the discovery of a peculiar though obscure mark. Dr. A. Corriveau tells in the Revue Scientifique of a cat which was lost in a similar way. Five months afterward it was found in the house by the side of its companion, travel-soiled but plump, and recognizable by a red spot on its forehead. It had a very pleasant visit with its old mate and friends for a week, and then disappeared as unaccountably as it had done before. It is told in the Life of Sir David Brewster, by his daughter, that a cat in the house entered his room one day and made his friendship in the most affectionate manner—"looked straight at him, jumped on his knee, put a paw on each shoulder, and kissed him as distinctly as a cat could." From that time the philosopher himself provided her breakfast every morning from his own plate, till "one day she disappeared, to the unbounded sorrow of her master. Nothing was heard of her for nearly two years, when Pussy walked into the house, neither hungry nor thirsty nor foot-sore—made her way without hesitation to the study—jumped on my father's knee—placed a paw on each shoulder—and kissed him exactly as on the first day."

These incidents pertain to only one of the human-like traits that have been named as to be found in cats. The study to which they introduce us is an alluring one, and opens the more expansively the further we proceed in it.

 


 
Prof. Mendelejeff, in his Royal Institution lecture, found an analogy between the unseen world of chemical changes and the visible world of the heavenly bodies. Our atoms, he said, form distinct portions of an invisible world, as planets, satellites, and comets form distinct portions of the astronomer's universe; "our atoms may therefore be compared to the solar system, or to the systems of double or of single stars; for example, ammonia may be represented in the simplest manner by supposing the sun nitrogen, surrounded by its planets of hydrogen, and common salt may be looked upon as a double star formed of sodium and chlorine. Besides, now that the indestructibility of the elements has been acknowledged, chemical changes can not otherwise be explained than as changes of motion; and the production by chemical reactions of galvanic currents, of light, of heat, of pressure, or of steam-power, demonstrates visibly that the processes of chemical reaction are inevitably connected with enormous though unseen displacements, originating in the movements of atoms in molecules."