Puslapio vaizdai

boys frequently walked after her in procession | the term of his natural life. By the French

to the village church. William Farr, of Birmingham, died 1770, aged 121. He survived a posterity of one hundred and forty-four persons, and, finding himself without an heir, bequeathed his fortune of £10,000 to charitable uses. James Hatfield died 1770, aged 105. One night, while on duty as a sentinel at Windsor, he heard St. Paul's clock in London, twenty-three miles distant, strike thirteen instead of twelve, and, not being relieved as he expected, he fell asleep. The tardy relief soon arrived and found him in this condition. He was tried by a court-martial; he denied the

laws this term is considered to have expired
after one hundred years have elapsed. Hav-
ing served that period, our venerable pris-
oner of state, at the age of 122, was released
and went back to his native village; but of
course, like Rip Van Winkle, he was un-
known. Yet he had triumphed over laws,
bondage, man, time, everything.
He re-
turned heart-broken to his galley and died.
The reader will naturally ask for informa-
tion regarding the aged of the present day.
This curiosity it is difficult to satisfy, for
statistics are only collected after death, and
then they are the product of uncertain gales,


floating in to the historian from books of travel, local records, obituary notices, magazines, annual registers, and from the uncertain memories of the living. A large number of such cases are now to be found in the charitable institutions of our land. The United States Census of 1860 mentions the decease of 466 centenarians, of whom 137 were white, 39 free colored, and 290 slaves. One slave died in Alabama aged 130, one in Georgia aged 137, and one Mexican aged I20. Jean Frederick de Waldeck died in Paris, April 29, 1875, aged 109 years, I month, and 14 days. This man has been before the world in some capacity for over ninety years, and it is not so easy to ignore him. He was originally a page of Marie Antoinette. the age of 19 he was with Levaillant exploring in South Africa. In 1788 he was studying art under David and Prud'hon in Paris. He fought under Napoleon in 1794-8 in Italy and in Egypt. In 1819 he was engaged in archæological expeditions in North and South America. 1837 he published "Voyage Archéologique et Pittoresque dans le Yucatan," and his drawings of the ruins of Palenque were published in 1863; he made the lithographs when aged 100. In the Salon of 1869 he exhibited two pictures and entitled them "Loisir du Centenaire." This man could not fail to attract attention, and he became member and honorary member of the principal learned societies of London and Paris. It is difficult to say how Sir G. Cornewall Lewis, were he alive, would treat this case of longevity. We have yet to learn how the incredulous Mr. Thoms, F. S. A.,



charge of sleeping at his post before mid- |
night, and in defense related the story of
St. Paul's clock, a circumstance never known
before. His life was thus saved. Mrs.
Penny, of Worcestershire, died, aged 99.
This lady had a niece living at the time aged
101. Miss Elizabeth Gray died 1856, aged
108. She survived her father one hundred
years, and was buried beside a half-brother,
who had been dead 128 years. During the
last century, a Frenchman, at the age of 21,
was sentenced to the galleys at Toulon for


will meet it. Eighteen centuries ago (with reverence be it remarked) "doubting Thomas" said: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." So with the doubting Thoms of our day. Unless he can search in person the register of birth, marriage and death, and, poring over at every point the records of vital statistics, can meet his man properly indexed, he would state the case not proven. In the city of New York at the present day resides Captain Frederick Lahrbush, formerly of the British army, said to be aged 109 years, and enjoying good health. A gentleman of the most engaging manners and natural refinement, he receives a large number of visitors, and relates a history of romantic interest. He resides in Third Avenue, and almost every Sabbath, at the Church of the Ascension on Fifth Avenue, the childish treble of his worn out voice may be heard above the worship of the congregation. He rises before five in the morning, and retires shortly after seven in the evening. He is abstemious in his habits, though in the daily practice of eating opium, to which drug, it is believed, he attrib

tinued gay and lively in her tastes, dancing even beyond her hundredth birthday. She cut three new sets of teeth. Her family being ruined by rebellion, she made the long journey to London to seek relief from the Court of James the First."



utes his long life. Captain Lahrbush claims to have fought under Wellington in the Peninsula, and to have witnessed the signing of the famous Treaty of Tilsit, which took place in 1807 (on a raft moored in the River Niemen) between Napoleon, Alexander of Russia, and the King of Prussia. It is but fair to add in regard to this case of longevity that Mr. Thoms has written across its record with an unrelenting hand, and with a pen of iron, and those curious about such matters are referred to his work, "Longevity of Man." Another interesting character is thus described: "The Irish Countess of Desmond fell from a fruit tree, broke her thigh and died in 1609-aged 145 years. She danced at Court with the Duke of Gloucester, afterward Richard the Third. Indeed she con


We may ask, in closing, is it desirable that all men and women should become centenarians? Manifestly not. These shrunken, shriveled relics of a past age, in the knotted and tangled line of whose life personal identity has barely been preserved, would, if familiar to our eyes, produce a depressing effect on the living. Useful lives are to be desired rather than mere length of days.

"Evum implet actis, non segnibus annis." A quarter or half a century of sleeping existence, feeble superannuation, an exception to the sound laws of health and the rule of accidents, these childish, antiquated people, have long ceased to be a pleasure to themselves or to the world. Their own testimony shows an anxious waiting for their time of


release. "Not an hour longer," says one, and another with wearied complaint exclaims: "God, in letting me remain so long upon the earth, seems actually to have forgotten me."

But we have returned to the starting-point of our investigations. Can great age be secured by human endeavor? Probably


The European and the negro, the Chinese and the American, the civilized man and the savage, the rich and the poor, the dweller in cities and he that lives in the country, differing so much from one another in some respects, all resemble one another in having the same allotment of time to pass from birth to death; and the variations of climate, food and conveniences, seem to have but little to do with the prolongation of life. Abnormal instances of longevity are doubtless the result of a certain bodily and mental predisposition to great age. The man that lives long probably possesses strong natural powers of restoration and healing. These depend more or less for their fulfillment upon a tranquil life, an absence of irritability, and a contented disposition. And let there be added to these a firm reliance on the mercy and wisdom of that Divine Power "in whose hands our breath is, and whose are all our ways."

For the original portraits from which the illustrations of this paper are taken we are indebted to the following sources:-Old Parr, "The World of Wonders; " Parr's Cottage in Shropshire, and Countess of Desmond, Desmond, "Chambers's Book of Days;" Henry Jenkins, "Bailey's Records of Longevity; "Peter Garden, the "New Wonderful Magazine;" John Rovin and wife, and Peter Zartan," Kirby's Wonderful Museum;" Count Waldeck, the "London Illustrated News." The portrait of Frederick Lahrbush is from a photograph taken in 1875



THE distinction which our present knowledge enables us to make between the humblest forms of animal and vegetable life is a functional, rather than a chemical or a sensible one. It lies in what they do, rather than in what they are. The lowest representatives of both kingdoms are included under the same general term. Protozoon and protophyte are alike called protoplasm, and appear to possess the same intrinsic qualities.

The practical difference between animal and vegetable life consists in their respective powers of assimilation. Plants take in as nutriment the inorganic elements of earth and air; by the subtle chemistry of nature, in her dark and silent laboratory underground, the

lifeless minerals of the earth are wrought into living tissues, endowed with the capacity for growth and reproduction. Except in the Fungi, this transmutation,of inorganic into organic matter is believed to be accomplished, only under the controlling influence of light. Animal vitality is sustained only by the material thus transmuted; all the solid nutriment necessary for the maintenance of animal life must have been converted into vegetable, or reconverted into animal tissue before it can fulfill its purpose. Man, surrounded by all the wealth of inorganic nature, would perish if there were not everywhere about him millions of busy little alchemists unceasingly at work day and night,

transmuting the dead and useless elements | complex and multitudinous, under which of land and water into the life-sustaining we live are here reduced to two or three; principle. Not only do the lowly grasses the elements, many and bewildering, which and tenderly creeping mosses clothe the enter into the ordinary statement of the earth with beauty as with a garment, but problem, are here eliminated, and yet we they also supply the conditions of all higher are forced to recognize the same vital prinlife. Without the unconscious ministry of ciple giving functional activity to a mass of this lowly vegetable existence, all the high structureless jelly which animates the highest hopes, the spiritual longings, the heroic en- organic beings. deavor of humanity, would have been impossible.

When we see this formless life governed by laws, each in itself as inexorable as that which guides the rolling planets, and all in their various combinations as flexile as those which control our human existence, we feel the sense of awe which a whisper from the unseen world might send thrilling through our nerves. We are standing face to face with life stripped of its familiar conditions. It looks us in the eyes as the disembodied ghost of the life now so familiar to us.

Until within the last five years our knowledge of deep-sea life was limited to the information given by stray organisms brought up on some fisherman's net, or to speculations suggested by those found in the shal


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The lowest forms of life lie in the shadowy boundary land between the two great kingdoms of organic nature. Even in the physical world the mysterious lore of border land possesses a charm which is wanting to the wide fields of knowledge that have been traversed again and again by human feet. The most curious page in the record of this lowly existence has just been opened to us. The latest investigations into deep-sea life show that the vast area lying beneath the ocean is covered with a simple animal life, boundless in extent and infinite in variety. Under conditions too rigid and severe to permit the growth of the humblest seaweed, these creatures live, and multiply, and die. Far beyond the reach of light, in a glacial temperature and under enormous pressure, exists this wonderful fauna. As we strip the mystery of vitality of garment after garment, as its conditions become fewer and its mode of existence less complex, the wonder, instead of becoming less, constantly grows upon the mind. The human intellect longs to find a commensurate physical cause for the effect which we call life. When, as in the higher organic beings, the conditions are many and the processes complicated, the phenomenon of vitality does not seem so puzzling; antecedent appears to bear some sort of proportion to consequent. The mind rarely troubles itself to make nice distinctions between complicated machinery and motive power. A liberal display of wheel-work is adequate to account for results without any reference to the initial force. But as we contemplate the life of the protozoa, which reign supreme in the ocean's depths, we see the awful and mysterious problem presented in its simplest terms; forms of existence which are formless, organisms possessing no organs, life contradicting the very lower water. The tribe of sponges, espedefinitions of life and yet performing all cially, have, in this way, become familiar to its essential functions. The conditions, | us. The hints given of their beauty and





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A, spicules of different varieties of Euplectella: a, anchoring filament of E. Aspergillum; 6, 6, 6, spicules of the sarcode; c and d, hexradiate spicules in earliest form; e, the real size of the spicule marked e is 1-300 of an inch in diameter. B, spicules of Tethya. C, varieties of Hyalonema: a, anchoring filament, H. S.; b, b, b, spicules of sarcode, spicules of Hyalonema in situ.


delicacy have surprised us, but they were, | form the skeleton of the animal, are in its

after all, the merest hints. Explorations into the still cold water of the ocean's profounder depths reveal the fact that what we already knew was but the "margin and remnant of a wonderfully diversified sponge fauna, which appears to extend in endless variety over the whole bottom of the sea."

The family of sponges has only of late been able to establish itself satisfactorily in life. It had been bandied back and forth between the two great kingdoms of organic nature, figuring now as one of the algae, and again as a protozoon; but its title to admission into the animal kingdom has at last been made out by aid of the microscope.

This family is divided into three great orders: the silicious, or glass sponges, the calcareous, and the keratose, named from the several minerals of which its skeleton is composed. Our common sponge is rather an insignificant member of the great tribe whose name it bears. It is a sort of poor relation of the sponge family, who goes out to service in foreign parts, but who, like the little maid of the Syrian captain, cannot forbear giving a hint of the wonders of its native land.

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living state clothed with a soft gelatinous flesh technically called sarcode. This is a semi-transparent, jelly-like substance, which dries readily, but whose original condition can be restored by submersion in water. The sarcode was for a long time considered to be a granular jelly; but closer scrutiny has determined the granules to be tiny animal cells, each possessed of a single lash or cilium, which is forever in motion. These amoeba-like creatures are immersed in a jelly even more structureless than themselves. Through the mass of the sponge streams of sea water are forever flowing, impelled by the constant and perfectly timed motion of the cilia. The canals through which the water flows are not permanent, though the general direction of the current is always the same, and the main exhalent orifice or osculum remains unchanged. The gases necessary to life are supplied by a gentle perpetual current, which passes through every portion of the sarcode; the organic matter for the maintenance of vitality is supplied by a more vigorous and intermittent flow. Respiration in these formless creatures, as in higher organisms, appears to be the result of involuntary action, while feeding is voluntary.

The sarcode possesses the power of appropriating from the incurrent streams of water not only the air and food it requires, but also the mineral matter which it needs for the rearing of its frame-work. The amount of sarcode, as well as its consistency, varies with the different species, but in all other respects the sponge-animal seems identical. The secretion and deposit of the mineral skeleton by which the three orders are characterized depend wholly upon some subtle and mysterious principle lying back of the region to which chemistry and microscopic investigation can penetrate. If there be a physical cause behind the phenomena, the deeper we investigate the subject the more hopeless seems the search. As chemical tests become more refined, and microscopic investigations more accurate, the facts which are brought to light tend to prove identity in the living animal of the various sponges rather than difference. And yet every reasonable mind must admit some difference in causes which produce results so diverse. If it is not chemical or purely physical, what is it? What right have we to assume a chemical action which is beyond the reach of chemical tests, or a physical peculiarity which baffles the most patient

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