Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/266

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the right side of the body having yielded to treatment, and the wound in the skull having commenced to heal, the man began to resume his usual occupation of a singer in cafés. Soon, however, he was seized with nervous symptoms of an extraordinary nature, lasting from twenty-four to forty-eight hours, and he returned to the hospital. When in his fit, he is totally insensible to pain, but his will may be influenced by contact with exterior objects. When set upon his feet he marches on quite steadily, with fixed eyes, but utters no word, nor knows what is going on about him. If he meets with an obstacle in his way, he tries to make out what it is by feeling, and then attempts to get out of its way. If a pen be put in his hand he will fumble about for ink and paper, and, if he gets these, will write a very sensible business letter. Give him cigarette-paper, and he will take out his tobacco-pouch and make a cigarette, and light it with a match from his own box. If a by-stander extinguish the match, he will strike another; and so on till his supply is exhausted. But, if a lighted match be put into his hand, he will not use it, and will let it burn between his fingers. No matter what his tobacco-pouch is filled with, he will roll his cigarette all the same, and smoke it. When the fit is past, he has no recollection of what has been said or done.


Cremation among North American Indians.—Dr. John L. Le Conte read a paper at the Hartford meeting of the American Association, giving an account of a ceremonial of cremation among the Cocopa Indians of California, of which he was an eye-witness. A shallow ditch was dug, in which logs of the mesquite, a hard, dense wood which makes a very hot fire, with but little flame or smoke, were laid. The body was placed on the logs, with some smaller fagots piled upon it, and a few of the personal effects of the deceased were also added. Fire was then applied to the pile. At this point the doctor was about to retire, when one of the Indians told him to remain, as there was yet something to be seen. An old man then advanced from the assemblage with a long, pointed stick in his hand. With this he removed the eyes, holding them successively on the point of the stick in the direction of the sun, repeating at the same time words which were represented as being a prayer for the soul of the deceased. After this more fagots were heaped on the fire, which was kept up for three or four hours longer. When the fire has gone out, it is the custom to gather the fragments of bone and put them in a terra-cotta vase, which is kept under the care of the family. Dr. Le Conte was unable to say whether the custom of burning the dead was a general one or not, among this or other California tribes of Indians, but thought it desirable to gather up and put on record whatever evidence there might be on so interesting a subject, before the total disappearance of these people put the settlement of the question beyond our reach.


House-heating in Sweden.—A traveler in Sweden contributes to one of the newspapers an account of the very economical mode of house-warming adopted in that country. The kakelung, or Swedish stove, is a great oven of masonry covered with porcelain plates, having usually five flues, through which the gases of combustion must pass up and down, a distance of thirty to fifty, or even sixty feet, before escaping into the air. The general principle of their operation is to provide enough material to absorb all the heat from the fire; to conduct the gases through these long flues till their temperature has fallen to a point that no longer gives off heat. The quantity of the material in the kakelung is so great that the temperature from one firing will not raise the temperature of any part so much that the hand's cannot be held upon the outside. Two hours after a fire is made, and after the wood-fuel has burned up, and the flue been closed, the kakelung begins to get warm on the outside, the light porcelain plates give off their moderate warmth to the atmosphere in the room, and ten hours later there will not be much difference in the temperature of the stove or of the room. A kakelung, instead of being an unsightly obstruction, is an ornamental piece of furniture. A door opens into it in front, where, in a kind of closet with iron shelves, food can be kept warm, or warmed. Baking can be done in the furnace for hours after the fire has been burned out.