Republican news item. (Laport, Pa.) 1896-19??, April 07, 1898, Image 7

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How Uncle Sam's Sailors Spend. Tlieir nj|||
Xj«i*uro Hours.
The enlisted man of the navy of
the United States, says the Washing
ton Star, is even more interesting as
an individual and as a servitor of the
flag than the enlisted man of the
army, and a man of no less exper
ience and brains than Rudyard Kip
ling maintains that "the man that
packs the gun has more character in
the crook of either of his arms than all
his officers have in their whole con
struction." In the United States
army are innumerable men just as
humorously devilish, ingeniously mis
chievious and opportunely disobe
dient as the members of Kipling's
characteristic trio of Tommy Atkinses,
Mulvaney, Learoyd and Ortheris.
The main idea of most persons whs
aw unfamiliar with the life of tli«
man forward on a man-of-war is that
the tedium of such an existence can
hardly be little short of unbearable.
They can understand how the officers
might find it possible to putin their
sea service comfortably and enjoyably,
but as a rule they can see nothing for
it but a general twiddling of thumbs
on the part of the whole ship's com
pany forward of a man-of-war when
the men are not actually engaged in
earning their monthly money by the
sweat of their brows. There are fre
quent iutervals during the progress of
the routine of the naval day when the
smoking lamp at the break of the
fo'c'sle is alight, and when there is a
glow in the smoking lamp that means
that there is nothing for any man
forward to do but to loaf and invite
his soul or to seek amusement in any
way he elects to seek it, so long as lie
does not bump into regulations. The
bo'suirs mate's "knock-off" pipe is
shrilled at about the hour in the af
ternoon when the Government clerks
in the Washington departments are
closing their desks, and from that
hour until pipe-down at 9.30 o'clock
at night the time of the blue-jacket
or the marine is practically his own.
The men forward have as many ways
of putting in this sizable period of
recreation as have comfortably situa
ted men ashore.
For example, American men-of-war's
men are fond of mock scrapping. The
man forward who knows how to use
his hands effectively is generally re
garded with a good deal more respect
by the ship's company than the en
listed man who has an overplus of
brains or information to fit his ship's
rating—the latter, indeed,being always
in danger of acquiring the name of a
"man-o-war chaw." Most American
men-of-war's men know how to box
well, and those that do not imagine
that they do.
ISnxing Bouts.
When "knock-off" goes in the after
noon, there is a general breaiciug out
of boxing gloves on the main deck and
the blue-jackets and marines goat each
other for points. Nor is it to be im
agined that the men only dish out
love-taps to each other. The work is
perfectly good-natured and harmless,
but none for less they bang each other
about for fair, sluggiugly or scientifi
cally, in accordance with the measure
of their skill. No attempt is made by
tli# officers to put a stop to the boxing
of the men, and even when a man is
put out no notice is taken of the thing.
The knocked-out man is brought
around by the apothecary, and the
following evening ho will very likely
have another try at the man who sent
him to tlio deck. The officers give the
men to undersiand that when they box
it is advisable for them to keep well
clear of running gear, bulkheads, tur
rets, or other deck furnishings liable
» in case they should
len contact with them,
happens once in a great
112 mock combatants get
•se of their bout and
ely rough it, the offi
hem alone, but watch
iterest. While this
nain deck, the most
3 ship's company is
wn on the berth
(leek forward in instructing an enthu
siastic class of apprentice boys in the
art of handling themselves fistically.
Lovers of Music.
United States men-of-war's men are
music lovers. In a large ship's com
pany there are generally a score or
more men forward who can perform
creditably, and in some cases even
brilliantly, on musical instruments of
one sort or auotlaer. It is to be re
membered that men of unusually fine
education and accomplishments very
often drift into the United States
navy, and it is this class of men who
furnish the bettor order of instrumen
tal music aboard war vessels that are
not blessed with bands—and only
flagships have bands. In a large
ship's company there are always banjo
plunkers and guitar and mandolin
thrummers inumerable up forward,
but in the line of higher music there
are few good-sized ships in the Ameri
can navy that cannot produce one or
more excellent violin or zither play
A young Pole of noble family
shipped as a landsman on an Ameri
can warship at Gibraltar a few years
ago, and before he had been aboard
twenty-four hours he had all the offi
cers aft as well as the men forward in
a trance over his violin playing. He
did not have a violin of his own—lt
was in pawn somewhere iu Italy—but
he played on a violin belonging to an
Irish marine, whose musical ability
consisted only in his rendition of
"The Rakes o' Mallow" and"The
Devil's Dream." This young Pole
was simply a master of the violin.
When the ship on which he served re
turned to the United States he was
permitted to leave the service, aud
now he is Trevinck, the well-known
violin instructor of Chicago—but he
was not Trevinck in the navy.
The Evening Concert.
The musicians do not ordinarily
break out their instruments until after
supper. But by the time darkness
falls the forward portion of any Ameri
can man-of-war in any port in the
world might be taken for a floating
conservatory of practicers. The clever
players upon whose ears discord falls
like vitriol take to the quieter portions
of the ship below decks for their woo
ing of the harmonies, and they are
generally followed by cliques of the
non-players who yet understand aud
appreciate good music. The plunkers
aud strummers aud members of the
vast mouth-organ brigade take up their
practicing stations in close but oblivi
ous juxtaposition to each other on or
under the to'gallaut fo'c's'le, and play
away, each man mauling a different
tune, to their hearts' content, regard
ing not the Babylon of unmelodic
musical emissions all around them,
which is simply stunniug until you get
used to it.
The instrumentalists do not furnish
all the music. There are always some
fine voices among a man-of-war ship's
company, aud some of the night sing
ing of the numerous male quartets up
forward is very beautiful, if conducive
to homesickness on the part of the
young fellows not long away from
home. Also, there is the usual num
ber of men in an American man-of
war ship's company—just as a similar
complement is always filled ashore—
who imagine that they can sing, and
therefore inflict unassuageable woo
upon those who are compelled to listeu
to them. The man who can't sing, but
who only fancies he can, is invariably
suppressed in time, however, by his
shipmates—by impalement on the
sharp points of their humor at his ex
pense. The essentially American
characteristic of parodying all things
breaks out iu the vocal music furnished
by the really good singers among a
man-of-war ship's company, just as it
does ashore.
Alway* in Demand.
The bluejacket who is a good jig or
buck or wing dancer is always a popu
lar man on a ship of war, but he is not
given much rest by the shipmates
when the smoking lamp is alight. No
matter what he may be doing—writing
letters, sewing or patching up his
wearing gear, or engaging in any other
occupation that he wants to get
through with—when one of the mouth
orgau men aft at the main gangway
suddenly starts up a jig all hands
around him begin the patter of hands
and the yell penetrates forward for tlia
dancer. If he doesn't respond within
a reasonable time an irregularly or
ganized oommittee of husky blue
jackets is organized togo forward
after him, and they always fetch him.
Then he has to dance as if he were
doing it for wages, but once he gets
into his stride he needs no further en
couragement or applause, but goes
right ahead until he is about ready to
drop the men around him clapping
and stamping in time with his steps
and making a cheerful uproar not un
like the daucing bees still to be seen
at some of the Southern cotton ports.
The ship's buffoon is as well marked
aboard a man-of-war as if he wore tlio
uniform of cap and bells, and he is
generally a clever and well-liked man,
if not very seriously regarded. His
antics in the progress of the amuse
ments after "knock-off" keep his fol
lowers going, and not infrequently
amuse the officers aft as much as they
do the men forward. One of the ship's
buffoon's most entertaining schemes
is to suddenly mount the bottom of a
bucket or the top of a chest at one of
the main gangways and to begin a
stump speech with no apparent sense in
it for any man who is not a member of
the ship's company, but full of sharp
butgood-hnmored, "knocks" for mem
bers of the crew forward who indulge
in peculiarities of temperament or
manner. All of the speaker's listen
ers understand these allusions strung
through the apparently crazy address
and roar over them.
skipping the Light Kantiutlr.
Almost every evening, on ships the
crew members of which are for some
reason or other not permitted to take
shore liberty, there is a dance of the
men forward on the main deck. It at
first looks rather funny to see pairs of
huge, bowhiskered uion waltzing,
polkaing and two-stepping around to
gether, but you grow accustomed to
the sight of it in time. It takes some
time for a couple of dancing men-of
war's men to get used to each other's
style of careering around, and when a
pair get out on the deck who are not
matched for round dancing by previ-
ous experience, both of them always
demand lustily to be "the man"—
for the sailor finds it is difficult as his
brother in civil life to assume the posi
tion of the woman in round dancing.
Thou there are the tellers of tales,
the yarn spinners, improviaers as gift
ed in their way as the minnesingers
and improvisitoires of the dim ages.
There are always five or ten such on a
good-sized American man-of-war. The
man-of-war yarn spinner gathers hia
select circle about him and narrates to
them, always in the first person, thrill
ing tales of adventures by flood aud
field, in situations ranging from the
Bowery to Borneo, by the hour. % His
listeners are perfectly well awar hat
the yarn spinner is a liar of .eep
est dye, and he knows that they are
aware of it—but his tales, all "made
up as he goes along," are always pic
turesque aud interesting, and his hear
ers are content.
Some Ancient Keys.
Keys of iron and bronze have been
found in Greece and Italy dating from
at least the seventh century B. C.
Tho Ruasiau State sceptre is of
solid gold, three feet long, and con
tains, among its ornaments, 268 dia
monds. 300 rubies aud 15 emeralds.
How the Valuable Gum Is Extracted In
South American Forenta.
In South America natives are hired
by rubber contractors to penetrate the
forests and secure the gum of the rub
ber tree. This is generally done by
making several vertical incisions up
the trunk of the tree, with others run
ning obliquely into the main or up
right channels. Small clay cups are
fastened to the bark and the rubber
sap or milk allowed to flow into them.
It is at first about the color and con
sistency of cream, losing in the pro
cesses of coagulation fifty-six percent.
Several methods of congealing the
rubber milk are used, but the one
most commonly practiced is known as
the "biscuit" process. The sap is
smeared on a stock resembling a but
ter ladle or paddle and held over the
smoke obtained by burning forest
nuts. The milk soon thickens on the
paddle, which is repeatedly dipped
into the sap and put through the smok
ing process, until a piece of crude
rubber weighing often fifty pounds is
formed; this when removed has a hole
through the centre left by the paddle,
and is termed a "biscuit" of rubber.
Rubber trees when carefnlly tapped
yield abundantly for forty or fifty
years, but if the incisions go too deep
the process of decay starts at once,
and their period of productiveness is
over forever. The native gatherers
being paid for the season's work in
proportion to the number of pounds
of rubber collected, not only bleed the
trees to death, but when the flow of
milk ceases the larger trees are cut
down aud the sap extracted from the
wood. They also mix mandioca meal,
gravel, nails, leaves and almost any
thing- that comes to hand with the
milk, in order to increase the weight
of the "biscuits." In Africa the gath
erers go so far in the extermination
of the forests that even the roots of
the rubber tree are dug up and the
sap crushed out of them. With such
methods the rubber pirates of South
America and Africa are but hastening
the time of the rubber famine, and
adding to the present enormous profits
derived from cultivated rubber plan
A Doctor'* Telephone Lines.
Discussing a bill to tax telephone
lines, Mr. Dougherty said recently in
the Illinois Legislature: "Over here
in Hancock County there is a wealthy
doctor who has been building tele
phone lines. He's gradually extended
them until he now has quite a system.
Oh, yes, it's a great convenience, but
nobody on his lines dare to get sick un
less he or she employs this particular
doctor. He won't allow any other doc
tor in the county to be called up
through his telephone system."
A Sixth Sense in f'tgeo is.
Captain Renaud, the Fre icli spec
ialist in charge of the military pigeon
service, is a firm believer in a sixth
senso in pigeons and other birds aud
auimals possessed of homing instinct,
which he calls the sense of "orienta
tion." E 3 has defended his theory at
length in ft paper recently road before
the French Acailcmie des Sciences,
claiming to have amply proved it by
special trials of various kinds.
Tlio Part of a Friend.
Honest men esteem the value of
nothing so much in this world as a
real friend. Such a one is, as it wer«,
another self, to whom we impart our
most secret thoughts, who partakes of
our joy and comforts lis in our af
flictions; add to this that his com
pany is an everlasting pleasuro to us.
Potato Like n Ilumnn Foot.
This potato poses as a liumau foot.
It came, recently, from the store of
potatoes in tho cellar of Eliliu Gresh
arn, who owns a large store near Hav
erstraw, N. Y.
Mr. Gresham does not recall dig
ging the odd-shaped tuber, but its re
markable resemblance to the human
foot was noticed as soon as it was
bronght up from the cellar tho other
day. It is of unusual size. It shows
all the toes complete, and it lias a re
markable veining, most unsual in po
tato skin.
If all the queer freaks that nature
has produced among potatoes could be
gathered under one roof, the world
would respect the little brown earth
fruit as a versatile vegetable and curio
creator.—New York Journal.
TARM «gg|L.
Brewers' drain for Pis*.
Wherever brewers' grains can be
handily procured they will bo found an
excellent food for pigs, and especially
for breeding sows. They are succu
lent and at the same time highly nu
tritious and very greatly increase the
milk flow, especially if procured di
rect from the brewery and fed while
warm. They produce an excellent
quality of milk, too, for much the
greater part of the nutriment in bar
ley remains in the malt after the beer
and ale have been extracted from it.—
Boston Cultivator.
Soot us n Stimulant.
There are those who would think it
both foolishness and sin to whip a
jaded animal, yet who fail to reason
that the principle is the same in try
ing to stimulate a plant lacking abun
daut roots. In both cases, strength
for the required work is lacking.
With thriving, well-rooted plants,
there are few helps so good as soot.
The finest collection of plants we have
ever seen in the hands of an amateur
was pushed almost entirely with soot.
Cyclamens, primulas, begonias, callas,
roses, all seemed to revel in its murky
strength.—Floral World.
Getting Hid of Wild Oats.
This plant after it once becomes
well established is somewhat difficult
ito get rid of. It is, however, an an
i nual and if prevented from seeding
for a few years and measures adopted
! to induce the germination of seeds
that are already in the ground, it will
soon disappear. Possibly the best
| method is of seeding the land to field
< oats in spring, then as soon as the
crop of grain has beeu removed, plow
to a depth of throe or four inches.
Just as soon ns the wild oats have
well started go over the ground with
some shallow going instrument, such
as a small toothed cultivator. This
will kill the plants already growing
and bring to the surface seeds that
have not already sprouted. These
will germinate and before the plants
are old enough to mature seed they
will be killed by frost. In autumn
| seed the laud to winter grain if this
can be grown, and after harvest the
following season plow the ground and
give the same treatment as recom
| mended for the oat fields. Two years'
treatment of this kind if carefully per
formed will kill almost any annual.—
New England Homestead.
Meadow* and Paaturea.
The United States department of
agriculture has issued as No. GtJofthe
Farmers' Bulletin series a pamphlet
entitled "Meadows and Pastures; Fo
rmation and Cultivation in the Middle
Eastern States," prepared by Jared
G. Smitlv, assistant astrologist.
In thi bulletin it is stated that two
thirds ot the annual fodder aud forage
crops of the states of Peuusyl vania.
New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, West Virginia and North
Carolina, amounting to 20,000,000
tons aud vahyed at 5150,000,000 is
supplied ■»•/'//' the grasses, clovers,
cowpeaa stover and ensilage
produ' ■'cfyon the tV.rm; therefore the
subk methods of culti
vatifV®"-uu the sale :tiou of the va
rieties best adapted to the soils of
this region is a matter of prime inter
est to farmers. The principal topics
discussed are the following: General
prevalence and commercial value of
grasses, grasses as soil builders, fer
tilizers for grass lauds, methods of
preparing the soil, sowing the seed,
varieties of grasses and clovers to
plant, hay grasses, pasture grasses,
clovers for meadows and pastures and
some grass mixtures.
This bulletin can ba secured, free
of charge, from the secretary of agri
culture, Washington, D. C.,or a mem
ber of Congress.
A Cow for Every Acre.
Where little or nothing is bought
there can be little hope of makiug
every acre . eep a cow, as has so long
beeu the dr ;am of many dairymen.
It might, be done if corn alone were
used as feed. But corn is not a com
plete ration, and though more than
enough corn with fodder might be
grown to keep a cow through the
year, it would be always more profit
able to give other feed, such,as clover
hay, wheat bran or middlings, aud
either linseed or cotton-seed inral.
We have known some milkmen ne ir
the city who kept fully as many cows
as they cultivated acres of land. But
they relied very largely upon pur
chased food, generally growing only
corn fodder, which they fed green so
long as they could,and thenjeitlier cured
the remainder or put it iuto the silo
for winter and spring use. It is a
great help if some crimson clover has
been sown on the corn ground. It
will make euough growth before the
laud needs to be plowed for coru in
spring to well repay the expense of
Reeding and cutting the crop. But
for the fact that it takes two years to
grow a good crop of clover, it would
pay to seed a piece of land every year
with clover to be cut for hay. Three
oruvs a year, aggregating tivo to aix
tons of dried liav, may be cut on ricb
laud. If a farmer can succeed in
keeping a cow per acre, even with the
purchase of some grain feed, he may,
if his cows are good ones,realize more
profit from his land than he can with
most cultivated crops.—American
Plant-Bed Cloth V«imuk Glas*.
A. A. Halladay of Vermont writes:
With a greenhouse in which to start
tomato plants, I have found the use
of plant-bed cloth for covering hot
beds better than glass on many ac
counts. I use it almost wholly on my
beds and like it very much. I can
grow hardier and better plants uuder
cloth than under glass, the beds do
not dry out and need watering as
often, there is no danger of burning
the plants and the screens do not have
to be taken off during the day. If
there is likely to be a cold night, put
on a double thickness of screens, and
I have saved all my plants from a hard
freeze (when my neighbors, who used
glass, lost nearly all theirs) by put
ting thick heavy paper between two
thicknesses of screens.
Make the screen frames the same
size as hotbed sash, using pine or
spruce one inch thick and two inches
wide. Plane them smooth, saw the
ends square and nail with clinch nails
at the corners. Then cut the cloth
the proper length and tack to frame.
To make a good job of this, lay the
frame on a table or bench, lay the
cloth on the frame and begin to tack
at the centre of each side of the cloth.
Measure and be sure to start at the
middle of both cloth and frame, then
it will come out right at the corners.
Put the tacks every tlireo inches and
work toward the corners, keeping
each side up about even. In this
manner you finish at the corners with
uo wrinkles in the cloth. The edges
of cloth should be turned under so as
to make a double thickness to tack
Theso screens, if properly dried and
cared for, will last many years and
are very useful for covering plants in
the fall to keep from the frosts and
also for shading glass. I use the
medium grade, which costs by the
piece from seveu to eight cents per
yard. These screens will be found
especially valuable iu the south for
shading plants.
Food and Kuttor,
From what part of her food does
the cow make milk fat? This ques
tion is 0:10 of great scientific interest
to physiologists and of practical inter
est to stockfeeders and dairymen. It
is a problem which lias been found
quite difficult of solution; but the New
York agricultural experiment station
! (Geneva) has just published a bulle
tin (No. 132) upon this subject, giving
the details of a most interesting and
successful experiment which seems to
prove conclusively that at least part
of the milk fat is produced from the
carbohydrates of the food, the sugar,
starch, etc.
Finely chopped timothy hay, corn
lneal and ground outs were treated in
large quantities with a chemical sol
vent and were nearly freed from fat.
From these materials and wheatgluten
a vigorous, young, grade Jersey cow
was fed for ninety-five days a ration
whose fat content was less than two
ounces daily. Upon this fat poor food
the cow fed freely and without injury
to her health; and not only produced
good rich milk, not different from her
normal product, but also seemed to
grow fat.
The food and water she consumed
were carefully weighed and analyzed,
as were the milk produced and"the
urine and faeces excreted; and upon
these data the conclusions of the bul
letin are based. During the ninety
five days she received only 5.7 pounds
of digestible fat and produced t)2.i>
pounds of milk fat; so that 57.2 pounds
of fat could not have come from the
fat in the animal's food. Neithei
could it have come from her body fat;
by the percentages of fat iu the body
of cattle, as previously determined,
her whole amount of fat at the begin
ning of the experiment was less than
sixty-one pounds, and no animal
could use up all the body fat without
appearing greatly emaciated, and she
seemed fatter than at first.
She gained 47 pounds in body
weight, and this could not have beeu
gaiu iu muscular tissue; for but little
of the consumed nitrogen failed to re
appear in milk or excreta, and nitro
gen is necessary iu flesh information.
The fat could not have been formed
from the proteine,or nitrogenous mat
ters, in the food. Ihiring tifty-uiue
days for which the record for nitro
gen and fat income and outgo was
kept the cow produced 38.8 pounds of
fat. To form this amount of fat, al
lowing the highest figures given by
auy investigator for fat formation
from proteine, would involve the met
abolism (change by physiological pro
cesses) of more than 75 pounds of
proteine. But the nitrogen excreted
in urine only accounted for the decom
position of less than half this amount
of proteine. So at least 21 pounds of
fat must have come from some other
source than the proteiue consumed.
If all the fat was not produced from
fat iu food, fat in the animal's body or
from porteine in food, part of it must
have been produced from the carbo
hydrates of the food. The details of
the experiment may be obtained from
the bulletin, which will be sent freo
ou auulicatiou to the station.