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Society, that a fish already struck motionless
gave signs of returning animation, which the
Gymnotus observing, he instantly discharged
another shock, which killed it. Another
curious circumstance was observed by
Professor Faraday,—the Gymnotus appeared
conscious of the difference of giving a shock
to an animate and an inanimate body, and
would not be provoked to discharge its powers
upon the latter. When tormented by a glass
rod, the creature in the first instance threw
out a shock, but as if he perceived his
mistake, he could not be stimulated afterwards
to repeat it, although the moment the
Professor touched him with his hands, he
discharged shock after shock. He refused, in
like manner, to gratify the curiosity of the
philosophers, when they touched him with
metallic conductors, which he permitted them
to do with indifference. It is worthy of
observation, that this is the only specimen of the
Gymnotus Electricus ever brought over alive
into this country. The great secret of
preserving his life would appear to consist in
keeping the water at an even temperature
summer and winterof seventy-five degrees
of Fahrenheit. After having been subjected
to a great variety of experiments, the creature
is now permitted to enjoy the remainder of its
days in honorable peace, and the only occasion
upon which he is now disturbed, is when it is
found necessary to take him out of his shallow
reservoir to have it cleaned, when he
discharges angrily enough shock after shock,
which the attendants describe to be very
smart, even though he be held in several
thick and well wetted cloths, for they do not
at all relish the job.

The Gymnotus Electricus is not the only
animal endowed with this very singular power;
there are other fish, especially the Torpedo
and Silurus, which are equally remarkable,
and equally well known. The peculiar
structure which enters into the formation of their
electrical organs, was first examined by the
eminent anatomist John Hunter, in the
Torpedo; and, very recently, Rudolphi has
described their structure with great exactness in
the Gymnotus Electricus.

Without entering into minute details, the
peculiarity of the organic apparatus of the
Electrical Eel seems to consist in this, that it
is composed of numerous laminae or thin
tendinous partitions, between which exists an
infinite number of small cells filled with a
thickish gelatinous fluid. These strata and
cells are supplied with nerves of unusual size,
and the intensity of the electrical power is
presumed to depend on the amount of nervous
energy accumulated in these cells, whence it
can be voluntarily discharged just as a muscle
may be voluntarily contracted. Furthermore,
there are, it would appear, good reasons to
believe that nervous power (in whatever it
may consist) and electricity are identical.
The progress of Science has already shown
the identity between heat, electricity, and
magnetism;—that heat may be concentrated
into electricity, and this electricity
reconverted into heat: that electric force may be
converted into magnetic force, and Professor
Faraday himself discovered how, by reacting
back again, the magnetic force can be
reconverted into the electric force, and vice versá;
and should the identity between electricity
and nervous power be as clearly established,
one of the most important and interesting
problems in Physiology will be solved.

Every new discovery in Science, and all
improvements in Industrial Art, the principles of
which are capable of being rendered in the
least degree interesting, are in this Exhibition
forthwith popularised, and become, as it were,
public property. Every individual of the great
public can at the very small cost of one
shilling, claim his or her share in the
property thus attractively collected, and a small
amount of previous knowledge or natural
intelligence will put the visitor in actual possession
of treasures which previously "he wot not
of," in so amusing a manner that they will
be beguiled rather than bored into his mind.



ONE morning, about five years ago, I called
by appointment on Mr. John Balance, the
fashionable pawnbroker, to accompany him
to Liverpool, in pursuit for a Levanting
customer,—for Balance, in addition to pawning,
does a little business in the sixty per
cent. line. It rained in torrents when the cab
stopped at the passage which leads past the
pawning boxes to his private door. The
cabman rang twice, and at length Balance
appeared, looming through the mist and rain in
the entry, illuminated by his perpetual cigar.
As I eyed him rather impatiently, remembering
that trains wait for no man, something
like a hairy dog, or a bundle of rags, rose up
at his feet, and barred his passage for a
moment. Then Balance cried out with an
exclamation, in answer apparently to a
something I could not hear, "What, man alive!—
slept in the passage!—there, take that, and
get some breakfast for Heaven's sake!" So
saying, he jumped into the "Hansom," and
we bowled away at ten miles an hour, just
catching the Express as the doors of the
station were closing. My curiosity was full
set,—for although Balance can be free with
his money, it is not exactly to beggars that his
generosity is usually displayed; so when
comfortably ensconced in a coupé, I finished with

"You are liberal with your money this
morning: pray, how often do you give silver
to street cadgers?—because I shall know now
what walk to take when flats and sharps
leave off buying law."

Balance, who would have made an excellent
parson if he had not been bred to a case-
hardening trade, and has still a soft bit

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