Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Summer
Author: Sharp, Dallas Lore, 1870-1929
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Summer" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



    [Illustration: A SUMMER EVENING--NIGHT HERONS (page 54)]


    The Dallas Lore Sharp Nature Series



    SUMMER

    by

    DALLAS LORE SHARP


    AUTHOR OF “THE LAY OF THE LAND,” “THE FACE OF THE FIELDS,”
    “WHERE ROLLS THE OREGON,” “THE FALL OF THE YEAR,”
    “WINTER,” “THE SPRING OF THE YEAR,” ETC.


    ILLUSTRATED BY
    ROBERT BRUCE HORSFALL


    BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
    HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
    The Riverside Press Cambridge


    COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY PERRY MASON COMPANY
    COPYRIGHT, 1913 AND 1914, BY THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY COMPANY
    COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY THE CENTURY COMPANY
    COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO.
    COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY DALLAS LORE SHARP

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


    The Riverside Press
    CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS
    U . S . A


    TO

    ROBERT BRUCE HORSFALL
    THE FRIEND AND ARTIST
    OF THESE FOUR BOOKS



    CONTENTS


    INTRODUCTION                                      ix
       I. THE SUMMER AFIELD                            1
      II. THE WILD ANIMALS AT PLAY                     9
     III. A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO SEE THIS SUMMER      18
      IV. THE COYOTE OF PELICAN POINT                 27
       V. FROM T WHARF TO FRANKLIN FIELD              39
      VI. A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO HEAR THIS SUMMER     46
     VII. THE SEA-BIRDS’ HOME                         57
    VIII. THE MOTHER MURRE                            65
      IX. MOTHER CAREY’S CHICKENS                     79
       X. RIDING THE RIM ROCK                         88
      XI. A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER      100
     XII. THE “CONY”                                 112
          NOTES AND SUGGESTIONS                      123



    ILLUSTRATIONS


    A SUMMER EVENING--BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS        _Frontispiece_
    RED CLOVER AND BUMBLEBEE                                         4
    RED SALAMANDER, OLD AND YOUNG                                    7
    NEWTS                                                            7
    HIPPOPOTAMUS--“IT WAS HIS GAME OF SOLITAIRE”                     9
    THE OTTER AND HIS SLIDE                                         12
    “FOLLOW MY LEADER”                                              14
    BUTTERFLIES AT PLAY--“WHIRLING OVER MT. HOOD’S POINTED PEAK”    16
    RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD AND NEST                              20
    ORCHIDS                                                         22
    YOUNG COWBIRD IN VIREO’S NEST                                   25
    COYOTE--“WHAT A SHOT!”                                          28
    ARGIOPE, THE MEADOW SPIDER                                      44
    CICADA--“DOG-DAYS-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z”                                48
    “THE BATS FLITTING AND WAVERING ABOUT”                          49
    RED-EYED VIREO--“DO YOU BELIEVE IT?”                            52
    TUFTED PUFFINS                                                  59
    BRANDT’S CORMORANT                                              63
    A MOTHER SPIDER WITH HER SACK OF EGGS                           67
    THE FATHER STICKLEBACK ON GUARD                                 68
    CALIFORNIA MURRE--“WITH THREATENING BEAK WATCHED THE TWO MEN
        COME ON”                                                    75
    PETRELS--“SKIMMING THE HEAVING SEA LIKE SWALLOWS”               80
    RIDING THE RIM ROCK--“NECK AND NECK WITH A BIG WHITE STEER”     97
    SASSAFRAS                                                      105
    DEADLY NIGHTSHADE                                              106
    POISON SUMACH                                                  107
    POISON IVY                                                     108
    VIRGINIA CREEPER                                               109
    THE DEADLY MUSHROOMS                                           110
    POKE BERRIES                                                   111
    THE CONY, OR PIKA                                              116



INTRODUCTION


In this fourth and last volume of these outdoor books I have taken you
into the summer fields and, shall I hope? left you there. After all,
what better thing could I do? And as I leave you there, let me say one
last serious word concerning the purpose of such books as these and
the large subject of nature-study in general.

I believe that a child’s interest in outdoor life is a kind of hunger,
as natural as his interest in bread and butter. He cannot live on
bread and butter alone, but he ought not to try to live without them.
He cannot be educated on nature-study alone, but he ought not to be
educated without it. To learn to obey and reason and feel--these are
the triple ends of education, and the greatest of these is to learn to
feel. The teacher’s word for obedience; the arithmetic for reasoning;
and for feeling, for the cultivation of the imagination, for the power
to respond quickly and deeply, give the child the out-of-doors.

“If I could teach my Rugby boys but one thing,” said Dr. Arnold, “that
one thing should be poetry.” Why? Because poetry draws out the
imagination, quickens and refines and deepens the emotions. The first
great source of poetry is Nature. Give the child poetry; and give him
the inspiration of the poem, the teacher of the poet--give him
Nature. Make a poet of the child, who is already a poet born.

How can so essential, so fundamental a need become a mere fad of
education? A child wants first to eat, then to play, then he wants to
know--particularly he wants to know the animals. And he does know an
elephant from a kangaroo long before he knows a Lincoln from a
Napoleon; just so he wants to go to the woods long before he asks to
visit a library.

The study of the ant in the school-yard walk, the leaves on the
school-yard trees, the clouds over the school-house roof, the sights,
sounds, odors coming in at the school-room windows, these are
essential studies for art and letters, to say nothing of life.

And this is the way serious men and women think about it. Captain
Scott, dying in the Antarctic snows, wrote in his last letter to his
wife: “Make our boy interested in natural history if you can. It is
better than games. Keep him in the open air.”

I hope that these four volumes may help to interest you in natural
history, that they may be the means of taking you into the open air of
the fields many times the seasons through.

    DALLAS LORE SHARP.
    MULLEIN HILL, February, 1914.



SUMMER



CHAPTER I

THE SUMMER AFIELD


The word summer, being interpreted, means vacation; and vacation,
being interpreted, means--so many things that I have not space in this
book to name them. Yet how can there be a vacation without mountains,
or seashore, or the fields, or the forests--days out of doors? My
ideal vacation would have to be spent in the open; and this book, the
larger part of it, is the record of one of my summer vacations--the
vacation of the summer of 1912. That was an ideal vacation, and along
with my account of it I wish to give you some hints on how to make the
most of your summer chance to tramp the fields and woods.

For the real lover of nature is a tramp; not the kind of tramp that
walks the railroad-ties and carries his possessions in a tomato-can,
but one who follows the cow-paths to the fields, who treads the
rabbit-roads in the woods, watching the ways of the wild things that
dwell in the tree-tops, and in the deepest burrows under ground.

Do not tell anybody, least of all yourself, that you love the
out-of-doors, unless you have your own path to the woods, your own
cross-cut to the pond, your own particular huckleberry-patch and
fishing-holes and friendships in the fields. The winds, the rain, the
stars, the green grass, even the birds and a multitude of other wild
folk try to meet you more than halfway, try to seek you out even in
the heart of the great city; but the great out-of-doors you must seek,
for it is not in books, nor in houses, nor in cities. It is out at the
end of the car-line or just beyond the back-yard fence, maybe--far
enough away, anyhow, to make it necessary for you to put on your
tramping shoes and with your good stout stick go forth.

You must learn to be a good tramper. You thought you learned how to
walk soon after you got out of the cradle, and perhaps you did, but
most persons only know how to hobble when they get into the unpaved
paths of the woods.

With stout, well-fitting shoes, broad in the toe and heel; light,
stout clothes that will not catch the briers, good bird-glasses, and a
bite of lunch against the noon, swing out on your _legs_; breathe to
the bottom of your lungs; balance your body on your hips, not on your
collar-bones, and, going leisurely, but not slowly (for crawling is
deadly dull), do ten miles up a mountain-side or through the brush;
and if at the end you feel like _eating up_ ten miles more, then you
may know that you can walk, can _tramp_, and are in good shape for the
summer.

In your tramping-kit you need: a pocket-knife; some string; a pair of
field-glasses; a botany-can or fish-basket on your back; and perhaps a
notebook. This is all and more than you need for every tramp. To these
things might be added a light camera. It depends upon what you go for.
I have been afield all my life and have never owned or used a camera.
But there are a good many things that I have never done. A camera may
add a world of interest to your summer, so if you find use for a
camera, don’t fail to make one a part of your tramping outfit.

After all, what you carry on your back or on your feet or in your
hands does not matter half so much as what you carry in your head and
heart--your eye, and spirit, and purpose. For instance, when you go
into the fields have some purpose in your going besides the indefinite
desire to get out of doors.

If you long for the wide sky and the wide winds and the wide slopes of
green, then that is a real and a definite desire. You want to get out,
OUT, OUT, because you have been shut _in_. Very good; for you will get
what you wish, what you go out to get. The point is this: always go
out for something. Never yawn and slouch out to the woods as you might
to the corner grocery store, because you don’t know how else to kill
time.

Go with some purpose; because you wish to visit some particular spot,
see some bird, find some flower, catch some--fish! Anything that takes
you into the open is good--ploughing, hoeing, chopping, fishing,
berrying, botanizing, tramping. The aimless person anywhere is a
failure, and he is sure to get lost in the woods!

It is a good plan to go frequently over the same fields, taking the
beaten path, watching for the familiar things, until you come to know
your haunt as thoroughly as the fox or the rabbit knows his. Don’t be
afraid of using up a particular spot. The more often you visit a place
the richer you will find it to be in interest for you.

Now, do not limit your interest and curiosity to any one kind of life
or to any set of things out of doors. Do not let your likes or your
prejudices interfere with your seeing the whole out-of-doors with all
its manifold life, for it is all interrelated, all related to you, all
of interest and meaning. The clover blossom and the bumblebee that
carries the fertilizing pollen are related; the bumblebee and the
mouse that eats up its grubs are related; and every one knows that
mice and cats are related; thus the clover, the bumblebee, the mouse,
the cat, and, finally, the farmer, are all so interrelated that if the
farmer keeps a cat, the cat will catch the mice, the mice cannot eat
the young bumblebees, the bumblebees can fertilize the clover, and the
clover can make seed. So if the farmer wants clover seed to sow down a
new field with, he must keep a cat.

I think it is well for you to have some one thing in which you are
particularly interested. It may be flowers or birds or shells or
minerals. But as the whole is greater than any of its parts, so a love
and knowledge of nature, of the earth and the sky over your head and
under your feet, with all that lives with you there, is more than a
knowledge of its birds or trees or reptiles.

But be on your guard against the purpose to spread yourselves over too
much. Don’t be thin and superficial. Don’t be satisfied with learning
the long Latin names of things while never watching the ways of the
things that have the names. As they sat on the porch, so the story
goes, the school trustee called attention to a familiar little
orange-colored bug, with black spots on his back, that was crawling on
the floor.

“I s’pose you know what that is?” he said.

“Yes,” replied the applicant, with conviction; “that is a _Coccinella
septempunctata_.”

“Young man,” was the rejoinder, “a feller as don’t know a ladybug when
he sees it can’t get my vote for teacher in this deestrict.”

The “trustee” was right; for what is the use of knowing that the
little ladybug is _Coc-ci-nel’-la sep-tem-punc-ta’-ta_ when you do not
know that she is a ladybug, and that you ought to say to her:--

    “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home;
    Your house is on fire, your children alone”?

Let us say, now, that you are spending your vacation in the edge of
the country within twenty miles of a great city such as Boston. That
might bring you out at Hingham, where I am spending mine. In such an
ordinary place (if any place _is_ ordinary,) what might you expect to
see and watch during the summer?

Sixty species of birds, to begin with! They will keep you busy all
summer. The wild animals, beasts, that you will find depend so very
much upon your locality--woods, waters, rocks, etc.--that it is hard
to say how many they will be. Here in my woods you might come upon
three or four species of mice, three species of squirrels, the mink,
the muskrat, the weasel, the mole, the shrew, the fox, the skunk, the
rabbit, and even a wild deer. Of reptiles and amphibians you would see
several more species than of fur-bearing animals,--six snakes, four
common turtles, two salamanders, frogs, toads, newts,--a wonderfully
interesting group, with a real live rattler among them if you should
go over to the Blue Hills, fifteen miles away.

[Illustration: RED SALAMANDERS, OLD AND YOUNG]

You will go many times into the fields before you can make of the
reptiles your friends and neighbors. But by and by you will watch them
and note their ways with as much interest as you watch the other wild
folk about you. It is a pretty shallow lover of nature who jumps upon
a little snake with both feet, or who shivers when a little salamander
drops out of the leaf-mould at his feet.

[Illustration: NEWTS]

And what shall I say of the fishes? There are a dozen of them in the
stream and ponds within the compass of my haunt. They are a
fascinating family, and one very little watched by the ordinary
tramper. But _you_ are not ordinary. Quiet and patience and much
putting together of scraps of observations will be necessary if you
are to get at the whole story of any fish’s life. The story will be
worth it, however.

No, I shall not even try to _number_ the insects--the butterflies,
beetles, moths, wasps, bees, bugs, ticks, mites, and such small “deer”
as you will find in the round of your summer’s tramp. Nor shall I try
to name the flowers and trees, the ferns and mosses. It is with the
common things that you ought now to become familiar, and one summer is
all too short for the things you ought to see and hear and do in your
vacation out of doors.



CHAPTER II

THE WILD ANIMALS AT PLAY


The watcher of wild animals never gets used to the sight of their
mirthless sport. In all other respects animal play is entirely human.

A great deal of human play is serious--desperately serious on the
football-field, and at the card-table, as when a lonely player is
trying to kill time with solitaire.

I have watched a great ungainly hippopotamus for hours trying to do
the same solemn thing by cuffing a croquet-ball back and forth from
one end of his cage to the other. His keepers told me that without the
plaything the poor caged giant would fret and worry himself to death.
It was his game of solitaire.

In all their games of rivalry the animals are serious as humans, and,
forgetting the fun, often fall to fighting--a sad case, indeed. But
brutes are brutes. We cannot expect anything better of the animals.
Only this morning the whole flock of chickens in the hen-yard started
suddenly on the wild flap to see which would beat to the back fence
and wound up on the “line” in a free fight, two of the cockerels
tearing the feathers from each other in a desperate set-to.

You have seen puppies fall out in the same human fashion, and kittens
also, and older folk as well. I have seen a game of wood-tag among
friendly gray squirrels come to a finish in a fight. As the crows pass
over during the winter afternoon, you will notice their play--racing
each other through the air, diving, swooping, cawing in their fun,
when suddenly some one’s temper snaps, and there is a mix-up in the
air.

They can get angry, but they cannot laugh. I once saw what I thought
was a twinkle of merriment, however, in an elephant’s eye. It was at
the circus several years ago. The keeper had just set down for one of
the elephants a bucket of water which a perspiring youth had brought
in. The big beast sucked it quietly up,--the whole of it,--swung
gently around as if to thank the perspiring boy, then soused him, the
whole bucketful! Everybody roared, and one of the other elephants
joined in with trumpetings, so huge and jolly was the joke.

The elephant who played the trick looked solemn enough, except for a
twitch at the lips and a glint in the eye. There is something of a
smile about every elephant’s lips, to be sure, and fun is so
contagious that one should hesitate to say that he saw an elephant
laugh. But if that elephant didn’t laugh, it was not his fault.

From the elephant to the infusorian, the microscopic animal of a
single cell known as the paramœcium, is a far cry--to the extreme
opposite end of the animal kingdom, worlds apart. Yet I have seen
_Paramœcium caudatum_ at play in a drop of water under a compound
microscope, as I have seen elephants at play in their big bath-tub at
the zoölogical gardens.

Place a drop of stagnant water under your microscope and watch these
atoms of life for yourself. Invisible to the naked eye, they are
easily followed on the slide as they skate and whirl and chase one
another to the boundaries of their playground and back again, first
one of them “it,” then another. They stop to eat, they slow up to
divide their single-celled bodies into two cells, the two cells now
two living creatures where a moment before they were but one, both of
them swimming off immediately to feed and multiply and play.

Play seems to be as natural and as necessary to the wild animals as it
is to human beings. Like us the animals play hardest while young, but
as some human children never outgrow their youth and love of play, so
there are old animals that never grow too fat nor too stiff nor too
stupid to play.

The condition of the body has a great deal to do with the state of the
spirit. The sleek, lithe otter could not possibly grow fat. He keeps
in trim because he cannot help it, perhaps, but however that may be,
he is a very boy for play, and even goes so far as to build himself a
slide or chute for the fun of diving down it into the water. A writer
in one of the magazines tells of an otter in the New York Zoölogical
Park that swam and dived with a round stone balanced on his head.

Building a slide is more than we children used to do, for we had
ready-made for us grandfather’s two big slanting cellar-doors, down
which we slid and slid and slid till the wood was scoured white and
slippery with the sliding. The otter loves to slide. Up he climbs on
the bank, then down he goes--splash--into the stream. Up he climbs
and down he goes--time after time, day after day. There is nothing
like a slide, unless it is a cellar-door.

How much of a necessity to the otter is his play, one would like to
know--what he would give up for it, and how he would do deprived of
it. In the case of Pups, my neighbor’s beautiful young collie, play
seems more needful than food. There are no children, no one, to play
with him there, so that the sight of my small boys sets him almost
frantic.

His efforts to induce a hen or a rooster to play with him are
pathetic. The hen cannot understand. She hasn’t a particle of play in
her anyhow, but Pups cannot get that through his head. He runs rapidly
around her, drops on all fours flat, swings his tail, cocks his ears,
looks appealingly and barks a few little cackle-barks, as nearly
hen-like as he can bark them, then dashes off and whirls back--while
the hen picks up another bug. She never sees Pups. The old white coon
cat is better; but she is usually up the miff-tree. Pups steps on her,
knocks her over, or otherwise offends, especially when he tags her out
into the fields and spoils her hunting. The Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals ought to send some child or puppy out to play
with Pups of a Saturday.

I doubt if among the lower forms of animals play holds any such
prominent place as with the dog and the keen-witted, intelligent
otter. To catch these lower animals at play is a rare experience. One
of our naturalists describes the game of “follow my leader,” as he
watched it played by a school of minnows--a most unusual record, but
not at all hard to believe, for I saw recently, from the bridge in the
Boston Public Garden, a school of goldfish playing at something very
much like it.

This naturalist was lying stretched out upon an old bridge, watching
the minnows through a large crack between the planks, when he saw one
leap out of the water over a small twig floating at the surface.
Instantly another minnow broke the water and flipped over the twig,
followed by another and another, the whole school, as so many sheep,
or so many children, following the leader over the twig.

The love of play seems to be one of the elemental needs of all life
above the plants, and the games of us human children seem to have
been played before the dry land was, when there were only water babies
in the world, for certainly the fish never learned “follow my leader”
from us. Nor did my young bees learn from us their game of “prisoners’
base” which they play almost every summer noontime in front of the
hives. And what is the game the flies play about the cord of the
drop-light in the centre of the kitchen ceiling?

One of the most interesting animal games that I ever saw was played by
a flock of butterflies on the very top of Mount Hood, whose pointed
snow-piled peak looks down from the clouds over the whole vast State
of Oregon.

Mount Hood is an ancient volcano, eleven thousand two hundred
twenty-five feet high. Some seven thousand feet or more up, we came to
“Tie-up Rock”--the place on the climb where the glacier snows lay
before us and we were tied up to one another and all of us fastened by
rope to the guide.

From this point to the peak, it was sheer deep snow. For the last
eighteen hundred feet we clung to a rope that was anchored on the edge
of the crater at the summit, and cut our steps as we climbed.

Once we had gained the peak, we lay down behind a pile of sulphurous
rock, out of the way of the cutting wind, and watched the steam float
up from the crater, with the widest world in view that I ever turned
my eyes upon.

The draft pulled hard about the openings among the rock-piles, but
hardest up a flue, or chimney, that was left in the edge of the
crater-rim where parts of the rock had fallen away.

As we lay at the side of this flue, we soon discovered that
butterflies were hovering about us; no, not hovering, but flying
swiftly up between the rocks from somewhere down the flue. I could
scarcely believe my eyes. What could any living thing be doing
here?--and of all things, butterflies? This was three or four thousand
feet above the last vestige of vegetation, a mere point of volcanic
rock (the jagged edge-piece of an old crater) wrapped in eternal ice
and snow, with sulphurous gases pouring over it, and across it
blowing a wind that would freeze as soon as the sun was out of the
sky.

But here were real butterflies. I caught two or three of them and
found them to be vanessas (_Vanessa californica_), a close relative of
our mourning-cloak butterfly. They were all of one species,
apparently, but what were they doing here?

Scrambling to the top of the piece of rock behind which I had been
resting, I saw that the peak was alive with butterflies, and that they
were flying--over my head, out down over the crater, and out of sight
behind the peak, whence they reappeared, whirling up the flue past me
on the wings of the draft that pulled hard through it, to sail down
over the crater again, and again to be caught by the draft and pulled
up the flue, to their evident delight, up and out over the peak, where
they could again take wings, as boys take their sleds, and so down
again for the fierce upward draft that bore them whirling over Mount
Hood’s pointed peak.

Here they were, thousands of feet above the snow-line, where there was
no sign of vegetation, where the heavy vapors made the air to smell,
where the very next day a wild snowstorm wrapped its frozen folds
about the peak--here they were, butterflies, playing, a host of them,
like so many schoolboys on the first coasting snow!



CHAPTER III

A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO SEE THIS SUMMER


I

The dawn, the breaking dawn! I know nothing lovelier, nothing fresher,
nothing newer, purer, sweeter than a summer dawn. I am just back from
one--from the woods and cornfields wet with dew, the meadows and
streams white with mist, and all the world of paths and fences running
off into luring spaces of wavering, lifting, beckoning horizons where
shrouded forms were moving and hidden voices calling. By noontime the
buzz-saw of the cicada will be ripping the dried old stick of this
August day into splinters and sawdust. No one could imagine that this
midsummer noon at 90° in the shade could have had so Maylike a
beginning.


II

I said in “The Spring of the Year” that you should see a farmer
ploughing, then a few weeks later the field of sprouting corn. Now in
July or August you must see that field in silk and tassel, blade and
stalk standing high over your head.

You might catch the same sight of wealth in a cotton-field, if cotton
is “king” in your section; or in a vast wheat-field, if wheat is your
king; or in a potato-field if you live in Maine--but no, not in a
potato-field. It is all underground in a potato-field. Nor can cotton
in the South, or wheat in the Northwest, give you quite the _depth_
and the ranked and ordered wealth of long, straight lines of tall
corn.

Then to hear a summer rain sweep down upon it and the summer wind run
swiftly through it! You must see a great field of standing corn.


III

Keep out from under all trees, stand away from all tall poles, but get
somewhere in the open and watch a blue-black thunderstorm come up. It
is one of the wonders of summer, one of the shows of the sky, a thing
of terrible beauty that I must confess I cannot look at without dread
and a feeling of awe that rests like a load upon me.

    “All heaven and earth are still--though not in sleep,
    But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
    And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep:--
           *       *       *       *       *
    The sky is changed!--and such a change! Oh night,
    And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
    Yet lovely in your strength. .. .. ..
    .. .. .. .. . Far along,
    From peak to peak the rattling crags among,
    Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
    But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
    And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
    Back to the joyous Alps who call to her aloud.”


IV

But there are many smaller, individual things to be seen this summer,
and among them, notable for many reasons, is a hummingbird’s nest.
“When completed it is scarcely larger than an English walnut and is
usually saddled on a small horizontal limb of a tree or shrub
frequently many feet from the ground. It is composed almost entirely
of soft plant fibers, fragments of spiders’ webs sometimes being used
to hold them in shape. The sides are thickly studded with bits of
lichen, and practiced, indeed, is the eye of the man who can
distinguish it from a knot on the limb.”

This is the smallest of birds’ nests and quite as rare and difficult
to find as any single thing that you can go out to look for. You will
stumble upon one now and then; but not many in a whole lifetime. Let
it be a test of your keen eye--this finding of a little hummer’s nest
with its two white eggs the size of small pea-beans or its two tiny
young that are up and off on their marvelous wings within three weeks
from the time the eggs are laid!


V

Have you read Mr. William L. Finley’s story of the California condor’s
nest? The hummingbird young is out and gone within three weeks; but
the condor young is still in the care of its watchful parents three
months after it is hatched. You ought to watch the slow, guarded youth
of one of the larger hawks or owls during the summer. Such birds build
very early,--before the snow is gone sometimes,--but they are to be
seen feeding their young far into the summer. The wide variety in
bird-life, both in size and habits, will be made very plain to you if
you will watch the nests of two such birds as the hummer and the
vulture or the eagle.


VI

This is the season of flowers. But what among them should you
especially see? Some time ago one of the school-teachers near me
brought in a list of a _dozen_ species of wild orchids, gathered out
of the meadows, bogs, and woods about the neighborhood. Can you do as
well?

Suppose, then, that you try to find as many. They were the pink
lady’s-slipper; the yellow lady’s-slipper; the yellow fringed-orchis
(_Habenaria ciliaris_); the ladies’-tresses, two species; the
rattlesnake-plantain; arethusa, or Indian pink; calopogon, or grass
pink; pogonia, or snake-mouth (_ophioglossoides_ and _verticillata_);
the ragged fringed-orchis; and the showy or spring orchis. Arethusa
and the showy orchis really belong to the spring but the others will
be task enough for you, and one that will give point and purpose to
your wanderings afield this summer.

[Illustration: ORCHIDS

    1. _Arethusa bulbosa_
    2. _Pogonia ophioglossoides_
    3. Pink Lady’s-Slipper
    4. Yellow Lady’s-Slipper
    5. Showy Orchis
]


VII

There are a certain number of moths and butterflies that you should
see and know also. If one could come to know, say, one hundred and
fifty flowers and the moths and butterflies that visit them (for the
flower and its insect pollen-carrier are to be thought of and studied
together), one would have an excellent speaking acquaintance with the
blossoming out-of-doors.

Now, among the butterflies you ought to know the mourning-cloak, or
vanessa; the big red-brown milkweed butterfly; the big yellow tiger
swallowtail; the small yellow cabbage butterfly; the painted beauty;
the red admiral; the common fritillary; the common wood-nymph--but I
have named enough for this summer, in spite of the fact that I have
not named the green-clouded or Troilus butterfly, and Asterias, the
black swallowtail, and the red-spotted purple, and the viceroy.

Among the moths to see are the splendid Promethea, Cecropia,
bullseye, Polyphemus, and Luna, to say nothing of the hummingbird
moth, and the sphinx, or hawk, moths, especially the large
one that feeds as a caterpillar upon the tomato-vines,
_Ma-cros’-i-la-quin-que-mac-u-la’-ta_.


VIII

There is a like list of interesting beetles and other insects, that
play a large part in even _your_ affairs, which you ought to watch
during the summer: the honeybee, the big droning golden bumblebee, the
large white-faced hornet that builds the paper nests in the bushes and
trees, the gall-flies, the ichneumon-flies, the burying beetle, the
tumble-bug beetle, the dragon-fly, the caddis-fly--these are only a
few of a whole world of insect folk about you, whose habits and
life-histories are of utmost importance and of tremendous interest.
You will certainly believe it if you will read the Peckhams’ book
called “Wasps, Social and Solitary,” or the beautiful and fascinating
insect stories by the great French entomologist Fabre. Get also
“Every-day Butterflies,” by Scudder; and “Moths and Butterflies,” by
Miss Dickerson, and “Insect Life,” by Kellogg.


IX

You see I cannot stop with this list of the things. That is the
trouble with summer--there is too much of it while it lasts, too much
variety and abundance of life. One is simply compelled to limit one’s
self to some particular study, and to pick up mere scraps from other
fields.

But, to come back to the larger things of the out-of-doors, you should
see the mist some summer morning very early or some summer evening,
sheeted and still over a winding stream or pond, especially in the
evening when the sun has gone down behind the hill, the flame has
faded from the sky, and over the rim of the circling slopes pours the
soft, cool twilight, with a breeze as soft and cool, and a spirit that
is prayer. For then from out the deep shadows of the wooded shore, out
over the pond, a thin white veil will come creeping--the mist, the
breath of the sleeping water, the soul of the pond!


X

You should see it rain down little toads this summer--_if you can!_
There are persons who claim to have seen it. But I never have. I have
stood on Maurice River Bridge, however, and apparently had them
pelting down upon my feet as the big drops of the July shower struck
the planks--myriads of tiny toads covering the bridge across the
river! Did they rain down? No, they had been hiding in the dirt
between the planks and hopped out to meet the sweet rain and to soak
their little thirsty skins full.


XI

You should see a cowbird’s young in a vireo’s nest and the efforts of
the poor deceived parents to satisfy its insatiable appetite at the
expense of their own young ones’ lives! Such a sight will set you to
thinking.


XII

I shall not tell you what else you should see, for the whole book
could be filled with this one chapter, and then you might lose your
forest in your trees. The individual tree is good to look at--the
mighty wide-limbed hemlock or pine; but so is a whole dark, solemn
forest of hemlocks and pines good to look at. Let us come to the
out-of-doors with our study of the separate, individual plant or
thing; but let us _go on to Nature_, and not stop with the individual
thing.



CHAPTER IV

THE COYOTE OF PELICAN POINT


“We have stopped the plumers,” said the game-warden, “and we are
holding the market-hunters to something like decency; but there’s a
pot-hunter yonder on Pelican Point that I’ve got to do up or lose my
job.”

Pelican Point was the end of a long, narrow peninsula that ran out
into the lake, from the opposite shore, twelve miles across from us.
We were in the Klamath Lake Reservation in southern Oregon, one of the
greatest wild-bird preserves in the world.

Over the point, as we drew near, the big white pelicans were winging,
and among them, as our boat came up to the rocks, rose a colony of
black cormorants. The peninsula is chiefly of volcanic origin,
composed of crumbling rock and lava, and ends in well-stratified
cliffs at the point. Patches of scraggly sagebrush grew here and
there, and out near the cliffs on the sloping lava sides was a field
of golden California poppies.

The gray, dusty ridge in the hot sun, with cliff swallows and
cormorants and the great pouched pelicans as inhabitants, seemed the
last place that a pot-hunter would frequent. What could a pot-hunter
find here? I wondered.

We were pulling the boat up on the sand at a narrow neck in the
peninsula, when the warden touched my arm. “Up there near the sky-line
among the sage! What a shot!”

I was some seconds in making out the head and shoulders of a coyote
that was watching us from the top of the ridge.

“The rascal knows,” went on the warden, “I have no gun; he can smell a
gun clear across the lake. I have tried for three years to get that
fellow. He’s the terror of the whole region, and especially of the
Point; if I don’t get him soon, he’ll clean out the pelican colony.

“Why don’t I shoot him? Poison him? Trap him? I have offered fifty
dollars for his hide. Why don’t I? I’ll show you. Now you watch the
critter as I lead you up the slope toward him.”

We had not taken a dozen steps when I found myself staring hard at the
place where the coyote had been, but not at the coyote, for he was
gone. He had vanished before my eyes. I had not seen him move,
although I had been watching him steadily.

“Queer, isn’t it?” said the warden. “It’s not his particular dodge,
for every old coyote that has been hunted learns to work it; but I
never knew one that had it down so fine as this sinner. There’s next
to nothing here for him to skulk behind. Why, he has given my dog the
slip right here on the bare rock! But I’ll fix him yet.”

I did not have to be persuaded to stay overnight with the warden for
the coyote-hunt the next day. The warden, I found, had fallen in with
a Mr. Harris, a homesteader, who had been something of a professional
coyote-hunter. Harris had just arrived in southern Oregon, and had
brought with him his dogs, a long, graceful greyhound, and his
fighting mate, a powerful Russian wolfhound; both were crack coyote
dogs from down Saskatchewan. He had accepted the warden’s offer of
fifty dollars for the hide of the coyote of Pelican Point, and was now
on his way round the lake.

The outfit appeared late the next day, and consisted of the two dogs,
a horse and buckboard, and a big, empty dry-goods box.

I had hunted possums in the gum swamps of the South with a stick and a
gunny-sack, but this rig, on the rocky, roadless shores of the lake--a
dry-goods box for coyotes!--beat any hunting combination I had ever
seen.

We had pitched the tent on the south shore of the point where the
peninsula joined the mainland, and were finishing our supper, when not
far from us, back on shore, we heard the doleful yowl of the coyote.

We were on our feet in an instant.

“There he is,” said the warden, “lonesome for a little play with your
dogs, Mr. Harris.”

There was still an hour and a half of good light, and Harris untied
his dogs. I had never seen the coyote hunted, and was greatly
interested. Harris, with his dogs close in hand, led us directly away
from where we had heard the coyote bark. Then we stopped and sat down.
At my look of inquiry, Harris smiled.

“Oh, no, we’re not after coyotes to-night, not _that_ coyote, anyhow,”
he said. “You know a coyote is made up of equal parts of curiosity,
cowardice, and craft; and it’s a long hunt unless you can get a lead
on his curiosity. We are not out for _him_. He sees that. In fact,
we’ll amble back now--but we’ll manage to get up along the crest of
that little ridge where he is sitting, so that the dogs can follow him
whichever way he runs. You hunt coyotes wholly by sight, you know.”

The little trick worked perfectly. The coyote, curious to see what we
were doing, had risen to his feet, and stood, plainly outlined against
the sky. He was entirely unsuspecting, and as we approached, only
edged and backed, more apparently to get a sight of the dogs behind us
than through any fear.

Suddenly Harris stepped from before the dogs, pointed them toward the
coyote, and slipped their leashes. The hounds were trained to the
work. There was just an instant’s pause, a quick yelp, then two
doubling, reaching forms ahead of us, with a little line of dust
between.

The coyote saw them coming, and started to run, not hurriedly,
however, for he had had many a run before. He was not afraid, and kept
looking behind to see what manner of dog was after him this time.

But he was not long in making up his mind that this was an entirely
new kind, for in less than three minutes the hounds had halved the
distance that separated him from them. At first, the big wolfhound was
in the lead. Then, as if it had taken him till this time to find all
four of his long legs, the greyhound pulled himself together, and in a
burst of speed that was astonishing, passed his heavier companion.

We raced along the ridge to see the finish. But the coyote ahead of
the dogs was no novice. He knew the game perfectly. He saw the gap
closing behind him. Had he been young, he would have been seized by
fear; would have darted right and left, mouthing and snapping in
abject terror. Instead of that, he dug his nails into the shore, and
with all his wits about him, sped for the desert. The greyhound was
close behind him.

I held my breath. Harris, I think, would have taken his fifty dollars
then and there! And the warden would have handed it to him, despite
his past experience with the beast; but suddenly the coyote headed
straight off for a low manzanita bush that stood up amid the scraggly
sagebrush back from the shore.

The hunt was now going directly from us, with the dust and the
wolfhound behind, following the line in front. The gap between the
greyhound and the coyote seemed to have closed, and when the hound
took the low manzanita with a bound that was half-somersault, Harris
exclaimed, “He’s nailed him!” and we ran ahead to see the wolfhound
complete the job.

The wolfhound, however, kept right on across the desert; the greyhound
lagged uncertainly far behind; in the lead, ahead of the big grizzled
wolfhound, bobbed the form of a fleeing jack-rabbit!

The look of astonishment and then of disgust on Harris’s face was
amusing to see. The warden may have been disappointed, but he did not
take any pains to repress a chuckle.

Harris said nothing. He was searching the stunted sagebrush off to the
left of us. We followed his eyes, and he and the warden, both
experienced plainsmen, picked out the skulking, shadowy shape of the
coyote, as the creature, with belly to the ground, slunk off out of
sight.

It was too late for any further attempt that night.

“An old stager, sure,” Harris commented, as we returned to camp.
“Knows a trick or two for every one of mine. But I’ll fix him.”

Nothing was seen of the coyote all the early part of the next day, and
no effort was made to find him; but toward the middle of the
afternoon, Harris hitched up the bronco, and, unpacking a flat package
in the bottom of the buckboard, showed us a large glass window, which
he fitted as a door into one end of the big dry-goods box. Then into
the glass-ended box he put the two hounds.

“Now, gentlemen,” he said, “I’m going to invite you to take a
sight-seeing trip on this auto out into the sagebrush. Incidentally,
if you chance to see a coyote, don’t mention it.”

If all the coyotes, jack-rabbits, gophers, and pelicans of the
territory had come out to see us thump and bump over the dry, uneven
desert, I should not have been surprised; and so, on coming back to
camp, it was with no wonder at all that I discovered the coyote, out
on the point, staring at us from across the neck of the peninsula.
Nothing like this had happened on his side of the lake before.

Harris saw him instantly, and was quick to recognize our advantage. We
had the coyote cornered--out on the long, narrow peninsula, where the
dogs must run him down. The wily creature had so far forgotten himself
as to get caught between us and the ridge along shore, and, partly in
curiosity, had kept running ahead and stopping to look at us, until
now he was past the place where he could skulk back without our seeing
him, into the open plain.

Even yet all depended upon our getting so close to him that the dogs
could keep him constantly in sight. The crumbling ledges at the end of
the point were full of holes and crevices into which the beast could
dodge.

We were not close enough, however. With one of us watching the coyote,
should he happen to run, Harris turned the bronco slowly round until
the glass end of the box in the back of the buckboard was pointing
directly at the creature. There was a scramble of feet inside the box.
The dogs had sighted the beast. Then Harris started as if to drive
away, the coyote watching us all the time.

Instead of driving off, he made a circle, and coming back slowly
toward the coyote, gained the top of a little knoll. Had the coyote
seen the dogs in the box, he would have vanished instantly; but the
box interested and puzzled him.

He stood looking with all his eyes as the procession turned, and once
more the glass end of the box was pointed directly toward him. The
dogs evidently knew what was expected of them. They were silent, but
ready. Suddenly, without stopping the pony, Harris pulled open the
glass door, and yelled, “Go!”

And go they did. I never saw hundred-yard runners leap from the mark
as those two hounds leaped from that box. The coyote, in his
astonishment, actually turned a back handspring and started for the
point.

The dogs were hardly two hundred yards behind him, and were making
short work of the space between. It seemed hardly fair, and I must say
that I felt something like sympathy for the under dog, wild dog though
he was; the odds against him were so great.

But the coyote knew his track thoroughly, and was taking advantage of
the rough, loose, shelving ground. For the farther out toward the end
of the point they ran, the narrower, rockier, and steeper grew the
peninsula, the more difficult and dangerous the footing.

The coyote slanted along the side of the ridge, and took a sloping
slab of rock ahead of him with a slow side-step and a climb that
brought the dogs close up behind him. They took the rock at a leap,
slid halfway across, and scrambling, rolled several yards down the
slope--and lost all the gain they had made.

Things began to even up. The chase began to be interesting. Here
judgment was called for, as well as speed. The cliff swallows swarmed
out of their nests under the overhanging rocks; the black cormorants
and great-winged pelicans saw their old enemy coming, and rose,
flapping, over the water; the circling gulls dropped low between the
runners; their strange clangor and the stranger tropical shapes thick
in the air gave the scene a wildness altogether new to me.

On fled the coyote; on bounded the dogs. He would never escape!
Nothing without wings could ever do it! Mere feet could never stand
such a test! The chances that pursued and pursuers took--the
leaps--the landings! The whole slope seemed rolling with stones,
started by the feet of the runners.

They were nearing the high, rough rocks of the tip of the point.
Between them and the ledges of the point, and reaching from the edge
of the water nearly to the top of the ridge, lay the steep golden
garden of California poppies, blooming in the dry lava soil that had
crumbled and drifted down on the rocky side.

The coyote veered, and dashed down toward the middle of the poppies;
the hounds hit the bed two jumps behind. There was a cloud of dust,
and in it we saw an avalanche of dogs ploughing a wide furrow through
the flowers nearly down to the water. Climbing slowly out near the
upper edge of the bed was the coyote, again with a good margin of
lead.

But the beast was at the end of the point, and nearing the end of his
race. Had we been out of the way, he might have turned and yet given
the dogs the slip--for behind us lay the open desert.

Straight toward the rocks he headed, with the hounds laboring up the
slope after him. He was running to the very edge of the point, as if
he were intending to leap off the cliff to death in the lake below,
and I saw Harris’s face tighten as his hounds topped the ridge, and
senselessly tore on toward the same fearful edge. But the race was not
done yet. The coyote hesitated, turned down the ledges on the south
slope, and leaping in among the cormorant nests, started back toward
us.

He was surer on his feet than were the hounds, but this hesitation on
the point had cost him several yards. The hounds would pick him up in
the little cove of smooth, hard sand that lay, encircled by rough
rocks, just ahead, unless--no, he must cross the cove, he must take
the stretch. He was taking it--knowingly, too, and with a burst of
power that he had not shown upon the slopes. He was flinging away his
last reserve.

The hounds were nearly across; the coyote was within fifty feet of the
boulders, when the greyhound, lowering his long, flat head, lunged for
the spine of his quarry.

The coyote heard him coming, spun on his fore feet, offering his fangs
to those of his foe, and threw himself backward just as the jaws of
the wolfhound clashed at him and flecked his throat with foam.

The two great dogs collided and bounded wide apart, startling a jack
rabbit that dived between them into a hole among the rocks. The
coyote, on his feet in an instant, caught the motion of the rabbit,
and like his shadow, leaped into the air after him for the hole.

He was as quick as thought, quicker than either of the hounds. He
sprang high over them,--safely over them, we thought,--when, in
mid-air, at the turn of the dive, he twisted, heeled half-over, and
landed hard against the side of the hole; and the wolfhound pulled him
down.

It was over; but there was something strange, almost unfair, it
seemed, about the finish.

Before we got down to the cove both of the dogs had slunk back,
cowering from the dead coyote. Then there came to us the buzz of a
rattlesnake--a huge, angry reptile that lay coiled in the mouth of the
hole. The rabbit had struck and roused the snake. The coyote in his
leap had caught the warning whir, but caught it too late to clear both
snake and hounds. His twist in the air to clear the snake had cost him
his life. So close is the race in the desert world.



CHAPTER V

FROM T WHARF TO FRANKLIN FIELD


Over and over I read the list of saints and martyrs on the wall across
the street, thinking dully how men used to suffer for their religion,
and how, nowadays, they suffer for their teeth. For I was reclining in
a dentist’s chair, blinking through the window at the Boston Public
Library, seeing nothing, however, nothing but the tiles on the roof,
and the names of Luther, Wesley, Wycliffe, graven on the granite wall,
while the dentist burred inside of my cranium and bored down to my
toes for nerves. So, at least, it seemed.

By and by my gaze wandered blankly off to the square patch of sky in
sight above the roof. A black cloud was driving past in the wind away
up there. Suddenly a white fleck swept into the cloud, careened,
spread two wide wings against it, and rounded a circle. Then another
and another, until eight herring gulls were soaring white against the
sullen cloud in that little square of sky high over the roofs of
Boston.

Was this the heart of a vast city? Could I be in a dentist’s chair?
There was no doubt about the chair; but how quickly the red-green roof
of the Library became the top of some great cliff; the droning noise
of traffic in the streets, the wash of waves against the rocks; and
yonder on the storm-stained sky those wheeling wings, how like the
winds of the ocean, and the raucous voices, how they seemed to fill
all the city with the sweep and the sound of the sea!

Boston, Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco--do
you live in any one of them or in any other city? If you do, then you
have a surprisingly good chance to watch the ways of wild things and
even to come near to the heart of Nature. Not so good a chance, to be
sure, as in the country; but the city is by no means so lacking in
wild life or so shunned by the face of Nature as we commonly believe.

All great cities are alike, all of them very different, too, in
details; Boston’s streets, for instance, being crookeder than most,
but like them all, reaching out for many a mile before they turn into
country roads and lanes with borders of quiet and wide green fields.

But Boston has the wide waters of the Harbor and the Charles River
Basin. And it also has T Wharf! They did not throw the tea overboard
there, back in Revolutionary days, as you may be told, but T Wharf is
famous, nevertheless, famous for fish!

Fish? Swordfish and red snappers, scup, shad, squid, squeteague,
sharks, skates, smelts, sculpins, sturgeon, scallops, halibut,
haddock, hake--to say nothing of mackerel, cod, and countless freak
things caught by trawl and seine all the way from Boston Harbor to the
Grand Banks! I have many a time sat on T Wharf and caught short, flat
flounders with my line. It is almost as good as a trip to the Georges
in the “We’re Here” to visit T Wharf; and then to walk slowly up
through Quincy Market. Surely no single walk in the woods will yield a
tithe of the life to be found here, and found only here for us,
brought as the fish and game and fruits have been from the ends of the
earth and the depths of the sea.

There is no reason why city children should not know a great deal
about animal life, nor why the teachers in city schools should feel
that nature study is impossible for them. For, leaving the wharf with
its fish and gulls and fleet of schooners, you come up four or five
blocks to old King’s Chapel Burying-Ground where the Boston sparrows
roost. Boston is full of interesting sights, but none more interesting
to the bird-lover than this sparrow-roost. The great bird rocks in the
Pacific, described in another chapter of this book, are larger, to be
sure, yet hardly more clamorous when, in the dusk, the sparrow clans
begin to gather; nor hardly wilder than this city roost when the night
lengthens, and the quiet creeps down the alleys and along the empty
streets, and the sea winds stop on the corners, and the lamps, like
low-hung stars, light up the sleeping birds till their shadows waver
large upon the stark walls about the old graveyard that break far
overhead as rim rock breaks on the desert sky.

Now shift the scene to an early summer morning on Boston Common, two
blocks farther up, and on to the Public Garden across Charles Street.
There are more wild birds to be seen in the Garden on a May morning
than there are here in the woods of Hingham, and the summer still
finds some of them about the shrubs and pond. And it is an easy place
in which to watch them. One of our bird-students has found over a
hundred species in the Garden. Can any one say that the city offers a
poor chance for nature-study?

This is the story of every great city park. My friend Professor
Herbert E. Walter found nearly one hundred and fifty species of birds
in Lincoln Park, Chicago. And have you ever read Mr. Bradford Torrey’s
delightful essay called “Birds on Boston Common”?

Then there are the squirrels and the trees on the Common; the flowers,
bees, butterflies, and even the schools of goldfish, in the pond of
the Garden--enough of life, insect-life, plant-life, bird-life,
fish-life, for more than a summer of lessons.

Nor is this all. One block beyond the Garden stands the Natural
History Museum, crowded with mounted specimens of birds and beasts,
reptiles, fishes, and shells beyond number--more than you can study,
perhaps. You city folk, instead of having too little, have altogether
too much of too many things. But such a museum is always a suggestive
place for one who loves the out-of-doors. And the more one knows of
nature, the more one gets out of the museum. You can carry there, and
often answer, the questions that come to you in your tramps afield, in
your visits to the Garden, and in your reading of books. Then add to
this the great Agassiz Museum at Harvard University, and the Aquarium
at South Boston, and the Zoölogical Gardens at Franklin Park, and the
Arnold Arboretum--all of these with their multitude of mounted
specimens and their living forms for _you_! For me also; and in from
the country I come, very often, to study natural history in the city.

What is true of Boston is true of every city in some degree. The sun
and the moon and stars shine upon the city as upon the country, and
during my years of city life (I lived in the very heart of Boston) it
was my habit to climb to my roof, above the din and glare of the
crowded street, and here among the chimney-pots to lie down upon my
back, the city far below me, and overhead the blue sky, the Milky Way,
the constellations, or the moon, swinging--

    “Through the heaven’s wide pathless way,
    And oft, as if her head she bowed
    Stooping through a fleecy cloud.”

Here, too, I have watched the gulls that sail over the Harbor,
especially in the winter. From this outlook I have seen the winging
geese pass over, and heard the faint calls of other migrating flocks,
voices that were all the more mysterious for their falling through the
muffling hum that rises from the streets and spreads over the wide
roof of the city as a soft night wind over the peaked roofs of a
forest of firs.

[Illustration: ARGIOPE, THE MEADOW SPIDER]

Strangely enough here on the roof I have watched the only nighthawks
that I have ever found in Massachusetts. This is surely the last place
you would expect to find such wild, spooky, dusk-loving creatures as
nighthawks. Yet here, on the tarred and pebbled roofs, here among the
whirling, squeaking, smoking chimney-pots, here above the crowded,
noisy streets, these birds built their nests,--laid their eggs,
rather, for they build no nests,--reared their young, and in the long
summer twilight rose and fell through the smoky air, uttering their
peevish cries and making their ghostly booming sounds with their
high-diving, just as if they were out over the darkening swales along
some gloomy swamp-edge.

For many weeks I had a big tame spider in the corner of my study there
in that city flat, and I have yet to read an account of all the
species of spiders to be found dwelling within the walls of any great
city. Even Argiope of the meadows is doubtless found in the Fens. Not
far away from my flat, down near the North Station, one of my friends
on the roof of his flat kept several hives of bees. They fed on the
flowers of the Garden, on those in dooryards, and on the
honey-yielding lindens which stand here and there throughout the city.
Pigeons and sparrows built their nests within sight of my windows; and
by going early to the roof I could see the sun rise, and in the
evening I could watch it go down behind the hills of Belmont as now I
watch it from my lookout here on Mullein Hill.

One is never far from the sky, nor from the earth, nor from the free,
wild winds, nor from the wilder night that covers city and sea and
forest with its quiet, and fills them all with lurking shadows that
never shall be tamed.



CHAPTER VI

A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO HEAR THIS SUMMER


I

The fullness, the flood, of life has come, and, contrary to one’s
expectations, a marked silence has settled down over the waving fields
and the cool deep woods. I am writing these lines in the lamplight,
with all the windows and doors open to the dark July night. The summer
winds are moving in the trees. A cricket and a few small green
grasshoppers are chirping in the grass; but nothing louder is near at
hand. And nothing louder is far off, except the cry of the
whip-poor-will in the wood road. But him you hear in the spring and
autumn as well as in the summer. Ah, listen! My tree-toad in the
grapevine over the bulkhead door!

This is a voice you must hear--on cloudy summer days, toward twilight,
and well into the evening. Do you know what it is to feel lonely? If
you do, I think, then, that you know how the soft, far-off, eerie cry
of the tree-toad sounds. He is prophesying rain, the almanac people
think, but I think it is only the sound of rain in his voice, summer
rain after a long drouth, cooling, reviving, soothing rain, with just
a patter of something in it that I cannot describe, something that I
used to hear on the shingles of the garret over the rafters where the
bunches of horehound and catnip and pennyroyal hung.


II

You ought to hear the lively clatter of a mowing-machine. It is hot
out of doors; the roads are beginning to look dusty; the insects are
tuning up in the grass, and, like their chorus all together, and
marching round and round the meadow, moves the mower’s whirring blade.
I love the sound. Haying is hard, sweet work. The farmer who does not
love his haying ought to be made to keep a country store and sell
kerosene oil and lumps of dead salt pork out of a barrel. He could not
appreciate a live, friendly pig.

Down the long swath sing the knives, the cogs click above the square
corners, and the big, loud thing sings on again,--the song of
“first-fruits,” the first great ingathering of the season,--a song to
touch the heart with joy and sweet solemnity.


III

You ought to hear the Katydids--two of them on the trees outside your
window. They are not saying “Katy did,” nor singing “Katy did”; they
are fiddling “Katy did,” “Katy didn’t”--by rasping the fore wings.

Is the sound “Katy” or “Katy did”? or what is said? Count the notes.
Are they at the rate of two hundred per minute? Watch the
instrumentalist--till you make sure it is the male who is wooing Katy
with his persistent guitar. The male has no long ovipositors.


IV

Another instrumentalist to hear is the big cicada or “harvest-fly.”
There is no more characteristic sound of all the summer than his big,
quick, startling whirr--a minute mowing-machine up on the limb
overhead! Not so minute either, for the creature is fully two inches
long, with bulging eyes and a click to his wings when he flies that
can be heard a hundred feet away! “Dog-days-z-z-z-z-z-z-z” is the song
he sings to me.

[Illustration: “FLITTING AND WAVERING ABOUT”]


V

This is the season of small sounds. As a test of the keenness of your
ears go out at night into some open glade in the woods or by the side
of some pond and listen for the squeaking of the bats flitting and
wavering above in the uncertain light over your head. You will need a
stirless midsummer dusk; and if you can hear the thin, fine squeak as
the creature dives near your head, you may be sure your ears are
almost as keen as those of the fox. The sound is not audible to most
human ears.


VI

Another set of small sounds characteristic of midsummer is the
twittering of the flocking swallows in the cornfields and upon the
telegraph-wires. This summer I have had long lines of the young birds
and their parents from the old barn below the hill strung on the wires
from the house across the lawn. Here they preen while some of the old
birds hawk for flies, the whole line of them breaking into a soft
little twitter each time a newcomer alights among them. One swallow
does not make a summer, but your electric light wires sagging with
them is the very soul of the summer.


VII

In the deep, still woods you will hear the soft call of the robin--a
low, pensive, plaintive note unlike its spring cry or the
after-shower song. It is as if the voice of the slumberous woods were
speaking--without alarm, reproach, or welcome either. It is an
invitation to stretch yourself on the deep moss and let the warm
shadows of the summer woods steal over you with sleep.

[Illustration: THE RED-EYED VIREO]

And this, too, is a thing to learn. Doing something, hearing
something, seeing something by no means exhausts our whole business
with the out-of-doors. To lie down and do nothing, to be able to keep
silence and to rest on the great whirling globe is as needful as to
know everything going on about us.


VIII

There is one bird-song so characteristic of midsummer that I think
every lover of the woods must know it: the oft-repeated, the constant
notes of the red-eyed vireo or “preacher.” Wilson Flagg says of him:
“He takes the part of a deliberative orator who explains his subject
in a few words and then makes a pause for his hearers to reflect upon
it. We might suppose him to be repeating moderately with a pause
between each sentence, ‘You see it--you know it--do you hear me?--do
you believe it?’ All these strains are delivered with a rising
inflection at the close, and with a pause, as if waiting for an
answer.”


IX

A few other bird-notes that are associated with hot days and stirless
woods, and that will be worth your hearing are the tree-top song of
the scarlet tanager. He is one of the summer sights, a dash of the
burning tropics is his brilliant scarlet and jet black, and his song
is a loud, hoarse, rhythmical carol that has the flame of his feathers
in it and the blaze of the sun. You will know it from the cool, liquid
song of the robin both by its peculiar quality and because it is a
short song, and soon ended, not of indefinite length like the robin’s.

Then the peculiar, coppery, reverberating, or _confined_ song of the
indigo bunting--as if the bird were singing inside some great kettle.

One more--among a few others--the softly falling, round, small,
upward-swinging call of the wood pewee. Is it sad? Yes, sad. But
sweeter than sad,--restful, cooling, and inexpressibly gentle. All day
long from high above your head and usually quite out of view, the
voice--it seems hardly a voice--breaks the long silence of the summer
woods.


X

When night comes down with the long twilight there sounds a strange,
almost awesome _quawk_ in the dusk over the fields. It sends a thrill
through me, notwithstanding its nightly occurrence all through July
and August. It is the passing of a pair of night herons--the
black-crowned, I am sure, although this single pair only fly over.
Where the birds are numerous they nest in great colonies.

It is the wild, eerie _quawk_ that you should hear, a far-off,
mysterious, almost uncanny sound that fills the twilight with a vague,
untamed something, no matter how bright and civilized the day may have
been.


XI

From the harvest fields comes the sweet whistle of Bob White, the
clear, round notes rolling far through the hushed summer noon; in the
wood-lot the crows and jays have already begun their cawings and
screamings that later on become the dominant notes of the golden
autumn. They are not so loud and characteristic now because of the
insect orchestra throbbing with a rhythmic beat through the air. So
wide, constant, and long-continued is this throbbing note of the
insects that by midsummer you almost cease to notice it. But stop and
listen--field crickets, katydids, long-horned grasshoppers, snowy
tree-crickets: _chwĭ-chwĭ-chwĭ-chwĭ--thrr-r-r-r-r-r-r
--crrri-crrri-crrri-crrri--gru-gru-gru-gru--
retreat-retreat-retreat-treat-treat_--like the throbbing of the
pulse.


XII

One can do no more than suggest in a short chapter like this; and all
that I am doing here is catching for you some of the still, small
voices of _my_ summer. How unlike those of your summer they may be I
can easily imagine, for you are in the Pacific Coast, or off on the
vast prairies of Canada, or down in the sunny fields and hill-country
of the South.

I have done enough if I have suggested that you stop and listen; for
after all it is having ears which hear _not_ that causes the trouble.
Hear the voices that make your summer vocal--the loud and still voices
which alike pass unheeded unless we pause to hear.

As a lesson in listening, go out some quiet evening, and as the
shadows slip softly over the surface of the wood-walled pond, listen
to the breathing of the fish as they come to the top, and the splash
of the muskrats, or the swirl of the pickerel as he ploughs a furrow
through the silence.



CHAPTER VII

THE SEA-BIRDS’ HOME


After my wandering for years among the quiet lanes and along the
winding cow-paths of the home fields, my trip to the wild-bird rocks
in the Pacific Ocean, as you can imagine, was a thrilling experience.
We chartered a little launch at Tillamook, and, after a fight of hours
and hours to cross Tillamook Bar at the mouth of the bay, we got out
upon the wide Pacific, and steamed down the coast for Three-Arch
Rocks, which soon began to show far ahead of us just off the rocky
shore.

I had never been on the Pacific before, nor had I ever before seen the
birds that were even now beginning to dot the sea and to sail over and
about us as we steamed along. It was all new, so new that the very
water of the Pacific looked unlike the familiar water of the Atlantic.
And surely the waves were different,--longer, grayer, smoother, with
an immensely mightier heave. At least they seemed so, for every time
we rose on the swell, it was as if our boat were in the hand of Old
Ocean, and his mighty arm were “putting” us, as the athlete “puts” the
shot. It was all new and strange and very wild to me, with the wild
cries of the sea-birds already beginning to reach us as flocks of the
birds passed around and over our heads.

The fog was lifting. The thick, wet drift that had threatened our
little launch on Tillamook Bar stood clear of the shouldering sea to
the westward, and in over the shore, like an upper sea, hung at the
fir-girt middles of the mountains, as level and as gray as the sea
below. There was no breeze. The long, smooth swell of the Pacific
swung under us and in, until it whitened at the base of the three
rocks that rose out of the sea in our course, and that now began to
take on form in the foggy distance. Gulls were flying over us, lines
of black cormorants and crowds of murres were winging past, but we
were still too far away from the looming rocks to see that the gray of
their walls was the gray of uncounted colonies of nesting birds,
colonies that covered their craggy steeps as, on shore, the green firs
clothed the slopes of the Coast Range Mountains up to the hanging fog.

As we ran on nearer, the sound of the surf about the rocks became
audible, the birds in the air grew more numerous, their cries now
faintly mingling with the sound of the sea. A hole in the side of the
middle Rock, a mere fleck of foam it seemed at first, widened rapidly
into an arching tunnel through which our boat might run; the swell of
the sea began to break over half-sunken ledges; and soon upon us fell
the damp shadows of the three great rocks, for now we were looking far
up at their sides, where we could see the birds in their guano-gray
rookeries, rookery over rookery,--gulls, cormorants, guillemots,
puffins, murres,--encrusting the sides from tide-line to pinnacles, as
the crowding barnacles encrusted the bases from the tide-line down.

[Illustration: TUFTED PUFFINS]

We had not approached without protest, for the birds were coming off
to meet us, wheeling and clacking overhead, the nearer we drew, in a
constantly thickening cloud of lowering wings and tongues. The clamor
was indescribable, the tossing flight enough to make one mad with the
motion of wings. The air was filled, thick, with the whirling and the
screaming, the clacking, the honking, close to our ears, and high up
in the peaks, and far out over the waves. Never had I been in this
world before. Was I on my earth? or had I suddenly wakened up in some
old sea world where there was no dry land, no life but this?

We rounded the outer or Shag Rock and headed slowly in opposite the
yawning hole of the middle Rock as into some mighty cave, so sheer and
shadowy rose the walls above us,--so like to cavern thunder was the
throbbing of the surf through the hollow arches, was the flapping and
screaming of the birds against the high circling walls, was the deep,
menacing grumble of the bellowing sea-lions, as, through the muffle of
surf and sea-fowl, herd after herd lumbered headlong into the foam.

It was a strange, wild scene. Hardly a mile from the Oregon coast, but
cut off by breaker and bar from the abrupt, uninhabited shore, the
three rocks of the Reservation, each pierced with its resounding arch,
heaved their huge shoulders from the waves straight up, high,
towering, till our little steamer coasted their dripping sides like
some puffing pygmy.

Each rock was perhaps as large as a solid city square and as high as
the tallest of sky-scrapers; immense, monstrous piles, each of them,
and run through by these great caverns or arches, dim, dripping,
filled with the noise of the waves and the beat of thousands of wings.

They were of no part or lot with the dry land. Their wave-scooped
basins were set with purple starfish and filled with green and pink
anemones, and beaded many deep with mussels of amethyst and jet that
glittered in the clear beryl waters; and, above the jeweled basins,
like fabled beasts of old, lay the sea-lions, uncouth forms,
flippered, reversed in shape, with throats like the caves of Æolus,
hollow, hoarse, discordant; and higher up, on every jutting bench and
shelf, in every weathered rift, over every jog of the ragged cliffs,
to their bladed backs and pointed peaks, swarmed the sea-birds,
webfooted, amphibious, shaped of the waves, with stormy voices given
them by the winds that sweep in from the sea.

As I looked up at the amazing scene, at the mighty rocks and the
multitude of winging forms, I seemed to see three swirling piles of
life, three cones that rose like volcanoes from the ocean, their sides
covered with living lava, their craters clouded with the smoke of
wings, while their bases seemed belted by the rumble of a
multi-throated thunder. The very air was dank with the smell of
strange, strong volcanic gases,--no breath of the land, no odor of
herb, no scent of fresh soil; but the raw, rank smells of rookery and
den, saline, kelpy, fetid; the stench of fish and bedded guano, and of
the reeking pools where the sea-lion herds lay sleeping on the lower
rocks in the sun.

A boat’s keel was beneath me, but as I stood out on the pointed prow,
barely above the water, and found myself thrust forward without will
or effort among the crags and caverns, among the shadowy walls, the
damps, the smells, the sounds, among the bellowing beasts in the
churning waters about me, and into the storm of wings and tongues in
the whirling air above me, I passed from the things I had known, and
the time and the earth of man, into a monstrous period of the past.

This was the home of the sea-birds. Amid all the din we landed from a
yawl and began our climb toward the top of Shag Rock, the outermost of
the three. And here we had another and a different sight of the wild
life. It covered every crag. I clutched it in my hands; I crushed it
under my feet; it was thick in the air about me. My narrow path up the
face of the rock was a succession of sea-bird rookeries, of crowded
eggs, and huddled young, hairy or naked or wet from the shell. Every
time my fingers felt for a crack overhead they touched something warm
that rolled or squirmed; every time my feet moved under me, for a
hold, they pushed in among top-shaped eggs that turned on the shelf or
went over far below; and whenever I hugged the pushing wall I must
bear off from a mass of squealing, struggling, shapeless things, just
hatched. And down upon me, as rookery after rookery of old birds
whirred in fright from their ledges, fell crashing eggs and unfledged
young, that the greedy gulls devoured ere they touched the sea.

I was midway in the climb, at a bad turn round a point, edging inch by
inch along, my face pressed against the hard face of the rock, my feet
and fingers gripping any crack or seam they could feel, when out of
the deep space behind me I caught the swash of waves. Instantly a cold
hand seemed to clasp me from behind.

I flattened against the rock, my whole body, my very mind clinging
desperately for a hold,--a falling fragment of shale, a gust of wind,
the wing-stroke of a frightened bird, enough to break the hold and
swing me out over the water, washing faint and far below. A long
breath, and I was climbing again.

[Illustration: BRANDT’S CORMORANT]

We were on the outer Rock, our only possible ascent taking us up the
sheer south face. With the exception of an occasional Western gull’s
and pigeon guillemot’s nest, these steep sides were occupied entirely
by the California murres,--penguin-shaped birds about the size of a
small wild duck, chocolate-brown above, with white breasts,--which
literally covered the sides of the three great rocks wherever they
could find a hold. If a million meant anything, I should say there
were a million murres nesting on this outer Rock; not nesting either,
for the egg is laid upon the bare ledge, as you might place it upon a
mantel,--a single sharp-pointed egg, as large as a turkey’s, and just
as many of them on the ledge as there is standing-room for the birds.
The murre broods her very large egg by standing straight up over it,
her short legs, by dint of stretching, allowing her to straddle it,
her short tail propping her securely from behind.

On, up along the narrow back, or blade, of the rock, and over the
peak, were the well-spaced nests of the Brandt’s cormorants, nests the
size of an ordinary straw hat, made of sea-grass and the
yellow-flowered sulphur-weed that grew in a dense mat over the north
slope of the top, each nest holding four long, dirty blue eggs or as
many black, shivering young; and in the low sulphur-weed, all along
the roof-like slope of the top, built the gulls and the tufted
puffins; and, with the burrowing puffins, often in the same holes,
were found the Kaeding’s petrels; while down below them, as up above
them,--all around the rock-rim that dropped sheer to the sea,--stood
the cormorants, black, silent, statuesque; and everywhere were nests
and eggs and young, and everywhere were flying, crying birds--above,
about, and far below me, a whirling, whirring vortex of wings that had
caught me in its funnel.



CHAPTER VIII

THE MOTHER MURRE


I hear the bawling of my neighbor’s cow. Her calf was carried off
yesterday, and since then, during the long night, and all day long,
her insistent woe has made our hillside melancholy. But I shall not
hear her to-night, not from this distance. She will lie down to-night
with the others of the herd, and munch her cud. Yet, when the rattling
stanchions grow quiet and sleep steals along the stalls, she will turn
her ears at every small stirring; she will raise her head to listen
and utter a low, tender _moo_. Her full udder hurts; but her cud is
sweet. She is only a cow.

Had she been a wild cow, or had she been out with her calf in a wild
pasture, the mother-love in her would have lived for six months. Here
in the barn she will be forced to forget her calf in a few hours, and
by morning her mother-love shall utterly have died.

There is a mother-principle alive in all nature that never dies. This
is different from mother-love. The oak tree responds to the
mother-principle, and bears acorns. It is a law of life. The
mother-love or passion, on the other hand, occurs only among the
higher animals. It is very common; and yet, while it is one of the
strongest, most interesting, most beautiful of animal traits, it is at
the same time the most individual and variable of all animal traits.

This particular cow of my neighbor’s that I hear lowing, is an
entirely gentle creature ordinarily, but with a calf at her side she
will pitch at any one who approaches her. And there is no other cow in
the herd that mourns so long after her calf. The mother in her is
stronger, more enduring, than in any of the other nineteen cows in the
barn. My own cow hardly mourns at all when her calf is taken away. She
might be an oak tree losing its acorns, or a crab losing her hatching
eggs, so far as any show of love is concerned.

The female crab attaches her eggs to her swimmerets and carries them
about with her for their protection as the most devoted of mothers;
yet she is no more conscious of them, and feels no more for them, than
the frond of a cinnamon fern feels for its spores. She is a mother,
without the love of the mother.

In the spider, however, just one step up the animal scale from the
crab, you find the mother-love or passion. Crossing a field the other
day, I came upon a large female spider of the hunter family, carrying
a round white sack of eggs, half the size of a cherry, attached to her
spinnerets. Plucking a long stem of grass, I detached the sack of eggs
without bursting it. Instantly the mother turned and sprang at the
grass-stem, fighting and biting until she got to the sack, which she
seized in her strong jaws and made off with as fast as her long, rapid
legs would carry her.

I laid the stem across her back and again took the sack away. She came
on for it, fighting more fiercely than before. Once more she seized
it; once more I forced it from her jaws, while she sprang at the
grass-stem and tried to tear it to pieces. She must have been fighting
for two minutes when, by a regrettable move on my part, one of her
legs was injured. She did not falter in her fight. On she rushed for
the sack as fast as I pulled it away. She would have fought for that
sack, I believe, until she had not one of her eight legs to stand on,
had I been cruel enough to compel her. It did not come to this, for
suddenly the sack burst, and out poured, to my amazement, a myriad of
tiny brown spiderlings. Before I could think what to do that mother
spider had rushed among them and caused them to swarm upon her,
covering her, many deep, even to the outer joints of her long legs. I
did not disturb her again, but stood by and watched her slowly move
off with her encrusting family to a place of safety.

I had seen these spiders try hard to escape with their egg-sacks
before, but had never tested the strength of their purpose. For a time
after this experience I made a point of taking the sacks away from
every spider I found. Most of them scurried off to seek their own
safety; one of them dropped her sack of her own accord; some of them
showed reluctance to leave it; some of them a disposition to fight;
but none of them the fierce, consuming mother-fire of the one with the
hurt leg.

Among the fishes, much higher animal forms than the spiders, we find
the mother-love only in the _males_. It is the male stickleback that
builds the nest, then goes out and _drives_ the female in to lay her
eggs, then straightway drives her out to prevent her eating them, then
puts himself on guard outside the nest to protect them from other
sticklebacks and other enemies, until the young shall hatch and be
able to swim away by themselves. Here he stays for a month, without
eating or sleeping, so far as we know.

It is the male toadfish that crawls into the nest-hole and takes
charge of the numerous family. He may dig the hole, too, as the male
stickleback builds the nest. I do not know as to that. But I have
raised many a stone in the edge of the tide along the shore of Naushon
Island in Buzzard’s Bay, to find the under surface covered with round,
drop-like, amber eggs, and in the shallow cavity beneath, an old male
toadfish, slimy and croaking, and with a countenance ugly enough to
turn a prowling eel to stone. The female deposits the eggs, glues them
fast with much nicety to the under surface of the rock, as a female
might, and finishes her work. Departing at once, she leaves the coming
brood to the care of the male, who from this time, without relief or
even food in all probability, assumes the rôle and all the
responsibilities of mother, and must consequently feel all the
mother-love.

Something like this is true of the common hornpout, or catfish, I
believe, though I have never seen it recorded, and lack the chance at
present of proving my earlier observations. I think it is father
catfish that takes charge of the brood, of the swarm of kitten
catfish, from the time the spawn is laid.

A curious sharing of mother qualities by male and female is shown in
the Surinam toads of South America, where the male, taking the newly
deposited eggs, places them upon the back of the female. Here, glued
fast by their own adhesive jelly, they are soon surrounded by cells
grown of the skin of the back, each cell capped by a lid. In these
cells the eggs hatch, and the young go through their metamorphoses,
apparently absorbing some nourishment through the skin of their
mother. Finally they break through the lids of their cells and hop
away. They might as well be toadstools upon a dead stump, so far as
motherly care or concern goes, for, aside from allowing the male to
spread the eggs upon her back, she is no more a mother to them than
the dead stump is to the toadstools. She is host only to the little
parasites.

I do not know of any mother-love among the reptiles. The
mother-passion, so far as my observation goes, plays no part whatever
in the life of reptiles. Whereas, passing on to the birds, the
mother-passion becomes by all odds the most interesting thing in
bird-life.

And is not the mother-passion among the mammals even more interesting?
It is as if the watcher in the woods went out to see the mother animal
only. It is her going and coming that we follow; her faring, foraging,
and watch-care that let us deepest into the secrets of wild animal
life.

On one of the large estates here in Hingham, a few weeks ago, a fox
was found to be destroying poultry. The time of the raids, and their
boldness, were proof enough that the fox must be a female with young.
Poisoned meat was prepared for her, and at once the raids ceased. A
few days later one of the workmen of the estate came upon the den of a
fox, at the mouth of which lay dead a whole litter of young ones. They
had been poisoned. The mother had not eaten the prepared food herself,
but had carried it home to her family. They must have died in the
burrow, for it was evident from the signs that she had dragged them
into the fresh air to revive them, and deposited them gently on the
sand by the hole. Then in her perplexity she had brought various
tidbits of mouse and bird and rabbit, which she placed at their noses
to tempt them to wake up out of their strange sleep and eat. No one
knows how long she watched beside the lifeless forms, nor what her
emotions were. She must have left the neighborhood soon after,
however, for no one has seen her since about the estate.

The bird mother is the bravest, tenderest, most appealing thing one
ever comes upon in the fields. It is the rare exception, but we
sometimes find the real mother wholly lacking among the birds, as in
the case of our notorious cowbird, who sneaks about, watching her
chance, when some smaller bird is gone, to drop her egg into its nest.
The egg must be laid, the burden of the race has been put upon the
bird, but not the precious burden of the child. She lays eggs; but is
not a mother.

The same is true of the European cuckoos, but not quite true, in spite
of popular belief, of our American cuckoos. For our birds (both
species) build rude, elementary nests as a rule, and brood their eggs.
Occasionally they may use a robin’s or a catbird’s nest, in order to
save labor. So undeveloped is the mother in the cuckoo that if you
touch her eggs she will leave them--abandon her rude nest and eggs as
if any excuse were excuse enough for an escape from the cares of
motherhood. How should a bird with so little mother-love ever learn to
build a firm-walled, safe, and love-lined nest?

The great California condor is a most faithful and anxious mother; the
dumb affection of both parent birds, indeed, for their single
offspring is pathetically human. On the other hand, the mother in the
turkey buzzard is so evenly balanced against the vulture in her that I
have known a brooding bird to be so upset by the sudden approach of a
man as to rise from off her eggs and devour them instantly, greedily,
and make off on her serenely soaring wings into the clouds.

Such mothers, however, are not the rule. The buzzard, the cuckoo, and
the cowbird are the striking exceptions. The flicker will keep on
laying eggs as fast as one takes them from the nest-hole, until she
has no more eggs to lay. The quail will sometimes desert her nest if
even a single egg is so much as touched, but only because she knows
that she has been discovered and must start a new nest, hidden in some
new place, for safety. She is a wise and devoted mother, keeping her
brood with her as a “covey” all winter long.

One of the most striking cases of mother-love which has ever come
under my observation, I saw in the summer of 1912 on the bird
rookeries of the Three-Arch Rocks Reservation off the coast of Oregon.

We were making our slow way toward the top of the outer rock. Through
rookery after rookery of birds we climbed until we reached the edge of
the summit. Scrambling over this edge, we found ourselves in the midst
of a great colony of nesting murres--hundreds of them--covering this
steep rocky part of the top.

As our heads appeared above the rim, many of the colony took wing and
whirred over us out to sea, but most of them sat close, each bird upon
its egg or over its chick, loath to leave, and so expose to us the
hidden treasure.

The top of the rock was somewhat cone-shaped, and in order to reach
the peak and the colonies on the west side we had to make our way
through this rookery of the murres. The first step among them, and
the whole colony was gone, with a rush of wings and feet that sent
several of the top-shaped eggs rolling, and several of the young birds
toppling over the cliff to the pounding waves and ledges far below.

We stopped, but the colony, almost to a bird, had bolted, leaving
scores of eggs and scores of downy young squealing and running
together for shelter, like so many beetles under a lifted board.

But the birds had not every one bolted, for here sat two of the colony
among the broken rocks. These two had not been frightened off. That
both of them were greatly alarmed, any one could see from their open
beaks, their rolling eyes, their tense bodies on tiptoe for flight.
Yet here they sat, their wings out like props, or more like gripping
hands, as if they were trying to hold themselves down to the rocks
against their wild desire to fly.

And so they were, in truth, for under their extended wings I saw
little black feet moving. Those two mother murres were not going to
forsake their babies! No, not even for these approaching monsters,
such as they had never before seen, clambering over their rocks.

What was different about these two? They had their young ones to
protect. Yes, but so had every bird in the great colony its young one,
or its egg, to protect, yet all the others had gone. Did these two
have more mother-love than the others? And hence, more courage, more
intelligence?

We took another step toward them, and one of the two birds sprang into
the air, knocking her baby over and over with the stroke of her wing,
and coming within an inch of hurling it across the rim to be battered
on the ledges below. The other bird raised her wings to follow, then
clapped them back over her baby. Fear is the most contagious thing in
the world; and that flap of fear by the other bird thrilled her, too,
but as she had withstood the stampede of the colony, so she caught
herself again and held on.

She was now alone on the bare top of the rock, with ten thousand
circling birds screaming to her in the air above, and with two men
creeping up to her with a big black camera that clicked ominously. She
let the multitude scream, and with threatening beak watched the two
men come on. A motherless baby, spying her, ran down the rock
squealing for his life. She spread a wing, put her bill behind him
and shoved him quickly in out of sight with her own baby. The man with
the camera saw the act, for I heard his machine click, and I heard him
say something under his breath that you would hardly expect a mere man
and a game-warden to say. But most men have a good deal of the mother
in them; and the old bird had acted with such decision, such courage,
such swift, compelling instinct, that any man, short of the wildest
savage, would have felt his heart quicken at the sight.

“Just how compelling might that mother-instinct be?” I wondered. “Just
how much would that mother-love stand?” I had dropped to my knees, and
on all fours had crept up within about three feet of the bird. She
still had chance for flight. Would she allow me to crawl any nearer?
Slowly, very slowly, I stretched forward on my hands, like a
measuring-worm, until my body lay flat on the rocks, and my fingers
were within three _inches_ of her. But her wings were twitching, a
wild light danced in her eyes, and her head turned toward the sea.

For a whole minute I did not stir. I was watching--and the wings again
began to tighten about the babies, the wild light in the eyes died
down, the long, sharp beak turned once more toward me.

Then slowly, very slowly, I raised my hand, touched her feathers with
the tip of one finger--with two fingers--with my whole hand, while
the loud camera click-clacked, click-clacked hardly four feet away!

It was a thrilling moment. I was not killing anything. I had no
long-range rifle in my hands, coming up against the wind toward an
unsuspecting creature hundreds of yards away. This was no wounded
leopard charging me; no mother-bear defending with her giant might a
captured cub. It was only a mother-bird, the size of a wild duck, with
swift wings at her command, hiding under those wings her own and
another’s young, and her own boundless fear!

For the second time in my life I had taken captive with my bare hands
a free wild bird. No, I had not taken her captive. She had made
herself a captive; she had taken herself in the strong net of her
mother-love.

And now her terror seemed quite gone. At the first touch of my hand I
think she felt the love restraining it, and without fear or fret she
let me reach under her and pull out the babies. But she reached after
them with her bill to tuck them back out of sight, and when I did not
let them go, she sidled toward me, quacking softly, a language that I
perfectly understood, and was quick to respond to. I gave them back,
fuzzy and black and white. She got them under her, stood up over them,
pushed her wings down hard around them, her stout tail down hard
behind them, and together with them pushed in an abandoned egg that
was close at hand. Her own baby, some one else’s baby, and some one
else’s forsaken egg! She could cover no more; she had not feathers
enough. But she had heart enough; and into her mother’s heart she had
already tucked every motherless egg and nestling of the thousands of
frightened birds, screaming and wheeling in the air high over her
head.



CHAPTER IX

MOTHER CAREY’S CHICKENS


“Who has not wondered,” I asked, many years ago, “as he has seen the
red rim of the sun sink down in the sea, where the little brood of
Mother Carey’s chickens skimming round the vessel would sleep that
night?” Here on the waves, no doubt, but what a bed! You have seen
them, or you will see them the first time you cross the ocean, far out
of sight of land--a little band of small dark birds, veering,
glancing, skimming the heaving sea like swallows, or riding the great
waves up and down, from crest to trough, as easily as Bobolink rides
the swaying clover billows in the meadow behind the barn.

I have stood at the prow and watched them as the huge steamer ploughed
her way into the darkening ocean. Down in the depths beneath me the
porpoises were playing,--as if the speeding ship, with its mighty
engines, were only another porpoise playing tag with them,--and off on
the gray sea ahead, where the circle of night seemed to be closing in,
this little flock of stormy petrels, Mother Carey’s chickens, rising,
falling with the heave and sag of the sea, so far, for such little
wings, from the shore!

You will see them, and you will ask yourself, as I asked myself,
“Where is their home? Where do they nest?” I hope you will also have a
chance to answer the question some time for yourself, as I had a
chance to answer it for myself recently, out on the Three-Arch Rocks,
in the Pacific, just off the coast of Oregon.

I visited the rocks to see all their multitudinous wild life,--their
gulls, cormorants, murres, guillemots, puffins, oyster-catchers, and
herds of sea-lions,--but more than any other one thing I wanted to see
the petrels, Kaeding’s petrels, that nest on the top of Shag Rock, the
outermost of the three rocks of the Reservation.

No, not merely to _see_ the petrels: what I really wished to do was to
stay all night on the storm-swept peak in order to hear the petrels
come back to their nests on the rock in the dusk and dark. My friend
Finley had done it, years before, on this very rock. On the steep
north slope of the top he had found a safe spot between two jutting
crags, and, wrapping himself in his blanket as the sun went down
behind the hill of the sea, had waited for the winnowing of the small
mysterious wings.

Just to sleep in such a bed would be enough. To lie down far up on the
ragged peak of this wild sea rock, with the break and swash of the
waves coming up from far beneath you, with the wide sea-wind coming
in, and the dusk spreading down, and the wild sea-birds murmuring in
their strange tongues all about you--it would be enough just to turn
one’s face to the lonely sky in such a spot and listen. But how much
more to hear suddenly, among all these strange sounds, the swift
fanning of wings--to feel them close above your face--and to see in
the dim dusk wavering shadowy forms, like a troop of longwinged bats,
hovering over the slope and chittering in a rapid, unbirdlike talk, as
if afraid the very dark might hear them!

That was what I wanted so much to hear and to see. For down in a
little burrow, in the accumulated earth and guano of the top, under
each of these hovering shadows, would be another shadow, waiting to
hear the beating of the wings and the chitter above; and I wanted to
see the mate in the burrow come out and greet the mate that had been
all day upon the sea.

This petrel digs itself a little burrow and lays one egg. The burrow
might hold both birds at once, but one seldom finds two birds in the
burrow together. While one is brooding, the other is off on its
wonderful wings--away off in the wake of your ocean steamer, perhaps,
miles and miles from shore. But when darkness falls it remembers its
nest and speeds home to the rock, taking its place down in the little
black burrow, while the mate comes forth and spreads its wings out
over the heaving water, not to return, it may be, until the night and
the day have passed and twilight falls again.

We landed on a ledge of Shag Rock, driving off a big bull sea-lion who
claimed this particular slab of rock as his own. We backed up close to
the shelf in a yawl boat, and as the waves rose and fell, watched our
chance to leap from the stern of the little boat to the rock. Thus we
landed our cameras, food and water, and other things, then we dragged
the boat up, so that, a storm arising or anything happening to the
small steamer that had brought us, we might still get away to the
shore.

It was about the middle of the forenoon. All the morning, as we had
steamed along, a thick fog had threatened us; but now the sun broke
out, making it possible to use our cameras, and after a hasty lunch we
started for the top of the rock--a climb that looked impossible, and
that was pretty nearly as impossible as it looked.

It had been a slow, perilous climb; but, once on the summit, where we
could move somewhat freely and use the cameras, we hurried from colony
to colony to take advantage of the uncertain sunlight, which, indeed,
utterly failed us after only an hour’s work. But, as I had no camera,
I made the best of it, giving all my time to studying the ways of the
birds. Besides, I had come to stay on the peak all night; I could do
my work well enough in the dark. But I could not do it in the wind and
rain.

The sun went into the clouds about four o’clock, but so absorbed was I
in watching, and so thick was the air with wings, so clangorous with
harsh tongues, that I had not seen the fog moving in, or noticed that
the gray wind of the morning had begun to growl about the crags.
Looking off to seaward, I now saw that a heavy bank of mist had
blurred the sky-line and settled down upon the sea. The wind had
freshened; a fine, cold drizzle was beginning to fall, and soon came
slanting across the peak. The prospect was grim and forbidding. Then
the rain began. The night was going to be dark and stormy, too wet and
wild for watching, here where I must hang on with my hands or else
slip and go over--down--down to the waves below.

We started to descend at once, while there was still light enough to
see by, and before the rocks were made any slipperier by the rain. We
did not fear the wind much, for that was from the north, and we must
descend by the south face, up which we had come.

I was deeply disappointed. My night with the petrels on the top was
out of the question. Yet as I backed over the rim of that peak, and
began to pick my way down, it was not disappointment, but fear that I
felt. It had been bad enough coming up; but this going down!--with the
cold, wet shadow of night encircling you and lying dark on the cold,
sullen sea below--this was altogether worse.

The rocks were already wet, and the footing was treacherous. As we
worked slowly along, the birds in the gathering gloom seemed to fear
us less, flying close about our heads, their harsh cries and winging
tumult adding not a little to the peril of the descent. And then the
looking down! and then the impossibility at places of even looking
down--when one could only hang on with one’s hands and feel around in
the empty air with one’s feet for something to stand on!

I got a third of the way down, perhaps, and then stopped. The men did
not laugh at me. They simply looped a rope about me, under my arms,
and lowered me over the narrow shelves into the midst of a large murre
colony, from which point I got on alone. Then they tied the rope about
Dallas, my eleven-year-old son, who was with me on the expedition, and
lowered him.

He came bumping serenely down, smoothing all the little murres and
feeling of all the warm eggs on the way, as if they might have been so
many little kittens, and as if he might have been at home on the
kitchen floor, instead of dangling down the face of a cliff two
hundred or more feet above the sea.

Some forty feet from the waves was a weathered niche, or shelf, eight
or ten feet wide. Here we stopped for the night. The wind was from the
other side of the rock; the overhanging ledge protected us somewhat
from above, though the mist swept about the steep walls to us, and the
drizzle dripped from overhead. But as I pulled my blanket about me and
lay down beside the other men the thought of what the night must be on
the summit made the hard, damp rock under me seem the softest and
warmest of beds.

But what a place was this to sleep in!--this narrow ledge with a
rookery of wild sea-birds just above it, with the den of a wild
sea-beast just below it, with the storm-swept sky shut down upon it,
and the sea, the crawling, sinister sea, coiling and uncoiling its
laving folds about it, as with endless undulations it slipped over the
sunken ledges and swam round and round the rock.

What a place was this to sleep! I could not sleep. I was as wakeful as
the wild beasts that come forth at night to seek their prey. I must
catch a glimpse of Night through her veil of mist, the gray, ghostly
Night, as she came down the long, rolling slope of the sea, and I must
listen, for my very fingers seemed to have ears, so many were the
sounds, and so strange--the talk of the wind on the rock, the sweep
of the storm, the lap of the waves, the rumbling mutter of the wakeful
caverns, the cry of birds, the hoarse grumbling growl of the sea-lions
swimming close below.

The clamor of the birds was at first disturbing. But soon the
confusion caused by our descent among them subsided; the large colony
of murres close by our heads returned to their rookery; and with the
rain and thickening dark there spread everywhere the quiet of a low
murmurous quacking. Sleep was settling over the rookeries.

Down in the sea below us rose the head of an old sea-lion, the old
lone bull whose den we had invaded. He was coming back to sleep. He
rose and sank, blinking dully at the cask we had left on his ledge;
then clambered out and hitched slowly up toward his sleeping-place. I
counted the scars on his head, and noted the fresh deep gash on his
right side. I could hear him blow and breathe.

I drew back from the edge, and, pulling the piece of sail-cloth over
me and the small boy at my side, turned my face up to the slanting
rain. Two young gulls came out of their hiding in a cranny and nestled
against my head, their parents calling gently to them from time to
time all night long. In the murre colony overhead there was a constant
stir and a soft, low talk, and over all the rock, through all the
darkened air there was a silent coming and going of wings--wings--of
the stormy petrels, some of them, I felt sure, the swift shadow wings
of Mother Carey’s chickens that I had so longed to hear come winnowing
in from afar on the sea.

The drizzle thickened. And now I heard the breathing of the sleeping
men beside me; and under me I felt the narrow shelf of rock dividing
the waters from the waters, and then--I, too, must have slept; for
utter darkness was upon the face of the deep.



CHAPTER X

RIDING THE RIM ROCK


From P Ranch to Winnemucca is a seventeen-day drive through a desert
of rim rock and greasewood and sage, which, under the most favorable
of conditions, is beset with difficulty; but which, in the dry season,
and with a herd of anything like four thousand, becomes an unbroken
hazard. More than anything else on such a drive is feared the wild
herd-spirit, the quick black temper of the cattle, that by one sign or
another ever threatens to break the spell of the rider’s power and
sweep the maddened or terrorized herd to destruction. The handling of
the herd to keep this spirit sleeping is ofttimes a thrilling
experience.

Some time before my visit to P Ranch, in Harney County, southeastern
Oregon, in the summer of 1912, the riders had taken out a herd of four
thousand steers on what proved to be one of the most difficult drives
ever made to Winnemucca, the shipping station in northern Nevada.

For the first two days on the trail the cattle were strange to each
other, having been gathered from widely distant grazing-grounds,--from
the Double O and the Home ranches,--and were somewhat clannish and
restive under the driving. At the beginning of the third day signs of
real ugliness appeared. The hot weather and a shortage of water began
to tell on the temper of the herd.

The third day was long and exceedingly hot. The line started forward
at dawn and all day long kept moving, with the sun cooking the bitter
smell of sage into the air, and with the sixteen thousand hoofs
kicking up a still bitterer smother of alkali dust that inflamed eyes
and nostrils and coated the very lungs of the cattle. The fierce
desert thirst was upon the herd long before it reached the creek where
it was to bed for the night. The heat and the dust had made slow work
of the driving, and it was already late when they reached the
creek--only to find it dry.

This was bad. The men were tired. But, worse, the cattle were thirsty,
and Wade, the “boss of the buckaroos,” pushed the herd on toward the
next rim rock, hoping to get down to the plain below to water before
the end of the slow desert twilight. Anything for the night but a dry
camp.

They had hardly started on when a whole flank of the herd, as if by
prearrangement, suddenly breaking away and dividing about two of the
riders, tore off through the brush. The horses were as tired as the
men, and before the chase was over the twilight was gray in the sage
and it became necessary to halt at once and make camp where they were.
They would have to go without water.

The runaways were brought up and the herd closed in till it formed a
circle nearly a mile around. This was as close as it could be drawn,
for the cattle would not bed--lie down. They wanted water more than
they wanted rest. Their eyes were red, their tongues raspy with
thirst. The situation was a serious one.

But camp was made. Two of the riders were sent back along the trail to
bring up the “drags,” while Wade with his other men circled the uneasy
cattle, closing them in, quieting them, and doing everything possible
to make them bed.

But they were thirsty, and, instead of bedding, the herd began to
“growl”--a distant mutter of throats, low, rumbling, ominous, as when
faint thunder rolls behind the hills. Every plainsman fears the growl,
for it usually is a prelude to the “milling,” as it proved to be now,
when the whole vast herd began to stir, slowly, singly, and without
direction, till at length it moved together, round and round, a great
compact circle, the multitude of clicking hoofs, of clashing horns,
and chafing sides like the sound of rushing rain across a field of
corn.

Nothing could be worse for the cattle. The cooler twilight was
falling, but, mingling with it, rose and thickened and spread the
choking dust from their feet that soon covered them and shut out all
but the dark wall of the herd from sight.

Slowly, evenly swung the wall, round and round without a break. Only
one who has watched a milling herd can know its suppressed
excitement. To keep that excitement in check was the problem of Wade
and his men. And the night had not yet begun.

When the riders had brought in the drags and the chuck-wagon had
lumbered up with supper, Wade set the first watch.

Along with the wagon had come the fresh horses--and Peroxide Jim, a
supple, powerful, clean-limbed buckskin, that had, I think, as fine
and intelligent an animal-face as any I ever saw. And why should he
not have been saved fresh for just such a need as this? Are there not
superior horses to match superior men--a Peroxide Jim to complement a
Wade and so combine a real centaur, noble physical power controlled by
noble intelligence? At any rate, the horse understood the situation,
and though there was nothing like sentiment about the boss of the P
Ranch riders, his faith in Peroxide Jim was complete.

The other night horses were saddled and tied to the wheels of the
wagon. It was Wade’s custom to take his turn with the second watch;
but, shifting his saddle to Peroxide Jim, he rode out with the four of
the first watch, who, evenly spaced, were quietly circling the herd.

The night, for this part of the desert, was unusually warm; it was
close, silent, and without a sky. The near thick darkness blotted out
the stars. There is usually a breeze at night over these highest
rim-rock plains that, no matter how hot the day, crowds the cattle
together for warmth. To-night not a breath stirred the sage as Wade
wound in and out among the bushes, the hot dust stinging his eyes and
caking rough on his skin.

Round and round moved the weaving, shifting forms, out of the dark and
into the dark, a gray spectral line like a procession of ghosts, or
some slow morris of the desert’s sheeted dead. But it was not a line,
it was a sea of forms; not a procession, but the even surging of a
maelstrom of hoofs a mile around.

Wade galloped out on the plain for a breath of air and a look at the
sky. A quick cold rain would quiet them; but there was no feel of rain
in the darkness, no smell of it in the air. Only the powdery taste of
bitter sage.

The desert, where the herd had camped, was one of the highest of a
series of tablelands, or benches, that lay as level as a floor, and
rimmed by a sheer wall of rock over which it dropped to the bench of
sage below. The herd had been headed for a pass, and was now halted
within a mile of the rim rock on the east, where there was about three
hundred feet of perpendicular fall.

It was the last place an experienced plainsman would have chosen for a
camp; and every time Wade circled the herd and came in between the
cattle and the rim, he felt its nearness. The darkness helped to
bring it near. The height of his horse brought it near--he seemed to
look down from his saddle over it, into its dark depths. The herd in
its milling was surely warping slowly in the direction of the
precipice. But this was all fancy--the trick of the dark and of
nerves, if a plainsman has nerves.

At twelve o’clock the first guard came in and woke the second watch.
Wade had been in his saddle since dawn, but this was his regular
watch. More than that, his trained ear had timed the milling hoofs.
The movement of the herd had quickened.

If now he could keep them going and could prevent their taking any
sudden fright! They must not stop until they stopped from utter
weariness. Safety lay in their continued motion. So Wade, with the
fresh riders, flanked them closely, paced them, and urged them quietly
on. They must be kept milling, and they must be kept from fright.

In the taut silence of the starless desert night, with the tension of
the cattle at the snapping-point, any quick, unwonted sight or sound
would stampede the herd--the sneezing of a horse, the flare of a
match, enough to send the whole four thousand headlong--blind,
frenzied, tramping--till spent and scattered over the plain.

And so, as he rode, Wade began to sing. The rider ahead of him took up
the air and passed it on, until, above the stepping stir of the hoofs,
rose the faint voices of the men, and all the herd was bound about by
the slow, plaintive measure of some old song. It was not to soothe
their savage breasts that the riders sang to the cattle, but to
prevent the shock of any loud or sudden noise.

So they sang and rode, and the night wore on to one o’clock, when
Wade, coming up on the rim-rock side, felt a cool breeze fan his face,
and caught a breath of fresh, moist wind with the taste of water in
it.

He checked his horse instantly, listening as the wind swept past him
over the cattle. But they must already have smelled it, for they had
ceased their milling. The whole herd stood motionless, the indistinct
forms nearest him showing, in the dark, their bald faces lifted to
drink the sweet wet breath that came over the rim. Then they started
again, but faster, and with a rumbling from their hoarse throats that
tightened Wade’s grip on his reins.

The sound seemed to come out of the earth, a low, rumbling mumble, as
deep as the night and as wide as the plain, a thick, inarticulate
bellow that stood every rider stiff in his stirrups.

The breeze caught the dust and carried it back from the gray-coated,
ghostly shapes, and Wade saw that they were still moving in a circle.
If only he could keep them going! He touched his horse to ride on with
them, when across the black sky flashed a vivid streak of lightning.

There was a snort from the steers, a quick clap of horns and hoofs
from within the herd, a tremor of the plain, a roar, a surging
mass--and Wade was riding the flank of a wild stampede. Before him,
behind him, beside him, pressing hard upon his horse, galloped the
frenzied steers, and beyond them a multitude, borne on, and bearing
him on, by the heave of the galloping herd.

Wade was riding for his life. He knew it. His horse knew it. He was
riding to turn the herd, too,--back from the rim,--as the horse also
knew. The cattle were after water--water-mad--and would go over the
precipice to get it, carrying horse and rider with them.

Wade was the only rider between the herd and the rim. It was black as
death. He could see nothing in the sage, could scarcely discern the
pounding, panting shadows at his side; but he knew by the swish of the
brush and the plunging of the horse that the ground was growing
stonier, that they were nearing the rocks.

To outrun the cattle seemed his only chance. If he could come up with
the leaders he might yet head them off upon the plain and save the
herd. There were cattle still ahead of him,--how many, what part of
the herd, he could not tell. But the horse knew. The reins hung on his
straight neck, while Wade, yelling and firing into the air, gave him
the race to win, to lose.

Suddenly they veered and went high in the air, as a steer plunged
headlong into a draw almost beneath his feet. They cleared the narrow
ravine, landed on bare rock, and reeled on.

They were riding the rim. Close on their left bore down the flank of
the herd, and on their right, under their very feet, was the
precipice, so close that they felt its blackness--its three hundred
feet of fall.

A piercing, half-human bawl of terror told where a steer had been
crowded over. Would the next leap crowd them over too? Then Wade found
himself racing neck and neck with a big white steer, which the horse,
with marvelous instinct, seemed to pick from a bunch, and to cling to,
forcing him gradually ahead, till, cutting him free from the bunch
entirely, he bore him off into the sage.

The group coming on behind followed the leader, and after them swung
others. The tide was turning. Within a short time the whole herd had
veered, and, bearing off from the cliffs, was pounding over the open
plains.

Whose race was it? It was Peroxide Jim’s, according to Wade, for not
by word or by touch of hand or knee had he been directed in the run.
From the flash of the lightning the horse had taken the bit, had
covered an indescribably perilous path at top speed, had outrun the
herd and turned it from the edge of the rim rock, without a false step
or a shaken nerve.

[Illustration: (Page 7) “NECK AND NECK WITH A BIG WHITE STEER”]

Bred on the desert, broken in at the round-up, trained to think steer
as the rider thinks it, the horse knew, as swiftly, as clearly as his
rider, the work before him. But that he kept himself from fright, that
none of the wild herd-madness passed into him, is a thing for great
wonder. He was as thirsty as any of the herd; he knew his own peril, I
believe, as none of the herd had ever known anything, and yet such
coolness, courage, wisdom, and power!

Was it training? Superior intelligence? More intimate association with
the man on his back, and so a farther remove from the wild thing that
domestication does not seem to touch? Or was it all by suggestion, the
superior intelligence above him riding, not only the flesh, but the
spirit?

Not all suggestion, I believe. Perhaps a herd of horses could not be
stampeded so easily as these P Ranch cattle. In this race, however,
nothing of the wild herd-spirit touched the horse. Had the cattle been
horses, would Peroxide Jim have been able to keep himself outside the
stampede and above the spirit of the herd?



CHAPTER XI

A CHAPTER OF THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER


I

First, select some bird or beast or insect that lives with you in your
dooryard or house or near neighborhood, and keep track of his doings
all summer long, jotting down in a diary your observations. You might
take the white-faced hornet that builds the big paper nests in the
trees; or the mud wasp, or the toad under the steps, or the swifts in
the chimney, or the swallows in the barn. It hardly matters what you
take, for every life is interesting. The object is to learn how to
follow up your study, how to watch one life long enough, and under
circumstances different enough, to discover its many-sidedness, its
fascination and romance. Such careful and prolonged study will surely
reveal to you something no one else has seen, too. It will be good
training in patience and independence.


II

Along with this study of _one_ life, keep a list of all the beasts,
birds, insects, flowers, etc., that live--I mean, that build nests or
dig holes and rear families--in your dooryard or in this “haunt” that
I told you in “The Spring of the Year” (see page 42, Sections III and
IV) you ought to pick out as your own field of study. This list will
grow all through the summer and from year to year. I have a list of
seventy-six wild neighbors (not counting the butterflies and insects)
that are sharing my fourteen-acre farm with me. How many and _what_
wild things are sharing your dooryard, your park, your favorite haunt
or farm with you? Such a list of names, with a blank place left for
each where observations can be entered from time to time, would be one
of the most useful and interesting journals you could keep.


III

All through June and into July you should have a round of birds’ nests
that you visit daily, and to which you can take your friends and
visitors--that is, if you live in or near the country. One will be in
the big unused chimney of the house, perhaps, and that will be the
first; then one in the barn, or in a bird-house in the yard; or in the
pear-or apple-tree hole; one in the lilac or honeysuckle bushes, and
then down into the orchard, out into the meadow, on into the woods and
back--taking in twenty to thirty birds’ nests with eggs and young! Did
you ever do it? Can you do it this summer? Don’t you think it would be
quite as exciting and interesting as going to the circus? I can do it;
and if you come out to Mullein Hill in June or July, any one of my
small boys will take you on his “birds’ nest round.”


IV

You should camp out--even if you have to pitch your tent in the back
yard or up on the roof! You should go to sleep on a bed of
boughs,--pine, or spruce, or hickory, if possible,--or swing your
hammock between the trunks of sweet-smelling forest trees, and turn
your face up to the stars! You will never want to sleep in a room with
closed windows after that. To see the stars looking down upon you; to
see the tree-tops swaying over you; to feel the fresh night wind
stealing across your face and breathing into your very soul--yes, you
must sleep at least _one_ night this summer right out on a bed of
boughs; but with a blanket of wool and a piece of sail-cloth or rubber
coat over you and under you, and perhaps some mosquito-netting.


V

But you must _not_ build a fire in the woods, unless you have a guide
or older people with a permit along. Fires are terrible masters, and
it is almost as dangerous to build a fire in the woods as to build one
in the waste-paper basket in the basement of some large store. Along
the seashore or by the margin of a river or lake, if you take every
precaution, it might be safe enough; but in the woods, if camping out,
make all preparations by clearing a wide space down to the bare
ground, then see that it is bare ground and not a boggy, rooty
peat-bed beneath, that will take fire and smoulder and burn away down
under the surface out of sight, to break through, perhaps, a week
after you have gone, and set the whole mountain-side afire. Build your
fire on bare, sandy earth; have a shovel and can of water at hand, and
put the fire out when you are done with it. It is against the law in
most States to set a fire out of doors after the 1st of April, without
a permit from the fire-warden.

Now, after this caution, you ought to go out some evening by the shore
with a small party and roast some green corn in the husk; then,
wrapping some potatoes in clay, bake them; if you have fish, wrap them
in clay with their scales on, and bake them. The scales will come off
beautifully when the clay is cracked off, and leave you the tastiest
meal of fish and potatoes and corn you ever ate. Every boy and girl
ought to have a little camp-life and ought to have each his share of
camp-work to perform this summer.


VI

At the close of some stifling July day you ought to go out into the
orchard or woods and watch the evening come on--to notice how the wild
life revives, flowers open, birds sing, animals stir, breezes start,
leaves whisper, and all the world awakes.

Then follow that up by getting out the next morning before sunrise,
say at half-past three o’clock, an hour before the sun bursts over the
eastern hills. If you are not a stump or a stone, the sight and the
smell--the whole indescribable freshness and wonder of it all--will
thrill you. Would you go to the Pyramids or Niagara or the Yellowstone
Park? Yes, you would, and you would take a great deal of trouble to
see any one of these wonders! Just as great a wonder, just as
thrilling an experience, is right outside of your bedroom early any
June, July, or August morning! I know boys and girls who _never_ saw
the sun get up!


VII

You ought to spend some time this summer on a real farm. Boy or girl,
you need to feel ploughed ground under your feet; you need the contact
with growing things in the ground; you need to handle a hoe, gather
the garden vegetables, feed the chickens, feed the pigs, drive the
cows to pasture, help stow away the hay--and all the other interesting
experiences that make up the simple, elemental, and wonderfully varied
day of farm life. A mere visit is not enough. You need to take part in
the digging and weeding and planting. The other day I let out my cow
after keeping her all winter in the barn. The first thing she did was
to kick up her heels and run to a pile of fresh earth about a newly
planted tree and fall to eating it--not the tree, but the earth, the
raw, rich soil--until her muzzle was muddy halfway to her eyes. You do
not need to eat it; but the need to smell it, to see it, to feel it,
to work in it, is just as real as the cow’s need to eat it.


VIII

You ought to learn how to browse and nibble in the woods. What do I
mean? Why, just this: that you ought to learn how to taste the woods
as well as to see them. Maurice Thompson, in “Byways and Bird Notes,”
a book you ought to read (and that is another “ought to do” for this
summer), has a chapter called “Browsing and Nibbling” in which his
mountain guide says: “What makes me allus a-nibblin’ an’ a-browsin’ of
the bushes an’ things as I goes along? I kinder b’lieve hit keeps a
feller’s heart stiddy an’ his blood pure for to nibble an’ browse
kinder like a deer does. You know a deer is allus strong an’ active,
an’ hit is everlastin’ly a-nibblin’ an’ a-browsin’. Ef hit is good for
the annymel, hit otter be good for the feller.”

[Illustration: SASSAFRAS]

[Illustration: DEADLY NIGHTSHADE]

The guide may not be right about the strength to be had from tasting
the roots and barks and buds of things, but I know that I am right
when I tell you that the very sap of the summer woods will seem to
mingle with your blood at the taste of the aromatic sassafras root,
the spicy bark of the sweet birch and the biting bulb of the Indian
turnip. Many of the perfumes, odors, resins, gums, saps, and nectars
of the woods can be known to you only by sense of taste.


IX

[Illustration: POISON SUMACH]

“But I shall bite into something poisonous,” you say. Yes, you must
look out for that, and you must take the pains this summer to learn
the poisonous things of our woods and fields. So before you begin to
browse and nibble, make a business of learning the deadly nightshade
with its green or its red berries; the poison sumach with its _loose_
panicles or clusters of grayish-white berries; the three-leaved poison
ivy or “ground oak” (which you can easily tell from the five-leaved
Virginia creeper); and the deadly mushrooms with their _bulbous_
roots. These are the poisonous plants that you will meet with most
frequently, but there are a few others, and it will be safest not to
nibble any plant that is strange to you. Nor am I suggesting that you
make a meal on the pitch of the pine trees or anything else. Do not
_eat_ any of these things; taste them only. I was once made
desperately ill by eating poke root (I was a very little child) which
I took for sweet potato. Poke berries are not good to _eat_. Take
along a few good sandwiches from home to eat. But learn to know the
mints, the medicinal roots and barks, and that long list of
old-fashioned “herbs” that our grandmothers hung from the garret
rafters and made us take occasionally as “tea.”

[Illustration: POISON IVY]

[Illustration: VIRGINIA CREEPER]


X

[Illustration: THE DEADLY AMANITA]

Finally, as a lover of the woods and wild life, you ought to take a
personal responsibility for the preservation of the trees and woods in
your neighborhood, and of the birds and beasts and other lowlier forms
of wild life. Year by year the wild things are vanishing never to
return to your woods, and never to be seen again by man. Do what you
can to stop the hunting and ignorant killing of every sort. You ought
to get and read “Our Vanishing Wild Life,” by William T. Hornaday, and
then join the growing host of us who, alarmed at the fearful increase
of insect pests, and the loss to the beauty and interest of the
out-of-doors through the extermination of wild life, are doing our
best to save the wild things we still have and to increase their
numbers.

[Illustration: POKE]



CHAPTER XII

THE “CONY”


We were threading our slow way along the narrow divide of the Wallowa
Mountains that runs between the branches of the Snake River. Our guide
was a former “camp-tender,” one who carries provisions to the
sheep-herders in the mountains. As we were stopping a moment to
breathe our horses and to look down upon the head springs of Big Sheep
and Salt Lick Creeks on one side, and the narrow ribbon of the Imnaha
on the other, this guide and our mammal-collector rode on ahead. An
hour later I saw them round the breast of a peak far along on the
trail and disappear. That night they brought into camp a “cony,” or
pika, or little chief hare.

The year before, this camp-tender, in passing a certain rock-slide
among the high peaks of the pass, had heard and seen a peculiar little
animal about the size and shape of a small guinea-pig, whistling among
the broken rock. He had never seen the little creature before,--had
never heard of it. It was to this slide that he now took our
naturalist, in the hope of showing him the mountain guinea-pig, and,
sure enough, they brought one back with them, and showed me my first
“cony,” one of the rarest of American mammals.

But I was broken-hearted. That I should have been so near and missed
it! For we had descended to Aneroid Lake to camp that night, and there
were no cony slides below us on the trail.

While the men were busy about camp the next morning, I slipped off
alone on foot, and, following the trail, got back about ten o’clock to
the rock-slide where they had killed the cony.

A wilder, barrener, more desolate land of crags and peaks I never
beheld. Eternal silence seemed to wrap it round. The slide was of
broken pieces of rock, just as if the bricks from an immense chimney
had cracked off and rolled down into the valley of the roof. Stunted
vegetation grew around, with scraggly wild grass and a few snow-line
flowers, for this was on the snow-line, several melting banks
glistening in the morning sun about me.

I crept round the sharp slope of the peak and down to the edge of the
rock-slide. “Any living thing in that long heap of broken rock!” I
said to myself incredulously. That barren, blasted pile of splintered
peaks the home of an animal? Why, I was on the top of the world! A
great dark hawk was wheeling over toward Eagle Cap Mountain in the
distance; far below me flapped a band of ravens; and down, down,
immeasurably far down, glistened the small winding waters of the
Imnaha; while all about me were the peaks, lonely, solitary, mighty,
terrible! Such bleakness and desolation!

But here, they told me, they had shot the cony. I could not believe
it. Why should any animal live away up here on the roof of the world?
For several feet each side of the steep, piled-up rock grew spears of
thin, wiry grass about six inches high, and a few stunted
flowers,--pussy’s-paws, alpine phlox, and beardtongue, all of them
flat to the sand,--and farther down the sides of the ravine were low,
twisted pines,--mere prostrate mats of trees that had crept in narrow
ascending tongues, up and up, until they could hang on no longer to
the bare alpine slopes. But here above the stunted pines, here in the
slide rock, where only mosses and a few flat plants could
live,--plants that blossom in the snow,--dwell the conies.

I sat down on the edge of the slide, feeling that I had had my labor
for my pains. We had been climbing these peaks in the hope of seeing
one of the last small bands of mountain sheep that made these
fastnesses their home. But, much as I wished to see a wild mountain
sheep among the crags, I wished more to see the little cony among the
rocks. “As for the stork,” says the Bible, “the fir trees are her
house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks
for the conies.” I had always wondered about those conies--what they
looked like and how they lived among the rocks.

I knew that these little conies here in the slide (if indeed they
_could_ be here) were not those of the mountain-peaks of Palestine.
What of that! The very rocks might be different in kind from the rocks
of Nebo or Lebanon; but peaks are peaks, and rocks are rocks, and the
strange little “rabbits” that dwell in their broken slides are all
conies to me. The cony of the Bible is the little hyrax, a relative of
the elephant.

I sat for a while watching. Was this the place? I must make sure
before I settled down to waiting, for when in all my life again might
I have this chance?

Out in the middle of the slide was a pile of rocks with an uneven look
about them, as if they had been heaped up there by other hands than
those that hurled them from the peak. Going quietly out, I examined
them closely, and found the perfect print of a little bloody paw on
one of them.

This was the right place. Here was where they had shot the specimen
brought into camp. I got back to my seat, ready now to wait, even
while I knew that I was holding back the camp from its day’s march.

Perhaps I had been watching for half an hour, when from somewhere, in
the rock-slide surely, though I could not tell, there sounded a shrill
bleating whistle, not unlike the whistles of the ground squirrels and
marmots that I had heard all through the mountains, yet more
tremulous and not so piercing.

I waited. Presently a little gray form crept over a stone, stopped and
whistled, then disappeared. It was my cony!

If you can think of Molly Cottontail turned into the shape of a
guinea-pig about eight inches long, with positively no tail at all,
and with big round broad ears, and with all four legs of equal length
so that the creature walks instead of hopping,--if you can imagine
such a rabbit,--you will get a pretty clear picture of the cony, or
pika, or “little chief hare.”

I kept as still as the stones. Presently the plaintive, bleating
whistle sounded from nowhere again--behind me, beyond me, up the slide
or down, I could not tell. The rocks were rough, rusty chunks two or
three feet long, piled helter-skelter without form or order, so that
any one spot in the slide looked precisely like every other spot. I
could not tell just the piece the cony had crossed, once my eyes were
off of it, nor into which of the cracks he had disappeared. I could
only sit still and wait till I caught him moving, so completely did
his color blend with the rusty brown tone of the slide.

All the while the shrill, piteous call kept coming from anywhere in
the slide. But it was not the call of several voices, not a colony
whistling at once. The conies live in colonies, but, judging from the
single small haycock which they had curing in the sun, I think there
could not have been more than two or three pairs of them in this
particular slide. Possibly there was only the single pair, one of
which had been shot, for presently, when my eyes grew sharp enough to
pick the little creature out against the rocks, I found that one was
doing all the calling, and that for some reason he was greatly
disturbed.

Now he would stop on a slab and whistle, then dive into some long
passage under the stones, to reappear several feet or yards away. Here
he would pause to listen, and, hearing nothing, would call again,
waiting for an answer to his tremulous cry which did not come.

Under and over the stones, up and down the slide, now close to me, now
on the extreme opposite edge of the pile he traveled, nervously,
anxiously looking for something--for some _one_, I truly think; and my
heart smote me when I thought it might be for the dead mate whose
little bare foot-pads had left the bloody print upon the rock.

Up and down, in and out, he ran, calling, calling, calling, but
getting no answer back. He was the only one that showed himself, the
only live one I have ever seen, but this one I followed, as he went
searching and crying over the steep rock-slide, with my eye and with
the field-glasses, until long past noon--with a whole camp down the
cañon looking for me!

But they must know where to look. Let them climb out of the cañon,
back to the top of the world to the cony slide, if they could not wait
for me.

Higher up than the mountain sheep or the goat can live, where only the
burrowing pocket gopher and rare field mice are ever found, dwells the
cony. This particular slide was on one of the minor peaks,--loftier
ones towered all about,--nor do I know just how high it was, but the
cony dwells above the tree-line, up in the Arctic-Alpine Zone, in a
world of perpetual snow, from ten to fourteen thousand feet above the
sea.

By perpetual snow I mean that the snow-banks never melt in the
shadowed ravines and on the bare north slopes. Here, where I was
watching, the rock-slide lay open to the sun, the scanty grass was
green beyond the gully, and the squat alpine flowers were in bloom,
the saxifrage and a solitary aster (April and September together!)
blossoming in the edges of the snow just as fast as the melting banks
allowed them to lift their heads. But any day the wind might come down
from the north, keen and thick and white about the summits, and leave
the flowers and the cony slide covered deep beneath a drift.

Spring, summer, and autumn are all one season, all crowded together--a
kind of peak piercing for a few short weeks the long, bleak, unbroken
land of winter here on the roof of the world.

But during this brief period the thin grass springs up, and the conies
cut and cure it, enough of it to last them from the falling of the
September snows until the drifts are once more melted and their
rock-slide warms in another summer’s sun.

For the cony does not hibernate. He stays awake down in his catacombs.
Think of being buried alive in pitch-black night with snow twenty-five
feet thick above you for nine out of twelve months of the year! Yet
here they are away up on the sides of the wildest summits, living
their lives, keeping their houses, rearing their children, visiting
back and forth through their subways for all this long winter,
protected by the drifts which lie so deep that they keep out the cold.

As I looked about me I could not see grass enough to feed a pair of
conies for a winter. Right near me was one of their little haycocks,
nearly cured and ready for storing in their barns beneath the rocks;
but this would not last long. It was already early August and what
haying they had to do must be done quickly or winter would catch them
hungry.

They cut the grass that grows in the vicinity of the slide, and cock
it until it is cured, then they carry it all below against the coming
of the cold; and naturalists who have observed them describe with what
hurry and excitement the colony falls to taking in the hay when bad
weather threatens to spoil it.

Hardy little farmers! Bold small folk! Why climb for a home with your
tiny, bare-soled feet above the aerie of the eagle and the cave of the
soaring condor of the Sierras? Why not descend to the warm valleys,
where winter, indeed, comes, but cannot linger?--or farther down where
the grass is always green, with never a need to cut and cure a
winter’s hay?

I do not know why--nor why upon the tossing waves the little petrel
makes her bed; nor why, beneath the waves, “down to the dark, to the
utter dark” on

    “The great gray level plains of ooze,”

the “blind white sea-snakes” make their home; nor why at the north, in
the fearful, far-off, frozen north, the little lemmings dwell; nor
why, nor why. But as I sat there above the clouds, listening to the
plaintive, trembling whistle of the little cony, and hoping his mate
was not dead, and wondering why he stayed here in the barren peak, and
how he must fare in the black, bitter winter, I said over to myself
the lines of Kipling for an answer,--

    “And God who clears the grounding berg
    And steers the grinding floe,
    He hears the cry of the little kit-fox
    And the lemming on the snow.”



NOTES AND SUGGESTIONS


CHAPTER I

TO THE TEACHER

    Let me say again that the best thing any nature book can do for
    its readers is to take them out of doors; and that the best
    thing any nature-study teacher can do for them is to take them
    out of doors. Think of going to school to a teacher so simple,
    wholesome, vigorous, original, and rich in the qualities of the
    soul that she (how naturally we say “she”!)--that she comes to
    her classroom by way of the Public Garden, carrying a bird-glass
    in her hand! or across the fields with a rare orchid in her
    hand, and the freshness and sweetness of the June morning in her
    face and spirit! Why, I should like to be a boy again just to
    have such a teacher. Instead of bird-songs it is too often
    school gossip, instead of orchids it is clothes, instead of the
    open fields it is the round of the schoolroom that most teachers
    are absorbed in. Most teachers can add and spell much better
    than they can read, because they do not know the literary values
    and suggestions of words. Nothing would so help the run of
    teachers as the background, the observation and feeling, that
    would come from an intimate knowledge of the out-of-doors in the
    vicinity of their schoolrooms.


FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 1

    Learn first of all the joy of walking. It is enough at first to
    say “I am going to take a woods walk,” with nothing smaller in
    mind to do or hear or see. Such tramping itself is one of the
    very best ways of meeting the wild folk, and getting acquainted
    with nature. Go to a variety of places--the seashore, the
    water-front, the upland pasture, the deep swamps, even if you
    take a car-ride to reach them. Then select the place nearest at
    hand to frequent and watch closely.

PAGE 3

    There are many good books on the use of the camera for
    nature-study. Among them read: “Nature and the Camera” by
    Dugmore; “Home Life of Wild Birds,” by Herrick.

PAGE 4

    _The clover blossom and the bumblebee_: Read the intensely
    interesting book of Darwin’s on the cross-fertilization of
    flowers. You will also find readable accounts in “Nature’s
    Garden,” by Mrs. Blanchan.

PAGE 5

    In what nursery book do you find the original account of _the
    House that Jack Built_?

PAGE 6

    _Coccinella septempunctata_: The ladybirds, or ladybugs, are
    named according to the number of their spots: _septempunctata_
    means seven-spotted. Another is called _novemnotata_,
    nine-spotted.

    _Sixty species of birds_: Make your own list. Study your woods,
    your neighborhood, minutely day and night in order to find them
    all.


CHAPTER II

TO THE TEACHER

    Set the students to watching and reporting this rare but very
    interesting phase of wild animal life. Nothing will tax their
    patience and ingenuity more; nor will any of their reports need
    so careful scrutiny and weighing, so easy is it to be mistaken.

FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 10

    _“line”_: the end of the race; the “tape” or mark set for
    runners in a contest.

    _“set-to”_: a combat or fight.

    _mix-up_: is the same half-slangy word or newspaper expression
    for a general fight.

PAGE 11

    _Paramœcium_: this is one of the best known of the
    single-celled animals. You can get them by making an “infusion”
    of raw potato, a little hay, and stagnant water.

PAGE 12

    _A writer in one of our magazines_: The account is found in “St.
    Nicholas” for May, 1913.

    _two big slanting cellar-doors_: These were in the shed of my
    grandfather’s farmhouse, “Underwood,” and covered the
    “bulkhead” of the cellar.

PAGE 13

    _The [Massachusetts] Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Animals_: has its headquarters in Boston. It does a great work
    for “dumb” animals, and publishes a paper called “Our Dumb
    Animals” that every home and school should have.

PAGE 14

    _follow my leader_: a game that all boys know and love,
    especially when a strong, daring leader takes the game in hand.

PAGE 15

    _Mount Hood_: is the highest peak of the Cascade Range in
    Oregon. The _rope_ hanging down from the summit was brought up
    on a pack-horse or mule (I forget which) as far as Tie-up Rock,
    then carried to the summit by the professional guides and there
    fastened for the safety of those whom they take to the top
    during the summer.

PAGE 17

    _a wild snowstorm_: for a fuller description of this storm and
    the whole climb see the chapter in “Where Rolls the Oregon”
    entitled “The Butterflies of Mount Hood.”


CHAPTER III

FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 19

    _"All heaven and earth are still,” etc._: this is from Byron’s
    “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” a poem you ought to read.

PAGE 21

    _Mr. William L. Finley’s story_ of the condor appeared in the
    “Century Magazine.” It is one of the most interesting bird
    stories ever written.

    _This is the season of flowers_: among the helpful and
    interesting flower books for field use are “Gray’s Manual,”
    Mrs. Dana’s “How to Know the Wild Flowers,” and Chester A.
    Reed’s little vest-pocket _Guide_ with colored plates of the
    common flowers.

PAGE 25

    _rain down little toads_: I saw it again in the deserts of
    Oregon, the quick shower making millions of western spadefoot
    toads hop up out of the sand. As the sun came out again, presto!
    all were gone--into the sand out of sight.


CHAPTER IV

TO THE TEACHER

    In reading this story point out the very narrow margin of life
    among the wild animals; that is to say, show how little a thing
    it often is that turns the scales, that makes for life or death.
    We need all our powers, and all of them developed to their very
    highest degree of efficiency for the race of life. Only the
    fittest survive, and for these the race is often under too great
    handicaps.


FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 27

    _plumers_: those who used to kill birds for their beautiful
    plumage.

    _Klamath Lake Reservation_: is partly in California. It was set
    aside by President Roosevelt.

    _the coyote_: is the prairie or desert wolf. He is larger than
    the red fox, but smaller than the gray, or timber, wolf.

PAGE 29

    _homesteader_: one who settles upon land under the Federal
    home-steading laws.


CHAPTER V

TO THE TEACHER

    With a map of Boston follow the course of this title--from the
    crowded wharf and water-front to the wide, country-like fields
    of Franklin Park. It is a five-cent car-ride, a good half-day’s
    walk if you watch the wild life on the way. Map out such a
    course in your own city and take your pupils over it on a
    tramp, watching for glimpses of animal and bird life and for the
    sight of Nature’s face--the sky, the wind, the sunshine, trees,
    grass, flowers, etc. Make the most of your city chance for
    nature-study. It is an important matter.


FOR THE PUPIL

    T wharf, long one of the busiest fish wharves in the world,
    perhaps the busiest, is, as I write, on the point of being
    abandoned by the fish-dealers of Boston, who are to occupy a
    huge new pier at South Boston, built by the State at a cost of
    about a million dollars. Franklin Field is a great athletic
    field adjoining Franklin Park in the southern part of Boston.

PAGE 39

    _list of saints_: these immortal names are carved in various
    places on the outer walls of the Public Library.

    _cranium_: the head, or rather the skull.

    _herring gull_: _Larus argentatus_, one of the largest and
    commonest of the harbor birds, and very much like the Western
    gull of Three-Arch Rocks. It is a pearl-gray and pure white
    creature with black on the wings. The immature birds are a
    brownish gray and look like an entirely different species for
    the first year.

PAGE 40

    _Boston, Baltimore, etc._: Make a study of your city parks and
    the spots of green and the open spaces where the wild things may
    be found. Go to the Public Library and ask for the books that
    treat of the wild life of your city: “Wild Birds in City Parks,”
    by Walter, will be such a book for Chicago; “Birds in the Bush,”
    by Torrey, and “Birds of the Boston Public Garden,” by Wright,
    for Boston.

    _Charles River Basin_: the wide fresh-water part of Charles
    River just above the dam and near Beacon and Charles Streets.

    _Scup_: another name is porgie, porgy, scuppaug.

    _Squid_: (_Ommastrephes illecebrosus_), a cephalopod, or
    cuttlefish, used for bait along the Atlantic coast.

    The “cuttle-bone” in canaries’ cages is taken from the genus
    _Sepia_.

    _Squeteague_: pronounced skwe-tēg´; also called weakfish and
    sea-trout.

    _Scallops_: are shellfish the large muscle of which is much
    prized for food.

    These are only a few of the fish kinds brought in at T Wharf.

PAGE 41

    _Grand Banks_: a submarine plateau in the Atlantic, eastward
    from Newfoundland; noted as a fishing-ground. Its depth is
    thirty to sixty fathoms.

    _the Georges_: a smaller bank lying off Cape Cod.

    “_We’re Here_”: the name of the schooner in Kipling’s “Captains
    Courageous.”

    _Quincy Market_: an old well-known market in Boston.

    _King’s Chapel_: on Tremont Street. It was begun in 1749 and is
    still used for worship. See “Roof and Meadow” for a fuller
    account of the sparrows.

PAGE 42

    _rim rock_: the edging of rock around the flats and plains of
    the sage deserts of Oregon.

    _Boston Common_: known to every child who has read the history
    of our country. The “Garden” is across Charles Street from the
    Common.

PAGE 43

    _Agassiz Museum_: the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Harvard
    University. It is popularly called the Agassiz Museum in honor
    of the great naturalist Louis Agassiz, who founded it.

    See Sarah K. Bolton’s “Famous Men of Science.”

    _Arnold Arboretum_: is near the western edge of Boston; one of
    the most celebrated gardens of trees in the world.

    _Through the heaven’s wide pathless way_: from “Il Penseroso,”
    by Milton.

PAGE 44

    _Swales_: wet, grassy, or even bushy, meadows.


CHAPTER VI

FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 46

    _The tree-toad_: (_Hyla versicolor_); he is said by country
    people to prophesy rain.

    _pennyroyal_: is one of the small aromatic mints.

    _Wilson Flagg_: one of our earliest outdoor writers. Look up
    his life in any American biographical dictionary.


CHAPTER VII

TO THE TEACHER

    For a fuller account of this Wild Bird Reservation see the
    chapter in “Where Rolls the Oregon,” called “Three-Arch Rocks
    Reservation.” Bring out in your reading the point I wished to
    make, namely that these great reservations of State and Federal
    Government are not only to preserve bird and animal life, but
    also to preserve nature--a portion of the earth--wild and
    primitive and thrilling, against the constant encroachments of
    civilization. Interest your pupils in their own local parks,
    preserves, etc., and if they have farms or wood-lots, have them
    post them and set them aside as their personal sanctuaries for
    wild life.


FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 57

    _Tillamook_: the name of a town near the coast of Oregon.

    _at the mouth of the bay_: Tillamook Bay, where the bar is only
    about thirty feet wide, making the passage extremely difficult
    and dangerous.

    _Three-Arch Rocks Reservation_: was set aside by President
    Roosevelt. Credit for this and the other Oregon Reservations is
    largely due to Mr. William L. Finley and the Audubon Societies.

PAGE 59

    _Shag Rock_: so named for the black cormorants that nest upon
    it, for these birds are commonly known as “shags.”

PAGE 60

    _the sea-lions_: were of the species known as Steller’s
    sea-lions.

    _reversed in shape_: I mean the close hind flippers, the
    tapering hind end of the body, gave them an unnatural
    shape--reversed.

    _Æolus_: the god of the winds.


CHAPTER VIII

TO THE TEACHER

    Set the pupils to watching for evidences of mother-love among
    the lower creatures, where we do not think of finding it; stir
    them to look for unreported acts, and the hidden, less easily
    observed ways. Such a suggestion might be the turning of a new
    page for them in the book of nature.


FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 65

    _Cud_: the ball of grass or hay that the cow keeps bringing up
    from her first stomach to be chewed and swallowed, going then
    into the second stomach, where it is digested.

    _stanchions_: the iron or wooden fastening about the cow’s neck
    in the stall.

    _mother-principle_: the instinct or unconscious impulse of all
    living things to reproduce their kind.

PAGE 66

    _spores_: the name of the seed dust of the ferns.

    _the hunter family_: these are the spiders that build no nets
    or webs for snaring their prey, but hunt their prey over the
    ground.

PAGE 69

    _Toadfish_: See the chapter in the “Fall of the Year” called “In
    the Toadfish’s Shoe.”

PAGE 70

    _Surinam toads_: pronounced sōō-rī-näm´.

    _Mother-passion ... in the life of reptiles_: many readers,
    seeing this statement in the “Atlantic Monthly,” where the
    essay first appeared, have written me of how when they were
    _boys_ they saw snakes swallow their young--or at least killed
    the old snakes with young in them! Isn’t that mother-love among
    the reptiles? But every time the story has been about garter
    snakes or moccasins or some other ovoviviparous snake; that is,
    a snake that does not lay eggs, but keeps them within her body
    till they hatch, then _gives birth_ to the young. I have never
    seen a snake swallow its young; though big snakes do _eat_
    little ones whenever they can get them.


CHAPTER IX

FOR THE PUPIL

    Mother Carey’s chickens are any of the small petrels. The little
    _stormy petrels_ of poetry and story belong to the Old World and
    only wander occasionally over to our side of the Atlantic.

PAGE 79

    _petrel_: pronounced _pět´rel_, so called in allusion,
    perhaps, to Saint Peter’s walking on the sea.


CHAPTER X

FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 88

    _P Ranch_: is one of the Hanley system of cattle ranches, which
    cover a wide area almost seventy-five miles long. The buildings
    and tree-fences, the stockades and sheds make it one of the most
    picturesque I have ever seen. This story was told to me by Jack
    Wade, the “boss of the buckaroos.” “Buckaroo” is a corruption of
    the Spanish _vaquero_, cowherd.

    _Winnemucca_: find the place on the map.

PAGE 91

    _buckskin_: a horse of a soft yellowish color. He got his name
    Peroxide Jim from the resemblance of the color of his coat to
    that of human hair bleached by peroxide of hydrogen.


CHAPTER XI

FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 100

    _paper nests in trees_: The common yellow-jacket hornet builds
    similar large round nests in bushes, and other wasps build paper
    nests behind walls, under the ground, in holes, etc.

PAGE 107

    _bite into something poisonous_: Send to the Department of
    Agriculture at Washington for the little booklet on our
    poisonous plants. It is free.


CHAPTER XII

TO THE TEACHER

    Try to bring home to the class the profoundly interesting facts
    of animal distribution--where they live, and how they came to
    live where they do. Point out the strange shifts resorted to by
    various creatures who live at the various extremes of height or
    depth or cold or heat to enable them to get a living.


FOR THE PUPIL

PAGE 121

    “_And God who clears_”: these lines of Kipling I am quoting as I
    first found them printed. I see in his collected verse that they
    are somewhat changed.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Summer" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home