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intimated above, * is the discharge of the aqueous moisture, which being accelerated by the motion of the wind, preserves the oily moisture in its state that would otherwise fly off along with the aqueous. And thus on certain mountains, where the air is pure, dead corps will remain many days unfaded.
Fruits, as apples, pears, lemons, &c. and flowers, as roses, lilies, &c. may be long kept fresh in close stopped earthen vessels ; though indeed the air from without is somewhat prejudicial, by communicating its inequalities through the vessel, as manifestly appears in the case of cold and heat; so that if the vessel were well stopped, it might be a good way to bury it in the ground, or plunge it under water that is shaded, as wells and cisterns generally are; though the bodies to be preserved under water had better be put up in vessels of glass than vessels of earth.
In general, bodies reposited under ground, and in subterraneous vaults, or deep waters, preserve their freshness longer than above ground.
* See above, Sects. I. and III.
+ See a method of preserving fruits and flowers for a year, built upon this foundation, in the Philosophical Transactions, No. 237, p. 44.
It is related, that in conservatories of snow, whether natural or artificial, fruit has been found as fresh and beautiful, after lying there for several months, as if it had been newly gathered. *
The country people have a way of preserving bunches of grapes, by burying them in meal, which, though it renders them somewhat unpleasant to the taste, yet preserves their moisture and freshness; and all the firmer fruits are not only long preserved in meal, but also in sawdust, or heaps of corn.t.
An opinion has prevailed, that bodies are preservable, fresh and perfect, in liquors of their own species, as grapes in wine, olives in oil,t &c.
Pomegranates and quinces may be well preserved, by steeping them awhile in salt water, then taking them out and drying them in the open air of a shady place.
Bodies are long preserved by suspending them in wine or oil, much better in honey or spirit of wine; but best of all, as some say, in quicksilver.
Fruits are long preserved fresh and green by
*See Mr. Boyle's History of Cold.
+ See the author's Sylva Sylvarum, under the article Preserration.
coating them over with wax, pitch, plaister of Paris, paste, &c.*
It is manifest that flies, spiders, ants, &c. casually included in amber, or immersed and covered over with the gums of trees, never waste afterwards, though they are but soft and tender bodies.
Grapes and other fruit are preserved by hanging pendulous : of which situation there is a double convenience ; for first they are thus preserved from bruising or compressure, to which they would be exposed by lying upon hard bodies ; and secondly, the air surrounds them every way equally.
It is observed, that both putrefaction and desiccation in vegetables begin not equally on every side, but principally in that part through which bodies draw their nourishment when alive; whence some direct us, in preserving of fruit, to seal up the end of the stalk with wax or melted pitch.
Large wicks of candles or lamps consume the tallow or oil sooner than less, and the flame of cotton sooner than that of rush, straw, twig, &c.
* These and many other of the following particulars are farther considered in the Sylva Sylvarum, from whence they may appear taken, for the present occasion, according to the design of that piece.
and all flame moved and agitated by the wind consumes the fewel faster than when undisturbed, and therefore slower in a lanthorn than in the open air. It is reported also that sepulchral lamps will continue burning for a very long time.
The nature and preparation of the fewel contributes as much to the continuance of the light as the nature of the flame. Thus wax burns longer than tallow, wet tallow longer than dry, hard wax longer than soft, &c.
If the mould be yearly stirred about the roots of trees, the trees are of shorter duration ; but, if once in five or ten years, of longer: so to gather the buds, and strip off the twigs of trees, prolongs their life. Again, dunging, laying on of chalk, &c. and much watering, conduces to fertility, but shortens the life of vegetables.
And so much for the preventing of dryness and wasting. The business of softening bodies once dried, which is the capital business in this case, affords but a few experiments; we will therefore join such as belong to men and other animals together.
Willow twigs become more flexible by steeping them in water; so we dip the ends of birch rods in water to prevent their drying; and bowls of woods, cleft through dryness, being put into water, close again.
Very old trees, that have stood long unre
moved, apparently grow young again, and acquire new and tender leaves, upon digging and opening the earth about their roots.
Leather, become hard and stubborn by age, is suppled and softened by rubbing it with oil before the fire, and in some measure barely by the warmth of the fire. Skins and bladders, when somewhat hardened, grow soft again in warm water, with the addition of any fat substance; but better still if rubbed a little.
Old draught oxen, worn out with service, being put into fresh pasture, get new and tender flesh, that eats like young beef.
A dry and strict diet of guaiacum, bisket, &c. used in the cure of the venereal disease, &c. brings men to extreme leanness, and consumes the juices of the body, which afterwards beginning to be recruited, grow manifestly more young and fresh; and we judge that emaciating distempers, being well cured, have prolonged the lives of many.
MEN have a strange talent, and see sharply in the night of their own notions, but wink and prove weak-sighted in the day light of experience: they talk of the elementary quality of dryness, of dryers, and the natural periods of bodies whereby they are corrupted and consume