Remarkable and Valuable Discovery.
(A r ezo York Evening Post.)
It has always been easy for housewives who are troubled with rats to poison them, but the problem has been to induce them to die upon the field of honor, so to speak—to wit, the kitchen floor. They have usually preferred to retire to their inaccessible retreats in the walls as soon as they have felt the symptoms of arsenical poisoning, and the low state of sanitary science prevailing in their - communities is such that poisoned rats are never properly buried or incinerated by their associates. The problem has been how to kill the rats without bringing unpleasant odors into the house. Mrs. Benedict has solved the mystery, and is entitled to the honor we give an inventor and benefactor. She was engaged, it appears, in the domestic manufacture of some plaster casts of various kinds, Complaint having been made of the fragility of these wares, Mrs. Benedict began a course of experiments with the hope of giving greater durability to' her casts. One of her devices was to mix wheaten flour with her pulverised plaster of Paris, so that the gluten of the flour might make the paste less brittle. One evening she had visitors, who rang her door-bell just as she was sifting the mixed plaster and flour for the third time by way of mixing them intimately, as the chemists say. She had already set a dish of water at hand, intending to ipake a cast at once, and vyhen the doorbell rang she hastily removed her apron, and went to welcome her guests, leaving her material upon the kitchen table. The guests stayed until late bedtime, and when they bade her adieu Mrs. Benedict Went to bed without returning to the kitchen. What happened in the nighi was this : A rat, sniffling' the odor of flour, made up the legs of the table to the top, where he was speedily joined by other foragers—his brethren. The .dish of flour and plaster was easily reached, and the rats qte freely and hastily of it, a.s it is their custom to do, It was rather a dry supper, and water being at hand, each rat turned from the savory dish of flour and plaster to slake his thirst with water. Everybody who has had to do with plaster of Paris will guess at once what had happened. The water drunk first wetted the plaster in the rats’ stomachs add then, in technical,
phrase, “set” it; that is to say, the plaster thus made into.a paste instantly grew hard in each rat’s stomach, making a cast of all its convulsions. The event proved that, with such a cast in existence it is impossible for a rat to retreat even across a kitchen. The next morning thirteen of them lay dead in a circle around the water-dish, Mrs. Benedict, like a wise woman, kept her secret and made profit of it. She undertook, for a consideration, to clear the premises of her neighbors of the pests, and succeeded. It was not long before the town was as free of this sort of vermin as if the the pied piper of Hamelin had travelled that way. Then Mrs. Benedict advertised for agents to work up the business throughout the county, selling each the secret for a fair price.
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