« PreviousContinue »
not without a little of that impertinence of a fine lady which is so impressive to the crowd, his salutation. 'Did you want me, papa?' she quietly asked. (To be continued.)
THE FORCES BENEATH US. THE intensity of the subterranean forces over any given area of the earth's surface is in a constant state of ebb and flow, now rising to a flood of great power, now ebbing into a long period of quiescence, and then again gathering force for a new and awful manifestation of energy. It would seem that the volcanic forces of Southern Europe are again approaching a period of maximum intensity. But so recently as the summer of 1883,
the beautiful little island of Ischia was convulsed
by earthquake shocks. It was the season of the year when all was at its gayest and brightest, the little capital being filled by the many Neapolitans and Romans who find it so delightful a retreat in summer. On a bright July evening, when all were sitting out in the clear, calm air, under a cloudless sky, there came a sudden earth-throe, and in a few seconds the charming town of Casamicciola was a shapeless heap of ruins; whilst the other small towns which dot the little island shared in a less degree the same fate. Only two years before, another shock had been experienced over the same area; but the earthquake of 1883 was of much greater intensity than that which preceded it.
It is but a few months, too, since the subterranean forces seemed to threaten an outbreak in our own country, manifesting their gathering energy by a slight earth-tremor in Suffolk; and now Spain has been the scene of their awful activity. On Christmas night last, the inhabitants of Madrid were thrown into a state of alarm by two slight vibrations. On the same evening, more violent earthquakes occurred in the provinces of Andalusia, Malaga, and Granada. In the town of the latter name, the whole population, we are told, fearing a repetition of the shocks, camped out in squares and other open places. On the morning of the 26th, three severe shocks were felt at Granada; whilst at Torrox, in the same province, several yet more violent shocks were experienced later in the same day. The greater part of the Alhama has been overthrown; more than half the inhabitants of Albunuelas killed; and the cathedrals of Seville and Granada seriously damaged. Each day the provinces of Granada and Malaga were shaken by fresh earth-throes, and the loss of life has been very great. The subterranean forces augmented in intensity daily, reaching a maximum on December 31, when a more severe shock than any experienced previously was felt at Granada, that being the tenth which up to that date had occurred there. The inhabitants were panicstricken; thousands fled from their homes; those who remained paced the streets in religious pro
cessions, headed by their priests, imploring the Divine clemency. From this date the shocks were less violent in character, although a severe one shook Alhama on January 12, and they have now happily altogether ceased. About the same time, an earthquake seems to have been experienced at sea, the captain of a Cadiz barque reporting December 18, when he was not long out of Cadiz; a shock, accompanied by a loud roaring noise, on seven days, however, before the first shocks were experienced in the Spanish provinces.
Often in the world's history must Spain have been the field of volcanic activity, as her crumbling caves remain to attest, and it was in this corner of
Europe that the greatest manifestation of subterranean energy in modern times occurred. The story of the earthquake which one hundred and thirty Then, as in the case of the present earthquake, the years ago destroyed Lisbon, is a familiar one. inhabitants do not appear to have had any warning of the coming danger; but suddenly a noise like the rolling of thunder was heard underground, this being followed immediately by a tremendous shock, which threw down the greater part of the city, and in the course of a few minutes sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired, and then rose to a height of fifty feet above its ordinary level; and the new quay just completed, on which the people had collected for safety, sank with all its human freight; and where it had stood, there was afterwards found to be one hundred fathoms of water, if, indeed, as some accounts say, the sea was not there unfathomable. The effects of this earthquake were felt over so large a region, that it has been calculated a portion of the earth's surface equal to four times the area of Europe was included within its range. From the West Indies and the great inland lakes of Canada, it extended its range to our own country, to Sweden, and to North Germany. The shock then, too, was also felt at sea, producing an effect similar to that which follows when a vessel strikes a sunken rock
or runs aground.
But whilst earthquakes may thus seem to happen without the slightest warning, there can be little doubt that their apparent suddenness is due either to want of observation, or to a wilful disregard of the signs which indicate the advent of subterranean outbursts. Their approach is usually heralded in many ways-underground noises, gaseous emanations from the soil, the drythermal springs, haziness in the air, being the ing up of wells, a change in the temperature of more general forerunners of these phenomena. At such periods, too, a sense of dizziness is often experienced by dwellers in the threatened locality, whilst microcosmical instruments, if there be any in the district, will register slight variations of subterranean activity. During the continuance of the earthquake, the ground often heaves like the sea, producing feelings akin to the familiar large fissures open in the earth; and permanent of sea-sickness; rivers seek fresh channels; pangs changes take place in the geographical features of the country. Thus the series of earthquakes which in 1826 and 1827 visited New Zealand, caused so distinct a change that the former features
of the coast could be no longer recognised. The earthquakes of the present century in Chili have produced a permanent elevation of the coast there; and recent subterranean outbursts in Java have considerably modified the geography of that region.
Concerning the origin of these phenomena, so far-reaching in their effects, it must be admitted that the true theory has never yet been framed. Early speculations were much tinged with the superstitions of the time; and even so late as the beginning of the present century, we find a lingering remnant of this superstitious regard of physical phenomena in the naming, by the inhabitants of Sindree, of a mound thrown up during the Indus earthquake, Ullah Bund,' or the Mound of God.
It is obvious that the study of these interesting phenomena is beset with many difficulties. Observations can often only be made at imminent personal risk. Yet, spite of this, beginning with the few observers and the almost mythical records of the days of Pliny, the fascinating subject has continued to attract an ever increasing circle of students, who have ever more earnestly endeavoured to pierce the veil of mystery which surrounds it. Each fresh manifestation of subterranean energy is now watched with increased interest. Whenever possible, the sequence of events is noted with extreme detail, old theories become weakened, fresh ideas confirmed, and new avenues of thought open themselves to the earnest investigator at every step.
With the phenomena of earthquakes, those of volcanoes are closely linked, volcanic outbursts being frequently heralded and accompanied by earthquake shocks; and there can be little doubt that the two are most intimately bound up, if, indeed, they are not two effects arising from a single cause. This being so, the facts which surround the one class of phenomena may be drawn upon in attempting to frame an explanation whence and how either originates. That some portions of the earth's interior are in an immensely heated condition, the nature of the materials ejected from volcanic vents renders evident; and observation has also clearly demonstrated the fact, that the temperature increases from the surface of the earth downwards, the average increase being one degree Fahrenheit for every fifty feet of descent. Now, from considerations connected with the figure of the earth and the other members of the system to which it belongs, it has, with much probability, been inferred that the solar system has evolved from one of those glowing gaseous aggregations termed nebulæ, that this world was once a fluid haze of light; and that when it first existed as an independent body, it was in a state of the most fervent heat, a residue of which now gives rise to volcanic phenomena.
What happened, then, as our earth radiated its primitive heat into space? The question is a vexed one. So many men, so many minds. One class of theorists, not giving sufficient weight to the fact that the increase of pressure towards the earth's centre would tend to keep matter solid there under the influence of high temperatures, suppose that the process of radiation by the earth into space has, throughout the lapse of ages, resulted in the formation of a solid external crust
covering a still fluid nucleus. But this class of theorists is like the volcanoes of Britain, practically extinct, or is at least as subdued and unpretending as the Suffolk earthquake. Other geologists, giving more weight to the fact of increase of pressure towards the earth's centre, consider that its condition is that of a body with a solid nucleus and a solid external crust, between which there still remains a residue of liquid matter.
In objection to both these views it has been shown that for the earth to maintain its rigidity under the moon's attraction, such a crust must be of enormous thickness, of so great a thickness, indeed, that Sir William Thomson, who investigated the matter, prefers to consider the earth as a solid globe cooling by contraction. On this view of the earth's condition, volcanic phenomena are explained as the result of the conversion into heat of the mechanical force of contraction; while earthquakes may themselves be regarded as proceeding from the crushing and bending of the rocks by the stress of contraction itself. Again, there are those who regard the earth as a globe mainly solid throughout, but with lakes of liquid matter in various parts near the surface, remnants of its former heat, and believe that it is from these lakes, as the earth continues to contract, that matter is forced into volcanic vents to feed their intermittent fires; whilst, looking at the fact that earthquakes so frequently precede an eruption, these earth-tremors may from this point be regarded as ineffectual efforts by the pent-up subterranean forces to establish a volcanic outburst; and since the observations of Mr Mallet in earthquake localities have demonstrated the fact that shocks emanate from centres near the earth's surface, being sometimes nearer, and sometimes further, as the shocks are mainly horizontal or mainly vertical in character, there would seem to be some probability in this latter view of the origin of the subterranean forces; but there are many arguments which militate against its accept
There are those also who, while they regard the matter of the earth as being in a really solid condition, yet conceive that some portions of it may be in a state of potential liquidity; that is to say, ready to assume the liquid form on a release of pressure; and when it is remembered that a barometric fall of two inches-a by no means remarkable circumstance-means the removal of millions of pounds of air-pressure from off the surface of the earth, it seems as though there might be some truth in this view also; but it loses probability when we reflect, that for this release of pressure to be effectual in producing liquidity, it is necessary that the solid matter of the earth should be just on that borderland between the solid and liquid states, which it is so difficult to imagine can often be the case; and it must be finally admitted that science has yet to frame a perfectly satisfactory explanation of these interesting phenomena.*
Human nature is too apt to dwell upon the awful results of these evident and striking mani
*For a fuller discussion of the question as to the interior condition of the globe, see article in Chambers's Journal for Jan. 21, 1882, Is the Interior of the Earth Molten or Solid?'
conveyed information of his return to the reliev
festations of nature, and to pass over her more regular and noiseless, yet far more potent activity. It must not, therefore, be forgotten that these subterranean outbursts we have been considering, are but the more violent and pronounced examples of a slow and gradual process of upheaval and depression which is going on at all portions of the earth's surface. And these movements of the earth's crust, whether they be the slow upheaval and depression to which reference has just been made, or the cataclysmal efforts of an earthquake or volcanic outburst, are in the main most beneficial to man, and have an important influence on his progress and well-being. It is the shortsighted philosophy of imperfect knowledge which regards only the evil which such catastrophes produce. The heated regions of the earth's crust where the volcanic forces are in energy are the laboratories of nature, where her most valued gems and minerals are produced; whilst the earth-throes which devastate a country, and seem to be fraught only with evil to mankind, bring the rocks containing them to the surface; and we may strangely reflect, that but for these eruptive efforts, iron, and many other minerals which have contributed to the comfort and progress of man, might for ever have remained unknown to him. One of the fairy tales of science and the long result of time' is the gradual change in the relative positions of continent and sea which these oscillations of the All this flashed through my mind in an instant, earth's crust have brought about. Our own and in my opinion stamped Curley as being as island has now been submerged until the sea certainly the inspirer, as his son had been the washed its mountain tops, now elevated until it draughtsman of the wall cartoons that had figured ceased to be an island, and Father Thames flowed as a prominent circumstance in the China House across a great stretch of land, which filled up burglary. I remembered at this point that of the North Sea, to join the great Rhine, the two late I had missed Curley from his accustomed streams pouring their united waters almost within corners, and my next question to the landlord the arctic circle. So, over all the earth; con--put in the same tone of affected indifference tinents have grown out of the sea, and great -was: 'What is Curley's little game nowalands have given place to vast oceans. The days?' stony rocks are not primeval, but the daughters of time.' Everywhere, flux and change-growth and decay; only fixed and unalterable the immutable and eternal laws which govern it.
THE CHINA HOUSE BURGLARY.
IN THREE CHAPTERS.-CHAP. III.
Well, if you'd a asked me a few months back, I should a said that whatever his game might be, it was something on the cross. Talk about insinivating as I'm a fence! If I had a been, I could a done plenty of business with him. He was always a-hinting at having stuff to get rid of, or knowing others as had, which came to the same thing.'
This latter piece of information still further strengthened my impression that I was on the right trail; but merely making a mental note of the statement for the present, I continued the pumping process by asking: "But what is
CURLEY BOND was well known in the district
attributed-to the fact that the wife's health
having broken up, she was no longer able to maintain an idle husband by her labour. She died in the work house infirmary a few weeks after Curley had gone; but the child-the caricaturist of the present narrative-had been supported and educated in the union school of the district for the period of five years over
which the desertion extended.
At the end of that period, Curley, for some reason best known to himself, had ventured back to the neighbourhood-on the quiet. He was, however, speedily detected. Within a week, an anonymous letter
aloud as he spoke. Why, he's set up as a
Here was more light with a vengeance. It was only by the strongest effort of self-repression that at this stage I was able to refrain from
Feb. 28, 1883.]
showing my surprise and satisfaction. I had really been on the right line at first, then, I said to myself, though-and this thought was not satisfactory-I had allowed myself to be thrown off the scent almost at the first step. Wilson, it will be remembered, was the name of the carpenter I had suspected in the first instance; and Harding, as I now instantly recollected, was the name of the greengrocer with whom he lodged. As yet, I had of course no proof that these were the Wilson and Harding of the betting firm of which Curley Bond claimed to be the Co.; but in the assured frame of mind in which I now found myself, it never occurred to me to doubt that such was the case. I only wondered, and that with a painful sense of humiliation, that I had not at the time detected Harding's answers concerning his lodger as being much too pat and much too trippingly spoken.
'How so?' I put in.
'Well, in this way. If I'm any judge on the point-and I reckon if I ain't, I ought to bethey do fairly well in the way of business; yet after almost every meeting, they seem somehow or other to get out of gear. At anyrate, they have to pawn their belongings to get home; but when you see them at the very next meeting, they are in full fig again. And mind you, it ain't with gambling after the races are over. a matter of curiosity, I've watched 'em for that. Wilson billiards a bit certainly; but as far as that goes, he does more in the way of skinning than being skinned.'
It occurred to me that I could have very easily explained the mystery, but I merely asked: Where have they pawned?'
'I should think they've done it at most meetings they've attended; but I know for certain they did it at Lincoln and Liverpool, for I bought a ticket from them at each of those places.'
"Would you mind showing me the tickets?' I asked.
'Not at all,' he answered. I paid a fair price for them; and if there's any screw loose about the business, I'm innocent of any knowledge of it.' As he spoke, he produced the tickets from a pocket-book. They related the one to a fieldglass, and the other to a dressing-case.
I renewed the conversation, but could elicit no further useful information from the virtuously indignant publican. I had, however, I believed, learned enough, and I left him in high spirits. That I was now on the track of the performers in the China House job, I was firmly persuaded, and I could not but admire the constitution of the gang. An apparently respectable tradesman having a round in the neighbourhood in which the burglary had been committed, and owning a horse and cart, with which he could be out in These articles and some others pledged in the the small-hours without exciting suspicion, on the establishments named on the tickets turned out plea that he was going to market-such a man as I fully expected they would-to be parts of as this was beyond price as a putter-up of and the proceeds of burglaries in our division. Using assistant in burglaries. And when with such a the record of past racing fixtures as a guide, I one was joined a man who legitimately possessed was enabled to trace more of the stolen property and was skilled in the use of the tools best-including some of that taken from China suited to burglarious operations; a burly ruffian House-in the same way. for heavy work, and a smart boy to be put through small openings or set to keep watchwhen such a champion lot as this were banded together, it was easy to understand that they would be difficult to detect. All the greater, therefore, was the slice of luck that had enabled me to approach their identity.
That I had identified them, I now assumed as a moral certainty; but in criminal law, as I was of course aware, moral certainties alone go for nothing. That I had hit upon the men was something; but to land them, to be able to arrest them, not to speak of being sure of convicting them, it would be necessary to obtain material and legal evidence. To that end I at once set to work, and this time in a really confident spirit. And my self-confidence was abundantly justified. On the principle that it never rains but it pours, the good fortune that had at length befallen me in connection with the China House business continued to accompany me, for the case almost 'made itself.' I followed Wilson, Harding, & Co. to a metropolitan race meeting, and pointing them out to the police inspector in charge of the course, inquired if he knew anything of them.
I don't myself,' he answered; but here's a man that I daresay does;' and turning to a sharp-featured bookmaker who was standing close by, he said: 'I say, Croft, do you know anything of Wilson and Harding?'
No; I should like to,' he replied: "they're a bit of a mystery.'
From Dorrington's housemaid, too, I now obtained a valuable piece of information. After taking to the turf, Wilson had thrown her over; and as a consequence, her feelings towards him had undergone a change. She did not come forward voluntarily; but on being questioned a second time, she stated that about the time the burglaries were committed in the neighbourhood Wilson had made her presents of jewelry, which friends had told her were worth a heap of money. On questioning Charley as to how he had come by the things, he had given her putting-off answers, and that had made her fidgety. When I had spoken to her the first time, she had instantly bethought her of these presents, and it had occurred to her that possibly Charley had got innocently mixed up with some bad lot. But he was her sweetheart then, and of course it was not for her to bring him under suspicion. Now, however, things were different. He had shown her that she was nothing to him, and though she wished him no harm for that, it was not for her to risk her character for one who was nothing to her. That was the truth, and there was the jewelry-which latter proved to be part of the plunder of several burglaries.
All this was evidence. Upon the strength of it, warrants were issued; and while one party of our men followed Wilson, Harding, and Co. to a racecourse, in order to be able to take the gang at one swoop, another party of us entered and searched their respective homes. In that of the greengrocer we found stolen property to a large
amount; and in a coke-shed at the rear of the house we discovered a furnace and melting-pot that had evidently been much used.
I had independent evidence enough and to
spare to secure a conviction; but directly the
universal; and it is in virtue of this tendency that explorers journey only by aid of the compass. Some of our readers may recollect that
in their school-days, walking blindfolded was a
favourite pastime, some individuals diverging to
monly known as to be beyond dispute; but we believe that the cause is not so generally understood, and is not perhaps even yet definitely ascertained.
Recently, the subject has been discussed in Nature, and the opinions of the scientists who have taken part in the discussion have brought out, that though the individual is unconscious of the tendency to walk in a circle, yet it is probably due to a physical inequality on the part of the individual. Let it be considered that if, in walking, the strides are unequal in length, they will tend to carry the individual in the direction of the shorter stride, so that in a certain time and space the walking track
arrests were made, young Curley 'rounded;' and after due consideration, it was determined by the law officers in charge of the prosecution to allow him to turn Queen's evidence. Naturally, his was the chief evidence. In giving it, he tried, but unavailingly, to make things light for poor father.' There was no need to 'elicit' information from him. In reply to a few leading questions, he gave ample details as to how Harding, who knew the ways of the families and the runs of the houses, had manoeuvred the jobs; and Wilson acted as leading hand in effecting entrance into the dwellings. He told what quantities of plunder had been taken, and how it had been divided and disposed of, and he joined freely in the hearty laughter' which greeted his assertion, that on more than one occasion, the gang, when driving back-in Harding's vanfrom a successful burglary, had given good morning to the policeman on the beat. As he stood in the witness-box glibly uttering his incriminating statements, Messrs Wilson and Harding strides of an individual generally are unequal, regarded him with glances that were scarcely we have proof in reminiscences of some expericalculated to promote pleasant dreams for him. For a considerable period, however, he was relieved from any danger of reprisals upon their part, as the jury unhesitatingly brought in a verdict of guilty, and each of the prisoners was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude.
will assume the form of a circle. That the
ments by Mr G. H. Darwin, who, with his eyes shut, started to walk in a grass field, and found that he had described a circle of about fifty yards' diameter, the divergence being towards the right; and in repeated experiments, he was unable to impose a sufficiently strong conscious bias in
Though I am, I hope, a fairly modest man, I one direction to think I may regard the China House burglary as being in its way a feather in my cap. overcome the unconscious bias in the other. anyrate I had every reason to feel satisfied with Further experimenting with eight schoolboys, my part in the business. As a member of the six of whom were strongly right-handed and police force, I could not take the reward that two feebly left-handed, he found that the six Mr Dorrington offered. But later, I was pre- had a longer stride from left to right, one of sented with a purse of sovereigns, in recognition, the others from right to left, and the reas the subscribers were pleased to put it, of the ability I had displayed in bringing to justice the gang of burglars who had so long infested the neighbourhood. In addition to this 'presentation,' I also received praise that was not altogether empty, seeing that it was instrumental in bringing me the professional promotion that subsequently fell to my lot.
WALKING IN CIRCLES. IN the winter months, we not unfrequently hear of travellers in this country losing their lives in attempting to cross snow-covered moors while the light is imperfect. Even though the distance be only a few hundred yards, yet in the absence of a definite track or distinctive landmark, the traveller toils on through weary hours, until physical exhaustion overcomes him, and he falls into that lethargic sleep which is the terror of the traveller in cold regions. When the track of such a one is examined, it is found to be more or less of a circular nature, tending, no doubt, to irregularities, but such only as we should expect of an exhausted and despairing man. This tendency to walk in a circle when the individual is unaided by the eye, may be said to be almost
maining one had equal strides. When these boys were caused to hop, the six used the left limb; the next one, the right; and the other hopped on the right on the first trial, then on the left on the second. Offering a prize to the one who should walk straightest, the boy who had equal strides and hopped equally well on either limb walked straight to the goal; the six left-legged boys diverged to the right; and the right-legged one to the left. These results tend to show that inequality of strides is due to physical inequality of the limbs; and one correspondent having suggested that the lower limbs differ in length, and hence cause variation in strides, an authority-Dr J. G. Garson, Royal College of Surgeons, London-adduces proof that this is so. In seventy skeletons, he found by measurement that seven-or ten per cent.-only had the lower limbs equal in length; twenty-five -35.8 per cent.-had the right limb longer than the left; and in thirty-eight instances or 54-5 per cent.-the left limb was the longer. When that if the limbs are unequal in length, the these facts are considered, it becomes apparent individual cannot possibly walk straight unless when guided by the eye, so that the circular track of the lost traveller is just what we should expect in the circumstances.