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and the Koran. Such arts might not easily have all other streams. In most lands, the overflowing of been imposed upon a native Egyptian, but a barba- a river is the signal of wide-spreading calamity, and rous foreigner like the Pharaoh of the Hyksos, might diffuses universal consternation ; the overflowing of easily have been duped by the superior skill of" wise the Nile, on the contrary, is the announcement of men" instructed in the knowledge and arts of the fertility to all who dwell upon its banks; the rising Egyptians. When the descendants of Timúr esta- of the waters is hailed by benedictions, thanksgivings, blished their empire at Delhi, they were similarly and songs of triumph; even the slave bowed down dazzled by the tricks of the Hindú conjurors. The by toil, and the Fellah sinking under oppression, Emperor Jebangueir informs us, that even his father, share the general joy, and for a day forget the cruelthe enlightened Akbar, consulted some of these sooth- ties of man in contemplating the bounties of nature. sayers before setting out on an expedition, and found The ancient Egyptians ascribed a divine origin to the their predictions verified by the event. He also gives river, believing it an emanation from Knouph, or us the particulars of an exhibition in his own court Cneph, whom they regarded as the father of the gods; by some jugglers from Bengal, which far surpasses and on one of the monuments, that deity is depicted that of the Egyptian sorcerers in the court of Pharaoh. pouring forth water from a vase, as a type of the inThe following extracts from the emperor's auto- undations which were to fertilize the land. Even at biography, cannot fail to interest the reader.
the present day, many of the native Egyptians, both They (the jugglers) took a small bag, and having first Christian and Mohammedan, believe that the Nile shown that it was entirely empty, one of them put his hand flows from the terrestrial paradise, while others into the bag; on withdrawing his hand again, out came think that it is a copy of a celestial Nile which flows two game cocks of the largest size and great beauty, which through the mansions of the blessed. immediately assailing each other, fought with such force
The waters of the river are supposed to be pecuand fury that their wings emitted fire at every stroke. liarly wholesome and sweet; indeed, the Turks freThis continued for the full space of an astronomical hour, when they put an end to the combat by throwing a sheet quently stimulate themselves to artificial thirst by over the animals. Again they withdrew the sheet, and eating salt, in order that they may drink the more of there appeared a brace of partridges with the most beautiful this delicious beverage. All travellers, ancient and and brilliant plumage, which immediately began to tune modern, unite in praising the water; it is even astheir throats as if there were nothing, human present; serted by some, that it has valuable medicinal qualipecking at worms with the same sort of chuckle as they are heard to use on the hill side. The sheet was now thrown, ties, and that the cattle which drink of it become as in the other instance, over the partridges, and when again
more fat and more fruitful than those fed on the withdrawn, instead of those beautiful birds, there appeared banks of any other river. A river so justly valued two frightful black snakes with flat heads and crimson and even revered as a divinity, was now rendered an bellies, which with open mouth and head erect, and coiled object of disgust and abhorrence; it is therefore imtogether, attacked each other with the greatest fury, and so possible to conceive a miracle more striking or more continued to do, until, as it appeared, they became quite likely to effect the purpose for which it was designed. exhausted, when they fell asunder. The sheet was thrown orer as before, and when finally withdrawn, there appeared not a restige of the snakes nor of anything else. One of the seven men stood up before me (says the em
ON WRITING MATERIALS. peror,) and setting open his mouth, out came the head of a
No. III. snake. Another of the men seized the snake and drew it out by the neck to the length of four cubits. This being THE HISTORY OF A BLACK-LEAD PENCIL. disposed of by casting it to the ground, another followed in There are probably but few of our readers who the same manner, and so on to the number of eight, none of them being less than four or five cubits in length. These imagine, while using a black-lead pencil, that that being all cast loose upon the ground, were immediately useful little instrument is, and long has been, a source seen writhing in the folds of each other, and tearing one of much wealth to some of our countrymen. Such, another with the greatest fury; a spectacle not less strange however, is the case; for nearly three hundred years, than frightful.
the black lead (the essential part of a black-lead It would be no difficult matter to collect numerous pencil,) has been derived from our own mineral treaanecdotes of the wonders performed by the conjurors sures in a state of greater purity, and in more and snake-charmers of the East; some of which even abundant supply than in any other part of the world. now puzzle enlightened Europeans, and consequently It is a remarkable circumstance in the mineralogical may well have deceived such a prince as the fourth history of our globe, that almost every substance Pharaoh. But the miracle wrought by Moses was which is useful to man, appears to have some partiuncontrovertibly proved to be supernatural, for cular locale in which it is found more abundantly Aaron's rod swallowed up the rods of the magicians. than at any other spot. This locality, therefore,
Untaught by this unequivocal manifestation of the becomes the mart from which other nations are supDivine power, the wicked ruler of Egypt refused to plied; until at length, a new deposit, or a new mine, let the Israelites depart, and the first plague was is discovered in another place, and draws away, and inflicted both as a chastisement and a warning:- often with ruinous effect, the traffic from the before.
And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded ; favoured spot. Black lead, for instance, has been and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in found in many parts of the world, in a state of greater the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his
or less purity; but when the celebrated Borrow. servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died ;
dale mine*, in Cumberland, was discovered, the and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of others shrunk into insignificance, and the “
crayons the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all d'Angleterre" have become the standard of excelthe land of Egypt. (Exod. vii. 20, 21.)
lence all over the Continent. It has lately been stated The most striking monument of the severity of in an American scientific work, that a black-lead this plague is the river itself. From the earliest mine was worked in Massachusets by the French ages the Nile has been the great source of support to residents about a century ago; but it was long abanthe inhabitants of Egypt; by its overflowings the doned, and has only recently been prosecuted, but land is fertilized ; in every season its bed is nearly with such success that it promises to yield a very full, and its inundations occur at the period of the abundant supply. year when the heat of a scorching sun has dried up
* See Saturday Magazine, Vol. I., p. 24.
In order to give a tolerably complete history of A few particulars concerning this mine were given a black-lead pencil, we will first describe the mate- by Campbell, in his Political History of Great rials used, and then the process of manufacture. Britain, about fifty or sixty years ago. In the first place we must state, that black-lead The mine before mentioned is private property, is opened pencil is altogether a misnomer, there being not a but once in seven years, and the quantity known to he particle of lead in the manufacture. The marking equal to the consumption in that space sold at once; and material is plumbago, or graphite, a compound of
as it is used without any preparation, it is more valuable carbon and iron, in the proportion of nine parts of than the ore of any metal found in this island. But there carbon to one of iron. This mineral is of a dark is nothing improbable, and much less impossible, in sup
posing that other, and it may be many other, uses will be iron-black colour, passing into steel gray. It occurs discovered in medicine, painting, dyeing, varnishing, or in a massy form, in kidney-shaped lumps, varying from pottery, which would certainly contribute to raise the value the size of a pea to much larger lumps, and is found of a mineral peculiar to this country, and with the nature in beds of quartz, and in masses of calcareous earth. of which, though so long in our possession, we are still so It has a glistening metallic lustre, and the fracture pre-imperfectly acquainted. sents a texture somewhat between scaly and granular.
Some part of this surmise has been realized since The large masses are slaty in their appearance, and Mr. Campbell's days, and it may all be so. By far occur generally in distinct concretions. It takes a con
the best account of this mine which we have met siderable polish by rubbing, and, as is well known, gives
with is that of Mr. Parkes, who visited it in 1814. a dark lead-gray streak when drawn along paper or
There are two entrances to the mine,-a small one by wood. It is unctuous to the feel and not very brittle,
which the workmen descend by means of a flight of steps, and about twice as heavy as its own bulk of water.
and the other is a large horizontal one, capable of admit
ting hand-carts and wheel-barrows for the removal of the The large quantity of carbon which it contains, ren.
rubbish and loose earth by which the black lead is enveders it peculiarly fitted to the purposes of the chemist, loped, and through this entrance the water passes off' which in the form of crucibles, as it will bear an intense heat. constantly runs through the mine. The other purposes to which it is applied, are to In order to secure the vast treasure which is contained relieve friction in the axes and pivots of wheels. Its
within this mountain, the proprietors have now erected a power this way may be illustrated by rubbing a button
strong brick building, consisting of four rooms on the
ground floor, one of which is immediately over the opening first on a plain board, five or six times, and applying
by which the workmen enter the mire as they go to their it to a bit of phosphorus, the latter will immediately work. This opening is secured by a trap door, and the burn. When rubbed on a surface covered with plum- room conected with it is called the dressing room, for when bago, double or treble the friction will be required to the men enter it, they strip off their usual clothes, and produce the same effect. Plumbago is also used to each of them puts on a dress suitable for working in a give a polish to shot and gunpowder, to give a pre
mine. The men work six hours each, and then they are
relieved by others. servative coating to cast iron, and to mix with clay to form a lining for furnaces. At North Carolina which hold about one hundred and twelve pounds each,
As the black lead is cleaned, it is put into firm casks shingles are coated with a mixture of black lead and and these are sent by waggon to the warehouse of the oil, which is said to be an excellent preservation proprietors in London. Formerly, this mine was opened against fire. For all these latter purposes, however, but once in seven years : but consequence of the demand coarse and impure black lead is employed.
being greater, and the quantity which they have discovered Borrowdale, to which we have alluded, is situated and dig for ore during six or seven weeks every year.
not being so large, it has been found expedient to open it in the heart of the lake district of Cumberland, a During this time the mine is guarded night and day. district which, for natural scenery and for poetic asso- In consequence of the mines having been opened in ciation, connected with the eminent men who have late years every Summer, they now raise all ihe black lived, and still live there, is a favourite spot with lead they find, and then the nine is securely shut in the English tourists. In the reign of Elizabeth there was
following manner :-The workmen wheel back the rubbish a mine of copper and lead in the immediate vicinity, this is laid on in a continued heap, to the amount of some
which had been removed at the opening of the mine, and which was worked by some Germans; but on finding hundred cart loads, which securely blocks up both the some small veins of gold and silver in the mine, a passages into the mine. The door is then locked as well contest arose with the crown as to who should pos- as the door into the house, and all the men thus leare the sess the precious metals; Elizabeth gained the contest, premises in a state of safety; for the mass of rubbish and the Germans soon afterwards left the country which is thus wheeled in at the large door, dams up the About that period, however, the Borrowdale black
small rill of water which usually flows through the mine,
and thus has the effect of flooding it completely. Thus, if lead mine was discovered, and soon drew attention to
an attempt were made to break the house and enter the its valuable contents. Its celebrity gradually in- mine by that road, the robbers would find that the water creased, and with it an extensive system of purloin had risen to such a height as would drown any individual ing. Sometimes the workmen in a neighbouring who should attempt to search for the ore. mine would cut through into the black-lead mine and Our readers may be surprised at the extreme caucarry off quantities of the contents. At another time tion displayed in every part of these processes, as a party of miners overcame a guard placed at the described by Mr. Parkes, to prevent purloining, &c., entrance of the mine, and kept possession of the but this surprise will cease when we recollect the whole place for several days. An Act of Parliament value of the ore; the market price of the best black was obtained in the last century, inflicting severe lead being nearly half the price of pure silver, about penalties on all depredators, and since then an im- two guineas per pound. Various shafts are excaproved mode of protection has been devised. vated in this mine, some of which appear to be ex
The mountain which contains this valuable mine, hausted, which occasions a search for new veins in is situated at a few miles from Keswick, and is about other directions. One mass was discovered in 1803, 2000 feet high. The entrance to the mine is about measuring twenty-one yards and a half in length, 1000 feet from the level of the ground, from which and two and a half in diameter. spot there is an excavated cavity, extending 660 feet The property of this mine is shared between a horizontally into the body of the mountain ; this a few individuals, and to show its great value, Mr. passage has a railway laid along its whole length, and Parkes states that in sixteen years, from 1798 to is used to convey the ore from the bowels of the 1814, 2552 casks, of one hundred and twelve pounds mountain to the entrance
each, were procured from this mine ; of which 736
were fine, and 1816 coarse. This we shall find to, of composition. A thousand persons are now engive an average, one year with another, of 17,864 lbs. ; gaged in the manufacture of these pencils and cases. indeed, the nett profits have been known to be be- To return to the cedar pencils :-One edge of a tween 20 and 30,0001, in one year. The reason why slice of plumbago being made straight and even, it is this mine is so particularly valuable, is to be found dipped in glue, and inserted into the groove cut in in the circumstance that the ore requires scar arcely the thicker half of the cedar stick.
With a sharp any labour to fit it for the market, it being originally tool a cut is made on each surface of the slice, close almost in a pure state.
to the wood, and the piece can then be broken off, Perhaps one of the most remarkable circumstances leaving a little prism of lead in the groove. The connected with plumbago is the mode in which it is straight edge of the slice is again dipped in glue, and sold. After the quantity necessary for supplying the inserted at the end of the first piece, and again cut market during the ensuing year is extracted from the off, till the whole length of the groove is filled. The mine, and the latter closed up, the product is carried surface of the wood is then smoothed down level, in small fragments of about three or four inches and the other half is glued on, thus making a square long, to London, where it is exposed for sale at the black-lead pencil. black-lead market, which is held on the first Monday The square pencil is brought into tne cylindrical of every month, at a public house in Essex Street, form by passing it through a hole in an iron or steel Strand. The buyers, who amount to about seven or puppet of the exact size of the pencil, and forced eight individuals, examine every piece with a sharp along by the workman. On the other side of this instrument to ascertain its hardness, those which are puppet is a revolving apparatus, which cuts, the too soft being rejected. The individual who has the pencil round; it consists of two guages and a small first choice pays forty-five shillings per pound, the plane iron, revolving round an open centre. Beyond others thirty shillings. But as there is no addition this is a cylindrical hole in a steel plate; as soon, made to the first quantity in the market during the therefore, as the first edge of the pencil is cut round, course of the year, the residual portions are examined | it is forced into this circular hole, and before the over and over again, until they are exhausted. workman has lost the means of pushing it forward
Thus much for the black lead. The wooden case at the end that is square, the cylindrical end is pushed or exterior of black-lead pencils is usually made of through the circular hole, so as to enable him to crdar. Of cedar-trees there are many varieties, but seize it with a pair of wooden nippers. It is thus the red cedar used for pencils is the Virginian cedar, pushed and drawn entirely through, and comes out (Juniperus Virginiana,) of North America.
cylindrical and polished, for the hole being a little To prepare the cedar for the pencils, it is cut by a smaller than the pencil, the latter is compressed in circular saw into four-sided strips of a proper length, the act of passing through. and are so arranged as to thickness that two of them The pencils usually hawked about the streets of together form a square of which one piece is thicker London are made with the powder of black lead, than the other, so as to admit the groove cut to mixed with melted sulphur, and then poured into receive the lead, to be confined to one piece only-moulds, which are frequently reeds or rushes. Comthis groove being made by a common plough plane. mon carpenter's pencils are formed in this way, and
The lumps of plumbago are cut into slices about answer well enough for the purposes to which they the thickness of a shilling, by a thin circular saw; are applied. This mode, however, relates to those the slices being of various sizes, from one to two common pencils in which the lead (so called) is uninches long, and varying in breadth.
usually thick; but the most successful attempt at In preparing the cylindrical leads for the "patent" deception is where the pencil has all the outward pencil cases, for which Mr. Mordan took out a patent, form and semblance of being well made, but where the plumbago slices are cut into square prisms a a process of anatomization shows the purchaser that little larger than are ultimately required; and these | the amount of black lead is marvellously small,—the prisms are brought to the desired cylindrical form by central part of the groove being filled with a different a gradual process of change, produced by an inge- substance. In common pencils, gum-arabic and resin nious contrivance. A series of three different sized are often mixed with the plumbago. circular holes are cut in pieces of ruby; the first of Genuine cedar pencils must cost at least sixpence which is of such a size as to convert the square prism each. Pencils of a spurious kind are, however, sold of black lead into an eight-sided prism, by cutting as low as 4 d. per dozen. The melting or softening off the sharp edge: this eight-sided prism is then of the lead when held in a candle, or applied to a converted into one of sixteen sides, by thrusting it red-hot iron, and yielding a blueish flame with a through the next smaller hole: and lastly, the cylin- strong smell like that of burning sulphur, will at drical form is given by the third hole which is just once detect the nature of their composition. Pencils the size required. The manner of thrusting out the so made are of a very bad kind; they are hard, Icad in a “Mordan’s” pencil-case with a little pin brittle, and do not cut or make a mark freely, either inside, will give a good idea of the action of the wire on paper or on wood, rather cutting or scratching and tube in the above process.
them than leaving a coloured stroke. The rubies are worn out in three or four days. Drawing pencils are distinguished by the hardness Steel does not last above as many hours. So that or softness of the selected specimens of plumbago the ever-pointed pencils are necessarily costly, six of from which they are manufactured, and, accordingly, them being sold for 2s. 6d. If they are cheaper than those made from the hard mineral, have H or HH this we may be sure that they are adulterated. In stamped upon the cedar, and those of a soft or very Paris, when you buy a sheet of paper in a stationer's soft nature are distinguished by B or BB, technically, shop, some of these pencils are added to the purchase. however, B and double B, as in the former case H Now these are formed of a mixture of plumbago, and double H. fuller's earth, and vermicelli.
Black-lead pencils appear to have been known for There is no patent which has been more infringed nearly two centuries, for a writer of about 200 years on than that of Mordan's, for ever-pointed pencils. ago, says,—" Of late black lead is curiously formed Birmingham is the source of this infringement, where into cases of deal or cedar, and so sold as dry pencils they are sold as low as three farthings each, formed something more useful than pen and ink.”
NOTES ON FOREST TREES. No. XXII.
winters, in the open air, further north than the south of England; and, as we have already observed, its appearance will never bear a comparison with its kindred in the American forests.
The beautiful genus contains many ornamental trees and shrubs which have been partially naturalized in the gardens of the milder parts of Europe, where they produce a pleasing effect by the elegance of their form, the shape and magnitude of their leaves, the sweet scent of their large and splendid flowers, and the brilliant colours with which some of them are decorated; the wood itself is partially aromatic. The leaves, in some species, remain on during the whole year; in others they are shed at the beginning of the winter. The name of Magnolia was given to these trees by Linnæus, in honour of a celebrated French botanist, named Peter Magnol, who flourished in the seventeenth century.
The Magnolia can be propagated by seeds, placed in a hot-bed under a frame; but as the seeds seldom reach maturity in our climate, the most usual method of producing new plants is by means of layers, which are prepared by covering the lower branches with earth. These trees succeed best in clayey ground, mixed with a little black mould.
THE ADVANTAGES OF A BOOK.
Of all the amusements which can possibly be imagined for
, The different species of Magnolia form the most there is nothing like reading an entertaining book, supbeautiful objects in the scenery of a North American posing him to have a taste for it, and supposing him to have forest: in their native country they well deserve the the book to read. It calls for no bodily exertion, of which
he has had enough or too much. It relieves his home of name of forest-trees, but in Europe they seldom
its dulness and sameness, which, in nine cases out of ten, attain a sufficient size to entitle them to any other is what drives him out to the alehouse, to his own ruin and appellation than that of shrubs.
his family's. It transports him into a livelier, and gayer, The Magnolia grandiflora, the big laurel, or tulip- and more diversified and interesting scene, and while he tree of the French Canadians,—but this last name is enjoys himself there he may forget the evils of the present more generally applied to another tree, (Lyriodendrum moment, fully as much as if he were ever so drunk, with tulipifera,)—is one of the most distinguished of its his money in his pocket, or at least laid out in real neces.
the great advantage of finding himself the next day with tribe. Of all the trees of North America, east of the saries and comforts for himself and his family,—and withMississippi, the big laurel is the most remarkable for out a headache. Nay, it accompanies him to his next day's the majesty of its form, the magnificence of its foliage, work, and if the book he has been reading be anything and the beauty of its flowers. It claims a place above the very idlest and lightest, gives him something to among the largest trees of the United States, and
think of besides the mere mechanical drudgery of his every;
day occupation,-something he can enjoy while absent, and sometimes, though rarely, reaches ninety feet in
look forward with pleasure to return to. height, and two or three feet in diameter, but its or- But supposing him to have been fortunate in the choice dinary stature is from sixty to seventy feet. Its trunk of his book, and to have alighted upon one really good and is commonly straight, and the summit is nearly in of a good class. What a source of domestic enjoyment is the shape of a regular pyramid. Its leaves are like laid open! What a bond of family union ! He may read those of a laurel, but much larger, being from seven
it aloud, or make his wife read it, or his eldest boy or girl
, to eight inches in length; they are glossy, evergreen,
or pass it round from hand to hand. All have the benefit
of it-all contribute to the gratification of the rest, and a and of a leathery substance. The flowers are white,
feeling of common interest and pleasure is excited. Nothing of an agreeable odour, and seven or eight inches in unites people like companionship in intellectual enjoyment. điameter; they are larger than those of any other It does more, it gives them mutual respect, and io each tree with which we are acquainted, and on detached among them sell-respect—that corner-stone of all virtue. trees are commonly very numerous. Blooming in
It furnishes to each the master-key by which he may avail the midst of rich foliage, they produce so fine an
himself of his privilege as an intellectual being, to
Enter the sacred temple of his breast, effect, that those who have seen the tree in its native
And gaze and wander there a ravished guest soil agree in considering it as one of the most beau
Wander through all the glories of his mind, tiful productions of the vegetable kingdom.
Gaze upon all the treasures he shall find. The fruit is a fleshy, oval cone, about four inches
And while thus leading him to look within his own bosom
for the ultimate sources of his happiness, warns him at the in length; it is composed of a great number of cells,
same time to be cautious how he defiles and desecrates which, at the age of maturity, open longitudinally, that inward and most glorious of temples.—Sir JOHN showing two or three seeds of a vivid red colour. HERSCHEL. The seeds soon after quit the cells, and for some days remain suspended from the cone, each attached
The books of nature and of revelation equally elevate our to the bottom of its cell by a white filament.
conceptions and invite our piety: they mutually illustrate The wood of the Magnolia is white and soft, but they are both written by the finger of one, eternal, incom
each other: they have an equal claim on our regard, for much inclined to warp, especially if exposed to the prehensible God.— WATSON. weather ; on this account it is only used in the interior of buildings. The beauty of this tree has caused its
LONDON: introduction into the shrubberies and parks of Europe, JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND. but it is rarely able to endure the severity of our
PUBLISHED IN WEEKLY NUMBERS, PRICE ONE PENNY, AND IS MONTHLY PANTS