« ПретходнаНастави »
of the animal kingdom, as it yields, when analysed, the same results as animal substances in general. It is light and soft, usually containing embedded fragments of mineral matter and small shells — particularly in those of coarse texture and large size.
3. It is traversed by innumerable pores, the microscope showing the whole network of the sponge to be composed of fine tubes. If examined while in the water, currents may be seen passing out of the larger openings, having probably entered through the smaller pores, thus giving rise to an obscure motion or circulation.
4. As an animal, it lives on the water, and what the water holds in solution ; and hence it is probably necessary that water should be constantly circulating through it.
The bottle sponge so called from its shape resembling a bottle - curiously exhibits this motion. Its absorbing pores are all on the outside, and its vents, or larger openings, within,- so that there is constantly a strong current pouring from the mouth of the bottle.
5. In some of the islands of the Archipelago, the inhabitants make it a business to obtain sponges by diving, having been trained to it from their infancy. Other methods are sometimes resorted to, such as spearing or grappling; but they injure the sponges, which can not easily be detached from the surfaces to which they adhere. When first taken from the water, they are covered with a slippery gelatinous substance, which is removed by washing.
6. They are placed in heaps, under piles of stones, which press them closely together, so that they become hard and flat when dry. The mineral substances are removed by beating the sponge until they are reduced to powder and drop out in washing. After this the sponge is ready for market and use. It is a singular fact that, after the impurities have been removed, the sponge weighs more than when first taken from the water.
7. Sponges serve a great variety of useful purposes, both in the arts and medicine, and contribute, in many known ways, to cleanliness and comfort. They are of very unequal value, the texture of some being fine and soft, while that of others is coarse and rough. Smyrna is a great market, or depot, for sponges.
8. One of the latest uses to which sponge has been applied is said to be that of making into cloth. The article most used for this is that found on the rocks of the Bahama islands, and the coast of Florida, which is excellent in quality and inexhaustible in quantity.
9. This sponge, when torn from the rock to which it adheres, appears at first as a heavy, black-looking mass, with a strong and offensive odor. In order to cleanse and purify it, it is buried in the earth for some weeks, at the end of which all the organic matter will be decomposed.
10. In this state it is liable to become hard and unfit for the manufacturing process. To obviate this, the sponge is immersed in water containing from ten to twenty per cent. of glycerine, and then squeezed dry, after which it will be entirely soft and elastic. It is then cut into small pieces, subjected to a carding process, and afterwards felted. Only certain qualities of sponge are capable of being spun into yarn for weaving. One of them is the kind known as “ Chipoul,” which has a long fiber.
11. The felted sponge may be used for hat bodies, carpets, etc. The sponge cloth for clothing is made in the same manner as “shoddy.” Sponge may be used in textile fabrics, either with or without the admixture of other fibers, such as wool and hair. Sponge has of late been considerably used as a material for stuffing furniture, mattresses, cushions, pillows, etc. The surgeon, physician, chemist, and many others, find frequent and numerous uses for this valuable article.
Manual of Commerce.
LXI.- SMALL BEGINNINGS NOT TO BE
1. Despise not the day of small things. This sentence contains much wisdom and philosophy. It is very easy and natural to sneer at small beginnings and humble means; but it is not always wise to do so. It is better to commence on a humble scale, and come out in good style at last, than to suffer a severe collapse after an extensive and ridiculous flourish.
2. We have heard it told of a man worth his millions, that he commenced by selling fruit at a street stall. We have seen boys at school roll a handful of snow on the ground, till, by its accumulated matter, it became so bulky that a dozen could scarcely move it. Sands make the mountains, moments make the year, drops make the ocean, and so little endeavors, earnestly, unceasingly, and honestly put forth, make the great men in the world's history.
3. We say, thei, do not despise the day of small things. If you have an undertaking to accomplish, or a good thing to bring about, begin according to your means, and never be discouraged because you can not make so magnificent a commencement as you could wish. Old King John, the Frenchman, five hundred years ago, conceived the idea of founding a library, and he began with — what do you suppose ? — two volumes ! But he knew what he was about; for that library the Royal Library of Paris — is now the most magnificent public library in the world, and contains 1,000,000 volumes !
4. A whale one day came frolicking into the harbor of Nantucket, a short time after the first settlement of that island; and as it continued there for many hours the enterprising inhabitants were induced to contrive and prepare a large barbed iron with a strong cord attached, with which they finally succeeded in securing this aquatic monster. A small matter, truly; but it was the commencement of a business which has added millions to the wealth of the people.
5. Two fishermen in Holland once had a dispute in a tavern, on the question whether the fish takes the hook, or the hook takes the fish. From this trivial circum
. stance arose two opposing parties, the “Hooks” and the “Cobble-Joints," who for two centuries, divided the nation, and maintained a contest not unlike that between the red and the white roses in England.
6. There is a traditionary counterpart to this in our own history. We allude to the story of the pig, whose stupid obstinacy, we are gravely told, involved us in a war with Great Britain, in 1812. There is nothing incredible about it, however; and as many of our readers may not have heard the anecdote we will venture to
7. Two neighbors, both of the old federal school of politics, who lived in the city of Providence, chanced to quarrel; and it so happened that one was the owner of a pig, which had an irresistible inclination to perambulate in the garden of the other. The owner of the garden complained. The neighbor replied that the pig troubled him because he kept his fences in such ill repair. One morning soon after, the pig was surprised in the act of rooting up some very valuable bulbous roots. This was the last “feather;" the owner of the garden put a pitchfork into his tender sides, and killed him outright.
8. At the coming election, the owner of the garden was a candidate for a seat in the Legislature, and failed by one vote – the vote of his incensed neighbor, who voted against him. At the election of a senator, the democratic candidate was elected by one vote; and when the question of war with England was before the senate, it was declared by the majority of one vote; so that but for this pig we should probably have been saved from this war.
9. It is related of Chantrey, the celebrated sculptor, that, when a boy, he was one day observed by a gentleman, in the neighborhood of Sheffield, very earnestly engaged in cutting a stick with a penknife. This gentleman asked the lad what he was doing, and, with great simplicity, the boy replied, “I am cutting old Fox's head." Fox was the schoolmaster of the village.
10. On this, the gentleman asked to see what he had done, and pronouncing it an excellent likeness, presented the youth a sixpence. This may be reckoned as the first money Chantrey ever received for the production of his art; and from such a beginning it was that one of the greatest of modern artists arose.
11. Again we say, despise not small beginnings, nor look with supercilious contempt upon every thing which appears insignificant and trifling. Trifles are not so plenty in this world as many of us imagine. A philosopher has observed that wars, involving mischief to great nations, have arisen from a ministerial dispatch being written in a fit of indigestion! When Alexander Pope received his present of Turkey figs, he little thought that a twig from the basket was to be the means of introducing the weeping willow into England and America;
12. And so it is that this world, in all its various departments, is made up of and governed by trifles too small at first to attract notice. The wise man will not only cultivate sharp eyes, but attentive habits, and make the most and the best of every thing, however insignificant it may seem to be.