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firmed by the pieces of ships they occasionally throw up, though almost forty miles distant from the sea. There is another extraordinary lake in this country, which, before a storm, is said to make a frightful rumbling noise, that may be heard at the distance of several miles. And we are also told of a pool or fountain, called Fervanças, about twenty-four miles from Coimbra, that absorbs not only wood, but even the lightest bodies thrown into it, such as cork, straws, feathers, &c., which sink to the bottom, and are seen no more.
To add a remarkable spring near Estremos, which petrifies wood, or rather incrusts it with a case of stone; but the most surprising circumstance is, that it throws up water enough in summer, to turn several mills, whereas in winter it is perfectly dry.
these we may
INDIAN RUBBER, OR GUM ELASTIC.
America vegetables water-proof
flexible hardened flambeaux syringes operations brilliant
surgeons repeated applied
chemists required effacing
impregnated INDIAN rubber is the hardened juice of a tree which grows in South America. It is called the syringe tree, and is described, as attaining a very great height, being, at the same time, perfectly straight, and having no branches except on the top, which is but small, covering no more than a circumference of ten feet. Its leaves bear some resemblance to those of the manioc: they are green on the upper part, and white beneath. The seeds are three in number, and contained in a pod, consisting of three cells, not unlike those of the palma Christi; and in each of them there is a kernel, which, being stripped and boiled in water, produces a thick oil or fat, answering the purposes of butter in the cookery of that country.
The Indians make incisions through the bark of this tree, chiefly in wet weather; a milky juice oozes out, which is spread over moulds of clay; when the first layer is dry, a second is put over it; this operation is repeated till the indian-rubber is of the thickness required. After this, it is placed over burning vegetables, the smoke of which hardens and darkens it. The natives apply it to various purposes; for water-proof boots, for bottles, and also for flambeaux, which give a very brilliant light, and burn for a great length of time. The principal uses to which indian-rubber is applied here, are the effacing of black-lead marks, for water-proof shoes, for balls, flexible tubes, syringes, and other instruments used by surgeons and chemists. Cloth of all kinds may be made to resist water, if impregnated with the fresh juice of the syringe tree. The bottoms of ships are sometimes sheathed with indian-rubber, cut very thin; it is said to preserve them from the injuries of shell fish.
Cheerfully unpretending celebrate rivetted repining
silliness descended amusements primitive fatigue dissipation profitably abstinence superstition missionaries
spiritual customary anecdotes ALL was now ready. The “snap-apple” cross was hung up, the fire blazed cheerfully, and every countenance was bright with expectation of the coming mirth, when a knock at the yard door diverted for a moment the attention of all from what was going forward. The door was opened without delay, and a figure entered, on which all eyes were instantly rivetted. His person was tall and majestic, a long beard, half grey with years, descended upon his breast; his head and feet were bare; in his right hand he carried a staff, while a rosary with beads of an extraordinary size was made fast to a leathern girdle at his side. But there was something in the aspect and demeanour of the stranger, which, even more than the singularity of his dress, arrested the attention of the company, and produced for the moment a pause of respectful silence. His countenance, though pale and worn by fatigue, or the effects of habitual abstinence, had on it a spiritual expression of mildness and peace, that awakened the interest and esteem of the beholder, and his easy, unpretending address, seemed to indicate that he had known what the world calls “ better days,” although a sentiment of religion prevented all appearance of repining. He appeared like one whose mind was so engrossed by some one prevailing idea, that it required an effort to direct his attention, even for an instant, to any other subject.
“ It seems to me, sir,” said one of the company, that our amusements do not afford
much satisfaction.” “They do not give me any, sir,” replied the stranger. “And pray what great harm do you see in a little innocent amusement of this kind, where it interferes with no duty, and affords no room for vice or criminal dissipation ?” “Sir," replied the stranger, "you mistake my disposition, if
you think I am an enemy to all innocent amı ment. To say nothing of the detested superstitions, there is something in the senseless, unmeaning mummeries customary at this season, which seem to me but ill adapted to do honour to the solemn fast and vigil which we this night celebrate. And apart from this mere silliness, or the evil which they occasion to ignorant minds; I confess I cannot understand how a Christian can esteem it a rational amusement to invoke the aid of an evil spirit even in jest. I know that similar practices would have been regarded in the
primitive church with sentiments of horror. One fact, however, cannot be denied, that an evening could be spent quite as amusingly, and much more profitably without them.
“I spent this night twelve-months,” he continued, “in the house of a respectable family in another county, and will tell you how they passed it. The master and mistress had their kitchen crowded with their poor neighbours. They had no snap-apple, nor nuts, nor beans, but they had a good fire, and good books, and they read something that was at the same time amusing and instructive, either from the history of the Church, or the wonderful lives of missionaries in various parts of the globe; or else they conversed freely on some point of Christian doctrine or morals, and sometimes gave interest to the subject by anecdotes and stories; and I assure you, many went home from that Hollandtide a great deal better instructed in their religion and its duties than when they came, and by no means discontented, either, on the score of amusement."