Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/852

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their full energies in the race from.the fields to the mill, and long and wild are the exultant cries from the captain and crew of the barge that first moors at its destination and wins the prize offered by the planter. After this great exertion the careful master of the ante-bellum time generally dealt out to his slaves the expected grog, and required a bath and change of clothing.

Thrashing, etc.—This is done by machinery: a thrasher much used was invented by Calvin Emmons, of New York. It separates the grain by tooth-beaters, which make from seven hundred and fifty to eight hundred revolutions per minute. The barge containing the bundles of rice passes under the mill, and its load is elevated by hooks to the floor above. When thrashed, if the crop is small, about five thousand bushels, it is put in sacks; but if large, say about forty thousand bushels, the paddy or rough rice is poured down a flume from the mill to the hold of the schooner in waiting, and is next taken to the cleaning-mill, which is frequently owned by the speculator that purchases it; and, when the grain is hulled, he in his turn sells it to the merchant.

By the old method the chaff was removed by pounding in hand-mortars hollowed out of pitch-pine blocks; it is now hulled by steam-power. When ready for market, the rice is put into barrels holding about six hundred pounds. The average of several analyses of rice gives—of albuminoids, 7·5; carbohydrates, 76·5; water, 14·6; ash, 6·5. Rice constitutes the food of almost one third of the human family. It is used in rice-meat and various aromatics, fermented and distilled into arrack, molded into models and busts, and is employed in paper-making, cement, and starch; the chaff, broken rice and dust, makes valuable food for cattle; the straw is sold for forage and bedding, and is also used in the manufacture of bonnets, while the Southern housewife can tell of the use of rice-flour in the making of delightful breads.

The total rice crop in 1870, according to the Federal census, was 73,635,021 pounds, a decided falling off from 215,313,497 pounds in 1850, and 187,167,032 in 1860. The yield for 1879 was better, being 110,131,372 pounds. Charleston, S. C, is the great rice market of the United States. The American grain is much preferred to the imported, and, as the demand is far greater than the supply, there is still ample room for the rice-planter.

It is observed, in Dr. G. M. Humphrey's book on Old Age, that the fertility of long-lived persons is above the normal, and in some continues to an advanced old age. The effect of the combination of conditions must be to give the stock of long-lived people an advantage in the race for existence, so that one would expect their number, in proportion to the rest of ihe population, rapidly to increase. This may help to account for the greater number of aged people, and the prolonged continuance of vigor among them.