A correspondent recently asked you the reason why sugar strikes fire when two lumps are struck together after the fashion of flint and steel. In like manner, I would ask the reason why a good egg, when brought to the edge of one's tongue, feels cold at the tip and warm at the butt end? This is a wonderful fact; and there is doubtless a deep philosophy in the phenomenon. It is clear enough that a good egg has the germ of a fowl in it, and hence a vital spark; but why it is cold at the point end and warm at the blunt end, is not so evident.
The Chinese have a notion that there is in nature a principle (which they call taki) combining in itself both a male and a female; and that this principle is constantly at work to produce one or the other of the sexes, agreeably to the constituent matter in which it floats. This saki has two poles—the same upon which Mesmer founded his theory of "animal magnetism." Has this anything to do with the warmth and cold of the egg?
The Chinese physician says we must under-stand the condition of this principle in the patient before we can apply the proper remedy for his cure; for, ac-cording as the male or female predominates in the patient, so must be the application of the remedy. In sickness, it often happens that one extremity of the body is cold while the other is hot. But, with all this philosophy, I would ask, why is this wonderful difference of temperature between the two ends of a good egg?
As to the fire flying out of sugar, when lumps of it are struck together, let me say that this phenomenon is most remarkable with rock-candy. When rock-candy is crashed between the teeth, in a dark corner, it exhibits the appearance of eating livid coals! When two lumps are struck together, as boys often strike flint stones, the same phenomenon is produced. Percussion causes decomposition of the finer particles in the act of abrasion. Wood does the same thing when abraded. All matter contains latent heat; and where there is heat, fire is near by. Even our heads scintillate whisps of fire when we accidentally, or otherwise, percuss them. How beautiful and how wonderful are the works of nature!