NIGHT

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NIGHT. (For the division of the 24 hours into day and night, see Day.) As a telluric phenomenon, night is of the greatest interest. The sleep which it brings to most organic creatures; the life to which others awake with it; the increase of feverish symptoms on its arrival; and many other* phenomena, are of the* One of the most interesting of these is the freater clearness with which distant sounds are eard during night. This fact, which had been observed by the ancients, and in large cities, or their vicinit}r, was commonly ascribed to the repose of animated beings. When Humboldt first heard the noise of the great cataracts of the Orinoco, in the plain which surrounds the Mission of the Apures, his attention was particularly directed to this curious fact, and he was of opinion that the noise was three times louder at night than during the day. As the humming of insects was much greater at night than during the day, and as the breeze which might have agitated the leaves of the trees never rose till after sunset, this eminent traveller was compelled to seek for another caus/e of the phenomenon. In a hot day, when warhi currents of air ascend from the heated ground, and mix with the cold air above, of a different density, the transparency of the air is so much affected, that every object seen through it appears to be in motion, just as when we look at any object over a fire or the flame of a candle. The air is, therefore, during the day, a mixed medium, in which the sounds are reflected and scattered in passing through streams of air of different densities, as in the experiment of mixing atmospheric air and h}rdrogen. At midnight, on the contrary, when the air is transparent, and of uniform density, as may be seen by the brilliancy and number of the stars, the slightest sound reaches the ear without interruption. M. Chladni has illustrated the effect of mixed medium by an elegant experiment of easy repetition. If we pour sparkling Champagne into a tall glass till it is half full, the glass cannot be made to ring by a stroke upon its edge, but admits a dull, disagreeable and puffy sound. This effect continues as long as the effervescence lasts, and while the wine is filled with airbubbles. But as the effervescence subsides, the sound becomes clearer and clearer, till, at last, the glass rings as usual, when the airbubbles have disappeared. By reproducing the effervescence, the sound is deadened as before. The same experiment may be made with effervescing malt liquors, and with still more effect by putting a piece of sponge, or a little wool or tow, into a tumbler of water. The cause of the result obtained by M. Chladni is, that tne glass and the contained liquid, in order to give a musical tone, must vibrate regularly in unison as a system 5 and if any considerable part of a system is unsusceptible of regular vibration, the whole must be so. Baron Humboldt has employed this interesting experiment to illustrate and explain the phenomenon of distant sounds being more distinctly heard during the night. highest interest.In mythology, Night (Latin, nox; Greek, vht) is daughter of Chaos, and sister to Erebus, by whom she became the mother of Day and Ether. Every thing unknown, dark, horrid and awful, belongs to her progeny,Death, Sleep, Dreams, Sickness and Plague, Discord, War, Murder, Deceit, &c. The Hesperides, also, were called her daughters. According to the Orphic poems, she was also the goddess of love. Modern mythology represents her as mounted on a chariot, and covered with a veil bespangled with stars. Occasionally two children are depicted as held under her arms; the one black, representing the principle of death; the other white, to indicate the innocence and refreshing nature of sleep. Some of the modern artists have depicted her as a woman veiled in mourning habiliments, crowned with poppies, and borne on a chariot drawn by bats and owls. One of the finest representations of Night is a bassrelief of Thorwaldsen: a corresponding piece represents Day. It is one of the loveliest and happiest productions of that great artist.