Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884 by Various

Part 3 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

The genus Anemone has a great future. Even at present its popularity is
only a little less than that of roses and daffodils, but when we trust to
seeds as a means of reproducing the best of windflowers instead of buying
dried roots from the shops, then, and then only, will "coy anemone" become
a garden queen. A. coronaria, if treated as an annual, furnishes glowing
blossoms from October until June, after which A. dichotoma and A. japonica
in all its forms--white and rosy--carry on the supply and complete the
cycle of a year's blossoming. By sowing good, newly-saved seed in
succession from February until May in prepared beds out of doors, the
common crown anemone may in many sunny, sheltered gardens be had in bloom
all the year round. This is saying a great deal, but it is true; indeed,
it is questionable if we have any other popular garden flower which is at
once so showy, so hardy, and so continuous in its blossoming. A friend
beside me says: "Ah! but what of violas?" To which I reply: "Grow both in
quantity, since both are as variable as they are beautiful." But when
viola shrinks in foggy November from the frost demon, anemone rises
Phoenix-like responsive to the first ray of sunshine. Besides, fair Viola,
richly as she dresses in velvet purple or in golden sheen, has not yet
donned that vivid scarlet robe which Queen Anemone weareth, nor are her
wrappers of celestial azure so pure; and blue is, as we all know, the
highest note of coloring in floral music. But comparisons are not
required, Anemones are variable and beautiful enough to be grown for
themselves alone. No matter whether we look at a waving mass of sparkling
windflowers in a vineyard or cornfield by the Mediterranean, or walk knee
deep among the silvery stars of A. nemorosa in an English wood--"silvery
stars in a sea of bluebells"--they are alike satisfying. I believe that
there is any amount of raw material in the genus Anemone--hardihood, good
form and habit, and coloring alike delicate and brilliant; and what we now
want is that amateurs should grow them with the attention and care that
have been lavished upon roses and lilies and daffodils. But, alas! we have
some capricious beauties in this group. A. coronaria and some other
species succeed well treated as seedling hardy annuals, and others, as A.
apennina, A. Robinsoni, A. Pulsatilla, A. dichotoma, and A. japonica, may
be multiplied _ad infinitum_ by cuttings of the root. It is when we come
to the aristocratic Alpine forms, to A. alpina, A. sulphurea, A.
narcissiflora, etc., that difficulties alike of propagation and of culture
test our skill to the uttermost. Tourists fond of gardens walk over these
plants in bloom every year; they dig up roots and send them home; but they
are as yet very rare in even the best of gardens. Nor is it easy to rear
them from seeds. A year ago I sowed seed by the ounce each of A. alpina
and of A. sulphurea, but as yet not a single plantlet has rewarded me for
my trouble. Even freshly gathered seeds of A. narcissiflora will not
germinate with me, but I live in hopes of surmounting little difficulties
of this kind, and in the mean time, perhaps, others more fortunate will
tell us how to amend our unsuccessful ways. One of the prettiest species
which is now in flower in our gardens is the pure white A. dichotoma,
which carries on the succession after the Snowdrop anemone (A. sylvestris)
has passed away. Then we have dreams, and lend willing ears to the oral
traditions of Anemone alba. Is this species in cultivation, or where may
a figure of it be seen? It is said to be of neat habit, 12 inches high,
with erect, saucer-shaped, white blossoms 3 inches in diameter. The
species we now figure is well worth a place, being easily raised from
seeds. It is called Anemone decapetala, and if not by any means a showy
species, tufts of it three years from seed have this season been very
pretty. It grows less than a foot in height, and bears pale creamy yellow
flowers the size of a shilling on branched flowering stems; each blossom
has eight or nine sepals around a yellowish green center. Some of our
clumps had from a dozen to twenty flowers open at the same time, and the
general effect in the early morning sunshine is a very pretty one. We have
another species similar in habit which is just now a mass of rosy buds,
and if you blow open its sepals, they are of a bright magenta color
inside, but I never yet saw a flower open naturally on this plant. Just as
the sepals open at the tips, and you think they are about to expand, they
shrivel and fall away, leaving a tuft of greenish yellow stamens in the
center. Is it A. Hudsoni? Another species not often seen, but well worth
culture, is A. coerulea, a kind with finely cut leaves and purplish blue
flowers. Then A. coronaria, The Bride, a pure creamy white kind, with
flowers 3 inches across, raised by Van Velsen, of Haarlem, is really a
good addition to these dainty blossoms, and affords a vivid contrast to
the fiery A. fulgens. I have received this year some roots of anemones,
iris, and other hardy flowers from the site of ancient Troy, and trust
that some of these, if not new, will be beautiful additions to our
gardens. The true A. vitifolia from northern India does well in mild
localities; but best of all of this perennial large-leaved race is A.
japonica alba, the queen of all autumnal kinds, rivaling the best of all
hardy border flowers in purity and freedom of blossoming. Taken as a
class, windflowers are so beautiful that we cannot grow them too
plentifully, and but few other genera will so well repay cultural
attention at all seasons.--_F.W.B., in The Garden_.

* * * * *


The story of Lieut. Greely's recovery after his rescue from Cape Sabine is
given by Passed Assistant Surgeon Edward H. Green, U.S.N, of the relief
ship Thetis, in a communication to the _Medical Record_. The cases of
Greely's six fellow survivors, it is remarked, were very similar to his.
The condition of all was so desperate that a delay of two hours in the
camp was necessary before they could be removed to the relief vessels.
Brandy, milk, and beef essence were administered.

Lieut. Greely's disease is called by the surgeon asthenia, a diminution of
the vital forces. Greely fainted after being carried to the wardroom of
the Thetis. When he was brought to, a teaspoonful of minced raw fresh beef
was given to him. His clothes were carefully cut off of him, and heavy red
flannels, previously warmed, were-substituted. He was excessively enacted,
and his body emitted an offensive odor. His skin hung from his limbs in
flaps. His face, hands, and scalp were black with a thick crust of soot
and dirt. He had not washed himself or changed his clothing for ten
months. He had lived a long time at a temperature inside the hut of from
five to ten degrees above zero. He was nervous and irritable, at times
almost irrational, and his eyes were wild and staring. He insisted on
talking, craving news, and demanding food, but he complained of no pain.

His tongue was dry and cracked, and coated a brownish black. He was
ravenously hungry. His pulse was 52, and soft or compressible. His skin
was cold, clammy, shriveled, and sallow. His temperature under the tongue
was 97.2 deg. There was great muscular waste, and he was unable to move or
to stand without support. Before leaving Fort Conger in August, 1883, he
weighed 168 pounds. He now weighed 120 pounds. He was carried aboard the
Thetis about 11 P.M. on June 22, it being then broad daylight in that
region, and his treatment from that hour until 8 o'clock the next morning
was a teaspoonful of minced raw beef, alternated every half hour with a
teaspoonful of milk punch. Strict quiet was enjoined.

On June 23 Surgeon Green was compelled to allow him to read some letters
from home, after which he seemed less restless. He talked rationally, but
showed a loss of memory in often repeating what he had previously said. He
had not closed his eyes in sleep since his rescue. There was excessive
constipation. The treatment was the same as during the night, except that
finely cut raw onion was added to the minced beef, and half an ounce of
milk punch was given every two hours.

On the next day, June 24, although he had yet had no sleep, and he showed
a great desire to talk and read, there were signs of improvement. He was
less persistent in demanding food, his tongue presented a moister
appearance, he began to complain of soreness in his limbs, and his heart
sounded stronger. Surgeon Green had him sponged with tepid water, and
briskly rubbed with flannels. He gave him a small quantity of oatmeal
thoroughly boiled, beef essence, and scraped beef and onion.

On the next day, June 25, Lieut. Greely slept for the first time. He awoke
after two or three hours, much refreshed. He talked without excitement,
and his tongue and skin began to look more natural. His muscles felt sore,
and his ankles were puffed.

On the next day, June 26, his mind was tranquil, but there was a loss of
memory of words. He was allowed to sit up in bed and read a little. He
slept six hours. For the first time since his rescue medicine was given
him--some muriate of iron.

On the next morning he got eight ounces of broiled steak and on the
following day, June 28, he dressed himself and sat up for two hours. His
food was now gradually increased from day to day, and he continued
steadily to improve. On July 1 he was well bundled up, and allowed to sit
on deck for an hour in the sunshine. On July 17, the Thetis arrived at St.

Lieut. Greely's muscles were now filling out rapidly, and he was allowed
to go on shore and take exercise. Here, Surgeon Green says, the lieutenant
committed an error in diet at the American Consul's table, and suffered
for two days with a slight attack of intestinal indigestion. On July 25,
for the first time, he was allowed to eat three square meals. Six weeks
after his rescue he had gained 49 pounds. He gained 91/2 pounds the first
week, 15 pounds the second week, 8 pounds the third week, 7 pounds the
fourth week, 51/2 pounds the fifth week, and 4 pounds the sixth week.
Surgeon Green adds, under the head of "remarks":

"Vital depression, as exhibited by the temperature, not marked; digestion
fairly good all the time; nervous system soon calmed. Microscopic
examination of blood disappointing; exhibiting no unhealthy character of
red blood globules. Liver not secreting. Large gain in weight, due to
rapid assimilation of food, owing to a great muscular waste."

* * * * *



In 1881, we went for the second time to the ancient ruined city of Uxmal,
Yucatan, and lived there four months, making moulds of every ornament and
inscription, from which moulds perfect facsimiles of those grand old
palaces can be produced in plaster, and placed in any exposition or

During our stay there, on June 1, Dr. Le Plongeon had the great
satisfaction of discovering a monument, a splendid work of art in all its
pristine beauty, fresh as when the artist put the finishing touch to it,
without blemish, unharmed by time, and not even looked upon by man since
it was concealed, ages ago, where Dr. Le Plongeon discovered it through
his interpretations of certain inscriptions. It was probably hidden to
save it from destruction, between the sixth and seventh centuries of the
Christian era, when the Naualts invaded and overran the country,
demolishing many art treasures of the Mayas.


The monument represents a mastodon head, with various ornaments above and
below it, the whole measuring 3.50 m. (11 feet 41/2 inches) in height, and
in width 1.25 m. (4 feet 1 inch). Above the mastodon head there is a
chain, nearly 10 inches deep; the stones forming the links are sculptured
and fitted into each other just like the rattles of a rattlesnake; and yet
higher another row of stones resembling knots. The uppermost part is
composed of stones that incline outward from above; they are flat,
measuring 0.55 by 0.45 centimeters (21 inches by 17 inches), and are
covered with various signs pertaining to certain mysteries.

On the sides of the mastodon's trunk are these signs

[Illustration: (an "x" and a "circle with a dot in the middle")]

which read _Tza_, and means _that which is necessary_. Beneath the trunk
and the upper jaw is what is meant to represent the distended jaws of a
serpent; on it is inscribed the family name, | | | |, _Can_, the mouth
(_chi_) of the serpent giving the second part of the name. _Canchi_ means
"serpent's mouth," and was the name of the royal family that ruled over
the Mayas when their civilization was at its height.

Within the serpent's jaws is the greatest gem of American sculpture yet
discovered. It is a head and throat, sculptured in the round, of Cay
Canchi, the high priest and elder brother of the warrior Chaacmol, whose
statue we exhumed from 8 meters below the soil in Chichen Itza, during the
year 1876; which statue was afterward robbed from us by the Mexican
government, and is now in the museum at Mexico city. The stone out of
which the beautiful head is cut is not polished, but wrought so finely as
to almost imitate the texture of the skin. It is decidedly a good looking
face. The nostrils are most delicately chiseled, and the cartilage
pierced; the eyes are open, and clearly marked. On the right cheek is his
totem, a fish traced in exceedingly small cross bars. The forehead is well
formed, not retreating, and incircled by a diadem composed of small disks,
from the front of which projects a perfect fish's head. The hair is short
in front, and hangs like a fringe on the upper part of the forehead, but
is longer at the sides, hanging in straight locks.

On the wall against which this monument is built, feathers are
sculptured, forming a canopy. Such a superb _chef d'oeuvre_ proves beyond
doubt that the Maya artists were in no way inferior to those of Assyria
and Egypt.

Having been so unjustly deprived of Chaacmol without any remuneration for
our time, labor, and expenditure, we decided to save the Cay monument from
destruction at any cost, for should any ignorant persons attempt to move
it, they would break it in so doing; so, after making a mould of it, we
guarded it most securely, as we considered best, afterward inclosing it
with planks, then built it up and left it as we had found it.

Sr. Don Romero Ancona, then Governor of Yucatan, was very much provoked
because we would not reveal the whereabouts of our find, but gained
nothing by it, and the beautiful monument is still safe.


* * * * *

Rolled gold is made by casting an ingot of brass, and while this is still
hot pouring upon it a thin layer of gold alloy. The ingot when cold is
forced between steel rollers until a long, thin ribbon is produced, of
which the proportion of gold and brass is the same as of the ingot. The
percentage of gold is reduced as low as two and three per cent. This
rolled gold is used in making cheap bracelets and watch chains. It wears
from one to ten years.

A CATALOGUE, containing brief notices of many important scientific papers
heretofore published in the SUPPLEMENT, may be had gratis at this office.

* * * * *

The Scientific American Supplement.



Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to subscribers in any part of the United
States or Canada. Six dollars a year, sent, prepaid, to any foreign

All the back numbers of THE SUPPLEMENT, from the commencement, January 1,
1876, can be had. Price, 10 cents each.

All the back volumes of THE SUPPLEMENT can likewise be supplied. Two
volumes are issued yearly. Price of each volume, $2.50, stitched in paper,
or $3.50, bound in stiff covers.

AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT, one year, postpaid, $7.00.

A liberal discount to booksellers, news agents, and canvassers.



* * * * *


In connection with the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Messrs. MUNN & Co. are
Solicitors of American and Foreign Patents, have had 38 years' experience,
and now have the largest establishment in the world. Patents are obtained
on the best terms.

A special notice is made in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN of all Inventions
patented through this Agency, with the name and residence of the Patentee.
By the immense circulation thus given, public attention is directed to the
merits of the new patent, and sales or introduction often easily effected.

Any person who has made a new discovery or invention can ascertain, free
of charge, whether a patent can probably be obtained, by writing to MUNN &

We also send free our Hand Book about the Patent Laws, Patents, Caveats.
Trade Marks, their costs, and how procured. Address


Branch Office, cor. F and 7th Sts., Washington, D.C.

Book of the day: