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curious and interesting 'little ways' of Ferdinand de 토토먹튀 Lesseps, the designer of the Suez Canal, gained for him the favour of many prominent Egyptian officials, when he was in Egypt, and he was often able to get over a difficulty and do a kind act by unusual means. Among his duties was the inspection of a large number of convicts in the Egyptian galleys. Some of these were political prisoners—rather more than four hundred unfortunate Syrians, who had been brought from Syria by Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mehemet Ali, the famous Viceroy.
The Syrian prisoners begged the French count to help them to freedom. De Lesseps had no real power to do this, but he had a kind heart, and did his best to procure the release of the prisoners.
When, however, he mentioned the subject to Mehemet Ali, the Viceroy shook his head.
'These men,' said he, 'are my son's captives, and in such a matter I could no more handle him than I could handle the lightning.'
De Lesseps would not be put off. Mehemet, impressed by his persistence, and wishing to stand well with the French, at last told De Lesseps that he would manage to get five prisoners released quietly every week, until all were free.
He kept his word, and this piecemeal business of freeing the prisoners began. But very soon De Lesseps' house was besieged by the relatives and friends of the Syrians still imprisoned, all begging him to use his influence to get their own special friends included in the next batch to be set free.
The anxious folk thronged round the Frenchman, and in their eagerness plucked at his sleeve and tore it. He resolved to turn this fact to account with the Viceroy. He had an old suit of clothes torn into actual tatters, and wore it upon his next occasion of seeing Mehemet.
Mehemet was naturally greatly astonished at his friend's strange appearance.
'What on earth has happened to you?' said the Viceroy.
'In arranging that five of those prisoners should be freed each week,' replied De Lesseps, 'you have made me the prey of the relatives of those who yet remain in the galleys. The number of the Syrians was four hundred and twelve; therefore your Highness can easily reckon up and tell how long I must go in rags.'
The Viceroy was highly amused with the serious and pitiful look which De Lesseps put on as he said these words. After indulging in a hearty laugh, he gave orders for the immediate release of the remaining prisoners. Thus, by his ready wit, De Lesseps persuaded the Viceroy into an action which he would never have done if asked plainly at first.
Have you ever heard of a white negro? Perhaps you will laugh at me for asking the question, but there really are such people in the world, and travellers and missionaries have met with them. I do not mean to say that there are whole tribes of white negroes in some far-off countries, which are not often visited by travellers, but that, scattered among all or nearly all the black races, there are individuals who are white. These persons are like the rest of the tribe in size and shape; they have the same features, and the same kind of hair; but their complexion is white, their hair is either quite white or straw-coloured, and their eyes are lighter in shade than those of their companions.
Dr. Livingstone met with several of these white natives in some parts of Africa, while in other parts he never saw any. One of these strange people was a young boy, a very fine, intelligent fellow, of whom his mother was very fond. His features were exactly like those of his parents, who were both black. His woolly hair was yellow, and the pupils of his eyes were pink. His father looked upon him with horror, very much as an English father might be expected to look upon a black child, and he treated him always as an outcast. The great traveller knew others, both men and women, who were quite white. Their skins were always very sensitive, and the heat of the sun blistered them very much. One of the white women, perhaps through a sort of shame for her colour, was most anxious for Dr. Livingstone to make her black, which was more than he could do.
A missionary who had spent many years in Fiji had met with five Fijians who were white. Three of these were grown-up persons, and one was quite a little baby, being only two or three weeks old. This baby's skin was much whiter than that of an English baby, although both its parents were young and healthy, and as black as any Fijian could be. The grown-up persons were as white as, if not whiter than, a weather-beaten Englishman, and their hair was flaxen. Their skin was very smooth, and looked[Pg 179] like a kind of horn, and it was cracked and blistered with the heat of the sun, like the skin of the white negroes whom Livingstone saw. The white Fijians had pale blue or sandy-coloured eyes, which could not bear the heat of the sun, and the poor men went about with their eyes half closed. Similar men with white skins and white hair are found among the other black races which inhabit the islands of the South Sea.
Among the red men of North America there are a few who have no colour in their skins, and there are a great many who have light-coloured hair. In one tribe a traveller found a great many men and women who had had grey or white hair all their lives. He thought this was a very strange thing, but had he known as much about other countries, he would have been aware that this peculiarity is found among the dark races in nearly every part of the world. White men are found not only in the countries already named, but also in India, where they are looked upon with some amount of dislike by their fellow-countrymen. In some parts of Africa, on the other hand, these white men are regarded as magicians, and held in honour by the rest of the tribe.
Strange to say, not only are there negroes who are white, but there are some who are patched or spotted black and white all over. I have a picture of such a negro before me as I write. He is a native of Loango, on the west coast of Africa. From head to foot he is spotted in black and white patches like a piebald horse, though in all other respects he seems a large, well-made, healthy man. I have also before me the picture of a spotted negro boy; who was exhibited as a curiosity in one of the London fairs nearly a hundred years ago.
When a negro is white or piebald, it is because he has been born without the black colouring matter which other negroes have in their skin. He suffers from a defect, and deserves to be pitied. The black colour of a negro's skin enables him to bear the heat of a fierce sun, and, as we have seen, the negro whose skin is white suffers much pain and inconvenience. A similar colouring matter in the eyes helps to shield them from the bright glare of the sunlight, and the poor man whose eyes are without this protection is compelled to go about with half-closed eyes.
A BOY'S HEROISM.
A True Anecdote.
A couple of boys were once climbing about some disused scaffolding in a lonely place, when a beam on which they were standing gave way under their feet. Both fell, the elder a little before the younger. But just in time the elder managed to clutch another beam and hold fast to it. By a providential coincidence, his brother, catching wildly at anything within his reach, seized his legs, and the two hung suspended thus, with all the weight on the elder boy's arms. Before long, the strain became too great, and he called out to the other that they were lost, for he could hold on no longer. No one was near, and there was little hope that their cries would attract attention.
'Could you save yourself if I let go?' asked the younger.
'I think so.'
'Then good-bye, and Heaven bless you,' said the little boy.
With these words he let go, and was dashed to pieces upon the ground beneath. His brother, thus released from the additional weight, was able to pull himself up to a place of safety.
INSECT WAYS AND MEANS.
V.—HOW INSECTS FLY.
The wings of insects are like those of bats and birds only in the work they do. In another respect they are quite different organs. The wings of the bird and the bat, for instance, are formed from the front pair of limbs, but the wings of insects are formed on a very different plan from the walking limbs, of which there are never less than three pairs. The bat and the bird have only one pair of wings, the insects have two, though in many cases the hinder or second pair have been reduced to the merest stumps, or vestiges, as they are called. In other words, they are all that is left of a once useful pair.
The butterfly has two pairs of wings; the fly is a good example of an insect which has but one pair. The stumps or vestiges of the second pair can only be found after careful search. But these vestiges—which are known as the 'balancers'—have a new use, and probably act as organs of hearing as well as to guide the flight. The butterfly uses both pairs of wings in flight, the beetle only the hinder pair, the pair that in the fly are only 'vestiges.' The front pair of wings in the beetle form hard horny cases or shields for the protection of the hinder wings, which lie beneath them when not in use.
The wings of insects are often brilliantly coloured, and this colour may be caused in two very different ways. Generally the colours of the wings are due to the way the surface of the wing is made, for this surface reflects light. But the colour of the wing of the butterfly is to be traced to a quite different cause. If the fingers be rubbed over the surface of a butterfly's wing, they will be found to be covered with a fine coloured dust, whilst the wing itself will become quite transparent (as in fig. 1). If this dust be looked at under the microscope, it will be seen that it is made up of a number of tiny scales, most beautifully shaped (as in fig. 2). Each scale is fixed to the surface of the wing by a tiny stalk and in a regular order.
From the shape of the wings in the butterfly or moth we can tell more or less how the insect flies. Long and narrow wings give a swift and rapid flight, broad round wings a slow and leisured flight.
The wings of insects are moved by only a few muscles, but with wonderful rapidity. It has been calculated that the common fly makes with its wings three hundred strokes per second, the bee one hundred and ninety. The dragon-fly and the common cabbage-white butterfly of our gardens, however, have a much slower beat of their wings, the former twenty-eight strokes per second, the[Pg 180] latter only nine. The machinery by which they move is like that of an oar.
1. Butterfly's Wing (magnified).2. Scales from Butterfly's Wing (greatly magnified).
3. Earwig (magnified): one wing folded, the other open.
4. Foot of Fly (greatly magnified).
Butterfly's Wing (magnified).
Scales from Butterfly's Wing (greatly magnified).
Earwig (magnified): one wing folded, the other open.
Foot of Fly (greatly magnified).
Insects' wings are folded in various ways. Those of the butterfly, when at rest, are raised up over the back, so that the upper surfaces of the right and left wings come together. In the moth the hinder wings pass under the fore-wings, which are held flat over the back. But the beetle and the earwig hide their hind-wings beneath a hard case not used in flight. The size of the hind-wings, however, is so great that before they can be covered by the horny case, they have to be folded up, and this is done in a really wonderful manner, especially by the common earwig.
Most people probably think of the earwig as flightless; but, nevertheless, beneath a tiny pair of horny wing-cases, a very wonderful pair of transparent wings is cunningly tucked away. The marvellous way in which they are folded up after use we cannot describe in detail here. In each wing there is a hinge shaped somewhat like a half-moon, in the middle of the stiff front edge (fig. 3, in the wing extended on the left). When the hinge is bent, the outer half of the wing folds over towards the tail, and the tip points forward. The further inward folding of the hinge of this rod next appears to divide the wing into two, the second portion passing under the first, and thus bringing the wing down to half its original size. By this time the mechanical or automatic folding process stops, and the rest of the folding up has to be done by the aid of the pincers at the end of the body. Finally the packing up is complete, and the two hard outer cases, like a couple of tarpaulins, are drawn over the delicate wings to protect them.
On the right side of the body, in fig. 3, the wing has been folded up, and is covered by the wing-case.
The folding of the beetle's wing is also done by means of a hinge, but the packing up is less close, as the outer covering cases are larger.
Most insects walk as well as fly, and their walking is not less wonderful than their flight. Fig. 4 represents the foot of a fly. It will be seen, under a strong microscope, to have a pair of large claws and a pair of leaf-like plates, one on each side. The claws and the plates have different uses. The plates are used when the fly is walking, say, up a window-pane or along a ceiling. They are moved so as to lie flat on the surface which the fly is crossing, and when they are laid flat a number of tiny hairs are pushed out from them, from the tips of which a sticky liquid oozes, so that the fly is practically glued to the surface on which it is crawling. The claws are used to cling on to uneven surfaces, on which they can get a good grip. In the next article we shall say more about the way in which insects walk.
W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.
THE BOY TRAMP.
(Continued from page 175.)
"There stood Captain Knowlton." "There stood Captain Knowlton."
During the meal Mr. Westlake talked about cricket, asking whether I played, and I explained that there had not been enough of us at Castlemore to make a proper eleven. He inquired further about Mr. Turton and Mr. Windlesham, and gradually led the conversation round to the days when I used to live in Acacia Road with Aunt Marion. I told him that she had married Major Ruston, and gone to India, but that I did not know her address nor Major Ruston's regiment.
'We can soon find that out,' he said, and sent the[Pg 182] butler for the Army List. When he had looked in this, he raised his eyes to my face again, mentioning the number of the regiment, and explaining that it was at present at Madras.
Then he turned to the book again. 'I don't find Captain Knowlton—didn't you say that was the name?' he asked.
'Yes,' I answered, 'but he left the service when he came home from India, four or five years ago. He came into a lot of money, you see.'
'And Captain Knowlton was your guardian?' he asked, fixing his eyeglass.
'Not exactly an ordinary guardian,' I explained. 'My father was a soldier too, and Captain Knowlton said he saved his life, and that was why he looked after me.'
After I had told him all about Mr. Parsons, he rose and went to the room where I had first seen him, calling me to follow. I shut the door when Mrs. Westlake had entered, and Mr. Westlake stood lighting a cigar.
'Upon my word,' he said, in his slightly drawling voice, 'there seems to be only one thing that is possible to be done with you for the present, Everard.'
'What is that?' I asked, with considerable misgiving.
'Naturally,' he continued, 'I shall write to Major Ruston and explain the exact circumstances in which Mrs. Westlake found you, and I have no doubt that when he hears what I shall tell him, he will make some sort of arrangement for your future.'
'But it will take a long time to get an answer.'
'No doubt, but you seem to be placed in a very awkward position. As far as I can understand, Captain Knowlton had every intention of looking after you if he had lived——'
'Oh, yes!' I cried, 'because he told me I was to go to Sandhurst.'
'But, you see,' he said, 'he did not make a will. Is that right?'
'Yes,' I answered. 'Mr. Turton found out the address of his solicitor, and told me there was no will.'
'So that, except your aunt in India,' he continued, 'there appears to be no one upon whom you have the least claim. Yet, Mr. Turton——'
'I don't want to go back to Mr. Turton,' I cried, taking a step towards him.
He took his cigar from his lips, and stood gazing for a few seconds at the ash, which he then knocked off into the fender.