PUTTING THE SHOT

1565

PYRAMIDS

and was surveyor-general of the United States from 1793 to 1803. He died at Marietta, May 4, 1824.

Put'ting the Shot consists in throwing heavy weights, and is one of the games that make up field-events in athletics. It is not so much mere throwing as pushing forward and up. The weight is called a shot, and varies from eight to twenty-four pounds. The contestant stands in a seven-foot circle, which he must not overstep, and the length of his throw is measured from the circumference to the place where the shot falls. The world-records are 38 feet, 2f inches with a 24-pound weight and 67 feet, 7 inches with the 8-pound shot.

Throwing the Hammer resembles shot-putting, and also belongs to field-events. The hammer is a 16-pound, round shot, the handle a chain four feet long with an attachment for holding. The contestant stands in a seven-foot circle, swings the hammer around himself repeatedly, and at last lets it go. The throw is measured from the circle to the spot where the hammer falls, and the record for this sport is 172 feet, 7 J inches.

Putrefac'tion is the decomposition of organic substances when accompanied by an offensive smell. It is now known to be the result of the activity of minute plants called bacteria, which also cause fermentation and many diseases. The spores of these plants are present in great numbers in the air and water and on the surface of the earth; but if we boil an infusion of organic matter, and, while the steam is coming freely off, close it in such a manner as to prevent any germs or spores from reaching the fluid, it will remain without any change for many years, but will begin to putrefy in a day or two if the plug be removed. Of the precise chemical changes that take place from the life of bacteria, we still are largely ignorant.

Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre (p-ār pu'vs' de sha'van'), a French painter, was born at Lyons in 1824. His teachers were Scheffer, Delacroix and Couture successively, but he was unable to yield himself to any artistic leading except his own instincts. The Salon refused his work nine times. It was only in 18Ŏ1 that he first received recognition. As a wall-painter he recognized the limitations of wall-painting and submitted to the conditions. He held that fresco is merely the pleasant decoration of a surface. So he always remembered the relation of his designs to the building, and painted in flat tones of cool green, blue, brown or lilac. The pictures themselves were as much a part of the building as its walls. In America his best-known work is the decorations in the Boston library. Here he tried, he said, to symbolize its intellectual treasures. They represent the muses of inspiration hailing Apollo, and other compositions picture his-

tory, philosophy, poetry and science. Chavannes died at Paris in 1878.

Pygma'lion, in Greek mythology, grandson of Agenor, king of Cyprus, fell in love with an ivory statue of a young maiden he himself had made, and prayed to Aphrodite to give it life. His prayer being granted, he married the maiden, who bore him Paphus.

Pyle (ŷīl), Howard, an American artist and author, was born at Wilmington, Del., in 1853. His career began in New York City with contributions to periodicals. He chiefly delineates scenes of colonial life and medieval folk-lore. Some of the finest color-prints in recent periodicals have been from his drawings. Among his works are Adventures of Robin Hood, Jack Ballister's Fortunes and Rejected of Men.

Pym, John, was born at Brymore, near Bridgewater, England, in 1584. Entering Parliament in 1S21, he at once attached himself to the country party, and proceeded to war against monopolies, papistry and absolutism with a force and vigor that brought him three months' imprisonment. In the impeachment of Strafford and in all other proceedings of the Long Parliament, which assembled in 1641, Pym took a leading part, his power and ability being acknowledged by the Royalists in the derisive epithet of King Pym. He was one of the five members whom Charles I attempted to arrest in the chamber of the house of commons, thus precipitating the Civil War, which resulted in the defeat and execution of the king. He died at London, Dec. 8, 1643. He wasbuiiedm Westminster Abbey, but at the Restoration of Charles II his remains were cast into a pit in St. Margaret's Churchyard. See Goldwin Smith's Three English Statesmen.

Pyr'amids, The, of Egypt, were the sepul-chers of the kings who reigned during the first twelve dynasties. They are on the left bank of the Nile between the desert and the cultivated land scattered from Abu Rash to Meidum. Their entrances all open to the north with one exception, and their sides face directly north, south, east and west. The size of the structure depended a great deal upon the length of the builder's reign. The pyramids are constructed of large, oblong blocks of stone about two feet six inches thick, placed in layers, each layer about one block's width smaller than the one below and advancing so to the summit. They usually were covered with a coping of stone which was so completely fitted and polished as to form a perfectly smooth surface to each side.

These royal tombs number about fifty or sixty of all sizes; but the best examples are the three great pyramids of Gizeh; they were built by the kings of the fourth dynasty and are the largest in the necropolis. The first or great pyramid was erected by