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Title: Birds and Nature Vol. 9 No. 1 [January 1901]
Author: Various
Language: English
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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.

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                            BIRDS and NATURE
                           IN NATURAL COLORS


                            A MONTHLY SERIAL
                FORTY ILLUSTRATIONS BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
                     A GUIDE IN THE STUDY OF NATURE


                         Two Volumes Each Year
                               VOLUME IX
                      January, 1901, to May, 1901


                     EDITED BY WILLIAM KERR HIGLEY

                                CHICAGO
                        A. W. MUMFORD, Publisher
                           203 Michigan Ave.
                                  1901

                          Copyright, 1901, by
                             A. W. Mumford



                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
                   ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
  Vol. IX                    JANUARY, 1901.                       No. 1



                               CONTENTS.


    THE OLD YEAR.                                                      1
    THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. (_Loxia leucoptera._)                  2
    THE LEGEND OF THE CROSSBILL.                                       5
    THE STUDY OF BACTERIA.                                             6
    THE YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER.                                    8
    THE TOWNSEND’S WARBLER. (_Dendroica townsendi._)                  11
    THE STORY OF SOME BLACK BUGS.                                     12
    THE SOLITARY SANDPIPER.                                           13
    THE KNOT OR ROBIN SNIPE. (_Tringa canutus._)                      14
    VIOLA BLANDA. (_Sweet White Violet._)                             14
    THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A BIRD.                                      17
    THE AMERICAN HAWK OWL. (_Surnia ulula caparoch._)                 23
    A BIRD CALENDAR BY THE POETS.                                     24
        So when the night falls and the dogs do howl                  25
    THE OYSTER AND ITS RELATIVES.                                     26
    THE PASSING OF SUMMER.                                            32
        When will the summer come again?                              32
    THE COLLARED LIZARD. (_Crotaphytus collaris._)                    35
    A NIGHT IN THE FLOWER GARDEN. A FAIRY STORY.                      36
    RABBIT’S CREAM.                                                   37
    THE APPLE.                                                        38
        Shed no tear!—O shed no tear                                  41
    GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF SEED-BEARING PLANTS.                   42
    VANILLA. (_Vanilla planifolia, Andrews._)                         47



                             THE OLD YEAR.


  Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light:
    The year is dying in the night;
  Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

  Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    The year is going, let him go;
  Ring out the false, ring in the true.

  Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
    For those that here we see no more;
    Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
  Ring in redress to all mankind.

  Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    The civic slander and the spite;
    Ring in the love of truth and right,
  Ring in the common love of good.

  Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
    Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
    Ring out the thousand wars of old,
  Ring in the thousand years of peace.

  Ring in the valiant man and free,
    The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
    Ring out the darkness of the land,
  Ring in the Christ that is to be.
                                                       —Alfred Tennyson.



                      THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL.
                         (_Loxia leucoptera._)


The Crossbills, together with the finches, the sparrows, the grosbeaks,
the redpolls, the goldfinches, the towhees, the cardinals, the
longspurs, and the buntings, belong to that large family of perching
birds called the Fringillidae, from the Latin word Fringilla, meaning a
finch.

Mr. Chapman tells us, in his “Birds of Eastern North America,” that
“this, the largest family of birds, contains some five hundred and fifty
species, which are represented in all parts of the world, except the
Australian region. Its members present a wide diversity of form and
habit, but generally agree in possessing stout, conical bills, which are
admirably adapted to crush seeds. They are thus chief among seed-eaters,
and for this reason are not so migratory as insect-eating species.” Many
of the birds most highly prized for the cage and as songsters are
representatives of this family and many of the species are greatly
admired for their beautiful coloring. The White-Winged Crossbill is a
native of the northern part of North America, migrating southward into
the United States during the winter months. Its technical name, Loxia
leucoptera, is most appropriate and descriptive. The generic name Loxia
is derived from the Greek loxos, meaning crosswise or slanting, and the
specific name leucoptera is from two Greek works, meaning white and
wing, and has reference to the white tips of the feathers of the wings.
The common name, Crossbill, or, as the bird is sometimes called,
Crossbeak, describes the peculiar structure of the bill which marks them
as perhaps the most peculiar of our song birds. The bill is quite deeply
cut at the base and compressed near the tips of the two parts, which are
quite abruptly bent, one upward and the other downward, so that the
points cross at an angle of about forty-five degrees. This
characteristic gives this bird a parrot-like appearance. The similarity
is heightened by the fact that these hook-like bills are used by the
birds to assist in climbing from branch to branch.

The Crossbills are even parrot-like in captivity. Dr. Ridgway, in the
“Ornithology of Illinois,” writes as follows regarding the habits of a
pair: “They were very tame, and were exceedingly interesting little
pets. Their movements in the cage were like those of caged parrots in
every respect, except that they were far more easy and rapid. They clung
to the sides and upper wires of the cage with their feet, hung down from
them, and seemed to enjoy the practice of walking with their head
downward. They were in full song, and both the male and female were
quite good singers. Their songs were irregular and varied, but sweet and
musical. They ate almost every kind of food, but were especially eager
for slices of raw apple. Although while they lived they were continually
bickering over their food, yet when the female was accidentally choked
by a bit of egg shell her mate was inconsolable, ceased to sing, refused
his food, and died of grief in a very few days.”

Their peculiar bills are especially fitted for obtaining their food,
which consists to a great extent of the seeds of cone-bearing trees,
such as the pine, the hemlock and the spruce. The ornithologist Wilson
says: “On first glancing at the bill of this extraordinary bird one is
apt to pronounce it deformed and monstrous; but, on attentively
observing the use to which it is applied by the owner and the dexterity
with which he detaches the seeds of the pine-tree from the cone and from
the husks that inclose them, we are obliged to confess on this, as on
many other occasions where we have judged too hastily of the operations
of nature, that no other conformation could have been so excellently
adapted to the purpose; and that its deviation from the common form,
instead of being a defect or monstrosity as the celebrated French
naturalist insinuates, is a striking proof of the wisdom of the great
Creator.”

                            [Illustration: ]

As an accidental malformation this structure of the bill has been noted
among other birds, and, it is said, with some frequency among the crows.
A mediaeval legend gives as the cause for this conformation of the bill
and the red color of the plumage that it was acquired “in recognition of
the pity it bestowed on the suffering Savior at the Crucifixion.”

Probably due to the nature of their food, which can usually be procured
in any season, these birds are apparently not under the control of the
usual laws that govern migration, but wander about in a seemingly
aimless manner and are not influenced to any great extent by the
changing seasons. They do not seem to be a constant inhabitant of any
given locality for any length of time, but appear and disappear as if
constantly dissatisfied with their surroundings.

The two sexes vary in color, the body of the male being a dull
carmine-red, which is brighter on the rump, and that of the female is
brownish, tinged with olive-green and with brownish yellow on the rump.
The young males are similar in color to the females, but pass through a
changeable plumage while maturing.

The Crossbill usually builds its nest in a cone-bearing tree and does
not always choose the most inconspicuous locality. The nest is generally
constructed of rather coarse twigs and strips of birch or cedar bark and
lichens. This is lined with hair, the softer fibers of bark, fine
rootlets, grass and feathers. The whole nest is saucer-shaped and about
four inches in diameter, outside measurement, by one and one-half in
depth. Authorities tell us that the eggs are usually three in number. In
color they are a pale blue, nearly spotless at the smaller end, but at
the larger end marked with irregular streaks or dots of lavender or
reddish-brown. The eggs are small, about eight-tenths of an inch long by
nearly six-tenths in diameter.

On account of their vagrant habits, Dr. Brehm was wont to call them the
“Gypsies” among birds. While seeking food or flying from place to place,
they continually utter a plaintive note and their song is soft and
sweet.



                      THE LEGEND OF THE CROSSBILL.


  On the cross the dying Saviour
    Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm.
  Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling
    In his pierced and bleeding palm.

  And by all the world forsaken,
    Sees he how with zealous care
  At the ruthless nail of iron
    A little bird is striving there.

  Stained with blood and never tiring,
    With its beak it doth not cease,
  From the cross ’twould free the Saviour,
    Its Creator’s Son release.

  And the Saviour speaks in mildness:
    “Blest be thou of all the good!
  Bear, as token of this moment,
    Marks of blood and holy rood!”

  And that bird is called the Crossbill;
    Covered all with blood so clear,
  In the groves of pine it singeth
    Songs, like legends, strange to hear.
           —From the German of Julius Mosen, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.



                         THE STUDY OF BACTERIA.


The bacteriologist is working in a wonderland fully as remote to the
average mind as that ever occupied by the astronomer or psychologist;
and yet it is as real to him as though he were walking through a forest
and noting the different kinds of trees. Such popular doubts as have
been held regarding bacteriology and even the existence of bacteria are
no longer justified. The evidence is too overwhelming not to be accepted
by anyone who has sufficient interest to investigate. The methods used
in bacteriologic studies are to-day giving us information fully as
concise as that obtained by the general botanist in the study of higher
plants. Indeed, the phenomena of bacterial activities and the chemistry
of the products of growth of many species of bacteria have already
received attention not equaled in the study of some of our most useful
plants.

Bacteria are plants; not because of any absolute characteristic that
separates them from animals, but because comparative study shows that
they are more like plants than animals. They are single-celled organisms
and each individual has the prime factors of life, assimilation, growth
and reproduction. Each bacterium is an independent cell and although the
cells in some species remain attached to one another, giving rise to
characteristic groupings, they are mostly detached and free individuals.
Bacteria can increase in numbers to a remarkable extent when favorable
conditions exist. The mother-cell simply splits into two daughter-cells
and these form a generation of four cells, while later generations,
consisting of perhaps one million cells, can in fifteen or twenty
minutes produce two million bacteria. But conditions must be favorable
for this active growth, ample food stuffs, free from other bacteria,
together with moisture and reasonable warmth are most essential. There
are many circumstances constantly at work to prevent an overgrowth of
bacteria; exhaustion of food supply, antagonism of species and fresh air
with sunshine, are the most important. Bacteria are present everywhere
in greater or less numbers, except within the bodies of healthy, growing
plants and animals. It is for this reason that bacteria become so active
and multiply with great rapidity when once established in the tissue
fluids of larger organisms, either before or after they have died. Vital
activities during health prevent the entrance of bacteria into our
bodies. There are, however, times when the association of different
species of bacteria and also the association of bacteria with higher
plants is of mutual advantage. The association of decomposition and
pathogenic bacteria frequently makes it possible for the latter to
infect an animal, when alone it perhaps would not take place. Again, the
growth of certain bacteria within the root-structure of plants greatly
improves their functional activity. The leguminous plants are enabled to
assimilate much larger quantities of nitrogen when associated with
bacteria than when growing alone. No such mutually advantageous
relationships are known to exist between bacteria and animals; the
tendencies are rather destructive, leading to the infectious diseases.
The general biologic function of the bacteria is very important and in a
general way the need of their existence can be much better appreciated
than that of many living beings. Decomposition may be stated as being
their chief functional activity. Decomposition stands before life;
without it the progress of the generations would terminate. The gradual
and ever rapid disappearance of the substance of vegetable and animal
bodies after death makes room for growing life. With an absence of
decomposition the bodies of plants and animals would collect on the
earth and cover it so deeply with organic matter that plants in
particular would be entirely unable to obtain requisite nourishment.
Higher plants having chlorophyll are able to feed on inorganic material,
while bacteria require organic matter to sustain life. Bacterial food is
then derived from the higher forms of life, while these higher forms
feed on the end products of bacterial decomposition, with the addition
of salts from the earth. An evolutionary query might then arise as to
the early conditions in the history of organic life on the earth. It is
certainly a fertile field for the theorist. Accepting the general rule
that simplicity of structure indicates priority, what then was the food
supply of the primordial bacterium before the advent of higher plants to
supply requisite organic matter? We can hardly believe that there was
already in existence sufficient ammonia-bearing compounds of suitable
quality to sustain these lowest organisms until evolutionary conditions
added organisms having the capacity of collecting nitrogen and carbon
from purely inorganic sources. These general facts, as we now see them,
would apparently strengthen the thought that different kinds of
organisms became extant at the same time.

The methods used in bacteriologic study are based on a few very distinct
principles. Successful cultivation of bacteria depends upon a knowledge
of sterilization, preparation of culture media and isolation of species.
It is in fact miniature gardening. A rod of platinum wire is the trowel
and this is kept clean and free from undesirable organisms by heating it
red hot in the gas flame. With it bacteria are lifted from tube or
plate. The culture media required are mostly beef-tea and gelatine
mixtures and are prepared with extreme care as to their composition and
reaction. The decomposition of the culture medium is prevented by
keeping it in test tubes or flasks plugged with cotton and sterilized by
boiling. By means of the cotton plug the air passing in and out of the
tube is filtered and the bacteria floating in the air are caught in the
cotton and cannot get into the tube. It also prevents bacteria from the
culture getting out of the tube and spreading infectious material. Each
test tube represents a little greenhouse, but one that is free from all
life; it is sterile when ready for use. To the media or culture soils in
the tubes the bacteria are transplanted with the platinum rod, and
active growth is obtained by placing the tubes in a suitable
temperature. Such a growth of bacteria in a test tube can contain many
millions of bacteria, while the resulting appearance of growth is due to
the heaping up of the individuals. To the naked eye the cells are
invisible, but the mass is recognized in the same way that one would
know a field of wheat in the distance without being able to see each
separate plant. Species of bacteria are separated by distributing a few
organisms throughout a fluid and then planting upon solid media. The
individual cells then grow in place and produce colonies. These are
separate and distinct to the eye and each contains bacteria, all of the
same kind. From colonies transplantations to tube cultures are made, and
the species is propagated on different media. The observations from such
growths, together with the microscopical study and sometimes inoculation
experiments on animals are the data by which the species is recognized.
Microscopic methods, although somewhat complicated have been so far
developed that some species of bacteria can be as promptly recognized
under the microscope as an acquaintance met upon the street.

Bacteriology is now being studied and investigated as a field of
research in hundreds of laboratories, and in every university in Europe
and America. Bacteriology has added as much to man’s wealth and
happiness as any of the applied sciences. All the methods of
preservation of food depend upon bacteriological principles, while
modern sanitary science is based on the recognition of the cause of
infectious diseases. The presence of specific bacteria in the secretions
or tissues of man and animals is now such a certainty for many diseases
that the work of making bacteriologic diagnoses is in itself an
extensive vocation. Within the next few years every city in America will
have a diagnosis laboratory for infectious diseases. We can safely
predict that the trained bacteriologist will be called upon to stand
between each sick person or animal and the community to direct measures
that will prevent infection of others. Hygienists are learning more
every day as to the exact way in which disease bacteria pass from person
to person, and the reasons for the occurrence of diseases. They have
learned that the accidental and unusual circumstance is least important,
but that there is a regular train of cause and effect, and in the
knowledge of how to break this chain is the key to the proper control of
an epidemic. Veterinary medicine has been able to obtain benefits from
bacteriology much beyond those already so important to human medicine.
This is so because of the persistent prejudice opposed to bacteriology
in medicine, while the veterinarian has been allowed to treat his
patients practically as the experiment animals are treated in the
laboratory.

Bacteriologists are frequently meeting demands made of their science
that are beyond its present stage of progress. It is frequently
forgotten that this is biology whose deductions are always subject to
the variation of growing things, and not chemistry or mathematics, with
their definite determinations and strict limitations. Bacteriology is
now an established science, and it is as competent to render service in
due proportion to its development and with the same integrity as any
biological subject. There are now many known facts in bacteriology that
cannot be made useful because intermediate steps in their study have not
been learned. It will require long series of experiments in some cases,
but when added to the present usefulness of bacteriology the results may
be expected to satisfy the most severe critics.

                                                        Adolph Gehrmann.



                    THE YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER.


  “Come here! come here! come here!
    My Philip dear, come here! come here!
  Philip, my dear! Philip, Philip, my dear!”

  Poor mournful Mrs. Flycatcher,
    With ample breast of dainty buff,
  Now don’t you think you’ve called your mate,—
    To say the very least—enough?

  I’m sorry for you, plaintive one;
    I would be glad to make him fly
  From his long tarrying place to you,
    If that would stop your weary cry.

  Can’t you decide to give him up?
    All over town you’ve called his name;
  I heard you calling this week, last,
    The week before you called the same.

  Perhaps some boy with “twenty-two”
    Has shot him for his sister’s hat.
  Go! search the churches through and through;
    If he’s not there, accuse the cat.
                                                     —Carrie B. Sanborn.

                            [Illustration: ]



                        THE TOWNSEND’S WARBLER.
                        (_Dendroica townsendi._)


Dr. Robert Ridgway, in the Ornithology of Illinois, uses the following
words in speaking of that family of birds called the American Warblers
(Mniotilidae), “No group of birds more deserves the epithet of pretty
than the Warblers; Tanagers are splendid; Humming-birds are refulgent;
other kinds are brilliant, gaudy or magnificent, but Warblers alone are
pretty in the proper and full sense of that term.”

As they are full of nervous activity, and are “eminently migratory
birds,” they seem to flit rather than fly through the United States as
they pass northward in the spring to their breeding places, and
southward in the fall to their winter homes among the luxuriant forests
and plantations of the tropics. All the species are purely American, and
as they fly from one extreme to the other of their migratory range they
remain but a few days in any intermediate locality. Time seems to be an
important matter with them. It would seem as if every moment of daylight
was used in the gathering of food and the night hours in continuing
their journey.

The American Warblers include more than one hundred species grouped in
about twenty genera. Of these species nearly three-fourths are
represented in North America at least as summer visitants, the remaining
species frequenting only the tropics. Though woodland birds they exhibit
many and widely separated modes of life, some of the species preferring
only aquatic regions, while others seek drier soils. Some make their
homes in shrubby places, while others are seldom found except in
forests. As their food is practically confined to insects, they frequent
our lawns and orchards during their migrations, when they fly in
companies which may include several species. Mr. Chapman, in his
Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America, says, “Some species flit
actively from branch to branch, taking their prey from the more exposed
parts of the twigs and leaves; others are gleaners, and carefully
explore the under surfaces of leaves or crevices in the bark; while
several, like Flycatchers, capture a large part of their food on the
wing.”

The Townsend’s Warbler is a native of Western North America, especially
near the Pacific coast. Its range extends from Sitka on the north to
Central America on the south, where it appears during the winter. In its
migration it wanders as far east as Colorado. It breeds from the
southern border of the United States northward, nesting in regions of
cone-bearing trees. It is said that the nest of this Warbler is usually
placed at a considerable height, though at times as low as from five to
fifteen feet from the ground. The nest is built of strips of fibrous
bark, twigs, long grasses and wool, compactly woven together. This is
lined with hair, vegetable down and feathers.

The eggs are described as buffy white, speckled and spotted with reddish
brown and lilac-gray, about three-fifths of an inch in length by about
one-half of an inch in diameter.



                     THE STORY OF SOME BLACK BUGS.


We were going to visit Aunt Bessie, and John and I like few things
better than that. To begin with, she lives in the country, and there is
always so much to do in the way of fun that the days never seem half
long enough.

Then, besides, Aunt Bessie knows everything, and can tell such famous
stories. So when she asked us one morning to go to the pond with her and
see something interesting, you may be sure we were not slow in following
her.

The rushes grew thickly along the sides, but the water was clear, and we
could plainly see the black bugs she pointed out to us crawling, slowly
and clumsily, over the muddy bottom.

“Those things!” said John, not a little disgusted. “I don’t think they
are much. Are they tadpoles?”

“Tadpoles!” I echoed. “Why, whoever saw tadpoles with six legs and no
tail?”

“The absence of a tail is very convincing,” laughed Aunt Bessie. “They
are certainly not tadpoles. Now watch them closely, please, and tell me
all about them.”

“They are abominably ugly. That is one thing,” broke in John. “They look
black, and have six legs. But how funny their skin is. More like a
crust, or lots of crusts laid one on the other. They are about the
stupidest things I ever saw. They seem to do nothing but crawl over that
mud and—Hello! they aren’t so stupid, after all. Did you see that fellow
snatch a poor fly and gobble him up quicker than you could say Jack
Robinson? And there’s another taken a mosquito just as quick. I’ll take
back what I said about the slow business. But really, Auntie, do you
think them very interesting?”

“I’ll ask you that question when you have learned something more about
them,” was her answer. “Tell me now what you think of that Dragon-fly
darting over the water?”

“Oh, he is a beauty,” we answered in a breath. “But please let us hear
something about those things down there.”

“Not to-day, boys. I wish you to see something for yourselves first.
Watch here for a few days and your patience will be rewarded, I promise
you. Then I will have a story to tell you.”

I knew that Auntie never spoke without reason, so John and I kept a
close watch on those bugs. For two days nothing happened. The old things
just crawled over the mud or ate flies and mosquitoes, as usual.

But the third day one big fellow decided to try something new. It was
nothing less than to creep up the stem of one of the rushes. I suppose
it was hard work, for he took a long time to get to the surface of the
water. Here he stopped a while and then seemed to make up his mind to go
further. Soon he was quite out of the water and could breathe all the
air and sunshine he wished. I believe he did not like it very well. He
seemed so restless and uneasy. I was expecting to see him go back, when
I heard John cry out:

“Look! oh, do look!”

I did look, and could scarcely believe my eyes.

His skin (the bug’s, I mean), was actually cracking right down the back,
just as though the air and sunshine had dried it too much.

Poor fellow, he seemed in great trouble about it. Then, to make matters
worse, a part of his coat broke off at the top and slipped down over his
eyes, so that he could not see. After a moment, however, it dropped
further, quite under the place where his chin would have been, had he
had a chin.

“Oh! he is getting a new face. A prettier one, too, I am glad to say.”

It seemed as if John was always first to notice things, for it was just
as he said; as the old face slipped away a new one came in its place.

I guess that by this time that old bug was as much astonished as we
were. He was wriggling about in a very strange fashion, and at last
quite wriggled himself out of his old shell. Then we saw two pairs of
wings, which must have been folded away in little cases by his side,
begin to open like fans. Next, he stretched his legs, and it was easy to
see that they were longer and more beautiful than those he had had
before.

Then, before we could admire his slender, graceful body, or fully
realize the wonderful change that had occurred in him, he darted away
before our astonished eyes, not a black bug, but a beautiful Dragon-fly.

“Hurrah!” we both shouted. The next second we were rushing at top speed
to tell Auntie all about it; just as though she had not known all along
what was going to happen.

She listened and then told us what we did not know.

How months before the mother Dragon-fly had dropped her tiny eggs in the
water, where they hatched out the black bugs, which were so unlike their
mother that she did not know them for her children, and had no word to
say to them during the long hours she spent in skimming over the water
where they lived.

These bugs were content at first to live in the mud. But soon came the
longing for sun and air. And then followed the wonderful transformation
from an ugly black bug to the beautiful dragon-fly.

If you will go beside some pond in the spring or early summer, and find
among the water grasses such a bug as I have described, and will then
watch long enough you will see just what John and I saw. Afterwards I am
sure you will agree with us that it is very wonderful indeed.

                                                         Louise Jamison.



                        THE SOLITARY SANDPIPER.


He is a curious little chap, the Solitary Snipe, and we used to call him
Tip-up. He delights to “see-saw” and “teeter” down a clay bank, with a
tiny “peep-po,” “peep-po,” just before he pokes in his long, slender
bill for food.

He is very tough, and possesses as many lives as the proverbial cat. I
have taken many a shot at him—fine sand-shot at that—and from a gun with
a record for scattering, and I never succeeded in knocking over but one
Tip-up while on a hunt for taxidermy specimens. I failed to secure even
this one, though he flopped over in the water and floated down upon the
surface of the shallows toward where I stood, knee-deep awaiting his
coming. He was as dead as any bird should have been after such a
peppering; yes, he was my prize at last, or so I thought as I reached
out my hand to lift his limp-looking little body from the water. He was
only playing possum after all. With a whirl of his wings and a shrill
“peep-po,” “peep-po,” he darted away and disappeared up stream and out
of sight beyond the alders. To add to my disappointment a red-headed
woodpecker began to pound out a tantalizing tune upon the limb of a dead
hemlock. No sand-shot could reach that fellow, desire him as much as I
might. Then a bold kingfisher, with a shrill, saucy scream, darted down
before me, grabbed a dace and sailed to a branch opposite to enjoy his
feast, well knowing, the rascal! that I had an unloaded gun and had
fired my last shell. How he knew this I am not able to say, but he did.
Wiser fellows in bird lore than I may be able to explain this. I cannot.

The Solitary Sandpiper is well named. He is always at home wherever
found, and always travels alone, be it upon the shelving rock-banks of a
river or the clay-banks of a rural stream. He possesses, after a
fashion, the gift of the chameleon and can moderately change the color
of his coat, or feathers, rather. When he “teeters” along a blue clay
bank he looks blue, and when he “see-saws” along brown or gray rocks he
looks gray or brown, as the case may be.

The city boy who spends his vacation in the rural parts and fishes for
dace, redfins or sunfish, knows the Solitary Sandpiper. To the country
boy he is an old acquaintance, for he has taken many a shot, with stone
or stick, at the spry little Tip-up, who never fails to escape scot free
to “peep-po,” “peep-po” at his sweet content.

                                                           H. S. Keller.



                        THE KNOT OR ROBIN SNIPE.
                          (_Tringa canutus._)


The Knot or Robin Snipe is a bird of several names, as it is also called
the Red-breasted Ash-colored Sandpiper, the Gray-back and the Gray
Snipe. It is quite cosmopolitan, breeding in the far north of both
hemispheres, but in winter migrating southward and wintering in the
climate of the southern United States and Central America. The Knot
belongs to the Snipe family (Scolopacidae), which includes one hundred
or more species, about forty-five of which are inhabitants of North
America. Nearly all the species breed in the higher latitudes of the
northern hemisphere. These birds frequent the shores of large bodies of
water and are seldom observed far from their vicinity. Their bills are
long and are used in seeking food in the soft mud of the shore.

The Knot visits the great lakes during its migrations and is frequently
observed at that time. Its food, which consists of the smaller
crustaceans and shells, can be as readily obtained on the shores of
these lakes as on those of the ocean, which it also follows.

Dr. Ridgway tells us that “Adult specimens vary individually in the
relative extent of the black, gray and reddish colors on the upper
parts; gray usually predominates in the spring, the black in midsummer.
Sometimes there is no rufous whatever on the upper surface. The cinnamon
color of the lower parts also varies in intensity.”

Little is known of the nest and eggs of the Knot owing to its retiring
habits at the nesting time and the fact that it breeds in the region of
the Arctic Circle, so little frequented by man. One authentic report,
that of Lieutenant A. W. Greely, describes a single egg that he
succeeded in obtaining near Fort Conger while commanding an expedition
to Lady Franklin Sound. This egg was a little more than an inch in
length and about one inch in diameter. Its color was a “light pea-green,
closely spotted with brown in small specks about the size of a pinhead.”



                             VIOLA BLANDA.
                         (Sweet White Violet.)


  Serene the thrush’s song, all undisturbed,
  Its rows of pearls, a marvel of completeness,
  Then the soft drip of falling tears I heard,
  Poor weeping bird, who envied so thy sweetness!
                                                  —Nelly Hart Woodworth.

                            [Illustration: ]



                      THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A BIRD.


My name is Dewey, and no bird was ever prouder of his name. I know if
Admiral Dewey could see me he would feel proud of his namesake, as I am
said to be an unusually handsome, intelligent bird. I have been laughing
in my wings for many months, hearing people say what kind of a bird I
am. Some say I am an oriole; some a male, others a female; another a
meadowlark; another not a meadowlark, but some kind of lark. One thing
they agree upon, that I go on a lark from early morn till “Dewey eve.” I
am said to have a little of the bluejay, and points like dozens of
birds. When I was about six weeks old I was quite large and fluffy, but
very much of a baby, for I knew nothing about feeding myself. My tail
was long, olive on top, yellow underneath; wings black, with cream color
on the edges—on the lower feathers just a line, on the upper ones quite
a little wider, at the top short yellow feathers, making lovely little
scallops; head and back olive-brown; rump more on the yellow; throat and
breast light yellow, with a tinge of blue under the wings, and belly
only tinted. As I grew older I kept changing, and now at nine months old
my breast is light-orange, belly light-yellow, head and back deeper
olive, rump deeper yellow. I broke my tail all off in the fall, and when
it came in, the upper feathers were black, with yellow a quarter of an
inch at the rump; under ones yellow and black. On my head are almost
invisible stripes of black, on my neck pretty broken wavy ones. My eyes
are large and bright, my bill everyone says is the handsomest they have
ever seen, very long and pointed as a needle. Underneath ivory white, on
top black, with a white star at the head. The admiration of all are my
legs and claws, as I keep them so clean, and they are a beautiful blue,
just the shade of malachite. I am seven inches long, and for the last
month have been getting black spots over my eyes and on my throat. Now
what kind of a bird am I?

One June afternoon I thought I was old enough to take a walk by myself,
so off I started, without asking permission of my father or mother. All
went well for awhile, and I was having a delightful time, seeing many
new strange things. Then all at once I began to feel very tired and
hungry, and thought I would go home, but which way to go I knew not. I
went this way and that and peeped as loud as ever I could, calling
“Mother! mother!” but no answer came. Finally I sat down, tucked my head
under my wing and went to sleep. The next thing I knew something was
coming down over me and I was held very tight. I screamed, pecked, and
tried my best to get away. Then someone said very gently: “Don’t be
afraid, little birdie; I am not going to harm you, but send you to a
lady who loves little birds, and will take good care of you.” I was
dreadfully frightened, but I did not make another peep. We went a long
way. Then I heard the little boy say: “Charlotte, will you please take
this bird to Miss Bascom, for she was so kind to me when I was sick?” I
changed hands, and off we went. Soon I heard some one calling out:
“There comes Charlotte with a bird.” Then another voice said: “I wonder
if it is another sparrow;” but when she saw me she exclaimed, “What a
perfect beauty!” took me in her hand and I knew at once I had found a
good friend and new mother. Bread and milk were ordered. Of course, I
did not know what bread and milk were, but I was so hungry I could have
swallowed dirt or stones, so there was no trouble about my taking it,
and I wished all birds could have such delicious food. I was taken
up-stairs to my new home, where everything was in pink and green and
looked so fresh I thought I was back in the clover field. My new mother
(for that is what I mean to call her) took me up to what she called a
cage and said: “Tricksey and Cervera, I want to introduce you to your
new brother.” Tricksey charmed me at once, for he was like a ray of
sunshine in his dress of gold, but when I looked at Cervera I laughed
right out in his face. It was very rude, but I know if any of you had
been in my place you would have done the same thing. Of all the ugly
specimens of a bird I had ever seen he was the very worst. He was
Tricksey’s size, but only had his baby feathers and one tail feather. He
was dirt color, had big staring eyes, and such a bill, almost as large
as his head, which was perfectly flat. He looked so common and ill-bred
that I wondered how dainty Tricksey ever sat beside him. I was too
sleepy to ask any questions and was soon fast asleep on my new mother’s
finger; then was put into a nice little basket filled with cotton. The
next day Tricksey was very kind to me, but Cervera was cross and pecked
me every time he got a chance. Tricksey said: “I have tried to be kind
to that old Spaniard, Cervera, but I do not like him and will not have
him snuggle close to me nights, so I fight him until he gets into the
swing. If you will sleep in the cage you may put your wings close to
mine, for you are so pretty and clean.” When bedtime came my new mother
said I was too large for the basket, and I might try sleeping in the
cage, so she put me in and made Cervera get up into the swing. Just as
Tricksey and I were going to sleep Cervera began swinging with all his
might, and would reach down, peck us on the head and pull our feathers
out. When he was caught he was taken out and made to sleep in the
basket. In the morning we were all let out on the floor, and it was
amusing to see Cervera mimic everything Tricksey did. If Tricksey took a
drink Cervera did, and would follow everywhere he went.

About that time I saw coming into the room a large, striped thing, with
shining, green eyes, and my heart beat so fast I could hardly breathe.
Tricksey whispered in my ear: “You need not be at all afraid; that is
only Taffy, the cat, and we are the best of friends.” Taffy jumped into
my new mother’s lap, and we three stood on the table and ate bread and
milk together. The first time I was left in the room alone I looked
around to see what would be nice to play with. First I went over to the
dressing table, carried two large cuff-buttons and put them into my
drinking cup, another pair I put on the floor of the cage with two large
coral hairpins, two shell pins, and some studs. I stuck all the pins on
anything I could pick up and threw them on the floor; turned over a
basket which was filled with ribbon and lace; some I left on the floor,
and with the rest I trimmed the cage. When I heard my new mother coming
I began to tremble. She stood speechless for a moment, then said: “You
rogue of a bird; how shall I punish you?” Then took me in her hand and
kissed me, and I knew the future was clear, and I could have all the fun
I wanted. Tricksey had the asthma very bad, and sometimes a little
whisky on some sugar would relieve him. It was funny to see that bad
Cervera maneuvre to get Tricksey off the perch so he could eat the sugar
and whisky. Tricksey grew worse instead of better, and one morning my
new mother was wakened early by his hard breathing. She took him off
from his perch and found his claws ice-cold, and he was so weak he could
hardly hold on. He lay in her hand a moment, then threw back his pretty
head and all was over. We were all heart-broken and shed many tears, for
we were powerless to bring back to life that little bird we loved so
dearly. I really felt sorry for that horrid Cervera. He missed Tricksey,
and for days seemed to be looking for him. One evening he went out the
window, and we never saw him again.

I am very fond of sweet apples and generally whenever I want anything
that is down-stairs I go and get it. I love grapes better than any other
fruit. When I want one I hop back and forth on the back parlor table,
then on top of a high back chair and tease until one is given to me. I
like best to have my new mother hold a grape in her right hand while I
perch on her left and suck all the rich, sweet juice next the skin out
first; then I take the grape over on the table on a paper and knock it
until all the seeds come out before I eat it. I like bananas, too, and
go to the fruit dish and open one myself. Every morning I perch on the
plate or finger-bowl and eat my orange.

We usually have our orange in our room, and sometimes I get so impatient
I fly over to the bed, back to the orange, and beg my new mother to get
up. I always take a drink out of the finger bowl and often said to
myself, “What a fine bathtub this would make.” When fall came I began
going to bed at 5 o’clock, and at 7 was awakened and taken out to
dessert. One night I became tired of waiting and went out into the
dining-room very quietly, and the first thing I spied was a finger-bowl,
so thought that was just the time for a bath. In I went. They heard the
splashing and looked up to see everything as well as myself soaking wet.
Of course they thought it very cunning, but after I did it for three
nights I was told two baths a day were too much for me. I made up my
mind if I could not take a bath in the finger-bowl at night, I would in
the morning and, as I refused to go near my old bathtub, the bowl was
given me for my own. There was a bowl of Wandering Jew on the
dining-table, and several times I took a bath in the center. All said I
made a beautiful picture, but when they found I was tearing the vine all
to pieces it was not so pretty and many lectures were given to me, but I
heeded them not, and if taken away I would walk (for I can walk as well
as hop) all over the table on the ends of my toes and look every way but
towards the bowl; then, when no one was looking, grab a piece and take
it up on top of a picture. One day I trimmed all of the pictures, and
there was none left in the bowl, so I had to look up some other
mischief.

When I go out to dinner I have my own little table cloth and plate put
by my new mother’s. I usually take a little of everything; chicken and
cranberry jelly is very good. Sometimes I do not behave very well, for I
go tiptoeing across the table to my grandmother’s plate, hop on the
edge, and see if she has anything I like. When dinner was ready to be
served I went over on the sideboard, made holes in all the butter balls,
then took some mashed potato and boiled onion and put them to cool in a
big hole I had made in an apple. Few people know that birds are ever
sick at their stomachs. I had been in the habit of eating a little
shaved hickorynut that was put in a half shell and kept in a dish on the
back parlor table. When I came down stairs I usually took a taste, and
it seemed to agree with me. For a change I ate a little chestnut, and
soon began to feel bad, so went off by myself and tried to go to sleep.
When my new mother saw me she said she knew I was not well, for I never
acted that way in the daytime. She put me in my cage, and sat down
beside me. I would close my eyes and open my bill, and she thought I was
dying until I opened my bill very wide and out came the chestnut in a
lump a half inch long and a quarter wide.

My mother’s writing desk is a favorite place of mine. I get into
drawers, pigeon holes and ink; pictures and all sorts of small things I
throw on the floor. Once I stole ever so many dimes and pennies. I can
lift a silver dollar and often carry a coffee-spoon all about the room,
so you see I have a very strong bill. If anything is lost all say “Dewey
must have taken it.” One day my new mother looked until she was tired
for her thimble. When she asked me for it, I pretended I did not hear,
but as she was going into the dining-room I dropped it down on her head
from the top of the portiere. I often perch on a basket on top of the
book case in the writing room. When I saw a new white veil beside me I
went to work and made ten of the prettiest eyelet holes you can imagine,
right in front; some were round and some star-shaped. As I grew older I
said, “I will not sleep in my cage.” For a few nights I insisted upon
sleeping on the brass rod at the head of the bed, then changed to the
top of the curtain. I have a piece of soft flannel over some cotton put
on the ledge and on the wall, so I will not take cold. If it is very
cold I get behind the frill of the curtain, so no one can see me. If
warm I turn around so my tail hangs over the outside. When my new mother
comes in I open my eyes, make a bow, and, if not too sleepy, come down
and sit on her hand. I never chirp or peep, and when I hide and hear
“Dewey, Dewey,” I do not answer but fly down on my new mother’s head,
shoulder or hand. Taffy gets so angry at me. I know he often feels like
killing me. I wake up early mornings, and take my exercise by flying
back and forth from a picture on one side of the room to the head of the
bed. When Taffy is on the foot of the bed I fly very low, almost
touching him with my wings, and say, “You lazy cat, why don’t you wake
up and hear the little birds sing to God Almighty; why don’t you wake
up?” I soon hear words that are not used in polite society, and next see
the end of his tail disappearing around the corner of the door. Before I
go to sleep at night I exercise again. One afternoon Taffy was trying to
take a nap in a chair in the back parlor. I kept flying over him, making
a whizzing sound with my wings. When he could endure it no longer he
went into the writing-room and sat down by his mother. I went in to take
a luncheon on the table. Taffy stood up on his hind legs, reached out a
velvet paw, and gave me such a slap I fell upon the floor. I was not
hurt in the least, flew up on a picture and shook with laughter at the
punishment and scolding Mr. Taffy was getting. He said very naughty
words, scratched and bit, but he was conquered at last, and has behaved
like a gentleman ever since. The first time I saw the snow I was wild
with delight, flew to the window and tried to catch the pretty white
flakes. But when I heard the sleigh bells they struck terror to my
heart, for I thought a whole army of cats was coming, as all I knew
about bells are Taffy’s. Not long ago my new mother was very ill and had
to send for a strange physician, who knew nothing about me. When I heard
him coming upstairs I hid behind the curtain and watched him fix a white
powder in a paper. When he laid it on the table I swooped down, grabbed
it and took it into my cage. After that I was kept busy, as my
grandmother was ill for many weeks. I would carry off all the sleeping
powders; one day I put them behind the bed, for I thought they would not
taste so badly, and do just as much good.

It did not take more than a minute to get down there when I heard the
doctor come in, for I had to see that the medicine was mixed all right.
It was great fun peering into the tiny little bottles in his case. I
would stand on the ends of my toes and crane my neck to watch him drop
the medicine into the tumblers. The other day some Christmas roses were
brought in. They looked so tempting I took several bites, and the next
day took some more. I felt a little queer, and kept opening my bill. My
new mother thought I had something in my throat and gave me some water.
The next afternoon she found me on the floor panting, took me to an open
window, gave me wine and the attack seemed to pass. We went up to our
room, and apparently I was as well as ever when she went down to dinner.
After she had gone another attack came on and I am too weak to write any
more, and can only warn little birds never to taste of a Christmas rose,
as they are said to be deadly poison.


When I went to my room late in the evening no little birdie peeped over
the curtain to greet me. I looked on the floor, and there lay my darling
Dewey, stiff and cold.

                                          Caroline Crowninshield Bascom.

                            [Illustration: ]



                         THE AMERICAN HAWK OWL.
                       (_Surnia ulula caparoch._)


The typical form of this owl (Surnia ulula) is a native of Scandinavia
and Northern Russia, and incidentally is a visitor to Western Alaska. We
are told by Mr. L. M. Turner, who was stationed by the United States
Signal Service in Alaska from 1874 to 1881, that the natives assert that
this form is “a resident, and breeds in the vicinity of St. Michaels;
also that it is a coast bird, i. e., not going far into the interior,
and that it can live a long time in winter without food, as it remains
for days in the protection of the holes about the tangled roots of the
willow and alder patches.” Its true breeding range, however, is the
northern portion of the Eastern hemisphere. It is somewhat larger and
lighter in color than the American Hawk Owl.

The bird of our illustration, the American Hawk Owl, is simply a
geographical variety of the Old World form, and is a native of northern
North America, from Alaska to Newfoundland. This is its usual breeding
range, though it migrates in winter to the northern border of the United
States, and is an occasional visitor, during severe winters, as far
south as Maine and Idaho. It is much more common in the northern portion
of its range.

Unlike the other owls, as we usually understand their habits, it may be
considered as strictly diurnal, seeking its prey, to a great extent at
least, during daylight, usually during the early morning or evening
hours. Its principal food consists of the various species of rodents,
insects and small birds. Its southward migration is caused by that of
its food species, especially that of the lemmings.

It is a tame bird and may be said to know no fear. We are told by Dr. A.
K. Fisher that “specimens have been known to return to the same perch
after being shot at two or three times. It is a courageous bird, and
will defend its nest against all intruders. A male once dashed at Dr.
Dall and knocked off his hat as he was climbing to the nest; other
similar accounts show that the courage displayed on this occasion was
not an individual freak, but a common trait of the species.”

Not alone in its diurnal habits is it like the hawks, but it also
resembles some of them in selecting the dead branch of a tall tree in
some sightly locality from which to watch for its prey. From this
position it will swoop down hawk-like. Like the hawks its flight is
swift and yet noiseless, a characteristic which is common to all the
owls.

As a rule its note, which is a sharp, shrill cry, is only sounded when
flying.

As a nesting site, hollow trees are more frequently chosen. However,
nests built of twigs and lined with grass are not infrequent. These are
usually placed on the tops of stumps or among the branches of dense
cone-bearing trees. The number of eggs varies from three to seven, and
are frequently laid long before the ice and snow have disappeared. “The
eggs vary from oval to oblong oval in shape, are pure white in color,
and somewhat glossy, the shell is smooth and fine-grained.” Incubation
begins as soon as the first egg is laid, and both sexes participate in
this duty, and occasionally both are found on the nest at the same time.
At the nesting season the courage of both sexes is very marked. The male
will fight with its talons, and even when wounded will still defend
itself. We are told by Mr. Gentry that “calmly and silently it maintains
its ground, or springs from a short distance on its foe. So, bravely it
dies, without thought of glory and without a chance of fame; for of its
kind there are no cowards.”

This bird, like the other species of owls, though possibly not to so
great an extent because of its diurnal habits, is looked upon by the
Indian tribes as a bird of ill omen and by some tribes all owls are
called “death birds.” As a whole, the hawk owls are perhaps more useful
to man than any other birds that are not used as food. They cause but
little trouble in the poultry yard and are of incalculable value to the
farmer because of the large number of small rodents that they destroy.



                     A BIRD CALENDAR BY THE POETS.


January.

This is not the month of singing birds.

  “Silently overhead the hen-hawk sails
  With watchful, measuring eye, and for his quarry waits.”
                                                                —Lowell.


February.

Sometimes a flock of strange birds descends upon us from the north—the
crossbills. There is an old tradition that the red upon their breast was
caused by the blood of our Saviour, as they sought to free Him with
their bills from the cross.

  “And that bird is called the Crossbill,
    Covered all with blood so dear,
  In the groves of pine it singeth
    Songs, like legends, strange to hear.”
                                                            —Longfellow.


March.

No birds are more closely associated with early spring than the
swallows.

  “Gallant and gay in their doublets grey,
    All at a flash like the darting of flame,
  Chattering Arabic, African, Indian—
    Certain of springtime, the swallows came.

  “Doublets of grey silk and surcoats of purple,
    Ruffs of russet round each little throat,
  Wearing such garb, they had crossed the waters,
    Mariners sailing with never a boat.”
                                                      —Sir Edwin Arnold.


April.

  “Winged lute that we call a Bluebird,
    You blend in a silver strain,
  The sound of the laughing waters,
    The sound of spring’s sweet rain,

  “The voice of the wind, the sunshine
    And fragrance of blossoming things.
  Ah, you are a poem of April
    That God endowed with wings.”


May.

This is the month of the Bobolinks.

  “Merrily, merrily, there they hie;
  Now they rise and now they fly;
  They cross and turn and in and out,
  And down the middle and wheel about,
  With ‘Phew, shew, Wadolincoln; listen to me Bobolincoln!’
  Happy’s the wooing that’s speedily doing,
  That’s merry and over with bloom of the clover,
  Bobolincoln, Wadolincoln, Winterseebee, follow me.”


June.

  “Then sings the Robin, he who wears
    A sunset memory on his breast,
  Pouring his vesper hymns and prayers
    To the red shrine of the West.”


July.

The full tide of song is on the ebb, but you still hear in the shadowy
woods the silvery notes of—

  “The wise Thrush, who sings his song twice over,
  Lest you should think he never could recapture
  That first fine careless rapture.”
                                                              —Browning.


August.

The humming-bird.

  “When the mild gold stars flower out,
    As the summer gloaming goes,
  A dim shape quivers about
    Some sweet rich heart of a rose.

  “Then you, by thoughts of it stirred,
    Still dreamily question them,
  ‘Is it a gem, half bird,
    Or is it a bird, half gem?’”
                                                         —Edgar Fawcett.


September.

There is something wistful in the notes of the birds preparing to
depart. In the woods we see—

  “A little bird in suit
  Of sombre olive, soft and brown,
  With greenish gold its vest is fringed,
  Its tiny cap is ebon-tinged,
  With ivory pale its wings are barred,
  And its dark eyes are tender starred.
  ‘Dear bird,’ I said, ‘what is thy name?’
  And thrice the mournful answer came,
  So faint and far and yet so near—
  ‘Pewee! Pewee! Pewee!’”
                                                            —Trowbridge.


October.

This brown month surely belongs to the sparrows.

  “Close beside my garden gate
  Hops the sparrow, light, sedate.”
  * * * “There he seems to peek and peer,
  And to twitter, too, and tilt
  The bare branches in between
  With a fond, familiar mien.”
                                                               —Lathrop.


November.

In cold weather the little gray Chickadee cheers us with his “tiny
voice”—

  “Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
  Chick-chickadedee! Saucy note,
  Out of sound heart and merry throat!
  This scrap of valor, just for play,
  Fronts the north wind with waistcoat gray.”
                                                               —Emerson.


December.

The sleep of the earth has begun under the white, thick snow. The Owl is
abroad by night—

  “A flitting shape of fluffy down
  In the shadow of the woods,
  ‘Tu-wit! tu-whoo!’ I wish I knew;
    Tell me the riddle, I beg—
  Whether the egg was before the Owl
    Or the Owl before the egg?”
                                              Arranged by Ella F. Mosby.


  So when the night falls and the dogs do howl,
  Sing ho! for the reign of the horned owl.
          We know not alway
          Who are kings by day,
  But the king of the night is the bold brown owl.
                                                        —Barry Cornwall.



                     THE OYSTER AND ITS RELATIVES.


Of all the grand divisions of the Animal Kingdom, the subkingdom
Mollusca is probably the least known to the ordinary observer, and if
one were asked to enumerate as many different kinds of “shell fish” as
he could, it is probable that not over six or eight different varieties
would be named. The majority of people think of a clam, oyster, mussel,
snail or Nautilus and their molluscan vocabulary ends with these names.
And yet this group of animals is second only to the insects in number of
different species, beauty of coloration and interest of habitat. They
may be found everywhere, in salt and fresh water, in our forests and
fields, our ponds, brooks and rivers; in the valleys and on the mountain
tops, and even in the waters of the frozen north, while in the warm
waters of the tropics they flourish in uncounted millions. In size they
range from the little sea-snails hidden in the eel grass along the
shore, with tiny shells scarcely an eighth of an inch in length, to the
giant squid, which measures forty feet or more from the tip of its tail
to the end of its long arms; and they range from the tide-washed beach
to the abyssal depths of the ocean. It is to these lowly creatures that
I would draw the reader’s attention.

In nearly all the species of the Mollusca the animal is protected by a
hard shell, made of carbonate of lime, which is covered with a horny
epidermis to protect the limy shell from being dissolved by the acids in
the water. This shell is generally capable of containing the entire
animal, thus affording, in most cases, adequate protection for the soft
body. Those animals not provided with a shell, as is the case with the
land slugs, are capable of covering themselves with a sort of mucus
which encysts and protects them from both extreme heat and cold.

The lowest branch of Mollusca is known as class Pelecypoda, which
comprises all of the different kinds of clams, mussels, quahaugs, etc.,
in which the body is protected by two hard, calcareous shells placed,
generally, opposite each other and connected on the upper margin by a
ligament, and the two valves work back and forth in teeth and sockets,
making a kind of hinge. A set of stout adductor muscles keep the two
shells or valves together and allow them to open and close at the will
of the animal. The majority of clams live in the mud in a horizontal
position, the anterior end being buried and the posterior end,
containing the siphons which draw in and expel the water, being out of
the mud, in the water. The clam progresses by pushing forward its
strong, muscular foot, getting a firm hold of the mud and then drawing
the shell after it. Some pelecypods, as the oyster, live attached to
some object on the bottom of the water, as a stone, piece of wood or
piling of an old wharf, and are not able to travel from place to place
as are the true clams, examples of the latter being fresh water mussels
and the marine quahaug or round clam.

Some bivalves also attach themselves by a byssus composed of a number of
silk-like threads, which anchor their shells to stones, sticks, and
other foreign objects. In one group (genus Pinna) found in the
Mediterranean Sea, this byssus is so fine and silky that the Italians
weave it with silk and make caps, gloves and other articles of wearing
apparel.

                            [Illustration: ]

  First row:
    Sunrise Shell (Tellina radiata)
    Pearl Oyster (Margaritiphora radiata)
  Second row:
    Coccle (Cardium isocardia)
    Spiny Oyster (Spondylus princeps)
    Scallop (Pecten dislocatus)
  Third row:
    Mussel (Mytilus edulis)
    Oyster (Ostrea lacerans)
  Fourth row:
    Fresh Water Clam (Unio luteolus)
    Spiny Venus (Cytheria lupinaria)

Another wonderful and interesting arrangement for the comfort of the
animal is its breathing organs or branchiae. These are two or four in
number, and are made up of numerous small chambers, covered with little
whip-like organs or cilia, which keep up a constant motion, creating
currents of water, bring thousands of minute organisms to the clam to
serve as food. These little organisms, many of them microscopic, are
caught upon the surfaces of the gills, rolled into little masses, and
passed into the animal’s mouth. Besides being food-gatherers, the gills
serve to keep up a circulation by which fresh water is constantly
brought in to purify and aerate the blood and also to expel the waste
products. There is no head in this class, and the mouth is an oval slit
surrounded by four lips or palpi, and leads almost directly into the
stomach.

The currents of water spoken of above are controlled and directed in
several different ways. In attached forms, and those living above the
surface of the mud, like the oyster, mussel and scallop, the soft mantle
which lines the shell is divided, forming a slit nearly the whole
diameter of the shell, and the water is allowed to circulate freely
through the open edges of the shells. But in those animals which burrow
in the mud, as the common little neck clam, fresh water clam and
quahaug, this mantle is closed and prolonged posteriorly into one double
or two single siphons or tubes, one being fringed with little
finger-like cilia and drawing in the water by their motion, and the
other expelling the water after it has circulated through the animal.

One of the most attractive families of bivalve shells is the Veneridae,
or venus shells, in which the shelly skeleton is ornamented by many
bright colors, the patterns occurring in spots, dashes, zigzag lines and
rays. Some varieties, as the spiny venus (Cytheria lupinaria) have the
posterior end of the shell provided with long, sharp, curved spines, and
the shell is also frilled in a beautiful manner. The common quahaug
(round or hard-shelled clam), which is esteemed an article of diet on
the Atlantic coast, and also to some extent in the interior, is a
prominent member of this family. The Veneridae comprise some five
hundred species, found throughout the world, and ranging from the shore
between tides to several hundred fathoms in depth.

The family Cardiidae, the heart-shells or cockles, comprise some of the
largest and most attractive of mollusks. The name Cardium, signifying a
heart, is given them because of the close resemblance to that organ when
a shell is viewed from the anterior end. These animals live in sandy or
muddy bays, and generally congregate by thousands. In England, the
edible cockle (Cardium edule) is considered quite a delicacy and
thousands are used for this purpose. In our own country they are not
generally eaten, except by the poor in Florida and in some places along
the Gulf of Mexico, but the waters of Florida furnish some very handsome
species, among them the Cardium isocardia figured on our plate, and the
large Cardium magnum, which grows to a length of five inches and whose
shell is ornamented by beautiful color-patterns of brown and yellow. The
foot of the Cardium is very peculiar, being shaped like a sickle, which
enables the animal to pull itself along at a lively gait. A California
cockle (Liocardium elatum) grows to a diameter of seven inches and would
furnish a meal for several people.

In the family Tridacuidae size seems to have reached its limit.
Tridacena gigas, found in the Indian Ocean, grows to a length of nearly
six feet and weighs upwards of eight hundred pounds. Tryon records that
a pair of these shells, weighing five hundred pounds, and two feet in
diameter, are used as benetiers in the church of St. Sulpice, Paris. In
some parts of the Indian Ocean, where pearl and sponge-fishing are
carried on, this clam (known as the giant clam), is a source of great
danger to the divers, many losing their lives by being caught between
the great valves of the shell, by either hands or feet. Many times a
diver has amputated his fingers, hand or foot, and thus saved his life
at the expense of one or more of these members.

The Tellinas (family Tellinidae) number among its five hundred or more
species some very beautiful and interesting animals. They live for the
most part buried in sand or sandy mud and are found throughout the
entire world. Our common Tellina radiata, familiarly called sunshell, is
found in Florida and the West Indies, and a typical valve looks not
unlike the horizon at sunrise, the brilliant rays of color spreading in
different directions from a common center. At Newport, Rhode Island, the
writer has gathered many thousand specimens of a beautiful little Tellen
(Tellina tenera), whose shell measures scarcely half an inch in diameter
and is tinted a lovely pink or pinkish white. The siphons of this family
are very long and are separated, the upper one being half or
three-quarters as long as the lower one, and the foot is rather long and
pointed, admirably adapted for burrowing. The long siphons enable the
animal to bury itself to quite a depth beneath the surface of the sand.

Closely related to the Tellinidae is the Psammobiidae, a characteristic
form of which (Psammobia rubroradiata) is thus spoken of by Prof. Josiah
Keep, in his interesting little book, “West Coast Shells:” “But I wanted
to see more of him, so I took a large jar, filled it half full of beach
sand, added as much sea-water as it would hold, and plunged my prize
into the same. He rested quietly for a few minutes, and then began to
open his shell and cautiously put out his two siphons. Soon afterward,
from between the edges of his shells, came his big, white, spade-shaped
foot. He drove it down into the sand, curved it a little to one side,
gave a vigorous pull, and lo! his shell followed, though just why I
could not clearly understand. Though the jar was large he reached the
bottom before his shell was wholly covered with sand, and had to content
himself with a half-above-ground tenement.”

“Next morning his siphons were stretched out some six inches in length.
* * * I never thought before that there was any particular beauty to the
siphons of a clam, but for this red-lined one my opinions quickly
changed. Imagine two tubes made of the finest pink and white silk,
stretched over delicate hoops arranged at regular intervals; then think
of them as endowed with life, and waving with a graceful motion through
the water, and you will have a faint idea of their exquisite texture and
elegant appearance.”

To those readers who live in the West, away from the ocean, the Unio, or
freshwater mussel, is more or less familiar. What child in Chicago has
not played on the sands of Lake Michigan and scooped up the little
grains with the broken half of a clam shell? Or who, wading in the muddy
water of Lake Calumet, has not wondered what the curious little hollow,
fringed objects were which protruded from the surface of the mud? These
latter were the siphons of the clam and if you were to dig under them a
little way you would find the beautiful green-rayed shell of a river
mussel. These are no less interesting than the marine shells already
described and in beauty of ornamentation they frequently excel many of
their salt-water relatives. Such excrescences as knobs, spines and
rib-like undulations are common, while the colors of the interior range
from pure silvery white through orange, pink and salmon to dark purple,
and the rich, pearly iridescence rivals that of any of the marine
shells. In many parts of the West mussels are collected by men in search
of pearls, which are generally of an inferior quality, and thousands of
shells are used annually in the manufacture of pearl buttons.

One of the most familiar objects to the seaside visitor is the huge
banks of sea-mussels (Mytilus) which line the shore at low water. The
shells are generally dark-colored, our common mussel (Mytilus edulis)
being frequently jet black, and are more or less wedge-shaped in form.
They attach themselves to mud banks and shore vegetation by a strong
byssus made up of stout, more or less silky threads. The mussels are of
great value economically, thousands of bushels of the edible mussel
(Mytilus edulis) being consumed annually in Europe. They are also used
as bait, and millions of the mussels are thus used every year. Although
considered a delicacy in parts of Great Britain and Europe, it has not
yet been adopted as an article of diet in this country, the clam and
quahaug taking its place.

The family Aviculidae, comprising the wing-shells or pearl oysters, is
of great interest, both scientifically and economically. At the present
time there are a little over one hundred species living, but the family
has been known from early geological times and over a thousand species
have been found in the rocks. The pearl-oyster (Melleagrina
margaritifera) is the most important member of this family, furnishing
as it does the beautiful pearls of commerce. These animals are found at
Madagascar, Ceylon and other parts of the Indian Ocean, several hundred
tons being imported into Europe annually. These pearls are formed by
some irritating substance, as a grain of sand or some parasite, getting
in between the shell and the animal, or lodging in some soft part, which
causes the animal to cover it with pearly matter to prevent irritation.
The shells also furnish a considerable part of the “mother-o’-pearl”
which is so largely used for ornamental purposes. The Margaritifera
radiata, figured on our plate, is a member of this family.

The scallop is an object well known to the tourist visiting New England
summer resorts, who has reveled in “fried scallops.” The family to which
this belongs (Pectinidae) is composed of rounded shells, many with
frills or ribs and nearly all ornamented with beautiful colors. Unlike
the animals which we have been considering, these mollusks have no
siphons and the shell is open all the way around save at the hinge, and
the edge of the mantle is provided with little, round, black eyes. It is
an interesting sight to observe a beach at low water, the receding tide
having left on the shore or in little pools of water hundreds of these
mollusks, attached by a byssus to bits of sea weed. As one is gazing
wonderingly over this vast field of yellow sand and green weed, an
object will suddenly move through a pool of water with astonishing
rapidity, accompanying the movement by a quick snapping sound. This is
the scallop, which is imprisoned in the pool and which desires to get
out. The movement is effected by rapidly closing and opening the two
valves of the shell, thereby causing a clicking sound. The noise of
several hundred of these shells opening and closing and the sight of as
many scallops with strings of sea weed attached to them, shooting
through the water, looking not unlike a comet with a long tail, is quite
bewildering. In Europe, the scallop is considered quite a delicacy and
several tons are gathered annually. One species (Pecten jacobaeus) has
been dignified as a badge of several orders of knighthood and it was
also worn by pilgrims to the Holy Land a good many years ago. It was
called “St. James’ Shell.”

The most common shell to the layman is the oyster (Ostrea virginica),
the cultivation of which occupies the attention of a large number of men
and the investment of considerable capital. The oyster is free and
active when young, but becomes attached to some submerged object early
in life. Oyster culturists take advantage of this habit by erecting
poles in the water to which the young oysters attach themselves. The
shells of the different species of oyster are not generally of much
beauty, but a related family, the Spondylidae, or spiny oysters, are
among the most beautiful of bivalves. In this family the shell is
ornamented by many long spines and frills, and the colors are different
shades of red, yellow and pink. The most beautiful species are found in
the Gulf of California.

The space at our command is far too limited to adequately discuss the
many curious and interesting animals which make up the class Pelecypoda.
Much might be said of the Solen or razor-shell, with its curious foot
which is so great a help in digging burrows; of the Pholads, which
perforate and make burrows in clay, wood and even in the hardest rock;
and of the strange Teredo or “shipworm,” with a long, worm-like body
which bores into ships, wharves and any wooden object within reach. But
enough has been written and pictured to show the reader that the
unpretentious clam, mussel or oyster and their relatives have many
interesting habits, are encased in beautiful shells, and that some
species are of great economic importance to man.

                                                    Frank Collins Baker.



                         THE PASSING OF SUMMER.


  Where have the charms of summer gone?
    Part of its sunny, azure skies
      The bluebirds southward bore away,
      And how could sunset splendors stay,
  Or glory of the early dawn,
    When not a tanager now vies
      With orange-flaming orioles,
      And humming-birds no magic bowls
  Of nectar drain in gardens fair,
  Or flash like jewels through the air?

  Where have the summer’s beauties flown?
    Afar on swallows’ purple wings;
      With blackbirds’ iridescent throats,
      And with the thrushes’ perfect notes
  Of rapture into music grown;
    With blue the indigo bunting brings,
      A sapphire set with emerald leaves,
      And finch-gold that June interweaves
  With silver from the kingbird’s breast
  And studs with pearls of many a nest.


  When will the summer come again?
    When olive warblers northward fly,
      And to their hints of budding green
      The grosbeaks add a rosy sheen
  Of warming skies: O, not till then
    Will summer come and winter die!
                                                         —Benjamin Karr.

                            [Illustration: ]



                          THE COLLARED LIZARD.
                       (_Crotaphytus collaris._)


The Collared or Ring-necked Lizard may be found among the rocks and open
woods of the plateau or in desert regions from southern Missouri
southward into Mexico, westward to southeastern California and northward
to southern Idaho. However, this is its general range, and it is not
common over all this territory. Though it has been known to ascend to an
altitude of nearly six thousand feet, yet it does not seem to have
crossed the Sierra Nevada range, as it has not been observed at any
point on the Pacific coast or the interior of California.

The Collared Lizard is so called because of the black bars, which
resemble a collar, and are situated between the fore legs and extend
across the back of the animal. They vary greatly in color, depending on
their age or geographical position. The back is usually some shade of
dull or rather dark green, or it may have a bluish cast, with numerous
oblong or rounded lighter spots, which may be either whitish, or various
shades of red, orange or yellow. These spots may be quite definite or
they may form quite continuous bands. The variations in color are much
more marked in the young.

Dr. Cope tells us that “it runs very swiftly, carrying the tail over its
back. In its manners it is perhaps the most pugnacious of our lizards,
opening its mouth when cornered, and biting savagely. Its sharp teeth
can do no more than slightly cut the skin.”

Mr. Frank M. Woodruff relates the following interesting account of his
experiences with this lizard: “I found the Collared Lizard at three
points in Missouri—Vineland, DeSoto and Pilot Knob. They are restricted
to the rocky glades, where they live with the scorpions and the
rattlesnakes. The only place where I found them abundant was between
Vineland and the old Kingston mines. During the hot summer months they
make their appearance upon the broad slabs of rock, often quite a
distance from their lairs. When disturbed they make a dash to escape and
usually in the direction that leads to their accustomed crevice, even
though the intruder is in its path. I have had them run almost across my
feet in their frantic efforts to hide. They are a somewhat terrifying
object as they run toward you. At this time they apparently assume a
partly upright position, looking for all the world like a small edition
of Mephistopheles. The negroes are mortally afraid of them. They call
them ‘Glade Devils,’ and the more superstitious believe that the souls
of the very bad negroes reside in them. A negro will never go through a
glade frequented by this species, and will make a long detour to avoid
doing so. The only time I ever saw a negro ‘turn gray’ was when I
brought one of these lizards to Ironton and asked for assistance in
capturing it when it escaped. They are so swift in their movements that
I found the best method of capturing them was by tying a noose of fine
copper wire to a fish pole. This can be slipped over their heads, as
they lie sunning themselves, as they seem to pay but little attention to
the loop as it touches them. By exercising caution it is possible to
approach from the rear to within eight or ten feet without exciting
them. They make delightful pets, if a lizard can be considered such. By
feeding them through the winter on meal worms and in the summer on flies
and grasshoppers they can be kept for a year or more.”



                     A NIGHT IN THE FLOWER GARDEN.
                             A FAIRY STORY.


The day had passed and the sun had gone to sleep in a bed of crimson and
gold. The wind blew softly, at which the leaves on the great trees in
the garden began to murmur; though it was evening they were not sleepy
like some of the flowers who thought it time to go to sleep when the sun
did. Sometimes the leaves were awake all night; you could hear them
moving gently in the breeze. The clover leaves were folded close in
sleep long ago and the Poppies declared they could not sit up a moment
longer. But the tall white Lilies, who loved the night, were wide awake;
they could not sleep when the garden was full of moonlight. They said
the Crickets were so noisy and the Katydids so quarrelsome that it
disturbed them, so they stood fair and white gathering the dew in their
silvery cups which filled the soft night air with sweet perfume. The
Roses were looking pale and sad in the moonlight; they reveled in the
golden sunshine and grew brilliant in the heat of day. But they were
languid now and sometimes a little breeze would send their velvet petals
floating to the ground to fade and die.

The Pansies nestled low with closed eyes. You would not have known where
the Mignonette and Heliotrope were had you not breathed their sweet
perfume, for they were fast asleep. The Nasturtiums, Hollyhocks, and
Marigolds were still as bright and gay as if the sun, whom they loved,
could see them and they felt like sitting up with the Four O’Clocks and
Evening Primroses, who never went to sleep until very late.

But of all the flowers in the garden, the Sweet Peas were the widest
awake. There they stood in rows, dainty and fair, never thinking of
going to sleep, but trembling with excitement. You could see them
whispering together, for they had heard that to-night the Fairy Queen
was to come to the garden and would give a soul to some flower; which
one they did not know but hoped it would be to them.

A little Humming Bird had brought the news and had told it only to the
Sweet Peas, so they thought it must be for them that this beautiful
change was to come. Had they not heard that years ago a sweet flower
called Narcissus had been changed into a beautiful youth, who could
wander where he wished? What delight that would be! And had they not
also heard of Pansies changing into little children, and Larkspurs into
larks that soared away into the bright blue sky? Of Water Lilies
changing into maidens, who made their homes under the green waves? And
they had always thought that myriads of brilliant flowers were changed
into the daintiest of all things. The little Humming Birds must have
been flowers at one time, for they were always hovering around them,
kissing them and making love to them. Oh! if the Fairy Queen would only
change them into birds, or velvet bees, or, better still, into the
beautiful butterflies, that came to them so often and fluttered like a
cloud around them. Yes, they would rather be butterflies than anything
else.

Slowly the moonlight faded from the flowers, the shadows of the night
deepened and the soft dew fell like a benediction. A Fairy form floated
over the sweetest of blossoms, then disappeared, and all was dark and
silent save a gentle flutter, as of wings.

But in the morning when the sunbeams had awakened the sleeping blossoms,
a flight of bright-winged Butterflies floated in the air or lighted for
a moment on the flowers, but the Sweet Peas had all disappeared and were
nowhere to be seen.

                                                    Fannie Wright Dixon.



                            RABBIT’S CREAM.


  Everyone is well acquainted
    With the arts of Frosty Jack—
  With his etchings on the windows,
    With the tints that mark his track;
  But the quaint and merry artist
    Has a fancy of his own
  That is delicate and graceful,
  But is not so widely known.

  When no green is in the forest,
    And no bloom is in the dell,
  Not a flower star to twinkle,
    Not the smallest blossom-bell,—
  Here and there, an herb he singles,
    Brown and dry, and round its stem
  Fastens, with his magic fingers,
    One great, silver-shining gem;

  Shell-like, delicate and dainty,
    White and lucent as a pearl;
  Just as though he took a fragment
    Of the mist, and with a twirl
  Froze it into shape and substance—
    Such a fine and fragile thing,
  That the fairy queen might crush it,
    If she brushed it with her wing.

  Then he steals away, delighted;
    He has planned a morning treat
  For a troop who soon will flutter
    Through the wood, on dancing feet;
  All the little country urchins
    Love to see its silver gleam—
  Love to fancy it a dainty,
    And they call it “rabbit’s cream.”
                                                        —Hattie Whitney.



                               THE APPLE.


Both pagan and Christian mythologies have endowed the Apple with
wonderful virtues. It has possessed a symbolism for man in all stages of
civilization. Standing for the type of the earthly in its contrast with
the spiritual, it represented the idea of that conflict between Ormuzd
and Arimanes in which the evil principle is continually victor. The
stories of Eve, of Paris, the Hesperides and Atalanta all emphasize this
thought, showing the Apple to have been a reward of appetite over
conscience.

The allegorical tree of knowledge bore apples guarded by the serpent,
and the golden fruit of the garden of Hesperides was apples protected by
the sleepless dragon, which it was one of the triumphs of Hercules to
slay. The Assyrian tree Gavkerena, the Persian “Jima’s Paradise,”
“Indra’s heaven” and the Scandinavian ash tree Yggdrasil, all prefaced
the story of Paris and the apple of discord which Ate brought to the
banquet of the gods. In Greece it became the emblem of love, being
dedicated to Venus. Aphrodite bore it in her hand as well as Eve, and it
is said that Ulysses longed for it in the garden of Alcinous, while
Tantalus vainly grasped for it in hades. The fruit was offered as a
prize in the Grecian games given in honor of Apollo.

Among the heathen gods of the north there were apples fabled to possess
the power of conferring immortality, which were carefully watched over
by the goddess Iduna and jealously preserved for the dessert of the gods
who experienced the enervation of old age. Azrael accomplished his
mission by holding the apple to the nostrils of his victims, and the
Scandinavian genii are said to have possessed the power of turning the
fruit into gold.

The ancients better appreciated the importance of the apple than do the
moderns, who treat it chiefly as “the embryonic condition of cider or as
something to be metamorphosed into pies.” It is said to be indigenous to
every part of the inhabited globe except South America and the islands
of the Pacific. It is equally at home in the fierce heat of the equator
and among the frosts of Siberia. In olden times, the fig was the index
of a native civilization. Later on, the vine was king, but at the
present time there are many who maintain that the Apple is the only
genuine index of civilized man, and claim that it flourishes best in
those regions where man’s moral and intellectual supremacy is most
marked.

The Athenians made frequent mention of the cultivation of the Apple, and
Pliny enumerates twenty varieties that were known in his day. It is
generally supposed that the Goths and Vandals introduced the manufacture
and use of cider into the Mediterranean provinces and references to it
are made by Tertullian and the African Fathers. The use of cider can be
traced from Africa into the Biscayan provinces of Spain, and thence to
Normandy. It is supposed to have come into England at the time of the
conquest, but the word “cyder” is said to be Anglo-Saxon, and there is
reason to believe that it was known in the island as early as the time
of Henghist. As the mistletoe grew chiefly on the apple and the oak, the
former was regarded with great respect by the ancient Druids of Britain,
and even to this day in some parts of England, the antique custom of
saluting the apple trees in the orchards, in the hope of obtaining a
good crop the next year, still lingers among the farmers of Devonshire
and Herefordshire. During the middle ages, the fruit was made the
pretext for massacring the oppressed tribes of Israel, as it was
supposed that the Hebrews used apples to entice children into their
homes to furnish their cannibal banquets.

                            [Illustration: ]

The different varieties of apples have all descended from a species of
crab found wild in most parts of Europe. Although there are two or three
species of wild crab belonging to this country, yet none of our
cultivated varieties have been raised from them, but rather from seeds
of the species brought here by the colonists from Europe—over two
hundred varieties of apples are known at the present time. As a rule,
the Apple is a hardy, slow-growing tree, with an irregular head, rigid
branches, roughish bark, and a close-grained wood. It thrives best in
limestone soils and deep loams. It will not flourish in wet soils or on
those of a peaty or sandy character. As a rule, the trees live to be
fifty or eighty years of age, but there are specimens now bearing fruit
in this country that are known to be over two hundred years old. The
wood is often stained black and used as ebony. It is also made into shoe
lasts, cog-wheels and small articles of furniture, and is greatly prized
in Italy for wood carving and statuary.

New and choice varieties of apples are derived from seeds planted to
produce stocks. One stock in ten thousand may prove better than the
original, and its virtues are perpetuated by layers, cuttings, graftings
and budding. The tree is not subject to disease. Insects, notably the
borer, the woolly aphis, the caterpillar, the apple moth and the bark
louse, have to be guarded against, and several blights occasionally
attack the foliage, but as a rule small loss is experienced from these
sources.

                                                      Charles S. Raddin.


  Shed no tear!—O shed no tear,
  The flower will bloom another year.
  Weep no more!—O weep no more,
  Young buds sleep in the roots’ white core.
  Dry your eyes!—O dry your eyes
  For I was taught in Paradise
  To ease my breast of melodies—
                        Shed no tear!

  Overhead!—look overhead
  ’Mong the blossoms white and red.
  Look up! Look up!—I flutter now
  On this flush pomegranate bough.
  See me! ’Tis this silvery bill
  Ever cures the good man’s ill.
  Shed no tear!—O shed no tear!
  The flower will bloom another year.
  Adieu!—adieu!—I fly, adieu—
  I vanish in the heaven’s blue.
                        Adieu!—adieu!
                                                            —John Keats.



            GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF SEED-BEARING PLANTS.


This is one of the most difficult and important subjects connected with
the study of plants. Before it can be well organized it will be
necessary to bring together very many more observations of plants in all
parts of the world than is possible now. However, a few facts are known
which are both interesting and suggestive. In order to make their
presentation as definite as possible, this paper will be restricted to a
brief account of the geographic distribution of seed plants.

One of the two great groups of seed plants is known as the Gymnosperms,
a group which in our region is represented by pines, spruces, hemlocks,
cedars, etc. In the tropics the group is represented by a very different
type of trees, known as the Cycads. They resemble in general habit
tree-ferns, or palms. The group of Gymnosperms with which we are
acquainted have been called Conifers on account of the very
characteristic cones which they bear. Several principles connected with
geographic distribution may be illustrated by considering briefly these
two groups of Gymnosperms.

The Cycads are absolutely restricted to the tropics, a few forms
reaching into semi-tropical conditions, as in southern Florida. If a
comparison be made between the eastern and western tropics, it will be
discovered that the Cycads are almost equally divided between the two
regions. For an unknown time, but certainly a very long one, these
eastern and western Cycads have been separated from one another. As a
consequence they have become so unlike that one kind of Cycad is never
found in both hemispheres. Their long separation from one another, and
their somewhat different conditions of living, have resulted in working
out differences of structures which botanists recognize as species,
genera, etc.

The Conifers, on the other hand, are characteristic of temperate
regions. If the distribution of Conifers were indicated upon a world
map, there would be shown a heavy massing of them in the northern region
and a lighter massing in the southern region, the two being separated
from one another by a broad tropical belt. This tropical belt is
traversed in just two places; one is by means of the East Indian bridge,
across which certain Australasian forms reach China and Japan; the other
is the chain of the Andes mountains, along which a single northern type
has worked its way into the southern part of South America. The two
great masses of Conifers, therefore, lie in the northern and southern
hemispheres, rather than in the eastern and western hemispheres, as is
the case with the Cycads. This long separation has resulted just as it
did with the Cycads; that is, the northern and southern Conifers are not
any longer alike, but differ so widely from one another that botanists
cannot discover any form which is common to both the northern and
southern hemispheres, excepting the single one already mentioned, which
has succeeded in crossing the tropics by means of the Andes bridge.

Another interesting fact in connection with the distribution of the
Conifers is that their great centers of display are in regions which
border the Pacific Ocean, and they have often been spoken of as a
Pacific group. There are three special centers of display; one is the
China-Japan region, a second is the general Australasian region, and the
third is western North America. Just why this border region of the
Pacific is especially favorable for this sort of plant life is a
question which we do not as yet pretend to answer. Another fact which
illustrates this persistent distribution in connection with the Pacific
is that in the case of the Conifers which belong to the southern
hemisphere, the continental masses which pair in the display of similar
forms are Australia and South America.

Another fact, which is true of all large groups, is that certain forms
have a very extensive distribution, and others are very much restricted
in their occurrence. For example, the greatest genus of Conifers is the
genus made up by the pines, at least seventy kinds of which are
recognized. This great genus sweeps throughout all the north temperate
regions of the globe. There is a similar extensive distribution of the
different kinds of spruce, larch, juniper, etc. On the other hand, the
giant redwood, known as Sequoia, is restricted to certain comparatively
small areas in California. In China and Japan, and also in Australia,
there are numerous illustrations of forms very much restricted in their
occurrence.

The other great group of seed plants is known as the Angiosperms, and to
it belong all those seed plants which are most commonly met in this
region. The distribution of Angiosperms is a very much more difficult
question than that of Gymnosperms; for while there are only about four
hundred kinds of living Gymnosperms, there are more than one hundred
thousand kinds of living Angiosperms. In presenting the distribution of
this great group, it will be necessary to consider its two main
divisions separately, for they differ from one another very much. One of
the groups is known as the Monocotyledons, to which belong such forms as
the grasses, lilies, palms, orchids, etc.

Some prominent facts in reference to the geographical distribution of
these Monocotyledons are as follows: They contain four great families,
which include almost one-half of their number, and which have become
world-wide in their distribution. These families are the grasses, the
sedges, the lilies, and the irises. This world-wide distribution means
that these families have succeeded in adapting themselves to every
condition of soil and climate. In this world-distribution the grasses
easily lead, not only among Monocotyledons, but among all seed plants.

Another fact in reference to the Monocotyledons is that they include an
unusual number of families which are entirely aquatic in their habit.
These aquatic families are also world-wide in their distribution, so far
as fresh and brackish waters can be called world-wide. It is important
to notice that while the world-families which belong to the land have
worked out about ten thousand different forms, the world-families which
belong to the water have worked out considerably less than two hundred
different forms. This seems to indicate that the great number in the one
case is due to the very diverse conditions of the land, while the small
number in the latter case is due to the very uniform conditions of water
life.

A third fact of importance is that the Monocotyledons are mainly massed
in the tropics, and in this sense are almost an exact contrast to the
Conifers we have been considering above. The same effect of separation
in working out diversity in structure is shown by the Monocotyledons as
was shown by the eastern and western Cycads, and the northern and
southern Conifers. For example, the palms represent the great tree group
of Monocotyledons, and are restricted to the tropics as rigidly as are
the Cycads. They are found in about equal numbers in the eastern and
western tropics, but there are no forms in common. The eastern and
western forms have become so different that they might almost be
regarded as different families.

The Monocotyledons are also somewhat famous for the number of air plants
which they contain—that is, plants which have sometimes been called
“perchers,” because they fasten themselves upon trunks and branches and
supports of various kinds, and absorb what they need directly from the
air. It is a notable fact that these so-called “perchers” are very much
more abundant in the western tropics than in the eastern. An explanation
for this is to be found in the fact that the western tropics have a very
much greater rainfall; in fact, in the rainy woods of the Amazon region
the air is saturated with water, and everything is dripping.

One of the facts in connection with the distribution of Monocotyledons
is quite puzzling, and that is the very poor representation of the whole
group in the southern hemisphere. In examining the distribution of other
groups in the southern hemisphere, it is found that Australia and its
general vicinity is prolific in peculiar forms. In the case of the
Monocotyledons, however, the Australasian region is the most
poverty-stricken one in all the southern hemisphere. Just why the
southern hemisphere in general, and the Australasian region in
particular, are unfavorable for Monocotyledons, it is hard to say. Of
course in these cases the world-families already mentioned are
represented.

The other great division of Angiosperms is known as Dicotyledons, which
include such forms as our common forest trees, buttercups, roses, peas,
mints, sunflowers, etc. As there are about eighty thousand of these
Dicotyledons, it is impossible to state anything very definite in
reference to the distribution of the group as a whole. Taking the higher
forms, however, as representing the general tendency of the group, some
of the facts of distribution are as follows:

It has been noticed that the Monocotyledons are massed in the tropics,
and that the temperate and boreal regions have been left comparatively
free by previous groups, with the exception of the Conifers, which only
develop tree types. With the coming of the Dicotyledons, therefore, the
vast temperate and boreal regions presented a particularly favorable
field, which they have entered and taken possession of. This vast group
is prominently adapted to living in the unoccupied temperate and boreal
regions. This does not mean that they are not found in the tropics for
they hold their own there with the other groups.

Dicotyledons, however, succeeded in working out but three
world-families: Composites, to which the sunflowers, dandelions, etc.,
belong; the Mints; and the Plantains. There are other large families
which characterize certain great areas, but they are not world-wide in
their distribution.

Another fact, which might indicate that the Dicotyledons have taken
possession of comparatively unoccupied regions only, is that they are
very poorly represented, so far as higher groups are concerned, in
aquatic conditions. It would seem as though the conditions of life in
the water had been fairly well taken up by other groups. In looking over
the display of Dicotyledons in the tropics of the eastern and western
hemispheres, it becomes evident that there is no such difference between
the forms of the two regions as in the groups previously mentioned. It
will be remembered, however, that in the case of the Cycads and palms,
which were used as illustrations, they are restricted to the tropics,
and their eastern and western forms are separated from one another, not
merely by oceans, but by temperate and boreal lands. In the case of
Dicotyledons this is different, for while they are found in the tropics,
they are found in the other regions as well, and have better chances for
intermingling than the other groups.

This tropical display of Dicotyledons further shows the great prominence
of America in the display of forms. This appears not merely in the
greater number of peculiar forms and often families which appear in
tropical America; but whenever the continents are paired in the display
of forms, America is always one of the pair, Asia or Africa being the
other member.

It will be recognized from what has been said that the whole subject of
geographic distribution is a very extensive one, and that it will be a
long time before the important facts are recorded. The importance of the
subject rests not so much upon the mere presence of certain plants in
certain regions, but it has to do with explaining just why the
conditions are suited to the plants, and also just how the plants have
come to be what they are and where they are.

                                                     John Merle Coulter.

                            [Illustration: ]

  Description of Plate—A, flowering twig; 1, 2, 3, corolla; 4, 5,
  pistil; 6, 7, stamen; 9, pollen; 10, 11, fruit; 12, 13, seed.



                                VANILLA.
                    (_Vanilla planifolia_, Andrews.)


You flavor everything; you are the _vanille_ of society.

                                           —Sydney Smith: Works, p. 329.

Vanilla planifolia belongs to the Orchid family (Orchidaceae), though it
has many characteristics not common to most members of the family. It is
a fleshy, dark-green perennial climber, adhering to trees by its aerial
roots, which are produced at the nodes. The stem attains a length of
many feet, reaching to the very tops of the supporting trees. The young
plant roots in the ground, but as the stem grows in length, winding
about its support and clinging to it by the aerial roots, it loses the
subterranean roots and the plant establishes itself as a saprophyte or
partial parasite, life habits common to orchids. The leaves are entire,
dark-green, and sessile. Inflorescence consists of eight to ten flowers
sessile upon axillary spikes. The flowers are a pale greenish yellow,
perianth rather fleshy and soon falls away from the ovary or young
fruit, which is a pod, and by the casual observer would be taken for the
flower stalk. The mature fruit is a brown curved pod six to eight inches
long, smooth, splitting lengthwise in two unequal parts, thus liberating
the numerous, very small, oval or lenticular seeds.

There are several species of vanilla indigenous to Eastern Mexico,
growing in warm, moist, shaded forests. It is now extensively cultivated
in Mexico; also in Mauritius, Bourbon, Madagascar and Java. It is
extensively grown in hot-houses of England and other temperate
countries. The wild growing plants no doubt depended upon certain
insects for pollination, but with the cultivated plants this is effected
artificially by means of a small brush.

The word vanilla is derived from the Spanish vainilla, the diminutive of
vaina, meaning a sheath or pod, in reference to the fruit. There is
little doubt that the natives of Mexico employed vanilla as a flavor for
cocoa long before the discovery of America. We received our first
description of the plant from the Spanish physician Hernandez, who,
during 1571-1577 explored New Spain or Mexico. In 1602, Morgan,
apothecary to Queen Elizabeth, sent specimens of the fruit to Clusius,
who described it independently of Hernandez. In 1694 vanilla was
imported to Europe by way of Spain. In France it was much used for
flavoring chocolate and tobacco. During the first half of the eighteenth
century it was extensively used in Europe, particularly in England,
after which it seems to have gradually disappeared. Now it is, however,
again very abundantly employed in nearly all countries.

Vanilla must be cultivated with great care. In Mexico a clearing is made
in the forest, leaving a few trees twelve to fifteen feet apart to serve
as a support for the vanilla plants. Cuttings of the vanilla stems are
made three to five feet in length, one cutting being inserted into the
soil to a depth of about ten inches near each tree. The cuttings become
rooted in about one month and grow quite rapidly, but do not begin to
bear fruit until the third year and continue to bear for about thirty
years. In Reunion, Mauritius and the Seychelles the young plants are
supported by a rude trellis fastened between the trunks of trees. In
cultivation pollination is universally effected artificially; the pollen
being transplanted from one flower to another by means of a small brush
or pencil. Only the finest flowers are thus fertilized so as to prevent
exhaustion and to insure a good commercial article. Among wild growing
plants pollination is effected through the agency of insects, which
evidently do not occur in the vicinity of the plantations; thus man is
called upon to assist nature. The pods are cut off separately as they
ripen; if over-ripe they are apt to split in drying; if collected green
the product will be of an inferior quality.

The peculiar fragrance of the vanilla pods is due to vanillin, which
occurs upon the exterior of the dried fruit in the form of a crystalline
deposit, which serves as a criterion of quality. This substance does not
pre-exist in the ripe fruit. It is developed in the process of drying
and fermentation. In Mexico the collected pods are placed in heaps under
a shed until they begin to wilt or shrivel, whereupon they are subjected
to the sweating process conducted as follows: The pods are wrapped in
woolen cloth and exposed to the sun during the day or heated in an oven
at 140°F., then enclosed in air-tight boxes at night to sweat. In
twenty-four to thirty-six hours they assume a chestnut-brown color. They
are then dried in the sun for several months.

In Reunion the pods are first scalded for a few minutes in boiling hot
water, then exposed to the sun for about one week, wrapped in woolen
blankets; then spread out and dried under sheds, turning frequently so
as to insure uniform drying. When the pods can be twisted around the
finger without splitting or cracking the “smoothing process” begins.
This consists in rolling the pods between the fingers to distribute the
unctuous liquid, which exudes during the sweating process
(fermentation), and to which the pods owe their lustre and suppleness.

Vanilla workers are apt to suffer from an affection known as vanillism,
characterized by an itching eruption of the skin, nasal catarrh, more or
less headache and muscular pain. By some this is said to be caused by a
poisonous substance in the vanilla or perhaps the oil of cashew, with
which the pods are coated. According to others the trouble, at least the
itching and eruption, is caused by a species of acarus (itch mite) found
upon the pod. It must also be borne in mind that most of these workers
are anything but cleanly in their habits. Bacteria, dirt, etc., find
their way to the pods from the dirty hands of the workmen. The entire
process of gathering, sweating, drying, smoothing and packing, as
carried on in Mexico and South American countries is not conducted in
accordance with recognized sanitary rules.

There are a number of commercial varieties of vanilla named after the
countries in which they are grown or after the centers of export, as
Mexican, Vera Cruz, Bourbon, Mauritius, Java, La Guayra, Honduras and
Brazilian vanilla. The most highly valued Mexican variety is known as
Vainilla de leg (leg, meaning law). The pods are long, dark-brown, very
fragrant and coated with crystals. Since vanilla is a costly article
adulteration is quite common. Useless pods are coated with balsam of
Peru to give them a good appearance. Split, empty pods are filled with
some worthless material, glued together and coated with balsam of Peru.

Vanillin also occurs in Siam benzoin, in raw beet-sugar and in cloves.
It has been artificially prepared from coniferin, a substance found in
the sap-wood of fir-trees, and from asafoetida. In Germany commercial
vanilla is now largely prepared from eugenol, a constituent of oil of
cloves.

Vanillin seems to have some special action upon the nervous system, and
has been employed in the treatment of hysteria. It is also used to
disguise disagreeable tastes and odors of medicines, as in lozenges and
mixtures. Its principal use is that of spice for flavoring chocolate,
confectionery, ices, ice-cream, drinks, pastry; in the preparation of
perfumery, sachet powders, etc. It has a very pleasant, delicate aroma
when properly diluted and can be very effectively combined with other
odors. Vanilla, combined with almonds, simulates heliotrope.

The poisonous effects of ice creams flavored with vanilla are perhaps
not due to vanillin, but to toxins formed by bacteria found upon vanilla
pods, or the bacteria of the milk and cream used.

                                                       Albert Schneider.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


--Created an eBook cover from elements within the issue.

--Reconstructed the Table of Contents (originally on each issue’s
  cover).

--Retained copyright notice on the original book (this eBook is
  public-domain in the country of publication.)

--Silently corrected a few palpable typos.





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