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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 2 [July 1902] - Illustrated by Color Photography
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds and Nature, Vol. 12 No. 2 [July 1902] - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
  Vol. XII.                 SEPTEMBER, 1902.                     No. 2.


    SEPTEMBER.                                                        49
    THE PALM WARBLER. (_Dendroica palmarum_.)                         50
    OLD-FASHIONED OUTINGS. PART II.                                   53
    OUR KINSMAN.                                                      56
    THE LONG-BILLED CURLEW. (_Numenius longirostris_.)                59
    ON JEWELLED WINGS.                                                60
        Oh! the bonny, bonny dell, whaur the primroses won            61
    THE EVERGLADE KITE. (_Rostrhamus sociabilis_.)                    62
    THE ANIMALS’ FAIR. PART I.                                        65
    THE BIRD AND THE MOUSE.                                           68
    THE GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. (_Ammodramus savannarum passerinus_.)    71
    A HAPPY FAMILY.                                                   72
    THE DAMSEL FLY.                                                   73
    FELDSPAR.                                                         74
    THE WOOD HARMONY.                                                 79
    THE COTTAGE BY THE WOOD.                                          80
    A NEW ARGYNNIS.                                                   83
        Lo, the bright train their radiant wings unfold!              83
    BUTTERFLY.                                                        84
    A PROLIFIC PEACH TREE STUMP.                                      84
    THE COWRIES AND SHELL MONEY.                                      86
    THE BIRD OF SUPERSTITION.                                         91
    THE WISCONSIN DELLS.                                              91
    MY SUMMER NIGHT.                                                  92
    THE CHERRY. (_Prunus cerasus_ L.)                                 95
    NASTURTIUMS.                                                      96


  O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped!
      The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
      On wands; the chestnut’s yellow pennons tongue
  To every wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
  In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped;
      And yellow still the corn sheaves, stacked among
      The yellow gourds, which from the earth have wrung
  Her utmost gold. To highest boughs have leaped
      The purple grape,—last thing to ripen, late
  By very reason of its precious cost.
  O Heart, remember, vintages are lost
      If grapes do not for freezing night-dews wait.
      Think, while thou sunnest thyself in Joy’s estate,
  Mayhap thou canst not ripen without frost!
                                                    —Helen Hunt Jackson.

  Graceful tossing plume of gold,
    Waving lowly on the rocky ledge;
  Leaning seaward, lovely to behold,
    Clinging to the high cliff’s ragged edge;

  Burning in the pure September day,
    Spike of gold against the stainless blue,
  Do you watch the vessels drifting by?
    Does the quiet day seem long to you?
                                 —Celia Thaxter, in “Seaside Goldenrod.”

                           THE PALM WARBLER.
                        (_Dendroica palmarum._)

  Then tiny warblers flit and sing,
  With golden spots on crest and wing,
  Or, decked with scarlet epaulette
  Above each dusky winglet set,
  They hunt the blossoms for their prey
  And pipe their fairy roundelay.
                                     —Rose Terry Cooke, “My Apple Tree.”

There are two varieties of this species, the Palm or Red-poll Warbler,
and the yellow palm or yellow red-poll warbler. The latter is a native
of the Atlantic States and breeds from Maine northward to Hudson Bay.
The former frequents the interior of the United States and migrates
northward as far as the Great Slave Lake. It is seldom seen in the
Atlantic States except during its migrations.

In this connection the account of Mr. William Dutcher, regarding the
first observation of the Palm Warbler in Long Island, is of interest. It
is the more interesting because it partially answers the question so
often asked, “Where do the birds die?” Mr. Dutcher says, “During the
night of the twenty-third of September, 1887, a great bird wave was
rolling southward along the Atlantic coast. Mr. E. J. Udall, of the Fire
Island Light, wrote me that the air was full of birds. Very many of the
little travellers met with an untimely fate, for Mr. Udall picked up at
the foot of the light house tower, and shipped to me, no less than five
hundred and ninety-five victims. Twenty-five species were included in
the number, all of them being land birds, very nearly half of which were
Wood Warblers. Among them I found one Palm Warbler.”

Both varieties winter in the Southern States that border the Atlantic
ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, in Mexico and in the islands of the West
Indies. While both birds are often seen in the same flock during the
winter, the Palm Warbler is much more common in Florida than is the
eastern cousin. When together the two forms may be readily distinguished
by the brighter yellow of the yellow palm warbler.

Three of the large family of Wood Warblers may be called the vagabonds
of the family, for they do not love the forest. These are the Palm, the
yellow Palm and the Prairie Warblers.

Dr. Ridgway says of the Palm Warbler, “During the spring migration this
is one of the most abundant of the warblers,” in Illinois, “and for a
brief season may be seen along the fences, or the borders of fields,
usually near the ground, walking in a graceful, gliding manner, the body
tilting and the tail oscillating at each step. For this reason it is
sometimes, and not inappropriately called Wag-Tail Warbler.” The
observer is reminded of the titlarks as he watches the nervous activity
of this Warbler as it constantly jerks its tail while it flutters about
the hedges and scattered shrubbery, or when running on the ground among
the weeds of old fields. It may even frequent dusty roadsides. Wherever
it is, it frequently utters its low “tsip,” a note that is very similar
to that of many of its sister warblers.

Dr. Brewer says, “They have no other song than a few simple and feeble
notes, so thin and weak that they might almost be mistaken for the sound
made by the common grasshopper.”

The Palm Warbler’s nest is a trim structure, usually placed upon the
ground and never far above it. The walls consist of interwoven dry
grasses, stems of the smaller herbaceous plants, bark fibres and various
mosses. It is lined with very fine grasses, vegetable down and feathers.
Though this home is placed in quite open places, a retired spot is
usually selected. Here are laid the white or buffy white eggs, more or
less distinctly marked with a brownish color, and a family of four or
five of these peculiar Warblers is raised.

                      [Illustration: PALM WARBLER.
                         (Dendroica palmarum).
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

                         OLD-FASHIONED OUTINGS.
                                PART II.

While in our camp on the shore of Gloucester harbor, many were our
adventures first and last, some of our own choosing, some not. In the
mouth of Rafe’s Chasm is a big oblong seamed rock, considerably lower
than either wall at that point, with perpendicular sides and top
slanting to the lower wall, which is the west, and the natural approach.
At low tide the boys made a point of leaping the western channel and
climbing up across the narrower eastern one, and where the boys went,
the younger girls expected to follow. (How was it, I wonder, that girls
began to be “tomboys” just then? They have kept it up ever since, but it
is no longer a matter of reproach.) The first girl who did this held the
championship for some time, but the smaller ones qualified in the end.
We were there one day at half tide when a good deal of surf was running,
so we established ourselves well up on the rocks, but our Newfoundland
dog elected to go down and enter the water at the western corner of the
chasm. He was immediately swept out, and out started somebody’s eyes!
“You’ve lost your dog!” But even as we gazed in consternation, the
wave—walked back and returned him! A strange sight it was—that black dog
advancing as in a vehicle, standing unconcernedly in a tall green wave
and, when it arrived, walking calmly out and shaking himself! No
suction, no struggle, his feet just on a level with the flat ledge; out
he walked and was hugged, dripping, as soon as we could lay hold of him.

The Magnolia Swamp stretches far toward Essex and Manchester, and with
the surrounding heath and forest forms a wilderness which a wild animal
might range for miles, crossing now and then a lonely road; and in the
summer of 1884 two of us saw a very odd wild animal in the old road.
Descending suddenly from the hill above, we saw a dingy white creature
jogging slowly along in the middle of the road a short stone’s throw
ahead. It was clumsily made, and its gait was awkward and lumbering. It
had short legs, very round hind-quarters, no perceptible tail, and long,
slightly wavy white hair, exactly the same all over, without mark, spot
or difference. We mended our pace and gained on it, when the creature
did the same without looking round and plunged into a dense cover of
brier with the heavy rolling gait of an elephant and at such an angle
that we never saw its head, nor could we trace its line of retreat in
the underbrush.

Now what was that? Please don’t say poodle or woodchuck or skunk or
raccoon. It bore no resemblance to either, except, in size and color, to
the poodle. The only thing I ever saw at all like it was a stuffed lynx
in a New Hampshire town. In color, length of hair, and absence of tail
they were exactly alike. The stuffed specimen was twice as big as the
live animal and long-limbed in proportion, while the latter was
thick-set and clumsy like a cub.

One September day at sunset I was sitting on a low rock platform trying
to paint a great green wave which reappeared at regular intervals,
gathering under the rock with a growl and falling on the shore like
lead. (The effort looked like a tin wave, and an artist said it should
not have been attempted. The opposite headland was better, fresh from
one ducking and expecting another from the pale green border surging up
out of the gray, away from the eye.) At last the sole companionship of
this sulky wave became oppressive, and turning landward, I looked up
into an uncanny sky—a wild red afterglow barring the slate with
flame-color—and smelt a skunk, and felt far from home. And there on the
top of the ridge, the highest point in that great amphitheater of wooded
hills, the only habitation in sight, it stood out black against those
flaming bars, amid the silhouettes of dying pines.

The dog would have been a support, but he wasn’t there. After some
experience of sketching-parties, he had given up attending. Collies are
particular, and this one hated to sit with the wind in his face. When we
first had him, he dogged every footstep for fear of being left behind,
but at this stage of his development he would not stir a step with
sketching material or a gardening hat; he knew too well that such
accessories led to nothing. Yet his polished behavior in other respects
had so impressed a small visitor in long Greenaway robe and cap, that
when she made her series of curtsies to the family semicircle on
leaving, she curtsied with equal gravity to the dog as he lay chin to
the floor, half under the table. And that was quite right. Doubtless we
all bow to persons far less deserving than this forgiving dog who always
hastened to console you when you trod on him.

However, on this occasion I had to get home alone and dodge skunks
unsupported under that awesome sky. The best part of a mile away and all
the way up-hill, the last pitch abominably steep and rough, the choice
of site would have done credit to a robber baron, but the land falls
away gently to the Manchester road on the other side. It took months
with a derrick and oxen to forge the connecting link, however; and one
section, which rounds a hill and crosses a gully, looked like the bed of
a mountain torrent for weeks. The camp of 1865 led to the choice of
1883, as many a camp has done from Roman days on. The Pequot war settled
central Massachusetts as the Revolution filled up New Hampshire and
Vermont. It was not so much that the land stood empty as that men went
out and saw the land, that it was good. Behold a by-product of war.

If the merry greenwood was as our native heath, so too was the water. It
was about a third of a mile off the Rock that he of the rifle once had a
difference with a shark. He was out alone in a dory when the shark
happened along and thought, being there, he might as well see if he
couldn’t upset the boat. So he came swarming up on the oar until the
youth got tired of it, and standing up, balanced himself not to
overreach in case the shark proved slippery and thrust the butt as hard
as he dared between the eyes, which were about a foot apart. But the
shark was not slippery. He felt rough, and as hard and solid as a ledge,
while the youth felt as if he had hit that same. However, his Honor
seems not to have enjoyed it either, for he soon settled in the water,
and circling lower and lower two or three times, disappeared.

Some years before that, this boy was out with another when the harbor
was full of herring, and a whale appeared which had followed the schools
in. And he popped up so frequently and blew in such unexpected places
that the boys deemed it best to make for the nearest land. Meantime the
whale rose in their wake with his jaws wide open in the middle of a
school of herring, and they saw a lot of the fish flipping dry in his
throat; and the boat came in and all the passengers stood on deck
looking at him, and then he got excited and ran aground, the tide being
low, on some shoals in behind the Island, and thrashed about so, they
thought he must have hurt himself. It was a thrilling afternoon.

The dory is a proved little craft for serious business in rough water,
while none can be better for ladies about rocks and beaches; because it
has a flat bottom and there is no keel to catch and leave you tipping
about with the lap of the water running ever so far inside. Moreover,
the dory has so much shear that very little of the bottom touches at one
time; and if it hangs anywhere, you can take it by the nose and work it
off quite easily. We fully appreciated the merits of a build which
permitted crossing the harbor in good gowns to make a call we did not
wish to spend a whole evening on, landing perhaps on a lonely bit of
shingle with a sharp little sea thrashing in, “firing” all along the
tops of the waves. We often went out to supper in dories, taking a small
charcoal furnace, a griddle and a pitcher of batter, and rowing down to
some great flat sheets of rock made for the purpose on the Point. There
we pulled up the boats, set up housekeeping and fried our flapjacks,
first waiting to enjoy the sunset over the western shore reflected in
the harbor. (If you stay in the house the sun always sets while you are
at supper, if you notice; and this is nature’s revenge on you for eating
indoors instead of out-of-doors, like Christians.) Then we rowed home by
moonlight or perhaps by starlight, pausing to amuse ourselves by
stamping on the bottom of the boat, startling the fish under us and
making them dart, leaving a phosphorescent wake far below.

If a thunder-shower surprised us, we rolled the boats over and crept
under, the valued shear allowed plenty of air. It is true, if the shower
lasted too long, the water was apt to run down the rock and leave
somebody in a puddle, while it might become painful to take too perfect
an impression of the pattern of the rock on one elbow, but it’s worth
getting wet to cross the harbor in the rain with the drops hissing in
the water and turning to pale fire wherever they strike.

The dory is a stiff little craft, too, not easily upset, as some of our
party proved at the beach one day. Half-a-dozen of them embarked in
bathing dresses and when beyond their depth stood up on the seats and
rocked with all their might; but this not effecting their purpose, the
girls jumped out and the two or three men left danced on the gunwale and
finally overturned it.

One starlight evening two of us, escaping from the heat in town, were
floating close inshore somewhere down near Black Bess, when suddenly out
of the darkness arose the sound of a sailboat bearing down on us full
tilt. We sprang up in dismay, though it was dead calm and we knew no
boat could come where we were. We peered into the darkness, but nothing
came and the sound died as it sprung into being, full grown, without
crescendo and without diminuendo. There was no splashing, either; just
the full, steady rip of the cutwater at speed. It lasted perhaps a
minute, and was a startling affair. Experienced persons say they never
heard anything like it, and suggest sharks. People always suggest
that—what can you expect after Lyell said shark to our family pet, “the
sea-serpent,” which our own grandparents saw in 1817 from such a coign
of vantage that if it had been a shark, one would think they would have
known it. We all know the place where they were driving “along the edge
of a cliff—when he saw the sea-serpent at the base—on the white beach
where there was not more than six or seven feet of water; and giving the
reins to his wife, looked down upon the creature, and made up his mind
that it was ninety feet long. He then took his wife to the spot, and she
said it was as long as their wharf, and this measured one hundred feet.
While they were looking down on it, the creature appeared to be alarmed,
and started off.” (Lyell’s Diary.) This is an incredulous world.

Does anyone ever read “The Toilers of the Sea” nowadays, or remember the
finale? Having purposely allowed the tide to catch him, the hero sits in
a niche in the cliff awaiting death, with his eye on the ship which
bears away his beloved, who has married the wrong man. And as the ship
drops behind the horizon, the water covers his eyes—when we read that,
with one accord we made for the beach, and as soon as the tide served
round a big ledge, we practiced that scene, and found it unimpressive.
As we expected, you float off: you can’t stay there! and we thought
Victor Hugo should really have practiced it himself.

                                                        Helen Mansfield.

                              OUR KINSMAN.

  Alive in this world of beautiful forms,
    No form is alien to men, or apart,
  Each morning sunbeam our being warms,
    Each tree is a kinsman of friendly heart.

  We love the clear bird songs that fill our ear
    With melody ringing for us alone.
  The cricket’s chirp is for us, and we hear
    A human voice in the rivulet’s tone.

  Each lovely thing of nature finds room
    In our heart of hearts—our lover and mate,
  The star and the dew and the vine’s sweet bloom
    Are fitted to us, and our spirit innate.

  They are kinsmen—each century blazing star!
    Each snowclad summit, each rose-flushed peak
  Have most subtle oneness with us, for afar
    Of things sublime and eternal they speak.

  With all beautiful things that live, we are one.
    We are kin to the circle of nature’s whole.
  So, O beautiful trees that stand in the sun,
    Your beauty entrancing slips into the soul.

  For the children of one great Kinsman above
    Are the myriad forms of nature and we.
  Kinsman, Creator, He fits our love
    To the star and the flower, the bird and the tree.
                                                 —Mrs. Merrill E. Gates.

                   [Illustration: LONG-BILLED CURLEW.
                        (Numenius longirostris).
                              ⅓ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

                        THE LONG-BILLED CURLEW.
                       (_Numenius longirostris._)

  Each day are heard, and almost every hour,
  New notes to swell the music of the groves,
  And soon the latest of the feathered train
    At evening twilight come;—the lonely snipe,
  O’er marshy fields, high in the dusky air,
  Invisible, but, with faint, tremulous tones,
  Hovering or playing o’er the listener’s head.
                               —Carlos Wilcox, “The Age of Benevolence.”

The Long-billed Curlew is the largest of the American curlews and has a
wide range covering nearly the whole of temperate North America. It is
not a bird of high altitudes and in winter it seeks the milder climate
of the Southern States, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Jamaica. During the
breeding season, which is passed in the South Atlantic States or in the
interior of North America as far north as Manitoba, it is not a social
bird. While migrating, however, and in winter, it enjoys the society of
its fellows and is generally observed in flocks of a greater or less

Mr. Wilson has well described its flight during migration or when
passing from one feeding ground to another. He says, “The Curlews fly
high, generally in a wedge-like form, somewhat resembling certain ducks,
occasionally uttering their loud, whistling note, by a dexterous
imitation of which a whole flock may sometimes be enticed within
gunshot, while the cries of the wounded are sure to detain them until
the gunner has made repeated shots and great havoc among them.”

Though the natural home of the curlews is the muddy shores and grassy
lowlands adjacent to bodies of water the Long-billed species also
frequents drier places at a distance from water, and even breeds in the
uplands. Here their food consists of worms, insects and berries. When
fattened with such food their flesh is tender and lacks the stronger
flavor that is present when they have fed exclusively on the animal food
of the marshes of the sea shore. It is interesting to watch the Curlew
upon the beach as it gracefully moves from point to point in search of
food. Now and then it thrusts its long sensitive bill into the soft soil
and usually draws forth some form of animal food—a larva of some insect,
a crab, a snail or a worm. Frequently it will explore the holes of
crawfish and it is often rewarded with a dainty morsel of curlew food.

The Curlew’s bill is very characteristic and especially adapted to the
bird’s habit of probing for food. It is very variable in length and not
infrequently grows to a length of seven or eight inches, and it has been
known to reach a length of nearly nine inches. The upper mandible is
somewhat longer than the under and is provided with a knob at the tip.
The bill is much curved, a characteristic which has given the bird the
names Sickle-bill and Sickle-billed Curlew or Snipe. It was the curved
bill that suggested to Linnaeus the generic name Numenius for the
curlews. It is a Greek word meaning the new moon. The long bill also
suggested to Wilson the specific name longirostris or long-snouted.

Dr. Coues says, “Its voice is sonorous and not at all musical. During
the breeding season, in particular, its harsh cries of alarm resound
when the safety of its nest or young is threatened.”

The Long-billed Curlew spends but little time in home building. Its nest
consists of a layer of grass placed in any suitable saucer shaped hollow
on the ground.

The downy young resemble the adult bird but little. In color they are a
pale brownish yellow modified by a trace of sulphur yellow, the under
parts being somewhat darker. The upper parts are irregularly mottled
with coarse black spots. At this period in the life of this Curlew, the
bill is straight and about one and one-half inches in length.

                           ON JEWELLED WINGS.

There are few or none who fail to delight in the beauty of the
butterfly, while to the thinker its different stages of existence are
rich with lessons in which the analogy-loving soul of man can revel to
fullest gratification. Flitting about above the things of earth it seems
to descend for rest only, or to sip the sweets of some nectar-bearing
flower. In the sunshine all day long, chasing at will through field or
woodland, and with no more care than the so-called “butterflies of
fashion” (not as much, for it needs to give no thought to the fashion or
fit of its garb), it basks till nightfall in the delights that go to
make up its ethereal existence.

But whenever we thus watch the brilliant little creature we should
remember that it has come up through many changes and tribulations to
this its last and perfect stage. Weeks, months, or—as in the case of one
or two species—three years before, a tiny egg was deposited in some
safe, secluded spot, the parent butterflies dying soon after because of
their mission being then accomplished.

The egg is the first stage of the butterfly, as it is also of the moth.
The eggs of the different species vary greatly in size and shape, and
are deposited in as many different kinds of places. Some are placed on
the under side of leaves, others on the outside of the cocoon; some are
glued together in rings around the smaller branches of fruit trees,
others on the interior of bee-hives. In this stage they remain for
periods varying from a few weeks to three years, when the larva or
caterpillar state is entered upon. The larvæ are very greedy, beginning
to eat as soon as hatched and devouring the leaves, spreading themselves
over the web prepared for them by the parent, ravaging the fruit trees,
or routing the bees from their rightful possessions. A number of changes
of skin take place during the larval stage, ranging from five to ten.
Some are smooth-skinned and are used by insectivorous animals for food,
while others are hairy and on this account are rejected as food, the
hair having the power of stinging much the same as nettles.

Having attained its full growth the instincts of the caterpillar undergo
a change. It ceases to eat and begins to weave a couch or cocoon round
about itself by which it is finally more or less enclosed. It then
throws off the caterpillar or larval skin and appears in the third

This state of its existence seems to me the most mysterious and
therefore the most interesting. More than one of these cocoons have I
found attached to walls, fences, limbs and in similar places, looking as
though they were but the dried-up remains of some species of insect
life. But there was life within them, a germ which sooner or later would
spring forth in all the wonderful beauty of the moth or the butterfly.

This third period is termed the pupa, nymph or chrysalis state. Its
duration varies from a few weeks to several months, according to the
time of year at which it enters this stage. The common Cabbage
Butterfly, which rears two broods during the season, is quickest to make
the change, only a few weeks of the pupa form being necessary. Some
remain in the chrysalis a month or more, appearing in the butterfly form
at the close of the summer. Those becoming encased in autumn are like
the hibernating animals in many respects, lying dormant the winter
through. The only sign of life ever discovered in the pupa is a
convulsive twitching when irritated, and for this reason those who know
nothing of the hidden beauties of butterfly life miss a great deal of
pleasure in not being able to study the seemingly lifeless chrysalis.

When mature the pupa case cracks toward the anterior end, and the
butterfly or moth crawls forth with wings which, though at first small
and crumpled up, in a few hours attain their full size. As soon as they
are strong enough the new creature mounts upon them and, if it be a
butterfly, flies out into the sunlight; while the moth hies away to some
dark corner until nightfall, then for the first time in its existence it
rises upon wings to enjoy the summer zephyrs.

I remember having watched one butterfly leave the chrysalis and, though
but a child at the time, I shall never outlive the impressions which
that rare pleasure left with me. It was one of the large-winged,
black-white-and-yellow fellows which every one admires so much, and
which species is regarded as a treasure here in these Central States.
Little by little the ugly casing opened, and when I first saw the baby
butterfly he was like a tiny mass of mingled colors, with neither life
nor shape to give me an idea of the sort of creature into which he would
develop. Soon he began to move uneasily, like a child awaking out of a
long sleep; then he stretched his wings leisurely as though proud to
have found them at last. Next he drew himself up and finished bursting
his paper-like shell, gained a foothold on the plank on which we had
placed him and looked about with a, seemingly, very much surprised
though gratified air. Meanwhile he kept working his wings and stretching
them anon, very impatient because of their, to him, slow growth. At last
he gained the confidence to try them, and within an hour from the time
we first saw him he had arisen and flown away into the sunshine to seek
his place in the world.

Butterflies and moths are widely distributed all over the globe,
occurring, however, in greatest variety and abundance in tropical lands.
They are found as far north as Spitzbergen, on the Alps to the height of
9,000 feet, and to double that height on the Andes. In Great Britain
there are sixty-six species, while in all Europe only three hundred and
ninety have been enumerated. In Brazil there are about seven hundred,
and the total number of species of moths is about two thousand. Among
the butterflies are to be found some exceedingly beautiful insects, some
of them very large, especially in the tropical belt.

The butterflies are to insects what the humming-birds are to the
feathered tribes, the analogy holding good not only in the brilliant
colors and manner of flight, but also in the nature of their
nutriment—the honeyed juices of flowers. Both seem destined to brighten
and beautify the way for man, while the lesson of immortality gathered
from the life of the ethereal butterfly, like that conveyed by the
beautiful and ever-wandering Psyche of Greek mythology, is so easy of
comprehension that we can but stop and wonder at the exquisite
simplicity with which the all-wise Creator has clothed so important a

                                                     Claudia May Ferrin.

  Oh! the bonny, bonny dell, whaur the primroses won,
  Luikin’ oot o’ their leaves like wee sons o’ the sun;
  Whaur the wild roses hing like flickers o’ flame,
  And fa’ at the touch wi’ a dainty shame;
  Whaur the bee swings ower the white clovery sod,
  And the butterfly flits like a stray thoucht o’ God.

                          THE EVERGLADE KITE.
                       (_Rostrhamus sociabilis_.)

  High in mid-air the sailing hawk is pois’d.
                                 —Isaac McLellan, “Nature’s Invitation.”

The Everglade Kite or Snail Hawk, as it is sometimes called, has a very
small range within the borders of the United States, where it is limited
to the swamps and marshes of Southern Florida. It also frequents Eastern
Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the eastern portion of South America
as far southward as the Argentine Republic.

Its habits are very interesting. Peaceable and sociable at all times,
other birds do not fear them. “The name of the Sociable Marsh Hawk is
very appropriate, for they invariably live in flocks of from twenty to a
hundred individuals and migrate and even breed in company. In Buenos
Ayres they appear in September and resort to marshes and streams
abounding in large water snails, on which they feed exclusively.” They
spend much of the time flying, and when soaring will frequently remain
poised in the air for a considerable time without apparent motion,
except that the tail is constantly and nervously moved in nearly every

An authority, writing of these birds in Florida, says, “Their favorite
nesting sites are swamps overgrown with low willow bushes, the nests
usually being placed about four feet from the ground. They frequent the
borders of open ponds and feed their young entirely on snails. According
to my observations the female does not assist in the building of the
nest. I have watched these birds for hours. She sits in the immediate
vicinity of the nest and watches while the male builds it. The male will
bring a few twigs and alternate this work at the same time by supplying
his mate with snails, until the structure is completed. They feed and
care for their young longer than any other birds I know of, until you
can scarcely distinguish them from the adults.”

The nest is a flat structure, the cavity being rarely more than two or
three inches in depth, and the whole structure is about twelve or
sixteen inches in diameter and about one-half as high. It is usually
placed in low shrubs or fastened to the rank growth of saw grass
sufficiently low to be secure from observation. The materials used in
its construction are generally dry twigs and sticks loosely woven
together. The cavity may be bare or lined with small vines, leaves or
dry saw grass.

Dr. A. K. Fisher says, “Its food, as far as known, consists exclusively
of fresh-water univalve mollusks, which it finds among the water plants
at the edges of shallow lakes and rivers or the overflowed portions of
the everglades. When the bird has captured one of these mollusks it
flies to the nearest perch and removes the meat from the shell with
apparent ease and without injuring the latter. While collecting food it
will often secure five or six before returning to the nest, keeping in
its gullet the parts it has extracted for the young.”

                     [Illustration: EVERGLADE KITE.
                        (Rostrhamus sociabilis).
                              ⅖ Life-size.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

                           THE ANIMALS’ FAIR.
                                PART I.

Once upon a time—for this is a fairy story—all the beasts and birds and
bugs gathered in a solemn convention. The object of their meeting was
explained by the dog, who—because of his intelligence and his intimacy
with men and their ways—had been elected chairman of the convention.

He spoke thus:

“My friends, we have gathered here to discuss an important question,
namely, ‘Our dealings with men, and men’s dealings with us.’ It is a sad
fact that although we are the benefactors of mankind, and positively
necessary to their well-being and even to their lives, they do not
appreciate us as they should. If you will pardon my egotism, I will
illustrate this assertion by my own experience. I may say modestly—for I
am only quoting men’s words—that I am considered the most intelligent of
beasts, and am chosen as the companion, the playmate, the assistant,
yea, the protector of man. I cheer hours of his loneliness from the
cradle to the grave, and am ever ready to assist him in a thousand
different ways. Yet how am I treated? A hard crust, a dry bone, kicks
and curses and harsh words, a bed on a hard plank or on the cold ground,
wherever I can find it. These are too often the inventory of my rewards;
while the torments inflicted by small boys, and the indignity and
torture of tin cans tied to my tail, fill the full record of my tale of
woe. No doubt the rest of you have grievances many and various.

“We will be pleased to hear from any of you who desire to speak, and
will be glad of any suggestion, or plan for the general good which may
present itself to you. The meeting is now open for remarks.”

He sat down on his tail and assumed his most dignified and intelligent
expression, while he looked about the miscellaneous assembly. In an
instant the horse walked forward, and was duly recognized by the

“The words of our chairman have struck a responsive chord in my heart,”
he said gravely. “I have pondered on this subject many times when
suffering from the abuse of men. Sometimes I am driven at my utmost
speed for hours at a time, while my head is held unnaturally high and my
graceful neck cramped and stiffened by the cruel check-rain; my body
exposed to the torments of flies because my beautiful tail has been
docked; and then, when weary and sore and over-heated, I am tied up in
some chilling draught of wind while my feet are obliged to stand in a
wet gutter, and I am stiffened and ruined for life by some person’s
ignorance or foolishness.

“It does seem a pity, to me, that some more rational creature than man
had not been chosen as ‘The lord of creation’ in the beginning. Why, he
cannot govern himself. Then how can he be capable of governing us who
follow unerring instincts with unfailing faithfulness? The question is
wide as the world and deep as the sea. As I have said, I have pondered
it many times in all its aspects, but as yet have reached no definite
conclusion which might suggest a remedy.

“Therefore, let me urge upon you all to give us your wisest thoughts
upon this subject, which is of vital importance to us all.”

He returned to his place and waited anxiously for the next speaker.

The cat took the floor with a graceful step and a gentle expression
which caught the favor of the assembly.

“I am small among beasts, but my grievances are many and great. I am
chosen by men as a playmate for their children, so that the mothers may
be free to attend to what they call their ‘necessary work’ in peace and
without interruption. How am I rewarded?

“The children whom I strive to amuse drag me ceaselessly around, pull my
tail and pinch my ears, blow in my face and jerk my sensitive whiskers;
and if I remonstrate with voice or teeth or claws, I am beaten and
kicked and tossed out of doors without even the privilege of trial by

“I catch the rats and mice which infest men’s houses, and then when they
forget to give me milk which is so necessary to prevent the ill effects
which follow a diet of meat and I help myself delicately to a few laps
of cream, I am abused as if I had committed a mighty and unpardonable

“They call me a necessity, yet they drown my beautiful kittens, or carry
them off in bags and cast them helpless and forlorn upon the mercy of a
cold and cruel world. And then men presume to say that they are made
after the image of God, and have been divinely appointed masters of the
world! What blasphemy! What blind stupidity! Words fail me in view of
these appalling facts.”

Half the assembly was in tears before poor pussy had finished her
category of woes.

A fly buzzed forward with impulsive haste, and spoke with a little
rasping voice:

“We flies are small; but we are mighty. We remove mountains of dirt for
uncleanly men, and how do they reward us? They catch us in traps and
drown us with boiling water. They snare our feet with treacherous
fly-papers, and after laughing at our struggles to get free, burn us
without mercy. Small boys torture us with pins, or pull off legs and
wings for what they call ‘fun.’ If they do not want us about them, why
do they make the filth which necessitates our presence? That is a
conundrum beyond my solving. I leave it for this wise assembly to

The fly buzzed back to a sunny spot, and an unwieldy hog ambled forward.

“‘As greedy as a hog.’ ‘As lazy as a pig.’ ‘As fat as a pig.’ ‘No more
sense than a hog.’ Have you never heard such expressions as these fall
from the lips of men? They shut us up in little dirty pens where we must
needs be lazy, since we cannot run about. They continually tempt us with
food, and the more we eat the better they like it, since it produces the
fat which they afterwards deride. If we weary of dry corn or thin slop,
and break through some convenient hole which their own carelessness has
left, and help ourselves to the tender cabbages and peas of their
gardens, they chase us with yells and sticks and stones, and send their
dogs to make devilled ham of us before we are dead.”

His pun so amused the assembly that they were convulsed with laughter.
After vainly waiting several minutes for silence the hog returned calmly
to his place, convinced that he had at least presented his grievances in
a striking manner.

A handsome black Spanish rooster strutted forward to the platform, and
stretching his neck, called the audience to order with his clear-toned

“How-do-you-do? I am the ‘Cock-o’-the-walk,’” he explained, “a term
which men are pleased to borrow and apply to themselves. They rely upon
me to give them warning of the approach of day, and then grumble because
I disturb their slumbers. How can they expect to wake up without having
their slumbers disturbed? That’s what I would like to know. They rely
upon me to eat the worms and bugs and grasshoppers that destroy their
gardens, and then chase me with stones and dogs when they find me in
their gardens doing my duty.

“They pen me up, often for days at a time, with insufficient food and
water, and do not even deign an apology for their neglect.

“My wives supply numerous eggs for men’s food, yet they wring our necks
without mercy if we venture to eat an egg ourselves when they have
forgotten to feed us. ‘As full as an egg is of meat,’ is a comparison
which might properly be balanced with ‘As full as a man is of

“If men would attend to their business and scratch for a living as I do,
the world would be a far better place than it is today.”

He ended amid prolonged applause, and walked proudly to a conspicuous
perch in the sunshine.

By this time there was much excitement among the audience, who all
signified a desire to speak at once. While the chairman was busy
quieting them with most vigorous barks, a monkey with much agility made
his way over the heads of the audience, and leaped to the platform,
where he was ready to make his profoundest bows to the assembly the
moment quiet reigned.

“You may consider me an alien, since I hail from a far country, yet I am
truly American—for even South America reveres the Stars and Stripes,” he
said, and his words were applauded by the very ones who had but a moment
previous frowned at his audacity.

“I hold myself the superior of mankind since many of their scientists
assert that the human race are but highly developed monkeys. To be sure,
a few haughty fellows have lately declared that monkeys are but the
offspring of degenerate men, but we monkeys resent such assertions as
uncalled-for insults. Why, it is bad enough to have to endure the
thought that possibly—mind you, I say possibly, not probably—possibly
men have descended from our race. There is no monkey but what lives up
to the best of his God-given instincts, whereas, on the other hand,
there is no man that does at all times the very best that he knows.
Therefore, by all the rules of logic, the monkey is superior to the man,
and must be thus considered by all fair-minded judges.

“This, however, is but a prologue to my more serious remarks. I have
only been presenting my credentials to this court.

“May I now proceed to disclose my plan for calling the attention of
ungrateful men to the benefactions we are daily bestowing upon them?” He
paused and bowed respectfully to the chairman and then to the audience.

A thunder of applause greeted his proposition, and the hall resounded
with cries of “Good! good!” “Go on!” “Three cheers for Brother Monkey.”

When quiet was restored, the monkey continued rapidly:

“Since my time is necessarily spent in intimate association with men, I
have taken note of many of their schemes for self-aggrandizement. The
most popular at the present time, is the Fair, where everyone seeks to
outdo his neighbor and to proclaim his own superiority to the whole
world, while he exhibits his own abilities and his own genius by a
display of his productions.

“Now, what I propose is this: Let us secure a convenient enclosure, and
let each family of birds and beasts and reptiles erect a booth in which
to display the gifts which they are daily bestowing upon mankind.
Perhaps in this way the hearts of men will be drawn to honor us, and
they will—after the ruling passion of men—seek to advance their own
interests by favoring ours. Does my plan meet with approval? If so, your
humble servant feels highly honored.” He placed his hand upon his heart
and bowed deeply to his audience, then, with customary dexterity,
returned to his place as he had come, while the hall resounded with
prolonged applause.

The meeting was at once declared a “Committee of the Whole,” and
vigorous plans were laid for the carrying out of the monkey’s scheme.

Because of his familiarity with such places of resort, the monkey was
elected President of the Fair, an office which he accepted with many
expressions of humility, and equally numerous feelings of

Other officers and directors were speedily appointed, the place for
holding the Fair selected, and the time set. Being unacquainted with the
red tape and appropriation-grabbing customs of men, the animals thus
speedily brought their business affairs to the working point, and in the
utmost harmony adjourned to begin their preparations without delay.

                                                     Mary McCrae Culter.

                        THE BIRD AND THE MOUSE.

Belonging to our household was a tiny creature, Nixie, who from his
gilded cage between the lace curtains observed and commented on all our
actions. His door was left open occasionally, and his gregariousness
moved him to go where he could take part in conversations and see
people. He desired company even at his bath; he had never heard of fear,
and won our hearts by his perfect trust. Morning and evening we gave him
first salutation, and allowed him to pick our fingers by way of shaking
hands. Messages came to him from over sea; gifts fell to him at
Christmas; in all our life he had a part. And even the mouse made its

Our hearts had been softened toward the “wee, cow’rin, timrous beasties”
by a tender little tale of a parsonage mouse, and we made friends with a
gray visitor that showed itself, now in the den at the back of our
house, now in the sitting room in front. Because we took our meals out,
Monsieur Mousie’s crumbs were uncertain; but he investigated thoroughly
and managed to find a livelihood. In our quiet rooms we often heard him
at his hunting, and smiled at thought of his daring and industry. Twice
he was emptied out of the carpet-sweeper (he must have fallen on very
hard times at those periods), but seemed none the worse for the
adventure, although the manipulator of the sweeper was herself much
disturbed. The waste paper basket finally became his cupboard, and
peanut shells his favorite fare. Often as we sat, my brother smoking and
I reading, we would hear bits of paper rustling and would know bright
eyes were watching us while sharp teeth nibbled the husks we had saved
for them. Daily, for a month or two, the small thing came for his share.

Alone in the room one Sunday evening, I was lying on the couch reading
when I saw a little gray shadow steal out and creep toward the waste
paper basket. I knew there was nothing in it, and lazily felt for
Mousie’s disappointment. The gray shadow stole back, halted by the lace
curtains, floated up them half way, and stopped near Nixie’s cage. I
held my breath. What next? Was he after bird seed? Was this the
explanation of Nixie’s empty cup that had perplexed me the last week?
But a peculiar, quick chirp made me wonder if the bird were afraid, if
the mouse could get at and hurt him. I raised my head and saw the gray
thing sitting on the seed cup eating like one starved. Nixie was looking
at it, his wings wide spread, eyes flashing, mouth wide open in protest,
body poised for attack. But the feast went quietly on. Nixie gave a few
sharp questions and then settled down to study his visitor.

It was too good to keep to myself; I called my mother and brother and
whistled up the tube for neighbors to join us in watching the strange
scene. By the time the audience was gathered the actors were ready to
play their parts. Nixie went close to the seed dish and chirped a
welcome to his guest, then, hopping backward, selected a station and
sang a sweet song for him. The mouse seemed to like it. He left off his
eating and crept along outside the floor of the cage, which extended a
couple of inches from the bars. Nixie within and Mousie without
promenaded together around the four sides; and close together, too,
Nixie all the time gayly gossiping and chattering. We say they kept it
up for half an hour, but that is a pretty long time. At any rate it was
several minutes.

How the acquaintance might have ended I cannot say. The next day the
curtains were taken down and Mousie, sadly disappointed, had no ladder
by which to climb. And later in the week Nixie went out of town for the
summer. We wanted to take the mouse, too, but the noise the packers and
movers made probably frightened him to such an extent that he dared not
show himself. We do not know what his future was, but we trust it was
crowned with the success due pluck and gentleness.

                                                         Katharine Pope.

                  [Illustration: GRASSHOPPER SPARROW.
                  (Ammodramus savannarum passerinus).
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

                        THE GRASSHOPPER SPARROW.
                 (_Ammodramus savannarum passerinus._)

  Of all the bird voices of the meadow, for its interesting originality
  and its effect in ensemble, we can least spare that of the little
  Grasshopper Sparrow.—R. M. Silloway, in “Sketches of Some Common

This little bird of the meadow and hayfield is quite easily identified
by the marked yellow color at the shoulders of the wings, the yellowish
color of the lesser wing coverts, the buff colored breast and the orange
colored line before the eyes. Its home is on the ground, where its
retiring habits lead it to seek the protecting cover of tall grass and
other herbage. As it is not often seen except when flushed or when it
rises to the rail of a fence or to the top of a tall spear of grass to
utter its peculiar song, it is often considered rare. It is, however, a
common bird in many localities of its range, which covers the whole of
eastern North America, where it builds, upon the ground, its nest of
grass lined with hair and a few feathers. It nests as far north as
Massachusetts and Minnesota and winters in the southern states and the
adjacent islands.

This bird was given the name Grasshopper Sparrow from the fancied
resemblance of its weak cherup—“a peculiar monotonous song”—to the
shrilling produced by the long-horned grasshopper. However, the song
often begins and ends with a faint warble. Mr. Chapman says that these
notes “may be written pit túck zee-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e.”

Mr. Silloway writes at length and enthusiastically of the Grasshopper
Sparrow. He says, “To the sympathetic ear the voice of the humble
Grasshopper Sparrow is as necessary to the harmony of the meadow
overture as the clear piping of the meadow lark or the jingling triangle
of the bobolink. The leading instruments of the orchestra usually
receive our attention, yet the accompanying pieces are chiefly
responsible for the resulting harmony. Taken alone, the notes of the
minor parts are harsh and unmelodious, but sounded in time and accord
with the cornet, the first violin, and the double bass, they assist in
producing an effect delightful and harmonious. Thus it is with the
voices of our little accompanist in the mottled brown coat. Heard alone
at close station, it is seemingly shrill and unmusical; but in the midst
of expanded verdure, following the lead of the meadow voices, its
noonday crooning produces a dreamy harmony perfectly in accord with the
thoughts of the listener.”

The name of this little bird is not only appropriate because of its song
but also on account of its food. In the examination of one hundred and
seventy stomachs, Dr. Sylvester D. Judd found that the contents
contained sixty-three per cent of animal matter, twenty-three per cent
of which consisted of the remains of grasshoppers. His investigations
covered a period of eight months. Thus during that period these insects
formed nearly one-fourth of the total diet of the birds examined. He
also discovered that during the month of June, the greatest number of
grasshoppers was eaten and formed about sixty per cent of the stomach

In rural districts it is seldom called a sparrow and is more commonly
called Grass-bird, Ground-bird or Grasshopper-bird. Another appropriate
name is Yellow-winged Sparrow. All these names well portray its habits
and characteristics. Its flights are short and rapid, but “on the ground
or in the grass it runs like meadow mice to elude the presence and
notice of intruders.”

The Grasshopper Sparrow is an adept in leading an intruder from the
vicinity of its nest. The male seldom utters its song close by its
brooding mate, and either bird when disturbed in the vicinity of their
home will skulk through the grass for some distance and, if necessity of
refuge requires flight, will rise from a point sufficiently far away to
mislead the intruder.

Both sexes bear the responsibilities of brooding and their home life
seems to be one round of contentment. “Although the male seeks to win
the affections of his lady love by persistently shrilling near her the
story of his passion he generally represses his love trills near the
home which his mistress has established. * * * Cheer her he must,
however, and so he trills throughout the day from fancied situations
within her hearing, yet safely removed from the guarded spot.”

                            A HAPPY FAMILY.

“Papa” is now the name of our college rooster, his hereditary name,
however, having been the “Duke of Wellington,” since he always claimed
that he descended from renowned English stock. Be all that as it may, he
is a handsome bird of portly proportions and of deep orange and golden
plumage. He sports a superb mural crown and has brilliant eyes ever on
the watch for the welfare of his numerous family of wives and children.
Altogether he is a domestic hero and steps as proudly as ever Hector
trod the plains of ancient Troy, while his clarion voice wakes the
morning echoes for miles around.

Now, the reason why our big rooster is called Papa springs from quite a
novel circumstance all his own and which has been for some time the town
talk among the Four Hundred of our poultry social circles. The curious
affair was strictly in this wise: Late last fall, or, to be more
definite, about the middle of November, one of our little hens, “Biddy
the Bantam,” stole her nest, as old housewives would put it, in the
adjoining thicket, and in the fullness of time brought off an even dozen
as bright, cherry chicks as ever gladdened the heart of a mother

As soon as the chickens could nimbly walk the provident hen led them to
the rear of the college kitchen to be properly fed.

Now it may suffice to enhance the interest of our story and perhaps make
several points more clearly understood by the casual reader to say, or
rather to delicately intimate, sub rosa, of course, that Biddy the
Bantam was not the real mother pure and simple of all the chickens she
had so industriously hatched and brought off her fern embowered nest. As
it often happens in the best regulated poultry yards, several other and
bigger hens had smuggled their own eggs into Biddy’s nest; a fact which
would certainly have been a foregone conclusion in a few days from the
difference in size of the chickens if for no other reason. I am sorry to
say, however, that when the truth leaked out it was an every day scandal
from one end of the poultry yard to the other. But Biddy the Bantam,
like the brave little mother she was, pondered these things in her
heart, lived down the wicked calumny and raised her family despite the
alleged illegitimacy of three or four of the longer legged youngsters.

It was determined by the college authorities that everything should be
done for the comfort of the rather untimely brood notwithstanding the
lateness of the season and the threatened cold weather. To this end
mother and chicks were put into a nice warm dry goods box with plenty of
soft hay for a bed, and the whole establishment placed under the south
veranda of our main building.

Well, with plenty of food the chickens grew, Biddy the Bantam was happy,
and all went along nicely till quite lately, when the chickens, having
become about a quarter grown, it was discovered that Biddy could not
cover them all at the same time, exert herself as best she might. Hence
on each frosty morning it was evident that the chickens had suffered a
good deal during the night. Their cries could be heard late at night and
early in the morning as they crowded each other out into the bitter
cold, the stronger ones striving to secure the warmest place under
mamma’s soft feather coverlet.

Now a dire emergency had come and something had to be done, and done it
was in a most mysterious manner; and herein, also, is contained the gist
of our story. The grievous complaint of the chickens came to a sudden
discontinuation. Did the little hen mother in her deep affliction appeal
to Sir Duke, the big rooster, for advice and succor? The sequel would
certainly argue in favor of such a conclusion, for now he comes
regularly every evening at early candle light, squeezes his bulky form
through the bars of the coop, sits down by the side of Biddy the Bantam
and spreads his broad wings over more than half of the chickens. Peace,
indeed, has returned and there are no more family jars in that little

It is a pleasant pastime to take a lantern and make a social evening
call at the coop after Papa and Biddy have put their children to sleep.
The most amusing thing of all is to hear the old rooster talk to the
chickens. Thus, if anything goes wrong, any naughty crowding or some
little foot trodden upon so as to cause an outcry, Papa slowly rises,
shakes out his feathers, readjusts his great spreading toes, pokes in
with his beak any little protruding head and then settles down again,
all the while talking and saying in plain chicken lingo, “There, little
dears, now nestle down and go to sleep.”

In conclusion I will say to the readers of Birds and Nature that this
little story is no fancy sketch but a true recital of events that took
place at Vashon College while I was a member of the faculty of that
institution. The chanticleer of every farmyard is a noble bird and a
hero in his own sovereign right.

                                                         L. Philo Venen.

                            THE DAMSEL FLY.

This is a small insect—that is it is smaller than some of the dragon
flies, to which order—Odonata—it belongs. It is of more gentle habits
and not so swift of wing as the dragon fly. It was the French writers
who gave it the name it bears, while some English authorities placed it
along with the dragons. Howard says they are seldom found far from the
stream or pond where they are born, yet I have two or three varieties
that I caught on the prairie some miles from any water. Their wings are
not held horizontally, but are folded parallel with their bodies. This
facilitates the backing down the stem of a plant or reed when the female
wishes to deposit her eggs below the surface of the water, which is
usually the place for incubation. The wings are gauze like, some nearly
black, others with a beautiful metallic luster. They are not so savage
as the dragons, although one I took last summer held on to the threads
of the net until it nearly severed them, and bit at my fingers in a most
savage manner.

                                                        Alvin M. Hendee.


Feldspar is the family name of several minerals closely related and
indeed grading into each other, but distinguished by mineralogists by
separate specific terms. These minerals are all silicates of aluminum,
with some alkali or alkali earth, having a hardness of about 6 in the
scale in which quartz is 7 and a specific gravity varying from 2.5 to
2.7. They are fusible with difficulty before the blowpipe, crystallize
in the monoclinic or triclinic system and cleave in two well-marked
directions nearly or quite at right angles to each other. It is this
latter property, probably, which led to the grouping of these minerals
as spar, since this term is applied in common language to any minerals
which break with bright crystalline surfaces. Thus calc spar is a common
name for calcite, heavy spar for barite, needle spar for aragonite, and
so on. The term field spar, of which Feldspar is probably a corruption,
was perhaps given the minerals of this group because of their widespread
occurrence. The English spelling of the word is Felspar. The Feldspars
form an essential part of nearly all eruptive rocks and by their
decomposition produce clays and other soils which may harden into great
areas of sedimentary rocks. They are thus of great geological importance
and interest. Usually the white crystals to be seen in an eruptive rock
in contrast to the dark green or black of the pyroxene or hornblende, or
the glassy, nearly colorless quartz, are Feldspar. The Feldspar may,
however, contain more or less iron and then take on a flesh color or
become even darker. Feldspar crystals can best be recognized by their
prominent cleavage, which appears as numerous bright flat surfaces
extending in any given crystal in the same direction. The crystals,
while they may be of so minute dimensions as to be visible only with the
microscope, may on the other hand reach in veins in coarse-grained
granites a length of a foot or more.

As ornamental stones only certain varieties of Feldspar are valued and
their value depends on accidents of color or structure. The first of the
Feldspars which may be mentioned as being prized as an ornamental stone
is amazonstone or green Feldspar. This in composition is what is called
a potash Feldspar, potash being the alkali which in combination with
alumina and silica goes to make up the mineral. The percentages of each
in a pure amazonstone are silica 64.7, alumina 18.4 and potash 16.9. The
mineralogical name of the species is micro-cline, meaning small
inclination, and refers to the fact that the angle between the two
cleavages of the mineral is not quite a right angle. The common color of
microcline is white to pale yellow, but occasionally green and red

It is only to the green variety that the name of amazonstone is applied,
a name meaning stone from the Amazon river. It first referred probably
to jade or some such green stone from that locality and then came to
include green Feldspar. No occurrence of green Feldspar in that region
is now known.

Practically all the amazonstone now used for ornamental purposes comes
from three localities. These are the vicinity of Miask in the Ural
Mountains, Pike’s Peak, Colorado, and Amelia Court House, Virginia. In
all these places the amazonstone occurs in coarse-grained granite and is
closely accompanied by quartz and Feldspar. All gradations are found in
color from the deep green to white, only the bright green being prized
for ornamental purposes. The Feldspar is usually well crystallized and
crystals of several pounds weight may be found. A crystal will rarely be
of a uniform color, streaks of paler green or white being commonly
present. Only the uniformly colored portions are prized for ornamental
purposes. The green often takes on a bluish tone and blue sometimes even
predominates. The color is doubtless due to some organic matter, as it
disappears, leaving the stone white, on heating. The stone is always
opaque. Its use is not extensive, its sale being greater to tourists in
the vicinity of the regions where it is found than to gem cutters.
Several other localities in the United States besides those mentioned
afford the mineral, though not in large quantities. It occurs in two or
three localities in North Carolina; in Paris, Maine; Mount Desert,
Maine; Rockport, Massachusetts; and Delaware county, Pennsylvania. The
finest comes from the Pike’s Peak locality. Mr. G. F. Kunz states in
regard to these crystals that when they were first exhibited at the
Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 they were a great surprise
to Russian dealers who had brought over some amazonstone from the Urals,
expecting to sell it at what would now be considered fabulously high

                        [Illustration: FELDSPAR.
                      LOANED BY FOOTE MINERAL CO.]

  Top row:
    Amazonstone, crystallized (Colorado).
    Amazonstone, crystallized (Colorado).
    Amazonstone (Colorado).
  Center row:
    Labradorite, polished (Labrador).
    Labradorite, polished (Labrador).
  Bottom row:
    Sunstone (Norway).
    Moonstone, polished (Norway).

The second species of Feldspar which may be mentioned as of use as an
ornamental stone is labradorite. This differs in composition from
amazonstone in containing soda and lime in place of potash, the
percentages in a typical labradorite being, silica 53.7, alumina 29.6,
lime 11.8 and soda 4.8. Labradorite has the typical cleavage of Feldspar
and cleavage surfaces in the direction of easiest cleavage are usually
marked by rows of parallel striae. These show that the mass is made up
of a series of crystal twins in parallel position and afford an
excellent criterion for determining a triclinic Feldspar. Labradorite is
a common rock-forming mineral, especially in the older rocks. It is
only, however, when it occurs in large pieces which exhibit a play of
colors that it is prized as an ornamental stone. The labradorite
exhibiting the latter property in the most remarkable degree and hence
most valued is that found on the coast of Labrador near Nain and the
adjacent island of St. Paul. It was first found here by a Moravian
missionary named Wolfe and brought to Europe in the year 1775. It occurs
together with the form of pyroxene known as hypersthene, in a
coarse-grained granite, or perhaps a gneiss. From these it is weathered
out by wave and atmospheric action and occurs as beach pebbles. It is
also mined from veins. Labradorite of pleasing color and opalescence
occurs in a few other localities in Canada, and in Essex county, New
York, in the United States. Two localities occur in Russia, one near St.
Petersburg and the other in the region of Kiew. The labradorite of the
latter locality is the better, its occurrence being in a coarse-grained
gabbro. The Labrador occurrence exceeds all others, however, in
abundance and beauty and by far the larger quantity used in the arts
comes from there. The play of colors which gives labradorite its
attractiveness is rarely seen to advantage except upon a polished
surface, but whether polished or unpolished it only appears when the
surface is held at a particular angle with reference to the eye. Emerson
thus describes it in his essay on Experience as illustrating the
limitations of the individual: “A man is like a bit of Labrador spar,
which has no lustre as you turn it in your hand until you come to a
particular angle; then it shows deep and beautiful colors.”

The play of colors seen in labradorite is not like that of the opal,
which presents to the eye fragments of different colors varying in
different positions, but appears as broad surfaces of a single color. It
is only rarely that these colors change with a change of position. Bauer
remarks that the appearance is similar to that seen on the wings of some
tropical butterflies. The colors over any given surface are not
necessarily alike, but more than two or three tints are rare. Each tint
is uniform where it occurs. A surface may be interspersed with many
spots exhibiting no sheen. Both colored and uncolored portions have only
vague outlines and merge into each other at the edges. Bauer mentions a
labradorite from Russia the colored portions of which formed a striking
likeness of Louis XVI, the head being a beautiful blue against a gold
green background, while above appeared a beautiful garnet red crown.
Excellent effects are sometimes produced in labradorite by cutting it in
the form of cameos so as to make the base of different color from the
figure in relief. Of the different colors shown by labradorite blue and
green are the most common, yellow and red least so. These colors are
regarded by Vogelsang as of different origin, the blue being, in his
opinion, a polarization phenomenon due to the lamellar structure of the
Feldspar, and the yellows and reds the result of the reflection of light
from minute included crystals of magnetite, hematite and ilmenite. These
lying in parallel position in great numbers in the labradorite give the

The gems known as moonstone and sunstone owe the play of colors which
gives them their respective names to similar causes. These gems are
generally some form of Feldspar, although any mineral giving a similar
sheen of color might be included under them. The moonstone of commerce
comes chiefly from Ceylon, where it occurs in large pieces the size of a
fist in a clay resulting from the decomposition of a porphyritic rock.
Pieces of these when polished exhibit the beautiful pale blue light
coming from within which makes the stone prized as a gem. The cause of
this light is undoubtedly minute tabular crystals lying in parallel
position through the stone.

The stone varies from translucent to opaque, and from colorless to
white, the essential feature being the blue opalescent light or
chatoyancy exhibited from a polished surface. Good moonstones are worth
from three to five dollars a carat.

The Ceylon moonstone is sometimes known as Ceylon opal, but it is the
variety of Feldspar known as orthoclase, which is a potash Feldspar,
differing from the microcline just described in being monoclinic in
crystallization and in having two cleavages meeting at right angles.
Another species of Feldspar used as moonstone is albite. This is a soda
Feldspar and is triclinic, but exhibits the color characteristic of
moonstone. One variety is known as peristerite, from the Greek word for
pigeon, and is applied on account of the resemblance of the sheen to
that of a pigeon’s neck. It is found at Macomb, St. Lawrence county, New
York. Albite found at Mineral Hill, Pennsylvania, also exhibits the
chatoyancy of moonstone. Amelia Court House, Virginia, is another
locality whence come pieces either of orthoclase or oligoclase
exhibiting this property. Like most of the more or less opaque gems,
moonstone is cut chiefly in the rounded form known as en cabochon. It is
of late, however, cut in the form of balls, which are quite popular, the
bringing of good luck being attributed to them. The brilliancy of
moonstone is considerably increased by mounting it against black.

Sunstone is the term by which those kinds of Feldspar are known which
reflect a spangled yellow light. The appearance comes from minute
crystals of iron oxide, hematite or gothite, which are included in the
stone and both reflect the light and give it a reddish color. Like
labradorite the sheen is visible only when the stone is held at a
certain angle. Some specimens of the mineral carnallite, which is a
chloride of potassium and magnesium, exhibit a similar sheen, and being
soluble in water the crystals of hematite can be separated out. They are
then seen to be perfect little hexagons of a blood-red color. The sheen
of sunstone is best visible when the stone is held in the sunlight or
strong artificial light. The variety of Feldspar to which the sunstone
most in use at the present time belongs is oligoclase, a soda-lime
triclinic Feldspar. Like labradorite it usually exhibits on the surface
of easiest cleavage parallel striations due to twinning structure. The
best sunstone at the present time comes from Tvedestrand, in southern
Norway, where it occurs in compact masses together with white quartz, in
veins, in gneiss. Some also comes from Hittero, Norway. In Werchne
Udinsk, Siberia, another occurrence was discovered in 1831. Previous to
this Bauer states that all the sunstone known came from the Island of
Sattel in the White Sea, and was very costly, although of a quality
which would not now be deemed desirable. At the present time, although
stones of fine quality can be obtained, sunstone is little used in
jewelry, and its market value is very low. Statesville, North Carolina,
and Delaware county, Pennsylvania, are two localities in the United
States where good sunstone has been obtained.

Both sunstone and moonstone can be accurately imitated in glass and the
distinction of the artificial from the real by ocular examination alone
would be almost impossible. Glass, however, lacks the cleavage of
Feldspar and is somewhat heavier and softer. The discovery of the method
of making artificial sunstone is said to have been accidental, and was
made at Murano, near Venice, when a quantity of brass filings by chance
fell into a pot of melted glass. The product was for a long time and is
still used in the arts under the name of goldstone. Sunstone is
sometimes known as aventurine Feldspar, in distinction from aventurine
quartz, which presents a similar appearance, owing to the inclusion of
scales of mica. The term aventurine is from the Italian avventura,
meaning chance, and refers to the chance discovery above referred to.

Gems are occasionally cut from other forms of Feldspar than those here
described, which are transparent and colorless and valued for their
lustre. The varieties chiefly employed in this manner are adularia, a
variety of orthoclase which is often transparent, the best specimens
being obtained in Switzerland, and oligoclase, in the transparent form
in which it is found near Bakersville, North Carolina.

                                             Oliver Cummings Farrington.

                           THE WOOD HARMONY.

  Who knows the dim, least-traveled way
  Where wood-folk keep their holiday;
  Who knows the paths of little care
  Whereon the thicket-dwellers fare,
  Let him be heedful, lest he wake
  Unfriendly echoes in the brake,
  Or dare, with alien thought, to find
  His way among the timid kind.
  Let him beware, then, for they know
  The subtle footsteps of a foe.
  But all the wee wood-fellows spare
  Such welcome as they ever share
  To him who finds in dale and dell
  That undefined, familiar spell
  That greets the faith prepared to meet
  A faith as beautiful and sweet.
                                                    —Frank Walcott Hutt.

                        THE COTTAGE BY THE WOOD.

It was my good fortune to spend some months in a cozy little cottage in
a suburban district, the natural surroundings of which were such as to
at once appeal to a naturalist, aside from furnishing ample opportunity
for rest and quiet. The large lawn belonging to the property, with its
abundance of shade trees, fronted on the main avenue of a populous
corporate town, while in the rear was a strip of woodland, which in turn
was bordered by a clearing covered mainly by briars and thick low
bushes, its whole length being intersected by a winding brook.

Birds in the locality were quite numerous and some of them showed
remarkable tameness. During the hours of night time, giving voice as it
were to the weird lights and shadows around the house, we could hear the
mournful ditty of a screech owl whose home was in a nearby hickory tree,
while the first gray streak of each returning dawn was heralded by the
sweet songs of the robins. Flickers were frequently seen hopping around
in the grass near the roots of various trees; the notes of the
yellow-billed cuckoo were also heard in the thick foliage of the maples:
redeyed vireos kept up a continual warbling all day long and doubtless
had a nest in the vicinity, as we observed the mother bird feeding two
very young ones; the latter being perched in a low bush in the yard. The
happy song of the house wrens was always in evidence and three nests
were built under the porch roof. I personally observed one of the broods
leaving the nest and was surprised to see two of their number climb up
the straight trunk of a wild cherry tree—genuine woodpecker fashion—for
a distance of twelve or fifteen feet, where the limbs began to branch
out. However, they arrived at the top safely and remained there for the
balance of the day.

Humming birds often came and hovered over the many beautiful flowers in
the yard, and sometimes consented to alight for a few minutes for our
benefit. On one of these occasions a party of five (including my baby
daughter) approached to within three feet of the flower stalk upon which
our little visitor was perched; still it sat there, turning its wee head
this way and that, looking at us with fearless unconcern. At last it
gave a sharp chirp, flew, and was soon lost to sight. On one occasion in
the early morning, we were greeted with the familiar call “Bob White,”
which seemed to come from the woods in the rear of the yard. The call
was repeated several times, but we were unable to discover the author of
it. A tree of fine red cherries proved a great attraction for cat birds
and other feathered fruit lovers. But what we considered the greatest
privilege, and one which was exceedingly enjoyed, was the daily greeting
of the wood thrushes during the breakfast hour. What could be more
charming than to sit leisurely eating the morning meal and all the while
listening to the sweet, clear strains of the loveliest bird songs
pouring from the throats of the russet-brown vocalists just outside the
kitchen window, peal after peal, in endless volume and variation. In
addition to the birds already mentioned we sometimes heard the shrill
scream of the blue jay, also the notes of the king birds and crested
flycatchers, while from the distance, floating to us from across some
field or meadow, came the morning praises of a meadow lark or the well
known call of the kildeer. The crows also added their deep caw-caw-caw
to the chorus of woodland voices. The clearing above referred to proved
to be the home of two or three species of the warbler family, and a walk
through the vicinity the following winter revealed a number of nests.
They were all placed low, and one of them showed every indication of
having been built and occupied by an oven bird.

The usual wild flowers of the season were abundant and the surrounding
country at large was admirably suited for exploration and research;
hence our sojourn at the “Cottage” was one of great pleasure and

                                                          Berton Mercer.

                 [Illustration: SILVER-SPOT BUTTERFLY.
                  (Argynnis nitocris nigra-caerulea).

  Top row:
    Female, upper surface.
    Male, upper surface.
  Bottom row:
    Female, under surface.
    Male, under surface.

                            A NEW ARGYNNIS.

The butterfly to which I want to introduce you is a rare beauty! It is
called Argynnis nitocris nigrocaerulea by scientists, but the young
people of our school call it the blue-black silver spot or the Sapello
Fritillary. They wanted very much to name it after the Territory, but
unfortunately there is a butterfly of this genus that bears the name of
New Mexico Silver-spot.

Every member of the genus Argynnis is beautiful and it is a great treat
to see the glint of the silver dotted wings of these butterflies as they
hover about the gaily colored flowers in some mountain canyon or alpine
meadow. But no member of the genus will compare in beauty with the
female of the nigrocaerulea, and I should find difficulty in forgetting
the pleasure I felt in seeing two of these lovely creatures sucking the
nectar from a large bright colored Rudbeckia.

The nigrocaerulea is very much like a silver-spot that is found in the
mountains of Arizona; both belong to the species nitocris and there is
still a third form found in the mountains of Mexico. It is very likely
that these forms were the same years ago, but the mountains in this arid
region are like islands, and are separated by dry expanses upon which an
Argynnis could not live. It follows, therefore, that in the isolated
mountain regions many forms of the same species may be found, and when
the country has been more carefully explored we shall very probably find
other varieties of nitocris.

The nigrocaerulea was discovered in August, 1900, in the Sapello Canyon,
a beautiful canyon in the Rocky Mountains near Las Vegas, New Mexico.
The male is reddish-fulvous on the upper surface, with well defined
markings consisting of waved transverse lines and crescent shaped spots.
On the under side the design of the fore wings is somewhat indistinctly
repeated, and the base is colored with a most exquisite reddish pink.
The under surface of the hind wings is a rich brown with a wide yellow
border, and is profusely marked with spots of glistening silver. The
female on the upper side is bluish black, well marked near the margin by
large spots of yellow suffused with blue. The under surface is very like
that of the male, though the colors are more pronounced, the brown in
the hind wing merging into black. The Sapello Fritillary flies during
the month of August. Though the caterpillar is not known, it is supposed
to feed upon the leaves of violets, which grow very abundantly in the
Sapello Canyon. Diligent search will be made for it, and I am sure all
will be interested if at some future time I can give the history and
picture of the chrysalis of this beautiful Silver-spot.

                                              Wilmatte Porter Cockerell.

  Lo, the bright train their radiant wings unfold!
  With silver fringed, and freckled o’er with gold:
  On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower
  They, idly fluttering, live their little hour;
  Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
  All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.
                                                         —Mrs. Barbauld.


  Butterfly, on golden wings,
  Tell us of your wanderings!
  Tell us of aerial spaces,
  Where, in pleasant sunshine places,
  You go sailing high and low,
  Wheresoever you would go!

  Leisure, freedom, grace, is yours;
  Earth and air to you ensures
  Findings for your utmost need,
  Be it blossom, dewdrop, seed;
  And you roam the fields of air,
  Happy, and without a care.

  When the sudden storm comes down,
  And the sun flees at its frown,
  You with folded wings will hide
  ’Neath a leaf, and safely bide
  Till the tempest flashes through,
  And the sky is blue for you.

  Thus on rested wings you sail
  In the wake of every gale,
  Sailing high, or sailing low,
  Wheresoever you would go;
  Pilgriming the great, blue sky;
  Bravo, little butterfly!
                                                          —M. D. Tolman.

                      A PROLIFIC PEACH TREE STUMP.

One day early in the spring, while taking bird notes I discovered a pair
of chickadees busily engaged in constructing a home. They had chosen an
old peach tree that stood just back of the yard and were rapidly
excavating a beautifully rounded circle in the decayed stump.

Perching in the mouth of the cavity the chickadee’s body would almost
disappear within and then he would withdraw himself and fly away with a
tiny chip of rotten wood in his beak. After the cavity was
satisfactorily completed they began lining the interior, which formed
the nest proper. These fastidious little feathered architects consider
nothing less than soft clean fur suitable material for a bed for their
delicate speckled eggs. In this instance rabbit’s fur was used, which
was identified by the fringe of loose hair that clung to the entrance,
for the hollow was too deep to look down into the nest.

Some time after the discovery of the chickadees’ habitation, when the
peaches and plums were in blossom and the air soft and balmy the wrens
arrived from their winter home.

These inquisitive little creatures peer out very knowingly from their
retreat amidst the verdure, at anyone who comes near, and they win the
heart of all by their pert manners and love of human companionship.
These modestly attired little warblers are extremely lively and nimbly
search among the foliage for food, destroying many harmful insects.

In scanning every possible and impossible place about the premises for a
suitable nesting site, one of these dapper little fellows spied the
snuggery in the stump which captivated his fancy, and he forthwith
proceeded to try to take possession. But such outrageous trespassing was
not to be allowed for a moment by the chickadees and whenever the little
brown rogue crept up to the entrance to peep in, out would pop the
proprietor, in his jaunty black cap, and put him to flight. The intruder
would then perch on a branch near by, stretch himself to his full
height, with tail erect, as though to appear of as much consequence as
possible, and alternately scold and pour forth defiant song at his
opponent. This antagonism was kept up for several days, till finally the
wrens gave up the contest and began furnishing a neat little bird house
in a maple tree close by.

When they had nearly completed their labor the young chickadees left the
nest to follow their sprightly parents about the orchard, whereupon the
whimsical but industrious wrens immediately abandoned their pretty
summer cottage to occupy the now vacant cavity in the stump. These two
little birds (chickadee and wren), much alike in some respects, show a
very decided difference in the choice of nesting material. The hollow
was soon filled to overflowing with sticks, the main substance of every
wren’s nest.

In due season a brood issued forth, followed by another later, to swell
the young bird population, then at its height. Only think of the amount
of extravagant activity and drollery that was reared in that cavity

As the Creator did not implant the migratory instinct, except in the
very slightest measure in the chickadee’s nature, his travels are mostly
local and his spruce little form may be seen in all seasons. During the
fall and winter, after the fidgety wrens have departed for the sunny
southland, is the most favorable time to study the habits of the
chickadee. His actions may then be observed most readily, as he flits
among the bare branches in search of prey, occasionally taking time to
utter his cheerful chick-adee-dee.

He is a great aid to the fruit grower. Let anyone that doubts this
repair to an orchard and observe a company of them taking their meals.
And it is an interesting sight to watch a merry party of these little
creatures, as with never-ceasing activity they dexterously explore the
trees for food. With the greatest nicety they poise in every conceivable
attitude; from the trunk they dart to the topmost spray, now to the
center of the tree and then instantly to the outside branches. While
searching the trunk or a perpendicular branch, the head may be upward or
the reverse; or if a horizontal branch is undergoing examination his
feet are as likely to point heavenward as not; or he may hang suspended
from a swaying twig. Ever in motion, flitting, hopping, swinging to and
fro, they investigate every nook and cranny and draw numberless
injurious insects, their eggs and larvae from their lurking places. The
chickadee’s tongue, a fork-shaped instrument, is admirably adapted to
prying its prey out of crevices of bark.

They by no means confine their work to the orchard, but all kinds of
trees and shrubs are alike visited. In thus performing the duty assigned
them by Nature they are of inestimable service to man.

                                                        Addie L. Booker.

                      THE COWRIES AND SHELL MONEY.

Among marine mollusks none stand so favorably in the eyes of collectors
or are so beautiful as the Cypraeas, or Cowry shells. With their glossy
coats and varied colors they are indeed gems of the ocean, and it is
little wonder that the conchologist has placed them first among the many
families of marine shells.

The name Cypraea comes from Cypris, one of the names of the goddess
Venus. About two hundred recent species have been described and they are
found in nearly all parts of the world, though more numerous in the
tropics and sub-tropics, where they live on coral reefs and under rocks.
As in many other genera of shells the Cowries living in the tropics are
more brilliantly colored than those from more temperate climes, a
condition due to the large amount of sunshine and high temperature, both
of these factors being essential to the secretion of color in the
pigment cells of the animal.

The animal which inhabits a Cowry shell is a curiosity. The foot is
large and spreads out in a wide mass, enabling the animal to glide along
quite rapidly. The mantle lobes are folded over the back of the shell
and are beset with many little tuft-like organs which stick out like
young shoots on a plant. The mouth is placed at the end of a rather long
snout or rostrum and the eyes are upon the outside of two long, tapering
tentacles, about one-third the distance from the body. When the shell is
young it is covered with a thin epidermis and has a thin, sharp outer
lip, like some snails, but when it is full grown the outer lip rolls
inward, becomes toothed or ridged, as does also the inner lip, and the
aperture becomes a long and narrow slit reaching from the apex to the
base of the shell. The mantle lobes, which are inconspicuous in the
young shell, becomes larger and are reflected over the back, depositing
coat after coat of shelly enamel until the first pattern of the shell,
as well as the epidermis, is covered with a secondary, shining coat. On
most Cypraeas there is a line of paler color, showing where the two
lobes of the mantle meet on the back.

Like many other mollusks the Cypraea is able to dissolve the internal
whorls and thus enlarge the capacity of its shell. This is also true of
Conus, and Murex, and some other marine snails dissolve the spines which
may be in the way when increasing the size of the whorls. The older
naturalists, Lamarck and Bruguiere, believed that the Cypraea was able
to dissolve its outer lip after it had been rolled over and toothed, but
this theory has been proved to be incorrect. They founded their belief
on the fact that some individuals of the same species were larger than
others. This, however, is due simply to individual variation.

The beautiful colors so much admired are deposited by the reflected
mantle and their variety is almost endless. Some are perfectly plain,
white, brownish, yellowish or orange, others are spotted with red,
white, brown, drab or black, and still others are variously banded. The
eyed-cowry (Cypraea argus) has large, dark brown spots on a lighter

In form and sculpture the Cowries present a rather wide range of
variation. The typical form is more or less cylindrical, or pyriform,
while others are flat, oval or egg-shaped. The surface varies from
smooth to spirally lined and pustulose. In size they vary from the
little Trivia exigua, scarcely one-fourth of an inch long, to the huge
Cypraea testudinaria, nearly five inches in length.

Many of the larger species, like the tiger cowry (Cypraea tigris) and
the black cowry (Cypraea mauritiana) have been household ornaments for
centuries and have also served as playthings for young children, who
have held them to their ears to “hear the sound of the roaring sea.”

                      [Illustration: COWRY SHELLS.
                    FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.]

  Top row:
    Cypraea exanthema (Half grown.)
    Cypraea exanthema (Young).
    Cypraea exanthema (Florida).
  Second row:
    Trivia solandri (California).
    Cypraea annulus (Indian Ocean).
  Third row:
    Cypraea erosa (Indian Ocean).
    Cypraea lurida (Mediterranean Sea).
  Fourth row:
    Cypraea spadicea (California).
    Cypraea moneta (Philippines).
  Fifth row:
    Cypraea talpa (Pacific Ocean).
    Cypraea mus (Europe).
    Cypraea histrio (Indian Ocean).

In habits the Cowries are shy and they are slow in movement, sliding
over the coral reefs and marine vegetation with a sluggish, steady
motion. They present a beautiful sight when viewed through the water,
their brilliant colors vying with those of corals, sea anemones and sea
weeds. They are said to feed principally upon the coral animals.

From very ancient times the smaller Cowries have been used for adornment
or barter. The Cypraea annulus, or ringed cowrie, which was found by Dr.
Layard in the ruins of Nimroud, is said to be the same species which is
now used by the islanders of the Indian and Pacific Oceans to weight
their fish nets and to adorn their persons. In western Africa the money
cowry (Cypraea moneta) has been and is now used as a medium of exchange
in place of gold. Many tons were yearly shipped to England from the
Indian and Pacific Oceans, to be again carried to Africa to barter with
the natives for ivory and other articles.

The number of Cowries which have been given for various articles, with
their value in American currency, is interesting. Thus it is recorded by
the Conchologist Reeve that a gentleman residing at Cuttack in India
paid for the building of his bungalow entirely in Cowries, giving over
sixteen million specimens. The value of these Cowries was four thousand
rupees sicca in Indian money, or about two thousand dollars in American
money. In another place it is recorded that a young wife cost from sixty
thousand to one million Cowries, or from about nineteen dollars to
thirty-seven dollars, while an ordinary wife cost but twenty thousand
shells or about six dollars.

The value of Cowries varies in different countries. In India five or six
thousand may be purchased for one rupee, while in parts of Africa two
hundred Cowries are worth sixteen cents. In Sudan, two thousand Cowries,
which weigh about seven pounds, are worth one dollar. On the west coast
of Africa, where trading in Cowries is largely carried on, the following
gradation of value is recorded by Dr. Stearns:

  40 Cowries = 1 string.
  2½ strings = 1 pence.
  100 Cowries = 1 pence.
  50 strings = 1 head of Cowries.
  10 heads = 1 bag.
  2,000 Cowries = 1 head.
  3 heads = 1 dollar.
  20,000 Cowries = 1 bag.

In other places the value is about 1s. 3d. for 1,000 shells.

The money cowry is also used as ornaments on the trappings of horses and
elephants, as well as on the persons of men and women. The rich yellow
variety is much sought after by the chiefs of several island tribes, who
permit no one but themselves or their sub-chiefs to wear them.

We may truly say that of all the mollusks, large or small, handsome or
ugly, the modest little money cowry surpasses any in point of economical

In the Friendly Islands the orange cowry (Cypraea aurantia) is used as a
badge of chieftainship and for a long time specimens were almost
priceless because no one but the chief was allowed to wear this
ornament. Specimens of this species are frequently seen in collections,
with a hole in the back by means of which it was suspended about the
neck of the native chief.

Those who have described the Cowries have given them many fanciful
names, some of which, however, are quite appropriate. Thus we have the
caput serpentis or serpent’s head; the arabica or Arab shell, so named
from the peculiar, hieroglyphic-like characters on its back; the lynx,
pantherina and tigris, each shell resembling the coat of the lynx,
panther and tiger; mus, the rat shell; rhinoceros, the rhinoceros shell;
turdus the thrush, and cervus the deer. Many of the other names are
equally well chosen, as moppa the mop cowry, and pustulata the pustulose

It is interesting to note the prices that have been paid for rare
specimens of this family. At an auction held in London many years ago a
specimen of Cypraea guttata brought two hundred dollars, and Cypraea
princeps, another very rare shell, brought the same price. Cypraea
umbilicata once sold for one hundred and fifty dollars, but may now be
had for five dollars. Aurantia, the orange cowry, was once almost
priceless, but is now sold at from twenty to forty dollars. Some of the
lesser rarities are Cypraea scoltii, worth from five to eight dollars,
and Cypraea decipiens, worth from fifteen to twenty dollars. These
extravagant prices need not be paid by any one desiring a collection of
these pretty shells, for the price of a single rarity will suffice to
purchase the majority of the common species. Several private collections
in the United States contain from one hundred fifty to one hundred
seventy species, including a number of the rarities spoken of above.

In connection with the Cypraeas it is interesting to notice other
species of shell money which have been used as money. The North American
Indians used fragments of shells for money, which they called wampum. In
New England wampum was in the form of beads, the manufacture of which
required considerable skill. These beads were cylindrical in form, about
one-fourth of an inch long and half as wide. They were of two colors and
were drilled and strung on long cords.

The quahog (Venus mercenaria) was much used in the manufacture of shell
money because of its two decided colors, pure white and deep purple. The
white beads were called wampum or wompom and the black beads suckauhock,
or black money. In addition to the quahog the whelk Buccinum and the
“periwinkle” or “winkle” were used, the long, white columella being cut
from the shell and made into beads.

We learn from some of the older records that in Massachusetts the wampum
was valued at three beads to a penny or five shillings for a fathom. The
fathom varied in size according to the number of beads allowed by law as
an equivalent to a penny. If this was six, then the fathom contained
three hundred and sixty beads, but if the number was four, then the
fathom was composed of two hundred forty beads. Owing to the
counterfeiting of wampum by the whites, who could make it much quicker
with their tools than could the Indians, the value rapidly fell in later
years and its use was finally discontinued.

On the coast of California the tooth or tusk shells, Dentalium, were
used as money, being strung together as were the beads of the New
England Indians. Those of the better quality were called Phai-Kwa or
hi-qua and represented the highest standard of money. One hi-qua would
purchase one male or two female slaves. The damaged or defective shells
were called kop-kops, forty of which equalled one hi-qua in value. At
one time a single hi-qua was equal in value to about two hundred fifty
dollars. Other shells were also used on the Pacific coast, some of which
were simply strung in the form of beads while others were cut from large
shells. One of the latter was from the large clam, Pachydesma
crassatelloides, and the pieces were called hawock or ha-wok, their
value ranging from four to twenty-five cents. Another clam used was the
Saxidomus aratus.

The little Olivella biplicata was used for beads and was called hol-kol.
They were made by grinding off the apex, which left a hole through the
top of the shell. The Haliotis or abalone was also used and was called
uhl-lo. Pieces of the shell one or two inches in length were cut from
the flat part of the abalone, a hole was drilled in one end and they
were strung like beads. Their value was one dollar each, or ten dollars
for a string of ten pieces. Like the shell money of New England that of
the Pacific coast was counterfeited by the whites and for this reason
the value of the native currency soon declined.

                                                    Frank Collins Baker.

                       THE BIRD OF SUPERSTITION.

There are several possible reasons why the owl has always been regarded
as an ominous bird. Something uncanny seems to inhere in its noiseless
flight, something unearthly to look out from its large, strange eyes.
Even its voice arouses an eerie feeling, which is increased by the
knowledge of its nocturnal habits. The poets are fond of alluding to its
auguries of evil, Shakespeare alone finding a merry note in its
“Tu-whit, tu-whoo,” and even he added an “owlet’s ring” to the noisome
ingredients of the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth. He also speaks of

        The fatal bellman
  That givest the stern’st good night.

Chaucer speaks of the screech owl as

  The prophet of woe and of mischance,

while Spencer alludes to—

  The whistler shrill, that whoso hears doth die.

Roman soothsayers were accustomed to use owls’ feathers in their
incantations. In many places its note is still considered a sure sign of
impending death. In Borneo, it is said, that if a person on entering a
forest hears the voice of an owl, he will at once return. The Mexicans,
Indians and Basque shepherds regard the monkey-faced owl as an omen of

There is a story that Agrippa was so superstitious that when he beheld
an owl perched over him on the occasion when the people shouted, “It is
not the voice of a man, but of a God!” that he felt assured of the
speedy death which followed.

But, on the other hand, instead of a prophet of evil, legend has it that
the owl is the “bird of wisdom.” It was certainly consecrated to the
service of Pallas Athene by the wise Greeks, whether on account of a
certain air of intelligence, or because the goddess was herself the moon
and therefore a nocturnal bird would be especially appropriate, we may
never know.

There is a story to the effect that on one occasion, when an emblem of
wisdom was to be chosen, all the contestants for the honor were finally
eliminated except the Philosopher and the Owl. When the arguments in
favor of the Philosopher had been duly considered, the Owl lifted up his
voice and hooted: “I do not profess to embody all knowledge, but I have
that which is better. I possess the art of concealing my ignorance.”
Whereupon the judges, delighted with the idea, unanimously elected him
as the better emblem of wisdom!

Many ancient customs had their origin in Egypt. The Egyptian wise men
told the most learned of the Greeks that in knowledge they were but
children compared with themselves. The superstitions regarding the owl
may have arisen on the banks of the Nile, from a custom of the king of
the country, who, whenever the death of a person was decided upon, sent
to such individual the image of an owl, whereupon the unfortunate one
was expected to kill himself at once. Small wonder the owl became in
time a bird of ill-omen.

                                                      Belle Paxon Drury.

                          THE WISCONSIN DELLS.

  Half-veiled by a purple haze,
  The cliffs and crags, their turrets raise,
  The fragrant forests, umber, green,
  Scintillate in the sunlight’s sheen,
  And whispering low, through clinging vines,
  A berceuse comes from singing pines.
                                                        —Illyria Turner.

                            MY SUMMER NIGHT.

  The dear voice of the summer night
    Sings in my listening ear
  A melody of joyous flight,
    In sweetest cadence here.

  I love the cricket’s monotone;
    It almost seems to me
  That star-notes, through the ether blown,
    Have lodged in grass and tree.

  A beetle, swinging down the field,
    Booms on the lighted pane;
  And, as it strikes, a thought revealed
    Taps at my quivering brain.

  The “peas and pork” bird in the air—
    The solemn whip-poor-will—
  Both thoughts of quaintest mystery bear
    From off yon shadowed hill.

  A silk-worm moth, with purple “eyes”
    Upon its nether wings,
  Around the lighted window flies,
    Or to the casement clings.

  So, all the eve, the gathering gloom
    Speaks with its voices low;
  Hearts unto hearts, in bits of bloom,
    On summer evenings flow.
                                                     —Willis Edwin Hurd.

                        [Illustration: CHERRIES.
                           (Prunus cerasus).
                             ⅔ Life-size.]

                              THE CHERRY.
                         (_Prunus cerasus_ L.)

      Sauerkirsche, Weichsalkirsche, G. Ceriesier, Griottier, Fr.

  Sweet is the air with the budding haws, and the valley stretching for
              miles below
  Is white with blossoming cherry-trees, as if just covered with
              lightest snow.
                             —Longfellow: “Christus. The Golden Legend.”

The cherry-trees belong to the Rose family (Rosaceae) and are thus
botanically related to the apple, rose, pear and strawberry. The
numerous cultivated varieties are doubtless derived from the cherry
whose original home was Asia Minor, from which country it spread to
Europe and other countries many centuries ago. The plants are trees,
mostly not large but handsome because of the green, simple, glossy
serrated leaves and the beautiful numerous white flowers and the
attractive red fruit. Pliny described the plant and designated Asia as
its original home. About 63 B. C. the plant was brought to Rome. From
Italy the cherry rapidly spread through Europe, for it was cultivated
along the Rhine countries, in Belgium and in England, even during the
time of Pliny. Alexander Trallianus recommended the fruit very highly in
the treatment of consumption and in diseases of the liver.

In the language of flowers cherry blossoms signify inconstancy, which is
somewhat peculiar, since the tree and the fruit are so frequently
mentioned in a favorable sense in legend and folklore. Christ at one
time gave Peter a cherry with the admonition not to despise little
things. The tree is also consecrated to the Virgin Mary according to a

Cherry trees are cultivated throughout all civilized countries. As with
most other long cultivated fruits the various varieties are the product
of crossing (cross-pollination), artificial selection and cultivation,
and desirable plants are perpetuated by grafting. There are various wild
growing species of cherry, which must not be confused with the
cultivated varieties. The wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) is very
common in our woods. It is a handsome tree, varying from 15 to 100 feet
in height. It has a smooth bark on the younger branches. The fruit is
rather small, fleshy portion thin and of a very dark color when fully
ripened. The wild black cherry must not be confused with the poisonous
choke cherry (Prunus virginiana), which is a smaller tree and has red
berries instead of black. Double caution is necessary since the
scientific names are interchanged in various works. There is another
Eastern cherry known as wild red, bird or pin cherry (Prunus
pennsylvanica), which also has red fruit. There is also the common sweet
cherry (Prunus avium). The common peach (Prunus persica) and the common
garden plum (Prunus domestica) are close of kin.

The fruit of the cultivated domestic cherry is the most desirable and is
usually had in mind when cherries are mentioned. The fruit is
technically a stone fruit or drupe and not a berry; the outer portion of
the fruit covering known as exocarp is fleshy and constitutes the edible
portion. The endocarp is hard and forms the shell which encloses the
seed. The fresh, fully ripened fruits are relished most by children, as
well as by adults. Birds also are very fond of ripe cherries. Robins are
on such a keen lookout for the ripening berries that the busy farmer is
often a total loser. These birds often guard the trees jealously against
all intruders, clamorously alighting on the very heads and shoulders of
the boys who presume to climb the trees to pick the fruit.

Cherry wine is made from the fleshy pulp, which has an excellent quality
and flavor. Cherry syrup is the product of fermentation and filtration
with the addition of sugar and is used as a flavor for cold drinks and
added to medicines to improve their efficiency and to disguise the
taste. By crushing and distilling the seeds cherry water is obtained.
The flowers and fruit stems are employed in kidney and catarrhal
troubles. Cherries may be preserved by drying or pickling. The fruits
are also macerated in whisky and brandy, adding to these drinks an
agreeable flavor and acidity. For this purpose the fruit of the wild
black cherry is very extensively used. The bark, particularly of the
wild black cherry, is extensively employed in medicine. It is a very
popular household remedy for the treatment of coughs and colds in
children. The gum which exudes from the incised or otherwise injured
bark is also used medicinally.

Cherry wood is hard and takes a good polish. It is used in cabinet
making, interior finish and for inlaid work.

Cherries are also employed by the confectioner and by the baker in
making pies. The seeds (kernels, pits) are first removed. The habit of
swallowing the pits is a dangerous one, as serious and even fatal
troubles are caused by them.

                                                       Albert Schneider.


  A tangle of broad, green leaves,
    All over the garden border;
  A mass of wonderful blooms,
    Parading their gay disorder.

  Petals of sunset and flame,
    Their orient, velvet-soft splendor
  Aflare on long, sinuous stems,
    Aromatic, pale-tinted and slender.

  Trespassers wilful and bold,
    Wherever they choose they wander,
  Spendthrift of color and scent—
    Made but to riot and squander.

  E’en to the court of the rose,
    Their eager, loose tendrils outreaching;
  Unable to guess at her pride,
    Or to care for her thorn’s sharp teaching.

  Yet such is their charm and delight,
    One pauses, half ready to flout them;
  For O, at the mid-summer’s height,
    What were the garden without them?
                                                  —Lulu Whedon Mitchell.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

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

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

--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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