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Birds and all Nature

       

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Birds and all Nature Vol VII, No. 2,
February 1900, by Various

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Title: Birds and all Nature Vol VII, No. 2, February 1900
       Illustrated by Color Photography

Author: Various

Release Date: February 21, 2015 [EBook #48331]

Language: English


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  BIRDS AND ALL NATURE.

  ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.


  VOL. VII.         FEBRUARY, 1900.          NO. 2




  CONTENTS.


                                                  Page
  A BABY HERON.                                     49
  THE KILLDEER.                                     50
  COTTON TEXTILES. II.                              53
  THE CINNAMON TEAL.                                59
  A SCRAP OF PAPER.                                 59
  THE CLAPPER RAIL.                                 62
  THE SWINGING LAMPS OF DAWN.                       62
  THE LATE DR. ELLIOTT COUES.                       65
  BOBBY'S "COTTON-TAIL."                            67
  "THE COUNTRY, THE COUNTRY!"                       68
  THE GOPHER.                                       71
  HANS AND MIZI.                                    72
  GEOGRAPHY LESSONS.                                73
  THE MINK.                                         74
  THE NEW SPORT.                                    77
  MOLE CRICKET LODGE.                               78
  SNOW BIRDS.                                       79
  VEGETATION IN THE PHILIPPINES.                    80
  COMMON MINERALS AND VALUABLE ORES.                83
  FEBRUARY.                                         85
  LICORICE.                                         86
  A WINTER WALK IN THE WOODS.                       90
  THE SCARLET PAINTED CUP.                          92
  THE YOUNG NATURALIST.                             95
  WASHINGTON'S MONUMENT.                            96




A BABY HERON.

REST H. METCALF.


How many of the boys and girls who read BIRDS AND ALL NATURE ever saw
a baby heron? I am sure you would like to see ours. He measures from
tip to tip of his wings, that is, with his wings spread just as far as
we could stretch them, five feet and ten inches, and from the tip of
his bill to the tip of his toe very nearly five feet. Now, isn't that
a little baby? He is nearly full-grown but has not on the dress of the
old birds; that is why we call him baby. He is called a crane by some
people, but his right name is great blue heron, and his scientific name
is _Ardea herodias_. Shall I tell you about his dress? His head is all
dusky now, but when he puts on his new dress his forehead and central
part of the crown will be white enclosed by a circle of black--a fine
black crest with two elongated black plumes that make him appear to be
very much dressed up. His back and wings are blue-gray, but like his
head will be decorated with elongated scapulæ feathers, when he gets on
his dress suit, and his long neck, which now has a rather dingy look,
will have a beautiful collar of cinnamon brown tinged with purple and a
white line in front from throat to breast. The tail is short and very
inconspicuous. He really is a beautiful bird in spite of his long neck
and long legs.

He is the largest of our New England herons and is not very abundant.
You may find him about large bodies of water, and during the daytime
he prefers the solitude of the forests and sits quietly in tall trees
for hours, but in the early mornings and late afternoons he may be seen
standing motionless at the edge of the water until a fish or a frog
appears, when, with unerring stroke of his long beak, as quickly as
lightning, he seizes it and beats it until dead, then swallows it; this
act is often repeated. He varies his diet with meadow mice, snakes, and
insects, so he certainly does not lead a very monotonous life. Our baby
ate for his last breakfast four good-sized perch. Wasn't that a fine
breakfast? I know you would like to hear about his early home. It was
in a terribly dismal swamp, where it was almost impossible to reach,
through mud to your knees and through briers and tangled bushes high
as your head. There, several feet above your head was a nest, nearly
flat, made of different sizes of twigs put together in a loose and lazy
manner. Usually there are three or four light bluish-green eggs. Only
one brood is reared in a season.

There are some people who say that the blue heron is good for food,
but those who have once tried it do not care for another plate. They
are the most suspicious of our birds and the hardest to be approached
for they are constantly on the lookout for danger and with their long
necks, keen eyes, and delicate organs of hearing, they can detect the
approach of a hunter long before he can get within gunshot. They have a
very unmusical voice, their call being a hoarse guttural "honk."

Once they were found in larger numbers, but now are seldom seen but
in pairs or singly, and what a pity that foolish fashion of trimming
ladies' hats has nearly exterminated so many varieties of beautiful
birds! God gave us many beautiful things to enjoy in this world, and
are they not more beautiful when we can see them alive in nature just
where God placed them, than they are when dead and taken by pieces to
adorn our heads?




THE KILLDEER.

(_Aegialitis vocifera._)


Dr. Livingstone described a relative of this bird which he met with
in Africa as "a most plaguey sort of public-spirited individual that
follows you everywhere, flying overhead, and is most persevering in his
attempts to give fair warning to all animals within hearing to flee
from the approach of danger," a characteristic which has caused the
killdeer to be an object of dislike to the gunner. It is usually the
first to take alarm at his approach and starts up all other birds in
the vicinity by its loud cries. It can run with such swiftness that,
according to Audubon, to run "like a killdeer" has in some parts of the
country passed into a proverb. It is also active on the wing and mounts
at pleasure to a great height in the air, with a strong and rapid
flight, which can be continued for a long distance. In the love season
it performs various kinds of evolutions while on the wing.

This plover is found throughout temperate North America to Newfoundland
and Manitoba, nests throughout range, and winters south of New England
to Bermuda, the West Indies, Central and South America. From March to
November, and later, it is resident, and is very abundant in spring
and autumn migrations. These birds are generally seen in flocks when
on the wing, but scatter when feeding. Pastures and cultivated fields,
tracts of land near water, lakesides and marshes seem necessary to it.
The sound uttered by it, _kildeer_, _kildeer_, _dee_, _dee_, is almost
incessant, but it is often low and agreeable, with a plaintive strain
in it. When apparently in danger the voice rises higher and shriller.
Cows, horses, sheep, and the larger poultry that wander over a farm are
said not to alarm these birds in the least. But they are wild in the
presence of man wherever they have been persecuted. They will often
squat till one is close upon them, and will then suddenly fly up or
run off, startling the unwary intruder by their loud and clear cry. In
winter the killdeer is an unusually silent bird, in which season it is
found dispersed over the cultivated fields in Florida, Georgia, the
Carolinas, and other southern states, diligently searching for food.
Davie says that it may often be heard on moonlight nights. The nest
is placed on the ground, usually in the vicinity of a stream or pond,
often on an elevated spot in the grass or in a furrowed field. It is
merely a slight depression in the ground. The eggs are drab or clay
color, thickly spotted and blotched with blackish brown and umber,
small and quite pointed. They are generally four in number, measuring
1.50 to 1.60 long by about 1.10 broad.

The plovers resemble the snipe in structure, but are smaller, averaging
about the size of a thrush. Their bills also are shorter. They have
three toes usually; their bodies are plump; short, thick necks, long
wings, and in some instances they have spurs on the wings. They pick
their food, which is largely of an animal nature, from the surface of
the ground, instead of probing for it, as their shorter bills indicate.
The flesh of the killdeer is not highly regarded as a food.

  [Illustration: KILLDEER.
                 2/3 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A.W.MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]




COTTON TEXTILES. II.

W. E. WATT, A. M.


Cotton is spun and woven into so many useful forms that we could hardly
live without it since we have become so thoroughly accustomed to the
comforts and luxuries it supplies to us. From the loose fiber that we
use in treating our teeth when they get to troubling us to the delicate
lace handkerchief which is such a dream of the weaver's art we use
cotton for our commonest and our most extraordinary purposes.

Muslin takes its name from Mosul, in India, where it was first made.
Although muslin is now made in both Europe and America in great
quantities, the kind that is most famed for its fineness is that from
Dacca, India. To get an idea of the fine threads used in making the
rarest of this muslin we must note that one pound of cotton is spun
into three hundred eighty hanks of thread with eight hundred forty
yards of thread in each hank. This means that one pound of cotton is
spun out to the length of 319,000 yards, or over one hundred eighty-one
miles.

One pound of this thread would, if it could be stretched out without
breaking, reach from New York City up the Hudson to Albany, and there
would still be enough of it unused to reach over to Saratoga. Ten
pounds would reach from New York city to Omaha, with enough left over
to reach back to Chicago.

It is even possible to exceed this in fineness if we do not care for
use. To show the perfection of a machine, a thread of the fineness of
10,000 has been spun. If this could be strung out, as suggested above,
it would reach 4,770 miles. One pound of the finest fiber has thus been
spun so that it would reach from New York to Naples, Italy, and there
would still be enough of it left to reach half-way back to London on
the return trip.

Where three hundred and eighty hanks of thread are spun from a pound
the muslin made from it is called three hundred eighty-degree muslin.
But even this is not the finest muslin made. It is the finest made by
the old hand processes, but the perfections of machinery have made it
possible for us to have seven hundred-degree cotton. A strange thing
about our finest machine-made cotton is that it does not seem to the
eye or the touch to be as fine as the Dacca. There is a peculiar
softness which cannot be imitated by the machine.

I went the other day into one of our great dry-goods stores to see how
fine a piece of cotton I could buy. I was surprised to find that the
gentlemanly clerks knew very little about where the goods were made and
almost nothing at all about the processes. They were very obliging, but
their business of selling does not seem to require any knowledge of
those things I was so desirous of learning.

The finest things I found were India linen and Swiss mull. The India
linen has a remarkable name, seeing it is not linen and is made in
Scotland. The Swiss mull is nearly as well named, for it is also made
in Glasgow. Whether these goods sell better because their names seem to
indicate that they are made somewhere else I cannot say, but the truth
seems to be that they were called by these names innocently enough by
those who first made them, being proud that they could produce mull
equal to the finest worn by the ladies in Switzerland or equal to the
finest products of the Indian looms.

It is well known that in the dry-goods business it seems to be greatly
to the advantage of the merchant to have fine names for his wares, the
larger houses regularly employing women who do nothing but find fancy
names for the things that are for sale. Goods are sometimes displayed
with one name for several days without finding a purchaser, but the
namer soon comes in with a new name to attach to the goods and some of
the very shoppers who do not care for them under the first name buy
them readily under the new one.

A lady recently asked me to tell her the difference between muslin
and long cloth. I thought there might be a difference, but have been
unable to find anyone who can tell what it is. Both names are applied
to white cotton goods of various degrees of fineness. Long cloth is
of a superior quality of cotton, and so is muslin when intended for
dress goods. Some of the names under which white cotton goods are sold
are muslins, tarletans, mulls, jaconets, nainsooks, lawns, grenadines,
saccarillas, cottonade, cotton velvet, and velveteen.

Cotton is rarely manufactured where raised. It is carried to the
seacoast as a rule by river steamers, though there have been instances
where the laziness and ingenuity of man have combined to send it
down-stream in bales completely covered with india rubber wrappings,
so they floated to their destination with little care and no harm from
water.

With all our boasted Yankee shrewdness and cunning in mechanics we do
not make up the finer grades of cotton very extensively. As a rule the
coarser kinds of cloth that take much material and less skill are made
here, while the finer grades that get more value out of the pound of
cotton are made abroad, chiefly in Great Britain.

As an indication of this the figures taken in the year 1884 form a
striking illustration. The average amount of cotton spun by each
spindle in Great Britain that year was thirty-four and a half pounds,
while the amount consumed by each spindle in America averaged just
sixty-five pounds, showing that the products of our spindles are
just twice as heavy on the average as those of the English and
Scotch. A fortunate thing about our goods when sent abroad is that
they are accurately marked and prove to be very nearly what they are
represented. This is not the case with goods shipped out of Great
Britain, where their long experience in handling cotton has made them
more expert than we in stuffing their goods with sizing and other
adulterations which make the goods deceptive. There is so little
tendency in this direction among American manufacturers that our
good name has given us an advantage in China and India, where our
manufactures are much more readily sold than what purport to be the
same of British make.

Most of our cotton that is not exported is made up into yarns, threads,
and the coarser goods, such as shirtings, sheetings, drills, print
cloths, bags, and so forth. Yet there are several of our mills,
especially in the North, that turn out the finer fabrics with great
credit to the country. Large quantities of cotton are, of course, used
up in woolen mills, where mixed goods are made, and hosiery mills, felt
factories, and hat works consume it largely. Much cotton also goes into
mattresses and upholstery.

It comes from a boll having three or five cells. This bursts open when
it is ripe. Cotton fiber is either white or yellow, and varies in
length from a little over half an inch to two inches. When gathered
it is separated from its clinging seeds by the cotton gin, and is
then pressed firmly in bales weighing about five hundred pounds each,
although in some countries the customary sizes of bales vary two or
three hundred pounds from this weight.

Of the twenty or more varieties of cotton but two are given much
attention in the United States. These are the famous sea island cotton
and the common, woolly-seed kind. The sea island cotton grows on the
islands off the coast of South Carolina, in Florida, and on the coast
of Texas. The peculiar salt air and humidity of these coasts seem
necessary to its perfection, for when it is planted in the interior
it quickly loses its best qualities and becomes similar to the common
variety. Its fibers are long and silky, and used for the finest laces,
spool cotton, fine muslins, and such goods, but there is so little
of it as compared with the woolly seed cotton that it is but an
insignificant part of our great crop.

Cotton is the only fibre that is naturally produced ready to be worked
directly into cloth without special chemical or mechanical treatment.
It is the great article of comfortable and cheap covering for man's
person. When gathered and baled it is in a knotted and lumpy state,
from which it is rather difficult to extricate the fibers and arrange
them for spinning. As we follow the cotton through the mill we come to
these machines in the following order: It goes to the opener first,
where it is beaten and spread out so that a strong draft of air drives
out much of its impurities; it then goes to the scutcher after being
formed into laps; the lap machine makes it into flat folds; the carding
engine not only cards it but straightens the fiber and gives it another
cleaning; in the drawing frame it is arranged in loose ropes with the
fibers parallel; then the slubbing frame gives it a slight twist; the
intermediate and finishing frames twist it still farther, especially
when preparing it for the higher numbers; the throstle frame prepares
coarse warps; and on the mules, either self-acting or hand, the
coarse or fine yarns are spun. In some systems several operations are
performed by the same machine.

Weaving follows. It consists in passing threads over and under each
other as a stocking is darned, the main difference being that in
darning the needle passes up and down to get over or under the threads
it meets, while in weaving the threads met by the moving thread move
out of the way so the shuttle may pass straight through the whole width
of the cloth. As the shuttle comes back the threads are reversed so
that the ones that were up before are now down and those that were down
are now up. The machine that holds many threads for this work is the
loom.

An English clergyman by the name of Edmund Cartwright has the credit of
inventing the power loom. His description of his labors is interesting.
We copy from one of his letters: "Happening to be in Matlock in the
summer of 1784, I fell in company with two gentlemen of Manchester,
when the conversation turned on Arkwright's spinning machinery. One
of the company observed, that as soon as Arkwright's patent expired,
so many mills would be erected, and so much cotton spun, that hands
never could be found to weave it. To this observation I replied, that
Arkwright must then set his wits to work and invent a weaving mill.
This brought on a conversation on the subject, in which the Manchester
gentlemen unanimously agreed that the thing was impracticable; and, in
defense of their opinion, they adduced arguments which I certainly was
incompetent to answer, or even to comprehend, being totally ignorant
of the subject, having never at that time seen a person weave. I
controverted, however, the impracticability of the thing, by remarking
that there had lately been exhibited an automaton figure which played
at chess."

"Some little time afterward, a particular circumstance recalling this
conversation to my mind, it struck me that, as in plain weaving,
according to the conception I then had of the business, there could
only be three movements, which were to follow each other in succession,
there would be very little difficulty in producing and repeating
them. Full of these ideas, I immediately got a carpenter and smith to
carry them into effect. As soon as the machine was finished I got a
weaver to put in the warp, which was of such material as sail-cloth
is usually made of. To my delight a piece of cloth, such as it was,
was the product. As I had never before turned my thoughts to anything
mechanical, either in theory or practice, nor had ever seen a loom at
work or knew anything of its construction, you will readily suppose
that my first loom must have been a most rude piece of machinery. The
warp was placed perpendicularly, the reed fell with a force of at least
half a hundred weight and the springs which threw the shuttle were
strong enough to have thrown a Congreve rocket.

"In short, it required the strength of two powerful men to work the
machine at a slow rate and only for a short time. Conceiving in my
great simplicity that I had accomplished all that was required, I then
secured what I thought a most valuable property by a patent, 4th of
April, 1785. This being done, I then condescended to see how other
people wove. And you will guess my astonishment when I compared their
easy mode of operation and mine. Availing myself, however, of what
I then saw, I made a loom, in its general principles nearly as they
are now made; but it was not until the year 1787 that I completed my
invention, when I took out my first weaving patent Aug. 1 of that year."

As usual this worthy man, who had won the right to the title he
received, was not the only discoverer or inventor of the thing credited
to his name. Long before his time a description of a similar loom had
been presented to the Royal Society of London, but he had no knowledge
of it. He spent between £30,000 and £40,000 bringing his invention to
a successful stage, but failed to make it profitable to himself. A
small return was made to him later, at the suggestion of the principal
mill-owners of the country, when he received from the government the
sum of £10,000. His work has been much improved in detail since, but it
has never been altered in its main principles.

But with all our arts and marvelous machines the most beautifully fine
cotton fabric is yet the Dacca muslin. It is called "woven wind," and
when spread out upon the grass it is said to resemble gossamer. It used
to be made for the Indian princes before the days when the British took
possession of the country. It was made only in a strip of territory
about forty miles long and three miles in width. With the change in
rulers the weavers largely dropped the work which they and their
ancestors had done for centuries, handing down their art from father
to son; they took to the business of raising indigo, as their soil and
climate were well adapted to its production and the demand was good.

Yet there are some of them weaving at this day, though not in
sufficient numbers to produce the muslin as a regular article of
commerce. A bamboo bow strung with catgut, like a fiddle string, is
used to separate the fiber from the seed. It is carded with a big
fishbone. The distaff is held in the hand and the loom is a very
old-fashioned affair, home-made of bamboo reeds, so simple that a few
shillings will purchase one, though a lifetime will not make one able
to use it.

The weaver chooses a spot under the shade of a large tree, digs a hole
in the dirt for his legs and the lower part of the "geer" and fastens
his balances to some convenient bough overhead. His exceedingly fine
threads will not work well except in such a shady spot and early in
the morning, when there is just the right amount of moisture in the
tropical air. There is no line of hand work in which there is such a
contrast to-day as in the business of making cotton goods. Machinery
has vastly outstripped the hand in quantity of product and accuracy,
yet the old ways prevail in the manipulation of the very finest of web.
Although Whitney's saw gin made a revolution in the industry, yet the
long and delicate fibers of sea-island cotton are separated from the
seed in the old way of passing seed cotton between two rollers which
are going in different directions. The smooth seeds of this cotton
pop away from the fiber quite readily without breaking it. If it were
pulled through Whitney's gin there would be more or less tearing and
breaking. So the great invention does not apply to cleaning the very
finest material. The short wool fibers of common cotton are not so much
hurt by the saw teeth and the amount of work done by the gin makes this
damage of no account.

At the Atlanta Cotton Exposition in 1882 the old and the new were
strikingly contrasted. The mountain people of the South, in many
instances, live after the old fashions of colonial times. They make
homespun cloth which is a revelation to us. Some of these people were
induced to show their work at the exposition, and they were as much
astonished at the apparel of their visitors who gazed upon them and
their strange labor as were the visitors at the work and manners of the
mountaineers.

Two carders operated hand cards, two spinsters ran the spinning-wheels
and one weaver made cloth upon a hand loom. In ten hours these five
people made eight yards of very coarse cloth.




  [Illustration: CINNAMON TEAL.
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE CINNAMON TEAL.

(_Anas cyanoptera._)


Davie says that the geographical distribution of this beautiful teal is
western America, from the Columbia river south to Chili, Patagonia, and
Falkland Islands; east in North America to the Rocky Mountains; casual
in the Mississippi Valley, and accidental in Ohio. It is abundant in
the United States west of the Rocky Mountains, breeding in Colorado,
Utah, Nevada, California, Idaho, and Oregon. Its habits are similar to
those of the blue-wing. Its favorite breeding-places are in fields of
tall grass or clover, not far from water. The eggs range from nine to
thirteen, and the nest is so completely woven of grass, feathers, and
down that it is said the entire structure may be picked up without
its coming apart. Oliver Davie, the well known ornithologist, says
that it gave him pleasure to be able to add this beautiful duck to the
avifauna of Ohio as an accidental visitor. On the 4th of April, 1895, a
fine male of this species was taken at the Licking County reservoir by
William Harlow. On the 6th Mr. Davie skinned and mounted it and it is
now one of the rare Ohio birds in his collection. It proved to be good
eating. This, he says, is the first record of the cinnamon teal ever
having been taken in the state.

The eggs of this species are creamy-white or pale buff, the average
size being 1.88×1.38.




A SCRAP OF PAPER.

ELANORA KINSLEY MARBLE.

    "A bluebird sings on the leafless spray,
      Hey-ho, winter will go!"


He arrived that year very early in the season. It was about the
twelfth of February that I first heard his plaintive note far up in
the maple tree. Could it be Mr. Bluebird, I questioned as I hastened
to the window opera-glass in hand? Yes, there he stood, not too
comfortably dressed I am afraid, in his blue cap, sky-blue overcoat and
russet-brown vest edged with a trimming of feathers soft and white.

There had been a slight fall of snow during the night, and I fancied,
from his pensive note, that he was chiding himself for leaving the
Mississippi Valley, to which he had journeyed at the first touch of
wintry weather in Illinois.

"If it wasn't for the snowdrops, the crocus, the violets, and
daffodils," he was saying in a faint sweet warble, "I'd linger longer
in the South than I do. They, dear little things, never know, down in
their frozen beds, that winter will soon give place to spring till
they hear my voice, and so, no matter how bleak the winds or how gray
the sky, I sing to let them know I have arrived, my presence heralding
the birth of spring and death of winter. It well repays me, I am sure,
when, in March under the warm kisses of the sun their pretty heads
appear above the ground, and, smiling back at him, out they spring
dressed in their new mantles of purple and yellow."

At this moment from the topmost branch of an adjoining maple came a
low, sweet, tremulous note very much indeed like a sigh.

"Ah," said he, surveying the new-comer with flattering attention, "that
is the young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird who nested in Lincoln
Park last summer. For some reason they decided not to go South this
season but remained in Chicago all winter. She strikes me as being a
very pretty young-lady bird, and certainly it will be no more than
friendly upon my part to fly over there and inquire how she and her
family withstood the rigors of a Northern winter."

From Miss Bluebird's demeanor, when he alighted upon a twig beside
her, I concluded she greatly disapproved of his unceremonius approach.
Prettily lifting her wings and lightly trembling upon her perch she
made as if to fly away, but instead only changed her position a
little, coyly turning aside her head while listening to what the young
gentleman had to say.

Encouraged by this Mr. Bluebird's manner became very friendly indeed,
and very soon, reassured by his respectful demeanor and sentiments
uttered in a voice of oh, such touching sweetness, the young-lady bird
unbent, responding at length in a very amiable manner, I noticed, to
her companion's remarks.

The conversation which followed may have been very commonplace or very
bright and sparkling, but as there is always an undercurrent of sadness
in the bluebird's note, and an air of pensiveness expressed in its
actions, one could only conjecture what the tenor of this one might be.

The pair, to my intense satisfaction, the next day met again in the top
of the maple tree exchanging confidences in low, tremulous strains
of surpassing sweetness, uneasily shifting their stations from time
to time, lifting their wings, as is their pretty habit, and trembling
lightly upon their perches as though about to rise and fly away.

The following morning, which was the fourteenth day of February, Mr.
Bluebird's manner when he greeted his new acquaintance appeared to
offend her very much. She was cold and distant, whether from maidenly
coyness or a laudable desire to check his too confident, proprietorship
sort of air, who can say? In no way daunted, that gay bachelor pressed
his suit warmly, picturing in tones of peculiar tenderness the snug
little home they would establish together, what a devoted husband
he would be, attentive, submissive, following her directions in all
things. Miss Bluebird shook her head.

It was all very well, she replied, for him to talk of poetry and
romance, but he knew well enough that upon her would devolve all the
serious cares of life. While he would be very active in hunting for
tenements, submitting, no doubt, to her choice, was it not the custom
of all the Mr. Bluebirds to fly ahead in quest of material, gayly
singing, while their mates selected and carried and builded the nest?
What poetry would there be in life for her, she would like to know,
under such circumstances, and then, when all was done, to sit for hours
and days on the eggs she had laid in order to rear a brood. Oh, no! She
was not ready to give up all the pleasures of life yet, and then--and
then--Miss Bluebird lowered her eyes and stammered something about
being too young to leave her mother.

What argument Mr. Bluebird brought to bear against this latter reason
for rejecting his suit I cannot say, but being a wise bird he only
stifled a laugh behind his foot and continued more warmly to press
it. Again and again he followed her when she took a short flight,
quavering _tru-al-ly_, _tru-al-ly_, no doubt telling her of the many
good qualities of the Mr. Bluebirds, how devoted they were, how they
ever relied upon the good judgment and practical turn of their mates,
never directing, never disputing, but by cheerful song and gesture
encouraging and applauding everything they did. Then, too, unlike some
other husbands that wear feathers, they regularly fed their mates when
sitting upon the nest and did their duty afterward in helping to rear
the young.

As he talked Miss Bluebird's coldness gradually melted till at length
she coyly accepted his invitation to descend and examine a certain
tenement which, hoping for her acceptance, he had the day previous, he
said, been to view.

"We can at least look it over," he said artfully, noticing the
elevation of her bill at the word "acceptance," "though of course it
is too early in the season to occupy it. Mr. Purple Martin lived in it
last year and----"

Miss Bluebird interrupted him, a trifle haughtily, I thought.

"Is the tenement you speak of in a stump, fence hole, or tree cavity?"
she inquired.

"Neither," he hastened to answer; "it is a box erected by the owner of
these premises."

"Ah," said she, graciously, "that is another matter," and very amiably
spread her wings and descended upon the roof of the box in question.

"You see," explained Mr. Bluebird, "the man who put up this dwelling
knew what he was about. He had no intention the sparrows should occupy
it, so he built it without any doorsteps or piazza, as you have no
doubt remarked."

"Really," replied Miss Bluebird, "in my opinion that is a great defect.
A house without doorsteps----"

"Is just what certain families want," interrupted Mr. Bluebird,
smilingly. "Our enemies, the sparrows, cannot fly directly into a nest
hole or box like this, as we can, but must have a perch upon which
first to alight. It is for that reason, my dear, this house was built
without doorsteps. No sparrow families are wanted here."

Miss Bluebird at this juncture thought it proper to be overcome with a
feeling of shyness, and could not be prevailed upon to enter the box.

More than once her companion flew in and returned to her side, singing
praises of its coziness as a place of abode.

"With new furnishings it will do capitally," said he; "we might even
make the Purple Martins' nest do with a little----"

Miss Bluebird's bill at once went up into the air.

"If there is anything I detest," said she, scornfully, "it is old
furniture, especially second-hand beds. If that is the best you have to
offer a prospective bride, Mr. Bluebird, I will bid you good-day," and
the haughty young creature prettily fluttered her wings as if about to
fly off and leave him.

"Do not go," he pleaded; "if this house does not please you I have
others to offer," and Miss Bluebird, moved apparently by his tender
strains, sweetly said _tru-al-ly_ and condescended to fly down and
enter the box.

It was scarcely a minute ere she reappeared, and, flying at once to her
favorite branch in the maple tree, called to him to follow. A scrap
of paper, woven into his nest by the Purple Martin the past season,
fluttered to the ground as she emerged from the box, and while the pair
exchanged vows of love and constancy up in the maple tree, I picked it
up and saw, not without marveling at the sagacity of Mr. Bluebird, who
probably had dragged it into sight, a heart faintly drawn in red ink,
and below it the words:

    "_Thou art my valentine!_"




THE CLAPPER RAIL.

(_Rallus longirostris crepitans._)


This bird, sometimes called the salt-water marsh hen, is found in
great abundance in the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast from New
Jersey southward. It breeds in profusion in the marshes from the
Carolinas to Florida, and has lately been found breeding on the coast
of Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico, Dr. A. K. Fisher having taken an
old bird and two young at Grand Isle in 1886. The clapper rail arrives
on the south-eastern coast of New Jersey about the last of April,
its presence being made known by harsh cries at early dawn and at
sunset. Nest-building is commenced in the latter part of May, and by
the first of June the full complement of eggs is laid, ranging, says
Davie, from six to nine or ten in number, thirteen being the probable
limit. Farther south the bird is known to lay as many as fifteen. On
Cobb's Island, Virginia, the clapper breeds in great numbers, carefully
concealing the nest in high grass. The color of the eggs is pale
buffy-yellow, dotted and spotted with reddish-brown and pale lilac,
with an average size of 1.72 × 1.20, but there is a great variation in
this respect in a large series.

At the nesting-season the rails are the noisiest of birds; their long,
rolling cry is taken up and repeated by each member of the community.
The thin bodies of the birds often measure no more than an inch and
a quarter through the breast. "As thin as a rail" is a well-founded
illustrative expression.

"To get a good look at these birds in their grassy retreats," says
Neltje Blanchan, "is no easy matter. Row a scow over the submerged
grass at high-tide as far as it will go, listen to the skulking
clatterers, and, if near by, plunge from the bow into the muddy meadow,
and you may have the good fortune to flush a bird or two that rises
fluttering just above the sedges, flies a few yards, trailing its legs
behind it, and drops into the grasses again before you can press the
button of your camera. A rarer sight still is to see a clapper rail
running, with head tilted downward and tail upward, in a ludicrous
gait, threading in and out of the grassy maze."

The rail can swim fairly well, but not fast. Its wings are short, but
useful, and it is so swift-footed that dogs chase it in vain.

  [Illustration: CLAPPER RAIL.
                 2/5 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]




THE SWINGING LAMPS OF DAWN.

REV. CHARLES COKE WOODS.


    Anear the threshold of my home
      A wily foe had strayed,
    And on a rose-tree in the loam
      A wondrous thing he made;
    Beneath the cover of the night
      He built a silken gin,
    And at the break of morning light
      Bade all the homeless in.

    Each shining cord was made with skill,
      And woven with such grace,
    That none would dream he meant to kill,
      In such a royal place;
    The beauty of that bright bazar
      No one could ever fear,
    Its mirrors caught the morning star,
      That glistened crystal-clear.

    Its swinging lamps were globes of dew,
      Enkindled by the dawn,
    And when the morning breezes blew
      Across the velvet lawn,
    The shining lamps swung to and fro.
      Enravishing the eye,
    Till garbed in light-robes, all aglow,
      Was every flower and fly.

    But when the lights began to wane,
      As sea-tides slowly ebb,
    I heard the minor notes of pain
      Issuing from a web;
    And as my cautious feet drew nigh,
      I heard the dying song
    Of one deluded, wayward fly
      That watched the lamps too long.




THE LATE DR. ELLIOTT COUES.

C. C. MARBLE.

[Illustration: Sketch of Dr. Coues.]


The subject of this sketch, whose death occurred on Christmas, 1899,
at Baltimore, Md., was one of the few men who have become famous both
in physical and psychical science. He had long been recognized as one
of the leading naturalists of America, and of late years had acquired
equal distinction as a philosopher.

Early in April last Dr. Coues supplied us with the material for a
sketch of his life, to which we are indebted chiefly for what this
article contains. He was born in Portsmouth, N. H., Sept. 9, 1842, and
was the son of Samuel Elliott Coues and Charlotte Haven Ladd Coues. His
father was the author of several scientific treatises which anticipated
some of the more modern views of physics, astronomy, and geology; so
that young Coues would seem to have inherited his bent of mind towards
study and research. The name is of Norman French origin. Dr. Coues'
father was a friend of Franklin Pierce, and early in the presidency
of the latter received from him an appointment in the United States
patent office, which he held nearly to his death in July, 1867. The
family moved to Washington in 1833 and Dr. Coues had always been a
resident of that city, excepting during the years he served in the West
and South as an army officer or engaged in scientific explorations. As
a boy he was educated under Jesuit influences at the seminary now known
as Gonzaga College. In 1857 he entered a Baptist college, now Columbian
University, where he graduated in 1861 in the academic department, and
in 1863 in the medical department of that institution. To the degrees
of A. B., A. M., Ph. D., and M. D., conferred by this college, his
riper scholarship added titles enough to fill a page from learned
societies all over the world.

His taste for natural history developed early in an enthusiastic
devotion to ornithology, and before he graduated he was sent by the
Smithsonian Institution to collect birds in Labrador. Among his
earliest writings are the account of this trip, and a treatise on
the birds of the District of Columbia, both published in 1861, and
both papers secured public recognition in England as well as in this
country, thus making a beginning of his literary reputation.

While yet a medical student, Dr. Coues was enlisted by Secretary
Stanton as medical cadet, U. S. A., and served a year in one of the
hospitals in Washington. On graduating in medicine in 1863, he was
appointed by Surgeon-General Hammond for a year as acting assistant
surgeon U. S. A. and, on coming of age passed a successful examination
for the medical corps of the army. He received his commission in 1864,
and was immediately ordered to duty in Arizona. His early years of
service in that territory, and afterward in North and South Carolina,
were utilized in investigating the natural history of those regions,
respecting which he published various scientific papers. Though he
wrote some professional articles, during his hospital experience,
Dr. Coues seems never to have been much interested in the practice
of medicine and surgery. After about ten years of ordinary military
service as post surgeon in various places he was, in 1873, appointed
naturalist of the U.S. northern boundary commission, which surveyed
the line along the forty-ninth parallel from the Lake of the Woods to
the Rocky mountains. In 1874 he returned to Washington to prepare the
scientific report of his operations. He edited all the publications of
the United States geological and geographical survey of the territories
from 1876 to 1880 and contributed several volumes to the reports of the
survey, notably his "Birds of the Northwest," "Fur Bearing Animals,"
"Birds of the Colorado Valley," and several installments of a universal
Bibliography of Ornithology. The latter work attracted especial
attention in Europe, and Dr. Coues was signally complimented by an
invitation, signed by Darwin, Huxley, Flower, Newton, Sclater, and
about forty other leading British scientists to take up his residence
in London and identify himself with the British Museum.

Dr. Coues also projected and had well under way a "History of North
American Mammals," which was ordered to be printed by act of Congress
when suddenly, at the very height of his scientific researches and
literary labors, he was ordered by the war department to routine
medical duty on the frontier. He obeyed the order and proceeded to
Arizona, but found it, of course, impossible to resume a life he had
long since outgrown. His indignant protests being of no avail, he
returned to Washington and promptly tendered his resignation from the
army in order to continue his scientific career unhampered by red tape.

As an author he is chiefly known by his numerous works on ornithology,
mammalogy, herpetology, bibliography, lexicography, comparative
anatomy, natural philosophy, and psychical research. He was one of the
authors of the Century Dictionary of the English Language, in seven
years contributing 40,000 words and definitions in general biology,
comparative anatomy, and all branches of zoölogy. During the last few
years he contributed several volumes on western history, in all twelve
volumes, and by study and research was enabled to correct many errors.
In 1877 he received the highest technical honor to be attained by an
American scientist in his election to the Academy of National Science
and was for some years the youngest academician. The same year saw
his election to the chair of anatomy of the National Medical College
in Washington, where he had graduated in '63. He then entered upon a
professorship and lectured upon his favorite branch of the medical
sciences for ten years. He appears to have been the first in Washington
to teach human anatomy upon the broadest basis of morphology and upon
the principle of evolution. Nearly all his life Dr. Coues has been
a collaborator of the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, his
name being most frequently mentioned in that connection. Many of the
numberless specimens of natural history he presented to the United
States government were found new to science and several have been named
in compliment to their discoverer.

At the height of his intellectual activity in physical science the
spiritual side of Dr. Coues' nature was awakened. He became interested
in the phenomena of spiritualism, as well as in the speculations of
theosophy. Belonging distinctively to the materialistic school of
thought and skeptical to the last degree by his whole training and
turn of mind, he nevertheless began to feel the inadequacy of formal
orthodox science to deal with the deeper problems of human life and
destiny.

Convinced of the soundness of the main principles of evolution, as
held by his peers in science, he wondered whether these might not be
equally applicable to psychical research, and hence took up the theory
of evolution at the point where Darwin left it, proposing to use it
in explanation of the obscure phenomena of hypnotism, clairvoyance,
telepathy and the like. He visited Europe to see Mme. Blavatsky,
founded and became president of the Gnostic Theosophical Society of
Washington, and later became the perpetual president of the Esoteric
Theosophical Society of America. In 1890 he published an exposé of the
impostures of Blavatsky, and from that time his interest in the cult
gradually ceased.

Most men can do some things well, but nature is seldom so lavish of
her gifts as to produce a genius who does all things equally well. It
is rare to find a man like Dr. Coues, who was capable of incessant
drudgery in the most prosaic technicalities, yet blessed with the
poetic temperament and ardent imagination, able to array the deepest
problems in a sparkling style which fascinated while it convinced. His
literary labors would have killed most men, but to his grasp of mind
nature had kindly joined a strong, healthy body that proved capable of
any demand upon his physical endurance that his intellectual activity
might make. He was tall, well-formed, classic in features, straight
as an arrow, with the air of the scholar without the student's stoop,
betraying no trace of mental weariness--a man with the tastes of a
sybarite and the soul of a poet; to quote from a leading journal, "the
imagination of a Goethe and the research of a Humboldt."

In conversation he was fascinating, possessing much of the personal
magnetism ascribed to James G. Blaine. It was the pleasure of the
writer to have many interviews and to enjoy a somewhat intimate
correspondence with him almost up to the time of his death.




BOBBY'S "COTTON-TAIL."

GRANVILLE OSBORNE.


    I.

    Name's Bobby Wilkins; I'm a-goin' on six years old;
    Aunt Polly says 'at I'm a-gettin' purty pert 'n bold;
    She 'aint er might uv use fer boys 'at's jest er-bout my size;
    If Tabby'n me hev eny fun her "angry pashuns rise," 'n
    When I try ter make some sparks fly out uv Tabby's tail
    Aunt Polly says, "Bad boys like you are sometimes put in jail;"
    But I don't mind her not a bit, an' make jest lots uv noise,
    An' nen she looks so cross an' sez, "Deliver me frum _boys_."


    II.

    My Aunt Polly likes her cat er-nough sight better'n me, 'n'
    Keeps a-coddlin' it 'ith cream 'n' sometimes catnip tea.
    Seen some tracks behin' ther shed, an' nen I sez, sez I,
    "I'll catch yer, Mister Cotton-Tail, to make a rabbit pie;"
    So me'n' Tommy Baker found er empty cracker box;
    Thought we'd hev it big er-nough fer fear he wuz er fox,
    An' nen we propped ther cover up 'n' fixed it 'ith a spring
    'At shut it suddin' 'ith a bang ez tight ez anything.


    III.

    We cut er fresh green carrot top 'n' put it in fer bait,
    Wuz both so sure we'd ketch him 'at we couldn't hardly wait;
    Pounded in some stakes each side 'n' made it good 'n' stout;
    If Mister Cotton-Tail got in he never could get out.
    Tom staid 'ith me till mornin', an' almos' 'fore it wuz light
    We run behin' ther shed 'n' foun' our trap all shet up tight;
    An' nen I shouted, "Got him!" 'n' Tom threw up his hat--
    Blame 'f that ol' rabbit wasn't my Aunt Polly's cat!




"THE COUNTRY, THE COUNTRY!"

FROM A CLUB OF ONE, BY A. P. RUSSELL, L. H. D.[A]


Trees! Think of them! In the United States thirty-six varieties of oak,
thirty-four of pine, nine of fir, five of spruce, four of hemlock,
two of persimmon, twelve of ash, eighteen of willow, nine of poplar,
and I don't know how many of the beautiful beech. I once counted over
thirty different varieties of trees in the space of one acre. And the
leaves--their number, their individuality, their variety of shape and
tint, the acres of space that those of one great tree would cover if
spread out and laid together! In the autumn to watch them fall--how
slowly, how rapidly! Yet they say nobody ever saw one of them let go.
Homer's comparison to the lives of men--how fine! Better than Lucian's
to the bubbles. I remember very well one October day in Ohio. It was
long ago--"in life's morning march, when my bosom was young." (I like
to quote from that poem of Campbell's, it is incomparable of its kind.)
A delightful tramp! Elderberries. (The great Boerhaave held the elder
in such pleasant reverence for the multitude of its virtues, that he
is said to have taken off his hat whenever he passed it.) Grapes.
Haws. Pawpaws. (Nature's custard.) Spicewood. Sassafras. Hickory nuts.
Nearly a primeval forest. Vines reminding one of Brazilian creepers.
Trees that were respectable saplings when Columbus landed. The dead
roots of an iron-wood--so like a monster as to startle. Behemoth I
thought of. "He moveth his tail like a cedar.' Thistle-down. Diffused
like small vices. Every seed hath wings. Here and there a jay, or a
woodpecker. Grape-vines, fantastically running over the tops of tall
bushes, grouping deformities, any one of which, if an artist drew it,
would be called an exaggeration, worse than anything of Doré's. Trees,
swaying and bowing to one another, like stilted clowns in Nature's
afterpiece of the seasons. Trees incorporated, sycamore and elm, maple
and hickory, modifying and partaking each other's nature; resembling
so much as to appear one tree. A jolly gray squirrel, hopping from
limb to limb, like a robin; swinging like an oriole; flying along the
limb like a weaver's shuttle; scared away, at length, by a scudding
cloud of pigeons, just brushing the tallest tree-tops, as if kissing
an annual farewell. Clover. Sorrel. Pennyroyal. A drink of cider from
a bit of broken crockery. ("Does he not drink more sweetly that takes
his beverage in an earthen vessel than he that looks and searches into
his golden chalices for fear of poison, and sleeps in armor, and trusts
nobody, and does not trust God for his safety?") "All is fair--all is
glad--from grass to sun!" Not a "melancholy" day. Keats' poem on Autumn
comes to mind; and Crabbe's

    "Welcome pure thoughts, welcome, ye silent groves;
    These guests, these courts, my soul most dearly loves."

Indian summer. Balzac's comparison to ripe womanhood. The significant
worn walk round the mean man's field; its crooked outline impressively
striking. All in all, a white day. Memory of it supplies these notes.
They might be expanded into an essay. The country, the country!
Though the man who would truly relish and enjoy it must be previously
furnished with a large and various stock of ideas, which he must be
capable of turning over in his own mind, of comparing, varying, and
contemplating upon with pleasure; he must so thoroughly have seen the
world as to cure him of being over fond of it; and he must have so much
good sense and virtue in his own heart as to prevent him from being
disgusted with his own reflections, or uneasy in his own company. Alas!

Footnote:

[A] By permission.




  [Illustration: GOPHER.
                 5/6 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE GOPHER.


The name of gopher, according to Brehm, is applied in some American
localities to various other widely variant rodents. The zoölogists, who
first described the animal, obtained their specimens from Indians, who
had amused themselves by cramming both cheek pouches full of earth,
distending them to such a degree that if the animal had walked the
pouches would have trailed on the earth. These artificially distended
pouches obtained for the gopher its name; the taxidermists who prepared
the dead specimens endeavored to give them what was supposed to be
a life-like appearance by following the practice of the Indians in
distending the cheek pouches, and the artists who delineated the animal
followed the models which were accessible to them, but too truly in
their drawings. Owing to these circumstances, the pictures of gophers
of even recent date represent really monstrous animals, when they
honestly intend to familiarize us with the gopher.

The gopher may be found east of the Rocky Mountains and to the west
of the Mississippi river, between the thirty-fourth and fifty-second
parallel of north latitude. It leads an underground life, digging
tunnels in various directions. Tunnels, of old standing, says Brehm,
are packed hard and firm from constant use. Lateral passages branch
off at intervals. The main chamber is situated under the roots of a
tree at a depth of about four and one-half feet; the entrance tunnel
is sunk down to it with a spiral direction. This chamber is large, is
lined with soft grass, and serves for a nesting and sleeping-place.
The nest in which the young, numbering from five to seven, are born
about the beginning of April, is lined with the hair of the mother. It
is surrounded with circular passages from which the tunnels radiate.
Gesner found that a passage leads from the nest to a larger hole, the
storeroom, which is usually filled with roots, potatoes, nuts, and
seeds. When throwing up the earth the gopher exposes itself to view
as little as possible and immediately after accomplishing its purpose
plunges back into its hole. According to Audubon it appears above
ground to bask in the sun. We have seen it sit at the entrance to its
den with an air of bold indifference to the approach of danger and then
suddenly vanish under ground. Its acute sense of hearing and great
power of scent protect it from surprises.

Audubon kept several gophers in captivity for months, feeding them on
potatoes. Their appetites were voracious, but they would drink neither
water nor milk. They made incessant efforts to regain their liberty
by gnawing through boxes and doors. They constantly dragged clothing
and other similar objects together, utilizing them as bedding, first
gnawing them to pieces. One of them, straying into a boot, instead
of turning back, simply gnawed its way through the tip. The habit of
gnawing was unendurable and Audubon incontinently got rid of them.

The gopher is very destructive to valuable trees and plants, for which
reason man is its most dangerous enemy, the only other foes it has to
fear being water and snakes.

This pretty little rodent is often found in populous neighborhoods.
A few years ago the writer saw one rush into a hole under the root
of a large osage orange bush in Woodlawn, Chicago. Curiosity led him
to watch for the reappearance of the animal, which soon put its head
cautiously above the entrance and eyed the intruder with as much
interest as a weasel will often show under like circumstances. For
several weeks the gopher was visible in the morning hours. We pointed
it out to several persons, each of whom declared it to be a ground
squirrel. There is a great difference in these small animals, but they
are frequently confounded.

The name of gopher is applied in some American localities to various
other rodents.




HANS AND MIZI.

DR. ALBERT SCHNEIDER.


Hans was a little blue-eyed German orphan who had been "adopted" by
a man and wife because they thought they could make good use of him;
but to their chagrin they were disappointed. Hans had been told again
and again that he was an ungrateful, lazy, good for-nothing. This was
also the reason why his master whipped him so frequently. Now Hans was
only nine years old and, of course, he could not know that he was so
thoroughly bad unless he was told and the telling of it accompanied by
cuffs, in order to impress this fact more fully upon his dull brain.

It was really true that Hans was lazy and perhaps queer in many ways.
He disliked hard work, preferring to wander about the fields and
meadows, the ditches, pastures, and the trees of the nearby forest. He
had been discovered lying in the grass watching the fleeting clouds
overhead and listening to the sighing of the wind in the tall grass
and the overshadowing trees. In his imagination the breezes whispered
soothing words, soft and low. He watched the busy bees, the ants, and
the black carrion beetles tugging great loads up hill.

Often he had observed a lady with two children about his age going by
on their way to Sunday-school. With wistful eyes he would watch the
romping of the children and listen to their exclamations of joy as
they played among the flowers. Sometimes the kind lady would beckon to
Hans and talk kindly to him and make him presents. Then little Hans
would cry as though his poor heart would break. He hid the gifts in
a secret nook in the granary which was also his sleeping place and
often he would think of the kind lady and her happy children while the
love-hunger shone in his eyes.

Mizi was only a half-starved, homeless, gray kitten which came to Hans
while he was hoeing in the orchard. The two understood each other at
once, and why should they not? Both were homeless, friendless, and
soulless. Everybody knows that a cat, much less a stray kitten, has no
soul. You may say that Hans was neither a cat nor a kitten, but some
little boys of the neighborhood had sneeringly remarked that he was
a "fraid-cat." Besides, his master had whipped all the spirit out of
him. Therefore he, too, was without a soul. Hans petted Mizi and gave
her some bread-crusts and hid her in the shed to keep her out of sight
of his master. Mizi gained in flesh and became very fond of Hans, and
at times would try to follow him, but Hans would take her back and put
her in a more secure place. Mizi did not know of the cruel master and
in spite of all precautions she finally made her escape and searched
for Hans. She could not find him, so she mewed again and again and
finally succeeded in attracting, not only the attention of Hans but
also that of the master who promptly picked up a stone and hurled it at
Mizi but fortunately missed her. It may be that Mizi was not so easily
frightened as Hans, for in time she tried to get to him even if the
master was near. Poor, ignorant Mizi, she did not know that this show
of friendliness would get Hans into trouble. The master concluded that
Hans was responsible for the presence of Mizi and ordered him to take
her and kill her then and there. In agony and despair Hans ran to Mizi
to frighten her away but she only rubbed her glossy fur against him and
purred gently and only when the frenzied master attempted to grasp her
out of the protecting arms of Hans did she attempt to flee--but too
late! a vicious kick caught her in the side but she managed to escape
under the protecting granary. In the evening Hans went to the shed
and called "Mizi, Mizi," and poor, suffering Mizi dragged herself far
enough so that little Hans might stroke her head. Hans brought some
bread and milk but Mizi only mewed piteously. In the morning Hans found
Mizi stiff and cold near the opening of the shed. Poor Hans, he sobbed
and sobbed and called, "Mizi, Mizi," most piteously but Mizi did not
answer; her sufferings were over.




GEOGRAPHY LESSONS.


It is possible for a pupil to study geography diligently every day
and forget apparently nearly everything he learns. Both geography and
history are studies which may be pursued in such a way that nearly all
that is acquired in any given month is lost in the next month. Those
who are inclined to doubt this have but to test a class where the text
has been the subject of acquisition. Test them on what they learned
a month previously and even those inclined to believe this statement
will be astonished that so little is retained of what once seemed to be
known so well.

Mr. A sweeps his barn with the doors open and the wind blowing against
his work. He works with much energy and some apparent efficiency; but
the wind brings back the chaff to such an extent that there is never
much clear space on his floor. Mr. B takes advantage of the direction
of the wind, and every stroke counts for success and is more than
doubled in effect by the help of the wind. The chaff flies before him
and his floor is clear in a short time.

I have seen a steamer in waters opening upon the Bay of Fundy pouring
out black smoke, beating the water into foam, and apparently making
great progress. But observation of the distant shore proved that she
was actually standing still. The adverse tide was such that she could
not contend with it successfully. So she dropped her anchor and saved
coal and the wear of machinery. Two hours later she swung with her
cable, the anchor was hoisted, and she moved rapidly in the desired
direction without the aid of a pound of steam. In Passamaquoddy bay are
so many islands and channels and such a great fluctuation of tide that
the waters are racing in various directions at all times. Fishermen
study their courses and never tack against the tide. Those who go out
every day do not leave home at the same hour Tuesday as on Monday,
but just fifty minutes later. They do not go and return over the same
courses, for many times the strongest flow of tide does not run where
there was the swiftest ebb. With them the proverb, "The longest way
round is the shortest way home," is often true, and I have heard them
quote those words frequently.

In psychology there are both a wind and a tide. The wind is what the
pupil thinks of the subject--as to its usefulness in his future life.
The tide is his natural interest in the thing for its own sake.

Wind and tide are sometimes both against us, and it is a poor skipper
who lacks the sense to tie up for a short time or take another course
when he finds both set against him.

But there are teachers who battle fiercely against the desires and
interests of their pupils, bound to compel them to learn, making
a tremendous fuss, filling families with tears and tremblings,
threatenings, scoldings, and reviewings--all with no permanent results
of value.

There is a natural interest in children for birds. It is so strong and
absorbing that it amounts to a psychological tide. The things of the
bird-world act upon the child-mind rather instinctively than mentally.
The whole child is active and alert when the subject is such that it
fully interests him. A little effective teaching just at that time
is worth more than hours of perfunctory drudgery over a similar task
presented in the wrong way.

There are birds wherever man lives. They differ in color, form, and
habit according to environment. The pupil who seems to be interested
least in the ordinary things of the text book in geography is the very
one, as a rule, to be caught with the birds and animals of the various
parts of the earth. The pupil who will not retain information about
the products of a country may be induced to consider intelligently
something about the fauna of that country and pass readily to an
interested study of the flora, and from what grows there to what is
shipped from that place.




THE MINK.

(_Putorius vison._)


This soft fur bearing animal has been described by Audubon and Prince
De Wied. Its nearest relatives are very closely allied to the polecat
and differ from it only by a flatter head, larger canine teeth, shorter
legs, the presence of webs between the toes, a longer tail, and a
lustrous fur, consisting of a close, smooth, short hair, resembling
otter fur. Its color is a uniform brown. The fur of the American mink
is much more esteemed than that of the European, as it is softer and of
a more woolly character.

According to Audubon the mink ranks next to the ermine in destructive
capacity, prowling around the farmyard or duck-pond, and its presence
is soon detected by the sudden disappearance of young chickens and
ducklings. Audubon had a personal experience with a mink which made its
home in the stone dam of a small pond near the home of the naturalist.
The pond had been dammed for the benefit of the ducks in the yard, and
in this way afforded the mink hunting-grounds of ample promise. Its
hiding-place had been selected with cunning, very near the house and
still nearer the place where the chickens had to pass on their way
to drink. In front of its hole were two large stones, which served
the mink as a watch tower, from which it could overlook the yard as
well as the pond. It would lie in wait for hours every day and would
carry away chickens and ducks in broad daylight. Audubon found the
mink to be especially plentiful on the banks of the Ohio river, and
there observed it to be of some use in catching mice and rats. But it
was also addicted to poaching and fishing. The naturalist observed it
to swim and dive with the greatest agility and pursue and attack the
quickest of fishes, such as the salmon and trout. It will eat frogs or
lizards, but when food is plentiful it is very fastidious, preying upon
rats, finches and ducks, hares, oysters and other shell fish; in short,
Brehm says it adapts itself to the locality and knows how to profit by
whatever food supplies it may be able to find. When frightened it gives
forth a very fetid odor like the polecat.

The female gives birth to five or six young at about the end of
April. If taken young they get to be very tame and become real pets.
Richardson saw one in the possession of a Canadian lady who used to
carry it about with her in her pocket. It is easily caught in a trap of
any kind, but its tenacity of life renders it difficult to shoot. The
European mink much resembles the American, except that it is somewhat
smaller and its fur is coarser.

Upon a large farm in Michigan visited by the writer this summer ran a
creek where the chickens, when the trough was dry--and dry it usually
was--traveled to get a drink. In the bank of the creek a mink made his
home, and not a week passed that one or more hens did not appear in the
barnyard crippled or mangled in a manner painful to behold--painful,
that is, to the visitor, but not apparently to the farmer, who only
said: "It's that darned mink; some day, when I have time, I'll set a
trap and catch him," and so went coolly on his way, leaving the poor
maimed creatures to drag out a painful existence for days or weeks,
hoping that nature would heal the wounds made by the mink.

Aside from the lack of thrift thus shown by the farmer--for the hens,
when badly mangled, in time succumbed--the inhumane aspect of the case
never seemed to strike him. The cultivation of his fields left no time
for cultivating the finer feelings of the heart.

  [Illustration: MINK.
                 4/11 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]




THE NEW SPORT.

JOHN WINTHROP SCOTT.


In the early days every man and boy knew how to use a gun. It was a
necessity of life. It brought in meat for the family. The regular
business of every holiday was to go to the woods and kill. The free
life of the woods, the pleasure of ranging about for a purpose, and the
excitement attending success in bagging game were among their greater
pleasures.

Now we live in cities mainly. Even the country boy has less regard for
the gun. The game and many of the birds and animals that are not game
have been killed off, so that country boys now wish to give them a
chance for their lives. Probably the worst murderers of songsters and
innocent animals are the ignorant city youths who get only a day or two
in the woods in a year.

Guns have been "improved" to such an extent that whether the gunner
has any skill or not everything in sight can be killed because of the
rapidity of fire and the number of chances for killing. A gun has been
invented which pours a steady stream of rapid fire as long as you hold
the trigger. It was invented for killing men on the battlefield; but
there are other guns nearly as destructive that are used for "sport."

Public schools, Audubon societies, women's clubs, and other humanizing
agencies have so modified the ideas of boys and young men that there
are but few who hunt for sport.

The cheapening of the camera and its perfection for amateur use have
placed a new shooting apparatus in their hands, and many young people
of both sexes are now more or less expert in making exposures and
developing. A shot with a camera is worth more than a shot with a gun.
You have to eat or stuff the unfortunate bird or animal you shoot with
a gun. When it is gone you have nothing to show for your skill.

The shot with a camera gives you a handsome picture with many
thrilling details to relate. If you wish to boast you have the
evidence at hand to corroborate your statement. The pictures last
indefinitely, are easily stored, and may be duplicated at will.

Camera presents last Christmas far outnumbered the guns given. Boys and
girls much prefer the new sport to the old. With the aid of the bicycle
in getting about the country, young people are making trips to the
country with loaded cameras and bringing in much more satisfactory game
than they used to get with guns.

The skill some of them have manifested in getting a focus on some shy
resident of the woods or fields is indeed remarkable. Imitations of
brush heaps are made out of light stuff that may easily be carried
about. These may be placed before the residence of a rabbit or
woodchuck for several days before the attempt is made to get a shot
from beneath. A great deal of caution is sometimes necessary to get
the subject accustomed even to a strange brush heap, so he will act
naturally at the instant the snap is made.

Two young Englishmen made a mock tree-trunk of cloth, painted its
exterior, cut holes in it for observation and for the camera, tricked
it out with vines, spread it out on a light frame so they could set
it up where they chose, and got so many beautiful and scientifically
interesting views that they have written a book that has had a large
sale. It is embellished with half-tone engravings made from their
collections of photographs, and is a most delightful and useful
addition to one's library. It is entitled "Wild Life at Home," and
is published by Cassell & Company of New York. It has met with such
popularity largely because it has appeared just at the time when so
many young people are turning their attention from the killing of birds
and animals to the more pleasing and humane business of catching their
likenesses in their native haunts.

Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, of Washington, a distinguished naturalist, has made
many photographs of wild life in the United States, and embellished
his own works with reproductions of these pictures which are so very
interesting and difficult to secure.

The telephoto lens is a great help in taking the more timid subjects.
Audubon used a telescope to get the most familiar glimpses of these
little inhabitants of the forests long before the dry plate was
invented. What would he not have given to have been the possessor of a
means of taking instantly all the details and attitudes of the wild
birds he loved so well!

The camera is now adding daily to the accurate knowledge we possess of
the things of nature, and every young person should own one and become
familiar with its rare qualities and usefulness. It is very gratifying
to think that sport in the woods now means something superior to the
old bloody work our boys formerly pursued with guns. With a copy of the
book above mentioned a boy is equipped with suggestions and directions
enough to keep him busy and well employed for several seasons.




MOLE CRICKET LODGE.

BERTHA SEAVEY SAUNIER.


Mr. and Mrs. Mole Cricket had folded their hands for the winter. The
busy season was over, for the ground was all hard with the foot tread
of Jack Frost and the snow lay all over the lodge--a solid, warm cover
that squeaked and crunched quite musically when little Boy Will rode
back and forth on it with his sled Dasher.

Shadows lay rather heavily in the lodge. The caverns and galleries
which had been built in warmer times were hung with darkness and all
was still in slumber.

Side by side in the chamber, just under the long, dead grass and the
white snow, with a roof formed of tiny roots and loose earth, lay Mr.
and Mrs. Mole Cricket.

It was the same chamber in which had lain the little white eggs that
the warm sun had hatched, and from it the young crickets had gone out,
already valiant, to burrow their own galleries, and seek their own food.

Slumber had gone on in the chamber for many weeks when, at a sudden
sound, Mr. Cricket moved. We fancy he was cross at being disturbed.
"What's that?" he said.

"Boy Will," answered his wife. "He's digging up the snow to make a snow
man, and shouting."

"He'll make us cold," grumbled Mr. Cricket.

"Then we must go to the cavern."

"But we can't--I'm as stiff as a stick."

"I believe I am, too."

The earth that covered their roof was very sandy and loose, when not
frozen, and as it was, it yielded readily to persistent thumps such
as now fell about it. The snow was soggy--just right for building
purposes--and Boy Will, in his enthusiasm, scraped up a shovelful of
dirt with the last bit of snow that covered the lodge. His sharp eyes
saw something black lying beneath the little dead roots that had in the
summer belonged to his forget-me-nots. He took the shovel--it was his
mother's stove shovel--and carefully pried the dark bundle up, and with
his little red fingers separated it from its wrappings.

"Aha!" he said, and ran into the house. "Look a-here!" he cried as he
ran up to his father's desk. "Well, well!" said his father, looking at
the objects through gold-bowed spectacles, "that's the same sort of
fellow that we teased last summer with a grass blade."

"Tell me," said Boy Will, in wonder, "don't you remember the little
hole in the garden, and when I put in a spear of grass how the fellow
grabbed it with his jaws? I drew him out and there was Sir Mole Cricket
that does so much mischief in the garden."

"Oh yes; and now here are two; but they are dead."

"No, only asleep for the winter. The warm room will revive them but
they may die after all. They will have awakened out of season."

"I wish I could put them back," said Boy Will.

"We will study them a little and then we will see," returned his father
as he took up his penknife and pointed to the folded legs.

"Those big flat fore-legs are what do all the mischief. They are like
strong little hands and have claws on them and they are used for
digging. The main business of Sir Cricket is to burrow and he works
away with these hands of his until he will have made a number of
underground passages. And in his work he will cut off hundreds of new,
tender roots that belong to plants and shrubs. And that's the mischief
of him."

"What do they eat?"

"Why, little bugs; but they are fierce, hungry creatures, and when they
meet a mole cricket that is weak and defenseless they pounce on him and
eat him. They are no respecter of relatives."

"They don't deserve to live!" cried Boy Will, with a stamp.

"But we can give them their chances," returned Mr. Rey. "Now look at
this one. There are two sets of wings. One outside and one inside
like grasshoppers, but much shorter. Here are two delicate feelers,
or antennæ, bent backward, and two at the end of the body. I suppose
those are for the purpose of discovering any danger that might approach
them from behind while they are busy at digging. The jaws are toothed
and horny, and so, all in all, we may put Sir Cricket down in the same
order in which are the katydid, grasshopper, field and house cricket,
cockroach, earwig and so on, which is the order _Orthoptera_. Now come
and show me where you found them."

Boy Will led the way where stood his half-built snow-man, and Mr. Rey
with a stick felt about in the chamber for the opening to another
cavity to the lodge.

"Ah, here it is--a warmer and a better one than the other because it is
deeper," and he slipped the two objects in and stopped the doorway with
earth and snow.

"Well, I declare!" said Mr. Mole Cricket from under his horny skin,
"What do you think of that?"

"Why," said his wife, "they've put us in the cavern where we should
have been in the first place. What a mistake it was to go to sleep in
the nursery! Now we shall be quite safe until spring."

"Well, well, true enough!" returned Sir Mole Cricket. And they both
fell asleep again.




SNOW BIRDS.


This poem, by Louis Honoré Frechette, the laureate of Canada, is very
fine in the original, and holds the same position in French-Canadian
literature that Bryant's "Lines to a Waterfowl" occupies in American
classics. It is one of the poems that won for its author the crown of
the French academy and the Grand Prix Monthyon of 2,000 livres.

    When the rude Equinox, with his cold train
      From our horizons drives accustomed cheer,
      Behold! a thousand winged sprites appear
    And flutter briskly round the frosty plain.
    No seeds are anywhere, save sleety rain,
      No leafage thick against the outlook drear;
      Rough winds to wildly whip them far and near;
    God's heart alone to feel their every pain.
    Dear little travelers through this icy realm,
    Fear not the tempest shall you overwhelm;
      The glad spring buds within your happy song.
    Go, whirl about the avalanche, and be,
    O birds of snow, unharmed, and so teach me:
      Whom God doth guard is stronger than the strong.
                                        --_C. G. B._




VEGETATION IN THE PHILIPPINES.


Much attention has of late been devoted to the Philippines, and as
one result considerable interest has been evinced in their natural
products. In the matter of vegetation they are highly favored. Fruits
grow in great abundance, and the reputation of some of them is already
established abroad, as is the case, for example, with the mango.
Other fruits grown in the islands are the ate (the cinnamon apple of
the French colonists), the mangosteen, the pineapple, the tamarind,
the orange, the lemon, the jack, the jujube, the litchi (regarded by
the Chinese as the king of fruits), the plum, the chico-mamey (the
sapodilla of the West Indies), the bread fruit, and the papaw. The last
named is eaten like a melon, and is valued as a digestive; its juice
furnishes an extract which is used as a medicament under the name of
papaine, or vegetable pepsin. The banana grows abundantly and is a
great boon to the poor people, supplying them with a cheap, delicious,
and exceedingly nutritive food; there are many varieties, ten of which
are in particular highly esteemed.

Plants which are cultivated for industrial purposes include the sugar
cane, of which four varieties are grown--yellow cane, Otaheite cane,
purple or Batavia cane, and striped cane. Of vegetables there are
several pulses used as food by the natives which never appear on the
tables of the European settlers. These include the mango, mentioned
above, and three or four kinds of beans, such as the butingue, the
zabache, the Abra bean, and the Patami bean. These suit the natives
much better than the garbanzos, or chick peas, that are so highly
prized by the Spaniards. Among the tuberous roots valued as food the
sweet potato ranks first, with an annual production of 98,000,000
pounds. The common or white potato, although of inferior quality,
stands next in importance. Then follows the camotengcahoy or manihot
(cassava), the root of which is made edible by the removal of its
poisonous juice in the same way as in the West Indies. After expression
of the juice the pulp forms a sort of coarse-grained flour that is
very nutritious, pleasant to the taste and easy to digest. Besides
these tubers other plants, such as the ubi, the togui and the gabi,
are cultivated in the fields for the sake of their edible roots.
Other edible vegetables include calabashes, melons, watermelons,
cucumbers, carrots, celery, parsley, tomatoes, egg plants, peppers,
capers, cabbages, lettuce, endives, mustard, leeks, onions, asparagus,
and peas. Of the cocoa palms the ordinary cocoanut tree is the most
important, the oil of which is put to many and varied uses. The bamboo
is much valued, the young and tender shoots making a very acceptable
article of food, in the form of salads and other dishes, and the
fibre is used for numerous purposes. Tobacco as a cultivated crop is
generally grown in the same field as maize. Of spices the Philippines
grow cinnamon, nutmegs, pepper, ginger, and majoram. Of medicinal
plants the most familiar are the papaw, already mentioned, and
ipecacuanha.

Among aromatic and ornamental plants may be mentioned magnolias,
camellias, clematis, several kinds of roses, dahlias, ylang-ylang,
papua, jessamine, and many species of orchids and ferns. These,
however, grow wild in such profusion that little care is bestowed upon
their cultivation.--_Gardener's Magazine._




  [Illustration: CARBONS.
                 Bituminous Coal
                 Anthracite Coal
                 Graphite
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD SCIENCES.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

COMMON MINERALS AND VALUABLE ORES.

3.--MINERALS CONTAINING CARBON.

THEO. F. BROOKINS, B. S., Principal Au Sable Forks Union Free School
and Academy, New York.


Among minerals of economic importance carbon minerals hold the unique
position of being at the same time of the most common and the most rare
occurrence. As far as external appearance indicates, a piece of common
coal and the most brilliant diamond are widely separated; with regard
to chemical composition they are closely related. Intermediate between
the coal of the stoke furnace and the "brilliant" of the jewelry
shop is still another well-known form of carbon, the graphite of the
lead pencil. These three substances comprise the far greater part of
carbon-containing minerals.

In so far as our mind's picture of a mineral is that of an aggregation
of crystals of fairly perfect form our consideration of coal as a
mineral is erroneous. We must yield to a broader interpretation of the
essential characteristics of a mineral and modify our idea so as to
include any homogeneous substance (solid, with the single exception of
mercury) of fairly definite chemical composition "occurring in nature
but not of apparent organic origin." Organic substances are those that
are alive or have lived.

Vegetation is, undoubtedly, the origin of all coal, but often much more
than a cursory examination is necessary to prove such origin. In the
less altered coals the vegetable origin is readily proved by the actual
presence of seeds, plant fibers, and other equally apparent organic
remains. A microscopic study is necessary for finding the presence
of woody fiber in the more metamorphosed form. The word metamorphose
comes from the Greek; _meta_ means after or over; _morphe_ is form. A
metamorphosis is a change of form or a forming over.

The history of the discovery of the value of coal as a means of
producing heat and of the development of the coal-mining industry
covers a comparatively recent period. Coal occurs in such quantities
near the surface of the earth's crust and its outcrops are so numerous
that it cannot have failed to attract the attention of the most ancient
of peoples. Indeed, that coal could be used as a fuel is mentioned by
a writer, Theophrastus, who lived 300 years B. C. The ancient Celts of
Britain are reputed to have evidenced knowledge of the industrial value
of coal. It was not until near the middle of the thirteenth century,
however, that coal became so important an economic product as to result
in statutes granting to certain places the privilege of mining it.
After a long period of trial in England the superiority of coal over
other fuels was recognized, and stone coal, as the harder form was
commonly known, came into general use. In America bituminous, or soft
coal, was mined to a slight extent in the latter half of the eighteenth
century. The form now commonly used in house-heating furnaces,
anthracite, for a long time baffled the colonists in their efforts to
make it burn. The knowledge that an anthracite fire is most effective
if not continually poked is said to have been acquired generally by
accident.

Europe and the United States to-day produce practically all the coal of
the world. In Europe, Great Britain, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary,
and Belgium are the main sources of supply. Several important coal
areas exist in our own country, notably that of the New England basin,
with an area of 500 square miles; the Appalachian district, with an
area of 65,000 square miles; the northern area, in Michigan, covering
7,000 square miles; the central area, comprising parts of Illinois,
Indiana and Kentucky, and including 48,000 square miles; the scattered
western area, with a total of 98,000 square miles; the indefinite
Rocky Mountain area, and the Pacific coast region, including parts of
California, Oregon, and Washington. Coal mining is yet an undeveloped
industry in our territorial possessions. Alaska has an abundant supply
of coal, and lesser quantities are found in Cuba and Porto Rico.

Mention has already been made of the two common kinds of coal,
bituminous and anthracite. These two kinds mark different stages in
the transformation from plant organism to mineral product. As the
biologist traces the successive steps in the evolution of an individual
of a species from germ to adult, so the geologist unfolds before us
the wonderful history of a piece of coal from its first appearance
on the earth to the time when it is thrown into our fire grate as
fuel. Coal is the metamorphosed product of vegetable growths, changed
by atmospheric agencies and the internal forces of the earth acting
through a total period of perhaps millions of years. In the remote
past, ages before man had appeared on the earth, the atmosphere or our
globe was highly charged with carbon gases. Vegetation flourished in
luxuriance. Great swamps were common. The ocean alternately covered
and receded from verdure-clothed land areas. Ponds were transformed
to morasses and swamps. In the swamps thus formed, the accumulated
sediment of centuries upon centuries covered alternate layers of
decayed plant organisms, until finally beds of peat were formed.
Great masses above pressed on those underneath; the internal heat of
the earth reached up and transformed the densely packed masses of
peat until the beds became hard and brown, the product of the partial
metamorphism being what we know as lignite, or brown coal. With the
continued action of the forces of metamorphism, the lignite turned
still darker, and as more gases were driven off, became heavier, until
the bituminous stage was reached, which, in turn, was succeeded by the
anthracite stage.

Graphite, or black lead, is a mineral containing not more than five
per cent of impurities, and is generally supposed to have originated
as did mineral coal, and to represent a still more advanced stage of
development. It occurs in various localities both in the vicinity of
coal measures and far removed from them. The chief part of the world's
supply comes from Ceylon, though Germany and the United States produce
quantities of graphite of excellent quality. In the Laurentian rocks of
Canada, and of course with as ancient origin, extensive deposits are
found. This presence of graphite in strata in which as yet no certain
traces of organic life have been found has led some to believe that
this form of carbon mineral may have another than organic origin.

Various uses are served by graphite. The chemist finds it of great
value in making his crucibles; the engineer uses it, finely powdered,
as a lubricant; the housekeeper polishes stoves with it; the
electrician uses it in his arc lights; all civilized nations use it
in the lead of lead pencils. The stem, _grapho_ (to write), on which
so many of our words, as geography, telegraph, graphophone, etc., are
formed, suggests also the origin of the name, graphite. The finest
quality lead pencils are those made from graphite occurring in a state
sufficiently pure to allow the cutting and grinding of pieces to the
size needed. In the case of the medium and poorer grade pencils, the
graphite has first been finely powdered and then pressed into the
requisite shape and size.

The purest form of carbon found in nature is the diamond. The rare
occurrence of diamonds indicates that the essential conditions in
nature for causing the transformation of some less pure form of
carbon into diamond are seldom present. While diamonds have actually
been produced in the laboratory by far-seeing and indefatigable
chemists, yet the cost of such products is so great as to preclude the
possibility of the most precious of gems becoming at all common. The
diamond is the hardest of all known substances, and will scratch any
other mineral across which it may be drawn.

Three localities have successively furnished the main part of the
world's stock of diamonds. A century and a half ago, practically all
the diamonds came from India, where at one time 60,000 persons were
employed in diamond digging. Toward the middle of the eighteenth
century, when the diamondiferous districts of India were becoming
exhausted, the discovery of the precious gem in Brazilian deposits
was made. At present, the supply of diamonds from Brazil has much
diminished, and the diamond fields of South Africa, where is located
the famous Kimberley mine, produce the larger part of the world's
output of diamonds.

Among famous diamonds of the world should be mentioned the Koh-i-noor
of the British crown, which, Hindu legend relates, was worn five
thousand years ago by one of their national heroes. The largest known
diamond, weighing three hundred sixty-seven carats, was found in
Borneo, and is now owned by the Rajah of Matan.




FEBRUARY.


    FEBRUARY,--fortnights two--
    Briefest of the months are you,
    Of the winter's children last.
    Why do you go by so fast?
    Is it not a little strange
    Once in four years you should change,
    That the sun should shine and give
    You another day to live?
    May be this is only done
    Since you are the smallest one;
    So I make the shortest rhyme
    For you, as befits your time:

    You're the baby of the year,
    And to me you're very dear,
    Just because you bring the line,
    "Will you be my Valentine?"
                                        --_Frank Dempster Sherman._

    The snow had begun in the gloaming,
      And busily all the night
    Had been heaping field and highway
      With a silence deep and white.

    Every pine and fir and hemlock
      Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
    And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
      Was ridged inch-deep with pearl.

    From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
      Came Chanticleer's muffled crow,
    The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down,
      And still fluttered down the snow.
                                        --_Lowell._




LICORICE.

(_Glycyrrhiza glabra L._)

DR. ALBERT SCHNEIDER, Northwestern University School of Pharmacy.

    But first he cheweth greyn and _licorys_
    To smellen sweete.--_Miller's Tale, l. 504; Chaucer._


The licorice yielding plant is a perennial herb with a thick
root-stock, having a number of long sparingly branched roots and very
long runners or rhizomes. It belongs to the same family as the peas
and beans (_Leguminosæ_). It has purplish flowers with the irregular
corolla characteristic of the family. The pods are rather small, much
compressed, each with from two to five seeds.

The plant is in all probability a native of the warm parts of the
Mediterranean region. There are several varieties of _G. glabra_, all
of which are more or less extensively cultivated and placed upon the
market.

As to the exact habitat of licorice there is some difference of
opinion. According to some authorities its native home is in the
vicinity of the sea of Azov. Dioscorides was among the first to give a
description of the plant and designated the pontic lands and Kappadonia
of Asia Minor as its home. The Romans named the plant _Glycyrrhiza_.
Celsius, Scribonius Largus, and Plinius described it as _Radix dulcis_,
sweet root, on account of its sweet taste. Galenus, the eminent Roman
physician, made extensive medicinal use of the roots as well as of the
juice. Alexander Trallianus also recommended licorice very highly.
Although this plant enjoyed extensive use during the middle ages it was
apparently not included in the herbal list of Charlemagne, _Karl der
Grosse_. In the 13th century licorice was highly prized in Switzerland
as a remedy for lung troubles. It was similarly used in Wales and
in Denmark. Pietro di Crescenzi of Bologna (1305) was the first to
give a full report of the occurrence and cultivation of licorice.
The Benedictine monks of St. Michaelis cultivated it extensively in
the vicinity of Bamberg. The eminent authority, Flückiger, reports a
peculiar practice by these monks. A new hand in the horticultural work
was initiated by requiring him to dig up a complete root of a licorice
plant with all its branches including the rhizome. This was by no
means an easy task on account of the ramification of the roots and the
extreme length of the rhizome.

Glycyrrhiza is extensively cultivated in Greece, Italy, France, Russia,
Germany, the Danubian Provinces, southern China, northern Africa,
and to some extent in England. In the Italian province of Calabria
licorice is planted with peas and corn. In the course of three years
the roots are collected, the juice expressed and root evaporated to the
proper consistency for shipping. New crops are grown from cuttings of
the rhizomes. There is an excellent quality of licorice grown in the
vicinity of Smyrna. The principal commercial varieties are grown in
Spain, southern Russia, Turkey and Italy. Spanish and Russian licorice
root is dried and shipped in bales or bundles. Spanish licorice root is
unpeeled and occurs in pieces several feet in length. Russian licorice
is usually peeled. Most of the licorice used in the United States is
obtained from Italy, Russia, and Germany. Some of the licorice found
upon the market is quite fragmentary and very dirty. The licorice
raised in England is intended for home consumption and is placed upon
the market in both the fresh and dried state. The fresh roots have an
earthy and somewhat nauseous odor. The peel, or bark, of the roots
contains tannic acid and a resinous oil, both of which are undesirable;
hence the peeled article is usually preferred.

  [Illustration: LICORICE.
                 FROM KOEHLER'S MEDICINAL-PFLANZEN.
                 CHICAGO:
                 A. W. MUMFORD PUBLISHER.]

     DESCRIPTION OF PLATE.--_A_, flowering portion of plant; 1, flower;
     2, 3, 4, parts of the flower; 5, stamens; 6, stigma; 7, ovary; 8,
     fruit; 9, one valve of pod with seeds; 10, 11, 12, different views
     of seed.

The characteristically sweet taste of the licorice roots and rhizomes
is due to glycyrrhizin and some sugar. Glycyrrhizin is a glucoside
which splits up into glucose, a substance closely akin to sugar, and
glycyrretin, a bitter substance. The extract of licorice is prepared
by crushing the fresh roots or rhizomes, then boiling repeatedly in
water, expressing and then condensing the sap in copper kettles until
it is quite hard when cooled. In Calabria the condensed juice, while
still warm and pliable, is rolled into sticks and stamped with the name
of the locality where it was prepared. In those countries where the
fresh roots cannot be obtained the dried roots are crushed and then
treated as above. The licorice sticks prepared in this country usually
have stamped upon them the initials of the manufacturing firm. Much
of the evaporated juice is also placed upon the market in large lumps
or masses. The pure licorice extract, prepared as indicated above, is
a glossy black, very brittle, with a glassy fracture. For shipment it
must be carefully packed to prevent its being broken into small bits.
To reduce the brittleness various substances are added as starch and
gum arabic.

Licorice extract is a highly appreciated sweetmeat but unfortunately
it is often grossly adulterated with dextrin, starch, sugar, and gum
arabic. Many of the licorice drops, etc., contain very little licorice,
but even the poorest article seems to be highly prized by the average
child. Licorice extract in mass is known as licorice paste and is
extensively employed in preparing chewing tobacco and in brewing beer,
to which substances it imparts a peculiar flavor and a dark color.

Licorice extract is a popular remedy for colds and sore throat,
though its curative powers are certainly very slight. Physicians make
extensive use of it to disguise the disagreeable taste of medicines,
such as quinine. It is an ingredient of many cough remedies. The finely
powdered roots are dusted over pills to prevent their adhesion and to
give them consistency.

Licorice roots have the same properties as the extract and may be
similarly used. Many children prefer the dried roots obtained at the
drug store to the stick licorice or the licorice drops. This choice is
in many respects a good one; the roots are at least not adulterated,
but of course only the juice should be swallowed--a precaution which
it is not necessary to emphasize--as the fibrous nature of the wood
makes it difficult to swallow. Even if a little of it is swallowed no
particular harm would be done, as it is not in the least poisonous,
though the fibers may act as an irritant to the stomach.

As already indicated there are several species of _Glycyrrhiza_ of
which the roots and rhizomes are used like those of _G. glabra_, but,
in addition to these there are a number of other plants designated
as licorice. Indian licorice or the wild licorice of India (_Abrus
precatorius_), is a woody twining plant growing quite abundantly in
India; it is sometimes substituted for true licorice. Prickly licorice
(_Glycyrrhiza echinata_) resembles true licorice quite closely. The
wild licorice of America (_Glycyrrhiza lepidota_) is found in the
Northwest. Its roots are quite sweet and often used as a substitute
for true licorice. The European plant known as "rest harrow" (_Ononis
spinosa_), so-called because its tangled roots impede the progress of
the harrow, has roots with an odor and taste resembling licorice. The
roots are extensively employed by the country practitioners of France
and Germany in the treatment of jaundice, dropsy, gout, rheumatism,
toothache, ulcers, and eruptive diseases of the scalp. The name, wild
licorice, also applies to _Galium circaezans_ and _Galium lanceolatum_
on account of the sweetish roots. The wild licorice of Australia is
_Teucrium corymbosum_. Licorice vetch (_Astragalus glycyphyllus_) has
sweet roots. Licorice weed (_Scoparia dulcis_) is a common tropical
plant which also has sweet-tasting roots.




A WINTER WALK IN THE WOODS.

ANNE W. JACKSON.


Last week I had the good fortune to be invited with two other girls to
spend a few days in the country. We hailed the invitation with delight
and accepted it with alacrity, for we all three love to get out into
the woods and fields.

We started on Friday afternoon, going the first part of the journey by
train. The sky was cloudy and the weather mild. We watched the moving
pictures that sped by the car windows as eagerly as children.

After a half-hour's ride we arrived at a little "town" consisting
of the station, one store, one house, one grain elevator, and a
blacksmith's shop. Here our hostess met us with a surrey and pair,
and we were soon driving along at a brisk pace, drinking in the fresh
air and country scenery with pure delight. The person whose power of
enjoyment in little things has become blunted, is greatly to be pitied.
"Ours was as keen as though newly sharpened for the occasion; and
nothing we saw, from the fields, trees, and hedges, to the setting sun,
failed to give us pleasure.

A merry drive of three or four miles brought us to the farm-house,
where we were cordially welcomed.

I should like to tell you about all the fun we had that night, for it
was our hostess' birthday, and there was a surprise party, at which
_we_ were as much surprised as she was. But as it is our walk I'm going
to tell about, I must leave the events of our first evening unrelated.

The next morning we three girls decided to take a walk, as we were
anxious to see what birds there were about. It was a gray day,
threatening rain, and very wild for December.

The moment we set foot out of doors the distant "caw-caw" of the crows
sounded like an invitation in our ears. How I love that sound! It is to
the ear what a dash of color is to the eye.

We took the road to the right, where we saw some woods a quarter of a
mile or more away.

Before we had gone far we heard a medley of bird notes coming from the
fields on our left. We couldn't make out what they were, as they were
some distance away, but I caught a note now and then that sounded like
a fragment of the meadow-lark's song--just a faint reminiscence of it.

After passing two pastures and a cornfield on our left, we came to
a piece of thin timber land. The road, which began to descend here,
had been cut down somewhat, leaving banks more or less steep on
either side. We went along slowly, stopping frequently to examine the
beautiful mosses and lichens which abounded. We had seen no birds, with
the exception of a woodpecker, at close range yet.

Presently we came to a turn in the road which led us up a slight rise
of ground, bordered on both sides by woods. Arrived at the top of this
hillock we loitered about looking at the many interesting thing that
are always to be seen in the woods. All at once we were startled by
a shrill scream, or cry, which sounded like some young animal being
strangled, and behold! an immense hawk flew off over the tree-tops. It
didn't fly very far though, and gave us more of its music at intervals.

The road from this point led down to a small brook spanned by a wooden
bridge. Looking down toward this bridge, a gorgeous sight met our eyes.
A flock of cardinals, half a dozen or more, were flying and sporting
about among the low bushes near one end of it. What a delicious touch
of color for a winter landscape! There were chickadees, too, hopping
about among them in a most neighborly fashion. We watched them closely,
quietly drawing nearer and nearer. Pretty soon they flew into the trees
close by, and from thence deeper into the woods. We saw and heard many
woodpeckers, both the downy and the hairy being very plentiful.

As the place where we had seen the redbirds was such a pretty one,
we were in no haste to leave it, even after they had departed. So we
perched ourselves on top of an old rail fence, and waited for some
birds to come to us and be looked at. We hadn't been there very long
before some tufted titmice came into the trees near us, and delighted
us with their cheery notes and cunning ways. The "caw" of the crows
was quite loud here and, with the added notes of the woodpeckers
and chickadees, made it quite lively. Every once in a while a few
drops of rain would fall. But this only added to the wildness of our
surroundings, and seemed to put us farther away from the rest of the
world.

Though we found our rural perch very enjoyable, we felt obliged to move
on again, however reluctantly. So we crossed the bridge and climbed
the hill beyond. A short walk then brought us to another turn, to the
right, but on the left an open gate into the woods.

We lost no time in turning in here, you may be sure. We found many
more birds inside the woods than we had along the road. Here were
titmice, chickadees, plenty of nut-hatches white-breasted; hairy and
downy woodpeckers, and also a third kind that we were uncertain about.
Its upper parts looked like black and white shepherd's plaid, and
the back of its head and nape were deep red. Its note was a sonorous
_cow-cow-cow-cow-cow_. We heard brown creepers about, and saw many
flocks of juncos.

When we came to the end of the woods we saw a pair of our cardinals
flying about some low brushwood. It was like seeing old friends.

I must not forget to mention the blue-jay, who added his voice and
brilliant color to the pleasure of our walk.

We had entered a cornfield, and as we advanced, flocks of little birds,
mostly juncos, would start up before us and fly into the hedge or next
field, twittering gaily. Twice we heard distinctly the goldfinch's
note; but as the birds all flew up at our approach, we couldn't get
near enough to distinguish them. It seemed very odd to hear this
summery note amidst that wintry scene.

We crossed the cornfield and came to a fence, at right angles,
following which took us in the direction of the road. Just as we
came up to a few scattered trees, part in the field, and part in
the pastures on the other side of the fence, we again heard our
medley chorus of many voices, some of which had reminded us of
the meadow-lark's. The members of the chorus who proved to be the
meadowlarks' cousins, the rusty blackbirds settled in these trees and
gave us a selection in their best style. Some of the solo parts were
really sweet.

After climbing a rail fence we crossed a small pasture and looked in
vain for a gate. Nothing but barbed wire. We finally made our escape
through a pigs' corn-pen, from whence we emerged into another pasture
where the grass was like the softest carpet to our feet. This pasture
had a gate opening onto the road; so we were very soon back again at
the house, with appetites for dinner fully developed.

We saw and heard no less than fourteen different kinds of birds during
our walk. So those who desire to see birds need not despair of finding
them because it is winter. Nature always has plenty of beautiful things
to show us, no matter what the time of year.

My story ought to end here, but I must tell you about the tufted "tits"
we saw next morning. The weather turned very cold that night, and in
the morning a keen wind was blowing, so we didn't think many birds
would be about. But hearing some chickadees in the yard, we ventured
out, and went across the road, where we sat down in the shelter of a
large corncrib.

From here we saw plenty of chickadees, titmice, nut-hatches, and other
woodpeckers busily engaged in hunting their breakfasts. We had a fine
opportunity of studying them with our glasses.

One bold "tit" stole a grain of corn from the crib and carried it off
to the tree in front of us, where he took it in his claw, and proceeded
to pick the choicest morsel out of it. Presently another tufted rogue
flew up and there were some "passages of arms," and a flight into
another tree, and in the midst of the fray, alas! the corn was dropped.




THE SCARLET PAINTED CUP.

PROF. WILLIAM KERR HIGLEY, Secretary of The Chicago Academy of Sciences.

    These children of the meadows, born
    Of sunshine and of showers.
                                        --_Whittier._


The scarlet painted cup belongs to a large and interesting group of
plants known as the figwort family (_Scrophulariaceæ_). The common name
of the family is derived from the reputed value of some of the species
in the cure of ficus or figwort, a disease caused by the growth of a
stalked excrescence on the eyelids, tongue, or other parts of the body
that are covered with a mucous membrane. The technical name is derived
from scrofula, as some of the species are considered efficacious in
the treatment of that disease. This family includes about one hundred
and sixty-five genera and over twenty-five hundred species. They are
common all over the world, reaching from the equator into the regions
of constant frosts. It is claimed by some authorities that fully one
thirty-fifth of all the flowering plants of North America are classed
in this family.

Besides the painted cup there are classed in this group the mullen, the
common toad-flax, the foxglove (_Digitalis_), the gerardias, and the
calceolarias.

The foxglove, though causing death when the extract is taken in excess,
is one of the most highly valued medicinal plants known. Nearly all
the species of the family are herbs, without fragrance. Some of the
species are known to be partially parasitic. True parasites are usually
white or very light colored and contain no green coloring matter,
which is essential when the plant is self-supporting. The parasitic
forms of this family, however, do contain green coloring matter and
are thus not entirely dependent on their host for the preparation of
their food supply. The gerardias (false foxgloves) are frequently found
attached to the roots of oaks, large shrubs, and even on the roots of
grasses. It has also been shown that there is a cannibalistic tendency
in some of the species of gerardia. They will not only fasten their
sucker-like roots on those of other species, but also upon those of
other individuals of the same species, and even upon the root branches
of their own plants. This double parasitism is not rare.

The scarlet painted cup of our illustration (_Castilleja coccinea, L._)
is a native of the eastern half of the United States and the southern
portion of Canada. It prefers the soil of meadows and moist woods and
has been found growing abundantly at an elevation of from three to four
thousand feet.

The generic name was given this plant by Linnæus in honor of a Spanish
botanist. The specific name is from the Latin, meaning scarlet. Nearly
all of the forty species are natives of North and South America.

The flowers are dull yellow in color and are obscured by the rather
large floral leaves or bracts, which are bright scarlet--rarely bright
yellow--in color. These conspicuous leaves are broader toward the apex
and usually about three-cleft. By the novice they are usually mistaken
for the flower, which is hardly noticeable. The stem seldom exceeds
a foot in height and bears a number of leaves that are deeply cut in
narrow segments. The bright color of this plant has given it many local
common names more or less descriptive. Prominent among these is the
Indian paint brush.

A pretty myth tells us that the painted cup was originally yellow, but
that Venus, when lamenting the death of Apollo, pressed a cluster of
the blossoms to her parched lips and drank the dew from the flowers,
the outer leaves of which have ever since retained the color of her
lips.

  [Illustration: YELLOW LADY'S SLIPPER AND PAINTED CUP.
                 BY PER HARRIET E. HIGLEY.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]




THE YOUNG NATURALIST.


SAHARA SEA.--Much of the great desert of Sahara is below the level
of the Atlantic. It is proposed that the water be let in. The space
covered would be big enough to warrant us in speaking of it as an
ocean. There would be islands in it, as there are places that are of
considerable elevation.

So much water would make a difference in climate in all directions from
the present desert. It is thought the vineyards of southern Europe
would be injured, as they are dependent on the dry winds that come
across the Mediterranean from the great desert. The rainfall in at
least one-third of the inhabited parts of the globe would be affected
by this great change in the amount of water on the surface. Ships would
be able to sail to ports at the south of Morocco and Algiers where now
are shifting sands and few people, and new cities would spring into
being far to the south where the new coast line would be formed.

There are other low and barren spots on the earth's surface that are
below sea level. They would form useful basins of water if the proper
canals were dug. A company has been formed to let water into the Yuma
desert in southern California, where 13,000 square miles of land with
no inhabitants, lies below the sea level, some of it as much as 1,000
feet. A great desert in the middle of Australia is also low. If it were
flooded it would make of Australia a great rim of continent reaching
round an immense sea.

One scientist has advocated the making of the Red Sea into a great
fresh water lake by changing the course of the Nile so as to make that
sea its outlet instead of the Mediterranean. By preventing the flow
of salt water from the north through the Suez canal, and building an
embankment at the south, it has been estimated that the Red Sea would
become fresh in the course of time.

The Red Sea project is not at all likely to be carried out, but those
for California and the Sahara may soon be made effective. When the
world of commerce comes to realize what the Sahara Sea will mean for
its enterprise, there will be a lively prospect of much digging and
plenty of fighting over the damages done to existing interests and the
rights of the various European nations to the new seaboard that will be
formed.


FEEDING.--One of the duties of the teamster is to see that his horses
are well fed. Where the team must be on the road at five in the morning
it is the business of the man who feeds them to get up at four to give
them time to eat. Incidentally he rubs them down and gets his own
breakfast in a leisurely manner. An Ohio man has an electric device
which will give the teamster a chance to lie a little longer in the
morning. He has arranged an alarm clock which may be set for any
hour so that instead of striking the hour it will make an electric
connection. This connection lets fall a bag that is placed the night
before over the manger of the horse to be fed at that hour in the
morning. The first sound that greets the ear of the horse is not the
teamster coming to open the stable, but the rattle of oats into his
feed-box, and he has ample time to eat and begin the operation of
digestion before he sees the man who used to be so welcome. Possibly he
will not greet the man so affectionately in the future when his coming
means not food for a hungry stomach but a hard day's work. But those
who know the horse best are inclined to believe that the horse will
always greet his master affectionately in the morning regardless of the
state of his stomach.


RUBBER.--The use of rubber has grown wonderfully in the last ten
years. Every year a rubber famine is predicted, and every year someone
announces that a substitute has been found that is just as good as the
real article. The facts seems to indicate that neither the famine nor
the substitute is really at hand. Rubber plantations are being extended
in Mexico to meet the demands of the growing trade, but the bulk of
our rubber still comes from the Amazon country in South America, and
that country is almost limitless in its supplies of this article. It
is true that the trees along the banks of the rivers have been tapped
until their product is much inferior to what it once was, but this
condition exists only for a distance of two or three miles along the
river banks. There are plenty of magnificent trees standing untouched
a little farther back. All that is needed to get more rubber is to get
more men into these forests gathering it. The real difficulty is to get
the men to do the work. The finest rubber forests remaining near the
river fronts are along the Purus, one of the large rivers flowing into
the Amazon from the south.


SUNSHINE CAUGHT.--For thousands of years men have tried to use the
heat of the sun's rays in the place of fire. It is now claimed that Dr.
William Calver of Washington has finished an invention which will bring
into the space of a few inches all the rays of heat from the sun that
would naturally fall upon one acre of ground. By bringing so many rays
to a focus he gets such a powerful heat that iron and steel melt in it
like icicles.

A magnifying glass or lens of almost any sort held in the sunshine
makes a bright, warm spot. Dr. Calver's machine gets the same effect,
only more powerfully. He has secured a temperature of several thousand
degrees Fahrenheit. To make his machine useful for heating houses and
making steam for factories he has invented a reservoir to store the
heat gathered while the sun is shining, so that it may be used at
night or on dark days. Men of science have been looking for such a
machine for a long time, and if Dr. Calver and his friends are not much
mistaken his invention will be as great a help to civilization as the
harnessing of Niagara Falls for electric work. His laboratory is in the
outskirts of Washington, D. C.




WASHINGTON'S MONUMENT.

GEO. P. MORRIS.


    A monument to Washington?
      A tablet graven with his name?
    Green be the mound it stands upon,
      And everlasting as his fame!

    His glory fills the land--the plain,
      The moor, the mountain and the mart!
    More firm than column, urn or fane,
      His monument--the human heart.

    The Christian, patriot, hero, sage!
      The chief from heaven in mercy sent;
    His deeds are written on the age--
      His country is his monument.

    "The sword of Gideon and the Lord"
      Was mighty in his mighty hand--
    The God who guided he adored,
      And with his blessing freed the land.

    The first in war, the first in peace,
      The first in hearts that freemen own;
    Unparalleled till time shall cease--
      He lives, immortal and alone.

    Yet let the rock-hewn tower rise,
      High to the pathway of the sun,
    And speak to the approving skies
      Our gratitude to Washington.




  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | Transcriber's Note:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant |
  | form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.    |
  |                                                                  |
  | Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Clapper Rail illustration was moved from page 63 to page 62. |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Contents table were added by the transcriber.                |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+





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