Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/592

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melt and volatilize into the gas holder. The resultant gas when introduced into the vacuum tube showed a very complex spectrum, totally different from that of argon, while resembling it in general character. Its density was found to be 19.87. Inasmuch as it differs in a very marked degree from argon in its spectrum and in its behavior at low temperatures, it must be regarded as a distinct elementary substance. It would appear to hold the position toward argon that nickel does to cobalt, having approximately the same atomic weight, yet different properties. It is monatomic. In a sealed package deposited with the French Academy of Sciences, May 11, 1898, and opened when Professor Ramsay's communication on krypton was read, MM. Moissan and Deslandres announced the discovery of a new gas in the atmosphere resembling nitrogen but different from krypton.


The best existing illustration in this nineteenth century of the stone age and what it was like, Mr. W. S. Lach-Szyrina said, in a paper read in the British Archæological Association, is to be found in Australia. The Tasmanians, now extinct, were considered the best representatives of the men of the early stone age, and the still existing Australian races—making allowance for different climatic forces—furnish some of the best representatives of mankind of the later stone age. Some information respecting the difficult subject of the habits of thought of the people of the stone epoch may be gleaned from a comparison of the folk and legendary lore of Australia and that of the countries of southern Europe. In Australian folklore a great confusion is apparent between human beings and animals; and in the folklore of Cornwall the remains of a very primitive folk belief in the transmigration of men and women into animals, and vice versa, have lingered almost to our own day. Similarities may be traced between the folklore of Australia as it appears in Mrs. Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary Tales and that of Britain as regards the belief in spirits and the influence of the stars; and curious resemblances occur between our nursery tales and the legends of Australia.

The great number of Norse words in the dialect of the Shetland Islands—ten thousand—is accounted for by Dr. Jakob Jacobsen by the fact that the islands were colonized in the ninth century from different districts of Norway, where numerous dialects prevailed. Consequently, every district, parish, and island has a number of Norse words peculiar to itself. Synonyms, moreover, are very abundant in popular speech. A few nursery rhymes, riddles, and proverbs in Norse are still preserved, though in very corrupt shape. A curious system of taboo, reminding us of similar customs in some of the South Sea islands, and coming down from pagan times, prevails in these islands and farther south, by which, at the deep-sea fishing, everything has to be called by some mystic name. The minister and church are on no account to be mentioned by their right names at sea. They represented in the pagan days the new conquering faith which aimed at doing away with the old gods, and consequently at diminishing the sea god's dominion of the sea. Being thus offensive to the sea god and the sea spirits, the church had to be called de Benihoose, or the prayer house, and the minister de upstander or de beniman, or prayer man. Other names were also given him, as de predikanter, or preacher, and de loader (from an old word meaning to utter sounds or speak in a peculiar tone), and in one island de hoideen. The little island of Fetlar, not seventeen square miles in area, has about two thousand place names.

A derivation is found by Mr. Guy Le Strange for the word tabby as applied to the cat, which is indeed strange enough. The name comes originally, it appears, from Attāb, a great-grandson of Ommayyeh, of the family of caliphs, whom Mohammed appointed, A. D. 630, governor of Mecca. When afterward Bagdad was built and made the capital, certain lands in the city were assigned to the descendants of Attāb and became the Attābiyeh quarter. This quarter became famous for its silk looms, and the goods called Attābī, woven in variegated colors of mixed silk and cotton, were exported to all parts of the Moslem world, and were imitated in other places, as in Almeria, Spain, where eight hundred looms were kept