Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/392

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question, only 182 had escaped ophthalmia; 163 had suffered from one attack of the disease, 151 from two attacks, HO from three, 75 from four, 54 from five, 58 from six, 22 from seven, 25 from eight, 7 from nine, 11 from ten, and 204 from more than ten attacks. In a considerable proportion of these cases sight would eventually be greatly impaired, and in many it would be wholly lost.

Portuguese Agriculture.—The art of agriculture is in a very primitive state in Portugal, the instruments of husbandry employed being very little different from those in use during Roman times. Two kinds of ploughs are used, both very rude. The harrow, too, is of the rudest construction, having 15 to 20 teeth of iron or wood, set quincunx fashion into a strong, oblong square wooden frame, with one cross-bar. As a substitute for the roller, the harrow can be reversed, loaded with stones, and drawn sledge-wise over the land. The hoe is indispensable in Portuguese field-husbandry; ground can be prepared by it for seeds, or for planting, more quickly than it can be dug by a spade, though it is less completely stirred and turned over. The cart has two low wheels of solid wood, with iron tires, fixed immovably to an axle which revolves with them. The yoke is fixed to the necks of the oxen, or, in some localities, to the horns.

Lightning among a Flock of Geese.—A singular occurrence, which took place on March 16th, in the northern part of Sutter and the southern part of Butte Counties, Cal., is narrated as follows in the Sutter Banner: "On that day, just before sunset, a large thunder-cloud came up, apparently from the northeast, accompanied by an unusual amount of chain-lightning. First a small amount of hail fell, and then followed sufficient snow to whiten the ground. As the hail began to fall, and the lightning flashed, thousands of wild-geese, which were in the ponds of shallow water which exist in that locality during very wet winters, suddenly rose up in a great flutter, as if many hunters had discharged a volley among them. They went up and up, apparently to rise above the fearful cloud. It was nearly dark, and those who saw them rise thought no more of it until morning, when they began to find dead geese, and hear of hundreds being picked up by the neighbors. Some 700 were found. One man picked up on his farm all that two horses could haul. Their heads were badly torn, and their bills split into fragments. The portion of the country thus affected was about a mile and a half wide, and reached several miles into Butte County. The terrific lightning in this cloud was witnessed by people on the Honcut, in Yuba County, and in the central portion of Sutter. The thunder was heard at the distance of twenty miles."

Artificial Furs.—A new method of treating fur has been patented in England, by Mr. Joseph Tussaud, one of the proprietors of the well-known wax-work establishment founded by Madame Tussaud. Mr. Tussaud removes the hair or fur from the skin, substituting for the latter an artificial skin. First, the piece of fur to be treated is soaked in lime-water, for the purpose of loosening the hair. Then it is washed in water, and hung up to dry. Next, it is laid on a board, with the hair-side up, and a solution of glue applied, care being taken not to disturb the natural position of the hairs. The glue having dried and become hard, holds the hairs so firmly as to allow the natural skin to be pulled off. An artificial skin is now applied to the roots of the hairs, by pouring over them liquid India-rubber, boiled drying-oils, or other waterproof substances, which, on drying, will form a continuous membrane supporting the hairs. The glue is then removed by steeping the fur in warm water. Furs prepared in this way are moth-proof, and superior to the natural skin for many purposes, such as mats, rugs, etc. After the removal of the hair, or fur, the skins are still available for the manufacture of leather.

Siamese Medicine.—A Siamese manual of medicine contains the following recipe for a poultice to cure snake-bite: "Take the eyes of vultures, crows, and cats, together with three sorts of animal deposits found on trees; mix all these together, then place nine wax-candles on as many floats made of