Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/September 1879/Popular Miscellany


American and European Archæology.—A marked difference is observable between Europe and America with respect to the order of succession of the different prehistoric human "periods" to one another. In fact the succession is in the one exactly the reverse of what it is in the other. This difference is clearly expressed by the Rev. Stephen D. Peet in an article on "The Archæology of Europe and America." "In Europe," he says, "the cave-hunter, who used bone implements, first departed; the fisherman of the kitchen-midden next passed away; the builder of the earth-mounds followed with his rude weapons, and the inhabitants of the palafitte next disappeared; and last of all the Etruscan, the builder of the rude stone monuments. Thus Esquimau, Basque Briton, Belgian, Celt, Saxon and Etruscan [?], are the successors to one another, while on this continent Quiches, Toltec, Aztec, Mound-builders, Red Indians, and Esquimaux are the silent throng who have reversed the column of departure. The Esquimau was ruder than the Basque, and the Basque than the Briton, and so the order of departure gave place to a higher culture. In America the most civilized was the soonest removed, and the rudest remained the longest. The ancient city was deserted, but the pueblo remained; the pueblo itself changed inhabitants, but the Mound-builder remained; the Mound-builder was driven away, but the Red Indian continued; the Red Indian has disappeared, but the Esquimau abides. The palaces of Palenque and Uxmal and the seven cities of Cibola are monuments of a civilization more ancient than the Mound-builders. The mounds of the Mississippi Valley were doubtless erected by a more ancient race than the people who occupied at the time of their discovery. The Red Indians held an un-bounded dominion more ancient than the villages which they inhabited, and the Esquimaux may possibly have once covered the whole land where all of these tribes so lately roamed, but the last survivor of all is now the rudest and wildest."

Division and Distribution of the Electric Light.—A method of dividing electric light (not the electric current, but the light itself) has been devised by two engineers of San Francisco, E. J. Molera and J. C. Cebrian. The scheme looks plausible, but the public can afford to wait till it has been put to a practical test. We give the inventors' own description of the modus operandi of their system: "We take," they say, "the most powerful source of light attainable, and place it in a closed chamber (the chamber of light). Every wall of this box is a condensing lens, which will shape the light into a beam of parallel rays. In this way we reduce our source of light to several beams of parallel rays. If we intercept one of these beams of parallel rays of light by a reflector, the light will be bent or reflected according to the position of the reflector; and it may thus be sent into any desired direction, horizontal, vertical, or any way inclined. When the reflector intersects the whole beam of light, this latter one will be bent totally; if only one fraction of the sectional area of said beam is intersected, then the corresponding fractional part of the beam will be bent, leaving the other fraction thereof to follow its former direction. Therefore, if one of said beams of light is intersected at different points of its length, by different reflectors, intersecting different fractional parts of its section, said beam will be divided into a great number of secondary beams, going in any desired direction, and if these secondary beams are treated in the same way, the main beam can be divided, subdivided, conveyed, and distributed to any number of distant places. If we inclose the main beam in a tube or pipe, and every secondary beam in smaller tubes, branching out from the larger one adjoining it, and we keep the above said reflectors at the elbows and intersections, or T-pieces, formed by all these tubes, we obtain a net or system of pipes or tubes similar to those used in the distribution of gas and water.

"Such is our system: in front of every side or face of our chamber of light, we place a box or pipe inclosing the main beams of light; these pipes are laid along the streets; at every side street a smaller pipe will branch out from the main one; at their junction we will place a reflector which will divert into the side street the desired percentage of light. And thus we can provide every street of a city with one or more pipes carrying a known amount of light. Then, from said street-pipes, service-pipes will be run into every lamp-post and every building, and at the intersection of the latter pipes with the street main we will insert proper reflectors, the size of which will determine the amount of light supplied by every service pipe. In the same way that at present the gas-burners of all the rooms in a house are in direct successive communication with the gas-meter or service-pipe, for said house, through a net of pipes laid along ceilings and walls; similarly in our system, a net of properly branched-out pipes will put in communication every room of a building with the above-mentioned service-pipe; only that we will place at every junction, occurring in said net of pipes, a proper reflector, which will determine the amount of light carried by the corresponding pipe. Thus, the light may come into the rooms through the ceiling or through the walls, every room having as many outlets of light as desired. But the light will enter in a beam of parallel rays; therefore, in order to properly shape it for use, we will place at every outlet of light a diffusing lens, called a secondary lens, which will send the light around in any predetermined shape; thus completing the system of division and distribution of light from a single station to any or all the rooms in a city, and with any desired intensity."

Primitive Innocence.—In a letter read at a meeting of the Academy of Natural Science, of Philadelphia, Dr. Charles A. Siegfried, U. S. N., writes as follows: "We visited an island called Botel Tobago while surveying a rock, eighty miles east of South Cape, off Formosa. We found a race of aborigines, probably from Malay stock. They knew nothing of money, rum, or tobacco. They gave us goats and pigs for tin pots and brass buttons, and would hang around us all day in their canoes, waiting for a chance to dive for something thrown overboard. They wore clouts only; ate taro and yams mainly, though they have pigs, goats, chickens, and fish, and cocoanuts also. Snakes abound, of the boa variety, I judge. Their thatch houses are low, with much overhang of the roof, surrounded by stone walls, strongly made of laid stone, to protect them from monsoons. Their paddy-fields contain immense quantities of taro—Colocasia aroidea, my botany says. They are peaceful and timid, do not mark the body or deform the face or teeth, and seem happy enough in their condition. I found them fairly healthy. They had axes, spears, and knives, but all of common iron, the axe being made by imbedding the handle, instead of the handle piercing the iron, as with us. Their canoes are beautiful, made without nails, and are ornamented usually with geometrical lines. The hair is worn naturally, the men partly clipping theirs. I saw no valuable metal. They wore the beards of goats, with small shells, as neck ornaments."

New and Interesting Fossils.—While examining the "Atlantosaurus beds" of the Rocky Mountains, Professor Marsh discovered several interesting fossils, among them the lower jaw of a small mammal—a diminutive marsupial. This is the second mammal known from the Jurassic in this country. The specimen, which is from the left side, has the larger part of the ramus preserved, with a number of perfect teeth in position. Most of the symphysial portion is lost, and the posterior part is missing, or only faintly indicated. The jaw was remarkably long and slender. The horizontal portion is of nearly equal depth throughout, and the lower margin nearly straight. The remarkable feature in this jaw is the series of premolar and molar teeth. These were very numerous, apparently as many as twelve in all, possibly more. In comparing this fossil with the forms already known, it is seen to differ widely from any living type. Its nearest affinities are with the genus Stylodon of Owen, and in many respects the correspondence is close.

In the "American Journal of Science," for September, Professor Marsh describes two lower jaws belonging to animals apparently of the same genus (Dryolestes) as the first American Jurassic mammal; these remains came from the same locality and horizon as the preceding. These new specimens furnish important characters to distinguish the genus. In one of them the angle of the lower jaw is strongly inflected, thus indicating its marsupial nature. The other proves that the genus is quite distinct from Didelphys, as there were at least four premolars. This specimen differs from the jaws of Dryolestes priscus (the first Jurassic mammal found in this country) in being more slender, less curved, and less compressed. Professor Marsh gave to the species the name Dryolestes vorax. The animal appears to have been smaller than D. priscus.

Classification of Words by Ideas.—At the recent Philological Convention at Newport, Mr. Stephen Pearl Andrews read an interesting paper proposing some further development of views previously suggested regarding the classification of terms by the ideas they represent, and he showed that the process already begun is capable of being carried to a far greater degree of simplification than has yet been reached. Mr. Andrews's paper was to the effect that there are two possible ways of pursuing the study of words, one of which only has heretofore been brought into use, and the adoption of the other one of which will constitute a new method and a new era in philology. These two ways are—1. To study the word, as a bundle of sounds, the body of the word first, and in the main, and the idea or meaning of the word in a secondary and incidental manner merely; and, 2. To study the idea embodied in the word, as the main thing, making the phonetic structure of the word secondary and accessory to the word. The first of these methods Mr. Andrews calls historical or physical, and the second ideological or psychical. The historical method is the current and triumphant method, initiated by Jacob Grimm, and now completed, in a sense, by August Fick, in the supplement to his dictionary of the Indo-Germanic language, where he sums up the root-words as a mere handful (50 to 500), from which all the words (virtually) ever spoken in southern and western Asia, and in Europe, are derived. This historical method Mr. Andrews also calls, therefore, the German method, and he thinks it has now achieved nearly all that it is able to do.

The ideological method has hardly yet been begun, and remains now to be elaborated. It was, however, unconsciously initiated by Noah Webster, in the introduction to his dictionary, while he was working for a quite different purpose, and may therefore be called, for easy distinction, the American method. As Fick reduces all the words we use to a mere handful, so Webster, on the other hand, reduces the meanings of all these words to a group of thirty-four leading ideas, a less number than that of Fick's root-words. Both the German and the American method are, therefore, traveling on the road to lingual unification, or, what is the same thing, to the reduction of language to an ultimate simplification. On the side of ideas this is the same as what the metaphysicians have sought to do, working abstractly, with their categories.

At this point, Mr. Andrews himself takes up the subject, on the side of ideas, or the American method, and pushes the simplification down to its utmost. He analyzes and further generalizes Webster's thirty-four classes of ideas, reducing them all to three grand major classes: 1. The idea of division or apartness (of, off, fromness); 2. The idea of unity or togetherness (at, to, with); and 3. The idea of vacillation between those two. These three ideas Mr. Andrews identifies with the differentiation and integration of Herbert Spencer, and with the coaction or interrelationship between those two ideas.

Mr. Andrews therefore entitles his method "The Ideological Method in Philology." His paper, which was long and elaborate, was listened to with the closest attention by the association throughout.

An Ironless Civilization.—Mr. A. Woeikof, in a narrative of his travels in Yucatan and the southeastern States of Mexico, published in "Petermann's Mittheilungen," introduces us to a so-called "civilized" people, who are practically unacquainted with the uses of iron. Writing about the northern portion of the State of Chiapas, he says that the inhabitants employ iron only in the shape of axes and machetes, which are imported from the United States. For the distance of one hundred kilometres round about Palenque not one blacksmith is to be found. Not a single nail is to be seen in their houses; everything is held together with cords or with vines. Even in the preparation of their usual article of food—tortillas—the apparatus they employ is equally primitive, though in this respect they follow the custom which is universal throughout all Mexico and Central America. The grains of maize are crushed between two stones, one of which, the nether one, is rather large, with a sloping upper surface. A woman kneels by this stone and strews upon it some grains of maize, over which she works to and fro another stone of cylindrical form, so grinding the maize. The coarse meal so obtained is baked into flat tortilla-cakes in the ashes. This is exactly the mode of preparing meal in vogue in Central and South Africa; the African negroes, however, show a higher grade of culture, inasmuch as they understand the working of iron. Our author caustically remarks hereupon that "the introduction even of hand-mills would be, for this country, a step of progress of far more value than many a high-sounding political prerogative, which can never be of any advantage to a population living in so low a grade of civilization."

A Two-Headed Snake.—H. Semler gives, in "Die Natur," an account of a living two-headed snake, found on the line of railroad from San José to Santa Cruz, and now on exhibition in the museum of the Woodward Garden in San Francisco. It is a gopher-snake (Pelicophis Wilksei), a species which lives on gophers, rats, mice, and small birds. The gopher-snake is a perfectly harmless reptile, like all the other snakes of California except the rattlesnake. The two-headed snake is twenty-two inches in length; its age can not be determined, but is not over two or three months; the full-grown snake is seven to eight feet in length. Its color is a dirty yellowish-white, with a double row of chestnut-brown spots along the back; these spots are nearly square and seventy-five in number. On each side is a row of smaller spots of the same color' and shape. On both of the necks up to the heads are also several small spots. From the point where the necks fork to the extremities of the jaws is one inch and a half. The heads and necks are perfectly separate and about one inch apart; each head and each neck is fully formed and in every respect symmetrical. Each of the heads has two large eyes. The animal can put out each of the two forked tongues separately or together. The two jaws open into one throat. As each neck is perfectly flexible, the snake can turn each of its heads in any direction at pleasure. It oftentimes lays its two heads close together; often it spreads them as far apart as possible, or rests one upon the other. It takes its food through either mouth indifferently, and both jaws seem to possess the same power. Some years ago a Missouri farmer, in plowing, found a rattlesnake which in like manner had two fully-formed heads, and a merchant of San Francisco avers that he observed a similar lusus naturæ in a Java snake.

The Color-Sense in Savages.—In order to determine the capacity possessed by uncultivated races for distinguishing different colors and shades of color, Mr. Albert S. Gatschet prepared a series of colored paper slips, twenty in number, insensibly blending into each other, and by personal inquiry ascertained the names employed by various tribes of American Indians for designating these differences. The result, published in the "American Naturalist," does not throw much light on the question of color-blindness in uncivilized men, for we have here not a statement of what' these Indians see in the way of color, but only of what their idioms are able to express. Nevertheless, the author's conclusions, which apply only to seven Indian idioms, are interesting; they are as follows: 1. The Indians distinguish as many as, if not more shades of color, than we do. 2. No generic term meaning color exists, and it seems that such a term is too abstract for their conception. 3. Many of their color-terms, even the most opposite ones, are derived from one and the same radical syllable. For example, in the Kalapúya idiom blue is péiánkaf pawé-u, and yellow pé-i antk pawé-u. 4. In the Indian lists we observe some names of mixed colors which impress the eye by being not homogeneous. Such is the Klamath term mä'kmäkli, which is the blue mixed with gray, as seen in wild geese and ducks; and gray in most of the dialects means black mixed in with white, or white with black, as in the fur of the raccoon, gray fox, etc. 5. In naming some colors Indians follow another principle than we do, in qualifying certain natural objects by their color, and then calling them by the same name, even when their color has been altered. This we distinctly observe in kaka'kli, yellow and green in Klamath, the adjective having been given originally to the color of grass, trees, and other plants. Most frequently blue and green are rendered by one and the same term. 6. As stated above, Indians often follow principles differing from ours in naming colors. The Klamath language "has two terms for green, one when applied to the color of plants (käkä'kli), another when applied to garments and dress (tolalúptchi). So, too, blue, when said of beads, is expressed by a different word from the blue of flowers or of garments. 7. Reduplication of the word-root is very often met with in color-names, but the cause of this is not always the same. In Klamath and the Sahaptin dialects it is distribution and repetition (as of white hairs on a darker ground in the fur of the raccoon); in Dakota it is the idea of intensity that has produced this synthetic feature.

Draper's Researches on Oxygen in the Sun.—Professor Henry Draper, on the 13th of June, laid before the Royal Astronomical Society of London the evidence by which he claims to have demonstrated the existence of oxygen in the sun. A writer in the London "Times" (presumably Mr. J. Norman Lockyer) acknowledges the force of the evidence adduced by Professor Draper. He says: "We think that most spectroscopists will admit that Professor Draper does not pass beyond the limits of scientific caution in claiming that the coincidence shown in his photographs between the bright lines of oxygen and bright parts of the solar spectrum establishes the probability of the existence of oxygen in the sun. The burden of proof, or rather of disproof, should now fall on those who consider that the coincidence may, after all, be merely accidental. To us it seems that if such evidence as Professor Draper has obtained is rejected, hardly any spectroscopic evidence can suffice to prove the existence of an element in the sun. We certainly have not stronger evidence in the case of sodium or magnesium, elements which every physicist regards as present in the sun, than Professor Draper has obtained in the case of oxygen."

Telegraph Operators and Consumption.—Pulmonary consumption appears to be an exceptionally frequent cause of death among telegraphers, and one reason assigned for the fact is the peculiarly strained posture which an operator receiving messages continuously is obliged to assume in order not to lose the characters as they are ticked out to him from the sounder. "The operator in receiving bends his head and shoulder on his left side while listening to the sounder, this position confining his left lung and his heart in an unnatural position; and, being assumed day after day, month after month, eventually brings on the dread disease—consumption." But a writer in the "Journal of the Telegraph" suggests a different cause for the prevalence of consumption among telegraphers, viz., the original physical insufficiency of a large proportion of the young men who enter on this career. He says:

"In choosing an occupation for a young man, after he has received an education, if his health is not good, or if he should be of slight build, the question of his accepting a position requiring bodily labor is ignored entirely, and some field of usefulness is sought that seems to require the least manual labor. Clerking in a store will not answer; it requires too much standing, and lifting of goods, etc. Clerking of any sort is not favored; he does not care to enter the professions—so called; and, in casting about, telegraphing seems so easy—nothing to do but sit at a table and write a little while; then, to vary the monotony, send a while with the key. This, to the uninitiated, appears very inviting, and the consequence is the young man becomes an applicant for a position in some telegraph-office, with a view of learning the art. This is not invariably the case, of course; but it is sufficiently so to justify the statement that more young men of delicate health seek telegraphing as an occupation than almost any other profession or trade, and the result is manifest in our mortality list."

We may remark that, just as the calling of the telegrapher seems to be an unhealthy one, owing to causes extraneous to itself, so newly-settled regions, as our Western Territories, often are credited with exceptional healthiness, to which they are not entitled. Such regions attract vigorous, adventurous young settlers, the very "pick and choice," physically, of the older settlements. Of course, among such a population disease is infrequent and the death-rate is low. It is an egregious fallacy, of course, to attribute this low death-rate to the benignity of the climate of their new home.

Discovery of a Remarkable Cave in Algeria.—The "Courier," of Tlemcen, Algeria, describes an interesting discovery, recently made, at the cascades near that place. Some miners had blasted an enormous rock near the cascades, and, on the removal of the débris, found it had covered a large opening into a cave, the floor of which was covered with water. Constructing a rude raft, and providing themselves with candles, the workmen sailed along this underground river, which at a distance of sixty metres was found to merge into a large lake of limpid water. The roof of the cavern was very high and covered with stalactites, the brilliant colors of which sparkled in the light of the candles. Continuing their course, the workmen had at certain places to navigate their craft between the stalactites which, meeting stalagmites from the bed of the lake, formed massive columns which looked as if they had been made expressly to sustain the enormous arches. Thus they reached the extremity of the lake, where they noticed a large channel extending southward. This is supposed to be a large fissure which has baffled exploration hitherto at Sebdon, and which connects the cascades with that locality, and thus with the mysterious sources of the Tafna. It is possible that here they have found an immense natural basin, supplied by powerful sources, and sending a part of its waters toward the lake, while the rest goes to Sebdon. The workmen estimated the distance underground traversed by them at three kilometres, and the breadth of the lake at two. They brought out with them a quantity of fishes, which swarmed round the raft, and which were found to be blind.

The Fodder-Tree.—It is proposed to introduce into India from Jamaica the Calicandra saman, a fodder-yielding tree supposed to be a native of the South American mainland. In Jamaica the tree is popularly known as the guango. It is a lofty tree, in general habit much resembling the English oak. The trunk is thick, generally short, and branched a few feet from the ground. The primary branch divisions are often tree-like in size, measuring nine to twelve feet in circumference at the base. The lower branches spread horizontally, and the upper are erect, spreading, giving the tree a flattish, dome-shaped appearance. Trees are not unfrequently seventy feet high, the diameter of whose branch expansion horizontally is over thirty feet. The shade which this tree affords is always flecked with gleams of sunshine which flit about as the branches wave with the breeze. This characteristic is coupled with the fact, which is of equal importance to healthy vegetation, that the leaves and leaflets rigidly close together at night, thus permitting the fall of dew on the ground under the branches. Grass grows freely within the overshadowing of its ample arms close up to its trunk. On this account alone it should be planted in pastures wherever it will thrive, as a grateful shade for cattle. But, further, it is itself a valuable fodder-yielding tree. The fruit when ripe is a bright brown pod six to ten inches long, about an inch wide, and a quarter of an inch thick, the substance of the pod consisting of a sugary, amber-colored pulp. The pods are borne in great profusion. As they ripen they drop to the ground, and are picked up and eaten with much relish by all kinds of stock. The excellent quality of this fruit as a fodder is evident from its fattening effect—stock having access to it improve markedly during the time it is in season. The pods can be stored for use in winter and spring.

Another New Metal(?).—We take from "La Nature" a brief account of a new metal, norwegium, lately discovered by Daffl in an arseniuret of nickel, copper, and iron. Unlike most of the new elements latterly discovered, this new metal was not discovered by the aid of the spectroscope; indeed, Daffl does not appear to have examined its spectrum. The oxide of norwegium is easily reduced by carbon or by hydrogen; the metal is white, malleable, of the hardness of copper, and is fusible at a low red heat. Its density is equal to 9·44. It dissolves readily in hydrochloric acid; but nitric acid soon forms a nitrate. The concentrated solution is blue; on adding water it becomes green. Its chemical equivalent is 196 if the oxide is a protoxide. It is precipitated by potash, ammonia, and carbonate of soda, and redissolves in an excess of the precipitant. Sulphuretted hydrogen gives an insoluble brown precipitate in the sulpho-hydrate of ammonia. At the blowpipe, with borax, it forms a globule which is green while hot, but when cold, blue. The phosphorus salt yields a yellow globule, which on cooling becomes emerald green.

The Flight and Fall of Meteors.—Professor C. U. Shepard, in a paper on "Meteorites," read before the Connecticut Academy of Sciences, states the number of supposed independent falls of such bodies, whereof specimens are preserved in museums, as about three hundred and fifty, which number is increasing at the rate of between three and four per year. In the northern hemisphere there are two regions where falls of meteorites have been most frequent. "These regions," says Professor Shepard, "are apparently situated where they have been similarly influenced by the earth's magnetic polarity. The regions are on opposite sides of the hemisphere, have similar areas, and are in analogous directions and at similar distances from the two terrestrial north magnetic poles." The author calls attention to the highly magnetic constitution of nearly all meteorites, and to the fact that each mass, whether large or small, of a detonating meteor, maintains during its aërial flight a fixed axial direction. He infers that "if a strong magnetic force is found to attend these bodies, the perplexing subject relating to their high and variant velocities may receive some elucidation." He thinks that the great objection to the theory of the volcanic origin of meteorites, viz., that their velocity is too great, may be obviated by the hypothesis that acceleration may be produced by the electro-magnetism of the earth.

A Natural Well.—In March last a remarkable "sink-hole" was discovered in Meade County, Kansas. In May it was visited by Professor B. F. Mudge, who gives an interesting account of it in the "Kansas City Review of Science and Industry." This sink-hole made its appearance in a grassy prairie at a point forty miles south of Dodge, and its site was formerly crossed by a wagon-road. This road is little frequented, but those who passed over it early in March saw nothing new where now the sink-hole exists. About March 18th the road had disappeared, and in its place was a deep cavity. As seen by Professor Mudge on May 5th, it had the appearance of a gigantic well, sixty feet deep and 610 feet in circumference, being nearly circular. The walls were perpendicular, or nearly so. The material of the soil, at least to the depth of seventeen feet, consisted of a firm clay shale of reddish tinge. All around the cavity were circular cracks parallel to the rim, from five to fifteen feet deep, and from one to ten inches wide. These had opened at the time of the catastrophe, and appear as though ready to cave in; but one of the party that accompanied Professor Mudge had visited the spot a month earlier, and he could not notice any change as having occurred in the interval. The depth of water at a few feet from the edge was from fifteen to twenty-seven feet; at the center it was forty-two feet: as the surface of the water was seventeen feet below the surface of the ground, the total depth of the cavity was sixty feet. The water is a strong brine, yielding one bushel of salt for forty-three gallons of the water.

Professor Mudge's explanation of the phenomenon is as follows: "The Dakota sandstone crops out in Clark County, twenty miles distant, and dips at a small angle toward this spot, and undoubtedly underlies the whole of Meade County. This sand, stone is quite soft in some of its strata, and covered by harder beds. The softer portions are liable to be washed out by subterranean waters, and thus form caverns which are roofed by the hard layers. The cavern in this case became enlarged until the roof was unable to sustain the over-lying prairie soil and shale, sixty feet in thickness, and the result is what we now behold. As what was the grass-grown prairie is now the bottom of the cavity, the height of the cavern must have been at least sixty feet, and its floor at least twice that distance (120 feet) below the traveled road. If it is still spread out in smaller chambers, other depressions like the present may occur."

Asphaltum and Amber in New Jersey.—In the neighborhood of Vincenttown, New Jersey, asphaltum and amber have been found, the former in the ash-marl, a layer above the green-sand proper; and the latter in the marl of the Cretaceous formation. Mr. E. Goldsmith, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, describes the asphaltum as very brittle, black, with a resinous luster. Its fracture is uneven, inclined to conchoidal; the streak and powder brown. It melts easily in the flame, like wax, and burns with a yellow, smoky flame, leaving, after burning, a voluminous coal and but little ashes. The amber (or yellow mineral resin) was found at no great distance from the asphaltum. It occurs frequently in the marl of the Cretaceous formation, but not regularly: sometimes hundreds of tons of the marl may be looked over without finding a single piece of the amber; at other times enough has been found to fill a barrel within a day. According to Mr. Goldsmith, this mineral differs in several particulars from the typical amber found at the bottom or on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The former is lighter than water, the latter heavier. The Baltic amber fuses into a thick, sluggish fluid; the Vincenttown amber into a very fluid mobile liquid. It takes fire easily, and burns with a yellowish, strongly smoking flame, leaving but little coal, which rapidly burns away, and leaves a small quantity of dark-colored ashes.