RUBICON                                                    1641                                                    RUFFINI

He was also sent as envoy to Charles I of England to treat for peace. He accomplished his mission with great tact, and painted the portraits of the king and queen as well as other English pictures. He was knighted both by Charles I and Philip IV. In 1630 Rubens married his second wife, Helena Fourment, a beautiful girl of 16. The main features of Rubens' work are power, spirit and life. Reynolds said: "Rubens perhaps was the greatest master in the mechanical part of the art, the best workman with his tools, that ever used a pencil." In all, Rubens painted several thousand pictures. He died at Antwerp, May 30, 1640. See C. , Kett's Great Artists.

Rubicon (ru'bi-kun), a stream of central Italy, falling" into the Adriatic, became famous from Cassar's passage of it in the middle of January, 49 B. C , on his march on Rome. It formed the southern boundary of his province, so that by crossing it he really declared war on the republic It is said that Csar hesitated a while on the bank and then crossed with the words: J acta est alea (the die is cast). So "crossing the Rubicon" has come to be a proverb with reference to any decisive step.

Rubinstein (r~'bn-stīn), Anton Oregor, composer and pianist, was born near Jassy, Rumania, Nov. 30, 1829, and died near St. Petersburg, Nov. 20, 1894. Early in life he became a pupil of Abb Liszt at Paris, after which he gave a number of notable concert-tours, and by his compositions and playing created a sensation. In 1858 he became a director of the Russian imperial concert and later founded the St. Petersburg. Conservatory of Music. He visited England and France a number of times, as also the United States. His compositions have lyric melodiousness and are characterized by much feeling and sweetness He held deservedly high rank as a pianist, having a mastery of technique and manifesting great musical sensibility. He wrote about 20 operas, besides overtures, sonatas, concertos, symphonies and vocal pieces. In 1887 he was awarded the French decoration of the Legion of Honor, and in 1889 received a grand jubilee fte at St. Petersburg. In 1890 appeared his Autobiography, and later a Conversation on Music came from his pen.

Ru'ble or Rouble, a Russian coin, weighing in silver about 20 grams and equivalent to 100 kopecks. It is the legal unit of money throughout Russia, and is worth about 50 cents or two shillings English. Officially 9.47 roubles are equivalent to $5 gold or to the pound sterling. In the czar's dominions gold is coined into 10 and 5 rouble pieces equal to $5.30 (1. 1 sh.4d.) and $2.65 (ios.8d. sterling). Besides the silver and gold roubles, credit-notes (paper-money) are legal tender of the denominations of 100, 25, 10, 5, 3 roubles, and 1 rouble.

Ru'by, a much-prized gem, is a pure, transparent, red-colored variety of corundum, sapphire being a blue variety of the same mineral. Corundum, which is aluminum oxide, forms the hardest of all gems except the diamond. Although usually red, yet pink, purple and violet rubies are found, but the most valuable are those of the color called pigeon's blood. The finest eastern rubies are more highly prized than diamonds of like size and quality. Those over a carat in weight are worth from $100 to $1,000 a carat, and no stone increases so much in value as it increases in size. But rubies perfect in color, transparency and freedom from flaw are much rarer than good diamonds Rubies seldom weigh more than eight or ten carats, but Gustavus III of Sweden presented one to Catherine of Russia as big as a pigeon's egg. One owned by the king of Ceylon was, according to Marco Polo, a span long, as thick as a man's arm and without a flaw; Kublai Khan vainly offered a city for it. The finest rubies come from Upper Burma. Dark-red rubies are found in Siam and purplish rubies in Ceylon. Rubies are also found in the mountain region of Yunnan in China, in Afghanistan and in the basin of the Oxus. They have also been found in New Guinea, Victoria and New South Wales. Many of the so-called rubies of jewelers are varieties of spinel, a mineral softer than corundum and mostly made of alumina and magnesia. Artificial rubies are made which are used in watches, and for this purpose are equal to natural rubies. Although they are identical in composition and hardness with the natural stones, the use of them as gems is considered fraudulent. They may usually be detected by microscopic examination, since they generally contain minute bubbles.

Ruff, a bird allied to the sandpiper. It breeds in the north of Asia and Europe, and migrates southward as far as the Cape of Good Hope. It is found as a straggler in Iceland, in Canada and in some of the eastern states, and is sometimes shot on Long Island. The male bird, the ruff, is about a foot long. In the spring it sheds the feathers of the face ; curled tufts of feathers appear on the sides of the head; and an erectile ruff grows which lasts two months. The ruff, as well as the feathers of the back, shows every variation of color in different birds, but each bird yearly regains its own peculiar color. The female, the reeve, is about one fourth smaller. The males fight for the possession of the females, and in battle the ruff serves for defense. The nest is made in the coarse grass of a hummock in a moist, swampy place. The four eggs are grayish green, marked with reddish brown. The birds eat insects, worms, seeds and rice. Ruffs are often captured and fattened for the table.

Ruffini (rbf-fē'n) Giovanni, one of the foremost Italian novelists, was born at