ON METEORITES, OE CELESTIAL STONES 105
scribe the way in which these gelatinous substances came to be regarded as the remains of a "fallen star" :
As he whose quicker eye doth trace A false star shot to a mark'd place
Do's run apace, And, thinking it to catch, A jelly up do snatch.
Walter Scott also, whose familiarity with superstitions was very
great, has not failed to note this one in his "Talisman," where the
hermit says: "Seek a fallen star and thou shalt only light on some foul
jelly, which in shooting through the horizon has assumed an appearance
of splendour." Here the star itself is supposed to have had this
An early writer,61
noting this curious belief that ' ' a white and gelatinous substance"
was all that remained of a fallen star, declares that he had clearly
demonstrated to the Royal Society that the mass was composed of the
intestines of frogs, and had been vomited by crows, adding that his
opinion had been confirmed by the testimony of other scientific men.
Huxley, from a description, conjectured that the substance was nostoc,
a gelatinous vegetable mass, but this seems to be somewhat doubtful. In
1744 Robert Boyle states that some of this "star-shoot" was given to a
physician of his acquaintance, who "digested it in a well-stopt glass
for a long time," and then sold the liquor for a specific in the
removal of wens.82
jelly-like mass believed by him to be the remains of a "fallen star"
was found by Mr. Ruf us Graves at Amherst, Mass., on August 14, 1819,
and duly reported in the American Journal of Science.63 As this gentleman was at one
a Merrett, " Pinaz rerum naturalium Britannicarum," London, 1667, p. 219.
- " The Works of the Hon. Robert Boyle," vol. i, p. 244, London, 1744. •VoL ii, pp. 335-7, 1820.