Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

"But we don't understand as yet," Holland hinted, after a pause filled up by sluicings and the slap of a sponge.

"The inspector will tell you in a few minutes. I slipped away as he left the bazaar," Champneys said. "The Yellow Fakir has confessed; I forced it out of him. It was his hand that struck down Linstock, and at last,-after this eternity-he has boasted of it openly, given chapter and verse, raved of what he did. You served me well, Holland; there were three of your men within hearing, and when he had come to the end they stepped out and took him into custody. Of course he will stick to it now, for he has claimed the murder as a sign of his zeal for the preservation of Ganga against the pollution of the infidel."

Slowly the brown dye gave way before the vigorous ablutions, and in its place came mottled red and tan, the skin of a sun-baked Anglo-Indian.

"Try vaseline," Verney said. Holland fell to digging a shirt and a suit of clothes out of his camel-trunk. It was their way of expressing belief and sympathy; neither could have found

words in which to frame the sentiment of the moment.

"God knows, it might as well have been I," Champneys went on. "He in His mercy saved me from a fearful crime. I thought at first that I had done it, though I flung the knife wildly and without intent to strike; and I was ready enough to die for it, then. But I knew that it went groundwards: I threw it down, and I heard it quiver in the earth. It could not have struck between his shoulders. And then my sayce, a poor wretch in trembling fear of the Yellow Fakir, contrived to get access to me, and hint to me of the real truth. He would not have borne witness against the brute, but he had some conscience in him, and when I was free I tracked him down, and wrung out the whole story. The Yellow Fakir had been hanging about the camp all day, full of rage at the tales that had been spread of our mission. We were to tamper with the river, insult it, make it a putrid abomination, -you can fill the lies in for yourself. He saw the knife lying in the doorway of the tent, and Linstock sitting at the table with his back turned to the entrance; and he stabbed him. He has said it in the face of a hundred people, and perhaps poor Buldoo, who witnessed the murder, will have the courage now to come forward and substantiate the matter in court; I can lay my finger on him in half a day. But at least my task is done, and, oh Holland, I have been deadly heartsick and weary in the doing of it!"

He paused in his dressing and found his hand in the policeman's grip. Holland spoke huskily as he closed his palm over the man's fingers. "Thank God it is done, Champneys! I cannot say how glad I am; I haven't the words; I am a dumb, stupid beast, and your freedom is far more to me than I can express. But there is Nellie, she will be able to show you,-we won't

[ocr errors]

keep you from her another moment-
only let us go and break the news, and
send her in."

And as he and Verney stepped again
Macmillan's Magazine.

outside, they saw the inspector looming through the darkness, with Linstock's murderer led beside him.

Mayne Lindsay.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

The trees are hung with crystal lamps, the wold lies still and white,
And the myriad little twinkling stars are sharp with keener light;
The moon sails up the frost-clear sky and silvers all the snow,
As she did, perchance, that Christmas nigh two thousand years ago!

Good people, are you waking?

Give us food and give us wine,
For the sake of blessed Mary

And her Infant Son Divine,
Who was born the World's Redeemer-

A Saviour, yours and mine!

Long ago angelic harpers sang the song we sing to-day,
And the drowsy folk of Bethlehem may have listen'd as they lay!
But eager shepherds left their flocks, and o'er the desert wild
The kingly sa ges journey'd to adore the Holy Child!

Has any man a quarrel?

Has another used you ill?
The friendly word you meant to say,

Is that unspoken still?
Then remember, 'twas the Angels

Brought glad tidings of good-will!

Of all the gifts of Christmas are you fain to win the best?
Lo! the Christ-Child still is waiting Himself to be your Quest;
No lot so high or lowly but He will take His part,
If you do but bid Him welcome to a clean and tender heart!

Are you sleeping, are you waking?

To the Manger haste away,
And you shall see a wondrous sight

Amid the straw and hay-
'Tis Love Himself Incarnate

As on this Christmas Day!

Christian Burke.

Pall Mall Magazine.

THE BIOGRAPHY OF A SNOWFLAKE.

It is one of the most interesting nomena can compare with it for interthings in connection with the subject est. of the weather that all its phenomena Now, it is probable that, as is the case are so closely in touch with one an- with a raindrop, or with hail, in order other, and that in order to explain any to give a snowflake a start in life there one of them it is necessary to take ac- must be a tiny nucleus of dust, round count of all the rest. A further fact is which the condensing vapor may gaththat the various phenomena have a er. It is mainly a question of temperapower of transforming themselves very ture as to what form this condensing quickly as it were into something else, moisture will take, but commonly when so that it is often a long process to the temperature is above the freezing hunt down and discover what is the point rain is the outcome. When this fundamental structure of these fugitive process takes place in a body of air at shapes. A snowflake, for instance, at or about the freezing point, snow gets first sight might be thought to have a its opportunity; while when the conseparate existence from any of the densed moisture does not at once freeze other children born of aqueous vapor, solid, hail will be more likely to occur. but on attempting to follow up the his- At some times, indeed, both snow and tory of these "frozen flowers," as Pro- hail take the form of little fluffy pellets fessor Tyndall called them, it is found of frozen moisture, and considerable exthat the attention is at once directed perience is necessary to distinguish beto the consideration of such things as tween them. As a general rule the coldrain, hail, sleet, mist, dew, hoar-frost, er the weather the smaller the snowand clouds. Hail, rain, sleet and snow flakes; the large flakes, which children are, of course, very nearly related in- describe as being due to the old womdeed, but similarly to the other phe- an plucking her geese, appearing when nomena they are all built up out of the thermometer is not far away from aqueous vapor, and when vapor is con- the freezing point. Large flakes, indensing out of the atmosphere it is, at deed, are a conglomeration of smaller some seasons of the year, quite as like- flakes, and it is in the latter that the ly to take one shape as another.

Of

greatest regularity and beauty of structhe phenomena mentioned above, hail ture are to be seen. is probably the most noisy in its de- In order therefore that a snowflake scent from the atmosphere to the earth, may make a successful journey through and this more especially when it hap- the atmosphere it should be built up pens to be accompanied by a thunder- on a particle of dust, while if it should storm. On the other hand hoar-frost be fortunate enough to commence its and snow are probably the quietest of career at the top of a cloud soaring all the children of the air, while as re- many miles above the level of the earth, gards their picturesque effects, who it will thereby become still better would venture to decide between two equipped for adding to its stores of such skilful artists? Snow, which is

Between the growing the parent of the grinding glacier and snowflake and the earth, it should be the stupendous iceberg, has, however, borne in mind, there are in ordinary such notable effects on climate and on conditions strata of atmosphere that weather that few meteorological phe- differ very much as regards their temperature, and the amount of moisture a little time to this most interesting they contain. These different layers work of taking a picture of the snowthrough which the descending snow- flakes as they reach the earth. It has flake will pass favor its development, been said that the crystals in any given for it often happens that in one layer snowstorm have a family likeness, each of atmosphere the flake gathers mois- storm, as it were, having its own parture which is promptly frozen in the ticular type of snowflake. This is an succeeding layer. In this connection it interesting point to be settled only by is well to recall what happens when careful observation, and for the presone holds a snowball, or two pieces of ent it is enough to recognize the fact melting ice in a warm hand for any that although snowflakes seem all very length of time, for either can be welded much alike yet there is endless variety into a solid lump by a little pressure, in these "lovely blossoms of the frost.” a process commonly called regelation, It will be seen, then, that the condi. and to be borne in mind when seeking tions most favorable for the production for the causes that favor the growth of large snowflakes are when the atof a snowflake.

frozen vapor.

mosphere is freezing in some parts and From each layer of atmosphere thawing in others. With these condi: through which it passes the fluttering tions the process of regelation of mois. snowflake may therefore be thought of ture on the surface of the snowflake as collecting a tribute of moisture, but will proceed apace. Under such favorunlike a hailstone it makes these ac- able circumstances very large flakes cretions in gentle fashion. There is a may be built up, although, as already fuss and a dash with the downward mentioned, these large structures are plunge of a hailstone, so that the frozen often but the result of flakes that have moisture is welded around it with great collided in mid air and joined forces. force and it quickly grows hard and These large snowflakes are like very solid. On the other hand, with a snow. large hailstones, which are often but a flake the frozen moisture is not SO mass of ice formed by several hailmuch welded as it is enmeshed, for on stones crushed together. Both as reevery snowflake, even in its early mo- gards the snowflake and the hailstones, ments, there are protuberances and these conglomerates are not properly spicules that catch the floating mois- to be taken as showing to what size a ture as in a tiny net. The most com- single flake or stone may grow. With mon forms of snowflake have a solid this proviso it may be stated that one nucleus with rays ramified in different of these conglomerate snowflakes was planes, others taking the shape of six- found to measure 342 inches in length, sided needles or prisms, or six-sided 142 inches in breadth, and 142 inches pyramids. A complicated snowflake in thickness; the flake when melted takes the form of a six-sided prism yielded 242 cubic inches of water. Such from one or both ends of which six- large snowflakes as this cannot come sided plates are projected. Another to maturity when the atmosphere is of kind of snowflake is found to be simply a very low temperature all through. a thin lamina of frozen moisture, snow- In such circumstances there are no alflakes of this class being observed ternate layers of air of varying condiin great variety. Many interesting tions in temperature and moisture, and sketches have been made of all these as a result only small, dry flakes of different kinds of snowflakes, but this snow are produced. This is the kind is work that requires further elabora- of snow that falls in the polar regions, tion by some observer willing to devote and it is these cold weather snowflakes that are the most perfect in form. nous, and heat rays passing through Closely allied to the small and the large such territory, so to speak, pay no toll. snowflakes is sleet. This commonly is Similarly snow, so long as it remains objurgated as the most unpleasant of clean and free from impurities, reflects all the children born of the atmosphere, the heat rays, but will not absorb them. but it will perhaps be seen that rightly Supposing, however, that a little dirt to understand the whole story of a or a plentiful supply of coal-dust setsnowflake, something of the changes in tles on such snow, heat is at once abtemperature that produce sleet need to sorbed, and the "frozen flowers" are be taken into account.

destroyed. That the snow is wbite is When lying on the ground, snow, considered to be due to the fact that from a meteorological point of view, is the ice crystals of which each individof much greater interest than when ual snowflake is built up, act as so falling through the air. In an ordinary many miniature prisms that blend the way there is a constant exchange of prismatic colors and so scatter a white heat between the surface of the eartb light. In its embrace also, each snowand the atmosphere. Thus during the flake, as it lies upon the ground, holds day the sun pours its warmth down a tiny supply of air, and it is this cirthrough the air to the earth, so that cumstance that makes the snow so bad the surface of the ground is raised in a conductor of heat. Snow then in retemperature. During the night hours gard to the earth and the atmosphere this acquired warmth is rapidly radi. acts as a buffer state, so that it passes ated into space, and the temperature no heat down from above and allows of the earth accordingly falls. The at. none to travel upwards from below. mosphere, moreover, that is everywhere Further, not only is snow of interest in the closest intimacy with the ground, in the manner of its birth and in reis also affected by this prodigal behav- spect of its sojourn on the earth, but ior of the earth. Now, when the its actions are no less entertaining ground is wrapped round in its mantle when it melts. In passing it may be of snow, these imports and exports of observed that one foot of snow is conheat to and from the earth are inter- sidered to be equal to ten or twelve rupted. In other words, the diurnal inches of rain. When, therefore, snow range of temperature is greatly modi. is on the ground to the depth of several fied, so that all the time snow is on the feet there is an enormous quantity of ground there is not that excessive ex- moisture held in suspension. It is not penditure of heat that ordinarily takes surprising then that when a sudden place, and as a result the soil beneath thaw sets in, the water courses and the snow is maintained at an equable rivers are unable to carry off the melt. temperature.

ing snow, and that floods result. At Anyone who has been on the snow a times, too, it will happen that the few thousand feet above the level of ground in the neighborhood of fallen the sea will have recognized the fact snow is frozen hard, so that as the that snow is a good radiator of heat. snow melts it rushes impetuously onAt such a height, moreover, the atmos- wards, disastrous floods being again phere is dry and free from dust, so that produced. When the snow disperses in as the heat rays pass through the air, orderly fashion it percolates through to and from the surface of the snow, the ground, and it will readily be unthey have but little effect as regards derstood that as the cold icy water raising the temperature of the air. Air passes downwards notable modifica. such as this is said to be diathernia. tions occur in the temperature of the

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »